Meanwhile Back At Mama’s

Its been a while! I’ve been in the processes of moving back into moms house, working two jobs (yes, I got another job), and prepping for whats going on right now. Don’t worry, I’ll fill you in. In the meantime, lets focus on this recipe! Ever since I can remember, my mom and I have been obsessed with Stouffer’s Vegetable Lasagna. Its a white lasagna using chopped vegetables and a beschemel sauce.

Vegetable (Noodless) Lasagna

4-8 serving

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 large eggplant (approx. 1lb 1/4 to 1/2oz), sliced lengthwise to 1/4 inWP_006541
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, grated
  • 1/2 pkg of chopped spinach, frozen
  • 1/2 cup ricotta, fat free
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream, fat free
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 (15oz) jar light Alfredo sauce, like Classico (about 45 cal per 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, fat free, divided
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, fat free, divided
  • 2 Tbsp Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 8oz chicken breast (optional)

For those of you trying to figure out why the title of the post sounds familiar…

Wrap the cloves of garlic on aluminum foil and broil 450 F for 30 min. Take this time to prep everything else. On a skillet or griddle, sprayed with non stick cooking spray, lay the eggplant and grill it, flipping after about 5 minutes on either side. Remove from heat and allow it to sit.

Add the chopped broccoli, carrots, onions, spinach, and roasted garlic in a skillet, sprayed with non stick spray, and 2-4 Tbsp water, over medium heat. Sweat the veggies down. In a medium sized bowl, combine the ricotta, sour cream, pepper, Italian seasoning, and basil together. By the spoonful, stir the hot, sweated veggies into the ricotta mixture, until all the vegetables and ricotta are thoroughly combined.

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Preheat the oven for 350 F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Pour about 3 tbsp of the jarred alfredo sauce into the sprayed pan, just enough to coat the bottom. Pour the remaining jar of light alfredo sauce into the ricotta mixture, along with 3/4 cup water. Mix well. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Begin to layer the cooled eggplant on the bottom. Spoon half the ricotta  mixture over the eggplant and spreas evenly.

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Chop the shredded mozzarella cheese finely and sprinkle half of it over the layered eggplant and ricotta. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of grated parm over top. Place another layer of eggplant down, followed by the remaining ricotta, mozzarella, and parm. Lastly, top with the bread crumbs. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes to brown the bread crumbs.

The filling was so darn tasty, I just kept eating it with the spoon! Focus, Sammy, this is for dinner…

The layers are thin, full of flavor. I’ve figured out a few things with making this dish a meal:

  • Cook 1 ounce of pasta and serve the lasagna over top.
  • Make a protein (chicken works fantasticly well).

I shredded up about an ounce or so of chicken breast, tossed it with and ounce of cooked pasta, and served it up to pops.

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Dad devoured this plate in record timing… just saying…

Nutrition: (1/8 of dish)

Calories: 127, Fat: 3.3g, Sat. Fat: 1.9g, Cholesterol: 24g, Sodium: 467mg, Carbs: 15.8g, Fiber: 3.7g, Sugar: 5.2g, Protein: 8.1g

For those of you trying to figure out why the title of the post sounds familiar…

 

Barley Babe

I have really been trying to embrace healthy carbs, lately, such as whole grains. I have always loved barley. I remember being a little kid and stealing the barley out of my moms chicken soup pot. I remember the chewy texture sucked me right in!

I was on an oatmeal kick, last year, and then heard of quinoa bowls. I made one for breakfast one morning and thought how great of an idea it was to switch out my oatmeal and top this grain with berries! Then I heard of breakfast barley bowls, which I, still, have yet to try! But, today, I bought a bag of barley and I’m ready to rock!

With an eggplant on the discount rack and a bag of cauliflower in the freezer, I was more than ready to try Julie’s barley risotto. I’ve always had risotto made with rice and I have heard that it is rather difficult to make. Bring it!

Heres my take:

Eggplant Barley Risotto

serves 4-6WP_005243

  • 2 1/2 cups cubed eggplant, skin on
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup barley
  • 3 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 16oz bag cauliflower florets, frozen
  • 2 wedges Laughing Cow Light Swiss cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat grated Parmesan
  • s/p to taste

Heat the oven to 440 F. On a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, spread the eggplant and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Roast int heat oven for about 8 minutes. While the eggplant is roasting, Add the onion and garlic to a large pot, cover, and simmer over medium heat, until the onions start to sweat.

Add the barley, along with 1 cup of broth. Bring to a boil. Add the eggplant and frozen cauliflower. Cover the pot, lower the heat to medium high. Stir the pot frequently. As the broth is absorbed, add another cup of broth. Once the last cup of broth is added, add the thyme and granulated garlic. Stir until spices have been disbursed.

