Hearty Meat Lasagna Dinner

Hearty Meat Lasagna Herbs

I really wanted to call this lasagna ‘traditional‘, but after looking up lasagna on Wikipedia, I don’t know if I can do that. See, I’m more confused if anything now. But again, that’s pretty much par for the course for me. This particular recipe doesn’t include onions – although they could easily be added with the minced garlic if one chose to. But mainly, I’m confused about the term ragù and what it really means. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t put much effort into trying to learn anything, but I kept coming across the term Bolognese sauce, and I think it has to do with where the sauce was originally invented. So if anyone could explain it to me, that would be great.

I’m excited though, because I’ve been wanting to add a recipe for lasagna to this site for a while now. But if you do any food blogging, you know that it takes a lot of time to cook the food and then take beautiful photos (in our case just photos) of that food. But that’s only half of it, because then you need to write your blog post, crop or resize your photos in whatever photo editing software you are using, and then post those pictures to the site. In other words, I had been putting off adding this recipe to the site because there are lots of steps involved, and it seemed like a somewhat daunting task.

Hearty Meat lasagna Foil Pan

This is a 13″ x 9″ foil baking pan. It is Semiserious Chef approved, and works great.

But let me back track a little. This was a typical scramble around at the last minute scenario for us. Vanessa and I had decided days ago that we would spend Saturday working on this recipe. Primarily because we knew it was going to take us longer than some other recipes, and not having daycare kids was the key to getting it done. The first thing we had to do was work out how much of each ingredient we needed to fill a 13″ x 9″ foil baking pan, without being wasteful and having lots of leftover ingredients. Remember the size of that pan, because the recipe that follows is worked out perfectly for that size. It will seem like a lot, but trust me it fits.

Now the major obstacle we knew we were going to be facing was the sunlight issue. Or I should say, the natural sunlight we would need for the photos. The plan was to start cooking around 11:00 A.M. that morning, leaving us plenty of time before we noticeably started loosing daylight. If you didn’t know, this time of year in Alaska doesn’t have a lot of sunlight. With that being said, I will add a link to a different post if you would like to read more about the lack of sunlight we experience this time of year, and/or read about the lame excuses I use to justify my lack of content. Here’s the link: No Recipes and no Sunlight

You might be wondering why we waited until so late in the morning to start cooking. Well there are two reasons. Actually, I thought there were two reasons but come to think of it, there’s only one: missing ingredients. We had more or less figured out our portions; for instance how many ounces of cheese we wanted to add to each layer. And we were all set to go when we suddenly realized we didn’t have any fresh garlic. Bummer because I wasn’t going to use garlic powder for this recipe. It simply wouldn’t do. Fortunately, Vanessa volunteered to run to the store and grab some real quick. So that was hiccup number one.

Hearty Meat Lasagna Meat Sauce

To begin with, add a thin layer of the meat sauce like this.

That really didn’t seem to be much of a problem, as I would just start getting things prepped and ready for when she got back. Unfortunately, soon after I started doing whatever it was that I was supposed to be doing, the anti-progress troll reared its ugly head again and I realized we were fresh out of oregano as well. Yeah, the anti-progress troll is a thing. I just made it up but I’m all too familiar with it.

You can probably see where I’m going with this. Let me make a long story short. After Vanessa got back, I went to the store to get some oregano and ended up coming back with a hundred and fifty puppy pads (we don’t even have a dog) so we didn’t get to start cooking until 12:30 in the afternoon. But hey, the pads could hold up to three cups of liquid, so that was kind if impressive. It was shaping up to be a good day indeed.

Fast forward about 4 hours. Somehow I had everything cooked and ready for the photo shoot, but any natural light I could get from outside had severely diminished. If you can’t tell by now, I’m trying desperately to absolve my self of any screw up, due to my poor planning and execution of our plans for the lasagna. Honestly though, good lasagna does take a fair amount of time to make. If you are going to make it right that is.

Hearty Meat Lasagna Before Baking

Here’s the complete lasagna all layered and ready to be put in the oven. You may notice I added the Parmesan cheese on the very top just like I said I don’t do.

And that’s the story of how this post came to be. Thank you for listening. In recognition of your patients thus far, I will provide you with a few of the many gems of knowledge I probably don’t have.

