In our family, we have two different lasagna recipes. Grandma’s lasagna (my mom’s) is a delicious traditional one, but with all the meat, cheese, and other ingredients, the cost can add up. Nana’s (my mother-in-law’s) recipe is equally delicious and gets just as many requests from my hungry crew, and with a name like Poor Man’s Lasagna, you know it’ll fit into a shoestring budget.
The recipe calls for regular lasagna noodles, but I find that those are often excluded from the best sales or coupons. Once when my kids were begging for this but all I had were rotini noodles, I just threw the pasta and meat sauce together and spread the cheese mixture on top. It worked great–in some ways even better since I didn’t have to take the time to layer the noodles, and when it was done I didn’t have to cut the kids’ lasagna into bite-sized pieces before serving! So now I make it with whatever’s in my stockpile. Rotini, farfalle (bowtie–pictured above), rigatoni, small shells; any thicker, bite-sized pasta should work fine, as well as the traditional lasagna noodles. The smaller pasta also works well if you want to divide it into two smaller baking dishes and freeze some for later.
If you’ve never tried this before, the combination might sound a little weird, but it’s a favorite around here. Simple to make, hearty, and yummy. Let me know what you think!
- 1-1.5 lbs ground beef
- 1 box pasta (lasagna noodles or other style mentioned above)
- 1 jar pasta sauce (about 24 oz. size)
- 1 package cream cheese (8 oz.)
- 8-12 oz. sour cream
- Parmesan cheese
- Boil noodles according to package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, brown the ground beef and season to taste with garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, onion (whatever you like to use).
- Drain any fat, and add sauce to the ground beef. Simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Soften cream cheese in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Stir in sour cream and mix until creamy.
- If using lasagna noodles, spread ⅓ of meat sauce in a 9 x 13 pan. Layer noodles on top, then repeat twice (3 layers of sauce, 3 layers of noodles). For other pasta varieties, mix pasta with meat sauce, then spread in pan or casserole dish.
- Spread cream cheese mixture over the top of the noodles.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes--sauce will be bubbly and topping will be very lightly browned.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese when served.