Tag Archives: dinner

Pesto Zucchini Lasagna with Goat Cheese

Hello Monday! We celebrate Monday’s over here with ruffle-butts. And coffee dates with sweet friends.

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This past week was packed- weddings, showers, my little sister’s prom, and Gabby’s first set of vaccines. Most of the activities were fun, the last one was not. But we made it through and somehow, the shots did not permanently scar my child. 🙂

Friday morning, I was begging K to come with me to Gabby’s appointment, but K had promised to help set up for a wedding so she couldn’t come. My next desperate attempt was to get my mom to come with me last minute, but she also couldn’t come. I started to spiral downward into tears as I drove my happy daughter to her appointment- but then my mom unexpectedly told me over the phone, “Monica, you need to BUCK UP. You need to be tough for your daughter, she doesn’t need to see you cry.”

Sniffle. Didn’t expect that response. (*slightly surprised*) I stopped crying and remembered how I give these shots to babies everyday at work, and was always impressed by the moms who kept it together and took a matter-of-fact approach to the vaccines. I noticed that with the kindergarten age kids, if the moms were firm and didn’t over-stress how scary and awful the shots were, the kids generally responded better to the shots.

So, I bucked up, finished my last few whimpery tears, and held Gabby tight during and after the shots. She screamed, but within 10 minutes she was back to her happy self. Later that afternoon she was a little feverish and her little legs were swollen, but thankfully that only lasted for a few hours. We’ll be back for more in two months!

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That same night I did my little sister’s hair and make-up for her Junior-Senior Banquet, and it was so fun to have some girl time. My mom cuddled Gabs and soothed her tender legs while I got my sister all prettied up.

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I can’t believe how stinkin’ pretty my sister is!

The next day Gabs and I woke up early to sneak a quick morning run in and some kettlebell workouts. Thankfully we squeezed that in early because the rest of the day was devoted to some happy brides! I got to meet my cousin-in-law’s sweet fiance at her bridal shower, and then went to a good friend’s wedding later that night with my handsome husband.

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It was an awesome weekend, but we were pooped by Sunday and had a relaxing afternoon at home to recoop. Relaxing to Joey and Gabs = naptime. Relaxing to me? Lasagna!

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I had seen a few recipes for zucchini noodle lasagna floating around Pinterest and wanted to try them out- I ended up combining a few different recipes into my own idea of a yummy meal and was beyond pleased with the results!

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Now that summer is about here, and pool-side lounging in bathing suits draws near, it’s nice to have a few low-carb options for a hearty meal. I used zucchini in place of noodles, and lean-ground turkey (or drained and rinsed ground beef) for a protein kick. I swapped goat cheese for the typical overload of mozzarella cheese, and the flavor boost is phenomenal!

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Won’t be hard to make this my new go-to lasagna recipe. And a good hearty lasagna soothed this momma’s heart after watching Gabs endure those shots!

~M

Pesto Zucchini Lasagna with Goat Cheese

lightly adapted from SkinnyTaste

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb 93% lean turkey (or beef) (I had browned and frozen my meat a while ago with bell peppers and onions for added taste)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 8 portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 TBSP dried basil
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 4 oz. soft, unripened goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • splash of red wine

Directions

Brown the ground meat and season with salt. When cooked drain in colander to remove any fat. Add olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan, add tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, wine, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for at least 30-40minutes, covered. Do not add extra water, the sauce should be thick.

Meanwhile, slice zucchini into 1/8″ thick slices, add lightly salt and set aside or 10 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out a lot of moisture. After 10 minutes, blot excess moisture with a paper towel.

On a gas grill or grill pan, grill zucchini on each side, until cooked, about 1-2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.

Preheat oven to 350°.

I like my lasagna with lots of layers, so I used a small baking dish- you can use an 8×8 or 6 1/2×8 1/2 size dish. Start the layering by spreading pesto on the bottom of the pan, then the zucchini, then the sauce/meat mixture, then parmesan & goat cheese, then zucchini, pesto, sauce & repeat. Top with remaining goat cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 for about 35-45 minutes, let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

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Filed under Family, Food Stuffs., Vegetables, Wedding

Taco Salad

It is waaay too hot to cook in my house right now. Our AC is not working and I am someone who keeps her house at 67 degrees (summer or winter). Ask any houseguests 🙂

So, in order to feed Curtis and myself last night I had to find a light meal that required minimal stove/oven time. We had taco salad! Mom made this all the time when I still lived at home, and I love it.

I used canned chicken (drained) because it’s already cooked and all you have to do is heat it up really quickly.

I accidentally got whole ones…oh well. They dice easily.

I mixed it up with diced green chiles and taco seasoning on the stove and left it alone.

While that heated up I diced tomatoes and onions, cut some cilantro, and got some lettuce ready on the plates.

By then the meat was heated and I put it all together and mixed it up with the lettuce and some salsa, cheese, and sour cream.

Instead of forks, we used multigrain tortilla chip scoops and had it more as a dip. I served it all up with ice cold beer in front of a humongous fan.

Perfect Summer Dinner!

I should move to Alaska….or Antarctica….or just get the AC fixed asap. Monday at 2 can’t come soon enough!

