One-Pot Creamy Mushroom Tortellini

Quick meals for a busy lady.  That is my thought process during the work week when I haven’t meal-prepped on the weekend.  One pot??? Even better.  I am all about the minimal clean-up.  I tend to have a bad habit of using every pot, pan, bowl, and utensil when I am meal-prepping.  Yes, I get a lot of eye rolls from Andrew when he looks at the kitchen sink on Sunday.  Oops.

One Pot Creamy Mushroom Tortellini Pasta

This is an easy one-pot meal and the creaminess is from the ricotta cheese, so it’s a lighter pasta dish.  Win-win.  It even makes great left-overs for the following day.

You could add other produce you have on hand, such as bell peppers, kale, or frozen peas, if you want to sneak in even more nutritional value.

One Pot Creamy Mushroom Tortellini Pasta

Sorry for the quick posts!  Story-telling works better on weekends ;)  Happy hump day.

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players:

1/2 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 C crimini mushrooms, sliced
14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
14.5 oz water (use the tomato can to measure the water)
1 t corn starch
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
12 oz tortellini (I used cheese-filled)
3 C fresh spinach
1/2 C ricotta cheese
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

optional: freshly grated parmesan for serving

Note: If you don’t have corn starch, don’t stress just substitute butter for your olive oil and 1 tbsp of flour for the corn starch.  Add the flour to the pan when you are done cooking the mushrooms and whisk it into the butter.  Then add your wet ingredients (water and tomatoes) and stir to combine.  The flour will act as a thickener similar to the cornstarch.

The Rules:

  1. In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat, warm 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Add garlic and onion to pan and cook until onion is translucent (3-5 minutes).  Place mushrooms in pan and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer diced tomatoes to pan.  Whisk corn starch and cold water in the same can the tomatoes were in and add to your pan.  Season with dried herbs.  Stir to combine ingredients and bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Add tortellini and spinach to the pan.  Cover with sauce and replace lid on pan.  Cook until tortellini is tender (7-10 minutes), stirring occasionally.  (Note: Reduce the heat to medium if you need to while the pasta is cooking)
  5. Gently fold in the ricotta cheese and season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm with freshly grated parmesan.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

Do you ever have one of those nights where you come home from work and all you want to do is pour yourself a glass of vino and snug your pup?  It doesn’t have to be a overly strenuous or bad work day.  I just think a cozy night like that sounds pretty perfect whenever I get a chance to sneak one in.  Teek and I did just that today.  Well after he helped me prepare this yummy meal of course.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

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I am pretty excited to share this recipe.  I was inspired to make this dish by one of co-workers and friends from South Africa.  She makes the lasagna dish for hey hunny that uses spaghetti noodles, ground ostrich, veggies, and a white sauce.  Ground ostrich is AMAZING, but since we are in good ole America I decided to make a unique lasagna casserole with another lean protein: ground turkey and sans the pasta.  Oh yeah, this another “healthafied” twist on an old school fav.

If you have not figured out by now I LOVE spaghetti squash.  Seriously, once you make it once you will be hooked too.  The spaghetti squash was the pasta substitute in this recipe and I decided to add some more nutritional value with the spinach.  If you want to re-create this dish to be vegetarian-friendly, you can easily replace the ground turkey with a meat substitute or sauteed mushrooms.  I chose the easy way out and used store-bought pasta sauce.  I have made home-made pasta sauce in the past and it is such a nice alternative to an off-the-shelf pasta sauce.  Reaching fo
r a jar is so much easier when your throwing together a week night meal.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

This dish does take some prep and time. It does not require any particular cooking skills, it just requires patience since you have to prepare the ingredients before assembling the lasagna.  The end result is well worth the effort!

