CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Easy Meaty Lasagna

Dealing with leftovers sometimes can be a problem. Especially if you have picky eaters who don’t have an appetite for an entree the second or third time around.

That’s not the case with food such as spaghetti, which is often better after it’s sat for a day or two.

Whenever I make a pot of that Italian favorite, we usually have enough left over for a couple of meals. That’s nice when you have a teenager who’s over for supper three or four times a week. It’s especially handy when you’ve frozen a container or two of the sauce and need a quick meal.

But there’s another way you can deal with excess spaghetti sauce: Use it in lasagna.

That’s what Therese did this week with the sauce I had made two days earlier for a spaghetti meal we shared with our grandson, Rakeem. Was it ever tasty and easy to make!

And so much for boring leftovers.

Easy Meaty Lasagna
1 1-pound box lasagna noodles, cooked
1 8-ounce bag shredded mozzarella cheese
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese, divided
1 egg
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups meat sauce (recipe follows)
Cook noodles according to directions on package. Mix the ricotta, egg and grated Parmesan. Place a layer of the sauce on the bottom of a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top that with a layer of noodles, followed by a layer of the cheese mixture.  Top that with a light layer of sauce and some shredded mozzarella. Repeat the process starting with the layer of noodles. Finally, place another layer of noodles on top and cover it with sauce and more mozzarella.
Meat Sauce
½ pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork
1 6-ounce cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste
1 pint whole tomatoes
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
1 small onion, diced
1 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrots, pureed in food processor
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil
Saute onion, celery and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add carrots, tomatoes, sauce and paste along with sugar, salt and herbs. Simmer for 1 hour. Serve over spaghetti.

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