Lastly, add the cheese wedges and stir. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the parm in a little at a time, stirring constantly.

Each serving is 3/4 cup. If you’re really hungry, this dish can be divided into fours!

Damn I love barley! I’m already planning another barley dish! Stay tuned!

Giving

The past few days I feel like I haven’t slept… I wake up tired…

Today, I hit the snooze alarm until the last possible minute. I finally got up, slammed a bottle of water and headed off to the blood bank. I try to make it a point to donate blood as often as I can… Mostly for the free Nutter Butters that follow…

I’m totally kidding! I am a universal donor and love feeling like I’m saving lives for the 1 hour I take to donate!

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Following my donation, a little blurred vision, and getting my purple badge of courage, I meandered over to the canteen. The older volunteers are so sweet there! One of them showed me a variety of K cups to choose from and brewed me a Southern Pecan coffee. I sat down at one of the tables, and after examining the goods (ie. the snacks), I switched up my usual Nutter Butter craze for an adorable two pack of Oreos! Who doesn’t like chocolate in the morning??

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Afterwards, I snuck into Barry’s house to wake him up to go to Cowtown. I know I was just there, but the day was beautiful, Barry had never been, and it kept us out of the house. We explored for about 2 hours, and I showed him around the barns. My last stop of the trip was to an older gentleman that I always buy gladiolas from. These are my moms favorite flower and since we have been getting along the last few days, I wanted to surprise her. The generous man, then asked if I like eggplant and gave me one for free along with a handful of jalapenos!  How nice!

Mom had picked up eggplant on Saturday when we went and now with all the eggplant in the house, it was time for Eggplant Parm (but we’ll get to that in a second)!

As we drove over the Delaware Memorial, Barry and I could both feel hunger approaching, as neither one of us had really eaten and it was much hotter day than we anticipated. I suggested Saladworks, one of my favorite places to eat out, and their was definitely no regretting this decision.

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Both, Barry and I, got the “Create-your-own” option. Mine consisted of spring mix, egg whites for protein, roasted red peppers, corn and bean mix (so sweet), cucumbers, and chopped tomatoes with fat free Balsamic vinaigrette on the side. I like to load up on toppings with moisture and and high flavor so it limits the amount of dressing I need. I adored the colors and fragrant of my salad! Its so pretty! I omitted my beloved wheat roll, but I really didn’t need it. One thing I adore about the Saladworks website is that I can calculate everything on their without a hassle!

Barry and I were content with our meals and it really hit the crisp stop that was need to break up such a warm and humid day! We took advantage of an hour to watch some Twilight Zone in the new living room, at Barrys, after which we went separate ways… Barry to the firehouse, and I home.

I couldn’t wait to play with the Hungry-girl eggplant parm recipe. I was inspired by my salad today and decided to add roasted red peppers to dinner. I have grown up on eggplant unlike Barry who only recently tried it when I made stir-fry. My mom always double breaded and fried it. Don’t get me wrong… its delicious… but it pretty much takes every thing nutritious out! My mom would make eggplant parm layer upon layer of the breaded, fried goods, with lots of full fat cheese in between the slices. I have learned ways to stretch flavor, resources and calories, and this dish was created with huge portions!

Eggplant Parm

serves 4

  • 1 large eggplant

Breading:

  • 1 cup Fiber One bran cereal
  • 1/2 tsp reduced fat grated Parmesean cheese
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • WP_0038511/4 cup liquid egg substitute

Sauce:

  • 1 cup jarred sauce, plus 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp to 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

The Rest:

  • 2 oz jarred roasted red peppers
  • 3/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 2 Tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1/2 tsp basil

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut the end off of the eggplant. Slice the eggplant in large coins, to produce about 10. Dab the sliced with a paper towel to try to grab some excess moisture.

In a food processor, blend all the breading ingredients, except egg, until the cereal becomes a bread crumb texture. Dip both sides of the eggplant slices in the egg and then coat with the bread crumbs. Transfer the coated slices to a well sprayed (with non stick cooking spray) baking sheet/ pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Flip the coins and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, over low heat, combine all the ingredients for the sauce. In the mean time, Further chop the shredded mozzarella cheese (this helps the cheese spread more). Then chop the roasted red peppers. Set aside until assembly time.

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Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with non stick spray and spread a thin layer (about 1/4 cup of sauce) evenly over the bottom. Lay half the baked and breaded eggplant on top. Sprinkle half the chopped, shredded cheese, and 1 Tbsp grated parm over the eggplant. Spoon about another 1/4 cup of sauce over this, and top with the remaining cheeses. Lastly, Pour the remaining sauce over the entire dish and sprinkle with basil.

