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10-Minute Prep Kid-Friendly Lasagna

Updated on April 12, 2012
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Does the thought of boiling noodles and making sauce from scratch make you run away from lasagne? Me too. But, I’ve learned how to have lasagna be a staple food in our house - it’s easy to include healthful additions, and my kids (and husband) gobble it up! With just a few key ingredients stocked, you can make a quick, healthy, and delicious lasagne with just a few minutes of prep time.

Making lasagne doesn’t need to be time-consuming and labor intensive. I prep mine in the morning while my kids are finishing up breakfast, let is sit for a few hours, and then pop it in the oven an hour before dinnertime. The great thing is, this recipe is flexible, and you can use some imagination to doctor it up.

I’ll give you the basic ingredients first, show you how you can add veggies and other healthy additions, and then walk you through the quick assembly. Your kids won’t notice the shredded veggies, and neither will your guests, but they’ll all love it!

Basic Ingredients:

  • 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes with basil
  • 1 box no cook lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta (full or low-fat)
  • 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • Italian seasonings


Easy, Health-Enhancing Additions:
The best part about this recipe is how easy it is to doctor up with health-adding foods (that is, hidden vegetables!) Here are my top ideas. Choose a couple, or choose them all!

  • Carrots (1-2, shredded). Add to the sauce right out the can. It will cook with the lasagne, and the kids won't even notice!
  • Zucchini (1 medium, shredded). Add to the sauce or the cheese mixture. If you have super picky kid, peel the zucchini before adding it to the cheese to they won’t notice the green.
  • Mushrooms and/or Broccoli (finely diced). These can be a little harder to hide, so chop finely.
  • Low-fat yogurt. Add a couple of spoonfuls to the cheese mixture. Or, if you’re going for lower fat, substitute some for the ricotta cheese.
  • Tofu. Smash it and add to the cheese mixture. Again, if you’re going for lower fat, substitute for some of the ricotta cheese.
  • Whatever veggies or dairy products you'd like to try! You know what works in your house. Try whatever you have on hand (cubed butternut squash, eggplant, red peppers, leftover roasted veggies, cottage cheese!)



Instructions:

  1. Mix together the cheeses with some Italian seasoning and whatever healthy additions you choose.
  2. Mix your sauce with whatever healthy additions you choose.
  3. Put some sauce at the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish.
  4. Layer noodles, cheese mixture, and sauce repeatedly until the dish is almost full.
  5. End with a layer of noodles. Cover with sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
  6. Cover and bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes, until noodles are tender. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.


Recipe Tips:

  1. Make sure all the noodles are covered with sauce so they cook to be soft and don’t get crunchy. You can add a little water if it’s looking like it might be dry.
  2. Let it soak for at least 1 hour before cooking.
  3. Use a smaller baking dish for smaller portions. This makes prep and cooking go faster, and lets you experiment a bit more with additions.
  4. Start small! Don’t add in all of the veggies in your fridge the first time. Start by adding the least noticeable veggies and then build on that in future versions.
  5. Let the kids help! They'll love adding the layers, spreading the sauce, and sprinkling the cheese.


There are endless ways to doctor up lasagna. These are a few a my favorites and biggest hits with my kids. Have fun and enjoy!

Comments

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    • LauraGT profile imageAUTHOR

      LauraGT 

      6 years ago from MA

      Thanks Molometer! I agree completely. :)

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Anything that gets the kids involved in cooking real food has got to be a good idea.

      voting up and useful.

    • profile image

      Vicki 

      6 years ago

      Nice Laura. Another idea: I make a pound of noodles (boil), and my family love to snack on the extra noodles while the lasagna is baking. I use fat free ricotta, light or part-skim mozzarella cheese and fat free sauce (& I often use soy mozzarella on 1/4 for my husband - who has high cholesterol). Huge hit in my house.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I like that you turned a delicious Italian meal into a kid-friendly activity. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • profile image

      TXMom 

      6 years ago

      Great recipe! Love the tofu suggestion. I bet even my husband won't guess that one!

    • LauraGT profile imageAUTHOR

      LauraGT 

      6 years ago from MA

      Thanks stephhicks68! Let me know how it goes!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Homemade lasagna is one of my family's favorite dishes. I love your suggestions of veggie additions that they will not even notice. That will be my secret ingredient next time. :-)

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 

      6 years ago

      When is dinner!!! Voted up!!!

    • LauraGT profile imageAUTHOR

      LauraGT 

      6 years ago from MA

      Thanks for the encouragement. More kid-friendly cooking ideas to come soon!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      sounds good to me! I love the healthy additions suggestions.Good job!

    • LauraGT profile imageAUTHOR

      LauraGT 

      6 years ago from MA

      No never tried, but sounds great!

    • LoriSoard profile image

      LoriSoard 

      6 years ago from Henryville, Indiana

      This looks like a quick, easy meal. Have you ever tried skillet lasagna? Easy cleanup.

    • profile image

      Adam 

      6 years ago

      this sounds delicious! kids are always up for lasagna and I love the idea of those additions. Yummm!

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