Baked Spaghetti Lasagna

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Here’s a great way to use up a lot of that leftover pasta from last night’s dinner. Just throw it in a casserole dish, layer it between ricotta cheese, spinach, and chicken tenders and you’ve got yourself a baked spaghetti lasagna that is both easy and your kids will love it. Experiment with different fillings to see what your kids like best and you’ll have a great meal that will last for several nights.

Baked Spaghetti Lasagna 
Serves 8

1 pound whole wheat spaghetti, cooked
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 – 28 ounce jar of marinara
1 – 16 ounce container, part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup (packed) spinach leaves, chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided use
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
6 chicken tenders, cut into fourths or small bite size pieces (optional, can be omitted for vegetarian lasagna)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Once cooked, drain fully and set aside.

3. Place the broccoli florets on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray or olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender and slightly browned. Keep the oven on for baking the lasagna.

4. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, spinach, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

5. In a 9×13 baking dish, spread 1/3 of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan. Top with half the noodles, then half the ricotta mixture, half the broccoli, half the nugget pieces and half the mozzarella cheese. Repeat, making sure the noodles are fully covered on top (if there are “exposed” noodles, they will get crunchy and tough to eat).

6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until it is bubbly and the cheese is fully melted on top.

Recipe courtesy of Sweet Pea Chef Jessica Efird

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