One of my favorite things in the world to do is make my totally from scratch lasagna. I mean like SUPER from scratch: homemade pasta, homemade sauce – we even home make the ricotta (actually super easy). I make it when there’s a really special occasion or when I’m feeling like spending an afternoon in the kitchen cooking something super labor intensive, because that can be calming and therapeutic for me if I’m in the mood.
And that lasagna, people – it’s so good it’s just wrong. BUT – it takes forever to make and has approximately ten billion steps. There is totally a time and place for a lasagna like that, and there is a time and place for a lasagna like this 👆🏼👆🏼👆🏼.
THIS lasagna is on the total opposite end of the spectrum on effort. You literally do NOTHING except for brown the sausage to prep for this recipe. It was a total Hail Mary experiment – “how will a lasagna taste if I use zero homemade ingredients and make it as easy and shortcut-packed as humanly possible?” And guess what? It’s still freaking good. It still has the taste and feel of lasagna with a tiny, tiiiinnnyyy minuscule fraction of the effort. You guys need to get in on this action.
Let’s talk about alllllll the short cuts we take here that cut down alllllll the time and effort:
- Jarred sauce. Since we aren’t doing anything to amp up the sauce, try and get a really yummy one. DeLallo brand has really good sauces, and we also really like Newman’s Own (which is what we used here). Newman’s own doesn’t have any added sugar or other unnecessary extras, so we like that.
- Cottage cheese. No adding egg, herbs, etc to a bowl of ricotta. Just scoop the cottage cheese straight from the carton into the lasagna. We like to use cottage cheese because neither Seth or I are huge fans of ricotta – we don’t love the flavor or texture, so we like to use cottage cheese because it still brings that creaminess without adding the ricotta-ness. (P.S. It’s also healthier for you.)
- Italian cheese blend. Now we are getting really lazy. No grating your cheese – you don’t even have to buy separate bags and mix your cheese. You just open the bag of Italian blend, which has a bunch of different yummy cheeses, and go to town.
- NO BOIL NOODLES. Y’all. I wasn’t a believer. I have never used these before while making lasagna, and I was soooooo, SO skeptical about how they would turn out. But – we loved them! Especially if you are wanting to try this recipe for the simplicity and convenience – this is your ticket. The amount of time you save by not having to worry about bringing a big pot of water to a boil and cooking the noodles?? YESSS. Just open the package and layer them in – it’s magical.
So here’s what you’re left with: you have to brown your sausage. That’s literally it. Other than that, you are all ready to go. Set everything out and get layering.
You know when we could have used a super simple meal like this? Last night. GURL. Let me tell you about our night. A few days ago, my car wouldn’t start, and I had to get a jump. Since it started immediately once the cables were hooked up and didn’t need to charge for any period of time, I thought the battery was totally fine and I had just left something on all night – #pregnancybrain.
But last night we had some issues again. Slight background: we were at the store grabbing peanut butter and jelly for Ford since we ran out and that is a STAPLE lunch item for us (shout out to tha PB&J – thanks for bein’ you). When we got to the store, I immediately became starving beyond belief. It’s like my body forgot that it had been a while since I’d eaten and at the sight of food got THE HANGRIEST of all time. Thanks pregnancy. So I was like…we need to get dinner for us here that is ready NOW. Like I-can-eat-it-in-the-car level ready. We also may or may not have left the store with a variety of baked goods. I’m not saying we did, but I’m also not saying we didn’t…and I will keep the amount to myself. Unrelated – what amount of money is acceptable to spend in one grocery trip on cookies? Asking for a friend…
Anyway, we finally got through the check out line, I am literally about to keel over and die of hunger, and Seth hustles out to pull the car around. It was like 30 degrees outside, so Ford and I waited inside the doors until he pulled up. Then my phone rings and it’s Seth asking me what the mechanic said when I took my car in to get the battery voltage checked…which I never ended up doing…whoops. Sooooo the car was dead again. In the freezing cold weather. So Seth stood outside (in his short sleeved shirt) trying to get a jump. He ended up getting one pretty quick, within fifteen minutes, so we headed out to the car and pulled out of the parking spot. Then my car dinged that there was 0 miles worth of gas left in my gas tank.
Which it TOTALLY didn’t say before – I know for a fact it said there was at least half a tank left just a few hours earlier. So there is a gas station right next to the grocery store. We go over, fill up, try and start the car, and NOOPPEE. Dead. So Seth asks for another jump, a dude says he can help us, and then said dude ends up driving away a few minutes later, peacin’ out hard. Seth finds another guy, they jump the car, and we are headed home. Chinese food was being vigorously stuffed into face while all this was happening because the hanger was still very present.
Anyyyyway, we got home so I could get Ford dinner and to bed, and Seth turned around and headed straight to the auto parts store to buy a new battery and had to install it in the auto parts parking lot. STRUG.
So – was last night an evening where a super simple dinner like this was needed? HARD YES. The. Hardest. Yes.
It was quite the dramatic evening to say the least. Thank God for ready-to-eat-grocery-store Chinese food, or else someone might have been hurt…by myself…blame the hanger.Print
Absolute Easiest No-Fuss Lasagna
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 12 servings 1x
- 9 oz box no boil lasagna noodles
- 2 24 oz jars good pasta sauce (4 cups) – we used Newman’s Own
- 2 8 oz bags Italian cheese blend (4 cups)
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage (the kind that isn’t in sausage casings – if all you can find is the kind in casings, remove the sausage from the casings before cooking)
- 24 oz container cottage cheese (2 1/2 cups) – we used 2%, but any kind will work
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
- Brown your sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat – season to taste with salt and pepper. When browned, set aside
- Get all your ingredients ready to layer up your lasagna
- Using a 9×13 baking dish, start with about 3/4 cup of sauce (about 1/5 of the sauce). From there, add three pasta sheets. Spread a heaping 1/2 cup of cottage cheese on top of the pasta (1/4 of the cottage cheese), another 3/4 cup of sauce, 1/3 of the meat, and 1 cup of shredded cheese (1/4 of the cheese). Top the cheese with 3 more pasta noodles, and repeat the layers a few more times (a layer of cottage cheese, sauce, meat, shredded cheese, pasta, cottage cheese, sauce, meat, shredded cheese, pasta, cottage cheese, sauce, and the remaining shredded cheese to finish it all off). You should finish with 4 layers of pasta
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, covered. Remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes, uncovered. Finish by turning the oven to broil and letting the lasagna sit under the broiler until the cheese gets a little bit golden brown on top
- Let the lasagna cool and set a bit before serving (if you can wait)!
You don’t need to be super exact in the amount of the ingredients you use for each layer – you can totally eyeball it. It’s all going to bake together anyway. I measured out the exact amounts just in case anyone wanted to be precise!
- Serving Size: 1/12 of the lasagna
- Calories: 333
- Sugar: 12 g
- Sodium: 1014 mg
- Fat: 12 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 41 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 15 g
- Cholesterol: 28 mg
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more yummy lasagna recipes? Check these out: