{low-fat} Lasagna



I’ve become one of those people that I hate. One of those people I said I would never become.

I’ve become someone who cooks low-fat meals (instead of full-fat). Sigh. What’s happened to me? Well, let’s make a list: age, weight gain, stress, high cholesterol and wrinkles. Yep. I have wrinkles around my eyes that seem to be getting more pronounced with time.

It takes kids a long time to grow up these days. That’s my theory anyway. It took me an extra long time to become an adult and do adult-like responsible things. My career really only “started” in my 30s. I bought a condo when I was 35. I started regularly contributing to my 401K at 37 (instead of the hodge podge amounts I had been saving over the years). Not that it matters, but I’m single and childless. Most of my friends who got married/had kids did that years ago. I’m turning 40 soon (in a few years) and it occurred to me a few days ago that I need to start taking better care of myself.

Despite everything I’ve listed about myself in the second paragraph above. I’m one of those people who looks deceptively healthy. I look like I workout. That’s what I’ve been told anyway. (I don’t think I look like I workout!) My workouts usually consist of walking around the city buying coffee, groceries and cupcakes. Sometimes I go hiking. Also, I look about 10 years younger than I am. I’m told that as well. I’ve been told that since my late 20s.

I’d like to hang onto my faux-youth as long as I can as 40 starts knocking on my door. And thus here I am. One of those people I used to hate. And loving it. I have fallen in love with low-fat cooking. Why didn’t I decide to grow up years ago?

Once I learned that low-fat foods are actually palatable I began thinking of classic high fat dishes that I could healthify. Or that others have healthified. I came up with a long list. One of the first things on my list? A low-fat version of my mom’s family-famous lasagna.

meat sauce ingredients.

  • 2 lb. lean ground hamburger (I used 92% lean)
  • 1 12 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 15 oz. cans plum tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz. can pizza sauce (I could only find “jar” sauce but have seen canned pizza sauce before)
  • 2 T. dried parsley
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic crushed or minced (or ¼ tsp. garlic salt)
  • ½ T. dried basil
  • ½ T. dried oregano
  • ½ T. kosher salt salt
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms
  • large yellow onion, chopped

meat sauce directions.

  1. In a large stock pot, brown hamburger, onions, garlic, and mushrooms; drain well.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a slight boil then turn the heat to low, cover and simmer at least 1 hour. Let cool. Refrigerate overnight.

cheese sauce ingredients and directions.

  • 2 c. non fat cottage cheese
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 T. dried parsley
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ c. Reduced Fat Kraft parmesan cheese (I only had the full-fat version)

Mix all above ingredients together. Refrigerate overnight.

*I ran out of the cheese sauce mixture too early during the layering process and would suggest multiplying the recipe by one and a half or doubling it.

remaining ingredients.

  • 1 box whole grain lasagna noodles, cooked and drained well (put on wax paper to keep from sticking
  • 16 oz. Reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese

remaining directions.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray pans with cooking spray. I like to use glass pans. (Makes two 8 x 10 pans or one 8 x 10 glass and two 8 x 8 glass pans).
  3. Layer sauce on bottom of the pan, then noodles, cheese sauce, meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers.
  4. Cover with foil; Bake 350 45 minutes then take off foil and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer until the cheese melts.
  5. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving. (Even better the following day!) Can freeze unbaked. To do so, cover with Saran wrap, then foil.

I reason that the two pans of pasta I got from the recipe should be enough for about 15 portions. By my calculations, each portion is about 320 calories, 10 g fat, 33 g carbohydrates, 35 g protein, 6 g fiber, and 9 g sugar.

Here’s to something healthy for your family on Father’s Day!

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