Sandy's Kitchen: Squash

Showing posts with label Squash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Squash. Show all posts
Oh pasta... how I love you, but I must admit... my waistline doesn't! What to do, oh what to do, but find an alternative! By golly... I think I've got it!


I know zucchini isn't pasta, but it sure does make a great substitute. You won't even miss pasta if you give zukes a try. My favorite way is to saute them in a pan with a little bit of water, oil or butter (depending on what I am making) but only a few minutes.

I have already been a fan of substituting zucchini for pasta for quite some time now (ever since I started doing Medifast), but I have never tried cooking it with a lemon cream sauce. The lemon flavor is not overpowering and it tastes great with the slight crunchiness of the zucchini and the acidity of the tomatoes. It is a colorful dish that is sure to impress!

Instead of using a julienne peeler, I used this amazing contraption I got from Amazon. It is called a Paderno World Cuisine Spiral Vegetable Slicer. I love this spiralizer! It is so easy to use and clean up is a breeze so what's not to love? You get these really neat spiral cut veggies in a matter of minutes and it makes your dish look oh so pretty! Simply stick the zucchini on the slicer and turn the handle. It's that easy!

If you are interested in purchasing one, you can head on over to Amazon or you can always use a julienne peeler and make thin zucchini strips as your pasta.

Saute 1 teaspoon of olive oil with garlic over medium-high heat.

Add the laughing cow cheese and lemon juice.

Stir until the cheese is melted.

Add the zucchini.

As you can tell from the photo, the laughing cow cheese was still clumpy and thick on the zucchini so I added 1 1/2 tbsp of water.

After adding the tiny bit of water, the sauce was smooth.

Toss the sliced cherry tomatoes in and let it cook for about a minute or until the tomatoes get warm. Serve with your favorite Leanest Lean!

Zucchini Pasta in a Lemon Cream Sauce

1 1/4 cup zucchini, peeled with a julienne peeler (2 1/2  Greens)

1 tsp olive oil (1 Healthy Fat)
1/2 tsp minced garlic (1/2 Condiment)
2 garlic and herb light laughing cow cheese wedges (1 Healthy Fat) 
2 tsp lemon juice (1 Condiment)
1 1/2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp kosher salt (1 Condiment) 
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper, to taste (1/4 Condiment)
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced (1/2 Green)

In a large saute pan over medium high heat, heat olive oil and add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds.
Add laughing cow cheese, lemon juice, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of water stirring until cheese is melted.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add zucchini noodles, tossing to coat in sauce, and cook for 2 - 3 minutes until wilted. 
You don't want to overcook the noodles -- you want that slightly crisp texture! 
Toss in the cherry tomatoes and heat until warm, about 1 minute. Serve with your favorite Leanest Lean immediately.

1 Serving with 
3 Greens, 2 Healthy Fats, and 2.75 Condiments

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Today is Day 6 for me. Day 5 was a wonderful day! I was passed the stage of the infamous Medifast headache, gone was the drained feeling I had from re-starting again. AND Get this... I actually felt like exercising! That feeling isn't very common for me, but I took advantage of it and did 40 minutes walking on the treadmill. I burned 267 calories to be exact! 

 Now what could probably wrong with a little exercise? Well, on Medifast, you shouldn't start exercising (unless it is already a part of your lifestyle) for at least 3 weeks. This gives your body time to adjust to the lower calorie weight loss plan. Some have even told me exercising slows their losses down. I think I learned the hard way because my scale hasn't budged since Sunday and I just re-started Friday. I am at a stand still. I am not losing as much as I have hoped and I usually I have pretty good losses the first week.  I do know my thyroid meds need to be increased because my doctor mentioned it to me the other day. Now that I have my new prescription in hand, maybe that will help with my losses. Otherwise, I just need to be patient. I didn't gain all this weight in one day so I won't lose it one day either :) 

Here is a new recipe I wanted to share with you guys. I got this recipe from The Detoxinista and it is really good! If you are craving comforting food, then try this! It is creamy, cheesy and oh so good for you! She said it reminds her of a cheesy hash brown casserole and I have to agree. Definitely a family pleaser. I would have never thought of using yogurt to make this dish creamy but it works! I made a few minor changes to make it Medifast friendly as well as added some grilled chicken to complete my Lean. You could always serve the chicken on the side if you like. Just divide the chicken in half which would be 2.25 oz per serving. Also, I wanted to note that the recipe calls for Cheddar. I didn't have any so I used reduced fat mozzarella and it still tasted good! That is why my dish looks lighter and more yellow in color than The Detoxinista's . Enjoy this recipe!

