Follower Friday: The Only Lasagna Recipe You'll Ever Need

TGIF!!  I am in love with Fridays.  The start of the weekend and another Follower Friday. 
Today I chose my friend, Kimberly to share a recipe.  She's kind of one of my favorite people.  We met when we were both single and teaching.  Instant friends.  We would have been roommates, if it hadn't been for the men we each fell in love with and decided to marry.  She is insanely talented - she's everything I wish I was.  She's an amazing cook, designer, and Mom.  Check out her blogs.
Personal blog: here.
 Design blog: here.
Food blog: here.
Kim - it's all yours!

Thanks for having me today Tiffanie!!  I've been excited to share a recipe since you first asked me, I just didn't know what to share!  But then this post on Honest Toddler (if your a mom--or even if you aren't--you will love HT) caught my eye at a moment of extreme hunger (pregnancy + 3 hours without eating) and I remembered my awesome lasagna recipe.  Its an adaptation of my aunt Barbara's lasagna recipe that my mom has been making since I can remember.  I've changed a lot of it, but the same basic form and ingredients are the same.  What I love most about this recipe is that you don't have to cook the noodles before you bake it.  (I know, I know there are those "no cook lasagna noodles" but I've never tried them and with this recipe I'll never need to)

What I'm most excited about is that YOU can use this same format and make lasagna exactly how you want!  So this is more than just a recipe for my lasagna, its a "choose your own adventure lasagna dinner"!  Basically it consists of four layers.  I'll list the ingredients and put a star next to the ones you can change or omit.
All I need for great lasagna!

Regular lasagna noodles (one 8oz box was not quite enough for me, so you might want to get a bigger box or get two!)

24 oz. can marinara sauce * (When I'm feeling fancy I make my own sauce from scratch.  When I'm not I use Hunt's Traditional.  You can use any brand, any flavor, just make sure you use 24 oz.  I've never used a white sauce but I don't see why you can't!!)
1 onion*
1 zucchini, chopped very small*
8 oz mushrooms, chopped*
half of a 16 oz bag of frozen spinach*
(other ingredients that would be yummy: ground sausage, ground beef, ground turkey, chopped carrots, chopped tomatoes, corn, bell peppers. . . the list goes on and on)

Soft cheese
20 oz ricotta cheese * (my aunt's recipe called for 16 oz cottage cheese and 3oz of cream cheese combined)

Grated cheese
4 c grated mozzarella cheese* (mozzarella is traditional, but feel free to think outside of the box here!)
a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese*

1. The first thing, the VERY FIRST THING, you must do is put a small amount of your sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  This is pretty much like greasing and flouring your cake pan.  Fail to do this and you will lose the bottom layer of noodles to the demons of cooked on food.  About 2-3 T will do, spread very thin.  If you can see your pan through the sauce, you've done it right.
This is what it should look like.  Unless you're using a metal pan, in which case seeing the counter top through the sauce is bad.

2.  Then prepare the layers.
Noodles: open the box

Sauce: Begin by putting the onion in a medium hot pan.

While the onion gets some one on one time with the heat, I finish chopping the other veggies, in this case zucchini and mushrooms.  If you're adding a ground meat, brown the meat with the onion to help the flavors really marry.  Cook all the veggies until a little soft.  Remember, they're going to get plenty of cooking time in the oven, but you want to make sure no one gets a crunchy onion so I like to give them a head start.

Add the sauce.

At this point you'll probably remember you had frozen spinach melting on the counter.  Don't worry, the freezing process has already wilted the spinach so it doesn't need any additional cooking, go ahead and add it now.

Soft cheese: Ricotta is not very creamy when you scoop it out of the container, so I like to add a few tablespoons of milk to help it spread better.  See the difference?

Grated cheese: I end up using about 1 1/2 c - 2 c of cheese for each of the two layers.  If you buy the cheese pre-grated this step is super easy.

3. Then layer away!!
I say, fit the noodles in how ever you can make it work.  Space too small for a whole noodle?  Shatter that sucker and put it together like a puzzle.
Spread about half your sauce mixture over the noodles.  No need to measure out half, this isn't baking!!
Even with the milk, that ricotta can be a beast to spread.  Putting small spoonfuls helps ensure you don't mix the sauce and cheese into a pink mess.  But if you do, it will still taste good!
And here it is spread out.
Sprinkle cheese.
And start over!
Once the layers have been repeated, cover this masterpiece in foil!

4.  Cook for 1 hr and 15 min with foil on at 350.  Remove foil (carefully so you don't remove the melty yummy cheesy goodness with it) and cook an additional 15 minutes.  Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

5.  Serve with a green salad and garlic bread.  Or what ever you want to serve it with, I'm not giving out grades on this. . .
Pin me.  You know you want to. . .


Like she said....pin it.  Happy weekend! :)


  1. So you don't have to cook the noodles before you begin the layering?

    1. I have never cooked mine before layering. I just add a bit extra sauce, because we like it saucy, but it cooks them just fine.

    2. Nope!! I've never made it any other way, but I'm guessing this way takes more sauce and more cooking time. I think its even better because the noodles cook in sauce and absorb all of that yummy flavor!

    3. That makes this even better!! Thanks ladies!

  2. This sure beats the lasagna I made yesterday!! Love the ideas! I want to be a follower Friday Tiffany!!

  3. Thanks Tiff!! I had so much fun doing this, but its time consuming since I feel the need to add in every detail I ever learned about food. Love you!!