Monday, June 17, 2013

Lemony Spinach Cilantro Stuffed Summer Squash- and Other Deliciously Healthy Low Carb Lunch Ideas #healthyluxemeals



Each day at around 11:05am, in offices everywhere, starts the lunchtime shuffle. 

What am I going to eat?  Who's going where?  And... oh man, is it noon yet, my tummy's growling.

Menus come out.  Online searching begins.  And bank accounts are checked to see if there is enough for a sit down meal, or if the drive-through dollar menu will have to do.

And there's always that one foodie in the office.  The one you can count on to choose the best restaurants.  While eagerly going office by office, making a list of what everyone wants, plus delivering it right to your door... perfect every time.

No carrots, no nuts, and have them add two extra dressings on the side, please.


And I used to do that dance.  Until each day at about 3:35pm all I wanted to do was take a nap.  Each week, I realized my pants were getting just a little bit tighter.  And each month, I couldn't help but wonder what was busting my budget.

So I started bringing my lunch.  Wow, talk about more healthy.

But, healthy doesn't have to be boring, and these lemony stuffed squash are anything but lackluster.

The ricotta adds a creamy texture, even though it's one of the cheeses lowest in fat- even lower than cottage cheese.  And the fresh herbs and spinach add a freshness that nicely balance the warm squash and the lemony tang.

Need more ideas to keep your lunches interesting? Here are a few of my favorite low-carb lunches that are simple to make, can be made ahead, and will surely stretch those dollars.

- Quiche.  There are so many combinations you can make, and by simply leaving out the crust, you've saved a ton of calories and made it a low-carb meal.  Plus, one makes enough for several days of lunches.  A few of my favorite from my B&B days are- Zucchini Dill Quiche and Shrimp Quiche. Both, very different, but both, winners in my book.

- Salad.  Salads are a lunch staple, but they don't have to be made just of leafy greens! Check out this California Caprese Salad with Pancetta and Avocado. Or this fun salad with Roasted Golden Beet and Chevre Spinach Salad with Orange Cilantro Bacon Dressing.  And don't forget my Green Pea Salad with Leeks, Bacon and Goat Cheese... can I just say YUM!

- Roast Hash.  I love to roast up a variety of veggies and sausage (especially chicken apple).  It's simple and easy on clean up (here is a post with lots of suggestions).  Add in a few chunks of cheese and you've got a lunch you'll be dreaming about all morning long.

- Chicken.  Thank goodness for rotisserie chickens... versatile, healthy, and my go-to time saver.  Eat as is, with a balsamic glaze and these Stuffed Squash.  Or shred it up and use it in a green salad, or even in a chicken salad with crunchy veggies and Greek Yogurt, and you're set (stay tuned for a recipe coming out this week).  Man, those birds are the best!

- Soups.  Soup can still be soothing even in the summertime, especially if you lighten it up with summer veggies and leaner proteins.  One of my all time favorites is this Chicken Meatball, Asparagus Leek Soup.  Yes, soup is good food.



Lemony Spinach Cilantro & Ricotta Stuffed Summer Squash

4 summer squash, cut lengthwise and seeds removed
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 package fresh baby spinach (3oz.)
1 large shallot, cut into thin half-moons
Juice of half a lemon (a whole one if you want it even more lemony)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped
Seasonings of choice (I used some of my favorite Parisien Bonnes Herbes)- optional
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium skillet, drizzle in olive oil.  Add in shallots and cook until soft. Then add in spinach.  Salt and pepper and cook until spinach is wilted, and set aside.

In mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, cilantro, seasonings as desired and spinach mixture.  Salt and pepper as needed.

Spoon mixture into summer squash and place on a rimmed cookie sheet that has been greased.  Drizzle olive oil over squash and bake for about 30 minutes, or until squash is soft and the cheese mixture has browned on top.

2 comments:

  1. Ooh loving your new site!! This recipe looks absolutely delicious and so flavorful! Great lunch idea indeed :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Soni! Excited to be adding even more fun and healthy recipes! ;-)

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