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Best Thing I’ve Eaten This Week: Cheat Lasagna

19 Oct

As promised, “The Best Thing I’ve Eaten This Week” segment is back, and today, it happens to be some delicious lasagna. This lasagna was lasagna with a twist, however, and it was actually inspired by the library – Thanks library!

Em had a program with the kids where they made “mini lasagna cups.”  They took wontons, put one in a cupcake tin to form a crust/noodle cup, put some sauce and cheese in it, and topped it with another.  A pretty neat little idea, really.  Easy and fun to assemble for the kids, and you get little individual servings of faux lasagna.

Well, after this program at the library, Em was left with a whole lot of wontons and quite a bit of cheese.  So we decided to bring that idea home, but we decided to make a more traditional, large pan lasagna instead of the individual sized lasagna cups that the kids made at the library.  This ended up being super easy, and it really tasted a heck of a lot like lasagna!

What we did: Start off with your favorite meat (or veggie if you prefer) sauce.  When making lasagna, I prefer to use ground sausage instead of our usual ground turkey or beef.  (This was another reason we were inspired to make lasagna – we had some extra sausage to use!)  I used the sausage along with some diced onion and chopped carrot, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and of course, tomato sauce (I usually use the canned “crushed tomatoes” when making my sauces).  The sauce was delicious, and honestly, once you finish your sauce, there is really very little work left to do.

Time to start building.  When layering our lasagna, I like to start with a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of the pan.  This will make your lasagna slightly more sloppy, but it will also prevent you from worrying about your noodles (in this case, wontons) sticking to the bottom of the pan or burning.  So cover your thin layer of sauce with a layer of wontons.  Then add some mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Another layer of sauce, and stack another layer of wontons.  Finally, one last layer of sauce and then finish with cheese on top.  It’s always nice to end with the cheese on top so that you can get that incredible crusted cheese flavor right on top as it bakes. (You can adjust the order of your layers and what kinds of cheeses you choose to order as you see fit.  I don’t care for ricotta, even though it is traditionally used in lasagna, so we just use mozzarella and parmesan.)

wonton lasagna

bottom layer – sauce first, then wontons

wonton lasagna

cheese on top of the wontons

wonton lasagna

another layer of sauce on top of the cheese and then top with wontons

wonton lasagna

coming out of the oven – cheese on top so that it gets a nice cheese crust

 

When you’re happy with your layers, you just need to pop it in the oven. It really doesn’t take too long – ~15minutes at about 400degrees should get you there.  Check on it, and when it’s ready, just slice it up and serve!  Remember, by doing the bottom layer as sauce, it probably won’t stack or stand up very neatly on its own, but you also won’t end up with anything burnt or crusted on the bottom.

wonton lasagna

serve in a bowl- delicious but messy!

 

Will you notice that you used wontons instead of noodles?  The taste is very similar – and quite delicioius. The wontons are a bit thinner than what noodles would be, so you will not have the structure of the lasagna being able to stand up neatly on its own (part of this is also due to my own preference for starting with sauce on the bottom).  If you wanted it to be a bit thicker, you could probably stack two wontons for each wonton layer instead of just one (one is fairly thin).  However, I was pretty happy with the overall consistency and end result just using one.  The ease of prep and the time you save using wontons instead of noodles far outweighs any slight difference in taste you may notice.

I always try to price out our meals just to show that you can eat great for a reasonable price.  In this case, it’s tricky because we had some of the leftovers from the library event.  We didn’t have to buy the wontons or the cheese in this case – just the sauce.  So here we go:

~$0.75 can of crushed tomatoes for the sauce

~$0.25 carrot for the sauce

~$0.25 half of an onion

~$1.00 leftover sausage for the sauce

~$1.00   Cheese: (We didn’t pay for it, but I do know what we normally pay for cheese)

~$0.50  Wontons: (We didn’t pay for it, and here is my best guess)

~$3.75 TOTAL for a full pan of delicious lasagna

 

As Always: Eat. Be Happy.  

 

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Posted by on October 19, 2014 in Advice, Budget/$$, Food, Projects/Activities

 

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