Saturday, September 6, 2014

Freezer Friendly Lasagna

What every busy mom needs in her bag of tricks is a good freezer casserole.  The definition of a "freezer casserole" should be something you prepare in bulk now so that you can be lazy later.  Well that's my definition of a "freezer casserole" anyway.  One of my favorite meals to do this with is lasagna.  Now I will be up front, and say that this is how my family and I love to eat lasagna, but should in no way be considered fine italian cuisine.  It is however, completely on par with the lasagnas you pick up in the freezer section for MUCH less.  Then you are prepared if you have to feed the missionaries last minute (translation I forgot I signed up until the night before), or need to take a meal to the family of a sick friend or church member.  This tutorial is just for one lasagna because if you are wanting to make it in bulk it would be best to double check that your disposable metal pans are still available, and weren't used (destroyed) by who knows which child.  Not that that happened to me or anything.   Alright lets get a list of ingredients going, shall we?

Freezer Friendly Lasagna
1 pound italian sausage (I use turkey)
1 container of ricotta cheese (my store only has one size)
1 container of cottage cheese (the biggest they sell at a standard grocery store)
1 package lasagna noodles (I prefer the regular to the oven ready)
1 to 2 jars of spaghetti sauce ( I use a a huge jar from Sam's Club so you may need 2 jars)
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese (separated)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
garlic salt to taste (could also use garlic powder)

The first step would be to get your lasagna cooking in boiling water.  I just follow the cooking directions written on the package

Don't worry if they stick up out of the pot at first.  

They will lay down in the water quickly as they soften in the boiling water.  Just remember to stir occasionally.

Next would be to brown the italian sausage, but this is another item I do in bulk and freeze for later use.  I do this for all of my ground meat.  I only keep a few pounds of raw ground meat in the freezer to make meatloaf and meatballs, and everything else gets cooked up then frozen.  So that cuts a considerable amount of time off of making your own lasagna.  I freeze them in one pound bags so all I have to do is take it out of the freezer and thaw it.

Next is to make up the cheese mixture.

I put all of the cheeses together in a bowl, and mix them with the exception of 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese which I reserve for the top.

This is after we put in the ricotta and the cottage cheese.  You can go with just straight cottage, but I really love ricotta.

Then add in the 1/4 cup of parmesan, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.  Then I add garlic salt, and a pinch of onion powder.  Then it all gets mixed together.

Next get out a 9x13 pan.  I use a glass pyrex pan.  After spraying cooking spray in the pan put a thin layer of sauce on the very bottom.  This gives a small barrier between your noodles and the the heat at the bottom of the pan.  Otherwise you will have a super layer of crispy cooked noodle at the bottom.  I'll be honest I learned this the hard way because a crispy noodle is gross, and almost impossible to cut through with a knife.

This lasagna like everything else in our house was a group effort. As you can see with so many sisters  a girl has to sneak in a snack when everyones attentions are elsewhere.

Okay so I didn't want to get into this, but I feel like we need to address the elephant in the room.  Why in the HECK would we need not one, but TWO bottles of Pepto sitting on our kitchen shelf.  I'll be honest we had a touch of stomach bug earlier this week.  By 'touch' I mean I wanted to die, and cursed my own very existence for 14 straight hours.  Like all other of life's trials though I endured, and came out the other side 5 pounds lighter.  I digress though.

Next we layered on noodles, and Miss H put on another layer of sauce.  Then I put on the cheese mixture, and then spread it around.  

Then it was Miss J's turn to sprinkle on the meat, and this is just about the only picture Destructo Girl is featured in since on this particular day she refused to wear pants.

Miss P's favorite thing about the whole experience was that I turned a blind eye when she climbed on top of the island.

The process elicited a number of reactions.

Here it is ready to be cooked.  I cooked it at 375 for 40 minutes.

This was the finished product.  Normally the cheese isn't so browned, but I decided that I could squeeze in a quick shower.  I mean, my ladies would get it out when the timer goes off right?  Not so much.  They did turn off the oven, but then left the lasagna sitting in the still very warm oven.

This one is a family favorite.  It is one that we feed guest, and its always so nice to know I have got a few in the freezer.

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  1. I miss lasagna and all it's cheesy, noodley goodness. Putting a cookie sheet under the pan is brilliant! I've never thought of that before but what an awesome way to stop spills. I feel as though it may be a life-changing idea.

    1. Oh Allison I morn for your loss of the cheesy noodly goodness too. The cookie sheet thing is a new addition to the process. Believe me I have the oven stain spills to prove it.

  2. I would love to Jenny. Thanks for the invite.

  3. I love that everyone go together and made this wonderful meal. Hugs and thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop.

  4. Yum yum, this sounds so good!I love lasagna, and it looks easy! Love that you have your kids help, too! Thanks for linking up with us at Motivational Monday, hope to see you again next week! :)

  5. Lasagne was one of my families favorites growing up. Always nice when you can make two and freeze one. I don't make it very often now, but still have to every now and then. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  6. this looks delicious! i love lasagna but i never get around to making it! xo jillian - stop by! I'm hosting a $150 Tieks gift card giveaway on cornflake dreams