The World’s Easiest Lasagna
My baby boy turned 9 this past weekend. I am stunned at how fast time flies. It truly seemed like yesterday I was bringing him home from the hospital. Thankfully, after 9 years, my sweet boy still loves to occasionally cuddle me and spend time with me.
This year his wish was to visit his grandparents–yes, this boy has a huge heart. His other wish was to race go-carts with his Dad–yep, all boy!!!
As we were preparing to hit the road to visit his grandparents, he requested that I made him lasagna. Well, of course he did, he is my boy and I love lasagna, in fact I asked my mom to make it for me every year on my birthday. However, this was last minute–we were celebrating on his actual birthday with my family, 10 hours away. And my fridge was pretty well cleaned out due to the fact we would not be eating at home for a week. Hmmm……I aim to please and wanted to make this happen for him.
Taking a look around in the kitchen, making a quick lasagna was actually the best way to clean out the fridge. Ah, how I love that boy. He requested the easiest meal in the world and was utilizing all the last bits of food left in my fridge.
Sigh, he is the perfect child (well, at least I will allow myself to feel that way on his birthday!!!)
So left in my fridge was some homemade tomato sauce and half a package of nitrate free pepperoni from pizza bread, some cottage cheese and parsley from the quinoa burgers, and half a box of whole wheat lasagna noodles. There was also one lone egg. However not much cheese, but I could still make this work.
Ok, you are going to love this recipe. It is a perfect example of using what you have on hand. Don’t have pepperoni–use sausage or beef or vegetables, or nothing at all. You love cheese? Pile it on. Your stomach is a little sensitive to cheese or you are watching your calories? Just leave some out. Have fresh herbs? Toss them in the cottage cheese. You don’t have cottage cheese? Use ricotta, tofu, Greek yogurt, or cream cheese.
I am giving you options. This is the best way to cook to save money and meet your satisfy your family’s palate.
Here is the basic method: Mix your sauce with 1 cup water (the noodles need the extra moisture since they are not precooked). Mix the cottage cheese (or whatever you choose) with an egg and fresh or dried herbs and some pepper. Add cheese if you want, or don’t. I have found this really lets other flavors in the lasagna shine and my family loves it even more when I leave the extra cheese out–which is crazy, considering how much they LOVE cheese. You will layer the noodles, cheese mixture, meat of your choice, sauce and repeat, ending in a layer of mozzarella cheese and some fresh Parmesan. Cover and bake for 45 minutes at 375 and uncover and bake for another 15 minutes.
Easy, peasy. And DELICIOUS!!!! Unfortunately, lasagna does not make the prettiest picture 🙂 Trust me, you won’t care once you take a bite………I think I could live on this.
Following is the exact recipe I used. I really think just that bit of pepperoni added so much flavor to the lasagna without overwhelming it. This recipe says it serves 8, but I am warning you, my family of 4 only had 1 large piece leftover. We were gluttons on the night I made this. I think we forgot about the lemon cookies my son wanted for dessert when we were eating 🙂
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 12 whole wheat lasagna noodles, uncooked
- 1½ cups cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 3 cupshomemade tomato sauce, or your favorite store brand, combined with 1 cup of water
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1.5 oz nitrate free pepperoni (half a package)
- Brush a 9x13 pan with olive oil.
- Mix the cottage cheese with fresh and dried spices and garlic with egg.
- Spread 3 tbs of the sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay 4 noodles down. Top with ½ the cottage cheese mixture lay out the pepperoni over the cottage cheese. Top with 1 cup sauce. Lay 4 more noodles down and the spread with the remaining cottage cheese mixture. Top with 1 cup sauce and 4 more noodles. Pour the remaining sauce over the noodles and top with the cheese.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continuing baking for 15 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes or so, before devouring!!