Zucchini Stuffed with Pesto Beef

This is a low carb recipe.  

Ingredients

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 pound lean grass fed ground beef 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk organic celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons nut free pesto (made ahead)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup Romano Cheese
  • 1 cup marinara sauce (made ahead)
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

 

 

Pre-heat oven 375F.

Make the marinara sauce ahead of time. Shown here in a skillet. While the sauce is simmering on low start on the rest of the dish.

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To Prep Zucchini

Scrub clean. Half each zucchini lengthwise.  Hollow each seeded half with a spoon.  Chop the centers, and set aside.  They will be used in the meat mixture.

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Place the zucchini halves, face up, on a baking sheet, and place in the lowest rack of the oven and bake for 6 minutes.

Take them from the oven and set aside to cool till they are to be used.

 

For the Stuffing:

In a large skillet heat up the oil to sauté the onions with garlic, then add the zucchini centers and celery.  Cook through until the onions are translucent. 

Add beef.  With wooden spoon chop up the ground beef into smaller pieces.  Cook beef through till browned.

Add pesto, and mix in with grated cheese.

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Assembly

Fill each zucchini half with meat mixture.   

Place on baking sheet.

Top with a spoonful of sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.

 

Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes or until the zucchini is fork tender.

Enjoy!

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Cardone

The cardone, in English known as cardoon, is a celery stalk like thistle plant, that is related to the artichoke family.  The flavors are close to the artichoke as well, being that it is an earthy mellow flavor.

Fried cardone is a traditional Italian side dish that my family has always made for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and never sits around very long. The dish is unassuming but is spectacular in flavor and one of my all time favorites.

Prepping cardone to cook can be timely, but so worth it.

**To Prep you will need to blanch the vegetable;  Trim all leaves, peel the stalks, cut into four-inch pieces and boil them in salted water for fifteen minutes to remove any bitterness.

 

Fried Cardone

INGREDIENTS 
1 large stalk of prepped cardone
1 cup of flour
S&P to taste
EVOO for pan frying

1. Combine flour with s&p in a bowl.

2. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat.  If it’s too hot the flour will burn too quickly.

3. Flour the prepped cardone.

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4. Place as many pieces of cardone in the pan at once, adding more oil if needed.

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5. Brown on all sides till tender, then remove from heat. ** Clean the frying pan between each batch with a paper towel/clean tea towel to remove the fried flour between each batch, as to not burn the flour further.

Done!

Zucchini Rollatini

Zucchini Rollatini
2 large-sized zucchini, washed and sliced thin lengthwise
16 ounces ricotta cheese
6 Crimini Mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin (baby bella mushrooms)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Romano/pecorino, and three tbsp for sprinkling on top
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Need: 3 cups marinara/tomato sauce, a couple parchment paper covered baking sheets, 1 plate, and a 9×13 baking pan.

Pre-heat oven to 400F.

Slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin slices.  Place on parchment covered baking sheets.

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Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over zucchini slices. Sprinkle with salt. Roast till the veggies are pliable/slightly under fork tender, around 15 minutes.

Remove slices and allow to cool.. you may turn off the oven, or set it to 375F for the next cook.

In a large bowl, beat egg then mix the ricotta, parsley, Romano cheese, nutmeg, and salt/pepper .

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In the 9×13 pan-drizzle a tablespoon of oil then add a 1/2 cup of sauce, stir together. Set aside for the next step.

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Add the mushrooms to the remaining sauce, then set aside for next step.

*Preheat oven to 375F if you turned it off.

Grab a plate to start filling the zucchini slices.  Be gentle with the cooked zucchini; they can be fragile and tear easily.

Lay a zucchini slice across the plate, then smear a spoon of the cheese mixture across then roll up firmly.

Place the roll into baking pan, atop sauce, seam side down. Continue with remaining zucchini lining them up tightly in the pan.

Use toothpick if needed to keep rolled (then remove before next step).

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Evenly distribute the mushroom marinara sauce on top of the rollatini.

Cover with grated cheese and mozzarella.

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Bake for 35 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly, slightly browned and the zucchini are absolutely fork tender.

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DONE!   Zucchini Rollatini!

Poblano Roasted Tomato Salsa

Ingredients
  • 4 medium-sized vine ripe tomatoes, seeds removed
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and root end trimmed
  • 1 large poblano chili pepper, roasted (instructions below)
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Freshly ground pink Himalayan salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
Roast Poblano Peppers
  1. Preheat oven on LOW broil.
  2. Place whole poblano pepper on a baking sheet lined with tin foil into the oven.
  3. Cook till the skin is blistering.  Flip the pepper on all sides until completely blistered/charred.  Watch the poblano carefully so it doesn’t burn.
  4. Remove from the oven, let cool wrapped in foil.
  5. Remove skin.
  6. Cut in half, remove the top and all of the seeds.  Set aside

 

Making the salsa

  1. In a food processor, add all the ingredients: pepper, tomatoes, onions and garlic.
  2. Pulsate a handful of times to incorporate the ingredients together.  Add cumin and lime juice and let the processor run a minute to mix fully.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Refrigerate.

Pasta with Cauliflower and White Beans

Pasta with Cauliflower and White Beans
1 large cauliflower, washed and cut into pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 can white beans/cannelini beans
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup room temp water
a pinch of salt and pepper for taste

1 lb pasta, cooked

 

Instructions

1. Before starting, bring a large pot of water to a boil for your pasta. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.

