Featured Pasta and Rice Recipes — 26 July 2013

Ole! July 27th is National Lasagna Day

 By: Jodie Shield, RD

When I found out National Lasagna Day was in July, I thought – heavy! Why not celebrate this cheesy, saucy, noodle-layered dish in a deep-freeze month like February?  No worries.  I lightened up my favorite pasta so that it tastes amazing any time of year.  Plus, I gave it a Mexican twist and the tasty result – Southwestern Lasagna. A couple of short cuts to trim your cooking time: use a deli-roasted chicken breast (many come pre-shredded) and don’t boil the noodles. The dry noodles will absorb liquid while cooking and be perfectly tender by serving time.  If you crave a light Italian-Style lasagna, try my Roly-Poly Lasagna or Last Minute Lasagna – both are super easy to make and de-lish!


Southwestern Lasagna

Makes 8 servings

 Prep Time = 30 minutes

Cook Time = 50 minutes


  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 (6 ounce) can diced mild green chili peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (10 ounce) can cream of tomato soup
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (10 ounce) package whole-wheat lasagna noodles
  • 4 cups cooked chicken breasts, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded


  1. Stir together the egg whites, ricotta cheese, cilantro, and chili peppers in medium-size bowl. Set aside.
  2. To make the lasagna sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato soup, enchilada sauce, chili powder, and cumin. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  3. To make the lasagna: preheat oven to 375°F. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce on bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Place three dry (uncooked) lasagna noodles over sauce. Spread half of egg-and-cheese mixture over noodles, and then top with half of remaining sauce, two cups of chicken, and half of cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheese. Starting with the noodles, repeat the layers in the same order. Cover with foil. Bake about 50 minutes. Let stand at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Nutrition Information: 362 calories, 25 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrate, 19 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 78 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams fiber, 578 milligrams sodium

Related Articles


About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N.
Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

(0) Readers Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *