There are pros and cons to still being a student. One con is that I still have homework (booo), but a great pro is I still get a spring break. Spring breaaaaaaaaaaak! Now, my spring breaks have never been wild enough to elicit all those “a”s. Instead, they are really a time to relax and recuperate. It’s been a stressful semester, which means I need comfort food and lots of it.
What is the one dish that makes you think of home? The meal that brings up memories of gathering around the dinner table after a long day of school followed by watching way too many preteen television shows while snacking on potato chips. Mine is my mom’s lasagna. It was a rare treat since it took a long bake time and was best saved for those few cold days we had in Houston. One bite of this lasagna causes immediate relaxation and comfort. A perfect meal for anyone who is feeling a little stress.
For the Tomato Sauce:
30 ounces tomato sauce (Contadina is our preferred brand)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
For the Tomato Sauce:
Combine tomato sauce, oregano, parsley, basil, and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, uncovered. Continue to simmer for 45-60 minutes until thickened. Keep warm.
For the Lasagna:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown sausage and cook until cooked through. Drain off grease if needed. Stir sausage into tomato sauce.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles one minute shorter than al dente according to package directions. Drain and cover with cold water. (A helpful tip from my mom is to cook an extra lasagna noodle in case on breaks while cooking . And you can snack on it while the lasagna bakes if you don’t need it).
Mix cottage cheese, oregano, and parsley in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spread a small amount of tomato sauce (with no sausage) on the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top. Spread about half of the tomato sauce on top. Spread dollops of 1 cup of cream cheese on top. Layer half of the mozzarella on top. Layer 3 more lasagna noodles on top. Spread remaining tomato sauce on top, reserving about 1/4 cup. Dollop remaining cottage cheese and mozzarella on top. Top with remaining lasagna noodles. Spread remaining tomato sauce on top.
Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand at least 15 minutes. Cut and serve.