Planning to celebrate Groundhog day this year? Since it’s not a bank holiday and most are expected to attend school and work, a make-ahead dish is definitely called for. Celebrate this holiday with an Italian flair by serving Make-Ahead Three-Color Lasagna. It’s not only beautiful, it is delicious.
A proper main dish for Groundhog Day is, of course, one containing “ground hog,” which can be in the form of sausage or ground pork; this year’s special dish is a scrumptious lasagna with layers in the colors of the Italian flag: white, green, and red. The white layer is actually a béchamel sauce made easily and quickly from the versatile Basic Cream Soup Mix. The green layer is made with spinach and ricotta, and the red layer contains the traditional ground hog as well as red spaghetti sauce – either homemade or bottled.
To save even more time, Italian Meat Mix can be substituted for the fresh Italian sausages and ground pork – it contains both, and if it’s already in the freezer, can be combined with two bottles of spaghetti sauce to form the red layer.
This colorful lasagna can be served anytime, and the fact that it can be made ahead and either refrigerated or frozen, will make the cook just as happy as those who are lucky enough to eat it. Serve it with crusty fresh bread and a healthy green salad.
1/2 pound hot Italian Sausages
1/2 pound mild Italian pork sausage
1/2 pound ground pork
2 26 oz. jars spaghetti sauce, or the equivalent amount of homemade sauce
1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup dehydrated onion flakes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups water
1 3/4 cups basic Cream Soup Mix
1 9 oz. package oven ready lasagna pasta
3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Red Layer: Remove the casings from the sausages, place them in a skillet with the ground pork, and brown, stirring often to break up the meat.
- When brown, drain thoroughly and mix with the spaghetti sauce.
- Green Layer: thaw the spinach, place it in a fine strainer, and press as much liquid as possible from it.
- Place it in a bowl with the remaining ingredients.
- White Layer: Whisk together the water and basic cream soup mix; microwave until boiling, stirring every 2-3 minutes. Alternately, stir over medium heat in a saucepan on the stove top until thickened.
- Assembly: Spread a small amount of red sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13" baking dish.
- Cover with lasagna pasta, breaking it in pieces to cover the bottom of the dish.
- Spread half of the red sauce over the pasta.
- Pour and spread 1/2 of the white sauce over the red sauce; sprinkle 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese over.
- Add another layer of pasta.
- Spread the green layer evenly over the pasta and top with a layer of pasta.
- Spread the remaining red sauce over the pasta, pour and spread the remaining white sauce over the red sauce, and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese over the top. At this point, the casserole can be covered and refrigerated for up to two days before baking. For longer storage, wrap tightly in foil and freeze for up to two months; remove from the freezer several hours to thaw before baking.
- Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven and let sit 15 minutes before cutting into 12 squares.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 425 Calories from Fat 210
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 49% Protein 22% Carb. 29%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 23 g
Saturated Fat 11 g
Cholesterol 79 mg
Sodium 1235 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 23 g
Vitamin A 54% Vitamin C 29% Calcium 0% Iron 10%