Spinach Artichoke Lasagna

Recipe from Cookie and Kate

Hands down, one of my favorite recipes for lasagna.  This takes a little time to prepare, since it is not dumping in sauce from a jar, but well worth the time.

I like to add a little extra spice to this dish.  If you don’t like the spice, simply take out some of the red pepper.

For the Swiss: artichokes can me found at Migros by the olives in the “antipasti” section.  They come in jars or bags.




Tomato sauce (or substitute 2 cups prepared marinara sauce)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Spinach artichoke mixture
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) low fat cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 cup jarred or defrosted frozen artichokes, drained, quartered if necessary
  • 12 ounces baby spinach, preferably organic
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Remaining lasagna ingredients
  • 9 no boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups (5 ounces) shredded mozzarella (or the moz balls sliced)
  • Garnish: sprinkling of additional chopped fresh basil
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. To prepare the tomato sauce, first pour the tomatoes into a mesh sieve or fine colander and let them drain off excess juice for a minute. Transfer drained tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor. Add the basil, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper flakes. Pulse the mixture about 10 times, until the tomatoes have broken down to an easily spreadable consistency. Pour the mixture into a bowl for later (you should have about 2 cups sauce).
  2. Rinse out the food processor and return it to the machine. Pour half of the cottage cheese (1 cup) into the processor and blend it until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to large mixing bowl. No need to rinse out the bowl of the food processor this time; just put it back onto the machine because you’ll need it later.
  3. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the artichoke to the skillet, then add a few large handfuls of spinach. Cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until the spinach has wilted. Repeat with remaining spinach. Continue cooking for about 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until the spinach has dramatically reduce in volume and very little moisture remains in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Transfer the spinach artichoke mixture to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the contents are finely chopped (but not puréed!), about 12 to 15 times. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of whipped cottage cheese. Top with remaining cottage cheese and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Now it’s lasagna assembly time!
  6. Spread ½ cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of an 8-by-8 or 9-by-9 inch square baker. Layer three lasagna noodles on top, overlapping their edges as necessary. Spread half of the spinach mixture evenly over the noodles. Top with ½ cup tomato sauce, then sprinkle ½ cup shredded cheese on top.
  7. Top with three more noodles, followed by the remaining spinach mixture. Sprinkle ½ cup shredded cheese on top. (We’re skipping the tomato sauce in this layer.) Top with three more noodles, then spread the remaining tomato sauce over the top so the noodles are evenly covered. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded cheese.
  8. Wrap the lasagna with a layer of parchment paper over the top (or cover tightly with aluminum foil, but don’t let the foil touch the cheese). Bake, covered, for 18 minutes, then remove the cover, rotate the pan by 180 degrees and continue cooking for about 12 more minutes, until the top is turning spotty brown. Remove from oven and let the lasagna cool for 15 minutes before sprinkling with chopped basil and slicing.

Thai Green Curry with Spring Veg

Recipe from Cookie and Kate

I love Thai food and living in Switzerland means I can never have it.  There is just something about paying 25 CHF for a Pad Thai that I know only cost around 3 CHF to make.  Not to mention, it doesn’t taste nearly as great as the Pad Thai in the States.  Thank goodness for Cookie and Kate.  Quick, easy and healthy alternatives to going out!




Thai Green Curry with Spring Vegetables

Prep time:  15 mins


Cook time:  30 mins

Total time:  45 mins

Serves: 2 to 4 servings
This healthy, vegetarian Thai green curry features fresh asparagus, carrots and spinach! It’s full of flavor and simple enough for weeknight dinners. Feel free to substitute sliced snow peas for the asparagus if it’s not in season where you live. Recipe yields two large servings (as shown) or four small servings.
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger (about a 1-inch nub of ginger, peeled and chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ bunch asparagus, tough ends removed and sliced into 2-inch long pieces (to yield about 2 cups prepared asparagus)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal into ¼-inch wide rounds (to yield about 1 cup sliced carrots)
  • 2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste*
  • 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk (I used full-fat coconut milk for a richer curry)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1½ teaspoons coconut sugar or turbinado (raw) sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons soy sauce** (I used reduced-sodium tamari)
  • Garnishes: handful of chopped fresh cilantro and red pepper flakes, to taste
  1. To cook the rice, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the rinsed rice and continue boiling for 30 minutes, reducing heat as necessary to prevent overflow. Remove from heat, drain the rice and return the rice to pot. Cover and let the rice rest for 10 minutes or longer, until you’re ready to serve.
  2. Warm a large skillet with deep sides over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add a couple teaspoons of oil. Cook the onion, ginger and garlic with a sprinkle of salt for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the asparagus and carrots and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the curry paste and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the coconut milk into the pan, along with ½ cup water and 1½ teaspoons sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the carrots and asparagus are tender and cooked through, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Once the vegetables are done cooking, stir the spinach into the mixture and cook until the spinach has wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove the curry from heat and season with rice vinegar and soy sauce. Add salt and red pepper flakes (optional), to taste. Divide rice and curry into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, if you’d like.

Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes

Recipe from Food52

I use to love when Mom would make sloppy joes.  Lately I’ve been craving dinner dishes from the past.  However, this has proved to be difficult, since I use to eat meat and since 9 years ago I stopped.  Thank goodness for the internet and the plethora of recipes out there from other vegetarians and vegans.

*Note: In Switzerland I have not been able to locate mustard powder.  To solve the issue, I took mustard seed and tried to grind it down with a pedestal and mortar. I also melt a little Gruyere cheese on the bun before assembling.



Serves 6

  • cup brown or green lentils, soaked for a few hours (or overnight) and rinsed
  • 2 to 3cups water
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • cup white or yellow onion, chopped
  • green or red bell pepper, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • clove garlic, minced
  • teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • teaspoon mustard powder, dried
  • One 15-ounce can crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes (I like the Muir Glen brand)
  • tablespoons tomato paste
  • tablespoon organic brown sugar or maple syrup
  • tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons sea salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or more as needed)
  • 1/4 red pepper flakes
  • sprouted grain buns
  • Toppings of choice (Tabasco sauce, sriracha, pickles, onions, sauerkraut, coleslaw, avocado slices, etc.)
  1. Place lentils in a large pot, and cover with water (enough so that there’s at least a full inch or two of water above the lentils). Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are chewable, but still have some firmness to them. Drain them and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, chili, paprika, and mustard, and continue cooking for another minute or two, until the garlic is quite fragrant.
  3. Add the lentils, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar or maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Add more broth as needed. Simmer until the mixture has thickened to your liking, about 15 to 20 minutes (I like thick sloppy joes, but if you like ’em sloppier, that’s fine, too!).
  4. Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Divide sloppy joes onto the buns and top with toppings of choice, including some Tabasco or sriracha for heat, if desired. Serve.

Blueberry Buckle with Lemon Drizzle

From Foodie Crush



  • For the cake
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-pupose flour
  • 2½ cups fresh blueberries
  • For the topping
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon grond cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces at room temperature
  • For the glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of ½ lemon, add more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons honey or vanilla flavored greek yogurt (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, milk, baking powder, and salt. Use a hand mixer to mix well. Mix in half of the flour, then incorporate the remaining half. Fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set it aside.
  3. Make the topping. Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter in a medium-sized bowl. Mix with a pastry cutter or your fingers until combined and crumbly. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the cake batter. Bake the buckle for 45-50 minute, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.
  4. Make the lemon glaze. While the cake is baking, whisk the powdered sugar with the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Whisk in the greek yogurt if using, or add more lemon juice to desired consistency.
  5. Cut the buckle into squares and drizzle with the lemon glaze.

Things to do in Switzerland: Summer


May 28: Open Cellars in Geneva

June 3-4: Mont-sur-Rolle Spring Market

June 7 – 12: Bejart Ballet: Bolero

June 11: Vide-Grenier de la Place de Milan

June 16-19: Art Basel 

July 1 -16: Montreux Jazz Festival

Now – July 2: Helvetic Revolution

August 1: Swiss Day

August 13: Zurich Street Parade

August 20-21: Lausanne Triathlon

Now – September 25: Road to Rio

November 8-20: Chicago in Zurich

November 17: Justin Bieber in Zurich

November 22-27: West Side Story in Basel


Till December 30, 2018: A La Fortune du Pot, Chine, mudac, Lausanne


Lemon Bars

Who doesn’t love a good lemon bar?  Honestly, anything with lemon gets me excited.  I love going to a boulangerie in Lausanne or Morgins and buying a tarte au citron.  But who can afford to spend 3 – 5 CHF every time you want a bite of delicious sweet lemon goodness?

