As a military family, it has become incredibly important to develop traditions that can be kept with or without the extended family. We're not always able to celebrate holidays with anyone outside our 'Core Four' as we call it. Traditions are really important and we have A LOT of them! It’s how we develop consistency in a family that could be heading to a new place at a moment’s notice. One day we'll talk about those that come with birthdays, Fakesgiving, and others. Today, on this beautiful Christmas day, we're talking about LASAGNA.
When it comes to Christmas supper, we're over the turkey and ham. We don’t even have potatoes & gravy! *Gasp* I mean, can we even call ourselves southerners? Haha!
What does our supper look like…? It’s filled with Cesar salad, cheesy garlic bread, and the 'I Could Win a Contest With This Lasagna’ lasagna.
This first time I had this particular lasagna was when one of my best friends, Butter, made it for me. Mr. Darlin’ was deployed and I was feeling really down. Most of y’all know that food is my love language! Haha! Butter, Peanut (another best friend), and I (you guessed it, my nickname is Jelly) got together and ate until it hurt. It was the exact therapy I needed! Best friends and amazing lasagna can sure turn around deployment blues! Since then, I have given up my old recipe and moved to this one. I made a few tiny tweaks but it is mostly the original from my BFF. For nearly a decade, It’s the one I have been making every year for Christmas supper! Besides the secret ingredient, what I love about this lasagna is that it brings such fond memories of Christmas celebrations with the Core Four and all the fun we’ve had with the PBJ family all these years. I hope you’ll try it out and let me know how you like it. I know you’re going to love it. Maybe it’ll become a family tradition for you, too!
‘I Could Win a Contest With This Lasagna’ Lasagna
1 box Lasagna noodles (you can absolutely use the oven ready noodles to save time)
1 1/2 lbs lean hamburger
1 pkg Pepperonis, chopped in half (SECRET INGREDIENT!!!!)
1/2 cup chopped Onion
2 clove Garlic (pressed)
16 oz diced Tomatoes
16 oz Tomato Sauce
2 tsp Oregano
2 tsp Basil
Large container Cottage cheese
16 oz Ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese (1 cup in the cheese mix and 1 cup for on top)
1 tsp fresh Parsley
Cook noodles according to package – or just skip this if you’re using the oven ready ones! Brown the hamburger then add pepperoni, onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano and basil. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes. While that’s simmering, in a large bowl mix the cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, eggs and parsley. In a deep 9 x 13 pan layer meat mixture (the first layer – on the bottom of the pan- should be thin), noodles, then cheese mixture. Keep on trucking until it’s about an inch from the top of the pan. You won’t want it to over flow. Use the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella to top it off (or more…I won’t judge). Cover it with foil. Cook at 350 for 1 hour. After the first 30 minutes remove the foil.
This always makes one 9x13 and one 8x8 pan for us! Sometimes I double the recipe and freeze one pan.