Spinach and Artichoke Lasagne – ★★★★★

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Last night I tried my hand at lasagne for the first time. It was a good experience and I think I did fairly well! I’ve always heard how much of a pain it is to make lasagne but I actually had fun and didn’t find this recipe to be daunting at all. I only used half of the sauce that the original recipe called for so if you follow my instructions and use the same amount but feel it could use more know that it’s okay and if you want to use more next time use more. Just remember that the more sauce you use means more calories and quite frankly this tasted pretty darn amazing with the amount I used 🙂 Original recipe found at http://www.food.com. Perry loved it and without hesitation gave this dinner a full 5 stars!

“I’m noticing that Kelsey likes to take what would normally be a traditional dinner and put a whole different spin on it. If I told you we were having lasagne for dinner you would have thought noodles, cheese, sausage and some tomato sauce… Not in this house! Kelsey found a recipe for spinach artichoke lasagne and made it her own as per usual. This dinner is probably worth 10 stars but the wife makes me keep it at 5. I would have gone in for a third piece but Kels cut me off at 2. I’m glad she did because that means leftovers to take to work. I really like that she used alfredo sauce because it gave the lasagne a “spinach artichoke dip” feel, and honestly who doesn’t love spinach artichoke dip.”

Serves: 10-12    Calories: 380 (but remember the more sauce you use the more calories you’ll be eating)

Ingredients:

– Cooking spray
– 9 uncooked lasagna noodles, we used whole wheat noodles
– 1 onion, chopped
– 4 garlic cloves, chopped
– 1-14.5oz. can vegetable broth
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, I highly suggest spending the extra and getting this fresh
– 1-14oz. can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
– 1-10oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
– 1-28oz. jar pasta sauce (white or red sauce), I used 16oz.
– 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
-1-4oz. package crumbled feta cheese, you can use the herbed stuff but I didn’t want to take away from the rosemary so we used regular feta.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 dish with cooking spray.

2.) Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes; drain.

3.) Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes, or until onion is tender-crisp

4.) Stir in broth and rosemary; bring to a boil. Stir in artichoke hearts and spinach; reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes

5.) Stir in pasta sauce.

6.) Spread 1/4 of the artichoke mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish; top with 3 cooked noodles.

7.) Sprinkle 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese over noodles. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with artichoke mixture and mozzarella cheese.

8.) Sprinkle feta cheese on top.

9.) Cover and bake for 40 minutes.

10.) Uncover and bake for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

11.) Let stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Otherwise it will be a mess when you cut it. Live and learn haha 😉

*Original recipe found at http://www.food.com

**Photo is an original taken by me. 

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Curried Vegetable Samosas with Cilantro-Mint Chutney – ★★★★★

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A few weeks ago I started playing with wonton wrappers and I think it’s my new “thing.” I love making little pouches filled with delicious veggies what can I say 🙂 This week we went a little heavier with the filling and had a spicy sauce on the side. The sauce really makes these bad boys amazing. It is extremely spicy using a whole serrano chili so be warned that if you are not a fan of spicy you may want to only use half of a pepper. Don’t omit it because I think it really compliments the veggies. I also want to add for those on a budget (like me) that this may look like an expensive recipe with all the fresh herbs but if you have a dollar store near your home that sells produce you may be able to get most of the produce there. I was able to buy the mint, cilantro, serrano chilis, bag of red onion, lemons and ginger at the dollar store. There is no way to pass up those savings so check out your local dollar store. Original recipe can be found at http://www.myrecipes.com . Perry gave these 5 stars!

“The sauce alone is worth5 stars. The spicier the better and this chutney definitely had some heat. Also, I really enjoy samosas to begin with so this dinner was a shoe in for me. Kelsey and I discussed baking them next time for added crunch but really I would not change anything about this recipe.”

Serves: 4 (5 samosas a serving with 1 tbsp sauce)    Calories: 228

Ingredients: 

CHUTNEY:

– 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves

– 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves

– 1/4 cup of chopped red onion

– 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

– 1 tbsp water

– 1/4 tsp salt

– 1/8 tsp sugar

– 1 serrano chili, chopped coarsely

– 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

SAMOSAS:

– 1 & 1/4 cups of mashed cooked and peeled baking potatoes

– 1/4 cup cooked lentils

– 1 tbsp minced fresh mint

– 1 tsp curry powder

– 1 tsp butter, softened

– 1/4 tsp salt

– 1/4 tsp ground cumin

– 1/2 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed

– 10 egg roll wrappers

– 1 large egg, lightly beaten

– Cooking Spray

Directions:

1.) Cook lentils according to package (Boil for about 20-25 minutes)

2.) For chutney, combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Set aside

3.) If you don’t want to boil your potato you can do it in the microwave. Puncture the potato with the fork all around. Cook for 3 minutes on each side.

