Friday, January 20, 2012

Lightened up Lasagna (with spinach and artichoke)

It's that time of year when everybody wants to lighten things up, but also the time of year when the cold outdoor temps scream hot cheesy comfort food! Mixing the spinach and artichoke in with the cheese is a good way to sneak in some veggies, and low fat or fat free cottage cheese and turkey Italian sausage help lighten it up. This isn't some kind of "I can eat a whole mess of this pan of lasagna and still lose weight," but you can have a reasonably sized piece and enjoy it without guilt. Use a large lasagna pan (about 19x13x3) for 12 servings. Easily made vegetarian by omitting sausage and adding 1 eggplant peeled, sliced, seasoned and oven roasted.
Preheat oven to 375 F
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted, diced tomatoes
½-¾ cup red wine (I eyeball it, so not sure on exact measurement, I just pour until desired consistency)
1 lb turkey Italian Sausage or Johnsonville 50% less fat, pork and chicken Italian Sausage
¼ sweet onion diced
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tb. fresh, or 1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tb. fresh, or 1 tsp. dried basil
Use a little olive oil or olive oil spray, and saute the onions and garlic until tender, add Italian sausage and brown. Once sausage is completely browned, drain off any fat, and add all tomatoes, wine and herbs, and let come to a simmer. Keep simmering while you work on the the cheese filling.
2 cups lowfat or fat free cottage cheese
3 cups mozzarella
1 cup smoked gouda
2 eggs
½ cup grated parmesan
1 can artichoke hearts drained
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 box barilla no cook lasagna noodles
In a skillet with some olive oil spray, wilt spinach on low heat, take off heat, and let spinach cool.

In food processor, add cottage cheese, artichoke hearts, cooled spinach and eggs. Process until mixed. Place in mixing bowl, add 1 cup shredded mozzarella and parmesan, stir to mix. Set aside.
To the remaining 2 cups of shredded mozzarella, add the shredded smoked gouda.
Spray large (about 19x13x3) lasagna pan with no stick spray, and cover bottom with about a cup and ½ of sauce. Cover sauce with about 5 sheets lasagna, and cover those sheets with another layer of sauce, 1/3 cottage cheese mix, and 1/3 of shredded cheese. Add more noodles, and repeat process 2 more times to make 3 layers.
Finely grate some pecorino romano over the top, and bake for 50 minutes. I choose not to cover my lasagna because the browned bubbly stuff makes me glad. Do as you choose.

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