The Best E.V.E.R. Lasagna

In my opinion, every cook should have “The Best E.V.E.R.” recipes up their sleeve for the following: macaroni and cheese, lasagna, spaghetti sauce, meatballs, and a knockout dessert and appetizer. Tonight, I am giving you one of these “Best E.V.E.R.”s because it’s worthy of the title. If you don’t like sour cream, first let me say, I am so sorry. See if you can fix that. Second, you won’t like this recipe. I really don’t  like Ricotta cheese in lasagna. It’s a texture thing for me I think. Either way, I had this lasagna at a church retreat and I fell in love. Like the kind of love where noise disappears and you are concentrating on every bite and trying to figure out why you like it so much. So, I asked for the recipe. This is a family recipe given to me by Vicki Pauli. She has taken over this recipe and made it her own. Let me tell you, I have made this for dinner, for family members visiting from out of town, for dinner guests, for a family across the street who lost a loved one… EVERYONE says the same thing… It was delicious! We LOVED it.  Print it and try it!

16 0z. box of lasagna noodles
(before I post anymore of the recipe, if you are still cooking your noodles you are SO behind in times (like dial up verses high speed internet)… they make them oven ready now. Now you don’t have an excuse to not throw together a lasagna!) 🙂

2- 28 oz jars of spaghetti sauce (use the Ragu Parmesan/Romano)
1 lb of ground beef
1 lb of ground Italian sausage (I tend to leave this out because I don’t like Italian sausage)
Mozzarella cheese (slices and shredded) approximately 2 packages of slices and 2 cups of shredded
Approximately 2 cups of sour cream
Spices to taste

Brown ground beef and Italian sausage in a large sasuce pan or dutch oven. Drain off fat. Add garlic (I use minced), salt, pepper, and oregano to taste. You can add onions if you like (I use onion powder). Add spaghetti sauce and stir. Turn heat to low and simmer if you are making noodles- if have oven ready noodles just make sure sauce is hot and bubbly.

Assembling Lasagna:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9×13 baking pan or lasagna pan spread a thin layer of meat sauce. *I spray my dish with Pam first. It makes the clean up easier.
Add 3-4 noodles side by side (depending on pan size) overlapping slightly if needed. You may also put a noodle across the bottom of the pan if the pan is longer. With a spoon or spatula spread sour cream up the noodles. It doesn’t have to be even it will spread out in the heat. Spread meat sauce over the noodles and sour cream. Put cheese slices or shredded cheese (whichever you choose to use ) on to of the meat sauce- I slice the cheese slices in half and lay about 3 down each noodle. So 12 slices total on the bottom layers.)
Continue layering noodles, sour cream, meat sauce, and cheese to desired thickness. I do three layers (depends on your pan).
On your last layer, after pouring the rest of the meat sauce on top, use the shredded cheese. Cover lightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes more until golden brown and bubbly. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes before cutting.
*cook time is the same whether you cook your noodles or use the oven ready noodles*

*The lasagna in the picture still had another 15 minutes to go. I had just taken off the foil and snapped a quick picture.*

I always make Jimmy’s Favorite Garlic bread with my lasagna! I don’t follow this recipe exact- I skip the sun dried tomatoes, I use minced garlic, and I use Italian bread (personal preference).


Garlic Butter Chicken Pasta

About two years ago, a good friend of mine, Galit Hill, said I had to try Jimmy’s Favorite Garlic Bread recipe. I was up for it so I made it. The first time I made it it on sour dough bread just like the recipe called for. Once I got through the outter pieces of the bread into the center, it melted in my mouth. Oh how I loved the softness of the bread and all of the flavors from the garlic butter! I simply fell in love. Now I make it on French bread. It’s just a personal favorite- you could slap this butter on any of your favorite breads. I usually make this garlic bread recipe when we have lasagna.

I later told her how much I loved this recipe. She mentioned to me it was delicious on broccoli. I am pretty sure she was also the one who came up with the idea to throw it on pasta and chicken with veggies. This meal is an oldie but goodie around here. The kids truly like this meal. It’s SO simple and it’s also budget friendly.

Grill your chicken, boil your chicken or bake your chicken- it doesn’t matter how you do it, just cook it. Shred it. Throw it in with the cooked noodles of your choice. Add whatever veggies you have on hand. Eat it cold or eat it hot. This evening I salt & peppered my chicken and baked it until it was cooked through. I usually like to boil mine because the chicken is softer when it’s boiled. I paired the chicken with Garden Rotini. I only had carrots on hand to throw in there. Because my family boycotts anything that is nutritious, I steamed the carrots, pureed them and mixed them in with the butter. I know what you are thinking, “Why bother with the carrots- with that much butter it’s pointless to be healthy.” Ha, true for some… but for us… this is our healthy version of healthy 🙂 Everything we eat is lathered in butter or bacon grease and has loads of salt- to add any veggies and get them actually consumed by someone (other than myself, I do like veggies) is like waiting on rain to come in a desert.. it ain’t gonna happen. Therefore, I mask the veggies in our food when I can.

See, you can just see the slivers of carrots in there. They had no idea that there were carrots in this garlic butter.

They ate the whole dish. The point of this blog is that this garlic butter recipe can be placed on just about anything and it will turn out delicious!