Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quick and Easy Baked Polenta/Zucchini Italiano

I Love this recipe! It takes about 15 minutes to prepare (if that) and about 30  to bake. Vegan's can omit the cheese, but it doesn't taste the same without it.

1-18 ounce pre-cooked, packaged organic polenta, sliced into 1" rounds
1-26 ounce jar marinara sauce
4- 6 zucchini squash, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
3 whole tomatoes sliced thin-12 to 13 slices
1/2 Cup parmesan cheese
fresh or dried basil

Line a glass rectangular baking dish with 1/2 jar of tomato sauce
Layer zucchini squash on top of sauce
Pour the remaining sauce over zucchini
Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Place the polenta on top of sauce
Top the polenta with the sliced tomatoes
Top tomatoes with fresh or dried basil and remaining parmesan cheese

Bake @ 350 for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and zucchini is soft.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Capresse Salad with Fresh Basil and Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is the Easiest and Most Beautiful Salad ! I made it for my Mother's 87th Birthday Celebration. It takes a bit of prep time.

6 pounds heirloom tomatoes, sliced thick
1 pound buffala mozzarella cheese, Sliced or Set in Center of Platter whole 
1 bunch fresh basil
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
1 head washed leaf lettuce

Line a Large Platter with Leaf Lettuce or fig leaves
Slice tomatoes
Place Basil Leaves on top of Tomatoes
Sprinkle with Vinaigrette and Salt and Pepper
Let marinate for 30 minutes
Enjoy :)

Leg Day!

Most of the people I know @ The Gym Absolutely abhor leg day. I have very mixed feelings since my legs have been my nemesis pretty much most of my life. I look forward to changing up the routine every day just to keep things interesting.

30 minutes on the Elliptical Interval Training-Burn 360 Calories
10 minute full body stretch
Bosu-Balance: Full Body Workout-3 Sets of 20 Reps Each Exercise
Standing Squats, Standing Lunges, Kneeling on 1 knee Kick Backs, Round Side Down Push-ups
Machine Hamstring Curls 2 Sets of 15 Reps
Dead lifts with 25 Pound Bar 3 Sets of 25 Reps
Back Extensions-2 Sets of 20 Reps
Squats in Place-No Weight 2 Sets of 25
Walking Lunges-25 paces and run back to start
Lunges in Place-No Weight 2 Sets of 20 Reps Each Leg
Doogie Lifts on Bench
20 Minutes on Treadmill-Interval Train Burn 140 Calories
Ab Routine:
Standing Leg Lifts-2 Sets of 20 Reps-Knee Bent (Thank you very much)
Reverse Crunches-Leg Lifts on slant-1 Set of 20
More Reverse Lunges on Mat holding on to a bar 1 Set of 25
Regular Crunches-2 sets of 25
Reach-ups to opposite toe-2 Sets of 20 Each
*New One* (For me anyway)-Lie on back Stretch out right leg off the ground, Bend left knee and put toe under right leg for support. Right Hand behind your head and reach to your Left knee keeping your back pushed into the mat engaging your abs. It is like a more intense, one sided bicycle kick. Do it slowly for a great challenge. It works on the Love Handles too! I did 1 Set of 15 Reps each side
Stretch More on Mat
During the Workout I consumed 32 Ounces of water and a small apple and immediately after I had a protein bar right away because I was STARVING!- this is called a catabolic state in scientific terms. Do not let yourself get that way because it can get dangerous if your blood sugar gets too low. Keep a snack handy such as a clif bar or a small apple.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Artichoke Stuffed Zucchini Boats on a bed of Balsamic Infused Spaghetti Squash

When the pantry is getting low, I come up with creative ways to use the ingredients I have on hand. The trick is to have a varied shopping list and ALWAYS have fresh veggies on hand. This recipe requires some prep time, so give yourself ample time to have it ready for dinner. It is Not quick and easy and my kitchen was a mess after making this one, so plan out cleaning as you go.

Preheat oven to 375

1 whole spaghetti squash
4 large zucchini squash 
1/2 purple onion, diced
1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small red bell pepper,chopped
herbs of choice~ basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, sage or dill are great choices
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Sauce for Spaghetti Squash Ingredients:
1.5 cups organic, no sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 brown onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut spaghetti squash in half, remove seeds and place face down on seasoned cookie sheet
Bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and Squash peels off inside and looks like noodles. They will have a crunchy texture
While the squash is baking, prepare the zucchini by slicing lengthwise then in half. Scoop out the insides of the zucchini with a grapefruit spoon, chop up and place in a large bowl. Line Up zucchini on an oiled baking sheet as shown below
Chop up artichoke hearts and place in bowl with zucchini
Saute onions, garlic and peppers until tender
Add the zucchini and artichoke mixture.
Season to taste with Fresh or dried Herbs of choice. There are salt free herb and spice mixtures that work great too.
Fill up Zucchini (Boats) with the mixture, Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and top is Golden. (I also toasted a piece of whole grain bread and grated some on top for browning)
Scoop out Spaghetti Squash and add a small amount of Olive Oil while preparing sauce
To Prepare Sauce for Spaghetti Squash:
Pour 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth into a well heated pan
Add chopped onion and saute for about 10 minutes. Add herbs of choice, Salt and Pepper. Salt is Always optional.
Cook uncovered to reduce
Add  2T  balsamic vinegar and continue to simmer and reduce to a thicker sauce.
Pour on top of spaghetti squash and toss with tongs with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Place in a large serving dish and keep warm. I kept mine in my iron skillet
Place Stuffed Zucchini on top of Spaghetti Squash and Serve