Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lasagna, Trader Joe's style

My family is often a pain in the neck to cook for. I won't even get into Baroy's bizarro food issues. (He hates PASTA, people! Pasta and CHEESE! Pity me!) N? Well he pretty much ONLY eats pasta and cheese. (PITY ME, I said!)

And Em, while generally a total foodavore like me, has a few quirks as well. Cheese? No. Well, except for parmesan. And mozzarella, when it's melted on pizza. But NOT when it's melted on (or in) lasagna.

P. I. T. Y.

M. E.

So, as you might imagine, lasagna? Not a household favorite.

At least, not until I found the recipe on the side of Trader Joes' no-boil lasagna noodles.

Now, it's such a household favorite that when N had some (minor) surgery last week, it was what he requested as his special feel-better dinner. Em adores it. And even though it's different from most lasagnas I've had (and made), I'm a total convert, too. (Baroy? Will have nothing to do with it. But in this house, three out of four ain't bad.)

Trader Joe's No-Boil Lasagna (adapted from the noodle package directions)

1 package no-boil lasagna noodles
1 pound ground beef
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1 jar Marinara sauce
grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Brown ground beef in skillet; add to marinara sauce. (The TJ's recipe actually has you browning some kind of Italian sausage instead, and when I made it the first time, I did that and used chicken sausage and it was INCREDIBLE. But...sigh...N doesn't like sausage, and picked it all out of his lasagna, whereas he loves the ground beef in the sauce, so... Did I mention that you should pity me?)

3. Spread a thin layer of Alfredo sauce on the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish.

4. Add a layer of lasagna noodles.

5. Add a thin layer of the marinara-and-meat sauce.

6. Pour some Alfredo sauce over the marinara-and-meat sauce. I like to then spread it out with a pastry-type brush, because I like everything spread out evenly. (Yes, I'm a little obsessive. You can pity my family, too, if you want.)

7. Sprinkle a thin layer of parmesan over the Alfredo sauce.

8. Repeat layering one or two more times, until you reach the top of your baking pan, or until you run out of noodles.

9. After your last noodles, top with alfredo sauce layer and parmesan only. (This leaves the top really crusty, crunchy, and brown. It's awesome.)

10. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until bubbly.

11. Let sit for five minutes or so before cutting, so lasagna can settle.

Yum! No, seriously. YUM. This lasagna is not at all pitiful.


  1. You know what I love best about this recipe: "Open a jar..." Because, yes, sometimes, that's the reality, isn't it? We can't always start from scratch and fresh ingredients. Sometimes the best thing we can do is OPEN. A. JAR. And we should not be afraid to say it, here on this blog.

    Can't wait to try it!! And I am a recent no-boil lasagna noodles convert. Meanwhile, I do pity you. We would starve without our pasta and cheese. ;-)

  2. Now if only they made those no boil noodles gluten free! *sigh*

  3. No Trader Joe in FL... I love that place.

    I know exactly what you go through. I had to make two different dinners each night because my beloved Paul didn't like anything green. Every night it was corn on the cob. I made a wonderful Voodoo chicken recipe and thought he would like it because it had peanut butter in it but he wouldn't eat it. Luckily I had roasted a plain chicken breast WITH BONES for him which was hidden in the back of the oven. I wish he was still alive so I could complain. (G)(G)(G)... he wss different but then he came from NH!