Everyday Mom's Meals: December 2023

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Holiday Help

 This time of year your friendly food bloggers are filling your feeds with beautiful holiday desserts, festive cookies and candies, and delicious ideas to make your Christmas dinner the best one yet. Thank goodness for them! But since they have all of us covered on that front, I tend to take another approach. 

I don't have a new cookie technique to share or a secret to making that glazed ham even tastier on Christmas day but what I have to share might just take some stress out of the season. 

I always try to give you a recipe that can be used a couple different ways. Maybe you need a quick weeknight supper before you rush off to the next school holiday concert. Or perhaps you are planning on a houseful of guests this Christmas and you need inspiration on how to keep them fed beyond the main holiday meal. 

This year I have a super easy pasta bake that is a great hack when you are craving lasagna but not all the work that comes with it! Lasagna casserole hits all the same flavor notes, but can be on the table in less than an hour. 

I know how hectic and stressful the holiday season can be. Please remember it doesn't have to be! This time of year is supposed to be filled with joy, love, peace and those people who mean the most in the world to you. 

If you start to feel like you might pull your hair out, take a breath and take solace in the true reason for the season. The promise of a baby who came into this world to save us all. A king who was born in a stable. Love came down at Christmas and may it fill our hearts this year now more than ever. 


Lasagna Casserole

What kind of egg noodles should I use?

I like the wide ones for this casserole since they are boiled and then baked too. Anything smaller sometimes turns to mush in the oven. 

Can I make lasagna casserole ahead? 

While I haven't tried it, I think you could! Prepare recipe as stated and then chill in fridge, covered overnight. When ready to bake, remove from fridge and let come to room temp for about 20 minutes. Bake at 350 but for about 10-15 extra minutes. 

Can I use another meat? 

Sure! Italian sausage, mild or hot, and ground turkey or chicken would all work.

What if I don't like cottage cheese? 

The cottage cheese makes this extra creamy. If you don't want to use it, I would add another cup of ricotta or 1 cup of sour cream. 

Can I freeze lasagna casserole?

I never recommend freezing pasta bakes due to the noodles, but if it is something you do, then go for it!

 Best Tips:

If the chunks in the cottage cheese bother your family, mash it up with a fork or potato masher first.

I prefer whole milk ricotta over skim for a richer, creamier texture. 

An Italian blend shredded cheese would be a great swap for mozzarella. 

Sprinkle Parmesan on each layer for even more cheese. 

If using an Italian sausage, be sure to drain the grease very well. 

Do not over cook the noodles so they don't get mushy. 

Lasagna Casserole


Lasagna Casserole

8 oz. wide egg noodles

1 lb. ground beef

2 cups marinara sauce

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1 cup whole milk ricotta

1 cup small curd cottage cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 TBS fresh parsley, chopped, divided use

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Cook noodles until al dente. Drain well. In a large skillet brown beef. Drain if necessary. Add sauce and seasonings. In a large bowl combine cooked noodles, ricotta and cottage cheese. Mix well. Grease 9x13 baking dish. Add half noodle mixture. Top with half sauce. Sprinkle with half shredded cheese. Repeat layers. Top with rest of shredded cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until heated through and browned. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. 

Lasagna Casserole