Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pesto Cream Lasagna

As promised, I have a delicious Pesto Cream Lasagna recipe that came from the heart of my mother, the spirit of my father, and the stubborn-ness of me-- because I demand we write down every recipe and take pictures of everything.

This wears my mother out tremendously, but she goes along with it wanting to make me happy. And I want to make her happy too so I write the recipe and today I am giving her all the credit. She had the initial spark of an idea and saw it all the way through. I just took pictures and drove everyone crazy.

I'm just really good at it and I believe in focusing on strengths.
Why is it the spirit of my father? Well, if you recall-- when I first posted about the pesto cream sauce my dad asked, "Can we put this on everything from now on? Even cereal in the morning or maybe even pancakes?" Yeah, he is a huge fan and my mom wants to make him happy and this recipe is the birth child of all of us wanting to make each other happy.
Yep, it's pretty simple that way. This recipe and our intentions are easy. Not always received, but easy none the less. We are happy creatures wanting to make each other happy too. Because what's better than happiness? Happiness shared!

A few tid bits about the recipe-- In order to cut down on carbohydrates and calories, we use two layers of lasagna noodles-- one on the bottom and one on the top. Less noodles equals more room for yummy pesto and turkey meat too! We also don't cook our noodles ahead of time.. you don't need to if you use enough liquid and it saves tons of time and frustration.

**If you want to save even more calories you can easily substitute the fat free half and half with fat free milk... We just really like the taste of our fat free half and half.

I hope you like this recipe and find yourself swimming in a sea of pesto cream and happiness!

Pesto Cream Lasagna

1/2 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves; minced
1 pound hot turkey Italian sausage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings
1 cup pesto (Check out my homemade pesto recipe here)
1 cup fat free half and half
1 egg
2 cups low fat cottage cheese
10 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. In a large skillet heat one tsp. of olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Saute until the onions become translucent.  
2. Remove the sausage from the casings and mix the meat with the Italian seasonings and salt. Form into small balls using your palms. Place in the skillet with the onions and garlic. Saute until the meatballs have browned, about 3-5 minutes. They don't have to be  completely cooked through as you will finish them in the oven. We just want a brown crust on the outside.
3. Combine the pesto and half and half in a small bowl and set aside. 

4. Then combine the egg and cottage cheese in another bowl. Now we are ready to construct our lasagna.

5. Spray the bottom and sides of a large rectangle baking dish with cooking spray and place one layer of lasagna noodles along the bottom. Next place a layer of cottage cheese and top with all of the meatball and onion mixture. Then place half of the pesto cream sauce over the meatballs. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese.
6. Top with another layer of lasagna noodles and top with the remaining cottage cheese, pesto cream sauce, and mozzarella making sure to cover the noodle completely with liquid. This is what cooks the noodles without you needing to boil them first.

7. Place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes with foil covering it. Then remove the foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes to allow the cheese to brown and bubble.

8. Remove from oven, slice, and serve! 

***A great idea is to serve additional pesto cream sauce on the side, so your dinner guests have the option to pour a little more sauce over the top. Yes, the sauce is really that good!

Servings: 8

Nutritional Skinny:

404 calories / 19 g fat / 30 g carbohydrates / 3.5 g fiber / 29 g protein 

Mental Health Benefit:  I have been looking for whole wheat lasagna noodles for decades it seems and they finally have them. We used the Healthy Harvest variety and they are packed with 6 grams of fiber per serving! They also come loaded with 7 grams of protein which helps make this lasagna packed with the 29 grams of protein. I was surprised myself when I calculated it all. However, with the winter sports of skiing, shoveling, or in my case getting my car unstuck from the snow drifts, we all need all the protein we can get this season!


lasagna said...

This is the first time I saw a lasagna with such color, lol! Not exactly bad for my taste, but I think my kids will find it a little off, lol! Anyway, I look into the ingredients and I'm pretty confident that it's right up to their ally. Probably I just have to make a little explaining with the color :) a little nudging will surely do it.

Hot Mess Cooking said...

Once you get past the 'scrooge' color the flavor it amazing! It's lasagna with a little bit of Christmas green! Thanks for stopping by!

Cris said...

hey girlie! How do you store pesto? I had tons of Basil this summer, and ended up drying it b/c I couldn't figure out how to store pesto long term, just in the fridge for a few weeks.. Ideas?
PS - I miss you. Got your card and cartoons... love em!

Hot Mess Cooking said...

Hey Cris - The best way is to make a huge batch of pesto and then store it in individual sized freezer bags. They can stay in the freezer for up to a year, but I'm pretty sure you'll use them all up before that happens. I've been doing this with my basil harvest for years! So glad you got the card! Love you!