My friend Vanessa first introduced me to this recipe. I remember the first time I made it, having left her house with a plastic baggie of cottage cheese because it was the one ingredient I'd forgotten to purchase.
The version of the recipe I use is slightly different than hers, though I can't remember why. This recipe comes from SparkPeople, a fantastic website that helped to whip me into shape and lose a significant amount of weight. While these instructions call for a pound of ground beef, I opted to use a frozen soy crumble meat substitute in honor of Meatless Monday.
After trying many, many brands of no-boil lasagna noodles, I would suggest using Barilla. I found that other brands were either a disaster to break apart (shards of uncooked pasta in your eye, anyone?) or were still quite hard at the end of the cook time.
1 lb lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced (or 2 tsp jarred garlic)
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/4 cup water
8 oz tomato sauce
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups broken up no-boil lasagna noodles
1 cup fat free cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese for garnish
1. In a large skillet, brown beef with onions and garlic. Drain. Add tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt. Stir in uncooked pasta. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender.
2. Combine cottage and Parmesan cheeses. Mix in egg. Sprinkle in basil and pepper to taste. Drop cheese mixture by rounded tablespoons onto pasta mixture. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and serve.
The Verdict: Not my favorite recipe, but it's tasty and easy to make. A lot less hassle than an old-fashioned lasagna.
The original recipe calls for fat free Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. If that turns you on, go for it. I'm actually realizing while writing this that I forgot the mozzarella, period. Funny thing in my house: it's hard to tell what in the fridge is for a recipe and what's not. My poor husband is constantly being attacked for eating "ingredients." We've devised a system that anything that's for a recipe has a neon sticker on it. Seriously. Guess I can take the sticker off the cheese!