Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

This is a great way to serve up zucchini and a nice change of pace from the usual roasting that I tend to do. I prepared this for my Chef Spotlight Dinner where we featured recipes of health concious chefs, including Ellie Krieger.

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
recipe from Ellie Krieger

Cooking spray
2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce)
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and a few turns of pepper. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove with spatula. Serve immediately.

Advertisements

Chicken Veggie Alfredo Lasagna

Quite a few fellow bloggers have been making lasagnas recently and having a hodge podge of random ingredients on hand, I figured I’d jump the bandwagon and use up the miscellaneous amounts of items in my fridge. I didn’t have any tomato/pasta sauce on hand (which is a reminder for me to make a big batch soon!) so I searched online for a quick alfredo sauce to use up the cream I had. I came across This Recipe from AllRecipes.com to use as a guide and made my adaptations outlined below (and this is not a figure friendly dish as written!):

Quick & Easy Alfredo Sauce
adapted from Allrecipes.com

1 stick butter
10 oz cream cheese (1 brick + 2 oz cream cheese)
1 tablespoon garlic salt (I used The Spice house brand)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

In a saucepan, melt butter.
Add cream cheese and whisk to melt until smooth.
Add garlic salt and stir in heavy cream.
Allow to boil for 1-2 minutes until heated through.
Stir in fresh herbs and toss with pasta…. or use in a lasagna as I did below:

Chicken Veggie Alfredo Lasagna
original Joelen recipe
(to use up random ingredients on hand)

1 cooked chicken breast, sliced
1 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons
1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
9 lasagna pasta sheets (dry)

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
– In a baking dish, spread 1-2 tablespoons of prepared alfredo sauce.
– Place a layer of 3 dry lasagna pasta sheets.
– Top with half of the chicken, squash, zucchini and mushrooms.
– Sprinkle with half of the cheeses.
– Place another layer of 3 dry lasagna pasta sheets.
– Spread enough prepared alfredo sauce over pasta sheets to cover.
– Top with remaining chicken, squash, zucchini and mushrooms.
– Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheeses.
– Place top layer of 3 dry lasagna pasta sheets.
– Spread enough prepared alfredo sauce over pasta sheets to cover.
– Sprinkle with remaining cheeses.
– Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes until pasta is cooked and cheese is golden brown & bubbly.

Stuffing It… In a Healthy Way!

Today was a dreary, cold, wet and cloudy day… a typical fall night in Chicago. It definitely called for a warm and comforting dinner, but I wanted it to also be healthy. (Often times, warm and comforting means starch heavy and sauce laden meals in our house!)

It’s been a few nights since we had some seafood so I baked some flounder fillets, seasoned with rosemary, garlic and lemon slices. To go along with our flounder, I roasted some asparagus spears and served up these stuffed tomatoes:

Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes
courtesy of Weight Watchers Best Eats Cookbook

1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup whole wheat couscous
6 (7 oz) beefsteak tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, diced (I omitted)
1 teaspoon dried basil (I used fresh)
1 (15.5 oz) can great northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/3 cup crumbled fat free feta (I used regular feta)

Bring the water, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the couscous, cover, and remove from the heat. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, cut a thin slice from the top of each tomato and reserve (I accidentally threw it out when I prepared it!). With a spoon, carefully scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving a tomato shell. Reserve the pulp for a soup or sauce.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the succhini, onion, bell pepper, and basil; cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and tomato sauce; cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the couscous, cheese, and remaining salt & pepper. Spooon about 3/4 cup of the filling into each tomato shell and cover with the reserved tomato tops.

* I baked these stuffed tomatoes in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes to roast them as well. This can be made in advance and frozen too!

Serves 6
Serving size: 1 stuffed tomato
WW Points value: 3 Points

WW: Eggplant Rollatini with Tomato Basil Sauce

For dinner tonight, I had a special guest over… my 6 year old nephew. To keep things healthy yet kid friendly, I made something similar to a lasagna (a favorite of my nephew’s) – Eggplant Rollatini. Little did he know that it was completely vegetarian! I served this with a baked bone-in chicken breast, seasoned with italian seasoning. Thankfully it was a hit and he enjoyed it… so did the rest of the family.

*Tip: You could make this in advance and is freezeable too, just like a traditional lasagna!

Eggplant Rollatini with Tomato Basil Sauce
courtesy of Weight Watchers Best Eats cookbook

1 medium eggplant, unpeeled, cut lengthwise into 8 (1/4 inch slices)
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 small zucchini, diced
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450F degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Arrange the eggplant on the baking sheet in one layer and spray lightly with nonstick spray. Bake until browned, about 10 minutes on each side. Reduce the oven temperature to 400F degrees.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium hat. Add 2 cloves of the garlic and cook, stirring occassionall, until fragrant. about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the basil; bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, 10 minutes.

To make the filling, spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and place over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, onion, and remaining 1 garlic clove; cook until the vegetables are softened, 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; allow to cool slightly. Stire in the ricotta, parsley, egg, remaining tablespoons basil, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, the salt and pepper.

To assemble the rollatini, spray a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread 3 tablespoons of sauce in the dish. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling at one end of each eggplant slice. Beginning at the filled end, roll up the eggplant slices and place, seam side down, ina single layer in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the rollatinil sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Bake until heated through completely, about 25 minutes.

Serves 4
Serving size: 2 rollatini
WW Points value: 3 Points

Roasted Vegetables w/Balsamic Vinaigrette

The follow recipe was shared at my Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Event. You can read and view links to other recipes that were featured HERE.

Roasted Vegetables w/Balsamic Vinaigrette
shared at the event by Patty
original recipe

1 bunch asparagus, coarsely chopped
1-2 whole tomatoes, quartered
1 zucchini chunked
1 cup red seedless grapes
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.
On a lightly greased baking sheet, place all vegetables (not grapes) on single layer.
Prepare vinaigrette by combining balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper. Drizzle vegetables with vinaigrette.
Bake vegetables for 15-20 minutes until slightly al dente (or preferred softness).
Add grapes and toss.

Hodge Podge Souper Sunday

It’s a perfect day for soup! So I pulled out my trust crockpot and made a hodge podge Chicken Vegetable soup with leftover veggies and chicken, and some barley for good measure.

Barley‘s been feeding humans for millennia, though it fell out of favor during the last one as people came to see it as low-brow peasant fare. It’s most often used in soups and stews, where it serves as both a puffy grain and a thickener, but it also makes a nice side dish or salad. At most stores, there are two types of barley available. Hulled barley is the most nutritious, since only the tough outer hulls are polished off. Pearl barley is polished some more, so that the outer bran layer is also scrubbed off… but it’s less nutritious and more popular since it’s not as chewy as hulled barley and it cooks faster. For my soup, I chose to use the pearl barley.

Here is my recipe for Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup:

1 cup frozen, cooked and drained spinach
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup of carrots, diced
1 cup of mushooms, sliced
2 cups frozen or canned corn
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small onion, diced
2 cups of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups water or chicken stock/broth
2 chicken buillon cubes – omit if using stock/broth
3/4 dried barley
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 cup chicken sausage, diced

– Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

I served this with crusty french bread & a fresh green salad. Yum.. filling and good for you!