Frozen lasagna is an easy meal that you can whip out of out your freezer whenever the need arises. While most lasagna brands list instructions for how to defrost the lasagna, these tips and food safety recommendations should come in handy nonetheless.
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Reheating Frozen Lasagna
Most people don't realize that there are some dangers to defrosting and reheating frozen food; the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services explains that harmful bacteria multiply the fastest between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Hence, you should avoid defrosting the lasagna out on the kitchen counter; if it is left out for over two hours, it may not be safe to consume.
Instead, you're better off cooking it directly; the USDA notes that it is safe to cook frozen food without thawing it first. Frozen lasagna can take some time to reheat, so plan ahead. You can reheat it in the oven or in the microwave.
If you prefer to do it in the oven, Oregon State University suggests transferring the lasagna to an oven-proof container and baking it without a cover at 400 F. An individual portion should take about an hour, whereas a large dish may take up to two hours.
Heating the frozen lasagna in the microwave may be faster, so you can opt for that route if you're pressed for time. Be sure to use a microwave-safe dish and cover it loosely to avoid any spattering.
Whether you heat it in the oven or the microwave, the USDA recommends using a food thermometer to ensure that the dish has crossed 165 F. Use oven mitts when you handle the dish and watch out for the steam, as it can be extremely hot.
A Lower-Carb Alternative
Lasagna is one of those classic comfort foods that makes for a pretty hearty meal if not always a healthy meal. According to the USDA, 100 grams of lasagna, or very close to a 4-ounce portion, provides 357 calories, 75 grams of carbs, 12.5 grams of protein and 1.79 grams of fat.
If you have enough time on hand and want to experiment with a healthier, lower-carb version of this dish, you can try this slow cooker veggie lasagna recipe listed by LIVESTRONG.com. The recipe substitutes pasta sheets with thinly-sliced zucchini.
Here's what you need to do:
- Slice the zucchini: Thinly slice two medium-sized zucchinis.
- Make the seasoning: Combine salt, pepper, four minced garlic cloves, three-fourths of a cup of grated Parmesan cheese and a half-cup of pistachio flour, made by grinding pistachios.
- Layer the ingredients in the slow cooker: Coat the bottom of the slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer the zucchini slices to cover the bottom. Add a layer of crushed tomatoes on top. Sprinkle the seasoning mix over the sauce. Keep adding layers until you run out of ingredients.
- Let it cook: Cover the slow cooker and let it cook for two to three hours on medium heat or double the time on low heat. If you plan ahead and do all the work in the morning, you can have this meal ready and waiting for you by evening.