Make Ahead Meatless Lasagna

or a simple comfort food delight

So, I missed February.  It was a short month, it just kind of sneaked right past me, very ninja like as a matter of fact, I was powerless to stop it... In summary - I am sorry.  And I am going to try to make it up to you in a single, short post.  A delicious post.  A post that defines my cooking as of late - ready made comfort food.  I hope you accept my cheese covered, carb filled, olive branch - make ahead lasagna.

I have been making lasagna for year and never put it together for a post because I always felt it was pretty straight forward and what I considered a "Sunday night dinner" since it was difficult to do after work during the week.  Since my focus has been on slow cooker and make ahead meals for the past few months, my perspective on lasagna has changed quite drastically and I have taken the time to finesse my recipe a bit.  The most recent addition is a single layer of provolone in the middle, I think this adds a nice depth to the flavor without overpowering the rest of the dish.  Last night my husband declared this recipe as the best yet, and for him that is saying a lot.  Check it out, I hope you enjoy it as much as he did!

lasagna noodles (9 or more if needed for larger dish)*
15 oz ricotta cheese (1 tub)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices of provolone cheese
1 egg (or equivalent of egg substitute)
2 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp oregano
3 tbsp Italian bread crumbs

Hardware: soup pot, rectangular glass baking dish

Preheat oven to 350 F

1. Bring water to a boil and cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain and rinse so they are cooler to handle, set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and raw egg (scrambled).  once thoroughly combined add in the spices and mix well.

3. Spread about 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.  Layer 3 lasagna noodles across the bottom (they should touch and not leave too much space), top with half of the cheese mixture, smooth another 1/2 cup of sauce over the layer.  Add a second layer of noodles, remaining cheese mixture, the slices of provolone, then a half cup of sauce.  Add the final layer of noodles, then the remaining sauce, sprinle breadcrumbs evenly over the sauce, top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.

- at this point it can be refrigerated or frozen if prepping as a make ahead meal, if freezing remember to remove from freezer the night before cooking for adequate thaw time -

4. Bake covered for 45 min.  Then remove the foil for the remaining 10 min to melt the cheese.  Take out and allow to rest for 10-15 min before serving.

* you can use "no boil" noodles instead provided you aren't freezing it and it is much faster prep, it does tend to be a tad more watery with them in my experience though

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