“Pasta” Carbonara

So I love cheese.

Like, a lot.

I actually made a beautiful cheese platter this weekend for my family who also loves cheese and was about to take a picture when I walked into them demolishing said cheese plate without waiting for the guests of honour. My father said that I should know by now that I’m the only one in the family with will power by way of explanation. So no pretty pictures for you, but trust me, it was gorgeous. Plus I even found these fruit “cakes” for cheese which are not cakes at all but are instead just dried fruit and nuts compressed into a cake form that you can then slice and use instead of crackers! Obviously I think this is amazing since I can’t have crackers what with gluten being evil and all.

Anyhoo, there was miraculously some cheese left over and I have had a spaghetti squash in the fridge for like 2 weeks now which needed to be used and I thought, screw tomato sauce, I want something a leeeettle more decadent… and cheesy. So I made some spaghetti squash carbonara!

“Pasta” Carbonara – Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash

    Not a pretty picture – but just trust me that it was yummy in the extreme

  • 1 small onion
  • 4-5 cremini mushrooms (I only had 3 on hand, but more would be great)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 oz hard dry cheese, grated small (like parmesan, I used a local hard sheeps cheese)
  • 2 slices thick cut peameal bacon (3 strips of regular bacon which is more traditional)
  • 2 small chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp cooking fat (I used bacon grease, omit this if using regular bacon)

Directions

  1. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove the guts and seeds. Place these halves face down on a plate and microwave for 15-20 minutes or until a knife goes in with little resistance. OR cooks face down in a 350 degree over for an hour or more
  2. While the squash is cooking, bring out a skillet and a small sauce pan. Cook the bacon and chicken in the skillet and heat up the grease in the sauce pan.
  3. Dice the onion and mushrooms and sauté these in the sauce pan and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk well, add the cheese and mix together.
  5. Dice up the meat one down and add to the sauce pan with the veggies.
  6. Remove the spaghetti squash from the microwave/oven and shred the flesh with a fork so it comes out like noodles.
  7. Add the egg/cheese mixture to the sauce pan and immediately add the squash, mix around until the squash is coated and the egg is cooked.
  8. Serve and enjoy.

Nutritional Info for 1/3 of recipe: Cals: 490*    Carbs: 24 grams    Fats: 23 grams   Protein: 50 grams

* obviously this is a little high, but I was hungry and intended to make 4 servings… oh well! If you have more control than me (despite my dad’s words, I actually have very little will power) then just multiply by 3/4 to get the info for 4 servings 😉

 

 

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Day 1 – 21 Day Sugar Detox

It’s day 1 of the 21 day sugar detox and so far so good. I have had a couple spoons of almond butter and chunks of cheese to snack on instead of fruit or some granola and I have a pot of beef and leek stew simmering away on the stove.

I have been looking at some different recipes on Pinterest since I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping this weekend because I was at the wine and food show (which was awesome) and then sunday my Mom made a wonderful dinner for my boyfriend’s birthday. Unfortunately both those things resulted in me curled up on the couch with intense stomach pains and digestive distress because I thought I could eat gluten and get away with it. Well my body decided that there was zero chance that it would let me enjoy a gelato cookie sandwich or the apple crisp my mom made without serious repercussions. Today thankfully I seem to be doing ok.

In case you are wondering what a person would eat on day 1 of a 21 day sugar detox… here is my food for the day:

Breakfast: a 2 egg omelette with full fat cheese and tomatoes

Snack 1: 1/2 c. full fat, natural yogurt, 1 chopped up green apple, 2 tbsp. hemp hearts and cinnamon

Lunch: spaghetti squash with ground turkey and tomato sauce

Snack 2: 2 hard boiled eggs and a half a red pepper cut up into slices

Snack 3: random spoonfuls of almond butter and a few slices of full fat mozzarella

Dinner: Beef and Leek stew with a marrow bone stuck in it 🙂

And here is the recipe for this fabulousness that literally caused me to hum while spooning beefy goodness into my mouth! 

All the ingredient before the liquid

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs of stewing beef (I used 1 only because I had only thawed 1 pound but 2 pounds would be better)
  • 2 tbsp butter or other cooking fat
  • 1 leek
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1/4 c. of red wine vinegar
  • 4-5 cups of beef broth (I used 3 cups of homemade chicken broth for the nutritional content and 2 cups of beef broth from the store for the taste)
  • Spices to taste as follows: paprika, rosemary, garlic powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the cooking fat on medium-high and brown all the meat in batches without crowding the pan.
  2. While the meat is browning, chop the leek into medallions and wash it thoroughly, chop the celery and onions into similar sized pieces.
  3. Remove the meat from the pan and toss in all the vegetables. Add in a little more fat if needed and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add back the meat and any drippings that have accumulated in bowl along with all the spices in whatever amounts seem good to you (I am sorry I have no idea how much of each I put in) then add the red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan and get up any delicious caramelization going on at the bottom of the pan.
  5. Let the vinegar fully evaporate and then add the broth and bring to a rolling boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for about an hour and a half.

