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I love pasta, vegetables and cheese so I am sure to enjoy any recipe I can make that includes all three of them, so a vegetarian lasagna really gets me salivating. Unfortunately, because I am gluten free, I often cannot order pasta dishes at restaurants, but at least there are a lot of gluten free pasta brands available at the grocery store. I usually stick to whole grain brown rice pasta (whole grains provide fiber and other essential vitamins and minerals and are important for heart health) and my favorite brand is Jovial. It doesn’t get mushy or anything like some of the other rice pastas, and I even make a special trip to a Publix that is farther from my house every once in awhile so I can stock up on it (it is that good).

If you are gluten free just make sure you use a gluten free (and whole grain) lasagna noodle and gluten free tomato sauce. Vegetables, eggs and cheese are naturally gluten free, but always check your labels just in case! If you are not gluten free, I would recommend choosing any whole grain lasagna noodle.

Making a whole lasagna seems like a daunting task to me, especially when I am just cooking for myself and my husband. Instead of filling a giant pan with layers upon layers of lasagna, I decided to roll up the lasagna noodles with a cheese and spinach mixture, top with a spicy red pepper tomato sauce, mushrooms and shredded cheese. I really like this idea cause everything is already portioned into 8 rolls. I planned on only eating 1 roll but I managed to stuff a second one in… I couldn’t help myself…it was so good. (I’m pretty sure my husband had 3 though so I don’t feel that guilty)

 

Lasagna roll ups

Ingredients
8 Whole Grain Lasagna Noodles
1 cup Nonfat or Reduced Fat Ricotta Cheese
1 Egg
1 10 ounce Package Frozen Spinach, thawed, excess water squeezed out
1 1/2 cups of Fresh Sliced Mushrooms
1 2/3 cups Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup Shredded Reduced Fat Four Cheese Italian
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. In an 8×8″ glass pan add 2/3 cup of tomato sauce and spread to cover bottom. Add ricotta, egg, spinach and 1/4 cup shredded cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Add garlic, basil and oregano. Mix well. Allow cooked noodles to cool slightly and lay out on a cutting board or baking sheet. Spoon 3 tablespoons of cheese/spinach mix on each noodle, spreading down the length of the noodle. Roll each noodle up and place seam side down in pan with tomato sauce. Sprinkle mushrooms over top after all 8 noodles are rolled up in the pan. Pour a cup of tomato sauce and a quarter cup shredded cheese evenly over the roll ups. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min or until it is piping hot inside and mushrooms on top are soft.
 Vegetarian Lasagna Roll ups in Pan
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“Winter” has been full swing in South Florida the past few weeks…. which is actually pretty nice weather. Being from up north, it is “light jacket” weather to me, but I have seen quite a few people in winter coats and boots and a lot of people sick with colds. I did catch a bit of a cold the other week (wash your hands as often as possible and try not to touch your face!) so I made a nice warm soup with curry spices that really helped open up my sinuses and soothe my throat. Adding herbs and spices to soups and other foods is not only important for flavor but many spices also provide an array of health benefits. Turmeric, an essential ingredient in curries and curry powder contains a powerful substance called curcumin, which may decrease inflammation and provide many different health benefits. Some of these health benefits that have been studied include cancer prevention, memory improvement and treatment of arthritis.

If you are interested in more information on health benefits of different spices and how to use them here is a great link I found:

Think Spice: 8 Spices with Health Benefits

And now that you learned something today…on to making a delicious and nutritious soup! 🙂

 

Curry Chicken Tomato Soup

Ingredients
1.5 pounds chicken thighs – bone in
4 cups unsalted chicken broth
4 cups water
1 can no salt added diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
1.5 cups chopped celery
14 ounces petite purple potatoes (about 8-9 potatoes), cut into bite sized pieces
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander

Directions
Remove skin from chicken thighs and trim off as much excess fat as possible. Place chicken in a 5 quart Dutch oven with chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and allow chicken to cook for ~30 minutes. Remove chicken from broth with a slotted spoon and place on a plate or cutting board and allow to cool a bit. Turn heat back up to high and add potatoes, celery, tomatoes (along with any juices from the can) and spices to the broth. While the veggies are cooking, pull apart chicken with a fork and knife into bite sized pieces and discard bones. Once veggies are tender add chicken back to broth and turn down to simmer for a few minutes to warm chicken and meld flavors. Serve immediately.

Curry Chicken Soup 007

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Soup is such a great comfort food. Especially in the winter when you are sick with a cold. It can help provide warmth and nutrients to help fight off your cold, prevent dehydration and help get you back to feeling like yourself. So for all those sick with a cold right now, get better soon and enjoy a nice bowl of soup 🙂

 

Chicken and White Bean Soup with Veggies

Ingredients:

1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

4 Cups Unsalted Chicken Stock

4 Cups Water

1 Can Reduced Sodium White Beans, Rinsed and Drained

2 Cups Sliced Carrots

2 Cups Chopped Celery

1 6 oz Bag of Baby Spinach

1/2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper

1 Tsp Basil

1 Tsp Oregano

 

Directions:

Add chicken breast, stock and water to Dutch Oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for ~20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside. Remove chicken from pot and place on a plate or cutting board. Add carrots and celery to simmering pot along with black pepper, basil and oregano. While veggies are cooking, cut chicken into bite size pieces  and add back to pot when veggies are tender and cooked through. Add beans and spinach to pot and continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes until everything is warm and spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and serve.

 

Chicken and White Bean Soup with Veggies

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