Low Carb Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

 

How is it July already?! The time is sure flying and we are embracing our summer as much as we can! I hope you are too!

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There have been holidays, weekend projects, parties, concerts and lots of fun filling these days. It is no wonder that I haven’t taken the time to share a new and delicious dessert for you all to try! You will have to wait no longer, well maybe a little….

I hope you all were able to enjoy the 4th of July with the ones you love, doing something that made your heart happy. That is what life is about. Living it to the fullest every day you can and embracing as many moments possible.

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I was blessed with a lovely five day weekend over the 4th and I cannot put into words how wonderful it was! It was full of family, friends, good food, laughter and another home project to put down in the books. We redid our front porch! It still needs railings put on, but that will hopefully happen this weekend! I am loving it so far!

I will not hold you in suspense any longer! Here is what I’d describe as delicious, soft, pillows of chocolate chip cookie that will leave you asking for just one more. They are easy to make and worth every minute of the small effort. Happy baking!

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Low Carb Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 18 cookies

Ingredients

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  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup swerve sweetener (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 3 oz of dark chocolate, cut into pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl or stand up mixer, combine eggs, sweetener, and vanilla. Then add coconut oil.

 

Add the peanut butter to the wet ingredients and combine.

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In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine dry ingredients- almond flour, coconut flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Combine well, breaking up any big lumps from the almond flour.

Next add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, mixing on medium speed until combined.

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Then add your dark chocolate.

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (for non stick and easy clean up)

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Using a spoon or a cookie scooper, make 18 cookies and place spread out evenly on baking sheet.

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Bake in oven for 15-17 minutes until edges golden brown.

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Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes.

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Then enjoy!

 

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Just the right amount of sweet chocolate, coconut and peanut butter. My favorite flavors married together to make the perfect cookie, with no guilt. If that isn’t winning, I don’t know what is.

Until next time! Happy eating!

Baked Pepperoni & Bacon Pizza Chicken

Life lately has been full of some wonderful but busy moments. We laugh quite often how just a few months ago we were talking about how bored we were. That is certainly not the case now.

Much hard work, fun, good eats and happiness have been going on around these parts, and I hope you all are enjoying this current season in your lives, just as much.

I thought I’d share some random things today, that have made my heart happy. This life is short, so no matter what it is, do what you enjoy!

Recent Eats

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Doggie approved treats! Made with whole wheat flour, carrots, applesauce, peanut butter and coconut oil. Healthy fats for my little pups!

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Those ears! Be still my beating heart. Now on to some people food!

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Memorial Day weekend was spent sweating and doing manual labor with an outdoor project, so easy meals was the plan. A glimpse into our weekend of food- Grilled chicken and steak with a delicious, simple vegetable side. Red onions, red bell peppers and zucchini always taste amazing with some garlic and italian seasonings. Not pictured was the other days of hotdogs, hamburgers, antipasto salad, BBQ pulled pork and spaghetti squash au gratin. So good!

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Oh sunny days, how we all love thee. More grilling goodness = less mess in the kitchen! I needed some Mexican flavors in our lives so this dish completely satisfied my mister. Grilled Carne Asada with Spicy Pico de Gallo, Cheesy Green Chile Cauliflower Rice and Roasted Onions, Peppers and Corn. Oh my, was this delicious.

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Last week, I was craving pizza in a big way. Pizza doesn’t agree with me though. I always feel like I have eaten the whole thing, even if it’s only been two slices. So this low carb alternative was made and it was a huge hit with the family!

This recipe is so versatile, I am hesitant to even write out a real recipe so this is what I did.

I marinated chicken breasts in 1/4 cup italian dressing, olive oil, salt, pepper, granulated garlic and italian seasonings for about four hours.

Then I took two shallow dishes, added two beaten eggs to one and grated parmesan cheese to the other. Dip the chicken in egg, then in parmesan cheese to coat. When all chicken was coated, I heated olive oil in a large sauté pan and sautéed for about 4-5 minutes on each side just so the coating was a crisp golden brown. Place chicken into baking dish.

