Fall and winter are all about comfort food.
And what’s more comforting than your favourite recipes from growing up? This lasagna is probably the food I remember eating most often growing up, and one of the only things I knew how to make when I moved out: meat, noodles, cheese, noodles, meat. I will never forget that order, repeated many times by my patient mom.
For many a family gathering or weeknight dinner, Mom would pull out a fully prepped lasagna, pop it in the oven, add fresh garlic bread and caesar salad, and have a dinner that was a hit every time. Carl also remembers eating this often at our house – and Mom probably remembers needing an extra half pan if she knew he was coming.
When we were making dinners for my freezer to be enjoyed post-baby, this lasagna was at the top of my list.
I don’t make it nearly often enough since it always seems like a lot of work when I see the long ingredient list, but it really isn’t difficult at all. Sure, it makes a couple pans dirty, but it is easy to double or triple and mass produce, and there is nothing better than knowing I have a backup pan or two of lasagna in the freezer. If you use oven-ready noodles, this is even easier, and I discovered last time that you can bake this right from frozen by simply adding 20 minutes to the cooking time – perfect if you’re like me and never remember to pull things out to thaw a day in advance! I also love using gluten free oven ready lasagna noodles to make this a perfect gluten free pasta dish!
Chelsea’s delicious White Cheese and Chicken Lasagna remains one of the most popular recipes on this site, but I had to share our traditional version with you too. So, what’s your preference – white sauce or meat sauce?
Switch up this rich meat sauce with your favourite veggies or homemade sauce – we love grated zucchini, a bit of spinach, and grated peppers, since chunks always get raised eyebrows from the kids and result in finger-mouth fishing. Carl also prefers ricotta cheese over the original cottage cheese for texture reasons – I like both equally.
I have no idea where Mom got the recipe from originally – I’m going to assume her lovely head? This lasagna is a staple in our family cookbook and as such will be remembered forever, so I can pass it on to my children when the time comes when they’ll need a perfectly simple, satisfying, comforting meal for their families and friends.
I hope you and yours enjoy it as much as we do! And don’t forget the garlic bread and salad…red wine optional :)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 lb hamburger
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 1 red pepper, diced or shredded (optional)
- 1 jar (700 ml) pasta sauce or tomato sauce
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 2 tsp salt, divided
- 1 tsp oregano or Italian seasoning
- 8 lasagna noodles
- 1 egg
- 1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Grated mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese for topping
- Sauté onion and garlic in 1 tbsp. oil. Add hamburger and cook until browned. Drain fat. Add mushrooms and peppers, if using, and cook until softened. Add pasta sauce, tomato paste, 1 tsp. of salt, and seasoning. Simmer about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions if not oven-ready.
- In small bowl, mix together egg, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp. oil and 1 tsp. salt.
- Spread half of the meat sauce in bottom of 9”x13” baking dish. Cover with 4 of the noodles. Spread all of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles, then cover with remaining noodles. Top with remainder of the meat sauce. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes. Top with mozzarella and bake 15 minutes longer. Let stand a few minutes before cutting.