Oh and anytime there’s a yummy Italian dish, I HAVE to serve it up with a baguette and some infused dipping oil.  That’s probably why I favor the lower-carb, spaghetti squash lasagna…I can “justify” (that’s what Andrew calls it) as much bread and oil as my heart, more like tummy, desires.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 50 minutes (includes roasting spaghetti squash and lasagna assembly)
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6-8

The Players: 

1 organic spaghetti squash
1 lb ground turkey
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
24 oz organic red pasta sauce (divided into 1 cup and 3 x 1/2 cup)
1 C ricotta cheese
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t red chili flakes
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/2 C freshly grated parmesan
6 slices mozzarella cheese (alternatively 1 C freshly grated mozzarella cheese)

The Rules:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F and line baking sheet with aluminum foil.  (Note: keep the oven on the whole time, you will bake the lasagna at this same temperature)
  2. Prepare the squash: Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise.  Hollow out the inside and remove the seeds. Rinse the squash. Spray the inside face of each half with coconut oil cooking spray.  Place squash face down on the baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes.  Flip the squash over when there are 10 minutes remaining and allow the face of the squash to brown.  Remove from the oven.  Use a fork to flake the edges of the squash in a downward motion and create spaghetti.
  3.   While the squash is baking prepare the remainder of your lasagna ingredients.
    1. Prepare the sausage: in a pan, over medium-high heat, brown the turkey and season with oregano, chili flakes, basil, salt and pepper.  Set aside in a bowl.
    2. Prepare the filling: Using the same pan, coated with coconut oil cooking spray, over medium heat sauté onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes.  Add spinach and cook an additional 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.  Mix in 1 cup of pasta sauce.  Remove from heat.  In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer combine the ricotta cheese with the spinach mixture.   Set aside.
  4. Assemble the lasagna.
    1. Spray a casserole dish (12 x 9) with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread 1/2 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.
    2. Spread half the spaghetti squash on top of the pasta sauce.  Then top with half the ground turkey.
    3. Spoon half the spinach ricotta filling over the turkey layer.  Spread evenly using a spatula.
    4. Layer 1/2 C of the pasta sauce over the spinach ricotta filling and repeat steps B and C.
    5. Top the lasagna with the remaining 1/2 C pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan.
  5. Place the casserole in the oven and bake at 425 F for 20 minutes.  (Note: turn your oven setting to broil for the last 2 minutes of baking and allow the bubbly cheese to get golden)
  6. Remove the casserole from the oven and allow to cool 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Sometimes you just need a simple, easy, healthy meal.   Let me be honest.  I am really not a huge pasta fan/eater.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy pasta dishes from time to time.  I just rarely come home from work and think to myself, “I could go for a big plate of pasta!”

Pesto Spaghetti SquashDon’t stress if your squash is not perfectly cut, you will be scraping out the spaghetti after it is done cooking and no one will know! 

It’s not a health/carb thing.  Believe me, my love for crusty baguettes dipped in olive oil proves that I LOVE CARBS.  I just don’t love pasta.  I do love veggie alternatives to pasta.

Pesto Spaghetti SquashThe half that is pictured in the background is the way the squash should be positioned when baking in the oven.

You can use zucchini, carrots, cauliflower as a substitute for pasta/rice…but my favorite switcheroo is spaghetti squash.  I have had more than one cashier at the grocery store ask me if I actually eat the squash or just have it as a decorative piece.  I know that it can be intimidating to look at the squash and look at the end product “spaghetti” and figure out how to get the final product.  It really is easy.  Just read the steps below :)

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I made my own kale pesto (https://bonappeteek.com/2014/11/19/kale-pesto/) and decided to throw some cheese and sun-dried tomatoes into the mix.  Then you get to enjoy a big bowl (or two) of spaghetti without the guilt.

