Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Are you looking for freezer friendly meals? I get asked about freezer meals all the time and for good reason! We don't always have the time to cook every night, but sometimes we may have an evening or two a week to prep for future meals. Although we may have busy schedules, we still want a delicious home cooked meal!

Lasagna has always been a great choice when wanting a meal that freezes well! Instead of the traditional carb-laden lasagna, I made lasagna using spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash doesn't taste like pasta, but it does have a mild flavor which tastes wonderful with marinara sauce. This recipe still has all the flavors of a hearty lasagna, but it is also light and healthy because the pasta is a veggie!


This a dish your entire family can enjoy! Roasted spaghetti squash, creamy ricotta cheese, sweet Italian turkey sausage, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese! Comfort food to the max!


Spaghetti squash does have a tendency to release water when cooking. This is natural! I do find it to be less watery when I roast the squash in the oven rather cooking it in the microwave. Oven roasting is now my preferred method of choice. I think roasting makes all veggies taste better!

Begin by cutting the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and then scooping out all the seeds with a spoon. Get all those loose goopy (is that a word?) strands that are mixed in with the seeds too! 


I lined a baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up. Not that cooking spaghetti squash is messy, but it is more a force of habit :)

I sprayed the squash with olive oil cooking spray and seasoned it with salt and pepper.


Place the squash cut side down and bake until tender.


I love how the squash gets nice and brown around the top edges.


Use a fork along the flesh to make long spaghetti-like strands in a bowl.


Delicious spaghetti squash strands! Ready to use or be eaten!


Measure out 1 cup of spaghetti squash and place on the bottom of a container. Sprinkle basil and garlic powder on top. Then add ricotta cheese.

I used foil containers because I was freezing additional future meals. These foil containers are great because they can go from the freezer to the oven without cracking or breaking, unlike glass containers. I got these containers from Amazon. Click HERE for the link!


Next, remove the sweet Italian turkey sausage from their casings and cook until the sausage is cooked thoroughly. Drain the fat and set aside.


Here is a pic of the turkey sausages in their package. This sausage tastes amazing and is perfect for spaghetti or lasagna!


Measure out 3 ounces of sausage and spread it over the ricotta cheese.


Add Rao's marinara sauce next.


This is the sauce you need to try! It tastes so delicious and it is lower in carbs than most marinara sauces out there! It is only 2 grams of carbs for 1/4 cup! That's it! 1/4 cup is considered 1 Green on the Medifast Plan. I will admit, it is quite pricey at almost $9 a jar! Take into account, I will only use 1/4 cup servings at a time so it will last me a little while. You can get this sauce at Target, Wal-mart or Sam's Club. I am sure there might be other locations where you can find them so look around!


Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese on top.


Bake for about 30 minutes or until heated thoroughly and cheese has melted.


I got 4 servings from my spaghetti squash and sausage, Three of these meals are going in the freezer and the other one is getting in my belly!

You can write directly on the lids of the foil containers. Write "Spaghetti Squash Lasagna" and the date. You could also write the re-heating instructions too!

Yummy, hearty, comfort food I can prep ahead of time! Enjoy!



Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Ingredients:

3 ounces Jennie-O Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage (1/2 Lean)
1/4 cup 2% Mozzarella Cheese, shredded (1/4 Lean)
1/4 cup Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese (1/4 Lean)
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder (1/2 Condiment)
2 tsp grated Parmesan Cheese (2/3 Condiment)
1/2 tsp dried Basil (1/2 Condiment)
1 cup Spaghetti Squash, cooked (2 Greens)
1/4 cup Rao's Marinara Sauce (1 Green)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon.
Place spaghetti squash on a baking sheet and spray with olive oil cooking spray.
Season lightly with salt and pepper, if desired.
Place the spaghetti squash cut side down on the baking sheet.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until squash is tender.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Using a fork, scrape the flesh to get spaghetti-like strands.

Measure out 1 cup of spaghetti squash and place on the bottom of an oven-safe container.
I used foil containers because I wanted to make extra to freeze for future meals.
The foil containers are great to use from freezer to oven.

Sprinkle garlic powder and dried basil on top of spaghetti squash.
Then drop small spoonfuls of the ricotta on top.
Remove the Italian sweet sausage from their casings.
Place the sausage in a medium sized skillet and cook over medium-high heat until cooked thoroughly.
Drain the fat from the sausage.

Measure out 3 ounces of cooked sausage using a food scale.
Sprinkle the sausage on top of the ricotta cheese.
Then add Rao's marinara sauce on top of the sausage.
Next, add mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.

At this point, you can freeze the containers or you can bake them.
If you freeze them, place it in the fridge the night before you plan to eat them.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

If you wish to bake now, bake at 350 degrees for about 30 to 35 minutes or until heated thoroughly.


1 Lean, 3 Greens, and 1.6 Condiments per serving




Disclosure: I receive free product in order to evaluate and comment on my experiences using Medifast products. Medifast products and the Medifast program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

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Heavenly Ricotta Chocolate Almond Mousse

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The HOT HOT months have already arrived in Vegas and I just want a delicious, cool, refreshing dessert that my entire family will love! Well by golly... I think I found it!


This is a decadent dessert that tastes similar to swiss almond chocolate ice cream! It has creamy ricotta cheese with sliced almonds and a subtle hint of chocolate. It is soooo soooo delicious! The best part is that it counts as half a Lean so you can indulge in this yummy treat after the rest of your Lean and Green Meal! Dessert anyone? Yes, please!


Using a few ingredients, makes this so easy to make! Plus there is no cooking involved! Just mix ricotta cheese, unsweetened cocoa, vanilla extract, and stevia together in a small bowl.


Top with sliced almonds and then chill for an hour!


A spoonful of yumminess! I absolutely love the crunch of the almonds combined with the smoothness of  the blended ricotta. Try it! You won't be disappointed!

Feel free to leave out the unsweetened cocoa powder and add different flavored extracts. For instance, I also love to switch out the vanilla extract and add lemon extract with grated lemon peel. A wonderful lemon taste for summer! Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite concoction is!



Heavenly Ricotta Chocolate Almond Mousse

Ingredients:

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (1/2 Lean)
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (1 Condiment)
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract (1/4 Condiment)
1/2 packet organic stevia (1 g carbohydrate or less per packet), or to taste (1/2 Condiment)
1/3 ounce almonds, sliced (1 Healthy Fat)

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together except almonds.
You could also use an immersion blender to make it smoother and creamier.
Pour into a small ramekin and top with sliced almonds.
Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

1 Serving
1/2 Lean, 1.75 Condiments and 1 Healthy Fat




Disclosure: I receive free product in order to evaluate and comment on my experiences using Medifast products. Medifast products and the Medifast program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.


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Cheater Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cheater, cheater pumpkin eater... okay maybe not with pumpkin... but I did make some delicious Mexican cauliflower rice using only a few ingredients so it felt like I was cheating! What I mean by cheating is making the recipe quicker and easier to make than the traditional method. I know it isn't your traditional Mexican rice, but it sure is yummy and that is what matters! Right?!


This recipe makes 6 (3/4 cup) servings so you will still need another Green and a half for the day. I had grilled Southwestern shrimp leftover so I decided to use this rice to make a delicious salad! No boring salad for me! I used 7 ounces of grilled shrimp (1 Lean), 1 1/2 cups lettuce (1.5 Greens), 3/4 cup Mexican cauliflower rice (1.5 Greens), and a tablespoon of light ranch dressing (1/2 Healthy Fat) to make my salad. You don't need a lot of dressing because the Mexican cauliflower rice adds flavor to the salad as well!


To season the shrimp, I used Stacey Hawkins Southwestern seasoning with a tsp of Roasted Garlic Oil. Then I skewered the shrimp and threw it on the grill. I love Stacey Hawkins seasonings because it takes the guess work out of determining how much of THIS spice and THAT spice I need to create a certain seasoning blend. Not to mention, they taste great! You can purchase her seasonings HERE!


Quick and easy Mexican style shrimp salad with a drizzle of light ranch dressing!


