Lemon orzo with spinach is creamy, cheesy, and bursting with flavor! It’s an easy, but delicious meal that is ready in less than 30 minutes with minimal cleanup!
1 tablespoonolive oil 2 cloves garlic, sliced 2 cups kale, chopped 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth ½ cup heavy cream 1 cup orzo 3 cups baby spinach, stems removed ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 lemon, juiced and zested Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute. (Do not overcook or garlic will burn, and garlic will be bitter) Add the kale and sauté for a minute until it starts to wilt. 2. Stir in vegetable broth and heavy cream; bring to a simmer. 3. Stir in orzo and cook for 9 minutes or until al dente. 4. Stir in spinach. 5. Turn off the heat and stir in parmesan, lemon juice, and lemon zest. 6. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Can substitute with whole wheat orzo (although it is not always available in grocery stores) Substitute any hearty dark leafy green for the kale like collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, etc.
Do you have an Instant Pot and don’t know where to start? I am still getting the hang of it, but I’ve mastered how to make PERFECT hard-boiled and soft-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the American Egg Board and the Egg Nutrition Center. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!
What Can the Instant Pot Do?
215,000+ Amazon customers purchased the Instant Pot on Prime Day alone. Now that it’s in everyone’s kitchen they are looking for new recipes to try.
The Instant Pot is a single appliance that does the job of seven (yes, seven!) different kitchen appliances. It can handle the tasks of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and a warming pot. Think of all those appliances taking up space in your kitchen that can be replaced by one.
New to using the Instant Pot? Learn about these seven tips for efficiently using your Instant Pot.
While I am still learning all the functions of the Instant Pot, the first technique I mastered was preparing hard and soft-boiled eggs.
How Are Eggs Healthy?
One large egg has 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids. Nearly half the protein is in the yolk so don’t ditch the yolk!
Eggs were once avoided and criticized for their cholesterol content. However, the totality of scientific research has shown no or little effect between dietary cholesterol and cardiac outcomes or markers of heart disease risk in healthy individuals.
Government and health organizations have revised their dietary cholesterol recommendations. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans place no daily limit on dietary cholesterol intake. Foods like egg yolks and some shellfish are higher in dietary cholesterol but not saturated fats making them a healthful choice along with healthy eating patterns.
Hard-boiled eggs are something I pretty much meal prep every week for myself. One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including choline plus the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, all just for 70 calories.
Why the Instant Pot method works:
Now, I know making hard-boiled eggs on the stovetop is not too challenging, but this Instant Pot method makes it even simpler and in just 5 minutes, they are ready. Plus, there is a science behind why cooking eggs in the Instant Pot make them easier to peel. The reason according to Alton Brown is:
“Eggs that are quickly heated are easier to peel than eggs that are slowly heated, say in cold water brought to a boil. Fast cooking prevents the white from bonding so epoxy-like to the outer membranes. Since pressure steamers can generate temperatures between 230 and 250 degrees F it is suspected that this is actually why folks think they’re magic egg machines.” Also, thorough cooling eases peeling by allowing the proteins in the albumen to fully set and harden, thus preventing tearing.
How to Make Soft Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot
Pour the water in and place the rack (trivet) in the bottom. Then sit the eggs on the rack in the Instant Pot in a single layer.
Cook for 3 minutes on high pressure. Once the timer goes off, quickly release the pressure.
Transfer the eggs to a bowl with ice and cold water until they are cool enough to hold in your hand.
Peel right away.
The Best Pressure Cooker Hard Boiled Eggs
If you want to make hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot, pour the water in. Set the rack in the bottom. Place the eggs on the rack. Cook for 5 minutes using high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then transfer to an ice bath. Peel once they are cool enough for you to hold.
Tips for Making
Make sure the eggs are in a single layer, do not stack them.
There is an accessory you can buy that is specifically for making eggs in the Instant Pot that may allow you to cook more at a time.
When you release the pressure, place a towel over the top. Also make sure the pressure cooker is away from cabinets so the steam doesn’t ruin them.
How Long Do Cooked Eggs Last?
Hard-Boiled Eggs will keep up to a week in your refrigerator. Make a few perfect hard-boiled eggs to create delicious recipes throughout the week.
A few ways I use hard-boiled eggs are:
Pair hard-boiled eggs with avocado and tomato. I usually just add a little salt and pepper, but when I’m looking to add an extra pop of flavor, I add everything but the bagel, sesame seasoning blend.
For a filling snack, try my version of a “quick deviled egg”. Scoop out the yolk, mix with hummus and fill back in the egg white.
Ways to Use Instant Pot Eggs
Go for a traditional cobb salad but switch up your greens with a Kale Cobb Salad
Place the rack in the bottom of the pot. Pour the water in the pot. Place the eggs on the rack.
For soft-boiled: Set Instant pot on high pressure on manual 3 minutes. Quick release placing a towel over the valve. Quickly add eggs to a bowl with cold water and ice until cool enough to hold. Peel right away.
