Friday, March 27, 2015

Lasagna with Baby Kale

I've had a lot of fun working with Sobeys on their Power up with Green program this month.  This program is part of its Better Food Movement with Jamie Oliver, which is aimed at encouraging Canadians to incorporate or sneak green vegetables into their everyday meals.


I, along with Sobeys, would like to show you how easy it can be to add some unexpected greens into meals, giving them an extra nutritional (and colourful) boost!


I absolutely love lasagna; it is one of my all-time favourite dishes (I'm a BIG pasta fan).  I don't have an actual lasagna recipe, instead I just throw it together each time I make it, as I am assuming a lot of you do.  It is basically fool-proof, and really, how can you go wrong with noodles, meat, tomato sauce, and loads of cheese!?  Lasagna is such a hearty meal, and it is so satisfying.  The green vegetable that I decided to add to my lasagna was baby kale - a nutritional powerhouse!

 
 

Kale is well recognized as a super-food!  It is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, and K, among many others; it contains 45 different flavonoids that are anti-inflammatory/antioxidants; it is also a good vegetable source of protein and iron.

Lasagna with Baby Kale


lasagna noodles to fit pan in 3 layers
1 T olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg. lean ground beef (I used .700 kg)
2-3 packed cups of baby kale, chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 T basil
350 g - 400g cottage cheese (half a tall container)
2 cups grated mozzarella, separated
1 jar good quality tomato basil or marinara sauce
340 g bag of Italian Blend shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Heat the oil on medium in a high-sided pan on the stove.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).  Add the meat, breaking it up, cooking until browned.  Add the chopped kale, oregano and basil. 

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package directions.  In a separate bowl, mix the cottage cheese with 1 cup of the mozzarella.

Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the lasagna pan to keep the noodles from sticking.  Mix the rest of the jar of sauce into the meat.  Put a layer of cooked noodles, then a layer of the meat mixture, then all of the cottage cheese mixture, then noodles, meat mixture, some of the Italian blend cheese, noodles, then the other cup of grated mozzarella and some more Italian blend cheese (or layer however you like - it will be good!)

Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake 30 more.



This was sooooooo good, and even better for leftovers the next day.  The kale is completely undetectable, so those with picky palates will not be able to taste it in there.  We like kale in our home, so I'd even add more next time.  It's meaty, cheesy, and simply decadent.


When is the last time you had lasagna?  Do you add greens to your lasagna (maybe a spinach layer)?

Full Disclosure:  The author has received consideration from Sobeys or Sobeys' media partners in exchange for this content.  Sobeys has not reviewed these claims, and is not responsible for the content.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

It snowed all day yesterday, so it looks like winter is back, for now.  That's okay!  Spirits are high around here, as we have a vacation on the horizon.  We know we have a few dinners out coming up, so we're already slowly starting to eat things up around the house. 

On Monday we made a stir fry to use up some bok choy we had, and a few other veggies.  We added tofu and udon noodles to round it out.


I forget how fantastic stir fry is until we have it. 


Last night we used up more veggies by roasting them, and having them alongside some red snapper.  Tonight, we have a soup planned.

What have you been cooking this week?
Are you still dealing with snow, or is it spring where you are?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dinner with Parents

Last night we took my dad and Christopher's parents out for dinner so that they could meet each other.  We took them to Golf's Steakhouse

We had clam chowder and salad to start:


And my main course was steak neptune.


I hadn't been to Golf's in ages, and didn't really remember it, but it was pretty good.  I think it had been about a year and a half since I had a steak!

We had a nice evening!

How did you spend your Saturday evening?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Random

The first day of Spring was yesterday ... but we woke up to this:


There is more of it today too.

We ate pita pizzas a couple times for dinner this week:


We juiced some fruits and veggies to have with:


Then my dad took us out to Bushwakker later in the week, where I had pizza again - pop's original is so good!


Last night we took a break from the pizza and went out for tacos with a pal, to Industrial Park Cafe.  We were home and asleep by about 8:30, haha!

We had a wonderful week, and now we're looking forward to a fun and relaxing weekend, with a bit of a celebration tonight!

What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Zucchini Parmesan Stuffed Roast Chicken

This is the third recipe I've made for Sobeys' Power up with Greens program, as part of its Better Food for all Mission with Jamie Oliver.  This program is aimed at encouraging Canadians to incorporate (or sneak) more greens into their everyday meals.

I've been having a lot of fun with this program, and I, along with Sobeys, want to show you how easy it can be to incorporate greens into meals which you might not normally put greens into, such as heartwarming soup, rich, savory meatballs, and now, roast chicken.  I added spinach to the soup, arugula to the meatballs, and with this recipe, I added zucchini to chicken.


Growing up, we had roast chicken about once a week.  It's a comfort food for sure, and not much can beat the aroma of a chicken roasting in the oven.  We had veggies with our chicken dinners, but they were always served on the side; I've never thought to include a vegetable within the chicken itself.  This recipe was created by Sobeys and includes zucchini, which is actually stuffed under the skin of the chicken.

