Zucchini “Lasagna” Roll-Ups

Since going low-carb I’ve really missed some classics. I do love Italian food, especially lasagna! I’ve been wondering a good way to make it, without just using “gluten free” pasta, or corn pasta, or whatever. I found this recipe on pinterest: Zucchini Lasagna Rolls . I, of course, changed a few things and made my own version… but it was SO good and satisfying!!! Plus, you get  your veggies, meat AND dairy all in 1 meal!!! Low carb, but I would save some calories for this one… lots of DELICIOUS cheese in this one!!

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Ingredients:
Cheesy Filling
    • 8 ounces ricotta cheese (I used 2%)
    • 4 ounces low fat cottage cheese
    • 3 tablespoons shredded fresh parmesan cheese
    • 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
    • 1 tablespoon fresh basil roughly chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 1 tsp italian seasoning
    • 1/4 tsp oregano
    • Black pepper to taste
Other Ingredients:
  • 3 large zucchini cut lengthwise into 8 (1/4 inch thick) slices
  • 1 lb lean (I used grass fed) ground beef
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (I used Newman’s Own… use your favorite!)
  • 3/4 to  1 cup shredded mozzarella

 

 

Instructions

Cheesy Ricotta Filling
    1. Add all of the ingredients into a small bowl and stir until well blended.
    2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Grilled Zucchini
    1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. (Lightly salt grill pan if you use one)
    2. While the grill is heating, slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick planks. (Try to get no thicker than this, and try to get all similar. Use a mandolin if you have one)
    3. Brush with extra virgin olive oil (I used some garlic infused olive oil!! YUM!) on both sides of the zucchini planks, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    4. Place the zucchini on the hot grill and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until the zucchini is soft and pliable. (So that when you roll them they don’t break… but you also don’t want them mushy)
    5. Remove from the grill and cool on a plate with a paper towel (to catch excess liquid) until they can be handled.

Meat Sauce
1. Brown your 1 lb ground beef in a large skillet until cooked through.
2. Drain and remove fat from pan.
3. Add jar of (or homemade) marinara sauce and let simmer on LOW.
4. Remove from heat and set aside.

Assembling the Zucchini Lasagna Rolls
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a 9 x 15 (Or similar) casserole dish with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray).
  3. Spread a 1/4 cup of the meat sauce evenly over the bottom of the dish.
  4. Blot any excess liquid off of the cooled planks of zucchini with paper towels.
  5. Spoon about a tablespoon of the ricotta filling onto one side of the zucchini and spread it into an even layer.
  6. Roll up the zucchini and place them seam side down in the casserole dish.
  7. Top the zucchini rolls with the remaining meat sauce , shredded mozzarella cheese, some parmesan, fresh black pepper and some chopped basil.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

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And… THIS is what it looks like!!! It will be a hit! Even the kids loved it!!! YUM!

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And now, for the song of the day: I’m sorry… it’s seriously my FAVORITE song right now!!!!!

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Quick and Easy Low-Carb Dinners

This isn’t going to be an original recipe from me… but this is going to give you a few quick ideas.

I’m in a spring “diet and exercise” accountability group and we are all trying to get ourselves “summer and swim-suit” ready like everyone else! One of the things I’ve found is that I need something “quick” sometimes. That can be hard when you are trying to eat CLEAN and FRESH and LOW to NO carb. So… I’ve searched and found a few great recipes that should be pretty quick to whip together.

From Rachael Ray there is some BBQ chicken wraps:

Barbecued Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Another GREAT option would be to use Quinoa! It has so many great things in it, and I love to use quinoa to boost my protein without necessarily having to add meat to a dish. You can boost this dish with all sorts of veggies too! Giada has a great recipe here:

Giada’s Quinoa Pilaf

 

Another quick and easy idea? FRIED RICE! My kids LOVE fried rice. I do have to skip the eggs for my sweet little boy… but we can have it as a main dish if I’m feeling like taking it easy, or as a side dish with anything from chicken nuggets, to shredded pork, to wings!

