The BEST Healthy Pasta Casserole!

This was supposed to be my birthday lasagna… and it turned into an amazing birthday pasta casserole because all 3 of my grocery stores didn’t have brown rice lasagna noodles! (Gluten free) This is a great, simple dish to prepare for a large group, or, great for meal prep! You can totally put this in the freezer in individual servings. Great for gluten free or vegetarian guests! A healthier version of lasagna for sure. Feel free to substitute the pasta for lasagna! I made it in layers so it can easily be switched!

For 12-16 servings, you’ll need these ingredients. Feel free to chop them in half!

36 oz pasta

16 oz raw spinach

1 egg

16 oz of ricotta

1/2 tsp salt/pepper

1 onion

3 green squash

4 cups mozzarella

Handful of fresh basil

48 oz tomato sauce

Directions:

  1. Put a large pot of water up to boil for pasta. In another pan, heat up the olive oil and saute the spinach.
  2. Once it has cooked down, you need to drain the liquid. Put the spinach in a colander and use a spatula to  squeeze it out.
  3. In a bowl, beat an egg, add the ricotta cheese and mix together.
  4. Add the spinach, salt and pepper, and mix until all ingredients are well combined.
  5. When your water boils, add the pasta and cook al dente.
  6. Cut up the opinions, add olive oil and saute in the same skillet you used to cook the spinach.
  7. Slice your zucchini thin and saute with the onions.
  8. When your pasta is al dente, drain it and put back in the pot. Make sure to add a bit of olive oil so it doesn’t stick together.
  9. Once the zucchini has cooked down, add in the sauce. Stir together and cook for a few minutes
  10. Now we build. First layer is 1/3 of the pasta, next is the sauce, fresh basil, half of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella, and half of the zucchini.

casserole 1

  1. Then another layer of pasta, sauce, basil, the rest of the ricotta, 1/3 of the mozzarella, and the rest of the zucchini. Top it off with pasta, sauce and the rest of the mozz.
  2. Add some fresh black pepper to the top and cover the tray with tin foil.
  3. Place in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, take the tin foil off and bake for another 10 minutes.
  4. Then, put the broiler on high to get the cheese toasty, leaving the oven open a bit so you can watch it. It will only take a minute or two.
  5. casserole 2
  6. Once it comes out, let it sit for a few minutes before cutting.

BOOM! Everyone will love it!!

casserole 3

Let me know how it comes out and if you made any substitutions!

Make it a great week,

Stephanie

Stuffed Shells with Ricotta and Spinach

I think stuffed shells deserve more credit. They are so easy to make and absolutely delicious! As soon as I tried one after making it the first time, I immediately said, “wow, this is special.” They really are! Easy and absolutely delicious. The spinach and ricotta filling is just divine. Enjoy!

1 tbls olive oil

14 shells

4 oz raw spinach

1 egg

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

8 oz ricotta cheese

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

20 oz tomato sauce

Fresh basil (optional)

Grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Hardly any preparation. The majority of the time it took was the fact that it had to cook 40 minutes. These ingredients will make 14 shells, which is more than enough for two people. If you’re serving more, just double the recipe!

1. Boil water for the pasta shells. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Do not cook all the way, because the will continue to cook in the oven!

2. In the meantime, sauté the spinach. Once it has wilted, place in a colander and press out any excess liquid. Spinach is a very watery vegetable!

3. In a small bowl, beat the egg. Add the mozzarella, ricotta, spinach, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.

4. Place about half of the sauce at the bottom of a small, shallow baking dish.

5. By now, the pasta should be ready. Drain the water and get ready for the fun part of stuffing the shells!

6. Stuff the shells with the mixture. Place in the baking dish. Add some more sauce and mozzarella to the top. Cover with tin foil and cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then, uncover and cook another 10 minutes.

7. Place on a serving plate and add fresh basil, cracked black pepper and parmesan cheese.

Great for Valentine’s Day!!

