Cook With Me's Blog

Eat Fresh!

I’m Cooking Lasagna For Ella 03/02/2013

It’s been a while since I cooked Lasagna.  Ella mentioned she wanted some. So I’m cooking it tonight.  The time consuming part is the sauce.  However, it’s worth it because you know everything is fresh with no preservatives.

Here’s one of my Marinara Sauce recipes.

6 – 8 large Beefsteak Tomatoes (Sliced in half and seeded)

½ lb of Ground Turkey

1 tsp – Garlic Powder

1 tsp – Onion Powder

¼ cup – Celery (Finely chopped)

¼ cup – Bell Pepper (Finely chopped)

½ cup – Onion (Finely chopped)

3 cloves of Fresh Garlic (Smashed, peeled and minced)

4 TBS of Fresh Basil (Chiffonade) (divide in half and use one when roasting tomatoes and add the other half in the sauce later)

2 TBS of Fresh Oregano (Chiffonade)

Kosher Salt (To taste)

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper (To taste)

½ cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (To be used throughout the recipe and not all at one time)

I roast the tomatoes at 400 degrees after seeding them and I drizzle them with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO).  This concentrates the flavor and makes it easier to peel them.

While the tomatoes are roasting, I chop Bell Peppers, Celery and Onions (The trinity).  I also cut a Chiffonade of Basil and Oregano. (A Chiffonade is cutting thin slices of an herb such as fresh Basil and Oregano.)

When the tomatoes have roasted for about 20 minutes sprinkle the half of the Chiffonade of Basil over the tomatoes and let them continue to roast for another 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove the roasted tomatoes from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes.  You can then easily remove the skin and discard it.  Try not to get any of the Basil while you do this.  We need that flavor.

Take the Tomato / Basil combination and place it in a food processor.  Pulse it until it is a puree.  Set it aside for a moment.

Ella wanted me to use Ground Turkey instead of Ground Beef so it would be healthier.  Ground Turkey doesn’t have the fat like Ground Beef does so it needs a little EVOO to help.  First, I season the Ground Turkey with Sea Salt, Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, Adobo, Garlic Powder, and Onion Powder.

I brown the seasoned Ground Turkey with a little EVOO in a skillet over medium heat. As it cooks, I use a wooden spoon to crumble the Ground Turkey as finely as I can.  You will still have some chunks but that’s okay.

So now we’re ready to start putting things together.

The Trinity is sautéed in a saucepan with a little EVOO over a medium heat.  Let it cook for about 4 minutes and then add the Minced Garlic.

Continue cooking the Trinity and the Minced garlic until you really smell the Garlic. (No more than 90 seconds.  You don’t want to burn the Garlic.)

Add the Tomato / Basil puree to the skillet with the Trinity and Garlic and stir to combine.  After this mixture starts to bubble reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Stir every 2 minutes.  (To keep the sauce from splattering on the stove, place the saucepan lid halfway on the saucepan.) When you have 8 minutes left to simmer the sauce, stir in the other half of the Chiffonade of Basil and all the Chiffonade of Oregano to the sauce.

When the 20 minutes for the sauce has past, it’s time to add the cooked Ground Turkey to the sauce.  Let this combination simmer for another 6 minutes or so stirring every 2 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Lasagna assembly:

Ingredients:

–   Cooked Whole Wheat Lasagna Pasta (Follow the cooking instructions on the box)

–   24 Pepper Jack Cheese Slices

–   Marinara Sauce with Ground Turkey (from recipe above)

–   8 oz. Shredded Fresh Parmesan Cheese

Place about 4 TBS of the sauce at the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish that has been sprayed with a Cooking Spray.

1)    Place enough of the cooked Lasagna Noodles to cover the bottom of the casserole dish. (This should be about 3 strips)

2)   Add about 8 TBS of sauce on top of the Lasagna Noodles.

3)   Place the 6 Pepper Jack Cheese slices on top on the sauce.

4)   Optional – Many Lasagna recipes use Ricotta Cheese mixed with 2 eggs as another layer.  You can add this if you like.  I didn’t use it because Ella doesn’t like many cheeses.

Repeat the steps 1 through 3 until desired layers are achieved.  End your assembly with Noodles on top and finish with a Shredded Parmesan Cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes covered.  Then remove aluminum foil and cook for another 15 minutes or until the top cheese is golden brown.

Remove from oven and let it stand for 10 minute off the oven on a cooling rack before serving.  Make a nice salad and Garlic Bread and enjoy.

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March 4, 2013 - Posted by | Let's Talk About Food | , , ,

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