Once Upon a Lasagna

If you’ve seen my other blog (or dug deep enough in this one) then you might have figured out that I’m a geek about many, many things. Well, one such thing is fairytales. I grew up on Disney, so it’s no shocker that I get pretty nostalgic when someone even mentions Beauty and the Beast or Pocahontas.

And then there was Once Upon a Time. The writing leaves a lot to be desired, but it has all my favorite characters and that’s just enough of a reason for me to continue to watch it. If you’re familiar with the show then you know that Granny of “Little Red Riding Hood” fame owns a diner (and that she’s, well, kind of awesome).

So in honor of the grandmother who’s a bit more spice than she is nice, I decided to make her famous lasagna–with a bit of a kick.

Granny’s Lasagna



  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 10 ounces mild Italian sausage
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp chopped yellow onions
  • 4.5 ounces lasagna pasta (about 8-10 pasta sheets), cooked


  • 23 ounces tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp sugar

Garlic Oil

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsps olive oil

Cheese Layer

  • 15-17 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used Sargento’s 6 Cheese Italian), divided
  • 3-4 slices of pepperjack cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg or 1-2 tsps olive oil


  1. Combine ground beef, Italian sausage, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and yellow onions in a nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink and is cooked throughout. Reduce to medium heat.
  2. Combine all ingredients listed under sauce in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover with lid and cook over low heat for at least 3-5 minutes.
  3. Combine garlic and 2 tbsps of oil in a small skillet. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic is aromatic. Add to sauce mixture and stir. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes
  4. Boil lasagna pasta per package instructions (or per preferred level of tenderness). Remove from heat, drain, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  5. Add sauce mixture to meat mixture. Stir and reduce to a simmer (at least 5 minutes).
  6. Combine ricotta, 1 cup of 6 Cheese Italian (or cheese of choice), and one egg or olive oil in a small bowl.
  7. If desired, lightly butter a 9×13 inch glass dish (otherwise, spray with nonstick spray or line with foil). Layer bottom of the dish with lasagna pasta.
  8. Top with layer of cheese mixture and then top with meat. Add another layer of pasta. Add another layer of cheese. Layer on meat.
  9. Top with remaining cup of 6 Cheese Italian. Shred (i.e. tear) pepperjack cheese on top of 6 Italian cheese.
  10. Bake on 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until thoroughly cooked throughout. Serve with garlic bread.

Note: For an extra kick, use spicy Italian sausage and up the red pepper flakes by another tablespoon.



Now then, who wants to eat seconds?

Granny wave