Comfort food that warms a girl from the inside out ... Lasagna

I stumbled across a lasagna recipe a few years ago. Instead of using cottage or ricotta cheese, you use cream of mushroom soup. It's still very creamy and the mushroom soup adds great flavor.

I add some Italian cheese to the soup mix and the last time I made it I added some kale to the meat and veggie mix, I had planned on spinach but I had kale on hand, it turned out great.

I also mix some ground pork sausage with the ground turkey, but you can just use one meat if you prefer.

I do purchase spaghetti sauce, but I am considering starting to make my own in the future. I watch Tia Mowry at Home on the Cooking Channel and she has a very simple recipe for homemade sauce.

1.5 lbs of ground turkey
.5 lb of ground pork sausage
1 green pepper (chopped)
1 red pepper (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
Garlic (fresh, from a jar, or garlic powder works)
1/2 cup chopped spinach or kale
1 can of low sodium cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup of milk
2 - 8 oz. packages of shredded Italian cheese
9 lasagna noodles
Two jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (or your homemade sauce if you like)
Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper

Cook lasagna noodles in over stove in boiling water until soft (I have tried the noodles that you don't pre-boil, but I'm never satisfied with how they turn out.)

While the noodles are cooking, saute vegetables and garlic in a pan for about 7 to 10 minutes on medium heat until they soften. Add the meat to the vegetable mixture and cook all the way through. Add the salt, pepper, and seasoning to the mix. Drain the meat to remove excess grease. Add half the sauce to the meat and veggie mixture and cook for about 5 minutes.

In a medium size bowl, mix the cream of mushroom soup, 3/4 of a bag of cheese, and the milk.

Spray the lasagna pan with non-stick spray and spoon a little sauce in the bottom. Lay 3 noodles flat in the bottom of the lasagna pan. Spread half of the soup mix on the noodles, then layer half of the meat and veggie mixture on top. Next, layer 3 more noodles on top and repeat with the rest of the soup mix and then rest of the meat and veggie mix. Layer the last 3 noodles on top. Cover the noodles with the rest of the spaghetti sauce and cover with the rest of the Italian Cheese.

When baking, I often place a cookie sheet under the lasagna pan so that it doesn't slop in the oven. I also cook on the bottom rack in the oven so the cheese bakes to a golden brown and doesn't get too dark.

Bake for 45 minutes on 350.

I think lasagna is best the next day, sometimes I will make it a day ahead. I also like to do a variation and make lasagna rolls. For the rolls you do everything the same but when you get to the layering, you just do one noodle at a time and once you place the mixes on the noodle, you roll it. Then you cover all the rolls with sauce.

More to come from the mind of ...

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