This scrumptious lasagna earned its name due to the simple preparation. Busy Day Lasagna utilizes no-boil noodles making it a cinch to put together. A robust meat sauce is layered with classic ricotta cheese and mozzarella then it can be baked or chilled until dinner time. Classic Italian made easier.
I often get requests for busy day meals. Being a Mom myself, I completely relate and understand the daily meal dilemma. Lasagna is a classic Italian favorite for my family, but, the technique I typically use to make it is a process and I wouldn’t describe it as “no fuss.” So, I set about to put together a lasagna that would be much easier to assemble on hectic days. Italian dishes are among my very favorite meals to assemble in advance. The flavors tend to become even more robust and it really helps busy Parents get food on the table with less hassle. The biggest time saver with this lasagna is using no boil noodles. They’re readily available in most supermarkets, and they make lasagna so much simpler to prepare. You can also assemble the entire lasagna a day in advance for a true time saver.
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Busy Day Lasagna
Servings: 8 -10
- 1 medium onion diced
- olive oil
- salt & black pepper to taste
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1 lb ground sweet or spicy Italian sausage
- 1 Tbsp dry Italian seasoning [plus 1 tsp]
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 [24 oz] jars pasta sauce [I used Bertolli 5 Cheese]
- 1 [8 oz] Italian seasoned tomato sauce
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil chopped
- 1 [12 oz] pkg no boil lasagna noodles
- 2 [15 oz] ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided
- 4-5 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese or Italian Blend of Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- To make the sauce: On the stove top, saute the diced onion in a couple of drizzles of olive oil until translucent. Season with salt and black pepper to your taste. Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute longer.
- Add the ground beef, Italian sausage, 1 Tbsp dry Italian seasoning and 1 bay leaf. Cook until no pink remains in the meat. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
- Add 2 jars of pasta sauce, 1  oz can of tomato sauce and 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil. Simmer for 15 minutes then remove from the heat. Remove the bay leaf from the sauce.
- To make the ricotta cheese layer: In a small mixing bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 large eggs, 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan, and 1 tsp dry Italian seasoning. Add a few turns of freshly ground black pepper.
- To assemble: Ladle 1/2 cup sauce into the bottom of the prepared dish.
- Top this with 1 layer of lasagna noodles.
- Dollop 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top and spread over the noodles.
- Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with 1/3 meat sauce.
- Sprinkle the sauce with mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat, ending with noodles, meat sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top.
- To bake: Cover with aluminum foil spritzed with cooking spray
- Bake covered for 1 hour.
- Uncover, and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the noodles are fork tender.
- Rest on the counter for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
This lasagna freezes well. Bake, cool completely, then cut into portions. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in a 350°F oven until heated through.