-K

P.s. Even though it was super hot last night I did manage to finish my little wood burning project!

Next time I think I’ll make the words bigger….

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Filed under Crafts, Food Stuffs., Woodworking

Lemon Spinach Pesto


It’s finally summmmerrr!!! Ah, how I love summers! Even though technically summer starts on the 21st, who really waits for the official day? No one I know. Bring on the BBQ’s, arnold palmers by the pool, tan skin, summer salads,vacations, and cute little baby nieces in their frilly bathing suits. I love every minute of it! Also, did I tell you guys that Joey and I are going to be going on a Bible tour of Israel for the next two weeks?

We are so excited we can hardly stand it! We’ve been looking forward to this trip for over a year now, and it’s a little crazy to think that we leave on Sunday already. Please keep us in your prayers! I’m not sure what we’ll be eating in Israel, but as long as it involves lots of hummus or this, I’m pretty excited for it.

In the meantime, lets focus on American food. After all of the Oreo cake and pretzel m&m’s, we were pretty sugared out and ready for some protein. And it’s summer, so let’s make it brightly colored, shall we?

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I love anything lemon-y. It’s so light and flavorful, and citrus screams summertime! We eat a lot of chicken in our house- I’m getting better at learning how to cook beef in different ways (since we live on a dairy), but I’m much more familiar with chicken because my mom always cooked it for us. Chicken is great because it can stand up to so many different flavors, preparations, and sauces. So, even if you have chicken every.single.night, it can feel like a completely different meal if you change up the flavors! Sounds good to me.

 

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This particular recipe is one of my very favorites, and its so fast! I might even be able to beat out K’s 11 minute meal. Depends on how long it takes your chicken to cook… so cook it fast and I can call it the 10.5 minute meal! In all seriousness, the only time consuming part is cooking the chicken- I just pan-fried it on the stovetop with a little garlic salt and pepper and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).

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The best part of the meal takes about 3 minutes, and can be done while the chicken is on the stove! Just dump some lemon zest & juice, parmesan, spinach, EVOO, and pine nuts in a food processor and let ‘er rip! This is what I love to make when I want a good, fast healthy meal, and with little time spent in a hot kitchen.

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Pretty much the greenest sauce you ever did see, huh? I know its scary, you’ve never had a sauce that green. Your kids might freak out a little bit (or your husband might request a more normal looking sauce with his chicken…ahem.) but rest assured, this is so refreshing and the flavors are all there! Its a slighty cheesy, creamy, fresh, and lemony accent to that chicken … and goes along perfectly with some crusty bread and steamed veggies.

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This sauce is so good, you’ll end up dipping your fingers everything on your plate in it. Not that I did that, or anything.

~M

Lemon Spinach Pesto

serves 4-5

2 cups fresh spinach

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

2 TBSP lemon juice

1-2 tsp lemon zest

1/3 cup + 2 tsp olive oil

salt & pepper

1/3 cup fresh parmesan, grated

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees- toast pine nuts for 5-10 minutes, watch closely. Cooking times may vary with your oven!

Add all ingredients to blender or food processor, and puree until smooth and creamy. Add more olive oil to get your desired consistency.

Refrigerate, and eat with your chicken! And vegetables… and bread….

Enjoy!

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11 Minute Meal

I have totally gotten out of the habit of cooking nightly for Curtis, my oh-so-understanding hubby. I go to work at 4:30 in the morning most mornings (I work at a certain popular coffeehouse) and then go to work at a drycleaners right after that, until about 5:30 in the evening. Thank goodness I work at a coffeehouse though, because Lord knows I couldn’t do it without caffeine. You’d think with two nurses in the family they could figure out a way to hook me up to an IV for a constant drip.

My iced Chai Tea Latte!

Needless to say by the time I get home, I am not in the mood to cook or do laundry. Mostly I’m in the mood to craft or read….or sleep. Anyways, I was not in the mood to cook, but Curtis was all ready to make mac and cheese (which I cannot stand) so I volunteered to make dinner quick before I had to leave for my yoga class. I like to call this a ‘pantry meal’. I happened to have some tilapia in the freezer- I prefer fresh fish, but it’s not always an option-, some corn, and a bag o’ salad in the fridge so I figured that’d be far better than Velveeta mac and cheese. No offense to half of my family 🙂

I set the oven to broil while I defrosted the tilapia and covered a baking dish with tin foil. Then I got the corn on the stove. While that got cooking, I drizzled a little olive oil on the tin foil and set the fish in the pan. Then I put garlic, dried basil, lemon juice, and pepper all over the fish.

I like garlic.

Curtis likes cheese on his fish, so I shredded a little mozzarella on there (cuz it’s all I had handy) and popped it in the oven til it was crispy which was about 7 minutes.

Makin me hungry all over again!

I love it when the cheese gets all toasty like that….Delicious. By this time, the corn was done and all I had to do was throw the salad on the plate with the best dressing ever:

It is always in my fridge!

Summer dinners!

That’s pretty much it! Home-cooked meal completed and still got to yoga on time. Although I did realize halfway through plank pose that there is a reason I usually eat dinner after yoga…

-K

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