For hard-boiled: Set Instant Pot on high pressure on manual 5 minutes. Natural release 5 minutes then use quick release placing a towel over the valve. Quickly add eggs to a bowl with cold water and ice until cool enough to hold. Peel right away.
Enjoy this Beef Crostini appetizer topped with a creamy horseradish spread the next time you host a party or just want a light, delicious dinner.
Doesn’t the word crostini just sound fancy? If you didn’t know what it was and saw it on a menu, you would probably wonder what that fancy-sounding appetizer was.
Today I am going to show you how easy it is to make steak crostinis with a delicious creamy horseradish spread that is going to keep you and your guests coming back for more! Even though people love making these for cocktail parties and special occasions, they are also a great lunch idea!
Although these crostinis sure are tasty, they are healthy too!
When compared to other ingredients that people consider high protein such as quinoa, peanut butter, black beans, and edamame, a 3 ounce serving of beef contains the same amount of protein but with fewer calories.
It’s also full of other great nutrients like iron to help the body use oxygen, choline which has been shown to help support nervous system development, and selenium to help prevent cell damage.
Beef Crostini Ingredients
Beef – rib cap, skirt, or flank steak
shallots, thinly sliced
Chives for garnish
For the Marinade:
Salt and black pepper
For the Horseradish Spread:
horseradish (not horseradish sauce)
plain Greek yogurt
Salt and black pepper
How to Make Crostinis with Beef and Horseradish Sauce
Making the Marinade: Whisk together the Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar mustard, oil, maple syrup, and salt and pepper in a large shallow dish. Cover both sides of the beef by submerging it. Cover the dish and allow it to marinate for one and a half to two hours.
Preparing the Spread: Combine the horseradish, greek yogurt, lemon juice, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Mix until it’s combined. You can also use a hand mixer to whip the spread for a lighter and fluffier consistency. Refrigerate until you are ready to use.
Cooking the Shallots: Over medium-high heat, warm up the saucepan. Add the thinly sliced shallots and salt, then saute until they are golden brown. Pour in the vinegar and continue cooking until the shallots have absorbed the balsamic. Take the pan off the heat and set it aside.
Making the Crostini: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prep a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Lightly brush the olive oil on the bread using a pastry brush and place it on the baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, then flip them and continue baking until they are toasted.
Cooking the Beef: Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. While you are waiting, remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry. Add the oil to the pan, once it’s warm, sear the beef for 5 minutes or until a nice crust forms. Flip and repeat for the other side and cook until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes to lock in the flavor and to finish cooking to 140 degrees.
Assembling the Crostinis: Spead the horseradish sauce onto both sides of the bread slices. Add the beef and top with the balsamic shallots. If you are using chives as a garnish just sprinkle those on.
What Other Cuts of Meat Can You Use to Make Crostini Appetizers?
You can use whatever cut of beef you would like. Here are some of the more popular options.
Roast beef – if you wanted to add that to this recipe or skip the marinading you could buy roast beef from the deli.
Filet mignon – prepare the same way as the recipe is written
Making Steak Crostini Ahead of Time
If you want to avoid the party stress of making everything at once, you can easily make the horseradish spread a day before.
While the beef would be best freshly made, you could also make it a day or so ahead of time, then reheat it before assembling the crostinis.
For the marinade: In a large shallow dish, whisk together the Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Submerge the meat into the marinade, being sure to cover both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for one in a half to two hours.
For the spread: As the meat is marinating, in a small bowl mix together the horseradish, yogurt, cream cheese, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce until well combined. (For a lighter texture, beat with an electric mixer for a fluffier consistency) Place spread in the refrigerator until ready to use
For the shallots: Heat a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and salt and sauté until golden brown. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to sauté until balsamic has absorbed into the shallots. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the crostini: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush olive oil on the bread and place on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through the cook time, until toasted.
For the meat: Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade, pat dry, and discard the marinade. Heat oil in the pan. Place meat in the hot skillet and sear for about 5 minutes until a nice crust forms. Using tongs, turn the meat to sear the other side for about 5 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F. Remove from heat and let rest for 5-10 minutes allowing it to carry over cook to 140 degrees for medium. Slice along the grain.
Assemble: Spread the horseradish mixture on each of the slices of bread. Top with slices of meat and then top with balsamic shallots. Sprinkle with chives, if using.
Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon is a quick and easy 20 minute meal that’s also healthy and can be served with just about any side dish.
A lot of Instant Pot recipes are used for tough cuts of meat. The function of the Instant Pot creates steam under extreme pressure and forces its way to the tough fibers of the meat breaking them down to become tender.
But what if you have an already delicate protein like salmon?
You can still utilize the Instant Pot for more delicate proteins like salmon, but the Instant Pot is utilized a little differently.
