Day 10 and Governor Whitmer announced shelter-in-place for Michigan. It really changes nothing for us as we were doing this already. We went out for a few fresh groceries once or twice and to pick up ice cream from a drive thru but other than that we have all been staying home. I have been encouraging the kids to go out and walk each day as there is a mile loop from our house they can do easily. I need to get out in a bit it is not good to stay in all the time. The weather has been a bit dreary and it snowed yesterday and last night. Hopefully, we can get some sunshine soon and that will help everyone’s mood.
So, we are looking for comfort everywhere. Lasagna is one of our favorite comfort foods but I didn’t want to go through the fussiness of making one so baked pasta with sauce and ricotta cheese it is! Using a jarred sauce makes this super simple to make but I tend to doctor even my jarred sauces to our liking. Add your favorite spices or meat to make it special. Don’t have Italian sausage? Use ground beef or leave the meat out entirely. Prefer homemade sauce or have some in your freezer to use? Substitute. Remember these are just suggestions. Make it your own special dish!
As basic home chores while we are going through this time I am having each of the kids either take turns helping me make dinner or make dinner themselves. My daughter made this dinner and was surprised at how good it was for a semi-homemade meal. Of course the extra cheesy topping didn’t hurt. Everyone had big round eyes when they saw the ooey gooey cheese on top. This also makes a great dish heated up the next day for lunches.
To complete the meal I served a simple green salad and a green vegetable.
- 1 pound Italian sausage, bulk or removed from casings
- 1 small onion, diced
- 28 oz pasta sauce or marinara sauce
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, if desired
- 1 (14 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 (16 oz) box pasta
- 1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1 egg
- 1 (8 oz) block mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving if desired)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick spray.
- Brown sausage and onion together in a large skillet over medium heat. Break the sausage up into small pieces as it cooks. Remove any fat from pan once the sausage is cooked through.
- Add Italian seasoning, water, tomatoes and pasta sauce to the onion sausage mix. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened about 12-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain pasta.
- In a bowl,mix ricotta, egg, parsley, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
- Add a thin layer (about 1 cup) of sauce to the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Layer half of the pasta in the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan. Top with all of the ricotta and half of the sauce.
- Add remaining pasta, remaining sauce and top with cheese.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.