Cheesy Spicy Italian Sausage Casserole

plateI love dishes that can be anything: breakfast, lunch or dinner.  This one fits that description, plus it’s Keto Friendly!

Cheesy Italian Sausage Casserole

  • 1 Pound Mild Italian Sausage ( I use Johnsonville)
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 TBLS Dried Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 TBLS Parsley Flakes
  • 1/4 Chopped Yellow Onion
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Grated Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 TBLS Cajun Spice Blend (I use Zatarain’s)
  • 1 Cup Frozen Chopped Broccoli Rabe, Defrosted and Drained

Preheat oven to 375 and spray bottom of a 13 x 9 glass baking dish with olive oil spray.casserole

Sprinkle 1/2 of cheese then 1/2 of the broccoli rabe in bottom of baking dish and set aside.  In a 4 cup measuring cup, combine the eggs, heavy whipping cream, and Cajun spice and set aside.

Spray a medium skillet lightly with olive oil spray and break ground sausage apart into the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle the red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley flakes over the top of the sausage.  Brown the sausage over medium heat, stirring until browned but not cooked all the way through.

Layer the sausage over the top of the broccoli rabe in the baking dish.

Lightly spray the pan again with the olive oil spray and quickly saute the onions until translucent, then stir in the remaining broccoli rabe until just combined.  Layer over the sausage then give the egg mixture a quick stir and pour it over the top of the broccoli rabe layer.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Cook in the preheated oven for 25-28 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.  Allow to set for about 5 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.  Great with a dollop of sour cream!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information (15 Servings)

  • 109.3  Calories
  • 9.6 g  Fat
  • .5 g  Carbs
  • 6.13 g  Protein

Pepper-Jelly Cream Cheese Chicken

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When I am in a snacking mood, I adore spreading hot pepper jelly on crackers topped with cream cheese.  I don’t get to indulge in that guilty pleasure very often on my #KetoDietPlan, but I had a couple of tablespoons left in a jar of my favorite cranberry, pomegranate, pepper jelly and wondered why I couldn’t use the same combination with chicken, and still stay in my Keto guidelines, so I did.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Pepper Jelly Cream Cheese Chicken

  • 4 Skin-on, Bone-in Chicken Thighs (about 8 oz each)
  • 4 TBLS Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 3 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg (divided)
  • 2 TBLS Pepper Jelly (Any Flavor)
  • Olive Oil Spray

Preheat oven to 375° F and spray the bottom of an 8 x 8 Pyrex baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.

Using your hands (I wear disposable gloves) combine the  softened cream cheese, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and the spinach leaves in a medium bowl.

Place the thighs in your backing dish and gently lift the skin away from the meat to form a pocket sos you can divide the spinach mixture and fill each thigh with it.  Once you’ve filled each thigh pocket (A.K.A. Saddlebag LOL) spray the skin lightly with olive oil spray then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tsp of nutmeg & spoon 1/2 tbls of the jelly on top of each thigh.

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Bake for 40 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 165° – 180° F.  The higher the temperature the more the muscle fiber breaks down and the more tender your meat will be.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 1 Thigh)

  • 280 Calories
  • 19 g Fat
  • 7 g Carbs
  • 21 g Protein

 

Spinach Stuffed Chicken

thighsWhen I’m prepping for meals there is nothing that brings me more inspiration than chicken thighs.  There are so many ways to dress them up and keep them from being boring and they don’t take forever to cook!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Thighs

  • 6 Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs (about 8 oz each)
  • 3 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 375° F and spray the bottom of a 13 x 9 Pyrex Baking Dish with Olive Oil Spray.  Mix together your spices in a small bowl.

Toss Spinach with 1 TBLS Olive Oil and 2 tsp of your dried spice mix in a medium bowl.

Sprinkle each thigh with some of the spice mix and massage into both top and bottom.  Leave about 1 tsp of spice mix to sprinkle over tops at the end.

Gently lift the skin away from the meat and make a pocket for the spinach leaves.  Stuff each thigh with the spinach leaves until equally distributed.

