Whipping up a pan of lasagna raises the bar when it comes to cooking with delicious ground venison that graces freezer shelves during deer season.
It's almost like cheating with this tasty lasagna recipe. Forget boiling those big lasagna noodles or searching the grocery store for ricotta cheese.
Cooks need only a scant four ingredients to bake ravioli lasagna that uses ground venison, ground elk or any ground meat. Frozen ravioli takes the place of lasagna noodles in this simple recipe. It's another dish that the kiddos or novice cooks can put together and have on the table hot, delicious and ready to eat in about an hour.
Here's all you do:
Brown a pound of ground venison or any ground meat in a skillet and drain. Grease a 2.5-quart baking dish with margarine or butter. Next you'll need a 28-ounce jar of spaghetti sauce, a 25-ounce package of frozen ravioli and 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese.
Spread one-third of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the baking pan, top with half of the frozen ravioli and half of the ground meat. Finish the layer with one-half cup of mozzarella. Repeat with another layer and top that with the remaining spaghetti sauce and cheese.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the lasagna covered for 40 to 45 minutes.
There's lots of wiggle room in the measurements. If you're a little short on the ravioli, cheese or sauce it's still going to work. The lasagna just won't be quite as thick.
At Camp See No Deer, we always brown our ground venison with some chopped onions in the skillet. Mushrooms are another nice addition, but both are optional.
Ravioli lasagna, baked with ground venison, has been tested time and again at Camp See No Deer and always gets rave reviews. We can't wait to pull a pan out of the oven and chow down.
This recipe serves five or six folks, fewer if they're big eaters. If cooking for one or two, it's easy to use a smaller pan and make half the recipe.
Another twist is to bake a vegetarian version using cheese ravioli and one of the plant-based meat substitutes. We've had great success with Beyond Burger. Diners can hardly tell it from beef hamburger.
Deer seasons are winding down. For bowhunters, archery deer season lasts through Feb. 28 so there's time to bag the main ingredient for lasagna or any dish that uses ground meat.
Time to get cooking and make room in the freezer for next season's venison.
Flip Putthoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org