4.) Combine the potatoes, lentils, mint, curry powder, 1 tsp of butter, 1/4 tsp salt, and cumin. Gently fold in the peas.

5.) Working with 1 wrapper at a time, cut down the middle to make 2 long rectangles. Moisten the edges with egg and spoon about 1 tbsp of filling into the middle of the wrapper. Take one corner and fold it to meet the opposite corner. Press the edges to seal and set aside. Continue with remaining wrappers and filling.

6.) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Lightly coat the samosas with cooking spray also. Add the samosas to your pan and cook for 1 minute on each side. Set on paper towels to collect excess oil.

7.) Serve with chutney.

*Original recipe found at http://www.myrecipes.com

**Photo is an original taken by me

Lemon Chicken Stir Fry – ★★★★★

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I have a greater respect for vegetarians and how they shop/cook after the last few recipes I’ve tried.  One night we all slap on a smile and go together making the grueling task of grocery shopping a little easier (kudos to my man for helping). I usually don’t know exactly when I’m making these family dinners because my husband’s work can be pretty demanding. This is really difficult when making vegetable dinners because it’s simply just not the same using frozen veggies. Since I cannot shop multiple times a week and I’m fairly new to mostly veggie meals I have to give a round of applause to those who do this on a regular basis. I’m sure with a little more practice I too can master the art. (I am aware this one has chicken and the last one has shrimp, I’m making remarks since most of my ingredients have been veggies recently.)  This recipe has a great little twist on the traditional stir fry. Lemon! I was a little wary at first but all I can say is wow. The lemon really brings out the flavor in the veggies and from here on out I’ll probably squirt some lemon anytime I make carrots 🙂 The original recipe called for mushrooms but since I don’t do mushrooms I substituted with bamboo shoots. Thats the beauty of being the chef you can make it custom to your own taste. So get crazy and try any of your favorite veggies in this one. I don’t think you can go wrong ❤ Original recipe found at http://www.eatingwell.com .  Perry gave this one a full 5 stars!

“Kelsey always makes a good stir fry but she told me this one was a little different. I thought maybe she was tricking me into eating cauliflower again. Surprisingly, the secret ingredient was not cauliflower it was lemon. I’m going to describe the taste as refreshing. Usually Kelsey adds a ton of garlic, that’s what she likes, but this time it was not so predominate because the lemon toned down it’s pungent taste. I cannot think of any changes that would make this stir fry better. It’s the best one Kelsey has made.”

Serves: 5-6      Calories: 225

Ingredients:

– Brown rice or wheat spaghetti

– 1 lemon

– 1/2 cup of reduced sodium chicken broth

– 3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce

– 2 tsp cornstarch

– 1 tbsp canola oil

– 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, washed trimmed and cut int0 1-inch pieces

– 1 small can of bamboo shoots (found down the ethnic food aisle)

– 1 cup of carrots, cut diagonally  1/4 inch thick

– 1 bunch of scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces

– 1 tbsp chopped garlic

Directions:

1.) Grate 1 tsp of lemon zest and set aside. Juice the lemon and whisk 2 tbsp of the juice with broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch in a small bowl.

2.) Cook rice or pasta according to directions on package.

3.) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add bamboo shoots and carrots to the pan and cook until the carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add snow peas, scallions, garlic and the reserved lemon zest. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Whisk the broth mixture and add to the pan. Stir until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices. Cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes.

4.) Serve with rice or pasta

*Original recipe found at http://www.eatingwell.com

**Photo is an original taken by me.

Basil Shrimp and Zucchini Pasta – ★★★★✩

ImageSince Perry has been sick I’ve been making simpler dishes so I can spend more time taking care of him when he gets home from work. This one while simple is extremely tasty and is great for left overs. The original recipe says it serves 4 but we got 8 servings out of this last night. Definitely a weeknight recipe to send leftovers with your loved ones to work! Perry gave this one ★★★★✩. NOTE: THIS REQUIRES 30 MINUTES MARINATING… ALLOW FOR TIME. Original recipe found at http://www.eatingwell.com 

“I have been so sick but am still enjoying these dinners. I think Kels went a little spicy on this one to help my sinuses. Well done honey.”

