Combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, seasoning mixtures, sugar and bay leaves in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. See Cook's Note*
Crumble the ground beef in a saucepan. Cook until no pink remains then drain off the fat. Add the ground beef to the stockpot. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
*Cook's Note: If sauce is too thin, for your taste, you can thicken it up at this time by mixing 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and a 1/4 of a cup of cold water. Bring sauce back to a boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan. Layer 1/3 of each; noodle; cottage cheese mixture, Gruyere, Swiss and Cheddar cheese. Pinch off small pieces of cream cheese and dot over the other cheeses. Add another layer of sauce. Repeat layering 2 to 3 times ending with sauce.
This may be covered and refrigerated. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with mozzarella and continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.
*Note: If lasagna has been refrigerated, bake for 40 minutes total.
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen, 2007