Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Leftover" Lasagna

Do you have random ingredients in your fridge that you don't have quite enough of to make dishes that make them the star of the show? Here's a solution:

Leftover ground beef + Leftover mushroom spaghetti sauce + Lone Japanese eggplant + various cheeses + a few other ingredients + New Azur Emile Henry 9" Square Baking Dish (bought at an I-can't-believe-it sale price) =

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 1 hour

Ingredients (what I used but not what you're limited to!):

  • 4 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 lb ground beef (I think that's how much was left...)
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, chopped into small pieces ~ about a cup?
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce, approximate measurement since I used whatever was left in the jar
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan 
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or whatever your heart and stomach desire)
  • pepper as you please
  • 1/2 log of fresh mozzarella, sliced thin or chopped up in a pillowy mess (you can use shredded)
  • handful of coarsely chopped fresh basil
  1. In a medium skillet on medium heat (or medium high, depending on your stove and cookware), brown ground beef. While it's browning, you can chop your eggplant and basil. When meat is ready, turn off heat and stir in spaghetti sauce. 
  2. In a medium bowl, mix ricotta, egg, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, and pepper until well combined.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
  4. Layer 1/4 cup of meat/eggplant sauce on bottom of baking dish. Lay down two lasagna noodles. Top with half of cheese filling. Layer 1/2 of what's left of sauce. Layer on 1/2 of the mozzarella. Lay down last two lasagna noodles. Top of rest of cheese filling. Layer remaining sauce. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and basil. Now, in hindsight, maybe I should has used the basil in the middle of the lasagna instead of on top because post-oven, the basil isn't the fresh green it once was. You can use it wherever you like; or omit it if you're not a fan of basil or don't have any handy.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes. Top should be bubbly brown, if not, broil for a minute or two.
  6. Let the lasagna cool for about 10 minutes. 
  7. Top with some grated Parmesan if you're a cheese fanatic, and serve! I ended up adding some extra basil on top for color and extra flavor. Serve with garlic bread, a salad with plenty of veggies, and seasonal fruit for a well-balanced meal!

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