Best Lasagna – Roasted Garlic

Amanda's Lasagna

Prep Time:  This took me all day, but it was fun.

Ingredients (approx):

  • Lasagna pasta
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. hot sausage
  • tomato paste or marinara sauce
  • two onions
  • green pepper
  • red pepper
  • carrot
  • two cloves of garlic (roasted)
  • baby bella mushrooms (1 package)
  • spinach (1 package)
  • fresh mozzarella (two packages)
  • parmigiano reggiano
  • oregano
  • black pepper
  • tomato paste
  • cream cheese
  • ricotta cheese
  • sofrito and recaito (not the end of the world)
  • milk and red wine (optional)

Roast two whole cloves of garlic and make sure to add plenty of olive oil 🙂  (Just in case here is a how to: Takes about an hour.

Chop one green pepper, one red pepper, two medium onions, and grate a medium carrot.

Pour olive oil from roasted garlic in a large saucepan and heat on medium low heat.  Add the peppers, onions, and carrot and cover.  Cook until onions are almost translucent.  Add chopped mushrooms.

In a separate pot, brown hot sausage and ground beef.  Drain well.  Add some sofrito and recaito to taste (if you can find them, usually in the ethnic or Latin food section, maybe frozen section too.  I use this in almost any ground beef I cook).  Add browned ground meat to chopped veggies.  You can add a little whole milk until it dissolves and then add a little red wine until the alcohol smell dissipates too if you would like.  Sprinkle in some oregano and black pepper to taste.

Start to boil some water with salt in a very large pot for your pasta.

In a separate sauce pan, add a package of cream cheese and a can of tomato paste (or two if you want.  You can also reserve enough to coat the bottom of your baking dish instead of using the meat sauce) and whisk until cream cheese liquifies.  Whisk in your roasted garlic until it is all combined.  Add to meat and veggie mixture.  Let that simmer on low while you chop a whole bag of spinach.

I wilted on my spinach in a big wok and then poured in my ricotta cheese until it was all mixed together.

Put your lasagne in your water and parboil for 3 minutes less than what the directions say.  Make sure to add a little olive oil so your pasta doesn’t stick together.

I like to get a package of fresh mozzarella and shred it or crumple it up.  Two packages would taste amazing, but I didn’t want mine to be too heavy this time.  12 to 16 ounces would probably be perfect.

So, I rubbed butter all over my baking dish and then put some of my tomato sauce to cover the bottom to help the pasta finish cooking and not stick.  Put a layer of pasta down, then one third of your meat sauce, then sprinkle with a third of your mozzarella. Then do your layer of ricotta and spinach.  Then do more pasta, another third of your meat sauce, another third of your mozzarella, and then pasta again.  Now do the remaining meat sauce and then mozzarella, but make sure that the top layer of noodles is completely covered (or else it will become really too hard and be so crunchy you can’t really eat it…learned that the hard way).  Then grate some good parmigiano reggiano  to cover the top of your dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or so until sauce is bubbly and top is golden brown.  If top still isn’t golden brown, turn heat up to 450 for about 5 minutes and move up to highest shelf possible.

Take out of oven and let set for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Next time I might add a chopped up fresh tomato and even a little minced jalapeno 🙂



Turkey Noodle Soup

So I carved my turkey from my previous recipe, and was left with my turkey carcass and made this amazing turkey noodle soup that is absolutely to-die-for!  I must share my recipe before I forgot what I did.

I tried to get as much of the scraps of meat off my turkey carcass as I could and reserved the good pieces for the soup.  I still left some skin  and stuff on the carcass to help flavor the soup.  I ended up breaking the carcass in half so I could fit it in my pan and not have too much liquid, and I put the drumstick bones back in the pot too.  I poured chicken broth over the carcass in my soup pot and added water until it was covered up.  Add a bay leaf, and onion cut in half, a carrot cut into big chunks, and some tyme.  I coved it and let it come to a boil, then uncovered and reduced to a simmer for just over an hour.

Once that was done, I took out my carcass with tongs and tried to strip it even more.  Kept the good stuff for the soup, and then left the other stuff for the dogs and threw the bones away.  Strain everything else in the pan and reserve the broth you made and throw away everything else.

Clean your soup pot out a little and put it back on the burner with some olive oilm a pad of butter, and a coup of the turkey drippings if you saved it.  Add two cloves of garlic smashed and then chopped up a little more.  Then add some chopped onion and a peeled and sliced carrot.  Cook over medium-low heat for about 7 minutes or carrots get a little tender.