You can use your favorite homemade or jar sauce for this dish. If you have some leftover from a previous meal, even better!

I love sauce mixed with onions and peppers, so I sautéed some up and added a tomato basil flavored marinara that was low in carbs. I topped each parmesan chicken breast with about 1/2 cup sauce mixture.

Then I layered with a mix of shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese. I ended my creativity with pepperoni and bacon.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until internal temperature of chicken is 160 degrees. Broil on high to add some nice bubbling color to the top.

The things you could do with this dish- different vegetables, cheese, meats, and sauces. I look forward to experimenting with different ingredients!

Made Me Smile

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My new friends. I just love animals and we talk about moving to the woods with a lot of land all the time. Just watching them enjoying their day, munching and hanging in the water, really made my day.

My new health journal. I am always on a mission to better myself. I always want to be the best version of myself and I love reflecting on each day. It makes me think of all the wonderful things I am grateful for, allows me to be positive towards myself and inspires me to keep motivated toward my goals!

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I will end this very long post with these beautiful yellow flowers I am loving! I can’t wait for all the flowers to open up! Fresh flowers are a must in my house! They seem to brighten up every day!

Wishing happy, sunny and beautiful days to you all!

A Weekend in Boston – Day 1

I cannot say it enough, I heart Boston. Everything about it, just makes me feel calm, happy and excited all at the same time.

There is just always something to do, see, eat, drink…. and be merry about!

I thought I’d share a little about our weekend away, because it is something I want to always remember. It will always be etched into memory but writing it out to look back on, just seems right.

We ventured up to Boston on a Friday afternoon. The weather was quite dreary but that didn’t stop our anticipation to meet up with two of our favorite people.

We arrived at the Omni Parker House around 3:30 pm where we were delighted to be gifted valet service right at the doorway. We don’t typically do valet so we already were feeling like a King and Queen!

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We checked in and went straight up to our gorgeous room where we were greeted with another surprise! Our weekend dates were spoiling us even before we got there, and we appreciate it all!

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After settling in, we met these beautiful people downstairs!

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Then it was time to take a nice stroll through Boston to get our feet wet (no pun intended, for it was raining!) What I loved most about this hotel besides it’s perfect description “A classic soul with a modern twist” was how close we were to everything. It is right on the Freedom Trail, and so close to Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall. It made walking around the city, so very lovely!

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We ended up walking to dinner which was at Mast. It was kind of a weird experience all around in the dining world but our company was spot on, so despite the vibe that was throughout, we enjoyed ourselves.

Why must dinner always be served with this scrumptious but evil food? Mmm, bread.

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We started with sharing the Calamari, a family favorite for sure!

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Sadly, all we could taste was the salt! I’ve never had such salty calamari but we don’t waste food, so….. it was obviously still eaten!

My sister and I shared two small plates and one of them stole the show! The cauliflower was tasty!

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Polpettine Trio- a meatball trio of angus beef al ragu

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Roasted Cauliflower- with a spicy chile goat cheese and baked four cheese spread

The men stayed true to their roots, one enjoying a pasta dish (Italian man through and through!) and my hubby sticking with a roasted chicken.

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Orecchiete Baresi- Orecchiete pasta, friarelli (sauteed broccoli rabe), fennel sausage, pecorino romano

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Pollo al Mattone Sette Spezia- half all natural chicken, grilled, smoked seven spice rub, Borretane onion agrodolce

We ate, we talked, we laughed, and were in the best company!

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After dinner we walked back to our hotel for a drink and dessert!

The hotel has a famed whiskey bar called the Last Hurrah. We sat down at one of their tables, each getting a drink of choice and we shared their famous Boston Cream Pie!

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After, we called it a night!  We needed our rest for Saturday and it seriously was the best day! Stay tuned…..

Low Carb Pudding Parfaits

I don’t know about you guys, but some of my favorite sweet treats include cake, chocolate and pudding. If only I could eat my favorites everyday…. okay maybe that’s a little too indulgent.

