Poor Man's Lasagna: Italian Recipes for Every Day
With the holiday season finally over, you and your family may very well be tired of ham, turkey, dressing and other celebratory staples. If you’re looking for a great ethnic dish that doesn’t require a ton of prep work, a poor man’s lasagna is a hearty and filling option for the long, cold winter nights ahead.
The United States has the most Italian immigrants in the world, with hundreds of thousands pouring through immigration at Ellis Island from 1892 to 1954. Italians also made up the largest number of immigrants from Europe, meaning that Italian heritage is still strong in the population today. They brought with them drive, determination, hope and a culinary history known throughout the world for its delicious sauces, perfect pasta, decadent pastries and piquant wines.
Traditional Italian recipes provide a wide range of healthful options. Pasta includes necessary carbohydrates for energy, the cheeses are packed with vitamin D to fight osteoporosis, olive oil provides essential heart-healthy fats, and the tomatoes used in the sauce offer up essential nutrients such as vitamins K, E, A and C, as well as folic acid and manganese.
A poor man’s lasagna makes for a hearty meal your entire family can enjoy that adds a twist to the original dish. It can be personalized to fit your individual tastes, and can also be portioned out for lunches or dinners for one.
Poor Man’s Lasagna Recipe
1 box of whole-grain pasta, 16 ounces
1 family-size jar of your favorite pasta sauce, whether homemade or store-bought
1 brick of cream cheese, 16 ounces
1 container of ricotta cheese, 8 ounces
1 bag of your favorite shredded cheese (mozzarella is a good choice)
1 container of low-fat cottage cheese, 4 ounces
2-3 teaspoons of sugar, to your taste
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Boil the spaghetti on the stove top as you normally would, using oil or salt to your preference.
In a large bowl, mix together the cottage and cream cheese. Once it’s well incorporated, stir in the ricotta.
Once the noodles are done, drain them thoroughly, put them back in the pot and add the sauce. Now is also the time to add the sugar, if you like.
Grease a deep oven-safe pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spoon a layer of the spaghetti into the pan, add a layer of the cheese mixture and then sprinkle a layer of the shredded cheese. Continue forming layers until you reach the top of the pan, then sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
Bake it for about half an hour, or until you notice the cheese is bubbly and the top of the noodles are getting a bit crispy.
This dish is easy to make and absolutely delicious. Whether it’s dinner in front of a football game or gathered around a roaring fire, poor man’s lasagna is sure to become a family favorite.