Homemade Italian Lasagna Freezer Meal Recipe

– I'm Hartford HealthCare's Tina Varona here at the Hartford HealthCare Bone & Joint Institute's Test Kitchen Joining me is Peter Fescoe

He's the director of Dining Services for Hartford HealthCare Senior Services Peter, thanks so much for joining us today – Thanks for having me, Tina – We're making something very delicious today – lasagna Very easy and good for one person and easy to make

– Absolutely Just like Mom used to make – Yes, it looks so good Tell us what we have for ingredients – Sure

So we're going to start off with our meat sauce or bolognese sauce In here you have ground beef, crushed tomato, fresh basil, fresh oregano We're also going to add some fresh parsley, and a little bit of tomato paste to help thicken that up – Now you've actually mixed all of these ingredients together But you can, if you want to keep it simple, you can buy a bolognese sauce already made in the store too, right? – [Peter] Correct

It's all about what your needs are and what's convenient for you So for today's purposes, we're going to get this all mixed in – And if you decide to do it yourself, what kind of tomato sauce do you use? Just a plain marinara sauce? – Yeah Plain marinara works Now we're using just crushed tomato, but if you're going to go for something pre-made, marinara's perfect for this

– Great – [Peter] So we have our sauce ready to go – Also, we have nice ricotta cheese, fresh mozzarella, and our lasagna sheets that are pre-cooked And we're just going to assemble them to work for us for our one portion – Now when you say pre-cooked, you've already boiled them in the water – – These are the non-boil

– Non-boil, okay – So they're precooked, bake only Really easy, really convenient – Oh, that's even simpler – That takes away one step

– Perfect – Again, it's all about simplicity and making it easy for you – So the first step when we build our lasagna is we put a little sauce on the bottom here – [Tina] To keep it from burning, right? – [Peter] Correct Because those noodles are going to absorb all of this moisture

– [Tina] And how do you know when the lasagna's done? Because it's so thick and you can only just see the top portion How do you know it's cooked all the way through, especially when you have a meat sauce? – Well like this, all of our ingredients are actually fully-cooked, so essentially we're just heating – You want to get it nice and hot And my thing always is when mozzarella starts to brown, we're good to go – You're good to go, okay

So then you know it's heated all the way through There's nothing worse than cutting it, and it's hot on top but then it's cold in the middle Another way to help with that is to kind of have your sauce hot before you start building it If you have it warm, that's one more step you don't have to worry about – Got it

And you're pretty much using maybe like, a 1/2 cup of ingredients, good for one person? – Yeah I mean relatively I have about 4-6 oz of ground beef in there, 8 oz of crushed tomato, about a 1/2 cup of ricotta, and I'd say a 1/4 cup of mozzarella just for the top – Okay So you have about a quarter of this full with the sauce

– [Peter] Next, we're going to take our lasagna sheet and we're just going to cut in molds And you can buy frozen ones, you can buy dry ones I always recommend buying the bake only, no boil – [Tina] Yeah, that's great That's really easy

– So we'll lay that down there for you Next up we're going to take a little ricotta cheese – [Tina] Can't forget the cheese – [Peter] No, you need the cheese I'm gonna spread that out here on the bottom

– [Tina] That looks good – [Peter] And we're going to do a three-layer lasagna today – And this is all low-fat cheese, – ricotta cheese and mozzarella? – Low-fat, yes – So the actual prep time is really quick, too – Yes

So next, we'll take another sheet here This is all about convenience All simple stuff that you can prepare ahead of time, store in the freezer and pull as you need – Simple but delicious though This is not your frozen entree

– [Peter] And again, if you don't have the ability to go get fresh herbs, you can always have whatever you have in the storage Dry oregano, dry basil, those work as well – And you could just do a plain sauce, too It doesn't have to be a bolognese if you want a little – extra variety – Absolutely

Even a vegetable lasagna is good nowadays – So once you're done it takes about what, 45 minutes? – Yes We cook it in the oven about 350 degrees for about 45 minutes Once the mozzarella's nice and brown, you're ready to go – And do you recommend just using a couple of the pasta to fill in? – Yeah

Usually about two sheets cut in half, and that'll be good for your one portion And now if you want, you can use – I bought these little aluminum foil tins – but you can also use Pyrex glass, anything that's convenient for you – And that's perfect too, because you can literally put that in the oven, or freeze it, and then take it out and heat it when you have it And we have a finished product here too, right? – We do We have – a beautiful, nice one portion lasagna just like Mom used to make

– [Tina] Wow That's perfect Peter, thank you so much It looks delicious I'm ready to dive right into it right now

– [Peter] My pleasure – Thank you so much Thank you for joining us I'm Hartford HealthCare's Tina Varona We'll see you next time


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