There are two ways of getting home…one of them is to stay there…the other is to walk around the whole world till we come back to the same place.” -Chesterton
Hello, sweet friends…
Having recently celebrated another trip around the sun….
being a gal who never volunteers to share her age or weight…I do admit that this past year has made me years wiser not older…(wink)
2020 has been quite the year…still, good things did happen. Things have changed…and perhaps some things will never come back. Our homes became the great theaters where the drama of our daily lives were played out. When the world seemed to grow darker the desire for me to create a sanctuary grew stronger…and, I discovered to slow down in life. 2020 would have a silver lining… a deeper appreciation for life…not to take anything for granted because one day all I will have are sweet memories.
2020 was a year of cooking and baking memories…
I now want my own cooking show! Just kidding… however, I just have to share this fabulous lasagna I served for Christmas… substituting plant based meat for the sauce and preparing the sauce a day ahead allowed for all the ingredients to really mix well together. It was deliciousness times two!
3/4 pound lean ground beef (I substitute a plant based)
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage (I substitute a plant based)
1/2 cup onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
two 6 ounce cans tomato paste
two 6.5 ounce cans canned tomato sauce (or one 15 oz. can)
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
12 lasagna noodles, regular or no cook. I usually use no cook noodles.
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
In a large Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until cooked through and browned.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water, and stir everything together.
Add sugar, basil, fennel seeds (if using), Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and 2 Tablespoons parsley, and stir to combine.
Simmer, covered, for at least 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. ( I actually prepared the sauce the day before)
If using regular lasagna noodles, cook according to package instructions and drain.
In a bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, egg, remaining parsley, and ½ teaspoon salt.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
To layer the lasagna, spread 1½ cups of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange a single layer of noodles over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
Spoon another 1½ cups meat sauce over the cheese.
Add another layer of noodles, the rest of the ricotta mixture, half of the remaining mozzarella, and another 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
Add another layer of 1 1/2 cups of sauce and a final layer of noodles.
Top with another 1 1/2 cups sauce and the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes.
Cool for 15 minutes before serving.