Zucchini Boats

How is it, that of all the plants in my garden, Zucchini is the most fool proof one?! We tried to go conservative this year and only planted two plants but have still been taken over by wheelbarrows full of zucchini. It’s wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but those suckers grow BIG and FAST! Most days when I remember to pick the zucchini it’s already the size of my forearm arm or larger. That’s a heck of a lot of zucchini noodles!

Gary likes to cut zucchini and squash into rounds and sauté them until they are caramelized or even a bit crispy. But this year my stomach just couldn’t do it every day. He had been such a champ and has eaten zucchini almost every meal this summer but I hit a breaking point and needed. A different option.

One day my cute neighbor reminded me about Zucchini boats! How could I have forgotten?! I was so stuck on what I couldn’t stand eating any more that I had a mind block and lost all cooking creativity whatsoever.

Typically with zucchini boats you use nice, cute, appropriately sized zucchini to make sweet, little personal boats of deliciousness. But let’s face it, I had monster zucchini I had to get rid of. So now I’m sharing my ah-ha moment with you.

We decided to use our giant zucchini to make two huge boats that we then sliced up to serve. And even though the zucchini was extra large it still tasted delicious!

I am pretty Plain Jane when it comes to things I like so I often times just re-use the same list of ingredients I’m different dishes. For my zucchini boats I used the same meat/cheese combo I often times use for stuffed mushrooms and quinoa meatballs. I also try and use what I have on hand that day to avoid a trip to the store if possible. Change the recipe to suit your preferences but you can use my ingredients as a guide:)

Zucchini Boat Ingredients

(Serves 2 very hungry people or 4 -6 people who are less of gluttons than we are 😉)

  • 1/2 lb of sausage
  • 1/2 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 8oz container of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 8oz package of mushrooms
  • 1-2 large zucchini or 4-6 normal size small zucchini
  • Salt/pepper/seasoning to taste

Directions

1. Preheat overnight to 375 degrees. Slice the zucchini length wise (hot-dog style ;)) and remove all seeds, leaving a large space for meat/cheese mixture. 2. Slice mushrooms then combine them with sausage, ground beef, 1 egg, 3/4 of the Parmesan cheese, and seasoning until all ingredients are mixed together well (sometimes I just have to use my hands an mash it all together…I don’t have the patience to daintily mash it slowly with a fork)3. Fill the zucchini boats with the meat mixture until it is heaping. The meat will cook down …I personally like a healthy meat to veggie ratio. 4. Bake until the meat is cooked thoroughly and a fork can easily be inserted into the zucchini. (You May like your zucchini firmer/softer than me so cooking time may vary). My food is usually ready in about 20 minutes. 5. When food is about done, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top and let melt for about 5 minutes and then remove from oven.

(We decided to make stuffed mushrooms with the extra meat mix and used the stems of the mushrooms for the zucchini boats! I get a lot of enjoyment from not wasting food and finding ways to use it all up!)

This is definitely a basic recipe and I love that it is quick to prepare yet delicious. And it gets rid of those giant zucchinis taking up all your counter space. Many people like to put pasta sauce on top or use other meats or cheeses to give it a different flavor. You can even add cream cheese to make it even creamier. This is our favorite combo so far and I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think! Katie

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Keto Quiche

I don’t know what your family eats for Easter dinner but ham was abundant at ours…and eggs of course. Both families had lots of ham and lots of left overs. I hate letting leftovers go bad so I wanted to put all that extra ham and eggs to use!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cubed ham
  • 1 c shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 c Swiss Cheese
  • 1 c goat milk (or whole milk)
  • 1/2 c low fat cottage cheese
  •  4 small eggs (or 3 large eggs)
  • 1/2 t salt 1/2 t pepper (if your ham is already heavily salted, no need to add extra salt)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cube your ham and lay in the bottom of a pie baking dish. Sprinkle cheddar cheese + swiss cheese on top of the ham.
  2. In a blender (I use my Vitamix) combine milk, eggs, cottage cheese, and seasoning. Blend on med-high until smooth.
  3. Pour the egg/milk mixture over the ham and cheese. The filling should be about 1/2-3/4 inches from the top of the dish. As the Quiche cooks the pan will fill but not overflow. If you feel like your dish is too full you can place the baking dish on a cookie sheet to catch any spills.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes or until the quiche forms up. You may be tempted to keep cooking the quiche until it feels hard in the middle, but overcooking will cause the eggs to be rubbery, The goal is for the quiche to be light and fluffy. So as soon as the center is no longer liquid it can come out. it will firm up as it cools.

