If you prefer, you can experiment with using goat cheese, parmesan, or another kind of cheese, although the ricotta really gives it a nice fluffy texture.
The recipe can be made vegetarian by substituting sauteed portobello mushrooms and/or sauteed ribbons of zucchini for the turkey.
Easy Turkey Spinach Lasagna (Serves 4 people or 1 very hungry fiance)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs lean ground turkey
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
16 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 16-oz jars of marinara sauce (we love Newman's Own Five Cheese Sauce)
2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
16 oz grated mozzarella cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1 package no-cook lasagna noodles
Chopped basil and parsley leaves, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pan over medium-high heat, drizzle the olive oil, then cook the turkey with salt, pepper, garlic, crushed red peper, and oregano until turkey is just cooked through. Drain any extra liquid from the pan. Spray a deep 13 by 9-inch pan with non-stick spray. Cover the bottom with a layer of the noodles. Spread 1/3 of the marinara sauce across the noodles. Sprinkle 1/3 of the grated mozzarella and half the ricotta over the sauce. Cover the cheese with the cooked turkey and half of the spinach. Repeat the above process with the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/3 of the marinara and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Add a final layer of noodles on top, and cover with remaining marinara and mozzarella. Place in the oven and bake until bubbly and golden, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving. Slice and serve. Garnish with parsley and basil.
Need a Monday pick-me-up? These exercises can be done almost anywhere, at any time. For the most part, you won't even need to leave your desk.
- Take a deep breath. A really deep breath. As you inhale, focus on sending breath to any parts of your body where you're feeling tension. Visualize the tension dissipating as you exhale. Now take four more breaths like that.
- Tilt your head to one side until you feel a gentle stretch in your neck. Gently roll your head back, then to the opposite side and then forward. Reverse directions and repeat.
- Use your non-dominant hand to give your dominant hand and wrist a mini-massage. It's amazing how much tension can build up in our hand muscles just from typing, mouse-clicking, etc.
- While seated at your desk, take your left arm and cross it over to your right knee (palm facing up) while raising your right arm up toward the sky for a gentle spinal twist. For you yogis out there, think of this as a seated Triangle pose. Repeat on opposite side.
- Send an email to an old friend or family member you've been meaning to catch up with. Update your friend on your life and ask for an update on his or hers.
- Drink a really big glass of water. Alternately, if you have some tea on hand, make yourself a mug of hot tea and drink it slowly. Add lemon to your water or tea for a refreshing twist.
- If you have any nagging to-dos in the back of your mind (such as making a dental appointment, paying the electric bill, sending a thank-you note, etc.), take a five minutes out of your lunch break and get it done. Most of these things really take no time at all, and yet we spend loads of mental energy trying to remember to do them and/or worrying about them! If you don't have the neccessary supplies/time/whatever to complete the task, at least take a small step toward getting it done, such as looking up the address for whomever you owe a thank-you note.
- Make a mini Gratitude List. Write down five things you are grateful for today (a la Carolyn of Hang on Little Tomato. Carolyn, we must be on the same wavelength as I saw your post while I was writing this!) and tack it up somewhere you can easily see it.
- Raise your arms over your head and behind you in a slight back bend, stretching out your abdominal muscles as you breathe in and out. Repeat several times.
- Visualize the rest of your day going exactly as you want it to. Close your eyes (I promise your cubicle mates won't even notice) and mentally describe what you want to happen. It might go something like, "I will finish X project or Y report, receive positive feedback from a colleague, and take a few moments to clear off my desk at the end of the workday." Now imagine the rest of your evening and do the same visualization. Mine would go something like "I will have an easy commute home, go to the gym and have an intense cardio workout, make healthy and delicious turkey and spinach lasagna for dinner, take a relaxing bath, and go to bed early."
The recipe's fairly malleable. I could see a version with corn or hominy and some pureed Adobo chiles or even celery and bell pepper. It can be made vegetarian by substituting a good vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and adding extra veggies, potatoes, or beans in place of the chicken.
Make extra and bring a thermos of it to work the next day.
Chicken Tortilla Soup (Serves 4)
1 large bag of corn tortilla chips (at some grocery stores, you can find the ones that are already shaped like tortilla strips, but if not, just use your favorite brand of regular tortilla chips)
1 32-oz box or can of chicken broth (we like the boxed Pacific brand)
1 cup water
1 cup canned stewed or diced tomatoes with juices (we used Muir Glen's canned diced tomatoes with roasted garlic)
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 white or Spanish onion, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon dried or fresh oregano
Note: If you have a Mexican seasoning blend, you can use simply 1 teaspoon of that and omit or add very small amounts of the other spices.
