Kid Friendly Lasagna
Nothing says fall quite like a healthy, hearty casserole and with fall officially arriving later this evening comfort food is top of mind. Lasagna is an all-time favorite comfort food sure to please everyone. Do your kids like lasagna? Mine didn’t for the longest time and I couldn’t figure out why. It has all the components of spaghetti and meatballs (which they love) but still they wouldn’t eat it. Until it occurred to me that there was one ingredient that was different. Cottage cheese. So, one day I made it without the cottage cheese, replacing it with mozzarella and just like that it became Kid Friendly Lasagna.
I love having a one dish meal the whole family can eat and since this lasagna serves 6-8, it feeds my family (4 of us currently at home) for dinner with leftovers for lunches the next day. A work lunch for my husband, a school lunch for each of my two daughters and lunch here at home for the daycare kids and myself.
That’s a lot of servings for the effort of making a lasagna for dinner. A big bang for my buck (and time). I like that.
But since lasagna freezes so well, I like to take it one step further and make two Kid Friendly Lasagna recipes. I call it Make-Eat-Pack-Freeze and it is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to make my time in the kitchen more efficient. I like that too.
Here’s how it works: If I’m making a casserole that freezes well, I make two. We eat one for dinner, I make sure they are large enough to serve the family for dinner with enough left over to pack for lunch the next day. Then I freeze the second one so I can do it all again, without the time spent making it of course.
That makes dinner (and lunches) pretty darn easy a month or so down the road when all I have to do is pull the lasagna out of the freezer, reheat it and make a salad. We all have those crazy weeks (or even some nights every week) when cooking dinner seems like a daunting task or time simply doesn’t permit. Well now it does.
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cups Classic Tomato Sauce (or store bought)
- 1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, broken up with your hands (or diced tomatoes)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or 500 ml container of cottage cheese)
- 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (for topping)
- 10 uncooked lasagna noodles (preferably whole wheat)
- In a large pan, brown beef over medium/high heat until cooked through. With a slotted spoon, remove meat to a bowl and set aside.
- Drain all but 2 tbsp of fat from pan. Add onions, garlic, oregano and salt. Cook until onions are softened, approximately 5 minutes.
- Return meat to the pan, stir in tomato sauce, canned tomatoes and water. Heat through.
- Spoon 1/3 of the meat sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Cover with a single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles. Spread another 1/3 of the meat sauce over the noodles. Add 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Arrange a second layer of noodles over top. Spoon remaining sauce over all. Top with 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake covered with foil in a preheated 375°F oven for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese melts.
- Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
To cook: thaw lasagna in refrigerator, and reheat in a 375°F oven until heated through. Approximately 30-40 minutes.
FOR MAKING TWO
Kid Friendly Lasagnas
If one full lasagna is too large for your family, simply assemble one lasagna into two smaller casserole dishes (or foil pans) and freeze one.
In order to make two lasagnas you will need to double the amounts for each ingredient in the recipe.
One box of lasagna noodles will usually make two lasagnas but I always have two boxes of noodles on hand, just in case. It is nice when I don’t have to open the second box though.
Measure and line up all the ingredients in two rows, one for each lasagna.
Brown half the ground beef, remove to a bowl. Then brown the other half of the ground beef and remove to a second bowl.
Drain all but a few tbsp. of fat from the pan add all the onions, garlic, oregano and salt (for both lasagnas). Divide the onion mixture in half, placing half in one bowl of cooked ground beef and half in the other bowl of beef.
Then add the tomato sauce, canned tomatoes and water for ONE lasagna to the pan. Add one bowl of meat and onion mixture and heat through. Remove back to bowl.
Repeat with second lasagna sauce.
Assemble both lasagnas at the same time.