Thursday, August 14

Wednesdays at Home

The weather around here has been so off for the past month.  Wet and chilly are not typical definitions of August in Pennsylvania.  I'm actually not complaining, though, because my expanding midsection is thankful for temperatures in the 60's and 70's.  But our garden? Not so much.  And my outdoor-loving two year old?  Not so much.  So we started the day with groceries, then headed to the local Amish produce stand for another massive cantaloupe, some beautiful local peaches, and other produce that my garden is failing at growing.  Molly got to pet a horse, take a quick buggy ride (thanks to my outspoken, sometimes borderline inappropriate Mom asking the poor teenage Amish boy for a ride- it was a sight, let me tell you).  All this before the rain started.

The chilly Wednesday started off so quiet and rainy that I could only imagine a comfort food dinner (yes, I'm constantly thinking about food- even more now than before).  And after I made these delicious Applesauce Muffins, only a food so comforting as lasagna could match our day. 

I was nontraditional with this one, though, because I'm still having the worst beef aversion, so I subbed turkey sausage (shhh, don't tell my husband).  And I always forgo precooking lasagna noodles, because I like the texture much more when they bake with the dish.  I add some water, wine or chicken/vegetable stock to the sauce while its cooking, and that always seems to give the perfect amount of flavor to the noodles as they cook. 

Of course, nothing in real life is as easy as these pictures show.  I was disrupted first by an excited pair of cats on my porch, and looked out to see them tossing a HUGE snake.  It was still alive.  They were taking turns batting it while it tried to slither away.  I screamed like crazy woman, scaring the cats, and waking the sleeping toddler.  Of course, she awoke in a fit of screams, because she wasn't quite ready to be awake.  After countless apologies, I showed her the reason for my fit.  Magic!  She stared in awe for the remainder of the lasagna prep.  I actually started feeling bad for the snake.  We won't discuss the end result.

Rather, here's a lasagna recipe.  Maybe I won't be needing it again if the weather ever warms.  But if not, we'll enjoy fall for just a bit longer ;)

Classic Lasagna

Sauce (recipe below):
1 lb turkey sausage
2 15oz cans crushed/diced tomatoes
1 onion
3-4 cloves garlic
2 tblsp sugar
1.5 cup chicken/vegetable stock or water
3-4 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 15oz container ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 box lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat)
basil, parsley, oregano
salt and pepper

Sauce:  sautee onion in olive oil until translucent, add garlic and cook for a minute or two.  Add turkey sausage and sautee until cooked through.  Add tomatoes, sugar, and stock.  Turn heat to low and bring to a simmer for at least 30 minutes, but longer is better!

In a bowl, beat egg.  Add ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and herbs.  Stir until combined.

In a 9x13" dish, layer sauce first, then top with uncooked lasagna noodles.  Spread ricotta cheese mixture onto noodles, then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Repeat with sauce and all layers until noodles are gone.  I like to top with mozzarella cheese.

Bake, covered with foil, at 375F for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until cheese is golden.

Let set a few minutes to sauce thickens, and serve.

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