Lazy Lasagna

This is my first foray into the world of lasagna. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made pasta with marinara sauce a million times. But there’s something about the multi-layered lasagna that really takes things up in a notch (in my mind, at least). I got this recipe from Stefano Faita over at In The Kitchen.



Ingredients:

• 2 heaping cups of cooked penne pasta
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• 4 cups baby spinach
• 8 ounce (250 gram) container ricotta
• 1 egg, beaten
• Pinch nutmeg, freshly ground
• Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
• About 1 1/4 cup to 1 1/2 cup marinara sauce
• 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and then saute garlic. Stir and cook for about 1 – 2 minutes and then add spinach. Add salt and pepper.
3. Remove from pan and mix with ricotta, parmesan, beaten egg, and nutmeg.
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4. Layer in the baking dish: 1/4 cup marinara, 1 cup pasta, 1/2 cup marinara, 1/2 cup mozzarella, all of the spinach and ricotta filling, the rest of the pasta, and 1/2 cup more marinara, and then mozzarella and parmesan on top.

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5. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 25 – 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for about 10 minutes until top cheese is golden brown. It was actually kind of fun to layer all the pieces together! If you a lasagna recipe you swear by, I’d love to try it out!

Peach Cottage Cheese Pancakes: A New Frontier

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Have you ever shopped at your grocery store and  thought to yourself, “I should really give soymilk another try” or “Have I even been fair to kale all these years?!”

On   my most recent shopping expenditure, I added cottage cheese to my cart in a deliberate attempt to amp  up my morning protein consumption. With a  whopping total a of 13 g of protein per 1/4 cup, cottage cheese is a protein powerhouse. And by grabbing the lowfat option, you don’t even have to sacrifice in calories for the protein. There are no disadvantages to cottage cheese – except, I realized, the taste.

I don’t really like cottage cheese. It’s a most unfortunate dilemma actually, because  it’s probably the best way to get a quick and natural protein fix. So, of course, with the help of a few ripe Farmer’s Market peaches, I found  a way to incorporate cottage cheese into a recipe that enhances the taste without compromising the nutritional value of the meal. Get at me, Peachy Cottage Cheese Pancakes.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 peach
  • maple syrup ( optional)

Directions:

  1. Crack egg and whisk.
  2. Combine egg with flour, oil, and cottage cheese.
  3. Chop up peach into small pieces,
  4. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add batter and heat for a minute before adding peaches. Flip over and cook on other  side.
  5. Add peaches on top of cooked pancake and swirl maple syrup over.

I think I’ve found the perfect use  for cottage cheese. I couldn’t get enough  of this delicious meal! Looks like I may actually buy cottage cheese more often…Maybe I’ll try these cottage cheese cookies next?

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Basil Pesto and Tomato Pizza (and the goat cheese conundrum)

Nestled deep into the Mount Vernon concrete forest lies a beautiful cove of pizza heaven known as Iggie’s. For years, I only heard whispers of this place. It wasn’t until my friends dragged me over after a particularly dreadful midterms week that I understood the power this pizzeria held- my midterms drifting further away as my teeth sunk into each slice of pizza.

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In truth, I fell in love.

And with a wide-range of pizza options, many others are likely to do the same. If you’re in a particularly cheesy mood, you can get the Cinque Formaggi – a combination of roasted garlic, mozzarella, parmigiana, goat cheese, fontina asiago. Or, if you believe pizza without tomato sauce is a most vile form of blasphemy – there’s always the Salsiccia E Finocchio (sausage, pickled fennel, tomato ragu, mozzarella tallegio) to restore your faith.

My personal favorite, however, is “the Alice.” This pizza is a combination of basil pesto, mozzarella, fresh tomato, garlic spinach, goat cheese, and parmigiana – and it tastes incredible.

More recently, I had an insane Alice craving but didn’t have the funds or the time to venture to Mount Vernon for a quick bite. So what’s a girl with a pizza craving to do? Make her own!

ImageIn some sense, I also cheated because this is not the most authentic Alice there ever has been. However, it is truly not a hard recipe to mimick on your own. I used a tortilla as the bread, covered it in basil pesto, added mozzeralla cheese and fresh tomato, and finally sprinkled some black pepper on top. To make a completely authentic Alice, add garlic, spinach, and goat cheese as well as everything else I’ve listed! This one hit the spot, regardless of a few missing ingredients.

Ingredients:

1 Tortilla

2 tablespoons of Basil Pesto

1/2 cup of mozzeralla cheese

1/4 fresh tomato

black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place aluminum foil over cookware and spray with cooking spray.

2.  Cover tortilla with basil pesto.

3. Sprinkle mozzeralla cheese over the pesto.

4. Slice up the tomato and add on top of tortilla.

5. Sprinkle black pepper over everything.

6. Pop pizza into oven for about 15 minutes.

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Maybe one day, I’ll actually make a goat cheese investment. Until that day, this guy hits the spot nicely whenever I need a small Iggie’s fix!

That pernicious summer cold (and a quinoa recipe!)

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Is there anything worse than being sick over the summer? More importantly, is there anything worse than being sick over July 4th weekend?

I have had the misfortune of contracting a summer cold, leaving me enfeebled, sleepy, and coughing throughout the day. Alright, so it’s not that bad. Mostly I’ve been napping a lot and drinking aggressive amounts of tea.

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The worst part of all is having to put all  athletic endeavors on hold while my immune-ravaged body steadily recovers. This means that I’ve been doing a lot less working out and a lot more eating. I know that a cold is supposed to suppress the appetite, but let’s face it, I’m not hungry in any way but miserably bored. Worst of all is that I made a batch of incredibleeeeee chocolate chip, peanut butter chip and snickers blondies right before I got sick  which have all promptly disappeared during my sick bout. (I know what you’re thinking and I love where your head is at – recipe comin’ atcha later!)

Anyway, last night I did manage to whip up something healthy and delicious. Let me preface this by saying, I don’t know what do with quinoa. I’ve had a package of quinoa in my pantry for a year that I’ve left untouched. This is not a joke. I’ve probably seen a million recipes that call for quinoa for breakfast or in desserts or as simple staple grains in meals….but they  seem weird and are often tasteless when I actually make them. Until this guy….let me introduce: Spiced Quinoa with Black and Red Kidney Beans.

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It’s tasty, easy to make, and chock-full of protein! More importantly, it’s also super easy to morph into whatever you want. If you want to use different spices or don’t like some of the ones that I’ve added, just substitute whatever works better for you!

Serving size: 2

Ingredients:

• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1/4 cup onion
• 1/2 cup red peppers
• 1/2 cup diced fresh tomato
• 2 clove garlic, minced
• 2 cup chicken broth
• 1 cup black beans
• 1 cup red kidney beans
• 1 cup quinoa
• 1/2 tsp cayenne
• 1/2 tsp paprika
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
• 1/2 tsp oregano
• 1/2 tsp cumin
• 1/2 tsp chili powder
• 2 tbsp Pace salsa (optional)

Directions:

1. In a sauce pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Then saute the garlic and onion for 3-4 min before also adding red peppers and tomatoes.
2. Add chicken broth and let it reach boiling before adding in quinoa. Add spices.
3. After 15 minutes, add in beans.

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Voila! There you have it: Spiced Quinoa with Red and Black Beans. Just make sure you grab a piece of fruit beforehand to fight off any summer colds! 🙂