One of the things I do to periodically mix up meals at my house is have a themed night! It’s a great way to introduce your littles to new flavors and choose dishes without spending the whole afternoon perusing the web. So, tonight is Italian Night and our focus is…lasagna! This does not have to be something that you slave over all day, but it can be. So here are some recipes centered around lasagna and it’s beautiful flavors.
- 3/4 lb. lasagna noodles
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- salt & pepper
- 1-32 oz. marinara sauce
- 16 oz. whole milk ricotta
- 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan, divided
- 1/4 c. chopped parsley
- 1 1/2 lb. sliced mozzarella
Begin by heating your oven to 375 F and getting a large pot of water boiling. Next add some salt to your water and cook your pasta noodles according to the directions on the package minus two minutes. You want your noodles to be really al dente or the lasagna will fall apart. Next, remove the noodles from the boiling water and toss with some olive oil so that they don’t stick together and set aside.
Next up you need to cook your beef. Do this by heating some oil in a large pot over medium-high heat before adding in your ground beef. Cook the ground beef until it’s no longer pink and break it up into bite-sized chunks. When it’s done, remove from heat and drain the excess fat. Next add in the garlic and oregano and stir for a minute or two before adding salt and pepper to taste. When you have the right flavor, add in the marinara sauce and stir until it’s warmed through.
Start by combining the ricotta cheese with 1/4 cup Parmesan and the parsley before seasoning with salt and pepper. Set this mixture aside. Now you’re ready to assemble your lasagna!
In a large casserole dish like this one, begin by spreading a layer of sauce over the bottom of the pan followed by a layer of noodles. Next, layer with ricotta cheese and then layer mozzarella. Repeat the process of sauce, noodles, ricotta, mozzarella until you reach the top of your pan. To finish, top with meat sauce, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella.
To bake, cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 375F. Then increase the temperature to 400F and remove the foil. Continue to bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Garnish and serve!
If you’re not up for making the whole lasagna, try making lasagna soup. This dish comes together super quick and embodies all the flavors of the traditional dish. So scoot on over and enjoy a warm bowl of lasagna soup!
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 diced large yellow onion
- 5 cloves minced garlic
- 4 1/2 c. chicken broth
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 3/4 tsp. dried basil
- 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- salt and pepper
- 8 lasagna noodles broken into pieces
- 1 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
- 8 oz. ricotta cheese
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Begin by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the pot is hot, toss in the ground beef and cook it until it’s no longer pink, then drain the fat and set beef aside. In the same pot, heat the remaining olive oil before tossing in the onion. Continue to saute for about 3 minutes before adding in the garlic. Allow the garlic to cook for about a minute before adding in the broth, tomatoes, paste, herbs, and ground beef.
Next, bring the entire mixture to a boil before lowering the heat to low and simmering, covered, for about twenty minutes. While it’s simmering, go ahead and cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. When the pasta is done, toss with a little olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking together.
Then in a separate bowl, mix the mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta cheese together using a fork. Add the cooked noodles to the soup mixture and
season with parsley, salt, and pepper. If the soup is a little too thick, go ahead and add a little more chicken broth. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the cheese mixture. Enjoy!
Serve your lasagna dishes with some fresh bread sticks and simple salads and you’ve got one amazing Italian themed evening!