Posts Tagged 'Lasagna Recipes'

Tomato-Sausage Lasagna

I have two friends who have been running something they call “The 150 Project” since the beginning of the year. Basically, their goal is to spend no more than $150 per week on things like groceries, gas, personal care items, entertainment, etc. (Fixed and close-to-fixed expenses like rent, insurance, and utilities don’t count.) I haven’t adopted the project myself (though I do feel like I’ll save money by association!), but they have inspired me to think about spending a bit more carefully and to stretch dollars and resources as far as they can go.

Dollar and resource stretching (“waste not, want not,” if you will) is what inspired me to make today’s recipe – Tomato-Sausage Lasagna from the March 2006 issue of Everyday Food.  When I made the Tomato and Spinach Pasta Toss a few weeks ago, I used the half pound of Italian sausage that I needed for the recipe and then promptly tossed the rest into the freezer.  I decided to run a search of my recipe spreadsheets to see what I could make with the leftovers, and Tomato-Sausage Lasagna was the most appealing (especially since I had an already-opened package of lasagna noodles in the pantry).  I would have needed a full pound of sausage to make a full lasagna, so I made a half recipe instead.

I’ve made this recipe before, but I’ve never posted it.  One of the reasons I like it (flavor aside) is because you don’t actually have to cook the lasagna noodles.  You just soak them in hot tap water while you do the rest of the food prep.  So, I started by filling an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with hot tap water.   Then, I put 6 lasagna noodles (broken in half) in the water.  (Normally, I’d leave the noodles whole, but they wouldn’t fit in the smaller dish.)

While the noodles soaked, I chopped 1 small onion and 2 garlic cloves.  I heated 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and then added the onion, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, and 1/8 teaspoon of red-pepper flakes.  I cooked the mixture until the onions were lightly browned (about 5 minutes) and added 1/2 pound of sweet Italian sausage (casings removed).  I stirred and broke up the sausage until it was just cooked through (about 5 minutes) and then added 1 can (28 ounces) of whole peeled tomatoes in puree.  I broke the tomatoes up with a spoon as well and then brought the whole mixture to a boil.  Next, I brought the mixture down to a rapid simmer and cooked it (stirring occasionally) until it was thickened (about 20 minutes).  I seasoned to taste with salt and pepper.

The noodles were softened at this point, so I drained them, transferred them to a baking sheet (a clean cutting board would be fine too), and wiped my baking dish dry.  To assemble the lasagna, I put 1/2 cup of the tomato-sausage sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.  I arranged 4 noodle pieces (2 whole noodles) over the sauce, topped the noodles with 1 cup of sauce, topped the sauce with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella, and topped the mozzarella with 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan.  I repeated the layers two more times, using all the remaining sauce on the last layer.

I covered the dish tightly with aluminum foil and baked it for 40 minutes at 350F.  (A whole recipe needs an hour.)  Next, I removed the foil and continued baking until the lasagna was bubbly and browned (about 25 minutes).  I let the lasagna stand for 20 minutes before cutting it into 6 slices.

Tomato-Sausage Lasagna

I really regret not taking a picture of a *slice* of this lasagna – it came out beautifully.  Some nights I just get so lazy with the photos because we want to EAT, you know? 🙂

This is a seriously yummy dish, though.  It’s a bit unusual as lasagnas go because it doesn’t have any ricotta cheese in it, but you get loads of flavor from the Italian sausage and the Parmesan.  Plus, it reheats beautifully and can even be dressed up for company.  It’s a long-standing favorite at our house.

TIPS:  If you prefer lasagna with a spicy kick, substitute hot Italian sausage for the sweet Italian sausage.

Also, finding whole peeled tomatoes in puree can be a bit tricky.  I ended up finding one can that fit the bill in all the rows and rows of tomato products…  It was what I needed (and it was organic), so I was willing to pay a bit more.  I’ve used whole peeled tomatoes in juice in the past, though, and everything still turns out fine.

