When all the family is gathered around, leaving their socks on the floor for the dogs to carry to the front hall and the remotes buried deep in the couch cushions; when you can hear, all at once, heavy metal music pounding on the ceiling, computer-generated gunshots emanating from the latest kill-stuff game on Play Station, and angsty hipster melodies drifting up through the floorboards… then you know the holidays are upon us.
Here is the plan. Throw this lasagna together before they wake up. Bake it while you dress or– best idea ever–wrap it in foil and stick a note on it: “Bake 1 hour at 350°. Enjoy! Love, Mom.” Then go out running or get your hair cut or finish your shopping. It is your day off, too. By the time you return, they will have arisen and devoured. And now you, happy enough that you don’t even see the sock at the front door, can hang out on the couch with them and bask in the beauty of the season.
The Easiest Lasagna Ever
Be sure to buy pre-cooked, a.k.a. “no boil”, lasagna noodles. By all means, leave the meat out for a vegetarian version; if you’d like, you can add spinach instead or in addition to the meat.
1 pound lean ground turkey or beef
2 27-ounce bottles basil-tomato sauce, divided
2 large eggs
1 15-ounce container part skim ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan, divided
1 16-ounce box no-boil lasagna noodles
3 cups shredded reduced fat mozzarella
1. Cook the meat (if using) stirring to break it into crumbles, until it is no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of the sauce and stir ithe rest into the skillet with the meat and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
2. Beat the eggs lightly with a fork; stir in the ricotta and 1/4 cup of the parmesan.
3. Spread 1 cup of the reserved tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray. Top with 4 slightly overlapping noodles. Spoon about 1/3rd of the meat sauce over the noodles; top with about 2/3 cup of the ricotta and sprinkle with about 2/3 cup of the mozarella.
4. Repeat the layers, starting with noodles, followed by 2/3 cup ricotta, 2/3 cup mozzarella and one third of the meat-sauce mixture. Repeat one more time: noodles, remaining ricotta, 2/3 cup mozzarella and remaining beef. Now layer the last four noodles on top, spread with the remaining 1 cup of reserved sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of parmesan. Cover loosely with foil.
5. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the lasagna 1 hour, remove the foil and bake another 5 minutes. Let it cool 15 minutes before cutting.
Makes 12 servings
Nutrition for each serving: 408 calories, 26 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 18 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 467 mg sodium