Tag Archives: cheese

Ten (or so) Healthier Superbowl Foods – 2013

MeatballSubCasserole
Looking for the perfect superbowl food? Here are 10 that sound totally yummy! And for bonus points, some of them are low carb, paleo, and/or reduced sugar!
Meatball Sub Casserole from AllRecipes. (I’m not making any “good for you” claims on this one!)
Hot Shrimp Scampi Dip from Go Bold With Butter. (Or this one!)
Healthier Superbowl Foods - shrimp cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail with Low-Sugar Cocktail Sauce from Kalyn’s Kitchen (Kalyn always has great low-carb recipes)

Healthier Superbowl Foods - zucchini lasagna

Grilled Zucchini “Lasagna” with Italian Sausage, also from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder from Lulu the Baker. Doesn’t this sound scrumptious on a cold day?

Healthier Superbowl Foods - sausage and peppers - Paleo friendly!

Sausage and Peppers from Proud Italian Cook. We made this for Christmas brunch last year and it was a big hit! Easy to make ahead, and cheap and easy way to feed a crowd.Grilled the sausages the day before. (Chill them before slicing. Makes slicing easier and retains more juiciness.)

Healthier Superbowl Foods - avocado bacon deviled eggs - Paleo friendly

Avocado Deviled Eggs with Bacon from Caveman Gourmet. Intriguing!

Healthier Superbowl Foods - squash with sausage and cheese appetizer

Summer Squash (or Zucchini) Topped with Sausage and Cheese from yours truly! These can be mostly-made ahead, then baked or reheated at the last minute.

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas (with Avocado) from Half Hour Meals

No-bake Energy Bites from Smashed Peas and Carrots. Use the syrupy sweetener of your choice: honey, maple or agave. And experiment with mix-ins: chocolate, craisins, cashews…

Happy “Sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch” Day!

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And what to do with said zucchini (or summer squash) if you’re the lucky recipient.

Whether it was you or your neighbor who planted too much zucchini this year, here are a few recipes for using up that infamous garden bounty. (Summer squash is its yellow cousin; no significant difference in taste.)

Pizza bites. (Shown above.) They are cute; also the perfect size to pop in your mouth whole. Easy, gluten-free appetizer or snack.
 
 
Summer squash (or zucchini) topped with sausage and cheese. A quick easy dish to prep ahead of time, and then assemble and cook in about 15 minutes.
 
 
Zucchini noodles with peanut sauce. Quick-and-easy, low carb, and tasty, too!
paleo zucchini fritters
Paleo zucchini fritters from PaleOMG — I hear rave reviews about her recipes.
 
For those who are looking for something sweet, and aren’t trying to avoid flour, here are a couple recipes for you. 
grandmas-zucchini-cake
 
Elise’s Grandma’s zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting! This sounds like carrot cake — one of the few cakes I will always be willing to blow my diet for! I haven’t tried this recipe, but it’s from SimplyRecipes, and every recipe I’ve ever tried there has been a winner. I’m sure this one is no different.
 
 
Zucchini bread. If you’ve never tried zucchini bread, you really must! It’s a sweet quick bread (read “muffin-like”), akin to banana bread, but without the banana overtones. You really don’t taste the zucchini at all; it just lends moisture to the party. The predominant flavors come from the cinnamon and sugar. And you know that can’t be bad! 
I made this recipe from AllRecipes earlier this week to take to a ladies social, because it was rated five stars after more than 3,800 reviews! And it was a hit with everyone, but it’s a little sweet for me as is. If (like me) you’re living a mostly sugar-free life, you might want to cut back on the sugar by 1/4 to 3/4 cup. (Here’s a healthier version I haven’t tried.) 

Summer squash topped with sausage

squash-w-sausage-done-row
This squash topped with sausage is a quick easy dish to prep ahead of time, and then assemble and cook in about 15 minutes. It evolved from a recipe for stuffed portobello mushrooms — which is good, don’t get me wrong! — but I think I like it better on squash.
In these pictures, I was testing a batch without the sundried tomatoes, but I don’t recommend skipping them. I think they add an important zing to the dish.
 Note: I have since Paleo-ized this recipe. I used cashew ricotta and skipped the Italian cheese blend. I did sprinkle a little grated Parmesan on top. It was delish!
paleo sausage on squash

Recipe: Summer squash topped with sausage and cheese

Ready In: 30 Minutes      Servings: 3
1/2 cup cooked, crumbled sausage
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 T. finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated
1 medium summer squash
Optional for plain squash slices:
olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine sausage, half of the shredded cheese, ricotta cheese, onions and tomatoes in medium bowl.
Lay the squash flat on cutting board, and cut off the bottom on a diagonal.
 squash-slice-1
Slice the rest of the squash, parallel to the first cut, in approximately 1/2″ thick slabs.
 squash-slice-2
You’ll have some large diameter slices and some small ones. If you’re prepping this meal early in the day, you can put everything in the fridge now to hold till you’re ready to bake.
squash-slice-3
Lay the slices on the prepared baking sheet. Divide the sausage mixture among the slices; first just dump some on (shown upper left in the photo below), then pat it down with your fingers (shown in the top second one). Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the sausage mixture.
squash-w-sausage-topped
You may top all the slices this way, or you can use the two or three smallest ones without the sausage topping. If you’re not topping all the slices, brush the bare ones with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until squash is just tender. Remove from the oven.
squash-w-sausage-done-oh
Sprinkle the plain slices with grated Parmesan.
summer-squash-w-parm
Serve it all up. Yummmm!
paleo sausage on squash
Topping squash slices for pizza-like bites

 

Pizza bites – gluten free, low carb, tasty!

