DJ Foodielow-carb, low carb, sugar free, sugar-free, gluten-free, gluten free, primal, paleo

Meat Lovers' Lasagna

Prep: 30 mins | Cook: 1 hr | Total: 1 hr 30 mins | Servings:12..

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Meat Lovers' Lasagna
Meat Lovers' Lasagna
Meat Lovers' Lasagna
After a really long stretch (3 weeks, which is super long in "DJ Years") of super clean eating, including zero grains, no dairy and no Frankenfoods, I celebrated with a gigantic bowl of Pasta à la Stuff in DJ's Fridge. This divine bowl of yum was FILLED with cream and pasta. It was everything I could ever want in an overflowing bowl of chow and more!

Then ... the next day ... the "more" part of that equation hit me. WOAH!

Having been eating so clean, I think my body simply didn't know how to handle all the wheat, whether it be shrouded in a fiber matrix, or not! I don't want to put grotesque images in your mind. Nothing like that occurred, but what I experienced was nothing short of a brief bout of lunacy and befuddling indecision. The next morning, I awoke with a splitting headache, not unlike that of a horrendous hangover. Added to that was a sense of deep fog, a little sadness, enormous confusion and overwhelming hunger. This was the kind of hunger that had no end. Oh ... I was in trouble!

This isn't a "Dreamfield's Pasta will make you crazy" recipe. That stuff is absolutely delicious and filled a necessary void in my life, at one time. I believe it has its place in the world. However, years later, as I lose weight, gain health and learn more ... I continue experimenting; trying to clean and refine the foods I eat.

This recipe still has a lot of dairy, but it is also completely wheat free. Sheets of lasagna would definitely work within this recipe, but ... so did my crepes! In fact, as I was eating this, and sharing it with friends, I asked them if they felt like they were eating something OTHER than lasagna. NONE of them batted a lash. It was lasagna, in every way they know.

I agreed. It was SOOOO GOOD, TOO!

Chicken Note: It's my understanding that you can buy scaloppini style chicken breasts in many supermarkets. I'm in the habit of slicing and pounding my own. If you can't find it at the store, you can ask the butcher, or pound your own. To do this, cut a chicken breast in half, as if you're butterflying it. Cut it all of the way through. Then place each half between two pieces of saran wrap and whack at it with a meat mallet, the back of your knife, or the bottom of a pan. You want to pound it thinner and wider, until it's about 1/4-inch thick.

. .
IngredientsCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
1 1/2 lbs (681g)  chicken breasts, scaloppini style809.3320.7144.890000
1 tbsp (13.5g)  olive oil119.3813.500000
1 lb (454g)  ground beef115390.877.180000
1 lb (454g)  raw italian sausage (recipe)1564140644004
1 26-oz jar (737g)  low carb pasta sauce (Buy Now) 42030123612024
3 cups (300g)  parmesan cheese, grated and divided into 2 parts129387114120012
1 cup (246g)  ricotta cheese, whole milk42832287007
2 large (100g)  whole eggs14310131001
2 lb (908g)  whole milk low-moisture mozzarella, grated22401601600000
15 each (752g)  all purpose ricotta crepes (recipe)14048480120012
salt and pepper, to taste0000000
Totals (of 12 Servings):9573.71668g693.07g72g12g0g60g
Per Serving:797.8155.67g57.76g6g1g0g5g *

