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Quick and Easy Beef Lasagna

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Quick and Easy Beef Lasagna
Lasagna is one of my favorite pasta dishes to make, even though I probably make simple spaghetti a bit more often. Lasagna, with its delicious layers of meat, cheese and sauce, is perfect for serving a group or when you want to make a dish large enough that you’ll have leftovers for a couple of days. This Quick and Easy Beef Lasagna recipe is a go-to for me and it should get lasagna into your regular dinner rotation a bit more often, too!

The lasagna uses a couple of shortcuts that will allow you to put it together quickly. First, it uses store-bought marinara sauce as a base instead of a made-from-scratch sauce. Pick any brand that you like and get two 16-oz jars of it (you can get away with 1 28-oz jar if your brand makes extra large sizes). It also uses no-boil lasagna noodles, which cook as the lasagna bakes in the oven. No boil noodles make assembly very easy and save you lots of time – as well as having to boil a big pot of extra water – during prep.

It takes about 15 minutes or so to assemble all the components for the dish, including the time to prepare the meat sauce. The lasagna is assembled with layers of meat sauce that alternate with a ricotta and parmesan cheese mixture. You’ll get plenty of meat, pasta and cheese in every bite – making the dish both well balanced and hearty. The baking time is about 45 minutes in total, which means that this will be ready to serve in about an hour, and most of that time is hands-off while the dish is in the oven baking.

I typically make this recipe with lean ground beef, however it can also be made with ground turkey. No matter which meat you are using, I prefer to use leaner ground meats in my lasagnas because I don’t want too much extra fat to collect in the baking dish as the lasagna cooks. There is plenty of liquid from the pasta sauce for the leaner meats to stay moist, as well.

This dish is always a big hit and I’m sure it will be for your family, too. If you have leftovers, wrap them up and store them in the refrigerator. They can be reheated by putting a serving in a bowl with a few tablespoonfuls of marinara sauce (so the leftovers stay moist when you are reheating them) and heating it in the microwave for a minute or two.

Quick and Easy Beef Lasagna
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 16-oz jars marinara sauce
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 large egg
15 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook, breaking the meat up with a spatula, until fully cooked. Season beef with garlic powder, salt and red pepper flakes. Add in marinara sauce and bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and egg. Stir to combine.
Take out a 9×13-inch baking dish and spoon about 1/3 cup of sauce over the base of the dish. Add one layer of three lasagna noodles. Top noodles with 1/2 of the cheese mixture, spreading it into a thin, even layer. Top with another layer of noodles, then add a little under 1/2 of the meat sauce. Repeat the process again with layers of noodles, cheese, noodles and meat. Top the last layer of meat (if you have a bit of extra cheese mixture, feel free to dollop it in with the last meat layer) with another layer of noodles and pour on any remaining sauce. Cover evenly with mozzarella cheese.
Cover baking dish with aluminum foil.
Bake for 30 minutes, then uncover the lasagna and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and cheese has begun to brown slightly at the edges. Allow lasagna to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serves 9-12

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