Food Network Fried Rice

(I consider rice a good carb… just not in excess… it’s pretty close to it’s natural from in comparison to other carbs)

Lastly…

Grill out! Take your burgers, hot dogs, steaks, potatoes, veggie kabobs, etc… and GRILL! You can wrap your meat in some lettuce, or put it on top of an amazing salad! If you have a gas grill, it’d only take about 15 minutes to grill something! Before you leave for work, pop your meat and veggies in a ziploc with some marinade and then quick toss it on the grill for dinner when you get home! Seriously… 15 minutes later you’ve got dinner!

Need a quick marinade that’d work for meat or veggies?

Universal Marinade

(personally I’d use coconut or soy aminos that taste JUST LIKE soy sauce… but you use what tastes good to you!)

 

Ok… so that’s it for now, good luck cooking!

And now, for the song of the day:

Low Carb Chicken Nacho Bake

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It’s January… we are all still working on our New Year’s Resolutions I’m sure. I am continuing mine! The hubby and I are planning an anniversary cruise in the fall, and I do NOT want to be embarrassed when I put on that bathing suit. So… toning up, working out, and CLEAN eating is to be had! A lot of gluten free, low carb (except weekends), less eating out etc etc etc. You know the drill.

This recipe… mmmmmm!!!!!!!!!! DE-LISH! It’s filling, and takes care of that craving for nachos, and junk food… while being filling and full of protein and good fats! It’s a little bit on the “cheat” side with the bacon… but don’t skip it! It adds that perfect flavor!

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INGREDIENTS
  • 3 frozen chicken breasts (I used Trader Joes… my FAVORITE!)
  • 1½ cups cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • OPTIONAL red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 half small onion diced
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB butter (for extra flavor, but NOT necessary)
  • 1 large jalapeno,
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

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INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preparation: Heat oven to 425 degrees
  2. If you haven’t, microwave/cook your bacon and cut/crumble into pieces
  3. Combine and mix together salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle and rub spice mixture over chicken pieces. Drizzle on olive oil on top of seasoned chicken and rub pieces together to evenly distribute oil. Melt the TB of butter in a large OVEN SAFE skillet on medium/medium high. Once melted, BROWN the chicken on both sides to really get those spices into the chicken. (DON’T cook through, just cook until brown on both sides… 2-3 minutes per side)
  4. Remove the chicken from the pan and turn off the stove top. Cut the chicken into bite size (about 1″x 1″) pieces and return to the pan.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients (BUT NOT THE AVOCADO!! That’s put on after it comes out of the oven!!) on top of the chicken in the skillet and place into the oven. Make sure that the salsa is poured over everything in the skillet to give it a bit of liquid to cook in. (MAKE SURE YOUR PAN IS OVEN SAFE!! You can also bake it in a baking sheet… I just didn’t want to dirty 2 dishes.)
  6. Bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until hot, bubbly and delicious smelling (and the chicken pieces are cooked through).
  7. Remove from oven sprinkle avocado over top and serve immediately.
    *Optional: Serve with sour cream and chips!

And that’s it!!!

ENJOY!

 

And now, again, instead of a quote, I’m going to share ANOTHER of my new favorite songs to sing and dance to in my kitchen… also by Jordan Feliz:

“7 Layer Salad” … or Taco Salad…

My daughter asked for tacos again. Ha. She’s obviously her father’s daughter. She ate GREAT tonight. Me, I wanted to make something that was using the same ingredients, but using less carbs. So… I saw this salad, or “7 layer dip”.. although I can’t see using this as a dip honestly. I also should have put this into a clear bowl so that all the layers could have been seen from the outside when I took pictures. It was quite pretty to be honest! And, as I was about to take a picture it fell… and I was so sad!

But… this is a DELICIOUS salad, or … dip… but it’s a bit messy. That’s ok though. It makes up for the messiness and lack of being a “pretty” dish with flavor. That’s all that’s really important anyway!

