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“Scent”sational

Y’all, it smells like cheese in my office. Don’t read this wrong. I’m not saying “ewwww it smells like cheese.” It’s not a bad thing (really). Someone is eating¬†cheese nearby, I can just tell. (I smell it.) And, whoa boy does this make me want some cheese.

All right, let’s hop off the crazy train. I don’t want this to turn into a post about my love of cheese. (You all know that by now.)

I set a new personal distance record on Saturday! Hubs and I ran six miles Saturday am. It wasn’t speedy, but it was almost fun. Like my four miler on Thursday, there was never really a point where I absolutely hated what I was doing/really, really wanted to stop. It’s so hard for me to believe that I’ll be running more than double that distance in a month and a half or so. Whoa!

On Friday, Hubs and I joined our friends for our first night out in three weeks at Truckeroo!

(Source.)
Truckeroo is a gathering of about twenty of DC’s food trucks; it’s happening once a month through October at “Das Bullpen” near Nationals’ Park. Hubs and I split an order of Poutine from “Eat Wonky.” Hubs then got soft shell crab tacos (not kidding) from Sabora Street while I dined on Ethiopian cuisine from the Fojol Brothers. Holy YUM! I had the berbere beef (slightly spicy but so flavorful) and shiro (which was so good that I can’t even describe it) complimented (and consumed) by inerja (Ethiopian sponge bread). I was stuffed and the meal was just $7. Let’s just say I cannot wait to get my hands on some more Fojol Brother’s Cuisine! I decided to round out my evening with a trip to the Pleasant Pops truck where I scored a summer peach pop (which tasted exactly like a huge, juicy peach) and a lei.

I’d highly recommend the Fojol Brothers for a delicious, filling street food meal. Pleasant Pops is equally awesome and the perfect summer treat. They frequent a lot of DC Markets so be on the look out! Their fruit and dairy are all local which is also a plus. I’m looking forward to returning to Truckeroo in August to try out some other food trucks. (Wow, now I’ve made myself hungry all over again…)

Speaking of being hungry, Hubs has undertaken something slightly crazy this week. He watched some documentary on Netflix about an Austrailian man who did a 60 day juice fast to help with his medical conditions and weight. By the end of his fast (which was overseen by a doctor) he had lost a decent amount of weight and was on little to no medication to treat his (now prior) medical conditions. Hubs thought it sounded interesting and, after our indulgent weekend, he decided to give it a go for the next five days.

Instead of juice, he’s drinking smoothies made up entirely of fruits and vegetables. He rolled through the produce section last night just grabbing all sorts of greens, fruits, veggies, etc. He is also planning to eat nuts (almonds and walnuts) as well as a light white bean salad to help keep his calorie count up in a good range and to make sure he’s getting all the protein he needs. Neither one of us is sure if he’ll make it five days and neither one of us knows what benefits (if any) he’ll see. However, before he undertook this we both agreed that if it ever got “dangerous” he would immediately quit and have a real meal. I’ll let you know how this works out/how grumpy he is… ūüôā

I’m also trying to eat (mostly) clean this week after my past week of glutenous eating. I planned out my meals, bought some extra fruits and veggies, and made sure not to bring any alcohol or dessert into the house. When consumed in moderation, treats are fine. I just have problems with moderation. ūüôā I’ve got a couple new recipes on tap so that will keep things interesting. (I just feel slightly guilty cooking when Hubs can only drink a smoothie. Maybe it won’t look good and he won’t feel like he’s missing out on anything?)

How was your weekend? Have you ever tried any kind of “raw” diet?

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Onto the next one

Better late than never! It’s time to welcome July with a quick look back at June.

