This meat lasagna includes layers of sausage, ricotta, bechamel and spinach. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

This meat lasagna includes layers of sausage, ricotta, bechamel and spinach. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Lasagna you can eat all week

Crockpot meals always miss the mark, and there’s only so many times I’m willing to feed my family macaroni and cheese

I have finally packed my schedule with enough to call myself busy. We take advantage of every kid activity we can find each week, and I do a few things just for myself, too.

I’m glad to provide that enrichment to both of our lives, but it means that for a couple days every week, I just don’t have time to make a proper dinner for us.

I tried crockpot meals, but they always miss the mark for me, and there’s only so many times I’m willing to feed my family macaroni and cheese.

My strategy this week (a particularly hectic one) was to make a huge lasagna and eat the leftovers on those days I only have 15 minutes to whip up dinner. This recipe is my classic meat lasagna — enough for a crowd or leftovers for days.

Meat lasagna

Ingredients:

For the bechamel:

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¼ cup heavy cream

1 cup milk

4 ounces grated Parmesan

8 garlic cloves — minced

½ teaspoon nutmeg

For the tomato sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 whole white onion

1 green bell pepper

4 garlic cloves

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons dried Italian herb mix

Salt and pepper to taste

2 boxes lasagna noodles

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 whole bunch fresh spinach

1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese

2 pounds shredded Italian cheese blend

1 cup fresh basil — chopped fine

Directions:

Start with your tomato sauce. Roughly chop the vegetables and saute in olive oil until translucent. Season with salt.

Pour in the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, then bring to a simmer.

Add in the dried herbs and continue cooking for 30 minutes, stirring often. If the sauce gets too dry, add a bit of water to loosen it.

While the sauce is cooking, brown the sausage, drain and set aside to cool.

Also while the sauce is cooking, finely chop the spinach and basil and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add in the ricotta and stir until combined. Taste and season with a little pepper then set aside until assembly.

After 30 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the sauce to cool a bit. If you have an immersion blender, use that to blend the sauce in the pan until smooth. If you are using a blender, wait until the sauce is no longer steaming.

Taste and season with salt, then hold until ready for assembly.

In a large saucepan, melt your butter, add in your minced garlic, and cook for a few minutes.

Add in the flour and cook on medium low heat, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes.

Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to combine.

Cook until the sauce has thickened slightly.

Whisk in the Parmesan and turn off the heat as soon as the cheese has melted.

Whisk in the nutmeg and set aside.

Don’t cook the noodles until you’re ready for assembly. They need to be warm while you work.

Boil both boxes of noodles together in a very large pot. A stock pot works well for this, but if you don’t have a pot that big, you can get away with boiling the noodles in two batches if you manage your time well. You’ll just have to pull the noodles out with tongs instead of draining the whole pot, using the same water for both batches.

Cook the noodles al dente, strain, toss in a little olive oil to prevent sticking, then transfer to your assembly space.

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the bottom of your baking dish before adding your first layer of noodles. I used a roasting pan as my baking dish.

Layer the fillings and noodles in whatever pattern you choose. One layer is meat, tomato sauce and shredded cheese, one layer is bechamel, and one is ricotta and spinach mix. Be sure that you save enough tomato sauce and shredded cheese to top the whole dish when you’re done.

Cover in foil and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

More in Life

Homer students pose after their performance from the musical Shrek on Saturday after the three-day Broadway Bootcamp theater workshop with director Jim Anderson in October 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Emilie Springer/ Homer News)
Intensive Broadway Bootcamp offered in Homer in August

During the five-day bootcamp, youth participants will work with top performing artist educators to develop leadership skills through theater arts.

Dillon Diering and Sarah Overholt dance while the Tyson James Band performs during the 45th Annual Moose Pass Summer Solstice Festival in Moose Pass, Alaska, on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘We’re about community’

Moose Pass throws 45th annual Summer Solstice Festival

This summer salad is sweet and refreshing, the perfect accompaniment to salty meat and chips. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Fueling happy memories

Fresh salad accompanies an outdoors Father’s Day meal

File
Minister’s Message: The way life will be

“Is this the way it was all meant to be? Is this what God had in mind when He created us?”

Photo provided by Art We There Yet
José Luis Vílchez and Cora Rose with their retired school bus-turned-art and recording studio.
‘It’s all about people’

Traveling artists depict Kenai Peninsula across mediums

Promotional Photo courtesy Pixar Animation/Walt Disney Studios
In Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Fear (voice of Tony Hale) and Disgust (voice of Liza Lapira) aren’t sure how to feel when Anxiety (voice of Maya Hawke) shows up unexpectedly. Directed by Kelsey Mann and produced by Mark Nielsen, “Inside Out 2” releases only in theaters Summer 2024.
On the Screen: ‘Inside Out 2’ a bold evolution of Pixar’s emotional storytelling

Set only a year after the events of the first film, “Inside Out 2” returns viewers to the inner workings of pre-teen Riley

Calvin Fair, in his element, on Buck Mountain, above Chief Cove on Kodiak Island, in October 1986. His hunting partner and longtime friend Will Troyer captured this image while they were on one of the duo’s annual deer-hunting trips. (Photo courtesy of the Fair Family Collection)
The Road Not Taken: A tribute to my father’s career choice

For the first 40 years of my life, I saw my father professionally as a dentist. Period.

Edward Burke is ordained a transitional deacon by Archbishop Andrew E. Bellisario at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo provided by Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church)
Kenai’s Catholic Church hosts diaconate ordination

The event was attended by roughly 300 people, nearly a dozen priests and deacons and the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau

Rhubarb custard cake is ready to be baked. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Rhubarb and running to lift the spirits

Frozen rhubarb just won’t do for this tart and beautiful custard cake, so pick it fresh wherever you can find it

Most Read