Pour broth back into soup pan with onion and carrot mixture.  Add another bay leaf and bring to a low boil.  Add about 3/4 of a bag of wide egg noodles and a cubed potato and cook for 10 minutes.  Stir in the shredded turkey that you would like to add to the soup.  I used all the left over brown meat pieces, about 3/4 of a cup.  Remove pot from heat and cover and let sit 5 to 10 minutes and enjoy!

Pernil Style Turkey – Delicious!

So, I love Puerto Rican style cooking, and started with a recipe and have modified it over time and figured out a few things that make it a little better…


Start with your turkey. Fresh, of course, is better, but a thawed frozen turkey will also work fine if you leave yourself enough time to thaw it.

For the turkey rub, the original recipe calls for 2 parts mashed fresh garlic, 1 part course sea salt, 1 part course black pepper, and 1 part dried oregano and 1 packet of Sazon with achioto. It says that 1 part means one teaspoon per pound; so if you had a 10 pound turkey, that would be 20 teaspoons of mashed garlic and 10 teaspoons of the other ingredients.

So discard the turkey neck and other things inside the turkey. Rinse it and pat it dry. For my rub, I use a little under what the recipe calls for. For any turkey under 18 pounds, this should be enough. If it is larger, just add a teaspoon or so to each ingredient. Mashed garlic and pepper in a mortar and pestle would be best, but if you don’t have that kind of time, I usually use pre-minced garlic and ground pepper.

  • 15 tsp. of minced garlic in olive oil
  • 5 tsp. of course sea salt
  • 4 tsp. of Adobo
  • 5 tsp. of black pepper
  • 3 tsp. of white pepper
  • 9 tsp. of dried oregano
  • 1 packet of Sazon with Achioto
  • 1 tsp. of cumin
  • 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar

Sprinkle or rub straight Adobo all over the inside cavity of your turkey. Drizzle some olive oil over your dry turkey and massage it into the skin. With a small sharp knife, make some holes to inject some garlic and rub into the meat itself. Do about two holes on each breast, one in each thigh, and one in each drumstick. Push the knife in all the way to the bone four times in the shape of an ‘x’. You can stick your finger in the hole to make sure it is big enough. Also use your finger to separate the skin from the meat and create several small pockets, but still keeping some of the skin in tact so the skin still still be in tact when your are slicing the breast to serve.

Start by stuffing the rub into the holes you created. Then slice up a few garlic cloves longways and put one in each hole. Then massage your rub in the pockets you made under the skin of the turkey and leave some excess rub under the skin. Clumping the rub under the skin is ok. Now massage your rub all over the rest of the outside of your turkey. You should still have extra rub left over, which you can put into an airtight container for use the day you bake your turkey.

I simply use two extra plastic grocery bags and place my turkey in one bag, then place another back over it the opposite way and tie it up. Refrigerate it at least overnight or up to 3 days. I would say one or two nights is best and leaves your turkey very juicy.

The day you cook your turkey, take it out of the refrigerator early to let it become room temperature before baking. Once it is room temperature, take it out of the bags and rub the rest of your rub all over the turkey and just pat the rest of it on if you have a lot extra. I even take a few pads of cold butter and slice the pads into julienne like pieces of butter and stuff them into the holes that we carved and in the pockets under the skin. You can even put a few pads on top of the turkey.

Cut an onion in half and cut the top off of a whole clove of garlic and place inside the cavity of the turkey and then re-secure the legs to make sure they cook evenly. I also use toothpicks to attach the neck skin with the breasts and close up that cavity and attach the turkey wings to the breasts because I can never get them to sit under the turkey before I bake it.

I line my pan with tin foil for easier clean up. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake according to the attached schedule. I also tint my turkey with tin foil. It is also usually done on the earlier side of the time schedule, or a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. ( I love when my turkey comes with a pop up timer!) Remove tent for the last 30 minutes or so. I usually don’t check my turkey for at least two hours because it will make it take longer to cook the more times I open the oven. Hopefully you are getting some good drippings by the first time you check on the turkey. If not, you can baste some chicken broth over it and drizzle some olive oil over the top.

4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours

Once your turkey is done, let it sit out for a least a half an hour before you begin to carve it and discard the stuffing…and enjoy!!!

Original Recipe