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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

W4DW-Lasagna

I have to admit that I am having trouble getting back into a routine now that the boys are in school.  We have been busy trying to get the cattle where there is feed and water for them, so my time is not being spent in the house.

Since the weather is cooling off, lasagna is starting to sound good.  I hate turning the oven on during the summer.  Here is a No Boil the noodle Lasagna recipe that I shared with Once A Mom Always a Cook this summer.

 A Kansas Farm Mom’s No Boil the Noodle Lasagna 




Brown 1 pound of ground beef and drain if necessary. Beef needs a certain amount of fat to brown effectively without sticking to the pan. If you have ever wondered what cattle eat, check out the following link. Cattle actually carried the video cameras around their necks to show what they eat. http://www.explorebeef.org/cowchow

Add 2¾ cups tomato juice and 24 ounces (3 small cans) of tomato sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning and 1 clove of garlic.



I like to use the Italian Seasoning from the Pampered Chef. Simmer for 10 minutes. I feel I need to talk about the garlic. I love to use fresh garlic.
 
I sold Pampered Chef products for a few years before I had kids and ran into a few people who didn’t know how to use fresh garlic and were a bit afraid of it or had used way too much of it (They had used an entire bulb instead of a clove!). So here is my tutorial on using Fresh Garlic.

This is a bulb of garlic:


The piece I have pushed out with my finger is a clove of garlic.



A clove of garlic is a small piece of the bulb that easily separates itself.



I like to use a garlic press to get the garlicky goodness out of a clove. You can peel it and chop it, but then your hands tend to smell like garlic for a while. You just put the clove in the press and squeeze to release the flavor. Has anyone ever been to a garlic farm? I wonder if the smell is overwhelming.


In another bowl mix 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, 1 egg, 1 carton (8 oz) of cottage cheese and ¼ cup dried parsley. Mix well. I love to eat cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products; however, I do not have any desire to be a dairy farmer and truly appreciate the fact that I don’t have to milk a cow twice a day for my family. I have a friend who milks cows. If she wants to go shopping with her daughter, she must get up at 4:00 am, milk cows, feed baby calves, get cleaned up, and if she is lucky, she can shop for a couple of hours before she needs to milk again at 4:30 p.m. I don’t see how she does it day after day!



To assemble lasagna, spread 1½ cups of the meat sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.



Arrange 5 of the uncooked noodles in a single layer over the sauce by placing 4 noodles lengthwise and 1 noodle crosswise to cover the bottom of the baking dish. (Break the noodle to make it fit.) Press noodles into the sauce. Pasta noodles are made from wheat. Our family just finished up wheat harvest. It is a stressful time full of 14 to 16 hour days, but what a sense of accomplishment when we are done.  If you want to know why it is so stressful, check out this post I did after harvest was finished: http://talesofakansasfarmmom.blogspot.com/2012/06/wheat-harvest-is-finished.html.



Spread all of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles.



Top with 1½ cups of the sauce.



Place 5 more uncooked noodles over the sauce.



Spread the remaining sauce over the noodles.



Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. (At this point, the lasagna can be refrigerated for several hours, overnight or even frozen.) If I am going to refrigerate or freeze the Lasagna at this point, I use a Sharpie to put the date, oven temperature and baking time on the foil. This way my farmer husband can even get supper started if he gets in from the field before me. There are nights that I operate the combine harvester late and he gets the boys in bed. In fact, I am the main combine operator on our farm. I also drive tractors, feed cows, vaccinate calves and bring baby calves born on cold winter nights into my house.



Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes (55 minutes if lasagna was refrigerated) or until noodles are tender.

45 minutes allowed my youngest son and me enough time to go feed the bottle calves, 4-H show heifer and 4-H lambs for the evening and play with the barn kittens for a little bit. They all get fed twice a day mostly by the boys and like their meals to be at the same time everyday.






And The Farmer was busy planting soybeans on this day. Soybeans are one of those crops that we raise that raises the question of: “What are those used for?” I call them the amazing bean. They are used in nearly 75% of your grocery store items and can be found in wood stain, insulation and newspaper ink. If you want to know more check out: http://www.unitedsoybean.org/resources/tools/soy-products-guide/



OK, now back to the rest of the recipe. Carefully uncover and sprinkle with 1½ cups of mozzarella cheese and return to the oven for 15 minutes uncovered.





Enjoy! I made this Lasagna for a Farm Mom friend of mine who had not been feeling well for almost 2 weeks. I had just finished driving the combine during wheat harvest and wanted to help her husband out. It appears that her kids loved it.



Have a wonderful week everyone! I hope you enjoy the recipe- A Kansas Farm Mom.