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Easy Spicy Lasagna in Memory of Dad

Easy and satisfying lasagna with a bit of heat to it. This recipe will impress your guests!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr


  • 1 package of lasagna noodles cooked al dente (do not use oven ready, they blow)
  • 3 jars of pasta sauce 650 ml
  • 1 to 1 ½ pounds of ground beef
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 4 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 bay leaves to be discarded after simmering sauce
  • 3 to 4 shallots diced, cook in the microwave for about 30- 40 seconds till soft
  • ½ large sweet onion diced, cook in the microwave for about 1 to 1 ½ minutes till soft
  • 4 to 5 cloves of garlic pressed
  • ½ to 1 cup of parmesan cheese grated
  • 5 to 6 cups of mozzarella cheese grated ( I am seriously partial to the pizza mozzarella, even on lasagna)


  • This will make two 9 x 13 pans, two layers deep
  • Preheat oven to 375 to 400 depending on how your oven works. I set mine to 400 degrees F.

For the noodles:

  • Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil on the stove.
  • Once it's boiling, add some salt.
  • Toss in your noddles, I find alternating the way they lay helps. Allow to cook according to the package minus about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Drain, pat dry and get ready to line the pan

For the sauce:

  • While the water is cooking for the noodles cook your ground beef in a skillet till brown, and juices run clear. Do not overcook, it keeps the flavour from getting in there.
  • In a large dutch oven combine the sauce, sugar, cooked ground beef, spices, bay leaves, shallots, onions and garlic. Stir and cook over medium heat till it boils. Let it bubble like that while stirring for about 3 or 4 minutes, reduce to simmer and allow to cook until the noodles are done.
  • Once finished you need to take out the bay leaves and throw away.

Putting it all together:

  • Spray your casserole dish with non stick spray.
  • Scoop about 2 tablespoons of sauce into each pan to line the bottom thinly. This helps keep noddles from sticking to the bottom and getting a wicked crispy bottom.
  • Depending on your brand of noodles you should be able to use 4 or 5 noodles per layer. I was able to use 5. So I lay three, then place two more on top.
  • Toss a bit of mozzarella cheese on top of the noodles (trust me!)
  • Spoon ¼ of the sauce over that layer. Spread evenly
  • Toss one fourth of the parmesan cheese over top. (trust me!)
  • Toss about ¼ of the cheese over top.
  • Lay another layer of noodles.
  • Then another thin toss of mozzarella cheese. (trust me!)
  • Then another layer of sauce.
  • Then toss on one fourth of the amount of parmesan cheese (trust me!)
  • Another layer of mozzarella.
  • Now repeat with second casserole dish, or if you're like me you can layer them at the same time so you can divide evenly.
  • Now place in the preheated oven.
  • Cook uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how golden brown you want the top. It's a good idea to start checking at 10 minutes since every oven is different and all cheeses vary depending on moisture content.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Grab a spatula and wish for a clean slice.
  • Serve with a big old "my tummy hurts, but in a good way| smile!


Okay here goes:
This is a quick version so it's not scratch sauce. Unless you keep extra jars of homemade sauce around. I often do, But when I don't have them on hand and I need a store bought one I tend to like Classico. Ragu is too watery for me, Primo too chunky for me, and Batali's is too pricey for me. You are not an evil doer if you use jarred sauce. Don't let foodies make you feel bad. You're busy, it's totally cool to cut corner when you need to!
If you need a homemade version I'll list one in the post.
While I love making my own soffritto most days for that sweet flavour, if I'm busy and need a quick sweet sauce I use sugar to sweeten it. You can dial the amount down, or amp it up. Again, it's not a crime not to make a soffritto.
If you want a good bolognese there's one listed in the post though.
I like spice. This is dialed down so I don't injure any of my readers. It still might be too much for any wimps among the group. It's okay if you're a wimp. I am with Mexican food so I can relate. Adjust your spices as you go. You can also add more, but you can't subtract so start slow and build.
Yes I use parmesan in my lasagna on occasion. If any Italians want to arrest me, feel free. Just make sure you have Mario Batali on my jury. He's my idol.
I completely love the pizza mozzarella out right now. We buy Saputo and swear by it. It's great on pizza and lasagna. Trust me!
You can cook this at 350 for 20/25 minutes if you want a longer, slower cook time. You can also do this in the microwave if you like, I grew up always cooking ours in the microwave. The cheese gets bubbly without getting brown.