What if we all could enjoy our favorites knowing that they aren’t as bad for you? That is my mission in this life and I truly enjoy sharing these creations with you.

A few months ago, I was craving my favorite chocolate cake. Costco’s chocolate cake, to be more specific. Layers of rich, dark, moist chocolate cake with sweet, creamy and decadent chocolate frosting, covered in delicious chocolate shavings. That is really what dreams are made of. I never looked up how much sugar is in that cake, although I know it’s probably right on the label. I didn’t want to cry after eating it.

So instead of venturing out to buy a huge cake that would leave me with a million servings (exaggerating, it’s probably more like 30ish), I tried my best to make a lower carb chocolate dessert that would kick the craving and leave our stomachs happy.

That’s when these were born. Yummy, healthier, chocolate, delicious parfaits. Layers of low carb chocolate cake, sugar-free pudding and whipped cream have completed my life. A dessert that is very versatile, for you can mix it with whatever flavors you like.

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In the words of Guy Fieri, “this is money”.

Low Carb Pudding Parfaits

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Ingredients for Cake

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup swerve sweetener**
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup water

**You can substitute your favorite sweetener- 1/2 cup swerve = 1/2 cup of regular sugar. So use according to that ratio.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together, breaking up any lumps in the flour.

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In a mixing bowl, add eggs, sweetener and vanilla. Mix together until combined.

Add dry ingredients into the egg mixture. You will have a thick batter at this point.

Mix in cocoa powder.

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Add melted butter and water, allowing for all ingredients to blend and batter to thin out.

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Pour batter into a 8 X 8 inch baking pan either greased or with covered with parchment paper. Spread evenly into pan.

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Bake for approximately 22 minutes or until the top is set, but cake feels moist. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

 

You could stop here, top with your favorite frosting, whipped topping, ice cream…the possibilities are endless. I took it a step further.

Ingredients for Parfait

  • Chocolate cake, recipe above
  • 1 box of sugar-free instant pudding (or regular pudding), any flavor
  • 2 cups of preferred milk (skim, whole, almond, coconut, cream etc)
  • 1 large container of cool whip (or make your own)

Directions

In a bowl, if using instant pudding, mix milk and pudding for 2 minutes using a whisk. Place into refrigerator for at least 5 minutes to allow to set.

Cut the chocolate cake into cubes.

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Using whichever cup, dish or bowl that you prefer, being to layer your parfaits.

First add cake, then pudding, then whipped topping, making three layers.

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Try not to put spoonfuls of pudding or cool whip into your mouth during this process. It can be difficult.

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You can make ahead and place back into refrigerator or enjoy right away!

 

Happy eating!

Disclaimer: This cake is meant to be light and easily crumbles for this parfait. If you are looking for a more dense cake, come back when I create that *wink wink*

The Best Turkey Sloppy Joes

These past few weeks have just flown by! They were full of wonderful moments, people and love. This gal turned another year older too! Hello to the new 21 plus some *wink wink*

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There have been birthday celebrations, dining out, dinners made for me and basically no actual cooking by me for the past two weeks! The break was amazing but I did miss the kitchen.

I was spoiled beyond words with beautiful messages, time spent with my favorite people and the most amazing gifts (that were not necessary but completely appreciated!)

A burger bar seemed to be a hit at my sister’s and my birthday bash, I just wish I had some photos to show. Maybe next time!

Later in the week, my sister, momma and I went to Cure for a mother-daughter lunch and it did not disappoint!

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The whole experience of the restaurant is rustic, beautiful and centered around farm-fresh ingredients. The menu offers a variety of delicious choices from amazing appetizers, their own varieties of smoked bacon, unique sandwiches and main dishes, to tasty desserts and cocktails.

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We started with a birthday drink and this Sangria was amazing! It had just the right amount of rose wine and peach flavors. I should have these more!

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Our waiter was the cutest boy there ever was!