Serves: 8         Calories: 315

Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup of chopped basil leaves, divided (I used dried basil because the stuff at the store didn’t look like it was doing too hot.)

– 1-24oz can of tomato sauce

– 3 tsp. olive or canola oil, divided into 2 tsp and 1 tsp. 

– 2 cloves of garlic, minced

– 1/4 tsp. salt

– 1/4 tsp. ground pepper

– Pinch of cayenne pepper to taste. (Perry was right I went a little more to help clear his sinuses.) 

– 1 lb peeled and devained shrimp

– 1 box orecchiette pasta

– 2 medium zucchini

Directions:

1.) Combine 1/4 cup basil, tomato sauce, 2 teaspoons oil, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne in a medium bowl. Stir in shrimp; let stand for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

2.) Cook pasta in a large pan of boiling water until just tender. 

3.) Quarter squash lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp mixture along with the squash. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp are pink and just barely cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the pasta and heat, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup basil and season with pepper.

*Photo is original taken by me
**Original recipe can be found at http://www.eatingwell.com

Wakey Wakey Breakfast Smoothie – ★★★★✩

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Since the hubby is sick we decided to have vitamin C and antioxidant packed smoothies for breakfast. You can really add any fruits you like and I’ll be experimenting with pineapple later this week but this specific concoction was perfectly sweet. I used honey instead of sugar because I like the taste better but if you don’t like honey I’m sure it’s just as good with sugar/splenda. The original recipe comes from http://www.eatingwell.com Perry gave these smoothies ★★★★✩ 

“Since Perry is so sick with a sore throat I did not ask him to review these. I simply said “Hold up in fingers how many stars you want to give the smoothies.” He slowly raised 4 fingers haha”

Serves: 3   Calories: 139 

Ingredients:

– 1 & 1/4 cups of orange juice

– 1 banana 

– 1 & 1/4 cups of frozen berries (We used strawberries and blueberries.)

–  1/2 cup low fat plain yogurt or silken tofu (we used yogurt)

– 1 tbsp sugar/splenda or honey (optional) 

Directions:

1.) Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

*Photo is original taken by me

**Original recipe is found at eatingwell.com 

 

Coconut Rice with Curried Summer Veggies – ★★★★✩

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My mom is one of the best cooks I’ve known but that also means I eat seconds and thirds of anything she makes when I go home. We went back to PA for what we call “second Christmas” and I definitely packed on the pounds this trip. This week we will be cooking light which isn’t a bad thing with it being the New Year and all 🙂 The rice is rich and the veggies have a nice spice. There is no meat in this recipe but I was full after my first serving. Definitely a great recipe to start off a New Year’s Diet! Original recipe found at http://www.fitnessrecipe.com   Perry gave this recipe ★★★★✩

“I’m sick and even though I can hardly breathe this dinner gets four stars. Today at lunch I ate a piece of chocolate and did not taste anything. I actually read the label to make sure I was eating chocolate. When I got home after riding my motorcycle in the cold I was not expecting to taste and enjoy dinner at all. I was amazed how much flavor I was able to taste with stuffed sinuses. I cannot wait to try this when I’m not sick because I bet the flavors are even better.” 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

– 1 cup basmati or jasmine rice (I used brown basmati)

– 1 & 3/4 tsp. salt

– 1- 15oz. can of light coconut milk 

– 1 tbsp. canola or olive oil 

– 1 scallion, chopped

– 1 tbsp. ginger, peeled and finely chopped

– 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

– 1 & 1/2 tbsp. curry powder 

– 1 cup of vegetable stock

– 1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch strips

– 1 baby eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch chunks

– 1/4 lb. green beans, trimmed

– 1 yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch chunks

– 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch chunks 

– 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper 

– 1/2 tsp. finely grated lime zest (I used a little more because I love lime)

– Freshly squeezed lime juice to taste

– 2 tbsp. freshly chopped cilantro (optional and since I couldn’t find it at the store I used dried)

Directions:

1.) Combine the rice, 1-2/3 cups water, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 3/4 cup of the coconut milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and rice is almost tender.

2.) Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the scallion, ginger, and garlic; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook 1 minute.

3.) Pour vegetable stock, remaining coconut milk and the bell pepper and eggplant into pan; stir to combine. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and salt and the black pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the lime zest and lime juice.

4.) Spoon rice onto serving plates and top with curried vegetables. Garnish with cilantro if desired.

*Photo is original taken by me

**Recipe found at fitnessmagazine.com