Zucchini Lasagna with Chicken Sausage

Zucchini Lasagna with Chicken Sausage

Today, I learned something new—”lasagna” is the American spelling of the delicious pasta dish and “lasagne” is the Italian way. Since I want to reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates in our diets, I decided not to use the traditional pasta noodle. Instead, I used healthy sliced zucchini. I found that slicing the zucchini using the mandoline was less time-consuming than cooking the pasta. Also, I used sweet Italian chicken sausage. I just added a little more fennel and a  generous pinch of red pepper flakes for extra “kick.” Well, I am pleased to say that my dish was a success in taste and reducing the carbs! This non-pasta version is going to be regular meal in our diets.

Zucchini Lasagna with Chicken Sausage

Zucchini Lasagna with Chicken Sausage

Zucchini Lasagna with Chicken Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Trader Joe’s Sweet Chicken Italian Sausage or Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • ½ pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon organic dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon organic dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 zucchini (8 to 9 inches long), sliced lengthwise ¼-inch thick.
  • ½ pound part-skim shredded light mozzarella cheese
  • ½ pound low-fat cottage cheese
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Zucchini Lasagna with Chicken Sausage

Directions:

  1. In a large nonstick frying pan, brown the chicken sausage until it is no longer pink, breaking it up into small pieces. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Using a 3 quart pan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, sausage, oregano, basil, fennel, red pepper flakes and parsley. Cover and simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. Add pepper to taste. (To have a less watery dish, I would cook the sauce until almost all the liquid is gone. The zucchini contains a lot of water and the baking process will bring out more liquid).
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” lasagna baking dish with oil.
  4. Spread a little sauce over the bottom of the dish. Cover with 7 zucchini slices, spread half the mozzarella and cottage cheeses and sprinkle with one-third of Parmesan cheese. Then add one-third of sauce, just enough to cover. Repeat with zucchini and cheeses. Finally, add the third layer of zucchini, followed by remaining sauce and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake uncovered for about 50 to 60 minutes, until zucchini is tender.  Take out of the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes. Serve hot. 10 servings.

Zucchini Lasagna with Chicken Sausage

Advertisements

Organic Corn and Zucchini with Fresh Herbs

Corn and Zucchini with Fresh Herbs

One of my favorite food items to buy at Trader Joe’s is their frozen Organic Super Sweet Corn. It is reasonably priced and I would prefer to have organic and non-GMO foods whenever possible. I always try to keep a bag or two in my freezer all the time. So when I saw this corn side dish recipe in America ‘s Test Kitchen, Cooking Fresh, 2015, I thought I would try it, since I already had two fresh organic zucchini in my refrigerator. The sautéed zucchini and corn are seasoned with fresh lemon juice, parsley, chives and basil. All the preparation can be done in advance, so it can easily be made during the busy work week. It makes a tasty, simple and healthy side for chicken, beef or fish!

Corn and Zucchini with Fresh Herbs

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small organic zucchini, diced
  • 3 cups organic frozen corns, defrosted
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, mince
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Using a 12-inch nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and cook for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add the corn and cook for about 2 minute, until heated through.
  2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, add basil, parsley, chives and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. 6 servings.

Corn and Zucchini with Fresh Herbs

Summer Squash with Garlic and Cumin

DSC_2856

We just got back from a very enjoyable trip, visiting family in Newport Beach and San Diego! Rich and I really loved consuming our family’s cooking, but it’s time to get back to healthy, but tasty eating! I found his delicious summer squash recipe in Against All Grain by Danielle Walker, Victory Belt Publishing, 2014. It’s made with summertime favorites, zucchini and yellow squash. The preparation is made easy by using the mandolin to slice the vegetables. Then the squash is sautéed with healthy olive oil and seasoned with garlic and cumin! It can’t get any simpler or healthier than that!

Summer Squash with Garlic and Cumin

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium organic zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tables organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon organic ground cumin
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Cilantro for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Using a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic, until slightly golden. Add the squash. Stir in ½ teaspoon cumin. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Transfer to a dish.
  2. Repeat, using the remaining ingredients. Return first batch of vegetable back to pan. Cook for another 2 minutes. Combine ingredients well and transfer to serving dish. 6 servings.

DSC_2858

Chicken Salad with Zucchini and Pine Nuts

Chicken Salad with Zucchini and Pine Nuts Recipe

I just got back from visiting the Portland Farmers’ Market at Portland State University. There was such an abundance of fresh, picture perfect zucchini, everywhere I went. Luckily, I am able to get decent zucchini at my local Trader Joe’s. This dish requires 2 pounds of this wonderful vegetable. In fact, this recipe could be made totally vegetarian by omitting the chicken. It is soaked for a couple of hours in a marinade of olive oil, garlic, cumin, lemon zest and lemon juice. The salad also has the flavors of peppery arugula and sweet raisins with the crunch of pine nuts. I modified Armand Arnal’s recipe in Food and Wine, April 2009, to suit my tastes and cooking style. If you are looking for a “summery” meal with only 6 minutes of cooking time, try this delicious and healthy dish!