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Earlier this week, I made myself Kalyn’s Grilled Zucchini Pizza Slices for lunch. Yum! But I wanted to experiment with the broiler method she suggested, since not everyone can or wants to grill. Also, I thought it would be kinda cute to make bite-sized versions.

I went with summer squash rather than zucchini. They’re close cousins and nutritionally about the same, but I thought the yellow color might be more attractive to people who would be scared off by the green of zucchini. I want to set realistic expectations: no one is going to think they’re eating pizza crust; the texture is completely different. But all the flavors are there, and it’s a quite satisfying snack.

I made some with pizza sauce and pepperoni, and I made some with pesto and grape tomatoes. I slightly prefer the pepperoni version, because there’s a little more punch to the flavor, but they’re both really good. And if you or your guests are vegetarian or Paleo, the tomato option is a nice alternative.

I love how they came out! They are cute, but they’re also the perfect size to pop in your mouth whole. Which would also be perfect finger food, for say, super-bowl. I haven’t tested the method, but if you wanted to make a large quantity for a party, I bet you could make them ahead of time, up to and including the toppings, then cover and refrigerate them till serving time, and run them under the broiler for a minute or two.

Low-carb Gluten-free Pizza Bites

I’m not listing amounts, because this is one you can totally just wing.

summer squash
olive oil
shredded mozzarella
for the pepperoni version:
spaghetti sauce (preferably sugar-free)
pepperoni (turkey, if you like)
for the veggie version:
pesto
grape tomatoes

Preheat your oven to 450. Place the rack in the center.

pizza-bites-mont

Slice the squash into 1/2″ slices. If using tomatoes, slice them about 1/4″ thick and set aside.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the squash and toss. You just want enough for all the pieces to have a thin coat of oil.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and lay the squash slices out on it. You can place them closer together than what I’m showing here. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pan and inspect the underside of the squash. It should just be a bit brown in places. Return it to the oven for a minute or two if it’s not yet there.

Switch your oven setting to broil. Top the squash slices with your choice of toppings. I used the larger diameter slices for pepperoni, the smaller for tomato. I put the sauce or pesto on first, then the pepperoni or tomato, then sprinkled a small mound of cheese on top of each one.

Move the oven rack up so it’s about 4″ under the broiler. Return the pan to the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and done to your preference of golden-brown-ness. This will probably be somewhere around 3 to 5 minutes, but watch it closely.

Let them cool somewhat before serving; that tomato sauce will be hot!

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Recipe review: Twice-baked cauliflower (low carb!)

twicebakedcauliflower2_kalynskitchen
Kalyn's twice-baked cauliflower
photo by Kalyn’s Kitchen

Twice-baked cauliflower? — Yes, this is every bit as delicious as a twice-baked potato!

Whether you’re trying to cut down on carbs, or trying to sneak more healthy veggies into your kids’ meals, or just want to play a trick on someone who says they hate cauliflower (perhaps your own taste buds?), this is your ticket.

In Kalyn’s updated version of this dish, she uses reduced fat cream cheese and sour cream, but me, I use the real stuff. Do as your own conscience allows, though.

Kalyn’s recipe calls for completely mashing the cauliflower — which I think would peg the comfort food scale! — but I wanted a chunkier texture than the mixer would get me, so I used a pastry blender. Worked great!

If you try this dish and fool someone into thinking it’s really potatoes, let me know. I bet you can pull it off!

You might also like:
Roasted Garlic “Mashed Potatoes”
Garlic Herb Cream Cheese Dip
Peanut Butter Pie (low carb)

Recipe review: Salsa Verde Chicken

Mmm… Made this for dinner tonight! The original recipe from simplyrecipes.com is super simple, but I wanted to get some vegetables and fiber in the meal without making a second dish, so I put one 10-oz. can of Rotel with Lime and Cilantro and part of a can of black beans in the pan before putting the chicken breasts in. It worked great! I placed the hot, cheesy chicken on the dinner plate first, then scooped out some of the saucy beans and tomatoes as a side dish. And all from one pan!

Oh, and I only used one 7 oz. can of salsa verde. Yeah, I’m a spice wimp!

Winter fruit salad with lemon poppyseed dressing

winter-fruit-salad

This is one of my favorite salads, and it always gets rave reviews. I don’t make it as much now that we’re eating low carb, but you could certainly swap out your sweetener of choice for the sugar. And you could reduce the amount of sugar or sweetener needed by substituting orange juice for the lemon juice. The first time I made this recipe, I was almost out of lemon juice so I used half lemon, half OJ, and it was quite tasty.

Of course, you can swap out pecans or sliced almonds for the cashews, but I think the saltiness adds a nice contrast to the sweetness of the other ingredients. I also like to use smoked Swiss — or smoked Gouda, if I have it — for the plain Swiss. It’s a subtle addition, but I think it adds to the winteriness of the dish.

Make-ahead tip: Mix up the dressing, then chop the apples and pears and toss them with a little dressing. The citric acid in the dressing will keep the apples from turning brown. You can also prep the cheese, craisins and cashews and put them together in a container or baggie. Then when it’s time to serve, just dump the dressing, fruit and topping mixture over your greens and toss. If you dump dressing or anything with salt and sugar in it on the lettuce ahead of time, it will begin to wilt immediately, as these chemicals break down the cell walls of plants.