Saturday, January 25, 2014

Holy Cow It's Cold Out, So Make a Gluten Free Lasagna

Holy cow, that's good stuff.
Lasagna is one of those foods that I don't get to make that often, because it takes a while to put together, and then even once you've done all the assembly, it has to bake for a good 45 minutes before it's done. Since I'm usually banging out dinner sometime after 5 but I like to have it on the table by 6 pm, lasagna honestly requires way too much planning ahead for me.

Except for today. Because where I live, in Upper Middle Suburbia, we are under a winter whitedeathsnowmageddonpocalypse, which - by the grace of the old snow gods - meant that I got a much-wanted phone call from my part time job telling me I wasn't needed to work my 12-830 shift today.

Which meant I could run to the store to buy groceries before next week's subzero temps roll in (oh yes, gentle readers, we're looking at a wind chill of 35 BELOW in just a couple of days) and it meant I had the time to make a lasagna. Oh, comfort food, how do I love thee, let me count the ways.

I probably should be taking down last month's holiday tree, but I like making and eating food better than I like taking down seasonal decorations. So. Lasagna it is.

If you've never made a lasagna, they're not hard to make, they're just time consuming because there are several different components. There's the noodles, which you have to cook first, there's the meat sauce, and there's the Cheese Glop.

Preheat your oven to 350, and grease a lasagna pan. You'll need the following ingredients:

1 package gluten free lasagna noodles (I really dig the Tinkyada brown rice ones)
1 lb. ground turkey (or whatever meat you like)
1 lb. breakfast sausage
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 29-oz can tomato sauce
1 32-oz tub Ricotta cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded Parmesan
2 eggs
2 Tbs. oregano
1/2 lb Mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced

First of all, get your noodles boiling, and follow the instructions on the package to cook them al dente. You can't make a lasagna without noodles (ok, technically you CAN, but not this one).

Next, brown the meat, the sausage, the onion and the garlic in a pan. You can use whatever kind of meat you like - venison, cow, whatever you have on hand, but I like turkey because it's lean, and we're going to put a ton of cheese in here, so every calorie saved in meat is one earned back in cheese. Once your meat has browned completely, add the can of tomato sauce, and let it simmer for about ten minutes. Add a pinch of salt.

Cheese Glop: Better than it sounds
While your meat is browning and your noodles are noodling, mix up your Cheese Glop. There's probably a technical term for this, and if I was an Italian chef I'd know it, but in my house it's just cheese glop. Mix the Ricotta, one cup of the Parmesan (save the rest), the eggs, and the oregano in a bowl. Now you have all three components of your lasagna.

After you've rinsed and drained your noodles, place half of them in the bottom of your lasagna pan. You're going to add the ingredients in layers as follows:
Yum! Noodly goodness!

1. Half the noodles
2. Half the Cheese Glop
3. Half your Mozzarella cheese
4. Half the meat
5. The rest of the noodles
6. The rest of the Cheese Glop
7. The rest of the Mozzarella
8. The rest of the meat
9. That remaining one third of the Parmesan that you probably ate while you were reading this

After that top layer of Parmesan, I like to throw some more oregano on the top too, because oregano is GOOD.

Can you do this lasagna with three layers of everything instead of two? Sure, have at it. And if you use the Tinkayda noodles, you'll actually end up with enough noodles to do three layers, so go crazy.

Ready to go in the oven!
Bake the whole shebang at 350 for about 40 minutes, and then let it cool for another ten or so before you eat it, or that hot Cheese Glop will burn your lips with the heat of a thousand fiery cheese suns. Dig in and enjoy. And yes, this makes a LOT of lasagna - I'm feeding myself tonight, my husband and three fourteen year olds, and there will be enough left for tomorrow's lunch!