Simple Skillet Lasagna

Okay, Lasagna. I have mixed feeling about you. I grew up with lasagna that contained cottage cheese and shredded cheddar cheese. It was good but as an adult, I never made it or ordered it at a restaurant. Then I discovered ricotta cheese and everything changed!

I love making “roll up” lasagna because it is fun to make and it’s different. That is the same with this Chrissy Teigen’s Simple Skillet Broken Lasagna recipe from her book Cravings: Hungry for More (why haven’t you bought it yet??)

I love this cookbook because it is more Mom user-friendly. Honestly, who wants to spend hours in the kitchen cooking a fancy meal for kids who would rather eat Mac and Cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches all day every day? This book offers more time efficient recipes, so now I only have to be in the kitchen for hours washing baby bottles or when I want to go all out for guests.

The fun part about this Broken Lasagna recipe was breaking the noodles up. I let the girls do it and I am still finding pieces in the kitchen, but their laughter was worth it.

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First, you make the sauce. It does need to simmer for about an hour so I recommend making it ahead of time or just use it when it heats up because you are starving like I did.

It calls for both ground beef and sausage which I just love! It makes the flavoring not as bland when you just use one or the other. I discovered this with meatloaf. Meatloaf with just ground beef is blah, but add spicy Italian sausage and viola! it’s delicious.

The cheese mixture is parmesan, ricotta, and mozzarella. I have to admit that I used a cup less of mozzarella that was called for and it still came out cheezy.

Overall this recipe is easy, even the simmering for an hour, and tasty. The girls loved it and it saved well. I served it the next day at a family function and everyone loved it. So next time you are craving lasagna try this recipe, no more cottage cheese!

Make it and enjoy!

Sauce Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 pound ground beef

3/4 pound ground pork 

1 finely diced onion

9 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup shredded basil

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

kosher salt and pepper to taste

Lasagna Ingredients:

2 cups ricotta cheese

3 cups shredded mozzarella

3/4 cup finely grated pamigiano-reggiano cheese

1/2 cup basil

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

6 oz no-boil lasagna noodles, broken into pieces. 

Make the Sauce! Heat oil over high heat in a dutch oven or a large heavy bottom skillet. Add beef and pork. Cook unit no longer pink breaking up the meat into tiny pieces. Transfer to a bowl. Keep some fat in skillet and cook onion until tender, about 7 mins. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add tomato paste and cook stirring for 2 minutes. Return meat to skillet along with the tomatoes, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 mins.

Mix the cheese! In a large bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, parm, basil, salt, and pepper.

Build the lasagna! Spoon 1 cup of the sauce into the bottom of a large (12 in and 2 in deep) ovenproof skillet. Add a layer of noodles, then sauce, then dollops of cheese mixture. repeat layers until skillet is full. Add a final layer of sauce and then dollops of cheese at the very top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Put a baking sheet under the skillet to prevent bubbly drips on the bottom of your oven.

Camping + Dutch Oven = Amazing!

Sometimes a girl just needs to unplug from the world and go camping! Last weekend, that is exactly what this girl did. We headed up to Lake Isabella in the Sequoias. It was peacefully quiet, relaxing, and such a nice break from everyday life.

IMG_1352 We went fishing (we only caught a couple of crabs) and explored the lake and Kern river. We got to hang out with our dogs, who are currently staying at my brothers’ (Did I mention we moved back to California in a quick last minute decision? No? Well we did but that’s for another post). And eat smores, which is why the girls like camping so much. It was beautiful up there and such a fun family adventure.

*As a side note if anyone goes up there, stay at a camping spot on the river in Kernville. The river was a blast with people rafting and going in tubes down the river.

I’ve been wanting a dutch oven forever but have yet to purchase one. The majority of my childhood was camping and eating dutch oven dinners or desserts. Camping just needs it the same way it needs scones and Hot Cha Cha (Taco Salad). I decided for this camping trip I was going to borrow my dads’ dutch oven and test it out. My dad loves it and couldn’t contain his excitement while we were digging through all his old recipes.

Most of his recipes are printed from a typewriter and look like they could fall apart if you stare at them for too long, so I decided to find one online for my first try.

I found this lasagna recipe online and it certainly did the job. I honestly was a little nervous because it was so plain; just straight ingredients and no extra seasoning. A lot cheese, meat, and spaghetti sauce. That’s it. I thought for sure I’d hear the dreaded word, bland.  However, when it was all combined and baking in that dutch oven the flavor was anything but BLAND!!! I don’t know what the magic of a dutch oven is but it’s something and it’s amazing.

If you notice on the first picture I didn’t get my order completely correct omitting the sauce until I already added the final layer of cheese. This was such a shame because Layla and I worked so hard on getting the cheese even and to look pretty for the final picture.

You do not need to be camping to use a dutch oven. In fact, tomorrow we are going to make a chicken and rice recipe in the backyard. Just make sure the coals don’t burn the grass or start any fires. (As my dad reminded me over and over)

Lastly, on our camping trip, we, of course, made bacon for one breakfast and I decided to do something I saw on Pintrest . You put the bacon on skewers and roast them over the fire. It was pretty cool and the girls had a good time making them. Sorry to say I didn’t try any of the bacon (I know right, how do you not eat the bacon) but the girls and Hubs thought they tasted great.

With life being as crazy as it has been these past two months, this was exactly what I needed. If you are ever feeling overwhelmed, go camping, it does wonders to your soul.