Sunday, October 19, 2008

Spinach Lasagna

Oooy! As is so often the case in this household, I, as the cook am watching what we eat. I'm also trying to work out, but that's another story. It is sad what happens to the body when such important physical maintenance tasks go neglected for a bit. After a long summer full of both gregarious and sorrowful occasions (all with plenty of food and drink), I am trying my best to get back into my own health. To complicate matters, my family like many of you out there has been forced to really REALLY cut back on our spending. Over the next few months you will see me attempt to cook only healthful meals that are easy on the budget. You will see me fall of the wagon from time to time, but just know that my heart will be in the right place.

Here is a recipe that makes you feel like you are being bad, but your not. I swear! This rendition of a Spinach and Ham Lasagna takes a little bit of time to make, but if you have a little time to lolly-gag around in the kitchen, its worth it.


6 dried lasagna noodles

10 ounces of frozen spinach

2 cups of fat free milk

1/4 cup onion

1 tsp olive oil

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

Start by cooking the lasagna noodles according to the directions on the package. Once cooked, rinse the noodles with water and set aside.

Next, cook frozen spinach according to the package directions, and then drain off all of the 'juice.' This can be done with a thin kitchen towel or a cheese cloth. Simply dump the thawed spinach into the towel, and squeeze out the juice. The towel will act as a sieve allowing the spinach and the juice to separate without making too much of a mess.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, saute onion for about 2 minutes in the olive oil. Next, add in the milk and cornstarch cooking for 4 or 5 minutes until a thick sauce forms. Spread 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the bottom of a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Stir ham and Italian seasoning into the remaining sauce, and season generously with pepper, and very lightly with salt. Most of the sauces salt flavoring will come from the ham.

Arrange three lasagna noodles in the pan and cover the noodles with 1/3 of the sauce. Layer spinach on top, and then cover with another third of the sauce. Spread cottage cheese, and half of the mozzarella on top as well. Lay the remaining noodles across the dish, and top with the last third of the sauce, and the rest of the mozzarella cheese and all of the parmasean.

Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until heated through and slightly browned at the edges and on top. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Note: A very tasty full fat version of this recipe could be made using regular cottage cheese, and whole milk.

I adapted this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens "Big Book of Healthy Family Dinners."

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