Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Loaded up Lasagna

I am still challenged, like most moms are, to find vegetables my kids will eat. It seems that just when one of them starts to like one, the next week they hate it. So there you have it. The owner of Wholesome Tummies does not have little tofu and alfalfa sprout eating children. My dirty secret is out.

You know from my previous posts that I do like to sneak it in recipes. It's not only because I want them (and me too!) to get the extra vitamins that the veggies provide but I found as an added bonus but sneaking in veggies in a lot of recipes I was eliminating some fat and cutting down sugar and by accident making it lower calorie and lower fat too. Cool, right!? The only downside with sneaking in veggies, I think, is that I'm telling my kids that its OK to NOT eat their veggies. "Huh?"..well think about it - if you sneak in a cup of spinach into a taco meat then you wont feel as pressured to have them eat their broccoli that you put on the side, right? Therefore the kids sit back and go "ah..the old mom doesn't care if we eat our vegetables anymore, rock on!!"

So...(I do have a point here)..I think its important that they still see vegetables and know that you haven't backed off. If they eat the sneaky food, just think of it as a veggie bonus but not to replace the ones on their plate.

OK soapbox over- now on to the recipe... I have a split household when it comes to Lasagna. Hubby likes meat, daughter likes it super cheesy, toddler likes veggie and mom - well I don't care. We moms don't get an opinion anyway. So tonight I decided to do a combo of all three plus add a little gourmet addition for ME!

I love how this turned out. It was a bit more work then I would have liked (start to oven was about 35-40 mins) but it made a TON and it was all we served for dinner! I know it seems like a million steps but really one just leads into the next. The onions can be done 2 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator until needed. Make extra because they are amazing on just about anything - pastas, panninis, steak..mmm..

Turkey and Vegetable Lasagna with Caramelized Onions

Recipe courtesy of ...Oh ME!

For Meat Sauce

2 lbs ground turkey breast
2 jars of good quality spaghetti sauce (I used Muir Glen - Roasted Garlic)

For Cheese Mixture

1 container (15 oz ) part skim ricotta
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (part skim)
1 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 package frozen spinach- thawed
1 tbl dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley

Vegetable Layer

2 carrots, sliced thin
10 mushrooms - caps sliced thin
1 head broccoli, chopped and stems removed
2 cloves garlic, minced

Caramelized Onions

2 whole onions, sliced thin
2 tbl butter
1 tsp sugar

1 package no boil lasagna noodles
Olive Oil

Caramelize Onions:
In a heavy fry pan or dutch oven, melt butter on med-low heat and add sliced onions. Cook over slow, low heat for 20 minutes (or while you prepare the rest). Add sugar when when onions are just beginning to sweat. These can cook slowly for up to 1 hour.
Saute Veggies:
In a small frying pan, over medium heat saute mushrooms, garlic, broccoli and carrots until softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make Sauce:
In large saucepan, brown turkey in 2 tbl olive oil until cooked through and no longer pink. Add sauce and simmer on low until ready to use.
Make Ricotta Mixture:
In a large bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/4 c Parmesan cheese, spinach, salt, pepper, oregano and parsley. Mix until well combined.

Preheat oven to 375

In large baking dish or lasagna pan ladle 1 cup meat sauce. Place one layer lasagna noodles. Scoop 1 cup ricotta mixture and spread to cover the noodles. Toss 1/3 of the vegetables followed by 1/4c mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times. (sauce, ricotta, vegetables, sprinkling of cheese). At the last layer add the caramelized onions with the vegetables top with sauce and the remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese to cover. Top with tin foil tightly and bake for 45 mins until bubbly. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes until lightly browned.

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