Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lasagna With Zucchini "Noodles"

I have been meaning to get this recipe posted for almost a week now. Sorry it's taken me so long.

I was worried, while I was making this, that the kids wouldn't eat it. I shouldn't have worried. They all loved it. None of us missed the pasta noodles at all. I used my mandolin to slice the zucchini about 1/8" thick and layered it all just like regular lasagna. Unlike regular lasagna though, I had to use a sharp knife to cut it into pieces rather than just using the spatula. That was the only drawback and really, it's pretty minor.

Lasagna With Zucchini "Noodles"

4 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/8" thick
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced small
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
1 lb ground beef
1/2 c heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 - 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 - 28oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
24oz cottage cheese
2 eggs
1 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 c fresh basil, minced or 2 Tbsp dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-1 1/2 c mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In large 12" skillet or dutch oven heat oil over med heat. Add onions add cook 4 minutes or until just beginning to soften. Add garlic and cook 1 min more. Add ground beef to the pan and break up while browning. After 4 minutes, pour in cream and continue cooking until all the liquid has boiled away and just the fat is left. Add salt, pepper and canned tomatoes and stir to combine. Turn heat to med-low and allow flavors to meld while you prepare the cheese filling.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs slightly. Add cottage and Parmesan cheeses, basil, salt and pepper. Stir together thoroughly.

Scoop about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan and spread it around. Arrange a layer of zucchini to cover the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/4 of the cheese over the zucchini. Top with 1 1/2 c sauce. Repeat these layers 3 more times, pouring the remaining sauce over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and the zucchini is soft. Remove pan from oven and turn oven to broil. Top lasagna with mozzarella cheese and broil until melted, brown and bubbly.
Allow lasagna to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Variations on the same theme:
 - I am making something similar tonight. It's more of a ratatouille than a lasagna and my husband called it "Ratatouille Lasagna." I didn't use the cheese and used Italian sausage instead of ground beef. I layered zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant with the sauce. I added the basil to the sauce since there was no cheese and baked it all together until it was soft. After serving, we topped it with a little goat cheese for a bit of tang. If you are not opposed to eating bread, a crusty baguette would be wonderful with this. Or maybe some rice.
 - You could leave the meat out of the sauce and serve grilled salmon or chicken with the ratatouille version.

 - You could add more veggies to the lasagna, such as spinach, mushrooms, broccoli or eggplant. StumbleUpon

Friday, June 17, 2011

Almost Primal Chocolate Chip Scones

I found this recipe and just had to make it. I tweaked it a bit like I am apt to do these days to make my food more primal. I was hopeful, but still a bit skeptical about these. I've found many recipes for primal baked goods that got rave reviews. But when I tried them, they were horrible. (I'm a bit picky about my baked goods.) These were amazing. My kids gobbled them up in less than 5 minutes. I think that they'll become a breakfast staple at our house now.

Instead of using canola oil, I used coconut oil. I melted it and mixed it with the eggs, but it solidified in the eggs. So next time, I'll cut in the coconut oil like I would with butter. I used table salt instead of kosher, I just used half as much. I also used honey instead of agave nectar. I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips because that's what I had on hand. They were a bit too sweet for my taste, so next time I'll use 1-2 Tbsp of honey if I use extra dark chocolate or just leave it out altogether, especially if I use semi-sweet chips again. These would be really good with wild blueberries and a bit of lemon curd too.

So here's how I'll make them next time:

Chocolate Chip Scones
(makes 8 large scones)

2 1/2 c almond flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c coconut oil
1-2 Tbsp honey

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4-1/2 c chopped 85% dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut in solid coconut oil.
In small bowl combine eggs and honey. Pour into dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula.
Stir in chocolate.
Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop or two spoons, scoop dough onto pan.
Bake 15-17 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. StumbleUpon

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Cake Is A Lie!

For those of you who are not PC gamers, this scarf is a nod to Portal, a great game that my husband got me hooked on a while back. Portal 2 came out recently and I thought my dear hubby needed to have a scarf that say "The Cake Is A Lie." I had planned to give it to him before Portal 2 was released, but that didn't happen. I had been working on this scarf patter for about 9 months. I have started it and ripped it out so many times that I lost count. I tried fair isle knitting, but it ended up all bunchy and awful. I tried doing more of an intarsia technique and it looked worse than the fair isle. I finally decided that since in the first game, the cake was an illusion, an illusion technique would be perfect.

Once again, I started and ripped out the scarf many, many times. I just didn't like the way the alphabet fonts were knitting up with this technique. I ended up scrapping everything and tweaking an alphabet chart so it would work. And I think the scarf  turned out wonderfully. It took me forever to make it and I'm so glad it's done. But, it is completely my creation, from inception to completion. I'm quite proud of it, even if I did finish it just in time for summer. When Eric wears in come fall, people are going to be amazed.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chucking The Grain Is Getting Tough

I am a baker. I love to bake all kinds of yummy creations and fill my house with the smell of something wonderful ready to come out of the oven. Since diving into the Primal lifestyle, my house has been devoid of all baked goods (with the exception of a few treats for end-of-the-year parties for the kids classes). I'm not going to lie, it's really tough for me.

Since going primal, I don't really crave sweets anymore. I used to "need" something sweet every day. These days, a few squares of a 77% Extra Strong Chocolove bar is too sweet and I have to pair it with some unsweetened almond butter. But I still want to bake and have those smells filling up my house. I've tried baking using coconut and almond flours in place of regular flour, but have had little to no success. It's rather disappointing. The baked goods smell good, but turn out like hockey pucks or with the texture of an omelet rather than a baked treat. Seriously, this is the only difficult part of the lifestyle change for me.

I've given up all breads and baked goods as a result of all my failed attempts at substitutions. Very sad for me, the compulsive baker. I don't always miss the bread though. I recently put my chicken salad into endive leaves and thoroughly enjoyed it. Even the kids loved it. They were inhaling the little bite-size morsels as fast as I could put them together. If the kids eat it, I call it a winner.

I've also had some other wins with primal cooking rather than baking recipes that I have posted on the blog that I share with my sisters. Feel free to check them out. StumbleUpon