Recipes without Regret: Thanksgiving Leftover with a Twist (Low Carb/Low Sugar)

I know.  I know.  We haven’t even served the Thanksgiving feast and here I am offering you advice on using your leftovers.  But this is something that’s so yummy and so good for you.  It has a great carbohydrate to protein ratio, so it’s just right for a low carb day.  Not only is it carb-friendly, it’s diabetic friendly as well.  No added sugars — the only sugar is in the tomatoes and onions in the Pico de Gallo.*

I highly recommend this soup, served with a salad of mixed greens, vegetables, and light dressing.  Plus, it’s different from your regular Thanksgiving fare, and certainly different from a leftover turkey sandwich.

Image Source: http://www.eatlowsodium.com

Southwest Turkey Broth with the Trimmings

Ingredients:

8 cups of reduced sodium turkey or chicken broth

12 ounces cooked, diced turkey

8 Tablespoons fresh avocado, mashed (about two small)

1 cup Pico de Gallo* (you can make your own or pick it up in your grocer’s deli pre-made)

2 Tablespoons Light Sour Cream

2 medium scallions (greens only), finely chopped

1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Juice of 1 lime

Pepper/Chili Powder to taste

Image Source: http://www.budgetpaleo.blogspot.com

Directions:

1.  In medium saucepan, add broth and diced turkey.  Bring this to a boil and season with pepper and chili powder to taste.  (If you feel you need extra salt, add it sparingly.)

2.  Mash avocados and add the juice of 1 lime (this helps keep its bright green color)

3.  Prepare 4 bowls for presentation.

4.  Divide the broth/turkey mixture evenly between the 4 bowls.

5.  In the middle of each bowl:

a.  Add 2 Tablespoons of mashed avocado.

b.  Top with 1/4 cup Pico de Gallo.

c.  Add a small dollop of light sour cream on top of the Pico de Gallo.

6.  Sprinkle each bowl with 1/4 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

7.  Add scallion greens on top of the cheese.

Image Source: http://www.saintnicholasparish.org

Nutritional Information:  301 calories, 15.6 g fat, 64 mg cholesterol, 2404 mg sodium, 11.4 g carbohydrates, 2.7 g dietary fiber, 5.8 g sugar, 26.7 g protein

You could very well add more complex carbohydrates such as whole kernel corn or black beans for a high carb day. Complex carbs keep you full longer and keep your body fueled for longer periods of time so that you don’t have cravings.  (I have also used cooked, diced chicken in place of the turkey — still wonderful!)

I apologize that this did not make it on the blog last Friday, as promised.  I had internet issues all through the weekend.  I hope you will try this terrific soup and leave a comment!  You opinion matters.  If you have a suggestion that would make it better, leave a comment about that as well.

shr

Decadent Dark Chocolate Mocha Brownies (Low Carb – Low Sugar)

It’s Friday and it’s a good time to make something that is scrumptious!  This is my take on a flour-less cake that I originally saw Clinton Kelly make on “The Chew.”  This recipe makes 12 brownies that you will absolutely love!

Image Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

Ingredients:

6 ounces premium dark chocolate made with 70% cocoa (I used Moser-Roth brand from Aldi)

8 Tablespoons coconut oil

2 1/2 to 3 cups stevia in the raw  (you can do this to taste)

1/2 cup Da Vinci’s sugar-free Kahlua flavoring (this is non-alcoholic)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 eggs, room temperature

8 Tablespoons liquid egg whites, room temperature

Baker’s Joy non-stick spray

Directions:

1.  Melt the dark chocolate and the coconut oil in double boiler or in microwave.

2.  Whisk in stevia, Kahlua flavoring, and unsweetened cocoa powder.  Whisk until mixture is smooth.  Allow this to cool to room temperature!

3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4.  When chocolate mixture is cool, use a hand mixer on medium speed to whip room temperature eggs and egg whites until frothy.

5.  Reduce speed on mixer to low and incorporate room temperature chocolate mixture with egg mixture.  (You can whisk it by hand just as effectively!)  Do not over-mix because this will make your brownie dense and thick instead of creamy and light.

6.  Spray an 8″ X 8″ glass pan with Baker’s Joy non-stick baking spray.  (Or grease and flour the pan to keep brownies from sticking.)

7.  Pour brownie mixture into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until edges of brownies are dry and start to pull away from the edge of the pan.

8.  Cool completely on baking rack.  Cut into 12 equal portions.

Serve with sugar-free whipped topping or my favorite, a 1/2 cup portion of Breyer’s Vanilla Carb Smart ice cream.