I came across this recipe on facebook from a friend that had reposted it.  It obviously looked good, so I tried to recreate it.  Thank goodness that this one already had the conversions to grams!


Side Note: good luck finding flaky sea salt here in Lausanne.  If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.  I used regular large sea salt and put it into the food processor.  It sort of worked 🙂


I found that taking a small glass to roll the shortbread dough inside the pan works best.

Coming out of the oven to cool at room temperature, then the fridge.  Time to serve.  Delicious!

Lemon BarsLemon Bars

Recipe from NY Times Cooking



  • 1 ¼ cups/155 grams all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons/25 grams confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons/142 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes


  • 4 to 6 lemons
  • 1 ½ cups/300 grams sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 3 yolks
  • 1 ½ teaspoons/5 grams cornstarch
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons/57 grams butter
  • ¼ cup/60 milliliters fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees and line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with enough parchment to hang over two of the sides (to be used as handles later to lift the bars out of the pan).
  2. To make the shortbread base, pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and salt in a food processor, or whisk together in a large bowl. Add butter and pulse (or use two knives or your fingers) to cut the butter into the flour until a crumbly dough forms. Press dough into prepared pan and bake until shortbread is pale golden all over, 30 to 35 minutes.
  3. While the shortbread is baking, prepare the lemon curd: Grate 1/2 tablespoon zest from lemons and set aside. Squeeze lemons to yield 3/4 cup juice.
  4. In a small saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, sugar, eggs and yolks, cornstarch and fine sea salt over medium heat until boiling and thickened, 2 to 5 minutes. Make sure mixture comes to a boil or the cornstarch won’t activate. But once it boils do not cook for longer than 1 minute or you risk the curd thinning out again. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl. Whisk in butter, olive oil and lemon zest.
  5. When the shortbread is ready, take it out of the oven and carefully pour the lemon curd onto the shortbread base; return the pan to the oven. Bake until topping is just set, 10 to 15 minutes more. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold before cutting into bars. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and flaky sea salt right before serving.

Pan-Fried Beans and Kale

I was so excited when Food52 came out with their best recipes of 2015 last week.  If you don’t know Food52, its a genius (yes they have #genius recipes) online source for recipes and online store for accessories.  I came across this recipe and knew it was going to be a hit.  But as always, I worry about cooking American recipes in Switzerland, I typically always have to substitute some ingredients for others, but finally…a recipe that’s perfect.

The more I eat kale, the more I read about the preparation of kale and how to make it taste even better!  Have you ever massaged your kale? Yea, I didn’t until now.  I kept reading that this method makes eating raw kale much easier by breaking down the structure of the leaves and enhancing the flavor at the same time.  Definitely a two-fer for me.

Start with washing your kale.  Remove any tough ribs.  I always fold the kale in half, along the center thick rib and then slice rib off, leaving 2 halves of the leaf.  Remove any other thicker ribs that you find.  Chop the kale to your liking.  Bite sized pieces are good here.

Place chopped kale in bowl.  Sprinkle with some salt, drizzle of oil and a tablespoon (+/-) of fresh lemon juice.   Massage gently with your hands.  You will be able to feel the leaves becoming easier to work with. Do this for 1-2 minutes.

Here is the finished massage kale.  Gorgeous, right?


I toasted the walnuts before I started the recipe.  Good thing about walnuts, they break apart in your hands quite easily, so no need to take out the food processor to chop the nuts.


I was worried about finding the beans in that in Switzerland I wouldn’t be able to find dried or canned beans that I could use, however Migros surprised me.  Now I prefer dried beans, but in a pinch I will substitute canned.  This was one of those times. Migros has Habriots de Soissons blancs (large white beans) available.  Now onto the trickiest part of the recipe, making sure that the beans are in a single layer and that you flip every single one of them.

A one pot wonder comes alive.



