Monday 25 February 2013

Lasagna two ways! Figure friendly!

Everyone loves lasagna and today I am giving you two options. One that I created 40 years ago and a healthy update that I recently created, that I love just as much! Lasagna is an EPIC dish! Sure it looks like a mass of cheese, pasta and meat sauce, but it is so much more than that. It is a cold weather, comfort food "Go To"!! In forty years of serving this dish to family and friends, everyone......EVERYONE has fallen in love with it! It is easy to make and figure friendly. However, my updated version is even friendlier! 

JJ's Lasagna
Makes one full lasagna pan

4-5 fresh sheets of pasta ( I use fresh pasta as it is thinner and tastes better)
1 lb. ground beef or ground chicken  (vegetarian option-
Legumes include pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, other options and a link below)
1 lb. ground sausage (see vegetarian option above)
1 onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
1 can  (tomato sauce can) water
1 pkg. spaghetti sauce mix dry (Lawry's or whatever)
1 T. oregano
1 16 oz carton small curd cottage cheese
1 pkg. cream cheese
1 large ball of mozzarella or two small

Saute the onion until almost translucent, add sausage and burger and brown.Add garlic and cook for 1 minute then add, tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, dry mix and oregano. Let the flavors meld for 5-7 minutes, over low heat. 

While this is cooking, shred the mozzarella in the food processor, remove to bowl. In same processor bowl (no need to wash), process with steel blade the cottage cheese and the cream cheese until smooth.

Spray your lasagna pan with Pam. I doubled this recipe and made two for a large party we had, before Christmas. I used a cast iron lasagna pan and a Emile Henry burgundy clay, as I wanted to know if there was a difference in the baking process. You will be as surprised as I was, review follows recipes. We never get tired of this recipe and it is a good one to fix for others!  Cover the bottom of the pan with the bolognese sauce, then, dot with the cream cheese mixture, next is the mozzarella then, the noodle, repeat until your mixtures are used up. 

I usually can make two to three layers of fresh noodles, ending with bolognese sauce and mozzarella on top. Cook for 30-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. 

Enjoy!  Serve with Caesar salad, crostini and a nice bottle of chianti!

Vegetarian option-
Don’t know what to use in place of meat in your favorite recipes? There are now widely available alternatives to just about every type of meat, including chicken-, pork-, fish-, and beef-style products. Plant-based meat substitutes have come a long way in both taste and texture since the days of the first veggie burger, thanks to the growing popularity of vegetarian diets. Faux meats are most often made from soy or wheat protein and are available fresh, dried, or frozen. Check out this vegan shopping guide for a list of vegan meat alternatives that can give you the flavors you grew up with minus the cruelty to animals, and try the following meat substitutes for mouth-watering, cruelty-free, and heart-healthy meals.

If you are looking for comfort food without the guilt this “lasagna” using spaghetti squash will totally hit the spot.
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Grain free and low carb!
  • 2 whole spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Split the squashes in half and scrape out seeds. Line an oven tray with aluminum foil. Season the spaghetti squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place flesh side down and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until fully cooked. Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile heat the marinara sauce in a large saute pan.

When squash is cool enough to handle, using a fork scrape the strands of squash from the inside of the skin. It is so cool how it comes out in strands and looks like spaghetti!

Layer the spaghetti squash as above, using the spaghetti squash instead of the noodle. Bake and enjoy! Mmmmmmm I love this recipe just as much as the original!

Two pans tested in my kitchen in the same oven, same recipe..............same! We had 16 guests, many tried a portion out of both pans, they looked the same, they taste the same! So here are my thoughts on each-

Enameled cast iron much like stainless in all around usefulness and ease of use.
Earthen ware that is glazed on the inside is nice for long slow cooking and oven use. Depending on the brand it may work fine on a gas stove, but probably not on an electric one. It cleans fine, but has to be handled gently. For things that stick easily, it is hard to beat a non-stick coating.

If you're able to, I'd try to buy a piece or two at a time. You might discover some preferences that you didn't know you had. Try to handle as many different styles as you can, while you're shopping - you might find that you don't care for certain handle types or certain materials, might be too heavy for you, etc.

 We arrived back from our island paradise last night to dry but extremely cold weather.........ugggghhh! 



  1. Thank you for sending me your lasagna recipe early.....Wanted to let you know that I deconstructed and reconstructed your Lasagna recipe for our White Elephant party. I wanted to do stuffed shells and thought your lasagna recipe was the perfect filling. I used the beef/sausage mixture with the creamy ingredients (cheeses), spiced it up with extra oregano and used that as the filling for my shells topped with your tomato sauce and some parm cheese. It was delish! Thanks again for e-mailing me the recipe, before publication.
    Thanks for the inspiration. Ruth

  2. This recipe is delicious!


Please leave a suggestion or comment for me! I would love to respond to it!