Sunday, November 18, 2012

Easy Meat and Cheese Lasagna

Why is it that lasagna seems so difficult to make? In reality... a simple lasagna is crazy easy. I even made the sauce. The other really awesome thing about lasagna... you can freeze it if you want to bake it for another day. I am a HUGE fan of freezer meals. I love coming home from work and being able to just throw something in the oven. Home cooked meals that are easy as 1, 2, 3... SIGN ME UP!!!

Easy Meat and Cheese Lasagna
Serves: 8 people
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 45 minutes



  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, or meat substitute)
  • 1 package lasagna noodles (fresh, whole wheat, gluten free)
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese 

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. If using meat, add now and cook until brown. Place meat on a paper towel lined plate. In dirty pan, add another tablespoon of oil and cook onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (do not let it brown). Once garlic is soft, add wine. Continue cooking mixture until half the wine has evaporated (around 5 minutes). I think this is my favorite part of making this sauce. Smells SOOOO GOOD! Once half the wine is evaporated, add the can of tomatoes, parsley, salt, and red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 30-45 minutes.
In the mean time, boil some salted water. Add the pasta noodles to it and cook until al dente (around 4 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once sauce is done, it is time to assemble. Using a 9x13 inch pan, lightly coat the bottom with sauce. Place enough noodles down to cover the bottom (they will slightly overlap). Spread a liberal amount of ricotta cheese onto the noddles (a spatula comes in handy here). On top of the ricotta, sprinkle some of the ground meat and then some mozzarella cheese. Cover all this with sauce. Repeat... noodles, ricotta, meat, mozzarella, sauce. Place another layer of noodle and top that with more mozzarella cheese and all of the parmesan. If you are planning to freeze the meal, now would be the time!!

**A good tip I found about frozen meals is to line the dish you plan to use with foil first. Then make your dish as you normally would. Freeze the meal, and once it is fully frozen you can take the dish out of the pan and only keep the frozen dish in the foil (no pan). This helps cut down on the space you use in the freezer and keeps your pans free to use for something else! Once you are ready to cook your dish, it can just be slipped right into the pan it was frozen in.

Cover the pan with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Uncover the pan and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the top cheese has slightly browned. Let cool and then dig in!!

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1 comment:

  1. Oh yum, your lasagna looks just wonderful! I could go for a nice big slice for lunch today. =)