Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7: Mom's Lasagna

Cooking hasn't always been easy for me. Growing up, mom hated to cook. She cooked because we needed to eat to survive. As a result, I didn't learn much about techniques or spices or anything cooking related. When I got married, if it came out of a box or a can I could (kind of) cook it. I can't tell you how many refrigerator biscuits I burned. I didn't know the first thing about cooking from scratch. I was the one that could burn water. After a few years of tater tot casserole (yuck) I got my hands on a great cooking magazine. I slowly learned to cook healthier and better tasting meals. I realized how much money I could save by cooking from scratch. And in the process, I learned to love to cook. It is exciting to add new spices, try new recipes and modify old ones so they taste even better. I still have a lot to learn, and chef school is in the plans in a few years.

This lasagna recipe is a favorite of my family. Mom's original recipe was very basic. It used ground beef, lasagna noodles, pasta sauce and some cheese. Over the years, I have added to it and I think the flavor is very good. If you like a meaty, cheesy, hearty lasagna then this one is for you. I don't really measure the ingredients, especially the spices. I figure if it smells good it will taste good. So here goes....

Mom's Lasagna
12" dutch oven

2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
2 jars spaghetti sauce
lasagna noodles (oven ready)
1 lg. carton cottage cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning
Mozzarella cheese, shredded

In your D.O., cook the ground beef, onion and garlic until the meat is no longer pink. I used about 25 coals. Remove the meat to a bowl, drain off the grease and add the spaghetti sauce to the meat; mix well. While the meat cooks, mix the cottage cheese, egg, Parmesan and Italian seasoning; set aside. Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the d.o. Put a layer of lasagna noodles next. I just broke them to make them fit in the pan. Next add a layer of cottage cheese, a layer of meat and a layer of mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers in the same order (noodles, cottage cheese, meat, mozzarella). Bake with 10 bottom coals and 14 top coals for 45 min. to 1 hour.
The Finished Product

What I Learned

I learned that Kingsford briquettes are the ones to use. I finally ran out of the store brand that I had been using and bought Kingsford. They light better, are ready faster (15 minutes instead of 30), and they hold their heat longer. I think the charcoal I was using has been some of the problem I've had with heat. I have also never cooked with charcoal until this month, so I didn't know what it was supposed to look like when it was ready to cook with. Slowly but surely I am figuring all this out! :)

The review

I have to confess, this recipe is one of the very few I have used in a D.O. before, so I knew it worked well. It is great with Parmesan bread sticks or rolls, which I will try in the D.O. next time I make this lasagna. The D.O. really adds to the flavor of this dish. This recipe is also really easy to reduce. I cook for an army, but it could easily be made in a smaller D.O.


  1. You have started quite an exciting journey. Just one week in and you seem to be learning so much. I am quite excited to continue to watch your adventure - and learn along with you. I'll be cooking with you - on and off - along the way.

  2. Thanks so much! It is so much fun to do this and the challenge and learning part of it is what I like the most. Let me know what you think of the recipes, and tell me if there is anything you would like to see me try. I'm just not quite ready to do breads yet. :)

  3. Who doesn't love lasagna :) I'm also following your progress as I have just found your blog (link at IDOS) and have started doing my own trials by error :p Keep up the good work :)

  4. We use ground turkey, you do not need to drain off the grease

  5. I am cooking in a dutch oven on my wood stove I would like to make "Mom's lasagna"
    How long you think I should let it cook?
    Like to your recipes :)


print friendly

Related Posts with Thumbnails