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Diet and Nutrition

Turkey Lasagna

What you eat affects how you sleep. One of the keys to a restful night's sleep is to be calm, rather than energized. Some foods contribute to restful sleep; other foods may keep you awake. Foods that promote sleep are tryptophan-containing foods, such as turkey; tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes satiation (feeling full) and sleep. Tryptophan containing foods include dairy, nuts, meats such as turkey and carbohydrates.

 

Carbohydrates also help you relax in the evening. High-fat meals and large servings prolong the work your digestive system needs to do, and all the gas production and rumblings may keep you awake. Some people find that highly-seasoned foods (e.g., hot peppers and garlic) interfere with sleep, especially if you suffer from heartburn (due to acid reflux).

Eating a large meal right before bed does not, for most people, promote a restful night's sleep. While you may fall asleep faster, all the intestinal work required to digest a big meal is likely to cause frequent waking and a poorer quality of sleep. The turkey lasagna presented here, provided it is eaten early evening in reasonable portions, provides the perfect mix of protein, carbohydrate, and diary to offer those with sleep problems a good night's rest.

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Soak lasagna pasta in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one third of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling slightly.

Amount per Serving serving= 2 square inch lasagna slice, Calories 252 Calories from Fat 39, Total Fat 4.31g, Cholesterol 36.94mg 12%, Sodium 637.18mg 27%, Carbohydrate 26.75g, Dietary Fiber 3.56g, Protein 26.91g

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Last Reviewed: Sep 09, 2013

James H Swain, PhD, RD, LD James H Swain, PhD, RD, LD
Assistant Professor of Nutrition
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University