Eggplant and Spinach White Lasagna

eggplantandspinachlasagna

 

One of the best things about summer is the plethora of fresh veggies at farm stands.

The other week I picked up a huge eggplant for $1.00 and I decided to try a new recipe. Unfortunately a lot of eggplant recipes include tomatoes or tomato sauce (which I cannot eat). So I decided to experiment a bit.

That is how I ended up with this gooey, mouth-watering eggplant and spinach white lasagna. It was easy and supplied Ryan and I with meals for about 3 days! Plus we got our fill of veggies. 

Ingredients:

  • One large eggplant
  • 8 ounces of spinach
  • 1 box of ready to bake lasagna noodles
  • 8 oz of ricotta cheese
  • Jar of Alfredo sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp of basil
  • 1 tbsp black pepper

Cooking Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375F
  • Spray a 13×9 baking dish and set aside
  • Cut the eggplant in 1/2 inch thick circles and bake for 20 minutes
  • While the eggplant is baking mix together the ricotta cheese, spinach, mozzarella cheese, garlic powder, basil, and black pepper in a large bowl
  • Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a small layer of Alfredo sauce
  • Then lie down the first layer of the lasagna noodles
  • Next comes a layer of the baked eggplant circles
  • Now smear a nice layer of the cheese and spinach mixture on top of the eggplant
  • Place another layer of the lasagna noodles and repeat the above layers again
  • Repeat the layers a third time (or until you run out of ingredients)
  • Sprinkle the top of the lasagna with the remaining cheddar cheese
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy!

How do you like to prepare eggplant? 

 

 

Easy Spaghetti Squash Mexican Casserole

spaghettisquashmexicancasserole
 On Wednesday I shared my tips on how to cook one of my favorite veggies, spaghetti squash. I promised to come back today to share my go to spaghetti squash recipe.

This meal is cheap and super easy to prep and make but is also very filling.  I need to say that it is impossible to make spaghetti squash, or any “casserole” for the matter, look amazing in photos. So you’ll just have to take my word (and Ryan’s) for it. 

This dish satisfies any mexican cravings you may have but fills you up with veggies, protein, fiber, and vitamins. 

spaghettisquashcasserole2

Ingredients:

  • One large spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb of chicken breasts (or other meat of your choice or go 100% veggie!)
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of chili beans
  • 1 can of green chilis
  • Taco Seasoning
  • 8 oz of Cheddar Cheese
  • Salsa and Greek yogurt (drizzled on top)

Directions:

  • Cook the Spaghetti Squash (follow these instructions if you don’t know how)
  • Grill the chicken in taco seasoning
  • Once the chicken is cooked, add the beans and the chilis
  • Spray a 13.x baking dish
  • Spread a layer of the spaghetti squash on the bottom on the baking dish
  • Add a layer of the chicken, bean, and chili mixture
  • Add a layer of cheese
  • Repeat the layers until you run out of ingredients
  • Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
  • Top with Salsa and Greek Yogurt (our sour cream, but did you know Greek yogurt taste just like sour cream when mixed?)

 What do you like to make with Spaghetti Squash?

I’m headed off for a girls’ weekend in NYC! I hope you enjoy this crisp Fall weekend.

I’ll be back on Monday for another Think Positive Monday.

How to Cook a Spaghetti Squash

howtocookspaghettisquash
I love spaghetti squash. I cook with it about once a week and keep inventing new ways to incorporate it into recipes or turn usually carb heavy recipes into vegetable heavy ones.

Yet, a year ago I barely knew what a Spaghetti Squash was let alone how to cook it. The first time I bought one was last September at a small produce stand alongside the road. It was $1.00 and I thought, “Why not?”

I brought the beast of a squash home and had no idea what to do with it. After a few Google searches and frustration I quickly figured it out. I fell in love with the sweet crunchy taste and filling nature of the noodle looking squash. 

So this post is for any of you out there who were like me a year ago, clueless as to how to cook a spaghetti squash. Below are simple step by step directions and photographs.

I wish I had something this simple when I was first experimenting, hope it helps!