1. Get my mileage up! (2/4) I did pretty well with this for most of the month. Even though my mileage wasn’t as high as it needed to be, I was pushing for long runs and running more often. The last week in June definitely suffered after Buddy’s accident. I’m looking forward to really kicking up a notch in July.
2. Weight train (at least once a week). (4/4) They may have not happened once a week as planned, but I did get (at least) four strength training sessions in. Sometimes it was just arms, sometimes it was the P90x “Ab Ripper X” dvd, sometimes it was both. I can’t wait to continue this and see my running and fitness continue to improve.¬†
3. Read three books that are non-fiction or classics. (4/3) I crushed this pretty much. Books: The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball, The Good Soldiers by David Finkel, Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
4. Get Laptop fixed. Seriously, Anna. I did get an external hard drive for our fading desktop computer and I got a wireless USB thinking that might fix our laptop connectivity problems. But, unfortunuately, it still doesn’t recognize our home wireless even though all our other electronics do.¬†
5. Make a savings plan for summer fun trips.¬†Hubs and I knocked this out pretty quickly. We’ve been following it successfully as well.¬†
6. Make four new recipes. (3/4) Again, I think I could have nailed this if we hadn’t spent the past week in a daze/frenzy after Buddy’s run in with a car. Still, three new recipes isn’t shabby! Quinoa salad for lunches, pound cake, and Thai Chicken Soup — I would make all of these again!

Time to look at July!
1. Try out four new recipes. I already have at least one in mind for next week! If we’re staying in with the hound for “house arrest” we might as well eat some good things!
2. Run 45 miles in July. After my Saturday run, I “only” need 42.5 more miles!
3. Read six books, three non-fiction or classic.¬†The Kindle has been spurring on my reading. And with “hound house arrest”¬†I should be able to read even more.
4. Share at least two book reviews. I’ll aim for our current book club pick and something perhaps a little fluffier.
5. Complete six strength training sessions for the month. I like seeing my body get stronger and my running get better.
6. Post at least 10 times this month.

What are you up to this month? Any suggestions for books to read or recipes to try? I’m all ears!

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Mid Year Resolution Gut Check

I’m a little astounded that we’re halfway through the year already. It feels like Christmas was a few weeks ago — how has the summer gotten here so fast?

I figured it was about time to give myself a little look in the mirror and see how I’m doing with my resolutions.

1) Re-introduce weights.
I could be doing so much better with this. I love lifting. I just need to remind myself of that. This month, I’m re-introducing it in manageable, baby bite sized chunks. Then, next month I’ll add a little more. I want to be toned and feel great come September for the half (more on that in a minute) and our beach trip.

2) Run a half marathon. 
I signed up for¬†this race! Yes, I actually did it! And, to boot, I got my husband and two good friends on board as well. I’m registered, we have a hotel room, I’ve got a training plan, and dammit I am going to do this!

3) Vary my reading.
I’ve been doing pretty good with this little goal. I’m realizing that I’m definitely better at knocking out non-fiction as opposed to classics. That’s a pity because there are so many classics I want to read. I’m hoping that having a Kindle (and free access to a lot of these books) will improve my classics record.¬† Don’t forget to add me as a friend on Goodreads!¬†I love stealing book ideas from people. ūüôā

4) Write letters.
I did pretty well with this for the first few months. Then, I got a few letters back and saved them with the intention of responding. They are still sitting in my cubby of the living room table. Whoops! I’ll work on sending some post cards from my trips this summer!

5) Get student loans under $X.
This is going very well. We are chugging away. I did some calculations yesterday about how much we’ve paid off in the (just under) two years we’ve been paying on the loans. I am astounded by how well we’ve done. Definitely on track here to meet my goal and pay off the loans before this time next year!

6) Cook!
Doing very well here too! Hubs and I have definitely been entertaining a lot. I’ve been picking a lot of our recipes for our meals and am generally starting to feel very at home in the kitchen!

