I love lasagna. By far, it is my favorite Italian dish with its rows of hearty pasta, pools of tomato and bechamel sauces, with bursts of meaty goodness. Growing up, it was the one dish I would demand not be altered in any way, shape or form because, to me, it was the perfect dish as imagined. It required no modernizing or changes.
This is all to say that sometimes we all must eat our words, and this time deliciously so. Lasagna is not exactly a diabetic friendly recipe, so we found a way to lighten up the dish and make it slightly more healthy at least. Extra perk? It would be easy to turn this into a vegan dish – just omit the first steps featuring the meat. There’s so many vegetables in this hearty dish that you won’t miss it if you do.
So while traditions are good, moving forward into the future of better awareness of our health, and with no further adieu, we give you or vegetable boosted lasagna! Buon appetito!
6 lasagna noodles, cooked per box directions to al dente
1 pound of ground beef (choose leaner if you want to lighten this up even further)
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup diced bell peppers
2 pints mushrooms, cleaned and cut into slices (we used white button mushrooms)
28 oz favorite marinara sauce (use homemade if you can but it’s perfectly okay to use your favorite jarred sauce).
1/2 bunch of kale, stems removed (discard), and leaves chopped
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup shredded mozzarella
In a large pot, heat up approximately 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium high heat.
Add the ground beef, and cook most of the way through, approximately 8 minutes depending on stove top and stirring frequently. With a slotted spoon, remove the beef to a bowl and set aside. Drain some of the liquid on top of the beef but leave enough in the pan to begin the vegetables.
Add the onions, carrots, and celery with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the bell peppers. Cook down another 3-4 minutes. During this time, add the Italian seasoning and cayenne pepper.
Add the mushrooms. Continuing to stir occasionally, cook them down until they are approximately half in size from when you started.
Add the sauce along with the meat and juices. Incorporate everything thoroughly. Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer. We are going to stay here the rest of the way.
After about 10 minutes, add the kale, once again incorporating it well and stirring frequently. This will cook down significantly. Cook another 10 minutes on simmer.
Adjust seasonings then allow to cool before assembling the lasagna.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, put some of the tomato liquid on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan and spread along the bottom.
Add 2 lasagna noodles. Spoon some of the filling onto the noodles, flattening it with a spatula. Sprinkle Parmesan and mozzarella.
Add the next 2 noodles and repeat step 2.
For the top layer, once again, spoon some of the liquid from the sauce mixture onto the noodles. Top with more Parmesan and mozzarella.
Bake for 40 minutes, covered with foil that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking oil. At 40 minutes, remove foil, boost temperature to 400, and cook another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes so that it will not fall apart when you cut the lasagna into slices. Serve and enjoy!
It’s Monday evening. A long day of work finished, and the project of dinner looms like a towering obstacle. Ordering take out may be your go to option in this weekday struggle, as it often was mine. Before my diagnosis of diabetes, I ate take out at least a couple of days a week. With the demands of long workdays and household tasks to also accomplish, it was an all too easy solution.
With this recipe, the preparation is done ahead of time on the weekend so the entire meal on the weekday takes a mere 15 minutes to cook. A perk? It’s delicious – with some key, light substitutions, you can have a far healthier version of one of my favorites – chicken lo mein. Here, we replace the pasta with zucchini noodles and the hoisin sauce with a lighter mixture. An optional sprinkle of everything seasoning adds another twist.
We hope this recipe inspires you to take on take out and eases the weeknight struggles!
6 zucchinis, ends removed
6 carrots, peeled and stemmed
1 red onion
3 cups baby spinach
4 green scallions
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ cup soy sauce
¾ cup chicken broth
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp siracha sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
1 tbsp everything seasoning
The day before cooking, use a spiralizer to make the zucchini into thin strips like noodles (you can also buy them already like this at the grocery store.
Grate the carrots. Slice the scallions into ¼ inch pieces, omitting the white ends, and slice the red onions into thin half-moons.
Cut the chicken breast in half and then into strips. Season with the vegetable oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, tossing well. Marinate overnight. Whisk together the soy sauce, mustard, sriracha and broth, and put in the fridge in a separate container.
The next day take all ingredients out of the fridge and get your mis-en-place ready (everything ready beside you).
Heat a wok with 2 tbsp of sesame oil on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken. Stir often but not too frequently until the chicken is mostly cooked. This will not take long. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and put in a clean bowl (do not use the same container you had the raw chicken in).
Add the garlic and ginger. Sautée until fragrant, approximately 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
Add the vegetables with a pinch of salt. Cook down, stirring frequently. Return the cooked chicken to the pan and mix to incorporate. Add the soy sauce mixture to de-glaze the pan, scrapping any brown bits.
Add the zucchini, tossing well to incorporate. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until softened. If desired, add the everything seasoning, and toss to incorporate again.
Hi, everyone! I know it’s been a long time since my last post. In October, I was diagnoised with diabetes. As a result, in the last few months, I had to focus on my health. I appreciate everyone’s support during this time, and while I am not entirely out of the woods, I am on the path next to the exit after losing 40 pounds from changing my food intake.
To that end, we’ve developed our new direction. We will journey into the depths of the deepest caverns of how to maintain the flavors that we love in comfort foods, while also making the dishes a bit lighter and healthier to enjoy!
We hope you’ll stick with us in this new direction and join us on this adventure! Today, as our launch post, we’ve developed a lighter take on a taco salad, and we are introducing our first video! So grab your spatula, and join us in our new beginnings!
Chicken Taco Salad
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 cup baby spinach
½ small red onion, sliced into half moons
2 scallions, sliced, omitting white parts
2 limes, juice and zest
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the vegetable oil, cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt into a small bowl and mix into a paste. Coat the chicken with the paste and let marinate while the oven is heating or up to overnight (in the fridge if not making right away).
Bake in the oven until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Use a thermometer to verify internal temperature.
Take the cooked chicken out of the oven and let rest on a cutting board. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine all the vegetables and toss to incorporate them well. In a mason jar, combine the lime juice, zest, salt and pepper to taste, and the extra virgin olive oil. Cover the jar and shake well until the vinaigrette has come together.
Slice the chicken and add to the salad bowl. Dress the salad with the dressing – leftover dressing may be stored in the fridge. Serve and enjoy!