[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

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Stuffed Peppers

Happy new year! It wasn’t a resolution, but over winter break I have designed a healthy eating plan for myself, and have been exercising/lifting weights. I am feelings great, and am now a firm believer that one does not need to eat bland to eat well. Clean eating is enjoyable, and you feel so much better physically from eating this way that I don’t know if i’ll ever go back to not being more conscious of what I consume on a day to day basis. Here’s one of my go-to recipes when I want a fulfilling and flavorful meal.

Stuffed Peppers

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  • 4 Bell Pepper (Red, Yellow, Green, Orange)
  • Rice – cooked, 1 cup (brown works fine)
  • Carrots – 1/4 cup, chopped
  • Onions – 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Corn – Sweet, yellow, canned, whole kernel, drained solids, 3/4 cup
  • Garlic – Minced, 2 cloves
  • Red Pack – Tomato Sauce 3 cups
  • Oil – Olive, 3 tablespoons
  • Celery – 1/4 cup chopped
  • Beef – Ground, 1 lb (or better yet, ground turkey)
-Preheat oven to 350* F
-Cut off bottom of pepper, and even the top/stems if necessary
-Clean out pepper and rinse. Make a tiny hole where the bottom stem was
-Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, and sauté garlic. Add Rice, coat all grains with oil, and add water. Cook covered until done.
-Season and cook meat with 1 tablespoons of olive oil
-Chop Celery, Carrots, and Onion together, and add vegetables, and rice to the beef mixture
-Add corn to mixture, and combine well. Add parmesan cheese if you’d like
-Put peppers in a pan, I use an 8×8 with 4in sides
-Stuff the peppers fully, and then pour tomato sauce over the peppers
-Put the “tops” on the pepper, and cover with aluminum foil, and cook for 45 minutes or until peppers are cooked
 

Enjoy!

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

Stuffed Chicken Breast

I love entertaining, and am always thinking of new ways to incorporate favorite ingredients to make dinner menus. This time around, we made a mozarella, spinach, and ricotta cheese stuffed chicken breast. The top marinade is parsley, garlic, oil, sale, and pepper- simple, and delicious! (If you’re uncomfortable fabricating chicken, you can buy boneless skinless breasts, and roll up the filling inside a roulade)

Stuffed, Roasted Chicken

  • Chicken Breasts, on the bone, skin on
  • Olive Oil
  • Parsley, chopped
  • rosemary, chopped
  • thyme, chopped
  • Minced Garlic
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Mozzarella
  • Frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
  • Salt, Pepper

To make:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. in a bowl, combine 1 part spinach with 2 parts mozzarella, and 3 parts ricotta cheese, stir together and add salt and pepper. You can change the proportions to suit your tastes
  3. separate the very end of the bone lightly from the skin
  4. skin side down, cut a 2 inch long “pouch” in the chicken breast that should be at least 3 inches deep
  5. put the ricotta mixture into a piping bag, and fill pouches completely
  6. put the breasts skin side up on a sheet pan with oiled parchment paper. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, combine oil with chopped parsley, rosemary, thyme, and garlic. brush the skin with the oil
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked, and skin is browned
  8. remove, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  9. enjoy!
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pre-oven chicken breasts
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chicken breasts at the halfway point

The stuffed chicken breasts go well with just about anything. I served them with green beans, and mashed potatoes (mostly because that was what I was in the mood for)

-B

Ithaca/Cornell is [gorges] Home .

Happy end of summer! I know it seems sad- but the weather seems to cool down as we all start a new academic year. It’s not as bad as it seems;; we get new books (new pens, pencils! Yay! …yes I’m geeking right now) but also… we get a chance to start new.

For me, this year is particularly difficult. It’s about two months shy of my grandmother’s passing, I’ve started going to Cornell, which means I relocated ALL THE WAY up to Ithaca, and left Sherlock in actual New York.

Growing up in the same place my whole life, I wasn’t comfortable with change or moving until college. This year, I embraced it, and am enjoying every second. I’ve already met so many passionate people, and finally feel like I’m exactly where I should be. I do miss Smith, but that’s all part of the process.

First, here are some images of the past two weeks!

cutting the cake; The day before I left to Cornell, I did this wedding cake for Gina! Congratulations to her and her husband, Luis.
groom’s cake !

 

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So today, I am sick. It’s still warm (though probably not for long) and I’m already sick. Fever, cold, cough, the whole nine yards. So, in honor, a twist on my matzo ball soup; Recipe for that is (HERE) Add celery, carrots, garlic, onion, parsley, shredded, cooked, chicken, onion, and thyme. This way, you’re not starved all day! Since I’m just one person, I have a lot left over, and wind up freezing it to make a winter reserve, since my immune system does NOT like the cold! With some oil in your pot, add the veggies and chicken at the same time, before adding the chicken stock, and do the matzo balls last. –don’t forget to DATE the soup if you’re freezing it.

The best part about Long Island and New York City seems to be the fact that I don’t have to make my own soup when I’m sick. Up in college, I seem to have no such luck.

Until next time, lovelies!

-B

Nutella Ice Cream

In honor of national ice cream month, here’s a recipe for DELICIOUS nutella gelato/ice cream without all of the hassle // so whip out your pre frozen bowl, and ice cream makers to indulge in a creamy Couture Cook favorite

Recipe

Over low heat, incorporate:

3 cups of heavy whipping cream

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Once everything is well incorporated, stir in

3/4 cup of Nutella

Whisk together. Once all the ingredients are completely incorporated into one another, and chill in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 2 hours

On a piece of wax paper, spread out a thin layer of Nutella and put it in the freezer until solid, than chop into pieces

Once the custard is cool, add the Nutella pieces and put everything in the ice cream maker, turning until desired consistency

Put ice cream into a container and freeze in an air tight container, enjoy!

-B