Cover Girl Lasagna.
I’m a fan of make-ahead meals.
During a busy week, my make-ahead meals are a life saver, a budget saver and a health saver.
Instead of ordering pizza or grabbing something on the way home, I can come home, open the freezer and bake a main dish within an hour.
My favorite make-ahead meal: Lasagna.
After several attempts with several recipes, this is my absolute favorite.
While it isn’t the easiest to put together and requires some time on my part, it is quite worth it.
I never get tired of lasagna. I can have it for a week-straight – lunch and dinner – which is exactly how long this recipe lasts.
My Favorite Lasagna
– adapted from here
- 1.5 pounds of lean ground beef
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
- 2 (6.5 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 12 lasagna noodles *I buy the ones you do not have to pre-boil
- 16 oz skim milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Heat a dutch oven (or large pot) over medium-high heat.
- Once pot is hot, add olive oil and wait for it to heat up.
- Once oil is hot, add onions and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, until soft.
- Add ground beef. Cook until browned.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water.
- Add sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 T salt, pepper and 2 T parsley.
- Cover and simmer for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Make ricotta mixture: combine ricotta cheese, egg, 2 T parsley and nutmeg.
- Assemble in the following layers: (a) 1.5 cups of meat sauce at the bottom of the lasagna dish, (b) arrange approximately 6 noodles to cover the meat sauce, (c) add 1/2 of the ricotta mixture to the noodles and spread evenly, (d) add 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese slices, (e) add 1.5 cups of meat sauce over the cheese slices, (f) sprinkle 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese over the meat sauce, (g) arrange another 6 noodles to cover the top, (h) add remaining 1/2 of the ricotta mixture to the noodles and spread evenly, (i) add 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese slices, (j) add 1.5 cup of the meat sauce over the cheese, (k) add remaining mozzarella cheese slices, (l) sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on top.
- Spray foil with non-stick spray and cover the lasagna dish.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to set for about 10 minutes before serving.
Are you a fan of make-ahead meals? What’s your make-ahead meal?