My mom would deny to her death that she is a great cook. But she is. And many of my “tried-and-true” recipes are none other than hers (many of which I have yet to post here – can’t wait!). This lasagna is no exception. It takes a bit more time than throwing together layers of noodles, cottage cheese and bottled spaghetti sauce, but it is soooo worth it. The sauce simmers on the stove to blend the flavors and it is the perfect combination of sauce, meat and tomatoes. This is a favorite request of my husband and is a frequent choice for our Sunday dinners. Enjoy!

Trade Secrets: I haven’t made any ingredient/flavor changes to this recipe but I do two things differently than my mom. 1) I use oven-ready lasagna noodles. I discovered these a year or so ago, I’m sure eons after the rest of you, and I can’t believe I ever went to the trouble to boil my lasagna noodles beforehand. These are magical – no pre-boiling required, you just layer the dry lasagna noodles like you would normally and they cook while the lasagna is baking. I swear by the Barilla or American Beauty brand. I can’t even tell a difference when using the oven ready lasagna noodles versus cooking regular lasagna noodles beforehand. Perhaps when I don’t have three children ages three and under running afoot, I will go back to the traditional boil beforehand noodles, but for now, these babies make me very, very happy. 2) My mom always used just two layers of noodles. Because I am a carbaholic and can’t get enough pasta in my diet, I use 3 layers of lasagna noodles and just spread the other ingredients a bit thinner so that I have more noodles in the dish.

As a sidenote, as I have made mention several times before, I never use pre-grated cheese if I want it to melt beautifully. I always grate it myself. If you want to know why, I’ll have my husband email you with the details of the substance they add to pre-grated cheese to prevent clumping but inhibits the melting factor somewhat. He does, after all, work for a cheese company and is an expert. (Ok, so he has a desk job in some remote part of the factory and his human resource job involves no component of the cheese-making process, but still, he knows what he’s talking about. I promise.)

My Mom’s FABULOUS Lasagna

My Mom’s FABULOUS Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 package oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • 1 to 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes (undrained)
  • 2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 container (15 ounce) ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Cook ground beef and onion, drain. Stir in tomatoes (undrained), tomato paste, sugar, 2 teaspoons of the basil and pepper. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes. In a small bowl blend ricotta, egg, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, parmesan cheese and ½ teaspoon salt. Put a layer of noodles in a 9 X 13 pan, a layer of meat sauce, layer of ricotta mixture and a layer of the cheese then repeat all the layers twice more. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover, bake 20 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
  2. *Freezable Meal: Prepare recipe right up until the baking step and then cover with a double layer of aluminum foil. Freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. To bake, increase baking time to about 40 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered.If baking from frozen, bake covered for 1 hour and 30 minutes, uncover and bake 30 minutes longer.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/my-moms-fabulous-lasagna/

34 Responses to My Mom’s FABULOUS Lasagna

  1. Deborah says:

    I agree with you about the pre-grated cheese – it just doesn’t melt right!! I usually buy a big thing of cheese and grate the whole thing then store in the fridge. It’s MUCH better that way!

  2. Erin says:

    I made this for dinner tonight — SO GOOD. I’ve had this recipe from Mom for a few years, but just haven’t gotten around to making it. This lasagna is ten times better than the Better Homes and Gardens recipe, which I used last time. Thanks for reminding me that I had this recipe. It’s my official lasagna recipe from now on. :) Oh yeah, and I love your tip on using no-bake noodles. FABULOUSLY easy.

  3. Jared and Katie Organ says:

    Absolutely amazing! I added a box of frozen chopped spinach to the ricotta mixture and everyone looooved it! Thanks again for another winning recipe!!!!!!!!!

  4. Garrison Family says:

    okay question from the dorky cook that doesnt know a thing… my husband hates ricotta cheese – can cottage cheese be substitued? I know that sometimes people use cottage cheese in lasagna but wasnt sure if it could be a 1:1 switch?

  5. Melanie says:

    Jared and Katie Organ – I’m so glad you liked this especially since it is a family favorite at my house, too. The addition of spinach sounds great – way to add some healthy kick into the lasagna!

  6. Erin says:

    This is on my list of meals to make soon. Thanks for the tips! Looks delish!

  7. Nicole says:

    Your pictures always look amazing! I have to tell you my mother in law doesn’t ever cook her noodles either, she just puts sauce on the bottom before layering the noodles. Well when I was just a newlywed I finished the lasagna, went to take it out of the oven and started crying because I realized I forgot to cook the noodles. Then Kevin said, “No, in that recipe you dont have to!” Oh I was so relieved I didn’t ruin another meal!

  8. Dhanggit says:

    it must be the combination of ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese that makes this lasagna oozingly delicious :-)!! will try this recipe one of these days!!

