As we journey through life, there are always those days when we crave something rich and indulgent. For me, those days always call for the ultimate comfort food – mac and cheese lasagna.
Trust me, this recipe is everything you’ve ever wanted in a meal: warm and cheesy, filling and satisfying. From the moment you smell it cooking in your oven, your mouth will water as you anticipate sinking your fork into its layers of thick pasta noodles, succulent ground beef meat sauce, and creamy cheese fillings.
And the best part? This easy mac and cheese lasagna recipe can be prepared with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry or fridge. It’s perfect for busy weeknights or even as a treat for weekend gatherings with friends and loved ones.
So let’s get started on crafting the most delicious mac and cheese lasagna you’ve ever tasted!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you someone who craves the ooey-gooey comfort of mac and cheese or the savory satisfaction of a classic lasagna? Look no further than this Easy Mac and Cheese Lasagna Recipe, the perfect combination of both favorites!
What’s not to love? This recipe brings together two culinary greats for a flavor explosion that is sure to please even the pickiest eaters. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make – perfect for busy weeknights or for feeding a crowd.
With ingredients like ground beef, spaghetti sauce, and multiple types of cheese (including mozzarella, parmesan, and cheddar), this dish is packed with indulgent flavors that will leave your taste buds begging for more. The creamy macaroni cheese and tender lasagna noodles create a perfect balance of textures in each bite.
What sets this recipe apart from other mac and cheese or lasagna recipes is its versatility. You can also substitute ricotta cheese or cottage cheese for a different taste profile or experiment with adding extra spices like chili powder or oregano.
Overall, this mac cheese lasagna recipe is a crowd-pleaser that you’ll want to add to your weekly meal rotation. Serve it alongside garlic bread or a fresh green salad for the ultimate family-friendly dinner. Give it a try today – your stomach will thank you!
Here’s what you will need to get started:
- 1 lb of ground beef
- 18 lasagna noodles
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 lb of macaroni cheese
- 1 lb of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 pkg or 7.25 oz of shredded mac and cheese [or cheese lasagna]
- 1.5 cups of spaghetti sauce [or Bolognese sauce or meat sauce]
- 1 cup of Cottage Cheese [or ricotta cheese]
- 0.5 cups of parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
Make sure you’ve got everything on this list while going grocery shopping for this recipe so that you can save yourself from last-minute panic attacks! Go for good quality cheese because that’s what gets the recipe to the next level!
The Recipe How-To
Now that we have gathered the ingredients and prepared a nice workspace, it’s time to get to the fun part: assembling our Easy Mac and Cheese Lasagna Recipe. This recipe has three primary components – the Meat Sauce, the Cheese Sauce, and of course, the Lasagna Noodles.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in your favorite cooking pan over medium heat.
- Add 1 lb of ground beef to the hot pan and brown until no pink bits are left, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in 2 cups of spaghetti sauce and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of Cottage cheese, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.
- If you’d like to skip cottage cheese and go all-in on the classic ricotta, go ahead!
- For those who don’t like dairy at all or prefer something other than cheese sauces, a classic béchamel sauce makes for an excellent substitution!
- Preheat your oven to 375ºF, grab a 9” x 13” baking dish, then bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Salt the boiling water to carefully season your noodles.
- Add 18 lasagna noodles and cook until al dente (around 8-10 minutes)’
- Strain out the hot water from your pot.
Layering Your Lasagna
Now it’s time for the moment of truth – layering everything together!
- Add a layer of your cooked lasagna noodles to cover the bottom of your 9” x 13” baking dish.
- Top your layer with half of your meat sauce mixture.
- Then add another layer with more lasagna noodles.
- Top that layer off with half of your cheese mixture
- Repeat steps until there are no more ingredients left.
Tip: I like topping my final layer with some freshly shredded cheddar cheese[8 ounces recommended] or more parmesan, but play around with what flavors you like best!
With all layers down pat, place some aluminum foil over your lasagna dish before popping it into your preheated oven.
You can now sit back and relax for around 25 – 30 minutes before needing to check on things again.
Once baked through, remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before portioning it out onto plates or serving from a decorative tray.
