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4 Weeks to Fill Your Freezer: Lasagna Casserole (Day 12)

This Lasagna Casserole recipe is so, so good and so much easier and cheaper than regular lasagna!

As I’ve shared before, Lasagna Casserole is a staple recipe at our house. I love it because it is so versatile and because most of the ingredients go on great sales a few times per year.

I use whatever pasta, cheese, tomatoes, and pasta sauce I have gotten recently with coupons and sales, so it always turns out a little bit differently. But it’s always good!

I doubled the recipe and added in Parmesan cheese to the cottage cheese mixture this time since I had a little bit left in the freezer to use up from the Amazon deal last fall.

I left out the meat in the casseroles today because we’ve gotten so used to having this casserole without meat in it that no one notices it’s meatless.

I had both cheddar and mozzarella cheese on hand, so I just used both. If you use cheddar it gives it a bit of a different flair than traditional lasagna — and we think it’s yummy that way, too. {You may or may not agree. We can have weird and quirky tastes sometimes!}

See what I said about this recipe being versatile? You could probably sneak some extra steamed and chopped veggies into the pasta sauce, too, if you wanted to.

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  • If you do like ricotta cheese better it is really easy to make your own at home. All you need is milk and vinegar. It is usually a lot cheaper than ricotta usually is to make it at home, not necessarily cheaper than cottage cheese though. We love homemade ricotta and you can add as much or as little salt as you like!

  • Shelly says:

    The Lasagna Casserole looks really good. I wish I had a good dairy-free substitute for the cottage cheese. Since I did not have a substitute I went ahead and make some of Herb and Spice Rubbed Whole Chicken. There was a good sale at Fred Meyer. I hope someone has an idea of a substitute for the cottage cheese or can I just leave it out? Does anyone know if firm tofu chopped up would work? As I think my family would really like this dish.

    • Lyn says:

      Shelly, yes, a good dairy-free substitute to use is crumbled tofu. Use whatever texture of it you wish. I add in an egg or two, salt, pepper, and dried parsley. I’m allergic to dairy but my husband eats my lasagna this way along with me and he enjoys it. No one can really tell it’s tofu since tofu tends to take on the taste of what you use it for. I also use rice vegan cheese (no whey which means dairy). I buy it at Whole Foods. For noodles I use rice pasta lasagna noodles. Let me know what you think. 🙂

      • Thanks Lyn, I will give the tofu a try. For cheese my family can eat goat or sheep cheese. They just can’t have cow’s milk/cheese. I make a tofu ice cream my whole family likes. I know it may not sound good but it really is yummy.

    • Ana says:

      I just cooked a lasagna I threw together last weekend from leftovers from a party. I used yellow squash that I had sauteed in spices, and then pureed to a soft, chunky texture. I used mozzarella too, but I noticed when we had it today that the squash reminded me of a mild ricotta. Might be something you could try?

    • Uyen Tran says:

      I also use tofu! I take soft tofu, wash it thoroughly, and place it in a bowl. Them I add in salt, pepper, and finely chopped parsley. Using my hands, I scrunch all of it together. No one knows any different and good way to get some protein.

  • charity crawford says:

    That looks super yummy!

  • I like cheddar cheese on my lasagna too 🙂 It really does taste good!

  • juli says:

    What sizes are your dishes? Did you get 4 cake pans filled just by doubling the recipe?

  • Denise says:

    I did this with baked ziti, I took a tip (probably from your blog) to line my pan with foil, drape it over the sides, wrap it up to cover, and then freeze in the pan. Then after a few hours, I can take the foil-wrapped casserole out of the pan, dump in a freezer bag, mark, stack easily, and I have my pan back!

    • Katie N. says:

      I was just going to ask how she could go without her pans that long! That’s a great idea

      • Denise says:

        When it’s time to cook, unwrap the top (so the cheese doesn’t stick) but keep the rest in the foil and drop in the pan. No cleanup!!

    • toni says:

      I have used this tip before but when using casseroles with tomatoes in them the acid in the tomatoes eats through the foil and you get little pieces of foil in the casserole. Do you have this problem? You can line the foil with plastic wrap too so that the foil doesn’t come into contact with tomatoes. If you do something different, let me know. I would love to know if others have the same issue and how you address it!! 🙂

      • Lis says:

        I have tried wax paper but had trouble with it sticking to the casserole some — but not as dangerous as ingesting foil!