To begin with, you could save some time by not boiling the lasagna noodles first, and just let them absorb moisture from the meat sauce as it bakes in the oven. But I’m not sure if there would be a difference in the consistency of the noodles since I’ve never done a side by side comparison. So to be on the safe side, I simply boil them before hand, and let them cool in a large pot of cold water. I’ve found the magic number to be somewhere around 14 minutes for standard size lasagna noodles. That’s enough time for them to partially cook, but they will still be strong enough that they won’t break apart on you when you remove them from the boiling water.

In addition, I prefer to add about 3 oz. of Parmesan cheese on the top layer only. But for purely aesthetic reasons, I usually add the Parmesan cheese under the top layer of Mozzarella cheese. It keeps it from being so yellow on top after it cooks.

If you stick with the 13″ x 9″ foil baking pan like we recommend, you can use 4 overlapping noodles laid lengthwise in the pan, and they fit perfectly. Unless of course you have weirdly sized lasagna noodles, in which case you will need to adjust accordingly. Don’t feel bad about using partial noodles to fill in any gaps you might have if things aren’t fitting very well either. They will be buried in sauce and cheese so no one will notice anyway, and it will taste awesome regardless.

Good quality homemade lasagna isn’t the cheapest food around so don’t drop the pan full of lasagna as you go to put it in the oven. It would probably ruin your day if that were to happen.

Hearty Meat Lasagna Dinner

Hearty Meat Lasagna

By: Semiserious Chefs
Serves: 6-8


  • 1 lb. mild Italian sausage
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 29 oz. tomato sauce
  • 4 large cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet basil
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 oz. tomato paste
  • 14 lasagna noodles
  • 16 oz. Mozzarella cheese (greated)
  • 9 oz. Provolone cheese (or 12 slices)
  • 16 oz. Ricotta cheese (you might want to use more)
  • 3 – 4 oz. Parmesan cheese (shredded)


  1. In a large sauce pan, begin by browning the ground beef and Italian sausage over medium heat, making sure to break the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  2. When the beef and sausage have cooked roughly 2/3 of the way (4-5 minutes) add the minced garlic and continue to cook for an additional minute or two while still stirring.
  3. Drain meat, return to stove, and reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Add tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, sweet basil and oregano. Stir well to incorporate the ingredients.
  5. Let the sauce simmer over medium-low to low heat for about 15 minutes.
  6. While the sauce is simmering, grab another large sauce pan and fill it about 2/3 of the way with water.
  7. Bring the water to a boil and carefully add the lasagna noodles to it. You can put them all in at once, but I recommend doing 2 batches of 6 noodles each. Tongues work well here. Give them a good stir after they submerge in the water to keep them from sticking. Boil noodles for roughly 14 minutes, then place them in a large bowl of cold water to stop them from cooking any further. The noodles should be easy to work with but not done so much that they begin falling apart.
  8. Begin building the lasagna by adding a thin layer of the meat sauce to the bottom of the foil baking pan.
  9. Add 4 lasagna noodles lengthwise on top of the meat sauce. Each noodle should overlap the previous one, and span the width of the pan.
  10. Now the final steps in the recipe will require some eyeballing. Scoop approximately 1/3 of the remaining meat sauce onto the noodles.
  11. Add 1/3 of the shredded Mozzarella, and 1/2 of the Provolone (or 6 slices) making it as even as possible. Now drop spoonfuls of the Ricotta cheese on top of the Provolone, spreading it around somewhat evenly. It doesn’t have to look pretty but try and use half of the 16 oz. that’s called for in the ingredients list. You might want to add more Ricotta than is called for, and in fact many people probably will. Just remember it’s easy to get carried away with the Ricotta cheese.
  12. Cover the cheeses with 4 more noodles and then repeat the above step by adding another layer of meat sauce and the three types of cheeses.
  13. Cover the cheeses with the remaining 4 lasagna noodles and the final 1/3 of the meat sauce.
  14. Coat the lasagna with the shredded Parmesan and finally the remaining 1/3 shredded Mozzarella.
  15. Cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil.
  16. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 45 minutes.
  17. Remove cover and continue to bake at 375° (190°C) for an additional 20 minutes.
  18. Remove lasagna from oven and let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy.

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