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Cooking with Kids: Lasagna kicks up flavor a notch

Thursday, May 08, 2003


Marissa Debelak

Name: Marissa Debelak
Age: 16
Parents: Trese and John Debelak
Sisters: Alana, 12, and Leann, 10
Community: Plum
School: Eleventh-grader, Plum Senior High School
Hobbies: Listening to music, writing poetry and short stories, reading and drawing
Sports: Walking and lifting weights
Favorite food to cook: This recipe
Favorite foods to eat: Fruits and pizza
Favorite subjects in school: French and algebra
Favorite TV show: Watching hockey
Favorite movie: "Pet Cemetery"
Favorite book: "The Secret of Dragonhome"
What she wants to be when she grows up: Right now she is torn between pursuing a career as a child psychologist or going to culinary school to become a chef

Marissa comes from a line of cooks. "I have always helped my ma and grandma cook," she said.

She works at McGinnis Sisters in Monroeville alongside her mother in the bakery. Marissa works part-time and helps to ice cakes and bake pies.


  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1 pint nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1 package (8 ounces) low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs

Herbs to season (Marissa us- es parsley, oregano, garlic powder and basil)

In a 9-by-13-inch greased pan, place 3 cooked noodles evenly in one layer.

Beat together the remaining ingredients until blended. Spread half of the spinach filling evenly over the noodles. Layer with three more noodles and then the remaining spinach filling. Top with the remaining noodles.

Sweet Tomato Sauce

  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in tomato puree

  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Herbs to season (Marissa uses parsley, oregano, garlic powder and basil)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients and simmer sauce for 5 minutes.

Pour Sweet Tomato Sauce evenly over the noodles and sprinkle top with additional grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes or until heated through. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

To submit a recipe to Cooking with Kids, please send the recipe, along with the name of the child, a head shot (preferably a school picture), and a telephone number where the child can be contacted to: Cooking With Kids, Kathleen Ganster, Box 273, Allison Park, PA 15101. Questions? Call 724-443-1664.

or email at kganster@fyi.net

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