This Sausage Lasagna, dotted with mushrooms and peppers, is flavorful and hearty. It comes together quickly and is very freezer-friendly.
Lasagna is one of my favorite foods to make for the freezer. Not only is it economical and hearty, but it is also a fan favorite at my house. We are slowly making our way from a one-pan family to a two-pan family. I’m delaying the inevitable by beefing up the salad and garlic bread sides.
Economical? Yes, I said that. After a few years of paying the high price of ricotta cheese or having my kids pick at lower-price cottage cheese in the filling, I’ve landed on two alternative fillings that are both delicious and easy on my budget.
One favorite lasagna filling is a cream cheese and chicken broth mixture that you can find in this Fresh Basil and Garlic Chive Lasagne. It’s delicious! Even cheaper than that is the white sauce or bechamel that you’ll find in today’s recipe. My family loves it and it costs just pennies to make!
How I make this good:
Whenever possible I like to cook with plain old ingredients. While the convenience of mixes and canned sauces is nice, I feel better about feeding my family just real food whenever possible. (Go here for some of my reasons on all that.)
This Sausage Lasagna is just that kind of recipe, with two homemade sauces: the red and the white. I promise that it doesn’t take long to make, but feel free to use your favorite canned spaghetti sauce if you prefer.
One of the ways that I maximize my time investment is to make several casseroles at one time. If I’m making bulk batches of the sauces it really takes only a few more minutes to assemble extra lasagna pans.
I use spicy sausage in this recipe to give it a kick, purchasing it in bulk on sale at my local Sprouts whenever I can. They mix their own sausage and the ingredients list is just that: simple, plain ingredients, not weird chemicals. Read labels until you find a sausage that suits you.
How I make this cheap:
Here are some of the strategies I use to make this recipe more economical:
- Do a price comparison. I know that Costco is the best place to buy ingredients in bulk, like mozzarella cheese, butter, and tomato products when there isn’t a great sale elsewhere. I keep track of prices so that I know who has the best deal where.
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. For instance, when I see a great price on Sprouts sausage, I buy a lot.
- Cook in bulk. It saves so much time and money to make more than one lasagna and stash the extras in the freezer. It also helps me avoid pricey convenience foods or take-out on the nights when I just don’t want to cook.
- Stretch the more expensive items with less expensive counterparts. Spicy sausage can be expensive if you don’t find it on sale. You can stretch it with ground turkey or beef to offset the cost.
Tools I use to make this recipe easy:
Having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I like to use in this recipe.
- plastic cutting boards – I have blue boards for veggies and white boards for meat.
- Ergo Chef chef’s knife – I’ve had my set for several years and they work well.
- chili pot – I bought this pot which is a great size for making sauces.
- box grater for cheese – if you don’t buy the cheese already shredded, a box grater is a handy tool to have on hand. We’ve had this commercial model for almost 25 years!
- 9×13-inch Pyrex with lid – I love these pans! I’m slowly building a collection of them.
- 16 oz hot bulk Italian sausage
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 2.6 oz mushrooms (sliced) (1 cup)
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp Herbes de Provence
- 1/4 cup red wine (can also use water)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 9 lasagna noodles uncooked
- 16 oz mozzarella cheese (shredded) (4 cups)
In a large skillet, brown the sausage and cook the pepper, onion, and mushrooms together. The vegetables will become tender as the meat cooks. Add the crushed tomatoes, herbes de Provence, and red wine. Simmer for ten minutes.
Meanwhile in a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until blended and bubbly. Whisk in the milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk until smooth, over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
Grease a 9x13-inch pan. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over the sauce.
Lay 3 noodles across the cheese. Spread 1 cup of meat sauce over the noodles, followed by 1 cup of cheese and another 3 noodles.
Pour the white sauce over the noodles in the pan. Top with 1 cup mozzarella and the remaining 3 noodles.
Spread the rest of the meat sauce over the noodles. Top with the remaining cheese.
Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 30 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
To Make-Ahead: Refrigerate the unbaked lasagna for up to 1 day or chill it completely and freeze for 2 to 3 months. To serve: Thaw completely in the refrigerator before following baking instructions. Add 5 to 10 minutes to allow for a cold pan.
I hope you love this Spicy Sausage Lasagna as much as we do!