Monday, April 9, 2012

Shortcut Veggie Lasagna

Does your family do Meatless Monday?

Let me first say that I am by no means a Nutritionist or an Activist with an agenda.  I just care about setting my kids up for a good future.  That includes feeding them good foods most of the time and doing the best I can to not trash this Earth while I'm here.  That being said...

Have you heard about the Pink Slime in beef?  Gross.  That alone may make you want to consider Meatless Monday.  There are many other reasons to consider going meatless one or two nights a week, such as:

** LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.
** REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%.
** FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
** CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices.

There are also many environmental reasons to consider reducing your meat consumption.  Have you seen the documentary, Food, Inc.?  It was pretty eye opening and it made me angry!  So angry that it compelled me to change my buying habits at the grocery store.  I could go on and on but that's not what this post is about.

In support of Meatless Monday, I will share my meatless dinners recipes that my family enjoys.  I found this Shortcut Veggie Lasagna recipe in my Parents magazine.  It is super easy to make and doesn't require much time.  And, best of all, there's always leftovers!


1 package (12-16 ounces) curly egg noodles
1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 bag (16 ounces) frozen assorted vegetables, thawed
1 jar (16 ounces) chunky marinara sauce

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F and coat a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray. 
2. Cook noodles according to package directions. 
3. Reserve ½ cup of cooking liquid. Drain noodles; rinse under cold water.

4. While noodles are cooking, thaw your veggies.  I just run warm water over them in a strainer, then dry on paper towels.

5. Combine ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, and vegetables.
6. In large bowl, mix noodles, marinara sauce, and reserved cooking liquid. 
7. Place roughly half of the noodle mixture in casserole dish. Spread ricotta mixture over noodles.  Top with remaining noodles and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
8. Bake 20 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

Happy Meatless Monday!

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