Chicken Salad with Zucchini and Pine Nuts Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • ⅛ teaspoon organic ground cumin
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 medium zucchini (2 pounds), cut into 3x½-inch sticks
  • ¼ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 12 frozen chicken breast tenderloins, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby arugula leaves

Directions:

  1. Using a small bowl, cover the raisins with hot water for about 10 minutes to soften. Drain.
  2. In a large glass bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, juice of 1 lemon, scant ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add zucchini and raisins. Toss thoroughly and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
  3. Using a shallow glass or ceramic dish, mix together the onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil and juice of second lemon. Add chicken tenderloins and completely coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for an hour, turning a few times.
  4. Using a small nonstick pan, toast pine nuts over moderate heat, until golden brown, tossing occasionally for about 2 minutes. Transfer to small dish and let cool.
  5. Scrape off the onion on the chicken tenderloins. In a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, add the chicken, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned for about 3 minutes. Turn meat over and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Slice the tenderloins on the bias, making thin strips.
  6. Serve on a large platter or on 4 individual plates, add arugula and marinated zucchini. Then add the chicken slices. Finally, sprinkle with raisins and pine nuts. Serve immediately. 4 servings.

Chicken Salad with Zucchini and Pine Nuts

Chicken Salad with Zucchini and Pine Nuts

Healthy Grilled Summer Vegetables

Healthy Grilled Summer Vegetables

Incorporating more healthy vegetables into our diets can be rather difficult, especially during a busy work week. I have found one simple way to do this! By taking advantage of the lovely summer produce available right now, you can grill them either indoors or outdoors. Luckily, I bought a great nonstick grilling pan several years ago, so grilling indoors is an easy option for me. A lot of the preparation can be done in advance, by slicing the vegetables ¼-inch thick and storing them in a food storage bag in the refrigerator. You can even prepare the seasoned olive oil, applied right before grilling, ahead of time too. This is such a simple and tasty way to eat more vegetables!

Healthy Grilled Summer Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • ½ small eggplant
  • 1 medium zucchini (8 inches)
  • 1 medium yellow squash (8 inches)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup Organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Organic oregano
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

DSC_2537Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix thoroughly.
  2. Lightly brush the seasoned oil on the vegetables. If using a nonstick grilling pan, cook each side over medium heat for a few minutes, until dark grill marks appear. Serve immediately.

Healthy Grilled Summer Vegetables

 

Chicken and Zucchini Couscous

Chicken and Zucchini Couscous

This dish is based on a North African classic, which combines chicken, garbanzo beans and zucchini with a cumin spiced chicken broth. You can use a whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, but I chose to use skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes. I also decided to use whole wheat couscous for its nutritional value and extra fiber. By eliminating the chicken and using vegetable broth, instead of chicken, it can easily be made into a deliciously healthy vegetarian dish. Just add more beans and zucchinis. This flavorful recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, Recipe of the Day, April 2011.

DSC_1435

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small onion or ½ large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¹⁄₈ to ¹⁄₄ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1½ cups organic low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup organic crushed tomatoes in thick puree
  • 1 can organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 organic zucchinis, cut in ¼-inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 4 cups cooked whole wheat couscous

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for approximately 6 minutes, until chicken is no longer translucent and cooked through. Remove chicken and place in a dish on the side.
  2. In the pot over low-medium heat, cook onions until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, paprika, cumin, oregano and turmeric. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broth and tomatoes. Scrap the bottom of the pot to remove any brown bits. Add salt to taste. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add chicken, beans and zucchini. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, until zucchini is cooked. Add the parsley and lemon juice and serve over the couscous. 4 servings.

Chicken and Zucchini Couscous 2

Roasted Zucchini with Lemon and Parmesan

DSC_0720

Congratulations to Angie, The Novice Gardener, and the other bloggers who have made Fiesta Fridays such a success! I appreciate all your hard work to make it what it is today. Happy First Anniversary to all! Wishing Fiesta Fridays a fabulous second year!!!

My submission today, is a simple and healthy vegetable dish, zucchini with lemon zest, garlic and Parmesan cheese. It’s flavorful and going to make a great appetizer for our upcoming Super Bowl party. I came across this recipe on Pinterest, Cooking Classy, and have been waiting to try it. This recipe can easily be reduced or increased depending upon how many people you are serving. Well, you can never go wrong with lemon zest, garlic and Parmesan cheese!

DSC_0718

Ingredients: 

  • 1½ pounds zucchini (4 to 5 small/medium zucchini)
  • 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • ½ to ¾ cups finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together lemon zest, garlic and olive oil.
  3. Cut zucchini crosswise and in half. Place vegetables on a parchment lined baking sheet and space evenly. Brush the olive oil mixture on the zucchini. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese. (I used shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, because that’s what I had in the refrigerator). Bake in oven for about 10 minutes, then move baking sheet closer to the top of oven. Increase temperature to 450 degrees. Remove from oven when cheese has melted and is golden brown. Serve immediately.

DSC_0730