White Cheese Lasagna + Q&A

Interesting comments on yesterday’s “OIAJ: Safe or not?” post! Thanks for all the feedback!

White Cheese (Chicken) Lasagna adapted from All Recipes and recommended by Holly

9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/2 cup butter Smart Balance Light
1 onion, chopped
1 6 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
4 cups shredded 2% mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained 6-8 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the flour and salt, and simmer until bubbly. Mix in the broth and milk, and boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Season with the basil, oregano, and ground black pepper. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer with 1/3 of the noodles, the ricotta, and the chicken. Arrange 1/3 of the noodles over the chicken, and layer with 1/3 of the sauce mixture, spinach, and the remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange remaining noodles over cheese, and spread remaining sauce evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with parsley and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. Serves 12

Nutrition Information (per serving): 449 calories; 23.4 g. fat; 59.2 mg. cholesterol; 1117 mg. sodium; 20.5 g. carbohydrate; 2.3 g. fiber; 39.8 g. protein

Feedback: Yummm! Mr. Prevention gives a big thumbs up, too! He does, however, request chicken the next time I make this lasagna. I omitted chicken because it is 1) fairly high in calories as is, and 2) contains lots of protein even without the chicken! Great recommendation, thanks Holly!

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Q&A!!

It’s been awhile! Here we go! 😀

Molly: Do you know if there are any draw backs to cooking with instant (5-10 minute) brown rice versus regular brown rice?  I use the quick stuff cause after getting off of work, hittin the gym and then coming home, sitting around for 45 min waiting for rice isn’t all that appealing, hahaha.

Prevention RD: Um, totally agree! Unlike oats, for example, instant brown rice undergoes no additional processing to decrease its cook time. Instant rice is simply pre-cooked and dehydrated to shorten the cook time and the nutritional losses are insignificant. Really great question!

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Carissa of Fit to Indulge: I know you work with diabetics, and as an RD I need your backup. My grandpa’s physician wants him on this Atkins style diet and it ticks me off that his MD isn’t referring him to a dietitian instead. He wants my opinion, but I know as a student, it sounds better coming from a Registered Dietitian. What would you tell a patient?

Prevention RD: RED FLAGS!!! To be honest, I think his MD might be getting a kick back for referring patients to this program based on what the diet consists of in terms of low-carb/low-fat and the product information you attached. If you cut out carbs and fat, there’s nothing left but protein! I’d get an MD to refer him to an RD, or he could attend Weight Watchers meetings if he’s looking for the group support. Not ideal, but he won’t get to see an RD but maybe 1-2 sessions that would be paid for by private insurance or Medicare, unless he was willing to pay out of pocket. As a general rule of thumb, physicians should (and do!) give scientifically sound, broad nutrition and exercise advice: “Exercise more”…”Increase your fruits and vegetables.”…”Cut out the soda and candies”…“You need to lose 20 pounds,” etc. Excellent question, and I do hope he finds (safe) success!

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Lena of LMC in the World: I have found here in Asia that I don’t eat much meat, besides my random deliveries of KFC.  But, I find I am eating a lot more eggs.  I’ve never gone through a carton of eggs so fast and there’s almost always an egg involved if I get a local dish.  How does it compare if I’m swapping out eggs for meat (albeit unintentional)? Any words of caution or other thoughts?

Prevention RD: Eggs have moved up in the rankings – they are incredible and edible, after all! I would be sure to get adequate iron, especially as a woman. Fortified cereals, leafy greens (consumed with a Vitamin C-rich source), and beans are good sources of iron. A daily multi-vitamin doesn’t hurt, either! As for the cholesterol content of eggs, unless someone has high cholesterol, I don’t limit eggs if they are consumed as a part of a healthy diet. If someone has elevated cholesterol, limiting eggs may be necessary (~3 a week). Most cholesterol is synthesized in the body and does not elevate due to high cholesterol intake (found in liver and egg yolks). Good question! Jealous of all that yummy cuisine in Singapore! 😉

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Molly: I have a family friend who has type 1 diabetes.  She’s had it if not since she was born, definitely since she was a very young girl.  I’m friends with her on Facebook and many of her statuses are diabetes related.  I copied and pasted one of them cause I was curious what you would have to say. It reads: “15 carbs of juice officially does absolutely nothing to her sugar. And yet, AND FREAKIN YET, 10 carbs of kettle chips will kick her right over the edge. Why bother assigning numbers to carbs when they are So Clearly interpretative?”

