As with just about all my recipes, I’ve adapted it somewhat over the years, but its essence is still the same. It's a streamlined recipe that doesn't stint on flavor. One labor-saving technique I use is to skip the step in most lasagna recipes where you have to pre-cook the lasagna noodles before you use them. There’s no need to do that since the noodles will cook on their own in the oven.
So the prep time for this dish takes only minutes. Actual cook time takes a while, which is one of the reasons I will typically make this for a Sunday dinner and then have it as leftovers during the week. I reserve my longer-cooking or more complicated recipes for Sundays when I have the time to take a more leisurely approach to meal preparation.
And I always plan for leftovers on Monday, since it’s one way to make the transition into the work and school week just a bit easier.
The lengthy oven time of this lasagna also provides ample opportunity for getting a tossed salad ready and a side of garlic bread (instructions here).
One thing I’d like to also mention is that this recipe can be made with either ricotta or cottage cheese. I generally decide which one I am going to use based entirely on price as part of my meal planning process. You can see my blog here and here for details about how I do that with all my menus.
But basically, I check the grocery store flyer to see which one is on sale, or which one I happen to have in my freezer from when I stocked up from an earlier buy-one, get-two sale (yes, you can freeze both).
Either cheese works very well in this recipe or any lasagna recipe.
Here’s the recipe:
Makes 8-10 generous servings
Prep time – Approx. 20 minutes
Start to finish time – Approximately 2 hours
Total recipe cost – approximately $12.00
Total per person meal cost with salad and garlic bread approximately $1.75-$2.00
2 10-ounce boxes or 1¼ pounds of bagged frozen chopped spinach
½ pound brick mozzarella cheese
2 cups pre-grated mozzarella
2 28-29 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
32 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
15 lasagna noodles, uncooked
Recipe continues after photos.
- Preheat oven to 350° F Bake and get out a 9x13 baking dish or a little bigger.
- Thaw the spinach in the microwave in its box on a plate or in a microwavable dish for about 3 minutes. Set aside to drain in a colander.
- Coarsely grate the mozzarella to make 2 cups.
- Open the 2 cans of crushed tomatoes and pour them into a mixing bowl. Mix in the 1 cup of water and all the seasonings (1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon oregano) and set the sauce aside.
- In a different mixing bowl, combine all the ricotta or cottage cheese (32 ounces), 1 cup of the mozzarella, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, the 2 eggs, and the 2 boxes/package of spinach.
- Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 (or bigger) lasagna pan.
- Fit 5 uncooked lasagna noodles on top of the sauce by placing 4 of them lengthwise and breaking 1 to fit crosswise.
- Spread another 3 cups of sauce on top of the pasta layer.
- Then spread ½ of the ricotta/cottage cheese mixture over the pasta/sauce layer.
- Add another layer of 5 lasagna noodles on the top of the ricotta/cottage cheese mixture. Repeat the procedure: spread 3 cups of tomato sauce on top of the lasagna noodles and follow with the remaining half of ricotta mixture. Top this with the remaining 5 lasagna noodles.
- Finish off by pouring the remaining sauce over the whole dish.
- Top the lasagna with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella and ¼ cup of the Parmesan.
- Place the lasagna dish on a cookie sheet to catch any overflow during baking.
- Cover the dish securely with foil, tenting it a bit with a wooden skewer to prevent the foil from sticking too much to the cheese. Alternatively, you can leave the cheese off until the lasagna is done, then add it and return it to the oven for melting and browning. (See Step 16 below.)
- Place the casserole in the preheated oven and set the timer for 90 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, uncover just a corner of the lasagna and check the progress of the pasta. It is done when a knife inserted at a 90 degree angle slides easily through all the layers. If it is not done, then re-cover it and return it to the oven for 10-15 minute increments. Set the timer each time.
- Once the lasagna is done, remove the cover and return it to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes to brown the top a bit. (Or add the grated cheese at this point and return the pan to the oven.)
- When the timer goes off, remove the lasagna from the oven and allow it to stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
- If you are having garlic bread with the meal (see instructionshere), get it ready while the lasagna is standing.
- Serve the lasagna with a tossed, green salad and the garlic bread.