1. Pick out your perfect Spaghetti Squash.

I like when they are golden-yellow and about 8 inches long.

spaghettisquash1redsize

2. Place the spaghetti squash in the oven pre-heated to 350 degrees. Cook for 20 minutes. 

This allows the squash to soften up a bit before you do anything to it.

spaghettisquash2

3. Carefully remove the squash from the oven. Cut the squash into two perfect halves.

spaghsquash3

4. Place the two halves back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of your squash)

spaghsquash4

4. Carefully remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Then use an ice cream scoop to remove all of the “icky” parts of the squash.

Think of it as removing the inside of a pumpkin when you are carving it. Remove the area in the middle that is full of seeds and “mushier”.

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spaghettisquash6

5. Next, grab a fork and start scraping at the edges of the squash. This pulls apart the meaty part of the squash and creates the noodle like appearance that gives the spaghetti squash its name.

Place the noodle looking parts to the side.

Keep scraping and scraping until all that is left of the squash is the hollow skin.

spaghettisquash7
spaghettisquash8

6. Look at all of this! All from one spaghetti squash! 

You can now use the spaghetti squash in a recipe as is, or put the pulled squash back in the oven for a bit longer of a crisper taste.

spaghettisquash9
Enjoy in the place of regular spaghetti, in a casserole, roasted with a few herbs and spices, or in Asian dishes.

Pretty simple, right?

The hardest part is leaving the time set aside for baking in the oven prior to being able to enjoy it.

Come back on Friday and I’ll share my newest favorite spaghetti squash recipe: Spaghetti Squash Mexican Casserole.

Zucchini Brownies

zucchinibrowniestitle

Who doesn’t love a way of eating chocolate that can be labeled as “healthy”?

These zucchini brownies are a healthier way, (no eggs and no butter) of indulging in dessert. Even though they still contain sugar, you also reap the benefits of eating zucchini, hidden within all that chocolate goodness.

One benefit of country living is scoring produce for super cheap. Last weekend I procured two monster zucchini. They were the largest zucchini I ever saw. They were each about the length of my forearm and the width of my calf. Actually that sounds a bit awkward. Anyways, they were huge.

I decided to experiment with one of the zucchini and make a chocolate version of zucchini bread, realizing that they are actually zucchini brownies. They turned out moist, delicious, and not tasting of zucchini at all. 

Here is the easy recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/4 cut coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • handful of chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Chop of the raw zucchini into small pieces
3. In a food processor, puree zucchini
4. After awhile add the coconut oil, sugar, yogurt, and vanilla extract to the food processor. Continue to puree until well mixed. It will be a very fluid like.
5. In a separate large bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
6. Add the zucchini mixture and then add chocolate chips. 
7. Pour into greased 9×13 baking pan.
8. Bake for 25 minutes.
9. Enjoy!
 

What other healthier dessert options do you like?

 

Cranberry, Pecan, and White Cheddar Cheese Ball Recipe

cranberrypecancheddarcheeseball
This post is about cheese, what more do you need to know?

This summer has been filled with a lot of wine and toasting. What goes good with wine? Cheese. (Actually what doesn’t go with cheese?) This savory and sweet cheese ball goes well with both white wine and red wine as well as fun conversations with girl friends or long talks on docks with your love. (I made this cheese ball for both a girls’ night in as well as our anniversary trip to the Finger Lakes.)

It’s easy. Super easy. So if you’re still looking for a last-minute recipe to make for a Fourth of July get together you’ve found it!

I hope you all have a fun long weekend celebrating with friends and family. My best friend gets married this Saturday and I’m a ball of emotions. It’s going to be a beautiful wedding weekend. Think of me as I nervously await my Matron of Honor speech – I’m terrified of public speaking!  But in all seriousness, I can’t wait to celebrate her and her love all weekend long. They are the most adorable couple.  Cheers to them! 

