Beef Lasagna

I remember growing up, my brother would painstakingly prepare lasagna for the family. This time around, it is my turn to make my own for the family. I don't have the family recipe with me so I decided to check different typed of beef lasagna recipes until I decided to get bits and pieces for other recipes and combine what I think was do-able for my version. The verdict: Mom's friends loved it. :D.

The Ingredients:
Meat Sauce:
2 lbs. lean ground beef (or 1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef with 1/4 lb. lean ground pork)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white onion, minced
1/2 cup tomatoes, seeded, chopped finely
1/3 cup celery, minced
1/3 cup bell pepper, minced
4-6 cups tomato sauce
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/3 cup button mushrooms, sliced
1 to 2 tbsp. oregano or italian seasoning
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

White Sauce (Bechamel)
3 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. melted butter
1 carton of fresh milk
1/2 cup grates quick melt cheese
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

9 cooked lasagna noodles
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
3/4 - 1 cup grated cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, quick melt)

Cooking Procedure:
Meat Sauce:
Saute meat in a non-stick casserole pam until brown. Drain the meat of the oil. Leave 1 tbsp. oil and saute the garlic, onions, tomato, bell pepper, and celery until cooked through (about 3 minutes) over medium heat. Add drained beef into the pan and mix into vegetables. Pour in tomato sauce and paste and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Season the meat with salt, pepper, seasonings, sugar and add in the mushroom. Simmer again for another 3 minutes. Stir occasionally making sure the bottom doesn't stick. Season the sauce to taste and set it aside.

White Sauce:
Mix flour and butter to form a roux. Slowly pour milk while stirring continuously with a wire whisk to avoid lumps. Continue to stir milk and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the grated cheese, seasonings. Continue to simmer until the sauce is thick and easily falls out of the spoon. You may run a finger at the back of the spoon and when it comes out clean, you may set the sauce aside.

Pour a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of a pan. Layer with noodles, then pour an even layer of meat sauce. Then pour a thin layer of white sauce. Sprinkle with a few pinches of parsley. Layer again with noodles. Repeat the process again until there are three to four layers of noodles. On the last noodle layer, pour remaining meat sauce then white sauce. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and 3/4 cup cheese on top. Cover with aluminum foil. Broil lasagna in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, remove the foil and brown the cheese and white sauce.

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