Monday, February 27, 2012

Vegetable Lasagna

I've always been secretly afraid of vegetable lasagna because I have texture issues with certain foods. (I know, me issues? what?) But, as my New Year's resolution was to eat more vegetables I thought I would test out this new recipe I found on  If you haven't heard of foodgawker, listen up!  It's the Pinterest of the recipe world and a great way to browse, search, and organize recipes from all over the internet.  I highly recommend it!  I have to apologize that this recipe was from someone who uses the metric system, so I just kind of estimated on the weight of most of my ingredients.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 15 lasagna no boil noodles
  • 200 grams cottage cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup Gouda cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 100 g fresh spinach, chopped (about 2 cups?)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 7 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 340 g mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup raw broccoli, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1-15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water
  1. In a bowl, mix together cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup Gouda (I just used all mozzarella).  Add chopped spinach, lightly beaten eggs and set mixture aside.
  2. Chop the onion, garlic, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, and red pepper.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom saucepan and saute onions until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add garlic, carrots and saute for 5 minutes, adding a little bit of water.  Add broccoli, red pepper, seasonings, mustard and water (as much as needed).  Cover and stew until carrots become softer but not too soft.  The mixture shouldn't be dry or too moist.  Add ketchup, diced tomatoes, and mushrooms.  Mix well.
  4. In your baking dish, add a little of the vegetable mixture and place lasagna noodles evenly on top.  Cover with a layer of vegetables then a layer of the cheese mixture.  Repeat layers depending on dish size.  Sprinkle the top with cheese.
  5. Bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for about an hour or until noodles are tender.  Cover with foil for the first 30 minutes.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Black Bean Soup with Chicken Sausage

I found this recipe in the latest Fitness Magazine (March 2012).  I've never had chicken sausage before, so I was instantly intrigued.  Feel free to substitute regular sausage if you can't find chicken.  I need to google search how to slice the sausage correctly since mine kind of fell apart like ground beef.  It uses a canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce which adds a unique spiciness that may not be for everyone.  I loved it, although, my husband was not as pleased.  Overall, a very healthy, low-cost, low-calorie dish that makes an excellent lunch soup.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 3-oz link precooked spicy chicken sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 15-oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 4 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • salt
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add sausage in a single layer; cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.  Turn and cook 1 minute more.  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
  2. Add onion and bell pepper to pan; saute until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add garlic, cumin, and oregano; saute 1 minute more.  Stir in beans, broth, and chipotle; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine sour cream, lime zest, 1 tsp lime juice and honey in a small bowl. 
  4. Transfer 1 1/2 cups soup to a blender and puree.  Stir puree back into soup; add sausage.  Stir in remaining lime juice and season with salt to taste.  Serve and top with lime sour cream.
Makes 4 servings. Serving 258 calories.

Salsa Chicken

I intended to make my slow cooker Tex-Mex chicken (recipe here) this week but soon realized that I forgot to pick up salsa from the store.  Instead of the slow cooker cooking all day, I had to go to the store on my way home and bake it in the oven.  It came out great!  This is any easy alternative for when you don't plan ahead (or forget the main ingredient, like me!)  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 lb chicken breast halves
  • 1 jar salsa (approx. 2 cups)
  • 1 4 oz. can chopped green chiles
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a rectangular casserole dish with cooking spray.  Place chicken in dish and season with salt & pepper to taste.  Cover with salsa, green chiles, and cumin; stirring to mix.  Cover with cheese as desired.  Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes or until done, removing cover for the last 5 minutes.

Serve with Spanish rice:
Add rice, chopped peppers, frozen corn, and 1tsp cumin to boiling water (amount based on desired servings).  Follow boxed directions.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mug n' Muffin: Zucchini Walnut Muffins and Mini Cinnamon Rolls

This Saturday, I hosted my second "Mug n' Muffin" with my friends; a fun time to get together over coffee and muffins and celebrate our friendships.  I really enjoyed the time as girls (including my friend's two year old daughter) despite nearly losing my cat as she escaped out the door that had opened.  The muffins were delicious and the mini cinnamon rolls were a hit!  Should have made more!  I made the blueberry muffins and banana muffins that I had made before, but added zucchini walnut and mini cinnamon rolls that I had found on Pinterest.  I hope you enjoy!

