Zucchini Noodle Faux Lasagna….yummy!

Again another tasty meal using my favorite kitchen appliance, the spiral vegetable slicer.  Our family loves lasagna, however not the carbohydrates and calories that come with it.  So I decided to come up with a healthier version, and dish it up like a bowl of spaghetti.  However, you could easily throw it in a crock pot or bake it in the oven.  For this recipe I chose lean ground beef, but you could substitute your favorite protein of choice.

Recipe: Faux Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles

1 lb. Lean Ground Beef or your choice protein

1/2 Large Onion, chopped

1 lg. Green Pepper, chopped

2 T. Fresh Garlic, minced

1 T. Grapeseed Oil – good for high heat

1 jar Spaghetti Sauce

4 lg. Zucchinis, noodled or thinly julienned

16 oz. Ricottta

8 oz. Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Add Oil, Onion, Green Pepper, Garlic and sauté until onions are clear.  Then add ground beef and cook thoroughly.  Add the Spaghetti Sauce and simmer on low for one hour (or until ready to eat).  The more you simmer the more flavorful it becomes.

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Then in a separate pan mix Ricotta Cheese, Mozzarella Cheese and milk.  Heat on low, until it forms a creamy mixture.

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While those are simmering, in another pot boil water to quickly cook your zucchini.  When water has reached a boil, submerge all zucchini noodles in water for approximately 3-4 minutes.  Careful not to cook to long or the noodles will get very mushy.

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When all are complete, layer, noodles, then the ricotta cheese mixture,  then the sauce mixture and top with a bit of shredded mozzarella cheese.  And there you have it a low carbohydrate, nutrient dense meal that the whole family can enjoy.

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I Love Cabbage Noodles!!!

Want a great way to eat more vegetables and reduce carbohydrates at the same time?  Well here it is, Spicy Twisted Beef and Broccoli.  My families favorite foods are anything with an Asian flare.  In this Beef and Broccoli recipe I use my spiral vegetable slicer to make cabbage noodles, eliminating the need for regular noodles.  Although you do not need to purchase the slicer, its fun to use – my kids love it.  You can also thinly slice the cabbage as well.  Your family will enjoy this healthy meal just as much as mine.  There are many substitutions for this recipe as well.   SONY DSC

Recipe for:  Spicy Twisted Beef and Broccoli

1 lb lean ground beef, drained

1 small cabbage, noodled or shredded

2-3 c. broccoli, frozen or fresh

1 c. Peas ( I usually don’t put peas in but I did on this batch)

Sauce:

3-4 T. Sriracha

2 T. Lite Coconut Milk

2 T. Coconut Aminos, (Soy sauce substitute)

2T. Rice Vinegar

6 T. Peanut Butter/Almond Butter/ or other nut butter of choice

1 T. Sesame Oil

1-2 T Garlic

Garnish:

Green Onions, chopped

Toasted Sesame Seeds

Cilantro, chopped

Jalapeños

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Throughly cook ground beef in a large skillet or wok.  Add broccoli and cook 5-7 minutes, add any other vegetables you want at this point.

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Lay noodled cabbage on top of beef-brocoli mixture and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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While it meat mixture is cooking, mix all sauce ingredients together and whisk.

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Pour mixture on top of meat mixture and cook an additional 5-7 minutes, until all vegetables are soft.

Top with cilantro, green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

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Enjoy!

Spicy Twisted Beef and Broccoli

Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate and Banana….need I say more?

I struggle to find healthy snacks for my children after school.  I find we get stuck in the same rut of fruit and vegetables (which they get bored of) so I decided to take some staples in our house and see how to make them more appealing.  Two of my three children LOVE Bananas, the third one despises them.  So I decided to do the typical dip in peanut butter and top with chocolate.  Instead I added Ground Flaxseed Meal and a little crushed up Rice Krispies cereal too.  And here’s what they turned out like.

SONY DSCDelicious Healthy Omega-3 filled snacks.