Instead of searing and submerging in liquid, utilize the steaming rack of the Instant Pot. Add a little liquid on the bottom which will steam the salmon and infuse flavors into the final product. For this recipe, I used vegetable broth and a few sprigs of parsley. Utilize different herbs to infuse flavors.
Why I Love Instant Pot Salmon
Tender and never dry or overcooked
Juicy, flavorful, and ready in less than 30 minutes
A great meal prep recipe
Minimal ingredients needed
Research shows eating seafood two to three times per week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause. Seafood provides unique health benefits as a lean protein and is the best source for omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats essential to human health and development.
Use this simple and flavorful Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon to help you meet the mark for enjoying seafood 2-3 times each week!
Embrace the unsaturated fats found in foods such as walnuts, seeds, plant oils, avocados, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel, and herring.
Fats play an essential role in human health from head (brain) to toe (joints). Replacing just 5 percent of your caloric intake from so-called bad fats (like trans and saturated fat found in red meat) with unsaturated fat from seafood and plant-based foods can reduce your risk of death by 27 percent. (source)
Choosing the Best Salmon
There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to picking out salmon, but there are quite a few differences.
Wild, Farm-Raised, or Frozen?
It’s important to know that just because salmon can be frozen, doesn’t mean it loses its nutritional value. Frozen salmon is a great budget option and good seafood to have on hand in the freezer.
Farm raised salmon typically contains more fat because of the diet and environment the fish are in. Compared to wild salmon, which feed on other natural food sources. Wild caught salmon usually contains more minerals as well.
While both breeds have contaminants, they are higher in the farmed salmon, but stricter rules have been put in place.
Lemon Ginger Salmon Ingredients
salt and pepper to taste
How to Make Lemon Ginger Salmon in the Instant Pot
Pour the veggie broth into the Instant Pot and add the trivet in. Spray the trivet with cooking spray.
Skin side down, place the salmon on the rack, and season with salt and pepper. Lay the pieces of ginger and lemon on top. By simply laying the lemon and ginger on top of the salmon fillet, the flavors penetrate into the salmon fillet creating fresh and vibrant flavors.
Place the lid on and turn the valve to the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes.
Once it’s ready, turn the valve back to quickly release the pressure. Be careful and stand back, the steam is extremely hot.
Take the trivet out by grabbing the handles then transfer the salmon to serve.
Can You Use Frozen Salmon?
You can, just allow it time to thaw before adding it to the pressure cooker.
You’ll be soon adding this easy Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon to your weekly dinner menu rotation.
1/2 cup vegetable broth 1 small bunch of fresh parsley 1 pound salmon fillet (about 1-inch thick) salt and pepper, to taste 1 small knob (about 2 tablespoons) fresh ginger, sliced 1 lemon, sliced
Pour broth and parsley in the Instant Pot and then put in the steamer rack (coated with cooking spray) at the bottom, making sure the handles are extended up.
Place salmon, skin side down, on the steamer rack. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer on pieces of ginger and lemon.
Close the Instant Pot and make sure vent is turned to “Sealing”. Plug it in, press “Steam” and press the + or – buttons to set it to 3 minutes. When the Instant Pot beeps that it’s done, quick release the pressure, being careful to stay out of the way of the steam that will shoot up. Press the “Warm/Cancel” button. Remove lid, and using hot pads, carefully remove rack with salmon and set on a plate.
Serve alongside a whole grain and vegetable for a complete meal.
Cooking time may vary. Depending on the thickness of your salmon, 3 minutes is perfect for a fillet that’s about 1 inch at its thickest part.
Cozy up to a bowl of Beef and Barley Soup. Not only can you add layers and layers of flavors, but they also can be balanced nutritionally.
I am on a total soup and stew kick lately. Mainly because I can cook once and eat all week.
I am teaching three cooking classes this week, so cooking all day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home it to cook again and wash more dishes!
What is Hulled Barley?
Aim to add more whole grains in soups and stews when you can. Barley is a fantastic whole grain. I chose to use hull-less barley. This type of barley has an outer hull that’s so loosely attached to the kernel that it generally falls oﬀ during harvesting. This cuts down on processing and ensures that all of the bran and germ are retained.
Ingredients for Beef and Barley Soup
Veggies: celery, carrots, garlic, kale, onion
Spices: salt, pepper, oregano, parsley
beef chuck roast – trim the fat if needed and dice into bite size pieces
How to Make Hulled Barley Soup
Once you have trimmed and diced the beef, add the flour, salt, and pepper to a shallow bowl or dish and dredge each piece. Shake off the excess flour if needed.
Add the olive oil to a large pot and heat over medium-high heat.
Brown the beef, turning as needed. You will need to do this step in batches because you don’t want to overload the pot. Once the meat has finished browning, remove and set aside.
Add the carrots, celery, diced onions, garlic, and oregano. Stirring occasionally, cook the veggies until they are soft.