  9. Melanie says:

    Cat – this lasagna is not overly saucy so if you want it with more sauce you could one and a half the sauce ingredients or use lasagna noodles that you boil completely first (since the no-boil noodles soak up more sauce while cooking in the oven). Hope that helps.

  10. Cat says:

    I was surprised at how dry the lasagne was – I take it that it’s supposed to be less saucy than some other lasagnes? My one son prefers it saucier – I thought it was a little dry but it sure was easy to cut! What would you suggest to do to sauce it up a bit?

  11. [...] And I’ve had great lasagna. [...]

  12. Veronica M. says:

    We had this for dinner today and loved it! It’s my first ever from-scratch lasagna. I served it with your cheesey garlic bread (well, I left off the cheese since there was already enough cheese in the lasagna) and it was the best meal we’ve eaten in a while. Next time I’m making the classic Italian Lasagna that you recently posted. Can’t wait!

  13. Mel says:

    Veronica – this is one of my favorite lasagnas…this one and the classic Italian one. Anyway, my mom will be flattered to know you liked it so much!

  14. [...] Lasagna recipe adapted from My Kitchen [...]

  15. Brittany Benson says:

    Hi it’s Brittany again. This was so good. I made it for the missionaries that are in our ward. They loved it and so did my mother and I. Your recipes are always great. Thank you!!!

  16. Mel says:

    Brittany – hello, again! I’m impressed you are already cooking for the missionaries. Way to go! Glad this lasagna worked out well…thanks for letting me know.

  17. Ram says:

    I’d like to try this lasagna for New Year’s Eve dinner. Where do I put the mozzarella, I don’t see it in the instructions. Should I mix it with parmesan or should I just put it on top? Thank you.

  18. Mel says:

    Ram, when the directions say “Put a layer of noodles in a 9 X 13 pan, a layer of meat sauce, layer of ricotta mixture and a layer of the cheese” then use the mozzarella there (in the “cheese” spot).

  19. Tracey says:

    Just made this for dinner last night … I substituted ground turkey for the ground beef, and monterey jack cheese for the mozzarella. The cheese was an accident…I thought I had an entire block of mozzarella in the fridge, but turned out it was monterey jack. OOPS! Just so you know, it actually turned out delicious anyway! :)

  20. Mel says:

    Tracey – glad this worked out well with monterey jack! Thanks for letting me know.

  21. Laurel says:

    I’m making this for dinner tonight and can’t wait to try it. I’m splitting into two 8X8 pans, one for dinner and one for freezer meal in preparation for another baby coming soon. Just wondering…. it says to put 2 tsp of basil into meat mixture, but doesn’t account for the other 1/2 tsp anywhere. I’m assuming it goes in with the ricotta cheese mixture? Thanks for all your great recipes!

  22. Mel says:

    Laurel – sorry about the confusion on this (and my delay in responding). Yes, the other 1/2 teaspoon dried basil goes in with the ricotta. Thanks for the heads up!

  23. Caitlin says:

    Hi I’m making this now and I noticed that you begin with the noodles, rather than a layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Just want to make sure that is the intended way to do it -I’ve always thought that the no-boil noodles wouldn’t cook properly without a layer of sauce on the bottom.

  24. Mel says:

    Caitlin – I always start with a layer of noodles – it seems to cook fine because there is a lot of liquid/sauce that permeates that bottom layer. But if you are nervous about it (or really want that bottom layer to be nice and tender) by all means throw a little sauce down in the pan. Either way should work fine!

  25. Susannah says:

    What percentage of fat in your ground beef do you use for this recipe? Thanks!

  26. Mel says:

    Susannah – I usually use lean ground turkey or 93/7 ground beef.

  27. Kayla says:

    Hi can I use a 8×8 pan for this recipe or would it be too small?

  28. Mel says:

    Kayla – that would be too small for a full batch of lasagna.

  29. Kayla says:

    So would you recommend a half batch?

  30. Mel says:

    If you want to use that size of pan, yes, you would probably want to halve the recipe.

  31. Stephanie says:

    Have you ever tried Italian sausage? This reminds me of my Mom’s recipe and she always uses Italian sausage. We also use egg noodles because we hate boiling lasagna noodles, but I may need to try the bake ones.

  32. Maria says:

    Regarding the can of tomatoes, is that whole tomatoes, or diced tomatoes, or what? Thanks! My husband requested lasagna (which I never make!) for Father’s Day, so I’m going to give it a try.

  33. Mel says:

    Maria – I used diced tomatoes.

  34. Erin says:

    Just made this lasagna tonight and it was soooo good! Even my husband, who generally prefers all things store bought, liked it! Thanks for a really simple to prepare and delicious to eat meal!

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