Friday, July 22, 2011

Cooking Light with Giada De Laurentiis: Classic Italian Lasagna

Believe it or not, this was my first stab at making Classic Italian Lasagna. Mom makes a wonderful lasagna. I will never forget the night when Hubby was over for dinner (during the dating years) and he tried Mom's lasagna for the first time. He loved it! And in true Rudy fashion, while trying to give what he thought was a beautiful compliment, he left Mom wondering if she should be flattered or offended. "This is so good! It tastes just like Stouffer's!" The boy loved frozen lasagna. He way paying Mom the ultimate compliment, according to Rudy standards. He wanted Mom to know he loved her lasagna even more than his Gold Standard; Stouffer's. Poor Rudy. He always has the best of intentions. We laughed it up then...and we still like laughing about it now.
Well this is no frozen, store-bought lasagna.There are tons of great lasagna recipes out there. But today, I want to share with you a modified version of Giada's Classic Italian Lasagna. My favorite part? The tomato cream sauce!! Yes, a light cream sauce layered in noodles, meat, spinach and cheese! Here's what you need and what you need to do for dinner tonight!

Serves 6

  • 4 tablespoons " I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup WHOLE WHEAT flour
  • 4 cups FAT FREE half-and-half 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (Healthy jar variety)
  • Salt
  • pepper
  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds FAT FREE Ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup EGG BEATERS
  • 1 pound WHOLE GRAIN lasagna sheets, cooked al dente
  • 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups 2% Mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bechamel sauce:
In a 2-quart pot, melt 4 tablespoons "ICBINB" over medium heat. When "ICBINB" has completely melted, add the flours (all-purpose & Whole Grain) and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Gradually add the FAT FREE half & half, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming. Continue to simmer and whisk over medium heat until the sauce is thick, smooth and creamy, about 10 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of wooden spoon. Remove from heat and add the nutmeg and tomato sauce. Stir until well combined and check for seasoning. Set aside and allow to cool completely.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Brown meat, breaking any large lumps, until it is no longer pink. Remove from heat and drain; removing any excess fat. Set aside and allow to cool completely.

In a medium sized bowl, thoroughly mix the ricotta and EGG BEATERS. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Into the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish, spread 1/3 of the bechamel sauce. Arrange the lasagna sheets side by side, covering the bottom of the baking dish. Evenly spread a layer of all the ricotta mixture ...

and then a layer of all the spinach.

Arrange another layer of pasta sheets and spread all the ground beef on top. Sprinkle 1/2 the mozzarella cheese (1 cup) on top of the beef.

Spread another 1/3 of the bechamel sauce. Arrange the final layer of pasta sheets and top with remaining bechamel, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place lasagna dish on top, cover and put on the middle rack of the oven and bake until top is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue to bake for about 15 minutes.


This is a great recipe! Easy to create; with parts that are great for young helpers in the kitchen. Again, this is another recipe where simply substituting healthier versions of existing ingredients can make a heavy dish into a healthy dish. Check out the nutritional breakdown!

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

BEFORE: 1273.3 calories;  73.8g fat; 85.94g carbohydrate;  65.5g protein; 6.8 g fiber

AFTER: 782 calories;  20.2g  fat;  96.71g carbohydrate;  62.22g protein;  12.6g fiber

SAVES: 493.33 calories & 53.6g fat
ADDS: 5.8g fiber

Serve with a salad...and you have dinner! It may even last for a couple of nights like ours did! Bonus!



  1. wow this looks great! thanks for the recipe!:)

  2. Oh mama!!! This looks amazing. My sister and I were just talking about Lasagna yesterday (our mom also makes the best ;) ). This looks great and I love the healthy tweaks you made. I am going to share this on my FB for my readers...because they will love it!

  3. The lasagna looks perfect! Can't go wrong with Giada and lightening it up a bit makes eating it even more enjoyable! I love your version!



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