This Beef Lasagna recipe is very easy and filled with lots of delicious Italian flavor. Includes tips for how to save money on beef (and best ways to buy and store it, too)!
This Beef Lasagna recipe is awesome. And, since I learned a LOT about beef in the past week, I’m now craving it again, thank you very much (and I was one who thought I knew most things about beef and didn’t believe I could learn much more)! I love that this beef lasagna recipe includes arugula and spinach, too; makes for a good way to get your beef AND your greens!
Turns out it was one of those “you don’t know what you don’t know” situations.
It’s all part of the #KnowYourBeef campaign through The Beef Checkoff. I was part of a fantastic webinar where we discussed all sorts of beef-related topics: nutrition, different cuts of meat, how beef is fed and even how to save money. One of the neatest tools they shared was their Interactive Butcher Counter – I’ve already played around with it and it’s so cool! If you’re not one who’s familiar with all the different cuts of beef or gets confused on how to choose one (and then how best to prepare it) – it’ll be a great tool for you to use, too. You can explore different cuts, ask the tool to guide you to the right cut or even enter a specific cut like I did here:
One of the facts I learned through this process that most surprised me is that all cattle spend the majority of their lives being grass-fed. It’s later that some are switched to grain-fed and the rest kept to their grass-fed diets. We also talked a lot about how to save money when buying beef (which I put into play when making this beef lasagna recipe). I already try to buy in bulk or cut a large piece into servings to stretch it out but I learned a few other tricks, too:
There are so many things I learned through our Q&A session but instead of telling you I thought it would be easier to simply share the Q&A’s I found most helpful (especially about freezing beef, I had no idea you could refreeze!):
What’s the best way to freeze beef?
For freezing, first remove from the over-wrap and put the meat in a freezer-safe bag. Squeeze all of the air out that you can before zipping it up and freezing it. You can safely freeze up from 6-12 months. If you want to freeze already cooked beef, you can freeze up to 2-3 months. There is also a brand new section on the website for how to safely and quickly defrost ground beef.
Is it OK to freeze, thaw, then refreeze beef?
It can be refrozen, as long as it was thawed properly in the first place. If you defrosted it properly in the refrigerator, then it’s okay to put back in the freezer.
What’s the best way to tell your beef is done, without cutting into it?
My favorite kitchen tool is the meat thermometer! I have a meat thermometer that can leave in the oven, so I can easily monitor the temperature of dishes like roasts. I also have an instant read digital thermometer for steaks on the grill and things like that. On our website, see the guidelines for what temperatures you should cook these beef cuts to. Make sure you cook to 160 degrees, and the only way you can do that is by using a meat thermometer.
Does refreezing change the flavor?
Just make sure when you refreeze cooked beef that the temperature goes back down naturally. If you try to refreeze beef when the temperature is still hot, it could change the properties.
What is the difference between sell by and use by dates?
Purchase beef on or before the sell by date. But then the refrigerator usage guidelines kick in. For steaks and roasts you want to use within 3-4 days from the sell by date. And for beef, stews, stir-fries, and cuts that have been cut for you conveniently, you want to use a little bit sooner, like 2-3 days of the sell by date. Ground beef is even more perishable, so plan use 1-2 days from the sell by date.
Those were all the questions that I found really interesting but there’s still so much more information on their website that you should head over and check it out (if only for the Interactive Butcher Counter – it’s my favorite part – although it’s also where I found this fantastic Beef Lasagna recipe, too)! I would love to answer any questions you have about beef so please don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section. Even if I don’t know the answer, I’m sure my new friends at The Beef Checkoff will be happy to chime in!
In the meantime, here’s delicious Beef Lasagna recipe I found that looks and sounds sooo good (I’ve now made it and can attest that it is). They have a lot more recipes for browsing, too (like these Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms)! And be sure you didn’t miss my Chuck Roast with Balsamic & Dijon recipe that I shared last week…it’s super tasty and gorgeous to boot.
Beef…it’s what’s awesome!
- 1-1/2 pounds Ground Beef, 95% lean
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 4 cups prepared pasta or spaghetti sauce
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh baby arugula, about 1-3/4 ounces
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh baby spinach, about 1-3/4 ounces
- 1 container, 15 ounces fat free ricotta cheese
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 9 uncooked oven-ready, no boil lasagna noodles (each about 6-3/4 x 3-1/2 inches)
- 1-1/2 cups reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add Ground Beef and garlic; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 3/4-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet with slotted spoon; pour off drippings. Return beef to skillet; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir in pasta sauce. Set aside.
- Combine arugula and spinach. Set aside. Combine ricotta cheese, egg whites, basil, oregano, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in small bowl.
- Spread 1 cup meat sauce over bottom of 11-3/4 x 7-1/2-inch glass baking dish. Top with 3 noodles, 1/2 ricotta mixture, 1/2 spinach mixture, 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1-1/2 cups meat sauce. Repeat layers. Top with remaining 3 noodles and meat sauce.
- Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in 375°F oven 45 to 50 minutes or until noodles are tender and sauce is bubbly. Remove foil; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand, loosely covered, 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe as seen in The Healthy Beef Cookbook, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and found on Beef It's What's for Dinner