Family Fave Lasagne, #SundaySupper, #FamilyDinnerTable

This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own.

Dinner in Tokyo was mostly fish, miso soup and rice. I never tired of the simple fare in my 17 years growing up in Japan. I was always excited, however, when birthdays and anniversaries rolled around. Celebrations meant cake and sloppy joes or lasagne. Like American TV in the ‘70s (dubbed into Japanese), the dishes made a rare appearance. So, lasagne dinners were treasured. The original recipe disappeared as family members made their way back to the US. But my sister, Karen, concocted an equally delicious lasagne in the States for family get-togethers. Her recipe has remained in my files for years.  And I’m delighted to share this delectable how-to for today’s Childhood Favorites themed #SundaySupper at Twitter. (Scroll down for details.)

Melted mozzarella, sharp cheddar, parmesan and garlic herb spread
mingle with spinach and lasagna noodles.

Making the lasagne is always a pleasure. Yes, the spinach with mounds of mozzarella, cheddar on pasta noodles ensures a bite of bliss. But, the memories associated with this dish make me love it best. Due to the large size of lasagne it is perfect for large family get-togethers. (It’s seen a lot of parties!) I remember the dish on a foldout table in my sister’s home 30 plus years ago. My niece, Jasmine, was a toddler then with blonde curls. She knew how to charm her cousins. She still does. But she’s all grown up now. And Jasmine goes chasing after my great-nephew, Ethan, these days to make sure he doesn’t dive into the lasagne before the family meal blessing.

Another family fave shared through the generations - Disneyland!
The Ninja Baker and her Great-Nephew in the Magic Kingdom.

So that Jasmine can relax a little bit, we’ve taken turns devising games for my great-nephew. At our last get-together, as my sister and niece proceeded with the meal, Ethan and I pretend baked the tastiest cupcakes in the whole wide world! We whisked tiny amounts of flour and swirled sprinkles into muffin tins.

Other family party suggestions:
*Assign each person a dish (or drink.) Everyone gets to feel like they have contributed.
*Make sure all ingredients are readily available in the kitchen where you are cooking.
*Offer to reimburse for ingredients you did not bring. (Respect and good manners count in any kind of relationship.)
*Bring multiple measuring cups, knives, pans and necessary tools so no one has to wait to make their dish and hold up the feast.

So here’s the family fave lasagne from the Ninja Baker.

The Ninja Baker's Family Fave Lasagne

Cheeses of any sort work well in this lasagne. Ricotta is very nice. Skip cottage cheese though. (It tends to make the dish watery.)

This lasagne was tailored to the vegetarian tastes in our family. A bit of cooked sausage would work nicely if you crave meat.


1 package of oven ready lasagna noodles
2 jars of 24-ounce tomato, garlic, onion sauce
10-ounce package of frozen spinach
6½-ounce garlic herb spread cheese
1½ - 2 cups of shredded mozzarella
1½ - 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ - 1 cup of Parmesan


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 13” x 9” casserole pan with butter-flavored spray.

Cook spinach per package instructions. Drain. Pat dry with paper towels.

Pour 1½ cups of garlic, onion, tomato sauce into the prepared pan.

Arrange 3 oven ready lasagna noodles over the sauce.
Slather 1 cup of sauce over the noodles.
Drop spoonfuls of spinach over sauced noodles.
Dot the spinach with the garlic herb cheese spread.
Sprinkle in mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
Repeat the above process until the pan is full.
Top with Parmesan.
Tent the casserole pan with aluminum foil.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and cook for another 5 minutes.

Tip: To avoid messy clean ups and smoking ovens, place the casserole pan on a cookie sheet.

Do you have a family favorite? Check out all the prizes you can win by contributing your recipe to the American Family Insurance Back to the Table campaign

AmFam Back To The Family Dinnertable Logo

American Family Insurance is having a “Share Your Recipe” sweepstakes for 6 weeks with a weekly prize is a $100 Williams-Sonoma gift card plus a grand prize of a $500 Williams-Sonoma gift card. For details visit:

Further information about the good people at American Family Insurance can be found on their website. As well as LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Here are a few more childhood favorites from the SundaySupper family:

Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement

Wishing you feasts of fun and catch-up conversations with your family.

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.



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