Artichoke Dip Flatbread

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My husband planted us a super awesome garden this year – now our lettuce and spinach runneth over. I was trying to think of ways to use the spinach outside of salads – which we were getting sick of. I mean we aren’t effing rabbits. Then – spinach artichoke dip popped into my head. Great idea…but I always consider that to be an appetizer and didn’t think that ‘dip’ really counted as dinner. So, I took it a smidge further to relieve my ‘we had dip for dinner’ guilt. If you smear it on a flatbread, TA-DA, I now made a pizza. Sounds like much more work than ‘dip’. 🙂  It really was very good and it reheated well the next day. I think this would work as an appetizer or dinner…or leftovers for lunch at the office microwave station.

The other awesome thing here, is if you put all this into a skillet or oven-safe dish, then add a layer of cheese on top, bake for about the same time – and voila! You have spinach artichoke DIP. Then you can toast/cut some naan – or serve with tortilla chips. Two recipes in one. You’re welcome.

Ingredients:

  1. 3/4 cup light mayo (I use olive oil mayo)
  2. 1.5 cups chopped spinach – lightly packed
  3. 1 tbsp minced garlic
  4. 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  5. 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  6. 1 can of quartered artichokes, drained and chopped into smaller bits
  7. 1 tsp black pepper
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. Naan flatbread – can be large or small flatbreads. Room temperature.

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine ingredient items 1-8 above in a mixing bowl
  • Mix well until thoroughly combined. Can add more mayo or cheese if its not looking ‘creamy’ or cheesy enough (I just eye-balled it and thought – what does my dip usually look like – and add what I want from there – pretty sure you can’t mess this up)
  • Place the naan(s) on a baking sheet or pizza stone
  • Spread a healthy amount of the mixture on each one, leaving room around the edges for a ‘crust’ – about 3/4 inch
  • Bake in oven for approx 8 or so minutes. A larger flatbread may take about 10 minutes to ensure the middle of the flatbread gets hot.
  • Check at 8 minutes to see that crust is warm and the mixture is hot on top. Leave in oven if it needs more time. Check every 2 minutes.
  • Once almost done, turn the broiler on high and let broil for approx 1 minute- do not leave them in there unattended!
    • Free advice: Never turn your back on the broiler – you stand there or set a timer as a reminder. The Broiler can be your best friend or quite a bitch.
  • Once the tops are a bit golden brown/bubbly from the broiler – remove
  • Let cool for approx 3-4 min, then cut and serve!
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Mixing cheese, garlic, mayo, salt & pepper together

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Adding in spinach – once chopped

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Adding in artichokes once chopped

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Spreading mixture onto the naan/flatbreads

 

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Out of the oven and chopped – ready for dinner!

 

Simply Delicious Egg Salad

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I’ve always been a fan of eggs. Period. All kinds. (well omelets aren’t my jam, but everything else is awesome). When summer rolls around, I don’t know why but I think of egg salad. I used to spend a lot of time at the lake, and you can take a loaf of bread and tupperware container of egg salad – toss it in the cooler – and instant yum on the boat.

It just warmed up here in KC, and due to being pregnant I am missing my eggs benedict, runny fried or poached eggs, and all that eggy delicousness. I am excited to have my 2nd child – but man this time around giving up all those fun foods is WEARING on me. So I was really really CRAVING eggs, and egg salad popped in my head. So I made it. Cheap, Easy, Fast, Delicious…boom.

I’ll toast bread and smear some egg salad on it, take the salad to work with some crackers, or eat it plain (yes, yes I will). If you like deviled eggs or egg salad – you’ll love this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 7 eggs
  • 1 tbsp dried dill
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 stalks celery – chopped into very small dice
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Place eggs in a pot of cool water
  2. Place on stove and bring to boil.
  3. Once you see rolling bubbles, put on timer for 8 minutes.
  4. When timer goes off,  remove from heat immediately and dump out the hot water/boiling water. Immediately run cold water over eggs. I usually run the cold water for about 30 – 45 seconds to ensure eggs have reduced significantly in temperature.
  5. Let sit in cold water for just a few minutes – you can get your celery and parsley chopped now.
  6. Peel eggs
  7. Chop eggs in half
  8. Place flat side down and then chop lengthwise and then crosswise – small dice
  9. Place chopped eggs into mixing bowl
  10. Add in chopped celery
  11. Add in dill and parsley
  12. Add in mayo and mustard
  13. Add 2 pinches of salt and 2 pinches of pepper
  14. With spatula, fold all ingredients together carefully
  15. Taste – add more of whatever ingredient you think it needs more of. I usually like more mayo and salt. Just follow your tastebuds!
  16. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours – to get really cold and let flavors meld.
  17. Enjoy!
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boiling eggs

