Surprise! Two recipes in one post! Mostly because school is slowly creeping it’s hands around my neck and I’ve barely had time to get my blog on. Sorry. Here’s two fun and yummy ricotta recipes to make up for it!
My mother and I tend to overestimate. When it comes to packing for a trip, stressing about things we have to do, hosting a party, or stocking the house with food, we tend to go overboard. Like, really overboard. I don’t know how we always end up with 6 cans of black beans or 5 boxes of pasta, but we always end up with an “oopsies..” when we get back from the grocery. Most of the time, it annoys me because I hate clutter. But, it also means she puts a cute little note on the fridge saying what’s on “special” for the week. 🙂 It’s adorable…Anyways, after the boyfriend and I made a splendid meal for New Years, in which I intended to use ricotta but didn’t, there was a lot of this sweet, soft cheese laying around. And to make things worse, my mom somehow had ricotta on the brain and ended up buying MORE at the grocery! Phew! SO… I got majorly creative. First, ricotta fritters.
Naturally, when I have a lot of one ingredient and not a lot of ideas, I turn to Pinterest for inspiration. Can we just talk for a second about how awesome Pinterest is?? I don’t have as much free time as I used to so I don’t get to casually peruse page after page of beautiful people, places, food, and clothes I could never afford… But I do love using it as a place to look for inspiration. All I had to do was type in “Ricotta” and a million recipes came up! I saw a few recipes touting “healthy” patties but were loaded with full-fat cheese and deep fried in oil. Ummm.. No thanks. I gathered some inspiration, put my big girl pants, on and started playing around! (Sad news- I was in full on experimentation mode and didn’t take ANY good pictures…. Sorry :/ )
So for the fritters I just started throwing some ingredients in a bowl and let it “talk” to me. I was going for texture here really. When making something like this you want the cakes to be moist and not dry but they have to be able to hold together with some regularity. That’s where the egg and breadcrumbs come in. Be careful, though! Whole grain bread crumbs are hard to find but I do strongly recommend them over their over-procesed, mostly-sugar sisters. Also, to save on a some calories and fat I started with just one whole, beaten egg and used Egg Beaters egg whites until I had the right consistency. If you’re going to go full-fat on any part of this though, just use real eggs. It’s cool. To fry these up I used a splash of olive oil and a healthy amount of olive oil Pam spray before I dropped the pre-shaped and chilled patties on the hot surface. The first few were a mess but once I got the timing down and learned to only flip them once, they came out crispy and delicious! Also, I made these very small because I wanted to be able to eat 4-5 as the protein part of a dinner or a 1-2 as a snack! Try them for yourself!
- 2 cups low-fat or part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 to 1 cup whole grain bread crumbs
- 9 Tbs egg beaters (or 3 whole eggs)
- 2 cups fresh (or frozen) spinach, finely chopped
- 1 Tbs italian seasoning
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Chop spinach into very small pieces
- Mix all ingredients except for spinach in a large bowl- I used my hands for this, to really make sure it was fully mixed
- Fold in spinach and chill in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes
- Divide the mixture into 4 parts and then divide each part into 5 or 6 balls
- Heat a small amount of oil or non-stick cooking spray in a pan over medium heat
- Shape the individual balls into a patty form and cook in pan a few minutes each side (they should get nice and brown- try to only flip them once!)
- Set on a plate to cool as you cook the rest of the batch, or store the chilled mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one day
If you’re feeling ricotta-crazy and really want to see what this yummy stuff can do, try this amaazzzing creamy pasta sauce! I tossed mine with spiralized zucchini but I’m sure it would be fantastic on regular whole grain pasta as well. With my new found love (and surplus) of ricotta, and my favorite food in the whole world in the fridge, I thought what better than AVOCADO ricotta “pesto” sauce. Woah. That’s a lot going on. But it’s easy-peazy, promise.
On first attempt, I just had some avocado, tons of basil, and a little spinach and arugula wizzed up in the food processor and could not figure out all I was tasting was guacamole. DUH. No pesto ingredients… I threw in some lemon juice, olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan and magic happened. No seriously, 20 seconds turned this into a completely different cuisine. I’ll be applying to Hogwarts next fall. Soo with a little tinkering and some note-jotting, here is the “recipe” (in quotes because it’s too easy to be a real recipe!)
Ricotta and Avocado Pesto “Cream” Sauce
Simply wiz together…
- 1/2 an avocado
- 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
- 2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
- Small handful of pine nuts or walnuts
- Fresh basil, spinach, arugula, or your other favorite leafy greens!
- Olive oil until desired consistency
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
VOILA! That’s it!
Haven’t had enough ricotta? Yeah, me either. Get ready for some ricotta recipes for the best meal of the day… DESSERT! Coming soon! 😉