Pour in the red wine to deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping the brown bits. Simmer and reduce the red wine by half. Add in the tomato paste and stir.
Place the beef back in the pot, and add the water and broth.
Bring it to a boil then add the hulled barley.
Turn the heat down low, and simmer for 45 minutes. The meat should be tender and the barley should be cooked all the way through.
Be sure to stir it occasionally; this will keep the barley from sticking together.
Once the soup is done, remove the pot from the heat and the kale. Season with salt and pepper!
My Barley Soup is Too Thick, What Do I Do?
If you find that the soup is too thick for your liking after it is done simmering, add some more water until it reaches a consistency you are happy with.
Tips for Making and Storing
Be sure to add the kale while the soup is still hot so it will wilt.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
This barley soup is great for freezing. Let it cool completely before placing it in the freezer. To serve again, reheat on the stovetop over low heat until it is warm all the way through.
Soups are great! Not only can you add layers and layers of flavors, but they also can be balanced nutritionally. Any good soup starts with mirepoix. I like to use dry herbs and spices in my soup recipes because you are able to add them during the cooking process, as they can stand up to the heat.
This beef and barley soup may take a little longer to prepare, but it’s worth the wait.
1lb boneless beef chuck roast, fat trimmed off and cubed
1largecarrot,peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 cup red wine
4cups low-sodium beef broth
3/4cup hulless barley
4 cups kale, spines removed and roughly chopped
1tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
In a shallow dish combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge the beef cubes with flour, shaking off excess flour.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large pot) over medium-high heat. Add the beef to the pot and cook just until the meat starts to brown, turning as needed. Do this in 2 or 3 batches, to not crowd the pot. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
In the same pot, add the chopped onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and oregano. Cook the vegetables until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Deglaze the pan with red wine scraping the fond (the brown bits) from the bottom of the pan. Let simmer and reduce red wine by half. Add tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables.
Add beef back to the pot with water and beef broth. Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, add barley and turn down to a simmer for 45-50 minutes, until meat is tender and barley is cooked through. Stir occasionally so the barley won’t stick together. If you find that too much liquid has evaporated or the soup is too thick add more water as necessary until you get the desired consistency.
Remove soup from heat and stir in the kale while the soup is still hot to wilt. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.
Garnish with parsley, if using.
If you do not want to use wine, deglaze with additional beef broth.
With just five simple ingredients this Cranberry Relish will add a pop of color and a side dish full of nutrients that will be a great addition to the table at any holiday gathering.
With Thanksgiving just a few days away, everyone is finalizing their Thanksgiving Day menu. Thanksgiving dinner is all about timing. What needs to be in/out the oven or stovetop. I am always a fan of the menu items that can be made ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about factoring that in the day of the festivities.
This recipe is inspired by one of my friend’s aunt’s recipe. (Hi Steph!) I was scrambling last week to get a menu together for my Thanksgiving cooking class at work. I’ve been teaching multiple Thanksgiving Day-themed cooking classes for work the past 3 years now. I get a lot of the same people attending the classes, so I didn’t want to repeat any previous recipes used in class.
I tend to catch up with family and friends on my way to and from work in the car. Whoever invented Bluetooth, thank you! I was chatting with Steph on my way home from work and I mentioned how I didn’t know what I was making yet for my class the next day. She was told me about her Aunt’s cranberry relish recipe that her family goes crazy for every year. What I really loved about it was it was only a few simple ingredients and everything goes right into a food processor. Plus, it is a recipe that can be made ahead of time. I did tweak the original recipe to make it healthier.
Cranberries: What’s So Great About Them?
I’m so glad you asked! Cranberries are actually full of antioxidants known as PACs, which may help reduce inflammation related to chronic diseases and aging.
A cup of fresh cranberries is a great source of fiber and Vitamin C, but the downside is that they only come into season during the fall.
The good news is that you can buy up several bags of fresh cranberries and freeze them to have year-round!
Also, research indicates that consumption of flavonoids in foods and beverages may decrease the risk of atherosclerosis.
In vitro and in vivo experiments with flavonoids demonstrate that flavonoids are dietary antioxidants and inhibit LDL oxidation, inhibit platelet aggregation and adhesion, inhibit enzymes involved in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism that affect the immune response to oxidized LDL and their uptake by endothelial macrophages, may induce endothelium-dependent vassorelaxation, and may increase reverse cholesterol transport and decrease total and LDL cholesterol.
Cranberries contain both hydroxycinnamic acids and flavonoids. The cranberry flavonoids belong to three groups: anthocyanins, flavonols, and proanthocyanidins, which make cranberries a great addition as part of a heart-healthy diet. Source: The Cranberry Insitute.
What You Need For Cranberry Relish
pineapple rings – I am using canned with the juice drained, you can use fresh if you would like.
How To Make Cranberry Relish
Add the cranberries to the food processor and pulse until they begin breaking down. Depending on the size of your food processor you may have to do this in batches.
