Monday, August 15, 2011

Lasagna and Balsamic Glazed Spinach

I have recently discovered the Pioneer Woman and her wonderful blog (and cookbook!)My mother loaned me a copy of The Pioneer Woman cooks and her recipe for lasagna looked really good. Of course, being the *tweaker* that I am, I knew I could make this healthier: swap ground turkey for hamburger; swap sweet Italian turkey sausage for breakfast sausage; whole wheat noodles instead of white; reduce the cheese...and I also slashed the cooking time on the sauce.

The result? A delicious lasagna that won't kill the waistline.

Next, I had to add a veggie. So I cooked down some fresh spinach with olive oil and added a drizzle of prepared balsamic glaze...FAB!

Lasagna (Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks)

*1 tbsp olive oil
*8 whole wheat lasagna noodles (the old school kind you boil)
*1 pound of ground turkey (I use 90-93 percent lean)
*2 Sweet Italian turkey sausage links (remove sausage from casings)
*4 garlic cloves, minced
*One 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil (I like Muir Glen)
*2 6 ounce cans tomato paste (also Muir Glen, see a pattern here?)
*12 basil leaves
*1/4 cup chopped parsley
*3 cups low-fat cottage cheese
*2 eggs, beaten
*1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
*1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add olive oil and cook noodles per package directions. Drain and lay out on a sheet of aluminum foil.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, saute ground turkey, sausage and garlic until brown. (Crumble the sausage while it cooks.)Drain off grease. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sprinkle of sea salt and ground pepper. Simmer while you make cheese mixture.

Chop basil and parsley and combine. Put half of this mixture into sauce. Save other half for cheese mixture.

For cheese: combine cottage cheese, eggs, 1/2 cup parmesan and herbs. Mix.

To assemble: Lay down four noodles in bottom of the pan. (They will overlap a little.) Cover with cheese. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella on top. Now top with a little less than 1/2 of the meat sauce.

Add another layer of noodles, cheese, mozzarella, and end with meat sauce. Sprinkle remaining parmesan over the top. Bake for 35 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Balsamic Glazed Spinach

*1 package of fresh spinach
*2 TBSP Olive Oil
*Balsamic Glaze (found in the vinegar section of grocery aisle.)

Heat olive oil in large skillet. Saute spinach until wilted (5-7 minutes.) Put on plates and give each serving a light drizzle of balsamic glaze over the top. Done.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Blackberry Basil Jam

As soon as I saw Giada make Blackberry Basil jam on TV, I knew I *had* to make it. Immediately. I adore basil--and what is more summery than blackberries and basil together? So I got the ingredients and gave it a try. It is, in my humble opinion, deliciousness on a spoon! But what is more delicious, you ask? I'll tell you--some artisan bread, spread with soft goat cheese and topped with this crazy good jam.

Blackberry Basil Jam (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)

*1 16 ounce package frozen blackberries, thawed and juice reserved
*4 cups of fresh basil leaves
*2/3 cup sugar
*1 large orange, juiced
*1 medium lemon, juiced
*1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest (my own addition)

Combine basil, sugar, orange juice, and lemon juice in food processor and combine until smooth. Meanwhile, put blackberries and juice in a heavy bottom pan and mash berries with a fork. Add basil mixture and lemon zest to pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occassionally. Remove from heat and let cool for 1 hour. Place in air tight container and refrigerate. Will keep for 3 days.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Homemade Granola

As you all know, I am a cookbook slut. And I have to say one of my best purchases this year was Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook, "My Farther's Daughter." This past weekend I decided to attempt the homemade granola recipe. I wasn't sure about the addition of garam masala--Indian spice in my granola? But what can I say, I was feeling adventerous (and yes this IS my idea of being wild) and I made it with the spice. BEST FREAKING GRANOLA EVER!!

I didn't have maple syrup so I used honey. And I omitted the agave nectar because I thought the honey was enough.

Yum. Yum. YUM!I have eaten this all week with 2 percent Greek yogurt as my snack. Delicious!

Granola (adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow)

*2 cups old fashioned whole rolled oats
*1/2 cup raw whole almonds
*1/4 cup raw pepitas
*1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
*1/2 teaspoon garam masala
*1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon fine salt
*1/2 cup local honey
*2 tbsp vegetable oil
*1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together oats, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, spices and salt in large bowl. Combine honey and oil in a small bowl. Then mix liquid with dry ingredients.

Spread granola on non-stick baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes until browned, stirring occassionally. Combined cooled granola with cranberries and keep in airtight container. (Will keep for 2-3 months.)