Cauliflower Rice Ground Beef Casserole 

I have been very curious about this cauliflower rice business. As a Type 1 Diabetic, I tend to gravitate toward meals with lower carbs so I don’t have to take as much insulin; so this really intrigued me as a rice substitute. Rice is pretty high in carbs and long acting, both of which can spell trouble for Diabetics. When I do decide to eat it, it’s brown rice and in a very small quantity. With that being said, I loved the idea of a rice replacement that is low carb, especially since rice is such a versatile meal component. So I did a lot of research and figured out the method and gave it a whirl! After trying the cauliflower rice, I am proud to say I’m a believer and so is my husband and two young daughters (ages 2 and 5).  The only really negative thing I have to say about it is the smell of grated cauliflower is not great and even worse the next morning, so try and remember to take out your trash that night! Besides, that I really enjoyed it and you can spice it up anyway you want. The first time I made it, I grated the cauliflower with a cheese grater, but the second time, I bought “riced cauliflower” at Trader Joe’s in the produce section. I will probably just buy the bagged version from now on seeing as they’ve done all the work for you without adding any additives, at that! I hope you try it and like it as much as we do! Look for my post on Chicken Stir-Fry with Cauliflower Rice next! 

Ingredients: 

– 1 head of cauliflower, grated with the side you would use to grate cheese OR you can buy the “Riced Cauliflower” at Trader Joe’s. 

– 1 tbsp. Olive oil 

– 1 lb. ground beef 

– onion and garlic powder, salt, pepper, and seasoning salt, to taste 

– Worcestershire sauce, to taste 

– 1- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas 

– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 

Directions: 

For the Cauliflower Rice: 

– Begin by grating your head of cauliflower. Once grated move to a large area lined with paper towels and squeeze the water out of the grated cauliflower. 

For the Casserole: 

   Begin by browning your ground beef. Once browned, season the meat with your choice of seasonings. I used worstershire, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders. Add in the frozen peas and allow the peas to cook through. 

   Next, add the olive oil to a large pan and once heated add the grated cauliflower. Sauté the cauliflower for about 5 minutes and then put a lid on your pan and cook for another 5 minutes, just until the cauliflower is tender. Once it is cooked, add the ground beef and pea mixture and give it a good stir. Top with the shredded cheese and Place the lid back on and allow the cheese to melt. Once the cheese is melted, scoop the casserole onto plates and serve with a side of fresh fruit. 

FYI: you may notice in these pictures, there is a section that does not have cheese. My oldest daughter does not care for cheese so I left it off the top of hers! 

Mini Meatloaves 

Meatloaf. It can be done so well, but it can also be done horribly. I’ve had my fair share of successes and failures when it comes to meatloaves (more failures sadly), but this attempt came out really good and I’ll be making it again. I did not bake it in a loaf pan, but instead shaped mini loaves and baked them on a baking sheet. That way I was able to drain some of the fat off too. 

Ingredients: 

       (Meatloaf) 

– 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef 

– 1 egg

– 1/2 cup breadcrumbs 

– 1/2 cup diced onion 

– 2 tsp. seasoning salt 

– 1 tbsp. lemon juice 

      (Glaze) 

– 1/4 cup ketchup 

-1/4 cup brown sugar 

– 2-3 tbsp. Water to dilute the mix 

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350F. 

Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. 

In a medium sized bowl, combine all the meatloaf ingredients and mix well with your hands. Separate into 6 even sized balls, and shape into loaves. Place the loaves on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. 

While the meatloaves are baking, make the glaze. Combine the ketchup, sugar, and water in a small bowl. Stir to combine. 

After the 15 minutes is up, drizzle some glaze evenly over the meatloaves and put them back into the oven. Bake for another 15 minutes. 

Serve warm with mashed potatoes and veggies. 

  

Macaroni and Cheese with Ham 

I had leftover ham from Easter that I needed to use up so I found a version of Mac and cheese with ham and sort of made it my own. It came out really good and my whole family loved it. 

Ingredients: 

– 2 cups diced ham 

– 1 onion, diced 

– 3/4 box of bow tie pasta (or any pasta) or 2 cups cooked pasta 

– 2 cups cheddar cheese 

– 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 

– 2 cups whole milk 

– 1/4 cup butter 

– 3 tbsp. flour 

– pinch of salt and pepper 

Directions: 

Preheat your oven to 350F. 

Spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. 

Begin by heating up a pan and adding a tbsp. of butter. Add in the onion and diced ham. Cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Pour into a bowl and set aside. 

Cook the pasta. 

After the pasta cooks, add the butter to the pan you sautéed the ham and onions in. Once the butter is melted, add in the flour and whisk for two minutes constantly. Then, add in the milk slowly and continue to whisk. 

Next, slowly add in the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and whisk until the cheese is incorporated and begins to thicken. 

Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and then add in the ham and onion mixture. Give it all a big stir and pour into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with a bit more cheese and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the oven to broil and broil until the top is golden. 

Serve with a side of veggies. Enjoy! 

   
    
    
    
    
    
 

Cheesecake Bars 

These bars are so good and perfect for finger foods at a party. I love traditional cheesecake but enjoyed these bars for a fun handheld spin on cheesecake 🙂 

Ingredients: 

(Crust) 

– 3 cups graham cracker crumbs 

– 1/2 cup sugar 

– 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter

(Filling) 

– Three (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened 
– 1 1/2 cups sugar 

– 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla 

– 4 eggs 

– 1/2 cup sour cream 

(Strawberry Sauce) 

– 2 cups frozen strawberries 

– 1/2 cup sugar 

Directions: 

Begin by preheating your oven to 350F. 

Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with tinfoil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. 

Crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a small bowl. Add in the melted butter and stir to incorporate. Press moist crumbs into the foil lined baking dish, it’s ok if some come up the sides. 

Filling: Add the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time to the bowl and beat to combine. Add the sour cream and mix again. 

Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top. Bake for 50 minutes in your preheated oven. After the 50 minutes, turn off the oven, and open the door. Let the cake stay in the oven for an additional 15 minutes. Once the time is up remove and set aside to cool. 

While the cake is cooling, make the filling. Place the frozen strawberries and sugar in a pan and turn the heat to medium. Let the berries cook down and release their juices. Once the berries are soft, mash with a potato masher, I like to leave a few of the berries not completely mashed for texture. Turn off the heat and remove the pan. Allow to cool, then place the mixture in a Tupperware and refrigerate until needed. 

 

 
   
    
    
    
 

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 

These cookies were very good. At first I was skeptical with them not having the traditional cookie ingredients, but I had a massive jar of peanut butter I needed to use up, so have them a shot. They came out very moist, packed full of chocolate, and the peanut butter came through nicely. Everyone could not believe they were flourless, butter free, and white sugar free! 

Ingredients: 

– 1 cup creamy peanut butter (the original recipe called for Skippy or Jif and not natural or homemade because the natural peanut butters tend to make the cookies flatter and thinner) 

– 1 cup brown sugar, packed 

– 1 egg 

– 1 tbsp. vanilla extract 

– 1 tsp. baking soda 

– 1 cup semi- sweet chocolate chips 

Directions: 

Begin by combining peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla to the bowl of your stand mixer. Cream together until it is nice and incorporated and the texture is not grainy from the sugar. 

Add the baking soda and beat to combine. 

Add the chocolate chips and beat to combine. 

 Using a cookie scoop, scoop out dough and roll together in your palms, creating spheres. This helps the abundance of chocolate stay together in the cookie. 

Place balls on a large cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least two hours before removing the dough balls to bake. 

Preheat oven to 350F. Line another baking sheet with a silpat or wax paper and place the dough balls a couple inches apart. 

Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes or until you notice the edges getting slightly crisp. Even if the cookies seem soft in the middle, they will firm up once removed from the oven. You do not want to over bake these cookies or it will really ruin the softness. 

Allow cookies to cool on the cookie tray for about 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Enjoy! 

   
    
    
    
 

Lasagna 

I believe this was only the second time making lasagna in my adult life. I am kind of weird about cheese and do not care for ricotta, which has caused me to shy away from lasagna. My inlaws made it when they were visiting a few months ago and I actually really enjoyed it, ricotta and all! So I gave it a try and it came out pretty good. I served it with garlic bread and a Caesar salad. 

Ingredients: 

– 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage

– 1/2 lb. ground beef 

– 1/2 cup onion, diced 

– 2 cloves garlic, minced 

– 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes 

– 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste 

– 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce 

– 1/2 cup water 

– 1 tsp. sugar 

– basil, oregano, onion powder, parsley seasoned to taste 

– 12 lasagna noodles (I used the no-boil) 

– 1 (16 oz) container or ricotta 

– 1 egg 

– 3/4 lb shredded mozzarella cheese 

– 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 

Directions: 

In a large pan with tall sides, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until cooked through and browned. Drain the fat and return to pan. 

To the meat, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Stir everything together. 

Next add the sugar, basil, oregano, onion powder, parsley, taste and adjust accordingly. Stir to combine. 

Simmer, covered for at least 1 1/2 hours or longer. 

In a medium sized bowl, combine ricotta, egg, a bit more parsley, and a pinch of salt. 

Preheat oven to 375F. 

To assemble: grab a 9×13-inch pan and spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan. Place a single layer of noodles on top of the sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta mixture, and top with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layers and add Parmesan to the top layer. 

Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Place a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drippings that may fall. Remove foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before serving. 

   
    
    
    
    
 

Japanese Sweet Potato  Fries 

I have never liked sweet potatoes, and I have tried them a few different ways. Recently, I was served Japanese sweet potatoes at a friend’s house and was a bit skeptical at first, but oh my goodness they were good! I can now say that I like a type of sweet potato 🙂 If you have never seen or heard of them (I hadn’t) they have a purply skin with white flesh inside and are much milder than a regular orange sweet potato. You must give them a try! 

Ingredients: 

– 2 to 3 Japanese sweet potatoes 

– olive oil, coconut oil, or any oil you want for frying (I used coconut and olive oil) 

– salt and pepper 

Directions: 

Preheat your oven to 375F. 

Begin by washing and drying your sweet potatoes, then piercing them all over with a fork. 

Bake them in your preheated oven for 60-90 minutes, depending on size. The smaller potatoes will cook much faster, so just keep checking them after that 60 minute mark. 

Once they are done, remove the potatoes from the oven, slice in half, and place in the refrigerator. 

Once the potatoes are cooled, remove from the fridge. Remove the skins, and slice into strips, depending on how thick or thin you want your fries  

Heat up your oil of choice and let it get hot. Once your oil is heated, add the potato strips a few at a time. Fry your potatoes and flip over after 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove fries to a paper towel lined plate to soak up the extra oil. Season with salt and pepper. I served them with homemade burgers last week and it was divine! 

Enjoy!