Slice the lemon into wedges and remove the seeds. Add the wedges, with the peel on, to the processor and pulse just until it breaks down.
Then add the sugar, honey, and pineapple rings. Continue pulsing until the relish reaches your desired consistency.
Can You Make Cranberry Relish with Nuts?
Yes! Because I recommend chilling cranberry relish overnight so all of the flavors come together, fold them in just before serving. Pecans and walnuts pair well with cranberry dishes, but you can add any variety of nuts.
I like smaller pieces, so if you have whole pecan or walnuts chop you can chop by hand or throw them in a food processor for a few pulses.
What’s the Difference Between Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Relish?
Relish is made with raw ingredients that are blended together then chilled. Traditionally cranberry sauce is actually cooked (unless you are eating it from the can) and is much sweeter.
Can You Use Frozen Cranberries?
You can use frozen, just know the flavor is much more muted, but that’s usually the case when you swap frozen fruits and veggies for fresh.
Be sure you allow for some additional time so they can thaw completely. Then drain the cranberries to remove the excess liquid.
Cranberry Relish Serving Suggestions
In case you were wondering, here are some of the popular ways cranberry relish is served.
As a holiday side dish
Over Brie or cream cheese
With crackers – you could use a salty variety or graham crackers for a sweeter version
Topping – use the leftover to top off your pancakes, waffles, or yogurt bowls
How Long is Cranberry Relish Good For?
You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. This also means you can make it ahead of time if you are prepping for holiday meals to ease the stress!
Roasted Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts have just enough tang and the right amount of sweetness! The perfect side dish that pairs well with just about any meal!
Some people may turn their nose up at the thought of Brussels sprouts, but honestly, they just need to try cooking them a different way! The maple mustard glaze brings in so much flavor, adding a twist to just regular roasted sprouts.
With the holiday season just around the corner, these become a staple around our house. Once you try them I promise you will be eating this delicious side dish all year long!
Because this is a sheet pan recipe, it’s easy to make and almost hands off! So while these are great during the week, you can easily double or triple the recipe to feed a larger crowd without much more prep work.
Why I Love Brussels Sprouts
For starters, brussels sprouts are packed full of nutrients and rich in Vitamin K and Vitamin C. They also contain an antioxidant called kaempferol, that may help to reduce inflammation and promote a healthy heart.
If you aren’t a seafood lover, double up on your Brussels because they are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3s!
So besides all of the amazing health benefits, Brussels sprouts can be cooked in so many ways which makes them really versatile in the kitchen. Simply changing out the sauce, glaze, or seasoning offers a whole new side dish. Let’s not forget they are great in salads when they are shredded too!
Ingredients for Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts
salt and pepper
How to Make Roasted Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts
Prep your baking sheet by spraying it with non-stick spray or using parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
Once you have halved and trimmed the Brussels sprouts, mix those in and stir until they are fully coated.
Pour the mixture in an even layer onto the baking sheets. You can drizzle the remaining glaze over if there’s any left in the bowl.
Roast for about 30 minutes or until the brussels are tender and caramelized. Stir them occasionally or flip with a spatula half way through.
Can You Use Frozen Brussels Sprouts?
You can if that’s all you have. Allow them to thaw completely before roasting.
Lasagna is such an underrated dinner. Maybe, it is because when most people think of lasagna, the thought of having to assemble this meal detours many. Adding a little twist on a classic, try this Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna.
This post is sponsored by the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative, a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!
What if I told you I could provide you with
tips to make this meal both delicious and easy to prepare?
Lasagna is one of those recipes that can be made ahead, frozen for later, and a hearty meal that can help make weeknight meals a breeze. Also, depending on how you make this dish it can incorporate four of the five food groups all in one pan.
Dietitian Tip: Aim to have at least 3 food groups featured for meals (making one of those a fruit or vegetable!)
Each food group has its own properties which
can be beneficial for one’s health. Building colorful balanced plates can help
maintain healthy eating patterns, providing essential vitamins and minerals to
keep the body healthy. For example:
Grains: Grains have carbohydrates which provide our body with energy. Grains
are divided into 2 subgroups: Whole Grains and Refined Grains. Whole grains
contain the entire grain kernel ― the bran, germ, and endosperm. Refined grains
have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. Aim to make half of
your grains whole grains.
Protein: Is a building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which may
also help to protect you from chronic diseases.
Vegetables: Eating vegetables that are of different colors will help to provide
your body with important nutrients like fiber (can help you to feel fuller for
longer), folate (beneficial for fetus growth during pregnancy),and vitamins A
(aids in good vision) and C (aids in a strong immune system).
Dairy: Which has a strong association to improved bone health.
Can beef fit onto a healthy plate?
When building a balanced plate, beef goes
beyond just being a good source of protein.
