Zucchini Lasagna

This Zucchini lasagna is lighter than your typical lasagna but equally delicious! You won’t even miss the noodles in this healthy flavour-packed dish perfect for the whole family!

   Zucchini Lasagna

Happy New Year everyone!

I know that I kind of fell off the face of the earth last year. Sorry!! Wedding planning took over my life. It was a beautiful time, but now I’m ready to get back to blogging with the start of a new year.

I know that lots of people right now are in “New Year, New Me” mode, but with all of this cold wintery weather, are also craving comfort food. Big dilemma, right? So I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce one of my favourite lightened up recipes!

The problem with a lot of comfort foods is that they tend to be pretty heavy and not always the most waist-friendly options. Which is not such a problem if you’re having them once in a blue moon.

BUT if you’re anything like me and go into hibernation mode during the winter, these types of warm and comforting meals might be happening on a more regular basis.

Comfort foods are some of my favourite recipes to transform into lightened up versions that taste equally amazing to the original version, if not better!

Zucchini Lasagna

Let’s talk about lasagna for example.

Long strips of noodles, gooey cheese, meat sauce, sometimes a nice cream sauce…YUM, butttt not the lightest recipe of all times. Especially when one small piece never quite seems to be enough.

Now what about if we subbed in long thin strips of zucchini instead of the noodles, used slightly less cheese, and subbed in extra lean ground beef or chicken?

Voila!

A lightened up version of lasagna that I actually prefer over the regular lasagna!

Zucchini Lasagna

Why, you might ask?

Well, as weird as it sounds, sometimes I find that regular lasagna gets a little hard and crusty along the top and edges. I’m not sure about you, but I prefer not to have hard chewy noodles and cheese on my lasagna. No hard and chewy noodles allowed!

The moisture from the zucchini noodles solves this problem! Say buh-bye to super hard and chewy noodles.

Plus, the zucchini incorporates another source of veggies AND lowers the overall carbohydrate content, which is perfect if you’re looking for a lighter dish.

When combined with the ricotta cheese, tomato sauce and ground chicken, I swear, this one is a keeper!

Hope you enjoy!!

Zucchini Lasagna

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 large zucchini, washed but not peeled
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef (can also used ground chicken)
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp. whole-wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Use a microplane slicer to slice the zucchini into long strips, about a ¼ inch thick. Lay zucchini strips on some paper towel in a single layer. Sprinkle both sides of the zucchini strips lightly with salt, and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to allow them to sweat out their moisture.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Add the ground chicken and continue cooking and stirring until the meat is browned, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes and continue to cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the marinara sauce, bring to a simmer, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer about 10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the ricotta, mozzarella, egg and nutmeg.
  5. Use fresh paper towel to wipe the salt and moisture from the zucchini strips. Gently squeeze the strips between the fresh paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  6. Build the lasagna by sprinkling the bottom of the prepared baking dish with 1 teaspoon of whole-wheat bread crumbs. Lay 1/3 of the zucchini slices in the bottom of the pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon 1/3 of the marinara sauce over them, then spread half the cheese mixture over the sauce. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon breadcrumbs, and then layer with half of the remaining zucchini slices. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over them, and then spread the rest of the cheese mixture over the top. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon bread crumbs. Finish with remaining marinara sauce mixture. Sprinkle lightly with grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake until bubbling, about 50 minutes. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Elysia, XOXO
Apple Spiced Tea

Warm up with this delicious and healthy Apple Spiced Tea! All of the flavours of autumn in one beverage!

apple-spiced-tea-6

Can you believe that it’s fall already?! Like, seriously! Where did this year go?

As much as fall seemed to come out of nowhere, I’ll admit that there is a part of me that really likes the season. I kind of like when it gets a little chilly outside because it gives me an excuse to get out all of my warm and fuzzy sweaters.

Nothing is better than bundling up in those cozy sweaters!

I also love the thought of going apple picking, and the scent of the warm apple cider brewing in the farmhouse where I go to pick up apples.

And then snuggling up by the fireplace after a chilly afternoon outside?

Mmm yeah.

Can you tell that I’m just a big ol’ suck?

Give me warmth and cozy blankets and sweaters, and I’m good to go!

Apple Spiced Tea

That’s one of the reasons why I love this Apple Spiced Tea. It reminds me so much of autumn.

And it’s the perfect way to warm up, without having a large impact on the waistline.

I swear there have been times that I make this tea just to make my house smell like apples and cinnamon.

Who needs an air freshener when you have Apple Spiced Tea?!

Plus, it’s such an easy beverage to prepare that you CAN make it just to smell it!

I guarantee that it wouldn’t last very long though as an air freshener. The smell would just linger to the point that you would NEED to drink some.

Apple Spiced Tea

So let’s get back to the easy part.

