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.
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.

Now... before we get started... {Southern Style Hissy Fit Warning:}

Don't go gettin' all up in arms because I am cooking a tomato based dish in a cast iron skillet, because inevitably​, somebody is gonna do just that.

I cook pretty much everything in my cast iron.

In my experience, if you have well seasoned cast iron and you don't use the skillet as a storage container for the tomato dish, it's perfectly fine.

Not only that, but according to author and nutritionist, Cynthia Sass, tomato, when cooked in a cast iron skillet, has nine times more body beneficial iron in it. One recent study with women who were not deficient in iron, found that when they increased their dietary iron they had a 50% less reduction in fatigue and more energy.

Feel free to use a heavy, stainless skillet or any skillet that can go from stove-top to oven, if the thought of cooking tomato in cast iron strikes fear in your mind though! {tucking away the soapbox}

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, rather than the popular mixed pastas that are often used today. I just stick them 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.

{Second 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 my preference.

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 and all wrong 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. Bottom line? Use what you grew up with and love and don't let anyone else try to tell you you're doing it wrong. You're not. {tucking away soapbox}

Here's how I make my skillet lasagna.

For more of my favorite skillet recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

Posted by on April 1, 2009

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