Serves 2 to 4

  • 1/2 bunch (6 ounces / 170 grams)  kale, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 big handfuls of cooked large white beans (like coronas, limas, or gigante beans)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces / 45 grams) walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Scant 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I used less.  depends on your taste)
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/3 cup (1/2 ounce / 15 grams) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Chop and massage kale as described above.  Toast walnuts.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the beans in a single layer. Stir to coat the beans, then let them sit long enough to brown lightly on one side, about 3 or 4 minutes, before turning to brown the other side, also about 3 or 4 minutes. The beans should be golden and a bit crunchy on the outside.
  3. Add the kale and salt to the pan and cook for less than a minute, just long enough for the kale to lose a bit of its structure. Stir in the walnuts and garlic, wait 10 seconds, then stir in the nutmeg. Wait ten seconds and stir in the lemon juice and zest. Remove from heat and serve dusted with Parmesan cheese.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Apples and cinnamon, yum, classic Fall flavors. Even better, when it is use in a muffin with zucchini and no butter.  Genius, right? Just in time for our first snowfall this weekend, I selected to bake these yummy treats for our car ride to Alba, Italy.

Swiss Note: since in Switzerland many ingredients are not available, I have modified the recipe to for the Expats 🙂 I made buttermilk by adding some lemon juice to the milk and letting it set for 10 minutes.  Gala apples are easy to find, but Granny Smith is a bit tricky…sometimes I find them at Coop or Denner and I make my own vanilla.


Adapted from: Two Peas and Their Pod

Yield 15 muffins, I was able to produce 20

For the Muffins:
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup grated apple (Granny Smith, Gala or Pink Lady)
1/2 cup grated zucchini, moisture slightly squeezed out
1 cup chopped peeled apple (Granny Smith, Gala or Pink Lady)

For the Topping:
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C degrees . Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. Do not over mix. Gently stir in the grated apple, zucchini, and chopped apples.

3. To make the topping, combine turbinado sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir well.

4. Fill the prepared muffin pan with muffin batter, filling each cup about 3/4 the way full. Sprinkle each muffin with cinnamon sugar topping. Bake for 20 minutes, or until muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let muffins cool to room temperature and serve.

Note-these muffins freeze well.

Brussels Sprout Love

I always grew up hating brussels sprouts, didn’t every kid?   I never had them growing up, but I always heard others saying how gross they were.  It wasn’t until last year that I finally broke down and tried them and wowsers, I fell in love.  I had them roasted at a restaurant in Zurich and vowed to be able to recreate a sprout that I could eat at home.  I have finally found it! And the best part…I can make it here in Switzerland, despite the recipe being American #dailychallenge.

*Note, you may use dried Black-eyed peas, however be sure to cooked them prior to beginning this recipe.  Shockingly enough, Switzerland actually had canned peas vs dried.  Such a time saver!

Brussels Cut

Make sure to prep the sprouts but cutting off a little of the brown stem at the bottom and remove any brown or damaged leaves.  Rinse sprouts and cut into quarters.

In the pan

Place sprouts and onions on a baking pan to roast.  Pay attention to the onions.  Since they are much smaller than the sprouts, they are more likely to become burnt before the sprouts.  My oven cooks a little faster than most, so I would recommend checking the veg around 12 minutes. Cooked

Ok, so my veg became a little bit on the crispy side, which normally would be bothersome, however in this dish, it just adds another layer of flavor!


Black-Eyed Peas and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

servings: 2

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts

1 cup chopped red onions

1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 cup cooked black-eyed peas

1/2 tsp dried red pepper flake (or more, depending on your taste)

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Quarter Brussel sprouts and place them, along with onions, in a large rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil and sprinkle with cumin, salt, and black pepper over the Brussel sprouts and onions. Toss well.
  3. Roast for 12-15 minutes, until browned and tender.
  4. While sprouts are roasting, combine the remaining ingredients, except oil, in large serving bowl and toss to combine.
  5. Remove the veg from oven.
  6. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the serving bowl and toss well.  Add sprouts and onion to the bowl and toss well.
  7. Season with additional black pepper and red pepper flake.  Serve immediately.

Adapted from Green City Market Cookbook. Recipe by Debbie Sharpe, owner, Feast Restaurant and The Goddess and the Grocer

Homemade Pesto

It all starts with a recipe from a famous chef and you realizing that you will never be able to recreate that dish. C’est faux. Last night I created a wonderful dish from House Montali in Umbria.

Pesto Finished

| Adapted from The Vegeterranean | 2 servings |

50 g basil

1 1/2 tbsp pine nuts

1 garlic clove, peeled

100 ml olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp grated Parmesan

2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano

Place all ingredients, except cheese, in food processor, blend until combined, pulse. Pour into bowl and mix in cheese.