Now go and enjoy some wine with this awesome cheese ball:

Cranberry, Pecan, and White Cheddar Cheese Ball:

cheeseball
 Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Chopped Pecans
  • 8 ounces of Cream Cheese, Softened
  • 8 ounces, weight Shredded Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1-½ cup Dried Cranberries

Directions:

  • Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the chopped pecans evenly over the baking pan and bake for 5 minutes.
  • In a mixer, beat together the softened cream cheese and the shredded white cheddar cheese. 
  • Add in the pecans, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Mix until everything is well blended. About 5 minutes. 
  • Remove the mixture from the mixer and form it into a ball. Wrap the ball in Saran wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes. (I did mine the night before and let it sit in the fridge over night because of timing)
  • Remove the cheese ball from the fridge and remove the Saran wrap. Cover the cheese ball in dried cranberries. You will have to push the cranberries into the cheese ball to secure them into place.
  • Serve with crackers and enjoy! 

cranberrypecanwhitecheddarcheeseball
spread 
xoxo Katie

Sweet Potato Pizza Pie

SweetPotatoPizzaPie  
Yes, you read that correctly sweet potato and pizza, together!

This has become my new favorite recipes. You see, I go on these binges where I rotate the same 4-5 recipes over and over until I get sick of them. Sweet Potato Pizza Pie has been in heavy rotation in my house lately, Ryan and I are both big fans.

I first discovered this amazing combination of nutrient rich sweet potatoes and pizza at one of my favorite local restaurants, John J Jeffries, a local spot that is known for using all locally grown products and turning out tasty, sustainable, and organic meals and libations.

I quickly became obsessed with their Sweet Potato Pizza Pie. I kept going back for more and unless I wanted to spend all our monthly restaurant budget on this pie I was determined to learn how to make it at home. 

And that I did, for under $5.00 per pizza (that is twice the size of the restaurant’s version.)

Why do I love this pizza so much? One, I have an aversion to tomato sauce and can’t handle more than a tablespoon at a time. Therefore regular pizza is sadly not something I can fit into my regular diet. As this pie substitutes sweet potato puree for tomato sauce I can fully enjoy it without worry about the after effects.

Secondly, sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, earning them the nomination of one of the healthiest foods we can eat. They makes this dish filling and nutritional. (unlike regular pizza).

Also it’s cheap and easy

So, for Leslie’s Recipe Confessional Friday, a fun way to swap recipes and discover new recipe standards, I thought I’d share MY version of Sweet Potato Pizza Pie. 

Sweet Potato Pizza Pie
Let’s get to it!

What You Will Need:

  • One average sized Sweet Potato
  • Pizza Crust (you can make your own, but I cheat and use Trader Joe’s Garlic and Herb Pizza dough and roll it out into a pie)
  • around 1/4 cup onions diced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • Shredded Colby Cheese (I use 1/2 cup but you can use less or more)
  • 1/2 Tbsp of Basil 
  • oregano (to your liking)

Directions:

  1.  Peel the sweet potato and cook it in the microwave or the oven until it is cooked through. You want it to be softer than it would be if you were cooking it to eat with a fork. 
  2.  Puree the sweet potato in a food processor. Set aside.
  3.  Dice the onions and cut up the mushrooms.
  4.  Prepare you pizza crust and lay it out on your baking pan or pizza stone.
  5.   Using a spatula, evenly spread the sweet potato puree over the pizza crust. (remember this is our “sauce”)
  6.   Top with onions, mushrooms, and basil.
  7.  Top with cheese.
  8.  Bake at 350 degrees for however long your pizza crust needs to bake for (depends on what type you use). I bake mine for 8-10 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown. 
  9.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. 
  10.  Top with oregano and serve!

sweet potato pizza pie

Sure to be a hit!

(please ignore the nutritional information calculated below. This was automatically generated and it not correct. The total fat and calories depend on the type of crust and cheese you decide to use)

Have a great holiday weekend! It’s the official start of summer with temps expecting to rise into the 80’s. I’m breaking out the maxi dresses and flip-flops and chilling.  See ya on Monday!

