PIZZA LASAGNA is a new favorite weeknight meal for my entire family!! This recipe is so easy and can be made ahead for dinner on busy weeknights!
This summer I got to spend time in Florida for a family reunion that included some birthday celebrations. My uncle, aunt, grandfather and grandmother all have birthdays within a few weeks of each other in the summer. We wanted to celebrate them all together. My poor grandmother ended up having surgery just days before we got to town so for her birthday we all showed up to spend time with her, sing and have some cake. Let me tell you that hospital staff wasn’t too pleased with us. When I say “we” that includes about 25 of us! We whisper sang Happy Birthday and then we were made to divide into groups to spend time with her. I totally understand why, those poor people recovering from surgery but we just love my grandmother so much!
On the last night my grandmother was out of the hospital. We were staying in a crazy big rental house so she came to stay with us and the rest of the family. We decided to celebrate everyone’s birthday that night with a big party and even more people than the hospital celebration! How do you feed a huge crowd of 60 on a budget? Family style Italian food! We did a lot of lasagna variations. We had a traditional lasagna with red sauce, a vegetable lasagna with white sauce and another vegetable lasagna with red sauce. We have slowly had quite a few family members turn to various forms of vegetarianism. As I was in the kitchen with my mom and two of my aunts I realized I’ve never made a lasagna before!!! That’s when I decided to make one when I got home.
It took some time before I actually got around to making the lasagna but it was worth the wait. I have two picky eaters. One has been since he was 6 months old and starting baby food. He would only eat orange foods. It was really weird. My youngest is less of a picky eater and more of a kids following his big brother. As he gets older he’s become more comfortable trying new things and that’s helped with my oldest son. I can tell he doesn’t want to be “out done” by his little brother. Whatever works, right?
I decided to make it a Pizza Lasagna to help to transition my kids into eating it. I knew they’d love it but needed to just get them to try it, so calling it a PIZZA Lasagna was key! They will eat anything called pizza. It totally worked. In reality, I had to play is slow so all I did was add pepperoni to the lasagna but if I could go crazy I’d add all my favorite toppings too. I did sneak some mushrooms in on the boys. I minced them up small and added them in with the meat so they were none the wiser!
We had a friend over for dinner that night and it was a hit with everyone. Well, my oldest liked everything but the “cotton” I put in it. Kids are crazy with their descriptions of things. He wasn’t a fan of the ricotta cheese but other than that it did well! This is absolutely going into the monthly rotation!
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Two 29 oz. cans tomato sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp oregano, dried
- 2 tsp basil, dried
- 1.25 pounds Italian seasoned ground turkey
- 8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
- 30 oz ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 9 cooked lasagna noodles, cooked
- 6 oz. pepperoni
- 4 cups mozzarella, shredded
- preheat oven to 350 degrees
- heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat
- add in onion and season with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper, allow to cook for 5 minutes
- add in garlic and cook for an additional minute
- pour in the tomato sauce and season with oregano and basil
- allow to simmer for 15 minutes
- heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet
- add in the ground turkey and break it up as it cooks
- once the turkey is cooked through remove it onto a plate until later
- add in the mushrooms and allow to cook until softened
- remove to the same plate that the meat is on
- combine the ricotta, eggs, salt, pepper and chopped Italian parsley in a mixing bowl
- in a 13 x 9 baking dish spread 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce around the bottom of a baking dish
- lay 3 lasagna noodles to cover the bottom of the baking dish
- spread a 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles in an even layer
- spread some of the tomato sauce over the ricotta and then top with a 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese
- next, layer a 1/3 of the meat/mushroom mixture and then a layer of pepperoni
- repeat with 3 more noodles and ricotta, mozzarella, tomato sauce, meat/mushrooms and pepperoni twice
- place in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly
If this happens, you can take the remaining ingredients and make a little 9x9 inch baking dish lasagna to save for later or to take to a friend. 🙂