If you want to you can also cook some marrow bones in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes and stick that in the bowl too… yum!

Stew and marrow…OMG

I’m so pleased with how this turned out and you should all make this RIGHT NOW!!! Day one is coming to an end and I’m pleased as punch!

Not diet food – but delicious!

Birthday dinners don’t have to be healthy right?

Well tonight was the celebration dinner for my boyfriend’s birthday. Last year I made him a chicken parmesan, pasta and caesar salad dinner. He liked it so much that he made me promise to make it for his birthday every year… which I agreed to. So his birthday rolled around this year and it was time to make the dinner again. I decided to up the ante this year and make even the pasta sauce from scratch. Then to cap the night off I made a triple berry crumble. Here is what I did:  

Chicken Parmesan (original recipe from Simply Recipes)

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes (we use Muir-Glen)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Chicken:

  • 3 chicken breast cutlets
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs  (use plain)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • mozzarella cheese, sliced (enough to top the chicken with)

Directions

1 Prepare the sauce. Finely chop the onion.  Heat olive oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Add the minced garlic.  Cook until fragrant, about a minute more.  Add the tomatoes and oregano.  Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to maintain the simmer.  Cook, uncovered while you prepare the chicken (about 10-12 minutes).

2  Preheat oven to 400°F. With a meat pounder (or heavy bottomed skillet which I have done in the past), pound the chicken pieces to flatten them to an even thickness – between 1/4 – 1/2 inch.

3  In a shallow bowl (large enough to dredge the cutlets), mix together the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and oregano.  In separate shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs.

4 Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat.  The oil should be shimmering, not smoking. Dredge the chicken pieces 1 piece at a time first in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumbs.  Then lay the pieces in the hot sauté pan.  Turn the heat to medium, then gently fry the cutlets until they are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side.

5 Spread enough tomato sauce to coat the bottom of a casserole pan or baking dish (that will fit however many chicken breast you have easily).  Once the cutlets are browned on both sides, arrange them on top of the tomato sauce in the baking dish.  spoon some more sauce over each of the cutlets.  Sprinkle the tops with sliced basil.  Then top the cutlets with slices of mozzarella and the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.

6 Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the mozzarella begins to brown.

Serve with pasta using the remaining sauce for the pasta (or not if you are like me and can’t eat pasta because gluten is evil) and caesar salad. I like renees caesar dressing and made about 5 slices of bacon cooked extra crispy to mix in with the salad and croutons.

My dish which has no pasta as you can see

Andre finished his meal pretty quickly and even had a little bit more of my chicken since they were huge servings. For reference, he NEVER stuffs himself. He is one of those lucky people who just eats until he’s comfortably full and then stops (god I wish I could do that so easily!). But both this year and last he finished off the huge portion I gave him AND still had dessert.

Look at that smile… and clear plate!

For dessert I used this recipe which I have used before with much success for…

Triple Berry Crumble (makes enough for a 9×9 dish)

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 1/2 pint each of fresh (you can use frozen if you need to but the crumble will be way less liquidy and much more stable if you use fresh) raspberries and blackberries
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries chopped to approx. same size as the other berries (you could also use blueberries I just didn’t have any)
  • 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

Crumble

  • 1 c. spelt flour (or other flour of choice such as gluten-free, coconut, almond meal, or plain whole wheat flour)
  • 1 c. large flake oats (GF if needed)
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. butter (softened slightly, but still hard)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Direction

Side view of the layers of crumble:fruit:crumble

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss together blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and maple syrup
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Cut in butter until crumbly – if you don’t know how to do this here is a tutorial. It can be done with a pastry cutter which makes life easy, except i couldn’t find mine today so I just used a knife and occasionally my fingers to break up stubborn clumps.
  5. Press half of mixture in the bottom of a 9×9 inch pan and cover with berries, then sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown (I once forgot about this for an hour and a half, so 50 additional minutes in the oven and it still tasted fantastic, it’s seriously indestructible as long as you use fresh fruit).

I love serving this with a good quality vanilla bean ice cream, but some heavy cream or some greek yogurt would be great too.

Delish!