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Love, Chacha

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

BEEF AND VEGETABLES LASAGNA

There's not better satisfaction when cooking and knowing exactly what's in your dish, that the flavors and ingredients are all natural. Some people call it cooking from scratch. Being able to cook only using ingredients that are not pre-made, seasoned or canned (except from the crushed tomatoes of course). It's a little bit challenging but the benefits are extraordinary. Starting with the meat sauce, which I seasoned with the basics: salt, black pepper and garlic, etc. to roasting my own red sweet peppers. As I've mentioned before, I hardly measure my ingredients, I go by taste and so on. This classic beef lasagna recipe got a little twist by adding the vegetables, it's healthy, hearty and full of flavor. I'm not a professional cook, I'm still learning a lot from my own mistakes, (like the second time I made lasagna,  I forgot to put sauce on the bottom of the pan, so it burned. It was good, just couldn't dig too deep.) So lets keep learning, that's how we will get better. Lets get cooking....Love Chacha.



Ingredients
(Medium size foil pan serves about six to eight people.)

1 Lb of pasta (one box)
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
2 Lbs of ground beef
1 pk of Polly-O Mozzarella cheese
2 12oz of Ricotta cheese (I bought one skim and one whole milk)
4 large garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
2 dried Laurel leaves
A pinch of dried oregano
1 large sweet red pepper quartered (you can always used the canned roasted peppers if you wish)
1 medium white onion chopped
1 cup of fresh spinach


Preparation


In a large skillet add ground beef, seasoned with salt, pepper, pinch of dried oregano and crushed garlic until brown, then add the chopped onions and Laurel leaves, cook for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile place cut sweet peppers in a greased baking pan and roast at 400 degrees for 5 minutes on each side.
Cook pasta according to instructions on the box (add a bit of salt to the water)
Check on the meat and add the crushed tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes.
After pasta is cooked use the remaining water to wilt the spinach, I put the leaves in a small metal colander and submerged in the hot water for 30 seconds, just to soften the spinach, set aside.
When sweet peppers are done, cut it in thin strips and set aside.
Make sure to discard the Laurel leaves before starting assembling the lasagna in the pan.
When all the ingredients are ready, add meat/sauce to the bottom of the baking pan and spread.
Layer the pasta, another layer of meat/sauce, the Mozzarella cheese, a few sweet pepper strips and spinach, then the Ricotta cheese.
Repeat process until all the ingredients are assembled into a delicious classic lasagna. (You can also check my pictures to follow the process.)