Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Zucchini Lasagna

Many are surprised to learn that I suffered from gestational diabetes during my pregnancy. I've found that a lot of people have misconceptions about gestational diabetes, such as believing that only those who are overweight and/or have unhealthy eating habits can get it.  While those factors can be a cause, some people (like myself), just have rotten (genetic) luck, and get it regardless of our life choices.  I would get so upset when I would hear women saying that they weren't worried about their gestational diabetes test, because they ate healthy or hadn't gained a lot of pregnancy weight.  It made me feel as if it was MY fault for having gestational diabetes; like I was already failing as a mother, before my child was even born.  

It took a lot of education and research to comfort myself and realize that gestational diabetes wasn't because of anything I had or hadn't done.  Now I'm always eager to educate people about gestational diabetes.  So, yes, I had gestational diabetes.  No, I was not overweight.  No, I didn't have terrible eating habits; I ate pretty darn healthy and exercised 4-5 times a week.  No, I didn't gain a lot of weight during pregnancy (only 20 pounds), and no, my baby was not huge (she was 6 lbs 7 oz).  Yet I still ended up with gestational diabetes.  

Like most women, I was a pretty calorie conscious person and was therefore stoked about finally being pregnant and being able to eat without calorie guilt for the first time in years.  Finding out I had gestational diabetes hit me pretty hard. I had to be on a strict diet even during pregnancy?  Life just is not fair. To cheer myself up, I started doing a ton of recipe research, which actually ignited my current interest in finding healthy and delicious dishes.  Zucchini Lasagna was the first recipe that I made that made me realize everything was going to be a-okay for my pregnant, oh-so-hungry stomach.  It was gooey, satiating, perfect comfort-food goodness.  

So even though I no longer have gestational diabetes, I still make and LOVE this recipe.  I actually like it better than regular lasagna!  Enjoy!

Zucchini Lasagna
Recipe Adapted from Food.com

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, diced
8 oz package of Mushrooms, sliced
1 lb 93% Lean Ground Beef
3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced
6 oz Tomato Paste
14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Water
2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Basil
Salt & Pepper
2 large Zucchini, sliced 1/4" thick
1 Egg
1 tsp Flour
16 oz Low Fat Cottage Cheese (or Ricotta)
8 oz Block of Mozzarella Cheese, shredded and divided


1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 (or a 2 quart) baking dish.

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil, and then sauté the onion and mushroom, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the ground beef, and cook until no longer pink.  Drain the fat.

3.  Turn the temperature to medium, and toss in the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.  Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and seasonings.  Allow to simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, and until the sauce is thick.  Taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.

4.  Meanwhile, place the sliced zucchini on a plate and lightly salt.  Allow it to sit for a least 15 minutes, and then blot dry with a paper towel.  Microwave the sliced zucchini for several minutes or until softened.  Blot dry again and set aside.
You can see how the salt has caused the water to bead up from the zucchini
5.  In a medium bowl, beat the egg.  Stir in the cottage cheese, flour, and half (4 oz) of the shredded cheese.  Set aside.

6.  Once everything is prepared and cooked, it's time to layer.  On the bottom of the greased pan, spread on half of the meat sauce.  Top with half the zucchini, and then all the cottage cheese mixture.  Top with remaining meat sauce, and then the rest of the zucchini.

7.  Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  Evenly sprinkle on the remaining (4 oz) cheese and cook for 10 more minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and starting to golden.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serving Size: 1/6th of Entire Dish
Calories:  386
Fat:  18
Carbs: 19
Protein:  37

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