Formerly known as “Crowd Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole” from Angela Liddon’s super amazing “Oh She Glows” cookbook. I made this recipe last night – DELICIOUS! We had it with home made mango-yellow tomato salsa and plain Greek yogurt (to tone down the mega jalapeno! I made it with a jalapeno from the garden, but also with a can of diced “tomatoes & jalapenos” which may have been jalapeno overkill…. Sam2 LOVED it, but it was a little spicy for me 🙂 ) I guess I should qualify changing the name – it’s SO like the Santa Fe Beans and Rice Smart Ones frozen meal I used to love! But making your own from all fresh magical ingredients is SO MUCH MORE WONDERFUL!!!!
Look at all that amazing veggie color! Garden bounty! I also used a bunch of sliced fresh tomatoes and a green pepper from our garden. One other note – the spice blend is fantastic. I’ve recently discovered the amazingness that is grinding your own spices – completely by necessity – I needed ground cardamom last week, but only had seeds, and then last night I found we were out of ground cumin, but again, I had seeds. I used my Nutribullet milling blade in both instances and was SHOCKED by how much more fragrant and AMAZING fresh ground spices are…. I mean, I KNEW that, but I was still BLOWN AWAY by how much more amazing those spices smelled compared to bought grinds…. ANYWAY…. If you have something that you can use to grind spices – DO IT!!!
1 Make the Tex-Mex spice blend: In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt, and coriander (if using). Set aside.
2 Make the casserole: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Oil a large (4-to 5-quart/4- to 5-L) casserole dish.
3 In a large wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers, and jalapeño and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes, until softened. Season with salt and black pepper.
4 Stir in the Tex-Mex spice blend, corn, diced tomatoes and their juices, tomato sauce, spinach or kale, beans, rice, and 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) of the vegan shredded cheese. Sauté for a few minutes and season with more salt and black pepper, if desired.
5 Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the crushed chips over the casserole mixture along with the remaining 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) cheese. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 15 minutes.
Wow, so, a lot went on and I failed utterly at blogging all summer…. Time to get back at this!
Pinterest GOT me yesterday morning, and I have had a butternut squash staring at me waiting to be used in the pantry, so right away in the morning I got started on dinner. I was totally made of win, and got a load of laundry going, stuck the squash in the oven to roast, and did a great workout all at the same time!
Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna
Pretty obvious how Pinterest got me, right? Doesn’t that look great????
Here’s my “Making of”….. SOOOOOO GOOD. I think some red pepper flakes to add a little heat might make it even better, but it’s delicious exactly as the recipe is written!
Butternut Squash Filling:
2 cups butternut squash puree (I used more like 2.5 cups, my whole squash, which was pretty small ~ and the squash puree link goes to www.juliasalbum.com, where I got this amazing recipe)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup milk (or more, if needed)
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup cooked spinach (8 oz uncooked)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste
10 oz lasagna noodles, cooked (for gluten free, use Tinkyada brown rice lasagna noodles)
1 and 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (or more)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (on top)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Butternut Squash Filling:
For this filling, you will need to have pre-cooked butternut squash puree. Using food processor, combine 2 cups of butternut squash puree with Ricotta cheese, milk, salt and nutmeg. Add more milk if needed (to make the butternut squash filling very creamy). Mix very well, taste and add more salt, if needed.
Combine spinach, Ricotta cheese, mozzarella, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix, taste, and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Cooking lasagna noodles:
Bring a very large pot of water to boil, and cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Rinse in cold water, drain. Using knife, trim noodles to fit your baking dish (if necessary).
Prepare a baking dish – I used a casserole dish 11 inches x 8.5 inches x 3 inches deep. Grease the lasagna dish lightly with olive oil spray. Spread 1/3 of butternut squash filling on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle lightly with mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked lasagna noodles without overlapping (I used 3 noodles).
Spread half of spinach filling over the noodles. Top lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked noodles.
