Healthy eating is a new journey for me
It is so much easier to eat blindly than attentively; I am definitely guilty of blind eating. If there is something I want, regardless of how much fat and grease may be in it, I am going to eat it. The most satisfying foods, unfortunately, are usually the ones that are most harmful to you. And I cannot tell a lie, for a while I knew my diet was not good. Of course, I had my fair share of fruits and vegetables, but definitely not enough and they definitely didn’t outweigh all the bad stuff I was eating.
As I got older, I started to realize that I needed to transform my menu a tad bit. Now, though I love eating, one of the main things I struggled with was finding recipes I actually liked. There are millions of options on the internet, however, how could I trust that I would really like what I was making? What recipes could I come up with that I knew I would enjoy but also knew would be good for me? Then…it came to me! I could look at what I would cook with my family.
Some of the best recipes have come with cooking with family
One of the best experiences a person can go through is cooking with their family. I absolutely LOVE food and I LOVE having the thing I LOVE with the people I LOVE; it is really an unmatched combination. It is just something so powerful about being in the kitchen with your loved ones. Just watching my family members cook, I learned so much history and culture in just a few pots. The aromas that travel throughout my household brings me so many memories; as soon as a certain spice or scent hits my nose, it’s as if I’ve been placed in a time machine.
In addition to the memories and the history, cooking with family is just overall great quality time. Even when I was young, I may have been too small to reach the top of the stove, but I was always right there, chatting and laughing with the cook. Even now, I always bother my grandma in the kitchen. It’s not enough for me to just sit back and wait for the food to be done, but I want to be present for the whole process. I want to learn what ingredients were added, all the little secrets and what makes the final product finalized. I have never been picky, so from a young age, I always wanted to try something new.
Let’s transform a childhood favorite into a healthy adult option
If there is any food that I could eat on a daily basis—if my body and health permitted it—it would be lasagna. I absolutely love lasagna and it has always been the favorite of my family; my grandma’s lasagna is actually to die for, no exaggeration. However, though I will always need a few pieces of my grandma’s original recipe, I decided to try to update into a healthy adult option. This roasted vegetable lasagna is not only delicious and healthy, but it takes me back home. Thanks to health.com, I can get a great taste and feel good about it.
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Let’s get all the ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups of part-skim ricotta cheese. I’m not always the biggest fan of ricotta—and if you agree—you can replace this with any other part-skim cheese of your choice.
- 3 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese.
- 2 large egg whites. What made my life easier was getting the container of egg whites. I definitely am not good at separating the yolk from the whites, so if you struggle such as I do, get the container!
- 2 garlic cloves, minced.
- ½ cup of fresh and chopped basil.
- 3 cups of marinara sauce.
- No-boil lasagna noodles
- 3 cups of roasted veggies. From peppers to broccoli to spinach to carrots, you can choose them all!
- ½ cup of grated part-skim mozzarella cheese.
- 8-inch baking dish
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Next, we’re going to mix together the first 5 ingredients of the list.
- The best thing about lasagna is how easy it is to make; it is time for layers. We’re going to do sauce noodles, the 5-ingredient mixture, vegetables and repeat, until all the ingredients are used evenly. The last layer should be cheese and sauce.
- Cover with foil, bake for 20 minutes
- Remove foil, throw on some more mozzarella—I definitely always do because I love cheese—and put back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Wait for the cheese to get all lovely and melted and the noodles are tender.
- Remove from oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes; 10 minutes if you’re impatient like me.
- Eat, eat and eat! Each serving is only 391 calories!
Now, I know we have those who like their lasagna with some meat—trust me, I’m right here with you. So, I found another lasagna recipe that is just as healthy and uses a lean meat: turkey! At first, I didn’t think ground turkey would be a viable replacement for ground beef. Come to find out, I was highly mistaken. To all those who want a little meat, here’s a spinach and turkey lasagna recipe from health.com.
Again, we will start by gathering all the essential ingredients.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- 1 medium onion that is chopped; should equate to 2 cups. I like onions, but I don’t like a lot of onion, so if you want to cut back on this amount, please do so. I definitely did.
- 2 garlic cloves, minced.
- ¾ pound of ground turkey breast. What I learned about ground turkey is that it is much better to get breast than anything else. The turkey breast is the leanest, thus containing the least amount of fat and is the healthiest for our bodies. What a fun fact, huh?
- 3 cups of low-sodium marinara sauce.
- 1 ½ cups of part-skim ricotta cheese. Again, I’m not the biggest fan of the ricotta, so I’d replace it with something else.
- 1 10oz package of frozen spinach—or fresh spinach. I, personally, do not have the patience to wait for the spinach to defrost, so I buy it fresh. Additionally, I have never been good at remembering to take stuff out the freezer to defrost; definitely my weakness in the kitchen.
- ¼ cup of chopped parsley.
- 2 egg whites—make sure to remember that container!
- ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper.
- Lasagna noodles. This time, make sure to cook the noodles before they go into the oven.
- ½ cup of shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. Or more…more cheese is always good.
- ¼ cup of shredded parmesan cheese. Again…more!
- 14 x 11 inch lasagna pan.
- First, make sure the oven is preheating to 375 degrees.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and begin to cook the onions until they are softened; should take about 6-7 minutes.
- Next, throw in the garlic, stir, and let that cook for about a minute.
- Then, we’re going to add our ground turkey, making sure to break up the meat as it’s cooking. Make sure there is no pink left! This should take you about 5 minutes.
- Next, add the marinara and bring to a boil. Following, reduce the heat and let all the goodness simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and allow this to slightly cool.
- Combine the ricotta—or other cheese—spinach, parsley, egg whites, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Now, it is layering time. We’re going to do sauce, noodles, ground turkey, cheese-spinach mixture, in that order. Then, repeat until all the goodness is in the pan. Final layer should be sauce and cheese.
- Cover pan loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, just up until the cheese is making you smile.
- Take out over, let it cool a bit and serve!
Though it is not the same goodness that my grandma whips up, these healthy options are still amazing. It’s great to keep childhood traditions going, but, even better to add a dash of healthy to it.