Have to feed a crowd? Craving something comforting? Need a quick and easy weeknight meal? Looking for a recipe that freezes beautifully? This Spaghetti Squash Chicken Lasagna checks all the boxes. While the traditional version is composed of layers of noodles, meat and cheese, I want to show you a different way of enjoying the classic dish. By swapping out the pasta layers for spaghetti squash, not only will you amp up the vegetable intake, but the lasagna-making process will become much more effortless. Adding kale to the ricotta mixture gives the dish an even greater nutritional boost. With a little prep work beforehand, you can whip up this hearty comfort meal in under 30 minutes.
Busy families, this lasagna recipe is for you. I crave the comfort of homemade lasagna this time of year, but I dislike the lengthy assembly time that often accompanies the dish. For equal taste with a fraction of the work, try a slow-cooker version instead.
Ending the day with a well-balanced meal is important. This is your last big change to take in any nutrients you may not have gotten enough of during the day. For example, if you have pasta primavera for lunch, be sure to include 3 to 4 ounces of protein for dinner. If you didn’t get in all your fruits during the day, make sure to add one for dessert.
Food groups: protein, grain, dairy, fruit, veggie
Our next head-to-head battle is between two popular pasta entrées. We’re pitting cheesy layers of lasagna against gooey mac & cheese. Who’ll win this food fight?
If your lasagna includes pasta, veggies, cheese and meat, you’ve got yourself a pretty balanced meal. Plus the tomato sauce is a great way to get in the antioxidant lycopene.
This dish is also easy to modify— pile on more veggies or eliminate the cheese to accomodate a dairy allergy. It’s also a very easy dish to cook and freeze in individual portions—a plus for those busy weeknights.
Lasagna is one of those dishes I reserve for the winter months, when I want something warm and comforting. This Mexican Lasagna, which uses tortillas in place of lasagna noodles, has some added heat from the salsa and jalapenos to really warm things up on a cold winter day. If you can’t stand the heat, use a mild salsa and omit the jalapeno.
Good old pasta recipes can easily be turned into a vegetarian dishes. Problem is, pile in tons of cheese and large portions of pasta and watch the calories and heart-clogging saturated fat go through the roof (yes, even vegetarian recipes can be unhealthy!). There are ways to lighten up your lasagna and macaroni and cheese but here are a variety of vegetarian pasta dishes that are delicious and figure-friendly.
Recipes to try:
- Vegetable Lasagna Casserole
- Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and White Beans
- Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Pecorino Cheese
- Macaroni and 4 Cheeses
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »
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