Spread another layer (1/3) of butternut squash mixture, then sprinkle lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked noodles.
Spread the remaining half of spinach filling over the noodles. Top lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of cooked noodles.
Spread a generous amount of butternut squash filling (the remaining 1/3) over this final layer of noodles, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and remaining mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup of mozzarella). Generously sprinkle the cheese with Italian seasoning, paprika, basil.
Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 min. Remove foil and bake additional 10 minutes.
I’ve been kind of doodling around for the last month, randomly selecting different ShaunT workouts (Beachbody On Demand is GREAT for “choose your own adventure” workout schedules!). For May I decided to change it up. I’m doing a really fun challenge group with a bunch of our team, Sweat Nation, coaches, and at the same time, I’ve been hankering to start training for trail racing…. We have a GLORIOUS trail system I can access right behind our house! I think I actually have a perfect combination:
PiYo is one of my soulmate workouts (yeah, I’m promiscuous, I have a couple!). It’s a fusion of pilates strengthening, and yoga lengthening, all at a pace that brings your heart rate up into the cardio zone. What I love about it, is it takes care of your body as it conditions it. I think radical core strength really improves my running and YOGA is the only thing that keeps my legs working at all. I guess I’ll see how I feel in a month – maybe this year I’ll finally do the Foothills XC12K. I’ve planned to do that race SO MANY TIMES, but then am always either out of town or injured.
My next fitness group may seem like wishful thinking in some parts (ahem, Nor’easters) but really, if you build it, they will come. Think positive! Think about bikini weather, and it WILL happen. Your bikini bod could be READY before the sun comes out. We’ll do a fitness program, fix up our eating habits – get lean and strong so that we all look and FEEL great in a bikini!
We’ll work as a group to hold each other accountable to our exercise schedule and share meal ideas to make clean, healthy eating a SNAP! The group does require a commitment to a Beachbody dvd fitness program, but there are several options, so we’ll find the right one for you.
Starts March 30 and runs for 21 days – they say it takes 21 days to set a new habit, so let’s make it fitness, and gift ourselves with bikini bods in the process! Comment with your email address and we can chat more about getting started.
So for the last several weeks I’ve been following the portion fix meal plan that goes with The 21 Day Fix and Insanity Max 30 ~ this last week I’ve been combining BOTH Max 30 and 21 Day Fix Extreme in SUPER WORKOUTS. It has been AWESOME and I feel like a super hero! But it definitely needs HIGH PROTEIN SUPPORT!
I made Turkey Chili this week – a recipe straight out of the 21 Day Fix Extreme Recipe Book. It was delicious! It’s chili. Chili is always delicious!
Ingredients: -1.5 pounds ground turkey -1 tsp olive oil -1 onion, diced -1 green pepper, diced -3 cloves of garlic, minced -1.5 tsp cumin -2 tbsp chili powder -1/2 tsp sea salt -1 tsp cayenne pepper -1 tsp red pepper flakes -2 15oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained -1 15oz can diced tomatoes with liquid (I used fire roasted!)
(I also added 1 pint of home made tomato paste and 1 pint of water, because following the recipe LOOKED like it was kind of dry to me!)
All you do is saute onion, green pepper, and garlic for a few minutes, then add the turkey and cook until it’s not pink, add the spices, beans, and tomato, bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 more minutes.
I ate it over 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa with cottage cheese: REALLY hearty and delicious!
This week I have been strictly sticking to the 21 Day Fix portion control meal plan – which mean EAT MORE VEGGIES and EAT MORE PROTEIN! This delicious stew has been a lunch staple all week – so much veggie goodness!!!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cups cubed butternut squash
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (or more) teaspoon ground cumin
1 (or more) teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon red chile flakes
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
splash of white wine vinegar (1-2 tablespoons)
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
32 oz. vegetable broth
½ cup dry quinoa (or 1.5 cups cooked quinoa)
generous amounts of salt & pepper
a few big handfuls of chopped kale
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until they become translucent. Add the butternut squash cubes, another few pinches of salt, and stir again.
