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A delicious lasagna recipe made with ground beef and sausage, with a little bit of brown sugar to give it something special.

American Lasagna from www.tasteandtellblog.com

Photo Updated December 2013

This is my all-time favorite lasagna recipe. (At least until I find the next best one!!) This is one I’ve actually been making for years – one of those Tried and True recipes. It’s another one of those Allrecipes gems that one member of my family discovered years ago, and now all of us make it.

And I actually made it last year. Yes, ladies and gentlemen – last year. You know, you start a little food blog one day, thinking that you’ll just post everything for yourself to remind you of what you made. And then you start visiting lots of other food blogs, and then people start to visit yours. Before you know it, you are trying your hardest to make your pictures look appetizing, and if they don’t, you just keep skipping right over them. Thank goodness I started Bad Photo Sundays – because I’d hate to not share this recipe!!

This is definitely not a traditional lasagna – hence the name American Lasagna – but it is oh, so delicious! I think the secret ingredient is the brown sugar. It doesn’t make the lasagna sweet, but it brings something extra to it that I haven’t had from any other lasagna. The other secret to this lasagna is that you want to make it the night before – up to the baking step – refrigerate it, and then bake it the next day. I’ve tried it both ways (waiting overnight and cooking the night of) and having it sit overnight really does make a huge difference. And I do what normally do in recipes like this – I do part ground beef and part sausage to add some extra flavor instead of just ground beef.

American Lasagna
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A delicious lasagna recipe made with ground beef and sausage, with a little bit of brown sugar to give it something special.
Serves: 12 servings
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 12 dry lasagna noodles
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling on the top
  1. In a skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef, sausage, onion and garlic; drain fat. Mix in basil, oregano, brown sugar, 1½ teaspoons salt, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles, and cook until al dente. Drain the noodles and lay flat on paper towels to dry.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, parsley and 1 teaspoon salt.
  4. Spread a small amount of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Layer ⅓ of the lasagna noodles in the bottom of the dish. Cover noodles with ½ ricotta mixture, ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese and ⅓ of the sauce. Repeat. Top with remaining noodles and sauce, then the remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake in the preheated oven 45-60 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  5. If making the day before, refrigerate after assembling the lasagna, before baking it. Add an additional 15 minutes to the cook time.
adapted from allrecipes.com

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31 Responses to American Lasagna

  1. Mary says:

    I don’t know why you put this on a “bad photo Sunday”. I think it looks WAY delicious!

  2. Katie says:

    Why bad photo? It looks GREAT!

  3. Rosie says:

    It looks GREAT to me your photo and the Lasagna I could eat asap!!

    Rosie x

  4. Veron says:

    um…it does not look like a bad photo to me because I would love to eat it right out of my screen!

  5. Sylvie says:

    Lasagne is a hard one to photograph, I think you did a great job though. I certainly makes me wanna grab a fork and tuck right in!

  6. Ginny says:

    I think we are often our own worse critics…the photo looks great! I would come over for dinner in a second!

  7. Brilynn says:

    There are no bad lasagna pictures! I can almost taste it from here! And brown sugar sounds intriguing…

  8. Joy says:

    There’s nothing bad about that photo – it makes me want to grab a big old spoon and dig in!

  9. Kevin says:

    That looks good! Lasagna is one of my favorite meals. The use of the brown sugar is interesting.

  10. Jessy and her dog Winnie says:

    Nice photo! Lol. I bet the brown sugar adds a very unique flavor.

  11. Emiline says:

    Ha. Your bad photos are better than most people’s good photos. Shhh…don’t tell anyone I said that.
    I’m kidding. No offense to anyone.

    How I love lasagna! This looks amazing!

  12. chocolate shavings says:

    I haven’t had lasagna in a while and this really makes me wonder why!

  13. glamah16 says:

    This is a very unique adaptation. Especially the ‘wait’ time before cooking and the brown sugar. Im going to have to try this out.

  14. Katie B. says:

    I agree – I think your lasanga looks delicious!

  15. noble pig says:

    Okay seriously, all these so called bad photos are making me hungry. They are rustic and lovely and pass the sauce yummy.

    Looks fab. Again.

  16. Gretchen Noelle says:

    Although I have my always make-tried & true lasagna recipe…10+ years with slight alterations…I am intrigued. Brown sugar? Must wait? Can’t help but wonder…and I just might make it to try it out!

  17. Jenny says:

    This lasagna looks gorgeous to me and delicious! I haven’t made lasagna for a long time, you’ve inspired me to get to work! This sounds like a great recipe!!

  18. PheMom says:

    Looks good to me too with all that browned cheesy goodness! We were closer to your neck of the woods today and went up the canyon to hike around by Mt Timp today. It was such a beautiful day (and now tonight the wind is screaming!). Oh well, hope you had a great day!

  19. Arundathi says:

    thats not a bad photo (i better not show you any of my bad photos!!) – lol – looks delicious. sitting lasagna sit overnight is a something that I do too, and it really improves the taste! first time here and i love your blog!

  20. Grace says:

    can lasagna ever be considered ugly? i submit that it cannot. well, unless it was burnt to a crisp. or in a heap on a dirty floor. 🙂

  21. Dhanggit says:

    my favorite, lasagNNNAA!! i love them, the weather here is quite bad;;good thing i have this lasagna to give me a smile..i agree with you on adding sugar on salty dishes. i heard one time a chef that for salty dishes we could add up a tsp of sugar to bring out the best on its taste and vice versa for some sweet dishes a pinch of salt will definitely do the trick..you call if bad photo i call it good appetite!! yum

  22. Ruth Elkin says:

    Bad Photo? It looks like a perfect dish to me!!!! I love lasagna!

  23. Megan says:

    I’m definetly trying it. The picture and the brown sugar sold me!

  24. Elle says:

    What are you talking about? It looks great! And I’m not sure if i could wait overnight to bake this…

  25. kimberleyblue says:

    I love lasagna – one of my favs. I usually make a veggie one, but the addition of sausage in this one has me wanting meat!

  26. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Deb, one of my husband’s absolute favorite dishes. It looks so scrumptious!

  27. dobetter says:

    Looks like the perfect lasagna! I love all recipes too.

  28. Vicarious Foodie says:

    I was out of town on Sunday so am just now getting to this, but I knew I’d have to make it a point to stop by for bad photo Sunday!

    Why is it so hard to take pictures of things made in casserole dishes? It’s so unfair, because I really love casseroles. How do magazines get their pictures of lasagna to look so good? I don’t think the lasagnas have actually been baked–in fact, I bet the noodles haven’t even really been cooked.

  29. Dana McCauley says:

    There’s really no such thing as a bad lasagna photo – unless it has been pre-chewed. That, indeed, would be ugly.

  30. Nancy Long says:

    sounds great – I haven’t cooked the noodles in years, just use a touch more sauce, cover with foil for about 45 mins, uncover for last 15-20 mins and it bakes beautifully

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