The lasagna shortcut you've been missing your whole life

Lasagna is one of those deliciously warm and cozy dishes that can take all day, or even all weekend, to make if you really put a lot of homemade effort into it. You could stand over the stove simmering the Bolognese sauce to perfection, adding ingredients like nutmeg and an egg to your cheese mixture, or par-cooking the noodles before layering them into the casserole dish. Fortunately, there's an easier way to have great lasagna without spending so much time cooking. Though it certainly doesn't pack quite as much flavor as the slow-cooking method, shortcut lasagna can still be great.

Even with the shortcuts, a good lasagna should still have the hallmarks of al-dente noodles with crispy ruffled edges, a flavor-packed sauce, and a thin, but creamy layer of cheese between the layers of noodles and sauce. Don't forget to bake it until the cheese on top is golden brown, too.

One way you can accomplish all of these things is by smart shopping. Ingredients like pasta sauce that already have other flavors — such as herbs, garlic, cheese, and even Italian sausage — cooked into it help save a lot of time without giving up that simmered all day kind of flavor. You can also keep things simple by just using ricotta and mozzarella while still achieving the textures and flavors you want (via The Kitchn).

Keep reading to find out the major shortcut you've been missing.

Don't boil your lasagna noodles

Another must-have shortcut for quick lasagna is to avoid boiling the noodles. Just layer the noodles over a base of meat sauce and spread a layer of cheese and meat sauce on top of the uncooked noodles. Then repeat the layers another two times. Once it's layered, just cover it with foil and bake at 350 degrees for an hour (via Taste of Home). It's a quick and easy trick that will save you a lot of time.

If you prefer, you can keep boxes of no-boil noodles in the pantry to pull out when you do want to make lasagna quickly. These noodles don't have to be boiled before layering into the lasagna either, but they do require a lot of sauce to keep the lasagna from being dry. The edges of the noodles will crisp up beautifully, but make sure you do use plenty of sauce in the middle of the layers of noodles.

So, try these fast tips for making weeknight lasagna that won't take forever to make. You just might find it can be an easy go-to dish on any given day.