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soaking in cold water

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ingredients (minus lemon)

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eggs ready for chopping!

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cutting eggs lengthwise first

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cutting eggs crosswise now

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added celery to eggs

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all ingredients in bowl – ready to mix

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all ingredients folded together

 

Breakfast Empanadas

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Empanadas are one of my favorite foods. Empanadas are somewhat like colachis or pierogis – but basically dough stuffed with yummy savory ingredients. Usually meat, meat/cheese just cheese, veggie, etc. I have enjoyed empanadas in Spain – and when I traveled to Argentina years ago on a work assignment and empanadas are EVERYWHERE down there. All kinds. They are delivered to you like pizzas are in the US, boxes of them! Delicious stuffed doughy goodness. What I loved about the deliveries in Argentina is each empanada has a different crust pattern to signify what’s inside (like a rolled crust = pork, while a crust w/ fork marks = beef/onion, and so on.).

I live in Kansas City and we have a lot of Mexican restaurants but not really many Spanish or South American places, so good empanadas are hard to find. They are best if you make your own dough, which I’ve done before, but I’m a working mom with a toddler and another baby on the way – so, this mom aint’ got time for that. I use pre-made dough and it works JUST fine.

I also love breakfast tacos so one day I thought, why not make breakfast empanadas! Ta-da! Brilliance was born. I used more Mexican spices in mine b/c I know Mexican food  & spices better than Spanish or South American. These are great to feed a crowd, kids love them, they are SO EASY to make, make ahead of time, can pop leftovers into the oven or toaster oven  – super yum and convenient. Hope you give this recipe a shot!

*I used bacon in this round, but I’ve used breakfast sausage before. If you want to do this sub 1 cup cooked sausage for the bacon. Or you can toss in veggies vs. meat if you wish. 1 cup should do the trick.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package grands biscuit dough – just buy the regular biscuit dough, nothing fancy
  • 5 eggs
  • 5 strips of bacon – cooked and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup shredded cheese – I use cheddar or monterey jack
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp water
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees (follow package directions for dough)
  2. Place biscuit dough on flat cold surface, no flour!
  3. Pat down biscuits until flat
  4. Use rolling pin to further flatten dough to about 5 inches across – not too thin
  5. Heat pan over medium heat
  6. Whisk 5 eggs with 2 tbsp water. Add pinch of salt and pepper.
  7. Heat 1 tbsp EVOO in 10 inch sauté pan over med heat
  8. Add onions, garlic, red pepper, oregano, cumin, paprika, chili powder, 1 pinch of salt and 1 pinch of pepper to the pan. Cook until veggies are soft and cooked down – about 5 min.
  9. Add eggs to pan. Turn heat to med/low
  10. Let eggs sit for about 30 seconds. Then start to scrape pan and make scrambled eggs. Continue to scrape cooked eggs off bottom of pan and mix in with uncooked eggs. Continue this for about 2 -3 min. When eggs are firming up but still look wet, meaning they have lots of moisture. Remove from heat.
  11. Add shredded cheese and bacon.
  12. Mix well until cheese is melted
  13. In center of each circle of dough, place about 1/2 cup of egg mixture
  14. Fold the dough over the mixture to make a closed half circle, with the mixture inside
  15. Pat down the edges and then use a fork to seal the edges
  16. Place empanada on greased baking sheet
  17. Repeat until all empanadas are complete
  18. Bake according to dough directions, usually about 13 minutes or so
  19. Check to see if dough is golden brown and firm, but do not overcook!
  20. Remove from oven. Let cool and serve.
  21. I often serve w/ salsa and sour cream, sometimes chopped avocado.
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dough disks on counter

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flattened with rolling pin

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ready for filling!

