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? 

 

 

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.

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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.

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

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

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

Pesto Quinoa Zucchini Boats

Zucchini Boats

Summer, the perfect season to eat healthy, when fresh veggies and fruit spring up all over and can be purchased cheaply.

Right now, zucchini are on sale at my town’s farmer’s markets for 5 for $1. With an abundance of zucchini on hand and a stomach that is so tired of zucchini bread I decided to experiment with a new recipe. 

Pesto Quinoa Zucchini Boats!

What You Need:

5 medium to large zucchini

1 cup of quinoa

2 tablespoons of pesto

2 tablespoons of reduced fat cream cheese 

1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese

Directions:

1. Using a spoon, carve the zucchini into “boats”. Scoop out the seedy section making enough of a bowl to stuff with your quinoa mixture.

2. Bake the plain zucchini in the oven (preheated to 325 degrees) for 25 minutes or until they are soft. 

3. Meanwhile, prepare your quinoa on your stove top. 

4. Once the quinoa is ready and fluffed, mix in your pesto and cream cheese. Stir generously.

5. Remove the zucchini boats from the oven, fill them with the quinoa mixture and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

6. Place zucchini boats back in the oven for another 4-5 minutes until the cheese melts. 

Enjoy!

zucchini boats 2

What else do you like to make with zucchini? I’d love to try other new recipes. 

xoxo Katie

 

 

Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Pecan Glaze

roasted butternut squash with maple pecan glaze

 Ah, the perfect side dish for a cold winter night. Let’s not forget all of the benefits that Butternut Squash, a “power food”  provides.

Benefits of Butternut Squash:

  • 1/2 of your daily amount of vitamin C
  • LOW in fat and HIGH in dietary fiber
  • High in potassium for bone health
  • High in Vitamin B6, important for the nervous and immune systems
  • Full of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids that protects your heart against heart disease
  • High levels of beta-carotene, which helps prevent  breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration, as well as a supporter of healthy lung development in fetuses and newborns.

Now that we can all see how amazing this squash is for you, let’s get on to the dish! This recipe makes me feel all warm and cozy inside, blame it on the maple syrup! I think it would also be a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving of Christmas, too!

butternut squash with maple syrup and pecans

Ingredients:

One whole butternut Squash
2/3 cup Maple Syrup
1 cup chopped Pecans
1 Tbsp butter, margarine
1 Tbsp Cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Peel, seed, and dice the butternut squash. Place the diced squash in a greased baking dish. Toss with 2 tbsp of maple syrup.

3. Roast the squash for 40-45 minutes

4. While the squash is roasting, prepare the glaze. Melt 1 tbsp of butter on a small pan. Add in the syrup. Whisk until the two bubble. Now add in the cinnamon.

butternut squash maple pecan topping on stovetop

5. Continue to whisk as you add in the chopped pecans. Let simmer for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is very “gooey”

6. Remove the topping from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.

7. Remove the butternut squash from the oven and top with the maple pecan glaze. Serve warm.

roasted butternut squash with maple and pecan topping

 Ta da! Yummy warm gooenyness. This is a new comfort food dish! What are some of your favorite butternut squash recipes?

On a different side note – I have a little exciting news! I was nominated for “Most Inspiring Blog Post” over at My So-Called Chaos best in blogging awards!!!

My So-Called Chaos Best of Blog Awards

 I was so shocked/happy to be nominated for my post “Stop Apologizing”. If you would like to support A Beautiful Little Adventure and love inspiriational posts help a girl out and go over and vote for me! (I’m featured in the “Most Inspirational Post” section about 3/4 down in the voting poll)

You don’t know how happy this made me, writing those types of posts are my favorite and make my heart sing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

xoxo Katie

Straight from the White House!

cauliflower mac and cheese

I present you with a super duper easy recipe straight from Michelle Obama’s kitchen!

This Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a favorite of Malia and Sasha and is now my go to comfort food dish. At first I was little apprehensive, I like cauliflower and all, but why ruin something as wonderful as macaroni and cheese? I was wrong – it is delicious. The cauliflower masks itself as additional cheese so  you think eating extra gooey and warm cheese when you’re actually getting a dose of healthy cauliflower. It is also man approved as Ryan said “gotta save this recipe!” (which I believe also means kid approved) Wohoo for being able to sneak veggies into something that is typically void of nutrients.

This was such a fast meal to make too – took me all of 20 minutes to prepare and then another 25 to bake. Perfect for a busy evening!

So without further ado, let me introduce you to my new favorite:

INGREDIENTS

8 ounces of pasta shells
1 cup skim milk
1 pound of your favorite mixing cheese (I used 1/2 a pound of skinny gouda and 1/2 a pound of sharp cheddar)
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente.
  2. Steam the cauliflower until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Puree the cauliflower, add some of the steaming liquid to thin the puree a tad bit.
  3. In a large casserole dish, combine the pasta and hot cauliflower puree. Add the milk, both cheeses, parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the butter and breadcrumbs with your fingers until it resembles damp sand. Sprinkle across the top of the pasta mixture, then place the dish in the oven for about 25 minutes until the top is crispy and the sauce is bubbling.

Serves 4 to 6.

Enjoy!

xoxo katie

Brie, Peach, and Basil Pizza

This is an awesome recipe that takes advantage of two great things – fresh summer peaches and brie. It also somehow makes you feel like you’re being healthier because 1. it has fruit and 2. brie sounds fancier than cheddar so this in turn makes me feel like it’s healthier. Is my logic crazy? This pizza is great for a super fast dinner or cut into mini pieces and set out as hors d’oeuvres for a party. Enjoy!

ingredients:

1.  Pizza Crust (I used store-bought but if you’re not as lazy you can make your own!)

2. 1 Tbsp olive oil

3.  3/4 cup

4.  2 peaches pitted and thinly sliced

4. 4 ounces brie cheese, thinly sliced

5. 1/4 cup freshly chopped basil

Directions:

1. Pre heat over to 425 degrees.

2. Lay pizza crust on pan and brush olive oil over crust.

3. Brush half of Balsamic vinegar  on crust.

4. Top evenly with thinly sliced brie and peaches

Brie, Peach, and Basil Pizza

5. Bake pizza for 7 minutes

6. After 8 minutes remove the pizza and add the fresh basil

7. Place pizza back in oven and bake for another 7 minutes (or until the brie is bubbly)

8. Meanwhile place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 5 minutes).

9. Once pizza is baked, drizzle the balsamic reduction and serve.

Brie, Peach, and Basil Pizza!

Oh how I love cheese!

xoxo katie