Holiday Meal for Under $25: I Turn to Lasagna

Lasagna is often my go-to entrée when company comes to visit over the holidays. It’s warm and comforting on cold nights, easy-to-prepare in advance, and makes the house smell amazing. Plus, a simple salad and a loaf of garlic bread is all that is needed to complete the meal – less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests.

When I was recently challenged by my friends at Save-A-Lot to come up with a holiday meal for a family of four for under $25, lasagna was the first thing that came to mind. I liked the idea of a meal that could be prepared over the weekend, frozen if needed, and then served for dinner during the week.

It was an early Sunday evening, after running errands, when I decided to stop by the Save-A-Lot in Carnegie, PA before heading home. The store is located in a plaza in the heart of the town’s main shopping district with easy access onto the highway to my house.

Inside, the store was brightly lit and followed a logical flow. It’s stocked with the basic staples families looking to get the biggest bang for their buck can appreciate. The fresh produce section is modest containing many of the most popular vegetables including salad ingredients, carrots, potatoes, celery, mushrooms, etc. The meat, dairy and frozen food sections followed the same format – basics and biggest bang for your buck.

After snaking around the store, gathering my lasagna ingredients, I turned my attention to the salad. I wavered on the different topping combinations I had available to me and noticed a container of candied chopped dates. I knew at that moment a pear salad with candied chopped dates and crumbled blue cheese, dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil would be perfect. On a side note, I already own these two items and did not include it in the $25 total. Though both ingredients, along with several bottled dressings are available at the store. I grabbed a loaf of garlic bread from the freezer section before heading to the checkout counter.

At home, both the salad and lasagna turned out perfectly. Surprisingly, instead of preparing a meal for four at $25, I ended up with enough servings to feed six to eight people. Bonus! There will be plenty of leftovers for lunches the rest of the week. I also only used about half of the chopped dates. The rest just might end up in a cookie recipe at some point.

For now, I will share with you my recipe for Classic Lasagna using ingredients from Save-A-Lot. The pear salad will follow in a separate post soon. Enjoy!

Classic Lasagna
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
Author:
Recipe Type: Entree
Serves: 6-8 people
Ingredients
  • 1 (1 lb.) box lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb. ground hamburger
  • 2 (6.5 oz.) cans of mushrooms, drained
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 (8 oz.) tub of part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 (8 oz.) bag shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the lasagna noodles in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain and run the noodles under cold water to cool enough to handle. Drain again.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the hamburger over medium high heat. Season the meat lightly with salt and pepper. The meat should be roughly the size of small pebbles. Drain the excess grease from the burger and return the pan to the stove. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add both cans of mushrooms and the sauce.
  3. Tip: After you pour the sauce into the skillet, add about ¼ cup of water to the jar. Close the lid and shake. This will loosen the remaining sauce from the sides of the jar. Pour the liquid into the pan. No need to worry about watering down the sauce, the pasta will absorb it during baking.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the egg, ricotta cheese and Italian seasoning. Set aside.
  5. Coat a 9” X 13” glass-baking pan with cooking spray. Spoon approximately 1 cup of the sauce across the bottom of the pan. Lay four sheets of pasta lengthwise, overlapping slightly across the pan. Then lay one sheet widthwise on the side, folding the end under slightly. This will create your first layer of pasta.
  6. Carefully spread half of the ricotta mixture across the pasta layer. Sprinkle with one or two handfuls of shredded cheese.
  7. Repeat the process of laying the next sheets of pasta, placing the width piece on the opposite side of the dish. Spoon a third of sauce across the pasta. Sprinkle a handful of cheese. Add the next layer of pasta, spread with the remaining ricotta and sprinkle with cheese. Repeat the final layer of pasta; spread the last of the sauce and sprinkle with the final handful of cheese.
  8. Lightly coat the underside of a sheet of foil and cover the lasagna. Tip: coating the foil with cooking spray will prevent the cheese from sticking.
  9. Place the pan in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 60 – 65 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the pan to rest for 10 minutes before uncovering. Don’t skip this step!
  10. Serve with a salad and bread.

#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between Food Guy Magazine and Save-A-Lot. This could include Save-A-Lot providing me w/content, product, access or other forms of payment. All experiences and observations are honest and my own.

 

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