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Tag Archives: Atkins

Zucchini Spaghetti

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**I apologize to subscribers for the weird “password protected” post that came to your inbox or feed early this morning!  It was me just being a spaz, but I’ve got this “top secret” recipe now set to public visibility instead of password protected.  Sorry to disappoint if you thought my zucchini spaghetti recipe must contain codes to reveal a huge conspiracy theory, but I hope you’ll find the delicious recipe is quite enough to get excited about in and of itself.  :) **

Have you been wondering what ever happened to the weight loss contract and the 17 Day Diet?  Join the club–I’m wondering too! :D  We did save a good amount of money with the contract, though we only actually stuck to the agreements made in it for like a week.  And we ended up with a bunch of emergencies (car stuff, etc.) that most of the money went toward.  We did much better with the 17 Day Diet and stuck with it for over a month, but soon after got to the third 17-day cycle, which allows for a wider range of foods, we cheated our way into widening the range to all foods, and in great abundance.  Soooo, I think I lost 15 pounds and gained most of it back.  Story of my adult life.  I pretty much diet half the year so I can eat like a pig the other half.  It kind of works for me.

Anyway, this “spaghetti” was the romantic Valentine’s Day dinner I made while we were on the first cycle of the 17 Day Diet, which allows for no starches except for fruit.  The lean meats allowed are minimal as well (turkey, chicken, and fish) and I was challenged to come up with a 17 Day Diet-friendly recipe that would be really delicious and impressive.  Debbi posted her version of Kalyn’s zucchini spaghetti and I knew I had a winner.  And wow, I was right!  This was the most delicious thing we ate during the entire diet, and I would even say it’s one of the most delicious meals I’ve eaten in my entire life.  The sauce is just spectacular (it would be great on real spaghetti, too) and the zucchini is perfect here.  I always have thought zucchini was a vegetable best suited to Italian seasonings and this recipe further proves it.   I can’t even tell you how much I love this dish!

A funny thing about the “spaghetti” strands.  The only julienne slicer I could find was this one, which also has three other cutting blades.  For some reason, I didn’t look at the owners manual and thought that the crinkle cutter was the julienne blade.  I was so frustrated with the slicer, thinking that it was just a poor product, because every time I “julienned” a zucchini, I had to go back and cut the strands apart because the stupid julienning blade was just cutting crinkle-cut slabs.  DUH!  Seriously, I didn’t figure out my mistake until just this week when I finally opened the owners manual and saw that there was another blade that I had missed.  The one for julienning veggies.  DOY.

If you don’t have a julienne cutter, The Pampered Chef has a julienne peeler for $10.50 that I’d recommend–it won’t take up a lot of space and does a fabulous job of julienning your veggies.  I got one and gave the other cutter to Goodwill because, well, you guys know I don’t even have room for my cake pans in this house, so I’m  not about to give up good space for a bulky cutting tool when I could just use Pampered Chef’s fabulous peeler!  Thanks, Tracy (my Pampered Chef consultant)!

Zucchini Spaghetti

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 links low-fat turkey Italian sausage, hot or mild
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 large cloves of garlic, minced + 4 more to season the oil
pinch hot pepper flakes (optional)
1 (14.5 oz.) can roasted diced tomatoes with juice
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 medium sized zucchini (9-10 inches long)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (for seasoning zucchini)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired

Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy frying pan, then add turkey sausage, squeezed out of the links, and use a spatula to break the sausage apart and cook until it’s lightly browned, about 5 minutes. When the sausage is browned, add 3 cloves of minced garlic, and hot pepper flakes, if using. Stir together and let cook with the sausage about a minute, then add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, fennel, basil, and oregano. Turn heat down to low and let the sauce simmer while you prep the zucchini.

Use a julienne cutter to cut the zucchini into long spaghetti-like strands. (Cut off the ends, wash and dry the zucchini, and then cut into julienne strands. You can also do this with a knife if you’re patient.)

Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat in a very large frying pan, add 3 whole garlic cloves and sauté until you can start to smell garlic, then remove garlic to another dish (you can discard it, but fried garlic cloves are delicious and you can add them to salad or even eat them straight!) Immediately add the zucchini strands to the hot pan and cook stirring a few times just until the zucchini is heated through, about 2 minutes. Season the cooked zucchini with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Divide between 2-4 plates, then ladle sauce over the top. Serve hot, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Recipe source: adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen, as seen on Debbi Does Dinner

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Cauliflower Colcannon

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I’m linking this post with the GreensLove bloghop.  If you are posting a recipe with any sort of greens this month, check it out and join the party!

A couple years ago I made lasagna and garlic bread for dinner on St. Patrick’s Day and happened to mention it in my Facebook status.  I don’t really celebrate the holiday, so it wasn’t on my radar, but one of my Facebook friends was like, “Hey! Where’s the corned beef and cabbage???”  I’d never made any sort of Irish-type food whether on St. Patrick’s Day or otherwise, and thought I just might try it the following year.

And so I purchased my first beef brisket last year.  It turned out to be the worst brisket in the history of briskets.  It. was. horrid.  I still shudder just thinking about it.  (80% fat, with a foul flavor.)  But, I also made this cauliflower colcannon, which was very good and ended up being the main course rather than our side dish.

