[NOT A] CHEAT Skinny Ziti with Spinach

Every one who’s eaten italian with me knows one thing: I LOVE PASTA! Especially baked pasta. lasagna and baked ziti are my two favorite things in the world. (Del Posto’s 100 layer lasagna, any one?!) So with my new “lifestyle” (going to the gym 6 days a week, eating a pretty- lenient but still hard for me because I love dessert If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) diet– I really wanted to find a way to make a leaner baked ziti that wouldn’t feel like a cheat, but still have the cheesy goodness we all love so much- especially in below 0 weather that we get to enjoy here in Ithaca for months on end!

Here’s my easy recipe for 6, with the macros attached to it- & yes, it really is just 341 calories per serving!!!

Ingredients

Beef – Ground, 95% lean meat / 5% fat, ( 10 oz )
Wegman’s – Whole Wheat Pasta – Penne, 3 cup
Wegmans – Organic Baby Spinach — Triple Washed, 2 cups (85g)
Ricotta Cheese – Fat Free, 1 cup<
Wegmans – 2% Milk Mozzarella Cheese, 1 cup
Tuttorosso – New World Style Tomato Puree, 1 container (3 3/10 cups ea.)
Goya – Adobo (With Pepper), 1 tsp (1g)

To Make

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
Brown meat in pan (do not add fat, the 5% fat is enough!) and boil pasta.
Add spinach to the meat, to wilt the spinach slightly
Stir all ingredients together (use only 1/2 cup mozarella!)
Put mixture in 9×9 square (or similar) oven pan
Top mixture with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella
Bake for 25 minutes, and allow to cool before cutting!
Enjoy!

Live long.

B

Restaurant Aquavit


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While in NYC for the Hotel show, we had the honor of enjoying a [5 hour] meal at Aquavit on 55th Street. In addition to the aquavit [flavor infused vodkas] we had amazing wine pairings, and got a tour of the property following our meal. The service was amazing, and we met a fellow CIA-graduate [I’m doing the joint degree program with Cornell’s Hotel School] who we got to share our experiences regarding school, career choices, etc. with.

Istanbul

I had the opportunity to go visit a friend in Istanbul, Turkey last month- an ate my way through the city [within days]

Being Israeli, a lot of the food in Turkey is similar- though there are so many amazing, unique dishes and flavor profiles that don’t come close to anything I’ve seen before. It was very interesting to experience them, and try so much in such a short time.

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Risotto Milanese
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Lentil Soup post-night club at 4 in the morning
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laduree Sarıyer istanbul
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oreos?
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Nusr-Et Steakhouse
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dessert at Midpoint
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Love the oven/cooking thing!
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Traditional Turkish Coffee
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Poms in Sultanahmet
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Pomegranates in the evenings
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Cut the pomegranates up all by myself! =] added some salt and ate them all
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water is EXCLUSIVE in Ist.
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post-trip turkish tea in my new cups !
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Bodrum Manti Cafe
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Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir
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Taksim Square
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AMAZING breakfast at Lokma Cafe in AnadoluhisarıIMG_9773 IMG_9780 IMG_9788 IMG_9802 IMG_9803 IMG_9853 IMG_9854 IMG_9818 IMG_9837 IMG_9872

I’ve been trying my luck with Simit since I’ve left- but no luck thus far! Lokma cafe was definitely my favorite- probably because I loved breakfast more than anything else. Kaymak is a clotted-cream and honey mixture that is eaten during that time, usually with a bread such as Simit. For me, it is the perfect start to a day!

Happy Travels!

