It all started with a few dilemmas:
How can I provide a hardy home cooked meal while on a family vacation and avoid spending what we don't have at a sit down restaurant or spending all my vacation time cooking.
Solution: Make time meal ahead of time, freeze, thaw, bake, serve!
How can I provide a satisfying meal to one family that has both meat eaters and veggie lovers?
Solution: Make the same meal with both options!
How can I provide a huge meal at a large family reunion and avoid that crowded kitchen with way too many cooks?
Solution: Make the meal ahead of time, freeze, thaw, bake, serve!
This recipe has been tweaked and refined over the years to solve these dilemmas. We found that an affordable rental or AirBnB was the way to go for our family of as many as 6. So the kitchen is there, right?! Problem is, I don't want to cook on vacation! (Hear a lot of whining.) So my husband Keith suggested I make my amazing lasagna, freeze it, stack it in a large cooler and hit the road ready. We did and the idea has definitely been a hit!
So then there was what to do about so many food preferences in one family. I worked with this recipe to hit a variety of preferences from the meat lovers to the veggie lovers. Everyone appreciates that I thought of them when I make this meal.
And then there was the massive family reunion need. This recipe has been quadrupled to serve a large crowd of 50 or so hungry relatives. It was such a big hit the first time I brought this meal that...you guessed it...I have to make it at every reunion!
Brown in a skillet and drain:
1 1/2 lbs Hamburger
Half of a Medium Sized Onion, chopped
If you would rather have 2 pans of meat lasagna, double this portion of the recipe and omit the next section.
Saute in a separate skillet until veggies are soft:
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
(I used chopped mushrooms, sliced yellow squash, the other half of the above onion diced and two handfuls of baby spinach. This was a great combination but use what you have on hand.)
If you would rather have 2 pans of veggie lasagna, double this portion of the recipe and omit the first section.
Fill large pot with water and add 1 Tbsp oil and a few dashes of salt.
Add and boil 16 oz. Lasagna Noodles. Drain.
Combine in a large bowl:
48 oz. Tomato Juice
4 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp White Vinegar
3 tsp Salt
4 tsp Leaf Oregano
1 tsp Garlic Powder
Divide in half between two above skillets (one with meat and the other with veggies).
Cover both skillets and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
Dissolve and add to two sauces above, dividing evenly between the two:
4 Tbsp Corn Starch
2/3 cup Water
24 oz. Cottage Cheese
4 cups your favorite Shredded Cheese (We like a mixture.)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbsp Parsley Flakes
In two greased 9 x 13 inch baking dishes, layer:
2. Meat Sauce in one, Veggie Sauce in the other
3. Cottage Cheese (I put this on in globs and then spread with a fork.)
4. Shredded Cheese
There will be three layers. In the top layer skip the meat sauce and the cottage cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan and Parsley on top. (I usually reserve a little bit of sauce for the top edges to make sure all the noodles are submerged and don't get dry on the top.)
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Allow lasagna to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.