All that you need is some black tea bags, whatever type you prefer. And then some unsweetened apple cider. You can also use apple juice if you don’t have access to the apple cider. And don’t forget the cinnamon sticks!

The cinnamon sticks are my favourite part because they add that gorgeous smell.

I recommend leaving the cinnamon sticks sitting in your drink a little bit longer if you really love the sweet and spicy taste. Sometimes I’ll just put a batch of this Apple Spiced Tea in a slow cooker and let it sit there for the day to infuse all of the flavour.

apple-spiced-tea-5

It’s the perfect beverage to serve for company at a fall gathering (HINT: It would be a great drink to serve at Thanksgiving!)

As an added bonus, it’s full of vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help to ward off illness and aging. Who doesn’t want to slow down the process of aging? If this beverage can help prevent wrinkles, I’m definitely in!

Plus, it has half the sugar of a glass of juice and the cinnamon can help prevent spikes in your blood sugar (AKA less moodiness, more energy, and better overall health for your body!)

So cozy up, embrace fall, and enjoy a cup of Apple Spiced Tea!

Apple Spiced Tea

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 black tea bags
  • 2 cups unsweetened apple juice or cider

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring water and cinnamon sticks to a boil. Add tea bags. Remove from heat; cover and steep for 3 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks and tea bags. Stir in apple cider and heat through. Enjoy!

Elysia, XOXO
Southwestern Quinoa Salad

This vegetarian quinoa salad is bursting with southwestern flavours and make the perfect healthy main dish or side!

 Southwestern Quinoa Salad | Haute & Healthy Living

I absolutely love quinoa and I’m always looking for new ways to spruce it up! Lately Matt and I have been basing a lot of our meals on a Mexican theme because we really enjoy the flavours. We decided to make each weekend a different cuisine to inspire us to try different recipes from around the world. It’s a great concept….except we keep doing Mexican over and over again because we just can’t get enough!

Southwestern Quinoa Salad | Haute & Healthy Living

One weekend, along with the rest of our Mexican spread we made this Southwestern Quinoa Salad. It was so delicious and refreshing…perfect for the warmer temperatures! With every bite, it just reminded me of summer. This salad is filling enough to be served as a main dish because it’s packed full of fibre and protein, but it can also be served as a side.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Southwestern Quinoa Salad | Haute & Healthy Living

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups no salt added chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large handful parsley, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil; add quinoa and cumin. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, corn kernels, beans, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and onion. Pour lemon dressing over top and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate salad for at least 1 hour to allow flavours to meld, or up to 2 days.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad | Haute & Healthy Living

Nutrients per serving:

Servings: 8 • Calories: 221 • Fat: 11 g • Carbohydrates: 26 g • Fibre: 4.5 g • Protein: 6 g • Sugar: 2 g • Sodium: 23 mg • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Elysia, XOXO
Asparagus & Tomato Salad

This asparagus and tomato salad is light, refreshing and bursting with flavour. The perfect side dish to serve at your next summer BBQ! 

  Asparagus & Tomato Salad | Haute & Healthy Living

Last week we finally pulled out the barbecue…it’s about time….it’s almost May for crying out loud! I absolutely LOVE barbecue season. Everything just tastes SO much better on the grill. We’ve been whipping up lots of delicious meals from these Roasted Garlic & Chicken Feta Burgers to these flavourful BBQ Chips Chicken Kabobs. One of my favourite meals to have when the warmer weather hits is grilled up chicken or burgers along with a delicious and refreshing salad.

Asparagus & Tomato Salad | Haute & Healthy Living

Enter this amazing Asparagus & Tomato Salad. I originally got inspired to whip up this salad because this month at work, we’re featuring foods for digestive health. Asparagus and tomatoes just happen to be a source of prebiotics which provide food for the probiotics or healthy bacteria in our digestive tract. When I served this salad up, I never imagined it would be such a hit! Who would’ve thought that asparagus and tomatoes would taste so delicious together! And the dressing is out of this world. The avocado provides a wonderful creaminess to the dressing and the feta pumps up the flavour, while adding some protein. This salad might just become a new favourite at those summer BBQs ;)

Asparagus & Tomato Salad | Haute & Healthy Living

Asparagus & Tomato Salad

Yield: 8-10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • 2 pints cherry and grape tomatoes in varied colours, halved
  • 1/2 cup crumbled light feta cheese
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add asparagus and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine asparagus, tomatoes, avocado, feta cheese and basil. Toss until evenly distributed.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the asparagus mixture and toss to combine.

Asparagus & Tomato Salad | Haute & Healthy Living

Nutrients per serving:

Servings: 8• Calories: 194 • Fat: 9 g • Carbohydrates: 5 g • Fibre: 2 g • Protein: 5 g • Sugar: 2 g • Sodium: 175 mg • Cholesterol: 8 mg

Elysia, XOXO