Nutritional Information:  291 calories, 24 g fat, 31 mg cholesterol, 37 mg sodium, 14.7 g carbohydrates, 4.2 g dietary fiber, 8.6 g sugar, and 6 g protein.

Compare to a Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate Decadent* packaged brownie mix (an 8″ X 8″ pan of brownies cut into 16 portions):

*Nutritional Information:  130 calories, 3.5 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 18 g sugar, and 1 g protein.

Important Tips:

Please let chocolate mixture cool to room temperature.  Egg mixture needs to be at room temperature as well.  If not, then the chocolate mixture will “cook” the egg mixture.  You won’t be able to recover the recipe after this!

Substitutions can be made:  butter for the coconut oil, and Splenda for the stevia.  You can even semi-sweet chocolate chips for the premium dark chocolate (although this will increase the sugar grams and thereby the carbohydrate grams of the recipe).  The point of the recipe, however, is to be low-carb and low-sugar.

Over-mixing this recipe will produce a brownie that you could use to pave your outside walkway.  When you mix, it’s okay that the egg mixture is slightly “ribboned” (where you can still see the distinctive yellow of the egg) with the chocolate.  If your mixture looks like a regular boxed brownie mix, then you may have over-mixed.  Take this from me — the first time I made these, the taste was good but they could have been declared a lethal weapon if I’d chosen to throw them at someone!

If you use a metal pan, you will have to decrease cooking time.  Start checking brownies at 25 minutes if you’re using a metal pan.

Da Vinci (and other companies) offers other sugar-free flavorings:  French Vanilla, Caramel, Hazelnut, Coconut.  You could substitute the Kahlua flavoring with any of those.  However, substituting pure vanilla extract or almond extract is NOT the same thing because Da Vinci’s flavorings are SWEET.   I’m not saying those couldn’t be used, just adjust your sweetener accordingly.

Add walnuts or pecans to this recipe if you’d like.  It will only slightly increase the calories and will boost the dietary fiber and protein.

Finally, if your batter isn’t as sweet as you want it, your brownies will not be as sweet as you want them.  TASTE TEST the chocolate mixture before mixing it and the eggs together.

Have a fabulous weekend.  If you make these, please go to here and rate my recipe!

Remember to visit God’s house this weekend and give Him all your praise and glory!

shr

Letting Go (with No-Carb Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken Recipe)

I remember a conversation I had with my husband, Kelly, so vividly it’s like it was yesterday.  This was just a few months after we were married in 1987.  We’d decided that I’d come off birth control and we’d start our family.  I said to him, “By next year, we’ll have a new Rosser to take to big family Thanksgiving dinner at your Aunt Ruth-Marie’s house.”

In the same conversation, we were discussing the longevity of my teaching career.  I was teaching at Eastover-Central Elementary School and was honored as their “Teacher of the Year” for 1987.  That was huge for me because I’d only been teaching for three years.  To have my peers vote to give you, a virtual newbie, an honor like that was overwhelming for me. “Yes,” I said confidently. “I will be teaching until I am blue-haired, squint-eyed, wrinkled beyond recognition, and walking with a cane.”

As confident as I was that day, neither of those things came to pass.

Image Source:  www.getv.org

Instead of getting pregnant, we found out about our infertility. “One in a million chance,” was what the doctor told us.  Of course, I told him that God was the Great Physician, and without much consulting with the Great Physician, Kelly and I decided that our journey included donor sperm and monthly visits to Duke Fertility Clinic.

Within the next year, I injured my back at school while moving a science kit.  It only weighed ten pounds, but something happened that morning that I can’t quite put my finger on.  All I knew was that I was in excruciating pain.  Five years and seven surgeries later, I was medically retired from a profession I thought I’d be a part of until I was…well, you know what I said in the first paragraph.

After six unhappy months of in vitro at Duke, Kelly and I finally let God have the infertility issue, and we adopted.  It was the oh-so-right thing to do.  We could not love our children anymore if they were our biologically.  At nearly 25, 23, and nearly 16, they bring us so much joy. They like to tell me that they may not have grown in my womb, but they grew in my heart.  I kinda think I’ll keep ’em.

The one thing I fought God on at every turn was the fact that I was not in the teaching profession anymore.  I spent YEARS filled with anger at how that dream of mine had taken wings and flown. Even with the joy of adopting my children and the absolute miraculous ways He brought each of them to us, I held God accountable for not healing me physically and returning me to teaching.