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Season your thinly sliced chicken with salt and pepper, then coat with olive oil.
  3. Pre-heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Once it is hot, add your chicken pieces, in one layer (may need to do in 2 or 3 batches). Cook for about 90 seconds on one side, then flip and cook the other side until the chicken is cooked. Remove it and set aside.
  4. When all the chicken is cooked, add your ground beef to the pan and brown it with a little salt and pepper, then set aside.
  5. Next, sauté the Italian sausage. If it's in a casing, cut one end of each sausage, then squeeze the sausage out of its casing. Break the meat up in the pan. The fat from the meat should be enough to keep it from sticking. When it is cooked, set it aside.
  6. In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs and half of the grated parmesan. Mix, then divide into 4 rough sections in the bowl.
  7. Spray the bottom of a 13 X 9 inch pan. Add a small amount of sauce to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Place 3 crepes on the bottom of the pan.
  9. Evenly spread one-quarter of the sauce mixture over the crepes.
  10. Evenly spread your ground beef over the sauce.
  11. Evenly spread one-quarter of the ricotta mixture over the beef.
  12. Evenly spread one-quarter of the shredded mozzarella over the ricotta mixture.
  13. Place 3 more lasagna noodles above the mozzarella.
  14. Repeat these steps, layering the lasagna, next with the chicken and then the Italian sausage, until all the crepes have been used.
  15. On top of the final 3 crepes, spread the remainder of the sauce, ricotta mixture, the rest of the mozzarella and finally, the remainder of the grated parmesan cheese.
  16. Bake at 350° F for about an hour, or until cooked through and nice and browned on the top.
  17. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 20 minutes, prior to slicing and serving.

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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition ...

Comments

Should you make the ricotta crepes without sweetener?  

 Nutmeg  3/14/2016

 Reply

I've made this and served it the same day, and it was wonderful!  My question to you is...can this be made ahead or would the crepes deteriorate?  

 JoAnne  12/20/2015

 Reply

---Reply posted by DJ on 12/21/2015
Hi JoAnne, I'm not sure! Do you mean ... as leftovers or to freeze? In general, there will always be a drop in quality over time, especially through freezing, but ... if you chill it quickly, freeze well (I cut into cold bricks, plastic wrap and then vacuum pack), and then defrost gently in the fridge for a day, you should be fine. Again, some loss in quality, but still QUITE delicious and good to have on-hand. I hope this helps! :-)

I guess my question is is it needed for layering. Are the crepes enough on their own? Also can you use your fork and just slice through the lasagna like normal or are the crepes to hard to do that? I'll probably just try a small batch and see

 cheryl  6/14/2015

 Reply

---Reply posted by DJ on 6/14/2015
Hi Cheryl, it's tough to really answer these questions as you and I are coming from different places and may have different expectations. Typically in a traditional lasagna, the noodles will swell and form a large percentage of the overall bulk of the lasagna. In this case, because we don't have a starchy noodle that will swell, we need to replace that lost volume with something. The crepes are excellent at forming that sense of layer, but they do not swell and absorb lots of the moisture and take up a lot of the space. Something like the chicken, or even the entire laying process is ... completely optional. If you just tossed this stuff, willy-nilly, into a casserole pan and baked it up, it would taste wonderful! The layers help create a nice aesthetic and potentially some sense that every bite is the same as the preceding bite, but ... precisely zero of this is required. Even the crepes aren't required. For me, this is a nice combination as presented. The crepes are nice and soft and do not create a problem for forks. If you lose the chicken, this will still taste wonderful, but there will be a bit less to that sense of layering and you'll lose some of the overall bulk/volume of the dish, but ... it will still taste wonderful! It really just comes down to what you want. If the chicken doesn't appeal to you, feel free to leave it out. I hope this helps! :)

Does the chicken have a purpose?  Never had lasagna with chicken especially with beef also

 cheryl  6/13/2015

 Reply

---Reply posted by DJ on 6/13/2015
Hi Cheryl, it's a Meat Lovers' Lasagna, so I suppose you could say that its purpose is ... to be meat! That said, it also works to help create the sense of layers. It does add meat, protein, bulk and flavor. I personally love it in there, but if you feel like it's unnecessary, leave it out. Maybe replace it with some nice thin sliced of grill eggplant, perhaps. I hope these thoughts help! :)

I made this meaty lasagna today 4/12/15. It was very dry. Their is not enough sauce for the amount of meat. I also didn't use as much of the crepes as it called for. I only used a layer in the bottom , then a layer of zucchini in the middle and one more layer of crepe. I only used 1-1/2 pound of meat. I left the chicken out. It would have been much more drier if I had add all the 3-1/2 pounds of meat that the recipe called for. The taste was good but next time I will cut all ingredients in half except the sauce. I packed 3 lunches out of the leftovers but open another jar of sauce and put it between the layers and on top. 

