Vegetable Lasagna Recipe

My grandmother made lasagna from scratch when we were growing up. When I was a kid, I couldn’t really appreciate the significance of that. But now that I am older and I have eaten many frozen lasagnas, I have a greater understanding of the time and effort she put into it. Because we all know that frozen lasagna doesn’t hold a candle a homemade one. I have been in search of a great lasagna recipe for my Garcia Family Cookbook. I have tried several different recipes, but I didn’t fall in love with any of them. Although my sister-in-law turned me onto the Pioneer Woman‘s recipe. It was pretty good, but I prefer ground sausage to ground beef in my Italian food. I think it has more flavor. So since I couldn’t quite find a lasagna recipe that I loved, I decided to create one of my own. And I am in love! So here it is, and you decide. I actually use my spaghetti sauce recipe as the base for my lasagna. Which is perfect, because I can turn one meal into two. And for all of you mothers out there, we all know we love to stretch out our meals as much as possible.

Mama Kerrie’s Lasagna

Ingredients:

FOR SAUCE:

  • 2 lbs Ground Italian Sausage
  • 1 sm. Onion, chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz.) can Diced Tomato
  • 2 (6 oz.) cans Tomato Paste
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cups Water
  • 3 teaspoons Dried Basil
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

FOR LASAGNA:

  • 2 1/2 cups Cottage Cheese
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 4 Teaspoons Dried Parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Mozzarella Cheese, grated
  • 1 pkg. Lasagna Noodles, cooked

For the Sauce: CLICK HERE for spaghetti sauce tutorial

In a large skillet brown Italian sausage, breaking it up into bits as you stir. Add onions and continue to cook until they have become soft. Remove from heat and drain grease from meat. Then set aside.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Mix well. Then add your meat mixture to the pot and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine basil, 2 teaspoons parsley, brown sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Mix well. Then add spices to your pot and combine them well.

Once sauce boils, reduce heat to low setting. Simmer sauce on low stirring frequently for 2 hours. Then remove from heat and set aside.

For Lasagna:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, 4 teaspoons parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Arrange 3 or 4 cooked lasagna noodles across the bottom of a baking pan. Using half of your cottage cheese mixture, spread over the noodles evenly. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over cottage cheese. Spread a layer of prepared meat sauce on top of cheese layer.

Repeat this process two more times, so you have a total of three layers. Next sprinkle your top meat sauce layer with more mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Bake Lasagna for 20 to 30 minutes or until top is bubbly.

Enjoy!

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

My husband and his family are constantly telling me how great their Grandmother’s cooking was when they were growing up. As an Italian and the Matriarch of the family, she was adept at bringing the whole family together for a meal. They all get so excited when they recount all the tasty meals she used to prepare from scratch. That’s right! Those spectacular home cooked recipes from the old country are the stuff that myths are made of (something I know nothing about). Especially since Nana Onusic cooked by feel. Meaning? A pinch of this and a snip of that. Not exactly helpful when once she’s passed away, and you want to recreate the meals she used to make. So I have been on a hunt for a spaghetti sauce recipe that is both delicious and easy to produce. This is the first one that my husband has liked. And believe me, I have tried tons! So, in honor of Nana Onusic, I have decided o start some of our own Garcia Family traditions. So if you too are looking to make some spaghetti sauce from scratch, here is a little recipe from me to you.

This recipe makes about ten servings. So you can have yummy leftovers or freeze the extra sauce for another week. Or you can use it as the sauce for a yummy lasagna for the end of the week. Believe it or not, my husband loves it so much, that I have to double this recipe, in order to have leftovers. This is one of the base recipes for my Garcia Family Cookbook. Enjoy!

Mama Kerrie’s Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients:
2 lbs Ground Italian sausage
1 small onion (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 cups water
3 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I usually put 1/2 teaspoon)
¼ teaspoon pepper

Cooking Instructions:
-In a large skillet brown Italian sausage. It is much easier to stir without spilling. Break up sausage into bits as you stir. When sausage is about halfway cooked, add onions and continue to cook until they have become soft and sausage is cooked through. Then drain grease and set aside.

In a large pot, add garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Mix them well. Add the sausage and onion mixture and mix until combined.

In a small bowl, mix basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Add spices to the pot and mix well. Bring sauce to a boil for a few minutes, then reduce heat to low.

Simmer on low stirring frequently for at least 2 hours. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles. Or use as it as the base for your lasagna.

Enjoy!

Blueberry Muffins for Easter Brunch

With Easter only a week away, things are beginning to get a little hectic. It’s time to start gearing up for our Easter Celebration. I’m really excited for Aaliyah’s first Easter and Shelby’s first one in California. Actually, we all are. Normally this would be a piece of cake, but unfortunately, my grandmother was admitted to the hospital on Saturday night and my mother has been staying with her. So I have been a little distracted and without help. On the bright side, Grandma is doing better and should hopefully be coming home the day after tomorrow. Which is all the more reason to make this celebration extra special. I truly believe we must make every moment count.

With my limited timetable, I’m forced to do some of my preparations ahead of time. So today I am baking my Blueberry Muffins for our champagne brunch on Sunday. For some reason(and I don’t know when this started), I equate blueberry muffins with holidays. It’s weird, but that’s just how it is. But since I’m already baking them, I thought I would share the recipe with you. They are super easy to make and very delicious. This recipe makes 10-12 muffins. So I typically double and sometimes triple the recipe.

Happy Baking!

Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (no substitutes)
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
  • Coarse sugar (optional)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin pan cups. Set aside
Stir together flour, the 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, and butter.

Add all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened.  Your batter should be lumpy.  Next fold in your blueberries.

4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each almost full.  Sprinkle tops with coarse sugar.

Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes or until golden. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack 5 minutes.

        

Remove from muffin cups. Makes 12.

Enjoy!

Garcia Family Cookbook

 

Family Traditions help shape the people children become. They make a huge impression on us as children. Sometimes a greater impact than parents think. Some of my best and worst memories from childhood are related to the foods my family ate growing up. From the vegetables I refused to eat each night at dinner because I hated them so much; to the traditional Turnbull Family recipes we had at Christmas each year that I loved. All have become a part of who I am as an adult. For instance, to this day, I refuse to shop in the freezer aisle for vegetables for our dinner. And don’t even say Lima beans, because I might actually gag. But on a more positive note, I still look forward to Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner with my family every year. Because they are the only time I get to eat my grandmother’s stuffing and homemade blackberry pie.

These experiences have imprinted themselves on me. And for this reason, I have decided to create a Garcia Family Cookbook. A method for documenting mine and George’s family recipes as well as recipes of our own. All for the purpose of passing them down to our children and grandchildren. A tangible method of keeping our traditions alive. At least the edible ones anyway.

So as a part of my Mommy Identity, I have chosen to be a mom who makes home cooked meals as often as possible. I choose to make dinner time in the Garcia house a special one each night. I look forward to developing a long list of meals that my family loves to eat. In order to do so, I will be testing out several new recipes in an effort to find the best ones for us. And you all will benefit from them. As I expand our family cookbook, I will share my recipes with you in an attempt to help you expand yours as well.

Happy Baking!