Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means we’ll have to endure 6 more weeks of winter.
Funny, this year, Phil and my calendar are in agreement. I can honestly say that for the first time in years, I’ll take 6 more weeks of this weather we’re calling winter. Yesterday it was 55 degrees here. Unheard of! Thanks Phil!
Of course, as much as I love this weather, it just doesn’t scream “comfort food”, fireplaces and hot chocolate to me. In fact, it’s a nagging reminder that us northerners are still months away from fresh fruit and vegetables. Sad, but true.
If I can’t have either comfort food or fresh produce, I’ll have to improvise. zucchini lasagna anyone?
When we were making this, we thought of a list of names to call it: zucchini rollatini, zucchini manicotti, zucchatini…and then we stopped. You see, the more creative we got, the less descriptive the name. And while this really isn’t lasagna, it’s close.
And I did it the hard way. I have no idea why, but once I got started, I was stuck. If you’re like me and don’t own a mandoline, I’d suggest saving time by layering, not rolling your slices! This was really much more time-consuming to assemble than I had planned on.
There’s always a “but” isn’t there?
Here’s the “but”; I mentioned a challenge in the title of the post, and I do mean to talk about it. You see, my office (yes, I do go somewhere during the day), is hosting their own Biggest Loser style fitness contest between February 1 and March 31st, and I joined. To be clear, I by no means, need to lose weight.
I need to get in shape.
I need to be accountable.
Ever since I ran my first half marathon, I’ve fallen off the fitness wagon. And while I’m fortunate enough to be pretty lean naturally, that doesn’t mean I’ve been living the healthiest lifestyle possible. I joined the contest to kickstart myself into a new fitness routine.
How is this related to zuchatini? WELL- for starters, subbing zucchini for lasagna noodles saves you quite a few calories and I highly doubt that a carb-induced food coma is going to motivate my tush into active mode. So, zucchini lasagna it is.
Let me tell you, you won’t miss the noodles. This was awesome.
Stay tuned for work out posts!
- 3-4 zucchini
- 1/2 c full fat ricotta
- 1/2 fat-free ricotta
- 1/2-1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 cup chopped spinach
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- 1/4 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella
- salt and pepper for seasoning
pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Wash your zucchini and trim the ends, pat dry. Carefully (I stress this! Unless you want to slice your finger like I did), slice each zucchini in 1/4-1/2 inches slices. Season the slices with salt and pepper, and arrange on a paper towel, on a microwave safe dish and zap on high for about a minute. You may have to do this in batches. Take out and set aside to cool.
While the zucchini is cooling, mix together your cheese. Set aside while you finely dice, or shred, your spinach and basil. Add the greens to the cheese mixture and combine.
Grate the zest of 1 lemon, using a plane or box grater, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon to the cheese and mix to combine. Safe the remaining zest in an air tight container if desired.
Take out a 9×9 baking dish and coat the bottom with sauce. Now that your zucchini has cooled, spread it onto a cutting board or silicon mat. Place up to a tablespoon of the ricotta cheese mixture at one end of each slice and roll the zucchini up. Place the roll into the baking dish, starting in rows. once you’ve complete one layer, cover with sauce and repeat until all zucchini has been used. sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top and place in the oven for about 30 minutes.