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We shared calamari as our appetizer, made with banana peppers, lemon and a wonderful sweet chili sauce.

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I wasn’t feeling like being fancy for our birthday lunch so the burger with BBQ seasoned fries sounded tasty. It was a celebratory occasion so there was no guilt with the fries! They were worth it!

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We ended our lunch with the best dessert ever- frozen yogurt! I will never say no to that. Ever.

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We are a silly family 🙂

I feel so blessed with how the past two weeks have gone and look forward to whatever this next year of life brings my way!

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After living in a birthday bubble, it was time to get back into my normal role and I couldn’t think of a better meal to start with than my Turkey Sloppy Joes. This is an easy, flavorful dish that you can serve on your favorite roll, on top of zucchini noodles, pasta or enjoy with a side salad. I’ve eaten it in a bowl with a spoon before, it’s that delicious. Don’t judge.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

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  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of onions, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1-2 jalapeños, diced (ribs and seeds removed)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp spicy montreal steak seasoning (or regular montreal steak seasoning for less spicy)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar**
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp black pepper

** I will use truvia brown sugar blend to reduce my sugar intake. If using, only use 1/4 cup due to the increased sweetness.

Directions

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, red and jalapeño peppers to pan and sauté for about 5 minutes until slightly tender.

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When vegetables tender, add ground turkey and season with montreal steak seasoning (spicy or regular). Sauce turkey until browned and cooked thoroughly.

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Next, add all remaining seasonings to ground turkey including chili powder, ground mustard, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Mix well.

Then add worcestershire sauce and red wine vinegar.

Add tomato sauce, tomato paste and season with black pepper.

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Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes for flavors to combine and sauce to thicken.

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Then serve whichever way you like! The mister can’t seem to live without his carbs. It may not be the prettiest meal, but you won’t deny how amazing this tastes!

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Happy eating!

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

Dear Future Me,

If I could share one tiny piece of advice with you, it would be exactly this…

Live your life being the best you that you can be and don’t have regrets. If you want the stick, go get the stick!

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Do what your heart leads you to do and know that despite the outcomes in life, your intentions are always pure. The sky is yours beautiful.

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Lastly, when in doubt, make this Dark Chocolate Banana Bread. It will make your head, heart and tummy very happy!

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If you are looking for a moist banana bread with sweet dark chocolate throughout, this is your lucky day!

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

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Ingredients
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup swerve sweetener (honey, agave, maple syrup or sugar)
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix dry ingredients together and put aside.

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In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas, vanilla, eggs, coconut oil, applesauce and sweetener. On a medium-low speed, mix these ingredients together until combined. You can also mix these by hand.

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Add dry ingredients to the large mixing bowl with wet ingredients. Mix until combined.

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Then fold in your dark chocolate chips.

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Grease a large bread pan with butter or coconut oil. For easy clean up, you can use parchment paper.

Pour batter into prepared bread pan and place into oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the edges and top of bread are golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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When done baking, remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing from pan.

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You can store the bread covered on the counter or in the refrigerator. We enjoy our sweets cold for some reason!

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Happy Eating!!

Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

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You know those days that just keep on giving, even when you’ve asked the man upstairs to please stop?

I have the solution to those days.

Chocolate. Dark, rich, gooey, delicious chocolate.

It’s right up there with ice cream, which would probably be my first choice to dive my face into, but I’m trying to be healthier in my indulgences.

Because any dessert that you make with fruits and vegetables is considered a summer salad, right?

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These babies are ready for baking!

Not quite. A girl could dream though, and dream about these, I will!

Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Yields 8 muffins

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Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup nut butter**
  • 1 ripe medium-sized banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sweetener (swerve, honey, agave or sugar)**
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded and squeezed of excess liquid
  • 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips

**I used this brand of peanut butter (amazing! but rather thick) and swerve sweetener (to make lower carb) but it didn’t allow recipe to have enough liquid so I added 1/8 cup of coconut oil, melted and 1/4 cup of water to recipe. If using honey or agave, you shouldn’t have that issue. It depends on the nut butter you use too, so if feeling that the batter is too thick- add 1/4 of water! (It won’t dull the taste, I promise)

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I used the chocolate coconut peanut butter and it’s yummy!
Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place nut butter, banana, egg, sweetener of choice, cocoa powder, ground flaxseed, vanilla extract and baking soda into a blender. Blend until smooth.

