Supermarket Saturday: Delallo Organic Whole Wheat Lasagna

Everybody likes lasagna.  Even Garfield.  Cheese, tomato sauce, Italian herbs, cheese, noodles and did I mention cheese?.? Lasagna is amazing because it’s easy to make, can be made ahead of time, it’s great for a crowd (or as leftovers) and it’s DELICIOUS.

I recently stumbled upon these Delallo Whole Wheat Lasagna noodles.  Not only are they nutritious (5 g of fiber vs. 2 g in white lasagna noodles), they are sturdy enough to hold their shape once cooked but not gummy like some whole wheat pasta can be.  They have 2 ingredients: whole wheat and water.  And BONUS: they are oven-ready, which means you don’t have to boil them before you build your lasagna.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of very tasty noodle-less lasagna recipes but, I ♥ carbs. I need carbs.  In fact, we ALL do.  But, it is important to choose nutritious carbs, most of the time.

So, why choose 100% whole wheat over traditional white pasta?  To make a long story short…white flour undergoes a process that removes it’s outer bran layer.  The bran layer is where most of the fiber and important nutrients live.  So, when that layer is removed, the nutrients are too.

So what?

Well, that fiber and those nutrients (including, but not limited to B vitamins) are really important.  Fiber helps regulate your blood sugar, prevents constipation and keeps you fuller longer.  And B vitamins help maintain a healthy metabolism, immune and nervous system and maintain healthy skin, hair and muscles.

When I make pasta at home (which is usually about 1 time a week), I always upgrade to 100% whole grain noodles.  My kids really don’t know any different and they gobble it up every time. And, I honestly prefer the nutty flavor and added texture you get from whole grains (which by the way, has improved SIGNIFICANTLY since first becoming commercially available).

Moral of the story: Make lasagna with THESE delicious whole wheat noodles and you’ll live forever!  Just kidding. But you will have an excuse to eat more lasagna.

Buon Appetito!

P.S. Delallo actually sells more varities of delicious whole wheat pasta than any other widely available brand I’ve seen.  Check ’em out HERE.

Where to buy: Health food stores or on Amazon HERE.

 

Cooking Tool Thursday: Nut Chopper

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I love nuts. I add them to salads, baked goods, fish, chicken and more.  They add a fabulous crunch and flavor that can’t be duplicated by a non-nut ingredient. Plus, they add an extra boost of protein and healthy fat to boot.

The tricky part about nuts as an ingredient (as opposed to whole nuts for snacking) is, they can be a pain to chop. Yes, you can buy your nuts pre-chopped but I find they don’t taste as fresh and are less cost effective. And, chopping nuts with a chefs knife is fine, if you don’t mind the possibility of nuts in the eye, all over the floor, or in your windowsill garden.

Enter the Progressive Nut Chopper.

It’s pretty basic, affordable, compact and easy to clean.  Plus, it’s VERY easy to use.  You put the nuts in the top compartment, crank the handle on the side and voila…chopped nuts.  It even has 2 different types of blades inside.  One chops coarsely and the other more fine.  PLUS, the bottom half of the gadget is marked with volume measures, allowing you to easily eyeball your nut volume.  :giggle:

The only nut that you can’t chop with this awesome tool is…me.  I’m too big.

Take my word for it.  You want this. Get it RIGHT HERE.

 

 

 

Cooking Tip Tuesday: The secret to separating eggs

Did you know that it’s much easier to separate eggs if they are cold?  Mind blowing, right?

When your eggs are cold, the yolks are firmer and thus, separate from the white much easier.  Think about it…when yolks are warmer, they are softer, which puts them at a higher risk of breaking.  So, if you have a recipe that requires only egg whites or egg whites separated from the yolk, separate them when they are cold. Then, if the recipes requires “room temperature” egg whites or yolks, allow them to come to room temp in their respective bowls.

Sundays with Samantha: Samantha’s Soda

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(From left to right: Pineapple, Grape, Cranberry Pomegranate, Orange Mango)

We are big bubbly water (seltzer and club soda) drinkers in our house so it was only a matter of time that Samantha started creating her own “fancy” drinks. AND, she gets SO excited to prepare her sodas for friends when they come over for dinner.

They really AREN’T anything fancy.  They are simple to make and contain only unsweetened, unflavored bubbly water and 100% juice.  The ratio of bubbly water to juice is 3:1. Add a few cubes of ice and stir.  Feel free to add fruit for garnish or a twisty straw for extra pizzazz. Serve them in a fancy glass or a (child-safe) plastic cup.

Bonus: The kids feel fancy and drink much less juice (which is a good thing).

P.s. These aren’t just for kids.  Kids and adults alike are big fans. Cheers!

 

Favorite Recipe Friday: A crispbread a day keeps the munchies away.

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All the recipes I develop are inspired by something, someone, or an experience.  Today’s recipes are inspired by Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Crispbreads AND my love of sandwiches.  Like most of my recipes, I wanted to keep it familiar but unique.

These crispbreads are great as a light lunch (with a side salad or fruit) or as a hearty snack to keep hunger pangs at bay.  They are crunchy and savory with a nuttiness that satisfies even anti-sandwich eaters. Plus, the ingredients in each are different enough to keep it interesting but similar enough that you won’t have to buy tons of ingredients.

So, without further ado…here are your delicious and nutritious crispbread mini-meals:

They all start with these*

*If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby or can’t find them, you can substitute any other whole grain crispbread (such as Wasa or Dr. Kracker).

 

The directions are simple.  Spread and layer…

Avocado Toast:

1.5 ounces avocado, mashed

1 small tomato, sliced

3 slices cucumber

3 red onion rings

1 lime wedge

Pinch kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Calories: 200  Fat: 12.5 g  Saturated Fat: 2 g  Cholesterol: 0 mg  Sodium: 290 mg  Carbohydrates: 16 g  Fiber: 7 g  Sugar: 5 g  Protein: 6 g 

Apples & Brie:

½ ounce Brie

½ small apple, sliced

½ teaspoon raw honey

1 teaspoon chopped walnuts

Calories: 210  Fat: 11.5 g  Saturated Fat: 3.5 g  Cholesterol: 14 mg  Sodium: 300 mg  Carbohydrates: 18 g  Fiber: 4 g  Sugar: 10 g  Protein: 7 g  

Caprese:

2 teaspoons pesto

1 ounce part-skim mozzarella, sliced

1 small tomato, sliced

2 basil leaves, chopped

Pinch Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon balsamic glaze

Calories: 240  Fat: 15.5 g  Saturated Fat: 5 g  Cholesterol: 20 mg  Sodium: 550 mg  Carbohydrates: 12 g Fiber: 3 g  Protein: 12 g  Sugar: 3 g

Lox & Cream Cheese:

2 tablespoons whipped or light cream cheese

2 ounces smoked salmon (lox)

1 small tomato, sliced

3 cucumber slices

3 red onion rings

½ teaspoon capers

Calories: 240  Fat: 12 g  Saturated Fat: 3.5  Cholesterol: 24 mg  Sodium: 838 mg  Carbohydrates: 14 g Fiber: 4 g  Protein: 17 g  Sugar: 5 g

Greek:

2 tablespoons hummus

1 tablespoons chopped tomato

1 tablespoon chopped cucumber

3 red onion rings

2 Greek olives, sliced

½ ounce crumbled Feta cheese

Calories: 250  Fat: 14.5  Saturated Fat: 4 g  Cholesterol: 13 g  Sodium: 710 mg  Carbohydrates: 19 g  Fiber: 6 g  Protein: 9 g  Sugar: 4 g

Tuna & White Bean:

2 tablespoon White Bean Spread (recipe follows)

2 ounces good quality tuna in olive oil (I like Tonnino)

2 Greek olives, sliced

Pinch kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon fresh herbs (basil, oregano, or chives)

Calories: 320  Fat: 11.5 g  Saturated Fat: 2.5 g Cholesterol: 25 mg  Sodium: 760 mg  Carbohydrates: 25 g  Fiber: 8 g  Protein: 25 g  Sugar: 1 g
For White Bean Spread: Drain and rinse 1 (15-ounce can) of cannelini beans.  Mash with a fork and add 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons minced shallot, juice from 1/2 a lemon, a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste.  Makes about 2 cups.

 

 

 

Wild Card Wednesday: Club soda. Seltzer. Mineral water. What in the world’s the difference?

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Ever wondered what the difference is between seltzer, club soda and sparkling mineral water?  I have so I thought, I bet you have too. So when the Tasting Table posted THIS article about it, I was all ears.  Or…eyes.

The good news is, they all pair well with vodka (my liquor of choice), though a good mineral water is best left alone or with a fresh squeeze of lemon or lime.

I love bubbly water because you get the bubbles without all the other junk that’s in soda.  (Though I do enjoy an occasional soda with spicy food).  It’s also a perfect base for creating your own “natural” sodas (stay tuned for this “Sundays with Samantha” post).

So, without further ado, HERE is the link.  Enjoy.  Learn something new.  It’s good for your brain.