Cheese Stick Lasagna

photo 4

Mozzarella cheese sticks are a staple in most homes with small children.  So, one summer day I decided if my kids would eat cheese sticks all day long than maybe they would eat a cheese stick lasagna.  The recipe I had been using for classic lasagna was not up to the standards of my then very small daughters.   My kids loved this version, as did my friends and baby sitters who all begged for this recipe.  Nuts, no cook pasta, and cheese sticks gave this dish a wonderful crunch that is hard to describe.  It is the antithesis of that over cooked mushy lasagna our mothers, or at least mine, made.   This is wonderful reheated.

▪ 1 jar of marinara sauce

▪ 1 package lasagna noodles

▪ 1 handful of pecans

▪ 8 Mozzarella cheese sticks

▪ 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

▪ 1 cup fresh Mozzarella  (small balls melt well and you don’t have to cut them or slice a larger ball)

▪ 1 small can of sliced olives

Preparation:

By using noodles that do not need to be boiled and cheese sticks, this dish has a layered quality that is not too wet.  The cheese sticks melt and harden a bit, making this lasagna full of flavor and unusual textures.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   Layer noodles, sauce, cheese sticks and pecans, starting with red sauce on the bottom.  When all is layered, top with olives and fresh Mozzarella; Mozzarella melts well and is low in calories and has a fresh clean taste.

Bake for 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.

To impress, add fresh basil leaves as garnish, but make sure they are easy for small hands to remove.