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onion, red pepper, garlic, spices cooking in EVOO

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adding eggs to veggie mix

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scrambling eggs – removing from heat

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adding bacon and cheese

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adding filing to empanada dough

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rolling dough over to make half circle

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empanadas done cooking!

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finished empanada 

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cut in half

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mmmm – yum! breakfast empanada

Sausage Vegetable Bake (EASY!)

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I am not even joking about how easy this recipe is, and how yummy it is…and its good FOR YOU. Well, its not fried, or cooked in oil, or a pan on the stove…its all roasted and 1/2 of the meal is veggies. 🙂 The only hassle at all with this recipe is chopping vegetables, but if you hate that part – buy them pre-chopped at your grocery store and you’ll fly through this. I only took like 3 pictures because this is such a fast/easy recipe. My son even ate it and he never eats veggies OR meat! #WINNING mom move. I hope you like it as much as my family did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package rope sausage (or you can use a package of links). I used Johnsonville – love that brand. Slice the sausage, about 1/4 inch thick.
  • 1.5 cups small new potatoes or other small potato variety – cut into halves or quarters (want them to be the size of a quarter or smaller)
  • 1.5 cups asparagus chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups broccoli chopped small
  • 1 cup canned corn – drain liquid
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In large mixing bowl, add sausage, broccoli, red pepper, asparagus, oregano, thyme, sage, garlic powder 1 tsp pepper, 2 pinches salt and 2 tbsp EVOO. Mix well and place onto foil-lined baking sheet
  3. In same bowl, add 1 tbsp EVOO, potatoes, pinch of salt and pinch of black pepper. Mix well to coat and place on separate foil-lined baking sheet.
  4. Place both baking sheets into the oven. Turn timer on for 10 minutes.
  5. At 10 min flip over the veggie/sausage mix – turning all vegetables & sausage over
  6. At the same 10 min mark, flip the potatoes as well…and then sprinkle the cup of corn onto the potatoes
  7. Turn on timer for 3 more minutes. Then remove veggies/sausage. (total cooking time about 13 min)
  8. Check potatoes for tenderness, if not easy to pierce with fork – return to oven for 3 more minutes at a time until done.
  9. Mix both trays into large serving bowl – potatoes/corn and sausage/veggie mix
  10. Serve!
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the little potatoes I use

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potatoes tossed in oil, salt, pepper ready for oven

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veggie and sausage mixed with herbs & olive oil – ready for oven

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final product!

Salad w/ Chicken,Asparagus & Potato

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I get tired of the same old salads. We have a great garden full of fresh salad fixins – lettuce, spinach, herbs, tomatoes, etc. (thank you husband), but I don’t just want lettuce/carrots/tomatoes/cucumbers over and over – that shiz gets OLD. I go to restaurants and always see yummy salad combinations, so I tried to think of ways to make a healthy salad with some new ingredients. Pretty easy process here and quite yummy. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Lettuce mix of your preference
  • 1.5 cup small potatoes – cut into halves. You can use red potatoes and just cut them into quarters
  • One medium sized chicken breast
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Approx 10 stalks of asparagus – ends removed and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese – your choice!
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Rosemary Salad Dressing

Directions

  1. Place chicken in tupperware container, lid off.
  2. Sprinkle chicken breast w/ salt and pepper. Add in 1 tbsp EVOO and rosemary, sage and garlic powder. Put lid on and shake well to coat chicken. Let marinate at least 1 hour.
  3. Before beginning rest of process, remove chicken from fridge and let warm up a bit, will cook faster if not ice cold from fridge
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  5. Turn on grill (for chicken)
  6. In  bowl mix 1 tbsp EVOO and chopped asparagus, Add a small pinch of salt and pepper. Lay onto foil lined baking sheet.
  7. Repeat step 3, but this time do this with the potatoes and put on separate foil lined baking sheet.
  8. Put asparagus and potato trays into oven for 10 minutes.
  9. Cook your chicken on the grill. You can cook in a pan on stove top, but I prefer the grill. Usually takes about 10 min (5 min each side) on a hot grill.
  10. When oven timer goes off, test asparagus with fork. Should be easy to pierce with fork but not mushy at all. Usually asparagus are good at 10 minutes but continue to cook to your liking. I usually test one out to see how I like the texture. Snack! If asparagus done – pull from oven. Set aside.
  11. Turn potatoes and place back in oven for 5 more minutes. At end of 5 min test potatoes, should be soft, if not put in for 3 more minutes at a time to ensure you don’t over cook them. When potatoes are done, pull from oven. Set aside.
  12. To assemble salad, use large mixing bowl (can use same one used to toss veggies in olive oil).
  13. Place lettuce mix in bowl, add asparagus, add potatoes. Add 1/4 cup dressing and toss to coat. Add more dressing as you wish.
  14. Place salad mix into bowls for serving
  15. Slice chicken and place chicken on top of lettuce.
  16. Sprinkle with cheese.
  17. Serve!
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Lettuce and herbs from my garden