Beef supplies 10 essential nutrients
Iron – helps your body use oxygen
Choline – supports nervous system
Vitamins B6 & B12 – helps
maintain brain function and gives energy
Phosphorus – helps build bones and
Zinc – helps maintain a healthy
Niacin – supports energy
production and metabolism
Riboflavin – helps convert food
Selenium – helps protect cells
One 3-ounce cooked serving of beef provides
approximately 50% of your Daily Value (25 grams) of this important
nutrient—making it an excellent source! Protein helps maintain a healthy
weight, as well as preserve and build muscle.
New research suggests it’s not only important to just get enough protein in at dinner or lunch but to spread it throughout your day for optimal health. Aim for 25-30 grams of protein at each meal.
EASY, DELICIOUS, BEEF AND VEGETABLE, LASAGNA
Does this lasagna recipe freeze well?
There is no reason to feel like you need to finish this meal in one night. This is a prime dish to freeze and heat back up on a future date. You may have already tried some of my other freezer friendly recipes like my Beef & Barley Soup, Freezer Oatmeal Cups, or Zucchini Carrot Fritters. Add this beef and vegetable lasagna to the list for nights when you have less time to prepare a meal for dinner.
How long can I freeze lasagna?
For the best results, freeze lasagna after it
has been assembled but before it’s been baked. Freezing food this way will help
maintain the lasagna’s cheese and noodle texture and prevent it from getting
If you’ve already baked your lasagna, don’t
worry; it can still be frozen! The texture may be a little different than freshly
If properly stored, it will maintain best quality for about 2 to 3 months but will remain safe beyond that time.
How do I reheat lasagna?
When you’re ready to use your frozen lasagna,
transfer it to the refrigerator and let it defrost overnight. Then, take it out
of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes while
your oven preheats to 375°.
Remove the lasagna’s freezer wrappings, cover the top with new foil and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until heated through (a thermometer inserted in the center should read 165°). Remove the foil and bake the lasagna for 10 more minutes or until browned on the top. Pull the lasagna from the oven and let it sit for another 10 minutes before slicing into it.
Why are Family Meals Important?
It is easy to get caught up in after school
activities or with work assignments which can take away from sit down meals
with the family. But family meals are important for a variety of reasons such
Regular family meals are linked to higher grades and self-esteem
Adults and children who eat at home more regularly are less likely to suffer from obesity
Family meals nourish the spirit, brain, and health of all family members.
Make it a Family Affair:
Another aspect that I love about this meal is
that it is easy enough so that the whole family can participate in creating
This recipe is coming right in time to celebrate National Family Meals Month. This initiative is a nationwide event which encourages families to have at least one meal at home per week.
What if I have a picky eater?
No one wants to be a short order cook preparing separate meals for each family member. When introducing new foods or new recipes, start with what I like to call lateral shifts. Meaning, start with something they are familiar with – for instance traditional beef lasagna. Adding vegetables won’t drastically change the original, it just adds a new flair. Understanding your family’s preferences is also key. Knowing that if they see the vegetables is going to cause resistance, chop them finer or even puree them into the sauce. The more exposure to new lateral shift type meals, can be helpful.
What You will Need to Create this Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna
For the filling: 93% lean ground beef Olive oil Yellow onion Mushrooms Salt Zucchini Baby spinach
For the tomato sauce: Olive oil Garlic Crushed tomatoes Fresh basil Salt Crushed red pepper flakes
Don’t feel like making your own sauce? No worries! Substitute with 2 cups of your favorite prepared marinara sauce.
Remaining ingredients: Ricotta cheese Parmesan cheese Mozzarella cheese Egg Italian seasoning Salt Black pepper No-boil lasagna noodles (see notes in the recipe)
How to make this Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna
Preheat your oven and coat a deep baking dish
with cooking spray.
Cook the ground beef, then remove from the
pan. Using the same pan (because who wants to wash more dishes), cook the
vegetables. Add beef back in and set aside.
Make the sauce by gently sautéing the garlic
(we don’t want it to burn, then add the remaining sauce ingredients to simmer
and allow flavors to develop.
Mix the ricotta cheese and some of the
parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Add a beaten egg (this will help hold
the cheese mixture together and not seep out of the lasagna). Season with
Italian herbs, salt, and pepper.
To assemble, start with adding a layer of
tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then layer in the order, noodles,
ricotta mixture, beef & veggie mixture, sauce, and sprinkle cheese. Top
with more lasagna noodles and repeat.
Wrap in parchment paper and bake!
To cut down on prep time, buy
pre-sliced mushrooms, & frozen diced onions, zucchini, and spinach. (Just
be mindful when swapping out with frozen to drain excess liquid when cooking)
Skip making your own sauce and use
your favorite jarred variety.
Freeze in individual servings for
pre-portioned leftovers instead of defrosting the whole dish.
Lasagna is such an underrated dinner. Maybe, it is because when most people think of lasagna, the thought of having to assemble this meal detours many. Adding a little twist on a classic, try this Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna.