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Slightly adapted from The Detoxinista


For Chicken:

6 to 7 oz raw chicken breasts - should yield 4.5 oz grilled (3/4 Lean)
1/4 tsp Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning or seasoning of your choice (1 Condiment)

For Squash:

3 cups spaghetti squash, cooked (6 Greens)
1 tablespoon light butter, melted (1 Healthy Fat)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (1 Condiment)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste (2 Condiments)
1/8 tsp black pepper, to taste  (1/4 Condiment)
1 tbsp grated Kraft Parmesan cheese (1 Condiment)
3/4 cup 2% Fage Total Greek yogurt  (1/2 Lean)
3 oz. reduced fat cheddar, shredded and divided (3/4 Lean)
1/4 tsp dried basil (1/2 Condiment)

Poke holes on all sides of the spaghetti squash with a metal skewer or a fork. 
Place a paper towel in microwave and place squash on top of paper towel. Microwave in increments of 3 minutes until flesh starts to get soft. I had a medium sized squash and microwaved for about 10 minutes. Let cool. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop the seeds and the middle strands out with a spoon and discard. Next, scrape the inside of the squash with a fork all the way to the skin. You should get strands that resemble spaghetti. Set aside.

Season chicken with your favorite seasonings. Grill until done. Weigh out 4.5 oz of cooked chicken and then cut chop into pieces. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine melted butter, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese with the yogurt and 2 oz. of shredded cheddar cheese. Stir in spaghetti squash until combined. Pour spaghetti squash mixture into an 8 inch casserole dish. Top with cooked chicken. Sprinkle the remaining ounce of cheese and dried basil over the top. Put in oven and bake for 30 minutes. The casserole is ready when the top is a light golden brown, which makes for a crunchy crust! Serve immediately.

2 Servings with 1 Lean, 3 Greens, 2.8 Condiments and 1/2 Healthy Fat per serving

*If you would like to use cooked 93% ground beef, you will need 3.75 oz cooked. For shrimp, you will need 5.25 oz cooked. Remember, the meat will be divided into 2 servings so you will actually be eating 1.8 oz of  beef and 2.6 oz of shrimp per serving.

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I wanted to share this wonderful recipe my husband and I simply can not get enough of! I love pad thai and it is my absolute favorite Thai dish. My mom would make it for us quite often, but now I live so far away from her that I had to learn to make it myself! I still do not make it quite like her no matter how many times I try because it seems momma always makes it better, but this recipe came out really good!

You might have realized that this pad thai recipe isn't made with the traditional rice stick noodles. Instead, it is made with spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash makes a wonderful substitute for pasta or noodles and keeps the dish low carb. It has a slight sweetened crunch to it, but it works well for this Asian meal. I love spaghetti squash and my hips love it too! This recipe is definitely a keeper! Enjoy!

An update on my Diet Bets! I am proud to say that I am still holding strong! I hope to have a decent weigh in on Saturday for the Diet Bet challenge that I am currently doing... so stay tuned! I admit, at this point I would be happy with any loss this week because I know I will eventually get to my goal weight. In the past, this would have never come out of mouth because I expected a loss every week. I mean come on... I want results and I want it NOW! It is time to be realistic and accept what my body CAN or will eventually do whether it takes a little more time than I originally hoped for. In other words, we need to cut our bodies some slack!

Hoping all our weigh-ins will be Happy Weigh -ins!

Beef Pad Thai (Spaghetti Squash)

3 1/2 cups spaghetti squash, cooked (7 Greens)
1 cup red or green cabbage, shredded (2 Greens)
 18 ounces John Soules Beef Steak Strips * (3 Leaner)
1/4 cup reduced sodium beef broth (1/4 Condiment)
1/4 cup Bell Plantation Powdered Peanut Butter (2 Optional Snacks)
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (1/4 Condiment)
2 tbsp light soy sauce (2 Condiments)
1/8 tsp red cayenne pepper (1/4 Condiment)
1/4 tsp ground ginger (1/2 Condiment) 
1/2 tsp garlic powder (1 Condiment)

1 oz dry roasted peanuts, chopped (3 Healthy Fats)
2 tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped

Poke holes on all sides of the spaghetti squash with a metal skewer or a fork. Place a paper towel in microwave and place squash on top of paper towel. Microwave in increments of 3 minutes until flesh starts to get soft. I had a medium sized squash and microwaved for about 10 minutes. Let cool. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop the seeds and the middle strands out with a spoon and discard. Next, scrape the inside of the squash with a fork all the way to the skin. Set aside 3 1/2 cups of spaghetti squash and reserve the rest for another use.

