It may be 90 degrees outside, but this afternoon in our home it looks, sounds, and feels more like Fall! The calendar says September, football trumps Nick Jr. on the family room TV, and we probably need to turn the air conditioning down because 4 of the 5 of us have long pants and lightweight long sleeved shirts on (ha!). Truth be told, there's nothing I love better than a cool house, cozy sweats and my favorite slippers.
This time of year I search for the perfect pound of spiced coffee (found: cinnamon hazelnut! vanilla macadamia!). My mouth starts to water as I search for fall recipes in my stash (don't laugh, it's actually a binder with 18 dividers and in the event of a house fire, I would grab for it after I had rescued our computer, hard drive and cameras. And babies, of course.). Tonight it just felt right to make a new favorite: Skillet Lasagna. It's so easy, it can hardly be called cooking. It has quickly replaced traditional lasagna in our home because my tried and true recipe for normal lasagna is failing me and I can't figure out why! I haven't had a pan come out tasting very good for a while. Skillet lasagna is easier to play with as it cooks - you can add flavor in the form of spices or cheese as it cooks, or add sauce if it seems too dry. It's very forgiving. Jut be sure to pick a really good, quality jar of sauce. Our favorite is Rao's Marinara. It's all I've used since Rob and I first got married (except for the times I make sauce from scratch). And it's soooo good!
And because I believe in a balanced meal, I made vanilla cupcakes for dessert. :)
1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 jars favorite spaghetti sauce
12 no-boil lasagna noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces
salt and pepper
1 cup grated parmesan
5-6 tablespoons ricotta
1 cup grated mozzarella
In a large skillet brown the beef over med-high heat. Layer the pieces of uncooked broken lasagna over the beef. Mix the 1 1/2 jars of sauce with 1/3 jar of water and pour over noodles and beef. Reduce heat to med-low, cover with a lid, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender (approx. 10-15 minutes). Stir in parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper (how much you need to use will be determined by the quality and flavor of the sauce you chose). Let the flavors simmer together for a few more minutes and then turn the heat off and dot with 5 or 6 tablespoons of ricotta. Sprinkle mozzarella over all and cover. Let sit until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.