Lasagna - The People Pleaser

Lasagna - The People Pleaser

There is nothing that can beat a delicious and easy to make lasagna. So now that you have your own place, you are going to want/need to invite just about everybody to show off your new independence and of course your cooking skills! When you are expecting a big group of friends or family, a lasagna is a classic dish to make! The best part is that it can easily be made ahead and it is freezer friendly too, just in case you want to make it ahead of time to make sure nothing goes wrong.

The entire dish takes about 20 minutes to prepare and the end result will make people wonder if you spent hours in the kitchen, it’s that good and simple to make! 

Yield: 12 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

 Ingredients:

  • 9 already cooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 pound of ground beef*
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of dried basil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 (28-ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella
  • 1 (15 ounce) package of whole milk ricotta
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish or use a nonstick spray to coat your baking dish.
2.) Heat your olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and diced onions and cook until beef has been browned, this should take about 3-5 minutes. Make sure to crumble your beef as it cooks by breaking your beef into small pieces; salt and pepper to season. Drain excess fat from skillet. 
3.) Add your tomatoes and dried parsley and basil to your season beef until it well combined, lower heat and put aside.
4.) In a medium bowl, combine your ricotta, 1/2 cup of your mozzarella and your egg until well combined, set aside.
5.) Take your baking dish and spread 1 cup of your tomato mixture onto the bottom; top with three lasagna noodles, taking care to cover the entirety of your baking dish. Take your ricotta mix and spread it on top of your first noodle layer. Repeat this step with a second layer of both your tomato meat sauce and your ricotta mix and top with a second noodle layer; top again with remainder of ingredients and put your remaining noodles so that your lasagna will have three layers.
6.) Place into oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the cheese begins to bubble. Then broil for 3-5 minutes, or until the top of your lasagna begins to brown.
7.) Let cool for 15 minutes and serve.

Notes:

*Instead of beef, you may also use Italian pork sausages or ground turkey.

MAKE-AHEAD: If you want to make this dish the night before, you will need to cover the lasagna tightly with plastic wrap and you can refrigerate it up to 24 hours. Once you are ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and bake for 45 minutes. Than you can broil for an additional 5 minutes so that the lasagna is slightly crunchy and does not separate when you begin cutting into slices.

TO FREEZE: To make this dish in advance, you will need to cover the lasagna tightly with plastic wrap and put it in your freezer for up to 3 months. Once you are ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap, cover with aluminum foil (so that it does not dry out), and bake for 90 minutes. After this time, you can broil for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until you find that it is completely cooked through.

To make sure that your lasagna is completed cooked, a helpful tip that I use is to grab a knife and poke directly in the center of the lasagna. If you take the knife out and bring it close to your face and do not feel any heat coming from the knife, cover your lasagna again and put it back in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes and repeat this step.

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