The "lazy girl" trend is all about finding shortcuts and having a good time with minimal effort.
I tried three quick, easy, or "cheat" lasagne recipes looking for one suitable for a lazy girl.
Results were mixed, but there's one I'll definitely make again.
I love cooking. And, like any sane person, I love lasagne.
However, not once in my 31 years of eating had I made my own lasagne — until a couple of weeks ago anyway.
I make bolognese sauce — a common component in many lasagne recipes — quite regularly, but that in itself takes a bit of time, and the extra steps required to make it into an actual lasagne just seemed, well, a few steps too far. I am, at heart, a "lazy girl."
Like many people, I am convinced my mother makes the best lasagne in the world. I have fond memories of helping her make it while I was younger — and by helping I mean offering to stir the homemade cheesy sauce and trying to sneak tastes — but I always thought it was just a bit too much work.
Lasagne can be a nutritious, balanced dish: it provides plenty of protein from the beef and cheese, lots of micronutrients in the carrot, tomato, and celery, and energy from the carbs in the pasta. If you want to up your fiber, you can use whole wheat pasta, and to lower the fat content, you can use lighter dairy products and leaner beef or ground chicken.
Given the internet's recent interest in "lazy girl" recipes, I decided to try some supposedly quicker and easier lasagne recipes in the hope of finding one that's suitable for my fellow lazy girls.
Reader, I had mixed results. Reluctantly, I have accepted that when it comes to lasagne, shortcuts just aren't worth it. However, you can make some pretty tasty lasagne-adjacent dishes that are slightly lazier, which I will continue to do.
Lasagne 1: Easy Classic Lasagne
First up, I made BBC Good Food's Easy Classic Lasagne. While it may have been easy, what it was not was quick: From getting the ingredients out of the fridge to plating took one hour 45 minutes, by which point I was starving.
While the lasagne smelled great in the oven, the result was underwhelming and, honestly, a little disappointing.
The recipe uses bacon in the bolognese and creme fraiche as the sauce, neither of which I loved. The sauce was a bit too tangy for a lasagne, and it all ended up being too liquidy.
My vegetables were also a bit too crunchy and evidently should have been chopped into smaller pieces, but I'm a lazy girl after all. I simmered the bolognese for longer than the prescribed 20 minutes but in the end they needed more time on the stovetop.
The best part of this lasagne was the mozzarella on top (and naturally I paid myself the cheese tax while cooking), but I was actually really disappointed to have to eat all four (huge) portions of this myself — over the course of a few days, I should add — as my boyfriend was away.
Rating: 4/10, would not make again (but would chop the veg smaller if I did)
Lasagne 2: Quick Lasagne
It's a bit of a stretch to call Delicious' Quick Lasagne "lasagne" at all really, but after the hours of my life lost to lasagne 1, I was keen to try a recipe that would actually be quick.
Essentially, this is beef and red wine tortelloni (a type of stuffed pasta) mixed with chopped tomatoes, topped with a creamy mascarpone sauce and parmesan, and broiled until golden on top.
I'm happy to report that this dish actually delivered on its promise to come together quickly — it only took 20 minutes total. It was tasty but the sauce wasn't great — chopped tomatoes on their own are pretty uninspiring, and it became a bit too saucy once the mascarpone was melted in. Mixing the soft cheese with parmesan and black pepper at least added some flavor though.
I upped the ingredients ratio in a bid to get four portions out of the recipe, but needless to say it was not enough for four hungry people like myself.
Rating: 6/10, might make again in that I might cook tortelloni, add pasta sauce, then cover in cheese and pop under the broiler
Lasagne 3: Sausage and Greens Cheat's Lasagne
By the time it got to lasagne 3 I'd decided to go rogue. Is lasagne actually lasagne if it's not layers of pasta sheets with some sort of filling? I apologize to Italy for the bastardization of such an iconic dish.
My third recipe at least returned to pasta sheets: Mob's Sausage and Greens Cheat's Lasagne. I love Mob's recipes so I had high hopes for this one. It uses sausage meat and the vibrant green sauce is made with cavolo nero (also called lacinato kale), although I couldn't find any so used curly kale.
Instead of layering up the pasta and fillings in a dish, you tear fresh pasta sheets and mix them into the sauce and sausage mix, then pour over cream, top with torn mozzarella and some parmesan, and bake in the oven. It's sort of a deconstructed, lasagne-inspired dish, I'd say.
The idea is that you only need one pan, which this lazy girl appreciates. However, blending the greens mix requires some effort — I tried in my food processor to start but the kale was still quite bitty, so then I transferred it to my blender, and needless to say the kitchen ended up covered in green sludge, not to mention there was rather a lot of washing up in the end.
My dinner guests were pretty skeptical of this dish while I was cooking it, but it ended up being a real crowd-pleaser. It was really tasty! Chili flakes and nutmeg provided some warmth, the sausage meat was delicious, the mozzarella did what mozzarella does best, and you couldn't even tell you were eating kale.
However, all in all it still took one hour and 20 minutes. It was a little lazier than a classic lasagne but probably not quick enough for a mid-week dinner.
Rating: 8/10, would definitely make again
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