Saturday, August 27, 2011

Summer Veggie Lasagna with Sage and Balsamic Pork Chops

"Where have I been?" you may be thinking. Well, to be precise, I've been in Boston for the first part of the month and held captive on campus for the last part. Yes, the academic year has begun again and once more the months are rotating around exams, midterms, and academic holidays.

But by no means should this insinuate that I have stopped cooking. On the contrary, I have completed 9 culinary undertakings in the past 48 hours--Apple Pie Cookies, Vanilla Apples with Sweetheart Croutes, Banana Nutella Wontons, Baked Apple Donut Holes, peeling and freezing tomatoes, Summer Veggie Lasagna, Sage and Balsamic Pork Chops, Chilled Cucumber Soup, and Cantaloupe Granita! And stuffed sweet peppers still to come tonight!

(Don't worry...Ryan and I have not been eating all of this ourselves. But most of it.)

This post, however, will just tackle last night's dinner, since I made it up and don't want to forget it!

You can see the Summer Veggie Lasagna up top. I was inspired by a no-noodle lasagna made by the chef teaching one of my food labs (which are the best part of a dietetics major, hands down). But I ventured out on my own with no recipe.

I think it turned out swell. Ryan's commented that adding mushrooms or slicing the squash thinner would be good next time. But the fact that he ate three servings of it made me content with the way it is for the time being.

Summer Veggie Lasagna
Serves 4-5
 olive oil
4 1/2 cups chopped tomato, preferably peeled
1 chopped bell pepper (any color)
1 yellow squash, sliced thinly long-wise
1 zucchini, sliced thinly long-wise
3-4 leaves fresh basil, chopped
1-2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1-2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic
2 oz low-fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup grated mozzarella, divided (I used a pizza cheese mix)
1/2 cup crumbled feta, divided
1 tomato, sliced

Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and bell pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add herbs to tomatoes along with a dash of salt and pepper to taste. Continue to simmer for about 20-25 minutes. You want to reduce it to about 2 1/2 cups.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375. Slice the squash. Place in a zip-lock bag with a little salt and pepper and 1/4-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar. Let sit.

Soften the cream cheese and mix with 1/4 cup each of mozz and feta.

Once tomatoes are done, put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of an 8x8 pyrex dish. Top with one layer yellow squash and one layer zucchini. (You may need to trim the slices to get them to fit.) Sprinkle lightly with a little of one cheese (mozz or feta) and top with some more sauce. Continue layering, alternating cheeses, until squash, cheese, and sauce is gone. Drizzle over a little bit of the balsamic vinegar from the squash bag. Spread cream cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle with some more mozz. Arrange tomato slices however you desire.

Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes.

I love that these nutrition facts are for a 4x4 piece!

Nutrition Facts
  4 Servings

Amount Per Serving
  Calories 241.3
  Total Fat 14.1 g
      Saturated Fat 7.1 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
      Monounsaturated Fat 5.1 g
  Cholesterol 36.9 mg
  Sodium 373.2 mg
  Potassium 910.3 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 19.4 g
      Dietary Fiber 4.6 g
      Sugars 2.2 g
  Protein 12.6 g

The second thing I made last night was a new pork chop recipe. I am never completely satisfied with my pork chops, because I buy the cheap, thin boneless ones...and so usually overcook them. But this sauce is fabulous. I followed the recipe exactly, except for only using 2 pork chops and making enough sauce for 6. :)

Check out the awesome peach tomato in our salad!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

English Scones

Somehow, my friends and I feel unfulfilled if we don't make scones when we get together. Here you can witness for the first time the publication of one of our many, many scone productions. We've tried fluffy ones and flaky ones, berry ones and chocolate ones, flat ones (by mistake!) and lumpy ones, round ones and triangle ones.

These are more like the traditional British scone. No fillings...more like a biscuit, really. Meant to be topped with jam and cream and lemon curd!

I used the lemon curd recipe from one of my other posts. The scone recipe, on the other hand, was new. It was in metric units and used self-rising below you can find the converted recipe and substitutions for the flour.

Traditional Scones
Makes 21

3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (you can use milk)
1 egg (for top)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together. Rub butter in using fingers or forks until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add sugar and applesauce (or milk) and mix until it forms a soft dough. Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth. Pat into a 1" thick round. Cut out rounds using a 3 inch biscuit cutter. Place on a baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Bake for about 12-15 minutes.

Amount Per Serving

  Calories    131.9

  Total Fat    4.2 g

         Saturated Fat    2.5 g

         Polyunsaturated Fat    0.3 g

         Monounsaturated Fat    1.1 g

  Cholesterol    10.4 mg

  Potassium    34.6 mg

  Total Carbohydrate    20.5 g

         Dietary Fiber    0.7 g

         Sugars    3.8 g

  Protein    2.8 g

We had some fun with the shapes.