For the filling: 1-pound 93% lean ground beef 1 tablespoonolive oil 1 small yellow onion, chopped 1 (8 ounce) container sliced mushrooms ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup zucchini, chopped into a small dice 1 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
Tomato sauce*: 1 tablespoonolive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 (28 ounce) crushed tomatoes ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade (ribbon like slices) + additional for garnish ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more or less as desired
Remaining ingredients: 2 cups (16 ounces) ricotta cheese 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, divided 2 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese, divided 1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 9 no-boil lasagna noodles*
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 9×13-inch deep baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add ground beef breaking apart into small crumbles. Cook until meat has browned, no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes. Remove beef from the pan, drain any excess fat from the beef and set beef aside.
Return skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil. Sauté onions and mushrooms until tender. During the cooking process add salt to help draw out excess moisture. Once excess moisture has evaporated, add the zucchini, and continue to cook until tender. Add spinach and continue to cook until wilted and excess moisture has evaporated. Add beef back to the veggie mixture, stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium pot add olive oil over low heat. Sauté garlic for about 1 minute or until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, basil, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer to allow the flavors to come together.
In a medium bowl, add the ricotta, ¼ cup parmesan, 3/4 cup mozzarella, egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix well until combined.
To assemble: Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of a baking dish. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top (snap off their ends to fit, and/or overlap their edges as necessary). Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Top with half the beef & veggie mixture. Then spread 1 cup tomato sauce on top and sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles and repeat the previous order. Then top with remaining 3 lasagna noodles, remaining sauce and sprinkle remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top.
Wrap a sheet of parchment paper or foil around the top of the lasagna (not letting it touch the cheese). Bake, covered, for 20 minutes, then remove the cover, rotate the pan by 180° and continue cooking for about 10 to 12 more minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly bubbling on the sides.
Remove from the oven and let the lasagna cool for 15 to 20 minutes, so it has time to set and cool down to a reasonable temperature. Sprinkle additional basil over the top, then slice and serve. Top with additional sauce or cheese, as desired.
Looking to save a step? Substitute the tomato sauce with 2 cups of prepared marinara sauce.
At the grocery store I see lasagna noodles as “no-boil” or “oven-ready” lasagna sheets. Read package directions as some brands need additional liquid.
Can’t find no boil or oven-ready lasagna noodles? Buy regular lasagna noodles, cook according to package directions, and use the same way. Cook time may decrease.
Keywords: lasagna, beef lasagna, family meal, dinner recipe, easy dinner
This Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is an easy fruit dessert that can be made year-round and what makes it even better is the oat streusel topping!
Normally we see fruit desserts throughout the spring and summer seasons, but Strawberry Rhubarb crisp can truly be made any time of the year!
Both of these fruits are filled with antioxidants and packed full of vitamins and nutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties and have been shown to decrease risks of certain diseases.
Did you know that frozen fruit is just as healthy as fresh? Fruits are picked and frozen at peak ripeness, and studies show that they retain a comparable vitamin, mineral, and phytochemical content to their fresh counterparts.
This Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is an easy fruit dessert that can be made year round and what makes it even better is the oat streusel topping!
For the filling: 3 cups quartered fresh strawberries 3 cups sliced fresh rhubarb or thawed frozen rhubarb* ¼ cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 tablespoon lemon juice ¼ teaspoon salt
For the topping: ½ cup lightly packed light brown sugar ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats ⅓ cup whole-wheat pastry flour 4–6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 11-by-7-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine strawberries, rhubarb, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt, transfer to the prepared baking dish.
To prepare topping: Combine brown sugar, oats, flour, and butter (starting with 4 tablespoons of butter) in a medium bowl; stir until thoroughly combined. If mixture seems to dry, add additional 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Crumble the topping evenly over the strawberry-rhubarb mixture.
Bake the crisp until the topping is golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve warm or at room temperature.
If using frozen rhubarb or strawberries, thaw then be sure to drain any excess liquid.
This Beef Banh Mi offers so many interesting flavors and textures in one
bite. This recipe for a banh mi sandwich starts with a crusty roll that’s piled
high with tender grilled beef, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs.
This post is sponsored by the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!
Banh Mi is a Vietnamese
sandwich that has depths of flavor. Banh Mi has its origins in French
colonialism in Vietnam, with bread being brought into the country by the
French. The Banh Mi became popular when it was sold on street corners as an
inexpensive fast food option for workers who needed to eat on-the-go. It’s
popularity has resurged recently with new versions of Banh Mi, using other
proteins such as beef, shrimp, or tofu instead of pork, providing even more
In culinary school, one of
my practicals for my World Cuisine class I was assigned to Vietnam and had to
make a dish highlighting the flavors of that cuisine. I went with a more
traditional Banh Mi, using pork, daikon radish, shrimp paste, and making the
bread from scratch!
