Weekend Food Prep–Turkey Vegetable Lasagna

Whenever I make lasagna, I make two. It is just as easy to make 2 casseroles as it is to make one and place one in the freezer for later. If you use a glass pyrex casserole pan for the freezer, make sure to place it in the fridge a day or two before you want to bake it, so it doesn’t crack in the hot oven. Alternately, you can use a single-use foil baking dish, and you can put it straight into the oven, adjusting the baking time by adding an hour or so to allow for it to fully come to temperature.

Turkey Vegetable Lasagne

I make the layers in this order to avoid making too many dirty dishes. It takes more prep time, since they aren’t all cooking at the same time, but it’s a compromise I’m willing to make to not have to wash every pot and pan in the house afterwards. I use reduced fat cottage cheese instead of the more traditional ricotta to give the final product a creamy texture with less fat, but you could certainly sub in ricotta, if you prefer it.

one. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook until no longer pink:
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey breast
1 lb. 93% ground turkey

two. Remove the turkey from the pan, draining off the excess liquid (or saving it for soups or some other use). Without washing the pan, saute until browned and the mushrooms release liquids:
1 tsp. olive oil
16 oz. sliced button mushrooms

Photo description: Sliced button mushrooms browning in a non-stick skillet.

three. Place the mushrooms aside into a small bowl and saute in the same pan until the onions are translucent:
1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup finely diced yellow onion
2 finely diced zucchini

Photo description: A skillet with diced onions and zucchini cooking in it, with a wooden spoon on the side. In the background, a blue bowl of cooked ground turkey and a few cans of tomato sauce can be seen.

four. Add to the vegetables and stir around until fragrant, about 1 minute
6 minced cloves garlic
1 tbs. dried oregano
1 tbs. dried basil
1/2 tbs. dried thyme

five. Add and bring to a simmer 45 oz, about 5 cups, tomato sauce (I use Hunt’s).

Photo description: The skillet now has tomato sauce added to it and it is simmering on the stove.

six. Lower heat and allow to slowly simmer until noticeably thickened and the flavors have melded together, at least 10 minutes.

seven. When you’re ready to assemble the lasagna, set out 2 8×8 inch baking pans. Have ready:
4 cups 2% cottage cheese
8 oz. shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
16 no-cook (my preference) or 24 boiled and drained lasagna noodles

eight. Place a small amount of tomato sauce on the bottom of each pan followed by each of the following layers:
2 no-cook lasagna noodles or 3 boiled noodles (it’s ok if you need to break or cut them a bit to make them fit)
1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese
1 oz. mozzarella (1/4 cup)
1/6 of the turkey (about 1/2 cup)
A few mushroom slices
2/3 cup vegetable tomato sauce

nine. Continue the pattern until you’ve made 3 layers of each. Finish with
2 or 3 noodles (enough to cover the top)
2/3 cup tomato sauce (or more to cover the noodles completely
1 oz. mozzarella
4 tbs. grated parmesan cheese

ten. When you are ready to bake the lasagna, preheat the oven to 350oF. Place the casserole dish onto a baking pan to contain spills and cook until the cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling around the edges, 45 minutes to an hour or more, depending on how cold it is when it goes into the oven. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

Each 8×8 casserole makes 4-6 servings, depending on what else you might serve it with.

Photo description: Two glass 8×8 casserole pans with lasagna layered into each one. The cheese is not yet melted, as the lasagna has not yet gone into the oven.

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