BBQ Chili Cheese Lasagna

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I used to be a leftover hater.

Then again, I also used to be a childless, married woman working a .75 high school teaching position.

It’s funny how being a mother changes everything.

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Though even when I was at home on maternity leave, I’d still complain to my husband when we had so many leftovers that I had no reason to cook supper. Such is my absolute obsession with food.

When that glorious year was up, my tune changed. As a working mother, I started cooking huge meals just so I could go a couple nights a week without that responsibility on top of all the others, and have a little more time to spend with my growing girl.

It’s nice, though, when you can find a new way of using up the same old leftovers. There are certain things that are so easy to make a big batch of, but get so boring so quickly — mind you, at this point in my life, I’ll take a little boredom over one more thing on my plate during the week.

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My mom never made lasagna with cottage cheese. My family does not do cottage cheese. To be honest, when I was in high school, we were served lasagna with cottage cheese at our Christmas banquet one year and I thought it was popcorn. I think it was even a couple years after that that I realized what it really was.

Don’t be alarmed if, like me, you hate the texture of cottage cheese. I puree mine, and it adds a little extra cheesiness. Feel free to leave it whole though, if you’re into that kind of thing.

I had my husband make a big batch of this chili in the slow cooker one night this week, and then made this lasagna for the next night’s supper while I had a bit more free time.

This lasagna is cheesy, meaty, barbeque goodness. It’s so easy to make ahead and  could easily be stuck in the freezer for a few months to eat on day down the road when you’re short on time. I stock my freezer up with lasagna any time I have a few extra days off of work. It’s one thing we could eat every day of the week and not get sick of.

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BBQ Chili Cheese Lasagna

Yield: 1 huge batch of chili and one 9x13" Chili Cheese Lasagna

Hearty lasagna made new again with BBQ Chili and Cheddar Cheese -- put those leftovers to good use!

Ingredients

    For the chili:
  • 3lbs grounds beef
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cans red kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 28oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flake
  • salt, to taste
  • For the lasagna
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup 1% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

Instructions

    For the chili
  1. Brown your ground beef with your onions in a pan.
  2. Add the beef, onions and all your seasonings to the slow cooker and let it cook on low for at least 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4. *NOTE: If you follow the recipe measurements, you will have about double the amount you need for the lasagna. I do this because I like to get two separate meals out of one. Feel free to halve the recipe, or stick the rest in the freezer for a busy day.
  3. For the lasagna:
  4. Cook your noodles in boiling, salted water until just al dente (they will continue to cook in the oven). Cool them down in cold water so they're easy to handle.
  5. Puree your cottage cheese with the 1/2 tsp minced garlic.
  6. Assembly:
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Lay down a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan to keep the noodles from sticking. Lay down 3 noodles. Top with a thin layer of cottage cheese and a layer of chili. Sprinkle with a bit of cheese. Repeat 4 times. Top with remaining cheese.
  9. Cover with tin foil sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Remove tin foil and broil 1-2 minutes until golden brown.

Notes

This lasagna can be frozen for up to 6 months before serving -- cover tightly with foil and stick in the freezer before baking. Thaw overnight or add an extra 30 minutes to the bake time to bake from frozen.

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Adapted from Kraft.

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