Sunday, November 25, 2012

Basic Lasagna #HelpingHands #SundaySupper

This week, the #SundaySupper crew is dedicating our recipes for those that suffered through Hurricane Sandy.  Although it's not shown in the news much anymore, there are many folks that are still in need. 

Since I'm in Wisconsin, I'm not able to physically help out, but I'm hoping that some of you will join me in making a small donation to one of the charities that is helping to bring relief to those most affected.  If you're unsure of where to donate, the #SundaySupper crew has links below of some charities that we recommend.

Another thing that we've asked our #SundaySupper readers to do is to think about how they can use food to help others.  Food is such a source of comfort during times of need, or sorrow, or change.  By sharing a meal with a friend or stranger, we can really make a difference.  For times like that, I make my Basic Lasagna recipe.

Although nothing fancy, that's the point with this recipe. This basic lasagna is freezer ready so if a family in need has been brought TONS of food already by neighbors, they just have to pop this meal in the freezer, and thaw it when they're ready. It's hearty. It's family friendly, (what kid doesn't love a basic pasta?) and I can make it vegetarian so that I don't have to worry about special dietary needs. I've even removed the eggs from my cheese mixture in case there are any concerns about egg allergies. I've had lots of families tell me that this was the best meal that they were brought because it was practical- not fancy or impressive. 

I didn't even attempt to take fancy pictures this week since this plate went right into the freezer.  It will sit there for a few months or until I'm notified that a family in my area needs a meal.  I usually keep a couple of these on hand.

The picture isn't fancy, but I think most people would still agree that it looks good enough to cook and eat!

  • 1 large package of lasagna noodles
  • 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups of mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 - 26 oz cans or jars of pasta sauce
  • 1 pound ground beef, cooked (optional)


Boil the lasagna noodles in salted water until al dente.  Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.  In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 2 cups of the mozzarella, Parmesan, oil, Italian Seasoning, garlic powder, pepper, and salt.  Using a clean hand, mix until fully combined.  Taste a bit of the cheese mixture and add more of the spices to taste.

In a 9 x 13 inch disposable foil pan, pour a thin layer of the pasta sauce to coat the bottom.  Then, place a layer of noodles over the sauce, slightly overlapping the noodles.  Drop spoonfuls of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles until you've used up half of the cheese.  Carefully spread the cheese to try and cover as much of the noodles as possible.  If using ground beef, sprinkle half of the ground beef on top of the cheese layer.  Then, pour another thin layer of sauce on top of the beef layer.  Repeat the layers of noodles, cheese, beef, and sauce.  Place the final layer of noodles.  On top of the final noodle layer, pour a thicker layer of sauce and then top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.

If freezing, cover with foil and mark with date, ingredients, and directions to cook.  If serving immediately, put in a oven at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.  For the final 10 minutes of cooking time, remove the foil so the cheese can brown.

For other delicious ideas for meals to make and take to help others, check out the fabulous list below:

Breakfast and Brunch:
Comforting Casseroles and Entrées:

Warming Soups and Sides:
Sweet Endings:

If you are interested in making a donation to help the hurricane victims, here are links to the two charitable organizations we recommend:

Please join on us on Twitter for #SundaySupper on November 25, 2012, throughout the day. In the evening, we will meet at 6 PM CST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat.
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
We’d also love to feature your recipe ideas for #HelpingHands on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board so we can share them with all of our followers.


  1. There is something so perfect and comforting about a basic lasagna. I was given one after my daughter was born and I really appreciated it

  2. Lasagna screams comfort and warmth. We all should have a basic recipe filed. Sounds great Melanie!

  3. What a wonderful recipe and gift of food for someone in need. This is actually the kind of lasagna my husband prefers - simple and yet oh so tasty.

  4. I find all pasta dishes to be so comforting. Your simple lasagna looks perfect.

  5. There is no better way to show love than with a great lasagna!

  6. I love giving and receiving lasagna! Yours looks amazing!

  7. I think this would be perfect to take to someone for a nice pick-me-up! Love that it can be frozen until they're ready to cook it!

  8. Such a great idea to keep an extra lasagna in the freezer! My family would be delighted to have this for dinner!

  9. I LOVE that you really made this lasagna for a family in need! That is awesome!! Love the idea of freezing and just having dishes on hand for when you need them! to give!! This is awesome! and yes, even not cooked, the lasagna looks great!

  10. Lasagna is always a good choice to take to someone in need, it feeds lots and is always liked by all.

  11. Lasagna is always welcome in our house and your recipe looks so easy and delicious!!Perfect comfort food :)

  12. I never thought of keeping a meal in the freezer for when it is needed. Audrey likes to sign us up for the local soup kitchen and it can be a challenge at times getting the food ready in time.

  13. Lasagna is a great choice for donating or gifting. And you're right, basic isnt fussy and it really hits the spot.

  14. Lasagna makes the perfect gift. I made one for my friend when she had her baby. I made two batches, one for her and one for us. You can never go wrong with a classic like lasagna. Dang it. Now I want some.

  15. So many ARE still in need. Love this idea. Haven't something ready to go that can be given - when needed - is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  16. You can never go wrong with lasagna, especially when you're in need or cooking for someone in need!

  17. Mmmm, lasagna is the perfect way to feed a lot of people, especially a lot of people who need some comforting!

  18. Lasagna is a favourite meal at my place - it's delicious and comforting. I usually make a giant pan of it and we'll eat it all week for lunch. I never thought of freezing it for cooking later - it's brilliant!