One fat cat

“When the lasagna content in my blood gets low, I get mean.” -Garfield

I recently realized that Garfield and I share many similar qualities: we’re both fat, lazy and snarky as hell. And, like Garfield, I love lasagna. As one might imagine, lasagna, for the most part, is not a staple on a clean-eating diet. (Why do I do this to myself again?)

I’m sure there’s a clean version of lasagna floating around out there somewhere, but the following recipe is the next best thing. Seriously, it tasted just like real, honest-to-goodness, gooey-cheese-bubbling-on-top lasagna.

Even though I’ve been venturing into the kitchen a little more, I am by no means a master chef — but even I could make this dish, which I found on the My Fitness Pal forums and modified slightly.

Without further ado, I present to you…

Artichoke and spinach penne casserole

4 cups cooked multi-grain penne
6 cups (loosely packed) baby spinach (I loves me my spinach — I swear I was Popeye in a past life)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (24 oz) jar marinara, no sugar added (I used President’s Choice Blue Menu marinara)
1 (14.5 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1 cup part-skim, shredded mozzarella
1 cup low-fat ricotta
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon sea salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup parmesan

Directions

1) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Cook penne to your liking.
3) Chop or tear spinach leaves into small pieces. (Side note: Tearing six cups’ worth of spinach takes a while. Next time, I’m choppin’ those bad boys.)
4) Add olive oil to a large skillet, heat to medium-low, add spinach and cook just until wilted.
5) In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked penne, marinara, wilted spinach and artichokes, then toss to combine.
6) In another large mixing bowl, combine cheeses (except parmesan), egg white, salt, black pepper and oregano.
7) In a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish, add 1/2 of penne mixture, top with 1/2 of cheese mixture and continue layering until all ingredients have been used. The cheese mixture should be the top layer.
8) Sprinkle parmesan over pasta and additional black pepper if desired. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
9) Pace yourself as you eat the deliciousness that is this casserole.

My boyfriend is a lasagna addict and he absolutely loved this dish. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard him say, “We have to make this again!” The only substitution? Next time, we’re going to try adding mushrooms and removing the artichokes (neither of us really like artichokes, we discovered).

There you have it, folks: a recipe that gets both the clean-eating and lasagna-addict stamps of approval.

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