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Sunday, December 02 2007

Lasagna is an ancient dish and goes back to Biblical times. The pasta and cheese dish is found in many parts of Italy. Some food historians think Italian housewives invented the dish to use leftover pasta and sauce. According to "The Cooking of Italy," a Time-Life Book published in 1968, Italian cooking is not difficult to master and "its diversity is inexhaustible.

Lasagna is one of those diverse recipes. You can make it with ground beef, pork, beef and pork combined, smoked ham, cream sauce, meat and cream sauce, and tomato sauce. Many years ago I was invited to a friend's house for lasagna. "My lasagna is different," she explained, "and has a layer of spinach." I like the spinach addition so much I often add it to my homemade lasagna.

Though I know how to make tomato sauce from scratch and cook the lasagn noodles I avoid these steps during the holidays. Instead, I use sauce from a jar, precooked pasta, and pre-shredded cheese. When you assemble the lasagna you will see there is lots of sauce. The extra sauce moistens and plumps the lasagna noodles as they bake.

Keep a pan of lasagna on hand for unexpected company. Pair the dish with a green salad and breadsticks or garlic toast. After dinner, gather around the piano and sing a few carols. You've got the spirit!


12 ounces of Italian sausage, cooked and drained OR 1 12-ounce roll 50% less fat pork sausage, cooked and drained

1 pound 10-ounce jar of no-sugar tomato-basil sauce

1 pound 12-ounce can low-salt tomato puree

24-ounce carton 1% cottage cheese (small curd)

1 large egg

1/3 cup egg substitute

1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

10-ounce package chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and drained

16-ounce package 2% milk grated Italian cheeses

8-ounce package precooked lasagna (You will have a few leftover noodles.)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl combine cooked sausage, tomato-basil sauce, and tomato puree. In another large bowl combine cottage cheese, egg, egg substitute, Romano cheese, and spinach.

Coat a 9" x 13" glass pan with baking spray. Spread 1 cup of sausage-tomato sauce on bottom of pan. Lay four lasagna noodles over sauce. Spread 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture over lasagna. Spread 1/3 of the sausage-tomato mixture over cheese layer. Sprinkle 1/3 of the Italian cheese over this layer. Continue until you have three layers, ending with the last of the Italian cheeses.

Cover the lasagna with release foil and bake for one hour. Uncover the lasagna and bake 15-minutes longer. Let lasagna stand for 10-12 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese if you wish. Makes 12-15 servings.

Copyright 2007 by Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance nonfiction writer for 29 years. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Association for Death Eduation and Counseling. her 24th book, "Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief," written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from A five-star review of the book is posted on Amazon. You will find other reviews on the American Hospice Foundation Web site ("School Corner" heading) and the Health Ministries Association Web site.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 03:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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