Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lovable Low-Cal Lasagna

Good evening everyone!  It has always been a goal of mine to cook some variant of a lasagna dish here on the blog.  The lasagna I grew up on has lots of marinara sauce and uses ground beef, and while I love that particular version, Tyler has diverted from lasagna because of that reason.  So, I've tried to find a recipe that doesn't include lots of tomato sauce and can still be qualified as lasagna.  Tonight, I'm proud to say that I have found that particular recipe, it's relatively easy to cook, it's healthy - I may have hit this classic dish's perfect trifecta!

The Recipe:  Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna
Original Recipe Found In:  Cooking Light, March 2013

What You'll Need:
1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup 1% Low Fat Milk
1 Cup unsalted Chicken Stock
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Water
1 (12 Ounce) package fresh Spinach
2 (4 Ounce) link hot Italian Turkey Sausage
1/2 Cup chopped Shallots
1 Tablespoon minced Garlic
6 No-Boil Lasagna noodles
1 1/2 Cups part-skin Ricotta cheese
1 Ounce shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
1 Ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

To start, preheat an oven to 375 degrees and also preheat a skillet to medium heat.  In a 1/4 cup measuring cup, lightly spoon the flour in and level with a knife.  Combine the flour, milk, chicken stock, canola oil, and bay leaf in the skillet and stir with a whisk.  Cook this mixture for eight minutes or until the combination is thick and bubbly, stirring frequently.  Once this is done cooking, remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the salt and pepper.  Spray a 11x7 glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Measure one cup of the milk mixture and spread it along the bottom of the baking dish.  This will serve as the base of the lasagna.

Next, replace the milk mixture skillet with a clean skillet and heat again over medium heat.  If you don't have two skillets in your arsenal, pour the milk mixture in a bowl, cover to keep heated, and wipe out the original skillet.  Add two tablespoons of water and the spinach to the pan.  Cook for two minutes or until the spinach begins to wilt.  Drain the wilted spinach until the leaves are barely most.  If needed, you can press the spinach until liquid comes out.  Return the skillet to the stovetop and heat to medium-high heat.

Remove the casings from the sausage and add the sausage to the pan, cooking for four minutes or until browned.  The heat will naturally break up the sausage, so be sure they begin to crumble when they are fully cooked.  Remove the sausage from the pan and keep warm in a small bowl.  Add the shallots and garlic to the skillet and sauté for two minutes.  Stir in the remaining milk mixture, cooked spinach and sausage and remove the skillet from the heat.

Creamy lasagna filling

Returning to the glass baking dish, arrange two noodles over the milk mixture.  Top with 1/2 cup of ricotta and 1/3 spinach mixture.  Repeat the layers twice.  Sprinkle the layers with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  Cover the baking dish with foil that's been coated in cooking spray.  Place the dish in the oven and bake at 375 degrees for forty minutes.

After the lasagna has been cooked, remove the foil.  Continue to bake for four minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.  Cut into six pieces, serve, and enjoy!

The End Result:

I'm used to lasagna with a hearty tomato sauce, with crumbles of meat sprinkled in, and cottage cheese intermittently throughout the whole dish.  This version of lasagna gives a completely different approach to the traditional lasagna I remember as a child.  The milk mixture, with the spinach and turkey sausage, is super creamy and replaces any kind of marinara sauce in a lasagna dish.  Using the spinach and the turkey sausage gives it a unique flavor, but definitely doesn't skimp out on taste.  The Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses give the top of the lasagna almost a melty crust and it is definitely worth not missing.  And since each serving is only 332 calories, it's a lasagna not to feel guilty about!

Thanks for joining us tonight.  Check back tomorrow as Tyler whips up a new recipe to try in your kitchen.  Until then,


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