Let the butternut squash cook for a few minutes, then add the garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika and chile flakes. Stir, then add a splash of white wine vinegar to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, broth and quinoa. Cover and simmer until the butternut squash is tender and the quinoa is cooked through (about 40 minutes). Halfway through, I like to taste and adjust seasonings. Add additional spices if you like.
When the soup is nearly done, add in a few handfuls of chopped kale. Stir and let it cook until wilted (about 5 minutes more). Taste, and adjust seasonings again.
Store leftover soup in the fridge for 4-5 days or freeze.
I think this was my favourite salad experience OF ALL TIME.
The magic is in the dressing – but here’s what was underneath:
green pepper, red pepper
celery (2 green containers of veggies!)
seared chicken tenders (1 red protein container)
avocado (1 blue container, healthy fats)
pumpkin seeds (1 orange container)
quinoa (cooked) (1/2 yellow carb container)
(I got to the end of the day and realized I hadn’t eaten half my food, so our came GIANT SALAD OF FABULOSITY)
MAGIC STRAWBERRY ASIAN DRESSING:
Combine all ingredients in a jar & shake; you might need to heat in the microwave for 20 seconds if the coconut oil re-solidifies (mine did)….
1 tsp “zested” ginger
1 tsp pressed garlic
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1.5 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp honey
I put my final 1 orange container of dressing – 2 tbsp or so I guess – on the salad and it was MAGICAL. especially heated up. The pickled strawberries…. OMG. Little bit of warmth from the sriracha…. OMG. Seriously, the most fantastic salad I have ever eaten….
I am on week 5 of ShaunT’s Insanity Max:30 workout program. It is serious, hardcore fitness, and I LOVE ME SOME SHAUNT! What I wasn’t really doing until this week though, was following the meal plan exactly. I eat pretty well anyway, with whole foods and made from scratch everything and all that…
But this week I also started mentoring a group doing the 21 Day Fix. With 21 Day Fix, it’s such a short time, so following the meal plan is INTEGRAL to success – and coincidentally, the meal plans for Max 30 and 21 Day Fix are the same. It’s all about portion control, eating a few less carbs, and eating a few more servings of protein and vegetables. The group is a PERFECT opportunity for me to get serious about the meal plan for Month 2 of Max 30, and continuously post meal ideas for the 21 Day Fixies.
The Eating Plan:
Honestly, there isn’t a “diet” in 21 Day Fix or Insanity Max:30. The eating program uses a color coded system of containers and a Shakeology Shaker Cup to give you perfect portion sizes every time. I think most people don’t have a clear idea what the right portion sizes are for various foods ~ well, seek and ye shall find. Indeed, the container-measured meals often end up much larger than anticipated!
First, the diet plan will show you how to calculate your caloric intake based on your current weight and your caloric needs:
The caloric intake will lead you to know the exact number of each container and teaspoons (oils, butters) a day. The eating plan comes with 4 caloric levels, as you can see in the picture :
The best thing about this program is its simplicity: fill up the containers with the food that goes with each one’s color and enjoy! You don’t have to count calories. Just choose the foods from the list that comes with the program. It’s all about portions. Portion control is what makes this program so special and revolutionary, it teaches you how to make healthy choices without restrictions or obsessions and it’s something that you’ll be able to take with you for the future.
The program recommends drinking a lot of water and also allows coffee and tea (I’m pretty sure you can even have a glass of wine!).
Autumn also recommends taking an extra green container when you are hungry because it’s hard to overeat veggies.
ANYWAY, so far so good! It’s actually a perfect amount of food for me, eating at the 1200-1500 calorie level, and I am making some AMAZING meals. I also can’t wait for STAT-urday, because I feel REALLY LEAN.
Meal plans matter, folks. You can’t outrun your fork!