If this family ever eats anything closely resembling Hamburger Helper my Skillet Lasagna is as close as my children's childhood memories will venture to a meal that starts in a box. Believe me, for the sake of sanity I've tried the meals in a box, but they are seriously gross and I just can. not.
I will attempt a little extra effort to plan a much more delicious than box-food homemade Hamburger Helper. Which, from start to finish, will be done in about 30-40 minutes - totally doable on a weeknight. The browning beef, onions, garlic, and marinara transform the smell of your kitchen into a wholesome just like Grandma might've made smelling universe. Cheesy and oooey, gooey - super yumm!
The original recipe for this Skillet Lasagna didn't include fresh garlic, but when onions appear I'm certainly adding garlic. The amount of marinara was about half as much, but I had a 24 ounce can - so guess what I did? Used it all. Feel free to bump back the marinara to about 16 ounces if you don't want the dish as saucy, but I think the saucy-ness totally works. Don't be afraid to layer the noodles, its ok - they all get mashed together in the end in a casserole-esk type way. Fresh herbs can definitely be used instead of dried, but I like dried because the flavor is more muted for kiddos palates that I'm trying to appease! Instead of fresh tomatoes (not really in abundance in a Minnesota March) don't hesitate to used canned - I did and it works great - except I have a quarter can of sad tomatoes in the fridge now - hmmm. Into the next recipe, maybe?
Now get cooking and leave me a comment if you cook up my Skillet Lasagna!
recipe loosely interpreted from cooks.com
1 pound ground beef
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
24 ounces marinara sauce
16 ounces cottage cheese
1/2 pound lasagna noodles, or about 10 noodles
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 heaping teaspoon dried basil
2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (canned works, too)
Scant 1/2 cup water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Working in a deep 10" skillet with a tight fitting lid, brown beef until cooked through. Add in onion, season with salt and pepper and sauté until onion is soft and translucent. Stir in garlic. Pour half the marinara over beef. Layer all the cottage cheese over the marinara. Break up half the lasagna noodles to fit into the pan - it's OK if they overlap a bit. Add the remaining marinara sauce, tomatoes, dried herbs and salt. Layer remaining lasagna noodles, breaking apart as needed. Pour water over noodles, cover and simmer over medium heat for 25-30 minutes, reducing heat about halfway through cooking time. Once noodles are tender, top with mozzarella, cover and cook until melted, about 3-5 minutes. Serve with hunks of bread and a crisp salad.