I LOVE lasagna! It was a comfort food from my childhood, and although it was not my mom's favourite, it certainly ranked high in tastiness for us kids, so she made it frequently despite the fact that lasagna is not a ready in 30 minutes kind of meal, primarily due to the preparation of the various components. Now that I think about it, despite the rather time consuming preparation process, lasagna really was a convenient make ahead meal for a busy family of 6 because it could be made several days in advance or or it could be frozen, thawed and then cooked when required! More importantly, junior cooks, like myself when I was 10, could get dinner ready by popping it in the oven and making a side salad. It is also a great potluck dish... Easy to take to a gathering and it is always a welcomed dish on a buffet table! What more could you want in a casserole type meal?
I adored mom's recipe and still do. It was from a Better Homes & Garden recipe book circa 1950's-ish. To this day, this is my go to lasagna recipe. Of course, I have tinkered a little with it with great success! The nice thing about this recipe is that I don't find it especially rich or heavy, primarily because I tend to use less mozzarella than called for and the wonderful tomato and basil flavour shines through too. Yes sir-we, this is a satisfying and tasty recipe!
Cook the noodles according to package instructions in large amount boiling salted water till tender; drain and rinse. Set aside.
Things I have done to tweak this recipe to add a little more healthy and to make this dish a little more budget friendly includes combining 1/2 pound of ground beef, 1 cup cooked green lentils and 8 ounces of finely diced mushrooms, white or cremini when making the sauce. This is a good way to increase the plant-based content AND make the the "meat sauce" a little more budget friendly. I also use organic cottage cheese and eggs; but sadly, I have yet to find organic blocks of cheese in my local stores. One of these days, I am going to try 2 flax eggs in the cottage cheese mixture; a little more omega 3 would be a plus since the lasagna is already loaded with protein.
Watch for Part 2 of this post which will feature Lasagna Roll Ups!