Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Light and Lazy Lasagna

13.1 miles, 2 hrs 27 minutes and some soggy shoes later the half marathon is done!!  This is my friend Bailey and I at the finish line...


I was eating a few more carbs than usual last week in preparation for the run, including this "light and lazy lasagna."  I got the recipe off the back of the lasagna noodle box, but changed it up a bit...of course!  Lasagna is actually pretty easy to make, especially if you use the "lazy noodles!"  A few small changes will save you LOTS of calories - keep in mind this is for ~12 servings. 

15 oz ricotta cheese = 740 calories, 55 grams fat, 48 grams protein
15 oz part skim ricotta cheese = 590 calories, 34 grams fat, 49 grams protein

4 cups mozzarella cheese = 1344 calories, 100 grams fat, 99 grams protein
2 cups part skim mozzarella cheese = 576 calories, 36 grams fat, 55 grams protein

16 oz 80% ground beef = 1100 calories, 72 grams fat, 110 grams protein
16 oz 95% extra lean ground beef = 740 calories, 27 grams fat, 117 grams protein

Those simple substitutions save you almost 1300 calories and 204 grams of fat...totally worth it!!

Another ingredient to watch out for is the spaghetti sauce - which can often times be pretty high in sugar and carbs.  Look for a marinara (rather than a flavored variety) with about 7 grams of carbs per serving - trust me, they do exist, you just might have to search a little harder!

So here is what you need:

1 lb extra lean ground beef
26 oz jar of marinara sauce 
8 oz can of tomato sauce
15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 box OVEN READY lasagna noodles (this is the lazy part)
2 cups part skim mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Brown meat in skillet, drain off any excess fat.  Add marinara and tomato sauce to skillet.

In a mixing bowl, mix ricotta, egg, basil & Italian seasoning.

Using a 9x12 casserole dish, pour a thin layer of the sauce mixture on the bottom - just enough to cover the bottom.  Spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixture on 3 of the noodles and place on top of the sauce.  If you use the oven ready noodles they don't have to be cooked before hand, you just put them in the dish raw, so it is easy to spread the ricotta on them.

Top with ~3/4 cup sauce - enough to cover the noodles.  VERY IMPORTANT: make sure the noodles are completely covered with sauce or they will be really tough when its done - they need the liquid to cook.  Sprinkle ~ 1/2 c mozzarella on top.  Repeat. Noodles with ricotta, sauce, mozzarella.  Repeat again.  Top with final three noodles (no ricotta) and the rest of the sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake 10-15 minutes longer - until cheese is melted and dish is bubbly.  Let stand ~5 minutes before cutting into 12 servings.

I think this would be awesome with some sauteed mushrooms and spinach in the sauce but unfortunately that would provoke a "why is there fungus in the lasagna?" response so I don't do it.  If you have a more fungus friendly family you should try it - it would add some extra fiber and veggies!


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