I also enjoyed broiled tilapia seasoned with Stacey Hawkins Citrus Dill Seasoning, Garlic Gusto Seasoning, and a tsp of  her Roasted Garlic oil on top which gives it more garlic flavor! I added 3/4 cup of roasted broccoli and 3/4 cup Mexican cauliflower rice to complete my Lean and Green for the day! Delicious, quick and easy meals! Trust me... you don't have to eat the same thing over and over again!


To make the Mexican cauliflower rice, use already grated or riced cauliflower. It will make your life easier! I used this one from Trader Joes and love it! They actually have fresh or frozen grated cauliflower. This particular one was in the frozen section.


Add a tablespoon of oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the partially frozen cauliflower to the skillet and cook for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.


Salsa is your main ingredient! Well... besides grated cauliflower of course! This is why I call this cheater Mexican cauliflower rice! The salsa has all the ingredients (tomato, onion, green chilies, jalapenos, and spices) you need to make this cauliflower rice have Mexican flavors. Add your salsa and additional cumin and stir until combined. That's it! Ready in less than 15 minutes! Enjoy!



Cheater Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups grated cauliflower (9 Greens) ~ I used partially defrosted Trader Joes riced cauliflower
3/4 cup salsa (12 Condiments)
1/4 tsp ground cumin (1/2 Condiment)
1 tbsp olive oil (3 Healthy Fats) ~ I used Stacey Hawkins Roasted Garlic Oil

Directions:

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Add cauliflower and cook for about 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
Season with salt and pepper if desired, but subtract from your condiments.
Stir in salsa and cumin. Stir until combined,
Divide into 6 equal portions.
Enjoy!


6 Servings (3/4 cup) with 1.5 Greens, 2 Condiments, and 1/2 Healthy Fat per serving





Disclosure: I receive free product in order to evaluate and comment on my experiences using Medifast products. Medifast products and the Medifast program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

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Fresh Basil, Mozzarella and Roasted Tomato "Pizza"

Friday, May 5, 2017

I love having pizza almost every week, usually a Friday night when everyone is home and excited that the weekend is finally here! There is just something about that yummy, cheesy dish that makes me sooo VERY happy and I love that my entire family enjoys it! Because I have been eating healthier and focusing on my health these days, I don't eat the unhealthy, carby delivery pizza anymore. Instead, I have been getting cauliflower crusts online at Cali'flour Foods. I can not say enough great things about Cali'flour Foods! I love their crusts because they taste great and they are so convenient to have in the freezer! They last up to 9 months in the freezer and up to 7 days in the fridge so they last a long time! Sure, I can make my own crusts, but it is so much easier to have it already made for you! Check them out and sign up for the newsletter for special deals and recipes!

One of my favorite pizzas to make is a fresh basil, mozzarella and roasted grape tomato pizza. Simple fresh ingredients that add lots of flavor!


I have a perforated pizza pan which is a pan with holes on the bottom. These holes allow the heat to heat the pizza crust directly while baking, resulting in a crispier crust. Plus it speeds up baking time! 


I brushed the pizza crust with a little olive oil (or use cooking spray) to help get it more crispy and then I sprinkled fresh minced garlic on top of the crust for added flavor. I baked it for about 5 to 7 minutes at 375 degrees.


I roasted grape tomatoes on a non-stick foil lined baking sheet. I sprayed them lightly with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkled a little bit of sea salt and roasted them for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Roasted tomatoes make sweet and tangy bursts of flavor in your mouth so don't skip this step! The recipe would not be the same without them!


Add mozzarella, chopped basil and the roasted tomatoes to the pizza crust. Bake for an additional 10 minutes at 375 degrees or until cheese has melted.


Look at that delicious pizza! Was it missing?


A delcious sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar reduction! I love this one by Stacey Hawkins! Balsamic reduction is thicker and more syrupy than regular acidic balsamic vinegar. If you don't have this, you can always drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on top, but know that it isn't quite the same as a balsamic reduction. 


This one is 3 grams of carbs and only 10 calories for 1 tablespoon! 
Click Here to check out her other products and sign up for her newsletter for recipes, tips and specials!


