Tip Tuesday – Lighten Up Lasagna

So I have been wanting to start a new “segment” on my blog called:  Tip Tuesday! As a registered dietitian (RD), I’m always interested in healthy food. I thought –  why not share my favorite simple tips for making meals a little lighter. I wanted to implement this on either a weekly, or bi-weekly basis, so let me know if you all like this idea!

But don’t worry, I make sure to NEVER sacrifice flavor. Let’s be real, no one wants to eat boring, bland food. #notyummy

For my FIRST tip, I went the Italian food route. Specifically lasagna.

Lighted Up Lasagna Who can say no to Italian food right? But lasagna is one of those items that typically get a bad wrap for being healthy and not the healthiest option. My tip for making lasagna a little lighter:

Switch up the Fillings

Instead of using the standard, full-fat ricotta cheese, swap it out for this combination:

1/2 part-skim ricotta + 1/2 small curd, low-fat cottage cheese

Yes you heard me correctly: Cottage Cheese!

A little unorthodox, but you will honestly never realize the difference. The “small curd” cottage cheese* is key though! Just whip that together with the ricotta cheese until smooth.

I also typically add a package of frozen, chopped spinach to the cheese mixture as well (thawed and squeezed dry in a paper towel first). The spinach will add some extra nutrients [iron, folate, and vitamin A], but doesn’t detract from the flavor or texture.

*Note: I actually prefer “whipped” cottage cheese, but it is difficult to find. Small curd works well, but you just need to whip it with the ricotta a little longer to achieve a creamy, smooth consistency.

Happy Eating!

Magic Soup

The first thing you should know about me:

1. I do not like soup

I just never have! And you’re probably thinking….

“But the title of this post is ‘magic soup’? I don’t get it?”

So yes, I really don’t like soup, but when I’m not feeling great and can’t breathe, I turn to the power and magic of Pho.

My particular favorite is chicken pho {aka pho ga}. If you’re not familiar with this soup, it’s essentially like a spicy asian version of chicken noodle soup. I tend to go to a little hole in the wall restaurant, get the soup to-go, and layer the provided ingredients together at home.

I honestly think that is part of the draw of this soup! #someassemblyrequired

Here’s how I put my soup together:

First, I get the cutest soup bowl I could find…

Pho 1 …and add the sliced chicken sprinkled with herbs and thin onions

Pho 2 put a big pile of rice noodles on top

Pho 3 add some basil, jalapeños, and bean sprouts

Pho 4 a splash of lime

Pho 5 and a dash of the spicy paste.

That spice really opens up your sinuses. {when you are sick, that is GREATLY appreciated}

Pho 6 Then finally add the “magic” broth

It’s definitely the broth the holds the magic of the soup. It is a beef broth infused with fresh herbs and simmered for HOURS. This soup always makes me feel better.

Today, I got my soup from a local Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Nam. It’s a little family run business in Cornelius, NC that has been going strong for 8 years. I LOVE supporting local restaurants, especially ones who consistently deliver delicious, made-from-scratch meals.

And YES! All of those soup additions come standard = layers of flavor! I just mix everything together and eat!

Pho 7

Question of the Day:

What is your go-to meal when you are sick?