Thursday, October 30, 2014

Grain-Free Zucchini Lasagna (Recipe Revisit)

So here's the deal: I've been loving cheese a little bit too much lately, and I need to accept that it doesn't love me back. I have no problem living gluten and grain-free, but find it hard to omit the cheese.

While this usually isn't a problem for me, I've had a little flare-up of some autoimmune issues (partly due to life's stresses) over the past couple of months. I just need to get back on the wagon.

That might leave you wondering about THIS recipe then. Well, it's become a family favorite and I figured I might as well enjoy a few "last" cheesy meals before tightening things up again. This is an adaptation of Danielle from Against All Grain's grain-free lasagna, and it's just so, so good. I love to make this one for company, so if you don't do dairy ever or often consider it for a special occasion or entertaining.

And look for a break from the cheesiness this coming week ;)

Grain-Free Zucchini Lasagna (Recipe Revisit)
adapted from Against All Grain

breaded zucchini:
5 large zucchini
2 cups almond or coconut flour (I used a combination)
6 eggs
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

lasagna layers:
2 cups marinara sauce
3/4 pound ground turkey, beef or chicken
2 cups grated provolone cheese
2 cups ricotta
2 eggs
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Brown the ground turkey, then add to a large saucepan along with the marinara. Heat them together on low. In the meantime, prepare zucchini. Remove both ends of the zucchini, and use either a  mandoline or a steady hand to slice them into 1/4 inch slices.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place flour in a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the 6 eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Dip each piece of zucchini in the egg, shaking off the excess. Then dip and coat in flour and place slices on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, turning once. Lower oven temp to 350 when you remove the baked zucchini. Mix the ricotta, 2 eggs, salt, pepper, parsley and Parmesan cheese. v Spoon 1/2 cup of the marina sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish. Begin layering the zucchini, slightly overlapping each piece.

Spread another 1/2 cup of the marina sauce on top of the zucchini. Then, with a rubber spatula, spread 1/2 of the cottage cheese mixture over the entire pan. Top that layer with 3/4 cup of the provolone. Continue layering with zucchini, sauce, cottage cheese mixture, and provolone. End with a the layer of provolone cheese one top. The amount of layers will depend on the size dish you use. 

Cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for another 15 minutes to brown the top. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Paleo Spinach & Meatball Casserole

I love this dinner because it's a slam dunk with my kids, who don't even bat an eyelash at the amount of spinach they consume while eating it. It's got all of the flavors a classic baked pasta dish with one exception: NO pasta.

You can make this with any meatball recipe, but I can't recommend my pesto recipe enough. The meatballs are loaded with flavor and have the perfect texture. I usually make them with grass-fed beef (as I did tonight) but you can make them with spinach as well.

This dish does work without cheese, but my kids love the way it bubbles and crisps up on top under the broiler.

Paleo Spinach & Meatball Casserole

1 lb. ground protein of choice
1 medium chopped shallot
1 egg
1/2 cup homemade paleo pesto (this is my favorite recipe)
3 tbs. ground flaxseed
3. tbs almond meal
salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Mix all ingredients until well-combined. Form into 12 meatballs and place on cooling rack. Bake for 30 minutes or until no longer pink.

2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 medium chopped onion
3 minced garlic cloves
salt & pepper
12 oz. frozen spinach, defrosted
1/4 cup organic chicken broth
1/4-1/2 cup canned coconut milk
generous grating of fresh nutmeg

Wring out defrosted spinach in paper towels until most of the liquid is removed. Set aside.

Add olive oil to a skillet on medium-high. Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for one minute.

Add spinach, broth and coconut milk to skillet. Season with nutmeg and stir, cooking for another 2 minutes until thick.

remaining ingredients:
1 24-28 oz. jar of organic marinara
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)

Preheat broiler. Spread spinach out on the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Top with the meatballs. Spoon marinara over the top and sprinkle with cheese, if using.

Broil for a couple of minutes until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Paleo "Elvis" Green Smoothie

I created this recipe as an experiment of sorts. My son's favorite smoothie is what we've dubbed "The Elvis" due to its combination of banana, honey and nut butter. I made him the exact same concoction with spinach and avocado thrown into the mix, and in a blind taste test he couldn't tell the difference.

Yes, we conducted a blind taste test. That's how my kids and I roll, especially since we started watching Hungry Games together on Food Network (the show is all about the science behind eating and food, and features its own experiments and trivia).

Anyway, my point is that while some paleo purists aren't fans of smoothies, I personally love them. I also think they can be a great snack for kids, particularly when you sneak some good green stuff into the equation.

So with that said, here's my son's favorite smoothie gone green.

Paleo "Elvis" Green Smoothie 

1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
2 tbs. raw nut butter (or sunflower seed butter for nut-free)
1/2 ripe avocado
handful of baby spinach
2/3 cup coconut or unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp. raw honey
few drops of vanilla or almond extract (optional)
1 tbs. ground flax

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth.