Healthy Heart Lasagne or Tastes Good & Good For You

My lovely assistant (actually Meg was in charge, there’s just not a picture of me doing anything).

If these pictures look a little fuzzy or a bit out of focus, it’s because I was weak from hunger while we labored our way through the first of my ‘healthy heart’ meals that were on my new FLORA proactiv (cholesterol lowering butter replacement) recipe booklet.

Out of all the recipes listed, the Winter Vegetable Lasagna looked the most straightforward and easy to follow. Amazingly it was fairly easy to prepare, although getting the ingredients was a little challenging.

Now I don’t know what classifies as “winter vegetables” where you live, but over in the UK it’s veg of the root variety. Parsnips, sweet potatoes, swede, carrots, onions, and so on. All of these bar the swede were used in the lasagna and the only ‘non-root’ vegetable was the red pepper that the recipe called for.

Now I will hold my hand up and state quite loudly that I like my vegetables. Not as much as meat though, there’s just something about tearing at the cooked flesh of most animals with my teeth that appeals to the Neanderthal in me. Unfortunately since my “life changing event” in August I’m having to rethink my mealtime choices.

One of the first things that the pharmacist gave me when I went in for my first wheelbarrow full of pills and potions that my new condition required was a recipe book. It does have quite a few little healthy meals in it and if you’re interested they also have a website with loads more recipes and food ideas to tempt your taste buds. FLORA.com just click on the link and have a drooling look or two at what’s on show.

The recipe is simple and easy (it really is, otherwise I couldn’t have helped at all) just have a look:

Preparation time
35 to 40 minutes
Cooking time
35 to 40 minutes
Serves
4
Course
Mains and soups
Main ingredient
Vegetables
Ingredients:

2 tbsps olive oil
1 red onion, peeled, cut into wedges
2 parsnips, peeled
1 sweet potato, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
1 courgette
1 red pepper, diced
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp oregano or thyme
6 sheets no-cook lasagna
25g (1oz) Flora Buttery spread
25g (1oz) flour
350ml skimmed milk
55g (2oz) reduced fat Cheddar cheese, grated
½ tsp English mustard

The recipe won’t tell you, but these puppies need roasting for about 45 to 50 minutes.

Method
1. Cut the parsnips, sweet potato, carrot and courgette into chunks and place in a roasting tin. Add the onions and pepper, drizzle with oil and roast in a preheated oven at 180˚C (fan assisted)/gas mark 5 for 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked.
2. When cooked, mix with the tomatoes, tomato purée, chilli powder and herbs.
3. Meanwhile prepare the sauce by placing the Flora Buttery spread and flour into a saucepan. Add the skimmed milk gradually, constantly stirring over a moderate heat. Bring to the boil.
4. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until smooth and thickened. Add half the cheese and the mustard.
5. Assemble the lasagna by placing half the vegetables in a ovenproof dish, cover with three sheets of lasagna and top with half the sauce. Repeat layers ending with cheese sauce.
6. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and return to oven for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.
Now the only thing we left out was the English Mustard. We also added a bit of extra cheese. The mustard was left out because Meg’s not a huge fan of the taste and the extra cheese was to meet my culinary requirements.

The smell while the vegetables were roasting prior to adding the cheese sauce and the lasagna sheets was maddening. If I could figure out a way to include the aroma here, I would.

I will warn you that the measurements are English measures. If you look on the net though you’ll find quite a few different sites that will convert those pesky “foreign” measurements to something that US kitchens can use. I’d convert them myself, but hey, I never claimed to be Martha Stewart.

But do take that extra minute or two to get the measurements converted and don’t be tempted to just use the existing recipe as is. Trust me when I say, it won’t taste the same and it may even not be edible.

The end result is an aroma to die for and a taste that (for me anyway) is surprisingly delicious.

Scrumptious

The recipe states that it will feed four folks and it probably can. It certainly stretched to two meals for Meg and me. There is also a menu for homemade garlic bread but, as we did not prepare that, I’ve left it out.

You can find that recipe, along with the one for the lasagna on the website I linked above.

I was a bit leery about the new dietary requirements that awaited me after my heart attack but I think that I can relax a bit. If only a few recipes are as good as this one, I think I’m going to like my new menus and my heart will hopefully thank me.

Slow Sunday?

So we’ve painted three rooms in the house. Getting rid of the hideous lime-green feature wall in my bedroom and covering up a nightmarish dark pink in the third bedroom. By far the easiest room to re-paint was my daughter’s. It’s crime was to be a dark magnolia in a room that needed lighter walls to help it seem bigger and more open.

I have begun working in earnest on my book. Chapter three and counting. It actually sounds more impressive than it actually is. The chapters are a bit on the short side, but, I will be adding to them as time goes by. The important thing is that I am writing a lot. Remembering things that I am afraid I will forget if I am not careful.

I am now sipping a coffee and since the rain has finally stopped and the sun has come out nice and strong, I am waiting for the grass to dry a bit so I can mow the lawn and trim the garden up.  I also need to clean the downstairs and make lasagne. The lasagne making will take time because I’ve forgotten the recipe.

I always make any pasta dish using an American recipe. The English versions of Italian dishes are a little gruesome. They insist on filling out everything with  a disgusting white sauce. In lasagne, instead of using ricotta and parmesan cheese they infuse it  with this sauce. It is revolting.

Sorry, I just realised that I went of on a short tangent there. Let’s see, where was I? Oh, my slow Sunday list. I need to go up in the attic and put some more things away. I also need to bring a few things down. But chiefly, I need to put the giant air mattress up and get it off the third bedroom floor where it has sat like a rejected suitor all forlorn and in the way.

I’ve also just spent the last hour e-mailing myself pictures from my Blackberry. My daughter helpfully took before and after pictures of the rooms we painted. I, however, cannot find the usb attachment to transfer the pictures from my phone to my laptop. I then had the brilliant idea of emailing them to myself.

Of course that involved finding the damn things on the phone and then realising that somehow or other we managed to lose the lime green wall picture. On top of all that, the pictures had to be sent one at a time. All so I could include one picture of the ‘pink room’ in its before state and none of the end results.

I did manage to take a picture of my ‘overly long’ grass. Which on closer inspection doesn’t look all that long.

I need to do a ‘pick-up’ video for one of my YouTube channels and I’d like to do another film review on my blog. Which of course brings me back to writing, which I’d also like to do more of today. So my slow Sunday is looking more like a busy Sunday. On top of everything else, I also need another shower because I  discovered a bit earlier that yesterday I got some paint in some very interesting places.

How on earth did I get paint there?