Food, Nutrition and Cooking

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Being lactose intolerant has had me missing out on certain foods. Craving lasagna yesterday, I was inspired to come up with the following recipe:

Vegetarian (or not!) Spinach/Tofu Lasagna (c)ChefUptothePlate-2013

8 oz oven ready lasagna (the kind that does not need boiling, a great invention- I like Delverde w/tomato but any type will do)

1 lb ground chicken breast, cooked with zucchini as below (chicken is OPTIONAL)

1 pkg (~14 oz) firm tofu, rinsed and drained

8 oz soy mozzarella cheese, shredded (I like Trader Joes best)

20 oz spinach (frozen, chopped works great, just thaw and drain)

1 small zucchini, chopped into small dice and sauteed for a minute or 2. 

1 jar pasta sauce (25-32 oz) – I like one with basil 

2 T Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)

Place tofu in a large bowl and using a pastry blender or 2 knifes, chop it up until it resembles ricotta cheese in texture. Add all the other ingredients except the noodles and the pasta sauce. Combine well. 

Preheat oven per lasagna noodle package. Layer noodles, pasta sauce and mixed ingredients in that order until tofu/spinach mixture is used up. End with noodles, sauce. Cover with foil and bake about 1/2 hour. Remove foil, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano if you’d like, turn heat up to about 400 degrees and bake for about 5 more minutes.

No one will know that this lasagna is not made in the traditional manner. It tastes like Nonni  used to make. 


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What’s in your pantry TODAY?

Inspired by the cold weather and my theme of using food on hand, I present a recipe for a Vegan Lentil Salad – 6 servings

2 cups lentils (french or regular)

2 cups vegetable stock

2 cups water

1 cup dry white wine

2 bay leaves

2 leeks, finely chopped

2 large carrots, finely chopped

In a large saucepan combine lentils, water, broth, wine and bay leaves. Simmer about 20 minutes. Add carrots and leeks and simmer another 15 minutes.

Drain lentils and combine with the following mustard dressing:

2 cloves of minced garlic

2 T dijon mustard

3 T red wine vinegar (not balsamic)

1/3 cup grapeseed oil or canola oil (olive oil is a little heavy -flavored for this salad)

Whisk the dressing together, add the herbs and the greens as below:

1 t dried thyme or marjoram

1 cup pea shoots, parsley, alfalfa sprouts or other mild flavor green, finely chopped

Taste for salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature




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What’s in your pantry?

It can be fun to create a meal based on what’s in your pantry and refrigerator. Tonight’s creation – Cauliflower Soup

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed

1/4-3/4 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)

1 1/2 T olive oil

1 head cauliflower, chopped in bite sized pieces

32 oz low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup grated low fat cheddar cheese

In soup pot, saute onion, garlic and pepper flakes in olive oil until just translucent. Add cauliflower and broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until cauliflower is softened. Take off the heat and puree with an immersion blender in the pot (alternately you can puree in food processor blender in batches). Add grated cheese and serve. 

Serves 4-6