When it's a busy time of the year, a 9x11 pan of anything is just what you need for dinner. Sure you could buy Stouffers and pop it in the oven in tin foil, but this is soo much better. Lasagna might seem scary, but it is actually so easy and adaptable. It can be full of meat or meatless, full of veggies, made with your secret sauce, or easily your favorite sauce from the store. (I am loving Giada De Laurentiis' sauces at Target.) Be generous when buying the ingredients. It really stinks to run out half way during the building process and no one wants a dry lasagna. And seriously, do you ever have a problem with extra cheese, sauce, or meat to use later? Never.
P.S. Read the recipe all the way through before shopping. You may get some ideas for ingredients.
P.P.S. Buy an extra jar of sauce. You won't be sorry.
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (if you want to get creative sausage, or any ground meat mixture works, even ground turkey!)
- 2 large jars of spaghetti sauce (my recipe is old so it used to be 2 28 oz jars, now they are 25 oz or smaller...the incredible shrinking food)
- uncooked lasagna noodles (I think a box would do it, but I buy 2 just to be sure)
- 4 cups (2 lb.) ricotta cheese (1 large tub)
- 3 cups (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (I probably use more than this. No one hates too much cheese.)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Bread crumbs and additional Parmesan for topping
- In large skillet, brown meat; drain. Stir in 1 1/2 jars of spaghetti sauce; simmer 10 minutes.
- In large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, salt and pepper.
- Spread about 1/3 cup of the non meat that you saved sauce on bottom of 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish.
- Arrange pasta pieces lengthwise over sauce, I break them if they are too long for the end.
- Using 2 spoons, spread one-third cheese mixture over pasta; it doesn't have to look perfect, just frost away.
- Spread with about 3/4 cup meat sauce. Repeat layers TWICE, beginning and ending with pasta.
- Top with remaining sauce; I like to use up the rest of the non meat sauce and then fill jar with about a 1/2 cup water and to rinse the jar of the last bits of sauce pour it over the pasta. The water makes the lasagna just a little more moist.
- Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and additional Parmesan cheese and I sprinkle bread crumbs over the top. It keeps the tin foil from sticking and it makes a good texture on top.
- Cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil; bake about 10 minutes longer, or until lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. 10 to 12 servings.
Remember you are just layering. You can't really do it incorrectly. Depending on your pan depth ~ 3 layers of pasta is best. And remember this can easily be meatless or you can add veggies. Boxed creamed spinach and some mushrooms or onion and eggplant would work as a layer, too.
MAKE AHEAD DIRECTIONS: Cover baking dish tightly with plastic wrap, then foil. Freeze indefinitely (ok not forever) or refrigerate up to 24 hours. Remove foil and plastic wrap!!! Then replace foil. Melted Plastic wrap is a bummer. And if you are really forgetful, put a post-it note on top saying "Don't forget the plastic wrap!"
- If frozen, bake at 350°F. 2 hours 15 minutes. Remove foil; bake 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned.
- If refrigerated, bake at 375°F. 50 to 60 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil; bake 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
- If room temp after just preparing, 45-50