Last year I stepped in to help three people who thought they were some of the worst cooks in America.  Each of them had won a contest hosted by Success Rice to demonstrate that even someone who thought of him or herself as an extremely challenged cook could easily learn to cook with simple, healthy ingredients and simple recipes.

It turned out that the contestants were just suffering from a lack of confidence and experience, not any true inability to cook.  By the end of my days with each of them they had created several delicious meals and felt empowered to start cooking on a regular basis.

Of all the dishes I made with the contestants, this was the most popular. It’s such a surprising twist on traditional lasagna but the flavors and textures work perfectly together! Even if you’re a confident cook, I think you will enjoy making it and your family will love eating it.

What is your favorite twist on lasagna or your favorite simple recipe to make for your family?

Recipe: Spinach and Rice Lasagna

  • Prep Time: 25 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 20 min(s)
  • Total Time: 45 min(s)
  • Servings: 6

A hearty twist on delicious lasagna.

Ingredients

    • ¾ cups white or quick-cooking brown rice (2 cups cooked)
    • 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
    • ¾ cups grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
    • ½ cup nonfat cottage cheese
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 lb. lean ground turkey or vegetarian ground meat
    • ½ tsp. garlic powder
    • 2 cups red pasta sauce

Instructions

    • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8 x 11-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (a 9 x 13-inch dish will also work if necessary).
    • Prepare the rice according to the package directions and cool it slightly in the freezer. Defrost the spinach in the microwave or stovetop and drain it thoroughly (I press the spinach with the bottom of a bowl over a strainer to squeeze out all the water).
    • In a medium bowl, combine ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, the mozzarella cheese, and the cottage cheese. Set it aside. In a separate medium bowl, combine the rice, eggs, and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
    • In a large nonstick skillet, brown the meat over medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. (If you are using vegetarian ground meat, brown it in a tablespoon of olive oil.) Add the garlic powder, the spinach, breaking the spinach up with your fingers to separate it, and the pasta sauce, and continue cooking until it is heated through.
    • Spoon one half of the rice mixture into the baking dish, spreading it evenly with a spatula (it might not look like you have enough of the rice mixture to cover the bottom but just do your best). Cover it with one half of the cheese mixture, and top that with one half of the meat sauce. Repeat the layers. Top it with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
    • Bake it for 15 – 20 minutes until it is hot and bubbly. Serve it immediately or refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months.

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