7) Stop wasting time.
I gave up Facebook for Lent and that helped with this for a while. Lately, I’ve found myself killing time again lately. Refreshing facebook, twitter, and news sites. Re-checking blogs that I just looked at. Mindlessly watching TV that Hubs has on. I’m trying to avoid these time sucks but by the time I realize what I’m doing sometimes, I’ve wasted half an hour! Must stop wasting time!¬†

I’m satisfied with that. Looks like 3 goals could use some improvements and 4 are coming along swimmingly! Thankfully no huge failures on the horizon here! How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions?

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Ready for it!

Good Morning Folks!

The pollen has abated marginally so I’m feeling much better. Also making me feel better, the reintroduction of CHEESE into my life! That’s right folks, Lent is over and cheese is back on!

Hubs and I celebrated Easter with a yummy brunch at Alexandria’s Evening Star Cafe, lots of baking/cooking on my part for the week, and a Mac and Cheese dinner I’ve wait a month and a half for!

Source: http://www.wisconsinmommy.com
Truffle Mac and Cheese from Noodles and Company!

I could have handled more cheese, but really, it hit the spot! Yesterday I also had: quiche made with grueyre (among other things), grits with cheese, and numerous cheese samples at Whole Foods. I fully intend to continue my cheese domination today as well.

Yesterday’s kitchen creations were another round of Rachel’s Spring Chicken Cups (I’m eating one right now on a toated english muffin) and Emily’s Surprise Muffins. Both were excellent successes! Last time I made the spring chicken cups, I overcooked them and didn’t add enough veggies/flavor. This time they are bursting with onion, garlic, chives, spinach, and some cheese (of course). Love! The Surprise Muffins have been declared by the Husband his FAVORITE muffins ever! I drifted from Emily’s vegan take and used cow’s milk, an egg, etc. For my “filling” I tried out Crofter’s Superfruit North American Spread. I’ve wanted an excuse to give this a try for a while and found the muffins to be the perfect venue for them. I’ll be making another two batches of these muffins tomorrow for my work’s bake off! I also can’t wait to try them with other fillings. Yum!

Training runs are going fairly well. I’m still having some trouble motivating myself but I keep telling myself I really have no choice now! That seems to be working pretty well. What’s not going well, is my attempts at reading a classic this month. I picked Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park as it is the last full Jane Austen novel I have to read. I am not really enjoying it and find it very slow. I’m at the halfway point and just now starting to see a glimmer of an actual plot. Come on Jane Austen, don’t let me down now!

My coffee and muffin/egg breakfast has come to an end, so it’s back to work with me. How was your Easter? And, what have you been cooking up lately?

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Awkward Kitchen

Sometimes I wish my husband would go on work travel.

Okay, that’s really not true.

The ONLY reason I wish he’d go on work travel? Anna food. Husband and I enjoy 99% of the same foods. The 1% of difference comes from his willingness to try animal organs (no thank you), eat rabbits (I had a pet bunny), and his love of SPICY food. The food that I crave, normally, is much simpler than what my husband likes. He loves to cook when it means HOURS in the kitchen and a HUGE spread at the end. When he cooks like that, he enjoys my help but is also just as happy to do it on his own.

My husband seems to excel at everything he tries for the first time. And he’s SO MUCH FASTER than me. I tend to get a little harried when other people are around and find that prep/cooking times need to have at least 50% added on to them to accommodate my pace.

I am getting better and I’m trying to encourage myself to feel more comfortable. My husband has NEVER been negative or hurried me. He is a wonderful encourager in the kitchen. But, I’m just not good at not being good at something. ūüôā I’m quite the perfectionist.

Lately, husband has taken the back seat in meal planning and let me take more control. I really love planning meals and now I get to run with it. Somehow, this makes me feel more comfortable. I’ve been coming up with lists of ideas for meals and discussing them with him. We pick our favorites and he lets me take the lead in the kitchen. I’m still unsure sometimes, but I’m definitely getting more confident in the kitchen.¬†

And, I’m actually really looking forward to cooking this week. Since I’m the one suggesting the meals, I know I won’t suggest something I’m not comfortable fixing. Here’s to slowly expanding my comfort levels in the kitchen.

Oh, and if husband wants animal innards for dinner he will always have to fix those for himself!

 

Are you/were you ever uncomfortable in the kitchen? What helped you?

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Hot Saturday Night In

That’s right folks, coming to you live from my HOT Saturday night in! Actually, it’s nice not to have anything to do. I’ve got Pandora queued up and a little dog for company.

I worked on a new recipe this evening. It’s another from the Test Kitchen Slowcooker Revolution book — I love that thing! This is a breakfast recipe – a sausage and potato Spanish Tortilla. I was super excited to find an egg recipe that didn’t call for copious amounts of cheese. The apartment smells awesome right now, but I have come to the conclusion that I would never make it as a prep cook. I’m absolutely slow as molasses when it comes to chopping and dicing, etc. I always forget how slow I am because Husband is usually around to help. Ha ha ha! Oh well, as long as the end result is good…

I finished up curious incident of the dog in night time¬† this evening also. It was an interesting reading experience. If you haven’t¬† read it, the story is told by an autistic teenager. You get some intriguing insight into all his quirks and compulsions. I enjoyed that the chapter numbers are all prime numbers. It was kind of like reading Room since the narrator isn’t “fully developed” like in most books.

I’m beat this evening! Today had lots of errands, a minor stint of helping a friend move, and making muffins in addition to the Spanish tortilla. (I certainly hope this is as good as it smells!) Husband is over at a friend’s tonight for guys’ night so I’m going to take advantage of having the apartment to myself and watch a little trashy tv. Y’all have a good night!

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Out like a Lamb

March, I’m a little sad to see you go. You were pretty awesome! You brought me my first wedding anniversary, a delightful mountain vacation, several excellent meals/visits with friends, and lots of excitement for the months to come.

March also had goals. Some met with success and some, not so much. Let’s take a look see!
1. Read another five books – Almost! I got 4/5; Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson, Room by Emma Donohue, and The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. My favorite out of these was Stones Into Schools!
2. One of those books, non fiction or classic – Check – Stones Into Schools!
3. Try out at least three new recipes – Check! We tried a variety of new delights including a delicious slow cooker lasagna with mushrooms and spinach, a new “fake” egg salad recipe (which we made again last night), and a Shepperd’s Pie recipe from the¬†slowcooker book¬†that we adapted to the stovetop.
4. Write three letters – Also check; I actually exceeded this one and sent out my fourth letter yesterday.
5. Be able to run three miles straight – Oooo, not so much. I made it up to 1.5 miles. I had plans to be over two, but being sick this week set me back.
6. Buy a kettlebell (check!) and do a kettlebell workout at least three times –So I got the kettlebell, but only managed two of my three goal workouts. Again, being sick put a damper on this as I had planned to do another work out earlier this week.

Obviously I cannot go a month without some goals. So, here is what’s up for April:
1. Be ready to start half-marathon training (aka be able to run three miles with minimal walking breaks). This is mandated by Thea who will be creating my half marathon training schedule – I start May 1!
2. Complete 6 strength training work outs. (0/6) I miss my muscle tone! These can be kettlebell workouts, gym workouts, bootcamps, whatever as long as I feel the burn!
3. Make 3 more new recipes, including something to share. (0/3) I already have a few things up my sleeve!
4. Read 5 books, for real this time! (0/5) My upcoming travel for a family wedding should help since I’ll be killing time in an airport for a while.
5. One of these books should be a classic. (0/1) I’m not doing so hot with this part of my resolution. Anne of Green Gables is still a work in progress and probably won’t count until May.
6. Stick to our weekly budgets. (0/5) We’ve been diverging from our meal plans a little too much and spending more money than we should. Eating in more/sticking to our plans should help me achieve at least three new recipes!

So, what’s April got in store for me?

