No Noodle Lasagna

Here is a way to lower carbs, add in vegetables and create a gluten free lasagna  – take the noodles out and exchange for sliced butternut squash.  This recipe came about when I purchased butternut squash instead of spaghetti squash.  Once again I put into practice thinking outside of a recipe idea and utilized what I had on hand.  In the end I was happy with the results;  Jeff said he would eat it again and so it made the cut for the site.

No Noodle Lasagna
Lowering the carbs by removing the noodles and replacing with sliced butternut squash
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Ingredients
  1. 2 medium cooked butternut squash, cut in slices
  2. 1 lb ground turkey
  3. 1 jar Spaghetti or Marinara Sauce
  4. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  5. 1 tsp ground oregano
  6. 2 cups of shredded mozarella cheese
  7. 1/3 cup of parmesan shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. Using the oven, Instant Pot or crock pot cook squash (See cooking instructions below.) Let cool. Peel. Use the long end and slice in 1/4" slices. (Save the hollow end for another recipe). Place in layers on paper towel to absorb moisture)
  2. Brown ground turkey. Add in sauce, cinnamon and oregano and combine. I know the cinnamon seems odd but it tastes good.
  3. Preheat over to 375 degrees.
  4. Spray small casserole with olive oil spray (if using a 9X12 pan - this recipe should be doubled). Also spray a piece of aluminum foil that will cover your pan. This will help the cheese not stick during baking.
  5. Putting lasagna together - Use all ingredients except parmesan cheese. There are three different layers: the saucy meat, the squash slices and the mozarella cheese.
  6. Place a layer of the saucy meat, then the squash, then half of the mozarella cheese. Repeat.
  7. Cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Change oven to broil.
  9. Uncover the lasagna and sprinkle parmasan cheese on top. Place under the broiler. Watch carefully as the top of the lasagna browns - this usually takes less than 5 minutes.
  10. Now the hard part: Take out of the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
Deliciously Inspired http://www.deliciouslyinspired.com/

I used to make my own sauce all the time but there are some good pasta sauces out there that can save on effort and time.  Costco carries a good organic sauce.  The one pictured above is from Sprouts and is very good but not organic.

Regarding the butternut squash – here are some resources on how to cook ahead of time.  You could try slicing and putting in the lasagna without cooking but I would be concerned about the moisture from the vegetable making the casserole soggy.  Packaged and in the refrigerator for another dinner later in the week – an egg roll stuffing mixture.   

Cooking butternut squash in Oven – Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.   Cut squash in half lengthwise,  Using a spoon scrap out seeds.  Place butternut squash halves on a large baking sheet flesh side up. Brush the flesh side of each squash with a little olive oil.  Roast 50 to 60 minutes, until flesh is fork-tender. 

Cooking butternut squash in Crock Pot

Cooking butternut squash in Instant Pot

Dinner is Served

Please let me know if you have any questions or I need to provide more clarification.

 

 

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Instant Pot – Amazon Deal of the Day


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Oh Instant Pot – how do I love thee? Here is my why? – it helps me cook nutritious food in less time.  No one is more surprised than me to hear myself say this about a pressure cooker – I was fearful of what I knew about these pots of the past but I have successfully made rice, steel oats, teriyaki chicken, beefy lentil chili, whole chicken, roast, pinto beans, quinoa, cheesecake, caramel sauce, soups, yogurt, etc successfully.  No more watching rice so it doesn’t bowl over.  I can cook something and keep it warm for up to 12 hours.  I can saute my onions, etc in the same pan.  It has a slow cooker feature (haven’t used that).  It also has 10 safety features.  I bought mine when it was offered on special but knowing what I know now – I would pay full price for this appliance. I don’t say that very often.  No longer do I fear cooking with pressure – in fact, it’s taken some of the pressure of preparing meals off.

Depending on what model you decide on – this appliance has other features beside being a pressure cooker…slow cooker, saute, etc.

To Order – Click Here 

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Caramel Cupcakes

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This weekend a group of my daughter’s friends gathered items (in lieu of a baby shower for our new addition that is due in November.  My daughter decided she didn’t need anything for the baby since this is #3) and wanted to put together 20 Love Bags.  These bags will be given to foster children who are removed from homes for various reasons and arrive with only the clothes on their backs.  

