Friday, August 24, 2007

Beef and Spinach Lasagna

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 jars (26 ounces each) meatless spaghetti sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
9 no-cook lasagna noodles

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, garlic, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. In a bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta and 1 cup mozzarella until combined. Spread 1-1/2 cups meat sauce into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Top with three noodles. Spread 1-1/2 cups sauce to edges of noodles. Top with half of the spinach mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, sauce and mozzarella. Cover and bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Tips and Tricks
Using no-cook noodles significantly cuts down on the prep time. This recipe freezes well. I prefer Barilla lasagna noodles, but you can use any brand and add 1/2 cup water to the sauce. I also use less garlic. This dish can also be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. If you have a small family, eat half and freeze the other half for another meal.
Make It Healthier
Use part-skim ricotta cheese. Increase the amount of spinach. Use lean ground beef and rinse it in a colander before adding to the filling. Check the ingredients list on your pasta sauce and use only brands that contain little added sugar or salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Layer noodles in pan. Older kids can shred cheese.
Suggested Sides
green salad, garlic bread

Nutrition Facts
1 piece (prepared with lean ground beef) equals 281 calories, 11 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 50 mg cholesterol, 702 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 20 g protein

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