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Want to Lighten Up a Recipe?


I made this recipe from Rachael Ray [Link] and, like most recipes I make, I chose to lighten it up by using a light butter and skim milk. I used the real stuff when it came to cheese, but you can choose a light version of that, too.

This is a tough one to make light, but many recipes only require simple changes, like light butter, skim milk, a banana substituted for an egg when baking, and so forth. Of course, some recipes are better left alone, but these are some great ways to lighten things up.

Here it is in all its yummy glory, Pumpkin Tortellini Lasagna:

* 1 small pumpkin (about 2 pounds), quartered and seeded, seeds cleaned and reserved
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 tablespoon cinnamon
* Salt
* 2 pounds large cheese tortellini
* 2 tablespoons butter (I used “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.”)
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
* Ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons flour
* 2 cups milk (I used skim milk.)
* A few grates fresh nutmeg
* 2 cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar

Yields: 4 servings

Preheat oven to 400°F and a broiler.

Scatter pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar, chili powder and cinnamon. Roast for about 30 minutes, until golden brown, and set aside.

Place pumpkin quarters on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until tender. Once cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the quarters and transfer it to a food processor. Pulse until smooth.

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat to boil. When water is boiling, drop tortellini and cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain cooked tortellini and reserve.

While the pasta water is heating up, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has melted, add the onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, until the onions soften.

Sprinkle in the flour and cook about a minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until the liquid comes up to a bubble and the sauce thickens, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and reserved pumpkin puree. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute.

When everything is ready, toss the tortellini with the pumpkin sauce and transfer to a casserole dish. Cover with the cheese and pop under the broiler until brown and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Serve roasted pumpkin seeds alongside the tortellini lasagna.

Shared by carolineshannon on 11/6/08

I too made this yummy recipe and did much the same as you did. I even stretched it further by adding steamed cauliflower cut into small pieces in the bottom of the dish. That way I did eat so much totellini and got my veggies too!


Ooooh bookmarking! I love lasagne, and what a good autumn version! I like the tortellini alternative to regular lasagne noodles. Yum.

  • By aliciak
  • on 11/6/08 11:42 AM EST

That recipe sounds awesome--I love Rachel Ray's stuff (most of the time). I have her cookbook for meals in under 30 minutes, and it was provided me with some staple meals.


Wow. That sounds great. I love pumpkin-y dishes and have a good recipe for pumpkin flan that I make sometimes for Thanksgiving. It's really easy, but always impresses everyone because it's not the typical holiday dessert. I like your ideas for cooking with less fat.