Lasagna, Easy (About $11 to $14.50 for full 9×13 pan of lasagna. Serves 5 good sized eaters with no left overs.)
Description: This is a very easy lasagna using no boil lasagna noodles.
1 lb. Ground Beef, italian sausage or smoked sausage (This time I used 12 oz. of chicken Italian sausage that I found in the marked down section at Sentry.) $2
2 Jars Spaghetti Sauce (I used 1 jar this time.) $1.50 to $3
15 oz. Of Ricotta Cheese (I use fat free.) $3
1 Egg, slightly beaten $.13
½ tsp. Dried Basil ?
½ tsp. Dried Oregano ?
8 oz. Box Of No-Boil Lasagna Noodles $2
4 cups Shredded Mozzarrella Cheese (Or Other White Cheese) (I use less, as my obnoxious stomach can not take the fat.) $2 to $4
¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (Optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large skillet, brown meat if needed. Drain.
In small bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, egg, basil and oregano.
In a 13×9 baking dish, spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce on bottom of baking pan. Place uncooked noodles in a layer next. Spread about ⅔ cup of ricotta mixture over pasta. Distribute some of the meat over the ricotta and top with 1 cup of mozzarella.
Repeat layers of sauce, pasta, ricotta, meat and mozzarella two times and top with remaining pasta. Spread remaning meat and sauce over pasta and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and optional parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 to 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. 10 to 12 servings.
Microwave directions: In microwave safe dish, prepare recipe as directed, except omit the parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top layer. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at high 13 to 15 minutes, turning twice during cooking. Carefully remove plastic wrap and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Replace plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 4 minutes or until bubbly.
Make ahead directions: Prepare recipe as directed, but do not bake. Cover with plastic wrap and then foil. Refrigerate up to 24 hours or freeze up to 2 months. When lasagna is desired, remove plastic wrap and replace foil. Bake refrigerated lasagna at 375 degrees about 40 minutes and frozen lasagna about 1 hour 30 minutes, removing foil during the last 10 minutes of baking.
(I have not tried the microwave or make ahead directions before.)
Today’s Preparations in Words and Pictures
First, I browned 3 4 oz. chicken italian sausages, that I had found cheap at Sentry in the marked down section of the freezer a month or so ago. Was a large package and have been enjoying using a few here and there.
Stirred up the fat free ricotta cheese, egg, basil and oregano next.
Then I began layering in the ingredients with sauce and noodles. Currently I put a couple scoops of sauce in each layer and use one jar for my lasagna to keep the sodium levels a bit further down. We use our favorite jarred pasta sauce. You can make your own sauce if you would like to. For noodles, I use no boil lasagna noodles as that is just easier. I find pre-boiling the noodles a bit of a pain.
Next is the ricotta cheese, which I dollop a large tablespoon on each of the three noodles. I usually wind up with a slightly heavier last layer, but it doesn’t matter that much. Yes, I have made this without the egg when I was out, but it mainly doesn’t stay together as well.
Then comes some sausage, sauce and cheese, then you repeat the layers two more times. This time I added 3 tablespoons of mixed Italian shredded cheese to each layer, ending up with 3/4 cup of italian mixed cheese.
Here is the pan of lasagna about to go into the oven. I did add 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese to the top this time. Sometimes I do if I have it pre shredded and sometimes I don’t.
Baked the lasagna for 30 minutes and then removed the aluminum foil. It always amazes me that the pan is very hot when you take it out, but the aluminum foil is cool and can be removed by hand with no oven mitt or anything.
Now for the finished product, served with green beans and homemade rye rolls. A very delicious and easy meal! On Sunday’s, I often times serve with a salad also, mainly to encourage us to not eat so much so we will have more left overs, or planned overs, as my husband’s mom calls them. I love left over lasagna the second day almost more than the first day!
Now, if anyone is going to claim that lasagna is a difficult recipe, I am not going to believe them. It can be a bit time consuming, yes, but not difficult. It took me about 40 minutes to stir this up and take pictures along the way, so without taking pictures, it takes about 30 minutes to layer, and 40 minutes to bake and I don’t think we always let it rest any 5 minutes. We didn’t tonight! Oh, if you want to use smoked sausage that all you have to do is cut, i.e. no browning needed, that can be a little bit faster. I also use pre-shredded cheese as that can be easily kept in the refrigerator long term without mold developing, like block cheese tends to do.
I did price out the recipe, but my version of it runs on the lower side of my pricing due to my lighter sauce and cheese. Lasagna is not exactly frugal, with all the cheese, but when you can get cheese cheap, it isn’t overly expensive either.