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Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and let set for about 3-5 minutes. Cut into 4 squares and serve it up.

We paired ours with salad.

I love the sweetness that the roasted red peppers add to the dish! MMMM! I forgot how much I loved roasted red peppers!!

It was so good, nothing was left! Not a drop in the pyrex! With so much eggplant on hand, I made another, this one turning out even better than the first. Whats also nice about this is that it can be frozen.

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Nutrition: (1/4 recipe)

Calories: 160, Fat: 1.5g, Sat. Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 6.2mg, Sodium: 648.7mg, Carbs: 33.1g, Fiber: 14.8g, Sugar: 8.4g, Protein: 12.7g

A big topic of conversation at dinner was the madness that ensure in college town last night. Main Street was flooded with kids, jumping on cars, yelling, etc… I thought it was about the Eagles winner! I was wrong! Apparently, the cops broke up a huge party and the 1000 kids flocked to Main Street and swarmed! Thats just dumb! It caused enough of a ruckus, though, that not only did campus police get involved, but also, city, county, and state! Here one guys YouTube video of the events…

Blew my mind! I’m so glad I was in the safety of my home, last night, 20 minutes away from the mayhem!

Eggplant Pie

It was nice to sleep in yesterday and not have anything to do! I spent all day studying for the NCLEX, filling myself with brain food, like Saturn peaches, sugar free chocolate pudding, and a delicious dinner! (recipe to follow) My family has really been lucking out these past few weeks. Since I’ve found an outlet in cooking, my family has been eating really well. During my studying, I reward myself with breaks to cook, or prep to cook. Yesterday the result was baking Strawberry Muffins, and Eggplant Pie. Both were so good! Frank, my biggest critic, said the muffins were very good and the Eggplant Pie was,”Outstanding!” Having the word “outstanding” come from him was definitely a treat!

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The muffins came in handy when I woke up this morning to find a tray of donuts on the table from an apparent late night craving they had while out on the town… To resist the urge, I warmed up a strawberry muffin, sliced it in half, and added to the already gooey strawberries inside it with some sugar free strawberry preserves. Take that, donut!

After dinner, and along day of brain overload, I rewarded myself with Zumba. Unfortunately, my booty shaking was cut short when a girl got light headed and fainted. I ran to help her. Behind me, I hear my girlfriend yell,”It’s okay! She’s a nurse!” It was thrilling hearing someone yell that so close to my exam!

WP_003511Following Zumba, I got really hungry. Thank goodness Zumba is early on Monday nights and I went home to enjoy an Orange Cream Dannon Light & Fit Greek, with cheerios for crunch. I got antsy and wound up finishing a head of romain with salsa, filling up on water. I’m such a bunny rabbit…

I headed to bed with a mug of chamomile tea and fell asleep in NCLEX-mode.

After Sunday’s adventure at the Ren Faire, and my brief time at Zumba, last night, my calves we starting to feel it today. I began the WP_003512gloomy day with my normal routine of a shake. Since my vanilla protein powder has been replaced, I began with an Apple Eggnog Shake:

  • 2 scoops Vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 md fuji apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sugar free Eggnog Da Vinci syrup
  • spinkle apple pie spice
  • water
  • ice

A total winner that Barry didn’t think would work! I made Frank a very bright Watermelon Shake.

Today was so gloomy that my dad’s boss told him not to come to work because there was so much flooding! It was also gloomy in my kitchen when my spare Magic Bullet bit the dust. I’m glad I had my smoothie maker to fill in.

Before heading to work, I filled up on some watermelon and I’ve really been digging the beet scene lately. I actually made another beet salad for dinner tonight, for work. I even used some Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh! And what goes well with bacon? Bleu Cheese! I steamed together sliced onion, chopped tempeh, sliced petite carrots, and chopped, sliced beets and served it over a bed of spinach, topped with crumbled reduced fat bleu cheese. The warmth from the vegetables warmed up the cheese and this salad was “no dressing required!” I’ve been trying to talk dad into trying beets, but I haven’t quite gotten there. Maybe I’ll sneak it into something one day. What can I say? You can’t beat beets!

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Usually, being clerk at work makes me want to eat. Not because I’m hungry or burning calories, but because I’m bored. Tonight was great because I ate my delicious salad for dinner, and had some grahams and PB for a snack! Plus, with studying and all the paperwork at the desk, I kept busy!I’m serious! As soon at 7pm hit, this place went crazy, like full moon crazy! Eureka!

