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TURKEY LASAGNA IS A HIT

This dish is one of my all-time favorite recipes for holiday entertaining. Last Christmas I had so many people coming for dinner that to save time, I served this lasagna with pumpkin sauce instead of a whole turkey, and everyone loved it. In fact, my family and friends have all asked me to make it again this year for our Christmas dinner.

Not only is it quick and easy to make, it can be made ahead of time, covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, then baked just before you plan to serve it. It can even be baked ahead of time, frozen and reheated, making it ideal for large parties or unexpected guests. It is also a wonderful recipe for using up leftover turkey after the holidays.

I created this recipe several years ago for my column. Since then, I have had so many requests from readers asking for reprints of the recipe that I decided to again print it in my column for all of my readers who have lost it and to share it with new readers as well.

TURKEY LASAGNA WITH CRANBERRY SAUCE

1 1/2 cups fat-free chicken stock

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated, skim milk

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt, omit if using salted stock

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon dried sage, crushed

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, crushed

3 cups cooked chopped or ground turkey

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1 can (16 ounces) whole-berry cranberry sauce

1/2 pound lasagna noodles, cooked al dente

1 carton (15 ounces) fat-free ricotta cheese

8 ounces shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup fresh, whole-wheat bread crumbs (1 slice ground)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the stock and milk and bring to the boiling point, either in a microwave oven or on top of the stove. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the hot stock-and-milk mixture, all at once, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the salt, pepper, sage and thyme and mix well. Stir in the turkey and parsley and set aside.

Spread half of the cranberry sauce evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Cover the sauce with a layer of the cooked lasagna noodles. Top the noodles with the ricotta cheese and a third of the turkey mixture. Add a second layer of noodles . Spread the remaining cranberry sauce over the noodles. Cover the cranberries with half of the remaining turkey mixture. Sprinkle half of the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the top. Top with the remaining noodles, turkey mixture and shredded cheese. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top. Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until bubbling and lightly browned. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before cutting into eight servings, approximately 3-by-4 inches each. Makes 8 servings.

Each serving contains approximately 478 calories, 10 grams fat, 76 milligrams cholesterol, 366 milligrams sodium, 58 grams carbohydrates, 37 grams protein, 2 grams fiber.

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