Lasagna happens to be my favorite meal. It has been for as long as I can remember. There are so many different ways to make it. I've been experimenting for years and have landed on my favorite original recipe . . . all from scratch! I make homemade egg noodles (of course . . . the Chickie-Babes provide the eggs, so why wouldn't I!?). I make homemade pasta sauce (this year using heirloom veggies and herbs that I grew from seed in my Kitchen Garden). And I make homemade meatballs. Yes, I put meatballs in my lasagna! I like the texture of them better than browned ground meat.
You can click on these links to get my recipes and instructions for making homemade pasta sauce, egg noodles, and meatballs. I make these up ahead of time so that when I want to have lasagna I can open the jars or freezer bags and use them. It makes having lasagna any time a lot easier and quicker.
When I make lasagna noodles using my chickens' fresh eggs, I layer them on a plastic tray with parchment paper in between each layer. Then I wrap the whole securely with plastic wrap and stick them in the freezer. If you're going to use them within a few days, you can leave them in the freezer that way. If you want to store them longer, once they are frozen solid you can stack them, wrap them in freezer paper and keep them frozen until ready to use (up to a couple of months).
Place the fresh or frozen noodles into a pot of boiling water with a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt. You don't need to thaw the frozen noodles prior to cooking. Simmer in the boiling water for seven minutes, stirring and separating gently every couple of minutes. Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water and lay flat on parchment paper to keep their flat shape.
(BTW . . . if you don't use parchment paper regularly . . . DO! It's a little more expensive than wax paper, but it's worth it. Wax paper is coated with paraffin. Parchment paper is coated with silicone, making it grease-proof and water-resistant. It can be used in the freezer and in the oven. I use it to line cookie sheets when baking cookies or french fries or roasting veggies. It helps them to bake evenly without burning.)
I like to make meatballs using fresh herbs from my garden in the summer and then freeze them for future use. I freeze them individually on parchment-lined trays and then place the frozen meatballs into a freezer bag and keep in the freezer until ready to use. Take them out of the freezer the day before you want to use them and thaw them in the refrigerator. Or, for immediate use, follow the directions of your microwave to quick-thaw them.
For my lasagna, I slice the meatballs into slices, like I was slicing a pepperoni. The meatballs are made with a mixture of ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs and seasonings. I like the texture of them in lasagna better than browned ground meat.
I also add chopped red peppers to my lasagna. In the summer, I de-seed fresh home-grown peppers (both red and green bell peppers), cut them into slices, put them into pint- or quart-size freezer bags and freeze them. When thawed and drained, they are soft but flavorful for cooking. If using fresh raw peppers, par-boil them to soften them before using.
Then sprinkle some additional mozzarella cheese on top. The mozzarella will hold the layer together when it melts. It's kind of like adding toppings to a pizza. You can use whatever toppings you like!
Repeat a layer of noodles, a layer of cheese mixture, another layer of noodles, and cover the top completely with sauce. Cover with foil and bake immediately or store in the refrigerator overnight. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes (one hour if the lasagna was refrigerated). Remove from the oven, take the foil off and let sit for 15 minutes before slicing. If desired, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on the top.
Serve and enjoy.
Canning Spaghetti Sauce
Meatballs with Herbs
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