In honor of this fine day I decided to post my lasagna recipe (be forewarned that I am not Italian and this is by no means a “classic” lasagna recipe.) Truth be told this is only my second time making this recipe but I figure its worth sharing. My Auntie from the south is an excellent lasagna maker and I’ve always wanted to try making it on my own; so I did some research on lasagna recipes. One of my family members requested that I make lasagna for Sunday dinner; so I headed to the store right after church to buy the ingredients. I think it came out pretty good and most importantly my family was pleased.
Whenever I make a tomato based pasta dish I believe it is very important to build the sauce from scratch. I grew up eating Ragu or Prego Sauce when I was a kid and in the early stages of my adult life, but over the last four years I have truly developed an interest in learning more about food and food preparation. I learned how to make many things from scratch as a kid from my mom who is a true southern girl and excellent baker. She taught my two sisters and I the basics of cooking and I am forever grateful to have the cooking knowledge that I have today.
For this lasagna I used ground turkey meat and sweet Italian turkey sausage. Whenever I cook with Italian sausage I always remove the casing because I prefer having the meat blended together throughout the entire dish rather than biting into big chunks of sausage in every two or three bites. I’m pretty greedy so I never want to feel cheated when I’m eating my food. I used a mixture of both dried and fresh herbs. I seasoned my meat with dried herbs and seasoned the sauce with fresh herbs; I incorporated everything together and allowed it to simmer on low for a little over an hour. Now of course removing the casing from the sausage is just my personal preference and if you decide to make this dish I encourage you to incorporate your ingredients however you see fit. I think cooking is fun and it requires a persons personal touch when it comes to ingredients. I think it is always best to create whatever tastes good to you!
Entire recipe and instructions listed below. If you decide to make this recipe or have your own special ingredients please feel free to share it with me!
Lasagna w/ Meat Sauce
(1) 28 ounce can Crushed Tomato
(1) 14.5 ounce can Diced Tomato
1 tbsp finely chopped Fresh Basil (used in sauce)
1 Tbsp finely chopped Fresh Parsley (used in sauce)
1 tbsp Dried Basil (used on meat)
1 tbsp Dried Parsley (used on meat)
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning (used on meat)
1 tbsp Sugar
2 cloves Crushed Garlic (1 clove for sauce 1 clove for meat)
Salt and Pepper to taste
20 oz or 1.25 lbs of Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage
20.8 OZ or 1.3 lbs of Ground Turkey Meat
1/2 cup Diced Green Pepper
1/2 cup Diced Yellow Onion
Additional Lasagna Ingredients
15 oz Ricotta Cheese (I used park skim)
8 oz Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3.75 oz Fresh Parmesan Cheese
12 Lasagna Noodles (9×13) inch pan
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Add olive oil and garlic to heated pan (medium high heat). Begin removing the casing from the Italian sausage and add them to the pan along with the ground turkey meat (remember to break down the sausage with a spatula until it resembles ground meat). Add dried ingredients: basil, parsley, and Italian seasoning along with salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking until meat mixture is completely cooked.
3. Remove meat from pan and add onion and green pepper. Cook until onions become translucent. Add the meat mixture back into the pan and cook on low for 10-15 minutes to incorporate the flavors.
4. On a separate aisle add both cans of crushed and diced tomatoes to a medium to large sauce pan and cook on medium high heat. Add 1 crushed clove of garlic, fresh basil, fresh parsley and sugar. Allow the sauce to cook alone for 10 to 15 minutes before adding the meat mixture. Turn the heat down to low and allow sauce to simmer for about 1-2 hours (your preference).
5. Cook your lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Drain the noodles once they are finished and set them aside until the sauce is finished.
6. Once the sauce is complete you can prep your lasagna building station. I like to have my sauce on the left, lasagna pan in the middle, and my noodles on the right. Spray pan with cooking spray and spoon sauce into the bottom of the pan; make sure to coat the entire bottom of the pan with the sauce. Add your first layer of noodles; next add your sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and grated Parmesan cheese. Repeat these steps until you are finished building your lasagna. I suggest adding extra mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese to the top of your lasagna dish.
7. Add aluminum foil and bake for a total of 50 minutes. For the first 25 minutes cook the lasagna while covered with the aluminum foil. Remove the aluminum foil from the lasagna and continue cooking in the oven for an additional 25 minutes. Allow the lasagna to cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting.
FYI: You have the option of mixing 1 egg with the ricotta cheese before adding it to the lasagna. I used it the first time and forgot to use it the second time. In my opinion it turned out fine without it. Its totally up to you!
–Crystal Channing 🍷
**Quick tip: For sauce that is too salty add a 1-2 TBSP of extra sugar to balance out the flavor (Trust me it works!)**