Monday, March 17, 2014

Family & Friends Series: Karyn's Family Favourite Lasagna

Hi guys!  I'm on vacation right now so I've asked my friend's and family to step in while I'm away!  Each day that I am gone, I will be sharing a recipe from one of my friends or family members.  I started this project with no clear goals, I was just hoping to fill a few of the recipe gaps while I was away.  I received an overwhelming response from everyone, and I am truly honoured and excited to be able to share with you so many great recipes made by so many of my favourite people!  Please enjoy their recipes and be sure to leave them comments at the end of their posts! 

Today's post is brought to you by my friend Karyn!  I actually met Karyn recently when my back went out right before I went to IFBC last September (she is a chiropractor and fixed me up in no time!).  When I told her I would be visiting Seattle, she was kind enough to write me a list of everything I had to check out since she went to school there (on her list was voodoo donuts and seattle coffee - really great stuff!). Karyn and I became fast friends and now she even sits on one of the boards that I do work for (I guess that kind of makes her one of my bosses!).  She is extremely fun to be around and I can just imagine what a great time her friends must have had when she made this lasagna for them!  It's her family's favourite and I can see why!  I hope you enjoy checking out her step-by-step instructions as much as I did! 

This is a favourite in my family for as long as I can remember.  I recently made it for my friends, and it was a big hit.  It includes a number of healthy substitutes containing the least amount of sodium, cholesterol and fat.

¾ lb lean ground beef, this time I used pork
1 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 can (19oz, 540 mL) tomatoes (undrained)
1 cup water (I did not use, as my sauce would have been to runny, preference)
½ can tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano, basil
Roughly 9 lasagna noodles (Gluten free noodles can be substituted) for a 9- by 9-inch pan
2 cups 2% cottage cheese
½ c spinach or branching sprouts from broccoli flower heads
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (can use a dairy substitute cheese)


In a large non-stick skillet cook beef (or pork) over medium heat for about five minutes or until browned, breaking up with a fork; pour off fat.  Add onions and garlic; cook for 3-5 minutes or until softened.

Add tomatoes, breaking up with fork.  Add water (if desired), tomato paste, oregano and basil; bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until mixture has spaghetti sauce consistency.  Season with pepper to taste.  If too acidic, add 1 tsp granulated sugar to taste.  

In a large pot of boiling water, cook lasagna noodles for 10-12 minutes (GF noodles will take longer)or until tender but firm.  Drain and rinse under cold water; drain well.  Note that GF noodles need to be treated more carefully.

Combine chopped spinach or broccoli with cottage cheese.

Cover bottom of 9- by 9-inch baking dish sparingly with olive oil.  Next add layer of lasagna noodles, three in a row across the dish.  I cut the extra off two long noodles with scissors and lay the shorter pieces in the middle row.  Top noodles with about half of the tomato meat sauce, then with half of cottage cheese.  Again lay two noodles, top with tomato meat sauce (but save about ½ c for one more toping!), then the remainder of cottage cheese mixture.

Top with two more noodles, and use the left-over meat sauce to cover the now full dish. 

Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.  I typically sprinkle about half of the cheese, place lasagna in the oven, and let bake for 45 minutes on 350°F (180°C).

During the last 5-10 minutes in the oven I removed the lasagna and add the remainder of the shredded cheese.  Once it is baked remove from oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.


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