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2-4

The Players: 

1 spaghetti squash
2 T extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/2 C pesto
2 T sun-dried tomatoes in oil
freshly grated parmesan as garnish

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F and line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut your spaghetti squash in half, length-wise.  (Note: Insert a sharp knife into the squash, do not cut through to the other side.  Then move the knife in a sawing motion toward you.  Turn the squash as you cut it, similar to an avocado.)
  3. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds from each half of the squash.  Rinse the squash.  Drizzle the inside surface of each squash half with olive oil.
  4. Transfer the squash to your baking sheet, with the rounded sides facing up.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.  Then flip the squash so the hollowed out surface is facing up.  Bake for remaining 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool 10-15 minutes before handling.
  5. When you are able to handle the squash, use a fork to loosen the “spaghetti” from the outside shell/skin.  Do this by scraping in a downward motion.  Transfer the spaghetti squash to a bowl and discard the outer skin of the squash.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  Serve warm (preferably with a glass of your fav vino)!

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

People ask all the time, “Does it really rain in Seattle all the time?”  Seattle may be known as the rainy city, but it does not rain all day, every day.  Rainy season definitely starts in November and sticks around until April or so.  But it’s more overcast, grey, misty, than it is Midwest-style downpours.  Think cozy days, curled up on your couch with a cup of tea, a good book, or a movie.  AND you can still go hiking, running, biking, seriously…Seattleites do not let a lil rain stop them from being uber-active.  I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THIS CITY.

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

We moved out here for my pharmacy residency and I never expected that this city would win my heart over.  I knew I wanted to live in the PNW for a chapter of my life, but this city is so much more than a few pages in the book of my life.   It’s where our relationship flourished, where I got my first big-girl Pharmacist dream job, where I made a family of friends, where I pursued my dreams and started a food blog.  It is where my heart is.  Seattle is my home.  I know super sappy, but I encourage anyone and everyone to come explore this corner of the U.S.

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

When you live in a city that has a surplus of cozy weekends, you tend to make a lot of hearty meals.  Hearty meals do not need to be cheesy, creamy, and rich.  I get just as much satisfaction, probably more, from a good soup or stew.  Ahh yes…what you’ve all been waiting for…the food.  This is a food blog after all.

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

Italian sausage and pasta are kind of meant to go together.  I love this combination and adding whatever veggies I have on hand to add some nutrients and vitamins to the dish.  Mushrooms accompany sausage very nicely and I love the earthy taste the root vegetables provide.  I only had one carrot on-hand, which is why I added the parsnip.  I love when last miute substitutions work out nicely :)  After all parsnip is pretty much carrot’s cousin.

Sausage and Mushroom Tortellini Soup

I enjoyed two steamy bowls of this goodness.  Love when a meal makes you crave seconds before the last drop is enjoyed.

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4-6

The Players: 

1 lb Italian sausage
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
32 oz beef stock
1 large carrot, scrubbed and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
1 parsnip, scrubbed and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
10 crimini mushrooms, rinsed and sliced (1/4-inch thick)
1 t dried basil
1 t dried oregano
2 T fresh sage
10 oz fresh tortellini pasta (I used spinach and plain cheese-filled)
freshly grated parmesan as garnish

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the Italian sausage, break apart into smaller pieces, and cook until meat has browned (~10 minutes).
  2. Add the onions and garlic, cooking an additional 3-5 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add tomatoes and beef stock.  Bring to a boil then add mushrooms, carrot, parsnip, and spices.  Replace lid on pot and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir the soup and add tortellini.  Replace lid and cook an additional 7 minutes (until pasta is cooked and floats to top of soup).
  5. Allow soup to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.  Serve with freshly grated parmesan sprinkled on top.

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

Okay, I am pretty excited to write this blog entry.  As you know I just spent Thanksgiving weekend in Anchorage.  Andrew’s family has been so supportive of my blog endeavors and they make me feel like part of the family every time we are together.  I never thought I would be so lucky to feel like I have two families :)  My families, Bosnian, Andrew’s, and our own trio with Teek, are one of the things I am most thankful for every day, especially thankful during the holiday season.  Andrew’s sister even wanted to take a family portrait and would not think of taking the picture without me.  Now that made me feel very special.  Seriously, I am going to try to keep this post to a minimal sappy rating, but it’s hard when you feel so surrounded by love.  What better way to repay them for their hospitality than to cook them a family-style italian meal???