  • I’ll be making my first trip to the dentist in over two years. It is also worth noting that I’m horrified of the dentist. I’m already a little anxious thinking about it.
  • I’m headed to Atlanta and then on to St. Augustine for my cousin’s wedding!
  • About a bazillion friends have birthdays that need celebrating. This is always excellent!
  • I am teleworking a ton which is wonderful!
  • Hubs has some work travel coming up and I’m fairly jealous. It’s okay though because he can’t come to St. Augustine due to school work.

What are you excited about in April? Are you making any goals this month?

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Pizza and Pumpkins

Oh y’all, I walked into Harris Teeter this afternoon and what did I see?

Shelves and shelves right at the front! I think I actually yelled, “OH PUMPKIN!” Hubs laughed at me and we continued on our day. However, I’m stoked. The pumpkin has arrived! (More on this in a minute…)

This afternoon, Hubs and I decided to cash in one of our Social Living Coupons (like Groupon). So we headed for Georgetown and Il Canale: a little Neopolitan Pizza joint with a roof deck. Sounds good to me! We scored shady seats on the roof and ordered foccacia as a starter. Basically a pizza without toppings, just lots of herbs – it was served alongside olive oil with garlic. We devoured the foccacia. Then we waited. And waited. Our server had promised us that pizzas took five or ten minutes when the restaurant isn’t busy (like today). We waited some more and the pizza finally came.

We had two that we split: the Parmigano (bufala mozzarella, parmigana, spinach, tomato sauce) and the Georgetown (no sauce, bufala mozzarella, sausage, basil, rupini). Our favorite was definitely the Parmigano. The Georgetown was good, but the rupini was still super bitter; it tasted like they didn’t blanch it before popping it on the pizza. Because the pizza tasted like bitter greens, it was hard to taste the sausage at all. Sad.

Even sadder, the wait that came next. Our waters were empty, our forks and napkins were sitting on the table, and our waiter was NOWHERE to be found. A bus girl boxed our pizza and brought us more water. Still, no waiter. About fifteen minutes passed before he even poked his head out again. We ordered chocolate gelati to split and asked for the check (cause who knows how long that’s going to take). The gelati took about 10 minutes to come out (were they milking the cows?) but it was delicious enough to make up for it. All in all, it took Il Canale almost two hours to serve us an appetizer (basically baked bread), two pizzas (that supposedly took five minutes to make), and gelati (how hard is scooping stuff into a bowl)?

The good: delicious crust, variety of pizzas to pick from, wonderful dessert. The bad: meal took way too long when the place was dead, over powering flavors, few veggie options (aside from cheese pizzas). Would I go back? Probably not.

I decided to make some pumpkin soup to cheer myself up. After seeing pumpkin return to the shelves, I decided it was okay to break out my 29oz (big mama) can of pumpkin that I scored last year right before the shortage. After a little googling, I came up with a tasty sounding recipe for pumpkin curry soup.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons curry powder
4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream (organic)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 cup diced onions
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c fat free organic plain yogurt (per serving)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until seeds begin to brown while you cook.
2. Dice your onion and melt butter in a large pot (we used a dutch over) over medium heat. Toss in the onions and cook until soft. Then add flour and curry powder.
3. Stir in vegetable broth slowly. Bring to a boil to let thicken. Then add Half and Half and Pumpkin. Stir until completely incorporated.
4. Season with soy sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.
5. Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top (this totally makes the dish) and, if spicy isn’t totally your thing, mix in 1/3 to 1/2 cup of fat free organic yogurt.

We had this with dinner tonight and it was delish! Hubs likes spicy, so he¬†recommended cooking with a whole habanero pepper (seeds removed) to add more¬†heat. Then, once you’re done cooking you can just fish out the¬†pepper and toss it. If you like things a little less spicy (like me!) stir in the yogurt and it makes the dish creamy and savory. I see us making this a lot over the fall. Oh Pumpkin, how I love you!

