Easy Homemade Lasagna

Easy-homemade-lasagna-plate-the-cheap-gourmetLet's face it. Making traditional homemade lasagna can be a lengthy process. This meal is often made on weekends when we have more time in the kitchen.

However, sometimes we just crave it, so here's an option that will satisfy your tastebuds and fit into busy schedules.

The key to this easy homemade lasagna is the noodles. You'll want to use extra wide, such as traditional German egg pasta noodles from Bechtle or Homestyle egg noodles from Amish Kitchens. 

EASY HOMEMADE LASAGNA
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 bag wide noodles, cooked al dente
1/2 to 1 pound hamburger or Italian sausage, cooked (depends on how much meat you like)
1/2 medium Onion, diced
1/2 medium Green Pepper, diced
1 medium Tomato, seeds removed, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 (14-oz) jar Spaghetti Sauce
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried Basil
1/2 teaspoon dried Parsley
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly grease 9 x 11 glass baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil.
  3. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  4. In skillet, cook hamburger or sausage. Remove from skillet and place on plate lined with paper towels to absorb grease or drain in colander and rinse with cold water.
  5. Over medium heat, cook onion and green pepper in skillet until onion becomes translucent; about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour noodles into baking dish. Add remaining ingredients except for cheeses.
  7. Gently combine until ingredients are incorporated. Evenly spread pasta.
  8.  Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
  10. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve immediately.

  Easy-homemade-lasagna-pan-the-cheap-gourmet

 

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Old Fashioned Homemade Ham and Bean Soup

Growing up, my mom made ham and bean soup with cornbread on a weekly basis. She was the Queen of stretching a dollar, as she was a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids trying to feed 6 people on one income.

She would prepare a bone-in ham for Sunday dinner and use the leftovers for grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and ham and bean soup.

Mom made everything from scratch and insisted that the only way to avoid bland and boring ham and bean soup was to use dry beans (never canned!) and include the ham bone during the cooking process.

Nowadays, it's just my husband and me, so rather than purchase a bone-in ham, I usually buy a small boneless ham and a ham hock. Feel free to use whichever method works best for your family.

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OLD FASHIONED HOMEMADE HAM AND BEAN SOUP

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bean Soak Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 hours

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb package dry White Beans
1/2 large White Onion, diced
2 medium Carrots, diced
2-3 medium stalks Celery, diced
6 cups Vegetable Broth
1/2 lb pre-cooked Ham, cut into bite-size chunks (Hickory, Smoked & Honey Ham are great choices)
3-4 large cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Parsley
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1 teaspoon Beau Monde Seasoning
1 teaspoon fine Pink Himalayan Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
2 Bay leaves
1 medium Ham Hock

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a colander, wash and drain beans and check for any residue or rocks.
  2. In a large stock pot, add beans and cover with water, about 2-inches above beans.
  3. Cook over high heat until boiling, then reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour.
  5. Drain beans, place in a container and set aside.
  6. Add 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable broth to stock pot and heat over medium high for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook for 5-6 minutes; until onion becomes translucent.
  8. Add vegetable broth and remaining ingredients and stir.
  9. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 2-1/2 to 3 hours; until beans are soft and tender.
  10. Remove ham hock from soup and scrape meat from bone, if desired.
  11. Transfer to individual soup bowls or mugs and serve immediately.

This recipe pairs well with Buttermilk Jalapeno Cornbread.

 

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Buttermilk Jalapeno Cornbread Recipe

Buttermilk cornbread has been one of my favorites since I was a kid. My mom used to make homemade ham and bean soup with a side of cornbread dripping in butter. Those were the good ole' days when it wasn't a sin to add a pat or two to breads and rolls.

My tastebuds have evolved since childhood and while I still love homemade cornbread, I now add chopped jalapenos to give it an extra kick. And, sometimes I even toss in cooked bacon bits, which makes it even better!

This recipe is simple to prepare and will be ready to enjoy in about 45 minutes. It is the perfect companion with Old Fashioned Homemade Ham and Bean Soup

004 (2)BUTTERMILK JALAPENO CORNBREAD RECIPE

Yield: 1 8x8 square loaf (about 12 portions)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 18-20 minutes

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Yellow Cornmeal
1 Tablespoon all-purpose Flour
1-1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 cup Buttermilk
1 large Egg
1 medium Jalapeno, seeds removed and diced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 450°F. Grease bottom and side of 9-inch round pan or 8-inch square pan with shortening or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk and egg, then add jalapeno.
  4. Add to dry ingredients and stir until moistened.
  5. Pour into the pan and spread batter evenly.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

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Red Potatoes with Bacon and Gorgonzola

My family refers to these red potatoes with bacon and gorgonzola as "crack" potatoes because they are so addicting! Better yet, they are easy to prepare and make the perfect side dish for just about anything. We enjoy them with hamburgers, steaks, pork chops, ribs, and even seafood. 

When selecting red potatoes, look for small to medium sized tubers as they will cook faster and be much easier to smash. Larger potatoes are a bit more difficult to work with and often fall apart during the smashing. If this occurs, simply use your hands to form potato patties. Be certain that potatoes are fork tender and lightly oil the bottom of a glass for a more uniform smash.


Crack-potatoes-bacon-gorgonzola-the-cheap-gourmetRED POTATOES WITH BACON AND GORGONZOLA

Yield: 12 potatoes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS:

12 small red potatoes
3 teaspoons Himalayan Pink Salt or coarse Sea Salt (2 teaspoons for salting water and 1 teaspoon for seasoning)
4-5 slices thick Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup Peanut Oil or Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup Gorgonzola Cheese crumbles

DIRECTIONS:

1. Thoroughly wash potatoes and place in a large pot. Add enough water to cover potatoes with about an inch of water above.

2. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and bring water to a boil over high heat. 

3. Reduce heat to simmer and cook potatoes until completely tender; about 30 minutes. 

4. While potatoes are boiling, prepare bacon. Fry in a skillet or bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-22 minutes. Drain grease from bacon and after it's cooled, chop into pieces and set aside.

5. Drain cooked potatoes and let cool for a few minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. Lightly grease the bottom of a drinking glass. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and gently smash each one to form a patty.

8. Brush each potato patty with a light coat of oil, then season with salt and pepper.

9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, turning potatoes over once.

10. Remove potatoes from oven and top each with bacon crumbles and Gorgonzola cheese. 

11. Return to oven and bake for 3-4 minutes or until cheese becomes bubbly and light golden brown.

12. Remove from oven, transfer to serving plate and serve immediately. 

 

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