Recently, some friends of mine had a baby, a little boy. This was baby number 2 for them (their oldest daughter and my oldest son are the same age).
As someone who has had a couple of kids herself, I can attest to the fact that after having a baby, the last thing you want to do is worry about making dinner (or breakfast or lunch for that matter). Not only are you exhausted in the first couple weeks while adjusting to this new person now living in your house, but you are also just completely engrossed in the sweet, sweet baby snuggles that your newborn is providing you with.
That’s why I think one of the best things you can do for someone after having a baby is to bring them food. Preferably something that will create leftovers that will last them a few meals. I’m talking some good comfort food here. It will give them one less thing to worry about taking care of and they will appreciate it more than you could even imagine. Trust me.
There are many options that would make for a good meal to take to someone, but this is one of my favorites. This lasagna is so good. It’s meaty and cheesy and pasta-y (yeah, I said it…). Paired with some warm, buttery garlic bread and a nice salad (you gotta get a little green in there!) and you’ve got yourself the perfect comfort food meal.
I’d like to point out that this lasagna freezes very well and lasts up to 2 months in the freezer. This makes it a good addition to any freezer meal plan you may have if you do the make-ahead meals, or if you know lots of other people will also be bringing someone food. This way they don’t have to eat it right away.
Lasagna may have different components to prep, but it is very easy to put together:
9 Lasagna noodles, boiled per package directions
1-1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef (you know those packages at the store aren’t exact. You can also use turkey if you want.)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tsp each salt and pepper
15 oz tub of ricotta cheese
2-1/2 cups of Italian cheese blend
2-3 cups tomato sauce (homemade or jarred; it doesn’t matter)
Boil your noodles per the package instructions and set aside. If the noodles are done early, drizzle a little olive oil on them so they don’t stick together.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown your ground beef. When it is almost done, carefully drain as much of the rendered fat as you can, put it back on the stove and add the garlic, oregano, basil, and salt and pepper. You don’t need much salt because of all the cheeses you are going to use. Mix together until the meat is cooked through.
Add the tomato sauce and let simmer for a few minutes.
Spread a little tomato sauce on the bottom of your pan. (PS: I love these disposable aluminum pans for freezer meals and meals to take to friends.)
Add a layer of noodles, then 1/3 of the ricotta, 1/3 of the meat sauce, and a 1/3 of the Italian cheese blend.
Repeat the layers, ending with the cheese blend on top.
Bake covered at 350 for 40-45 minutes, then uncovered for another 10-15 until the cheese is all bubbly and golden brown.
Sorry I don’t have an “after” shot of the baked lasagna, but since I was giving it to a friend, I didn’t want to bake it first. I did receive a text message the next day saying they all loved it so much and everyone had seconds. They barely saved room for the chocolate cake I made them for dessert, which I will share in my next post because it was super easy and the frosting was to die for.
What’s your favorite take-along or freezer meal?