Substitutions and Variations
My Easy Mac and Cheese Lasagna Recipe is already incredibly delicious, but if you want to switch things up or make some adjustments, there are a few substitutions and variations you can try. Here are some ideas:
– Instead of ground beef: If you prefer to go vegetarian or simply want a lighter option, you can skip the beef altogether or replace it with meatless crumbles or chopped mushrooms.
– Four-cheese blend: I use a combination of parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, and cottage cheese in this recipe, but you can experiment with different types of cheese. Fontina, Gruyere, asiago, and provolone are all great options.
– No-boil lasagna noodles: If you’re short on time or don’t feel like boiling the noodles separately before assembling the lasagna, you can use no-boil lasagna noodles instead. Just keep in mind that they might require more sauce than regular noodles.
– Baked macaroni and cheese: If you don’t want to fuss with layering the lasagna and just want a simple baked mac and cheese recipe instead, you can skip the lasagna noodles altogether and mix the macaroni with the cheese sauce. Top it with extra shredded mozzarella and bake until bubbly.
– Creamy macaroni and cheese: To make this recipe even creamier and richer, you can add some sour cream or cream cheese to the cheese sauce. This will also give it a tangy flavor that pairs well with the beef.
– Bechamel sauce: If you’re not a fan of using sour cream or cottage cheese in your mac and cheese recipes, you can try making a classic bechamel sauce instead. This is a simple white sauce made with flour, butter, milk, and cheese.
As always, feel free to get creative and tailor this recipe to your liking.
Serving and Pairing
When it comes to comfort food, mac and cheese lasagna is an ultimate classic, and it deserves the best company on your plate. I recommend serving this decadent dish with a simple mixed greens salad or some roasted veggies.
For a complete meal, add a protein source such as grilled chicken breast or shrimp. These will complement the creamy, cheesy lasagna perfectly and add an extra dimension of flavor and texture to the dish.
If you’re serving this at a party, you can even turn this dish into a self-serve pasta bar! Put out bowls of chopped toppings like crispy bacon bits, diced tomatoes, jalapeños, or green onions for guests to sprinkle over their servings.
To make it a complete and satisfying meal in one dish, mix up ground beef and pasta for some tasty chili mac. Serve with fragrant garlic bread or warm tortillas for an added twist.
Whatever you choose to pair it with, know that the mac and cheese lasagna will be the star of the show!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Once you have prepared your Easy Mac and Cheese Lasagna, you can either serve it hot immediately or store it as a leftover for future consumption. If you plan to make this dish ahead of time for a party or a busy weeknight, refrigerate the lasagna covered in plastic wrap and aluminum foil up to 3-4 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months; make sure to wrap it tightly with freezer paper and label it with the name and date of preparation.
When you’re ready to reheat your Mac and Cheese Lasagna, there are two recommended ways to do so: oven and microwave. For oven reheating, place the serving of the lasagna in a baking dish or foil, cover it with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven at 375ºF (190ºC) until heated through. Loosen the edges with a spatula to avoid sticking to the dish before baking.
For microwave reheating, simply uncover the serving size from its container and transfer it onto a microwave-safe plate or bowl. Heat in the microwave on high heat for about 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Stir occasionally.
It’s essential not to overcook, as overheating can cause dryness or toughness of noodles. Refrain from reheating already reheated lasagna as this can affect its overall quality.
In conclusion, keeping your Easy Mac and Cheese Lasagna stored correctly is key in preserving its quality, flavor, and appearance. Whether reheating via the oven or microwave method, always keep an eye out on your clock and react quickly when your meal is piping hot!
Tips for Perfect Results
Here are some tips to ensure that your Easy Mac and Cheese Lasagna comes out perfectly every time.
1. Cook the lasagna noodles al dente.
Cooking your lasagna noodles al dente will prevent them from becoming overcooked and mushy when you bake the lasagna. Be sure to boil them in salted water for 8-10 minutes until they are just tender, then rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process.
2. Use high-quality cheeses.
The cheese is one of the stars of this dish, so it’s crucial to use high-quality cheeses that will melt beautifully and add great flavor. I recommend using a combination of grated Parmesan, shredded mozzarella, and shredded cheddar cheese for the best results.
