Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Spinach and Beef Lasagna


And summer is wrapping up, unfortunately.  So I am able to focus on new recipes for the family.  I've been so unmotivated since our summer has been packed with adventures.  We cleaned our freezer of the freezer meals, and I've been surviving on tried and true recipes that I've already shared.  But now I'm kind of getting sick of the regulars.  I need to find some new regulars. 

Which is a great opportunity to introduce you to this beauty...
called Spinach and Beef Lasagna.  What's so beautiful about this?  It's lasagna with Alfredo sauce...huh? I'm not Italian and this may be completely normal but I've never had lasagna with Alfredo sauce.

And funny enough, I'm not a huge fan of lasagna.  So, this recipe has got to be good (so good in fact that I'm sharing it before I share my freezer meal lasagna that I made months ago).  

Recommendations: I followed what some reviewers recommended and used fresh spinach.  I also added onion and garlic in with the meat.  I used fresh red pepper instead of 'frozen stir fry'. I highly encourage you to have this sit over night, I think the longer it sits the better.  Plus it makes for an easier night. 
 
Results:  I enjoyed the spinach, the mixture of alfredo with spaghetti.  I also enjoyed the flavor and the heartiness to this.  It was honestly easy to make.  It did need about an hour and 15 minutes of baking but you assemble it the night before and then the day of eating is just bake time.  It's very doable on a preplanned weeknight.  It's in a huge dish (9x13).  It fed our family (the kids didn't eat theirs) and our friends family and had one 3 x 3 piece left over. 
 


Recipe adapted, HERE


Ingredients

2 lbs. ground beef
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 bag of fresh baby spinach
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1 jar (16 oz) Alfredo pasta sauce 
8 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 to 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

Day 1 :
Brown meat over high heat in a 12 inch saute pan.  Add onion and garlic at the end of the browning.  Once they are translucent, turn down heat to medium and add jar of spaghetti sauce.  (I also added additional seasoning (Thyme, basil, oregano, salt & pepper).  

As the sauce is simmering, in a medium size bowl combine the ricotta and red pepper.  Set aside.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Add 1/2 cup of alfredo sauce at the bottom, use a spatula and spread it around the bottom.  Add a single layer of (uncooked) lasagna noodles at the bottom of the dish, and then add half the ricotta mixture, a layer of fresh spinach, half of the spaghetti/meat sauce and half the mozzarella cheese (I made sure it covered the entire dish).  

Repeat the noodle, ricotta, spinach, and spaghetti. Pour the rest of the jar of alfredo evenly over the spaghetti mixture. Original recipe says "sprinkle mozzarella cheese", but let's be real here --- I made sure there was a nice layer of mozzarella cheese on top.  

Spray one side of aluminum foil with cooking spray and put that side on the cheese.  Cover the lasagna and let it chill in the frig for at least 8 hours.  I did mine over night.

Day 2:

Heat oven to 350°F.  Bake dish for 45 minutes.  Uncover (middle may not be cooked); bake another 20 to 25 minutes (mine needed 25 minutes).  You want to cook it until the middle cheese is melted and the cheese is starting to brown (but not burn).   

LET IT SIT for 5 or 10 minutes.  Serve as soon as you can stand the hot bites.  ENJOY!

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