Zucchini is a wonderful, and versatile vegetable.  You can include it in baking (chocolate zucchini loaf - mmmm!), or as a layer in lasagna.  You can also use a spiralizer to make zucchini "noodles".  The possibilities are really endless.  It's even fantastic raw!  Try slicing it into rounds, and topping the rounds with a bit of hummus, some shredded carrot, and a splash of hot sauce, for a colourful, healthy appetizer.

Zucchinis have a lot of health benefits:
  • they are a good source of potassium, which aids in lowering blood pressure
  • they are a very low-calorie food, at 17 calories/ 100 g
  • they are a good source of vitamin C, and manganese, which offer protection against free radicals
  • the peel is a good source of fiber
Zucchini Parmesan Stuffed Roast Chicken

1.5 lbs potatoes, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
1.5 tsp salt, divided
1.5 tsp pepper, divided
2 1/4 cup grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchinis)
2 T fresh breadcrumbs
3 T grated Parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
2 tsp dried oregano leaves, divided
3.5 lb whole chicken

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Toss the potatoes with 1 T olive oil in a small roasting pan (I used a 9x13 pan).  Season them with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Toss the grated zucchini with the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, 2 T of olive oil, half of the garlic, 1 tsp oregano, and a 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.  Loosen the skin from the chicken breasts with your fingers, and stuff this mixture underneath.

Rub the chicken all over with the remaining oil.  Add the rest of the garlic to the cavity of the chicken and season the chicken with oregano, salt and pepper.

Place the chicken breast side up on top of the potatoes, and roast in the oven (uncovered) for 70-80 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 185 F.  Remove the potatoes and keep warm.  Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into it.


I was surprised at how well all that zucchini fit under the skin of the chicken, and I must admit, it was kind of fun to stuff it in there!  Haha!  Also, it saved room in the oven to cook two vegetables in the same dish as the chicken, the potatoes underneath, and the zucchini right in the skin. 


The chicken was so moist; the zucchini was perfectly cooked, and extra flavourful due to being right up against the chicken.  The chicken breasts did not become overcooked, as can happen with roast chickens, as the zucchini provided a bit of barrier from the direct heat.  The potatoes were a nice surprise - they were browned, and crisp in some places. 


We really enjoyed this meal, and have been eating the leftovers for a couple of days now.

Sobeys wants to know how better food choices have inspired my fellow Canadians to live a better life.  Use the hashtag #BetterFoodForAll on Instagram or Twitter along with a photo or video and brief description of how better food choices have inspired you to eat better, feel better and do better, and you'll have the chance to win a cooking lesson with Jamie Oliver in London, England!  You have until March 26th to enter.

Have you incorporated any greens into your eats this week?

Full Disclosure: The author has received consideration from Sobeys or Sobeys' media partners in exchange for this content.  Sobeys has not reviewed these claims, and is not responsible for the content.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Which Side are you on?

The Food Network Magazine has a feature each month called "Which Side are you On?" with two different takes on dishes, that people can vote for which they prefer (e.x. New England clam chowder, or Manhattan clam chowder, etc.).  This month was cold noodles vs. hot noodles.


Now, if I were simply asked that question, I'd always pick hot noodles.  I prefer hot food in general to cold food.  But, we decided to actually put the recipes to the test and try both of them.

We made the peanut-chicken noodle salad first.


It was great!  It was even better the next day with sriracha on top - mmmmm!


Then we made the hot noodles, dan dan noodles.


Although this dish was good, we found it too oily, not worth all the steps required, and not as good as the cold noodle salad.

Just goes to show, you need to try before you decide!

Which would you vote for if simply asked which you like better:

Cold noodles or hot?
Chili or stew?
Soup or salad?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Seven on Sunday

1)  We had a bunch of organic lemons the other day, so I made a batch of lemon crinkle cookies.  They are so soft and they have such a fresh flavour with real lemon juice and zest.


2)  We were out of our homemade kimchi, so we had to make a stop at the Korean grocery store for some more (until we make another batch).  We got some rice cakes too, and made up a delicious dish of tteokbokki.


3)  Last night we had fettuccine alfredo for supper.  We made an easy alfredo sauce, and served the pasta with focaccia bread.


4)  For breakfast on Saturday I whipped up some overnight oat parfaits.  It's basically just oats, chia seeds, cocoa and chocolate almond milk, mixed and left overnight.  I then make "icecream" with frozen fruit, vanilla and almond milk, and layer the two mixtures.

 

The weather has been so nice, and this is a perfect nice-weather breakfast.  It's cooling, and healthy.

5)  Today's breakfast was a veggie quiche.


6)  We spent most of the morning planning our honeymoon to New York!  There is so much we want to do.  I love spending a lot of time downtown (which is lower Manhattan, not the Times Square, "midtown" area as some might expect).


7)  I made a couple of chocolate loaves with whiskey, bacon buttercream today.  Yum!  I love using bacon in baking; I've put it in everything from cookies and cupcakes, to cinnamon rolls.


How was your weekend?  How has your Sunday been?  Tell me something that's new with you!