      • Anna says:

        Yes, the foil corrodes when it comes in contact with tomatoes. 🙁 I don’t have the problem with aluminum pans, for some reason, though. Usually I get disposable pans if I’m making lots of lesagna. To seal it up, I put a layer of waxed paper over the lesagna before wrapping the foil over it. The great thing about waxed paper is, if you forget to take it off before baking, it won’t leach plastics into the food. Baking in plastic wrap is obviously to be avoided.

      • Denise says:

        To be honest, my baked ziti is heavy on cheese and very light on the sauce. 😀 Hubby usually adds his own sauce to the plate later. I haven’t even unwrapped them yet, so I guess I’ll find out if I have the same problem. I usually do the plastic-wrap-then-foil thing when I freeze meats, but I didn’t do it this time bc I was planning on just baking it in the foil. We shall see. . .;-)

        • Camille says:

          When I make lasagna for the freezer I go really easy on the sauce and make extra sauce when I serve it. I have never had anything happen to the foil though. We use non-stick foil. Not sure if that makes a difference.

  • Chrissy says:

    That looks delish. Thanks for sharing and for hosting this challenge.

  • I did make a batch of pizza dough today and froze two dough balls while using the third. It took about 5 minutes to do, made for a really convenient and affordable meal, and as a bonus, you can use the dough to make flat-breads in a skillet for a Mediterranean night.

    • KC says:

      I would love to have pizza dough frozen and ready to go. I’ve never done that before. How do you defrost it? In the fridge over night? or not?
      Have you ever fully assembled pizzas and frozen them before baking? I’ve thought about doing that, but don’t know if it will work and how long to bake after it’s been frozen.

  • Donna says:

    Love that you used those different noodles in this! I might have the stuff on hand to make some of these right away! They look great!!!

  • Wendy says:

    Wow, looks yummy! Thnx for sharing!
    P.S. I’m hosting a giveaway and that you would be interested 🙂

  • I don’t know if this would work with spirals but did you know you can get away with not cooking your lasagna noodles at all if you are making lasagna to freeze. My husband’s aunt told me this so I tried it out and it works like a charm. If you are not going to be freezing it though! cook the noodles!

    • Anna says:

      My mom always made lesagna this way. She would add about a cup of water or would skip draining the spinach in her spinach lesagna. Adding the water gives the noodles something to soak up without drying out the rest of the dish, and you can either let it sit in the fridge a couple hours, or just bake it longer. Easy!

    • Kristine says:

      I always make lasagna without cooking the noodles first, even if I’m not freezing it. It’s much easier to assemble that way and saves some prep time. Just add extra sauce on top or a little extra water to keep the noodles from getting too dry while cooking.

  • Esther a homeschool mom in Mid-Michigan says:

    I’m loving this “4 weeks to fill your freezer” series 🙂
    I also love the flexibility it’s giving me!
    I’m following along to pretty much what you are posting except when I have to switch around the recipes to different days because that’s what I have on hand at the time and what I have time for. I made the pizza dough today, but got my recipe from the “30 Day Gourmet’s Big Book of Freezer Cooking”. I did a double batch in my bread machine and added Italian Seasoning to the dough and my family just loves the flavor! Ialso did a batch by hand because my six-year old wanted to help 🙂
    I ended up making cheese filled pretzels with that batch! We’ll have those for lunch on Thursday 🙂
    P.S. I just gotta say “ouch” to the hen that laid that white egg in your picture above, lol. 🙂

  • Mary B says:

    My daughter is allergic to eggs, (and many other things) so we made this with quinoa elbow noodles, cheese, olives, tomato sauce and hamburger meat- we just cooked it all, sort of layered it together- and, Oh my! How delish! We even ate thirds it was so good! (maybe not best to recommend eating thirds, but it was delicious!) 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Abra says:

    I love this recipe! It’s one of the first recipes from your eBook that I tried. I agree it’s very versatile. I think I will try it without meat sometime.

    On Tuesday I made Brown Bag Burritos and Pizza Pockets. Yesterday I put some smoothies together. I really want to try meatballs soon.