In 2002,  I did let most of the anger go and for the most part, I was able to move on with my life and be relatively happy. But the little sliver that I harbored in my heart, kept me out of God’s will.  Seven years ago, I really had a come-to-Jesus moment that forever eradicated any anger I had and brought me to my knees to beg for His forgiveness.

I walked into a church where I was not a member because we were looking for a new church home.  At the end of the service, a woman came up to me and said, “You know, we need someone to work with our children and when I saw you walk in today, I knew my prayers had been answered.”

That woman was my Aunt Melba Rosser.  We were visiting the Kelly’s home church.  I was just visiting to be nice.  I did not think we’d really choose to become members of Culbreth Memorial UMC.  For heaven’s sake, I’d been a Baptist for forty-four years!  But this is where God led us, the church family He chose for us — and even though He hasn’t healed me physically (yet — I’m not ever ruling it out!), He healed me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

This church  took me just as I was, knowing that some Sundays I might not be able to show up because of my chronic pain.  I have a fantastic group of parents that pitch in and do things that I can’t physically do.  We started with a very small group of five children.  Now I work with fourteen: one children’s choir, one youth choir, and a drama team.  We’re growing every year.

The one thing I realized I’ve always been teaching — God gave me three children to teach.  And that I’ll still  be teaching for years to come, just in different circumstances.

Is it the life I envisioned that day back in 1987?  No…it’s better!

What had you envisioned that was not in God’s plan for you?  What did He lead you to instead?

shr

No-Carb Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken (Serves 4-6)

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Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, 4-5 pounds

1 bottle of McCormick’s Rotisserie Chicken seasoning

1/4 cup of water

Nonstick Canola Spray

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Directions:

1.  Remove the giblets and neck from chicken.  (I freeze them to use for making chicken stock.)

2.  Rinse chicken thoroughly inside and out.  Pat dry.

3.  Spray crock pot with nonstick spray.  Add 1/4 cup water.  Turn on crock pot to “low.”

4.  Use the McCormick Rotisserie Chicken season and coat the chicken liberally with it.

5.  Place chicken in crock pot.

6.  Cook chicken on low for 6 hours.

7.  When done, remove chicken and place on a platter to rest for 10 minutes.

8.  Skin and de-bone chicken.

Serve with vegetables or salad or use in a sandwich.  I freeze the chicken diced or chopped in 1-cup portions in quart bags to use on salads throughout the week at lunchtime.  This is moist, delicious, and cost-effective.

Tips:   I was in Wal-Mart yesterday and checked the deli prices for one of their rotisserie chickens — $8.88 for one not nearly as big as the ones I cook.  I try to find whole chickens on sale and buy them in bulk.  They will keep in the freezer up to nine months.  On sale, I can usually get whole chickens for about $ .69/pound.  (Aldi has frozen chickens for $ .89/pound every day — which is not a bad price either.)

Nutritional Information (1 cup cooked chicken):  231 calories, 5 g fat, 119 mg cholesterol, 104 mg sodium, and 43 g protein.

Choices: Low-Carb Pepperoni Pizza (Really Good!)

I’m conducting an experiment.  I have shared with you my weakness for all ice cream-related things — that I cannot keep ice cream at my house without eating it.  In recent days, I’ve come to realize that I’ve used that as a crutch.  It’s huge cop-out.  At this point in my relationship with my body and my decision to be healthy, I should be able to store a little ice cream in my freezer without it controlling me body, mind, and spirit.

Image Source:  www.thefranchiseking.com

My treat this past Sunday was Ben & Jerry’sRed Velvet Cake” ice cream.  It was on sale at the grocery store two pints for $5.00.  So, I bought them.  I hadn’t had ice cream as a treat for over a month.  My experiment is two-fold:  to see if I can keep from eating that second pint and to see if I can keep the fact that it’s in there from completely controlling my thoughts.

Image Source:  www.beforeitsnews.com

It’s not enough to just not eat it.  If I’m constantly thinking of it being there, opening the freezer, contemplating the eating of it, and shutting the door again without tearing it opening and consuming it in an ice cream frenzy, then I still lose.  I lose myself to worldly thoughts — thoughts that are not God-centered, thoughts that will eventually lead me down the path of over-indulgence.  I’ve been there before.  You know the thought, “If I just go ahead and eat it, it’ll be gone and it won’t tempt me.”

Sow righteousness, reap love.  It’s time to till the ready earth, it’s time to dig in with God, until he arrives with righteousness ripe for harvest. (Hosea 10:12, The Message)

I’ve decided that in order to keep my mind on God, I’m making a choice to “sow righteousness and reap love.”  I am pursuing Him and what He wants me to do.  I’m going about my business as if that pint of ice cream in my freezer didn’t exist.  I believe that if I do this, God’s going to give me His thoughts and His actions — and that neither will have anything to do with Ben & Jerry’s.

