Tasty Tuesday: National Garfield the Cat Day


June 19th is National Garfield the Cat Day! To celebrate, let’s make Garfield’s favorite dish – lasagna! Lasagna came from Italy and was brought to America by immigrants.  It has become a big staple of the American diet. It’s easy to make, feeds a lot of hungry people and actually not terribly expensive to make.

You can customize taste to your liking – spicy or not, with meat or not, homemade sauce or store-bought sauce.  If you have not yet tried making it or haven’t eaten it much, you can use my favorite recipe as a base and when you make it again, you can customize it more to your tastes. It’s great to warm up for leftovers and it’s good to freeze for later.  One of my daughters always makes 2-3 unbaked ahead of time and takes them to their group of friends for their weekend trips for a “potluck” mealtime.

When I was catering it was ALWAYS one of the most requested dishes to serve for up to hundreds of guests.  So, make whatever size you want or have ingredients for and enjoy that day and later days. Great with garlic bread and maybe a green salad!



Olive oil

½ pound sausage (Italian, breakfast, pork, ground beef or chicken) – optional

2 pounds lean ground beef (or other ground protein) – optional

2 large cans tomato sauce

1 large can stewed tomatoes (or use crushed tomatoes and add onions and peppers)

Salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder, garlic (minced or ground) – all to taste (or use a Spaghetti sauce dry mix)

½ green pepper, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 package of lasagna noodles (see note below)

Cheeses: Grated Cheddar (medium), grated Swiss or Mozzarella, 12 ounces Ricotta (or cottage cheese), grated Parmesan and dry Parmesan. (Quantities depend on the size pan you are making so I try to have a good amount of everything on hand before I start assembly.  At least 8 ounces of cheese per kind. At least ¼ pound Parmesan.)


  1. Brown meats and add the tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, spices, green pepper and onion in a large Dutch Oven pan on the stove.  Simmer for 2 hours.  Taste and adjust flavors.
  2. While sauce is simmering boil noodles per package instructions.
  3. In a 3-quart lasagna pan or oven-proof pan/dish with high sides, oil the pan, then layer first a thin layer of the sauce, then a layer of drained noodles, Ricotta, shredded cheeses, sauce, and repeat until the top is sauce.  Top with the Parmesan. (I suggest putting your pan on a sheet pan or layering some foil under the pan – if it’s pretty full it just might bubble over and I really do not like cleaning my oven – even a self-cleaning oven. I love the smell of fresh food, not burned on the oven.)
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F preheated oven until done and bubbling. The cheese needs to be melting and the dish needs to be hot. Approximately an hour. Don’t let it burn, but if it gets too brown cover with foil if it isn’t done to your satisfaction.
  5. Let stand 15-20 minutes to settle. Sprinkle with dry Parmesan if desired.

Cut into squares and serve with some parsley for garnish, a green salad, and hot garlic bread! YUMMY!!!


Like a lot of my recipes (not all!) you can adjust ingredients to suit your tastes.

You can use a jar or two of prepared pasta sauce.  There are many varieties and brands.  OR you can use a spaghetti sauce mix in the dry mix aisle of the grocery store instead of your own spices.  If you don’t use spices a lot, it might be cheaper. 

Use your favorite cheeses. 

Some lasagna noodles do not need to be boiled before using, use them from the package and they cook in the sauce while baking.  Or you can make homemade if you want. 

You can certainly use more spice if you want.  And I often add dry red wine in the sauce before simmering.  It adds flavor, not alcohol.

You can make it without meat which is also good.  You might want to add eggplant (not the same as eggplant parmesan).

You might want to add an egg or two to the Ricotta or cottage cheese if they are a little thin when you open the carton.  I’ve learned in today’s grocery shopping that you need to be prepared to be flexible in some items.  Large eggs often look like medium or small eggs and often what is supposed to be dry food is pretty liquid.

Make notes on your recipes as you prepare and enjoy them! It’s great for your next culinary experience in the kitchen.

This freezes well before baking, and after you bake and enjoy.  Leftovers should never be tossed – at least not until you eat them at least once again. I’m not a fond one for leftovers.  I often make them into a new dish. But for lasagna, I’ve never been sorry I had them 2-3 times over.

Just allow yourself enough time – especially if you are making your own sauce.  It takes time, as does all great things! 

Please enjoy your kitchen time, enjoy the praise you get from your family and friends, and enjoy the dish yourself!

Bon Appetite’

With Love,

Granni K

To download this recipe, click here.