Most kids love pasta in some form. Some of my kids prefer to enjoy their pasta plain or with just a little bit of butter, salt, and pepper- and others in my family prefer pasta with a red sauce or meat sauce. And absolutely everybody loves pasta served as my homemade Mac & Cheese Casserole! But a cheer goes up in the household when my kids check out our menu board and see that tonight we're serving homemade lasagna!
This recipe includes an amazing homemade meat sauce that slow cooks for hours before you bake it in the lasagna and the meat sauce alone is the reason to make this recipe! Ricotta or parmesan cheese is optional (which I find that picky eaters generally don't care for). Here's my recipe for Homemade Lasagna that Kids will Love:
It All Start with the Meat Sauce!
Like all great sauces, it starts with some chopped onion and minced garlic….
For chopping onions I really love to use my Pampered Chef chopper. It is so easy to peel the onion, cut it into a few large pieces, and then use the chopper to chop it up quickly. (I find that if there are large onion chunks in my tomato sauce, my kids will turn up their noses.)
Saute the onion and garlic in some olive oil until the onion caramelizes, then add in the beef and pork, cooking until it is well browned before draining off any excess grease.
Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce heat to a very low simmer. Cover and cook for 3 -4 hours.
Preparing the Lasagna!
After preparing your lasagna noodles according to the package directions, be sure to drain them under cool water so that they are easy to handle.
Add a little bit of the meat sauce to the bottom of the pan so that the noodles won't stick.
Then just start layering- noodles, sauce, cheese, noodles, sauce, cheese…. until you get 4 layers of goodness!
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake. I like to remove the foil during the last 10 minutes of cooking to brown the cheese on the top layer nicely.
Allow the lasagna to stand for 10 -15 minutes before serving, and even once you have cut into it and placed it on the kids' plates, be sure that it is not too hot for them to eat!
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoons of dried parsley
- 1 pound of ground beef (lean)
- 1/2 pound of ground pork
- 35 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 12 oz. can of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 box of lasagna noodles (about 16- 18 pieces)
- 1 1/2 pounds of thinly sliced mozzarella cheese (or feel free to use shredded)
- 1 lb ricotta cheese
- 5 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese
- homemade lasagna meat sauce (above)
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large deep pot. Sauté the chopped onion, garlic and dried parsley until the onion is tender and starting to caramelize, about 7-8 minutes.
- After the onion has been caramelized, add in the beef and pork, cooking until it is well browned and then drain off any excess grease.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce heat to a very low simmer. Cover and cook for 3 -4 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 350°. Prepare your lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Drain them under cool water so that they are easy to handle.
- Prepare your lasagna pan (I prefer to use a 13 x 9″ baking pan) by adding a little bit of the meat sauce to the bottom of the pan so that the noodles will not stick.
- Layer 3 noodles side-by-side in the 13 x 9″ pan, add a nice layer of the meat sauce on top of the noodles, and then add a layer of sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat the steps- adding layers of noodles, meat sauce, and cheese until your lasagna reaches the top of the pan. As you get to the final layers it will likely be necessary to add four noodles side-by-side across the top, overlapping slightly in order to span the width of the pan.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes. I like to remove the foil during the last 10 minutes of cooking to brown the cheese on the top layer nicely. Allow the lasagna to stand for 10 -15 minutes before serving, and even once you have cut into it and placed it on the kids’ plates, be sure that it is not too hot for them to eat.