Lasagna is the ultimate comfort food – layers of pasta, rich meat filled sauce and creamy, gooey cheese – as a child it pretty much defined happiness. It was a meal shared with family during holidays. It was loaves of crusty bread and extra gravy being passed around by cousins and favorite Aunts. These days it’s often a favorite Sunday dinner for us, perfect for feeding four hungry boys or sharing with family and friends.
Over the years I’ve changed the recipe a little to fit our busier lifestyle. This lasagna recipe uses oven ready noodles, eliminating the need to boil the pasta before cooking. I also use onion powder instead of chopping an onion – this saves me some time without sacrificing flavor, and it ended dinnertime arguments with my picky eaters.
I usually make the sauce earlier in the day, then recruit my kids to help assemble the lasagna for the oven. This has become almost as much a tradition as the meal itself, and I love the time we spend together in the kitchen carefully layering noodles, sauce and cheese and talking about the week ahead. My oldest son loves to cook, and takes a lot of pride in crafting the most perfect, delicious lasagna every time.
If you’ve ever felt like lasagna just takes too long to make, give this recipe a shot. A few short cuts make it a relatively simple meal and you’ll be cranking out lasagnas on ordinary weekends and even weeknights before you know it!
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 1/2 lb Ground Italian Sausage
- 3-4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 14oz Cans of Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 6oz Cans Tomato Paste
- 1 Tbs Dried Parsley
- 1 Tbs Dried Basil
- 1 Tbs Dried Oregano
- 1 Tbs Onion Powder
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 36oz Ricotta Cheese
- 2 lbs Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
- 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Eggs, Beaten
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 Box Oven-Ready Lasagna Noodles
- Brown the ground beef, sausage and garlic in a large dutch oven.
- When the meat is browned add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, dried parsley, dried basil, dried oregano and onion powder. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Cover and allow to simmer gently for one hour.
- When the sauce is done preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl combine the ricotta cheese, 1 lb of mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and fresh parsley. Mix until it is well blended and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spray a 9X13 inch baking pan or lasagna dish with cooking spray and spread a layer of sauce on the bottom. Now begin to layer your lasagna in this order: noodles, sauce, cheese mixture. Cover the final layer of noodles with sauce, then evenly cover with the remaining pound of mozzarella cheese.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan and bake 15-20 minutes more, or until the cheese on top begins to bubble.
- Remove the lasagna from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.
I love how food ties in so closely to treasured family memories. As an adult the smell of lasagna brings me back to homes full of family and laughter late into the night. I hope it continues to evoke happy childhood memories for my own family. What meals bring back happy childhood memories for you?