This recipe for mock lasagna has evolved over several years of trial and error. I never could make really great lasagna. It was okay, but not great. To cook traditional lasagna noodles was a lot of work and usually resulted in runny lasagna. The method that didn't require cooking the noodles worked better, but it still didn't have that special flavor.
The second trick is using sour cream in place of cottage cheese or ricotta cheese. Ricotta cheese is delicious in lasagna, but rather expensive. Cottage cheese is a little cheaper, but doesn't add a lot of flavor to the dish and can tend to make it runny. Sour cream is much cheaper than the above two choices and I love the flavor it adds. It is much more flavorful than any lasagna I had previously tried to make.
I can't wait for you to try this. After the ease of making mock lasagna and the delicious flavor, you will never want to go back to making traditional lasagna.
4 c uncooked whole-wheat spiral noodles*
8 oz. sour cream (half of a container), strained, nonfat, plain yogurt works great too!**
6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
6 oz. shredded cheddar
Sauce ingredients: (mom's spaghetti sauce)
1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
40 oz tomato sauce
1 T oregano
2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp thyme
1 T milled flax seed
1 grated carrot (optional)
1 c shredded zucchini (optional)***
To make sauce, brown meat with minced garlic and drain grease. Add additional ingredients to sauce and let simmer in the pan for at least 30 minutes. While sauce is cooking, cook pasta to slightly undercooked. It will finish cooking in the oven.
To assemble the mock lasagna, pour just enough sauce to cover the bottom of a sprayed or lightly greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with half of the cooked noodles. Top noodles with half of the remaining sauce, small dollops of sour cream/yogurt (12 dollops of about 2 tsp each), and shredded cheddar. Repeat layering by finishing off the noodles, sauce, sour cream, and mozzarella cheese instead of cheddar. Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese. Cook covered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and sauce is bubbling.****
This is great to serve with caesar salad, and bread in the bread machine, or whole-wheat drop biscuits.
* I know this is almost the whole box, but don't use the whole box. I have tried that and it's just a little too much for the amount of sauce. There are a few different sizes of boxed noodles depending on the brand, so I have found that in order for it to turn out good every time, it is best just to measure the noodles.
**Using strained nonfat plain yogurt is still cheaper than cottage cheese and lower in calories. It also, in my opinion, gives a better flavor than cottage cheese.
*** I have a lot of zucchini in the freezer from my garden. I packaged the zucchini into 2 cup portions, but after I wrung out all of the water (which you should do or the sauce will be too runny), it was only 1 cup. If I was using fresh, I would just add 1 cup.
****If you are making this ahead of time and it is in the refrigerator, it will take longer to cook (1 hour). Just cook until warm and bubbling and lightly browned after removing foil.