If you love big portions without all the calories, this Healthier Spaghetti Bake is for you. Low calorie does not mean you have to sacrifice flavor.
Feeding a family while watching your waistline can be challenging. Your plate and their plate likely look very different. The easiest way to overcome the temptation of munching on what “they” are eating, is making something healthy and delicious the whole family can enjoy.
Casseroles are often filled with laden calories hidden in cream and cheeses…that’s why we love them. They are pure comfort food during the colder months of the year. However, if you want your shorts to fit in time for Spring break, you’ll have to start cutting back now. It’s possible to make delicious, everyday food that is not fattening, which is why this Healthier Spaghetti Bake is the perfect place to start.
What’s important when cooking with lower calorie ingredients is to season your layers well; the meat, the veggies, the pasta. Since we are using low-fat cheeses, they are essentially more bland. I did not list amounts of salt or pepper to add, as everyone’s tastes/requirements for salt are so different. I’ll leave that up to you. I also sprinkled my portion with the green pepper Tabasco I told you about in this post. That really makes it pop and adds a slight amount of heat.
With all the ingredients, the baking dish is really packed high, which means the portions are large…that’s a good thing. And it packs perfectly for leftovers at the office.
You can easily heat it up in the microwave. I know when I’m reheating pasta in the microwave, I always add a little bit of water to my dish and cover it so it steams. This leaves the pasta tasting more hydrated.
If you serve this with a large side of steamed veggies for yourself you will be quite satisfied! Let the kids have the garlic bread.
There are so many healthy dinners to choose from when it comes to feeding your family something lower in calorie. This Healthy Sausage Kale Quinoa Skillet sounds like a perfect weeknight meal. Or maybe this Thai Shrimp Stir Fry with Zucchini is going to be the perfect healthy dish for your family. I don’t think you can go wrong with these Skinny Baked Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas. And Garlic Shrimp with Quinoa also has my name all over it.
Two years ago I made these Bacon, Egg & Toast Cups and I’ve made them for almost every brunch since. Four years ago my kiddos went nuts for Spike Mendelsohn’s Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake, trust me they are so insanely tasty. Five years ago this Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Dip helped me kick off dip season.
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Healthier Spaghetti Bake
- 8 oz extra lean ground beef (97/3)
- 8 oz extra lean ground turkey
- salt and pepper
- 12 oz broccoli crowns, break any large pieces apart
- 8 oz sliced white button mushrooms
- 1-1/4 lbs (20 oz) dry whole wheat spaghetti
- 4 cups pasta sauce*
- 2 cups low fat ricotta cheese
- 1 cup cottage cheese, 2%
- 2 links Johnsonville fully cooked Smoked Turkey Sausages with Cheddar**, sliced into coins & quartered
- 4 oz shredded light mozzarella cheese, divided
- 4 Tablespoons shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided.
- In a skillet over med-high heat, cook beef and turkey until cooked through (make sure to season with salt and pepper while cooking). Remove from pan and without wiping out, add broccoli and mushrooms over med-high heat (if your skillet needs a little more grease spray it with some cooking spray). Cook mushrooms until slightly browned and broccoli has softened slightly (it will help if you can put a lid on the pan after sauteing for a few minutes with a Tablespoon of water to create a little steam). Remove from heat and salt slightly.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook spaghetti until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine meat mixture, pasta sauce, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese and diced sausages.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish by lightly spraying bottom and sides with cooking spray.
- Add half of the cooked spaghetti to the bottom of the pan. Pour half of the meat sauce-cheese mixture over the spaghetti. Add all of the broccoli-mushroom mixture on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella and half the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Top with the remaining spaghetti and the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with final amounts of mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
- Bake for 40 minutes until cheese is bubbling.
- *I decided to use a "spaghetti sauce" instead of a marinara. I felt a marinara would be too watery for this dish. But maybe adding tomato paste to the marinara might be an option. Just make sure you stick to a sauce that is 70 calories per 1/2 cup serving.
- **I used the fully cooked Johnsonville Smoked Turkey sausages with cheddar. There are lots of low-calorie sausages you could use. Choose whatever works best for you. Look for ones that are 120 calories per link to stay within this recipe's calorie parameters.
- Make sure to season with salt and pepper to your own taste.
- Serving size: 1 piece
- Calories: 354
- Fat: 8 g
- Saturated fat: 3 g
- Unsaturated fat: 2 g
- Carbohydrates: 48 g
- Sugar: 13 g
- Fiber: 8 g
- Protein: 30 g
- Cholesterol: 46 mg