The pureed cauliflower serves as a lower-carb, more nutritious replacement for the mashed potatoes that colcannon is usually made with.  I opted for kale instead of cabbage in my colcannon, but it would be good either way.  This made a mighty tasty dish, and a good alternative to traditional colcannon if you are going to be eating a high-calorie dessert afterward.  Kinda helps balance things out.  And I’m a Libra, so I’m all about balance.  Cauliflower Colcannon + 1 dozen Andes Mint Cupcakes = balance.  Right?  Right.  Let’s do this.

Cauliflower Colcannon

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 medium head cauliflower
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 lightly packed cups kale, cabbage, or other greens
½ cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
Milk or heavy cream for thinning, if necessary

Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat. Meanwhile, clean and cut the cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until very tender. Drain the cauliflower well and pat it very dry between several layers of paper towels, not allowing it to cool.

In the bowl of a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, 1 tablespoon of the butter, salt, and pepper until almost smooth. Set aside.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet and add the greens. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until greens have wilted and given off some of their water. Add the onions and garlic and cook one minute more. Stir in the cauliflower mixture and thin with milk or cream, if necessary. Serve hot with a pat of butter, if desired.

Sausage & Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Pie

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I created this recipe earlier in the year, when I was Somersizing, and not combining carbohydrates (other than from vegetables) with protein.  Although I was thinner during that time than I have been for years, it wasn’t sustainable for me.  I mostly chose to eat protein meals because those were the meals where fat was allowed, and therefore more fun.  If I wanted carbs, I had to eat carbs only and without any fat.  That was just way too boring, so I chose mainly protein/fats meals and ended up basically doing Atkins and calling it Somersizing. :)

Although I’m no longer keeping my carbs separate from fat and protein, I plan to make this casserole throughout the winter because it’s incredibly delicious and satisfying.  One thing I’m going to try next time is cooking 1/2 cup of onions with the sausage instead of using chives.  I love the chives, but I think a stronger onion flavor would be nice here.  I know fresh herbs are harder to come by in winter if you don’t have pots of them indoors or want to pay an arm and a leg for a little tiny bunch of them at the supermarket, so you can totally substitute dried–just use half the amount called for.

And for those wondering what movie the quote from yesterday came from, it was Herbie the Love Bug, in the scene where, during the race, Peter Thorndyke stops for gas at Chinese camp.  Fast forward to 8:00 to see the reference.

Sausage & Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Pie

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (3 lb.) spaghetti squash
8 ounces bulk sausage
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
5 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh cracked pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese

To cook spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to rake out the seeds. Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with oil. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees or until tender. Set aside to cool a bit. Rake the flesh from the shell and refrigerate in an airtight container until you’re ready to make the pie.

Cook sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat, breaking apart with spatula so you have crumbles. Stir in the sage and chives, then stir in the spaghetti squash. If the squash is very watery, you can cook the mixture a little to help it evaporate. Butter or spray a 9” deep dish pie plate with oil and spread squash mixture in dish. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper, then pour over the squash and sausage mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over the top and cook another 5 minutes, until melted.  Serve hot.

Chicken in Basil Cream

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My friend, Suzie, shared this recipe on Facebook a while back, and while all the recipes I’ve tried from her rock, this was one I never intended to make.  I make it a rule to shun or lighten all recipes that call for more than a tablespoon or two of heavy cream (except in desserts, of course!), but I recently went through a low-carb phase and ended up making a lot of yummy rich dishes during the two weeks I masqueraded as a carnivorous beast.  I’m usually not a big fan of meat in general, but my husband (the true carnivore between us) and I both loved this dish.

I have to say, the coating (a Suzanne Somers recipe) I used in place of flour on the chicken was tremendous.  I made extra so I could use it again because I’m imagining it encrusting pieces of white fish and think it would be great on any cut of meat.  It has tons of flavor.  Of course the basil cream was incredible, and a very good compliment to the flavor of the “breaded” meat.  One portion of this dish is satisfying enough that you shouldn’t need anything else besides some roasted asparagus or a salad…but if you don’t have to worry about your caloric intake, I hate you I think this would be great over linguine!

Although the low-carb phase was temporary, it reminded me that fat is not the enemy and can be included in my dietary plan, even in large amounts if I reduce calories in other ways, such as serving vegetables alongside this chicken instead of pasta and bread.  It is definitely worth scrimping on the carbs in order to enjoy a meal like this every so often!

Chicken in Basil Cream

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Bake & Fry Mix
1 cup minced onion
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bay leaves, crushed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Chicken and sauce
8 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 (4 oz) jar sliced pimentos, drained
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place minced onion in food processor fitted with blade attachment. Process one minute. Add remaining mix ingredients, except the cheese, and process another minute. Add cheese and pulse until combined. Place in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Add chicken to the bag and shake until every piece is coated. On medium-high heat, cook chicken in butter on both sides until juices run clear, about 10 minutes. Remove and keep warm. Add broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil over medium heat; stir to loosen browned bits. Stir in the cream, pimientos and basil; boil and stir for 1 minute. Reduce heat. Add the Parmesan cheese and pepper; cook and stir until heated through. Pour over the chicken and serve.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 544 calories; 41 g fat; 2.5 g carbohydrates; 0 g fiber; 36 g protein

Recipe source: adapted from Fast & Easy by Suzanne Somers and Suzie S.

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