Foodie Friday!

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

Photo from Juliasalbum.com
Photo from Juliasalbum.com

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 and spinach lasagna

Ingredients

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
Spinach Filling:
    • 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
Other Ingredients:
  • 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)
  • Italian seasoning
  • Paprika
  • Basil

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
Butternut Squash Filling:
    1. 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.
Spinach Filling:
    1. Combine spinach, Ricotta cheese, mozzarella, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix, taste, and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Cooking lasagna noodles:
    1. 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).
Lasagna assembly:
  1. 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).
  2. Spread half of spinach filling over the noodles. Top lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked noodles.
  3. Spread another layer (1/3) of butternut squash mixture, then sprinkle lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with cooked noodles.
  4. Spread the remaining half of spinach filling over the noodles. Top lightly with Mozzarella cheese. Top with the final layer of cooked noodles.
  5. 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.
  6. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 min. Remove foil and bake additional 10 minutes.

Balsamic Chicken and Eggplant

Foodie Friday!

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French Food ~ And we all know French women don’t get fat! Balsamic Chicken & Eggplant

I saw some absolutely BEAUTIFUL eggplants in the produce section, which inspired me to pull out an old recipe from the summer I was obsessed with French food.  It’s simple and delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant cut lengthwise into 4 thick slices (fit chicken breasts) OR as I did, cut into enough rounds to match your chicken – I used boneless, skinless thighs And made 6….
  • (4) boneless, skinless chicken breasts – or see above
  • 1 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, cut into quarters – save some of the juice!
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil + some for greasing the pan
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • fresh ground black pepper

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400, oil baking dish – large enough to fit eggplant slices in a single layer ~ place eggplant in the dish and top each slice with chicken breast (or whatever)

2. Combine tomatoes, capers, vinegar, oil, 1/2 cup tomato juice, and sugar/honey- mix well.  Spread tomato mixture over chicken

3.  Bake until chicken is cooked through (the thighs took about 40 minutes, thinner pieces would be less; the recipe said 20-25 minutes, but those must have been thin chicken breasts)

~to serve, sprinkle with basil and pepper and spoon some of the yummy balsamic-tomato vinaigrette over the top!

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Fresh from the oven ~ each chicken sits atop a round of eggplant

Turkey Chili: Simple and hearty!

2015-03-06 12.09.14

 

FOODIE FRIDAY

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!

Foodie Friday (Again) ~ Vegetarian Chili

Hahaha, well, a slow start is better than no start.  Foodie Friday it is!

IMG_20150115_152806This week’s most fantastic dinner:  Vegetarian Chili loosely based on a recipe from Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Diet Cookbook

From Tosca’s Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook: Beans are an ideal source of Clean-Eating protein and even those who aren’t vegetarian love this “meaty” meatless chili recipe. It is still a satisfying version of chili without losing out on hearty flavor. Use leftovers in a wrap for lunch the next day.  So I STARTED with the Tosca Reno recipe below.  But I used whole cans of beans, rather than just 1 cup each, added some homemade Mexican Chili Paste, and then BEST ADDITION:  Romanesco!  (And sliced mushrooms, but those are not as exciting).  Christmas Tree Chili for the win….

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp/30 ml cumin seeds, toasted*
2 Tbsp/30 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 head roasted garlic
3 Tbsp/45 ml chili powder
¼ tsp/1.25 ml red pepper flakes
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 cup/240 ml canned white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup/240 ml canned great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup/240 ml canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup/240 ml canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup/240 ml canned corn kernels, rinsed and drained
2½ cups/600 ml water or low-sodium vegetable stock (gluten free if necessary)
2 tsp/10 ml crumbled, dried oregano
2 tsp/10 ml crumbled, dried basil
4 squares dark (75% or more cocoa) organic chocolate
28 oz/784 g canned tomatoes
Juice of one fresh lime
Juice of one fresh lemon

Preparation:

  1. vegetarian chiliIn a Dutch oven, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, pepper and grated carrot and sauté until onion becomes soft and translucent. Stir in chili powder, toasted cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, sea salt and black pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients. Blend well. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

This recipe can be served over brown rice for a hearty variation.  (prep picture from nourishdrinkcafe.com)