Zucchini/Spinach and Ground Turkey Lasagna

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This is a delicious recipe even without carb-heavy pasta noodles. The basic recipe, which is equally as yummy, comes from my friend Tiana Johnson, but I’ve made some changes to enhance the taste even more.

Serving of Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients:

1-1/3 to 1-1/2 pounds of ground turkey

28 oz. jar of marinara sauce

2 medium zucchini

small bag of fresh baby spinach

16 oz. container of part skim ricotta cheese

1 egg

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper to taste

Zucchini Lasagna in pan

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep the sauce, ricotta cheese and zucchini as noted below.

Sauce:

Sauté ground turkey in large pan until cooked through. Add marinara sauce, garlic powder, oregano, and salt and pepper. Heat through and set aside.

Ricotta Cheese:

Put ricotta cheese in medium bowl. Mix in the egg, 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and oregano. Set aside.

Zucchini:

Use a carrot peeler or mandolin to make long, thin, but wide strips of zucchini. Set aside.

Assemble lasagna:

Coat the bottom of a 9″ X 12″ pan with a thin layer of the meat sauce.

Cover sauce with a layer of zucchini strips (just as you would lasagna noodles). On the zucchini strips, add a layer of spinach leaves.

Add all of the ricotta mixture and smooth out to completely cover the spinach leaves.

Add another layer of zucchini strips and then spinach leaves.

On top of the spinach leaves, layer half of the meat sauce, covering the spinach as much as possible. Top meat sauce with 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella.

Add another layer using the rest of the zucchini strips and then spinach leaves (you may only need half of the bag for this recipe).

On top of spinach leaves, add the rest of the meat sauce. Add the final 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese on top of sauce.

Bake uncovered in oven for 30 to 40 minutes until cheese is melted and lasagna is bubbling.

Some liquid from the zucchini and spinach will accumulate in the bottom of the pan. When cool enough, you should be able to ladle off some of the liquid from a corner of the lasagna or you can very carefully pour some of the liquid off.

Let the lasagna cool a little for more even cuts or serve hot out of the oven. It can also be refrigerated and cut later and individual pieces microwaved to heat.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Breathing in Time

“How do you like retirement?”

That’s the question I get from everyone.

My response? I pause. “I’m still trying to figure it out.”

Of course, I love it. Getting up in the morning when my body wakes up, instead of when the alarm goes off. Sitting by the kitchen window, savoring my coffee and reading the newspaper from cover to cover. Having the whole day stretched out in front of me to do whatever I want.

Time. That’s the gift I was given. I’m just wondering how to manage it.

I have so many things I want to do: two books to finish before the end of the year, freelance writing and editing, health coaching, keeping up with my blog, marketing my books, downsizing our house of forty plus years, getting together with friends. So many things on my list, but how do I work it all into my new life?

In my yoga class, we spend lots of time on breathing. Inhaling positive energy and exhaling the stresses in our lives. We’ve timed our breaths so we know how long to hold a pose. I found that I take six breaths in thirty seconds, an optimal amount of time to stay in the Tree Pose or Warrior II.

But how much time each day should I spend on my list of projects? How much on each book or on submitting short stories to literary journals or going through household items to sell, give away or discard or just having coffee with a neighbor? Do I try to do a little of each thing every day or divide it up over the week? This is my dilemma.

In yoga class, we work on balance. We stand in Tadasana, feet hip-width apart, knees pointing straight over feet, all four points of the soles resting with equal pressure on the floor. When in certain other poses, often all the weight moves to one leg, our eyes focused on one spot. These techniques keep us balanced. We sometimes practice breathing in one nostril and exhaling out the other, then reversing, inhaling through the other nostril, exhaling out the other. When we revert back to natural breathing, we feel increased energy and a sense of balance.

I’m new at this retirement thing. It’s only been a couple of months, which included two trips out of town. I realize I’m going to have to try different things, learn what works best for me. Maybe because it’s September now, end of summer and the beginning of a “new school year,” so to speak, I’m already starting to gain a little clarity. This week I’ve already entered two flash fiction stories in contests and one for possible publication in a literary journal. I’ve submitted the first chapter of a book to my novel critique group. Participated in health coaching webinars and registered to attend a session in town this weekend. Spent the afternoon with several neighbors at a Labor Day get-together and accompanied my sister-in-law with her sick cat to the vet. And—I’ve written this blog post.

I think I might be getting there, finding balance. Learning to honor and appreciate my new life.

Namaste.