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Lighten up your family’s favorite recipes

It’s late afternoon and you’re trying to answer the every evening question: What’s for dinner? You are faced with fixing your family’s favorite meat-heavy dishes – lasagna, beef tacos, burgers – but you’d rather prepare healthier, lighter meals that are just as satisfying. Whether you are watching your weight or simply want to cut your family’s saturated fat intake, you can simply substitute lower fat alternatives for beef. Try the following recipes, featuring ground turkey, chicken and pork, and you’ll find that you can still please your family’s cravings for their favorite dishes while satisfying your desire to feed them healthier meals.

Turkey Sausage Lasagna

Turkey Sausage Lasagna

Serves 8

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained
1 (16-ounce) container skim ricotta cheese
Whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked to al dente
6 ounces skim milk mozzarella, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute sausage and onion until meat is browned and onion is soft.

2. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper to meat mixture. Combine spinach with ricotta cheese.

3. In prepared baking dish, cover bottom with a single layer of lasagna noodles. Spread with half of the spinach mixture, half of the sausage mixture, half of the grated mozzarella. Repeat layers.

4. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.

Chicken Meatballs Recipe

Makes 30 meatballs

You can find ground chicken at the meat counter or ask your butcher to grind it. Serve meatballs and sauce on a bread roll with shredded mozzarella cheese for a meatball sub or place meatballs on a platter with cocktail toothpicks for a tasty appetizer.

1 pound ground chicken breast
1/4 cup uncooked oat bran cereal
2 tablespoons minced dried onions
1-1/2 cups low sodium ketchup
1/2 cup grape jelly
3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice

1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cereal and onions, mixing well. Shape mixture into 30 meatballs.

2. In a Dutch oven, whisk together ketchup, jelly and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

3. Add meatballs to mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low simmer, uncovered, stirring gently occasionally, for 35 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.

Meatloaf with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Serves 4 to 6

1/2 cup whole grain unseasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped garlic and herb-marinated sun-dried tomatoes
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground lean pork

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, eggs, milk, feta, salt and pepper.

3. Add pork and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Carefully pack the meat mixture into the prepared pan.

4. Bake for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 160 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

5. Transfer to a cutting board and slice. Put on a serving platter and serve.

More healthy family meals

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