Friday, November 10, 2017

Healthy Lasagna Roll Ups

Healthy Lasagna Roll Ups, only 7 WW Smart Points per roll! 

The name says it all: HEALTHY Lasagna Roll Ups. Like the enchilada bake I blogged about recently (see HERE ) I had to figure out a way to eat lasagna and stay on track. My health and weight have been my number one priority for over a year now, and honestly, how many boneless, skinless chicken breasts can you eat, no matter how many different ways your prepare them?

These roll ups can be a little tricky to assemble, so I've included lots of photos to make it as easy as I can for you. They come in at only 7 Smart Points per roll, if you are a Weight Watcher like I am. Even if you are not, these things are TASTY! No need for the delicious full fat version (Here's mine) especially if it's not a special occasion, And while these are a little bit labor intensive, you could easily make them early in the day, or even the day before and bake them off right before dinner. I am sure you could even double wrap them -- first in plastic wrap and then in foil-- and freeze them for a week or two and they would be great.

I see more roll ups in my future, I am already envisioning a spinach and mushroom filled one with a creamy sauce on top -- maybe a little chicken sausage added in? I'd LOVE to hear your ideas, so leave me a comment, if you have one!

This would make a super dish for a crowd -- automatic portion control -- and I promise that your family will love it -- at least my boys would have when they were younger.

Try this, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Lasagna Roll Ups
Makes 8 rolls

8 dry lasagna noodles
1  1/2 cup + aprrox. 2 Tablespoons marinara sauce with meat **see cooks note
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Kraft Parmesan (yes, in the green can)
1/4 cup Parmigiana Reggiano cheese (splurge for a little of the good stuff)
1/4 cup original Egg Beaters
1/2 cup shredded part skim Mozzarella cheese, divided use
pinch of garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the lasagna noodles until they are just done, using the cooking time at the lower end of what the package recommends. You want them to be al dente or to the tooth, with a little bite still remaining. Drain them and rinse briefly with cold water so they don't stick together and they are cool enough to handle.

While the noodles are cooking, in a medium mixing bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, Egg Beaters, Kraft Parmesan and the oregano and garlic powder.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray an 11" X 9" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish. I had to add 2 Tablespoons of water to it -- my sauce is thick - so that the bottom of the dish is lightly coated with sauce.
Prepared Baking Dish

On a clean surface, lay out the noodles on a clean work surface. I used my cutting board, doing 3 noodles at a time. Place about 1 T. of the ricotta mixture at the top of the noodle, and using a spoon spread it down the length of the noodle, about 3/4 of the way --almost but not quite to the end--as shown:
Noodles spread with ricotta mixture

Place about 1 tablespoon of marinara on top of the cheese and spread it carefully about 2/3 of the way down the top of the cheese.
Marinara spread over the ricotta, about 2/3 of the way down.

On top of that, add 1 tsp.+ or - of the shredded mozzarella on the marinara. Keep it mostly toward the top half of the noodle, like this:
Mozzarella over the sauce. 

Roll the noodles up, starting with the heavy end, and place them seam side down in your prepared baking dish. Don't roll them too tightly, you don't want to lose the any of the filling by squeezing it out the sides!
All rolled up and almost ready for the oven! 

Drizzle the remaining marinara sauce over the rolls and spread it gently with a spoon so the rolls are mostly covered. Sprinkle the top with half of the Parmigiana Reggiano. Add 1 T. of water to each of the long sides of the baking dish, not on top of the rolls. This will help keep the dish from drying out. Mix remaining Parm and Mozzarella together and set aside in the refrigerator to use at the end of the cooking process.

Cover the baking dish tightly with foil (or a top if your baking dish has one). Bake the roll ups for 30 minutes until they are hot and bubbly. Remove dish from the oven and sprinkle on the remaining cheese mixture. Return to oven for 5-8 minutes until the cheese melts. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving so the dish can come together.


Lasagna Roll Ups -- Ready to EAT! YUM! 

 ** I used my own homemade Meat Sauce, made with 93% lean ground meat. I used the guideline in the WW app, and the 1 1/2 cups came out at 19 points total. You may have to add more points or be able to lessen the point total by using another sauce or omitting the meat. Just be sure to check your points. I added 2 Tablespoons of water to the sauce at the end when I drizzled the remaining sauce on top of the prepared roll ups because my sauce is very thick.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Chicken Enchilada Bake

I absolutely love enchiladas. Gooey, cheesy enchiladas are among my favorite foods. In fact I've been known to judge a restaurant by their enchiladas alone. Very few meet my standards, as I learned from one of the best. I had a friend in school who had just finished a 3 year posting in California. I'm an army brat and so most of my friends growing up were children of service men also (we tend to stick together). While in California, they had a beloved Mexican housekeeper who taught my friends mom to cook authentically.  The mom was a great cook anyway and took to Mexican food like a champ. And she was nice enough to teach me, even though I was only 13. A kind and patient woman, for sure!

