Looking for a quick meal you can throw together before baby wakes from a nap? BONUS: it's freezable, so you can make it ahead of time.
I love lasagna. Growing up it was a special occasion meal because it took my sister (the world's best lasagna maker) all day to make it. But I'm a working mom who's short on time. So when I'm craving homemade lasagna taste I put this together. And it tastes even better the next day!
Serves 6 (or 4 really hungry people).
450 g pasta (any short kind will do - rotini, penne, shells, macaroni)
1 jar tomato sauce
1/2 large block mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups. Buy pre-shredded to save time).
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef (sub ground round if you're vegetarian, or leave it out)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 green pepper (optional)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tub ricotta cheese
Fresh tomato (optional)
- Set a large pot of salted water to boil on the stove. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain when cooked.
- In a large skillet heat olive oil. Add onion and garlic, and cook until slightly browned. Add in green pepper and oregano and basil, cook for a few minutes more. If using ground round, add to pan now, stir until heated through. Put veggies in a bowl and set aside.
- In the same skillet after you've set aside the veggies, add the ground beef (If using ground round, skip this step). Cook until browned and drain off the fat.
- Add the veggies back to the skillet and mix with the tomato sauce. Add the pasta and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In another bowl, beat the egg with the ricotta cheese.
- In a casserole dish, add a little of the sauce to coat the bottom. Add a layer of pasta mixed with sauce, layer with the ricotta mix. Add another layer of pasta, and top with half the mozzarella cheese. Add a final layer of pasta, add a layer of chopped fresh tomatoes (optional) and top with remaining mozzarella.
- Cover with foil and bake in the oven preheated to 350 degrees. After 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until cheese has melted on the top.
- Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
You can freeze this either before you bake or after - both work but if you freeze before you will have to defrost and cook the casserole, so I usually recommend you bake first.