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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cream Cheese Lasagna

This stuff is amazing. So yummy. I made it a long, long time ago with Dreamfield's Lasagna noodles--before all the hoopla about their real carb content. I don't bother to buy it anymore (although I never did much, as I had already discovered that it raised the hubby's blood sugar). But forget that! Who needs the pasta anyway? This one uses eggplant slices to replace the pasta. Not quite the same texture, but superb flavor!

The thing that makes this dish so special is the cream cheese. Most lasagna recipes rely on ricotta cheese or cottage cheese. This has so much more flavor. Can you say creamy? True that it looks a little weird before it bakes. The tomato mixed in with the cream cheese looks pink. Fear not, when baked the pink is gone and all is well! I used sausage for even more flavor, but it is good with beef too. In the original recipe, I made a larger lasagna, and used half sausage and half beef. This recipe is easy to double, so do that if you have a crowd.

Cream Cheese Lasagna with Eggplant and Sausage

1 lb pork sausage
1 eggplant
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz cream cheese
14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
5 oz frozen spinach
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or any of your choice)

In large skillet, brown sausage. Cut the eggplant into thin slices. Cut larger slices in half.  Place slices on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 10 minutes. With paper towels, press the moisture off the slices. Brush each with olive oil. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and flip each slice. Bake another 5-7 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven.

While those are baking, combine the cream cheese, diced tomatoes, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. (If cheese is cold, heat it a bit before adding tomatoes). Place 1/3 of the sausage, along with a bit of the pan drippings, in the base of an 8 inch square dish. Top the sausage with a layer of eggplant slices. Spoon 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture over the slices. Top with half of the spinach. Repeat layers of sausage, eggplant and cream cheese. Add the remaining spinach. Add the last of the sausage and cheese mixture. Top lasagna with shredded cheese. Bake 30 minutes. Let lasagna rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Serves 6:   464 calories    6 net carbs      38 g fat

Carb counts can vary with cream cheese, so watch. Neufchatel would lower the calories and fat a bit, but some have higher carbs. My Fitness Pal had the Neufchatel version 2 carbs per serving higher. I can't see how that can be. I hate how different software programs give you different figures. Grr. Just go with this is somewhere between 6 and 8 net carbs per serving.

The eggplant does not exactly stay in obvious layers like the pasta counterpart. It is really tasty, however. This is nice reheated, so go ahead and make a double batch if you want. Divide it up for lunches or freeze an extra. The busy upcoming holidays will be a time you will appreciate having those frozen meals waiting for you!

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Anonymous said...

Could this be made with zucchini instead of eggplant?

Julieanne said...

I think this would be really good made with thin layers of zucchini. I did that years ago with a vegetarian lasagna, and it was delicious!

For years, my aunt made the best lasagna in town. She wouldn't tell us her special secret ingredient until years and years later: cream cheese! So I use cream cheese in my lasagna as well now, and everyone raves about it. She has Alzheimer's now, so it isn't safe for her to cook anymore, but I do love that lasagna with cream cheese!

Kathy Hall said...

I use slices of deli chicken slices in place of the pasta and you it holds it together and you never know it's there. I am going to try the cream cheese instead of ricotta. Sounds good...

Linda A. said...

I'm going to try this. I like the idea of using cream cheese instead of ricotta since it's much cheaper.

Lisa said...

I knew the Dreamfields pasta was likely bad. I stopped using it when I went gluten free. This lasagna looks perfect. Who needs pasta?

MsWool said...

Do you peel the eggplant?

claudia said...

I like the idea of cream cheese. I have a kid who doesn't like ricotta