Typically I add mushrooms, spinach, and other veggies to my quiche but this is a good ole meat and eggs version that even my husband loved! (he doesn’t  usually care much for quiche). I hope you enjoy it and will share your feedback!

Katie

Spaghetti Squash & Quinoa Meatballs

When Gary and I first got together I was on a pretty strict no flour/sugar diet. I almost never ate sweets and I NEVER ate pasta. Come to find out Italian food is one of Gary’s favorites. Lucky for me I am married to the best man ever and he has met me in the “middle” (the term middle being questionable, I think I got the better end of the deal). I decided I wanted to be able to make spaghetti and meatballs that we both liked, that our kids would be willing to eat, and that allowed me to steer clear of flour and sugar (they are my “trigger” foods). Thus was born spaghetti Squash and Quinoa meatballs. It has been a hit at our house and is one of my favorites…(ok, so I have a lot of favorites…I just love food).

Some people really love noodles but for me they just taste empty. I over eat them and then feel yucky afterward. I really appreciate the flavor that noodle substitutes add to meals and prefer them over traditional pasta. If you are trying to make healthier choices in your food but come from a pasta loving family, spaghetti squash may help make the transition a bit easier.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a simple food to prepare and is such a tasty substitute to regular noodles. We also use zucchini noodles and sweet potato noodles as other pasta substitutes. Try them all and let me know which one you like best!

Directions: 

Cut a spaghetti squash in half and remove the guts. The “meat” of spaghetti squash is stringy and will separate easily after cooking. I like to cover both faces of my squash with a bit of olive oil or coconut oil and sprinkle them with seasoned salt. Place the squash face up on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. I bake the squash at 400 degrees until I can easily stick a fork in. While the squash is cooking I prepare my meatballs.

spaghetti noodles

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Quinoa Meatballls

Most meatball recipes have a lot of flour in them to help the meat stick together. Although it is convenient to use it isn’t necessary. I mean, lets be honest. We just need them to look round and stay put until we’re ready to cut them up anyway…its not like we are going to be playing catch with them.

My meatballs can hold together without flour or you can use a bit of flour substitute or corn starch if you are having a hard time getting the mixture to stick together. The quinoa is like a “filler” that helps the meatballs to stay light and adds a healthy form of complete protein.

  • 1/2 lb ground beef/turkey
  • 1/2 lb sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 1 can Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (3/4 cup for meatballs, 1/4 cup for topping)
  • (optional) 1/8-1/4 c of flour substitute, corn starch, or flour if you aren’t GF.
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/4 t everything seasoning

1. Mix everything except the diced tomatoes in a bowl. You can mix it with a fork or just use your hands until everything is combined well.
2. Roll into 25-30 meatballs and place in a 9 x13 baking dish
3. Cover meatballs with the diced tomatoes. I don’t like a lot of sauce on my meatballs so one can is  enough for me. If you like a lot of sauce, go ahead and double the sauce.

meatballs2
4. Bake @ 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes until the inside of the meatballs are no longer pink.
~OR~
You can cook the meatballs on the stove in a large saucepan. They taste great either way. If you don’t have a double oven or oven large enough to cook the spaghetti squash + meatballs at the same time then cooking on the stove is a great option.
5. Remove from oven/stove and sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on top
6. Serve your meatballs on top of your spaghetti squash and enjoy!

If you get a chance to try this yummy dinner I hope you’ll give me your feedback! If you like it, please share the recipe with others! I’m all about spreading the goodness.

Love,

Katie

 

 

Nana’s Hamburger Bean Soup

Where the heck is spring at, eh? Here I was all excited for warm Utah weather and then it goes and turns back into the windy icy tundra again. Ok, that’s an exaggeration but I still want 70 degree weather back.

Instead of posting some cute springy recipe idea I’ll go ahead and share my go-to rainy/snowy day soup recipe. This recipe is the EASIEST and it tastes delicious as though you spent hours making it. If I’m ever taking food to a new mom or sick friend in the fall/winter time chances are this is the meal I’ll bring.

