Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 60 minutes
With rich meaty sauce, layers of pasta, and creamy cheeses holding it all together, this recipe for lasagna is perfect for an everyday dinner or a meal for the company. While the preparation is not difficult, it does take a little time.
However, the great thing about this lasagna recipe is that it can be created up to two days before it’s needed, stored in the refrigerator, and popped into the oven whenever you are ready to eat it. This fact makes it a perfect fit for company dinners or busy weeknights when you may not have the time or energy to create a meal from scratch after work.
This recipe is very customizable. You can use whatever kind of meat you prefer. Ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken all make for a fabulous dish. Alternately, if you want to kick up the spices and herbs, feel free to substitute Italian sausage for the meat in the recipe. Additionally, you can use whatever kind of cheeses that you have on hand.
Our recipe calls for mozzarella and cottage cheese. However, if you have nothing but parmesan cheese and ricotta on hand, those will work perfectly fine and add a layer of complexity to the flavors and textures of this meal. Feel free to add fresh or dried herbs to the sauce. Basil, thyme, or rosemary, or a store-bought Italian blend will add extra flavor to your dinner.
This recipe makes a large lasagna, filling a nine by thirteen baking pan. It will serve five to six people easily. However, if you want, you can create two smaller lasagnas by preparing it in a nine or ten-inch square pan. Freeze one of the lasagnas unbaked for up to a month in the freezer, tightly covered with aluminum foil, and bake the other for dinner. When you want to use the frozen lasagna, remove it from the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw for about 24 hours prior to baking.
- 1 pound ground beef, turkey, pork, or chicken
- 24-30 ounces tomato sauce
- 2-3 cups mozzarella cheese
- 16 ounces cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 box of lasagna noodles
- Whatever herbs and spices you prefer
Step 1: Brown the meat in a skillet over medium heat and drain the fat.
While you’re cooking the meat, bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stovetop. Also, if you plan on baking your lasagna immediately, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Step 2: When the water boils, cook the lasagna noodles according to package instructions.
You will probably only need 9 noodles, but I always cook an extra one, just in case a noodle is torn or messed up. Stir the noodles a few times while they’re boiling to keep them from sticking together. Drain the noodles and rinse them under cool water.
Step 3: In the skillet, pour the tomato sauce over the meat and stir it up. Add the herbs if desired.
Step 4: In a small bowl, mix together the egg and cottage cheese until thoroughly combined.
Step 5: Spray a 9 by 13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
At the bottom of the pan, spread about one-fourth of a cup of the tomato sauce mixture. Cover the sauce with three noodles, making a layer of noodles. Ladle about half of the remaining tomato sauce and meat mixture on top of the noodles, spreading the sauce to cover the noodles.
Step 6: Spoon about one-third of the cottage cheese mixture over the tomato sauce and spread it around to evenly cover the sauce and noodles.
Sprinkle about one-third of the mozzarella over the top of the sauce-cheese mixture.
Step 7: Top this with another layer of noodles. Cover this layer with the remaining tomato sauce.
Spoon about half of the remaining cottage cheese mixture over the tomato sauce, spreading it evenly, and sprinkle mozzarella over all of it. Top with another layer of lasagna noodles. Spread the rest of the cottage cheese mixture over the top of the noodles, and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top of that.
Step 8: At this point you can go ahead and bake the lasagna if you plan on eating it soon.
However, if you are preparing it for later on or for up to two days in the future, cover it tightly with aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it.
Step 9: When you’re ready to bake it, cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for about an hour.
Remove the foil about 40 minutes into the baking time to allow the cheese on top of the dish to brown. It is finished when the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly. Allow the lasagna to rest for about ten to fifteen minutes before you cut it for serving. This will help the dish firm up and cut more cleanly.
April Freeman enjoys creating all kinds of recipes for her friends and family from her country kitchen in Middle Tennessee. She and her family raise beef cattle, chickens, and all sorts of fruits and veggies on their farm, and she specializes in featuring farm-fresh foods in the recipes that she creates and serves. April says that her slogan is “Are you hungry?” and she feels that one way of showing love and connecting with others is to serve delicious favorite foods to others. Her favorite thing to cook is pies of all kinds.