Place thawed beef steak strips into skillet over medium high heat. Cook for 4 to 6 min, turning several times. Set aside.

To make the sauce, combine beef broth, powdered Peanut Butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, red cayenne pepper, ground ginger, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

To a large skillet, add 3 1/2 cups spaghetti squash, cabbage, and sauce. Heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Divide among 3 plates/bowls and top each dish with 6 oz of beef, 1/3 oz chopped peanuts, and cilantro. Toss to combine.

Makes 3 Servings
Each serving provides
1 Leaner, 3 Greens, 1 1/2 Condiments, 1 Healthy Fat, and 2/3 Optional Snack

* Although beef is typically a Lean option requiring 5 ounces with no additional healthy fats needed, Nutrition Support stated 6 ounces of John Soules beef strips counted as a Leaner option requiring 1 Healthy Fat based on the current nutrition information. Cooked chicken breast would also make a great substitute.

I love Asian foods and I really love this dish. The spaghetti squash is an excellent substitute for pasta. The slight sweetness and crunchiness of the spaghetti squash makes this dish absolutely delicious. I have to say that this will definitely be a regular on my low carb menu. If you aren't sure how to cook spaghetti squash, click here for a tutorial. I cook mine in the microwave for about 8 minutes, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until it gets soft. I had a small one though. Cooking times will depend on how big your squash is and your microwave. Yum, yum, yum! I think I will have this meal for the next two days!

Shrimp Lo Mein 

1 cup or 156 grams or 5.5 oz spaghetti squash cooked (2 Greens)
1/2 cup broccoli or Chinese cabbage (1 Green)
1 tbsp lite soy sauce (1 Condiment)
1 tsp teriyaki sauce (1 Condiment)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (.50 Condiment)
1/4 tsp ground ginger (.50 Condiment)
9 oz raw shrimp, deveined, tails off (1 Leanest Lean)
1 tsp olive oil (1 Healthy Fat)
1 tsp sesame oil (1 Healthy Fat)

Heat oils over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp is cooked. Add spaghetti squash, broccoli, sauces and spices. Toss until coated and warm.

Makes 1 Serving

Each serving provides
1 Lean, 3 Greens, 3 Condiments, 2 Healthy Fats

*If you would like to add 6 oz of chicken instead of shrimp, decrease the oil to 1 tsp instead of 2 tsp. I would use the sesame oil and leave out the olive oil for more flavor.

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I love this Lean and Green meal because it definitely fits into the comfort food category. You have the yummy seasoned meatballs, the ooey gooey cheese and the Italian diced tomatoes that all yell COMFORT! I decided to use cut up meatballs because those just seem to be the rave right now on Medifast :) I did bake the meatballs in the oven first so that I could cut them into fourths but you can put them in the microwave. I just prefer them from the oven because they get nice and brown. I did notice liquid seeping out of the lasagna, I think it was from the squash or the ricotta cheese. No worries! I just drained it out by tipping the dish to the side. Make sure the lasagna doesn't tip out with it :) I am definitely making this one again!

Meatball Lasagna

5 Butterball Italian Style Turkey Meatballs, cooked and sliced into fourths or 
2 1/2 Trader Joes Turkey Meatballs or 
2 1/2 Jennie-O Homestyle Turkey Meatballs (1/2 Lean)
1/4 cup part skim ricotta cheese (1/4 Lean)
1/4 cup 2% reduced fat Mozzarella Cheese (1/4 Lean)
1 cup yellow squash or zucchini, sliced lengthwise (2 Greens)
1/2 cup Great Value Italian diced tomatoes (1 Green)
1/4 tsp garlic salt (1 Condiment)
1/4 tsp dried basil (1/8 Condiment)
1 tbsp reduced fat grated parmesan cheese (1 Condiment)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Layer zucchini or squash slices along the bottom of a medium sized casserole dish. Spread ricotta cheese over the squash. Sprinkle garlic salt and basil over the ricotta cheese and squash slices. Combine diced tomatoes with meatball pieces in a small bowl. Pour over ricotta cheese. Sprinkle mozzarella over meatballs and then top with grated parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted. There will be some water or liquid from the squash or ricotta. This is normal. I just drain it from the casserole dish by tipping the dish slightly to the side while making sure the lasagna doesn't pour it as well :) Enjoy!

