While endlessly scrolling through Pinterest or the Food Network, I come across so many delicious looking dishes and end up with a ton of great ideas for dinner. I love to cook and I am always looking for new recipes to try. My favorite dishes to make would have to be casseroles or any thing prepared in a casserole dish. They are usually the easiest thing to prepare, with little to no time or effort needed in making them.
Growing up, I always remember my mom making her homemade lasagna. It did take a while to prepare everything and put it together, but it was worth it in the end. I love homemade food and I find you can really taste the difference between homemade and store bought. Lately I have been seeing so many different takes on the classic lasagna. Some of them are so creative and use more than just the classic ingredients. One particular switch up I have noticed, was the use of ravioli instead of the typical lasagna noodle. I thought this was so creative and with the wide variety of ravioli out there, you could change it up in so many ways.
I liked the idea of using ravioli and when I saw the fresh ravioli on sale at the grocery store I thought it was a perfect time to try one myself. I also wanted to make it quick, easy and less time consuming then the typical lasagna. The version I put together only requires 4 ingredients, with one of them being optional. The trick is the use of the ravioli. It takes away the need for a few ingredients, such as the cottage cheese because of the filling inside. I was able to pick up cheese and spinach filled ravioli, but you could also use meat or mushroom filled ones as well.
The 3 main ingredients I used were Fresh Cheese and Spinach Ravioli, Four Cheese Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese. The 4th ingredient was Italian Seasoned Meatballs, but this is optional if you wanted to make it a vegetarian dish or you chose the meat filled ravioli.
The process of putting this lasagna together is pretty straight forward and you can’t really go wrong if you change it up a little. Everything is layered together in a casserole dish and if you like a lot of cheese you could add in another layer or if you are trying to cut back a little, just remove one of the layers.
I started with a thin layer of pasta sauce on the bottom of the dish and then layered the ravioli. I added a layer of cheese and then repeated this two more times. In total I had 3 layers of ravioli, sauce and cheese. At first I tried to add the layer of meatballs in the middle, but found the ravioli wouldn’t stay in place on top of the meatballs. I still wanted to add them, so I put them on top of the ravioli layers. After that I covered everything in the mozzarella cheese, covered the dish with tin foil and it was ready to bake!
One of the worst things to happen when you cover the dish, is to have the top layer of cheese stick to the tin foil. I find no matter how much I try to carefully peel it off, it never works and I lose half the top, which is of course the best part of the lasagna. I can’t remember exact where or who I learned this tip from, but I learned that to prevent the cheese from sticking to the top of the tin foil, you first lay a piece of parchment paper over top. Since nothing sticks to the parchment paper, it works as a barrier between the cheese and tin foil. I used this trick for my lasagna and it was the best thing and actually really worked!
I baked the lasagna for a total of one hour. The last 10 minutes I removed the tin foil to let the cheese on top brown. The lasagna is pretty filling by itself, but I also made some bruschetta bread as a side. You could make anything to add on the side, such as steamed veggies, a Caesar salad or even just some buttered bread.
I think this is a perfect dinner for any day of the week. It is quick and easy to prepare and any one at any cooking level could make it. It would also be a good meal to prepare ahead of time, such as the night before, to have it ready to go straight to the oven when you get home from work. You could always make an extra one too and freeze it for a dinner when you know you are going to be busy, especially if the ravioli is on sale. Just remember to take it out the night before and leave it in the fridge.
I hope you enjoy it if you give it a try and it should be a hit with everyone!