Image Source:  http://jodyfisher.wordpress.com

Will I be able to do it?  I’m going with a big, resounding “Yes!”  It’s been there for nearly three days.  I’ll let you know if I’m successful or not.  While we’re waiting to find out, let me share with you some words that have enlightened me about my journey to health:

“As we make an offering of our work, we find the truth of a principle Jesus taught:  fulfillment is not a goal to achieve, but always the by-product of sacrifice.”  Elisabeth Elliot

“Although God causes all things to work together for good for His children, He still holds us accountable for our behavior.”  Kay Arthur

“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I’ve written these words of wisdom on colorful index cards and placed them in various places around my house that I frequent as I do housework and spend leisure time.  And no, one of those places is NOT on the freezer!

What thoughts are keeping you from making the transition from wherever you’re at now and the pathway to a healthier you? I’d love to hear from you.

shr

P. S.  Here’s a little treat I made on Monday night.  I promise you it’s good.  It passed the taste-test with my family!  My father, who isn’t even a pizza fan, loved it.  So make it, enjoy it, and feel good about you!  (Coming Friday:  Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken and Skinny Chinese Chicken Salad)

Low-Carb Pepperoni Pizza  (4 servings)

Ingredients for Crust:

3 cups very finely grated cauliflower (about 1 medium head)

1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons liquid egg white

Ingredients for Pizza Topping:

17 slices, Hormel Turkey Pepperoni

1 cup Prego Spaghetti Sauce, Original

1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Photo Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

For Crust:
1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Put cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl, cover loosely with a paper towel and microwave for 7-8 minutes (cauliflower will appear translucent). Let cool completely.
3. Mix cauliflower, liquid egg whites, cheeses, garlic powder, and salt. Make sure the egg whites are well-distributed in mixture.
2. Turn crust mixture onto nonstick pizza pan. Pat into a 10-12″ round. Press firmly, cleaning up edges, and make the crust as thin as you possibly can.*
4. Bake crust for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Remove from oven and let cool.
6. Before adding pizza toppings, loosen the edges of crust with a spatula, moving spatula underneath crust until all of crust is loose.
*Cook’s Note:  The thinner you make the crust, the less “cauliflower aftertaste” you have. If the crust is crispy and covered completely with sauce and cheese, the fact that this has a cauliflower crust is nearly indistinguishable. You can make any of your favorite pizzas this way
Photo Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser
To complete pizza:
1. Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
2. Make sure crust is in the center of pizza pan.
3. Spread 1 cup Prego spaghetti sauce onto crust using the back of a large spoon. Make sure crust has sauce, even out to the edges.
4. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese evenly across pizza crust.
5. Top with turkey pepperoni.
6. Return to oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and pepperoni is crisp.
7. Cool slightly on rack. Cut into 8 slices.
Nutritional Information (for 1/4 of a pizza):  358 calories, 18.2 g fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 1769 mg sodium, 18.2 g carbohydrates, 4.1 g dietary fiber, and 28.1 g protein
 
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Make Accountability Work for You: Skinny Cowboy Caviar (Low Carb Recipe)

Everything you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  (Colossians 3:17, GW)

Image Source:  www.yunbootcamps.com

Have you been at this weight loss thing a while?  I have.  I’ve battled it off and on for twenty years (read: yo-yo dieter).  Last year in our Bible studyMade to Crave, I read some interesting statistics.  When setting a goal and having accountability for setting that goal, the probably of reaching that goal is:

  • 10% when you hear an idea
  • 40% when you decide you will do it
  • 50% when you plan how to do it
  • 65% when you commit to someone else to do it
  • 95% when you have an accountability appointment with the person you’ve committed to

What do you think?  Has this been true in your life?  It certainly has in mine.  I’ve had the most success in my weight loss goal in the last ten months because I actually made myself accountable to some important people.

First, I made myself accountable to God.  This body of mine is His temple.  I had horribly abused His temple.  It’s important for me to show God that I love Him and want to obey Him by getting my temple healthy.

Second, I made myself accountable to two other people who also made a commitment to God:  my mom and my good friend, Michele.  Even though it was only the three of us who completed the Made to Crave Bible study last fall, we made a commitment to weigh/measure once a week and share our trials and triumphs.  When we’re having a rough time of it, we pray for each other.  When we have victories, no matter how small, we celebrate with each other.  We keep in touch.

