Lasagna Casserole – Spaceships and Laser Beams

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Our delicious lasagna casserole is full of cheesy, meaty goodness and will be on the table in no time.

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This easy lasagna casserole recipe (or baked rotini as it’s also called) is as simple as it is delicious. This recipe combines tender pasta, spices, hearty ground beef, tomato sauce and plenty of cheese. It’s a family favorite dinner at our house for busy nights. And if you happen to have leftovers, those heat up for an incredibly comforting meal the next day. 

If you’re looking for more pasta recipe ideas, you should also try baked ziti recipe or baked spaghetti for more good comfort foods. Don’t forget the dinner rolls on the side!

A plate of food, with Casserole and Cheese

MORE EASY CASSEROLES:
Cowboy Casserole | Hamburger Casserole


LASAGNA CASSEROLE INGREDIENTS

A tray of food, with Casserole and Pasta

You will need:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 24-ounce jar of pasta sauce
  • 2 cups rotini pasta
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

PASTA: We really like the rotini noodles but certainly shells, bowties, elbows and all manner of pasta shapes work in this recipe. You can even forgo the entire pasta additions and use spaghetti squash for a similar taste.

SAUCE: You can take this mixed-up lasagna in a different direction by using an alfredo sauce instead of the more traditional pasta sauce, too. When I do that, I like to use chicken instead of beef. Or make this delicious homemade pasta sauce recipe.

SPICES: Spice-y additions include extra garlic, basil, fennel, oregano, Italian seasoning, dried onion, red pepper flakes and parsley.

VEGGIES: In the mom-wants-you-to-eat-more-veggies category, spinach, parsley, olives, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bell peppers have been met with different levels of satisfaction at our house. The trick seems to be to add only an amount of veggies that will not overpower the tomato-cheese flavor.

COTTAGE CHEESE: You could easily substitute ricotta cheese in place of cottage cheese or combine them to make a cottage cheese and ricotta mixture.

MEAT: In place of the ground beef in this easy recipe, you could use ground pork, chicken or Italian sausage.

HOW TO MAKE THIS LASAGNA CASSEROLE

STEP ONE: Boil rotini al dente, according to package directions.

PRO TIP: Al dente is the ideal consistency for pasta. The pasta will be tender and will still have a slightly firm texture when you bite into it.

A tray of food on a table, with Casserole and Spaghetti

STEP TWO: Brown ground beef with diced onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat; season with salt and pepper to your taste.

PRO TIP: For an even quicker cooking time, ground beef can be cooked ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month.

STEP THREE: Once the meat is no longer pink and the onion is soft, stir in the cottage cheese, tomato sauce and cooked pasta.

A plate of food with a slice of pizza

STEP FOUR: Spoon pasta mixture into greased 10 x 15-inch baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese.

STEP FIVE: Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

HOW TO SERVE

I usually add a fresh, green salad — try our classic caesar salad recipe — or simple sauteed vegetables. Pair it with cornbreadbeer bread or cheese biscuits! Our cheesy pull-apart bread would be great, too.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: Leftover lasagna casserole will last for 3-4 days in the fridge.

IN THE FREEZER: Adding to the diversity of this easy lasagna casserole, you can make a double batch and freeze half to serve at a later date. Make sure it is wrapped very tightly with aluminum foil and/or a freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge for a couple of days before you are ready to serve it to ensure it thaws right to the center.

PRO TIP: If you do thaw and eat it the same day, add extra baking time and check to be sure you’re not burning the edges.

A slice of pizza

Traditional lasagna recipes, while delicious, can be time-consuming. This lazy lasagna has tons of flavor just like classic lasagna but takes much less time to get it on the dinner table. Pasta casserole dishes are great because they are versatile, easy to cook, and economical.

FAQ

Can I make this recipe and freeze it before baking?

This recipe is a great option for a freezer meal. Assemble the dish and freeze it before baking. Thaw fully and bake according to the recipe directions.

What kind of pasta is best for this recipe?

Our recipe calls for rotini but any pasta would work well. Bite-size pasta is a perfect size but you could also take actual lasagna noodles and break them into pieces as a fun alternative.

Can I use a different kind of meat than ground beef?

Italian sausage, chicken, ground pork, or ground turkey would all work fine in this recipe.

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Easy Lasagna Casserole Recipe

Our delicious lasagna casserole is full of cheesy, meaty goodness and will be on the table in no time.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 8

Calories: 278kcal

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 24- ounce jar of pasta sauce
  • 2 cups rotini pasta
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded
  • Salt pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Fry ground beef with diced onion; add salt and pepper to taste.

  • Boil rotini al dente, according to package directions.

  • Add cottage cheese to hamburger/onion mix.

  • Pour pasta sauce over mix.

  • Stir in cooked pasta.

  • Scoop mixture into greased 10 x 15 casserole dish.

  • Top with mozzarella cheese.

  • Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

Notes

TIP: Al dente is the ideal consistency for pasta. The pasta will be tender and will still have a slightly firm texture when you bite into it.
TIP: For an even quicker cooking time, ground beef can be cooked ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
TIP: If you do thaw and eat it the same day, add extra baking time and check to be sure you’re not burning the edges.

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal

easy baked rotini





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