You can find 1000+ of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch nearly 100 of my Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. Have fun!


~ Thick-&-Zesty Kid-Friendly Ground-Beef Lasagna ~

IMG_4011All us cooks agree that every recipe does not have to be a rocket science recipe -- it simply has to taste, without compromise, great.  If the end justifies the means, there's no shame in a shortcut or three.  I'm not sure how many lasagna recipes one cook is supposed to have, but, I'm guessing most households have more than one.    Here in my kitchen, I make four different types of lasagna, each with its own unique sauce: Bolognese, seafood, vegetable lasagna (all of which are excellent but time-consuming), and, this easy-to-make kid-friendly, crowd-pleasing ground-beef lasagna.  It's so popular amongst my family and friends, I even have a gluten-free version.

Part One -- Making the meat sauce:

IMG_3885For the meat sauce:

3  tablespoons olive oil

2  generous cups diced yellow or sweet onion (12 ounces)

1  pound sliced white button mushroom caps

1  tablespoon McCormick garlic powder

3  packets McCormick Thick & Zesty spaghetti sauce mix

3  pounds 90/10 ground beef (90% fat free)

1  pound Hatfield sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

1  28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

IMG_3882 IMG_3882 IMG_3882 IMG_3882 IMG_3896 IMG_3896 IMG_3896~Step 1.  Place the oil in a 12" chef's pan.   Prep onions and mushrooms as directed, placing them in pan as you work.  Place over low heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Increase heat to sauté, stirring frequently, until onion softens and mushrooms have lost almost all moisture, about 15-20 minutes, using a large spatula to chop up mushrooms a bit as they cook.  Stir in the garlic powder and packets of spaghetti sauce mix.  Continue to sauté for about 30-60 seconds.  Mixture will be thick and pasty.

IMG_3907 IMG_3907 IMG_3907 IMG_3907 IMG_3907 IMG_3907 IMG_3907 IMG_3907 IMG_3933~Step 2.  Add all of the ground beef and sweet sausage to onion/mushroom mixture.  Cook mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently and using the spatula to break up the meats into small bits and pieces, until the meat has lost its red color, is steamed through, and almost no moisture remains in the bottom of the pan, 25-30 minutes.

IMG_3934 IMG_3934 IMG_3934~ Step 3.  Add and thoroughly stir in the crushed tomatoes.  Adjust the heat to a gentle, steady simmer and continue to cook, stirring constantly with a large spoon, about 15 minutes.  This meat sauce, which is also a great meat sauce for spaghetti, is ready to use.  That said, I like to remove the pan from the heat, cover it, and let it rest for about 30 minutes prior to assembling the lasagna, to give the flavors time to marry.  That said,  it is important to have the sauce warm-to-hot when assembling the lasagna as it will pre-soften the noodles before the lasagna goes into the oven.

Part Two -- Assembling & baking the lasagna:

IMG_3955For the assembly:

all the meat sauce,  from above recipe

1  10-ounce box ruffled-edge lasagna noodles, uncooked

1/2-3/4   pound thinly-sliced Cooper CV sharp cheese, or white American cheese

1/2-3/4   pound thinly-sliced provolone cheese

1/2-3/4  pound thinly-sliced mozzarella cheese

1/2-3/4  cup fine-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1-2  teaspoons Italian seasoning blend, or dried oregano

no-stick cooking spray

IMG_3957 IMG_3957 IMG_3957 IMG_3957 IMG_3957 IMG_3957 IMG_3957~Step 1.  Spray the bottom of a 13" x 9" x 2" casserole with no-stick.  Spoon a thin but even layer of meat sauce in bottom of casserole dish.  Arrange lasagna noodles, side by side, over the sauce.  Four noodles will fit lengthwise.  Break one noodle to fit in the remaining space.  Arrange a single layer of Cooper CV cheese slices over the noodles.  Arrange a single layer of provolone slices over the CV.  Arrange a single layer of mozzarella slices over the provolone.  Spoon a second layer of meat sauce over the cheese layer.  Generously sprinkle Parmigianno-Reggiano over meat sauce.

IMG_3975 IMG_3975 IMG_3975 IMG_3975 IMG_3975 IMG_3975 IMG_3975 IMG_3975~Step 2.  Arrange a second layer of lasagna noodles in the dish and repeat the above process (a second layer of cheeses, a third layer of meat sauce, plus a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano). Sprinkle Italian seasoning blend over all.  The lasagna is now ready for the oven or the freezer, or, it can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight, returned to room temperature (which takes about 3-4 hours) and baked the next day.  I highly recommend refrigerating it over night -- it's convenient, but more importantly, it gives all the great flavors time to marry.

IMG_3999 IMG_3999 IMG_3999~ Step 3.  Cover lasagna with a piece of foil that's been sprayed with no-stick.  Place foil, sprayed side down, over lasagna and cover tightly.  Bake on center rack of 350° oven, 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake 25-30 more minutes, or until browned and bubbly.  Remove from oven and rest, 30-60 minutes prior to slicing and serving -- 30 minutes if you want to eat your lasagna at that "ooey-gooey" stage, or, 60 minutes if you want nicer, neater slices and a more refined presentation. 

Ooey-gooey cheesy & easy too -- & oh so very, very good:

IMG_4043Thick-&-Zesty Kid-Friendly Ground-Beef Lasagne:  Recipe yields 8-12 servings.

Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 12" chef's pan w/straight, deep sides & lid,; large spatula; large spoon;  13" x 9" x 2" casserole dish; plastic wrap (optional); aluminum foil

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d16c4a48970cCook's Note: Do you have a favorite casserole recipe?  You know "the one".  The one your family loves, the one you take to potluck, the one you donate to a good cause, the one you give to a sick friend -- the one you've made so many times you've got the recipe committed to memory.  Every really good cook or chef will admit they have at least two or three "go to" casserole recipes in their repertoire.  I'm no exception and this one is at the top of my short list.  Try my ~ Baked Ziti Casserole w/Sausage & Four Cheeses ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment