Lasagna is one of my husband’s top three favorite meals, the one I made for him when I was trying to impress him in college and again for a 3-month wedding anniversary dinner in our apartment. It can be time-consuming and dishes heavy, though…and you know how I feel about dishes! (Should I patent that phrase? Seriously.)
When I took a stab at making homemade mozzarella and ricotta last fall, I didn’t think I had enough ricotta for a full pan of lasagna, and this meal was the fabulous result of my experimentation. You might notice that it was a real “What’s in the fridge” kind of meal made at the end of the growing season here in Michigan!
- 1 lb. (or ½ lb.) ground beef
- 2 small or 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 sweet pepper (red, yellow or orange), diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ~8 Roma tomatoes or ~4 whole tomatoes or 1 15-oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 1 zucchini, chopped (optional)
- spinach or kale leaves, washed and cut
- handful of fresh parsley
- handful of fresh basil
- ½ handful fresh oregano
- (you could substitute a few tsp. dried parsley and basil and 1 tsp. dried oregano)
- 1 c. ricotta cheese
- shredded mozzarella cheese to top
- Brown ground beef with onion and pepper.
- Add garlic for the last minute.
- Throw in everything else other than the cheeses and cook, covered, until vegetables are done.
- Dollop ricotta on the top (do not stir) and finish off with mozzarella.
- Cover again over very low heat (or none) until cheese is melted.
- Serve over cooked pasta, any style. You could even use lasagna noodles broken up for authenticity or use the same recipe and roll them up!
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I’m sure this could be a one-skillet meal with the proper amount of water added to cook the pasta along with the tomatoes. My guess would be 2 cups water to a half pound of pasta if using canned tomatoes with juice or 2 ½ cups water if using real tomatoes, based on my last successful hamburger helper substitute. I just haven’t been brave enough to experiment again, although we did have this meal again. Wintertime meant that I used the dried spices, and it was (almost) as good as when I had Farmer’s Market bounty.
Want to feed your hubby well? See my treatise on How to Feed a Husband Real Food.
This is my entry in today’s Carnival of “Meals that Hamburger Helper was TRYING to Imitate”.