Little Kids' Lasagna

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This recipe is perfect for a cooking party for kids because it's healthy and easy to make. Set out a tableful of fixings (precooked noodles, meat, sauce, and cheeses) and let guests build their own customized lasagnas. For the ideas for a complete cooking party, click here.

What you'll need

  • 1 small aluminum loaf pan (about 3 by 8 inches, preferably with plastic cover) for each guest
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (or ground beef)
  • 1 pound lasagna noodles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 jar (32-ounce) spaghetti sauce
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup pesto (optional)

How to make it

  1. Prepare the sausage and the lasagna noodles. (If this is part of a party, prepare the noodles the night before.) Remove the sausage from the casing and cook over medium heat, breaking up the clumps, until completely brown. Drain the fat, set the meat in a bowl, and cover with plastic when cool. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Rinse the noodles and toss them with olive oil to prevent them from sticking together. (Tip: If the noodles don't fit in your loaf pans very well, you may want to trim them ahead of time.) Lay the noodles in a 13- by 9- by 2-inch pan and cover with plastic. Then store the precooked ingredients in the refrigerator.

  2. Just before the party, place the sauce, cheeses, and pesto (if desired) into bowls. Set them around the table along with the cooked lasagna noodles and sausage, and loaf pans and serving spoons.

  3. Invite guests to assemble their lasagnas, starting with a layer of sauce on the bottom of their pans (to prevent the noodles from sticking). Have the kids continue layering on noodles, meat, sauce, and cheese until they are satisfied with their lasagnas.

  4. Put the pans on cookie sheets and bake at 300º for about 20 minutes, or until the ingredients are warm and the cheeses have melted. Serve the lasagnas slightly cooled and let the kids eat right out of the pans. To send the leftovers home, cover the loaf pans with their plastic covers or aluminum foil. Serves 6 to 8 kids.

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