Cheesy Layers to Comfort the Soul

Posted: April 28, 2023 at 12:04 pm

Homemade Italian Lasagna


1lb ground Italian sausage or ground beef
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
Pinch of sugar


3 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups part skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tbsp parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 box oven ready pasta sheets


Sauce Instructions

Drizzle olive oil in a stock pan over medium heat.
Once heated, add onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant.
Add in meat of choice and cook until no longer pink.
Add in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes.
Add in seasonings.
Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Filling Instructions

Mix all ingredients (except pasta sheets) together until well mixed.


In a 13×9 baking dish, spread one ladle of sauce along the bottom to prevent sticking.
Place four pasta sheets along the bottom of the dish.
Spread 1/2 of the filling mixture evenly onto sheets.
Spread 2-3 ladles of meat sauce evenly over the filling.
Sprinkle 2 cups of mozzarella cheese evenly over the meat sauce.
Place four more pasta sheets over that layer and repeat the process once more.
Spread remaining meat sauce over the final layer, and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil using toothpicks in corners to prevent the foil from sticking.
Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.
Remove aluminum and bake an additional 5-10 minutes.
Allow lasagna to stand 5-10 minutes before cutting.



Chicken Lasagna

9 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, or cooked from 2 lbs. chicken breast

Spinach Cream Sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 ½ cups half and half, (or equal parts of heavy cream and milk)
5 oz fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced

Ricotta Cheese Sauce:
15 oz ricotta
1 large egg
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
3 cups mozzarella cheese, 12 oz by weight, divided (reserve 1 cup for topping)

Cook Noodles & Prep
Preheat oven to 375˚F.
Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente according to package instructions.
Drain hot water and add cold water to the pot to stop the cooking process and prevent noodles from sticking together.
Shred 4 cups of chicken.

Make the Spinach Sauce
Place a pot or large saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil and sauté onions for 3-4 minutes or until softened.
Add 4 tbsp butter and whisk in 1/3 cup flour.
Continue whisking 3 minutes or until flour mixture is golden.
Add 2 ½ cups chicken broth, 1 ½ cups half and half, 2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper.
Whisk until smooth and simmer 5 minutes until thickened to a light gravy consistency.
Add minced garlic and chopped spinach, and stir to combine then remove from heat.

Make the Ricotta Cheese Sauce
In a large bowl, whisk together ricotta, egg, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan, and 1/4 cup parsley.


Assemble Chicken Lasagna
Add a little sauce to the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish and add 3 noodles.
Add 1/2 ricotta sauce, 1/2 shredded chicken then ladle 1/3 of spinach sauce over the chicken.
Add 3 noodles, 1/2 ricotta cheese, 1/2 shredded chicken, and 1/3 spinach sauce.
Add 3 noodles, remaining 1/3 sauce, and sprinkle on reserved 1 cup cheese.

Cover and Bake
Arrange 10-12 toothpicks over the top to keep the foil from touching the cheese then cover with a large sheet of foil.
Bake on the center rack in a preheated oven at 375˚F for 45 minutes.
Uncover and broil 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese.
Rest at least 10 minutes uncovered before slicing.


Mexican Lasagna

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef I use 90% lean
1/2 cup onion finely diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 packet taco seasoning
4 ounce can diced green chiles, drained
14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup corn kernels fresh, thawed from frozen, or canned
16 ounce can refried beans
10 ounce can red enchilada sauce (divided use)
12 flour tortillas (8 inch size)
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided use)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Cooking spray
Toppings such as pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Coat a 9″x13″ baking dish with cooking spray.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula, for 4-5 minutes.
Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Stir in the taco seasoning until the meat and onions are thoroughly coated.
Add the green chiles, diced tomatoes and corn to the pan, then stir to mix everything together.
Add the can of refried beans. Stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce over the bottom of the baking dish.
Cut the tortillas in half, and layer 6 tortilla halves to fit in the dish.
Spread 1/3 of the enchilada sauce over the tortillas, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese.
Spread 1/3 of the bean and meat mixture over the cheese.
Repeat the layers, ending with layers of tortillas, enchilada sauce, and the remaining cheese.
Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned.
Sprinkle with cilantro. Add any desired toppings, then cut into squares and serve.

Lasagna al Pesto

Bechamel Pesto Sauce
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ cups basil pesto

Cheese Mixture
15 ounces ricotta cheese
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
½ tbsp dried basil or 2 tbsp fresh, chopped
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper

5 lasagna noodles
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
6 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Prepare the Noodles
Cook the noodles in a large pot of water as per package direction. When al dente (still firm but not crunchy and not too soft), drain and toss with a little olive oil to help prevent sticking. Set aside.

Make the Pesto Béchamel Sauce
In a medium or large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. When melted, add the flour, and stir to combine. Cook 30-60 seconds.
Whisk in the milk, salt, and black pepper. Cook on a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce slightly thickens, approximately 7-10 minutes.
Remove the sauce from the heat. Add the pesto and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Prepare Cheese Mixture
In a medium bowl, combine all of the cheese mixture ingredients. Season to taste with salt, basil, and pepper.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375°F.
Spread ½ cup of the pesto sauce across the bottom of a 9 X 9 baking dish.

Cut the lasagna noodles in half to turn each one into shorter strips. Lay three strips across the bottom of the dish, slightly overlapping.
Dollop 1 cup of the cheese mixture over the noodles and gently spread across the noodles.
Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella on top of the cheese mixture, followed by 2 tbsp of Parmesan.
Scoop and gently spread 1 cup of the pesto sauce across the cheeses.
Repeat another layer of noodles, cheese mixture, mozzarella, Parmesan, and pesto sauce. You should be out of the ricotta cheese mixture at this time.
Prepare the top layer by laying out the third layer of noodles. Top with the remaining pesto sauce, approximately 1.5 cups (unless you want to save some for serving).
Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella and 2 tbsp of Parmesan.
Cover with tin foil or a lid and bake for approximately 50 minutes.
Remove the lid/foil and finish baking 10-15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let sit 15 minutes before cutting and serving.