Life on Regal-Hill: Jan. 7, 2009

It is already 2009. My how quickly 2008 went by here at Regal-Hill. It was a good year in many ways. When the fuel price was high we tried to stay home as much as possible and do all our errands in one trip. When the stock market fell we tried to become more self-sufficient since we weren’t depending on investments for day-to-day existence. A wonderful saying I found in the monthly newsletter we get from the Delaware County Farm Service Agency is “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”
So we can now say that 2008 is history and today is the present while no one knows what tomorrow will bring. So I guess what we need to do is decide what we can change to make the present better if necessary, and make the most of the present and hope the future will be even better than the past or present.
Since I can say 2008 has been a good year I would still like to do better this year by serving more nutritious meals for my family, growing a bigger garden and exercising more.
Since food we grow ourselves can be better for us because we know what kind of fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides we have used, or not used, on our garden to grow our vegetables and grow our own beef so we know what our beef animals are eating. I also want to strive to prepare our meals using less fat and sugar and purchased foods, and purchase locally grown foods whenever I can and only foods grown in the U.S.A. as much as possible?
During the past year we grew more of some vegetables but I would have liked to put more vegetables in the freezer. Although we still are eating potatoes, carrots, onions and cauliflower; the peas, green beans and broccoli are all used up. It takes considerable work and time to grow, harvest and freeze foods but it is worth it in saving money, convenience and quality of the food.
This coming year I plan to grow more broccoli, peas, beans, tomatoes and hopefully the asparagus will do better as well.
We were able to freeze more than applesauce this year so as a result we have rhubarb sauce, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries in the freezer as well. This is the first time we have had so much fruit in the freezer in quite awhile. I also made rhubarb-strawberry jam, currant and elderberry jelly.
One New Year’s resolution is to serve healthier foods to our families. Here are more recipe ideas to enjoy.

Turkey ‘n’ Squash Lasagna
1 medium spaghetti squash (2 to 2-1/2 pounds)
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 carton (15 ounces) reduced-fat ricotta cheese
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 medium zucchini, sliced
6 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
With a sharp knife, pierce spaghetti squash 10 times. Place on a microwave-safe plate; microwave on high for 5-6 minutes. Turn; cook 4-5 minutes longer or until fork-tender. Cover, let stand for 15 minutes. Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard the seeds. Scoop out squash, separating strands with a fork; set aside.
In a large saucepan, cook the turkey, onion and garlic in 1-1/2 teaspoons oil over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, sugar and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
In a bowl, combine egg, ricotta and 3/4 cup Parmesan until blended. In a small skillet, sauté the zucchini in remaining oil until crisp tender.
Spread 1-1/2 cups meat sauce into a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with three noodles and half of the zucchini, spaghetti squash and ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with 1-1/2 cups mozzarella and half of remaining sauce. Top with remaining noodles, zucchini, spaghetti squash, ricotta mixture and sauce (dish will be full).
Place dish on a baking sheet. Bake uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until the edges are bubbly. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake 5 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Let lasagna stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
Yield: 12 servings. One serving equals 311 calories.
2009 Taste of Home Annual Recipes

Veggie Tuna Burgers
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup each shredded zucchini, yellow summer squash and carrots
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups soft whole-wheat bread crumbs
1 can (6 ounces) light water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon butter
6 hamburger buns, split
6 slices reduced-fat cheddar cheese
6 lettuce leaves
6 slices tomato
In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, sauté onion and garlic for 1 minute. Add the zucchini, yellow squash and carrots; sauté until tender. Drain and cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine the egg, bread crumbs, tuna, salt and pepper. Add vegetable mixture. Shape into six 3-1/2-inch patties.
Coat the same skillet again with cooking spray; cook patties in butter for 3-5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Serve on buns with cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Yield: 6 servings. 1 burger = 275 calories.
2009 Taste of Home Annual Recipes