Poor Man’s Lasagna Recipe

5 / 5 (1 review)

Easy Pasta Lasagna Freezer Meal!

This is still my husband’s favorite dinner. It is simple and cheap, so I’m totally fine with it. Actually, the whole family likes it a lot, so this meal is really a regular occurrence around here. I first found this recipe in my good old family cookbook and I have adapted it a bit over time.

poor man's lasagna

I usually use penne pasta, but it definitely works with other noodles, like farfalle, fusilli, radiatore and more. In fact, changing up the noodles sometimes makes it feel like a whole new dish to the kids. 😉 In the picture above, I used a tricolor penne (Ronzoni Garden Delight).

making poor mans lasagna

Keep it simple and easy by using one pot to boil the pasta and then to mix together the cream cheese, cottage cheese, and pasta. The warmth of the pot and cooked noodles also helps to melt the cream cheese into the mixture.

Using a store-bought pasta sauce is an easy option. Plus, you can often find sales and coupons to help you bring home the pasta sauce for cheap.

assembling poor mans lasagna for the freezer

Because my family doesn’t eat much at this time, I usually split the poor man’s lasagna between two 8×8 pans. Then I can easily freeze one for later and bake the other for dinner. I have found that the already-baked leftovers freeze okay too, if needed.

freezer meal poor mans lasagna

More lasagna recipes we’ve posted about:

Learn more about Freezer Meal Cooking:

Poor Man’s Lasagna Recipe

5 / 5 (1 review)
Prep Time: 20mins | Cook Time: 30mins
Yield: 9x13, or two 8x8 | Serves: 8-10


  • 8-12 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
  • Italian seasoning (optional)
  • 16 ounces cottage cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 jar red pasta sauce (24 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese


  1. Boil the pasta according to instructions on packaging. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef. I usually add a little bit of Italian seasoning to the meat. Drain the meat. Set aside. Drain the pasta and return noodles to the pot. While the pasta is still warm, add the cream cheese and cottage cheese to the pot with the noodles. Gently stir together until combined.
  2. Layer a 9x13 pan, or split between 8x8 pans, with pasta mixture, meat, and pasta sauce. Repeat. Add shredded cheese on top. (See below for freezer instructions.) Bake uncovered at 350 for about 30 minutes.
  3. Preparing for the Freezer:

  4. Right after topping with cheese, cover with few layers of plastic wrap. Then cover with foil and label. Freeze.
  5. Prepare after Freezing:

  6. Thaw for about 24 hours in refrigerator, unwrap and bake as usual. Or keep frozen, unwrap, then re-cover with one layer of foil. Bake covered for about 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 350. Bake for about 30 more minutes, until cheese is melted and filling is bubbling and warmed through.


Use less meat to make it even more budget-friendly.

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