1 Serving with
1 Lean, 3 Greens, and 2 .16 Condiments

This is a super easy recipe that you can literally throw together in a matter of minutes. One of the reasons why this recipe is so  quick to make is the use of frozen meatballs. You can use Trader Joe's Flame Broiled Meatballs (5 count as 1 Lean), Butterball Italian Style Turkey Meatballs (10 count as 1 Lean), Jennie-O Homestyle Turkey Meatballs (5 count as 1 Lean), Foster Farms Homestyle Meatballs (5 count as 1 Lean) and Market Pantry Turkey Meatballs (12 count as 1 Lean).

You only need a few ingredients to make the sauce: beef broth,
cream cheese, parsley, pepper and Greek yogurt. You can leave out the Greek yogurt but I added it to give the sauce a little tangyness. I served these meatballs over zucchini ribbons which is a great substitute for pasta! Enjoy!

Swedish Meatballs with Zucchini Ribbons

10 Butterball Italian Style Lean Turkey Meatballs, cooked (1 Lean)
1/2 cup beef broth (1/2 Condiment)
1 wedge light laughing cow cheese (1 Condiment)
1 tbsp sour cream (1 Condiment)
1/8 tsp pepper (1/4 Condiment)
1 tbsp fresh parsley (1/4 Condiment)

Zucchini Ribbons
1 1/2 cups zucchini noodles (3 Greens)
2 tbsp water

Heat beef broth and laughing cow cheese over medium high heat. Heat until laughing cow cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and add pepper; stirring until combined. Add to heated meatballs.

In a non-stick frying pan add water. Throw the zucchini noodles in and lightly toss until the zucchini starts to soften - about 3 minutes. The zucchini will cook quickly. Serve hot.

Serve meatballs over zucchini ribbons. Garnish with parsley.

1 Serving with
1 Lean, 3 Greens, and 3 Condiments

You guys are not going to believe what is used in this dessert instead of coconut! Spaghetti squash! I questioned how spaghetti squash could replace coconut but it works and it’s delicious! It has the crunchiness and sweet flavor similar to coconut. It definitely can pass as coconut pie! This Is a great way to use up a Green and a part of your Lean so you can  have a yummy dessert after your Lean and Green meal! Definitely will be making this again!  Enjoy!

Mock Coconut Pie

3 packets stevia (3 Condiments)
1 egg (1/3 Lean)
1 tbsp light butter, melted (1 Healthy Fat)
1 tsp lemon juice (1/2 Condiment)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (1/4 Condiment)
1 cup cooked, shredded spaghetti squash (2 Greens)
1/4 tsp coconut extract (1/4 Condiment)
Dust of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Beat the stevia and egg together until light and frothy. Beat in lemon juice, vanilla and butter until well blended. Pulse the spaghetti squash in a blender a few times so that you get small strands that resemble coconut. Stir in spaghetti squash. Pour the mixture into two ramekins. Dust the top with cinnamon, if desired. Bake in preheated oven, until a knife inserted in center comes out clean 40 to 45 min. Cool on rack before serving.'

2 servings with 
1/6 Lean, 1 Green, 2 Condiments, and 1/2 Healthy Fat per serving

If you are craving lasagna and you want a complete lean and green meal, then this is a great recipe! I really like the use of spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta and it works so well in this recipe. This casserole is layered with spaghetti squash, a ricotta cheese mixture, Italian seasoned ground turkey, diced tomatoes and mozzarella! You can easily make your out Italian ground turkey, but hubby had picked up some Jennie O Italian seasoned ground turkey from the grocery store so I decided to use that in this recipe. It was easily convenient and I didn't have to add any other seasonings to the meat which meant no additional condiments for the meat!

I used a 9" square casserole dish to assemble the casserole and then divided it up into four servings. One serving was for tonight, one is for tomorrow and two of them are in the freezer for later.

