Homemade Ricotta Cheese

How to Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Lasagna here we come! In the past few times of making lasagna I have finally tweaked it to where the fam is asking for more … our secret is Italian Sausage. We use the Italian sausage links from Aldi and remove the casing and then fry it up like hamburger (also used this sausage on some homemade pizza and calzones this week, very tasty!). 
With most main courses, I tally up the total cost as I toss the ingredients into the grocery cart. My max dollar I like to spend is $10 per dinner which for a family of six seems fairly reasonable. If I can do it for closer to $5, you better believe I am all over it and we will be eating it a more often! If I am spending $10 every dinner for 30 meals a month that’s $300 just on dinners … don’t know about you but we like to eat 3 meals a day and dinner out occasionally so it makes me feel accomplished to save even just $1 per meal. Over the course of a month this adds up to an extra night of carry out which means I get the night off (SWEET!). Lasagna usually runs us about $4 for meat, $2 to 4 for ricotta, $2 to 4 for mozzarella (depending on my cheesy mood), and $2 for noodles. So $10 to $14 before any sides, needless to say due to cost this is not a go to meal on a regular basis.

Lasagna, you don’t stand a chance! It’s all about cutting the cost this week … homemade noodles, homemade ricotta, AND will be using homemade bread for our garlic bread! I used a combination of a few recipes from Ina Garten, The Italian Dish, and Food for My Family.

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Homemade Ricotta Cheese

8 cups of whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
cheese cloth (or coffee filters)
~ I started with the lemon juice and it didn’t curdle so I added the white wine vinegar, and poof CURDS. I will be trying this next time with just regular vinegar, so be sure to check back for an update on the recipe and instructions!~
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Moisten cheese cloth (I used coffee filters thanks to my brilliant sister’s idea!) and line colander(s). Put milk, cream and salt in stockpot and bring to a boil (about 190 degrees) over medium heat, stirring occasionally so the milk does not burn. Stir in lemon juice and turn heat to low and simmered for a few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar until curds form. Pour curds into lined colander to strain off the whey (you can repeat this process a couple of times if your colander is not large enough). Allow time to strain to your desired dryness. Overnight in the refrigerator works great.  Store in airtight container in refrigerator for 2-3 days. 
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we are just ‘whey’ting here ;-)!
Cost Comparison: ~$1.25 for 15 oz. of homemade ricotta VS. ~$2 for 15 oz store bought
Today’s Question: Do you use ricotta or cottage cheese in your lasagna?

Updated 5/17/15: We used the homemade ricotta cheese in some lasagna this week … SO GOOD! I really wanted to try a new noodle recipe also but time didn’t allow for fresh noodles but I can only imagine how good this would have been with those also. All I have to say is, I am never buy ricotta cheese again and I am forever a homemade ricotta cheese convert! So easy and so cheap AND it lasted in my fridge for about 4-5 days before I was able to use it which is an added bonus!

Updated 6/14/15: We made ricotta cheese again but this time I used 2 tablespoons of just white vinegar. Next time I will try it with 4 tablespoons because the curds were smaller and the whey wasn’t as clear this time. Still tastes amazing and I was reminded just how simple the process was! 

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