Turkey Lasagna

Lasagna is the best.  I had made Crockpot Lasagna a while back but hadn't cooked a full oven-baked lasagna in some time, and I had never made an oven version with homemade sauce.  Every time I've baked it in the oven, I boiled the lasagna noodles first or used the no-boil variety.  I had heard you could use regular noodles in the oven and just let them cook with the lasagna, so I had to try it.

I tracked down an Emeril version of the recipe to make sure I had the cooking time right.

Making the sauce is the fun part.  I like to change around my pasta sauce every time I make it, and this was no different. First, I browned the ground turkey and cooked the onion in a large nonstick skillet, then added in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, and seasonings.  I normally use canned crushed tomatoes, but this time went with stewed tomatoes to see how it came out.  I also took some other notes from the Emeril sauce recipe, adding some paprika, chili powder, and of course brown sugar to the mix.



For the filling, I mixed the cottage cheese, eggs, shredded italian cheeses, basil, parsley, and added a bit of lemon juice in a small bowl.


I got to building the lasagna next by spreading about a cup of the sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.  I added noodles over the sauce layer, preventing them from overlapping.  Next, I spread about a third of the cottage cheese filling on the noodles and sprinkled some more shredded cheese over it. I repeated the sauce, pasta and cheese layers 2 more times to finish the lasagna.  I ran a little short on the sauce by the end, so next time I'll go a little thinner for the middle layers.


I covered the lasagna with foil then baked it for 1 hour.


Perfection!  The noodles were cooked perfectly, though the fact I was a tad low on sauce caused the top layer of noodles to be slightly more al dente than the rest.  Now that I know how easy it is to make without boiling the noodles, I will never turn back!  I've never really been a fan of the no-boil variety, as I find them to not always have the right texture.  The sauce was just plain great and was not overly spicy in the least, and the stewed tomatoes were delicious.  This ended up being perfect for leftovers to take to lunch at work for several days.  I do think a bit more of the cheese mixture would just improve the recipe, and I will add more water to the sauce next time to thin it out.  Overall: 2 thumbs up!

Turkey Lasagna Recipe

Ingredients:

1 box lasagna noodles (uncooked)
1 package shredded Italian cheeses (2 cups for entire recipe)

For the sauce:
2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 can mushrooms
2 cans tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the filling:
2 cups cottage cheese (16 ounces)
2 eggs
1 cup mixed shredded Italian cheeses
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions:

To make sauce, cook ground turkey with chopped onion in a large skillet. Add minced onion and mushrooms, then mix in stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, tomato sauce, brown sugar, paprika, oregano, parsley, onion powder, rosemary, basil, chili powder, black pepper, white pepper, and cayenne pepper and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine cottage cheese, 1 cup of the shredded Italian cheeses, basil, parsley, and lemon juice. Make lasagna by spreading sauce in the bottom of a baking casserole. Add uncooked noodles over the sauce, covering as much area as possible while not overlapping the pasta. Spread a layer of the about 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture over the top and sprinkle with some of the remaining shredded cheese, then add more sauce. Repeat noodles, cheese, and sauce about 3 more times until the cheese filling is used up. Top with more sauce and add cheese if desired; cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Allow lasagna to sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

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