I couldn’t resist jumping on the “meal-in-a-jar” trend that’s making its way around the internet. Those little jars just make everything so darn cute. And, it’s built-in portion control! Since the Seattle summer is starting to fade away and the air has become more crisp, it felt necessary to start adding warm and cozy meals to my weekly menu. What could be better than good ol’ lasagna? It’s easy, delicious, and protein packed. For the mini lasagna, I skipped the noodles, and instead focused on protein and veggies.
Triple Protein (noodle-less) mini lasagnas
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
- 2 cups of your favorite tomato/pasta sauce in a jar (I prefer herb or basil sauces)
- 1 small zucchini, sliced thin
- 1 cup cottage cheese (2% or less) (or ricotta cheese)
- 2 egg whites
- 20 basil leaves, chopped
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp dreid parsley
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 9 Tbsp shredded reduced fat mozzarella
- 6- 7.4 oz clamp jars
- Optional: add in mushrooms, sautéed bell peppers, diced eggplant, yellow squash, or other veggies of your choosing (just remember, there’s only so much room in those little jars!)
- Start by removing the rubber gasket from all jars. (Optional: remove the entire lid from the jar)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- In a large skillet, warm cooking oil over medium heat. Add in onion and garlic, sauté until for 4-5 minutes.
- Add turkey to skillet and brown, keeping onion and garlic in pan.
- Once brown, drain excess liquid. Add in 1.5 cups of tomato sauce, parsley, and oregano. Mix well and reduce heat to low.
- In a small bowl, mix cottage cheese, egg whites, basil, salt, and pepper.
- In a 7.4oz clamp jar, spoon 1 Tbsp of tomato sauce. Next, begin layering each jar: 1. add 4-5 slices of zucchini, 2. 1-2 Tbsp turkey mixture, 3. 4-5 slices zucchini, 4. 1-2 Tbsp cottage cheese mixture, 5. 1-2 Tbsp turkey mixture, 6. 1.5 Tbsp shredded mozzarella.
- Fill all jars, then place them on a lined baking sheet and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes.
- Once cooked, let cool. Store in fridge, covered, for up to 5 days.
I’m having a love affair with collard greens and I’m not sorry. Move over bread and tortillas, there’s a lean green wrapping machine that is taking your spot in my lunch bag.
After having a wrap at my nearby PCC market, I was in heaven. The next day I purchased my very own collard greens and have made wraps for lunch ever since. The beauty about these leaves is that they are tough enough to withstand being filled with goodness and then left to sit in the fridge for 3 days before you eat them. Bread, however, is usually partially soggy by the time I get to work.
This past Sunday, I prepped enough wraps for lunch for the week, then just grabbed them out of my fridge each morning on my way to work. SO EASY! Although you could do just about anything with a collard wraps: humus and veggies, turkey caesar, southwest chicken…… this week it was all about the Thai chicken wrap.
Collard Wrap with Spicy Almond Butter Sauce, Chicken, Cucumbers, Carrots, Bell Pepper, and Thai Basil Leaves
Thai chicken collard wrap
- Collard greens (usually 1-2 leaves per wrap, the bigger the better)
- 15-20 Thai basil leaves
- 1 lb baked chicken breast, diced
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- 1 serving of spicy almond dipping sauce or peanut sauce/dressing of your choosing
- Collard greens have a thick stem and center rib that need to be dealt with first. Start by trimming the stem, then trim down the center rib so that it’s about the same thickness as the leaf. You can go the extra step of making the leaves even more flexible (and less bitter) by blanching them, i.e. placing them in a large saucepan of boiling water for about 30 seconds, then transferring them to an ice bath. If you don’t plan to use all of your collards at once, wrap them in damp paper towels and store them in your fridge for 3-4 days.
- Mix the almond sauce and the diced chicken in a bowl.
- To assemble, lay the collard green in front of you, stem pointing towards you. Like a burrito, add your ingredients towards the end of the leaf nearest to you (Thai basil leaves, chicken/sauce, carrots, cucumber, and bell pepper). Begin to roll the collard up tightly, tucking in the sides of the leaf as you go. Wrap in parchment paper or Saran wrap to keep tight while storing/traveling. I like to cut mine in half and home and then wrap them again in tinfoil so they don’t leak and they are easier to eat.
- Store pre-made wraps in fridge for up to 3 days.
My clients hear me say this all the time, “use your vegetables as your vessel!” What I mean is, skip the white bread, rice, and pasta; look for ways to be creative with your food. You can still have the texture of noodles, but maybe they’re made of broccoli stems. Or, instead of using bread for your sandwich, make a wrap using Boston lettuce or collard greens. I know this can sound weird for many, but with some trial and error, I guarantee that you’ll find some recipes that you love…like this one!
Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 16 thin slices of provolone cheese
- 4 green bell peppers, stem removed, cut in half lengthwise, seeds discarded
- 1/4 pound of deli roast beef, sliced into 1/2-1″ strips
- 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/2″ strips
- 4 cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and place the peppers skin side down.
- In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the mushrooms, roast beef, and spices. Stir fry until the mushrooms are soft, about 2-3 minutes.
- Place the peppers in the oven to cook for 5 minutes.
- Gently remove baking sheet from oven and carefully line each pepper with 1 slice of provolone cheese.
- Scoop the beef-mushroom mixture into each pepper.
- Place baking sheet back in oven and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until pepper is soft.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and add 1 slice of cheese to the top of each pepper. Cook again for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese melted.
- Serve immediately.
Hope you enjoy!