I have to give full credit for this recipe to my Nana who  made it first. I’ve altered my soup to my liking a bit but its essentially the same as hers. You can add/take away any ingredients you like to make sure this soup fits your fancy.

*I’m serious when I say this recipe is ridiculously easy…

Hamburger Bean Soup

  • 1 lb hamburger browned (sub turkey burger or even leave out the meat for veggie soup!) We love using the organic, home grown, grass fed beef we get from my uncle who lives nearby. It is SO tasty and we know exactly where it came from. I really do think it tastes better than store bought.
  • 32 oz chicken broth (or more depending on how “soupy” you like your soup)
  • 2- 16 oz cans Italian diced stewed tomatoes* (this is the secret ingredient that makes it taste awesome without elaborate seasoning)
  • 1 can cut green beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, white beans, or any other bean you like!

Toppings

  • low fat sour cream
  • your favorite cheese
  • avocado slices

Directions

  1. Brown your hamburger or turkey. Season to taste with salt/pepper
  2. Combine all canned ingredients into a big pot and bring to a boil
  3. Add your cooked meat and let simmer
  4. Add salt/pepper/garlic/everything seasoning to taste
  5. Add toppings and you’re done!

See, I told you this recipe was easy.

Now if you have moral issues with canned food then by all means be the ultimate homemaker and soak the beans the night before and cook them the next day; it will taste delicious. You can soak/cook beans in a crock pot on low overnight without adding much work at all!

I feel like this meal is complete in itself. But if you just have to have bread with your soup, my favorite bread is Pamela’s Gluten Free Bread Mix.I like it much better than regular bread and it’s easy to make.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Its hearty, it keeps well, tastes awesome reheated, and is also great to make as a freezer meal!

Enjoy!

 

Cheesy Keto Cauliflower

This is soon becoming one of the favorite dishes at our house! Gary has been kicking diets in the butt lately and after doing 3 months of no sugar, no flour, decided to do a 6 day water fast that he really enjoyed. After completing his water fast he wanted to keep his body in a ketogenic state and has been eating a keto style diet for a few weeks now. He is loving it and he has maintained his weight since his water fast.

Since keto is low carb he searched for veggies that were on the OK list. Cauliflower is one of them and we decided to experiment with cheesy cauliflower for dinner one night. We have never eaten a lot of cauliflower before and when we have it hasn’t been a raving success but this recipe redeemed them all! I give Gary all the credit for making this cauliflower recipe that I love so much!

This dinner fills me up but doesn’t weigh me down. I feel good eating a veggie based meal and my girls love it too! It tastes great re-heated and you can cook it in the oven or on the stove. Make it your own with your favorite flavors of cheese and toppings. Enjoy and let me know how you like it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 4 oz cream cheese (1/2 package) softened (I always get low fat)
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream (I prefer low fat as well)
  • 4 oz of your favorite cheese or a combination of cheeses
  • bacon bits/crumbles
  • 1-12.5 oz can of canned chicken (I added this part for some extra protein, Gary leaves this out of his.)
  • salt/pepper/favorite seasonings

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium size bowl combine softened cream cheese + sour cream+ most of the grated cheese + bacon bits. Save some for the topping) Mix until smooth
  2. Remove the base of the cauliflower and separate into bite size pieces. Add the cauliflower and canned chicken to the  mixture, add seasoning to taste and stir until cauliflower is evenly coated. (I usually let people season their own food because my house has very different preferences in that department)
  3. Put mixture into a 9×13 baking pan or casserole dish and cook in oven for about 20 minutes or until cauliflower begins to get soft.
  4. Remove cauliflower from the oven and mix up the cauliflower to makes sure the meted cheese evenly coats everything. After, top your dish off with the remaining cheese and bacon bits to make a yummy crust on top! Place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and cauliflower is soft.
  5. Enjoy!

This dish is very yummy without the chicken and is a great vegetarian dish. We also love adding mushrooms and it would be delicious with bits of smoked tri-tip on top for those carnivores our there! If you find that your dish is just too cheesy for your liking, cut back on the cream cheese and grated cheese, the cauliflower by no means needs to be “swimming” in cheese to taste good. Just having a bit of sauce on top makes them delicious and keeps you from feeling weighed down. I hope you love this as much as we do!

Love, Katie