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chicken marinating

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asparagus and potatoes roasting in oven

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mixing all salad ingredients (step 13)

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salads topped with chicken and cheese!

 

Southwest Pizza

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Sometimes I want pizza, but I want to also cook and not feel as bad for ordering delivery. I used to work at a pizza restaurant in high school, so making my own pizza not only brings back memories, but its fun and cheaper! Now, I aint gonna lie – this is definitely more work than hitting up papajohns.com, but it tastes SO. MUCH.BETTER. Don’t fret, I didn’t make it all from scratch – there are some ‘pre-made’ items in the ingredients list that help shorten the process. My kiddo is too little to help right now, but I think making pizza at home will be/would be a fun activity as well. So here we go…

Ingredients:

  • Boboli pizza crust – original
  • Jar of pizza sauce – whatever you prefer, I went w/ a local brand
  • 1 medium chicken breast
  • 4 – 5 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1 cup canned corn
  • 2 cups shredded mozz cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Cook bacon in oven to desired temperature/crispiness. I usually place on a foil-lined pan and turn it about every 3-4 minutes to ensure it doesn’t burn too much on one side. Usually takes 10 min or so for 4 slices at 450 degrees. Take out of oven and place on plate lined /w paper towels.
  3. Pat chicken breast dry and sprinkle lightly w/ salt and pepper
  4. Heat EVOO and balsamic over medium heat – add chicken breast to pan. Cover.
  5. Flip chicken at about 4 minutes. The vinegar will want to burn off and stick to the pan, add in water about 2 tbsp at a time to ensure there is always liquid in the bottom of the pan. Cover again.
  6. Let chicken cook another 4-5 minutes, adding water to ensure the vinegar doesn’t burn or stick. Cover again.
  7. Once chicken is cooked through, pull from pan onto cutting board and let rest for 5 min.
  8. Slice chicken thinly.
  9. Chop bacon into small pieces
  10. To assemble pizza, start with the crust on a pizza pan
  11. Spread pizza sauce to within 3/4 inch of the edge
  12. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  13. Layer chicken onto the mozzarella cheese
  14. Sprinkle red peppers over the pizza next
  15. Next layer on corn, and bacon
  16. Lastly cover with remaining cup mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese (can use less as you finalize the pizza)
  17. Put into oven and back for approx 12-14 minutes. Checking to ensure crust is a golden brown.
  18. Pull from oven and sprinkle with chopped basil
  19. Serve!

 

Ridiculously Easy “Cheater” Lasagna

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For anyone who doesn’t yet know…I am pregnant again. #2 – baby girl – comin’ in hot!! So take advantage of my recipes posted between now and then because I’m headed to another dark hole of ‘taking care of a tiny human’ time suck…and may never cook again. When I come out the other side it’ll be a huge accomplishment to boil water. No, for real –  moms amirite?

BUT, this baby has me craving absolutely nothing healthy so of course I indulge her highness as much as I can without massive amounts of guilt. She wants Mexican or Italian – these are my craving genres for baby round 2. So, the other day for NO reason whatsoever, lasagna popped into my head and sounded UH-MAZ-ING. But doing a real deal lasagna can take forever (boiling noodles and making home-made sauce), so I did ‘cheater lasagna’ and…holy lord it was so good. Sometimes when you take a cooking short-cut it will taste bland or just ‘eh’, but this was really surprisingly delish! Um…why would I do the 4 hour bolognese sauce and boil noodles ever again? This was LEGIT.

