Downsizing recipes is not always an easy task, especially for classics such as lasagna.

But those no-boil lasagna noodles fit just right in a standard, 8- by 4-inch loaf pan and bake up nicely. A key to using no-boil noodles, which are pre cooked and dried, is to cover them with enough sauce so they cook properly and there are no crunchy parts.

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Many recipes say you can use any lasagna noodles without boiling them first; they just need adequate moisture to cook them.

Be sure to let the lasagna rest for at least 15 minutes once it's baked. It will be easier to cut and hold its shape better.

You can assemble lasagna a day ahead. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Then be sure to bake it from its chilled state. Do not bring it to room temperature beforehand.

To freeze an unbaked lasagna, tightly wrap with plastic wrap and then with foil. It will keep in the freezer for about 2 months.

To bake a frozen pan of lasagna, remove it from the freezer the night before and refrigerate to thaw. Remove the foil and plastic wrap and then replace the foil. Bake as directed.

Lasagna Loaf


•2 links hot, lean, turkey Italian sausage, casings removed

•1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

•2 tablespoons pesto, optional

•1 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese, divided

•1 egg, lightly beaten

•1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

•1 3/4 cups favorite pasta sauce, divided

•6 no-boil lasagna noodles

•10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry

•2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large skillet, brown sausage, breaking it up. Remove from the skillet and drain. In bowl, mix ricotta cheese, pesto, 1/4 cup Italian-blend cheese, egg and Italian seasoning.

Spread 1/4 to 1/3 cup pasta sauce on the bottom in 8- by 4-inch loaf pan. Spread 1/4 ricotta mixture on 1 noodle and place it in the bottom of pan. Sprinkle some spinach and sausage on top. Spoon on a few tablespoons pasta sauce. Top with a few tablespoons of Italian-blend cheese. Repeat the layering, reserving a good 1/4 cup pasta sauce and cheese for the final top layer.

Press down slightly. Spread the remaining pasta sauce on top of the last noodle, sprinkle with remaining cheese and the Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake about 35 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Nutritional information: 544 calories (44 percent from fat ), 27 grams fat (13 grams sat. fat ), 36 grams carbohydrates , 41 grams protein , 1,321 mg sodium , 143 mg cholesterol , 9 grams fiber .

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