    I really enjoy seeing the results of your freezer cooking day. Great photos! I also enjoy reading the comments. I’d like to get into a routine where I make 2-3 things for the freezer each week, one each day, like you have been doing in this series. I think it’s a great approach to freezer cooking, especially since I rarely have a Saturday free to devote much time to freezer cooking.

  • stacie says:

    I remember reading that someone in your house was on a Dairy (and maybe Gluten) free diet. Could you share some of your freezer recipes that are Dairy Free? Also, how do you handle dinners when you serve things like Lasagna?
    My daughter is allergic to diary (and more). I try to make meals we can all eat. I’d love some ideas for freezing!

    • Mary B says:

      Yes, Crystal,
      Like Stacie, my daughter has multiple allergies- we are able to handle the cheese and substitute wheat with quinoa noodles, but I’d love if you started an allergen free section on your recipe site. We can’t have peanuts, but we’ve been freezing sunbutter and jelly sandwiches- awesome idea! When I saw that post, I was like, Duh! Why haven’t I done that before! 🙂

  • K Harrington says:

    i think if i even tried to change my lasagna recipe my family would put me in a pysch ward! LOL My inlaws, brothers siter, kids (and hubby) would think I went off the deep end and beg me to go back!!!!!

  • Trixie says:

    I love the big egg in your carton! I grew up with chickens, ducks and geese and we ate the eggs interchangebly. Small, medium and giant eggs were in our fridge all together. It’s seems so funny/nice to see a big egg again. Is it a duck egg or just a really big chicken egg?

  • Camille says:

    I love the idea of trying different cheeses. Next time I’m going to try that. I had forgotten how little time it takes when you cook this way. We have 10 meals in the freezer and it only took one morning. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Erin says:

    I love that you have a meal that can be meatless here. I’m always looking for more meatless meals to bring down my grocery budget. This has been such a good series — one of my favorites.

  • I’ve had this recipe on my to-do list for awhile, but I haven’t found cottage cheese on sale recently. No one in my house will eat it except in lasagna.. but I’m really looking forward to trying this one!

  • Elise says:

    I’m getting ready to experiment with making homemade lasagna noodles. So glad I found this recipe to try them out on! 🙂
    (I might be just a tad exited about the homemade noodles lol)

  • Heather says:

    This may seem like a funny question. When you put a glass pan from the refrigerator into the oven, do you preheat the oven with the pan in it or put the pan in the hot oven? I am always afraid of shattering a glass pan. One time I put a slightly frozen ham slice on a glass pan and put it into a preheated oven and the pan shattered.

    • Crystal says:

      Either way should work. The only time I’ve had a glass pan shatter was when I left it on the stovetop when the stove was on. Big oops!

    • Jen says:

      If my glass pan is cold, I always put it into a cold oven, then turn the oven on. I would be very afraid of shattering glass if I put a cold pan into a hot oven!

      • Kristine says:

        I do that, too. I had a glass pan shatter once when I took it out of a hot oven and set it on the counter where it was touching the cold edge of the stainless steel sink. Ever since, I’ve been very careful about hot/cold contrasts.

  • Kelli says:

    Do you need to drain the tomotoes at all?

  • Loving this series, Crystal! Thanks for the daily inspiration. I’ve been following/reading about freezer cooking for years, but the way you presented it in this month’s challenge was just the push I wanted to jump into it more throughly.

  • This recipe was delish, thanks! And the bonus was….I had all the ingredients on hand (and we were needing to use the cottage cheese this week too).

    I added some grated carrots to the beef & onions. This is one trick I commonly do to “hide” some more veggies in our meals and the kids won’t know the difference. Also, it’s a way to bulk up & stretch the meat meals a bit further. We buy a 25 lb. bag of carrots from Smart & Final for $4.99….and chop or grate into gallon sized freezer bags to quickly add to meals, make soup, etc. It’s a lot of work initially (luckily we have a kitchen machine!)…but it saves a lot of money!

  • Kayse says:

    My friend and I just cooked ALL of your lunch recipes in one day! 🙂
    I see now why you suggest doing to over a week. 🙂

    Definitely going to try your dinner recipes next. This lasagna looks fantastic!!

