Good Enough for Two Lasagne “two-fer”

I am Italian-American.   So please don’t tell anybody that I am cheating at Lasagne.  Seriously, it would be an unforgivable offense.  🙂
I know how to make a proper lasagne.  I know how to make proper spaghetti sauce.   BUT.. I don’t always have time or freezer space to make all this.  Let’s face it, it’s a lot of work, best saved for when it really matters (like when relatives are visiting for Christmas).  For just my husband and I, on just an ordinary non-holiday day, it’s not worth the trouble.
We have tried some of the frozen lasagne’s at Costco, Sams, and the grocery store, but are always disappointed.  They can be anything from bland and mushy to dried out and too spicy.  NO JOY!
What follows is a recipe for making “good enough” Lasagne.  It is not nearly as good as the real thing, but it is worlds better than the grocery store brand.  (Although my husband would argue that he likes it just as much as the real thing… I know the difference!)

I use bread baking pans so the lasagne’s are nice and thick with lots of gooey layers.    Each bread pan is enough for my husband and I for dinner, so we eat one and freeze the other.   (Bonus – next week, all we have to do is thaw and nuke it).  (That’s the “Two-fer”)
“Good Enough” for Two  Lasagne  
  • 2 Bread Pans (like for baking loaves of bread) – Greased
  • 1 box  (1#) Lasagne noodles (the kind you have to boil) (you can use the non-boil kind but I think the real thing is better).
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1# Ground Beef
  • If you have a pork sausage, you can mix that in (take it out of the casing and mix with burger).
  • You can also add about 1/8 c finely chopped green peppers and/or mushrooms if you want to get fancy.
  •  About 36 oz  of Prego Spaghetti sauce (or whatever sauce you prefer) (I use 1.5 (24oz) Prego jars.)
  • 1 Tsp Oregano
  • 1 Tsp Sweet Basil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar (it reduces the acidity of the sauce)
  • 1# Shredded Mozzarella
  • (Optional) 1 (16oz) container Ricotta Cheese  (you can use cottage cheese, but your lasagne may be runny if you do)
  • (Optional) Parmesan Cheese (canned is fine — fresh is better)

 

 

Cook:

Boil your noodles until still very much al-dente, but not so hard they snap.  They should be kind of rubbery.  Drain and cool.

While the noodles are cooking, brown ground beef, crushed garlic, and onion (and pork sausage if you have it).  You want the beef to be pretty fine (no big lumps of burger).

Once browned, pour in the Prego, spices and sugar.  Mix well.

That took all of 10 or 15 minutes so far.   Now it’s time to assemble.

Assemble:

In the bottom of the greased bread pan(s), put a thin layer of sauce.

LasagneIngredients

Layer on in the following order:  (the order is important or you will get sauce all up in your ricotta container).

  • Noodles (long ways – cut off excess length with scissors)
  • Ricotta (Spread with a spoon across the noodles)
  • Sauce
  • Mozzerella
  • Parmesan

 

Repeat, repeat, repeat until both pans are full.  (Do not over-fill.  See picture below).  I get about 5 layers but it may vary depending on how much burger & sauce you use.

 

I find it is easier to do both pans simultaneously so you can gauge how much sauce and cheese you have left and don’t end up with one pan too full and another too empty.

LasagneReadyToCook

Bake:

Heat oven to 375 degrees.   Place bread pans on a baking sheet to catch sauce overflows (*you’ll thank me later).   Since ovens vary, keep an eye on it.  I bake mine uncovered for 45 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and browning.

Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes or so.  It will be hot lava, be careful!

LasagneBaked

 

Freeze:

Once fully cooled, take the “extra” lasagne –pan and all — and wrap with tin foil (a couple of layers.)

If you will be freezing it for more than a week or two, you might want to wrap it first with plastic wrap or put it into an airtight container instead.

Next week, take it out a day in advance and thaw in the fridge. Just cut it, put it on a plate,  and microwave for about 4 minutes per piece. (Depends on your microwave, so adjust as necessary)

 

Mangia!

Lasagne

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