Posts Tagged ‘Parmesan Cheese’

Spaghetti Squash Meaty Dinner Plate

Compare pasta with spaghetti squash calories carbsSpaghetti squash is the bomb.  I haven’t convinced the other omnivore in the house yet – he likes it, but still likes old fashioned pasta noodles better.  I’m sold though.  There’s about a 400 calorie and 100 grams of carbs difference between our two plates, just because I chose spaghetti squash instead of Penne.  And of course my plate was still crazy delicious and filling – but without the bloaty pasta need-to-nap feeling afterwards.  I hate that feeling.  I mean, food is supposed to be fuel, not a sedative, right?

It’s getting hot here though, and let’s be honest – 97 degrees at only 3% humidity is still hot.  Too hot to turn the oven on anyways.  So I looked up how to microwave my spaghetti squash, and I’m so thrilled that the instructions I used made perfect SS noodles!  Here are the instructions, copied from an article on about.com:

  1. spaghetti squash rawCut the spaghetti squash lengthwise (you can remove the stem first, but don’t cut through the ends.)
  2. Scrape out the seeds and fibers using a large spoon. Again, be careful not to break through the ends.  [I stupidly used a fork.  A spoon would have worked much better]
  3. Take one of the halves and put it cut-side-up in a close-fitting microwave dish (such as an oval casserole.) You want it to be as stable and as level as possible. If it isn’t, cut a very thin strip of skin from the bottom.
  4. Pour 1/2 cup water into the hollow of the squash itself (not into the dish), then place the other half on top cut-side-down.
  5. Carefully place it in the microwave and cook on full power. A small squash (under 1 1/2 lbs) will take about 10 minutes to cook.  Let it rest for 5 minutes before opening it up.  [My squash was a bit over 2lbs, so I cooked it for 12 minutes and let it sit for 10]
  6. To test for doneness, just squeeze the top half gently (wear an oven mitt for this!) If it’s flexible, it’s likely to be done. Carefully remove the top half to see if the flesh has turned a rich, semi-translucent yellow (as opposed to opaque yellow-white)
  7. Drain any remaining water (there may not be any) and pull out the strands with a fork.

spaghetti squash meat parmesan dinner plate

 

The best part is that I have some leftover sauce and the other half of the spaghetti squash to make another big plate of low carb/low calorie/big flavor spaghetti for myself tomorrow!!!

Zucchini for Dipping

Zucchini has quickly become one of my favorite Paleo side dishes.  I grill it, I fry it, I broil it.  I’ve sliced it every which way.  I dump herbs and spices galore on it.  I love it!

Today, I sliced two zucchinis diagonally (one small zucchini per serving), laid them out on a greased baking sheet, and sprinkled them liberally with my spice container that says “Italian herbs.”  I also like using my spice grinder called “Pizza Spices” for Italian-style broiled zucchini dippers sometimes.  But if you don’t have anything halfway fancy like that, just some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano will work just fine.

Broiled Italian Zucchini Dip

Then all you have to do is put the sheet on a rack that’s about six inches from the top of your oven (for me that’s the top rack) and wait until they start to brown.  My 1/2 to 1/4 inch slices (I’m not very consistent) browned after about seven minutes.  Then I flipped them all over and gave them another three or four minutes.  Most of the time, if you cut them thin enough, you don’t really have to worry about flipping them over.  They’ll be cooked well enough when just the one side is browned.

The dipping sauce is just some canned tomato sauce I found that had the least amount of sugar and zero canola oil.  All I added were some extra “pizza grinder” spices and of course the Parmesan cheese that I grated over the whole shebang.  I know, canned sauce is a crappy shortcut, but some days I just have better things to do than spend a half hour making fresh tomato basil oregano garlic dipping sauce for my zucchini munchies!

One last pic… there actually was some chicken covered in mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and more sauce on my plate, but it was pretty boring.  All I really wanted was more zucchini please!

Paleo Breakfast Lunch Dinner

I was thinking about occasionally posting something along these lines, a photo of my breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Just a day in the life of my tastebuds sort of thing.  I take more photos than I post anyways.

Breakfast: One egg over easy, spinach and mushrooms, two carrot slices, leftover slider patty from last night, and a sprinkling of blue cheese

Lunch: Salad (green leaf + baby spinach + swiss chard), red onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, a hard boiled egg, 2 pieces uncured bacon, two carrot slices, and homemade tomato basil vinaigrette (lemon juice, red wine vinegar, two tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes packed in extra virgin olive oil,  dried basil, dried oregano, salt, pepper, and a little extra EVOO)

Paleo PrimaveraDinner: Salad repeat (minus the eggs, mushrooms, & bacon) and my own creation loosely based on a recipe on the back of my tuna packet: Hot Paleo Primavera.  Instead of pasta, I used more broccoli.  Instead of creamy Italian or Ranch, I made my own creamy Italian from Paleo Mayo (which was a buttload of work and a story for another day).  I skipped the salad greens because we had a side salad instead.  And I served the whole mess cooked and warm instead of chilled.  Very satisfying!

Blue Cheese Rosemary Garlic Butter on Steak

I cooked my first Grass Fed Steak – A Flat Iron from La Cense Beef – for dinner tonight.  The flavor is a little bit milder than grain-fed beef, which is OK, but what I really liked was the difference in texture.  It absolutely still has the texture of beef, but it’s more delicate.  And the fat in it isn’t so chewy and fatty.  It’s more like an integrated and flavorful part of the beef cut.  I’m happy.

