When I was in college, I made my first lasagna. I had a few friends over and I knew that dish was easy to make a lot of, without doing too much work. In those days, I considered Lasagna to be a very dense, heavy meal that I never made often. After a few bites, I would full of all the heavy cheese filling.
The issues I had with the lasagnas that I had previously was that it was dense, oily and of course always equaled to heartburn. It was something to eat very sparingly. Oftentimes (at restaurants) I would find that it was also very DRY.
So, I decided to change things up. I use only homemade sauce. I also lightened up the cheese layer, but adding some creamy, yet not so heavy cottage cheese. The only ingredient that I use whole milk style, is the mozzarella. I have found that part skim mozzarella does not melt well.
Without further ado, here is the recipe for my Four Cheese Lasagna.
Ground Beef – 3 lbs
Whole Wheat, Oven Ready Lasagna noodles
1 cup of Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese, shredded Plus extra for topping
1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese, Plus extra for topping
8 oz of low-fat cottage cheese
16 oz of low-fat ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon of garlic, plus extra for topping
1/4 cup of loosely packed fresh basil, chopped and some for topping
- In a big pot, brown ground beef, breaking up any clumps.
- Add sauce to the ground beef and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the cheeses, egg, garlic and basil in a separate bowl
- Coat the bottom and insides of your lasagna pan (baking pan) with meat sauce.
- Line up your lasagna noodles lengthwise, filling up the bottom of the baking dish
- Add about 1/3 your cheese on top of the noodles, spreading the cheese out (if you need more cheese to cover the noodles, add more)
- Pour more sauce over the cheese and cover the sauce with noodles, this type going crosswise of the baking tray.
- Make as many layers as you can with the top layer being noodles, cheese and sauce.
- To make the topping, sprinkle as much mozzarella on top, as you prefer.
- Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese, garlic and basil.
- Cover with a foil so that the foil does not touch the cheese layer (like a tent)
- Bake at 425F for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
Best part of this dish is that you can make several smaller versions of these lasagnas in small foil pans. Freeze them and you will have a meal ready whenever you need. I used to do this for my sister.
If you do not want to do a meat lasagna, you can also use vegetables. I like to make a spinach, mushroom and zucchini lasagna, as well.