I've had a few family gatherings here, and it's always fun to celebrate. Today we celebrated several birthdays in our family. My husband, son, and son-in-law all have birthdays within five days of each other. It makes for a fun and busy June.
Today I cooked up lasagna for our main dish at our birthday celebration. We tend to eat at home as a family, instead of going out to eat. All of us contribute a portion of the meal, and we enjoy eating our meal together at home, and enjoying the yard and other home activities. I know that a lot of families go out for all occasions, but this just has never been our tradition.
The lasagna recipe comes from a dear family friend, and I first ate it at her home while I was in high school, back in the seventies, when I was wearing embroidered jeans. Indeed!
It was always a delight to have her lasagna, and I am so glad she shared the recipe with us. She told us the recipe came from a cooking magazine, but we just know it as her recipe.
A photo of it, before baking it today:
Grease a 9 X 13 or a bit larger casserole dish.
1 pound sweet italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 -12 ounce can of tomato paste
1 -16 ounce can of diced tomatoes. (I add an extra 8 ounces of tomatoes or else it's too dry)
1 Tbsp basil
In a pan, simmer one pound sweet italian sausage, and two cloves of garlic that you've minced. I use a bit of olive oil for the simmering. Drain the grease, and add a 12 ounce can of tomato paste and a one pound can of chopped tomatoes (and the extra 8 ounces of them, for added moisture), and 1 tablespoon of basil. Simmer this for about an hour, stirring once in a while.
24 ozs of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, unsliced
While the sauce is simmering, stir up the cheese filling portion of the dish and refrigerate, covered in a bowl.
Cook up a box of lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Lay the rinsed noodles out on layers between wax paper, or else they'll stick together.
To assemble the lasagna, put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the greased pan. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Follow the thin sauce layer with a layer of noodles, cheese filling, meat sauce, and thinly sliced mozzarella cheese. (At times I cheat and buy the pre-shredded mozzarella cheese, but it truly doesn't taste as good that way.) Repeat this with another layer of noodles, cheese filling, meat sauce, and thinly sliced mozzarella cheese. Repeat two more times, ending the final time with the meat sauce on top. You'll have four layers of noodles, meat, and cheeses when you're done. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour,and let it rest five minutes before cutting it up. Enjoy!
This recipe can easily be doubled. One time a few of us ladies in my family made four of these for a huge anniversary celebration for my parents. It was a rather large undertaking, but the results were so worth it.
Last of all, a photo of the birthday cake from today:
My daughter baked and brought it. She added an extra 1/3 cup of cocoa to the chocolate cake mix, and we always make chocolate icing using the recipe on the Hershey's cocoa box. We jokingly laugh that in our family we are not allowed to use canned icing, nor frosting mix. It is 'forbidden', so to speak!
Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope you too are enjoying summer.