Here’s the Recipe for Omega-3 PB & Dark Chocolate Covered Bananas

2 Bananas – sliced to 1/2″ thickness

1 c. Peanut Butter – melted over double broiler

1 c. Dark chocolate chips/bark 73% cacao or more – melted over double broiler

1 c. Rice Krispies – crushed

1/4 c. Ground Flaxseed Meal

Melt the Peanut Butter, dip banana in flaxseed meal, then coat in peanut butter.  (In the first picture below, I dipped in PB first and then Flax, which did not work very well.  The flax just fell off in the chocolate when dipped.)

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Place Peanut Butter dipped bananas on wax paper lined pan, and complete remaining bananas.  Place pan in freezer for 30 minutes, or until firm.  Melt Dark Chocolate chips.  Place crushed Rice Krispies in a small shallow bowl.  Take Peanut Butter Bananas and dip half of it in the melted chocolate and then into the Rice Krispies, place on another wax paper lined pan.  Finish remaining bananas.  Place in freezer for another 30 minutes to harden.  And there you have it.

SONY DSC I found that the addition of the crushed Rice Krispies, helps mask the texture of the ground flaxseed.  And guess what, my daughter who hates bananas LOVED these!  Not only is she getting a nice little treat, but also a hidden little secret of Omega-3 on the inside.  Approximately 3-4 bananas provides 1200mg of Omega-3’s.  The difficult part is putting them down now!

Brrr….its cold outside!

For these freezing Minnesota winters, what better way to stay toasty warm besides a bowl full of Chicken Chili.  This is a hearty meal full of Protein, Carbohydrates and soluble Fiber.  Soluble fiber is great at lowering the bad cholesterol and helps slow down digestion making you feel full longer.  There are so many modifications you can make to this meal.  For those vegetarians eliminate the chicken or substitute tofu instead.  My kids don’t really like spicy foods, so I make it more mild and add fresh jalapeños to my bowl upon serving.  I topped it off with freshly chopped red onion, sharp cheddar cheese and some plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and tada, there you have it, a nutrient dense meal for the whole family!  Enjoy!

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6 chicken breasts – baked and shredded

64 oz. Chicken stock

32oz. tomato puree

4 cans petite diced tomatoes

4-5 cans beans (which ever you like)  I choose black, northern, chili, and kidney beans

2 limes squeezed

1 bunch green onions chopped

1 bunch cilantro chopped

1 T. Chili powder ( I use at least 2T.)

1 T. Cumin (I use at least 2T.)

1 t. Cayenne pepper

1 pkg. Bear Creek Tortilla soup Mix (not necessary, just add more spices)

Throw all ingredients into a stock pot or crock pot and simmer for 3 hours.  You can also cook at higher temp for a shorter period of time.

I am a big believer in use what you have, so last night I made this with whole corn, cream corn, fresh chopped tomatoes, green peppers – since that’s what I had and it was delicious.

Good luck with the experimentation!

Super Fun Cakes, and all for a good cause!

All of my girls are Girl Scouts, and their troops put together a carnival night to support families in need. One of the ideas was to incorporate a mini cake sale. So I skimmed through some images on google and came up with these ideas.IMG_0145 IMG_0143

And by the sight of the table, you can tell it was a messy task, but very rewarding. Both the Owl and the Minion sold at the cake sale….and all to support some families in need through the cold Minnesota winter.

Happy Birthday Alexis!

Happy BIrthday Alexis!

I made this for my oldest daughter’s 11th birthday. I started experimenting with homemade marshmallow fondant, since store bought fondant is expensive and not very tasty.  The fondant worked out great , however the buttercream frosting underneath was a bit on the soft side.  I made the marshmallow fondant by microwaving a large bag of mini marshmallows and stirring/kneading an entire bag of powdered sugar into it.  Once it was set I used gel food coloring and further kneaded it until I had uniform coloring.  Then roll and shape.  Topped it off with some swirl suckers from Candyland (my favorite candy store in MN) and it was finished.  Plus the inside was a tie-dye swirl which made it even more fun!Image (This is not this cake, but another one I made with Tie Dye effects.)

Happy Birthday to my oldest baby girl, I Love You!

Love, Mom