There was a group of about 10 to 12 of us that rented a beach house in the Outer Banks, NC every year over the week of Labor Day and I was always in charge of the meal for the first night. Now if you have ever vacationed in the Outer Banks you know it is a bit of a drive and, of course, we didn’t stay in Kitty Hawk or Kill Devil Hills, nope we went all the way up NC 12 North to Corolla, usually our house was nearly to where NC 12 ends.
And you can’t generally check into your house until 4 pm. So that makes a rather tight time table to actually cook dinner and be able to eat before 10 pm. My solution was to pre-make lasagna and put it in the freezer. It would thaw, at least partially, in the cooler during the drive and I could just pop it in the over as soon as we got to the house and it cooked while we were unloading the cars.
So, I bet you are saying OK but what makes it Cheaters Lasagna? Well, you see, not only did I pre-make and freeze the lasagna but I also use the no-cook noodles. And it always gets rave review.
No-Boil Classica Lasagna
1 package Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles (any brand will work)
15 oz ricotta cheese
4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
½ c. parmesan cheese, grated
1 lb. ground beef or Italian sausage
2 (24 oz) jars spaghetti sauce – If your jars are large no worries, the more sauce the better
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In bowl, combine beaten eggs, ricotta cheese and 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Set aside. Brown the ground beef or sausage and mix with the spaghetti sauce and set aside. In a 13 x 9 x3 pan, spread 1 cup of the sauce mixture on the bottom of the pan. Layer in the following order: 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1 cup spaghetti sauce.
Layer 2: 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture, 1 ½ cups sauce.
Layer 3: 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, remainder of the ricotta cheese mixture and 1 cup of sauce.
Final layer: 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, remaining sauce and the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 50-60 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until all of the cheese is melted on the top (about 5 minutes). Let stand 15 minutes before serving. If you are using a 13x9x2 plan just make 3 layers to avoid boiling over. The secret is more sauce as the noodles absorb the sauce while baking unlike cooked noodles.