Roasted Eggplant Lasagna

eggplantBake

I love Italian food and I’m a sucker for anything eggplant. The other day, my Swiss cousin said she making millefiore. I asked, “What’s that?” She explained it to me and my mouth just watered. We happened to be texting at midnight (which was about the time she was waking up) so I went to bed hungry. The next day, I ran to the grocery store and bought my ingredients for this tasty dish. I wish I could have eaten this for breakfast, but I waited till dinner before serving. And leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day!

She doesn’t put the ricotta-spinach layer so I couldn’t really call this millefiore. Instead, the best thing to call this dish is Roasted Eggplant Lasagna. No pasta, no flours, no sugar. It’s low-carb, gluten-free, wheat-free, vegetarian, and cheesy good! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

RECIPE

  • 2 large eggplant, sliced thinly (about 1/4″)
  • 1/2 bag of frozen chopped spinach (or use fresh spinach, chop first)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic
  • salt / pepper
  • 1 lb of ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1/2 c of grated parmesan and/or romano cheese
  • 1/2 grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 c spaghetti sauce (I used half a jar of Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil spaghetti sauce.)
  1. Preheat oven at 350*.
  2. Slice eggplant. and lay on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Salt eggplant and roast in oven till they turn brown. (About 15-20 min.) Set aside.
  3. While you are roasting your eggplant, you can sauté spinach with olive oil, garlic, chopped basil, salt and pepper. Let it cool. Then mix the spinach in with ricotta cheese, parmesan/ricota cheese and egg(s).
  4. Grease the bottom of an 8×8 square.
  5. Layer like a lasagna (eggplant, sauce, mozzarella, eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella, etc.
  6. Top with more tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake covered in foil for about 25 minutes. Remove the foil, and cook for another 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
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Cheesy Quinoa Salad

cheesyquinoaA few months ago, I went to an upscale deli and had this beautiful quinoa salad that was so delicious and flavorful. I didn’t know how to reciprocate it since I didn’t know all the ingredients used. But I decided to get creative and try to achieve something close. I call it Cheesy Quinoa Salad because, well, there’s cheese in it. Maybe I should have come up with a different name but, hey, my kids will eat anything that starts with “cheesy.”

This makes for a great gluten-free, vegetarian side dish with dinner or you can eat it by itself for lunch. Filling and tasty!

RECIPE

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of grilled asparagus, zucchini, steamed spinach (or whatever cooked veggies you may have)
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (Not the dry pre-grated that comes in a can but the one that comes fresh in a resealable bag or plastic tub. But you can really use any kind of cheese you prefer: Mozzarella, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, etc.)
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Cook your quinoa following the directions on the package. I cooked mine in my rice cooker using 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water.
  2. While that is cooking, grill or steam your vegetables, then rough chop them in to big bite size pieces. I like to see and bite into my veggies.
  3. After the quinoa is cooked, mix in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, the juice from the lemon, and salt & pepper. (You can add red pepper flakes if you want more heat!)
  4. Let the quinoa cool for about an hour, then add the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Add the tomatoes and stir.
  6. Add more olive oil, lemon juice, and salt & pepper depending on your taste.
  7. Serve as a side dish at room temp or cold.

“Corn” Dog Bites

corndogsMy favorite gluten-free food blogger, Michelle at GlutenFreeFix.com, strikes again! She made these low-carb, gluten-free “Corn” Dog Bites that both my kids enjoyed! So much so that I made it TWICE in a week! Although it doesn’t have corn in the recipe, the bread comes pretty close to tasting like cornbread.

I also made a cheese only option for my daughter who loves cheese. These are quite simple and fun to make. Perfect for a weekend lunch with the kids, an after-school snack or as an appetizer. I’m thinking of making these for Easter for the kids to eat while egg hunting. 🙂

RECIPE

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar or coconut nectar
  • 1/4 cup almond flour, firmly packed
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour, firmly packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3-4 hot dogs or string cheese (cut in 1/2 inch slices)
  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
  2. Whisk together melted butter, eggs and sweetener.
  3. Stir in dry ingredients. Then add in the shredded cheese.
  4. Scoop into greased mini muffin pans, about 1 tablespoon of batter in each.
  5. Place 1 hot dog or cheese slice in each muffin batter.
  6. Bake for 14-17 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Serve warm.

Chocolate Cheddar Cheese

Look what I saw at Trader Joe’s??? Chocolate Cheddar Cheese. What an interesting combination of flavors! The cheddar is sharp and the chocolate is dark. I thought it would be horrible but it actually tastes pretty good. Not sure if I’d buy it again but definitely worth a try. Probably something I’d serve as an appetizer / snack / conversation starter at my next gathering at home.

Bacon Breakfast Sandwich

This Bacon Breakfast Sandwich MADE MY DAY! I prepared this last Sunday when my husband said, “Let’s get breakfast at McDonalds.” Well, HE can go right ahead, but I want something guilt-free, low-carb and made with love.

DIRECTIONS

  1. I took a piece of Flax Seed Focaccia Bread and sliced it in half. Toasted it.
  2. Fried an egg. Placed it lovingly on one piece of toast.
  3. Put a piece of sliced cheese on top of the egg while it was still hot so that the cheese can melt a bit.
  4. Topped it with a couple slices of bacon and the other slice of bread.
  5. Ooh… Ahh… Munch! (Repeat until finished.)

I am so glad that I now have a bread to bake and eat to make these delicious sandwiches, especially when I am craving salty and savory in the AM. (Beat that, Mayor McCheese!)

Nut-Thins and Pub Cheese

When I want a salty snack I love me some Blue Diamond Nut-Thins. It’s not low-carb but for some magical reason they don’t affect my weight. Maybe it’s because they’re made with almonds or pecans (and some rice flour). These crackers are light and crispy, and hit the spot when I need a quick snack. They come in many flavors and you can find them at most grocery stores. These are also great as an appetizer or finger food at parties. Top it with Pub Cheese or Hummus and BAM! Yummers!

The Protein Burger!

Today was an unbelievably busy day for me that I barely had time to eat lunch. But even if I only have time to grab fast food, I can still eat something that won’t affect my weight. And I’m not talking about a salad (Who here is sick of salad? ME!) I’m talking MEAT AND CHEESE! Maybe most of you know, but just in case you didn’t, In-and-Out has a secret (or not-so-secret) menu. They have items like grilled cheese, double meat, and 4x4s. My favorite burger to order is the good ol’ Double Double Protein Burger – Animal Style. Mmmmm! This is a lip-smacking, finger-licking, mouthwatering treat for me! Just look at the picture (I’ll give you a moment):

Let’s break this baby down:

  • Double: Two beef patties
  • Double: Two slices of cheese
  • Protein Burger: Wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun
  • Animal Style: with grilled onions

Basically, this burger is ALL protein with very little carbs. If you only have a small window of time to grab a meal, don’t despair. Look at the menu choices and see how you can make it work for you so you can enjoy food without the guilt.