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Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and Lasagna, The Easy Way
You, your family and friends will love this Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and Lasagna, The Easy Way. Authentic flavors in half the time of traditional Spaghetti Sauce. That’s a win, win!
From my birth until I was a young adult, my dad co-owned a grocery store and managed the meat department. He made, packaged and sold the best homemade spaghetti sauce. It was in high demand and always sold out quickly.
I was either given what I needed or I purchased it. I’d never had to make my own homemade or semi-homemade spaghetti sauce. Boy, I didn’t realize how lucky I was! That was until the beloved store burned down.
For years and years after that, I would set aside time to make my own Italian Style Spaghetti Sauce. It was delicious and my family loved it, but it took all day. Well, at least a half day. The kids would smell the deliciousness and steal spoonfuls when I wasn’t looking. Even when I was looking, lol. They were ready to eat when it was dinner time and I didn’t have to call them more than once.
Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
I didn’t learn about my Mom’s Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce until a few years ago and while on a family vacation. She announced that she planned to make spaghetti sauce for pasta dinner later that night. Looking back, I feel guilty because inside I was thinking about the amount of time that’d take and my eyes were rolling. Not literally, but I was thinking of a lost day at the beach.
Grocery Shopping List
Her list was made and she handed it to my husband asking him to make a grocery run. Before he left, he showed me mom’s grocery list and questioning an ingredient. Can you guess what it was? Now don’t skip ahead to the recipe or video! Okay, it was (3) three bottles of store-bought spaghetti sauce, in three different flavors and she didn’t care if they were from the same manufacturer!
My Food Connoisseur Husband
My hubby loves food and because he loves food he loves to cook. He couldn’t contain his curiosity, because of course, it was about food, lol. My mom delighted in explaining this was her Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce. Ever since we’ve embraced and enjoyed her recipe!
Time-Saving Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
This recipe is a time saver and in about an hour your sauce can be ready. An authentic Italian Style sauce is ready for your favorite pasta or lasagna meal. No need to re-read that, I did say lasagna! Once the Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce is made lasagna is easy, impressive and delicious. But, more about the Lasagna later in this post.
Aside from the (3) three jars of store-bought spaghetti sauce, you’ll need. Celery, yellow onion, canola oil, Italian sausage, ground chuck, carrots, garlic, dry red wine, and a herb mix of equal parts of parsley, oregano, Italian seasoning, and basil, salt, and pepper to taste. No specialty ingredients and many you may already have.
Your first step will be finely chopping the celery, yellow onion, carrots and garlic. You can chop it up with your knife or use your food processor. But, seriously it isn’t that bad and we usually chop it ourselves.
Heat it up
Heat up the oil. In our video tutorial we used a large frying pan, but that was so you all could easily see what was going on. Normally, I use a deep pot because I find it less of a mess. To that add-in and saute your celery, yellow onion and carrots. I call it done when the onions become translucent. Be sure to stir it now and again.
Shred Your Meats
While that sautees, break up and shred your meats, Italian sausage, and ground chuck, as those will go in next. I have to laugh when I think about our video. In the video my take charge hubby, meticulous broke apart the Italian sausage as he added it to the veggies. That’s all good. But, I’m more of the let’s get it done girlie. You’ll see after adding his sausage he places the bowl into the sink and I jump in to quickly dump the ground chuck into the mix, lol. He does catch me in the act and we have a good laugh about it.
Adding The Meat
Once the veggies have sauteed, about 10 minutes, add in the meats and continue sauteeing until it is cooked, crumbled and brown in color, about another 10 minutes. Now you’re ready to deglaze the pan by stirring in the wine (Optional ingredient: replace the wine with beef broth.) To that add in the garlic, herb mix and salt and pepper to taste, and mixing well.
Now its time for our Star ingredient, drumroll please! Pour in the three jars of store-bought spaghetti sauce. Which is were our Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce title came from. A little tip: After pouring in each jar of spaghetti sauce, add a ¼ cup of water recapping the lid and give it a good shake to loosen up the remaining sauce and add that to your Sauce.
Foam No More
You will saute your gently bubbling spaghetti sauce until the foaming has stopped. It does have the look of foam. Reminding me of how ocean waves foam as they move across the sand. Of course not in such a grand way, but in a small way. That’s it, your sauce is ready to use.
Once you give this a try I’m confident it’ll soon become your go-to Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce. We enjoy this on spaghetti, gnocchi, lasagna, over chicken and …. Please watch the video tutorial, read and follow the detailed recipe below. Next up, Lasagna!
Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce The Easy Way
- 2 TBSP Canola Oil
- 1/2 tsp Parsley
- 1/2 tsp Oregano
- 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp Basil
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 1 med yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped or 5-6 baby carrots, chopped
- 1 large celery stalk, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely or minced
- 2 links Italian Sausage, about 1/2 pound
- 1 lb Ground Chuck
- 1/2 cup Dry Red Wine, we used Cabnernet Sauvignaun
- 3 jars Store bought spaghetti sause, any brand
- Heat skillet or deep pan over medium heat. Once heated add canola oil and heat briefly
- Add chopped, celery, carrot(s), onion and saute until onions are transulcent. About 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add in crumbled Italian Sausage and Ground Chuck. Saute until crumbled, cooked and browned. About 5 to 10 minutes.
- Once meats have cooked, add garlic, dry seasonings, salt and pepper stir to combine and saute for 1 another minute.
- (Pour dry red wine over veggies, meat and herb mixture. Stir in to deglaze pan. (Option: substitute beef broth for the wine.)
- Stir in the three (3) jars of store-bought Italian style spaghetti sauce. Tip: After pouring sauce into your pan, add a 1/4 cup water to each jar, shake and pour remaining sauce into the pan.
- Bring the ingredients back to a simmer. Continue simmering until surface foaming has stopped. About 15 minutes
- Your Semi-Homemade sauce is now ready to enjoy over pasta or lasagna. Tip: Sauce can be placed into individual serving sized containers and frozen.
Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
On to the Lasagna part of the Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and Lasagna
Lasagna is a favorite of mine and hubby, too. Once your Semi-Homemade spaghetti sauce is made, it isn’t difficult and is a simple layering process. Doesn’t that sound easy?
Subtle Blending of Flavors
I’ve tasted different styles of lasagna. Some have thick layers of Ricotta, others have none. It’s all a personal preference and what you’re used to. For me its a subtle blending of lasagna noodle, sauce and Italian cheeses. I’m curious and would love to hear about yours? Please drop it in the comments below.
Pasta Pot, Water, Lasagne and Colander
Lasagne are just a type of wide, flat pasta with ribboning edges. I’ve heard it is one of the oldest types of pasta. Lasagna is basically, a simple layering process.
More Than Less
It all starts with a large pot filled with boiling water. You want more water than less water. Give those wide flat noodles space to move, soften and cook without sticking together. That’s the more water part! You can’t have too much water. But, you can have too many noodles and not enough water.
Let’s get started
When I made Lasagna I use two boxes of noodles. Yep, that’s right. Because, I make enough extra to store and freeze. If you watch our video tutorial you find that we made numerous servings and serving sizes of lasagna. From individual servings you may reheat for lunch to large family-sized baking dishes.
Twenty plus years ago, we purchased our dual-core stainless pots, pans, wok and frying pans. I still love them! Our set came with an amazing selection of pans and an average and very large pasta pan, colander and lid. Be still my heart….
When I prepare lasagna I pull out the big guns and that oversized pasta pot set. Next, I add in water, lots of water. I’d rather have too much water than too little. Too little and those beautiful flat ruffly noodles will stick together, ugh! You don’t want that.
Heat it Up!
Turn your stovetop burner to high and bring it to a fast-rolling boil. Once its boiling and only when its a fast-rolling boil do you add in your salt. This is purely a personal preference and the only time you salt your noodles.
Time To Add Your Lasagna Noodles
After the water is boiling and you’ve salted your water, it’s time to add your noodles. Do this slowly and a few noodles at a time, stirring occasionally with a long-handled spoon.
Back to Boiling
You may find that the water temperature decreases and isn’t at a fast rolling boil. Not to worry, just allow it to increase and boil again. Be sure to drop it down a few settings so that it doesn’t boil over. You just want a consistent rolling boil…and not the fast-rolling boil you first needed.
Cooking the Lasagna Noodles
The ‘doneness’ of the noodles is a personal preference. I was raised with al dente as done. This is when the noodles have softened, cooked but not mushy. We test it by removing a noodle, cooling under running water and tasting. If we bit into the noodle and there is still a bit of firmness its good to go. Now, this doesn’t mean raw and hard nor soft and mushy. Our perfect timing for lasagna is 16 minutes. My sweet cousin likes 12 minutes. So, you see it’s a personal preference. It will continue to cook during the baking process so, less is better.
Draining off the Hot Water
After 16 minutes, carefully drain off the water. With our pasta pot you simply lift up on the colander, allow excess water to drain away then move the noodle filled colander to sink and use your muscle to drain the hot water from your pan. In my case, I ask hubby to do this.
Adding Cool Water
While the last of the water drains from your noodles, fill your pot with cool tap water. Then return your noodles to the pan and tap water. The water level should be high enough to cover your noodles.
