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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Lemon Ricotta Spaghetti with Spinach

So, as I have decided to lose a few LB’s and cut out my carbs except for at dinner, carbs are kind of my focal point at dinner. When you look forward to it ALL day… it’s a special meal! I never knew you basically go through a type of detox from carbs and sugars when you start to cut them out. I mean, back in college I did the “South Beach Diet” and I remember something about that. 🙂 I truly am realizing it though. Cravings because your body is wondering what the heck is going on!
So, I decided I need carbs. I do need to cut back as I’ve previously said because it gets a bit ridiculous. … but I needed more veggies and greens and FRESH fruits in my life!
At least this pasta dish has spinach greens and lemon zest! Right?! 🙂 Ricotta cheese adds protein too!  I calculated an approximate 8g of protein per serving, and if you toss some shrimp or chicken in it (as suggested by my awesome friend) it will up that protein content quite a lot!

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Ingredients

Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 TB lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup chopped (or whole) baby spinach
2-3 tsp. Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup pasta water set aside

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Preparation

Prep: 5 Minutes
Cook: 10 Minutes
* Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
* In a bowl, stir together ricotta, olive oil, lemon zest and salt&pepper, garlic salt, grated parmesan, lemon juice, oregano and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
*Drain spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot and stir in ricotta mixture, spinach and 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Toss well, adding more pasta cooking water 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary. Serve hot.

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This was quite delicious! Filling as well! I enjoyed every last bite! 😉

And now, for the quote of the day:

My husband’s current favorite meme going around the Internet

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Baked Penne/Ziti with Mini Meatballs

It’s Sunday night and I seriously have no idea what to write today. I seem to be completely out of words! So, I’m just going to stick to the recipe!! 🙂

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This is baked “Penne” – Ziti … with Mini meatballs …

Inspired by Giada’s recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/baked-ziti-with-meatballs-recipe.html

First, I used my own recipe for the meatballs, because I don’t put dairy or eggs in them. If you’d like to refer to it, the link is here: https://dancinandcookininthekitchen.com/2014/08/22/italian-orecchiette-pasta-bowl-with-homemade-meatballs-and-tomato-sauce/

Make the meat balls as listed above, and then set them aside.

Ingredients

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ziti or penne
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 jars pasta sauce of your choice
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tb fresh basil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 TB butter

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Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot, bring 4-5 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside. If not using immediately, cover top with plastic wrap so that pasta does not dry out. Do not rinse pasta with water since you want to retain the pasta’s natural starches so that the sauce will cling to the ziti or penne.

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. When almost smoking, add meatballs in batches and without moving or turning the meat, allow it to brown for about 3 minutes. Turn meatballs and brown other side. Continue to cook until all sides are golden brown. Remove meatballs to a plate.

In a large bowl, combine the spaghetti sauce and ricotta and mix well. Add the cooked penne and meatballs and toss gently.

In a large greased baking dish, pour in pasta mixture. Sprinkle the mozzarella, Parmesan, and remaining Romano all over the top. Dot with the butter. Place baking dish on top of baking sheet covered with aluminum foil to collect any drippings from the dish. Bake until top is golden brown and bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes.

And… ENJOY!!!!

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Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/baked-ziti-with-meatballs-recipe.html?oc=linkback

And now, for the quote of the day:

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