That sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Well don’t be intimidated,  because it really isn’t… But it is a handy way to sneak some spinach into the diets of your unsuspecting family.

I know I’ve already posted a lasagna recipe, but the one I’m about to share probably doesn’t fit the heart healthy bill… This one has full-fat cream cheese in it and I used 80/20 ground chuck. Don’t anyone tell my mom.

You’ll also notice that I’ve made the switch to oven ready noodles… Honestly, I used to be very pro boiling but then one day I realized that it sucks. A lot. They stick together and to everything, I always burn myself, and it takes a lot longer.  Forget it. Know how long it took me to assemble this lasagna?  Ten minutes…And that’s only because this happened:

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Minus destructo-toddler, it would've only taken five minutes

Four cheese lasagna florentine

Tomato sauce:
1 pound ground beef

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 can tomatoes

1 can spaghetti sauce (any variety you like)

1 package chopped frozen spinach, thawed (give it a good squeeze so you don’t end up with runny sauce)

Salt and pepper

Cheese mixture:
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 15 ounce tub ricotta cheese

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Italian spice blend

1 1/2 package shredded mozzarella cheese

1 box oven ready lasagna noodles

Start by browning the hamburger, onion, and green pepper (season with salt and pepper), then drain the mixture. Wipe away any grease left in the skillet, then return the beef to the pan along with the sauce, tomatoes, and spinach. Let that simmer on medium-low while you prepare the cheese mixture.

Add cream cheese and ricotta to the bowl of your mixer, then mix until blended. Add Parmesan and Italian blend (as much as you like…I used about a palm full), then mix again until it looks creamy and delicious. Preheat your oven to 375° and get ready to put everything together.

To assemble the lasagna,  first spread a little tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Place three noodles on top, being careful not to overlap or let them touch the sides of the dish. The noodles will expand to fill the gaps, trust me… I learned that one the hard way. Drop spoonfuls of the cheese mixture over the noodles (it’s almost too thick to spread), then sprinkle on some mozzarella and add three more noodles. Ladle on a layer of tomato sauce, then noodles, then cheese mixture and mozzarella…Keep going until you run out of noodles or room in the dish. Make sure the final layer is tomato sauce, top with cheese, then cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. When your timer goes off, remove the foil and top with more cheese (only if you want to be excessive like me) and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

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Serve with a salad and breadsticks.

If you have leftovers,  this should freeze well…Or you could just keep eating it until it’s gone, which is exactly what we’ve done. I will be sad when we finish it tonight.

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