  • This recipe looks easy to do and my family will love it. I have two in college so I can see me making a batch for my home and then sending some to each of them.

  • Summer says:

    I did my first batch of freezer cooking this month, left my link above 🙂

  • Andrea says:

    This Sicilian girl always twitches when she sees cottage cheese in a lasagna…Until the night I had lasagna planned for date night, couldn’t get to the store, and only had cottage cheese and a Philly cooking creme (Italian blend!) in the fridge. I just drained the cheese, smashed it fine, and added it to the Philly.

    It wasn’t traditional, but it sure is darn good! I also make my baked zita and spaghetti pie this way now as well. Thanks for all you do for everyone, Crystal. Some of us grew up with a frugal lifestyle, but it’s nice to see others continually encouraging it. 🙂

    • Kristine says:

      It may not be traditional Italian, but cottage cheese in lasagna was traditional for my family, and I still prefer it. I don’t like ricotta very much, probably because I never ate it growing up.

      • Andrea says:

        It was definitely different for me at first – I grew up raised very traditionally with food: nothing was boxed or premade at the store. We made everything on our own. Very different than how it is now!

        My husband is like you – grew up with cottage cheese in his lasagna, so the first time I made lasagna with ricotta, he looked at me like I had grown a second head in front of him! It was such a paradigm shift – he was raised to think things like Prego and dried noodles or Olive Garden are authentic Italian cuisine. 😉 He has since learned…but its fine, and tons of fun to teach each other about the respective cuisines we grew up eating, as he’s Japanese. 🙂

  • Sheila says:

    I finally got caught up with the lunch recipes from last week. I did a BBQ chicken pocket instead of the ham & cheese recipe. I’m going to give the pizza dough a try this week, but that will probably be it. Most of the recipes have cheese and they didn’t seem like ones I could adjust to dairy free. But, the lunch recipes were fabulous & my family is super excited to try them!

  • Jennifer says:

    With this freezer cooking stuff, we just purchased a quarter of a cow, its all frozen. Can I thaw it, make something with it AND refreeze it? Or is it best to just purchase fresh?

    • Jen says:

      Yes! We’ve been purchasing quarter and half cows for 3 years now, and the great thing is that it has only been frozen once, upon processing. The stuff in the store is not fresh. It has been frozen, then thawed when it goes on the shelf. Then the purchasher can freeze it again. Also, usually during freezer cooking you cook the beef into a recipe. Once it’s cooked it can be frozen again, whether it comes from a store or a farmer.

  • Katlyn says:

    We are just moving into our own house and therefore we will need to fill the kitchen with EVERYTHING, any suggestions and meals that I can plan based on mostly basic ingredients? Thank you!

  • Heather says:

    A little tip, if you want to use cottage cheese but like the texture of ricotta better. Put the cottage cheese and eggs in a food processor for a few seconds and it will come out very close to ricotta.

  • Just did this today, but so glad I did! I’ll be thrilled when I find it in the freezer one lazy/busy evening 😉

  • Jennifer says:

    Great! Now I’m ready to fill my freezer with meals!

  • Camille says:

    I left an update because I was concerned about using no boil noodles, in case anyone had been wondering. I hope it’s helpful. It turned out great.

  • Cassi says:

    Just made this today with ground turkey and it was great! I altered the seasoning a bit (added garlic and balsamic vinegar to meat) chopped some olives and added other Italian seasonings. I used whole wheat pasta and made 2 8X8 dishes and 3 10X10 dishes. We invited friends over and ate a small batch for lunch and it was so yummy we can’t wait to eat more! Thanks so much for all these great recipes and tips. I have been freezer cooking all week in stages. I am baking the chicken for chicken broccoli rice casserole which I plan on putting together tomorrow. I like that I can take it all bit by bit!

  • Samantha says:

    I love this recipie! And for my super picky husband who won’t eat veggies in anything, I saute onions, mushrooms, and peppers and then run them though my immersion blender in the sauce so they look like bits of seasoning in the sauce =] I make huge batches of the sauce and freeze it this way so he never see’s the veggies being cooked =] & he thought he didn’t like veggies =]

  • sherry says:

    can you make this without egg?

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