Our Dawgs didn’t pull out the win last night, but they did stage an amazing come back. Next week we’ll be better! I burned off some post game steam on the elliptical — intervals for an hour. I burned 447 cals and went just under 3.75 miles. Sweaty and tired, I returned to the apartment for dinner, football, Omnivore’s Dilemma and my first pumpkin beer of the season. Love it!

Time for me to prep tomorrow’s smoothie and relax with tonight’s pumpkin beer. I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend!

What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe?

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New Food Obsession?

One excellent Friday night went on the books last night. A few friends and I celebrated Kelly’s birthday (which is actually Monday) in high style. Well, perhaps not high style, but it was fun! Kelly promised tasty eats and the rest of us promised wine. Kelly put together a yummy spread: her famous meatballs, chips and salsa, cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto, dates stuffed with goat cheese (yum!), and “white walls”. This may be one of my new favorite foods!

I love every ingredient associated with this tasty little creation: pickles, honey ham, cream cheese. I also love how easy it is: Spread out a piece of honey ham, schmear with cream cheese, roll up a pickle inside (like a pig in a blanket). Then you refrigerate for 20-30 minutes so the cream cheese “sticks” to the pickle. Slice these little bites of heaven up and then serve. Five of us devoured almost an entire jar of pickles like this. I think I could eat the same amount just by myself. Try it out — you will not be disappointed. Yum, yum, yum!

We also put the hurt on some wine. I think there were about five bottles consumed. I don’t remember refilling my glass that much, nor did I feel drunk when leaving — so I guess that’s good and bad? I was super tired though and almost took a little snooze on the train. Luckily I stayed awake and didn’t wake up at the end of the train line somewhere. Score one for me!

I started my football Saturday today in equally marvelous fashion. Maybe I didn’t have as much wine as five bottles among five women would lead one to believe — I was entirely headache and hangover free this am. I had eight and a half amazing hours of sleep. Game Day Breakfast today was: scrambled eggs (onion, spinach, mozzarella), a piece of Starbucks Pumpkin Bread, and a Pumpkin Spice Latte with skim. The guy who rang me up at Sbuxs joked that I must really like pumpkin. He’s very, very right.

(Speaking of pumpkin, I’ve been stalking grocery shelves for cans of Libby’s. I’ve been so afraid that there would be a shortage again this year. However, I found this article and my spirits have been lifted! Pumpkin, I can’t wait for you to get here! We’ll have a party with my immersion blender. Love, Anna)

I’m hoping my Dawgs can step it up for the second half. The first half has been kinda hard on my heart. After we win (fingers crossed), I’m heading down to hang out with some cardio equipment while I watch the Florida/Tennessee game. Not sure what’s on the docket for dinner, but I feel some cooking coming on tomorrow!

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Sharing

I’ve finally gotten off my lazy duff to write another entry. I always have the best intentions; I come to the wordpress page, I look at the new post tab, I start thinking about what to write and then next thing I know my mind has wondered off so far that it’s hours later and usually time for bed. My hat is off to people who post regularly! Now, onto business and recipes!

Grown Up Slowcooker Mac and Cheese (adapted from Kelly’s adaptation of Paula Deen’s deliciousness)

Ingredients
1 cup fat-free milk
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can campbell’s Cheddar cheese soup
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups reduced fat grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 16-oz. box elbow macaroni
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 sweet yellow onion
1.5 cups of mushrooms
1/2-1 chicken breast per serving

Instructions
1. Boil macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. (Don’t forget to salt the water before adding Mac!)
2. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until cheese melts. I waited until cheese was nice and bubbly and the kitchen smelled like a grilled cheese!
3. In a slow cooker sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, combine cheese/butter mixture and add sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well.
4. Add in your beaten eggs. Then add drained macaroni and stir again. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
5. When there’s about 40 minutes left, saute your onions and mushrooms using olive oil for about five minutes (until tender/cooked – onions should be moderately translucent). Mix the veggies¬†into the slowcooker with mac and cheese.
6. When ready to serve, grill (we use a foreman) a chicken breast. Cut into strips (or diced, whichever you prefer) and toss with the mac
mixture. Enjoy!

