Simple Meat Lasagna
Use no-boil lasagna noodles to get this comforting pasta dish layered with meat and cheese out of the oven and onto your dinner table in no time!
For many people, a freshly baked tray of lasagna has the power to evoke warm memories of their childhood years. That's not the case for me. When it came to comforting pasta dishes, my mother preferred to make baked ziti and stuffed shells, and I'm sorry to say that both were somewhat forgettable, made with ingredients that were the least expensive and without any real attention to seasoning or balance of flavors.
Although I considered making lasagna to be as labor-intensive as stuffed shells, my mother didn't see it that way, and lasagna only appeared on our dinner table on rare occasions. Maybe that's why it's taken me so long to share a lasagna recipe here on Taste As You Go.
Sure, I love eating lasagna, but it didn't occur to me to post a recipe for it until a reader emailed me asking me for recipe recommendations.
Naturally, I turned to one of my favorite food blogs for inspiration. Elise's recipe calls for bell peppers and sugar to sweeten the tomato sauce. I'm not normally a fan of bell peppers in my sauce, so I opted to use chopped carrots instead.
Saute the carrots and onions in some olive oil until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
Add some minced garlic to the vegetables and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. You'll want to add the garlic at the end rather than at the beginning to prevent it from burning.
Add the sauteed vegetables to your browned ground beef and stir to combine.
Now, you could use jarred marinara sauce at this point, but, if you have the time to allow the sauce to simmer, it really is worth it to use canned tomatoes. Cook the sauce gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure not to scorch the bottom.
Now it's time to assemble the lasagna. Start by spooning one cup of your meat sauce into the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking dish and spread to cover.
Next, add a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles. At first, I was skeptical about using the no-boil noodles, but this lasagna turned out fabulously without the extra step of boiling the noodles prior to assembling the lasagna. If you can find them in your local grocery store, then I highly recommend using them.
Next comes more meat sauce...
... followed by lots and lots of cheese. Try not to skimp here. The variety of cheeses will really help add richness to the final dish.
Continue layering in this manner until the baking dish is full, making sure you end with a layer of cheese on top.
Doesn't that look delicious? Makes your mouth water a little bit, doesn't it?
Serve this lasagna with a simple garden salad and, if desired, some crusty Italian bread, and you'll have a comfort food dinner that your family is sure to love (and sure to remember for years to come).
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