Friday, July 15, 2011

"Loaf Pan Lasagna" with Cottage Cheese & Spinach

The one thing that I don't like about making lasagna for our small family of 3 is that half of it goes to waste. I do love leftovers but somehow they always get pushed to the back of the fridge, forgotten about until cleaning day. And that doesn't end well.
I tried a new thing yesterday - making mini lasagnas in the meat loaf pan. I am not the first person to do this but for some reason it had never occurred to me before - it's magical! Half the cooking time and one pan equals one dinner for a small family. This recipe makes two loaf pan sized lasagnas so eat one tonight and freeze the other for a rainy day.

Now I know some people have a thing against cottage cheese so you can easily substitute ricotta in this recipe if you must...

Ingredients & Prep - Makes 2 loaf pans. Each serves approx. 2 adults & 2 kids with small appetites.  Recipe adapted from the meatier version on the blog Hogwash.

  • 2 cups 2% cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh minced garlic to taste
  • 3-4 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 cups frozen shredded spinach, thawed (I like to use frozen spinach because once you microwave it to thaw, you can easily squeeze the excess water out and it removes that pesky task of washing, chopping, stemming, cooking the fresh stuff).
  • 2 1/2 cups of mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 box no bake lasagna noodles.  Try to get the flat edge lasagna noodles that are smaller than traditional noodles. I like to use the Garofalo brand. They look like the noodles in the picture below. Perfect for a loaf sized pan.

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Whisk the eggs to blend in a mixing bowl, and season with basil, oregano, garlic, salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir in cottage cheese, and set aside.
3. Thaw the spinach and squeeze out excess water.
4. Spread 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of each of two loaf pans. Add a sheet of pasta to each, followed by another 1/4 cup sauce, 2/3 cup of the spinach, and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella. Next, add another sheet of pasta, followed by 1/2 cup of the cottage cheese mixture. (It will be slightly runny, that’s okay.) Top each with another noodle, then 1/4 cup sauce, and divide the remaining spinach between the two pans. Top each spinach layer with another 1/4 cup mozzarella, then a sheet of pasta, and divide the remaining cottage cheese mixture between the two pans. Finally, top the cottage cheese with the last of the pasta. Divide the remaining sauce over the noodles, spreading it to cover them all the way to the edges. Sprinkle each with about 1/2 cup mozzarella.
5. Cover each pan tightly with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake another 15 minutes uncovered, until cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
6. To freeze cooked lasagna, let cool to room temperature, then cover the top with foil, wrap in plastic, and freeze up to 2 months. Transfer to refrigerator 24 hours before baking, with foil on top, for 20 to 30 minutes at 350F, or until hot all the way through.


Anonymous said...

That looks like it just might bw the most delicious thing i ever might taste!! Running to the kitchen right now!

Madison said...

I must say that I stumbled across this recipe almost a year ago and have been making it ever since! As a university student the ingredients are relatively cheap and I love that it is vegetarian as well! I often substitute the marinara sauce for pasta sauce to change up the flavour but it remains my favourite lasagna ever and I have received lots of compliments on it!