This post is in partnership with Kroger
When Kroger asked me back in July to join them for a blogging event at Kroger HQ in Cincinnati, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. When they said we’d be celebrating Christmas in October, the lights in my eyes saw sparkles of red, green and white.
See, while most of you are thinking, “Why is Christmas stuff already up in the stores when the Halloween candy hasn’t even been doled out?”, I’m researching and plotting my Christmas gift giving list, secretly listening to my Christmas carol playlist, and praying for snow. Like NOW! BRING ME SNOW!
I’m the original Christmas girl.
So when Kroger broke out the ugly sweaters for each one of us, we all jumped on a bus en route to visit the largest Kroger in the U.S. of A., and broke out in mismatched caroling harmony to this Mariah classic. It totallyput me in my element, and a holiday state of mind.
Our goal for the day was to create a holiday recipe to share with our fellow bloggers at the Kroger Bloggers Banquet. I didn’t have to think too hard about what my dish would be, I just channeled my sweet Aunt Jill and her Christmas Lasagna, the dish we had every Christmas Eve and all the best Christmas Eve’s of my youth.
Before all our cooking could begin, we needed groceries to get the deeds done. Earlier that day we all made our grocery lists using Kroger’s ClickList feature on their website where you place your order online then head to the store to pick it up, all bagged and ready to go. They even deliver it to your car for you. Talk about convenience!
Since we were on a tour of the store, I piled my goodies into a cart and took advantage of the WINE BAR in the store to savor while shopping! Now THIS is how to shop: At home with ClickList and a glass of wine in hand, AND/OR, shopping in the store with a glass of wine in hand. Oh Kroger, you got my number!
After getting rave reviews from my fellow bloggers, I came home to recreate my cheesy masterpiece and reminisce about the memories of sharing Christmas Eve lasagna dinner with my parents and sister, grandparents, aunts and uncles while running back and forth between watching the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story with my cousins, and stealing cheese-filled celery sticks and black olives from the appetizer tray.
My Aunt Jill has never been a fan of meat, so the fact that she included sausage in her original version is a testament to her love of her family and a house of 4 sons who each grew to over 6’5″ plus a husband who very much loved meat. Luckily, the stakes have evened out for her now that she has a gaggle of gorgeous daughters-in-laws to continue keeping those boys in check.
I still have a copy of Jill’s original recipe that includes my surprise ingredient of cottage cheese, but I’ve switched it up a bit to add even MORE cheese to make up for my skipping the meat in my version. I think 8 types of cheese definitely does the trick
Because 30 years later, I think my Aunt Jill deserves to have a slice of meatless lasagna her way, am I right?
About the Recipe
One trick to lessening the lasagna-making load is to use no-boil lasagna noodles and a really good quality jarred sauce, which I’ve found in both Kroger’s Private Selection marinara sauces and DeLallo’s brand of jarred marinara. Feel free to use the flat or the ribboned style of lasagna noodles, you’ll need one box for this recipe of either/or.
I’m really picky about my ricotta cheese, which can too often taste chalky and plastic like. So I am THRILLED to have discovered that the Kroger brand of ricotta is totally not that. It’s creamy, rich and doesn’t get watery when cooked. It’s not only great in Italian food, it’s also so good on toast with a little jam. Just sayin’.
While I was at it, I loaded up on Kroger’s mozzarella, sliced provolone from the deli counter, grated Parmesan cheese and the Private Selection 3 cheese blend of Asiago, Parmesan and Romano. The provolone cheese is what creates the coveted, stringy cheese pull so if you’re thinking of skipping one of the cheeses in this dish, don’t skip the provolone!
Be sure to wring all of the water out of the thawed spinach to avoid a watery sauce.
I’ve found this dish is even better the 2nd day. Leftovers are certainly encouraged here.
Assembling this dinner is so easy, and that translates to a perfect dinner for a crowd and for the holidays. If you want to make this and freeze ahead, definitely do so. Simply bake the lasagna straight from the freezer for about 1 1/2 hours, with the foil on, and another 10-20 minutes once you’ve removed the foil.
TIP: To keep the cheese from sticking to the foil covering the casserole and ruining the cheesy topper, I spray the foil with baking spray and also tent it loosely over the dish so it doesn’t sit on the cheese.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
The Cheesiest Spinach and Cheese Lasagna
- 1 16-ounce container ricotta cheese
- 1 8-ounce container small curd cottage cheese
- 1 5-ounce container 3-cheese blend grated cheese
- 1 12-ounce bag frozen spinach, thawed and with all of the moisture squeezed dry
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 25 -ounce jars marinara sauce
- 1 9-ounce package no-boil lasagna noodles
- 12 slices provolone cheese
- 1½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Basil leaves
- Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine the ricotta, cottage cheese, 3-cheese blend and spinach with the eggs, ground black pepper and kosher salt until well mixed.
- Spread half of a jar of the marinara sauce over the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking pan. Layer 5 sheets of the lasagna sheet so they’re slightly overlapping. Dollop half of the ricotta mixture onto the lasagna sheets and evenly spread on top. Layer 4 slices of provolone over the ricotta and sprinkle with ½ cup mozzarella cheese. Pour another half of the jar of marinara evenly over the cheese. Layer 5 more sheets of lasagna and repeat by dolloping the rest of the ricotta mixture over the lasagna sheets and spread evenly, top with 4 more slices of provolone cheese, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, and then pour half of the sauce from the remaining jar of sauce over the cheese. Top with 5 more layers of the lasagna sheets and pour the remaining half of the marinara sauce over the noodles and top with the remaining slices of provolone cheese and mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 60 minutes or until bubbly. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minute or until the cheese is lightly browned.
- Let the lasagna rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil leaves and fresh grated parmesan.
Kroger’s Blogger Banquet Recipes
Below are links to some of the other bloggers who joined me in Cincinnati to out-carol Mariah and whip up some fantastic holiday eats. So. Much. Goodness.
Hey, thanks for stopping by, make it a great day and make something good.
This post is sponsored by Kroger. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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