Thursday, March 28, 2013

Meatless Monday

Thomas and I have recently jumped on the "Meatless Monday" bandwagon. Not only is this a great way to save money (like for a wedding...wink, wink), but it is also a great way to cut calories and reduce the risk of certain health concerns such as heart-disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain forms of cancer. Here are some great recipe ideas for Meatless Monday that will help you take full advantage of the benefits, both for your health and for your wallet.

Spinach Alfredo Pizza
1 can refrigerated pizza dough or pre-made whole wheat pizza crust
1 package frozen spinach
1 package fresh mushrooms
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1-2 cups Mozzarella cheese

Spread the pizza dough out on a greased pizza crisper pan, baking sheet, or pizza stone. Spread Alfredo sauce over the crust. Typically I do not use the entire jar of sauce, but if you like a saucier pizza you certainly could use up the whole jar. Spread out the spinach over the top of the sauce. Sprinkle 1-2 cups (depending on personal preference) of cheese over the top of the spinach. Rinse and dry mushrooms. Slice the mushrooms if they did not come pre-sliced. Top the pizza with mushroom slices. Placing the mushrooms on top will ensure they get cooked all the way through. Bake at 400 degrees until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly. 

Parmesan and Spinach Orzo
2 and 1/2 cups whole wheat orzo
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. flour
1 cup milk (I use skim milk to keep calories down)
2/3 cups spinach, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded, plus extra for garnish 

Cook orzo according to package directions. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper and saute for 1 minute or until onions are translucent. Add flour to form a roux and cook for an additional minute. Add about 1/4 cup of the milk to the pot and whisk to work out any lumps from the roux. When lumps are worked out, add the remaining milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened, about 8 minutes. Add chopped spinach to sauce and cook an additional 2 minutes or until spinach has cooked down. Remove sauce from heat. Stir parmesan cheese into sauce. When cheese has melted, add cooked orzo to sauce and toss to coat. Garnish with extra parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Veggie Fajitas
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2 onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper
Whole-wheat tortillas
Non-fat plain Greek yogurt
Low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
Shredded lettuce

Slice the peppers and onions into this strips. Toss them into a skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic. Drizzle the veggies with olive oil. Sprinkle in chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper to taste. Cook the veggies, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and browning. Top a tortilla with a spoonful of the veggie mixture, then top your fajita with your favorite toppings. I like to add shredded lettuce, a little shredded cheddar, and Greek yogurt. I use the Greek yogurt as a light replacement for sour cream. The yogurt tastes exactly like sour cream, but it contains less fat, fewer calories, and an added punch of protein.

Mexican Flatbread Pizza
Flat Out flat breads
Refried beans
Black beans, drained and rinsed
Sweet corn kernals
Shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomato
Diced jalapeno pepper
Non-Fat plain Greek yogurt

Lay out your flat bread on a hard working surface. Spread a layer of refried beans on each. Top with with a layer of corn, black beans, and jalapeno pepper. Place the pizzas on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees until the flat bread is crispy and the toppings are heated through. Sprinkle each with shredded cheddar cheese and place back in the oven just until the cheese is melted. Top with your desired toppings. I love using shredded lettuce, diced tomato, and Greek yogurt.   

Skinny Lasagna Rolls
  • 10 whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked to al dente (about 8 minutes), well drained
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce (I like Newman's Own)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups baby spinach, loosely packed and chopped well
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups part-skim, shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese (small curd if possible)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add 1 1/4 cups marinara to a 13" x 9" x 2" casserole dish.
    In a large skillet, add oil and heat to medium-low heat. Saute garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chopped spinach and saute until wilted, about 3 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine garlic, spinach, ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, cottage cheese, egg white, oregano, salt and pepper. On a work surface, lined with parchment paper, arrange lasagna noodles flat, add 1/4 cup cheese and spinach mixture to each noodle, spread evenly to cover noodles. Start rolling the noodle at the end closest to you. Place lasagna rolls seam side down, not quite touching, in the prepared casserole dish. Evenly spread 1 cup marinara over rolls, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes, or until cheese is hot and bubbly. If desired, serve rolls with additional heated marinara. 

Corn and Broccoli Calzones
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 20 ounces prepared whole-wheat pizza dough
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 475°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Combine broccoli, corn, mozzarella, ricotta, scallions, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Place a generous 3/4 cup filling on one half of each circle, leaving a 1-inch border of dough. Brush the border with water and fold the top half over the filling. Fold the edges over and crimp with a fork to seal. Make several small slits in the top to vent steam; brush each calzone with oil. Transfer the calzones to the prepared baking sheets. Bake the calzones, switching the pans halfway through, until browned on top, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Healthy Heart Variation: To reduce saturated fat even further, use nonfat ricotta in place of the reduced-fat ricotta. 334 calories, 2 g saturated fat.


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