Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.
So, my parents are in town visiting this week. I think we've spent every day out driving, sightseeing, and visiting the local attractions. It's been downright exhausting. I've wanted to come home every afternoon and just go to sleep. In fact, I think I did just that one day.
The last thing I want to do after being out with two small children and my parents is plan a meal and cook. My bed has been calling way too early every night. Even if I were so inclined, it would be 7 p.m. by the time I got something reasonable on the table for everyone after getting home at the end of every day.
Since my kids' bedtime is 6:30 p.m. right now, the timing just doesn't work and none of our systems can handle eating out every night. But tonight I had a solution, and all it took was boiling some pasta, really. I literally just tossed in a couple of other yummy ingredients and popped it in the oven. Dinner in 30 minutes!
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
9 (1 cup) servings
- 8 ounces any kind of pasta
- 2.5 cups pasta sauce
- 1 pound hamburger
- 1.5 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- Start a medium pot of water boiling on the stove and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- When water is boiling, add the pasta. I choose penne.
- Cook until tender, approximately 10 minutes.
- Drain pasta in sink and set aside.
- In the meantime, grease a square casserole dish.
- Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce in the bottom.
- Top with half of your pasta. Spread evenly in the dish.
- Spread pasta with 1 cup of sauce.
- Top with one half of your hamburger.
- On the side, mix the ricotta in a bowl with the egg and spices.
- Spread one half of ricotta mixture evenly over the top of your hamburger.
- Finally, spread 1 cup of mozzarella on top. Then repeat.
- Spread the rest of your pasta over the top.
- Top with rest of pasta sauce.
- Top with rest of your ricotta mixture.
- And finish with your last cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Honestly, you could add one more layer of pasta, then sauce then mozzarella if desired. I just ran out of room in my dish.
- Pop in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Serve hot.
You know what you do when you don't have all of the ingredients you need for a dish, or worse yet, you're tight on time and need something fast? You improvise. And that's what this dish is all about. You make do with what you have and voila! Dinner!
My husband was craving lasagna and it just so happened that I had a half of a container of ricotta in the fridge, but no lasagna noodles. So I cooked up some pasta I did have, layered in some pasta sauce, hamburger and cheese with it and there you go. "Lasagna" in the oven. And boy, was it yummy!
Notice that I served it with corn on the cob. We had corn and the dish needed a veggie. Corn on the cob goes with everything right? Well, it did tonight. When you're desperate, you serve what you have. No one complained, but instead I actually got kudos for the yummy corn and my creativity. That's what I call a success. Dinner doesn't have to be complicated.
© 2018 Victoria Van Ness