FR Food: The World's Best (and Easiest!) Lasagna

 
The World's Best (and Easiest!) Lasagna, as photographed by me, a definite NON-food photographer!

The World's Best (and Easiest!) Lasagna, as photographed by me, a definite NON-food photographer!

 

OK, maybe the title of this recipe is a little dramatic...but seriously, who doesn't love lasagna?  It is a fan favorite in our house and I serve it up a few times a month!  Over the years, I've looked for ways to streamline prep on this dinnertime staple and I think I've finally hit on a winning combo.  This recipe includes oven-ready noodles and a secret-ingredient prepared spice packet that takes the flavor over the top.  I've assembled it a day ahead and kept it in the fridge until ready to bake. 

Regardless of how you prep, it turns out perfectly every time.  It's equally great for company or for those crazy nights of homework, sports practice and other activities where everyone is running in different directions and eating dinner at different times.  We've all been there, right?

The other great thing about this recipe is that it's super adaptable.  Love spinach with your lasagna?  Add it in!  Looking to amp up the ricotta cheese filling?  Stir in some pesto!  I've made this a variety of different ways and it's always a crowd pleaser.  Check out the recipe below and let me know if you make it...would love to hear what you think!  

The World’s Best (and Easiest!) Lasagna

Makes: 12 servings

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • 1 45-oz jar Prego Traditional Spaghetti Sauce (or whichever brand/flavor you prefer!)
  • 1 packet (1.37 oz) McCormick Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Seasoning Mix
  • 1 box (12 oz) Oven-Ready Lasagna
  • 1 24-oz Container Ricotta Cheese (I’ve used whole and part-skim with equally good results)
  • 1 to 1.5 lbs Ground Beef
  • 1 Egg
  • Italian Seasoning and/or Garlic Powder
  • 1 to 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 375. Brown ground beef, drain if needed. Sprinkle seasoning packet over browned ground beef and gently stir to combine. Add less than half the jar of spaghetti sauce. This is an easy-peasy meat sauce that we’ll use in the lasagna, but I’ve also served it over regular spaghetti noodles and it’s just as delicious!
    2. Mix ricotta cheese, egg and Italian seasoning/garlic powder to taste. Sometimes I get creative with this ricotta mixture and add grated Parmesan cheese or even prepared pesto. It’s all about what your family likes!
    3. In a greased 9x13 pan, add 1 cup of jarred spaghetti sauce and spread around to cover bottom of pan. Lay three noodles on top. Layer half of the ricotta mixture, shredded mozzarella cheese and three more noodles. Top noodles with half of meat sauce and supplement with some jarred sauce if you need to cover the edges of your noodles a little more.
    4. Add another layer of noodles, ricotta, noodles, meat sauce (with extra jarred sauce as needed to cover noodles) and shredded cheese. Make sure the edges of your noodles are covered with sauce – oven-ready noodles need to be covered in order to absorb liquid and cook appropriately!
    5. Cover pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until noodles are tender. I’ve used several different brands of oven-ready noodles and cook times always vary on those…some take way longer than others!
    6. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!
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