Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lazy Lasagna

by Darla

I hated lasagna when I was little. It always had gross veggies and chunky stuff in it that I couldn’t identify and therefore would not eat (I was The Picky Eater, remember?). As I grew up, and got braver, I eventually learned that I actually love lasagna. It’s still a little intimidating, though. I mean, it’ not the fastest or the easiest meal to make, is it? Plus, I still had a Picky Eater in the house that wouldn’t come near lasagna. It was time for me to come up with a new recipe.

I decided, when I set out to make a new lasagna, that it had to be easier than more traditional recipes, but still taste great. I also wanted it to be a little more kid friendly, so I needed to get as much flavor as possible from the fewest “gross” foods available. What I’ve come up with takes a little more than an hour (with baking times included) and has never caused a nose to turn up in disgust. It’s definitely simpler in flavor than many lasagnas out there, but in some ways, I feel like that makes it better.

For this lasagna, you just need cottage cheese, onion powder (or fresh chopped onion), an egg, parmesan cheese, ricotta, mozzarella cheese, Italian sausage, and tomato or spaghetti sauce (I prefer plain tomato sauce, so I can season it myself). You’ll also add salt and pepper to taste.

You’ll also need lasagna pasta.

I prefer Barilla because of the small, flat sheets. For my small family of three, I cut this recipe in half and use an 8×8 dish, and these work perfectly for that without having to break them into pieces, but still work great in a 9×13 dish.

To get started, brown your meat in a large sauce pan over medium heat, stirring in the onion as the meat cooks. Once the meat is browned, add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Add any seasonings, including salt and pepper, that you desire and allow to simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

While the sauce simmers, combine the ricotta, cottage, and parmesan cheeses with the egg in a medium bowl, mixing until well combined.

Once the sauce and filling are ready, put a layer of sauce on the bottom of your pan (about half a cup for an 8×8 dish, one cup for 9×13), and spread it out.

Next layer on the lasagna sheets, followed by the cheese filling (about half to three quarters of a cup for a 9×13 dish), and more sauce. Finally, sprinkle about a quarter cup of mozzarella on top.

Repeat these steps until either you run out of ingredients or the pan is completely full (reserve about a cup of the mozzarella).

Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and sprinkle the top of the lasagna with the remaining mozzarella. Continue baking, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.

When the lasagna is done, allow it to sit on a wire cooling rack for 15 to 20 minutes to cool slightly and set up a bit before serving.

This is a quick, simple version of a comfort food that will make almost anybody happy! Great by itself, or with a fresh side salad and cold iced tea! Plus, this may be just the ticket to getting your Picky Eaters to try an old classic for the first time! Enjoy!

Lazy Lasagna
Makes one 9×13 dish

Ingredients

FOR THE SAUCE
1 lb. ground italian sausage
4 – 15 oz. cans tomato sauce (or 2 – 28 oz. jars spaghetti sauce)
1 teaspoon onion powder (or 1/2 an onion, chopped fine)
salt and pepper to taste

FOR THE FILLING
1 – 15 oz. container ricotta cheese
8 oz. cottage cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the sauce: Brown the meat in a large sauce pan over medium heat, stirring in the onion as the meat cooks. Once the meat is browned, add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Add any seasonings, including salt and pepper, that you desire and allow to simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

To make the filling: While the sauce simmers, combine the ricotta, cottage, and parmesan cheeses with the egg in a medium bowl, mixing until well combined.

Next layer on the lasagna sheets, followed by the cheese filling (about half to three quarters of a cup for a 9×13 dish), and more sauce. Finally, sprinkle about a quarter cup of mozzarella on top. Repeat these steps until either you run out of ingredients or the pan is completely full (reserve about a cup of the mozzarella).

Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and sprinkle the top of the lasagna with the remaining mozzarella. Continue baking, uncovered, for another 15 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire cooling rack for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Recipe by Darla

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bttrflybabydoll June 1, 2010 at 8:23 am

That's funny! Lasagna is actually on my menu for this week!

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2 Naya January 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm

I am so glad I found this recipe! I work 6 to 7 12 hour days and it’s difficult to make a good meal for me and the hubby (We’re both military as well ^^) I love the fact that with so few ingredients, it makes such a fantastic and very tasty meal.

A suggestion for you, try it with chicken burger. I know it sounds funny, but it tastes just as good and there is less fat in chicken, so it cuts out some calories. Happy cooking!!

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3 Rin January 29, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Naya,

I tried it with italian turkey sausage. It tasted fabulous, and you really cannot tell the difference. Unless, perhaps you have a vendetta against eating turkey meat, or some silly thing. ^_^.

Darla,
I used this recipe a couple of weeks ago, and my fiancée LOVED it. I’d have to say that the fact that it was gone in 24 hours was a huge success! He even took some to his boss at work. I recently blogged about my Lasagna adventure, and linked this recipe and your website. Hope that’s alright! I love reading through your recipes!

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4 Mee July 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Hi Darla.

I’m slowly going through your blog and I love it. It’s so nice with the step by step pictures for a food noob like me^^;

For the lasagna, have you tried to blend a handful of vegetables and add it to the sauce? My boyfriend is a picky eater too when it comes to vegetables, so I usually grate in a couple of carrots and various, finely chopped vegetables for our lasagne and he eats it without any complaints^^

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5 Darla July 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Thank you! :)

What a fantastic idea! And sneaky too! ;) Thanks for the tip!

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6 Laura(wr) November 30, 2011 at 10:50 pm

First thing I made from Bakingdom– so so good! I will definitely be making this again. :)

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7 Ni January 11, 2014 at 6:59 am

Can I substitute the Italian sausage for beef?

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8 Darla January 27, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Of course! Enjoy.

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