B

Bacon Creamed Spinach

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Nothing goes better with a good juicy porterhouse than creamed spinach. Sick of the typical spinach and cream- I made a bacon’d out spinach [this bath eventually had chopped clams thrown in and then re-added into the shell and baked for a end-of-july baked ‘stuffy’

Easy Bacon Creamed Spinach
  • thick cut bacon, minced, sautéed
  • spinach, either frozen & strained, or fresh sautéed down
  • butter
  • minced onion
  • minced garlic
  • heavy cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • salt, pepper
  • pernod [optional]

To make:

in a saucepan, melt down and slightly brown a stick butter, adding about half a cup of onion and garlic, cooking until fragrant

add flour, stirring regularly, allow to cook briefly, then whisk in the heavy cream [i usually add a dash of nutmeg here]

cook and stir over low/med heat until thickened

in the bacon fat, sauté spinach down, and then add to the cream mixture stirring in pernod if desired

add salt & pepper to the taste

Cheers!

B

Chicken Francese (& Parmesan-Asparagus Risotto)

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I made this very simple and delicious meal for my mom, and while I wont be divulging my risotto recipe just yet, Chicken Francese is a perfect dish whether for date night or for a tuesday night pick me up. It can be served over pasta, and modifying the quantity is easy.

Ingredients
Flour (season with salt & pepper!)
Eggs, beaten
Chicken Cutlets, Boneless, Skinless and Thin
Lemons: 1 lemon sliced, 2 juiced
Pinot Grigio or other white wine (optional)
Chicken Stock
Butter
Parsley, chopped

Salt & (white) Pepper
Oil (canola is fine)

To Make
Heat oil in a sauté pan
Dredge the Chicken Cutlets in seasoned flower, and then dip in eggs
reduce heat to medium, and cook chicken until golden, about 5 minutes on each side
remove chicken, and hold in aluminum foil while you make the sauce
In the remaining oil, place slices on sauté pan, and cook until fragrant, hold on top of chicken cutlets in aluminum foil
deglaze with wine and/or chicken stock (3/4 cup white wine & 1 3/4 cup stock, for 2 1/2 cups of liquid total), bring to a simmer and reduce by 3/4
Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 a stick of butter, and lemon juice
Serve sauce over chicken, and sprinkle chopped parsley on top.

*Recommended wine pairings: Pinot Grigio, Pouilly-Fuisse, Sauvignon Blanc, or Champagne*

Enjoy!
-B

College Cooking Apartment Essentials

This will be the first year that I live OFF campus- in my very own apartment. I went out of my way to make sure that my apartment had two things:

  1. Allowance to have a dog. I am so excited to bring Sherlock to Ithaca and have him here with me! He’s big enough now to run/jog with me, so it will be nice to have an exercise buddy. 🙂
  2. A decent kitchen. I lucked out though, and found an eat in kitchen with a gas stove, as well as full size Stainless Steel appliances, ample counter and storage space, and good ventilation.

I am so excited to move in (August 1st!) and begin to decorate. Luckily, my mom is extremely talented at this sort of thing, and will be coming up to help me. I have, however, tried to figure out what I will need- regardless of color, etc. My kitchenaid mixer is a pale pink, so I think nudes, taupes, and beige will be prevalent, basically the colors of my blog, especially in the kitchen. My mom’s boyfriend got me an amazon gift card for my birthday, knowing that I’d go through it relatively quickly with all the shopping I need to do for the apartment.

Some of my favorite kitchen items so far [click on the photos to browse on amazon]:

Core Bamboo Prep Station with Measuring Bowls

I love that this cutting board is raised, has key conversions at the top right, and hold measuring bowls. I’ve also been looking for a better base to take photos of my food on, and this grained bamboo might be exactly what I’m looking for.

BlissHome Measuring Cups

I love these rosebud pink measuring cups! They are shaped like tea cups, and have a really fun vibe to them. I also love that the line is where items should be filled to, instead of the top like most measuring cups.

BlissHome Measuring Jug

Another version of the measuring cups in the same color would be this beautiful measuring jug. BlissHome by Nigella Lawson has so many amazing creme and rosebud pink accessories for the kitchen. The sleek lines and minimalist style drew me to them. If you aren’t familiar with Nigella Lawson and her culinary empire, definitely look into her!

What are your favorite items to have in the kitchen?

-B