I have to say that this is going to be another favorite of mine that I will continue to make time and time again. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Casserole

4 cups cooked spaghetti squash (8 Greens)
8 oz part skim ricotta cheese (1 Lean)
8 oz reduced fat mozzarella cheese, divided (2 Leans)
2 tbsp egg beaters
2 tbsp reduced fat grated parmesan cheese (1 Condiment)
2 cups Great Value Italian diced tomatoes, divided (4 Greens)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (1/2 Condiment)
1/8 tsp pepper (1/4 Condiment)
5 oz Jennie O Italian seasoned ground turkey 93%, cooked  (1 Lean)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick squash with fork or metal skewer and roast in oven for an 45 to 50 min or until it seems soft when you press on it. Take it out and leave on the counter until cool.

When squash is cool, cut in half and scoop out the seeds and discard. Use a fork or spoon to scoop out the rest of the squash and set aside in a bowl. Measure out 4 cups of spaghetti squash and store the rest in the fridge. Add garlic powder and pepper.

Mix ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg beaters and 4 oz or 1 cup of mozzarella cheese together.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour 1 cup Italian diced tomatoes on the bottom of a 9 inch or 8 inch square casserole dish and spread evenly. Add squash. Top the squash with the ricotta cheese mixture. Then top the ricotta cheese mixture with the cooked ground turkey. Spread 1 cup of Italian diced over the meat. 

Bake for 30 minutes. Spread the rest of the mozzarella cheese over the top (1 cup) and bake an additional 20 minutes until cheese is melted and lightly brown. Let rest for 10 minutes or so to serve.

4 servings with 
1 Lean, 3 Greens, and  Less than 1 Condiment per serving

I am down 12 pounds so far since re-starting my weight loss plan after having my baby Harrison. I still have a long way to go, but at least I am 12 pounds lighter than what I was before! I know I am on my way to a healthier me and my motivation for losing all this weight is my son! So let's do this together because it sure is one difficult journey all alone!

Now for this yummy recipe I threw together at the last minute since I had some left over shrimp and zucchini to get rid of. It turned out really yummy if I do say so myself. The best part about this recipe is that it is so  versatile. You can use a variety of different meats, seasonings, cheeses and laughing cow cheese wedges. Delish!

Shrimp Veggie Quiche

3 1/2 oz shrimp, cooked with tails removed (1/2 Leanest Lean)
1/2 cup egg beaters (1/4 Leanest Lean)
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese (1/4 Lean)
2 light laughing cow cheese wedges (1 Healthy Fat)
1 cup zucchini, chopped (2 Greens)|
1/2 cup canned Italian diced tomatoes, drained (1 Green)
1/2 tsp Mrs Dash garlic and herb or salt free seasoning of choice (1 Condiment)
1/8 tsp black pepper (1/4 Condiment)
1 tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese (1/2 Condiment)

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Pour into prepared dish. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Easy peasy :)

1 Serving with
1 Leanest Lean, 3 Greens, 1.75 Condiments and 1 Healthy Fat

These zucchini hash browns are really good! They remain kind of soft and you have to be careful when flipping them, but they are so worth making! You can always put the entire mixture in a skillet and cook it all together as zucchini hash. Give them a try and enjoy this healthier twist on hash browns!

Zucchini Hash Browns


1 1/2 cups shredded raw zucchini (3 Greens)
1 tbsp chopped onion (1 Condiment)
1 egg (1/3 Lean)
2 tbsp reduced fat grated parmesan cheese (1 Condiment)
1/8 tsp garlic salt (1/2 Condiment)
1/4 tsp pepper (1/2 Condiment)
1 tbsp light butter (1 Healthy Fat)

Grate the zucchini into a colander. Squeeze out any excess water. Add the onion, egg, garlic salt, and pepper to the zucchini. Mix well. Melt half of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Form 3 to 4 small thin patties in a skillet (half of mixture). Cook for about 6 to 8 min, turning once. Remove from pan and set aside. Add 3 to 4 more patties and cook until done.

Makes 1 Serving

Each serving provides
1/3 Lean, 3 Greens, 3 Condiments and 1 Healthy Fat per Serving
Serve with 2/3 Leaner or Leanest Lean Option

Some 2/3 Lean or Leaner Options:
1 whole egg plus 4 egg whites
1 cup 2% cottage cheese
1 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt
4 Morning Star Farms Veggie Sausage Links
2 Morning Star Farms Veggie Sausage Patties
4 ounces grilled chicken breasts
4.6 ounces grilled shrimp (add 1 more Healthy Fat)
1 1/3 cup liquid egg whites or egg beaters (add 1 more Healthy Fat)

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