Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?

Not a weight loss plan

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Going into the DeNovo surgery, I knew that the recovery was lengthy. I knew that I’d essentially be sitting on my rear end for weeks. And I knew that I’d have to really watch what I ate so that I didn’t turn into Jabba the Hutt. Thankfully, nearly five weeks in, I’ve managed to not gain any weight. In fact, I’ve lost weight, but I can attribute that to my atrophied quad muscles that have shriveled up and basically died. That and the total lack of Mountain Dew since surgery.

The first few weeks post-op were filled with the blandest of the bland foods because I had overwhelming nausea, first from the anesthesia and then from the pain medicine. So my diet was basically rice, grilled chicken, Rice Krispies, potatoes, and Sprite Zero. Once I started getting the nausea under control, I added in asparagus, Chobani yogurt (specifically, the black cherry flavor), broccoli, and carrots. Most of this was just to spruce up the chicken and rice I was still eating.

There were some quite delicious meals that were dropped off for me, so I also had chicken noodles and an awesome chicken and broccoli casserole. If there is a shortage in the chicken supply, it’s because I’ve eaten them all.

I’m ready to start branching out into “real” food again, so I’m looking for simple/fast recipes for delicious meals. I need them to be simple because I can’t drive myself to the grocery store and fast because I can’t stand in the kitchen for very long. I made a vegetable lasagna a couple months ago that I want to try again. I randomly found the recipe in the middle of an ad; I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it turned out quite yummy. I’m including the recipe below because I can’t find it online. I also have a recipe for sloppy joes from The Pioneer Woman that I want to try again. I’m just linking to her site because the recipe is already in step-by-step form with pictures. I made it once with ground turkey, instead of beef, and it turned out to be quite scrumptious.

Fall Vegetable Lasagna
Serves 8

3 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium yellow squash; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 onion, chopped
1 orange or red bell pepper, diced
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 (10-ounce) bag pre washed spinach
1 (15.5-ounce) jar marinara sauce
1 (15.5-ounce) container ricotta cheese
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
12 oven-ready lasagna noodles
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, coarsely chopped (ok, I admit that I used shredded mozzarella from a bag)

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash in batches and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side until just tender. Transfer to plate and cool.

2. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in same skillet. Add onion, bell pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic. Cook until softened (about 3-5 minutes). Add spinach in batches and cook, stirring just until wilted (about 3 minutes). Cool.

3. Combine ricotta, basil and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Refrigerate vegetables and ricotta overnight. (Ok, I varied from the recipe here. I made the ricotta mix first and put it in the fridge. I then made everything else while it was chilling and went right on with the recipe.)

4. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spoon half the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Layer sauce with 3 noodles, one third of ricotta mixture and squash. Layer twice more with 3 noodles, ricotta mixture and spinach mixture. Top with remaining noodles, sauce and mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake until sauce is bubbly and noodles are tender, about 50 minutes. (And then I recommend serving with garlic bread. So good!)

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of leftovers. But this lasagna wasn’t too bad when I warmed it up for lunch the next day.

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Author: Laura

I have a fern I named Frankenstein. I like leprechauns, practicing kung fu moves on my dining room furniture, and pretending that one day I will move to Fiji. I dislike my neighbors' kids, anything that is chartreuse, and Ben Roethlisberger.

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