Image Source:  www.warriorsofweight.com

We’ve all had great success in the past ten months.  My mom is five pounds from her goal weight and Michele is losing every week, getting fit and healthy.  Our success seems to be based on the last three statistics listed above:  we planned our goal, we committed to each other, and we keep our accountability appointments every week.

I want to let you know that all three of us are reaching our goals in different ways.   My mom is watching her portions and eating foods from the low glycemic index (my dad is a diabetic) and being more active.   Michele is doing Weight Watchers and walking.  I am carb cycling, eating from the low glycemic index, and exercising.

There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to get there — you just have to find a plan that works for you.  There’s no one plan that works for everyone.  To find what works for you takes, well, work. It takes research.  It takes talking to others who are on their weight loss journeys.  It takes trying out some different eating plans.  But it does not include FAD DIETING!  Remember, you didn’t put on your extra weight in two weeks and it won’t come off in two weeks.  It’s not how our bodies work.

Whatever you decide to do, do it for the glory of the Lord.  If you place your faith in Him, commit to Him, and find at least two other people you can REALLY commit to, you will see successful results.  In fact, I invite you to partner with ME, personally, and make a commitment to me.  I will, in turn, make a commitment to YOU — to share what I’m doing each week, how I’m doing each week, and be your encourager!  I will be honest with you.  There’s no reason we can’t work together.

Photo Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

Today, I’m giving you another personal favorite low carb recipe, Skinny Cowboy Caviar.  The first time I made this, I had it as a meal over mixed salad greens, but it can be eaten as a morning or afternoon snack as well.

Skinny Cowboy Caviar  (Serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

2 large avocados, pitted and peeled

1 medium tomato, seeded and finely diced

1 medium sweet onion (I love Vidalia), finely chopped

1/2 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey

1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen — avoid canned because of the sodium)

1 cup canned black beans (rinsed well and drained well)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder (or ground cayenne pepper)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons salsa

1 Tablespoon, chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Juice of a small lime

Jalapenos or green chilies (optional, you decide how hot you’d like it)

Directions:

1.  Cook hamburger or turkey over medium heat.  Cook thoroughly, then drain.  (Weight Watchers trick:  while meat is in the colander, rinse a couple of times with boiling water to remove even more fat!)  Return to pan and add dry seasonings (garlic powder, chili powder/cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper).  Add onion, corn, beans, and salsa.  Mix until meat is coated with the spices and the salsa is bubbling.  Cook until onions are slightly translucent, but still a little firm.   If mixture seems a little dry, you can add more salsa, but you don’t want a soupy mixture.  Remove from heat and let cool.

2.  Roughly mash avocados into chunks in a medium bowl.  (Save the pits.)

3.  Add tomato, meat mixture, lime juice, and cilantro.  Stir well.  Mixture should be a chunky, like a dip.

4.  When storing, place the avocado pits on top of the mixture and keep in an air-tight container.  This helps keep the avocado from turning brown.  Mixture will keep in refrigerator 2-3 days.

Serve over a bed of mixed greens (my favorite way) or with carrot sticks, celery sticks, green pepper slices, crackers, toasted French bread, or tortilla chips.

Nutritional Information (per 1/2 cup serving):  225 calories, 15 g fat, 325 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrates*, 12 g dietary fiber, and 30 g protein.

*By now you’re probably screaming at me:  YOU SAID THIS WAS A LOW CARB RECIPE!  THIS SAYS 18 GRAMS OF CARBOHYDRATES IN A HALF-CUP SERVING!  Truly, this is considered a low carb, low glycemic index recipe.  You have to look at all of the nutritional information.  Most of the fat in this recipe is considered good fat (from the avocados — click here to find out about good fats).  Yes, it has 18 grams of carbs, but look at the dietary fiber!  When the dietary fiber content is higher, it means that you’re eating healthy carbs (click here to find out about good and bad carbs).  Black beans and corn are two of the most fiber-rich foods you can eat.  If you just can’t justify 18 grams of carbohydrates in a half-cup serving, feel free to omit the beans and corn.

That being said, you cannot snack on this recipe more than once a day.  Moderation is the key.  It always is.  This recipe has all the makings of a great snack:  good fat, some good carbs, and protein.  The combination of these three nutrients will keep you feeling full because it takes longer to digest them.

Now, will you make that commitment?  Drop me an email at lbtk1@aol.com or leave a comment below.  I promise to answer. I promise to partner with you and increase your accountability!