I picked up a pack of sliced eggplant from the farmers market last week and wanted to use it up before it began to turn. My intent was to make an eggplant parm pizza, but then this brain of mine began to crank some gears and this little beauty was born. Its like if eggplant parmesean and spaghetti pie had a baby…

Eggplant PieWP_003507

Serves 4

1 large eggplant, sliced 1/8in
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup fat free ricotta
1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 pkg Fettuccine Tofu Shirataki noodles
3/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella, divided
4oz 96% lean ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh spinach, packed (25g)
1 Tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan

Peeling the eggplant is your preference. Over high heat, in a skillet, cook slices of eggplant until they begin to shrivel from the water loss, flipping to ensure both sides cook. Transfer to a paper towel while cooking the remaining slices of eggplant. While eggplant is still pliable, lay the eggplant strategically in a sprayed 9in pie pan to create a pseudo-pie crust (about 7 slices). Sprinkle the bottom on the pan with 1/4 cup of mozzarella.

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Empty the noodles into a colander, rinse, and snip through the noodles with scissors, as these these noodles can be pretty long. In the hot pan, after the eggplant has been cooked and removed, briefly toss the noodles in the pan, tossing constantly to remove excess fluid, and return to the colander.

Spray skillet with non stick cooking spray and briefly cook down onions, garlic, and bell pepper, until onions are
mildly translucent. Transfer warm vegetables into a bowl with uncooked mushrooms, ricotta, spices, and egg. Then add the noodles to the ricotta mix. Transfer into eggplant crust and distribute evenly.

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Brown the ground beef. Once crumbled and browned, add the can of diced tomatoes. Stir together and top over the noodles in the crust. Sprinkle a pinch on mozzarella and the grated cheese. Add the chopped spinach and cover with the remaining eggplant (about 5 slices). Top with remained shredded mozzarella and bake in a preheat oven  at 350 F for 15-20 minutes.

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Slice and enjoy!

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Nutrition (1/4 recipe):

Calories: 149, Fat: 0.8g, Sat. Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 22.5mg, Sodium: 294mg, Carbs: 15.8g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4.7g, Protein: 16.8g

Frittata

Frittata, in the Italian households, typically refers to sliced potatoes, browned or sauteed, cooked into eggs, along with other fixens. More rescently, in the culinary world, it has a dopted an almost quiche-like conotation. Anyway, the beautiful thing about frittatas is that the possibilities are absolutely endless! You’ve heard of people making left-over pizza by taking anything in their refridgerators and dumping it onto a crust? You can essentially do the same, here! I had a bit of left over broccoli rabe and sauteed peppers, onions, and garlic from the graduation party. BINGO!

Broccoli Rabe FrittataWP_002848

serves 8

4 1/2 cups liquid egg substitute

1 egg

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup flax milk, or other low fat milk

2 cups broccoli rabe, cooked and prepared

2 cups sauteed peppers, onions, and garlic

1/2 cup fat free shredded mozzarella

1 tsp Italian seasoning

black pepper, to taste

2 Tbsp reduced fat grated parmesean cheese, more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a skillet with a non stick cooking spray and place the prepared  sauteed peppers, onions, and garlic in it to cook away as much remaining oil, on medium heat, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside. Repeat with the prepared broccoli rabe. In a large bowl, whisk water, egg, egg substitute, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Chop the cooled peppers, onions, and broccoli rabe and whisk into the egg mix. Further chop the mozzarella into smaller pieces and whisk into egg mix.

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Spray an 9×15 pyrex with non stick spray. Pour the egg mix into the pyrex, continuing to whisk the mixture in the bowl as you pour. Sprinkle the top with the grated parmesean and bake for 30 minutes uncovered. Turn the pyrex 180 degrees and bake for another 25-30 minutes, until fully cooked.  Let rest for 5 minutes, cut and serve. Garnish with additional grated parmesean.

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I debated adding sausage to the mix to really make this pop, but instead, I made turkey sausage patties for those who wanted sausage and served it on the side. I topped mine with hot sauce!

Each slice (1/8 recipe):?????????????????????????????????????? WP_002852

Calories: 162

Total fat: 5.4g

Sat. Fat: 0.8g

Cholesterol: 27mg

Sodium: 488 mg

Carbs: 10g

Fiber: 2.4g

Sugar: 0g

Protein: 19.7g

It  was a hit among the family, especially my mom. I’ve never seen my mom so excited about a food. She scarfed it! “I could eat this twice a week!” It must have been good! If thats what it takes to get my mom to eat healthily, frittatas may be popping up alot more on the blog!