I’ve always been a fan of Lasagna but have always been hesitant to make it because of the cost. I blame the ricotta. That stuff must be made from the milk of a solid gold phoenix or something. My mom used to make lasagna *constantly* when we were kids though. She even made an extra one for the freezer each time. The only difference between her lasagna and the recipes I found all over the internet was cottage cheese… so I decided to give it a try. My husband was skeptical because OMG! DIFFERENT! but I assured him that I’d never noticed anything weird eating it growing up. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I found cottage cheese at the 99 Cents Only store and the discount grocer had No-boil lasagna noodles on sale, five boxes for $5 and Prego marinara two jars for $5. I loaded up and cashed in a couple WIC checks for mozzarella and eggs. I was determined to make lasagna… and stock the freezer too. Usually I like to mix a little chopped spinach (thawed and the juice squeezed out) into the cottage cheese mixture but it wasn’t in the budget this time.
- 16 pieces (about 16 oz.) Whole Wheat lasagna noodles, uncooked OR 1 box No-Boil lasagna noodles
- 1 pound ground beef or turkey
- 1 jar (about 28 oz.) spaghetti sauce
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and the juice squeezed out (optional)
- 16 ounces cottage cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. In large skillet, brown meat; drain.
2. Stir in spaghetti sauce, onion (optional), minced garlic (optional) and water; simmer 10 minutes, uncovered
3. Meanwhile if using regular lasagna noodles, cook them according to package directions; drain. Lay flat on foil to cool.
4. Heat oven to 350°F.
5. In large bowl, stir together cottage cheese, spinach (optional), 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
6. Spread about 1 cup meat sauce on bottom of 13 x 9 glass baking dish. Arrange four pasta pieces lengthwise over sauce, (three if you’re using no-boil noodles) overlapping edges. Spread one-third cheese mixture over pasta; spread about 3/4 cup meat sauce over that.
7. Repeat layers, beginning and ending with pasta. Top with remaining meat sauce; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.
8. Cover with foil (try to “tent” the foil so the cheese doesn’t stick to it!). Bake 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil; bake about 10 minutes longer, or until lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
9. Eat. Yum.
When using no-boil noodles, it’s totally normal to have space in the pan. It’ll spread out when it cooks, I promise! It also might take a little longer to cook than traditional lasagna noodles, which is totally normal.
This is the exact same lasagna in both pictures. See how there is no gap in the pan after cooking?