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Fold in shredded zucchini and chocolate chips.

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Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cavity.

Place a few chocolate chips on top if desired.

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Bake for 20-22 minutes until tops of your muffins are set and a inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Then enjoy!

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These muffins may be little, but they are fierce! Have fun trying to stop at just one!

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Happy eating!

A Chocolate Chip Blondie Snow Day

It’s the beginning of April, and spring is here! The birds will be chirping, sun shining and our plants sprouting! Well, that’s what we all thought.

Mother Nature had quite a spring surprise, covering us with her humor and quite a dusting of powdered sugar, also known as snow. Cold, wet, unwanted but pretty snow. Everywhere. All day long.

While I was fortunate enough to be home enjoying a day inside with my pups and a warm fire, I definitely would have preferred sunshine on my face and an iced coffee in hand. That was not the day that was meant to be had, but I hope to see some in the future!

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Despite that, I am grateful for the day that I was given. I cleaned, organized and rearranged furniture all day long. I lit the most wonderfully scented candles, drank hot coffee, and enjoyed being enclosed in my little nest. Cozy, warm, blessed and happy would be words I would use to describe today. The only thing that would have made today better is having my mister home with me.

Since he wasn’t, I decided to make him something delicious and sweet for when he got home. Sweets for my sweetie! Too corny? Moving on…

These Blondies are full of flavor, yet healthy for you! They will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth craving without making you feel guilty. In my book that equals perfection!

Paleo/Low Carb Chocolate Chip Blondies

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup any nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sweetener of choice (honey, agave, maple syrup, coconut sugar or swerve)
  • 4 oz of your favorite chocolate (dark, milk, white, sugar-free, etc)

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Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper, spray with nonstick spray and put aside.

In a bowl, mix together nut butter, egg, coconut oil, vanilla and sweetener.

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Then add almond flour, baking soda and salt. When fully combined,  fold in your chocolate.

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Spread evenly into prepared baking dish. Place into oven, bake for 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

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Remove from oven and allow to cool. Then cut into 16 squares.

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Happy eating!!

Ohhhh Veggie….Lasagna

A few years ago I found out something that was hard for an Italian girl to stomach. The news was like a dagger to the heart. There was no sugar coating the truth.

My body hates carbs. ::shudder::

My love for bread, pasta, and sweets was going to have to take a lonely drive to nowheresville. Yes, I get to visit from time to time on holidays, but sometimes these visits are such a tease! The one day visits sometimes lead to weekends, then long weekends, so on and so forth. You get the picture. It is hard to give up what you truly love.

So instead of giving up my favorites, I have learned to make substitutions that allow me to eat what I love but still remain pretty faithful to my lower carb way of eating.

I know low carbohydrate diets are not for everyone and I think that is okay. We all must do what works best for us. For me, reducing sugar and carbohydrates allows me to feel awesome! Goodbye bloating, fatigue, heart palpitations and diabetes risk! Hello happiness, health and new delicious recipes!

So without further ado, I give to you….

Low Carb Italian Sausage & Vegetable Lasagna

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Ingredients

  • 4 medium sized green or yellow squash, cut lengthwise to make “lasagna noodles”
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • olive oil
  • 5 cups of homemade or store bought marinara sauce
  • 32 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 5-6 links of Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 6 oz of ground turkey or ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or more if you like heat)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat in a large sauté pan. Add sliced onions and peppers to pan, sauté for 5-6 minutes until vegetables are becoming tender. Then add in mushrooms, cooking until mushrooms are fully cooked. Season with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/2 tsp of granulated garlic (or to taste), then remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan over medium high heat, add the Italian sausage with casings removed, breaking up with a spatula. Add the ground turkey or beef, combining with sausage, season with 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp granulated garlic, 1 tsp dried basil and 1 tsp dried oregano (or to taste). Cook meat until browned and cooked through. Side aside when fully cooked.

