Do you have pasta night on your dinner rotation? It’s usually the only night of the week around here that no one has a negative comment about dinner. That’s not to say that my kids don’t eat their food, it’s just that they love to tell me how much they’d rather have chicken nuggets than ANYTHING else in the entire world. Our conversation usually goes like this: “Mom, what’s for dinner?” No matter what the answer is, their immediate response is “Aww man, I really wanted chicken nuggets. Do I have to eat it?” Of course they have to eat it, and they almost always do. (They are kids after all, not everything is going to be a home run.)
Even pasta nights can be a fun way to introduce new things to kids. Sometimes I admit that we might just have some pasta and a jar of store bought sauce, maybe. But sometimes we have pasta with fresh tomatoes, feta, and basil instead. Or penne with pumpkin cream sauce. Either of those recipes can be made in the same amount of time it takes to heat up sauce from a jar.
When we really need to shake up pasta night I like to make something like this. Pepperoni Pizza Lasagna is a fun way to keep pasta night from becoming boring. There are lots of little tasks for younger helpers to do so everyone can get into the kitchen together. I love, love, love getting the kids involved with making dinner. My kids enjoy taking turns adding the layers into the dish. This is definitely a meal all of us look forward to. As the nights turn cooler I know this lasagna will be making even more appearances on my meal plans.
Technically you could use Italian sausage in place of the ground turkey and spices in this recipe, but sausages tend to be high in additives like MSG, nitrates, and nitrites, plus they aren’t always gluten free. I use high quality antibiotic-free ground turkey in place of sausage in a lot of recipes. (I even make amazingly easy, all natural breakfast sausage from it.)
Many parents write to me asking how they can get more protein into their child’s diet. This Pepperoni Pizza Lasagna is a great way to do that. Neither of my kids are meat lovers, but they eat every bite of the ground turkey and pepperoni in this dish. Add that to the protein in the cheese and you have a power packed meal no one can complain about.
PEPPERONI PIZZA LASAGNA
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 45 mins
An easy pasta dish the whole family will love.
- 1 box lasagna noodles (use gluten free if needed)
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes with basil (or use your favorite pizza sauce)
- 4 ounces pepperoni (such as Applegate Naturals or Wellshire Farms)
- 12 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile place turkey and spices (paprika through black pepper) into a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic. Cook, breaking up the turkey into small pieces, until turkey is no longer pink and is completely done.
Drain any fat from the turkey.
Place about 2 Tablespoons of crushed tomatoes into the bottom of an 11×14 baking dish.
Place lasagna noodles flat into the dish, overlapping the edges slightly.
Spread half of the turkey mixture over the noodles.
Spread half the sauce evenly over the turkey.
Place half of the pepperoni evenly over the entire dish.
Sprinkle evenly with half of the cheese.
Repeat layers with remaining half of the ingredients.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Let cool 5-10 minutes before slicing to serve.