Friday, June 03, 2011

Sam Kass Demos A MyPlate Recipe: White House Turkey Lasagna With Spinach

USDA's food icon is a "framework" for healthy eating, says the Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives...
White House Assistant Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass was in New York City on Friday to appear live on both Today show and Good Morning America for recipe demonstrations to spread the word about MyPlate, the new USDA food icon unveiled on Thursday by First Lady Michelle Obama. (Above: Kass ladles sauce as Today's Natalie Morales looks on) 

Kass joined Today show correspondent Natalie Morales in the on-set kitchen to discuss why Mrs. Obama believes using the icon to create healthy meals is vitally important for parents, and demonstrated a favorite Obama recipe, White House Turkey Lasagna with Spinach.

"The First Lady is a mother first.  She knows how confusing it can be to feed your kids healthy meals and understand what it means," Kass said. 

The MyPlate icon is divided into four sections, with one each for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, accompanied by a glass of dairy.  It "simplifies how we translate the nutritional information," Kass said, and should be regarded as a "framework."

Kass said the White House lasagna recipe is a good "interpretation" to fulfill the requirements of the MyPlate concept:  It contains lean ground turkey, spinach, low-fat cheeses, whole wheat pasta, and a tomato sauce loaded with vegetables. 

"The great thing is you can mix any vegetable into the sauce and kids absolutely love it," Kass said.

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The Assistant Chef also pointed out that the recipe is terrific for busy parents.

f you can make some of these on a Sunday, say, you can stick a bunch of them in the freezer so when you're busy during the week, pop it in the oven and you're good to go," Kass said.

The easy recipe calls for no special equipment, and uses a 9 x 13 baking dish, and a medium skillet.
In case the recipe looks familiar to longtime reader
s, it is: White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses shared it with Martha Stewart in 2010, during a special Presidents Day show.

White House Turkey Lasagna With Spinach

*1 Tblsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

*1 Cup Yellow Onion, chopped

*4 Garlic Cloves, minced

*1 Pound Fresh Ground Turkey

*1 28-Oz Can of Plum Tomatoes, crushed

*1 6-Oz Can of Tomato Paste

*Coarse Salt and freshly ground Pepper

*1 Tblsp Flat-leaf Parsley, fresh, chopped

*1 Tblsp Basil, fresh, chopped

*16 Oz Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles, cooked

*15 Oz low-fat Ricotta or low-fat Cottage Cheese

*3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated

*1 Lb low-fat Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

*1 Egg, large, beaten

*2 Lbs Spinach, fresh, washed, but not dried

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.   Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.  Add ground turkey and cook for about 10 minutes. 

3.  Add plum tomatoes, tomato paste, and season with salt and pepper; let simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.  Stir in basil and parsley; set aside.

4.  In a medium bowl, combine Ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and egg.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

5.  Place damp spinach in a large skillet over medium heat; cook until wilted.  Remove from heat and set aside.

6.  Ladle one-quarter of the turkey mixture into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; spread to cover.  Add a layer of pasta, one-third of the Mozzarella, one-third of the Ricotta mixture, one-third of the spinach mixture and another quarter of the turkey mixture.  

7.  Repeat process two more times; top with remaining sheet of pasta. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over top; transfer to oven. 

8.  Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.

*Let stand about 5 minutes before cutting; serve.

Number of servings varies depending on portion size.