Easy Lasagna

Here’s a way to impress your visiting friends and family with a delicious Italian dinner, while still having time to visit with them. This easy lasagna can be assembled and in the oven before your guests arrive. The recipe is forgiving and flexible - as long as you remember to seal the dish VERY WELL before cooking. In my experience, this lasagna freezes well, so try doubling the recipe, and pull a ready-made meal out of the freezer for another dinner. (Just get it out significantly ahead of time to thaw.)

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INGREDIENTS:

1-2 lbs. lean ground beef
2-3 Tbls. olive oil

SEASONING:
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1 tsp. beef flavoring (or 1 bouillon cube)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. Italion Seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1 Tbsp. Worchester sauce (optional but delicious)
28 ounce can diced/stewed tomato
10 3/4 oz. tomato sauce

1 pint cottage or ricotta cheese (can use more if desired)
1 beaten egg

Lasagna Noodles - not precooked!
1 box or less (I have made this recipe using rice noodles and it worked equally well.)
1 lb. (or more) grated mozzarella, monterey jack or cheddar cheese
Optional: Olives, Basil, spinach

Non-stick spray
9” x 13” cassarole dish

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 375°
Fry ground beef with 2-3 Tbls. olive oil.
Add in the onion while cooking the beef.
As the beef is done, stir in the remaining seasonings, and then the tomatos.
Simmer for 2-5 min. while preparing the cottage cheese mixture.

In a separate container, beat the egg, then mix in the cottage or ricotta cheese. (I love cottage cheese in Lasagna, but some people don’t. I often use almost double the amount of cottage cheese that this recipe calls for - but don’t tell my husband!!! ;-)

Use a deep 9” x 13” cassarole dish, or one with a lid so that the foil doesn’t stick to the cheese.
Spray dish with non-stick spray for easier clean up.

ASSEMBLY:
Start with a thin layer of your simmered meat sauce and add in 1/4 cup of water.
Next add a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles.
Add another layer of meat sauce.
Next spread a portion of your cottage cheese mixture over the meat sauce.
Add a layer of cheese (I sometimes omit the cheese in the center of the lasagna)
Repeat the noodle, meat sauce and cottage cheese layers until your dish is filled to slightly below the lip. Overflowing lasagna is not fun to clean out of the oven!
If you like olives in your lasagna - you can add them in the meat sauce, or on top before the cheese.
Top with a thicker layer of shredded cheese.

Layer your lasagna - additional water on the bottom layer only!

Layer your lasagna - additional water on the bottom layer only!

Pinch the edges of the foil covering to provide a tight seal.

Pinch the edges of the foil covering to provide a tight seal.

Cover WELL with foil or glass lid. If using foil, I suggested running your fingers all the way along the edge of your dish several times “crimping” the edges so that you “seal in” the moisture.

Sometimes I substitute a layer of spinach and basil in place of one noodle layer - Yummy!

COOK:
Bake 1 hr. at 375°

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

If you wish to put this in the freezer - do so after cooking it, and keep in mind that the result is a dense dish, so it needs to come out of the oven in time to thaw before being re-warmed as a whole in the oven or “by the serving” in the microwave.

Pulled Beef Sanwiches

This recipe is wonderful for those days when you know your evening may be hectic, but you want a delicious satisfying meal.

The ingredients can be put in the crock-pot in the morning, and by evening your family will be enticed by aroma and flavors beckoning them to the table.


INGREDIENTS:
3 pounds boneless grass-fed beef chuck shoulder roast
2 cups ketchup
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup dark molasses
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Sesame seed buns, split

DIRECTIONS:
Cut roast in half and place in slow cooker. Created a sauce mixture by combining the ketchup, onion, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, mustard, garlic powder and pepper flakes in large bowl. Pour mixture over roast. Cover, and cook on LOW 8-10 hours.

Remove roast from sauce; cool slightly. Shred meat with 2 forks.

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Place meat back into sauce. Stir to coat evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook an additional 15-30 min. or until hot. Spoon filling into sandwich buns and top with additional sauce.

Makes 12 servings.

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Mexican Meatloaf

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Mexican Meatloaf:

INGREDIENTS:
3# ground beef
3 eggs
1 cup salsa
2 cups coarse crumbled corn tortilla chips

Optional additions:

1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped green chilis
1 cup Cheese - I use sharp

INSTRUCTIONS:

Line a lipped cookie sheet with aluminum foil - grease.
Pat out 1/4 of meat mixture, sprinkle with grated cheese, then pat 1/4 meat mixture on top
Create a second loaf in the same manner.
Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes.

Serve with pickled jalapeños and catsup

Serves 10

Tacos

Taco night is a mainstay at our home.   Quick to cook, easy to customize to each family members desires, and healthy when using low-fat grass-fed beef from Mountain Beef.  What's not to love?  Yet those aren't the only reason our family loves taco nights.  This meal is also a secret weapon against a time-crunched world.   Cooking a little extra taco meat one night can reduce meal prep to a simple reheat for family friendly "Pronto Nachos" the next night as well!
 

INSTRUCTIONS:
Add olive oil to pan, warm pan with medium heat till garlic sizzles when added.
Add garlic and onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally till onions are softened.
Add Hamburger and cook, stirring regularly. 
Stir in taco seasoning and continue cooking until meat is done.

 INGREDIENTS:

MEAT:
2 lbs. hamburger thawed
2 Tbls. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1-2 Tbls chopped garlic
Taco seasoning (or customize your own.)

Thanks to it's low-fat content, hamburger from Mountain Beef typically needs no draining!

WRAP:
Corn or Flour Tortillas
- low carb option - 
Use Lettuce for your crunchy low carb options!

TOPPINGS:  (as desired)
Sour Cream
Cheese
Salsa
Chopped Olives
Shredded Lettuce
Cilantro
Onions

Carne Asada:

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DIRECTIONS:

In a gallon size resealable bag, combine lime juice, crushed garlic, orange juice, cilantro, salt, pepper, olive oil, jalapeno, and vinegar. Mix well.

Add the flank steak to the resealable bag. Seal it tightly. Ensure that all the meat is exposed to the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Heat grill to high heat.

Remove the flank steak from the marinade, and discard excess marinade. Cook on the grill for 7 to 10 minutes per side.

Once done, remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes. Slice against the grain, and serve.

Carne Asada can be ruined by the last step of the process.  The grain of the steak can be identified by lines in the meat... make sure to cut across the grain and not with the grain to insure a flavorful and tender experience.

 

INGREDIENTS:

4 tbls lime juice - preferably fresh
4 tsp. crushed garlic
½ cup orange juice
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
1 jalapeno, minced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 (2 pound) flank steak