A while back I hosted a giveaway and asked for recipe requests in the comments. My friend Amy asked for a recipe combining pasta and chicken nuggets. So in the back of my mind I've been playing around with ideas that would fulfill her request, but balance it with a good dose of healthfulness too.
Below is a Sweet Pea original, Spaghetti Lasagna. You want to know the best part? This recipe started out as a traditional lasagna, but when I went to put the finishing touches on it this past week, I realized I was out of noodles. So I used the "necessity is the mother of invention" mentality and came up with a twist: using whole wheat spaghetti in lieu of traditional lasagna noodles.
You can easily omit the nuggets in this recipe or do the lasagna half and half, it is really up to you.
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
6 chicken nuggets, cut into fourths or small bite size pieces
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Once cooked, drain fully and set aside.
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.
In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, spinach, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
In a 9x13 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).
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until it is bubbly and the cheese is fully melted on top.
Side note: Amy's son has an egg allergy, so this is egg-free. Also, you can very easily make this the day before or in the morning for dinner in the evening.
Have a sweet Labor Day weekend all-