Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Healthiest Lasagna You Will Ever Make

This recipe comes with warning:
1. This is a weekend recipe.
2. I make a LARGE batch, enough for 2 or 3 lasagnas, and freeze the extra.
3. Total prep time varies by how many veggies you want to include and chop. Also, a food processor is super helpful!
4. BUT, the perks are, at least 1 or 2 additional dinners are ready and waiting in your freezer for you!

Ingredients in today's recipe
2 large sweet onions, diced
25-30 cloves garlic (like I mentioned before, I am a garlic freak. Just found you can buy pre-peeled cloves in a giant jar at Costco.)
Fresh or dried Basil
Fresh of dried Parsley
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Sugar (1/8 cup for sauce, 2 T for Ricotta)
Crushed Red Pepper
1 package fresh broccoli florettes (diced in food processor)
Spinach - hard to estimate how much I used, but I used a lot. I would say 1 grocery store size package
Portabella mushrooms, chopped
Green Onions
1 Red Bell Pepper - diced
1 Yellow Pepper - diced
1 Orange Pepper – diced
1 frozen package chopped zucchini / yellow squash (last time I bought fresh, but they were out yesterday! Defrost in microwave, drain excess water)
1 giant can of diced tomatoes (Costco find, like $2.50! YEAH! I think it was 60oz or larger)
1 small can tomato paste ( would have used 2 if I had another in the house)
1/2 Costco sized jar of Prego Heart Healthy Sauce, or 1 regular size jar
Whole Wheat lasagna noodles
Skim Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 egg
1 pkg Shredded Cheese – part skim mozzarella or provolone
Pecornio Romano or Parmesan (1/4 cup per casserole)
Ground Turkey 93/7 or leaner

Although this recipe has a lot of ingredients, it is worth it! Every ingredient in the recipe has some sort of good nutritional value. Needless to say, you are going to be getting a days worth of veggies, or more. Plus good fat from EVOO, calcium from the cheese, antioxidants from the garlic, spinach and mushrooms, fiber from the veggies, lycopene from the tomatoes, vitamin C from the bell peppers, lean protein from the turkey, whole grains from pasta and almost every color of fruit/veggie there is! AND it tastes good!!!

• Allow 1 ½ - 2 hours for you sauce to simmer and thicken
• Sauce can be made a day ahead, just refrigerate tightly
• Casserole will bake 1 hr if made using warm sauce. & approx. 1 hr 20 min if coming from the freezer.

In a large pot over medium heat add 3-4 T EVOO, when hot add onion, garlic, basil, green onions & parsley, simmer 5 min. Add broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, squash, spinach, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Simmer about 10 min. While veggies simmer, cook turkey in separate skillet with 8 cloves garlic. Drain excess fat. You will need to drain/ remove most of the excess juice from the veggies before adding anything else, I used a turkey baster. A little remaining is ok! Drain most liquid from diced tomatoes, and add to pot. Add Prego, tomato paste and turkey. Simmer on medium to medium low heat for at least 1 hour. Stir occasionally & keep uncovered unless sauce is getting too thick. You will have liquid at the top. This is ok.

Casserole Building:
Mix Ricotta, 1 egg and 2 T sugar in medium bowl
Spray casserole dishes
DO NOT cook lasagna noodles – excess liquid in sauce will soak into noodles and cook

1. Cover bottom of casserole w/ sauce mixture
2. Top with noodles (break if necessary to fit)
3. Cover with Ricotta and a tiny bit of shredded cheese
4. Top with a thick layer of sauce and continue building with 2- 3 layers
5. Fill to top of casserole and add shredded cheese to top
6. Cover w/ foil, bake at 350 1 hour. Uncover last 10 or 15 min.
7. Top w/ a tiny bit of Pecornio Romano or Parmesan when you take out of the oven

• I ran out of cheese towards the top of my 3rd casserole and did my top layer as sauce. I’ll add cheese when I bake. I really don’t think it makes a difference! So, don’t worry about your layer order, it will be hot and good!
• Wrap extra casseroles with foil, and plastic wrap. Let cool, and freeze.

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