Archive | May, 2011

Meatless Monday: Spaghetti Squash Torta

30 May


I originally saw this recipe as a guest post from Cara’s Cravings on Clean and Delicious with Dani Spies, but it was when I saw Danica’s Daily make it that I just knew I would have to try it. I am always more apt to make a recipe when I’ve seen it a couple times in the blogosphere, especially when one of the bloggers who made it happens to be one of my favorite bloggers. (Did I mention that I met Danica last week while she was in town for a conference? You can find a picture of us and my friend Amy of Round is a Shape here.)

It was actually pretty soon after her post, way back in December, that I tried making this dish for the first time. And it was delicious. Seriously yummy. BUT it was a huge mess. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but mine did not set up and was just a bit of a slop. However, since it tasted so good, I decided to try it again. While it might look mostly set in the picture, I can assure you it was not. So for the second time this recipe was tasty but soupy, and for that reason alone, it’s not one I will make again. I just can’t get over the texture or the big mess it makes as it “settles” after removing the springform pan.

But since I seem to be the only one having this problem, I am going to pass it along to you. I made a meatless version, using a combination of mushrooms, zucchini, and seasonings in place of the sausage, and I think that was a fantastic compromise for those who typically love meat. With the right herbs and spices, I didn’t miss the sausage at all. I also thought the spaghetti squash made a great pasta substitute in this dish, and had it not been so labor-intensive for such unreliable results, I would make it again no question.

Spaghetti Squash Torta

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
6 ounces baby spinach
1 large egg
15 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
2 cups marinara sauce
2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

To roast the squash, preheat oven to 400°F. Pierce the squash all over with a sharp knife and place in a baking dish with about 1″ of water. Cook for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and then use two forks to remove the stringy flesh.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

In a large skillet coated with 2 teaspoons oil, cook the onions over medium-low heat for about 10 minute, until softened. Add the mushrooms and zucchini, and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, until they release their moisture. Add the garlic, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and remaining spices. Season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat a bit, and cook for another minute, until garlic is fragrant. Finally, add the spinach, a few handfuls at a time, stirring until wilted. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, mix together the cooked spaghetti squash, egg, ricotta cheese, half of the Asiago cheese, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning.

Lightly coat an 8″or 9″ spring-form pan with cooking spray. Place half of the spaghetti squash mixture evenly on the bottom of the pan. Top with half of the vegetable mixture and half of the sauce. Repeat layers. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of the sauce.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until top is browned.

Let stand for 10 minutes, then un-mold and slice.

Makes 6 servings
Modified from Cara’s Cravings, as featured on Clean and Delicious with Dani Spies

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CEiMB: Lemon-Ginger Iced Tea with Berry Cubes

26 May


Hello! Welcome to my new home :) As much as I loved my old blog, this one is much more me both in name and style, and I really hope you’ll all enjoy it. Now, for my inaugural post, I felt like I had to make my debut with something that is equally “me.” Enter this week’s CEiMB recipe chosen by Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet.

How is this recipe so fitting, you may ask. Well, let me tell you. I am an avid tea drinker ever since a friend turned me on to some herbal blends from a posh loose leaf tea store in the mall. I make it a habit of having at least a couple glasses of tea a day. Usually herbal, almost always decaf. Add to that the fact that I have been a member of CEiMB for a couple years now and love the group of bloggers that participate, it seemed like the perfect time to show off the new site.

This beverage is so simple! Since I had blueberries in the freezer and bagged decaffeinated green tea in the cupboard, I used them instead of fresh raspberries and white tea called for in the original recipe. I put about 4 berries in each compartment of an ice cube tray, filled with water, and popped in the freezer. Next up I worked on boiling the tea mixture, let it steep as directed, then put it in the fridge overnight. Overall, it took me less than five minutes of work. Very easy.

While I was worried the tea might be a bit too spicy given the amount of ginger, I actually loved it. It wasn’t too overpowering and paired nicely with the sweetness of the honey and the slight bitterness of the tea. The blueberry cubes added not only a dash of pretty color but a lovely fruity flavor as well. The tart blueberry and lemon contrasted nicely with the sweet and spicy honey-ginger mixture. It was a very refreshing iced drink for a hot May afternoon! This would also be a great hot tea or used for easing any indigestion or nausea too since we all know ginger is great for stomach ailments.

Lemon-Ginger Iced Tea with Berry Cubes
1 cup frozen blueberries plus water for ice cube trays
1/3 cup honey
8 cups water, divided
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) coarsely chopped fresh ginger
12 green tea bags
1/2 cup lemon juice

Place about 4 blueberries in each compartment of an ice cube tray, 6 hours before serving iced tea. Fill with water and freeze.

Place honey, 2 cups water and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Let mixture steep for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, then strain out solids.

In a pitcher combine strained liquid with 6 cups water and lemon juice. Chill in refrigerator.

To serve, place ice cubes in a tall glass and pour iced tea over cubes.

Makes 6 servings, approximately 1 1/2 cups tea and three ice cubes
Adapted from “Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger

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