Beef & Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant is the hidden vegetable in this  terrific meaty lasagna; make two, one for now and one for later. Make two, freeze one
What do you do when you encounter foods that you DON’T like? I’m asking , because I sometimes face this situation. Take for instance, theseIMG_2417

American globe eggplants. They are, to my eyes, lovely.  But to my taste buds, not so much.  I don’t care for their spongy texture.  So I follow the  advice I give parents of children who dislike vegetables: keep on trying, but  prepare them different ways. Today, I’m taking  eggplant outside of where we’ve ever been.  First, I ‘m thinnly slicing them lengthwise, then roasting to get a roasty charry goodness going. Now, into my lasagna… btw I am making two because if I’m going to the trouble of making lasagna, I ‘m going to get an extra meal in the freezer for that day when I don’t want to cook.  Talk about a #twoforone, this month’s Recipe Redux theme just happens to be: Fantastic Freezer Meals.  September is the  perfect time to remind those of us with gardens and  those who chose to eat according to the seasons, that tomatoes, summer squash, corn and eggplant are starting to fade.  If you want to enjoy the bounty of summer longer, use them in dishes you can freeze for later. Here is the result of my lasagna made with my  not so favorite summer vegetable.. and the taste testing begins..IMG_2462

Can you hear my sigh of relief over the internet? It  tastes as good as it looks! Be sure to visit the links at the bottom of this post to find more recipe ideas for heat -and -eat freezer meals.

 

Beef and Eggplant Lasagna

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (make 2 pans of lasagna, each pan 6 servings)

  • 3 pounds eggplant, thinnly sliced lengthwise (1/4 inch)
  • cooking spray
  • coarse salt and ground peppger
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2/3 cup fresh basil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 10 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 16 oven ready lasagna noodles
  • 2 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Arrange sliced eggplant on a single layer on 2 sheets pans. Spray  both sides using cooking spray  and season with salt and pepper. Roast the eggplant until it is soft and golden. Turn slices halfway through, about 15 minutes. Let sheet cool on a wire rack.

3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet coated with cooking spray, add beef and cook, stirring occassionally until no longer pink. Add basil, oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Turn oven down to 375 degrees F. Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of an 8 inch baking dish. Top with 2 noodles. Layer with one quarter of the beef, then 1 cup sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Top with 2 more noodles, one quarter of the  eggplant, 1 cup sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers with the remaining ingredients, reserving the last 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover lasagna loosely with foil and and bake on top rack until sauce bubbles, 35-40 minutes. (Place a rimmed baking sheet on middle rack to catch any drippings.) Remove lasagna from oven and heat broiler. Sprinkled with reserved Parmesan and broil until cheese is browned and bubbling, 3 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before slicing.

For second lasagna: Line an 8 inch baking dish with non-stick heavy duty foil allowing several inches to extend over sides. Prepare lasagna as direct above but DO NOT BAKE. Remove lasagna from baking dish by holding edges of foil and lifting out of pan. Fold foil over lasagna and wrap with additional foil, making sure it is tightly sealed to keep air out. Freeze for up to one month.

TO BAKE SECOND LASAGNA: Remove from the freezer. Take out of foil wrap and place in an 8 inch baking dish coated wtih cooking spray. Cover and thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bake, covered, in a 375 degree oven for about one hour or until heated through and sauce begins to bubble.

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