Juli's go-to Family Dinner | Classic Lasagna

April 09, 2020

During this time of upheaval and uncertainty, I find myself defaulting to meals that nourish and comfort. My go-to family meal is Lasagna.  It’s also a great way to use pantry staples and frozen meat. 

Some of these ingredients were already in my pantry and some I picked up at the beginning of our self-quarantine. What's great about this recipe is that it's easy to adapt to whatever ingredients you have on hand! If you don’t have ground Italian sausage, you can replace it with ground beef or chicken or turkey.  If you don’t want to make your own sauce, you can use jarred marinara. You can also replace the frozen spinach with fresh spinach, mushroom, kale, bell pepper, or omit it completely.  The recipe is below but use it as a guide and swap in with the ingredients you do have.  

Finished Lasagna Recipe


  • Lasagna noodles (to make it super easy, I use the oven ready lasagna noodles)
  • 1 tsp EVOO 
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb italian sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 64 oz marinara (use 2 32 oz jars or double the marinara recipe below)
  • 16 oz whole milk ricotta
  • 8 - 10 oz frozen spinach
  • ½ c freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cup shredded mozzarella


  • Preheat oven to 375° F
  • Defrost and drain frozen spinach
  • In large pot, cook ground beef and Italian sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up meat and sausage with a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat and drain the fat.
  • Then, return beef and Italian sausage mixture to skillet, add garlic and oregano, and continue to cook for about 1 more minute.  Season with salt and pepper, then add the marinara sauce and stir until warmed through.
  • Combine ricotta, ¼ cup Parmesan, parsley, egg and spinach in a large mixing bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • In a large casserole dish, evenly distribute a quarter of the meat sauce across the bottom of the dish, then top with a single layer of lasagna noodles, layer ricotta mixture and spread shredded mozzarella over that. 
  • Repeat these layers, top the last layer of noodles with meat sauce, parmesan, and mozzarella. 
  • Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then increase the temperature to 400° F and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. 


Marinara Sauce Ingredients (double this recipe for lasagna) 

  • 1-28 oz can whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large stem fresh basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions for homemade marinara

  • Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hands.  Pour 1 cup water into the empty can and slosh it around to get tomato juices, then set aside.
  • Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add garlic and onion and cook until softened but not browned (about 2 minutes).  
  • Add tomatoes and reserved tomato water. Add oregano, pepper flakes (optional), and salt.  Stir until combined.
  • Place basil spring including stem on the surface.  Let it wilt and then submerge into the sauce. Simmer sauce until thickened and oil on surface is deep orange (about 15 minutes).  

        I usually double the recipe so that I have an extra to freeze for a future meal. 

        We'd love to hear your family's go-to comfort meal is! Let us know in the comments below:

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