12 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Avocado, sliced, and sour cream (or plain yogurt) for garnish
Combine garlic and onion in a large saucepan or soup pot. Sautee until onions are translucent. Add broth, water, tomatoes, bay leaf, garlic powder, cayenne, oregano, cumin, red pepper, garlic powder, and oregano to saucepan; bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken; simmer until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in green onions, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately in large soup bowls. Sprinkle tortilla chips on top, crumbling them with your fingers as you do. Garnish with slices of avocado and a dollop of sour cream if desired.
Because the soup is so spicy, I recommend a little bit of Ciao Bella sorbetto for dessert.
In other botanical news, my succulents (purchased from Home Depot a few months ago) also seem to be thriving. I had never had succulents before, but they are super low-maintenance and just sort of do their thing without a lot of fuss and bother. So here they are, being all succulent. And stuff.
Et enfin, yesterday I splurged and bought myself a dozen pink roses from Whole Foods. Just because. And I'm kind of in love with them. As my soon-to-be sister-in-law said, "It's nice having a man buy you flowers, but once in awhile it feels really good to buy them for yourself." So true.
Image via Urban Outfitters (it is an image I saved awhile ago because I adore the design on the plates, but I just checked their website and don't think they're up there anymore...).
Photo by Alicia Bock via her blog Bloom, Grow, Love.
Any other Ingrid fans out there?
Image via ingridmichaelson.com.
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups dry white wine (you could use red for a richer, fruitier taste)
1 (16-oz) can chopped plum tomatoes (I like the Pomi or San Marzano brand, found at Whole Foods and specialty food stores)
2 cups seafood stock (can be bought pre-made in the soup aisle) or clam juice
20 small (2-inch) hard-shelled clams such as littlenecks, scrubbed
1 pound large shrimp (16 to 20), shelled and deveined
3/4 pound bay scallops (or sea scallops if you prefer)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
Garnish: shredded fresh basil leaves and small whole leaves
While stew is simmering, get your seafood out of the fride and ready to go. Add clams to stew and simmer, covered, until clams just open, 5 to 10 minutes, checking every minute after 5 minutes and transferring opened clams to a bowl with tongs or a slotted spoon. (Discard any unopened clams after 10 minutes.) Lightly season shrimp, and scallops with salt and add to stew, then simmer, covered, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf, then return clams to pot and gently stir in parsley and basil.
Serve immediately in large soup bowls.
Jason has been working for almost the entire weekend because his company is moving to a new office space, and as the IT guru, he's in charge of getting all the computers moved and re-connecting them to the network. It's a bummer because I've hardly gotten to see him at all (he's literally been working until midnight these past couple nights), but on the upside, I have gotten SO much done. It's amazing what a couple days alone (and sans car) can do for one's productivity. Thus far, I have cleaned the kitchen; done the dishes and 3 loads of laundry; cleaned the bedroom and both bathrooms; unpacked some remaining boxes; swapped out my summer clothes for fall/winter clothes; organized my closet; and sorted out some clothes and shoes that need to go to the dry cleaners/shoe repair.
What do you think? Which is your favorite?
Images via luxedeluxe's Etsy shop.
I was feeling a bit under the weather at the beginning of the weekend, but we made it to Harper's Ferry and had a delicious time exploring and whitewater tubing down the Potomac. We had a great meal al fresco at this charming little cafe (I had a fabulous eggplant-pesto-mozzarella sandwich), and we even got in a run along a beautiful trail that runs adjacent to the town. I highly recommend Harper's Ferry as a great daytrip for those of you who live within driving distance! I'll post pictures soon.
I spent yesterday getting in some much-needed R&R, starting with a long hot bath, pedicure, and facial. Then it was time for a couple hours of journaling and working on a book idea (more on that later!) in bed, a mug of coffee in hand. After a yummy lunch (chicken, lettuce, guacamole, scallions, and shredded cheddar cheese on a spinach tortilla wrap), we sprawled out on the couch for a Mad Men marathon (we are almost to the end of Season 2, so don't talk to me about the current season if you watch it!). After dinner and a massage from Jason, I drifted off into a wonderfully relaxed sleep.
Aren't three-day weekends the best?
Other plans include wandering around the town, browsing antique stores, and finding a good coffee shop to settle in with a book.