Prevention RD: Yep, this is common among diabetics, particularly type 1’s. This concept is highly dependent on when blood glucose is measured, how quickly the food/beverage is absorbed (liquids are absorbed much more quickly than solids), the glycemic index of the food, the fiber content of the food, what the food was or was not consumed with, what exercise or lack thereof has been performed, and plenty more that even science cannot explain. There’s just no possible way to isolate each variable and determine concrete cause and effect data. For example, I have SEVERAL patients who record unfavorable rises in blood glucose after eating certain foods. For some, it’s potatoes, for some it’s milk. It’s a matter or trial and error to find what works for each individual and while trends in blood sugar can vary despite carb-counting, a pattern is still apparent in most. Unfortunately, there’s no EXACT science to insulin dosing, carb-counting, and diabetes, but it is still the best (and only!) system for determining insulin titration. AWESOME question – love the diabetes Q’s 🙂

Question: What’s your favorite Italian dish? Lasagna? Ravioli? Manicotti? Spaghetti?

P.S. Thank you for all the Lily love! I wish she knew how many caring bloggie mamas and papas are out there!! 🙂

Happy Hump Day,

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39 Comments

  1. May 12, 2010 / 5:57 am

    I actually don’t really like Italian food, probably because I don’t like tomato sauce! Of course, I love anything smother in alfredo. 🙂 I really do like gnocchi, too!

  2. May 12, 2010 / 6:13 am

    Whoa does this lasagna sound GOOD! I used to hate tomato sauce as a kid (what was wrong with me??) and would have loved this. Heck I’m still a cheese addict..so I would STILL love it! So making it!

  3. May 12, 2010 / 6:30 am

    Lasagna looks rich and creamy, loved Q & A too after a long time

  4. May 12, 2010 / 6:42 am

    I always think it’s so funny that people with diabetes are told to go on an Atkin’s-type diet. That’s so high in saturated fat! I think the biggest deterrent should be that if you have diabetes you’re at an increased risk for heart disease. You don’t need to up it further by only eating meat and cheese. 🙂

    I’m boring, but my favorite Italian dish is plain old spaghetti with marinara. My husband always makes fun of me for getting it when we’re out.

  5. May 12, 2010 / 7:05 am

    Good to know about the rice! Lasagna is my fav!

  6. May 12, 2010 / 7:38 am

    It’s hard for me to pick a favorite Italian food….it’s all so good! I have to say that my favorite Italian food is my grandmom’s homemade green spaghetti. It’s amazing!

  7. May 12, 2010 / 7:57 am

    I love angel hair pasta with marinara sauce and meatballs! YUM!!!

  8. May 12, 2010 / 8:02 am

    I bought instant brown rice once and the texture was so gummy and terrible. Blech! I never bought it again. Do you know a good quality brand of instant brown rice?

  9. May 12, 2010 / 8:57 am

    Spaghetti and meatballs, PLEASE! But your lasagna looks killer, too!

  10. May 12, 2010 / 9:00 am

    I’ve never made a “white” lasagna version before–I am a huge red sauce fan, but I am always up for giving other flavors a try!

  11. May 12, 2010 / 9:36 am

    I was kind of surprised to know that instant brown rice has the same nutrition as normal. I knew they parboiled it but I at least thought it was kind of refined. Not sure why though. 😛

    My favorite Italian dish by FAR is a sausage and peppers sub. It has to be made very specifically: sweet Italian sausage, green or red bell peppers, sweet onions, NO sauce whatsever, on a very crispy roll.
    There was sort of roadside lunch stand in the middle of nowhere near my grandparents’ house in Maine and several years ago we stopped there, I got that, and it was the greatest thing I’d ever eaten. And then it closed down, and I haven’t had a good restaurant one since. 🙁 (poor me, right? ;))

  12. May 12, 2010 / 10:03 am

    I’ve always wondered about instant brown rice. Really good to know! I can’t say I have a favorite Italian dish..there’s so many good ones! I guess I’d have to say I really like pesto and gnocchi when it’s really good.

