Sunday is the perfect day for comfort food, don’t you think? For hearty meals that are warm and delicious. Oh, and perfect for eating on the couch with sweatpants. Think: Mac & cheese, meatloaf, soup, casseroles, lasagna, etc. Yum.
The downside? Comfort foods tend to be high in sugar and carbohydrates. Wah wuh. Of course, everything in moderation, but anytime I can take a comfort food and make it even a little bit healthier, I’m all ears.
Introducing: Zucchini lasagna.
Recipe inspired by Skinny Taste
- 1 pound of ground turkey
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp basil
- 3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 15 ounce part-skim ricotta cheese
- 8 ounce part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan shredded cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- In a medium sauce pan, brown the turkey and season with salt and pepper. When cooked, drain to remove any fat and set aside.
- Add olive oil to the pan and sauté garlic and onions for 2 minutes. Return the turkey to the pan, add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for at least 30-40 minutes, covered.
- Meanwhile, slice the zucchini into 1/8″ thick slices, add a small amount of salt and set aside for 10 minutes. I learned that zucchini has a lot of water when cooked, and salting it takes out a lot of moisture. After 10 minutes, blot excess moisture with a paper towel.
- On a gas grill or grill pan, grill zucchini on each side, until cooked, about 1-2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- In a medium bowl mix ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg. Stir well.
- In a 9×12 casserole dish, spread some sauce on the bottom and layer the zucchini to cover. Then place some of the ricotta cheese mixture, then top with the mozzarella cheese and repeat the process until all your ingredients are used up. Top with sauce and mozzarella and cover with foil.
- Bake 45 minutes covered at 375°, then uncovered 15 minutes. Let stand about 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
Cheesy… yummy… lots of leftovers. Perfect.
What’s your favorite comfort food? How do you like to make it healthier?
Maybe you’ll try this recipe tonight? I am leaving tomorrow for Atlanta for a work trip, but F&F will be up and running all week. Tomorrow morning I’ll be announcing the details of my April Arms Challenge so make sure to check in for how to sign up. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!
I don’t eat a ton of pasta. But after recently stumbling across this recipe on How Sweet Eats, and almost salivating to death, I knew that I HAD to make it. I figured a Sunday night over a long weekend would be the perfect night for this delicious comfort food. It didn’t take much arm twisting to convince Tim either. Let’s be honest, he’ll jump on any chance he gets to make pasta just cause I’m “in the mood for it.”
We changed the recipe up a bit, and although I’m sure my applesauce substitution doesn’t taste as amazing as brown butter does, I think this recipe is pretty bomb diggity. I mean, I started this post with “holy, moly, cheesy macaroni.”
Better than holy moly to the guacamole…. 😉
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
Recipe inspired by How Sweet Eats
- 3 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta of choice (we used rotini!)
- 4 cups 1/2-inch cubed uncooked butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
- Sprinkling of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Sprinkling of shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- Basil leaves
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare water for pasta and once it comes to a boil, cook pasta according to directions, then drain.
- While water is boiling, heat a large cast-iron (or oven-safe) skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add olive oil, then toss in squash with salt, pepper and nutmeg
- Add stock and cover skillet, cooking for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is soft and can easily be mashed.
- Remove cover and reduce heat to low. Mash squash with a potato masher or forks, smoothing it out with a spoon to remove all the chunks. You could also put in a food processor here.
- Add in milk, however much cheese you want (depends on how cheesy you want your meal!), stirring until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. If mixture still seems way too starchy, add in more milk, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring for a while.
- Stir in applesauce, again mixing for a minute or so until incorporated.
- Add the pasta into the sauce, taking a few minutes to fully toss so all pasta is coated.
- Top with remaining cheese and bake for 15 minutes. If a bubbly, golden topping is desired, broil for 1-2 minutes on high after cooking.
- Sprinkle with basil (or other herbs!) and
stuff your face enjoy!
If you guys make this one, please leave a comment or write on my F&F Facebook page immediately. I must know how it came out!
What’s your favorite Sunday night comfort food? Any other amazing Mac N Cheese recipes out there that I can steal? Do you prefer your pasta hot or cold…?
Hot initially, and then cold for leftovers is how I like it!
And now that I’ve made you all crave cheesy pasta for breakfast, have a fab day.
Tonight I made meatloaf. Well, kind of. I substituted ground turkey for the ground beef. So I guess I should say turkey loaf. Healthier option!
- 1.25 1lbs ground turkey breast
- 1 six oz. container Greek fat free plain yogurt (this definitely made the turkey loaf extra moist!)
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sage (I didn’t have sage so I threw in some basil instead)
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 cloves garlic (If you don’t have garlic you could try 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
To save time, you could also substitute bbq sauce for the topping ingredients!
- Heat oven to 375
- Mix all the loaf ingredients together in a large bowl
- Spread the mixture into a 9 x 5 loaf pan
- Mix the topping ingredients onto the top of the loaf
- Bake uncovered for one hour and 10 minutes
For sides, I made quinoa and asparagus. My go to asparagus recipe is to mix the asparagus with balsamic vinaigrette and minced garlic in a large bowl or ziploc bag, spread them out on a baking sheet, and put in the oven until they look ready.
I really love this picture:
Anyways – dinner tonight was an easy recipe, it just takes awhile to cook. Next time I think I’ll put together all the ingredients the night before so I can just throw it in the oven when I get home from work. Ate a little later than I wanted to tonight, but it was worth the wait!
Great comfort food 🙂
Have a great night – almost the weekend!