Fresh Basil, Mozzarella and Roasted Tomato "Pizza"

Ingredients:
1 Cauliflour Foods Cauliflower Crust (1/2 Lean, 3 Greens)
1 tsp fresh minced garlic (1 Condiment)
1/2 cup 2% mozzarella cheese (1/2 Lean)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes (1 Green)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (.25 Condiments)
1 tbsp Stacey Hawkins Balsamic Mosto Cotto or Balsamic Vinegar (3 Condiments)
Olive oil cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil. 
Spread grape tomatoes on pan. 
Spray tomatoes lightly with olive oil cooking spray. 
I sprinkled a little sea salt on them as well for added flavor, but you can skip it if you like.
 Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Place pizza crust on pan with parchment paper, pizza stone or pizza pan with holes. 
Spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray. 
Spread minced garlic on top of crust and bake for about 5 to 7 minutes. 
Add mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and roasted grape tomatoes on top of the pizza crust.
 Bake 10 more minutes or until cheese has melted. Drizzle with Balsamic Mosto Cotto or 
balsamic vinegar.

Makes 2 Servings with 1/2 Lean, 2 Greens, and 2.12 Condiments per serving 
You will still need 1/2 Lean and 1 Green more per serving! 

Try adding 3 ounces of grilled chicken or 3.5 ounces of grilled shrimp (per serving) and a cup of spinach or a 1/2 cup of zucchini to your pizza to complete your meal!




Disclosure: I receive free product in order to evaluate and comment on my experiences using Medifast products. Medifast products and the Medifast program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

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Pulled BBQ Chicken Pizza

Friday, March 31, 2017

Being from the South, one of my favorite meals is BBQ pulled pork!
I especially love BBQ pulled pork on a nice hot sesame bun and a slather of cole slaw. Oh yum!
I wanted to re-create this dish using some healthier alternatives.


I definitely had to ditch the bun. No bun hun!


I decided to use the already prepared cauliflower pizza crust from Cal'flour Foods. Why do I love them so much?

I love not having to spend an entire afternoon making my own crusts. They comes shipped to my door in a matter of days by priority mail! Talk about convenience!

I also love the taste of these crusts and that they come in two yummy flavors which are Original Italian and Sweet Red Pepper! Red pepper is my favorite :) 

No soggy veggie crusts and they bake up nicely!

There is also a Plant Based Italian crust made with no eggs or dairy. I can't say enough good things about this product! I just love, love, love them!

You can purchase them HERE!


The next thing I did was choose leaner chicken breasts over pork. This allowed me to use up a healthy fat, which is the mayo, to make the cole slaw that tops the pizza. 

To make the pulled BBQ chicken, I decided to use my new Instant Pot! I am still fairly new to the whole pressure cooker scene, but so far I am loving it! If you don't have an Instant Pot, don't worry! Use your trusty old slow cooker! I still love my slow cooker!

The Instant Pot does cook up faster than a slow cooker, but don't think the 25 minute cooking time is all there is to it. It takes about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure. Then 25 minutes to cook and then tack on the 10 to 15 minutes (maybe more) to do a natural pressure release. You still get to have delicious BBQ pulled chicken in a little over an hour, instead of the usual 6 to 8 hours! Sounds pretty good to me!

I added just the chicken breasts and root beer to the instant pot and the chicken turned out extremely moist and sooo yummy! You can also add any extra seasonings if you like, but I didn't add anything else. The root beer helps tenderize the meat as well as give it a slightly sweetened flavor. If you don't have root beer, coca cola works too!

This is the shredded chicken before adding the BBQ sauce.


After your chicken is cooked, drain the meat. Add the chicken to a bowl so you can add your BBQ sauce. I get asked often about which BBQ sauce I like to use. There are mainly two brands that I enjoy.


The one above, G Hughes Smokehouse Sugar Free Hickory BBQ sauce, is the one I used for this recipe. It is easy to find at your local grocery stores so you don't have to order it online. I found this one at Wally World by all the other BBQ sauces. I can't say that I like all their flavors though. I couldn't stand the Maple Brown flavor so I had to toss it, but Hickory is quite good.