xoxo Katie
Sweet Potato Pizza Pie
Serves 4
A nutritional pizza using sweet potatoes, onions, mushrooms, herbs, and colby jack cheese on a garlic herb crust. (A tomato free pizza!)
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
6 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
16 min
Prep Time
6 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
16 min
111 calories
12 g
14 g
5 g
5 g
3 g
73 g
50 g
3 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
73g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 111
Calories from Fat 44
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
8%
Saturated Fat 3g
15%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 14mg
5%
Sodium 50mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates 12g
4%
Dietary Fiber 2g
9%
Sugars 3g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
95%
Vitamin C
3%
Calcium
14%
Iron
7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. One average sized Sweet Potato
  2. Pizza Crust (you can make your own, but I cheat and use Trader Joe’s Garlic and Herb Pizza dough and roll it out into a pie)
  3. around 1/4 cup onions diced
  4. 1/2 cup mushrooms
  5. Shredded Colby Cheese (I use 1/2 cup but you can use less or more)
  6. 1/2 Tbsp of Basil
  7. Oregano (to your liking)
Instructions
  1. 1. Peel and cook the sweet potato in the microwave or the oven until it is cooked through. You want it to be softer than it would be if you were cooking it to eat with a fork.
  2. 2. Puree the sweet potato in a food processor. Set aside.
  3. 3. Dice the onions and cut up the mushrooms.
  4. 4. Prepare you pizza crust and lay it out on your baking pan or pizza stone.
  5. 5. Using a spatula, evenly spread the sweet potato puree over the pizza crust. (remember this is our “sauce”)
  6. 6. Top with onions, mushrooms, and basil.
  7. 7. Top with cheese.
  8. 8. Bake at 350 degrees for however long your pizza crust needs to bake for (depends on what type you use). I bake mine for 8-10 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown.
  9. 9. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  10. 10. Top with oregano and serve!
beta
calories
111
fat
5g
protein
5g
carbs
12g
more
A Beautiful Little Adventure http://abeautifullittleadventure.com/
 

 

 

 

 

No Bake Cake Batter Truffles

no bake cake batter truffles

Happy Friday! What better way to celebrate than with cake batter truffles! And sprinkles!

There are lots of variations of these truffles across the internet but this is my version. I was looking for something easy and fun to bake for a girls weekend. Truffles pack the equal amount of yummyness and classiness. (yes, I just called truffles classy).

I know that I usually post semi healthy options when it comes to recipes. Please note that these are not healthy in the least,  but at least these bite size treats are so sweet and rich that it is easy enough to have one and walk away.

My cake batter truffles were a big hit with my girlfriends and also make great gifts/treats to wrap up in cute boxes to give to people or to serve at your Oscar Party. Let’s get started!

Ingredients

For the truffles:
    • 1 ½ cups flour
    • 1 cup yellow cake mix (I used extra moist)
    • 3/8 cup unsalted butter
    • ½ cup white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 61/4 cup of skim milk
    • 2 Tablespoons sprinkles
Truffle Coating:
  • 16 ounces of white chocolate
  • 5 Tablespoons yellow cake mix
  • sprinkles or other chocolate for decorating

Directions:

  1. Beat together butter and sugar using an electric mixer. Add cake mix, flour, salt, and vanilla and mix together.. Add milk to make a dough consistency. Mix in sprinkles by hand.
  2. Roll dough into one inch balls and place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill balls freezer for about 30 minutes.
  3. While dough balls are chilling in the freezer, melt white chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir between intervals. Once melted, stir in cake mix instantly until incorporated completely.You have to stir in the cake mix very quickly.
  4. Dip each truffles into the melted chocolate and shake off excess. Place truffle back on the cookie sheet and top with sprinkles instantly (the chocolate dries very quickly.)
  5. Chill truffles in the refrigerator until serving. Makes around 32-36 truffles.
These are easy due to the fact that there is absolutely no baking involved, but I still have problems with dipping the truffles in the chocolate and creating a perfectly coated ball. As you can see, mine look a little messy. Thank goodness for sprinkles! Also, taste buds are blind. Enjoy!
P.S. – Time for some shameless self promotion: Will you vote for me? 
I made it into the top 3 of “Most Inspirational Post” for my Stop Apologizing article in My So-Called Chaos Best of Awards. This news warms my heart because posts self growth and acceptance and finding a place to shine in the world are my favorite pieces to write. Please help me out and go vote for me and I’ll love you forever.
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