I added my own twist to the classic, swapping out pork for beef while still maintaining the traditional Vietnamese flavors.
History of Vietnamese flavor profiles
Vietnamese cooking is all about balance. The five flavors of Vietnamese cuisine are sour, bitter, spicy, salty
and sweet. Interestingly enough, recipes vary from region to region and city to
city but share a common theme of contrasting flavors and textures.
The food of the north is heavily influenced by China. As you move south, there is more flavor-blending with Thailand and Cambodia. The tropical climate down south sustains rice paddies, coconut groves, jackfruit trees, and herb gardens. Southern Vietnamese food tends to be sweeter than northern Vietnamese food: sweeter broths for pho; use of palm sugar in savory dishes; and popular taffy-like coconut candies made with coconut cream are made from a mix with milk and sugar.
Staple Ingredients of Vietnamese Cuisine
You may have some of
these staple Vietnamese ingredients already in your pantry. Here are a few
ingredients you will most likely find in any Vietnamese recipe.
Fish Sauce: Fish sauce is a condiment made by fermenting fish with salt. It has an intense, salty flavor which when combined with the sweetness of Vietnamese dishes help balance out flavors
Shrimp Paste: This potent paste is made from fermented shrimp or krill that has been mashed together with salt then dried to produce the salty, pungent paste.
Pickled Vegetables: Pickled vegetables are a staple in Vietnamese cuisine. Pickling is an ancient preservation technique that doesn’t require refrigeration and has been used for centuries across the world to preserve food.
Oyster Sauce: Oyster sauce is a condiment made from oysters that are cooked and mashed.
Sambal Oelek (chili paste): A chili paste usually consisting of chopped red chilies, garlic, shallots and vinegar. It’s used as a spicy flavoring for dishes such as satay or fried rice but it also makes an appearance in many Vietnamese recipes including Banh Mi!
Hoisin Sauce: Hoisin sauce is an Asian condiment made from soybeans, garlic and spices. The sauce provides sweet and salty flavors as well as some heat but not too much!
Cilantro: Cilantro is a herb that has a citrusy, peppery flavor. It’s often used in Vietnamese cuisine because it can be added to dishes without overpowering the other flavors.
Lemongrass: The herb is most commonly used to braise meats, often with fish sauce, sugar, and chilies. It adds lemony, bright, and citrusy notes.
Ways to tenderize beef
Beef is a very hearty and rich meat with a natural taste of umami. It’s
also popularly used in Vietnamese recipes. When using leaner cuts of beef, they
contain less fat, so marinating the meat to maximize flavor and help tenderize
the meat is key.
A marinade works by breaking down
the muscle fibers and helping to soften connective tissues. Some ingredients
that are good for marinating beef include: soy sauce, ginger, garlic, vinegar
or lime juice. This recipe uses Vietnamese flavor profile utilizing:
Tips for marinades
You will need approximately 1/4 to
1/2 cup of marinade for every pound of beef
Always marinate in the
refrigerator, not at room temperature
Before cooking, remove beef from
marinade and pat dry with a paper towel to promote even browning and prevent
For this Banh Mi
recipe, follow these few tips listed within the recipe below.
To help easily slice
the sirloin, place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Use a sharp knife and cut
across the grain. Cutting across the grain means to slice perpendicular to the
fibers, so the fibers in cut pieces of meat become much shorter, making it
easier to chew them.
Use the white part
of the lemon grass. Peel away the hard chewy parts, and mince the softer middle
white part of the stem.
Utilize a peeler to
create carrot ribbons or use a mandolin to create julienne slices.
While this recipe may look like a lot of mini recipes within one recipe, it’s worth it. You can thank me later as you are chowing down 😉
Adding a twist to the classic Beef Banh Mi by swapping out pork for beef while still maintaining the traditional Vietnamese flavors.
For the pickled vegetables: 3/4 cup radish, thinly sliced 3/4 cup carrot, peeled and julienned 1/4 cup rice vinegar 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 1 tablespoon water 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the beef: 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce 2 tablespoons fish sauce 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 2 tablespoons lemongrass, white parts only, finely minced 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 teaspoons sesame oil 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 lb. sirloin, thinly sliced
For the sauce: 1/2 cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 1 teaspoon garlic powder
For the sandwiches: 1 French baguette, cut into 4 pieces, then split lengthwise, toasted if desired 1/4 cup cilantro leaves 1/2 cup English cucumber, thinly sliced
Combine carrots and radishes in a bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, until sugar dissolves. Pour over vegetables. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, lemongrass, garlic, sesame oil, and salt. Add the thinly sliced steak and coat with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add the marinated beef. Cook without stirring for 4 minutes. Give it a stir and continue to cook for 1 minute.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, hoisin sauce, and garlic powder.
Spread mayo mixture on bottom half of the bread. Layer cucumbers, cilantro beef, then pickled veggies. Place on the top half and slice crosswise before serving.
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