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Friday, February 12, 2021

Taste-bud Journey: First try at making Lasagna

During the pandemic, I am taking taste-bud journeys as I self-isolate rather than physical journeys. Here is my adapted recipe for Lasagna. It was inspired by combining a recipe from C (keeping her real name private) and a recipe from the Ninja 4-in-1 with Auto IQ cookbook.


Please note that two things caused me to not be able to slice this that neatly. Thankfully, those two things only interfered with the presentation but not the taste. I found this to be just as delicious as I anticipated.

  • FIRST: The Ninja 4-in-1 with Auto IQ recipe called for the use of zucchini to help hydrate the uncooked lasagna noodles plus add some extra nourishment. Next time I make this, I will chop these up into smaller pieces. That way, the knife will have an easier time scooping this out of the pan.

  • SECOND: Because I did not want to scratch up the inside of the no-stick pan, I did not dare use a knife to divide the long lasagna sheets. Next time, I may try breaking those sheets into smaller pieces. That way, when I go to scoop it out of the pan, I won't have that to get in my way.

Recipe from C that uses a 9 x 13 inch cake pan 

  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • 6 lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 24 oz. Prego Traditional
  • 8 oz. Mozzarella Cheese

Procedure from C's recipe that uses a 9 x 13 cake pan

Step 1: Brown and drain meat.

Step 2: Return to stove. Preheat oven to 350° F.

Step 3: In a large measuring cup, mix egg, spaghetti sauce, and cottage cheese. Stir.

Step 4: Add sauce mixture to meat and simmer.

Step 5: Coat bottom of 9” x 13” pan with spaghetti sauce.

Step 6: Lay down 3 lasagna noodles in pan. Do not overlap. Sprinkle liberally with Mozzarella.

Step 7: Add half of meat mixture. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles. Cover with Mozzarella.

Step 8: Top with rest of meat mixture. Top w/cheese.

Step 9: Bake for 1 hour in uncovered pan.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Recipe from the Ninja cookbook

From p. 46 in Ninja 4-in-1 with Auto IQ Cookbook

  • 1 pound ground turkey (or beef)
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 8 uncooked no-boil lasagna pasta sheets
  • 1 medium zucchini cut in 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Please note: I combined what I deemed the best from each recipe. So, this is what I ended up with.

Final Recipe

  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • 7 lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 24 oz. Prego Traditional
  • 8 oz. Mozzarella Cheese
  • A combination of zucchini and yellow squash slices

Please also note: Thank goodness I had ordered a zucchini and yellow squash mixture from Publix just the day before. I know when you cook both of those vegetables, they add a lot of water to the recipe. So, I'm certain that is why the Ninja cookbook has you using this to hydrate the lasagna noodles. I just wish I had cut those slices into smaller pieces. 



  • Step 1: In a large measuring cup, combine the Prego sauce, the cottage cheese, and one egg.

  • Step 2: In the Ninja 4-in-1 with Auto IQ, set to the stove top setting at HIGH. Pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Then, add the ground beef. Brown the beef, drain it, and set it aside. Turn off the stove setting. Use a paper towel to soak up any olive oil residue.

  • Step 3: Now, it is time to layer the ingredients. Layer 1 is to coat the bottom of the pan with a light layer of the sauce mixture. This will prevent the lasagna noodles to sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  • Step 4: Layer 2. Add three lasagna sheets side by side. Don't allow them to overlap. [Please note: Next time I make it, I may try to split each sheet into three separate pieces to make it easier to scoop out the finished product.]

  • Step 5: Layer 3. Scatter the zucchini and/or yellow squash slices on top of the lasagna sheets. This will help with hydration plus extra nourishment of the recipe. [Next time I make this, I will cut each 1/4-inch slice into smaller pieces.]

  • Step 6: Layer 4. Add a thin layer of the shredded Mozzarella cheese.

  • Step 7: Layer 4. Add in half of the drained ground beef.

  • Step 8: Layer 5. Add half of the sauce mixture.

  • Step 9: Add in three more lasagna sheets side-by-side. I added up broken-up pieces of a fourth one here to cover up any other parts of the mixture.

  • Step 10: Add in your remaining zucchini and yellow squash pieces to help hydrate the noodles.

  • Step 11: Add in some more of your shredded Mozzarella cheese.

  • Step 12: Add in remaining ground beef.

  • Step 13: Add in remaining sauce mixture.

  • Step 14: Cover with the rest of your Mozzarella cheese.

  • Step 15: Put the lid on the Ninja cooker. Hit the Quick Cook button and dial it to recipe number 20 for the lasagna. The Ninja cooker automatically sets itself to cook for 30 minutes.

  • Step 16: At the end of the 30 minutes, the Ninja cooker turns itself off. Unplug it. Remove the lid. And let the Lasagna mixture rest for 10 minutes before serving.

  • Step 17: Please note: Since I did not want to risk using a knife that might scratch up the no-stick surface, I really struggled to dish up a pretty-looking serving of lasagna. This is when I realized that it might have helped to have the zucchini and yellow squash slices to be cut up into smaller pieces. Additionally, I think I would like to somehow split the lasagna sheets into three so that perhaps I would be able to dish up more well-defined servings. As it was, this is the serving I managed to dish up.


Please note: It was delicious but messy-looking.


Please also note: I plan to eat the leftovers for two more days. The rest, I froze for later.


Here are 2 videos from people using the Ninja 4 in 1 with Auto IQ to make lasagna. I found it extremely helpful to watch both of these before attempting to make lasagna for the very first time ever.

After watching the video that cautions that we need to use oven-ready lasagna noodles instead of the regular kind, I did a bit of Googling. Since I had never made lasagna before, I didn't have a clue there was more than one type to purchase. So, I may try to purchase this the next time I make it now that I know the following:

From article by Danielle Centoni:
'... Which is why no-boil noodles are such a boon. They're thinner than regular lasagna noodles, precooked and then dried, so they can soften during baking with just the moisture from the sauce. Put the dried noodles in the casserole and voila! They cook while the casserole cooks.'

Cooking Sites that have inspired me:

Books written by Debbie Dunn:

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