Recipe link: Tomato-Sausage Lasagna

High Altitude Update: Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

I made what may be my very favorite dish *ever* – Chicken Lasagna Alfredo from Pampered Chef’s Celebrate! – last night as a test for an upcoming dinner party.  It did require some minor adjustments (mostly on cooking time), so I thought I’d share for the benefit of any high-altitude readers.

I’ve pretty much abandoned the no-boil noodles since they burned me a few times with inconsistent results.  Last night, I used Barilla lasagna noodles and boiled them for 10 minutes.  (The package directions said 8 – 9 minutes and the recipe said to use the shortest cooking time, but it seems like my noodles have been needing an extra 2 – 3 minutes to cook since the boiling point of water is lower up here.)

I assembled the lasagna according to recipe directions, baked it initially (covered with foil) for 50 minutes instead of 45, and then browned it (uncovered) for 20 minutes instead of 15.  I probably could have actually browned it for 25 minutes (it didn’t actually get very brown), but I didn’t want to push my luck.  I let it sit for 15 minutes before cutting into it so the sauce could set a bit.

It turned out beautifully, almost better than it ever had before.  It was a bit saucier than usual, probably because I used pre-cooked noodles instead of no-boil noodles.  (The no-boil noodles would have absorbed some of the sauce to “cook.”)  It wasn’t runny, though, and it was so, so delicious.

I’m “high-altitude confident” on this one now. 🙂

NOTE:  You can actually assemble the lasagna 1 day ahead.  (So convenient!)  At sea level, increase the initial (covered) baking time from 45 minutes to 55 minutes for a refrigerated lasagna.  At approximately 5500 feet, I’ll increase the baking time from 50 minutes to 60 – 65 minutes.  The browning and setting times should be the same.

Original post: Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

Recipe link (slightly modified by poster): Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

Healthier Meat Lasagna

Everyone, meet my new favorite meat lasagna – Healthier Meat Lasagna from the November 2007 issue of Everyday Food. I say “meat lasagna” because Chicken Lasagna Alfredo is still very dear to my heart… In my book, though, comparing a meat lasagna with tomato sauce to a chicken lasagna with cream sauce is like comparing apples and oranges. This one is truly delicious, and you’d honestly never know it was a light recipe.

I started by prepping my vegetables for the sauce. I peeled a 1-pound eggplant and cut it into 1/2-inch pieces; I chopped an onion as well. I put the veggies in a bowl together, added 2 minced garlic cloves, and set the mixture aside. Next, I broke 6 whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 ounces) in half, put them in an 8 x 8-inch baking dish, covered them with hot tap water, and set them aside.

In my Dutch oven, I heated 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. I added the prepped eggplant, onion, and garlic and seasoned the mixture with salt and pepper. I covered the mixture and cooked it, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant was very tender (8 minutes). I added 1/2 pound of ground sirloin and cooked it, breaking it up with a spoon, until it was no longer pink (4 minutes). I added 1 can (10.75 ounces) of tomato puree and cooked until the sauce had thickened (4 minutes).

While the meat sauce was cooking, I combined 1 pint (2 cups) of 1% cottage cheese with 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese and seasoned the mixture with salt and pepper. I also removed the lasagna noodles from the baking dish, discarded the water, and wiped the baking dish dry.

When the meat sauce was finished, I seasoned again with salt and pepper. I spread 1/4 cup of the meat sauce on the bottom of my baking dish and topped it with 4 noodle halves. I layered the noodles with 1/3 of the cheese mixture followed by 1/3 of the meat sauce; I made 2 more noodle-cheese-meat layers with the remaining ingredients. I sprinkled the top of the lasagna with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese to finish it off, and I baked it at 375F until it was bubbling and golden (30 minutes). After 15 minutes of stand time, I cut it into 6 pieces to serve.

