Friday, October 17, 2014

Easy Meat and Spinach Lasagna

I think I've made homemade lasagna more in the last 2 months than I have in the rest of my married life. Why? Because I have come up with a truly easy way to make it! Much of the credit has to go to Barilla for making an oven ready noodle I truly trust. 

This is NOT a sponsored post. I'm just sharing my love of this product. I have used other "oven ready" lasagna before, and it always required me to really water-down my recipe for it to come out right. These noodles come out perfectly tender and delicious every time.

The other revelation I will share is my new method for the cheese layers. Typically, the cheese layers of a lasagna have ricotta or cottage cheese, an egg or two, grated parmesan, and spices.  I was in a hurry a few weeks ago and decided to try just mixing prepared pesto with cottage cheese--no eggs, other cheese, etc.  It was the best lasagna I had ever made! 

Here's a quick tutorial. Recipe follows.

Prepare your meat sauce. I brown half sausage and half hamburger, then add 8oz of frozen chopped spinach to the hot meat. ( I've used chopped fresh kale once, and it turned out great!). Stir in 1-2 jars of prepared pasta sauce. Then mix your cottage cheese or ricotta with the pesto. Layer meat, noodles, cheese, meat, noodles, cheese, (3 total noodle ending with meat. Here I wanted to show how the noodles don't touch the sides or each other. They expand beautifully while cooking.

Cover the top with Mozzarella or Italian blend shredded cheese.  Cover with foil and bake 50 minutes at 350°. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes.

Mmmm. My house smelled like a fine Italian restaurant. Or a really good pizza joint.

Here's the full recipe:

Easy Meat and Spinach Lasagna
Serves 9

9 sheets of Barilla Oven-Ready Lasagne
1/2-3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2-3/4 lb ground pork sausage
8 oz frozen chopped spinach (or chopped fresh kale)
48 oz of your favorite prepared pasta sauce (I like using one Classico Spicy Tomato and Basil one of any other red pasta sauce.)
3 cups cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
2 cups Mozzarella or Italian blend cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. In a large pot, brown beef and sausage. Add in spinach to thaw in hot meat. Mix well.
3. Pour pasta sauce in with the meat and spinach. Bring to a simmer, then turn off.
4. In a separate bowl, mix cottage/ricotta cheese with prepared pesto. 
5. Spread a layer of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13" pan. Top with 3 sheets of lasagne. The sheets should be 1/2 inch or so apart from each other, and not touching the edges.
6. Spead a layer of the cheese/pesto mix over the noodles, then spread more meat mix over that. Continue making layers in that order (meat, noodles, cheese mix), ending with meat. 
7. Spread the shredded cheese over the final meat layer.
8. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Remove and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Linking up at these super parties.


  1. I am inspired! I will definitely make this recipe!! You just put lasagna back into the realm of possible meals for me with a toddler and infant. Thank you, you smart woman, you!

  2. Thanks for linking with us at the Teach Me Tuesday Linky Party! I hope you'll have the time to party with us this week, as well.