Friday, November 9, 2012

Give-Me-More Meatball Lasagna

I will be honest, lasagna is normally like a "four letter word" in my house. I am not a big fan and my husband definitely is not. However, last weekend we decided to try something new and create a meatball lasagna. The compromise was made by him getting to have meatballs and I got to add the spinach. The result was nothing short of AMAZING! The leftovers were wonderful and it got better even a couple days later. The great thing about this meal is that you can assemble it ahead of time, cover and store in the refrigerator and then bake off on the night of the meal.

Preheat Oven Temperature: 350 degrees

Ingredients:
4 Cups Marinara Sauce
4 Cups Entertaining Meatballs , cut in half
15 ounces Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
9 ounces Frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
1 Egg
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
8 Lasagna Noodles
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil





1. Heat a large pot of water on the stove over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Drizzle in vegetable oil (optional). Cook the lasagna noodles for 4 minutes and then remove to a sheet pan lined with wax paper. Lay a new sheet of wax paper between each layer to prevent sticking while cooling.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, spinach, and egg. Make sure the spinach is completely drained of water; I like to place the spinach into a kitchen towel and then twist to ensure all moisture is removed, in order to avoid a soggy filling.



3. Arrange all of your layering ingredients close to your 9x9 baking dish. I like to cut the noodles in half (horizontal) to make them fit in my dish better.


Image of the layering in progress
4. Place a small amount (1 Tablespoon) of marinara sacuse in the bottom of the baking dish followed by a layer of noodles (2 whole noodles or 4 halves), 1/3 each of the ricotta mixture, meatballs, sauce, noodles...... I like to only sprinkle parmesan on every-other layer, which means layer 2 and on top.



5. After the 3rd layer, top with the remaining 2 noodles, sauce, and a layer of cheese.
Ready to go in the oven (minus foil)

6. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, gently remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the top is bubbly.

7. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.






Image of the Layers
Notes
1. Make sure to cover loosely. If you allow the foil to touch, the cheese will pull off when the foil is removed.
2. With using a 9x9 pan, I used 2 whole noodles on each layer, cut them in half across the middle, and then placed to fill the space.

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