Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Skillet Lasagna

A quick skillet version of lasagna made with ground beef and sausage, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, cottage cheese, mozzarella and broken lasagna noodles. All the terrific flavor of baked lasagna, without all the time and effort.

Skillet Lasagna

I love baked lasagna. You just can't beat it, especially when made with a homemade fresh tomato meat sauce. If you have only ever had lasagna from a jarred pasta sauce, you really need to treat yourself sometime! Of course, you can also make a great sauce using the convenience of canned tomatoes.

Take that same basic method to the skillet and you have an amazing meal, with all the flavor, but that's done in no time.

I've made this recipe for years using my method, which involves precooking lasagna noodles, and I've also tried increasing the sauce and adding the noodles dry to cook in the sauce. I much prefer the texture that comes from boiling the noodles ahead. I feel the same way about my baked lasagna, and despite the praise of others, I don't like the no-boil noodles at all. The texture is just off to me.

I also prefer using actual lasagna noodles for this dish, that I stick in a zipper bag, and bang against the counter to break up. Takes a second and the overall dish is much more "authentic" to me than using other pasta cuts, though you certainly can.

If you happen to have leftover meatballs and tomato sauce from making spaghetti, this is a good use for that. All you have to do then is mash up the meatballs, warm up the sauce, throw in the cottage cheese, mozzarella and cooked, broken lasagna noodles and top with the remaining cheese, let it melt and you're done! Talk about speedy. But, even starting fresh with ground meats and canned tomatoes, this is a dish that comes together fast and tastes amazingly close to the more time consuming layered favorite. It is simply delicious. Give it a try and see if you agree.

{Southern Style Hissy Fit Warning:} While we are on the subject of cottage cheese... yes, I use cottage cheese, not ricotta, in my skillet lasagna and in my baked lasagna. It's just always been that way.

You are welcome to substitute ricotta, of course. I grew up with cottage cheese in lasagna, like many other southerners did. For some reason though, there are some folks who feel a need to push ricotta on those of us who rather enjoy our lasagna with cottage cheese. I caved to the insistence that I was doing it all wrong and gave ricotta a try. Once. Frankly... I hated it. The texture and the flavor were completely off to me, and I regretted ruining my lasagna with ricotta. Yes, ruining it. I just did not like it! So, I thank you very much to leave me to my cottage cheese, and I'll enthusiastically leave you to your ricotta. {tucking away soapbox}

Here's how to make my skillet lasagna.

Recipe: Skillet Lasagna

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 4 cups of broken lasagna noodles
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 pound ground beef, or 1/2 pound each beef and ground sausage
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste
  • 2 (14-1/2 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup of cottage or ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then salt generously. Break up the lasagna noodles into smaller pieces and boil according to package directions, until tender. Set aside.

While the noodles are cooking, using a large skillet that has a cover, heat the oil over medium heat, add the onions and cook until tender. Add the ground beef and sausage, cooking until browned and crumbled; drain off any excess fat and add the garlic. Add the parsley, Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper and stir in well; cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir to mix and cook for another 2 minutes. Add in undrained diced tomatoes, stir to blend, reduce heat to a medium-low, cover and simmer while you finish the noodles.

Drain the noodles. Add the cottage cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the drained noodles to the skillet; stir to blend. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella evenly all over the top or in dollops. Cover the skillet and continue to simmer on low until the lasagna is bubbly and the cheese has melted, taking care not to burn the bottom.

For the Oven: Alternatively, you can also finish this dish in the oven. Just be sure that you are using a skillet that is oven safe and with a lid. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F while you prepare everything. After adding in the cheeses and noodles and topping with the remaining cheese, cover the skillet and place into the hot oven for about 30 minutes or until cheese has melted and and lasagna is bubbly.

I like to serve my skillet lasagna with some garlic bread or hot pistolette rolls and a nice mixed garden salad.

