Lasagna at its Best

Lasagna is the perfect comfort food for the weather we’ve been experiencing over the last few weeks. After coming home from work, there’s nothing I savor more on a rainy or cold afternoon than a nice warm meal. And the combination of meat, cheese, pasta, and veggies really hits the spot for me.

After scouring the internet for the perfect lasagna recipe, one in particular stood out from the rest. And the winning recipe is (drumroll please) Barefoot Contessa’s Turkey Lasagna. Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa, is probably the last Food Network chef I began watching, but also happens to be my favorite. Although her show might not seem as exciting as say an Iron Chef America or Emeril, there’s something comforting about the way she cooks that inspires me to get in the kitchen. I think Ina is so appealing to me because she is the most real of all the Food Network chefs, less of a celebrity and more of a true cook who is passionate about entertaining her guests.

In any case, her Turkey Lasagna recipe was not only simple but turned out to be the most delicious lasagna I’ve ever had. Anyone can write a recipe, but Ina was able to create a guide that actually translated ingredients into their most natural form; an incredible Turkey Lasagna. And though Ina’s original recipe appeared to contain the perfect balance of meat and cheese, I just needed to add my own little twist.

Since I try and cut out additional calories or fat when I can, I omitted the goat cheese and used 1lb of part skim ricotta and only 3/4 lb of shredded low fat mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese (1/2 in the dish, 1/4 on top). I also added 2 packages of frozen spinach which was a nice addition. Since the sauce is so rich, it doesn’t necessarily need all of the cheese the recipe calls for. Unfortunately I couldn’t find turkey sausage in my local supermarket so I bought ground turkey meat and added a few spices (fennel, caraway, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper & chili flakes) so that it would taste similar to sausage. I also added 4 oz of diced turkey bacon to the mix to give it a slight smoky flavor. I must admit that it really enhanced the flavor of the turkey. I highly recommend Ina’s recipe with these revisions if you prefer a healthier lasagna.

Lasagna on Foodista

And though the lasagna was phenomenal, it was even more satisfying knowing that each portion (9 total) only cost $2.50! You really can’t beat that. For those of you who live in Murray Hill and shop at Todaro’s, you’ll notice that they sell a portion of their Lasagna for around $7.00. This Turkey Lasagna is perfect for freezing, just make sure you wrap your portions twice to prevent freezer burn!

Price Breakdown of Ingredients:

  • 20 oz Ground Turkey: $4.99
  • 2 Packages of Frozen Chopped Spinach: $2.58
  • 1/2 lb Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese: $2.99 (From Wholesale Cheese Store in E. Village)
  • 1/2 lb Grated Parmesan Cheese: $3.99 (also from Cheese Store)
  • Small Onion: .50
  • Garlic: .75
  • 28 oz Can Crushed Tomatoes: $1.50 (on special)
  • 6 oz Can Tomato Paste: .89
  • 1 lb Fresh Pasta: $3.99 (can also use dried pasta)

GRAND TOTAL = $22.18

Portions: 9 total, $2.46 each