Nutritionals: This makes ten “servings” with half a chicken breast each. 472
calories per servings, 15g fat, 41g protein.

I get it,¬†not the HEALTHIEST thing ever, but if¬† you serve it with a huge salad and a nicely seasoned half chicken breast ¬†it¬†makes a hearty dinner! Or, if you’re opposed to having a dinner that high in cals: (a) cut the serving size in half, nix the chicken and use as a side to¬†something light, or (b) reduce serving size by 1/3 to 1/2, keep chicken, and serve with a salad and fruit for a filling lunch!

What’d we think? Hubs declared this to be delicious. We love all things Paula Deen so this was a clear winner. It was nice to see that the recipe still tasted good even with modifications to make it “healthier.” (Paula’s recipe uses full fat everything!) Sometimes recipes don’t turn out quite right when you sub in reduced fat versions – the opposite was true in this case!

Squash Lasagna (inspired by Kelly and Meghann‘s lasagna recipes)

Ingredients
1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
4 medium sized yellow squash
1-2 cups of baby spinach
1 sweet onion
1-2 cups of sliced mushrooms
Large jar of tomato sauce, any “flavor”
Clove of garlic, minced
2 Р4 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
400 grams reduced-free ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 tbsp light parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups light mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions
1. Cook turkey in a medium pan over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink. Remove meat to a medium bowl and set aside. 
2. Saute your onions, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil for 5-7 minutes (until onions start to become translucent). (Tip: Add your garlic last, with about 2 minutes left. This keeps the flavor from overpowering the mushrooms and onions. Garlic also takes less time to cook!)
3. While your veggies are being sauted, mix together ricotta, egg, basil, oregano, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1 tbsp of parmesean, and salt and pepper. This is your cheesey filling for in between layers.
4. Once your veggies have cooked, mix them into the bowl with the ground turkey and set aside.
5. Using a mandoline (or serious knife skills!) thinly and uniformly slice up your squash. Our slices were 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick.
6. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray and prepare to start the layering process!
7. Pour enough tomato sauce into your baking dish to cover the bottom of the dish. Don’t make it too deep! Then, put down a layer of squash. Pieces don’t need to overlap, just get them close together. Apply a schmear of your ricotta mixture to the squash. Add a layer of your veggie and group turkey mix and finally, top this all off with a layer of baby spinach leaves.
8. Repeat the layers: tomato sauce, squash, cheese schmear, veggies/turkey, spinach.
9. Cover with a final layer of squash and tomato sauce. Then, top lasagna with 1 cup mozzarella and 1 tbsp of parmesean (or, to taste).
10. Cover lasagna with tinfoil and cook covered in a 375 degree oven for half an hour. Then, remove the tinfoil and cook for another 15 minutes, uncovered. Cheese should be bubbly and delicious looking when done. (Kelly’s pro-tip: spray your tinfoil with non-stick spray so your cheesy deliciousness doesn’t stick to the tinfoil.)

Nutritionals: Makes 8 servings; 285 cals, 9.7g fat, and 31.6g protein.

What’d we think?: I love it! So many flavors and I love that it still feels like I’m eating lasagna even though the noodles aren’t there. To be honest, I didn’t miss the noodles at all – I really like the added texture that squash brings. Hubs has been found rustling around in the fridge for more several times since it was made. Also, this reheats wonderfully even if it doesn’t look quite as pretty.

Blogging pros: I need picture help! I started a picasa site to load pictures into so I could post them here. However, wordpress says it’s not working! How do you load pictures to your blog??

Time for breakfast round two, some more work, and then a “lunch break workout” courtesy of my ability to work at home today! Happy Pre-Friday Folks!

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