My sweet niece, Madeline, celebrated her 19th birthday on the 19th of this month – Happy Golden Birthday, Maddie!  I can hardly believe Maddie is 19 already! It seems like just yesterday that she entered this world. Maddie has the most beautiful, dark hair … she was born with a head of gorgeous curls, she was an absolute doll and still is. Madeline is the sweetest young woman with a big, big heart. I could sit and chat with Maddie for hours on end and always enjoy the weekends she spends with us at our house. The day I found out her and her fabulous sisters would be moving to California with their mom and her new husband, I was thrilled. It makes me so happy to have them close by. It means I get to see them quite often and it’s great for my daughter, Kylie. Maddie and  Kylie are the best of friends, which I absolutely love.


(Maddie (on the right) and her little sister, Olivia. Her older sister, Alexis, was missed by all on Saturday night while she was at work.)

I told Maddie I’d love to host her birthday dinner. I made lasagne for all of us … it was really good! Madeline and her Mom have to eat gluten free so I made one gluten free lasagne for them and another lasagne (which wasn’t gluten free) for the rest of us. Note: The recipe is for one lasagne – not gluten free. If you want gluten free, replace the noddles with gluten free noodles.

When I was choosing the cans of sauce, puréed tomatoes and whole tomatoes, I chose the 14 ounce size cans of each, except the whole tomatoes. I used the 28 ounce can of whole, peeled Roma tomatoes. As I added them to my Dutch oven, I decided that I’d leave the whole tomatoes whole for the lasagne, to keep the dinner rustic and earthy … which lasagne is, in my mind. This was just the touch I was looking for in this dish. I wanted each piece of lasagne (and each layer) to have the whole tomatoes. I absolutely loved the large chunky tomato in my lasagne!

In a large Dutch oven, I heated two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter together. Once the butter was melted, I sautéd half a sweet yellow onion and four cloves of minced garlic until they both started to soften and the onion became translucent. I then added my ground beef/ground pork mixture. For the meat mixture, I added 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 tablespoon pizza and pasta seasoning (, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons dried basil, and a pinch of red pepper flakes and mixed everything together lightly with a fork. Once the meat was mixed thoroughly with the seasonings, I added it to the onions and garlic in my Dutch oven. Next, I added 14 ounces of tomato sauce, 14 ounces of tomato pureé and one large can whole, peeled Roma tomatoes, along with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper and 2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh oregano. I let the sauce simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes, until the sauce started to thicken.



I had previously cooked the lasagne noodles, drained them and laid them out on a cooking sheet, separating the layers of noodles with aluminum foil I had sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

While the meat was simmering, I mixed together ricotta cheese and egg.

Once the meat mixture was done, I started to build my lasagne. I started with placing a couple ladlefuls of sauce on the bottom of my 9×13 baking dish. I then laid down four noodles lengthwise and one across the very top of the pan (It was a large baking dish!). Next, I spread one-third of my ricotta mixture onto the noodles. Over the ricotta, I placed the meat mixture, making sure there was a Roma tomato in every piece. Over the meat, I added 2 cups of shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese and a quarter cup of grated parmesan cheese. I then started again with a layer of noodles, ricotta, meat, cheese and then noodles, ricotta and the little bit of meat that was left, finishing with mozzarella and grated parmesan.

I baked my lasagne in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes (covered) and then baked it uncovered for an additional 30 minutes. I let the lasagne sit for 15 minutes before cutting it and serving.



I served my lasagne with a simple Caesar salad and rustic, Italian ciabatta bread that I had sliced at the bakery where I purchased it.


  • 1 package lasagne noodles, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 ounces pureéd tomatoes
  • 14 ounces tomato sauce
  • 28 ounces whole, peeled Roma tomatoes
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons pepper, divided
  • 1/2 tablespoon pizza and pasta seasoning mix ( (If you don’t have, use pizza seasoning)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 5 cups shredded mozzarella (more or less, if you desire)
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook lasagne noodles per package directions and set aside (lay on sheet pan, side by side. Separate layers with aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray).
  3. Heat olive oil and butter until butter is melted.
  4. Add onion and garlic and sauté until softened and onion becomes translucent.
  5. Mix meat and pork with 1-1/2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. Add pizza and pasta seasoning mix, Italian seasoning, basil and red pepper flakes.
  6. Add meat and seasonings to the onion and garlic and brown meat.
  7. Add tomatoes, along with sugar, tomato paste and fresh oregano. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes on medium-low, until sauce begins to thicken.
  8. Mix ricotta and egg together.
  9. Begin building lasagne. Spread sauce on the bottom of your pan. Lay your first layer of noodles on sauce. Spread with ricotta. Add meat mixture. Top meat mixture with mozzarella and grated parmesan. Begin again with noodles. Next, ricotta, meat, then cheeses. Add one more layer of noodles on top, the last of the ricotta, what is left of the meat mixture and cover with more cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes, covered. Remove foil and bake an additional 30 minutes. Let lasagne rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.


Until next time, Kris


3 Comments Add yours

  1. I will definitely try it. It’s really nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Let me know how you like it. 😊


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