Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fat Fat Fat?

So for the past few weeks I have been tracking my calories on the Daily Plate website.  The great thing about this site (for me) is it allows me to enter in a recipe and find out the nutritional information for the meals I cook.  This has been pretty eye opening and have since been trying my best to cut the fat (both literally and figuratively).  You would be surprised how much difference casual application of olive oil and parmesan can make to a meal.  That said, I strongly feel that a little fat can sometimes be a good thing in one's diet, especially if it comes in the form of vegetable or fish fat (omega fatty acid, yo!).  I have, in the past 2-3 weeks entered in about 20 or so recipes (some of which I have already posted to this blog), so I thought I would post a few of them starting off with a recipe for a lower fat lasagna.  Using low fat ricotta and nonfat cottage cheese you can really reduce the fat content in this meal.  Using whole wheat lasagna noodles and spinach this lasagna ends up being really high in protein and fiber.  Its a zone dieter's dream at 40% carbs 34% protein and 21% fat.  See below the recipe for complete nutritional data:

Lower Fat Spinach Lasagna
makes 8 generous servings

Wine Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 3 clove garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine 

    • 2 tsp dried basil
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 2 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste

Cheese and Spinach Filling

1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 4 cup washed baby spinach
  • 2 1/2 cup reduced fat mozerella
  • 1 3/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese

  • 16 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles

  • In a deep saucepan heat oil and cook onions over low heat for 5-7 minutes. Add oregano, basil, fennel and cook 2 more minutes.  Add tomatoes, wine, and peppers and gently simmer for 20 minutes or so.  Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the noodles according to directions on box (al dente). Lay out on waz paper to avoid them sticking to each other.

  • Heat olive oil in deep saucepan. Cook onions and garlic over medium head. Add wine, basil and cook for a few more minutes until half of the wine has cooked off. Add spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. In a blender or food processor blend ricotta, cottage cheese, and 1/2 cup mozerrella. Combine cheese mixture with spinach and salt and pepper to taste.

  • Layering the lasagna is really a personal art but as long as you start with marinara and a layer of noodles and end with a layer of noodles and marinara on top you will be doing well.  Just make sure to use all the ingredients.  This will fit nicely into on 9"x12" tray or two 8"x8" trays. Once you have everything layerd sprinkle remaining mozeralla on top, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes.  If desired the last 5 minutes of cooking can be under the broiler.  Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 servings

Amount per Serving

Calories 524
Calories from Fat 114.6

% Daily Value *

Total Fat 12.73g
Saturated Fat 6.44g
Cholesterol 38.13mg
Sodium 826.68mg
Total Carbohydrate 52.27g
Dietary Fiber 10.17g
Sugars 7.96g

Protein 44.92g

Est. Percent of Calories from:

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs.

Monday, March 1, 2010


I was not raised religiously, though for a great deal of my life lived in a place where 60% of my peers were church-going of some sort or another. Most of my friends growing up were either evangelical christian or Mormon and as a result I was constantly in the process of being saved.  Unfortunately (for me) I turned out to be (in their eyes) unsaveable. Despite tens of trips to church services, church camps, and church youth groups I remain unsure about the nature of my relationship with God and/or Jesus (as well as my and my families impending afterlife). Thankfully, my churchless parents understood the importance of a few traditions, namely the importance of eating together.  Thus, leave it to a Hill to form a "service" revolving entirely around food, in this case a weekly gathering celebrating my Grandmother BettieJean's waffle recipe. To be fair, church service involved one other (perhaps more key) element, the teaching of that great prophet, Jackson Browne.  Every Sunday morning (or at least many Sunday mornings) I was awoken by Lives in the Balance or The Pretender blaring on the stereo (which at the time was annoying to my sleep loving body and Debbie Gibson listening ears).  All was made better by the sweet smell of waffles in the iron. Hence was born The Church of Sunday Morning Waffles and Jackson Browne Music.
This tradition has actually survived the longest of any of our family traditions. If ever we are home on a Sunday we hold services; my sister-in-law, Laura actually made my father a defacto "pope" hat. They (my brother Josh and Laura) held regular services when they lived in San Luis Obispo, while Jay and I have formed a splinter cell up here in Seattle: The Church of Sunday Morning Frittata and Jackson Browne Music (we don't own a waffle iron, I am ashamed to admit).
Well yesterday morning we held services and true to form listened to JB's acoustic album while I prepared my most basic frittata.  You can pretty much add any vegetable you like in this recipe, most often I add spinach. Just add the spinach right before you add the egg.  If you are using a heartier vegetable simply add it earlier:

Basic Frittata
makes 8 slices

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large white potato, thinly sliced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
6 medium eggs
1 cup lowfat milk
1/2 cup shredded parmesan reggiano

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a 9" cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook onions, potatoes, oregano, and red pepper flakes until onions are just starting to brown. Salt and pepper to taste. Combine milk and eggs and whisk thoroughly. Pour egg mixture into skillet and cook for one minute. Transfer to the over and cook for 20 minutes until the frittata is cooked through. Sprinkle cheese over the top and move to the broiler. Broil until cheese is bubbling. Let cool for 5 minutes and cut into 8 slices.