Zucchini Walnut Muffins
  • 3 cups grated fresh zucchini, tightly packed
  • 2/3 cup melted, unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Stir these dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture.  Stir in the walnuts, raisins, or cranberries if using.
  2. Coat each muffin cup with a little butter or vegetable oil.  Use a spoon to distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling them up completely.  Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press them, about 25 minutes.  Test with a long toothpick or skewer to make sure the centers are done.  Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.  Remove from tin and let cool another 20 minutes.
Makes about 12-14 muffins.

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1- 8oz Pillsbury Crescent sheet (or Pillsbury crescent rolls)
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • approx. 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Roll out Pillsbury crescent sheet onto work surface, or roll out crescent roll dough and pinch all seams together to form an endless sheet.
  3. Spread melted butter onto sheet evenly.  Sprinkle with as much brown sugar and cinnamon as desired.  (Kind of scary, right?  It'll be okay)
  4. Tightly roll up dough lengthwise.  Cut into 16 small (approx. 1") sections and place in mini muffin tin that has been coated with cooking spray.  
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Meanwhile, whisk milk and maple syrup together in a small bowl.  Add powdered sugar until desired consistency.  Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls.  Delicious!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cream Cheese Banana Bread

Yum!  I'm not sure if anything tops warm banana bread with butter on top.  When I saw this recipe, I couldn't resist trying cream cheese in a banana bread recipe.  The jury is still out on whether it's better than my family's traditional banana bread (which I just realized is not on my blog!), since the cream cheese definitely makes it denser.  I wish I would've had the pecans on hand because that would've added a great flavor to it.  Next time.  Makes 2 loaves. I hope you enjoy!  

  • 3/4 c. butter, softened
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in bananas, pecans, and vanilla. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 8x4 inch loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and sides pull away from pan, shielding with aluminum foil last 15 minutes to prevent browning, if necessary. Cool bread in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool 30 minutes on wire racks before slicing.

Courtesy of: (Found on Pinterest)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

Thank you, Pinterest, for leading me to another great recipe.  I lightened this one up a bit with chicken rather than ground beef and corn tortillas rather than flour.  This recipe is a great base to add whatever flavors you would like.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat Italian salad dressing
  • 2 tbsp reduced-sodium taco seasoning*
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 flour (or corn) tortillas
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce (optional)
  •  1 medium tomato, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (optional)
  1. In a large skillet, cook chicken and onion over medium heat until meat is done.  Stir in the salsa, beans, dressing, taco seasoning and cumin.  Place three tortillas in a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Layer with half of the meat mixture, sour cream, and cheese.  Repeat layers.
  2. Cover and bake at 400 for 25 minutes.  Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through.  Let stand for 5 minutes before topping with lettuce, tomato, and cilantro.  Makes 8 servings.
*I've been making my own taco seasoning following this recipe, and it has come out wonderful every time.  Great money saver.
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper (to taste)

Shrimp-Stuffed Shells

I can't believe it's already February.  I'm even more confused with the spring-like weather outside.  Well, whatever the time year shrimp is one of our favorites, so I was excited to try these shrimp-stuffed shells from the latest Cooking Light magazine.  They were delicious!  I hope you enjoy.
  • 20 uncooked, jumbo shells
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil (I didn't have any so just seasoned with chopped oregano and thyme)
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp potato starch (I just used corn starch)
  • cooking spray
  • 3 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  
Cook pasta 7 minutes or until almost al dente; drain well.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add shallots; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add cream cheese, milk, and pepper; cook until cheese melts, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat.  Stir in basil.  Place shrimp in a bowl.  Sprinkle with potato starch; toss well to coat.  Add cream cheese mixture to shrimp; toss well.
Divide shrimp mixture evenly among pasta shells.  Coat a 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray; spread 1 cup marinara over bottom of dish.  Arrange shells in prepared dish; top with remaining 2 cups marinara.  Sprinkle shells evenly with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until shrimp is done.
Serving size: 4 stuffed shells, calories 496.