When my Ma was pregnant with me she regularly met with a nutritionist who advised her on how to keep herself and the Caro-to-be healthy. This is the lasagna she taught my mom to make, the one she ate whilst I was a bun in the oven, and the one I have loved ever since.
Now, don’t expect this to be traditional in any way. Instead of tomato sauce, tomato soup forms the sweet base for the ground beef (or, in my update, sometimes turkey) filling, and instead of Mozzarella and ricotta, we’ve got Swiss or Provolone and –get this– cottage cheese! If you keep your cheeses low-fat and go for lean meat (or sub in veggies) this is lasagna might even fall on the “healthy” side. That being said, I know Sandra Lee (my favorite and yours!) has gotten quite a bit of bad press about her own cottage cheese & soup recipe… and I’m not a fan of things semi-homemade…. Still, I’m telling you, I will eat this lasagna for days and days, straight from the fridge and cold, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
And that’s why I make this once or twice a year.
Oh, and one more thing: I recently served this to a couple of picky eaters whose Mama said they don’t eat cottage or Swiss cheese. Well, they do now 🙂
1 box dry lasagna (you’ll need about 13 pieces)
2- 8 oz cans Campbell’s Tomato Soup
32 oz tub of low-fat cottage cheese
1- 2 packages of sliced, low-fat Swiss or Provolone cheese
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 onion, diced
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
about 1 teaspoon of oregano
grated Parmesan cheese
1. Season your meat: In a medium bowl, combine ground meat, diced onion, salt, garlic powder, and oregano. You can mix it up with a spoon, but if you’re like me, you’re gonna want to get down in there with your hands and squish it all together. Just to make sure you get the seasoning on everything, you know? Set in the fridge for 15 minutes to let the spices do their thing a bit.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil for your lasagna. You’ll need 13 pieces, but I often cook 15 in case any break or tear as they move from the pot to the baking pan. When it finally does boil, add your pasta and cook for 8 minutes. Once cooked, drain and shower with cold water to cool.
3. In a large pot, heat a little bit of cooking oil on medium heat and add your meat. Cook until just brown, and add the two cans of soup plus two cans of water (just fill each can with water, stir around to get any leftover soup, and pour into the pot). Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to break up the meat. Lower heat to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken over 45 minutes. Once thickened, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
4. Now you’re ready to assemble the lasagna! Lightly grease your 9×11 pan and lay down 4 strips of cooked lasagna, making sure the edges touch. Next, spoon some cottage cheese over each other strips to form a thin layer — don’t worry if you have gaps, just use enough such that it will last you for four layers. Next, ladle your meat sauce onto each lasagna strip. Lastly, take 1-2 slices of cheese, and tear them up and toss them on top of your lasagna — they’ll melt in the oven, so space them out and don’t worry about covering every inch. Place three strips of lasagna atop the cheese and repeat the instructions in this step until you’ve used up your pasta. When you get to the top, generously sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the delicious aroma of lasagna fills your home and you just can’t help yourself anymore.