The biggest shortcut I use in making lasagna is not cooking the noodles! I think cooking the noodles is kind of a wasted step because if you add a little extra water to the sauce, the noodles soak it up and are perfectly cooked by the time you take the lasagna out of the oven.
Also, another way to make the best use of your time when making lasagna is to make two at a time! I just made lasagna last night and I made enough for two pans. I prepared one, stuck it in the oven for dinner and then prepared the other one in a foil lined pan. When the lasagna was put together, I covered with foil and stuck it in the freezer. Once it hardened, I removed it from the pan, wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap, and stuck it back in the freezer. Now, all I have to do when I want lasagna two weeks from now is unwrap from the plastic wrap, pop it into my pan and stick it in the oven for an hour. Lasagna with no prep!
Here’s my favorite recipe for lasagna. I got it out of a magazine years ago and just made some changes since I like a lot of sauce and cheese in mine. It makes one pan and I just double it when I want to make two!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1 pound Italian sausage
Two jars Super Chunky Mushroom spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, garlic powder and pepper
1 Tbs parsley flakes
1 container cottage cheese
1 container Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Box lasagna noodles
2 (or so) cups shredded mozzarella
DIRECTIONS: Cook sausage and drain grease. Add spaghetti sauce and water. Simmer about ten minutes while you prep the cheese mixture. In a large mixing bowl whip eggs with the seasonings. Stir in Parmesan, cottage cheese and Ricotta until well mixed.
Cover bottom of 9×13 pan with meat sauce (just a thin layer is fine). Lay three noodles, evenly spaced, on top. Smooth about a third of the cheese mixture on top of noodles, cover in meat sauce and sprinkle about 1/2 to 1 cup mozzarella. Place three noodles on top of mozzarella, then cheese mixture, then meat sauce, then mozzarella. Repeat layer once more and use the last of all the ingredients. Add extra mozzarella if you like a lot of cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes, or until cheese is brown and bubbly. To ensure that the noodles are soft, stab with a fork. If there is no resistance your lasagna is perfectly cooked!