For the Love of School Nutrition – Lasagna Recipe

It’s February and that means it’s the month made for love!

….the LOVE of food that is….

Or, more specifically, the love of school nutrition.  Our School for the loveNutrition programs across the country have really taken a hit to our already historically widespread negative image mostly as a result of school Nutrition Standards changing over these past couple of years. It’s no secret that students across the U.S. protested these changes.  Didn’t know about this??  See one of the stories HERE.

While the standards continue to change, I am proud that my district adheres to the strict standards all while striving to provide the best tasting recipes within the guidelines allotted. (Learn more about the Guidelines)

I’m a huge advocate of having a cooked-from-scratch recipe, if at all possible, on the menu each day as a choice.  Why? Because our students of today may never have a chance to eat a home cooked meal.  By no means any fault of the parents — it’s just the way our world has evolved over the years.  We are so much more on the go than we were even just 10 years ago.   We barely have time to ourselves anymore, let alone cook a meal for our family on a regular basis.

School Nutrition programs are in a position to help expose and teach these kiddos to some traditional, home-style cooking, and that’s exciting!  I had the pleasure this past week, while on site for a training assignment, to cook our Lasagna from scratch for lunch that day. (I’ll share a condensed-for-home recipe below)

This is the beginning part of the recipe – making the sauce in the Tilt Skillet.

tilt skillet

Next, we assemble the layers – sauce, noodles, sauce, noodles, cheese, repeat:

prep

I got by with some help from a coworker! Thanks, Rita!!

cheese

Adding the middle cheese layer

oven ready

Ready to go in the oven. Cheese is last ingredient before going in the pass through warmer.

Now, it cooks.  This is the Combi Oven where we are cooking it on a combination mode of convection hot air and steam. By combining the conditions of steamer cooking and the efficiency of convection baking, this keeps the food evenly cooked while retaining moisture throughout.

Cooking

Cooks approximately 20 – 25 minutes, which halves the traditional convection alone cooking time.

While it’s cooking, the Food Service Assistants are busy getting the rest of the meal ready, like our very tasty Caesar Side Salad.

ceasar salad

Dishing up the salad for the service line. The kiddos gobble this up!!

And finally – the best part – the finished product, nicely plated and ready to be consumed!!  YUM!!

plated

Doesn’t this just look scrumptious?? …and I’m not biased because I made it!!  I promise!! With our delicious Caesar Side Salad, Fresh Cut Fruit, and cold 1% Milk, this meal is filling and very enjoyable!

–By sharing my school recipes and stories, I hope to dispel myth that ALL school lunches are “slop” or “mysterious”.  Fall in love with school lunches!! —

Try this recipe at home for your family!

For the Love of School Nutrition – Lasagna Recipe

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 10 - 12

Serving Size: 1 Cup

For the Love of School Nutrition – Lasagna Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 Small Onion, diced
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Parsley Flakes
  • 1 28 oz. Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz Tomato Paste
  • 2 can-fulls water (from paste can)
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Basil
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 Tsp Marjoram
  • 1/4 Tsp Thyme
  • 16 oz. package Lasagna
  • 1 8 oz Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 8 oz Mozzarella Cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Brown ground beef in a frying pan.
  3. Stir in onions once beef starts browning.
  4. Once the onions start turning clear in color, add all the spices and seasonings.
  5. Stir the mixture well to coat all the beef.
  6. Add the dice tomatoes, tomato paste, and water.
  7. Stir until well mixed.
  8. Let sauce heat to boiling, uncovered.
  9. While sauce is heating, mix the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses together.
  10. Remove sauce from heat once it reaches boiling.
  11. Spray a 2 1/2 quart-sized baking dish with cooking spray.
  12. Assemble Lasagna as follows:
  13. Spread a 1/2 cup of sauce on bottom of cooking dish.
  14. Layer 1/2 of the lasagna noodles lengthwise in dish
  15. Pour 1 cup of sauce over noodles
  16. Sprinkle 1/2 cheese mixture over sauce (Save the remaining cheese for closer to the end of the baking time)
  17. Layer remaining noodles crosswise over the cheese
  18. Pour remaining sauce over the noodles. (add a little water if needed)
  19. Place assembled lasagna into preheated oven and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees for 15 seconds.
  20. Add remaining cheese in last 10 minutes of cooking.
  21. Serve with a Caesar side salad and a fruit of your choice!
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