Easy and Tasty Beef Lasagna

For quite awhile, I've avoided making lasagna even though I love it, because most recipes call for cheese and sausage ingredients that I just don't usually have on hand.

So, this weekend I had some time one night and decided to browse lasagna recipes again. I found a few that were made with very simple ingredients and decided to alter them using what ingredients I already had on hand in my pantry or refrigerator.

Now, if you are a believer that lasagna just isn't "real" unless it has ricotta cheese and italian sausage and other exotic ingredients, then you might want to pass this recipe on by. But, if you like lasagna and are looking for a quick and easy recipe that is very tasty, you might want to give this one a try.

It whips together very quickly and can be baked right away, can be put in the refrigerator to bake later or even frozen. And it makes a large lasagna pan FULL. If you have a small family, you'll probably want to cut this recipe in half or plan to freeze half for another meal.


Here we go.

~~~~Easy and Tasty Lasagna~~~~

~~For the Beef Sauce Layer~~

1.5 pounds of ground beef
1 pound of sausage
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 large cans whole tomatoes or diced tomatoes
2 small cans tomato paste
2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon salt

I used our grass-fed ground beef and grass-fed beef sausage for this recipe. It cooks up nicely and is lean enough that I don't have to drain off any fat. I cooked both in a large skillet with the garlic until the beef and sausage was brown and crumbly. If you use conventional beef from the grocery, you'll need to drain off about half the fat when it is done.

Next, add in two large cans of tomatoes. I used organic tuscan tomatoes shown in the picture below, because I've already used my supply of canned and frozen tomatoes from last year and it is what I had on hand. So, use whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, whatever you have on hand.

Next add in 2 cans of tomato paste, the salt and the italian seasoning.

Mix together well and allow to come to a boil in the skillet. Remove from heat and set aside.
lasagna_beef sauce

~~For the Cheese Sauce Layer~~

2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup kefir cheese
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup shredded 4 cheese mexican blend
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt

You could use 3 cups of cottage cheese, but I didn't have that much on hand and I always have kefir cheese that I've made in the fridge, so I made a substitution. Also, instead of the mexican shredded cheese blend, you could use 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. We never buy the pre-shredded parmesan cheese, only the blocks of fresh parmesan and I wanted to save it for the topping.

In a large bowl combine the cottage cheese, kefir cheese, eggs, shredded cheese, italian seasoning and salt. Set aside.

~~Putting it all together~~

1 box of lasagna noodles
1 large lasagna pan
butter or no-stick spray
mozzarella cheese - whole slices or shredded and/or more of the shredded 4 cheese mexican blend.

Butter or spray the sides and bottom of a large lasagna pan. Place a solid layer of the lasagna noodles on the bottom. I didn't pre-cook mine and my recipe turned out just lovely. So don't worry, give it a try without cooking the noodles first.

Next, place a nice layer of the cheese sauce on top of the noodles. On top of the cheese sauce, add a nice layer of mozzarella cheese and/or the mexican cheese blend, whatever you have on hand. Top that with about 1/2 of the meat sauce mixture.

Add another layer of lasagna noodles, the rest of the cheese sauce, another layer of mozzarella or shredded cheese and the rest of the beef sauce. Top with a healthy layer of shredded mozzarella if you have it. I used shredded fresh parmesan cheese.

Now you are ready to bake it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until it is bubbling and the cheese is nicely melted and browned on top.

I made mine early in the day and put it in the refrigerator until dinner time. I baked mine for about 45 minutes.

You could also freeze it for a later date.

I've tried to give detailed instructions here, but this is very easy to make and it went together for me really quickly, especially since I didn't pre-cook the lasagna noodles. So please don't be intimidated by the length of this post and think that it will take forever to put this together.

Let me know how this recipe works if you try it ~ especially if you alter it and can share a new way to make it that worked for you!