I am such a foodie that whenever I need to send a thank you gift, I naturally think of food first. In this case, I wanted to leave a small thank you gift for some friends that allowed us to use their cabin for the weekend. The homeowners were not at the cabin with us so as a small token of appreciation I prepared several small meals and left them in their freezer. When the homeowners returned to the cabin, they were able to enjoy meals at their convenience.
I wanted to make meals that could be easily defrosted and reheated and I wanted them to be large enough to serve 2 adults. Lasagna was one of the first things that came to my mind. (It freezes really well and most people like it.) I divided my lasagna recipe between two disposable 4x6 containers and one 8x8 Pyrex dish. I left the two smaller lasagnas in the freezer at the cabin and I froze the 8x8 lasagna for my family.
Lasagna (makes one 9x13)
1 T. oil
1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
½ cup chopped parsley
6 ounces tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons basil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper
56 ounces crushed tomatoes
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 boxes oven ready lasagna noodles
Heat oil in skillet and add ground beef. Cook until browned. Add onion, garlic and parsley. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Combine ricotta, egg and Parmesan cheese.
Pour 1 ½ cups sauce in baking dish. Layer 1/3 of noodles and ½ of the ricotta mixture. Top with 2 cups sauce and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat.
Top with remaining noodles and sauce and mozzarella.
Bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees OR cover and freeze for anther day.
I store my uncooked lasagna in the freezer for up to 6 months. I covered the tops of the small aluminum containers with plastic wrap and then added the plastic lid. I labelled each meal and also wrote the cooking instructions on the lids.
I defrosted the lasagna that I had frozen for my family last weekend. It was a really busy weekend and there were 6 hungry people at my house for lunch on Saturday. I cooked the lasagna, sliced some crusty Italian bread and lunch was served. After lunch, all that was left was one small corner that I saved to eat for lunch later in week. (I guess everyone liked it.)
This is a really basic lasagna recipe. It's the perfect meal to keep in your freezer and pull out on a busy day when there is no time to cook.