I've had at least one person arrive at my blog every day for the last 2 weeks after searching for "Christmas Lasagna." I had no idea last year that this post would be so popular. I've even had a couple of e-mail requests for recipes.
Thus, without further ado, here's my recipe for Christmas Lasagna. (Do keep in mind that I'm not one of those people who measures everything exactly -- unless I'm making something finicky. Lasagna is not finicky.) (Also, this is not true lasagna, as I find working with true lasagna noodles to be irritating. This is fake lasagna or lasagna casserole. It's much easier.)
1) Cook about 16 oz. of your favorite macaroni and drain.
2) Mix 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. of freshly ground turkey breast with 1 to 2 teaspoons of Penzey's breakfast sausage seasoning. Then cook, chopping up the meat into bite-sized chunks, and drain.
3) Thaw and squeeze until nearly dry about 16 oz. of frozen spinach.
4) Mix 16 oz. of low-fat ricotta cheese with about 12 oz. of non-fat cottage cheese. Season with garlic, Penzey's pizza seasoning, and Penzey's black and red. (Add extra dried red peppers if you like it hot.)
1) Take a hefty 9"x 13" baking pan (the one I prefer is about 3" deep) and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2) Then cover the bottom with cooked macaroni -- no more than 1/2 an inch deep or the rest of the ingredients won't fit.
3) Layer the cooked turkey sausage over the macaroni.
4) Distribute blobs of the ricotta mixture evenly over the meat and macaroni. (You don't need to smooth it out; it will expand and melt as it cooks.)
5) Distribute the spinach over the top of the ricotta mixture.
6) Carefully pour 16 oz. of your favorite spaghetti sauce over the top of all, smoothing carefully with a spoon to cover the entire casserole.
7) Cut thin slices of sharp cheddar cheese and place on top of the sauce.
8) Refrigerate (covered) until ready to cook.
I have an older oven, but I find that baking this at 325 F. for 45 minutes to an hour is about right. If you have a newer, hotter oven -- especially if it's a convection oven -- cooking times may vary. Just keep checking on it. It's done when the top cheese is melty and when everything is gooey in the center.
Serve with a veggie tray and dips or a tossed salad.
Note: This can be made vegetarian (not vegan). Simply either delete the turkey altogether or use cooked, seasoned TVP for a meat flavor. (Don't use tofu.)