Main Meals

 

 

Sausage, Cheese and Basil Lasagna 

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Description:
This recipes has three cheese: part-skim ricotta cheese, grated mozzarella cheese
and grated Parmesan cheese. I like to add in baby spinach and finely chopped Kale into these types of recipes to add more favour and nutrition.


Ingredients:
Ingredients

Sauce:

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 lb. spicy Italian sausages, casings removed

1 C. chopped onion

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

2 tsp. dried oregano

¼ tsp. dried crushed red pepper

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with added puree

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion, liquid reserved


Filling:

1 ½ C. (packed) fresh basil leaves

1 15 oz. container plus 1 C. part-skim ricotta cheese

1 ½ C. (packed) grated mozzarella cheese (about 6 oz.)

¾ C. grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 oz.)

1 large egg

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

12 no-boil lasagna noodles from 1 8 oz. package

3 C. (packed) grated mozzarella cheese (about 12 oz.)

1 C. grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 oz.)

Nonstick olive oil spray


Directions:
Method

To make sauce, heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausages, onion, garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper and sauté until sausage is cooked through, mashing sausage into small pieces with back of fork, about 10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes with juices.

Bring sauce to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors. Season with salt and pepper.

To make filling, using on/off turns, chop fresh basil leaves finely in processor. Add ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Using on/off turns, process filling until just blended and texture is still chunky.

To assemble, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1 ¼ C. sauce in 13x9x2-inch glass Baking dish. Arrange 3 noodles on sauce. Drop 1 ½ C. filling over noodles, then spread evenly to cover.

Sprinkle with ¾ C. Mozzarella cheese and ¼ C. Parmesan cheese.

Repeat layering of sauce, noodles, filling and cheeses 2 more times.

Top with remaining 3 noodles. Spoon remaining sauce on top of noodles. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Spray large piece of foil with nonstick olive oil spray.

Cover lasagna with foil, sprayed side down.

Bake lasagna 40 minutes. Carefully uncover. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake until noodles are tender, sauce bubbles thickly and edges of lasagna are golden and puffed, about 20 minutes. Transfer to work surface; let stand 15 minutes before serving.


Category: Main Meals


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Go Veggie...
Many nutrition experts recommend eating some vegetarian meals to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol. A great way to 'go veggie' now and then is to try a variety of ethnic options. For Chinese, try vegetable & tofu stir-fry. Greek - vegetable stuffed eggplant. Middle East - falafel, hummus or tabouli. Indian - dhokla or vegetable curry& lentil dishes. Mexican - vegetarian bean burritos.


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Recipe
Tuscan Leek, Potatoe & Bean Soup
Category: Soup
Description: Welcome those crisp winter days with a pot of hearty Tuscan bean soup. Leeks are a unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients, the allium vegetables belong in your diet on a regular basis. Like their allium cousins, onions and garlic, let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes after cutting and before cooking to enhance their health-promoting qualities.
A good source of dietary fiber, leeks also contain goodly amounts of folic acid, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. Easier to digest than standard onions, leeks have laxative, antiseptic, diuretic, and anti-arthritic properties.
Leeks contain many noteworthy flavonoid anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that have proven health benefits.
Leeks are low in calories. 100 g fresh stalks contain 61 calories. Further, their elongated stalks provide good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Laboratory studies show that allicin reduces cholesterol production by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase enzyme in the liver cells. Further, it also found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activities.
Allicin also decreases blood vessel stiffness by release of nitric oxide (NO); thereby bring reduction in the total blood pressure. It also blocks platelet clot formation and has fibrinolytic action in the blood vessels, which helps decrease overall risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral vascular diseases (PVD), and stroke.
Leeks are great source of minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Their leafy stems indeed contain several vital vitamins such as pyridoxine, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in healthy proportions. 100 g fresh stalks provide 64 µg of folates. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division. Their adequate levels in the diet during pregnancy can help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.
In addition, leeks are one of the good source of vitamin A (1667 IU or 55% of RDA per 100 g) and other flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants such as carotenes, xanthin, and lutein. They also have some other essential vitamins such as vitamin C, K, and vitamin E. Vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. Further, its stalks have small amounts of minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium.
Often overlooked in leeks is their important concentration of the B vitamin folate. Folate is present in leeks in one of its bioactive forms (5-methyltetrahydrofolate, or 5MTHF) and it is present throughout the plant (including the full leaf portion, not only the lower leaf and bulb).
Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, where they will keep fresh for between one and two weeks. Wrapping them loosely in a plastic bag will help them to retain moisture.
Tips for Preparing Leeks - Cut off green tops of leeks and remove outer tough leaves. Cut off root and cut leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Cut leeks into 2-inch lengths. Holding the leek sections cut side up, cut lengthwise so that you end up with thin strips, known as the chiffonade cut, slicing until you reach the green portion. Make sure slices are cut very thin to shorten cooking time. Let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes before cooking.
With a more delicate and sweeter flavor than onions, leeks add a subtle touch to recipes without overpowering the other flavors that are present. Although leeks are available throughout the year they are in season from the fall through the early part of spring when they are at their best.
Full Recipe


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