Healthier Meat Lasagna

So, so delicious! I don’t know if it’s the eggplant in the sauce or what, but this one is special. Plus, one piece of this lasagna is seriously the nutritional equivalent of eating a Lean Cuisine, but it’s fresh and tastes about 1 million times better. I’ve made this twice in the past two weeks… I can’t get enough!

TIPS: The recipe says to let the lasagna stand for 10 minutes before serving. I went with 10 minutes the first time I made it and it was still a bit wet. Upping the stand time to 15 minutes produced great results.

Prep on this one takes about 40 minutes, so it’s probably best as a weekend meal. I haven’t tried prepping it the night before yet, but I think it would work fine. You might just have to add 10 or so minutes to the baking time.

Recipe link: Healthier Meat Lasagna

Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

If I surveyed all of the folks who have shared my table throughout the years about their favorite dishes, I think Chicken Lasagna Alfredo from Pampered Chef’s Celebrate! may come out on top. The blend of flavors is just *amazing* – I think the artichoke, red pepper, and feta really make the dish. Leftovers are rare with this one!

Normally, one would start out by boiling 10 lasagna noodles. I always use no-boil lasagna, though, so I was able to skip this step. In a small bowl, I whisked together 1 jar (16 ounces) of Alfredo sauce, 1/4 cup of milk, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of oregano and then set the mixture aside.

The recipe calls for 3 cups of coarsely chopped cooked chicken; this is equivalent to about 1 1/2 pounds of raw chicken breast. I always poach (boil) mine, but you could cook it any way you like. After I chopped the cooked chicken with a large knife, I used my food chopper to chop 1 can (14 ounces) of artichoke hearts (drained), 1 red bell pepper (for 1/2 cup), and 1 small onion (for 1/4 cup). I put the chicken, artichoke hearts, bell pepper, and onion in a large bowl. I used my garlic press to press 2 garlic cloves over the bowl (the recipe only calls for one, but I like garlic!), and then I added 3 cups of shredded mozzarella and 4 ounces of crumbled feta cheese. I stirred until everything was well mixed.

To assemble the lasagna, I spread 2/3 cup of the Alfredo sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13 baker. I topped it with 4 no-boil noodles, overlapping slightly to fit. I scattered 1 cup of fresh baby spinach over the top of the noodles and topped that with half of the chicken mixture. I repeated the layers, starting with half of the remaining Alfredo sauce. After layering, I poured the rest of the Alfredo sauce over the top of the lasagna.

I covered my baking dish with aluminum foil and baked the lasagna at 375 F for 45 minutes. Then, I removed the foil and baked it for 15 minutes longer. I let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes (for easier serving), and then served it with broccoli and Italian bread.


This dish is incredible, truly. It’s actually relatively healthy, too, if you only have one piece, though I don’t believe I’ve ever had a gentleman guest not ask for seconds (or thirds!). The recipe makes 12 servings and will comfortably serve at least 6 people. I like to serve this with another pasta dish (spaghetti with meatballs, penne with vodka sauce, etc.) to mix things up a bit for larger parties.

TIPS: If you boil your lasagna noodles, you’ll use 10 noodles as the recipe directs. I’ve consistently found that 4 no-boil noodles (of various brands) will cover each layer in the lasagna with a slight overlap, so I only end up using 8 no-boil noodles. The one time I tried to use 5 no-boil noodles for each layer, I don’t think there was enough liquid to allow the noodles to reach a proper texture. Dr. O said things were a bit “chewy.” 🙂 It really depends on the size of your no-boil noodles, though… They need to have a slight overlap. If you somehow end up with smaller noodles, use more.

Recipe link: Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

NOTE: The recipe poster doesn’t credit Pampered Chef, but this is *the* recipe, modified slightly. He upped the garlic from 1 clove to 3, added fresh basil, and left 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese for the top of the lasagna. E-mail me at if you’d like a standard-format version of the original.

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