Here’s a way to impress your visiting friends and family with a delicious Italian dinner, while still having time to visit with them. This easy lasagna can be assembled and in the oven before your guests arrive. The recipe is forgiving and flexible - as long as you remember to seal the dish VERY WELL before cooking. In my experience, this lasagna freezes well, so try doubling the recipe, and pull a ready-made meal out of the freezer for another dinner. (Just get it out significantly ahead of time to thaw.)
1-2 lbs. lean ground beef
2-3 Tbls. olive oil
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1 tsp. beef flavoring (or 1 bouillon cube)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. Italion Seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1 Tbsp. Worchester sauce (optional but delicious)
28 ounce can diced/stewed tomato
10 3/4 oz. tomato sauce
1 pint cottage or ricotta cheese (can use more if desired)
1 beaten egg
Lasagna Noodles - not precooked!
1 box or less (I have made this recipe using rice noodles and it worked equally well.)
1 lb. (or more) grated mozzarella, monterey jack or cheddar cheese
Optional: Olives, Basil, spinach
9” x 13” cassarole dish
Preheat oven to 375°
Fry ground beef with 2-3 Tbls. olive oil.
Add in the onion while cooking the beef.
As the beef is done, stir in the remaining seasonings, and then the tomatos.
Simmer for 2-5 min. while preparing the cottage cheese mixture.
In a separate container, beat the egg, then mix in the cottage or ricotta cheese. (I love cottage cheese in Lasagna, but some people don’t. I often use almost double the amount of cottage cheese that this recipe calls for - but don’t tell my husband!!! ;-)
Use a deep 9” x 13” cassarole dish, or one with a lid so that the foil doesn’t stick to the cheese.
Spray dish with non-stick spray for easier clean up.
Start with a thin layer of your simmered meat sauce and add in 1/4 cup of water.
Next add a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles.
Add another layer of meat sauce.
Next spread a portion of your cottage cheese mixture over the meat sauce.
Add a layer of cheese (I sometimes omit the cheese in the center of the lasagna)
Repeat the noodle, meat sauce and cottage cheese layers until your dish is filled to slightly below the lip. Overflowing lasagna is not fun to clean out of the oven!
If you like olives in your lasagna - you can add them in the meat sauce, or on top before the cheese.
Top with a thicker layer of shredded cheese.
Cover WELL with foil or glass lid. If using foil, I suggested running your fingers all the way along the edge of your dish several times “crimping” the edges so that you “seal in” the moisture.
Sometimes I substitute a layer of spinach and basil in place of one noodle layer - Yummy!
Bake 1 hr. at 375°
If you wish to put this in the freezer - do so after cooking it, and keep in mind that the result is a dense dish, so it needs to come out of the oven in time to thaw before being re-warmed as a whole in the oven or “by the serving” in the microwave.