The Easiest Lasagna

The only reason I’m posting this is because maybe there’s someone else out there who needs super easy dinner ideas.  It won’t work for a last minute meal because it takes over an hour to bake.  That’s because you do not have to pre-cook the noodles!  This is the most non – technical, adaptable, semi home made recipe I’ve ever posted.  It’s really just a method of assembly.  Simply layer everything in a casserole and bake, hooray!

The quality of your ingredients still matter in this easy dish, so look for organic tomato sauce that doesn’t have added sugar.  I chose to use organic cheeses as well.  The ground turkey makes it a little lighter than beef lasagna, but it’s still kinda heavy for the middle of summer.  Cucumber and Avocado Salad is a nice cooling side dish, click here for recipe.

The Easiest Lasagna 

adapted from my sister’s Spinach Lasagna recipe

1 jar tomato sauce

1 large container cottage cheese (it’s lighter and saltier) OR 1 large container ricotta cheese OR 1 small container of each

freshly ground black pepper

12- 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1 box lasagna noodles

1 lb ground turkey

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • Brown the ground turkey until done – I used a little oil to get it going
  • If you’re using a mixture of ricotta and cottage cheese as I did, mix them together in a dish as add some fresh black pepper.  I used a whole container of ricotta and about half the container of cottage cheese.
  • Begin assembly in a casserole dish.  I made three layers of noodles but there’s no hard and fast rule here, it’s just how much will fit.  I had lots of left over noodles for another day.  Start with sauce on the bottom of the dish, then a base layer of noodles.  Spoon on about 1/3 of the ricotta/cottage cheese and spread over the noodles.  Add a layer of mozzarella, then meat, more sauce, and another layer of noodles.  You get the idea.  Fill the dish and add all juices from the ground turkey.  Finish the top with sauce and mozzarella cheese.  You can sprinkle some parmesan on top if you have it.

  • Cover the dish with foil and make sure it’s tight around the edges.  Bake for 1 hour.
  • Remove from oven and let sit, still covered, for 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and have a look.  If you’d like to make the top more brown and crispy around the edges, return to the oven and set it on broil.  Keep a close eye on it.

I’m feeding a growing boy and he’s HUNGRY and this got very positive reviews.  It was originally a Spinach Lasagna recipe, but I was afraid my boy wouldn’t eat it unless it was meaty and not veggie.  If you’d like the original recipe, just email me.

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Blueberry Banana Bread

Quick breads are so easy and satisfying to make.  This recipe is a direct offshoot of my Grandmother’s Banana Bread which I blogged about in 2012.  It’s not too high in sugar and includes some healthy rolled oats and blueberries.  Please try it and let me know how it goes.  Don’t worry about exact measurements for this one, it’s practically foolproof!

Blueberry Banana Bread

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 very ripe banana

1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup blueberries – fresh or frozen

3 tablespoons turbinado sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the baking pan(s) with a good smear of butter; this recipe works well in three mini loaves or as muffins.

Begin by measuring the rolled oats into a bowl or jug like the one pictured.  Add the buttermilk to the oats, stir and let this combination sit while you gather and prepare the rest of the ingredients.  The buttermilk will tenderize the oats.

Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl and add the 3/4 cup sugar and the banana.  Mash the banana with a fork and mix well.  Add the eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until well combined and relatively smooth.  Now add the oats/buttermilk mixture and stir it all up.

Add the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda to the bowl.  Begin to mix the dry ingredients in gently and then add the blueberries and continue to mix gently until just combined.

Pour the batter into prepared pan(s) and smooth out the top.  Combine the 3 Tablespoons turbinado sugar and the cinnamon in your 1/4 cup measuring cup and sprinkle this all over the top.  Turbinado sugar has larger crystals than white sugar and will give a wonderfully crunchy top.  Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out to continue to cool.

 I couldn’t believe it when my husband said he thought it might even be better than banana bread!  The crumb is tender and moist and the crunchy top really sets it off.

Quick Basil and Feta Bread

There are a few food bloggers that I’ve been following for many years.  When I see their emails in my inbox, I know they’ll provide consistently delicious recipes that are interesting but not too difficult.  Clotilde at Chocolate and Zucchini is a food writer living in Paris.  She sends out a monthly post with a round – up of recipes, restaurants, and other tidbits.  This month provided a gem of a recipe: a savory quick bread with feta cheese and lots of fresh herbs.  There’s no yeast and no rising time, if you can make banana bread then you can make this!

Everything about this recipe is perfect.  The sesame seeds provide a subtle, nutty crunch, and the salty feta cheese in a soft rich bread hits all the right notes.  The basil makes this bread very seasonal for late summer, but any other herb or combination of herbs would work just as well.

Clotilde kindly includes converted measurements since Europeans measure baking ingredients by weight instead of volume.  I have ‘Americanized’ this recipe even more by using buttermilk in place of the yogurt and making a few other small changes.  However, her version is absolutely perfect so if you have some plain yogurt in the fridge please click through for her recipe.

Quick Basil and Feta Bread

A little butter for the pan

2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (I used a mix of black and white)

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 and 1/4 cup buttermilk (full fat)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 eggs

7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1 bunch fresh basil or about 1 cup chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare 1 full size bread pan or three minis (which is what I used) by smearing with butter and sprinkling in 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds.

Chop the herbs (here’s a post that includes directions for chopping basil) and crumble the feta cheese.  Set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper and stir well with a fork or whisk in a medium bowl.

Using a 2 cup or larger liquid measuring cup (such as the one in the picture), measure the buttermilk and oil, then add the eggs and mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir gently.  When the mixture is still very lumpy, go ahead and add the herbs and cheese.  Mix until just combined (do not over mix or you will develop the gluten and make the bread tough).  Spread into prepared pans and top with remaining sesame seeds.

Bake 40- 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans 10 minutes then turn out to finish cooling and allow the crust to crisp.

Enjoy!