Helping families eat healthier for less

Helping families eat healthier for less

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Making a Healthier Lasagna

I love lasagna but I wanted to make a recipe that was “healthier” than traditional lasagna. Lasagna at a well-known Italian restaurant chain can easily be 850 to 1170 calories, 47 to 68 grams of total fat, 25 to 39 grams of saturated fat, and 1830 to 2830 milligrams of sodium for just one serving! Ugh!
So, I began with browning ground turkey, 93% lean which was available in my market for $3.99 a pound. To this I added chopped onion and seasonings. Then I added the zucchini and yellow summer squash and frozen broccoli (you can use fresh broccoli instead, if you prefer). I cooked this mixture on top of the range for several minutes.
Instead of ricotta cheese that can be loaded with fat and sodium, I decided to try a mixture of 1% cottage cheese that comes as “no salt added” and has only 75 mg of sodium per serving and farmer’s cheese, which was also no salt added. You have to look hard in the supermarket for the no salt added cheeses. You probably have to go to the larger supermarkets that offer a greater selection of cheeses.

I don’t like the fuss of lasagna noodles that you have to boil in a big pot of water. I always make lasagna now with the “no boil” style of lasagna noodles.
Assembly is like any lasagna, rows of sauce, noodles, more sauce, cheese and then gets repeated for several layers. With the no boil lasagna noodles, I’ve learned over the years that you have to be sure to spread the sauce evenly over the noodles because the dry noodles take the moisture from the sauce to rehydrate. You don’t want to leave parts of the dry noodles exposed without sauce.

And, here is the final product. A tasty, hearty lasagna with a lot fewer calories, sodium, and saturated fat. One serving (1/9th of a 9x13-inch baking dish) provides only 325 calories, 8.9 grams of total fat, 3.7 grams of saturated fat, and 350 milligrams of sodium.
Click here for the complete Turkey & Vegetable Lasagna Recipe.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Farmer’s Markets A Great Place to Shop

I went food shopping yesterday at a farmer’s market that is unusual in that it is open year round and has an actual permanent storefront location. It features regional produce, but also displays many non-perishable foods, especially ethnic foods from many regions of the world.
I spent $11.30 and got the following fresh produce items:

8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms
3 bunches of scallions
2 large heads of broccoli crowns
4 plum tomatoes
2 bell peppers, one green and one yellow
4 avocados
2 bunches of cilantro
4 lbs of bananas

Right now I have garden fresh lettuces (romaine, red leaf, and others) growing in my backyard. So I can make a hearty vegetable salad every day for a week with the items I purchased at the farmer’s market combined with my homegrown lettuces.
I can enjoy bananas as a snack or in cereal or on whole grain toast. Of course, you could also make some guacamole with the avocados, green onions, plum tomatoes. I would just add a fresh chopped jalapeno pepper, some lime or lemon juice and seasonings. One of my favorite seasonings currently is ground chipotle pepper. It adds pizzazz to many dishes.