Mock Lasagna– Frugal Dinner Recipe

Mock lasagna is a crowd pleaser and comfort food.  It's delicious like lasagna, but is much simpler to make and is easy to make in large quantities.  The secret is making the tomato sauce from scratch (don't worry- it's easy), but you can use store-bought sauce if you like.

Mock lasagna is a dinner our whole family gets excited about.  Mock lasagna is delicious like lasagna, but is much simpler to make and is easy to make in large quantities.  

My mother-in-law came up with the recipe years ago when her six children were young.  Now it’s a tradition that her grandchildren are enjoying.  The secret is making the tomato sauce from scratch, but you can use store-bought sauce if you like.

Mock Lasagna

  • 16 oz Macaroni Elbows
  • 32 oz Pasta Sauce– OR–  make your own with the following ingredients:
    • 1 quart Tomato Puree
    • 2-3 Tbsp Flour
    • 1/2 Tbsp Parsley
    • 1/2 Tbsp Oregano
    • 1/2 Tbsp Basil
    • 1/2 Tbsp Salt
    • 1 medium Onion, chopped (optional)
    • 2 cloves of Garlic (optional)
    • 1/2 lb ground beef (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 lb of Ground Beef, browned (if you don’t already have meat in your sauce)
  • 2 cups Shredded Cheese
  • 16 oz Cottage Cheese

Mock lasagna is a crowd pleaser and comfort food.  It's delicious like lasagna, but is much simpler to make and is easy to make in large quantities.  The secret is making the tomato sauce from scratch (don't worry- it's easy), but you can use store-bought sauce if you like.

I start by making my tomato sauce.  If you don’t have your own canned tomato puree, you can purchase the puree to make your own sauce.  The ingredients are listed above, but the detailed instructions are here.  I really think this homemade sauce is what makes mock lasagna such a favorite.

You can use store-bought sauce if you have one you love.  Heat your sauce in a sauce pan and add browned ground beef.

Mock lasagna is a crowd pleaser and comfort food.  It's delicious like lasagna, but is much simpler to make and is easy to make in large quantities.  The secret is making the tomato sauce from scratch (don't worry- it's easy), but you can use store-bought sauce if you like.

Add your macaroni to boiling water in a large sauce pan.  Boil for about 10 minutes, or until they are done to your liking.  Drain and return to pan or large bowl.

Mock lasagna is a crowd pleaser and comfort food.  It's delicious like lasagna, but is much simpler to make and is easy to make in large quantities.  The secret is making the tomato sauce from scratch (don't worry- it's easy), but you can use store-bought sauce if you like.

While they are both still hot, add your sauce to the drained pasta and stir.

Mock lasagna is a crowd pleaser and comfort food.  It's delicious like lasagna, but is much simpler to make and is easy to make in large quantities.  The secret is making the tomato sauce from scratch (don't worry- it's easy), but you can use store-bought sauce if you like.

Add 2 cups of shredded cheese and mix until melted.

Mock lasagna is a crowd pleaser and comfort food.  It's delicious like lasagna, but is much simpler to make and is easy to make in large quantities.  The secret is making the tomato sauce from scratch (don't worry- it's easy), but you can use store-bought sauce if you like.

Add 16 oz of cottage cheese and stir.

Mock lasagna is a crowd pleaser and comfort food.  It's delicious like lasagna, but is much simpler to make and is easy to make in large quantities.  The secret is making the tomato sauce from scratch (don't worry- it's easy), but you can use store-bought sauce if you like.

Serve hot and enjoy!

To make this dish even more budget friendly, here are a few frugal tips:

  • Use stretched ground beef.  When I brown my ground beef I add in pureed veggies to bulk it up and stretch it out (and hide some extra veggies too).  I have a tutorial on how to stretch ground beef.
  • We buy cottage cheese in 5 pound tubs at Sam’s Club, which is much cheaper than buying individual 16 oz containers.  When I measure it, I just eyeball it.
  • You can save money by cutting down on the amount of cheese.
  • You can leave the ground beef out altogether and make this a meatless dish!

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Mock Lasagna
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Mock lasagna is a crowd pleaser and comfort food. It's delicious like lasagna, but is much simpler to make and is easy to make in large quantities.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian American
Ingredients
  • 16 oz Macaroni Elbows
  • 32 oz Pasta Sauce– OR– make your own from tomato puree (see website for details-- it makes all the difference!)
  • ½ to 1 lb of Ground Beef, browned (if you don’t already have meat in your sauce)
  • 2 cups Shredded Cheese
  • 16 oz Cottage Cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat your sauce in a sauce pan and add browned ground beef.
  2. Add your macaroni to boiling water in a large sauce pan. Boil for about 10 minutes, or until they are done to your liking. Drain and return to pan or large bowl.
  3. While they are both still hot, add your sauce to the drained pasta and stir.
  4. Add 2 cups of shredded cheese and mix until melted.
  5. Add 16 oz of cottage cheese and stir.
  6. Serve hot and enjoy!

 

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4 thoughts on “Mock Lasagna– Frugal Dinner Recipe

  1. I never thought of using cottage cheese. My grandma and mom use ricotta cheese! I like to do this when I’m feeling lazy but want to change it up. Plain pasta can get boring sometimes!

  2. I’ve been eating up the pantry and thought this recipe would help consume a big bag of elbow macaroni. Wow, it is tasty! And much cheaper and faster than making traditional lasagna. I threw in some green pepper I had on hand, too. Thanks for sharing!

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