Last week I published a post that listed some resources I’m using to learn how to be a better home cook.  You can read that post HERE.

One of the resources I highlighted is the bookazine, “America’s Test Kitchen: Essential Recipes“.  In recent weeks have made several of the recipes from this cooking treasure.  And this skillet meal – featured in section entitled “Top 5 Recipes for the Tired Cook” – quickly became a family favorite.

This dish really does deliver a lot of wonderful flavor, without much effort.  I hope the people you serve at your table love it too!

SKILLET MEATY LASAGNA (Serves 4-6 people)

My recipe notes are in Italics.


  • 1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on the amount of heat you prefer.  I only used 1/8 teaspoon because my youngest son won’t eat food that is spicy.)
  • 1 pound meatloaf mix, a raw blend of ground meats (If meatloaf mix is not available where you shop, the recipe author suggests substituting 8 ounces each of ground pork and 85% lean ground beef. I think any blend of ground meat that you prefer will work fine.  Also, my store didn’t have meatloaf mix, but they did have an unbaked meatloaf, so I used that.  The dish came out great and was super easy.) 
  • 10 curly edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths (Don’t spend time being too precise, bite sized is fine. And do not use no-boil, because you need the noodles to soak up a lot of the liquid and thicken the sauce.)
  • 1-8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 ounce (1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated. Plus 2 tablespoons grated.
  • 8  ounces whole milk or part skim, ricotta cheese (Do not use full skim ricotta for this recipe.  It will not produce the flavor and texture this dish needs.)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped


This recipe takes approximately 10-15 minutes of ingredient prep, 15 minutes of hands on cooking, plus 20 minutes of hands off cooking time.  So just to be safe, plan on one hour from the time you start, until your serving plates.

  • Place tomatoes and their juice in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup.  Add water until mixture measures 4 cups.
  • Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and pepper flakes.  Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add meatloaf mix and cook, breaking up meat into small pieces until meat is no longer pink, about 4 minutes.  (Since I used an actual raw meatloaf that had other ingredients in the mixture, the meat remained a pink color even after it browned.)
  • Scatter noodles over meat, but do not stir.  Pour tomato mixture and tomato sauce over noodles, cover, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until noodles are tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir gently once or twice during cooking so bottom doesn’t burn.
  • Off heat, stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Dollop heaping tablespoons of ricotta cheese over top, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with basil and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan.


Note: I also think this recipe would work well without the meat for a great vegetarian dish.

Published by Wendy Kessler

The table is my favorite place to gather. It is where family & friends are nourished by good food and good conversation, as the sacred and the ordinary intersect over meals served daily.

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