Saturday, July 18, 2009

“Cheesy” Italian Specialty

On my mind today as I head to the grocery! Such a struggle to stay creative with one diabetic and three very “spirited” children...Must keep everyone’s health in mind while splurging where we can. Last-night’s dinner was one of our favorite splurges because on Friday’s we have a bit more time and it is a celebration of the weekend ahead. Here is the meal I created to be fun and tasty while not making you feel overly guilty. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

You will need:
• 1 box of Dreamfields: Healthy Carb Living Whole Grain Lasagna (13oz) or other
• ½ lb 97-99% lean all natural ground turkey
• 6oz – 1 Container of Athenos Traditional Feta Cheese (Reduced Fat) or other
• 15oz – I lb (small) container of part skim ricotta cheese
• 6-8oz Uncooked broccoli and/or spinach (chopped fine)
• 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic (chopped fine) or 1 generous tbsp of pre-minced
• ½ cup of mozzarella cheese (shredded) – for leanest meal, leave this one out
• 2 tbs of fresh grated parmesan cheese
• Seasonings: Goya’s “Adobo,” Sea Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Italian Seasoning, Fresh Parsley
• Jar of favorite red sauce
• Olive Oil (mine is the darker extra virgin, lol)

Prep Work:

Lasagna must be boiled, rinsed, lightly dipped in olive oil, and laid out flat on wax paper or clean counter in parallel rows.

• Ground turkey must be browned over high heat and seasoned well with the Adobo seasoning (above), then rinsed with cold water, strained and set aside.
• Large ceramic or other baking container must be lined with red sauce of choice (my pick is an organic chunky tomato garlic)
• All ingredients above must be laid out in easy to reach manner and any chopping or grating must be done ahead.

Putting It All Together:

In medium to large mixing bowl, add:

Ground turkey, Feta Cheese, Ricotta Cheese, Finely Chopped Veggies, Garlic, Mozzarella Cheese, and seasonings (above) to taste. Mix well with spatula or kneed with clean hands.

Set aside the grated Parmesan and parsley as garnishes.

Once mixture has become a thickened paste and passes the taste test, begin taking serving-spoon size portions and globbing them onto the end of each piece of lasagna. Then roll them up just like an oriental rug, lol, tucking the filling in at the side as you go. Be willing to overstuff – this is not Manicotti ;-)

After you have run out of lasagna or mixture, start placing the rolls tightly against one another in your baking pan or dish (on top of the red sauce).

When your dish is filled with neat little rows, packed in close together, add the remaining red sauce around the sides and fill all gaps, spreading over the top last.

Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese and parsley garnishes & cover!

Now you can bake for 30-40 minutes at 300 degrees or store in fridge for later that day or the next. If freezing this meal, make sure you let the bakeware sit at room temperature before placing in oven and plan to bake 20-30 minutes longer at same temp. (Serves 5-10 Depending on Side Dishes Such as Large Vegetable Salad)

Bon Appétit!

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