Mar 3, 2014

Zucchini Lasagna

Yesterday I made zucchini lasagna which was inspired due to a dish I ordered at My Big Fat Greek Restaurant on Friday night.  It was called Mousaka which is zucchini, eggplant and ground beef layered like a lasagna.  It came with roasted potatoes and veggies and was quite delicious.  Of course I had a shit ton leftover because restaurants always serve so damn much!

Back to the zucchini lasagna.  I thought it was a great idea for an at home meal and I could swear I saw something similar on Pinterest.  I looked it up and, sure enough, found a recipe by Skinny Taste and figured I would refer back to it when I want to make it.

That ended up being Sunday and I thought of it as I was heading to the gym at 3:45P.  Which meant I had to do the super convenient version because I do not like eating late and I knew there would be grocery store, prep time and bake time.  Since I was heading to the gym I did not have time to look up the recipe and decided to buy what I thought would be necessary.  This reminds me of an episode on Everybody Loves Raymond where the mom, Marie, was jealous that her daughter-in-law, Debra, made a dish that everyone loved and wanted more of.  Someone asked Debra how she made it and she said it was some recipe she found and Marie said 'Well, real chefs do not need recipes'.  It made me giggle because I am far from a chef but I rarely use recipes.  Does that mean I am a chef after all?  hehee

Normally, I would have seasoned my own meat but, again, time was not on my side so I opted for the Jennie-O Italian seasoned turkey burger and Newman's Own Marinara Sauce.  On a side note, I rarely prepare my own sauce anymore and I find that jarred stuff is just as wonderful.  I always get the brands that only have natural ingredients.... PS, just because it says "natural flavor" does not mean it is actually natural.  Matter of fact, natural flavoring comes from beaver butts.  Kinda gross but I guess since it comes from an animal it IS natural, right?  I have been thinking of writing a blog on this and a few other surprising things so that may be coming up shortly.

I am a little embarrassed that I do not do everything  home made but I suppose that is only because I see so many recipes and wonderful blogs where people make everything from scratch and I wish I had the time to do it.  For example, these wonderful young ladies are always posting delicious hand-made recipes that I would love to make:  Skinny Taste and Baking Domesticity and All Things Mini.  Great job girls!

If you have checked out my recipes you will see that everything I do is rather simple as time is not on my side but I do want to have home-cooked meals as I like to know what is going in my mouth.  I do not always choose whole or organic foods but I try to limit the amount of crap I take in so that when I want a special treat I can do it :)

Anyway, here it is!!!

Ingredients:

1 package Jennie-O Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey
1 jar Newman's Own Marinara
1 15oz package Ricotta Cheese
1 16ox packaged shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 zucchinis sliced lengthwise
1 cup mushrooms
2 tsp garlic powder
crushed red pepper

I come back from the store and the gym, STARVING, and have a post workout meal which consists of 1 cup Greek Yogurt with flax seed and about 1 TBSP of honey.  I am also sweaty and stinky buuuuut, I gotta get this popped in the oven so I begin in a flash.

First, I brown the meat and add the garlic, red pepper and mushrooms.  I also preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  While this is browning I slice the zucchinis.  Skinny Taste's recipe suggests using a mandoline which I do not have so I improvise using a cheese slicer.  (sigh) To my surprise, it works pretty well except that it has an edge that will only let me slice half of the zucchini at a time.  Let me also mention I had to use it very carefully to avoid slicing my fingers!  Oh well, instead of having long, pasta-like slices, I will have short pieces.  Which, by the way, made it much easier to cut and serve.




Once browned, I added a little Ricotta to the mixture and began layering.  The first layer was sauce on the bottom then zucchini, then meat, then Ricotta.  A little Mozzarella, sauce then start over.  I only ended up with 2 layers and the top layer being zucchini and cheese and sauce.  Remember, I am not a chef so I do not know if there is a suggested order to layer and look up Skinny Taste's recipe real quick to see the cook time and realize she used 3 zucchinis and some onion - which probably made it much more flavorful.  She also suggested grilling the zucchini first to reduce the amount of watery liquid.

I cover it with foil and pop it in the oven, set the timer and run upstairs to take a shower.  Whew, FINALLY.  Kinda gross so don't tell anyone that I waited to take my shower!!!  ;)

Then I take off the foil in the last 10 minutes - because I missed the 15 minute suggested deadline!  And let it sit for about 5 or so minutes after removing from the oven and before cutting.  There was extra liquid but it was not too bad... maybe because Newman's Marinara is so dang thick - which I love!

It was uh-maze-eeeng!!!  And filling.... and cheesy and saucy..... and most importantly reduced calorie!!!!  Talk about comfort food without killing the mid-section.... or if you are like me, the butt & thigh area  :)
 
I still have about 2/3 cup of the shredded Mozzarella left which is a plus because it cut some calories out.

 This serves 8 and is about 331 calories and 26 grams of protein. 

Is this something you have tried.  If yes, what do you think?  I want to try it with eggplant next, has anyone tried that?


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