  13. May 12, 2010 / 10:16 am

    Thanks for the eggcellent advice! (Yes – I’m a dork.). I love good gnocchi.

    Your lasagna looks awesome!

  14. May 12, 2010 / 11:41 am

    wow that lasagna sounds and looks amazing!!
    my favorite italian dish is anything with pesto 🙂

  15. May 12, 2010 / 11:48 am

    Yay!! Phew, I am so glad you both liked it. 🙂 I might try it next time without the chicken – it’s so good, I don’t think I’d miss it too much!!

    Favorite italian meal….that is hard, considering I like (love?) them all! I’d have to say I do love a good lasagna. So warm and comforting, and always worth the extra effort!

  16. May 12, 2010 / 11:55 am

    Oh my goodness that lasagna recipe looks fabulous!! My favorite italian dish always changes but right now I’d say my grandma’s homemade spaghetti and meatballs sounds really good!!!!!

  17. May 12, 2010 / 1:31 pm

    That lasagna looks SO good! Then again, you put cheese in the name and I’ll eat it! 🙂

    I dont know that I have a favorite Itallian dish. Im not big on tomato sauce so that could be why. Anything with a cream or cheese sauce is good in my books though. Or gnocchi with pesto. Thats always a winner!

  18. May 12, 2010 / 2:14 pm

    Yums that looks amazing! I would love to make it, minus the chicken though lol

  19. May 12, 2010 / 2:40 pm

    I love Italian food, but watch it because it can be so calorie intense. I make vegetarian lasagne, but do have a recipe very similiar to yours today which we love!

  20. May 12, 2010 / 4:26 pm

    I’m a lasagna lover but mostly homemade lasagna. I pack it full with veggies, so good! I think Jacob would love all the cheesiness in your. I was thinking lasagna for Friday night when his friend is over.

  21. May 12, 2010 / 5:29 pm

    I LOVE Italian food, lasagna is a favourite, I make one with pureed butternut squash, pinenuts and raisins that is divine and meatless 😛

  22. May 12, 2010 / 5:42 pm

    This lasagna looks good Nicole. Do the nutrient facts take into consideration there is not chicken?
    I am definitely trying this. I almost always make pasta with pesto or red sauce and really would like to make a healthier version of a white sauce pasta dish.
    Favorite Italian dish is anything with cheese filled pasta. I think I have a cheese addition.

  23. May 12, 2010 / 5:54 pm

    That white lasagna looks amazing! I would have to say goat cheese/asparagus would be my favorite Italian dish! Mmmm, now I want Italian for dinner instead of Mexican!

  24. May 12, 2010 / 6:25 pm

    Great Q and A! I love that lasanga recipe. That looks great!

  25. May 12, 2010 / 6:50 pm

    The lasanga looks great!!! I think my fiance would love that recipe too!

  26. May 12, 2010 / 10:30 pm

    i am so not into white sauces in Italian dishes or noodles really for that matter.. but it looks great!

  27. May 12, 2010 / 11:10 pm

    The lasagna looks & sounds great!

    Recently, I’m really enjoying spaghetti with simple sauces: sauteed tomatoes and garlic, a quick pesto, a little olive oil & cheese. Not very traditional, I guess, but good…. 🙂

  28. May 13, 2010 / 5:31 am

    Any Italian dish made with bolognese (sp??) sauce captures my heart. Thanks for the great lasagna recipe!

  29. May 13, 2010 / 6:38 am

    I love eggs, and I’m SO GLAD they are now considered a healthier food (compared to when I was young when they were a “dangerous, high cholesterol food”).

    I can’t believe that doctor recommended the Adkin’s diet for his newly diabetic patient! What a joke. I mean, I can see a “lower carb” diet being ok, but Adkin’s isn’t at all healthy, or a good way to learn how to eat healthy. That’s scary.

    Favorite Italian dish: Actually, LASAGNA!

  30. May 13, 2010 / 4:37 pm

    Your white lasagna looks delicious…I’m bookmarking! 🙂 My favorite Italian dish is ravioli.

  31. crockpottuesdays
    December 9, 2010 / 10:25 am

    I made this last night and it was so good! I did include chicken in the dish, although it seemed to get lost. I think we would have been fine without the chicken. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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