 Sandra Markham  4/12/2015

 Reply

---Reply posted by DJ on 4/12/2015
Hi Sandra, I'm sorry! I can't imagine what went wrong. All of the ingredients have some level of moisture in them and the sauce used is over 4 cups of liquid. I'd actually worry more about ingredients being "wet" than dry. That said ... it's possible that some tomato sauces are thicker than others and maybe you drained off some of the moisture from the meat, etc. It could just be the ingredients you used happened to be less wet than those that I used. In any event, I am sorry it was dry. It really shouldn't have been, but ... it does sound like you've got a plan for the future and it also sounds like you enjoyed it, despite lack of moisture. Please keep me posted, if you ever make another batch. Thanks!

Janelle, yep! There are many options. It’s not uncommon for me to make very thin slices of zucchini, do a very light grill on them and then layer them, that way. Tortillas work (but I’ve found they should be grilled or baked, first … otherwise they turn gummy). Eggplant would work quite well. Some people use things like sliced deli meat (chicken or turkey, for example). The crepes, obviously … low-carb pastas (although, that’s a questionable area) … there are many options. Glad you found one you like! <br /><br /> Maria … YAY!!! :D<br /><br /> Carol, you may have me mistaken for another author. I don’t have any cheesy biscuits … (at least, I don’t think I do). That said … you could try it. I’d probably triple the amount of arrowroot, but … confess to having never tried. Everything I read suggests a 1 to 1 ratio, but having used both and knowing their behaviors, I think you can double or triple the arrowroot. I don’t believe a straight 1 to 1 ratio is enough to do much … arrowroot is a far weaker thickener … I hope this helps!

 DJ  11/11/2014

 Reply

Could you please tell me if you can susitute arrowroot startch/flour for xanthan gum and if so how would you do it and what measurement.. I want to make your cheesey biscuits and don't have xanthan gum but have two bags of arrow root. Thank you carol

 carol falck  11/6/2014

 Reply

Hello. I made this for my husband's birthday dinner and he absolutely LOVED it. My kids did as well. Thank you for all these wonderful recipes. I will be buying the books for sure. Maria S.

 Maria Spinnato  10/26/2014

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I'm sure low carb tortillas could replace the crepes but I have made lasagna and replaced the pasta with thin slices of baked eggplant. Peel eggplant and slice 1/4" thick. Spray both sides with cooking spray and place under broiler (not super close) for 10 min each side (just until done). I make my regular lasagna recipe but layer eggplant where I would have put the lasagna noodles. No one can tell the difference!! I trick them every time.!

 Janelle  10/23/2014

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Hi Marsha, yep! I think they'd work. I've used them in similar things. They're a bit different, but definitely tasty. My only suggestion would be ... make sure you bake them a bit. Actually, what I do is toast them over a hot burner. It cooks them and dries them out a bit. In my experience, if you don't do this, the tortillas take on a gooey/doughy texture ... which isn't super great. Toasting them beforehand helps them out. Good luck!

 DJ  8/5/2014

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I wonder how low carb tortillas would work? Think I'll try it and see. B-)

 Marsha  8/4/2014

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I wonder how low carb tortillas would work? Think I'll try it and see. B-)

 Marsha  8/4/2014

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Jana, I absolutely ... LOOOOOVE!!! your feedback on this recipe. Yep, super thin little pans will warp in the heat. I'm pretty aggressive in the kitchen (from years in production kitchens). This tends to mean I buy ugly, but very sturdy professional equipment most of the time. I use things like heavy duty sheet pans and what not. It's just where I'm most at home. In any event, I love your descriptions and VERY much appreciate the time you put into sharing your experiences with us. Keep us posted for further tweaks!

 DJ  7/14/2014

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That's a mighty big T-Fal, Karen! I'll bet your crepes are as delicious as they are hard to flip! ;) Your bedtime snack sounds wonderful!