Have a blessed weekend!  Get out and move your body!  Enjoy!

shr

Satisfying a Craving Sensibly: Low Carb Zucchini-Spinach Lasagna

“I determined to make God, rather than food, my focus.  Each time I craved something I knew wasn’t part of my plan, I used that craving as a prompt to pray.  I craved a lot.  So, I found myself praying a lot.”  Lysa TerKeurst, from Made to Crave (Zondervan Publishing)

Image Source:  www.bing.com

I love Italian food.  Lasagna is my favorite Italian dish, but it is filled with carbs.  (And carbs are not my friends!)  Every nutritionist I’ve ever heard speak about exchanges and lowering carbs has suggested using zucchini slices for lasagna noodles.  I don’t miss a lot of pasta, but I do get a craving for lasagna once in a while.  So, I did a little research, found some recipes, and tried them.  Some of the recipes were just not tasty.  So I decided to tweak the recipes – take the best of each one and make a recipe that was my own.

I think I hit the jackpot with this recipe!  My husband agreed to try it and my daughter gave me a funny look, but she tried it to please me.  Surprise, surprise — they loved it!   My older son had a serving when he came in from work and gave it his seal of approval as well.   In fact, there was only one serving leftover that night (and that became my lunch for the next day).  Here is what it looked like as it came out of the oven:

Photo Image:  Sandra Hall Rosser

This is so yummy and satisfying!  So here is the recipe for you to try.  As you make this, let me caution you to make your meat sauce chunky and the cheese mixture creamy (I did this by adding a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or milk if the cheese mixture was too thick).  These two hints will make all the difference in the world.

Skinny Zucchini-Spinach Lasagna (serves 6)

Ingredients:

3-4 medium zucchini, sliced in thin rounds or in long thin strips (I used a mandolin to make even slices)*

1 cup of baby spinach leaves with the stems removed (washed and drained well)

1 pound of lean ground beef

16 ounces  non-fat, small curd cottage cheese

3/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese + 1/4 cup

1 egg (or 1/4 cup liquid egg white)

1 cup part skim, low-fat mozzarella cheese

Dried Italian seasonings:  basil, oregano, parsley (1 teaspoon each)

4 teaspoons garlic powder (divided)

4 teaspoons onion powder (divided)

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 Tablespoons of heavy cream (or almond milk/skim milk), as needed

1 24-ounce bottle of low sugar spaghetti sauce, 1 cup reserved (I used Hunt’s)

1 Tablespoon stevia (optional)

An 8″ X 8″ pan for baking

Non-stick cooking spray

Directions:

1.  Cook hamburger on medium heat in a fry pan until meat is no longer pink.  Strain the meat so that most of the fat is removed.  (An old Weight Watchers trick I use it to pour two cups of boiling hot water over the meat to remove even more fat.)  Let the meat drain completely.

2.  Add meat back to fry pan and add most of the spaghetti sauce (reserve about 1 cup to use when layering).  Meat sauce should be chunky.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add 2 teaspoons garlic powder and 2 teaspoons onion powder. Add stevia.  (Stevia gives the low sugar spaghetti sauce a rich, marinara-style taste, but this can be omitted according to your tastes.)  Cover and let mixture simmer on  low.

3.  Wash and slice your zucchini.  Zucchini have high water content and to keep my lasagna from being soggy, I lay the slices of zucchini in one layer on some paper towels.  I salt both sides of the zucchini and cover with another paper towel and wait about an hour.  The salt leaches the water from the zucchini slices, making them more firm.  (I also do this with egg plant slices.  It makes them firm, not mushy, when you bake them.)

4.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

5.  In a mixing bowl, add cottage cheese, egg, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, the dried Italian spices, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, and 2 teaspoons onion powder.  Use a hand mixer to cream the ingredients together.  It may be slightly thick.  I add 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream to make it a bit creamier, which will make it easier to spread.

6.  Divide the zucchini slices (2 groups of slices) and divide the spinach

7.  Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Put 1/2 cup of the reserved spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the pan.

8.  Start layering the lasagna in this way:

A.  1/2 cup spinach, first group of zucchini slices, half the cheese mixture, half the meat sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

B.  1/2 cup spinach, second group of zucchini slices, remaining cheese mixture, remaining meat sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, the remaining 1/2 cup of reserved spaghetti sauce, and finally the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  (In the picture, you will see a bit of baby spinach at the top — I had about 1/4 cup left over from the bag, and I put the rest of the spinach in a layer right before the plain spaghetti sauce and Parmesan cheese at the top.)

9.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Bake for 40 minutes covered.

