Tooth Extraction and Comfort Food

So, a week ago, I had one of my molars extracted. Apparently it is very painful to live with a cracked tooth, made even worse with an abscess. Ouch. So, I’ve been doped up on antibiotics, probiotics and pain meds. I’ve also been living off of oatmeal and pudding for the last week.

So, apologize that I haven’t posted anything new for a couple of weeks.

But fear not, dear reader, I’m back with a Bang! This weeks lunch is going to be epic. We’re talking bigger than big. Flavor-packed Italian Stew.

Zucchini, and eggplant, and onions, oh my! Throw in some red and yellow peppers some whole tomatoes,  fresh basil, and fresh oregano and a dash of olive oil…..and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into an Italian Kitchen.

Oh yeah, it’s totally vegetarian, Bonus!

Without further adieu, may I present

Italian Vegetable Stew (a.k.a. – Ciambotta)

courtesy of Sweet Peas Kitchen20160221_162029-1.jpg

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Ingredients:

For the Pestata
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
For the Stew
  • 12 oz eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 tsp salt, divided plus more to taste
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste (no salt added variety)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved and chopped coarse
  • 2 medium zucchini, seeded and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 cup shredded fresh basil

Instructions:

To make the Pestata: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process all ingredients until finely ground, about a  minute.

For the Stew:

  1. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with 1 1/2 tsp of salt.
  2. On a microwave safe plate, place two paper towels and spread eggplant in a single layer.
  3. Microwave eggplant, uncovered, until dry to touch and slightly shriveled, 8-12 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in large Dutch oven over high heat, until shimmering. Add eggplant, onion, and potatoes; cook stirring frequently until eggplant browns and surface of potatoes becomes translucent.
  5. Push vegetables to sides of pot and add 1 Tbsp of oil and tomato paste to clearing. Cook paste, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add 2 cups of water and chopped tomatoes and juice. scraping up any browned bits, and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and gently simmer until eggplant is completely broken down and potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 Tbsp of oil in skillet over high heat until smoking.
  9. Add zucchini, bell peppers, and 1/2 tsp of salt; cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
  10. Push vegetables to sides of skillet and Pestata and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  11. Stir Pestata into vegetables. Cook another 3 minutes.
  12. Transfer vegetables to Dutch oven and remove from heat.
  13. Cover and let set for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

 

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chicken, bacon, and pesto lasagne roll ups

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Pasta,  in any form,  is delightful.  And these lasagne rolls are no exception. And,  they are so easy to make. wpid-20151010_173405.jpg

The sauce is light and creamy; the stuffing of chicken, ricotta, and pesto compliment each other, bringing a symphony of taste exploding in your mouth. wpid-20151010_180602-2.jpg

Courtesy of http://www.heatherlikesfood.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 12 oz bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
  • 8 lasagne noodles,  cooked
  • 3/4 cup Romano cheese, finely grated and divided
  • 16 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup prepared basil Pesto
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves garlic,  finely minced
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook lasagne noodles according to package directions,  drain and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top of them to prevent sticking.
  3. In a small saucepan melt butter and cook garlic,  about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute,  stirring continuously.
  5. Whisk in milk and chicken broth and stir until it comes to a boil and is thickened.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 cup of the Romano cheese.
  7. In a small bowl,  combine ricotta cheese with remaining 1/2 cup Romano cheese ah be 1/2 tsp  kosher salt.
  8. Pour 1/2 cup of sauce across the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  9. One at a time, lay a lasagne noodle on a cutting board and spread 3-4 Tbsp of the ricotta mixture on the noodle,  followed by 1 Tbsp pesto.
  10. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup chicken and a Tbsp of crumbled bacon over pesto.
  11. Roll noodle carefully and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
  12. Pour remaining sauce over the rolls and top with mozzarella cheese.
  13. Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.

Crockpot Italian Sloppy Joe

Hello happy people!

I hope you had a wonderful and a safe Forth of July! Mine was pretty good,  relaxing and productive.

Here’s an easy and tasty recipe from Gina over at Skinnytaste. I made my own hamburger buns and added baby spinach and provolone cheese.  I really liked the taste explosion in my mouth! wpid-20150706_171104-1.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian turkey sausage, removed from casing
  • 1/2 cup  chopped onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic,  minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 green  bell pepper, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 1/3 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper,  to taste
  • Baby spinach
  • Provolone cheese slices

Instructions:

  1. In a medium skillet, over medium-high heat,  cook the sausage, breaking it up as it cooks.
  2. Transfer to crockpot and add onions,  peppers,  garlic,  crushed tomatoes,  rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cook on low for 4 to 4.5 hours.
  4. Serve on bun with spinachand provolone cheese.

low carb vegetarian lasagna – my lunches this week

Hello happy people!

Hope your Sunday finds you well. Just a quick hi and wishes for a productive and speedy week!  I’ve been sick all week, but I’m finally on the mend. Hope you enjoy the vegetarian lasagna as much as I do!

adapted from What Runs Lori – Paleasagna

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Ingredients:

  • 1 white onion,  diced
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes,  low sodium
  • 1 green bell pepper,  chopped
  • 6 oz can no salt added tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp Italian spice blend
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic,  minced
  • 1 pound of zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 head of broccoli,  roughly chopped
  • 1 egg or egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° and lightly grease 13 x 9 casserole dish.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil and add diced onions.  Sauté on medium-high until softened,  3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the canned tomato,  tomato paste, spices,  salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Cook for 10 minutes and then set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese,  Greek yogurt, broccoli, and egg. Mix thoroughly.
  5. In casserole dish,  arrange one layer of zucchini slices on bottom.  Spread 1/2 the tomato mixture on top of the zucchini.  Top with 1/2 the Greek yogurt broccoli.  Repeat.
  6. Top the lasagna with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Skinny Beef Lombardi

Buongiorno, friendly people!

You know that feeling when you finally get around to doing something you’ve been wanting to get done? Well,  I finally cleaned my car.  I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal,  but it is to me. Seeing that I spend, on average, 2 hours a day commuting to and from work,  this is monumental.  We’re talking on the scale of bliss…a triple chocolate cake kind of bliss.

What better way to celebrate a clean car… Italian food! I found this recipe on my recipes and then changed it a little to make it a smidge healthier and with a few less calories.

Beef Lombardi-made light

adapted from my recipeswpid-20150620_181410-1.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean turkey
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 6 oz can no salt added tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 oz Multigrain egg noodles
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fat-free cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese,  shredded
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese,  shredded

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook ground turkey in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink and is crumbled. Drain.
  3. Stir in diced tomatoes, diced tomatoes and chilies,  sugar,  salt,  and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste and bay leaf.  Stir until thoroughly combined. Let simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Cook egg noodles according to package.  Drain.
  6. Stir together cooked noodles, chopped green onions, and greek yogurt until well blended.
  7. Place noodle mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 13 x 9 casserole dish.Top with beef mixture. Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the top. 
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.