Casseroles: Make Today, Bake Today . . . Or Later by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, November 1, 2011
I wrote a make-ahead casserole post last year and you guys adored it. I’m happy to report, I’m doing it again! Make-ahead meals (especially baked casseroles) are terrific because you can completely assemble them in advance and bake them just before serving. They’re the ultimate comfort food as they come bubbling hot and delicious straight from the oven to the table to the delight of family and friends. I particularly like casseroles this time of year because I’m really busy (with school stuff, work, the impending holidays) and, when you create a ready-to-bake casserole in advance, it becomes a true kitchen buddy and life-saver at the end of a long day (when, I’ll be honest, I just want a cocktail and a good meal). I hope these three casseroles help you sail through the next week with ease!
Pesto Stuffed Lasagne
No-boil lasagna noodles shave at least 20 minutes off your prep time because you don’t have to wait for water to boil or pasta to cook. Plus, they soak up the pesto flavor as they bake in the oven.
15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup prepared pesto sauce, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese (16 ounces)
8-ounce package no-boil lasagna noodles (12 pieces)
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Combine ricotta, 1/2 cup of the pesto and egg. Mix well and set aside.
Spread 1/4 cup of the remaining pesto all over the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Top with 3 lasagna noodles (the noodles don’t need to touch each other or the sides of the pan because they expand when baked). Top noodles with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture and spread mixture out evenly over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat these steps 2 more times (3 noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1 cup mozzarella). End with the last three noodles on top. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of pesto and mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes, until hot and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.