10.  Remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 20 minutes.  Cheese should be lightly golden brown.  Set pan on a cooling rack and let rest 15 minutes before cutting.

*Having made this several times now, I have found that I really like the zucchini slices cut the long way.  They actually have the feel of a lasagna noodle when you eat the lasagna.  Also, using spinach is optional. (In fact, you can add any vegetables you like to this recipe.  If you add a lot more vegetables, I’d suggest a 9″ X 13″ pan.)  If you have a chunky meat sauce and a creamy cheese layer, this will keep the lasagna from being soggy.

Nutritional Information (1/6 of the pan):  275 calories, 5 g fat, 600 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrates, and 22 g protein

Serve this with a generous portion of tossed salad filled with veggies and Lite Ranch dressing (or vinaigrette dressing).

Enjoy!

shr

Carb Cycling: Low Carb Recipes Without Regret

I know, I know.  This recipe post was supposed to happen last Thursday, but I had a procedure on my knee at my orthopedic doctor’s office.  Even though it has taken away nearly all the pain in my right knee, it did cause some initial discomfort.  It also happened to be a weekend that was filled with family and church commitments that kept me busy and away from the computer.  So, I offer you my sincerest apology and am happy that I can bring this to you today, on Weight Loss Wednesday.

For those of you who might have forgotten or are new to the blog, I have lost thirty pounds carb cycling.  (See related articles for an explanation of what that is and why I eat this way).  There is a verse in the Bible that speaks to how I feel about carbohydrates (or I should clarify:  too many carbohydrates) in my diet.

“We are allowed to do all things,” but not all things are good for us to do. “We are allowed to do all things,” but not all things help others grow stronger.  (1 Corinthians 10:23, NCV)

This is Paul speaking about our freedom as believers.  He’s asking us to judge for ourselves the things that would hinder our Christian influence.  An example is given about eating meats that had been offered as sacrifices in the temple.  There was nothing inherently wrong with that, but what he was asking (then and now) is for believers to watch what they do so that their influence to others (especially unbelievers) isn’t hurt in any way.  If it would cause another person to stumble by our action, we should consider whether or not to follow through with that action.

I don’t think my eating enormous amounts of carbohydrates is going to derail my Christian influence — at least not at first.  I believe we should eat all things in moderation.  In the same chapter of 1 Corinthians, verse twenty-six states:  You may eat it, “because the earth belongs to the Lord, and everything in it.”   My point is this:  I don’t digest carbohydrates well.  Feasting on carbohydrates (and sugar) with abandon caused me to gain seventy-five pounds.  Watching my carbohydrate intake and carb cycling has helped me lose fifty pounds (twenty on my own, in 2009-2010, and thirty with carb cycling, since January 2013).  I feel full and I never feel deprived.  I have more energy and am in the best health I have been in twenty years.  My pain management doctor is astounded at the kinds and amounts of medicines I have eliminated since first going under her care twelve years ago.

So any knowledge I have gained, I will pass on to you.  In fact, I’m taking a nutrition course online because I want to know more about this wonderful body God gave me and how I can use His nutrients to be the best I can be!  God cares about our weight.  He cares if we’re hurting — emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  What’s important to us is important to Him!

So, here is a recap of a sample low carb day menu (in my carb cycling eating plan):

BREAKFAST

Basic Breakfast Scramble*

1/2 cup Confetti Veggie Hash*

1 cup green tea sweetened with stevia

MID-MORNING SNACK

I cup red seedless grapes

15-20 raw almonds

LUNCH

Bun-Less Burger Salad*

MID-AFTERNOON SNACK

2 wedges Laughing Cow Herb & Garlic Spreadable Cheese

Unlimited celery sticks

DINNER

Grilled Spicy Cod Fillet*

1/2 cup Confetti Veggie Hash*

2 (or more) cups of tossed salad

1-2 Tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing or Lite Vinaigrette Dressing

And, better late than never, here are the accompanying recipes:

Image Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

Basic Breakfast Scramble 

Ingredients:

1 egg

3 Tbsp. liquid egg whites

1 tsp. sour cream

Salt/Pepper to taste

Cook’s Note:  This recipe makes the fluffiest scrambled eggs!  And it’s even fluffier if all the ingredients are room temperature.  I just take break the egg into a mug, add the egg whites and sour cream, cover and let sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes.

Directions:

Add ingredients in a coffee mug and use a fork to whip them together.  Melt 1 tsp. coconut oil (or olive oil) in small saucepan on medium heat.  Add egg mixture, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon until it reaches the consistency you like, whether soft-scrambled or hard-scrambled.

