A couple of weeks ago I woke up to an icy 4 degree day. It was depressing, especially when just a week earlier I woke up to a 40 degree day and went on a nice long run. I hate the winter. As I drove home from the gym I had to stop and get some gas in my car. After standing in the cold, I decided that dinner had to be a nice warm meal. Lasagna was the first thing that popped in my mind.

I'd never made lasagna before and immmediately went to my google reader and found a recipe I had starred a couple months ago - Healthy Spinach and Sausage Lasagna. I choose it for a few reasons. It was a healthy lasagna, wasn't going to take hours to make, and had spinach in it. My husband isn't a big fan of spinach, but loved this. I loved it as well. It made enough to last us all week, and we have a big pot of marinara in the freezer to use for another meal.

Healthy Spinach and Sausage Lasagna
source: A Year in the Kitchen

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp. Penzeys Italian seasoning blend
1 6 oz. can tomato paste, Italian style
2 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15oz. can tomato sauce
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
10 basil leaves, torn
1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/4 lb. bulk turkey sausage
8 oz. part skim ricotta
16 oz. bag frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1 egg
1/2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

First make the sauce:
Heat skillet to medium, add olive oil, onion and garlic. Sautee for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add seasoning, salt and pepper, tomato paste, sauce and crushed tomatoes. Cover and simmer while you prepare the other elements.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt heavily.

Sausage: Sautee in a nonstick pan for 10 minutes, breaking up and browning. Drain and set aside to cool. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, egg, ½ cup mozzarella and salt and pepper to taste. Add in cooled sausage, stir. Drop 4 noodles into the pot (if you’re making a lasagna with 4 rows). Cook for 5-6 minutes. Tear basil leaves into sauce and turn heat off.

Ladle some sauce to coat the bottom of a baking dish.Remove noodles from water with tongs and line the dish, drop in 4 more. Spread ricotta mixture over each noodle row, a sprinkle of cheese, and some marinara. Add next layer of noodles and repeat. Add 3rd layer of noodles, top with ricotta, and sauce first, then the remainder of the cheese. Bake in a 375 degree oven until brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes if you bake it off right away, and 1 hour if it’s been refrigerated.

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