When I moved in with Chef Christy over 6 months ago, I would have to admit, I knew she would have an impact on the way I ate. I was skeptical, fearful, and overwhelmed with “losing” favorite foods…I mean when we are in a position to change something that we have lived with our entire lives, it’s something that our inner being has a hard time processing! It’s like in our head we think the worst! We hear things such as “dairy free”, “gluten free”, or “no added sugar” and we freak out! We think we will have no flavor, hospital food, and that we will starve to death! Chef Christy lives what she is teaching, she is gluten free, dairy free, and very conscious of the sugar she puts in her body. Our common friends were worried and promised to kidnap me so I would be able to eat “real food”. I needed a place to stay and get my bearings, so with the promise of foodcations, I took over her spare room.
I had eaten Christy’s cooking before, I knew she was a chef instructor, and I didn’t hate what she had fed me in the past. As a matter of fact, her healing soups are in demand, and are quite tasty! She made a Mexican Chicken and Rice soup that kicked a cold right outta me! But I was still scared…what lurked behind the refrigerator door? What IS that weird thing in that jar with a funny name? To hide my fear, I volunteered to make salads. I use a ton of color and cool stuff in my salads, they are a whole and healthy meal and Christy has at times dubbed them “perfect”. We ate a LOT of salads those first months…
Because we made a ton of salads, we go to the farmer’s market. I ask Christy questions and she tells me all I want to know. We go shopping and she explains the labels to me, what was good, what was bad, and shows me better food choices. Little by little it has been sinking in.
Changes started happening, she showed me what was lurking in the freezer, and she would ask what I was in the mood for. When one night I said “Pizza” she made something that wasn’t exactly pizza, but it was really good! She taught me that a LOT of foods that I enjoy can be made better and that some of the foods I like, can be combined with other foods I like and have amazing results, not just in the taste, but also how my body reacts to it. I have told her recently that when I come home from staying with our other friends, my cells dance from the first meal home.
While at another friend’s house, I made lasagna. I was on the phone with Christy telling her what I had made and she said that it sounded so good. That set my brain in motion. I wanted to make her a dinner of lasagna that she could eat, combining my own cooking background with what I have learned from living with her for the past 6 months. So this week we went to the farmer’s markets and I got everything I needed. This is the first time I have ever made lasagna from scratch – all fresh ingredients, only a couple of canned things (tomato sauce and tapenade), and my first use of gluten-free noodles and dairy substitute cheese. I was nervous!
I started the sauce in the crock pot first thing in the morning. By afternoon the the smells permeated the air as dinner cooked. As I pulled the lasagna out of the oven my stomach was in knots, worried whether it would taste right. We just had just finished eating when she went MMMMmmmm” and then went back for seconds, well it was one of my proudest moments in this household. I have to admit, it was a TON better than doctored up brand name spaghetti sauce that I used to make.
Just a side note. I have lost a lot of weight since I moved in. It’s NOT because I am starving. It’s because I have learned how to eat healthier, why I need to eat healthier, and I have the energy to get up and move. Thanks Chef Christy! You were right! It IS “just that easy!”
6 large beefsteak or other slicing tomato cubed
1 small yellow pepper chopped
1 small orange pepper chopped
1 lb container of green olives stuffed with almonds sliced
1 lb container black olives sliced
1 small jar of black olive tapenade
1 lb fresh mushrooms sliced
handful of fresh basil
8-10 cloves of garlic minced
1 Tbs Fresh ground pepper
1 lb ground turkey
1 large red pepper chopped
1 med onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
Italian spice to taste (I was blessed to have Chef Christy’s personal Italian blend)
1 small can Muir Glen organic tomato sauce
1 lb pack of Tinkyada Gluten Free Rice Lasagna Noodles (not completely cooked)
For Christy’s dairy free version – 8 oz Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
For Pat’s dairy version – 8 oz grated mozzarella
In a crockpot combine first 9 ingredients. Cook on High for 1/2 hour
Slowly, brown Turkey, with onion, red bell pepper, and 5-6 cloves of minced garlic.
Add to crockpot and stir to combine sauce. Turn to low, cook for 5-6 hours.
Preheat oven 325
Boil noodles but don’t cook them all the way. Drain and rinse with COLD water
I created two pans; a dairy free pan for Christy and a mozzarella pan for me.
Layer in baking pans in this order:
Meat, Cheese, Noodles, Meat, Cheese, Noodles, Meat, Cheese
Cook until Cheese is Golden Brown or Dayia has melted.
Yield 12 servings (6 servings each pan)