Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's for Dinner? Wednesday


Happy What's for Dinner? Wednesday! Today we're making a healthier version of a comfort food favorite: lasagna!  We love this recipe because it makes it easy for you to practice two tried and true healthy eating tips.  What are these healthy eating tips, you ask? Portion control and meal preparation.

Go to a restaurant these days and it's hard to find a meal that doesn't contain close to 100% of your daily caloric needs because of out of control portion sizes.  With portion sizes out of control everywhere you look, it can be hard to figure out what to serve at home as well.  For this meal you'll be able to easily see how many portions you are serving.

Another reason it can be hard to eat healthy is that life can get pretty busy.  When you are running out of hours in the day and starving, the last thing you'll want to do is run to the grocery store to cook up a healthy meal.  Especially if you can buy something that's already made for you - healthy or not! This week's meal can also be a part of your healthy meal preparation plan for those busy nights.  How? Instead of preparing your lasagna as one dish, you'll make lasagna rolls.  Each roll is about 250 calories and can be frozen individually so you can easily reheat one or more on one of those chaotic days coming up this holiday season!  Excited to practice portion control and meal preparation with one easy meal? So are we! Here are your ingredients:

Makes 10 Lasagna Rolls:

10 whole wheat lasagna noodles
24 oz marinara sauce (no sugar added)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups baby spinach, loosely packed and chopped
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups part-skim, shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup non-fat cottage cheese
1 egg white
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

How to make lasagna rolls Garfield would be proud of:

Step One: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  While it's warming up, get out a 13" x 19" casserole dish and spread 1 1/4 cups of your marinara sauce along the bottom and boil water in a pot so you can cook your lasagna noodles.  When the water is ready, cook the noodles for 8 minutes.  Drain the noodles and set them aside.  If you're feeling adventurous, you can start step two while cooking the noodles. Just don't try this with more than one person in the kitchen (trust us, it will not end well).

Step Two: Take out a large skillet and add your olive oil.  Heat your oil over medium-low heat and add in your minced garlic.  Saute the garlic for about 1 minute or until it is fragrant (did we mention this recipe will help keep any vampires away? You're welcome!). Next add your chopped spinach and cook it until it wilts (about 3 minutes more).

Step Three: In a large bowl, mix together the contents of your skillet (garlic + spinach) with your ricotta, 1 cup of your mozzarella, cottage cheese, egg white, oregano, salt and pepper. Can you tell this is going to be good? Mmmmm....

Step Four:  Flatten your lasagna noodles on a clean work surface and spread 1/4 cup of the cheese/spinach mix over each noodle.  Roll the noodle by starting at the end closest to you.  Once your lasagna roll is rolled up, place it seam side down on the bed of marinara in your 13" x 9" pan. Continue this process for all 10 noodles.  Then add another cup of marinara over your rolls and sprinkle them with the rest of your mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses

Step Five: Cover your pan and lasagna rolls with aluminum foil and bake them for 20 minutes, or until your cheeses are bubbling. (You'll probably smell the cheesy goodness before then - mmm mmm mmmm!)

Step Six:  Take your lasagna rolls out of the oven and serve them to your guests.  You'll have extra marinara so, add some to the top if you wish (you'll want to heat it up a little first). We love these lasagna rolls with a side salad made of any leftover spinach, fresh tomato and balsamic vinegar. However, feel free to add your own side of choice.

Step Seven (optional):  If you have some rolls left, pack them up and put them in the freezer so you can make this meal again in 5 minutes or less! Wrap them in tin foil and freeze for up to three months, however, you'll probably use them before then.  To reheat out of the freezer warm on low for 1-2 minutes and then on high for 1-2 minutes. 

Are you going to try this meal with us? How do you prepare for busy nights? Share a thought with us by posting a comment in the space below: