Hello Everyone-

Well, winter break is coming to an end….THANK GOD!  Two teens and a six year old without a schedule for two weeks is just too much for me!

I am in need of a night out so I am going out to dinner with my friend Amy to my favorite Italian restaurant, Cucina Paradiso.    I’m going to have a glass or two of prosecco,  a lovely mixed green salad with toasted walnuts, bleu cheese, and strawberries, and maybe some spicy artichoke pasta.   Meatless and delicious!

One of my goals going forward in the new year is to use less meat/protein in my cooking and eating.  My Aunt Irene recently became  a vegetarian and totally inspired me!   I am not going to become a vegetarian, rather, I will consume many more vegetable/grain/vegetarian entrees while enjoying meats occasionally.  I would be considered a “flexitarian.” 

In the 50’s meat was considered a luxury.  It wasn’t used as frequently or in the portion sizes people are now consuming.   The appropriate serving size of meat for a woman is about 3 ounces.  Most steaks you order in restaurants start at 8 ounces and go on up to well over 16!  There many creative ways to incorporate flavor into your cooking without mass amounts of protein.

A couple of my favorite ways to incorporate big flavor without a lot of added fat/calories is to use crisp crumbled bacon or parmisano reggiano cheese.    A so called “big bang for your buck.”  The same goes for flavorful cuts of meat.  One can incorporate a 2-3 ounce portion of meat into a veggie loaded stir fry.  Try sauteing shredded veggies and adding to your next meatloaf.   The moisture from the veggies will make the meatloaf incredibly moist and delicious and you’ll have an added bonus serving of veggies.

This week I came up with Veggie Lasagna Rolls.  I used a blend of shredded zucchini and yellow squash, onions, garlic and sweet bell peppers.  I sauteed them in a little olive oil and then mixed in some ricotta cheese.  I cooked lasagna noodles and rolled them around a dollop of the veggie/cheese mixture.  Topped the dish with some homemade marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Walla, an incredibly flavorful and satisfying vegetarian dinner.  Gotta share this one!

I seldom look forward to Mondays but happy to be back on a schedule next week!

Have a great weekend!


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