Paleo Flat Iron Steak

But the point of this post isn’t so much about the beef, because I need a little more practice before I gain the hubris to give you all advice on how to properly cook your steak.  🙂  The point is this delicious Steak Butter!  No, it’s not strict Paleo.  But it’s OK with My Personal Paleo Plan.

Soften one tablespoon of butter (for two servings) in the microwave – about 20 seconds.  Add finely chopped herbs (I used rosemary), a finely chopped small garlic clove, and two teaspoons or more stinky cheese.  I had to split the butter into two cups before adding the cheese.  My cup got blue cheese crumbles, and my blue cheese hater got Parmesan cheese in his cup.  Then just fold your ingredients into the butter, and spoon onto your steak just before serving.

PS: Those mashed potatoes in the background are actually mashed cauliflower.  I’m still working out a good recipe for that though too… so far, every time I make it, I’ve added way too much garlic or some other overwhelming flavor.  I’ll figure it out eventually.

Paleo Zucchini Bruschetta

The weather yesterday here was AMAZING.  78 degrees, sunny with a light breeze.  I knew however that by the weekend, the temp would be dropping and the clouds would be moving in for a couple days of chilly rain, so I took advantage.  I made Paleo vegetarian bruschetta with grilled zucchini!

Vegetarian Paleo Bruschetta with Grilled Zucchini

Make your topping first, so it has time to marinate a little.  The only ingredient I didn’t list in the photo above is a few splashes of white wine vinegar.  It’s probably unnecessary, but I sometimes do unnecessary things.  Did you know that I currently have SEVEN different kinds of vinegar in my house?  Like I said, unnecessary.

Vegetarian Paleo Bruschetta with Grilled Zucchini

Next, cut your zucchini like this.  I used five small zucchinis.  If you have a mandoline in order to get nice uniform slices, please send it to me.  I need more clutter in my kitchen like I need a loaf of bread (lame paleo joke!), but they sound like a pretty cool tool.

Vegetarian Paleo Bruschetta with Grilled Zucchini

Either my griller man should have paid more attention or I should have cut the slices thicker, because some of our zucchini ended up a little bit too well done.  Probably a combination of the two.

Vegetarian Paleo Bruschetta with Grilled Zucchini

I know it’s bad, but I kind of like the taste of burnt things.  Anyways, all you have to do now is spoon your bruschetta topping onto the grilled zucchini slices.  I enjoyed it kind of raw and fresh like that, but you can also stick your topped zucchini under the broiler for a couple of minutes to soften the onion, melt the Parmesan, and warm everything up.

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I set out to make a flavorful paleo friendly salad dressing today after picking up some fresh basil at the grocery store.  Next time I’ll probably add some dried oregano too, but other than that, the ingredients are all listed above: 1 lemon, 1 basil stem full of leaves, 1 clove garlic, red wine vinegar, fresh cracked black pepper, sea salt, and some mustard – preferably spicy or dijon.  Squeeze it, dice it, shake it, eat it!

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If you don’t have one of these handheld citrus juicers, you really should try to pick one up soon!  They’re easier and faster to use and clean than electric juicers, particularly if you only need juice from a handful of fruits at a time.

So I made my little lunch salad – still by the way using my second ever whole baked chicken!  That meat is really stretching a long way.  And then I started wondering… is something missing?  Yes!  I decided to add some fresh grated Parmesan cheese and two pieces of chopped up deli pepperoni.  It would have been a good salad without those last two additions, but it was even better this way!!!

Basil Pepperoni Chicken Salad

Zucchini Crust PizzaHow cool is this!?!  There is absolutely no flour of any kind here, so it’s pizza that’s great for nearly any type of diet or eating style you are following – paleo, caveman, south beach, slow carb, low carb, blah blah blah.  The pizza crust is made from zucchini!  And we both really loved it!  You can’t exactly pick the pieces up – they’re not quite firm enough for that – but they stay together well enough to keep their shape and not be at all soggy.  I figured out my recipe for this zucchini pizza crust by basically skimming about 20 other bloggers’ zucchini crust recipes, shaking my head around to mix them up, and then trying something along those lines.  Here’s what I did:

Zucchini Crust Pizza

  1. Grate two normal grocery store size zucchinis (like maybe 10 inches long each?  I’m not talking about those massive leg-sized zucchini people get out of their gardens when they’re in season – you’d probably only need one of those!)
  2. Squeeze as much moisture out of of your grated zucchini pile as possible.  I had to use four hand towels to squeeze as much out as I wanted to.  Good thing tomorrow is laundry day!
  3. Add some grated Parmesan cheese (optional) and some pizza/Italian spices.  The more the merrier!
  4. Add one egg and one egg white.  Then mix it all together really well, and spread it out on a greased baking dish or pizza stone.
  5. Bake the crust by itself at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, chop up your other ingredients.  If you add meat, be sure to cook it on your stovetop first.  Just because of what we had on hand this time, ours ended up being a vegetarian pizza.

When your 20 minutes is up, turn your oven up to 425 degrees and take the crust out.  I added a thin layer of pesto before spreading the toppings around, but you can use regular red pizza sauce instead if you want.  So then add your toppings, and maybe a little sprinkling of Mozerella, Parmesan, or Feta cheese, and some more pizza spices.  Then pop it back into the oven for another 15 minutes at 425 degrees, and voila!  Zucchini crust pizza goodness!