9/16/15 ChefElla's Cheesy Meatball Lasagna


School is here and so are the busy nights.  We all want to eat a good dinner, but it just seems like there isn’t always time for that.  Some nights we pick what we want to eat over what we should eat, and other nights we pick what is quick vs. what is good for us.  This week I wanted to make something that tastes good, has good foods in it, and will last in the refrigerator or freezer when we are in a hurry and need a good dinner right away.  My cheesy meatball lasagna can be made any night, kept in the fridge or freezer, and it tastes just as good reheated as it did the night you made it.  While you can buy spaghetti sauce for this recipe instead of making it, my sauce has no added sugar, oil, or chemicals and if very easy to make.  You can also make my sauce ahead of time freeze it and use it whenever you have lasagna, pizza, calzones, or spaghetti at your house.

1.     Wash your hands.

2.     For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a wooden spoon, a knife, a cutting board, a sauce pan with a lid, a blender or food processor, a small bowl, and a 9 X 13 baking dish.

If you are not allowed to use the stove, oven, or a knife by yourself you can ask an adult to help.

ChefElla’s Cheesy Meatball Lasagna (6-8 Servings)

Meatball Lasagna

6-8 ea.   Lasagna Noodles, No Bake (about 6 oz.)

                 -You can use regular cook noodles if you wish, just cook following manufacturer’s directions.

1 lb.         Turkey Meatballs, Cut in Half

1 lb.         Mozzarella, Shredded

8 oz.        Ricotta Cheese

8 oz.        Mozzarella Cheese, Fresh, Sliced Thin

¼ Cup      Parmesan Cheese

1 ea.         Egg

ChefElla’s Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

1 Can       Peeled Tomatoes (28 oz.),

                 -I prefer the Pomodoro variety of canned tomatoes if you can find them, but any kind will do.

1 Cup       Onion, Rough Chopped (about ½ medium onion)

1 ½ Cup    White Mushrooms, Rough Chopped (about 4-5 mushrooms)

½ Cup       Spinach, Frozen

6 oz.          Roasted Red Pepper

1 tsp          Tomato Paste

1 Tbl          Sundried Tomatoes (If you do not have any you can leave them out)

½ tsp         Granulated or Dried Garlic

1 tsp          Oregano, Dried

1 tsp          Basil, Dried

1 tsp          Salt, Kosher or Sea

A.      Put all of the ingredients for the sauce in the food processor.  Turn the processor on low for about 30 seconds to begin blending the ingredients.

B.     Turn the processor onto high and blend for another 2-3 minutes or until all the ingredients are blended well.

C.     Turn the stove onto medium heat, add the sauce to the sauce pan, and simmer covered for 20 minutes stirring occasionally so that the sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

3.     Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  Spray your baking dish liberally with pan spray.

4.     In a small bowl mix the ricotta cheese with the parmesan and one egg.  Mix well.

5.     Add a small amount of spaghetti sauce to the bottom of the pan.  Cover the bottom of the pan with half of your noodles.

6.     Spread a little more sauce on top of the noodles and sprinkle half of the shredded mozzarella cheese over the noodles.  Take ½ of your meatballs and place on top of the mozzarella.

7.     Spoon ricotta mixture all over the lasagna and pour one cup of spaghetti sauce over the layer.

8.     Cover the layer with the other half of your noodles.  Cover the noodles with your fresh mozzarella slices.  Spread remaining meatballs evenly over the fresh mozzarella.  Spread the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the meatballs and chees.  Top the lasagna with the other half of the shredded mozzarella.

9.     Spray a piece of aluminum liberally with pan spray and cover the lasagna spray side down.

10.  Bake for 50 minutes.  After 50 minutes remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

11.  Remove the lasagna from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

If you do not eat meat substitute your favorite vegetables like eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini or broccoli rabe.  Serve your lasagna with salad or roasted vegetables, or put it in the refrigerator or freezer and reheat on your busy night.



Ella’s Helpers

ChefElla’s helpers can help out by:

Measuring the ingredients.

Add the ingredients to the food processor.

Building the lasagna.

Mixing the ricotta cheese.

And for ChefElla’s older helpers you can cut the meatballs and mozzarella.