You may cook the sliced squash on the grill, in a grill pan or sauté pan. Brush both sides of squash with olive oil,  seasoning with salt and pepper. If using a grill or sauté pan, heat over medium high heat. Place squash evenly in pan in small batches, lightly marking each side before removing from pan.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp granulated garlic and 1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley. Mix together until well combined.

To assemble the lasagna, use a large casserole baking dish or your favorite lasagna pan.

Coat bottom of baking dish with 1/2 cup marinara sauce. Layer squash as you would lasagna noodles onto bottom of pan (you will need to divide squash into two layers). Spread 1/2 ricotta mixture over squash layer, topping ricotta with 1- 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese. Then add your sausage mixture. Next add 1-2 cups of marinara sauce.

On top of the sauce, add the vegetables (onions, peppers and mushrooms). Next, add the remaining ricotta cheese. You may reserve 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture to add on top of the lasagna at the end before placing in oven.20160402_173629

After the ricotta layer, place your 2nd later of squash. Top with marinara sauce and 1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. At this time you can separate the reserved ricotta cheese and place dollops on top of the lasagna.

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Cook for 35-45 minutes, uncovered until bubbling and cheese has melted. Turn oven to broil, allowing cheese to become slightly browned in color. Remove from oven and allow to   sit for at least 10-15 minutes.

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Pour additional marinara sauce on top and enjoy!!!

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Happy eating!

Paprika Pork and Mushrooms

There is nothing better than coming home to the aromas of a hot meal simmering away on the stove top. Well, that’s what I assume since I seem to be the one always doing the cooking and the mister is the one reaping the benefits of that! We win some, we lose some.

Do you want to know a secret though? There just might be a better scenario that brings a smile to this girl’s face, a delicious meal that is ready in just 20-30 minutes! The kind of meal that comes together so easily, but tastes like you have been in the kitchen all day.

There are days where we will gladly spend all day in the kitchen preparing an enormous amount of love for our families, through food. Holidays, birthdays, special occasions or a  family Sunday dinner, are some of the days that stand out in my life.

On other days, the monotony of work and responsibilities, sometimes leaves little desire to cook a meal that leaves your palate craving more. These are the days that we should all pull out our tried and true recipes that are easy, yet amazing.

This paprika pork and mushrooms, is one of ours. I hope you enjoy it!

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Paprika Pork and Mushrooms (with or without sour cream) 

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork loin, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8-12 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tsp of minced garlic
  • 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 3/4 cup of chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup sour cream or see * in directions

Instructions

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in large sauce pan over medium high heat. Trim visible fat from pork loin and cut pork into 1″ cubes. Season pork with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and 1 tbsp of smoked paprika. Sauté over medium high heat, turning pork several times to brown all sides, then remove from pan into another dish.

Heat the additional tbsp of olive oil into sauté pan and add mushrooms. Allow mushrooms to cook for 5 minutes until soft and remove from pan. Place mushrooms into the dish with pork.

If needed, add a little more olive oil into sauté pan and add onions. Sauté onions until translucent. Then add minced garlic, 1 tbsp of smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp dried thyme. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Next add diced tomatoes with green chiles and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to allow to simmer for 5 minutes until flavors are combined.

Add the pork and mushrooms back into sauté pan, covering with a lid. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.

(At this point, I personally believe that we all have different tastes. So adding additional salt and pepper for your preferences would be acceptable)

*If you like sour cream and will be using all servings, add sour cream at the end, stirring into dish until well combined. If you will have leftovers, simply place 1-2 tbsp of sour cream over your serving and combine. The dish tastes delicious when sour cream is also omitted.

Serve over pasta, rice, or potatoes. We like to eat ours with vegetables!

Happy eating!