The other sugar free BBQ sauce I like is Guy's Award Winning BBQ Sauce. I have only found this sauce online which comes in 5 flavors: Hot, Original, Smokey Bacon, Smokey Garlic and Spicy. My favorite? Smokey Garlic! I have tried all of them and they were all yummy! You can find them HERE.


Once you have your BBQ pulled chicken set aside, make the cole slaw using already packaged cole slaw mix or shredded cabbage. I left the carrots in the mix because the slaw is only 5 grams of carbs for the entire 1 1/2 cups. A Green on the Medifast plan must be below 5 grams of carbs per 1/2 cup. Besides... the little orange pieces add color!


I added 2 tbsp of reduced fat mayo, 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar, and about 1/2 a packet of Stevia to the cole slaw mix. I like to use Splenda Naturals Stevia packets or Nu Naturals Stevia packets. Both sweeteners work well for cooking. Set aside the cole slaw until the pizza is hot out of the oven!


Place your cauliflower pizza crust on parchment paper (not waxed) and bake for about 5 minutes in a pre-heated oven. Doesn't that crust look delicious?


Add 6 ounces of pulled BBQ chicken on top of the crust.


Drizzle more BBQ sauce on top if desired! I desire!


Sprinkle shredded sharp cheddar cheese over the chicken and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is melted.


Once the pizza is out of the oven, then add the prepared cole slaw.


Cut into 4 slices...


... but you can have two of those yummy slices! Crunchy creamy cole slaw over sweet BBQ chicken! Yes please! Enjoy this yummy recipe!



Pulled BBQ Chicken Pizza

Ingredients:

1 Cali'flour Foods Cauliflower Pizza Crust (1/2 Lean, 3 Greens)
6 ounces Prepared Pulled BBQ Chicken ~ Recipe Below (1 Lean, 3 Condiments)
1/2 cup 2% Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded (1/2 Lean)

For the Slaw:

1 1/2 cup Shredded Cole Slaw Mix or Shredded Cabbage (3 Greens)
2 tbsp Reduced Fat Mayo (2 Healthy Fats)
1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Packet Stevia, or to taste (1/2 Condiment)

For the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken:

36 ounces Chicken Breasts (4 Leans)
12 ounces Diet Root Beer
3/4 cup G Hughes Smokehouse Sugar Free Hickory BBQ Sauce (12 Condiments)

Directions:

Place chicken and root beer in the Instant Pot.
If you would like to add any other seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc, 
please do so at this time. I added the root beer only.
Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the float valve to sealing.
Press the poultry setting button and adjust the cooking time to 25 minutes.
When done cooking, do a 10 to 15 minute natural pressure release.
After 10 to 15 minutes, there may still be some pressure left in the pot.
That is okay. Just turn the float valve to venting to release the rest of the pressure.
Wear an oven mitt and be careful of the steam! 
This ensures moist chicken.
Drain the chicken and shred with a fork.
Add BBQ sauce and set aside.

If using a slow cooker, cook the chicken and root beer on 
Low for 6 to 8 hours or High for 3 to 4 hours. 
Drain the chicken and shred with a fork. 
Add BBQ sauce and set aside.

Reserve 6 ounces of pulled BBQ chicken for the recipe and store the rest as left overs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Make the slaw.
Place cole slaw mix or shredded cabbage in a small bowl.
Add mayo, apple cider vinegar, and stevia to taste.
Set aside.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Add parchment paper on top of a pizza pan.
Place cauliflower pizza crust on parchment paper.
Bake for 5 minutes.

Top pizza crust with 6 ounces of pulled BBQ chicken.
Drizzle any extra BBQ sauce on top if desired.
Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Top with cole slaw.


Makes 2 Servings

Each Serving (half of the pizza) provides:

1 Lean, 3 Greens, 1.75 Condiments, and 1 Healthy Fat




Disclosure: I receive free product in order to evaluate and comment on my experiences using Medifast products. Medifast products and the Medifast program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

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