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CDC: We're not Eating our Veggies

Despite the good press vegetables have gotten recently, according to a report compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans don’t seem to be getting the message, not even when it comes from First Lady Michelle Obama.

The stats are interesting, if not alarming.  Only 26% of us eat vegetables three or more times a day, and only 23% of home prepared meals are served with a salad.

And speaking of salad, (which these days is one of the easiest ways to serve vegetables, thanks to the bagged greens industry), since 1989, the number of salads ordered at lunch has dropped by half, down to a slim-to-none 5%.

One industry analyst quoted by the New York Times believes that one of the reasons we’re not eating our veggies is because we’re too busy.  Vegetables, after all, have a relatively short shelf life and to make them appetizing to a finicky generally public takes time and not just a little finesse.

However, one of the easiest ways to incorporate more vegetables into our diets is to make them part of the main entrée’.  Take, for example, Lasagna Florentine, prepared sans meat.

When we think of lasagna, we typically think of a calorie dense, cholesterol-fest. And, if lasagna is made with an inordinate amount of meat and sausage, that assessment is absolutely correct.
However, Lasagna Florentine, prepared without the meet makes a wonderful vegetarian dish that is loaded with nutrients and, yes, even protein. It's relatively easy to prepare, and tastes every bit as good, if not better, than traditional lasagna.

1 TBS Olive Oil
1 large onion
2 large cans of diced tomatoes
2 cans of tomato sauce
2 TBS garlic powder
1 TBS Italian seasoning
1 cup of cottage cheese
3 cups part-skim, shredded mozzarella
1 bag of fresh or frozen spinach
21 whole wheat lasagna noodles.

Preheat oven to 375. Saute' onion in olive oil. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic and Italian seasoning. Add spinach, bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 20 minutes. While sauce simmers, prepare lasagna noodles according to package directions.

To assemble, place 7 lasagna noodles at the bottom of a  9 X 13 baking pan, spread one-third of the cottage cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella. Top with one-third of the tomato-spinach mixture. Repeat the layers twice. Heat in oven for 15 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Some might prefer to use bottled lasagna sauce, such as Prego or Ragu instead of adding an extra step by seasoning the sauce yourself. However, the lasagna is more flavorful if you do the latter.