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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna

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Do you ever entertain on weeknights? Although we typically do most of our entertaining on the weekends, sometimes a weeknight dinner with friends or family is a nice way to break up the week. My problem is, of course, that by the time I get home from work most nights, I don’t have a ton of time to get dinner on the table—especially if I’m also straightening up the house last minute or setting the table in preparation for guests. Enter this lasagna, the perfect make-ahead meal! I actually made it over a weekend, froze it, and then put it in the fridge the morning I planned to serve it. All it required was about an hour in the oven when I got home, which leaves you ample time for slicing bread (I served with Alexia garlic bread), throwing together a salad, or pouring wine.
I’m most familiar with tomato-based lasagnas, but this creamy white sauce was a nice way to change things up. The type of sausage you use will heavily determine the flavor of the dish. Use something mild if you’re serving to kids or picky eaters. I actually wished I’d used a spicier sausage (or at least thrown some red pepper flakes in there!), but it all comes down to personal preference. Either way, I love that lasagna isn’t hard to put together but is ‘fancy’ enough to serve to guests!

One Year Ago: Mini Quiche Lorraine 
Two Years Ago: Sweet Potato Butter
Three Years Ago: Carrot Soup

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna
slightly adapted from Cooking Light March 2013

-1/4 cup flour
-1 cup milk
-1 cup chicken broth
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 bay leaf
-1/4 tsp kosher salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-cooking spray
-2 tbsp water
-1 (12 oz) package fresh spinach
-3 links hot turkey Italian sausage
-1/2 cup chopped onion
-1 tbsp minced garlic
-12 no-boil lasagna noodles
-1 (15 oz) package part-skim ricotta cheese
-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Combine flour, milk, chicken broth, oil, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook for 8 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf, and stir in salt and pepper.
2. Spread 1 cup milk mixture in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp water and spinach. Cook spinach until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Drain spinach, pressing to remove water from spinach. Increase heat to medium-high. Remove casings from sausage and add sausage to the pan, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Cook for 4 minutes or until browned. Remove sausage from pan.
4. Add onion and garlic to pan and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in remaining milk mixture along with spinach and cooking sausage. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
5. Line the bottom of the pan with noodles, over the milk mixture. Spread a thin, even layer of ricotto over the noodles followed by 1/3 of the spinach mixture. Repeat layers twice. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray.
6. Lasagna can be frozen at this point. When baking, preheat oven to 375F. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until warmed through. Remove foil and broil for 4 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before cutting.