Cook's Notes: Lasagna noodles generally come in a 12 to 16 ounce box, you'll need about 1/2 a box or about 8 to 9 noodles. The easiest way to break them up, is to remove about 1/2 of the noodles from the box, place into a zipper bag, close it and bang it on the counter a few times. Then, just break up any larger pieces you see by hand before removing them from the bag. Add the broken lasagna noodles to the boiling water and cook until tender according to the package directions.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on April 1, 2009

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  1. I saw something like this on Rachael Ray forever ago, but she made it MUCH more difficult. :) I think we'll be making that this week! Thanks! and by the way, your meatballs turned out great, my baby LOVES them! (hubby won't eat them because they have onions)

  2. Yeah, Rachael Ray does all kinds of skillet pastas so I have no doubt she's done something like this before. I TiVo her show, but to be honest I haven't been watching it at all lately. I end up with 10 or 12 shows and that's too much to catch up on so I ended up just deleting them all without watching any of them just to get them off of the TiVo hard drive! Same thing with Martha's show.

    Anyway, I've been doing this dish for years - no need to complicate it!

    On the meatballs, do you think he'd eat them if the onions were so finely minced that he couldn't see them? I trick my hubs like that all the time LOL... he has no idea the veggies he has eaten this way!!! The onions help with keeping the meatballs moist but you might could probably try another veggie in place of them - like finely minced up bell pepper, or mushrooms maybe?

  3. I'll be making this in the next couple of days! You must love this Slap Ya Mama seasoning. I need to see if our local grocers carry it! Got the crescent rolls last night to make what you posted about yesterday.

  4. LOL, yeah I do love that seasoning. It's not super spicy - well, so long as you don't over do it - and it's got a nice blend of salt, cayenne, black pepper and garlic.

    It's out of Louisiana (where else!), from a town called Ville Platte. I've tried several different brands but this one is definitely a favorite. You can substitute any other kind of Cajun seasoning that you like or maybe use a bit of black pepper and garlic if you don't like cayenne.

  5. Mary.....guess what Casa de Cuckoo had for dinner tonight.....yep, this Lasagna and it was so good. I so appreciate you and your passing along the "good stuff" to those of us who are recipe challenged and in need of new ways of looking at old and good food. I love the taste of this dish. So very, very yummy. Thanks my friend. Oma Linda, head cuckoo

  6. Another excellent recipe, Mary! Made this tonight and it's a definite "keeper" Lasagna ever! Only change made, I used rotini noodles. Thanks to you, we're eating gooooood! :))

    1. Glad you enjoyed it!! I love it because it gives that familiar flavor of lasagna but in a quick & easy skillet form. Thanks so much for coming back by to comment on it!

  7. Hi~ Stopping by from Gooseberry Patch Recipe Round Up. Can't wait to try this yummy recipe:) All my favorite ingredients in one dish~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

  8. I made this the other night and it's so easy and absoloutely delicious!Once again another hit!!

    1. Thanks so much Paige! I love it because it gives that lasagna flavor but with a little less work.

  9. I had given up making lasagna long ago, too much bother and mess for me. We've been doing frozen lasagna for years now. I saw this and I already had a box of broken lasagna, so tried it. Where has this recipe been all my life? It really did have the taste and texture of homemade lasagna that I used to make, and is WAY better than frozen. It actually takes less time to make this than a frozen lasagna. I cooked the noodles very "al dente" and let them sit in the sauce a bit, and the whole thing came together as a baked lasagna would and wasn't soupy I thought it would be. I love that I can use the broken pieces, I used to throw those away when I made it from scratch. For anyone who's quit making the homeade stuff, try this recipe - you won't regret it. My daughter who always claimed to "hate lasagna" (who can hate lasagna?) tried it, and she loved it too. This is the only recipe I will use from now on. Only change I made was to add some italian sausage and I a splash of red wine for extra flavor.

    1. Those are two great changes too Lynn! I really love this easy lasagna and I'm glad that you enjoyed it too!

  10. I turned my mom on to your website and cooking through Pinterest. Now since she's got a bit more time than me, she posts your recipes on FB for me to see and this was definitely one of the winners! I knew right away that even with the seasonings, it's a kid favorite (and dog clean up crew, no offense). I don't eat meat so I cooked the meat separately and added it in after I'd taken some out for me. I know you could do it with other types of noodles, but using the broken lasagna makes it seem like I went through more trouble than I did. I've never been disappointed by you Mary! Thanks a mill. Just so you know Slap 'Ya Mama is a staple in my home too way up here in NY!

    1. No offense taken Susannah! I have one of those kitchen clean up crew members too. :)

      That SYM is really a great seasoning isn't it?! It's a basic all purpose seasoning for us. Thanks so much for sharing my website with your Mom & I'm thrilled to hear you really enjoyed this skillet meal too!!


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