Over the weekend, my daughter and I took a trip to visit my parents. My cousins were also visiting with their kids…so we had a total of 6 children between the ages of 1-8 all weekend. It was…eventful, to say the least. My favorite part of the weekend was just watching all of the kids play together, and it took me back to my days as a young spring chicken, running around with all of my cousins. Climbing trees, throwing the football, chasing each other around the yard, and of course, fighting. My daughter and my cousin’s daughter are literally three months apart in age, and they already have a love/hate relationship. They get SO excited to see each other and have so much fun together…but they also fight and get mad at each other. Ahhh, to be a kid again.
For Sunday lunch, I volunteered to cook a big meal for everyone. I know, it’s crazy…but all these years of my grandmother cooking lunch for everyone, I insisted that she relax and just eat. So, I put together an Italian feast. The menu consisted of garlic bread, chicken alfredo, lasagna, Caesar salad, and a tiramisu trifle. The night before, I went to the store to get ingredients to make the lasagna and trifle. As I’m slowly moving through the grocery store and mentally going over my list, it hit me that I still had to put together the lasagna, trifle, AND put my little girl to bed. And honestly, all I wanted to do when I got back to the house was sit my happy butt on the couch and drink a glass of wine. So, I compromised. Grammy put little pumpkin to bed while I put together the trifle, and the storebought lasagna thawed in the fridge while I enjoyed that delightful glass of wine. Everybody wins. The day after I got home though, the fleeting thought of making a lasagna was still floating around in my head, so that was what made it on the dinner table the following night. With this batch though, instead of making it in a 9×13 inch dish, I split the ingredients up and made two 8×8 inch pans of lasagna, and one went in the freezer for later use. Perfect! Next time I don’t feel like putting together dinner, all I have to do is thaw that baby out and pop it in the oven. Shoot, we still had leftovers from this smaller version…and it was just as delicious.
9 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 lb. ground hamburger or sausage
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (24 oz.) jars spaghetti sauce
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan, divided
16 oz. large curd cottage cheese
1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil lasagna noodles in water according to package directions. Cook ground meat in skillet until browned and fully cooked, add garlic and onions and cook for a few minutes until onions are tender. Remove from heat, stir together with 1 jar of spaghetti sauce. Spread 1/3 of remaining jar of spaghetti sauce on bottom of 9×13 inch baking dish. Place three noodles along bottom on top of sauce. Spoon half of cottage cheese on top of noodles, followed by half of meat mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, then 1 cup of mozzarella. Repeat layering one more time. For top layer, add remaining three noodles, remaining spaghetti sauce, and cheeses. Bake in oven for 1 hour, let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Make a Freezer Meal!! Prepare ingredients evenly between two 8 inch foil pans or one 9×13 inch foil pan. Wrap with plastic wrap, place plastic lid on top. Store in freezer. The night before you want to eat the meal, place in the refrigerator to defrost. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, let stand for 10 minutes.. Enjoy!