Pasta and Rice Recipes — 12 October 2012

By: Jodie Shield, RD

Need help surviving those hectic week nights? Here’s a beat-the-clock menu that can be prepared in 15 minutes or less – – from the time you walk in the door until you sit down at the dinner table.  Here’s my secret time-saving tip: Prepare this dish on a day when you have time to cook. Then after it has cooled, cut the lasagna into single-serve portions and freeze. On a night when you need a home-cooked meal in a hurry, simply take out a portion of lasagna, heat and eat. There’s no need to follow my recipe exactly.  Use whatever vegetables, grains, meats, or seasonings your family enjoys – in other words, just wing it!  If you have a quick and tasty meal you love to serve your family, do share!

Weeknight Menu

Last-minute lasagna

Italian bread

Tossed salad with oil and vinegar dressing

Red grapes

Low-Fat or Fat-Free Milk


Last-Minute Lasagna

(makes 8 servings)


nonstick cooking spray

12 ounces Italian turkey sausage

16 ounces reduced-fat ricotta cheese

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

8 whole wheat lasagna noodles, dry (no need to cook them; they’ll absorb the liquid from the sauce as they bake)

2 cups fresh spinach (optional) – use the ready-to-eat salad bags

16 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 26-ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I recommend low-sodium!)


Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.  Coat an 8-inch -by-12-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Brown the turkey sausage in a large skillet, and drain the fat.  At the same time, mix the ricotta cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese together until well blended.

Next, layer half the lasagna noodles, cheese mixture, spinach leaves, turkey sausage, shredded mozzarella, and pasta sauce atop one another in the pan.  Repeat the layers  (in the same order), using the rest of the ingredients.  Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Variation: For meatless lasagna, omit the turkey sausage.

Nutrition Information:

475 calories

34 grams protein

30 grams carbohydrate

5.5 grams dietary fiber

23 grams fat

9 grams saturated fat

120 milligrams cholesterol

840 milligrams sodium

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