Throw It In Lasagna

I have a weakness. Not many people are aware of it, but I'm going to share it now. I....I....I love Italian food. You shove a plate of pasta in front of me and I'll pretty much do anything you want. Which is why when I made this, I proceeded to make a lasagna big enough to serve 12. I currently have 6 pieces in my freezer. Hello, lover.

This lasagna is not authentic by any means, but it's pretty easy, and pretty dang scrumptious. You won't have to pick up too many ingredients for this one - most of the fixin's are pretty standard pantry items if you cook at all. Shall we get started?

You'll need:

-1lb ground beef (or turkey)
-1lb ground pork (or italian sausage)
-couple cloves of garlic
-oven-ready lasagna noodles
-2 cans tomato paste (the lil' guys)
-2 cans whole tomatoes (or diced tomatoes...or stewed tomatoes...or fresh tomatoes...are you seeing what I mean by throw it in lasagna?)
-italian seasoning, or whatever you have on hand (basil, parsley, oregano)
-about 14 slices of mozzarella cheese (or grated cheese...)
- 3 cups of cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese - just as delicious!)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, then more for the top of the lasagna

Let's get assembling.

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start browning your meat over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Throw in the garlic too to get that flavor cookin'.

In the meantime, we can make the cheese layer! In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, 3 cups cottage cheese, 2 beaten eggs, and 2 teaspoons of italian seasoning.

Now MIX!

It's that easy folks.

At this point your meat mixture should be browned, so go ahead and add the tomatoes, tomato paste, a pinch of salt and 4 tablespoons of Italian seasoning. I used 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1 tablespoons of oregano, and because I'm obsessed with fennel seed, 1 tablespoon of that. Makes it taste reallll Italian-like. Mix it all together until they get to know each other.

Assembly time!

First, you need a layer of noodles. Just a heads up, I used a 9x13 pan for this. It makes a TON of lasagna, but you can freeze it so no worries.

Then, lay down 1/2 your cottage cheese mixture. Try and get it pretty even, unlike this crap job I did. No big deal guys.

Now, lay out your cheese slices/shredded cheese. It'll use about 7 slices on each layer. I only had 10 slices total. Way to count, Courtzilla. Watch how I epically messed this up.

Oh it get's better, wait til the next cheese layer.

Then, meat layer! Use about 1/2 of your meat-y tomato-y goodness.

Now, repeat! Noodles...

Cottage cheese...

Mozzarella layer... with shredded Monterrey Jack because apparently counting slices of mozzarella when you're at the grocery store is for winners.

Talk about not traditional.

More MEAT.

Then, top with grated parmesan.

Now...bake it at 350 degrees for about 30minutes, or until the top is bubbly and beautiful.

And then... AND THEN....

Feeding frenzy. The best part is I have 6 more slices of this in the freezer to eat. *DIES*


<3 Courtzilla


Superbowl Chili

Chili. It's a staple of this great American holiday - the Superbowl. Food, beer, football. The three essentials in life. Just kidding-ish. Let's be honest, all I care about is the food. Last year I got ambitious and made like a 12 lb pork shoulder for BBQ pulled pork. It was glorious, don't get me wrong, but it was kind of a lot of work. This year it was just me and my roommates taking it easy.... chili was a natural choice. This particular one has just a touch of heat, and is really filling and toasty. It's a big hit and really easy to bring together.

You'll need:
-1 small onion
-1 bell pepper (I used yellow but it doesn't really matter) - interesting fact, people in Australia call bell pepper capsicum. I was confused the entire time.
-1 lb ground beef
-2 cloves of garlic
-1 tablespoon of cumin
-1 tablespoon of chili powder
-1/2 tablespoon paprika (optional, but I love the flavor)
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
-1 can tomato sauce (recipe calls for 1 regular sized can, but I used almost all of a big sized can. Tomatoes are awesome, what can I say.)
-1 can of Rotel (or just diced tomatoes if you have that on hand)
-1 can of kidney beans
-1 can of black beans
-1 can of northern white beans

Ok! First, you'll want to dice up the onion and pepper.

While you're dicing, get a big dutch oven pot and start heating it up on medium to medium high heat. Throw in the pepper, onion, beef, and 2 cloves of minced garlic.

You'll want to cook this mixture until all the meat browns, and the onions and peppers are tender.

Almost done with the meat browning at this point! This should take about 6-8 minutes.

Bring the heat down to medium and add in the cumin, paprika, chili powder and black pepper. Be slightly alarmed at the ginormous amount of seasoning that is. Mix it together and cook for another minute or so. Might want to start opening all of your cans while this is melding together, my hand got a cramp when I did it.

Now, add in the Rotel, tomato sauce, and all of the beans. Ah the beans! They're so glorious.

Give it all a big stir and bring the whole mixture to a boil. Once it's bubblin', bring the chili back down to a simmer and let it hang out with the occasional stir for about 45 minutes. Gives it a chance to thicken up and all the spices just start making beautiful music together. Whoo it's so good.

That's literally it! Serve it up in a big bowl with some cheese and sour cream, and oh man you're in for a treat!

I ate two bowls. Don't tell anyone.

Enjoy! (And Geaux Saints! What a great game!)