What is it about lasagna? It has been a comfort food in my family for a long, long time.
I have made this beloved “secret family” lasagna recipe many times over the years. In fact, I think it is part of the reason I snagged my husband.
So, when he requested it to celebrate his birthday, I was happy to comply. However, I didn’t have the recipe (it was at the lake and I was in Dallas) so I frantically, texted my mom.
My mom’s lasagna recipe was published in our church cookbook, The Bubbling Bible Baptist Cookbook, about 100 years ago. The best recipes are found in church cookbooks!
She sent me this picture so you can see the original recipe and even make it as is:
I don’t know about you but I never met a recipe that I couldn’t tweak. This family heirloom is no different. Is that sacrilegious?
When I would make this recipe in the past, it takes soooooooooooooo long. It really was a labor of love.
Because I am the queen of shortcuts, I look for not only tasty tweaks but making-it-faster tweaks.
Take a look at the final product to see if you want to go any further.
Are you still with me? Great.
You’ll be glad you stayed. 🙂
Step 1: Spray the Pan
I used an olive oil spray but butter flavored sprays work well, too.
Step 2: Beat 3 Eggs
In a small bowl, you are going to be putting together a mixture of fake ricotta cheese. Beat 3 large eggs.
Step 3: Add Cottage Cheese and Parsley
Yup. You read that right. You are going to add cottage cheese. I tried to warn you in the previous step. If you are a lasagna purist, you should not make this!
For those rebels, keep going…
Add a large container of small curd cottage cheese. Then add as much parsley as you like. I give it a few shakes, stir and then add more as needed.
Step 4: Heat Onions and Garlic
Next, over medium high heat, cook one medium white onion. I also used minced garlic from a jar. Shortcuts, remember, we are trying to save time here!
Once they have turned a little brown, you are ready to continue.
Step 5: Add Sausage
Here is my secret that puts flair in my “Secret Family Recipe for Lasagna” that you don’t have to share with anyone.
I use breakfast sausage instead of ground beef. It makes it so good.
Actually, I have used half sausage and half beef and that was really good, too.
Your call. You need 2 pounds.
Step 6: Add Tomato Sauce, Paste, Puree and Italian Seasoning
Oh yeah! Everyone gets in here. Once the sausage is browned, add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and tomato puree. Then, get generous with the Italian Seasoning.
Step 7: Add Mushrooms
Another shortcut, add mushroom bits and pieces from a can. Actually, one large or two small cans. Or leave them out if you don’t like mushrooms.
Step 8: Stir and Simmer
Let this beautiful meat sauce simmer for a while. The longer you can let it simmer, the more someone will mistake you for an Italian.
Step 9: Place Layer of Noodles in Bottom of Pan
OK, here we go. Let’s put this bad boy together.
Now, you may have noticed that there was no step to cook the noodles.
Another, shortcut: use no boil lasagna noodles.
Once I started using these noodles, my life was changed!
It really is the greatest invention since sliced bread.
Step 10: Pour the Egg/Cottage Cheese Mixture Over Noodles
Take the egg mixture and pour all of it over the noodles. Yes, it looks gross but it’s going to taste fabulous!
Step 11: Generous Layer of Mozzarella Cheese
I love how my mom wrote this step in her recipe. Says “…add layer of mozzarella (heavy).”
I have read her recipe dozens of times and just noticed that mozzarella is misspelled. In her defense, she didn’t type it but I can’t believe that I am just noticing this now!
Step 12: Add a Layer of Noodles
Easy. Do this.
Step 13: Add Half of the Meat Sauce
OK, you are only adding half of the meat sauce here. Don’t get crazy excited and dump it all on.
Step 14: Layer of Cheese
Add another layer of mozzarella. I have substituted the four cheese variety here and it was really good as well.
Step 15: Last Layer of Noodles
Oh yeah. Last layer. Looking good.
Step 16: Last Layer of Meat and Top with Cheese
See how easy this is? You can do this!
Step 17: Cook
Put the lasagna in the 350 degree pre-heated oven. My mom’s recipe calls for 45 minutes but I always cook it for an hour. I like the cheese on top to cook to a beautiful golden brown.
You can be the judge of it since you know your oven and your cheesy preference.
Now Watch and Listen
I hope you can see the sides bubbling and the steam rising because that is exactly why I am sharing this video.
- 2 Large Boxes of No Boil Lasagna Noodles
- 2 lbs. ground breakfast sausage
- 1 medium onion
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 can tomato puree
- 1-2 cans mushroom bits and pieces
- 3 eggs
- 1 large container of small curd cottage cheese
- 8 cup bag of mozzarella cheese
- Spray an 11x17 glass lasagna pan
- Beat 3 eggs
- Add cottage cheese and parsley and set aside
- In a pan, heat onions and garlic over medium high heat
- Add sausage and brown
- Add tomato sauce, paste, puree and Italian seasoning
- Add mushrooms
- Stir and simmer meat sauce
- Place layer of noodles in bottom of glass pan
- Pour the egg/cottage cheese mixture over noodles
- Add a generous layer of mozzarella cheese
- Add a layer of noodles
- Add half of the meat sauce
- Layer of mozzarella cheese
- Last layer of noodles
- Last layer of meat and top with cheese
- Cook at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour until cheese browns
- Let the lasagna sit about 10 minutes before cutting to serve.
- Leftovers are out of this world!
Go Ye Therefore and Make a Lasagna
I hope if nothing else, this little post showed you just how easy making a lasagna can be.
Now it can be difficult if you want it to be by cooking your noodles, laying them out to dry, using real mushrooms and cooking those with the onions and garlic, using real parsley in the egg mixture, etc.
But really who has time for that?
And I swear with my right hand on the Bubbling Bible Baptist Cookbook that you will love my secret family lasagna recipe.
Do You Have a Favorite Family Recipe?
What is it in your family that has been passed down and is held holy? Please share below.