This makes 1 large casserole pan full of lasagna – so 2 meals for a family of 4 probably – with maybe leftovers. My pan is a bit larger than 9×13 and its pretty deep – make sure its at least 3 inches deep if not more. Leaves room for the lasagna to expand.

Time – 1 hour 5 minutes including cooling time (25 min prep, 25 minutes cooking, 15 min rest, but I usually let rest at least 20 min)

Calories – 4 Billion, but this honey badger don’t give a F*CK. This was SO worth it. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package oven-ready lasagna – I use Barilla oven-ready noodles
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 – 24oz jars tomato sauce – I bought marinara, Paul Newman brand
  • 2 tsp garlic  – I use pre-minced, less work and time
  • 2 – 24oz containers light cottage cheese
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese – or you can buy an Italian mix if you prefer
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley (can use dried if that’s easier)
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped basil (can use dried if that’s easier)
  • Salt
  • Ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Heat EVOO in deep skillet/sauté pan over medium high heat
  3. Add onions and ground beef – cook, stirring and breaking up big beef chunks, until beef is cooked about half way (half the beef should still be red/pink)
  4. Add garlic and pinch of S&P, and continue cooking beef until all browned and broken down into small bits
  5. Pour off grease from pan – return to stove
  6. Add in both jars of marinara sauce – cover and simmer on low until step 8
  7. In mixing bowl dump both cottage cheese containers, 2 pinches of salt, 2 pinches of pepper, parsley, eggs and 2 cups of shredded cheese. Mix well.
  8. In large casserole pan, spoon about 3 big serving spoon fulls of marinara sauce, enough to lightly cover the bottom of the pan
  9. Next – layer on 5 sheets of the oven ready lasagna. I put 4 sheets closely ovelapping each other on the left side of the pan (images help here), and then for the open spaces on the right (where I could still see sauce), I split the pasta sheet in half lengthwise to cover up the rest of the red sauce. This does NOT have to be perfect. If you break the sheet into 4 pieces on accident, just use the pasta sheet bits to cover up the sauce best you can. It’ll all work out. Promise
  10. Next add another 3 or so spoon fulls of marinara sauce to cover the noodles
  11. Next add half of the cheese mixture to cover the sauce
  12. Repeat step 9 – adding pasta sheets to the pan. But this time –  move the cleaner layered noodles to the other side of the pan (for me this is the right side of the pan now), so the remaining areas where you can see red sauce (on the left side of the pan now) are opposite from where they were on layer 1. This just helps it hold together better.
  13. Add 3 more spoon fulls of sauce – or enough to cover the noodles
  14. Add the remaining cheese mixture to cover up the marinara sauce
  15. Add the remaining  red sauce to cover the cheese mix
  16. Top with the remaining 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  17. Place in oven for 25 minutes (I recommend placing on a sheet pan/cookie sheet in case it boils over). Do not cover.
  18. Pull from oven(make sure corners are bubbling). Turn oven off and top lasagna with chopped basil
    • Let the lasagna cool for at least 15 minutes minimum. Lasagna will be SUPER messy if its still hot, and it holds heat for a long time. Its easier to serve if its cooler. I regularly wait 20 minutes if not longer.

*You can make a day ahead (like on a weekend) and just cut out pieces at dinner time to microwave to save time on weeknights.  *You can do all the prep and not bake until the day of eating. Just make sure you cook it about 45 minutes or bubbly because it will have been fully cooled in the fridge. *You can also make ahead (bake or no bake) and freeze.

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Oven ready noodles I prefer

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step 3 – cooking beef, onions, garlic, S&P

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step 6 – adding in marinara sauce to beef

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step 7 – making cheese mixture

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step 8 – marinara sauce in bottom of pan

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step 9 – adding noodles on top of bottom sauce layer

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step 10 – covering pasta layer #1 with sauce

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step 11 – covering sauce w/ cheese mixture

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step 15 – adding remaining sauce to final sauce layer

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step 16 – topping w/ 2 cups shredded mozz cheese

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step 18 – cooling lasagna!