Recipe from the Happy Chef: Four-Cheese Vegetable Lasagna

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A good friend of mine has been an awesome inspiration by becoming wonderfully healthy. She is so diligent about exercise and for the first time in her life she enjoys exercise. I see an athletic career in her future. She looks great; a beauty inside and out. She and God himself inspire me to love vegetables, which if you ask my father is a BIG deal for me! So when my friend was recovering from surgery (not cosmetic!) I made her this lasagna. I ate it as well and liked it but since I am not a life-long lover of vegetables I hoped it faired well with veggie lovers. Well the verdict is out – SHE LOVED IT and wants the recipe, so here it is, Gina, enjoy it and thank you for being such an inspiration and a great friend.

1 – 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1 – 16 oz. package frozen broccoli, sweet red pepper, onion, and mushroom blend, thawed

1 ½ cup 1 % low-fat cottage cheese

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

½ cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese

3 cloves garlic, crushed

½ cup all-purpose flour

3 cups 1% low-fat milk

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. ground red pepper

Vegetable cooking spray

12 cooked lasagna noodles

-Drain spinach, press gently between paper towels to remove excess moisture. Combine spinach and broccoli blend, set aside.

-Combine cottage cheese and next 3 ingredients, set aside.

-Place flour in a medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a wire whisk until mixture is blended. Bring to boil over medium heat and cook 5 minutes until mixture is thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, salt, and red pepper; stir until cheese melts.

-Coat 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread ½ cup cheese evenly in bottom of dish and reserve an additional ½ cup of cheese sauce. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles over cheese sauce; top with one-half cottage cheese mixture, one-half vegetable mixture and one-half remaining cheese sauce. Repeat layers ending in noodles. Top noodles with reserved ½ cup sauce and remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.