My granny was Italian and growing up, every Sunday after church, we would go to her house for traditional lunch of pasta, ravioli, meatballs, and Italian sausage. From a young age, I loved the seasonings and flavors of Italian cuisine. Because my granny made the pasta, ravioli and sauce, I found myself leaning more towards making lasagna. I love experimenting with different ingredients and over the years, my lasagna has become one of my most requested dishes by my family and friends that have tasted it. So, when it was time to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday, he requested I make lasagna. My lasagna recipe is as below:

lasagna noodles, 1.5 lbs ground beef, 1.5 lbs italian sausage, 1 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes, 1 28 oz can tomato sauce , italian seasoning-i use McCormick all purpose seasoning with basil, oregano, garlic and sea salt, 16 oz ricotta, 16 oz. shredded mozarella, 6 oz parmesan cheese, 24 oz cottage cheese, salt and pepper. First, I season and brown the beef and sausage. While that is in the skillet, in a large bowl, i combine the ricotta, cottage cheese, 3/4 of the mozarella, 1/2 of the parmesan cheese, and a tablespoon of seasoning. When the meat is browned, I let it sit in a strainer to drain the grease while I season and add the tomatoes to the skillet. Next, add the meat back to the mixture and mix. Make a layer of lasagna noodles to the bottom of your pan and spread a layer of the meat and a layer of the cheese mixture. Add another layer of lasagna noodles, meat and cheese. Bake at 400 for 60 minutes and fork check the noodles for doneness. If they are done, if you would like to add more cheese, this would be the time to do so-i always through caution to the wind right here and put all the rest of the cheese on now, turn the oven on broil for a few minutes-turn on your oven light and watch to make sure it does not burn. If the noodles are not done, raise the temperature to 425 and bake another 15 minutes and then broil. When you take the lasagna out of the oven, it needs to sit, like a fine steak to retain the juices and flavors. I recommend 15 minutes. And, that’s it. I like to make this the night before so my prep is all done but, sometimes, you have to do it all at once.

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