I've evolved quite a bit as a cook and my weight had certainly begun to show it (sigh). Starting in January of 2016 I embarked on a healthy life plan which includes a Weight Watchers Membership as well as one to a local gym.  BUT... giving up enchiladas! YIKES! SO, I came up with this recipe. It's not authentic, but it is certainly tasty and satisfies my enchilada craving while keeping me on program!

I looked at lots of different enchilada type bakes and dishes on the internet but none were exactly what I was looking for. One came very close. Check out the recipe that inspired me HERE -- and thanks for the inspiration, Drizzle Me Skinny!

I promise, this is YUMMY! And don't discount the canned enchilada sauce -- I've made sauce from scratch several times -- and my family could not tell the difference.

This is easy enough to make on a week night, minimum prep time, and it uses lots of convenience items. It also reheats beautifully in the microwave. Hooray for leftovers!

Chicken Enchilada Bake

Makes 6 servings at 8 Weight Watchers Smart Points Each

10 corn tortillas, cut into 6 wedges each (I used La Banderita, but be sure to double check the points if you use a different brand)
1 1/2 cups cubed chicken breast meat (I used rotisserie)
1 can Old El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/3 cup diced green or red peppers
1 small can Old El Paso chopped green chilies
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes (grape or cherry tomatoes are fine)
1 1/2 cups Kraft Reduced Fat 4 Cheese Shredded Mexican Blend (divided use)
6 crushed yellow corn tortilla chips

Shredded lettuce, non-fat plain Greek yogurt, salsa, avocados, black olives and pickled jalapenos for serving if desired. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 11" X 7" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In the bottom of the baking dish, add about 1/3 of the can of sauce to the bottom and spread it around as evenly as you can. Place 1/2 of the tortilla wedges in an even layer on top of the sauce. Mix the chicken, onions and peppers together along with a few tablespoons of the enchilada sauce. Spread the chicken mixture evenly over the tortillas and sprinkle with the chopped tomatoes, Top that layer with 1/2 cup of the cheese. Place the other half of the tortillas on top of the cheese and top with the remaining enchilada sauce and 1/2 cup of the cheese. 

Cover the casserole with foil (or a top if your casserole has one) and bake for 45 minutes. Carefully remove the foil from the hot dish and scatter the 6 crushed tortilla chips on top along with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted. Let sit 5 minutes before cutting. 

Cut into 6 even pieces and top your piece as you like. I put lettuce, salsa, another crushed tortilla chip and 2 black olives on mine, along with 2 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt. Use whatever you like but make sure to track any additional points. 

Chicken Enchilada Bake, hot from the oven, with 2 pieces removed so you can see the inside.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Gingery Lemon Drop Martini

My life has been hectic lately, but in a good way. While I continue my quest to attain and maintain a healthy weight, lots of good things have been happening. I now have one beautiful new daughter-in-law and another one soon to come! After years of me and the boys, it's nice to have girls around.

In honor of the recently engaged couple, I created this drink to celebrate! I have blogged a lemon drop before, but the ginger gives this one a huge boost in flavor. (See my original HERE ) This drink was inspired by one I had at The Daily in Carytown, a place I highly recommend and love to visit. Don't miss the crab stack if it's on the menu when you go!

I hope you like it as much as the girls and I do! But be forewarned, while this  tastes like the most delicious adult lemonade ever, they are almost pure alcohol.

Gingery Lemon Drop Martinis
Makes 2
(chill your martini glass -- makes a nice difference!)

2 oz. good vodka (I used Smirnoff)
2 oz. Stoli Citron vodka
2 oz Lemoncello
1 oz. ginger simple syrup (I used the ginger Keep It Simple Syrup brand)
1 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice

Crushed ginger candy and sugar mixed together to rim the glass. 2 pieces of ginger candy to put in the bottom, if desired. 

Rub the edge of your glasses with a cut lemon and dredge in the candy sugar mixer. Drop in a larger piece of candy for an added ginger boost. 

In a cocktail shaker, mix all liquid ingredients together. Add lots of ice and shake, shake, shake. Strain carefully into your chilled martini glass. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Lemon Garlic Tilapia Sheet Pan Dinner

Lemon Garlic Tilapia with Roasted New Potatoes and Vegetables
I've been seeing a lot of posts on social media about sheet pan dinners. The premise is easy and pretty darn smart, if you ask me. You choose a few vegetables, a protein, a fat, a few spices and/or herbs and flavorings and roast it all on one sheet pan. After reading several recipes here's what I came up with, Lemon Garlic Tilapia with New Potatoes and Zucchini. I know, there are green beans on that plate as well. They were actually leftover from a previous dinner, but there is no reason you couldn't roast them along with the rest of the dinner, If you like them well done, you could put them into the oven with the potatoes, for crisp tender, add them when you add the fish and the zucchini. Just be sure to place them in a single layer and add a little oil and salt and pepper to them You could also drizzle a a tablespoon of the Lemon Garlic sauce you made for the fish on them during the 2nd part of cooking if you wanted to.