 DJ  7/14/2014

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I have a 15 inch T-Fal pan that makes the crepes like it was made for them! I love those crepes and use them a lot!!! One of the things I noticed about them is you can see that the top is cooked, which is an indication of the need to turn them. I love getting just a small amount of cream cheese and ricotta with a packet of Splenda and mixing it together with fresh strawberries or blueberries. Makes the best before bedtime snack!

 Karen Z.  7/11/2014

 Reply

I made this minus the chicken breasts. But what I did was tinker around with baking the crepes. If you are going to this I suggest using something more than a jelly roll sheet unless your jelly roll sheet is thicker and better than the cheap ones I bought. But I wanted to cook all three pieces at once so I bought three jelly roll pans the size of my lasagna dish. The problem I had with the jelly roll pans was that they twisted in the heat so the batter didn't lay even in the pan. Anyway, what I will do next time is use cake pans the same size as my lasagna pan and line them with foil and then spray with nonstick spray. I tried parchment paper the first time and it didn't work so well for me (might be because I didn't spray with nonstick). On my second attempt, I used foil sprayed with nonstick and it worked beautifully. I also made the "noodles" one evening and was able to use the foil to package them so I could put them in the fridge until the next day. I also made a double batch of the batter and the "noodles" probably ended up thicker than the crepes would that you cook in a pan but it was still good. I think the original recipe ends up making 1 1/2 cups of batter so if you want to do the "noodles" thinner than just use that and divide the recipe into 1/2 cup portions that you poor in each pan. When I did this they just seemed pretty thin to me. I baked the double recipe at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Then I took out, cooled, and I ended up cutting the pieces into strips about the width of lasagna noodles to use in the layers. I loved that the "noodles" were the size of my pan and made beautiful layers. My dad and niece thought it was great and didn't realize the different noodles until I specifically asked and they ate a piece of "noodle" by itself. Then they could taste the egg and knew something was up. I wonder about adding Italian Seasoning or garlic powder to the crepe batter to give an extra little punch of flavor. That is my next tweak on the recipe.

 Jana  7/11/2014

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Lindsey, a few thoughts ... there are special "crepe pans" in the world. I'm not necessarily suggesting you run out and buy them, but ... the point is that they are a somewhat fickle food. Fickle enough that a whole special pan exists for them. I do believe they work best in a non-porous/non-stick pan. <a href="http://allrecipes.com/video/154/how-to-make-crepes/detail.aspx" target="_blank">Here's a video showing a method for flipping them</a>. When I do it, I use a plastic spatula to lift one edge, then I just use my fingers to peel it back and then I flip it over that way. It's not as hot as you'd think. In general ... it just takes a little bit of practice, but once you "get it", they're actually really quick, easy and fun to make!

 DJ  1/3/2014

 Reply

Sally I would love to hear how you baked the crepes in a pan! I don't have a crepe pan either, and they proved to be a little harder than I expected when flipping! My first few looked more like scrambled eggs and then I only had {limited} success when I started making them much smaller... Any advice or instruction on simplifying the crepes would be appreciated!

 Lindsey  1/1/2014

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WOW, SALLY! That's an interesting idea! If I could make whole big sheets like that ... that opens up a few interesting doors! You really baked them in a pan, and they worked?! Hmmmm .... (thoughts run rampant!)

 DJ  6/26/2013

 Reply

My granddaughter and I made this for her dad and three brothers and they loved it. The only change I made was to bake the crepes in the 9x13 because I don't really have a crepe pan. They came out great and it was like using sheets of pasta.

 Sally  6/26/2013

 Reply

Glad you liked it, Tawana! Check out the recipe for my Italian Sausage, with chicken. If you were to take some of those flavors and add them to your ground turkey, you'll get a some more of a flavorful pop out of this. Great thinking with the turkey, though! Thanks for sharing! :D

 DJ  6/19/2013

 Reply

I just finished making AND eating some of this. I am not that much of a "meat" person so the only meet I used was ground turkey. I will definitley continue making this and will likely add another 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese to the recipe. This was definitely a good recipe. Can't wait to make it again.

 Tawana  6/18/2013

 Reply