Weeknight Lasagna

I know, I know – weeknight lasagna sounds impossible….but it is not. And we had some leftover red sauce from Sunday.

(wondering what’s floating in the sauce? Click here.)

It was delicious on Sunday with pasta but I had noted that it came out a little thinner than usual and made a mental note that this sauce would be great to make lasagna with the “no boil” noodles as they require lots of sauce to cook successfully in the lasagna.

Don’t knock them until you try them

I can only swear by the Barilla brand. They are delicious and make weeknight lasagna a reality.

So I timed myself last night – 25 mins of active prep time, 1 hour in the oven baking while I changed the laundry load and paid bills.

The secret to the weeknight lasagna is committing to the snack.

If you are anything like me…I get home from a long day at work starving, tired and cranky. Oh wait that actually describes my husband!  Just take a minute and have a quick snack – cheese/crackers, an apple, a handful of sliced pepperoni – anything. This way you aren’t fainting from hunger as you prepare the lasagna, put it in the oven and do some chores. Personally, I find that after I eat my giant yummy dinner I am no good anyway – all I want to do it fire up the DVR. So commit to the snack, put dinner in the oven and be productive around the house BEFORE dinner and eat a little later.

OK, let me climb down from my soapbox and tell you how I did it.

Turn the oven on to preheat 375 degrees. Brown up 1lb of some lean ground meat of choice that is inevitably hanging around the fridge. Add some sliced onions and garlic. (or just use garlic and onion powder if  slicing garlic and onions just seems like too much work.)

While the meat and optional onions/garlic are browning…crack one large egg into the medium size part-skim ricotta container. Add a healthy dash of salt/pepper and a healthy tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning. Mix carefully and add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan.  Mix all of this very carefully so as not to spill and make you wish you had dirtied a separate bowl after-all.

To the browning meat I like to add 1 small can of tomato paste at the end. The paste gets kinda “toasted” in the pan. Now add your favorite red sauce. That could be from a can, a jar or leftover homemade like mine!! Turn the heat off and set aside.

Open the box of noodles. Spray your casserole dish (9×13 ish) with no stick spray of choice. Add a couple of spoons of the sauce on the bottom. Put a layer of the noodles across the bottom, add plenty of the sauce, scoop on lots of the ricotta mixture and add another layer of the dried noodles. Repeat until the noodles are used up.

Be sure to end with noodles and red sauce on top but no ricotta. It is important to be liberal with the sauce when using this kind of noodle.  I think a thinner sauce works even better than a thick sauce. But I like things a little “saucy.”

Wrap the top tightly with foil and bake for 45 mins. Unwrap the foil carefully, sprinkle the top with whatever shredded cheese you have on hand, as much as you like and return to the oven for 15 mins more – uncovered!

Let sit 10-15 mins before slicing or just dive right in….but ENJOY!!

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3 comments on “Weeknight Lasagna

  1. […] What about all that cooking time and prep you ask? Well first of all you already know we commit to the after-work snack and eat a little later due to my ranting in “weeknight lasagna.” […]

  2. […] to splurge and use the regular noodles that you have to boil first. Typically I enjoy the quicker week NIGHT version that employs the “no boil” noodles from Barilla but I was feeling fancy and had some […]

  3. […] This time I used standard “boil first” noodles, but I have done it both ways… here and […]

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