Growing up one of my favorite birthday traditions was that the birthday boy/girl got to pick their favorite meal for dinner. Sometimes we went out to a restaurant or sometimes my mom whipped up a great meal and always an awesome birthday treat. Yesterday was my dad’s birthday, and in honor of it I’m sharing the meal he asks for every single year for his birthday, for Father’s Day, and any dad related day of the year: my family’s lasagna!

Ingredients

2 lb Italian sausage, bulk pork, or ground beef (I always use ground beef)
2 clove minced garlic
2 T chopped parsley
2 T basil
1 ½ tsp salt
4 C tomatoes (I used 2 of the 28 oz peeled, crushed tomato cans.)
24 oz tomato paste
10 oz lasagna noodles
24-30 oz large-curd cream style cottage cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it)
2 beaten eggs
½ tsp pepper
2 T chopped parsley
½ C grated Parmesan cheese
10 oz Mozzarella cheese slices

Directions

Step 1: Brown Meat Slowly and drain.
Step 2: Add garlic, parsley, basil, salt, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Simmer uncovered until thick, roughly 1 hour stirring occasionally.
Step 3: Cook noodles in boiling salted water till tender, drain, rinse in cold water.
*Rachel’s tip–I used the ready to cook lasagna noodles so I can skip this step! 🙂
Step 4: Combine cottage cheese with beaten eggs, pepper, parsley, and Parmesan cheese.
Step 5: Assemble– Place ½ the noodles in a 13X9X2 baking dish, spread half the cottage cheese mixture over, add ½ the mozzarella cheese, and then ⅓ the meat mixture. Repeat layers. (You won’t use all the meat sauce while assembling the lasagna because I make enough extra to cook once, eat twice by using it for spaghetti and sauce for later in the week or make a second lasagna and throw it in the freezer.

Bake at 375 F for roughly 30 minutes or 170 F internal temp. (My oven is almost 30 years old so it takes closer to 45 min)

Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Top with Parmesan cheese to taste and serve!

*Serves 12

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