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LifestyleColumnistsMarge Perry

3 Simple casserole recipes

Pre-boiled or no-cook lasagna noodles, prepared tomato sauce,

Pre-boiled or no-cook lasagna noodles, prepared tomato sauce, lean ground beef and lower-fat mozzarella and ricotta make this a fast and healthier version of classic lasagna. Photo Credit: Marge Perry

SUPER EASY LASAGNA

1 pound lean ground beef

2 (27-ounce) jars basil-tomato sauce, divided

2 large eggs

1 (15-ounce) container part- skim ricotta

½ cup grated Parmesan, divided

1 (16-ounce) package no-boil lasagna noodles

3 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Cook the meat until browned, about 5 minutes, in a nonstick skillet over medium-high, stirring to break it into crumbles.

3. Set aside 2 cups of the tomato sauce; add the rest to the skillet with the meat, stir and turn off the heat.

4. Beat the eggs lightly in a bowl; stir in the ricotta and ¼ cup of the Parmesan.

5. Spread 1 cup of the reserved tomato sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with 4 slightly overlapping noodles. Spoon about one-third of the meat sauce over the noodles and top with one-third (about ? cup) of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with ? cup mozzarella.

6. Make the next layer, starting with 4 overlapping noodles, followed by ? cup of the ricotta, ? cup of the mozzarella and another one-third of the beef mixture. Repeat the process, starting with the noodles, the remaining ricotta, ? cup of the mozzarella and the remaining beef. Top with the remaining 4 noodles; spread the reserved 1 cup of sauce evenly over them and top with the final 1 cup mozzarella and the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan. Cover loosely with foil.

7. Bake 1 hour; remove the foil and bake 5 minutes. Allow to stand 15 minutes before cutting. Makes 12 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 408 calories, 26 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 18 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 467 mg sodium

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BLACK BEAN TORTILLA CASSEROLE

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 (16-ounce) bottle salsa

2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn

4 cups fresh baby spinach

3 (8-inch) flour tortillas

2 cups reduced-fat shredded Cheddar, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.

2. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high; add the onion, garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the salsa, beans, corn and spinach, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is heated through, about 3 minutes.

3. Place 1 tortilla in pie plate; top with one-third of the bean mixture and sprinkle with about one-third of the cheese. Repeat the layers 2 more times and press down lightly on the top to slightly compact the casserole.

4. Bake until the mixture is bubbly and the top golden brown, about 20 minutes. Allow it to rest at least 5 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 318 calories, 20 g protein, 47 g carbohydrates, 11 g fiber, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 1,137 mg sodium

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CHICKEN POTPIE

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon dried tarragon

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1½ cups lower-sodium chicken broth

1½ cups frozen peas and carrots, thawed

2 cups (10 ounces) diced cooked chicken

3 tablespoons melted butter

4 large sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray.

2. Heat oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium high. Add onion, garlic and tarragon and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are somewhat softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, until flour is no longer visible, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth in slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in peas and carrots and chicken; transfer to prepared pie dish.

3. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on work surface and brush lightly with one-fourth of the butter. Top with another sheet of phyllo, brush with one-fourth of the butter and repeat process with remaining butter and phyllo. Place phyllo over filling. Fold up overhanging edges of phyllo and crumple them along edge to form a rim.

4. Bake until the filling is bubbly and the top golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 370 calories, 29 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 16 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 683 mg sodium

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