Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lasagna From a Jar...

Well, the sauce is, anyway.  And my family loves this one - so what the heck, I will share this one any day since it's so awesome.

This recipe will make enough for a 9"x13" pan, and there may be enough ingredients to put a couple layers in a small 8"x8" pan, too.  It varies at my house, depending on whether or not my kids are sneaking noodles behind my back.  I've never figured out what exactly the appeal is in regard to plain lasagna noodles, but everyone fights over a leftover noodle if there is one.

2 - 32oz. jars Ragu Garden Style spaghetti sauce (I like the chunky sauce, it adds some nice veggie texture to the lasagna)

2 lbs. hamburger, browned (I usually chop this with my spatula as I'm browning, so the chunks of meat are fairly small - the sauce spreads more evenly this way)

1 box of lasagna noodles, cooked till al dente (should still be firm, not mushy!)

1 lb. shredded cheddar

1 lb. shredded mozzarella

1/4 - 1/3 cup grated parmesan

16 oz. Ricotta cheese for layering, if you like it

Mix spaghetti sauce with browned hamburger and heat through until hot.
spoon a small amount into the bottom of the pan so the first layer of noodles don't stick, then lay the first 4 noodles lengthwise in the bottom of the pan.  Spoon an even layer of sauce over the noodles, then sprinkle about 1/2 cup each of the cheddar and mozzarella (and some ricotta if you want) over the sauce.  Add the next layer of noodles, then repeat the steps until you run out of room or ingredients.  On the last layer of noodles, spoon sauce and remaining cheddar & mozzarella.  Top with parmesan.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and return to oven for 15 minutes longer.  If you are going to heat up a loaf of french bread, now's the time to put that in the oven, too. 

When you remove the lasagna from the oven, it should stand for about 10 minutes or so before cutting.  That's a great time to pull together a quick mixed green salad and pour drinks.

If there's enough ingredients left over for a small pan, that can easily go into the freezer for a heat & eat meal later on when you don't have the time to cook.  This recipe can be divided in half for a smaller pan, or just make the entire thing and put some in the freezer for a rainy day.  The leftovers are almost better the next day on this one - your coworkers will be jealous when they see what you've got for lunch!

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