Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday Supper #3

Today's recipe is a two part deal. The first recipe is for homemade spaghetti sauce. This is a recipe my mother actually created and has become a family favorite. I owe my mother many thanks for teaching me this recipe as I think it was what gave Ben early on the impression that I was a good cook. Whether that's true or not is debateable -- we have very different definitions of "good cook."
Some of you may be thinking: why make homemade spaghetti sauce when you can buy perfectly good stuff at the store? My reason: it impresses the husband! I like to cook on a gray, rainy day that is best spent at home. There is something comforting about making the whole house smell delicious and having a stockpile in the freezer. Besides, it's ridiculously easy.

Mom's Spaghetti Sauce
2 lbs ground round
4 – 28 oz cans tomato sauce
1 – 18 oz can tomato paste
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 c. dried parsley
½ t. dried oregano
2 t. crushed garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Cook the meat with onion until it is brown. Drain the fat. Add all the ingredients to a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 1 ½ hours, stirring often.

Makes about 5 quarts. Great for freezing.
I probably never make this the same twice. I have gotten to the point where I don't really measure the ingredients. One thing I always do is add extra garlic but that's really an obsession of ours. This time I opted for fresh herbs from our garden and I don't know off hand the conversion from dry herbs to fresh herbs. All I know is that when using fresh, you need less. I'm too lazy to actually look it up on the internet or open up my Joy of Cooking.

The second recipe is for lasagna. I think I got it out of Cooking Light years and years ago. I have, of course, made several modifications over time. What I have given you below is the original. My changes include replacing the "cook the meat" and "add sauce" steps with my own homemade spaghetti sauce from above since it all ready includes the meat. We also like really "saucy" lasagna in our household so I don't really measure it out, I just go by what looks good. Sometimes we substitute mozeralla for the cheddar's really whatever we have on hand.

Lazy Lasagna

1 pound ground round
1 (26 ounce) jar of low-fat spaghetti sauce
1 (16 ounce) carton fat-free cottage cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Cooking spray
1 (8 ounces) package precooked lasagna noodles
1 cup (4 ounces) pre-shredded reduced-fat mild cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook meat in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well, and return meat to pan. Add sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Combine cottage and Parmesan cheeses in a bowl; set aside.

Spread ½ cup meat mixture in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 noodles over meat mixture, then top with half of cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup meat mixture, and 1/3 cup cheddar cheese. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread remaining meat mixture over noodles. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheddar cheese and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

As always, I would love to hear some feedback if you try any of the recipes that I have posted. Or, better yet, send me some of your favorite recipes.

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