I made this lasagna dish for the first time this past week. It was my son’s birthday, and he requested Lasagna Deliciousa for his birthday dinner. Since I didn’t have a whole lot of time, I hunted through a few cookbooks I had handy on my kitchen bookshelf (Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook) and found one an easy lasagna recipe, Lasagna Deliciousa, that I had all the ingredients for.
Just an FYI, putting this recipe together does take a little bit of time—about 45 minutes. And then you have to allow for nearly 1 hour of baking time in the oven. It’s worth it, though, especially for a special occasion like a birthday or entertaining guests. Be sure to allow yourself enough prep time before starting in on the Lasagna Deliciousa recipe.
Back to my lasagna making…after defrosting the ground meat and spicy Italian sausage I had in the freezer, I was ready to start on the sauce.
Using the best ingredients for the Lasagna
The sauce was simple to put together. After browning the meat, onion, and garlic in a skillet, I drained and rinsed off the meat (for some reason I think the drain/rinse part gets rid of more fat). I then add the tomatoes and the rest of the liquid ingredients, and boil away for 15-20 minutes. Remember that it takes a little bit of time from browning to boiling, so start the sauce first before doing anything else.
I like to use fresh mozzarella in my recipe. I buy it already sliced uniformly in the package, mostly because I think it adds a nice thick layer of cheese (and I LOVE that thick layer of cheese), but since the already shredded mozzarella in a bag is easier to find, that works, too. Of course, if you can always shred it yourself to save a few cents on the package if you’re feeling so inclined (and not being too lazy).
Speaking of feeling lazy
Lately I’ve been using the Barilla Oven-Ready Lasagna Sheets. They are so much easier to use than the other boxed version that you have to boil first. You don’t have to boil them, wait for the water and, of course, you have another pot to wash in the now growing sink of dirty dishes. Also, spreading the cheese mixture on oven-ready sheets is a dream. The cheese easily spreads onto each sheet and doesn’t make the pasta slither all around the lasagna pan while your busy trying to put the ingredients together.
I also like that it makes thinner pasta layers for the lasagna instead of the usual thick pasta layers. But that’s just a personal preference.
Just one more thing
I make sure to add a small can tomato sauce to the bottom of the pan and put some on the top (last) layer for extra liquid as these pasta sheets do absorb quite a bit of liquidy sauce while baking in the oven. I ended up with 3 extra sheets in the box to use next time. Next time I’ll just use them in this recipe, doubling up on one of the pasta layers.
The finished Lasagna Deliciousa recipe could have used just a little bit more sauce, especially the next day. Next time I may just double the sauce to keep on hand to serve with the original lasagna meal, but especially for next-day leftovers. I can freeze the extra to use for spaghetti later. Also, a nice quality jarred marinara can also work in a pinch if you don’t have enough sauce.
So how was the finished Lasagna Deliciousa?
Overall, I think it turned out great! My son was happy with the result, and thought it was even better than my original even more time-consuming lasagna recipe. I’m not quite sure what to think of that, but I’d say it looks like my original recipe with be taking a backseat to this easier one. Just think of all those fat calories I’ll be saving going without a béchamel sauce.
- 9 oven-ready lasagna noodles
- 1 pound Italian sausage hot or mild, either bulk or remove casings from links
- 1/2 pound ground round I like lean beef
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 can 28 ounces diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 can 12 ounces tomato paste
- 1/2 cup water
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar depends on how sweet you like it
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 carton 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley dry parsley flakes work too
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups 8 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 can 8 ounces tomato sauce
- PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large skillet, COOK sausage, beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain. (I place this mixture in a colander and rinse with cold water to get rid of most of the fat). WIPE out skillet with paper towel.
- RETURN mixture to skillet. STIR in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, basil, fennel, Italian seasoning and pepper. BRING to a boil over medium-high heat. REDUCE the heat to low. SIMMER for 15-20 minutes, uncovered. STIR the mixture occasionally.
- In a small bowl, COMBINE the egg, ricotta cheese, parsley and salt.
- SPRAY the bottom of a lasagna pan (9 x 13 baking dish) with olive oil cooking spray.
- SPREAD ½ can of tomato sauce in bottom of lasagna pan. TOP with 1 cup meat sauce and SPREAD evenly. TOP with three noodles, 1/3 cup ricotta cheese mixture, 1/3 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Repeat layers twice. TOP with remaining ½ can of tomato sauce.
- COVER with foil and BAKE 40 minutes. UNCOVER. BAKE an additional 10-15 minutes until heated through.
- Let STAND 10 minutes before cutting (or cheese and sauce deliciousness will run out into the cut place in pan).