Items were removed from sacks, laid out on the kitchen island and we began walking around filling the bags with toothpaste, a toothbrush, baby wipes, a blanket, Kleenex, coloring book, crayons, a photo album and a storybook.   We saw the truth of how something bigger than ourselves had become a reality.   It is the hope that these bags will not only be a comfort to the children but also the families that are taking in these little ones.

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After we had completed our project we talked, laughed, shared and, of course, ate.  One of the items I served was a Caramel Cupcake.  I was a bit challenged because I wanted to make sure my daughter, who needs to avoid eggs, could enjoy them.  The solution was found by substituting the egg with milk (I used almond/coconut milk) and apple cider vinegar.  We also had Monster Cookies, Almond Joy Bites and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Caramel Cupcakes
A caramel cupcake with caramel frosting.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  2. 1 ½ cup almond milk, unsweetened or (your choice of milk)
  3. 2 cups white spelt flour, (or your choice of flour)
  4. 3/4 cup white sugar
  5. 2 tsp baking powder
  6. ½ tsp baking soda
  7. ½ tsp salt
  8. ½ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  9. Caramel Liquid Stevia - 6 to 8 drops
  10. Caramel Frosting
  11. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  12. 3-4 cups Powdered Sugar
  13. 1/3 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  14. 8 Kraft Caramels, unwrapped
  15. Caramel Liquid Stevia, 6 drops
Instructions
  1. CAKE
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Line two-12-cup muffin pans with muffin cups. Spray lightly with a coconut oil.
  4. Combine the 1 1/2 cup almond milk and vinegar into a 2-cup measuring cup and whisk together. Let sit 5 minutes until curdled (little bubbles will appear on top).
  5. Add stevia in liquid mixture.
  6. In large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  7. In a separate bowl whisk together the almond milk mixture, oil and stevia.
  8. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and mix well.
  9. Fill the cupcake liners about 1/2 full. (Do not overfill)
  10. Lightly bang pan against counter to even out batter.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes back clean, approximately 15-20 minutes.
  12. Cool in pan on a cooling rack.
  13. Make frosting below.
  14. When cool – Top with frosting and sprinkles, caramels and chocolate.
  15. Caramel Frosting
  16. Place caramels in microwave-safe dish with milk. Heat in 20 second increments, stopping to stir until well combined. Add in liquid stevia
  17. Place butter in the mixer and whip until smooth.
  18. Add in 2 cups of powdered sugar.
  19. Add in caramel milk mixture.
  20. Continue to add sugar until frosting is the consistency you desire.
Deliciously Inspired http://www.deliciouslyinspired.com/
We hear about so much bad in the world but there are many who are doing what they can to spread kindness to our hurting world.  We live in a world that strives to have our focus remain on the yucky instead of the good. I have been blessed lately by seeing the generation of my daughter stand up and create good – and I am encouraged.  “Do not let kindness and truth leave you.  Bind them around your neck and write them on the table of your heart.”  Proverbs 3:3

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Frosting Done

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Ready to Decorate

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Here are my favorite items for making cupcakes.  

Kitchen Aid Mixer – I would consider going into debt if this kitchen tool broke but I’ve had mine for over 25 years and it’s still going strong.

Rachel Ray Cupcake Pans – I recently replaced my worn-out pans with these and enjoy how easily they clean up.  PS – They are on sale.

Cooling Racks – It is important to cool your cupcakes down before frosting – a cooling rack helps speed the process.  Tip:  I often bake my cupcakes the day before I decorate.  After they have cooled, i place in my cupcake storage containers and refrigerate.

Cupcake Storage Containers – These are my favorite holders because the tray can accommodate 12 regular size cupcakes or 24 miniature cupcakes or be removed entirely to hold a batch of cookies.  They also stack on top of one another.

Disposable Frosting Bags – These are worth the money – cuts down on clean-up.

Frosting Decorating Tips – I am not an expert on decorating but these large tips make my cupcakes better than my skill level.

Large Tip Decorating Coupler – This is made up of two piece – one will go inside the bag and the other will hold your tip onto the outside of bag and connect everything together.

Go to the Thrift Store and buy a cylinder vase or use a large drinking glass.  Place bag in vase/glass, fold the edge over vase/glass.  This makes getting the frosting into the bag much easier.

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