Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Three-Cheese Beef Lasagna and West Coast Vacation :)

Friends. We've nearly reached the middle of August. DEAR. LORD. Time just keeps flying by so much faster than I can keep up with it! Is that how it feels to you, too? I was out of town last week--I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Spokane and made a brief stop in San Francisco to see my uncle on my way back. Obviously, I couldn't travel without making SOMETHING delicious...
My brother had a very specific request for me to make lasagna, a wish I was more than happy to grant :) I made a five-minute trip to the farmer's market on Saturday morning (no, seriously-- it was five minutes. Sadly, we arrived AS the vendors were packing up!) so I only had the chance to grab four things: a gorgeous bunch of basil, some garlic, a very large onion, and a pound of fresh green beans.
I can usually improvise quite well, though, so I felt good about the kitchen odds :) I made the lasagna the way my mom made it when we were growing up, except this time, I added Ricotta and Parmesan cheese. It was so fun teaching Mattie how to do it. I felt like I was passing on a family tradition or something, ha!
Loaded with mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmesan cheeses, this meaty lasagna is everything that pasta-lovers' dreams are made of! I served it with crispy stir-fried garlic green beans (which were absolutely DELICIOUS--but a recipe for another day).
During my trip, I enjoyed (among other things) some quality time in the stunning outdoors that is the Pacific Northwest, a full-body exfoliating treatment followed by a lotion massage at the spa where my sister-in-law works, a toffee-nut mocha at a super cute coffee shop called Atticus, a luxurious (and DESPERATELY-needed) pedicure and several mimosas with Mattie, playing in a gigantic red wagon in downtown Spokane, as well as "running" with some statues who apparently appreciate "The Joy of Running Together."
I made a beautiful new friend named Cyndee in the airport, took a big bus tour of San Francisco, nearly got blown away at the Golden Gate Bridge...and of course, I planted millions of kisses on a sweet baby girl.  It was a most successful trip overall :) Can't wait for the next one!

  • Nine lasagna noodles
  • Two pounds ground beef , thawed (you may substitute ground turkey, Italian sausage, or other ground meat--your preference)
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2-2 jars of your favorite pasta sauce (I don't have a homemade sauce recipe yet!)
  • 8-12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1-2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 15 ounces Ricotta cheese (we used an entire container)
  • Salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, and other spices to taste

Preheat oven to 350 and very lightly spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.  (The cooking spray is not entirely necessary, but helps to keep the cheese ad noodles from sticking to the pan).

Add onion and garlic to a pot or pan with olive oil; saute until fragrant; about two to four minutes (garlic should be golden; not burnt!). Add the ground beef and brown until fully cooked; drain the fat and return to skillet. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings. Add pasta sauce to the cooked meat and heat until bubbling; reduce heat and allow to simmer for ten minutes or so.
Boil the lasagna noodles in salted water according to directions on package. In the prepared pan, arrange three lasagna noodles and top with meat sauce. Dollop with ricotta cheese, spread Parmesan cheese, and add a generous layer of mozzarella (there's no specific order of cheeses!). Repeat with remaining ingredients until pan is full.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes; cover with foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until mozzarella cheese is fully melted and lasagna is heated all the way through. Garnish with basil (optional, but makes for pretty pictures!) and ENJOY!


  1. This dish looks tasty I will have to try it. Also you look like you had a great time, you can really see it in your smile.

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by :) I really did have a wonderful time. Surrounded by loved ones, great food, and beautiful new scenery, I had so much to smile about :)

  2. I love this!! Looks sooooo good. Great pictures!!