Recipes and Tips for Healthier Living and Smarter Budgeting

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lasagna (with whole wheat noodles and spinach)

This has been a classic in my own family for several years now, but it's not a family recipe--although, to my kids it will be. :) Everyone who has eaten it has agreed: It's GOOD! This recipe actually came from my Better Homes & Gardens cook book, p. 390. I generally do it the "quick" way by not making my own sauce (there are still a couple things I don't always make from scratch) and not boiling the lasagna noodles. Modifications as listed below.


12 oz. sausage or ground beef
26 oz. (or so) jar of pasta sauce (Ragu is my favorite)
6 dried lasagna noodles (I always use whole wheat)
1 beaten egg
15 oz. container ricotta cheese or 2 c. cottage cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese (fresh is best, of course)
6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
16 oz. chopped frozen spinach or bunch of chopped fresh spinach*

Cook sausage in large saucepan.

While sausage is cooking, pour hot tap water into cookie sheet with lip. Place lasagna noodles in pan, single layer, so they are submerged in water. (Soaking noodles during preparations replaces boiling them and they're much easier to handle this way.)

When sausage is cooked, turn off heat and add jar of pasta sauce. Mix.

For filling, combine egg, cottage cheese (ricotta), and Parmesan.

In 9 x 13 (2 quart rectangular) pan, spoon about 1/2 c. red sauce and spread. Layer half of noodles over this, trimming or overlapping as necessary to fit.

Spread with half of white filling. Layer of half the spinach.

Top with half of remaining red sauce and half of mozzarella cheese.

Repeat layers: Remaining layer of noodles, spread last half of white filling, layer of rest of spinach, top with remaining red sauce and rest of mozzarella cheese.

Place baking dish on baking sheet (I often forget this step and still don't have spills). Bake in 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. I like to cover it with foil for the first 20 minutes or so, to make sure it doesn't get over browned, then uncover it for the remaining time. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Make-ahead directions: Prepare as above. When all layers complete, cover unbaked lasagna and chill for up to 24 hours. To serve, bake covered, at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake about 20 minutes more or until heated through.

*Besides the obvious nutritional benefit of the addition of spinach (the only sure way most of my kids will eat spinach), the additional moisture cooked out of it provides the moisture needed to cook the noodles soft. If you don't use spinach, be sure to add a little extra water or tomato juice, etc.

1 comment:

juli said...

This was really good. Just the right flavors! Thanks for sharing the recipe. It's a nice way to sneak some spinach into the kids' diets.


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