Serve with Confetti Veggie Hash.

Nutritional Information:  116 calories, 5 g fat, 169 mg sodium, 1 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein

Image Source:  www.lovethatfood.com

Confetti Veggie Hash (Adapted from Hello Taste, Goodbye Guilt! — the official cookbook of the American Diabetes Association.  You can buy this on the ADA website.  It has all low glycemic index recipes! Highly recommend!)

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh broccoli florets  (or 1/2 c.  purple + 1/2 c. green, as shown above)

1/4 c. red bell pepper, diced

1/4 c. yellow bell pepper, diced

1/4 c. orange bell pepper, diced

1 c. sliced mushrooms

1/2 c. onion, chopped

1/2 c. trimmed asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 tsp. coconut oil (or olive oil)

Salt/Pepper to taste

Add your favorite spices for variety.  (I love garlic and ginger.)

Directions:

Add oil to a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add all vegetables, except the broccoli, and your spices.  Stir-fry them until they are slightly wilted.  (About 5-6 minutes)  Add broccoli.  Continue to stir-fry until broccoli is slightly soft but still crunchy and retains its bright green/purple color.

Cook’s Note:  Any vegetable can be substituted or deleted in this recipe, depending upon your tastes.  This is enough for four (4) 1/2 cup servings and can be reheated and added to lunch or dinner.  I sometimes use zucchini and yellow squash.  Other times, I add fresh corn, cut from the cob.  You can make this recipe your own.  And despite what the nutritional value I give says, it won’t change significantly if you use peas, corn, or sliced potatoes. (Except where carbs are concerned and only slightly then.)

Nutritional Information:  45 calories, 5 g fat, 18 mg sodium, 4.6 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein

Image Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

Bun-Less Burger Salad 

Ingredients:

3 oz. turkey burger patty (I like Jennie-O)

2 cups mixed greens

6 grape tomatoes, sliced

2 Tbsp. green onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. Lite Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing

1 Tbsp. Yellow Prepared Mustard (like French’s)

1 Tbsp. Sugar-free ketchup (I like Hunt’s)

Directions:  Grill or pan fry the burger.  Put it on a paper towel to cool slightly, then cut the meat into strips or small bite-size pieces.  Assemble the salad.  Add the meat to the top of salad.  Drizzle salad with ranch dressing, mustard, and ketchup.

Nutritional Information:  289 calories, 13.5 g fat, 870 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 29 g protein

Cook’s Note:  Feel free to add any other fresh green vegetables to your salad that you like.  I like lettuce, tomato, and onion on my burger, so that’s how I assemble the salad.  You can also use a beef patty or vegetable patty (like Morning Star’s Spicy Black Bean Burger).  This will change the nutritional information a little.  (And yes, that’s a fast food salad bowl you see in the picture!  My son, Martin, is working at Burger King while he’s in school and thanks to him, I have an assortment of these great containers that are good to use if you’re taking your lunch with you!)  You can have as much lettuce as you want.  The greener the leaf, the more nutrients the lettuce has!

Pan-Grilled Spicy Cod Fillets 

Ingredients:

Two 4-5 oz. cod fillets

Spice Rub

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. coconut oil

For spice rub:  Mix 1 tsp. of each of these dry spices:  garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder (or Cajun spice powder), cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper (optional), basil, and thyme.  This can be done ahead of time and stored in plastic bag or container.  

Directions:

Heat 1 Tbsp. coconut oil in a medium-sized frying pan or griddle.  Use 1 tsp. coconut oil to brush on each side of the fillets.  Add spice rub to shallow plate and dredge the fillets in rub until both sides of each fillet are well-coated.  Pan grill the fillets about  2 minutes per side.  Serve with tossed salad and 1/2 cup Confetti Veggie Hash.

Cook’s Note:  Any white fish can be substituted for the cod fillets.  You can also grill the fillets on your outdoor grill, but use aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and wrap the fillets in the foil.  Place on the grill (indirect heat) and cook for 6-7 minutes (or until flaky).  

Nutritional Information:  Per fillet, 112 calories, 2.4 g fat, 112 mg sodium, 1.2 g carbohydrates, 20.5 g protein.

If you try any of these recipes (or have tried a similar recipe), please comment below. If you have a recipe that would work on a low carb day, please send it to me at freshpaint04@aol.com.  I’ll be sure to share it and give you credit.  If you have a picture of your meal, send it as well.  A visual representation a recipe makes it even better!

God bless you and bon appetite!

shr