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Cheater Lasagna


Cheater Lasagna: Easy dinner | Weeknight dinner | Simple meal | Freezer meal |

I LOVE LASAGNA but I don’t love how long it takes to make it. It’s one thing to have to cook the meat and boil the noodles, but then you have to nicely layer the ingredients just so that it can all get eaten.

I like a good looking meal as much as the next person, but let’s be honest: it’s all going to end up in my tummy either way.

So I’ve been cheating.

I started by using noodles that you don’t have to boil. They worked pretty well but I got inconsistent results. Sometimes my lasagna would be too soupy and other times the noodles were a bit too al dente.

Now, I cheat on the layering part.

I boil penne noodles, brown the ground beef (or pull some already cooked ground beef out of the freezer), and throw all of the ingredients in one casserole dish. It doesn’t look as nice as the fancy lasagna layers, but it still tastes wonderful.

(I must apologize: my food photography skills are not the best)

Cheater Lasagna - super easy lasagna!

We actually like my Cheater Lasagna a bit better than normal lasagna now, because you can have better ratios of ingredients. I can make it a little saucier without worrying about the layers falling apart.

The first few times I made this, I just threw ingredients together until it “looked right”. The last time I made it, I measured it all out so that I could share it with you.

It’s a very customizable recipe though. You can make it cheesier or meatier if that’s how you like it.

Cheater Lasagna is also very inexpensive. I only used a quarter pound of meat in the whole thing. We prefer cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese, so you save money there as well.

Easy, Frugal, and Delicious. Those are basically the three most important factors for every meal I make 🙂

SIDENOTE: You can get the meal planning printable I use each week by entering your info below!

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Cheater Lasagna


1/4 lb Ground Beef, cooked and drained

8 oz Penne Pasta

24 oz Jar of Pasta Sauce

1 Egg

3/4 cup Cottage Cheese

1 1/4 cup Shredded Mozzarella, or a blend of Mozzarella and Parmesan


  1. Preheat your oven to 350° and spray a 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Boil the pasta according to the instructions until al dente.
  3. Combine all ingredients in the casserole dish, reserve out 1/2 cup of mozzarella.
  4. Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes, until it’s starting to bubble around the edges.
  5. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella and bake for another 10 minutes, uncovered to melt the cheese.
  6. Eat! (Serves 6-8)

Cheater Lasagna - super easy lasagna!

Cheater Lasagna - super easy lasagna!

Cheater Lasagna - super easy lasagna!

Cheater Lasagna - super easy lasagna!

Cheater Lasagna - super easy lasagna!

Cheater Lasagna goes great with green beans or roasted broccoli.

My Cheater Lasagna is easier and less expensive and still delicious! I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think.

Related Posts:

The Big List of Summer Meal Ideas

Meal Planning Just Got 5X Easier 

How to Eat More Beans (or get your family to)

⇒ Are you a lasagna lover like me?

Cheater Lasagna

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Sharon Knight

Tuesday 25th of April 2017

Looks great and easy. I have to cook simple easy meals now just for me. I also live with someone and don't have access to the kitchen as I did when I had my own house, so I am always looking for ideas. I absolutely love, love lasagna. Used to go to Olive Garden at least once a month and get soup, bread sticks, lasagna, and a long island tea. Miss it terribly. Thanks for your recipe. Enjoy reading your blog.


Wednesday 26th of April 2017

Thanks Sharon! I bet you could divide this into two smaller lasagnas and save one for later if you're cooking for just yourself. LOVE Olive Garden's soup and breadsticks!


Monday 24th of April 2017

I have actually never pre-boiled lasagna noodles, nor have I ever used the oven-ready kind. My mom didn't, either. They just cook in the sauce in the oven. And we've always used cottage cheese rather than ricotta, too. ☺ Still, this looks much easier to put together and I'll definitely be giving it a try. Thanks for the great idea!


Wednesday 26th of April 2017

You don't pre-boil the noodles? That's so interesting! Thanks for the comment Jennifer!


Saturday 8th of April 2017

Looks delicious, great job on the photography


Saturday 8th of April 2017

Thanks Marcia!