Send some pictures!! Enjoy.

Stephanie

Healthy, Quick Breakfast (or snack!)

This is SO yummy and quick. Will be ready in less than 5 minutes and you will feel SO satisfied afterwards! Since I have meal replacement protein shakes with the best nutrition in the world for breakfast, I use this for my midday snack! Especially on days that I go to the gym. EAT! It’s good for you 🙂

All you’ll need:

Some eggs

Piece of (healthy) toast

1 cup spinach

2 slices tomato

Homemade hummus (scrap the butter!)

To make the homemade hummus: 
In a small blender, add
1 can chickpeas
1 tbls olive oil
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 tbls lemon juice
From there, experiment by adding different flavors such as artichokes, olives, roasted red peppers, various herbs and spices. If too thick, add more liquid, like the chickpea liquid, olive oil or lemon!

In a small pan, add a bit of olive oil and saute the spinach until wilted. Push to the side. Crack in an egg. (Or two or three!) Add a dash of salt and pepper to the egg and the spinach. Add a slice of bread to the toaster. Flip over the egg when it’s ready. When the toast comes out, spread that delicious homemade hummus! Then, top the toast and hummus with the spinach, slices or tomato and the egg! ENJOY!

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Coconut Rice with Chicken – Thai Inspired!

Woah, if you enjoy Thai food, you HAVE to try this! It’s like… better, cheaper and healthier than getting it at the Thai place down the block! 🙂

You’ll need:
2 tbls olive oil

3 cloves crushed garlic

1 lb of chicken breast

1/2 tsp salt/pepper

1 tbl of lime zest (optional if you don’t own a zester)

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup water

1 cup rice (brown rice is healthier!)

1 14. oz can coconut milk

1/4 tsp salt/pepper

8 oz. fresh spinach

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Lime for garnish

1. Cut the chicken into small pieces. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and then saute the garlic. Add the chicken, salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes until all edges of the chicken are white. (If you like spicy food, feel free to add some cayenne pepper!) Add the lime zest.

2. Add in the broth, water, rice, coconut milk and salt and pepper. Stir together, cover and boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and add in the spinach. Cover and simmer until the rice is done. Brown rice takes about 35-40 minutes, white rice takes about 20.

3. When your dinner is nice and creamy and all of the liquid is absorbed, add in the cilantro! Stir together and serve! Definitely going to want to add in fresh lime juice. Mmmm!

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Stuffed Mushrooms with Spinach!

These are so yummy. Quick and simple healthy appetizer. Vegetarian and can be gluten free if you leave out the breadcrumbs!

25 mushrooms
1 tbls olive oil
2 cloves garlic
6 oz fresh spinach
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt/pepper
3 tbls grated cheese (parmesan, gruyere, swiss, etc)
2 tbls breadcrumbs (optional)

1. Wash the dirt off of the mushrooms and pat dry. Carefully, pull the stems off. Some are stubborn and you may have to wiggle them around! I would buy a few extra mushrooms – just in case some break. Place mushrooms with the holes facing upwards on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil for super easy clean up.

2. Finely chop the garlic and the stems of the mushrooms. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and saute the garlic and stems for 3 minutes.

3. While you wait, beat the egg, salt and pepper together.

4. Add the spinach to the saucepan. Rip up the leaves as you throw them in by the handful. Cook until the spinach has wilted, which will only take about 2 minutes. Now you have to drain the spinach because spinach and mushrooms are very watery veggies. You can put your colander in the sink, I just did it over a plate so you could see more clearly in the video! Place your mixture in a colander and using your spatula, press into the sides to squeeze as much liquid out as possible. Now mix the spinach with the egg. Add the cheese and breadcrumbs. Place into the caps of the mushrooms. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes and voila! You are all set!

You can use any type of grated cheese. If you want to get fancy, break out the gruyere. If you just want parmesan, it will still be incredibly yummy!

Enjoy!
Stephanie