I just realized the time is here for frozen food. But please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not talking about hitting up the freezer aisle at the supermarket. I would rather eat a bowlful of glass. I’m referring to cooking a lovely meal at home and freezing it to enjoy at a later date.
Perhaps you already freeze homemade meals on a regular basis in order to have food on hand for those cold nights when you’re under the weather. If you do, I am remarkably impressed. Such a thing never occurred to me until recently when someone suggested newborns take up a great deal of time. I had no idea. It was further implied that cooking one-handed with a newborn in one arm is a rigorous, if not nearly impossible, skill to master.
I am not adept at picking up new skills and, therefore, I am taking action now. I am 38 weeks pregnant and I like food a whole lot. I do not intend to starve after the birth of my little bun. She could be here at any time and I hope to have some food on hand for our little family to feast upon as she dazzles and perplexes us.
The first thought I had in this respect was, of course, comfort food. And, what could be more appropriate than lasagna? I can think of no better option because it’s wholesome, delicious, and freezes like a dream. I have a favorite recipe from the New Basics Cookbook, which I use on all sorts of occasions to comfort sick friends and others going through difficult times. It is a handy thing to have in your repertoire.
Of course, I don’t really stick to the recipe. I have my own spin, which I’ll share with you today. I think you’ll like it a lot. I also think that it might come in handy for you. I know you all lead busy lives whether or not you have little infants begging for attention. It’s a good idea to be prepared. After all, they are predicting a harsh winter. Will Amazon Fresh be able to drive through the snow if you can’t? I wonder.
I’m not taking my chances. I’m too hungry for that.
4 tblsp. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 shallot or spanish onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tblsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 carrot, finely shredded
1 28 oz. cans organic diced tomatoes
4 tblsp. chopped parsley
3 and 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup chopped cooked spinach, well drained
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tblsp. dried oregano
3/4 tsp nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper, sea salt to taste
3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
8 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat 2 tblsp. of oil in a sauce pan. Add the shallots and red pepper flakes and cook until the shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrot, thyme, and garlic. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes over low heat. Season with salt.
Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the beef, crumbling it into the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it is browned. Drain, and set aside.
Add the beef and half of the parsley to the tomato sauce and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, remaining parsley, oregano, nutmeg, parmesan, and black pepper. Stir well.
Using a 13 x9 baking dish, pour 1 and 1/2 cups of tomato sauce across the bottom. Arrange 4 noodles on top of the sauce. Add half the ricotta and sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella over top. Repeat layer. Top the remaining layer with just 1 cup of sauce and the remaining cup of mozzarella. Wrap the top in foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for an additional 18 minutes at same temperature. At the very end with just approximately 2 minutes to go, turn the boiler onto high. Bake for an additional 2 minutes in order to brown the cheese on top.
Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy it right away or freeze it for a special occasion….