Thursday, August 22, 2013

easy meat lasagna

As I was making lasagna last week, I thought... nearly-8-month-old Avery could eat some of this. I haven't introduced wheat yet and I like to put eggs in my lasagna (which, from what I've read, are a no-no until after the first year), so I decided to take some of the pre-lasagna components and blend them into a tasty dinner for the little one. Here's what I did:

Easy Meat Lasagna (+ baby's first beef!)
Serves 8-10

olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
fresh or dried oregano
1.5 pounds lean ground beef
16 oz. whole milk ricotta
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. white pepper
3 c. fresh mozzarella, grated
1/3 c. parmesan, grated
3 c. marinara sauce
12 no-cook lasagna noodles
fresh basil, chopped, to top

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until softened, a few minutes. Add oregano (we have an oregano plant that is out of control, so I went a little crazy here and used the leaves from 4 dried sprigs - probably about 2 Tbsp.). Stir. Add beef, breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.

If you're cooking for baby: Put a couple spoonfuls of the ricotta into a food processor. Once the meat is totally cooked, add a couple spoonfuls of the meat and onion mixture to the processor bowl. Add a spoonful or two of marinara and process until desired consistency. This created Avery's first encounter with beef. He devoured it.

Mix the remaining ricotta (or all of the ricotta, if you're only cooking for adults) with eggs, white pepper, and half of the parmesan together in a bowl.

Spread a couple spoonfuls of marinara in the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish. Arrange a single layer of noodles. Top with more sauce, beef mixture, ricotta mixture, and a sprinkling of mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles and repeat. On your last set of noodles, top with the remaining marinara and cheese. Sprinkle remaining parmesan and basil on top.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 10-15 minutes.

The piece pictured at the top of this post was topped with the first ripe tomato from our garden!

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