Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cheesy Beefy Lasagna

I have to confess I am not always a patient cook. Specially on busy weekdays, with meetings to attend, deadlines to meet and kids to teach (and feed), I would prefer dishes that are easy to prepare. If you go over the recipes here, you will notice that most, if not all, are easy to prepare, easy to cook, with ingredients that are readily available.

So, when Daughter asks for a Lasagna, I was hesitant. Why? Because I know Lasagna takes a long time to prepare. With other noodle dishes, you boil the noodles, make the sauce and just dump everything together for a satisfying meal. With lasagna, you have to prepare two sauces - the tomato based and the Bechamel sauce, then you boil the pasta, carefully layer everything before baking again! Hmmm... to make or not to make...

I was very happy when I discovered this!

Instant lasagna sheets! No precooking required. No more boiling of the pasta! One less step to prepare. So, I agreed to make lasagna only if Daughter would help me with the layering.

1 pack instant lasagna sheets

300 gms lean ground beef, marinated in
2 T soy sauce
a dash or two of pepper
2 T cornstarch

4 T olive oil
4 T minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
100 gms pitted black olives, sliced
5 large tomatoes, chopped
1 L tomato sauce
1 C all-purpose cream
4 T sugar, optional (we prefer our sauce with a hint of sweetness)
a dash or two of dried oregano powder
salt and pepper to taste

250 gms mozarella cheese, grated
250 gms quick-melt cheese, grated

1. Make the sauce: In a cooking pan, heat up the oil, saute the garlic and onions until fragrant but not burnt. Add in the tomatoes. Let cook for a while and mash some tomatoes until juices come out. Add in the marinated ground beef. Cook and mix until the beef changes color and is thoroughly cooked.

2. Add in the tomato sauce, cream, and the olives. Let boil. Add in the sugar, salt, pepper and dried oregano powder. Adjust to taste. Let boil and turn off heat.

3. Ladle some sauce and cover the bottom of a lasagna baking pan with some sauce. Put a sheet of lasagna over the sauce. Cover the sheet with some more sauce, then top with some grated mozarella and some quick melt cheese. Continue layering until all the sheets are used up. Top with more tomato sauce and more cheese.

4. Bake in a preheated oven 375F for 35 to 45 minutes. Slice and serve warm.

Easy cheesy beefy lasagna. I skipped the boiling of the pasta. I also skipped the Bechamel sauce by adding the cream into the tomato sauce. And the resulting dish is still creamy, flavorful cheesy! Even tastes better than the store-bought lasagna! If lasagna are easy to prepare like this, the kids can have their fill of this dish even on a busy week night!

Best part of all, all the cooking and layering served as a fun bonding activity with Daughter! :)

Submitting this dish to Presto Pasta Nights, featuring easy pasta and noodles recipes around the world. This week's host is Abby of Eat the Right Stuff. To see last week's fabulous array of pasta dishes, please check out Ruth's Once Upon a Feast.


Chibog in Chief said...

i was planning to bake some lasagna tonight :-) cheese and beef are definitely a must in a lasagna!

mitch said...

you should try making moussaka although i am not sure there would be available lamb meat but you can do it with ground beef too :D

It's good that your daughter help you. :D

Anonymous said...

oh, i can't imagine having to make lasagne without the no-cook pasta sheets. i'm really glad you found it! i don't know if you get creme fraiche (or fromage frais) in manila but that's my other cheat - i use it in place of a bechamel sauce.

thanks for joining ppn

Wandering Chopsticks said...

You don't have to boil the noodles at all. The sauce will soak into the dry pasta sheets and cook them while they're baking. :)

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Dhanggit! Happy to know we're both cheese lovers!

Mitch, I have to find out what a moussaka is... he he he, but I don't think that would be a problem since we have lots of great food blogs out there! Yeah, I told my daughter if she does not help out, she does not get to eat! LOL! :)

Abby, Looking forward to the round-up! I think I can find creme fraiche in the bigger supermarket chains... I will definitely try that.

WC, yup! That's what is nice about this instant oven-ready lasagna. I have to add more sauce (Since the lasagna sheets will soak them up)! and the kids love more sauce!

Anonymous said...

Wah same here, I'm a much more impatient cook than u ... thank you for your tips on how to make lasagna cooking easier ;)

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I meant you don't have to buy oven-ready lasagna sheets. Normal dried noodles will soften when baked in the oven. :)

Soli Deo Gloria said...

You're always welcome, Noobcook!

WC, the regular kind of lasagna sheets need pre-boiling before you (layer) and bake it. Maybe you are just used to the no-cook pasta sheets. :)

tigerfish said...

San Remo brand lasagna sheets?

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Tigerfish, yup, that's the one!

Ruy said...

I love lasagna. Once again you have succeeded in making me hungry. The instant lasagna sheets are calling out to me.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

No trust me. Regular lasagna noodles do not need to be pre-boiled. I'll post my recipe soon so you can see.

Unknown said...

hey, that's a great find... kid2 loves lasagna, but as you said, it's a lot of bother to make on a busy weekday... where did you buy it? :)

Soli Deo Gloria said...

WC, ok, will wait for your post...:)

Mikky, I think it must be in the Landmark Supermarket in Trinoma. I usually do my grocery there nowadays. If not Unimart (Greenhills) or Rustans... :)

Ruth Daniels said...

There's nothing like lasagna to feed the hordes easily. Thanks so much for sharing your easy version with Presto Pasta Nights

joyce said...

mmmm.... maybe you should bring some next time you visit. :)

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Ruth, I think making fast "presto" pasta is one of the goals of presto pasta nights, right?

Joyce! your penguin looks like my Optimus Prime Penguin. Maybe you should surrender that picture to me! Wahaha hahaha (evil laugh!) Then I will let you taste this yummy lasagna! :)

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xlpharmacy said...

Great recipe, and the best part is that it is not that difficult to make.

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