Quick and Easy Lasagna Recipe

If I could pick one food for my last meal on this would be lasagna.  (Maybe chicken pot pie....but, probably lasagna!)  I love lasagna.  I can't tell you how happy I was when my middle little one chose my lasagna as her birthday dinner a few years ago!  She hates, if she chose my has to be good, right?  I thought I would share my "chosen" lasagna recipe today. It's really a quick and easy comfort food--that works well for those fall potlucks and PTO dinners!

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Ingredients for Our Quick and Easy Lasagna Recipe
9 Lasagna Noodles, Prepared for Baking

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
1 c. Chopped Fresh Mushrooms
1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder or 1 Clove Garlic
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
4 c. Marinara Sauce (I use Del Grosso Pasta Sauces...every time.  Sometimes I choose the Organic Garden Medley or the Tomato Basil--or use the traditional meat sauce.  The brand has a wonderful base flavor that works well for the lasagna.)

Cheese Filling Ingredients
1/3 c. Parmesan Cheese
2 c. Ricotta Cheese or Cottage Cheese (I use Michigan Cotage Cheese because of its Ricotta-like texture)
12 oz. Shredded Mozzarella or Italian Cheese Blend--with 1/2 c. reserved to sprinkle over the top of the layered lasagna.
1 Egg, Beaten

Instructions for Making our Quick and Easy Lasagna Recipe:

Prepare the sauce.  Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a LARGE nonstick skillet or dutch oven. Crumble the ground turkey or ground beef into the heated oil and cook until the meat is cooked through.  Add the chopped onions and mushrooms to the meat and continue cooking until the vegetables become tender (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper..and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the pasta sauce, bring to a boil--then reduce the heat and allow to simmer (stirring occasionally) for around 30 minutes.  Set aside.

Prepare the cheesy lasagna filling. Place the cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese) in a large mixing bowl. Add in the Parmesan cheese and the mozzarella or Italian blend cheese and combine well. Mix in the beaten egg.

Assemble the Lasagna.  Preheat oven to 350 F. Begin by spraying a
9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Add 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce to the bottom of the pan and spread evenly. Make a layer of three noodles. Then divide the remaining sauce into thirds and the cheese filling in half. Layer 1/3 of the meat mixture and 1/2 the cheese filling next over the noodle layer. Be sure to spread each layer evenly. Follow with a second layer of noodles, another layer of meat sauce, and the remaining cheese filling. Follow again with a layer of noodles and top with the remaining meat sauce.

Bake and serve.  Bake the lasagna covered at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover, top with 1/2 c. shredded Italian or Mozzarella cheese reserved--and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Serve with salad and garlic bread.  We usually make our own garlic toast by toasting bread and buttering with our Italian Garlic Butter Spread recipe.  

*Busy Mom Tip:  These are super easy to prepare ahead of time and send to PTO or Athletic Banquet dinners with baking instructions--or even bake and carry in as you can probably fit 4 in your home oven!  I would certainly use these for those athletic "team meal" hosting obligations.  Simply build them in disposable, aluminum baking pans and bake according to directions.  Add salad and crusty bread--and you have an easy meal.

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