Is 3 a crowd? + Healthy Lasagna

For those of you on this journey with the Brinster’s at The Ponderosa, you have front seat to what is going on in and around the Ponderosa kitchen.  This installment will not only cover our last doctor’s visit but sometime in the Ponderosa kitchen as well.  I’m thinking Healthier Lasagna will be the share today.  Yes, I used the word healthier and lasagna together in a sentence.

Last Tuesday, Colton had his first appointment with Healthy You for Life.  It is a CHKD program.  It has three components, medical, behavioral, and registered dietician.  The first appointment is the medical one.  Dr. Dominque Williams entered the room and I was immediately drawn to her warming smile and her short stature!

She told Colton she was going to ask him 101 questions.  Colton replied, “Why 101 and not 100?”  and she bantered back to him, “Because I like the plus 1!”  I rejoiced on the inside because she totally “GOT” my child.  Colton was engaged and responsive to her and answered her questions.  Colton looked at her when he spoke.  HUGE deal folks, huge deal. As we started to talk about food choices a little, I explained what Dr. Rafaat, the Nephrologist, had told us.  Dr. Williams said, “Here is where you are going to have to decide what works best for Colton and your family.  You have 3 doctors now telling you different things.  Dr. Rafaat told you exactly what I would expect a kidney doctor to tell you.  Your pediatrician is going to give you guidelines as well.  I am going to give you lifestyle suggestions to change.  I have a degree in nutrition.   You are going to have to take in all of this information and decide what sticks, what gets shelved for later, and what is a heck no that isn’t happening.”

As we started to talk about food choices a little, I explained what Dr. Rafaat, the Nephrologist, had told us.  Dr. Williams said, “Here is where you are going to have to decide what works best for Colton and your family.  You have 3 doctors now telling you different things.  Dr. Rafaat told you exactly what I would expect a kidney doctor to tell you.  Your pediatrician is going to give you guidelines as well.  I am going to give you lifestyle suggestions to change.  I have a degree in nutrition.   You are going to have to take in all of this information and decide what sticks, what gets shelved for later, and what is a heck no that isn’t happening.”  She went on to share that none of the information that any of the three would share with me was wrong, per say, but that I would have to filter the information for our family.  Now I am thinking, THREES A CROWD.

During this visit, Colton shared some heartbreaking things about his middle school days.  Things I kind of knew had probably happened as he was a big boy, but he had never really verbalized.  I have often said that middle school was hell on earth, and Colton confirmed that during our time with Dr. Williams.  It not only broke my heart and made me cry but it made me angry.  Colton was bullied, made fun of, pushed around, name called, picked on, laughed at, and the list went on.  Dr. Williams looked up at me and had tears in her eyes.   Folks, I am here to tell you, kids are cruel, kids are mean, kids need to be brought up at home with respect for others.  I could totally relate to what Colton was sharing as I too was overweight in school and was also bullied and made fun of.  Kids have not changed, they have evolved with new cyber tools and social media.  I beg you raise your children  to be a friend to the underdog, to not join in on the fun of making fun of another, to stand up for what is wrong.  I will step off my soap box now.

Colton left feeling empowered and in charge of his journey.  Knowing that how this goes down is really up to him.  He didn’t leave feeling ashamed or bad about himself.  He felt that Dr. Williams was really in this with him.  She was on Team Colton.  Hip Hip Hooray!!!!

Ohhhhh his blood pressure on this visit was 104/64!!!!! That is medicated but it is lower.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so scared.  When his blood pressure was 165/107  FEAR was real my friends.

I apologize for the delay of a blog post.  I have had a lot of pondering and filtering going on.  But I have a wonderful recipe to share with you.  Now when I made this, I did not measure precisely.  So there will be some guestimates going on.  But this is a recipe that guestimates are ok.  Zucchini Lasagna.  Healthy and delicious.  Oh, my!!!

Start with 3 zuchinni’s and slice them into 3rds.  Then slice them on a mandolin with a thick setting.  Add the slices to a colander and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt over them.  Stir them around to get the salt distributed.  Let the colander sit in the sink for about 30 minutes.  Then lay the slices on paper towels and pat them dry.  Preheat a grill pan or grill.  Lay out the zucchini in the pan and cook about 3-4 minutes per side.  These 3 steps of salting, patting dry, and grilling helps to remove a lot of the moisture that zucchinis possess and keeps your lasagna from being a soupy mess.

 

I browned about a pound of ground beef (93% )and cooked 3 Turkey Italian sausages.  One the sausages were done, I cut them in half lengthwise and then cut them in slices.  I added them into the pan with the hamburger.  I had bought a big jar of Rao’s Marinara sauce that I knew would be perfect for this.  I added the to marinara sauce to the pan, enough to coat it but not what you would do for spaghetti night.  Then I set it aside to make the ricotta filling.

I used part skim ricotta (8oz container)  Added it to a bowl.  I shredded a block of mozzarella and added half of it to the ricotta.  I added 1 egg, salt and pepper and a generous pinch of Just Spices, Taste of Italy.  Mixed all of that together.

To put the lasagna together, I first layered just marinara on the bottom and topped it with zucchini.

sauce and zucchini

Next a layer of 1/2 the ricotta and topped it with the meat sauce.

layered

Then a sprinkle of mozzarella on top.  Followed by a later of zucchini.  Repeat the layering with the rest of the ricotta, spoonfuls of sauce and sprinkle of cheese.

ricotta

Last, I did  layer of zucchini and I topped it with marinara sauce.

marinara top hat

Into the Oven of Loving it went. Oven temperature was 375 for 30 minutes.  I popped it out and put a happy layer of mozzarella on it and back into the oven of lovin’ for a few minutes to melt.  I apparently did not take a picture of that!  Let it sit for at least 15 minutes or longer if you have the time.

It was DELISH!

dinner

There you have it.  A “Healthy” lasagna that all the residents at the Ponderosa ate and loved.  I didn’t even have to kick Tator on the table.  He even loved the wheat bread sticks I made this time.  I tweaked the recipe some!!!

From the Ponderosa Kitchen to you,

Elizabeth, Queen of Ponderosa

 

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