Time To Begin Layering
Really, that’s all it is a simple layering process. Be sure to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Where was I? Oh yea, layering.
We use pyrex baking dishes and in various sizes. Use any oblong baking dish and this can be glass or the disposable foil variety.
Assembly style works best for me. Combine in a bowl all the shredded cheeses, mixed thoroughly. I heat to soften, not melt my ricotta cheese, a microwave and mixing bowl work perfectly.
My cooling noodles, pasta sauce, cheese and ricotta are all arranged nearby. In addition, I used a dish towel or layers of paper towels to pat dry the noodles. Plus, you need room to work.
Let’s Get Started
With a large kitchen spoon, cover the bottom of your dish with Semi-Homemade Spaghetti sauce. Use the rounded backside of your spoon to spread and move sauce for a thin layering of sauce. Watch our video tutorial if you have any questions.
Adding In The Noodles
Now, add noodles across the bottom of your pan, overlapping slightly. Using a silicone spatula to add a thin layer of ricotta cheese across your noodles. Next up, your cheeses. Spread a thin even layer of cheese over semi-homemade spaghetti sauce.
Time to start the layering process again and continue until 2/3 thirds of your baking dish is filled. Your final layers should be your ricotta, semi-homemade sauce, and a final layer of your cheese blend.
Baking Your Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and Lasagna
Place your uncovered lasagna into your preheated 350-degree oven. Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until your sauce and cheese is bubbling. Remove from heat and allow to rest before serving. Easy …. right?
If you have any questions or concerns, drop us a comment. Be sure to watch our video tutorial, it makes the process of making this Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and Lasagna The Easy Way, so much easier. Read the detailed recipe and instructions provided below.
These are family recipes and favorites. Our Sweet, Moist and Delicious Cornbread would be an amazing addition to these recipes! We hope you’ll watch our tutorial videos and give these recipes a try. Please drop us questions or comments in the comments area below. Let us know about your recipe successes or ???
- 1 or 2 boxes Lasagna Noodles We used two boxes of the Barilla brand.
- 1 pint Ricotta cheese, part-skim We used the Frigo brand
- 1 bag Shredded 6 cheese Italian mix. About 2 cups or 8 ounces. It should contain shredded; Mozzarella, Provolone, Romano, Fontina, Asiago and Parmesan Cheeses. We used the Sargento brand.
- 1 bag Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese, about 2 cups or 8 ounces We used a store brand.
- 1 bag Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, about 2 cups or 8 ounces We used a store brand.
- 1 batch Semi-Homemade spaghetti Sauce
- Put a large pan filled with water, to heat on stove top burner over high heat. Bring water to a fast rolling boil.
- Once water is boiling add salt, to taste. Note; this is the only time you will be able to salt the lasagna noodles.
- Slowly add in the lasagna noodles. Stirring occassionaly with a long handled kitchen spoon.
- Cook, at a low to medium boil, for 16 minutes. Note: We like ours cooked al dente. This is when the noodles are cooked but not overly soft and mushy.
- When noodles are cooked, slowly and carefully drain water from noodles using a collender. Fill your pot with cold water and return your noodles into the pan. Cold water should cover your lasagna noodles. The cool water will stop the cooking process and keep your lasagna noodles fresh until ready to use.
- If you made spaghetti sauce using our delicious, semi-homemade spaghetti sauce recipe it should be hot and ready to use. If not, heat your sauce to a simmer.
- This recipe will make several large oblong sized pans and about 13" x 9" x 3" high or you can make individual serving sizes, medium square sized etcetera.
- Create a work station. Transfer your shredded cheeses into a bowl and mix to combine or use an individual-sized small bowl(s). In a microwave slightly warm your ricotta cheese (It'll spread easier) have your heated spaghetti sauce nearby and easily accessible. You'll need several layers of paper towels or use a kitchen towel to pat dry your lasagna noodles, pyrex baking pan(s) and enough free space to work. Almost like a little assembly line.
- Using a large kitchen spoon, laddle in several spoonfulls of heated spaghetti sauce into your pyrex pan and spread evenly across the bottom of your pyrex pan.
- Next add pat dried noodles across the bottom of your pan, overlaping slightly.
- Using a silicon or rubber spatula and spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese over each of the noodles.
- Ladle in several more spoonfuls of spaghetti sauce over noodles, spreading evenly over lasagna noodles.
- Sprinkle a generous layer of your cheeses over spaghetti sauce, covering completely.
- Continue this layering process until you've filled your baking pan to 2/3rds full.
- Place uncovered baking pan into a 350 degree preheated oven and back for 35-45 minutes or until sauce and cheeses are bubbly.
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