Before you start prepping, though, put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. You may also preheat the oven, though it'll be on for a while, as there's plenty of prepping to do with this recipe.
Lasagna Noodles Sidebar: I've really been trying hard to avoid white flour, so I bought wheat lasagna noodles for the first time, but I was so apprehensive about it that I also bought the usual kind of noodles. I finally decided to use the wheat noodles for one row of the lasagna (three strips stacked atop each other). Mr.4444 begged me not to "wreck" the lasagna by doing that, but you know I never listen; I assured him that I would remember which side of the pan the wheat noodles were on and would serve him from the other side. Well, little did I know that all of the noodles would look the same after the lasagna was done, and I forgot which side had wheat noodles, but guess what? None of us noticed a taste or texture difference. And now, back to our show!
I found it helpful to prep the ingredients and separate them into two groups:
Sauce Ingredients (in order of use):
1 Tbls. olive oil
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 lbs. Italian turkey sausage (I like Jennie-O, about 7 or 8 sausages)
2 tsps minced garlic
4 cups Prego Tomato and Basil spaghetti sauce*
Cheese/Spinach Mixture Ingredients:
3 cups mozarella cheese, divided
2 cups cottage or Ricotta cheese, drained (I forgot to drain my cottage cheese, but it was fine.)
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 box Lasagna Noodles
Put the sauce ingredients near the stove, as you'll need them for the meat mixture:
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil, peppers, and onions.
Saute about five minutes, "until the peppers begin to sweat."
(I wasn't sure what that meant, so I just went with the clock!)
Add the turkey and garlic to the pan.
Stir and cook about 10 minutes, til turkey is cooked through.
I drained the juice/grease off at this point.
Add the spaghetti sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
Remove from heat.
When the water is boiling, add the lasagna noodles.
Cook for seven minutes or until they're al dente. Drain them.
Dave suggested laying them flat on a greased cookie sheet, so I did that,
and it worked out nicely, but I'm not sure it was necessary.
While the meat sauce is cooking, mix the cheese/spinach stuff together, these first...
(but save half of the mozarella for the top of lasagna!)
and then add them to the spinach (use a large bowl) and mix well.
Okay! So now you're ready to assemble this thing!
Congratulations for making it this far--It is a trip worth taking, so hang in there;
yum is right around the corner!
For what it's worth, you will end up with about six cups of sauce.
Put one cup of sauce in the bottom of the pan.
Top with one layer of noodles, followed by a cup-and-a-half of sauce.
Then top that with half of the cheese/spinach mixture,
and repeat the noodles, sauce, cheese/spinach mixture again.
Top with the last layer of noodles and sauce.
You'll want to make sure the noodles are covered with sauce,
so use more from the jar if you need it.
Bake 45 minutes.
Top with the other half of the mozarella cheese
and bake for another 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to set 10-15 minutes.
Serve with a salad featuring Dave's delicious Bleu Cheese Dressing!
I will definitely be making this again; it was a big hit!