2. In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, let heat through.

3. Add cauliflower. Stir, coating with the oil and garlic.  

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4. Add a 1/4 cup water, then add beans.

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5. Cook through till cauliflower is soft when poked with a fork, adding salt and pepper to taste.

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6. Toss with cooked pasta and Romano cheese.

DONE!

Pasta with Sausage and Spinach

Pasta with Sausage and Spinach

Ingredients

    • 3 Italian sausage links, removed from casings
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 2/3 cup of fresh baby spinach, torn by hand (or a rustic chop)
    • 1/4 cup room temperature water
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Grated Romano Pecorino cheese
    • 1 lb of your favorite pasta

 

Instructions

1. Before starting, bring a large pot of water to a boil for your pasta. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.

2. Remove casings from sausage, crumble by hand onto a dish.  Set aside.

3. In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, let heat through. Add crumbled sausage.  Cook sausage, crumbling it more with a wooden spoon, until it is cooked through. Turn heat down to a simmer. (at this point you should be close to an al dente cook to your pasta)

4. Add water, simmer until you see a yellowish hue to the sauce.

5. Add spinach, salt and pepper to taste.

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6. Add pasta to mixture; mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes, until pasta is tender, and sauce is absorbed.  Toss with cheese, then top for presentation.

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Done!

Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks organic celery, chopped 
  • 2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup room temperature water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2  28oz cans kitchen ready plum tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, fresh from mill

 

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Instructions

1 . Heat oil on medium in a large stock pot. Add minced garlic, stir, then add chopped onion, carrot and celery to the pot.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat well.

2. Add ground beef, a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Crumble the meat, stir well and cook until the beef is no longer red in appearance.img_4525

3. Stir in nutmeg.

4. Add wine, let simmer until evaporated.

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5. Add tomatoes, stir thoroughly. As it starts to bubble, add water, stir until incorporated into the sauce, turn the heat down to a low simmer. Stir often until the heat comes down to simmer.

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6. Cook, uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste to check salt and pepper preference, add if necessary.

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DONE!

How to… Roast Beets

I was given a nice bunch of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) veggies from my sister over 4th of July weekend.  Her friend is a member with a local farmer’s CSA and was going to be away, so she gave my sister her share this time.  LUCKY!  The amount of vegetables one can get through a CSA is overwhelming, and sometimes not exactly what you like or even recognize, but I love veggies and am happy with it all!  So, I was stoked when she told me she was bringing veggies over for me, and part of the lot contained beets!

MY FAVORITE!

But most people buy them already roasted or canned ready to eat…I usually only buy one brand, that is the Love Beets organic brand beets.  I highly recommend them, but if you can, I definitively recommend doing it yourself!  Everything is better when you do it yourself!  And this is too easy to not do yourself.

So here’s a quick walk through on how to roast your own beets.

 

How to… Roast Beets

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Clean beats by removing the stems and washing with cold water, scrubbing the rough dirty spots.
Lay a large rectangle cut of aluminum foil over a baking pan (I used a 9×13, my rectangle was 2/3 longer.).
Wrap beets each in a layer of foil. Then lay on top of the baking pan, covering with the overlap of the rectangle of foil.
Roast until beets are soft when pierced with a knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size. These beets took 1 hour.
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Cool beets in the packets they were cooked in; trapping the moisture inside the foil will help with removing the skin.
Once cooled, rub off skins (use a paring knife for tough spots).
Done!  Enjoy right away or place in plastic bag in the fridge for later.
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I love beets!

Beef and Barley Soup

Beef and Barley Soup
2 lbs beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
8 cups low sodium or no salt beef stock
2.5 cups tepid water
1 cup fast cook barley
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp low sodium soy
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 bay leaf

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

 

Over medium-high heat, heat up a large stock pot.  Add beef to pan; cook until browned, stirring frequently.

Remove beef from pan. Spoon out any left fat juices.

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In same pan, heat olive oil.  Add garlic, let sweat for one minute.  Add in carrot, celery, onion.  Let sweat while scraping the bottom of the pan with a spoon. Then add in 1/2 cup of water, and continue to stir scraping the bottom.  Cook until liquid almost evaporates.

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Add beef, remaining water, beef broth, herbs and bay leaf.

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Bring to a boil then add in tomato paste.  Add in soy. And add in mushrooms.

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Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally.

 

In a separate sauce pan, bring salted water to a boil; add barley.  Partially cook barley. Drain. Add to the beef soup.

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Cover and simmer until barley is tender. 

Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Discard bay leaf.

Ready to serve!

Pulled Pork

Finally, I have an easy recipe for pulled pork that anyone can handle!

Pulled Pork
4 lb pork butt or picnic cut (For this I used picnic cut)
4 cups water
2 cups orange juice
3 tsp salt

Cut the pork into large strips. About 3 inches long and 1 inch or more thick.

*Do not remove the fat!  This is essential in keeping the pork moist during this long cooking process.

Add pork strips to large stock pot, turning the heat on high.

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Add in liquids and salt.

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Bring to a rolling boil, then turn heat down to medium heat.

Allow to simmer for approx. 2 hours.

Do not touch the pot, let the meat cook without interruption.

After two hours, the juices/fats will have reduced dramatically.

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Turn heat a touch higher to continue cooking the pork through; stirring the meat till browned all around.  The pieces will start to fall apart on their own as you stir.

This process can take up to forty -five minutes.  All the meat will be browned, and the fat pieces that are no longer breaking down further can be removed.  All the liquid will be gone.

Pulled Pork

Closer up.

Pulled Pork