Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Easy Lasagna with Meat Sauce

This may be the easiest—and one of the tastiest—lasagnas you’ll ever make. As the name implies, it’s simple, good old-fashioned meat sauce that does the trick (as well as a plethora of cheese).

It’s not light, but it is delicious—and a welcome sight on the dinner table. Enjoy it responsibly.

Note: I typically make lasagna in a 13 X 9-inch baking dish so that it isn’t too thick. This time, however, I wanted a higher stack of layers, so I used an 11 X 7-inch dish. It still serves six—just smaller squares that stand tall.

Tip: When you're using a smaller dish, trim the cooked noodles so that they lie flat in it:

Serves 6

  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 1 15-oz container ricotta cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for oiling dish
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped   
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 2-1/2 cups crushed tomatoes (from a 28-oz can), divided
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano   

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Cook the lasagna noodles in boiling, salted water 8-9 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  3. Combine the ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, parsley, 1 chopped garlic clove, and the egg in a bowl and set aside.
Ready to Mix 
Ricotta Cheese Mixture
  1. Heat a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and remaining garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 3 minutes.
  2. Add the ground sirloin and cook, breaking up the meat, until cooked through, 7-8 minutes. Drain any excess liquid from the pan.
  3. Add 2 cups crushed tomatoes and fresh oregano and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring to combine, until slightly thickened, 4-5 minutes. 
  4. Remove from the heat and let cool 10 minutes.
Onion and Garlic 
Beef Added
Drain Liquid from Cooked Beef
Crushed Tomatoes Added
To Assemble and Bake
  1. Lightly oil an 11 X 7-inch baking dish. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes in the bottom of the dish and lay 3 noodles on top. (Trim noodles to fit dish.) Spoon 1/3 of the meat sauce over the noodles.
  2. Place 3 more lasagna noodles on top and spread with all the ricotta cheese mixture. Spoon another 1/3 of the meat sauce over the ricotta.
  3. Lay the remaining 3 noodles on top and spread with the remaining 1/3 of the meat sauce. Top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, and dried oregano.
  4. Bake uncovered until the cheese is bubbly and the top begins to brown, 25-30 minutes. Remove and let rest 10 minutes.
1st Pasta Layer 
1st Sauce Layer
Ricotta Layer
Top Ricotta with More Meat Sauce
Ready to Bake
Baked Lasagna

Cut the lasagna into 6 squares and serve right away. 

Easy Lasagna with Meat Sauce

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