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 lb. grass fed ground beef (85/15)
  • 1/2 cup PLAIN Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded mexican cheese
  • 1 tomato sliced and diced
  • taco seasoning
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of black olives, sliced
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of salsa

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Directions

Start by cooking the ground beef through until there is no longer any pink. Drain the fat. Then, add the taco seasoning and the amount of water said on the back of the taco seasoning packet. (If you use homemade taco seasoning, it’s about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of water). Stir until well incorporated. Add 1/2 of the black beans to the hamburger meat.

Next chop the lettuce, black olives, tomatoes and the avocado. Place the avocado in a small bowl and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and the garlic powder. Stir and set aside.

Starting with the lettuce on the bottom of a bowl, add each layer on top of the next, ending with sprinkling the cheese on top. I then drizzled salsa over top.

You can eat this as a salad, like I did… crunch a few chips over top to still get a few chips and crunch in without eating as many chips as you would have if you ate the whole thing with chips… or… go for it and just eat it with scoops chips! Delicious either way right?!

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See, a delicious, messy and just a #getinmybelly moment!!! 🙂 ENJOY!!!

And now, for the quote of the day:

Hang on

Shrimp over Mashed Cauliflower – PFC, Paleo, Low-Carb!

There is always a bit of a fad for diets as the years go on. Low-carb does seem to stick around though. There is something to be said for cutting out bread and pasta and definitely seeing results. I love my carbs, definitely, but I do understand the benefits of decreasing the frequency of eating them! So, yesterday I decided to try something I have been nervous to do. Mashed Cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes or grits. Scary huh??!!! But you know what? They were good! I wouldn’t say I couldn’t tell they weren’t cauliflower. I mean, you can tell. But they are creamy, and satisfying! Definitely helps that carb craving! Delicious! Then, when paired with some cajun jumbo shrimp, who could ask for more??!! Protein, a bit of all natural whole fats, AND some “carbs” in the veggies! Perfect! This one is a quick and easy recipe too!

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I’ll try my best to give ingredients and directions and what I used for each separate item.

Shrimp:
  1. 10 frozen jumbo shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  2. 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  4. splash white wine (optional)
  5. 1/2 tsp onion powder
  6. dash cayenne powder
  7. 1 tsp Emerils Bayou Blast
  8. Salt and Pepper to taste

Shrimp Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a small glass Bowls or ramekin and set aside. Set frozen shrimp onto a foil lined cookie sheet that has lips on each side like : Cookie Pan

Drizzle Olive Oil over the shrimp and splash with white wine (if desired) and sprinkle the dry ingredients over top of the shrimp and toss a bit to get completely coated. Place into oven and bake for 12-16 minutes until white/pink and cooked through, no longer any transparent parts of the shrimp. Place onto a generous helping of the mashed cauliflower and top with some shredded cheese of your choice!

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Mashed Cauliflower:

1/2 large head cauliflower
2 TB butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 carton chicken broth (or water if you prefer – vegetarian)
1/4 cup whole fat Greek Yogurt (PLAIN!!!!)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Set a stockpot of chicken broth (or water) to boil over high heat.

Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6-10 minutes, or until well done. Drain well. Immediately after, transfer to a large Glass Bowl or plastic bowl.

In a bowl with an hand mixer or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the butter, greek yogurt, Parmesan, garlic powder, salt and pepper until almost smooth. Then stir with Spatula.

Set aside and keep warm.

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Quickly, for the spinach… if you so desire… it’s just wilted spinach. You toss a LARGE handful of spinach into a skillet with a TB of butter, salt and pepper and a bit of hot sauce… sautee until the softness that you desire…or wiltyness?? 🙂 I just created a word… right? Or not. Whatever.

Oh, and if you wonder what dishes I use… they  are hard to find! My husband and I got them for a wedding gift… but here’s a link just in case you are interested! http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Sango-Splash-16-piece-Dinnerware-Set/4012688/product.html

And now, for the quote of the day:

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