3. Brown the ground beef properly.
Be sure to brown the ground beef thoroughly before adding it to the lasagna. This will ensure that it’s cooked through and has a nice brown crust on the outside, which adds great flavor and texture to the finished dish.
4. Let it rest before serving.
After baking your Easy Mac and Cheese Lasagna, let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving. This will give the dish time to cool down slightly and set up, making it easier to slice and serve without everything falling apart on the plate.
5. Consider meal prepping
The lasagna can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to bake it. Pour leftover sauce into jars or containers for delicious meals throughout the week, such as homemade chili mac or baked spaghetti!
Follow these tips to achieve perfect results every time you make this delicious Easy Mac and Cheese Lasagna recipe!
Now that you know how to make an easy and delicious Mac and Cheese Lasagna, it’s time to answer some frequently asked questions about this recipe. From ingredient substitutions to reheating tips, this section aims to help you avoid common mistakes and create a perfect dish every time. Don’t miss it!
Is lasagna better with ricotta or cottage cheese?
Lasagna is a beloved Italian dish and a common question that arises is whether to use ricotta cheese or cottage cheese in the recipe. The truth is, there isn’t a right or wrong answer as it largely depends on the chef’s preferences. Whether you choose to use ricotta or cottage cheese, it won’t significantly change the overall taste of the dish. However, it is worth noting that cottage cheese will result in a lighter lasagna while ricotta cheese will produce a thicker and richer texture.
How many layers of lasagna is best?
To assemble this dish, you will require four layers of noodles. It is important to utilize the wider noodles at the beginning and end of the layers. In case you have insufficient noodles, placing an extra noodle in the top or bottom layer is a great strategy.
What can I use instead of ricotta in lasagna?
Looking for a ricotta cheese substitute for your lasagna? Consider trying cottage cheese instead – it has a comparable flavor and is just as easy to work with. In fact, some recipes, such as our spicy kale lasagna, even use cottage cheese as a replacement for ricotta. Be sure to opt for small curd cottage cheese, though, to achieve a texture that closely resembles that of ricotta.
Is Cheddar or mozzarella better for lasagna?
When it comes to choosing the perfect cheese for your lasagna recipe, mozzarella cheese is the traditional choice. However, cheddar cheese can provide a richer and more powerful taste to your dish. As a topping, mozzarella cheese will give you a nicely melted and stretched layer, while cheddar can offer a more intense flavor when it is cooked into the lasagna recipe. It’s up to you which one you want to use for your lasagna, but both options have their benefits.
In conclusion, this Easy Mac and Cheese Lasagna recipe is an excellent option when you’re looking for a mouth-watering dish that can feed a crowd. Not only is it quick and easy to make, but it’s also packed with flavor and is sure to be a hit at your next party or family gathering.
With the wide range of ingredients, substitutions, and variations available, you can easily customize this recipe to suit your personal preferences. Whether you choose to go for the classic mac-and-cheese combo or swap the cottage cheese for ricotta cheese, this recipe will leave you completely satisfied.
So why not give this recipe a try today? With just a handful of simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, you’re just moments away from creating one of the best macaroni lasagnas you’ve ever tasted. Trust me; your taste buds won’t be disappointed!
Easy Mac and Cheese Lasagna Recipe
- 1 (7 1/4 ounce) package macaroni & cheese dinner mix
- 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Lightly grease 8x8 baking dish.
- Cook and drain ground beef and mix with spaghetti sauce.
- Prepare Macaroni and Cheese using the directions on the box.
- Place a layer (exactly half) of Mac and cheese in the baking dish, top with a layer of meat then a layer of cheese.
- After the 2 layers are complete, bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until heated through.
- Then top with Parm Cheese.
- **For meat substitute you can use pre cooked chicken.
- **For a complete meatless dish you can use just the spaghetti sauce and leave out all meats.
Your Own Notes
Recommended Recipes Just For You
Anna is a culinary expert who specializes in grilling delicious BBQ dishes. She also enjoys sharing her recipes and experiences with her foodie community on her blog. She’s the total package for any backyard barbecue!