March Madness 2013 Favorite Recipes

This month I thought I’d share a few favorite recipes that I personally enjoy. They aren’t necessarily in line with “March Madness” at all, but by March, we’re all feeling somewhat squirrelly for spring, particularly those who are still caught in snow. So here are a couple great, tasty recipes for you to try, and adapt at will.

Simple Fruit Smoothie

You don’t have to go to a juice bar to get one. My favorite includes a combination of fruit (a banana + citrus/pineapple/berries), milk or juice (depending on what you’re tossing in it), flaxseed meal (for fiber), and even some light protein shake powder. (The husband also likes adding ice.) Toss it all into a blender and blend until it reaches the consistency you desire. This is a do-it-as-you-like-it quick snack or meal without added sugar!

Spinach Lasagna

This one isn’t necessarily the healthiest meal on the planet, perhaps, but lasagna is traditionally comfort food for Americans. I found this recipe recently online. It’s quicker than my meat-based one, and can be altered to make it healthier or vegan with substitutions like tofu cheeses, gluten-free noodles, and more vegetables. NOTE: noodle layer numbers are recommendations; I ended up using more per layer, and doubled the recipe.

1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

2 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped spinach

1/2 onion, choped

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried basil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 (32 oz) jar spaghetti sauce

1.5 c. water

2 c. non-fat cottage cheese

1 (8 oz) pkg. part skim mozzarella cheese shredded

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1 egg

8 oz. lasagna noodles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a large pt over medium heat, saute spinach, onion oregano, basil, and garlic in the olive oil. Pour in spaghetti sauce and water; simmer 20 minutes. In a large bowl, mix cheeses, parsley, salt, pepper, and egg.

3. Place a small amount of sauce in the bottom of the lasagna pan. Place 4 uncooked noodles on top of sauce and layer with sauce. Add 4 more noodles and layer with 1/2 of both the sauce and cheese mixture; repeat layering until finished, topping with noodles.

4. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven for 55 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Feta and Sun-dried Tomato Bean Dip

This one I got from a friend, and love it so well, I eat it by the dish when I want it. It’s easy to make. The original recipe calls for canellini beans, but I cannot find those where I live so I use pinto. Everything is to taste. In addition to the beans, you need garlic cloves, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and feta cheese.

1. Soak dried sun-dried tomatoes in warm water for about 5 minutes.

2. Drain beans and rinse. In a food processor, chop 2+ cloves of garlic with olive oil. Add beans, salt and pepper, and process, adding lemon juice a little at a time for taste and consistency. Scrap bowl and blend again to ensure a creamy texture. Transfer to a dish.

3. Chop rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes and add to beans. Then add feta cheese as desired. Stir together with spatula. Eat fresh (for milder taste), or refrigerate for 2+ hours.

4. Serve with corn chips, pita chips, crackers, fresh bread, etc.


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