Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bacon Lasagna

This recipe is inspired by one of the hard working paraprofessionals in our school. I cannot say enough about how much I value their work and dedication to the students. So, I felt the need to honor my dear lunch buddy, Meghan. Your Dad's bacon spaghetti ignited the spark for this truly awesome recipe. Hold on to your tablecloth! This is a good one!

I feel like lasagna is one of those recipes everyone needs to know how to make. You can happily feed your family, a large crowd, and entertain with this hearty, Italian comfort dish. To take this lasagna to the next level, I used bacon in place of ground beef or sausage. Yes, bacon! All I can say is it is AMAZING! I happen to love center cut bacon. It is lower in fat, but still has all of the bacon goodness that turkey bacon just can't match. I also added a little spinach. Just to sneak in a little veg.

You will want to prepare this lasagna AHEAD! Yes Mr. A- PREPARE THIS BACON LASAGNA AHEAD OF TIME! (Bold and capitalized just for you) Get it all ready, cover it, and store it in your fridge until you are ready to bake and serve. This will save you time. There is enough liquid to cook the noodles for you without having to boil them ahead of time. Preparing the dish ahead of time also helps your lasagna to not be a runny mess on your plate. Just like I dislike soggy cereal on my leftover cheesy potato casserole, I do not like runny lasagna.

Bacon Lasagna

Nonstick cooking spray
10-12 dried lasagna noodles (I used brown rice noodles to make it gluten free, but regular will work too)
1 jar spaghetti sauce (I used Ragu traditional)
1 cup cooked and crumbled center cut bacon
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of any excess liquid
1 15 oz. container low-fat ricotta cheese
1 15 oz. container low-fat cottage cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded 2% mozzarella cheese

Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch or 8-inch by 12-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the bacon and spaghetti sauce. Set aside. In another large bowl, stir together the spinach, ricotta, cottage cheese, egg, and garlic powder until combined. Ladle and evenly spread 1/2-3/4 cup sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. Layer 5-6 of the lasagna noodles over the sauce to form the first layer. Spread half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle 1 cup of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses over the ricotta. Ladle and spread the remaining sauce over the cheese. Repeat noodle and cheese layers with the remaining ingredients. Cover and store in your fridge for up to 2-3 days. When you are ready to bake and serve, let the dish set out at room temperature uncovered while your oven preheats at 375 degrees. When the oven is preheated, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the lasagna. Bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. Bake uncovered for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the cheese begins to bubble in the middle and turn lightly brown. Remove from the oven. Let set for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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