This dinner is very Weight Watchers friendly too, Meaning low cal and low fat. The fish weighs in at 2 Smart Points for 4 ounces and the small new potatoes are 2 points each. I used a very little bit of butter, 1 T. butter for the entire dish and a little olive oil for the potatoes and zucchini.  My dinner weighed in at 10 points for a big plate of food! Fish plus 3 halved potatoes and plenty of zucchini and green beans. For the record, let me say that the plate shown belongs to my husband, who eats a little heartier than I do!

Try this. It's quick and easy and clean up is a breeze -- only 1 pan to wash along with measuring spoons and a measuring cup, all of which went into the dishwasher. Feeling lazy? Use some non-stick aluminum foil to cover the sheet pan. No clean up!

This could easily be doubled for a larger family, just use a bigger pan.

Lemon Tilapia Sheet Pan Dinner
serves 2

2 Tilapia  filet about 4 oz. each
1 T. butter
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 T. lemon juice
pinch of kosher salt
generous pinch of dried dill
1 large garlic clove, minced (about 1 tsp), divided use

8 new potatoes, scrubbed and dried, sliced in half
2 T. olive oil, divided use
1 small zucchini, washed and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

Make your sauce for the fish. Melt the butter in a microwave-able measuring cup. Stir in 3/4 of the chopped garlic and cook for 20 seconds to heat it through. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and dill or an herb of  your choice. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a medium to large cookie sheet (use one with a good rim) toss the onions in 1 T. of the olive oil. 
Spread them out to cook evenly, cut side down. Like this:

New potatoes, cut side down.

Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes. While potatoes are cooking, toss the zucchini with the other T. of olive oil. After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and turn the potatoes over and push them to one end of the pan. Sprinkle them with the remaining garlic and a little Kosher salt. Add the zucchini to the pan in the middle and the fish at the other end. Drizzle the garlic-lemon butter mixture evenly over the fish. Sprinkle fish and zucchini with a little salt and pepper. If desired, sprinkle a little dill or rosemary over the potatoes. I used dill this time, but since I grow rosemary, I'll probably use that next time. Here's the way mine looked when it was ready for the 2nd trip into the oven:

Dinner prepped and ready for 2nd part of the roasting process. 
Cook for the 2nd time 15 more minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Mine was perfect after that amount of time.  I sprinkled ours with some onion garlic chives from my garden for a little fresh green goodness. Parsley would work also, or leave that out all together. 


Monday, May 8, 2017

Healthy Breakfast Frittatas

Healthy Breakfast Frittatas
I have been wanting to make some Breakfast Frittatas, or as we are more likely to call them in the south, Breakfast Muffins. I decided to name them Frittatas because many folks associate muffins with somethings sweet and these are definitely NOT sweet! They are savory and tasty, healthy, carb free and high in good for you protein. This recipe makes 12 individual frittatas. I ate 2 this morning, my husband ate one, but he had an English Muffin with his. I am trying to watch my carbs, my biggest healthy eating challenge, so any time I can get satisfied without eating bread, pasta or potatoes, I am happy!

These come together pretty quickly -- and the prep is relatively easy. I hear you can freeze these, but I have an idea ours will disappear within the work week, reheated easily in the microwave. Also, feel free to substitute the vegetables that you like. What I used here was what I had on hand on a Monday morning after a busy weekend, filled with friends, cooking and gardening. Next time I do this I think I'll try a mixture of spinach, onions and maybe a little feta cheese for something different. Broccoli, cheddar, onion and bacon would be good too. OH, and how about a Southwestern Style one, served with salsa? The possibilities are endless!  Stay tuned, I'll post what else I come up with!

And, Weight Watchers, these weigh in at only 2 Smart Points per piece! Win, win!! To keep the points at 2, don't alter the amount of cheese, eggs, milk, sausage and olive oil. The rest is "free" so you can play around with that to your hearts content! 

Healthy Breakfast Frittatas
makes 12 "muffins"

6 large eggs
1/4 cup 1% lowfat milk
8 ounces turkey breakfast sausage (I used Wegmans)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped roasted red pepper, packed in water
1 small can sliced mushrooms
2 ounces Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp 2% Cheese
1 tsp. olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Hot sauce to serve, if desired
Non-stick cooking spray (like Pam)

In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up and crumbling it as you cook until browned with no pink showing. Remove the sausage to a paper plate lined with a paper towel to remove any excess fat. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Drain excess fat from the sausage. 

Add the olive oil and onions to the skillet. While the onions begin to soften, beat together the eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and peppers to the onions in the skillet and saute' together for a few minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Spray your muffin tin thoroughly with non-stick cooking spray. Add the sausage, divided evenly to the the bottom of each muffin cup -- it's about a Tablespoon of sausage per cup. Add the veggies on top of the sausage, making sure there is a little of each vegetable in every cup. Lastly, gently pour the egg mixture over the sausage and veggies. I found it is about a scant 1/4 cup egg mixture to each muffin cup.

Bake for 22 minutes at 350 degrees. Let the "muffins" cool in the tin at least 5 minutes or they will break up. We liked ours served with a little hot sauce, but they were good without it too! Yummy!

Add a little hot sauce if you like a little heat! 

Healthy Breakfast Frittatas -- YUMMY! And only 2 WW SP per piece!