I am very lucky to have lots of family close by. Both my husband's and my family all live withing a 45 minute drive. We always have lots of family stuff going on and are so lucky to get to see all of them so frequently. I currently have 2 sister-in-laws that are pregnant. Both are due around the same time. Even better than getting 2 nieces or nephews I get 3! Yes one of my sister-in-laws is having twins! When all is said and done she will have 5 children. We don't have any kids yet so this to me is mind boggling! She is already pretty miserable and still has a few months left to go, so I decided I should help her out a bit. She has 3 kids and a husband to feed and always tries to make home cooked meals. I decided that I should make a bunch of freezer meals. I could keep a few for my husband and myself and give the rest to her. This way her family can still eat home cooked meals, but with very little work on her part. This was the first of my freezer meal adventure.
I have always loved lasagna. It is fairly simple to make and tastes so good. I love that lasagna actually gets better after a day or so of letting it sit. It is a great one to make the day before and not have to do much the next day. It is also a great freezer meal. I like to divide mine between two 8X8 pans, eat one and freeze one. You could even break it into small portions and make a few in bread pans if you are only feeding a couple people.
I got this recipe from my mom. It is the recipe she always made us growing up. She got the recipe from her sister. I have always loved it so thanks Aunt Jackie for a great recipe!
1 lb hamburger
1 small onion
32 oz spaghetti sauce
16 oz ricotta or cottage cheese
1 lb mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb lasagna noodles
Brown hamburger and onion in a large skillet. Cook until no longer pink and onions are soft. Drain meat. Combine meat and spaghetti sauce set aside. In a blender or food processor combine ricotta or cottage cheese and egg. Blend until smooth. This step is optional and isn't really needed if you are using ricotta cheese. Cover the bottom of a 9X13 (or 2 8X8) pan with a small amount of meat sauce. Place uncooked noodles in a single layer over sauce. Spread half of the cheese egg mixture over noodles. Add a layer of meat sauce, more noodles, then cheese mixture, and remaining meat sauce. Cover with grated mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
* Freezer directions: Before baking lasagna cover with foil or lid and place in freezer for up to 6 months. If you are using 8X8 or 9X9 pans you can actually freeze the lasagna over night. The next day place pan in a small amount of warm water to loosen up the edges. You can then pop the frozen lasagna out of you pan and slip it into a gallon size zip lock bag. Not only does it take up less space in your freezer but you get to keep using your pan. On baking day slide frozen lasagna back into baking dish and let thaw. Once thawed bake as directed above.
You can also bake from frozen, but you won't want to put the cheese on until after it has baked for a while. To bake from frozen place covered lasagna (without cheese) in a cold oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Bake for 1 hr 35 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for another 30 minutes or until bubbly.
If you are using glass pans I recommend you thaw the lasagna first. Even Pyrex pans can shatter with extreme temperature differences (trust me I know).