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

Eggplant parmesan and lasagna.  Two traditional Italian dishes that seem just a little too complex to make at home.  Well after reading this post you will feel confident making your very own twist on these two favorites: Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna.

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

Although it takes some time to prepare the eggplant and assemble the lasagna, it will be worth it as soon as you have your first bite!   This is a great, hearty, vegetarian-friendly dish.  It is also a great way to introduce eggplant into your diet if you have not cooked with this produce before.  Eggplants are low in fat and carbohydrates so they are a great alternative to the traditional lasagna noodles.  You can also eliminate the panko crust of the eggplant if you want to minimize the carb-content of this meal further.

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

When you cook with eggplant, you want to soak it in a salt water bath for at least 30 minutes and then rinse the eggplant prior to preparing the vegetable.  The salt water bath will help extract some of the natural bitterness of the eggplant.

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

I have also made this recipe by making individual eggplant parmesan “volcanoes” –coined by Andrew.  For this variation, I stack the lasagna ingredients onto separated eggplant slices instead of layering into a baking dish–this makes for a pretty presentation and easy serving.

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

Typically I use fresh basil that I mince myself, but the grocery store in Anchorage was all out of the fresh herb so I substituted a basil herb blend.  It was AMAZING. So flavorful and fresh tasting.  I always ignored these herb-filled squeeze tubes in the past, but now I am a huge fan.  The herbs stay fresh in the tube and they are already minced and ready to use.  I call that a win-win.

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

We were all too hungry so I did not get a chance to snap a fancy picture of the final plated product.  But trust me it tastes pretty darn delicious.

Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6-8

The Players: 

2 large eggplants
8 oz panko bread crumbs
3 T dried oregano
5 large eggs
2 x 24 oz jars red pasta sauce (I used roasted garlic tomato sauce)
15 oz low-fat ricotta cheese
3 T basil herb blend (I used Gourmet Garden brand, found in produce section)
16 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin (1/8 to 1/4 -inch thick)
1/2 C freshly grated parmesan, divided

The Rules: 

  1. Slice off the stem from the eggplants.  Cut eggplants into 1/4-inch thick circular slices.  Place eggplant slices into a large mixing bowl, filled with salted water. (Note: add ~1 T salt to a mixing bowl full of water).  Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 F, arrange baking racks evenly in oven, and line 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil. (Note: if you do not have 3 baking sheets then you can prepare this section in steps)
  3. Prepare your dredging station: crack 4 of the eggs into a bowl and whisk to combine; on a large plate or pan, combine the panko bread crumbs and dried oregano.
  4. Prepare your ricotta filling: in a small mixing bowl combine ricotta, half the parmesan cheese, basil paste, and 1 egg.  Set aside.
  5. Drain the water from the eggplant slices.  Pat the eggplant slices dry with paper towel.
  6. Dip the eggplant slices one-by-one in the egg wash.  Then coat both sides with the bread crumb-herb mixture. Transfer the eggplant slices to the baking sheets.
  7. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes; remove from oven flip over and bake an additional 10 minutes.  The eggplant slices should be soft to the touch.  Set aside and leave oven on.  (Note: each baking sheet should be equivalent to one-layer of the lasagna; therefore, you should have enough for 3 layers)
  8. To assemble the lasagna: Spread 1/2 a jar of pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish; layer eggplant slices to cover the bottom of the dish; spread half the ricotta mixture over the eggplant layer; top ricotta layer with half the mozzarella slices; spread remaining 1/2 jar of pasta sauce on top of the mozzarella.  Repeat layering two more times.  For the second eggplant layer do not add remaining mozzarella slices, reserve these for topping the lasagna.  Sprinkle remaining half of parmesan cheese on top of the lasagna.
  9. Place lasagna in center rack of oven, reduce temperature to 350 F, and bake for 25 minutes.
  10. Set oven to broil (on high) for last 3-5 minutes of baking.  The cheese should start to bubble and brown.
  11. Remove lasagna from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy warm!