Even though most of us in our family, 80% of us to be exact, are not eating dairy foods right now, I still stock up on cheeses when on sale. This allows me to make lasagna for Steve’s lunch. A 9×13 pan will last 8 lunches. I cut 4 pieces off and store them in the fridge. And the other 4 pieces go in to the freezer in individual baggies for him to enjoy later. Or whenever he needs a break from the typical turkey and cheese sandwich.
In a recent interview with Time.com, I was asked what was the recipe that I had yet to pull off for $5. My answer: Lasagna.
While I could certainly make an 8×8 for $5 given the right sale prices, that would just be weird. Lasagna is meant to be made in a 9×13 pan. So let’s double the $5 price point and make a 9×13 meal for $10.
Homemade Lasagna with Garden Herbs
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 1.3 lb. ground beef
- 28 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
- Fresh herbs from the garden
- 16 oz. container ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 10 slices provolone cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Cook lasagna noodles.
- Make meat sauce by browning ground beef, draining and then mixing with spaghetti sauce.
- Pick some fresh herbs from the garden. Basil, oregano and thyme. If necessary, substitute about 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasonings.
- Chop fresh herbs. (The fresh herbs will make your house smell amazing when this lasagna is in the oven. I seriously wish I could bottle up the smells and transmit them through the computer.)
- Mix the fresh herbs in with the ricotta cheese and egg.
- Layer 4 of the the no boil or the boiled lasagna noodles in the bottom of the greased 9x13 pan. Add the meat sauce.(I was not paying attention and only did 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom...leaving me with an extra noodle!)
- Top with 5-6 slices provolone cheese.
- Spread the ricotta cheese on top. Then repeat with noodles, meat, cheese slices, ricotta.
- Top with layer of noodles, then shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbling and cheese has melted on top.
Looks good, we are big lasanga fans. A quick question, how do you keep your noodles from splitting or breaking apart? I always end up with some whole noodles and a lot of broken up noodles.
Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom says
A few tips: Don’t overcook! Only cook for 6-8 minutes, or al dente. Add a smidge of oil while boiling. Stir gently after all the noodles soften. Rinse with lukewarm water. Handle with extreme care!
And cook a few extra in case 1 or 2 fall apart.
Looks yummy! I just made a version in the slow cooker this week and it turned out delicious! I used ground turkey Italian sausage and cottage cheese. It reduced the cost and I think I spent right at $4.00 for the meal. But it was more like an 8×8 like you were talking about. Great way for your husband to eat a good lunch without the cost of take-out or fast food.
Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom says
Absolutely! I’m gonna check out your slow cooker idea…have you tried it overnight?!?
@Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom,
Nope, never overnight. I put it on about 4 hours before supper and then turn it off so it sort of sets up. You know how lasagna falls apart when it’s too hot. And my husband doesn’t like mushy overcooked noodles, so that helps too.
I love eating leftover lasagna too!
Great for lunch! You’re a sweet wife/mama!
Debbi Does Dinner Healthy says
This looks great! I love provolone and ricotta! Thanks!
We love lasagna! I don’t use meat in ours. Also, I do not precook my noodles and I don’t buy the no-bakes noodles either. I just add some extra water to my sauce. I layer my ricotta next to the pasta. And I have found spreading the ricotta on the dry pasta makes it a lot easier to work with.
Rachel G says
Just a little tip. If you spread a little sauce (not a full layer) first on the bottom then noodles, sauce cheese you won’t have to grease your pan at all.
Rhonda Hall says
I don’t use ricotta cheese, I substitue cottage cheese and we can’t tell a difference and usually cheaper with a coupon or free. Also, I buy no cook noodles from Trader Joe’s, which saves a boiling step, time and washing an extra pan.. and no breaking of noodles.
Have you thought of making your own sauce using your garden tomatoes? That would shave off some of the cost of the lasagna. My husband does not like ricotta cheese or cottage cheese-does anyone have any suggestions for lasagna not using that ingredient?
Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom says
Yes Julie…I canned quite a bit of salsa and spaghetti sauce last year…just reaching the end of it though!
And yogurt?! Strained a bit?!?
@Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom, Yogurt sounds like a good idea-I am going to try it and see if he notices ;0). We used to live in West Chester, Ohio and moved to Atlanta area 3 years ago. I like the south, but miss the Midwest! Thanks for suce a great blog and I love your cook book too!
cream cheese mixed with half a cup sour cream to cut the sweetness
I could trim about 3 off of your recipe. (I could also just change the $$ allocation.)
1. I keep TVP in my pantry – I would hav eused that instead of the ground beef – or I would have used summer squash slices (& other vegetables) instead.
2. Skip the provalone. Seriously you already have ricotta (or cottage cheese) & mozarella, why the 3rd cheese?
3. I have successfully used no-bake noodles.
If you want an easier recipe, don’t cook the noodles, but add 1 cup water to sauce. And cover with aluminum foil while baking. I also find it easier to spread the ricotto cheese on the uncooked noodles.
The downside is you don’t want to prepare this ahead of time.
The trick to a cheap lasagna is no meat. We use broccoli, spinach, and/or zucchini that we grow ourselves, depending on the season. My unrepentant carnivores don’t miss the meat.
Also, it makes lasagna far less fattening!
Christie Lynn says
i made this and it came out perfect, it tastes wonderful…i printed it out last time and couldn’t find it when i went to make it again. i was panicked thinking i’d never be able to fish through all the lasagna recipes on the internet to find it again but thank heaven here it is!!!