Are you looking for an easy, make-ahead lasagna?
Do you have time to cook dinner? Or are you rummaging through your freezer at 5:15 pm, trying to make something magical appear? Lasagna may not seem like an easy answer, but it can be.
My time is often uneven – tons of time in the kitchen on Saturday at 10 am, and almost none on Tuesday at 6 pm. On the weekends, I often have hours at home, while my son has a therapist work with him. During the week, our schedule usually feels more frantic, with driving to occupational therapy and other activities. Make-ahead meals have become part of my dinner solution for this rhythm of life.
On the weekends I assemble and freeze these dinner building blocks (all of which I make lower in lactose using this.) On a weekend, all it takes is a few minutes of hands-on time to have an unprocessed dinner on the table. This one does take a little more weekend time, but it’s worth it- and you can easily make a pair of them!
A Flexible Lasagna
This lasagna recipe is one that my Italian-American husband says rivals his grandma’s (who, may she rest in peace, will never know that I DO use a jar of marinara sauce to jump start it!). This recipe is very forgiving – only have 6 noodles left in your box? Make the layers thicker. Don’t like chicken sausage? Use ground beef or pork. Sometimes I vary the cheese, based on what I have left – throw in part gruyere, or Monterey Jack, or throw some mushrooms in with the sausage…
Lara’s Loaf Pan Lasagna
- 1 pound sweet Italian chicken sausage casings removed (I use the ones from Trader Joe’s)
- 3 cups marinara sauce I use the organic one from Trader Joe’s, with basil
- 2 cups ricotta cheese (I do take some time to make mine with milk/cream treated with lactase – https://smittenkitchen.com/2011/06/rich-homemade-ricotta/)
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated, divided use
- 8 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 2 cups mozzarella shredded
- Brown the sausage in a large skillet; drain and add marinara sauce.
- With a fork, beat the eggs in medium bowl, then add ricotta cheese and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
- Lightly grease two loaf pans with non-stick spray.
- Layer the ingredients in each pan, beginning with sauce, then a noodle, the ricotta mixture, and then the mozzarella.
- Reserve about 1 cup of the sauce mixture to spread on top, followed by additional mozzarella and remaining parmesan cheese.
- Cover with foil.
- To bake immediately – bake, covered in foil for 45-55 minutes, at 350 degrees; remove foil and broil for ~ 5 minutes.
- To store – wrap foil in plastic wrap and seal tightly. Freeze. To bake, defrost overnight in the refrigerator, remove plastic wrap, and then bake as directed above.