Guest Cook: Christie Sal and her Pizzagn

 As I do with all my guest cooks, I have a fun questionaire that I ask each to answer. It’s just fun to get to know the personality of our Guest Cooks. This month’s cook Christie Sal has her own freezer blog Keeza’s Freezer Meals. Please go check out some of the fabulous recipes she shares on it.

Christie’s Favorites

Movie: My most recent favorite is “The Time Travelor’s Wife” It’s a great representation of the book. Even my husband loved it because it’s a little science fiction.Dessert: My manager makes these awesome brownies with chocolate chips in them. They are soooo goey and rich. When you eat them you forget you’re in a very long meeting. Whenever the computers go down at work we call her at home and demand “downtime brownies”. They make everything all better.Vacation Spot: I once went to Mackinac Island for a day and it was so beautiful. I would love to return and spend a whole week there. The island has no cars, just horses and bicycles. It has panoramic views of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. It was amazing!Hobby: I love to scrapbook. The paper, the ribbon, my cricut expression…It’s a great creative outlet.Her claim to fame: I am famous in my family for my salsa recipes. I have a traditional red salsa and a black bean and corn salsa that make my family go nuts!If I got to spend 1 month on a beautiful tropical island all by myself, what 3 things would I take with me: A murder mystery novel, a gallon of sunblock and my camera. I am fair skinned, practical and would love to scrapbook my island adventure! Christie shares her thoughts on “batch cooking” 

 I have done some research into freezer cooking and I learned that the best description for the type of cooking that I do is called batch cooking. Batch cooking is doubling and tripling recipes so that you have one meal to eat tonight, and two others to put in the freezer for later in the month or next month. So instead of prepping and rolling twelve enchiladas, I will prep and roll 36 enchiladas and freeze the extras. Then next month I put a frozen pan of chicken enchiladas in the fridge to thaw and while I am at work my husband pops the pan in the oven and Viola! Dinner! No McDonalds, no Pizza Hut, just my food made from scratch. If you were to do this a few nights a week for a month, you could have your freezer stocked with meals for upcoming weeks. If you hear that a friend needs to have surgery, or a baby came early, you can run to the freezer and bring over a meal ready to be baked or reheated on the stovetop.

I love making Lasagna for dinner. It takes me about an hour to prep and assemble, which is time consuming. But the reward is that we get three delicious meals that easily serve four people. This lasagna features any of your favorite pizza toppings. Mine are green peppers, onion and sausage. My husband loves ham and mushrooms. Let’s call this Pizzagna!
Christie’s Pizzagna

Ingredients:  (cost estimates next to ingredients)2 cans/jars pasta sauce 2.001 lb lasagna noodles 1.6824 oz Ricotta cheese 2.981 egg .141lb Italian sausage 1.81 (I got a great deal!)1 green pepper .741 medium onion .21turkey pepperoni 2.0016 oz shredded Mozzarella 4.23Directions:Set a pot of water to boil over high heat. The noodles take by far the longest thing to prep so start them as soon as possible. In another pan over medium heat, brown the Italian sausage.In a medium sized mixing bowl stir the Ricotta cheese with beaten egg. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Mix well. Set aside.Chop your vegetables and set aside in a medium bowl. Once the sausage is browned, drain it and add to the bowl of vegetables.Boil the lasagna noodles for 10 minutes, drain and set aside. Now you are ready to assemble. I like to make my lasagna in 3 bread pans. If you have a large family you can make one 9×13″ pan with this recipe. Make sure to use a deep pan so this one doesn’t boil over in your oven.This is my counter with all my bowls and containers ready to assemble my three bread pan lasagnas. On the left is my bowl of pizza toppings. Then Ricotta, egg, salt and pepper in the bowl just to the right. Next are my cans of sauce with a big spoon. The open bag of shredded cheese. And lastly my colander in the sink with 12 lasagna noodles.First put 1/2 cup of pasta sauce in the bottom of each pan. Next cut two noodles to fit in each pan.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce in each pan. Spread half of your bowl of pizza toppings between the three pans. This is approximately 1/6 of your bowl in each pan.

Spoon 1/6 of your Ricotta mixture in each pan. Top with a good handful of shredded Mozzarella.

Place two noodles cut to fit in each pan. Top with 1/2 cup of pasta sauce, the rest of the pizza toppings, the last of the Ricotta and a good handful of cheese. I use the trimmed ends from the 12 lasagna noodles to make one last layer of pasta.

Top with remaining sauce and Mozzarella.

Now cover with foil and label.

You will need to bake at 375 degrees for 60 minutes. One can go in the oven tonight for dinner and the other two can go in the freezer. Please thaw two days in the fridge before baking.

I challenge you to make this lasagna with all your favorite pizza toppings. From spinach to tomatoes, and from Canadian bacon to pineapple.I was able to make three pans of lasagna for $5.26 each.Enjoy!Christie aka Keeza

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