Place the thighs in the baking dish and spray tops lightly with olive oil spray.  Sprinkle remaining tsp spice mix over thighs and put into preheated oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes divide the Parmesan cheese evenly between the breasts and put back into the oven until cheese is melted and begins to brown, about 15 minutes more.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 1 Thigh)

  • 306 Calories
  • 22 g Fat
  • 1 g Carbs
  • 24 g Protein

Angel Food Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Admittedly I prefer cooking meals to baking any day!  My desserts are never pretty. 😐  Regardless, I bit the bullet today and prepared to make something to take to a 4th of July BBQ tomorrow.  I thought about cookies, but wasn’t in the mood for something so labor intensive, then came upon a long forgotten boxed angel food cake mix in my cupboard.  The “best by” date had admittedly passed, but since the only added ingredient was water, I decided to give it a shot… #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Angel Food Cupcakes

  • 1 Box Betty Crocker Angel Food Cake Mix
  • 1+1/4 Cups Water

Add water to cake mix in metal or glass bowl and mix on low 30 seconds then medium for 1 minute.  Divide batter between 24 paper lined cupcake pan holes and put pans into a preheated 375° F oven.  Bake for 18 minutes, or until tops are browned and not sticky to the touch.  Remove from oven when done baking and cool on wire racks until ready to frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 Ounces Cream Cheese
  • 12 TBLS (3/4 Cup) Room Temperature Butter
  • 1+1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 4+1/2 Cups Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar

Put butter, vanilla, and cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat on medium speed until well combined.  Reduce speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated then turn speed to medium and whip until frosting is light and fluffy.

Frost each of the cupcakes & enjoy!  Keep in refrigerator.

Nutrition Information (24 Servings)

  • 236 Calories:  70 Calories (Cupcake)     166 Calories (Frosting)
  • 8.28 g Fat (All from the Frosting)
  • 38 g Carbs:  16 g Carbs (Cupcake)     22 g Carbs (Frosting)
  • 2 g Protein:  1.5 g Protein (Cupcake)     .65 g Protein (Frosting)

Cheesy Keto Cauli-Grits

I like a big breakfast and thought that living a Keto Lifestyle limited my breakfast choices.  A little experimentation corrected that notion.

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Truth be told, I failed miserably on my first attempt at this recipe.  I envisioned a perfectly browned patty that resembled hash browns on the outside but inside had the creamy deliciousness of cheesy grits.  Not so much.  The ingredients were fine, it was that I thought using a lightly oiled cast iron pan would give me the results I wanted.  Instead I ended up with a burned mess that was impossible to turn.  Strike One!

The second attempt though nailed it!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Cheesy Keto Cauli-Grits

  • 2 Cups Shredded Cauliflower
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt

Tip:  I used my Vitamix to pulse the cauliflower down to rice sized crumbles.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a food processor, blender, or Vitamix, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, salt & pepper, and cauliflower.  Process until combined but not completely smooth.

Scoop the mixture (about 1/4 cup) into mounds about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.  Lightly press each mound down to about 1/2″ thickness.

Bake in 350° oven for 18-20 minutes, or until tops turn golden brown.  Remove from oven and leave on baking sheet to cool for 5 minutes.

Serve alongside scrambled eggs and bacon for a perfect Keto breakfast, or alongside beef, chicken, or fish for a perfect dinner side dish.

Nutrition Information per Patty (8 Servings)

  • 83.25 Calories
  • 7.2 g Fat
  • 1 g Carbs
  • 3.32 g Protein

Keto Flatbread & Lemon Tahini Sauce

My next post is going to be for Chicken Shawarma, but I was really sad that, in order to really enjoy it I’d need to cheat with a high carb Pita and Tahini sauce.

After doing some research and taking a couple of tries in the kitchen though, I discovered that making an acceptable Keto flatbread to host the deliciousness of the flavorful chicken dish, kebabs, or any other Middle Eastern delicacy isn’t that hard at all!

flatbread

Keto Flatbread

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 Cups (6 oz) Shredded Full Fat Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1+1/2 Cups Finely Ground Almond Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until they are light and frothy then add the salt and baking powder in, making sure to mix well.  Mix the mozzarella in with a spatula.  Add in the almond flour and mix everything well.

Wearing rubber prep gloves, put some oil on your hands and continue mixing with your hands, then separate the dough in 5 equal balls.   Flatten each section of dough into a disc and spread them out on a piece of parchment paper.  Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the flattened discs.

Use a rolling pin to flatten each disc further until they are about 5-6 inches in diameter.

Transfer the dough and bottom piece of parchment to a sheet tray, sprinkle with dried thyme, and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  When the flat breads have finished cooking, remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool.

TIP:  Flatbread will keep 3-4 days in the refrigerator in a zip bag, or can be frozen for 3 months.

lemontahini

Lemon Tahini Sauce

  • 1/3 Cup Sesame Tahini – I use Kevala Organic Sesame Tahini
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Crushed (2 tsp jarred crushed garlic)
  • Juice of 1 Medium Lemon
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • Ice Water
  • 1 tsp Freshly Chopped Parsley

Put garlic in a small bowl and cover with the juice of 1 lemon.

Let sit for 5-15 minutes until the raw flavor of the garlic goes away.  Add the tahini to a blender or small food processor, or use a handheld immersion bender in a tall and narrow jar.

Add the garlic/lemon juice blend, the parsley, and the salt, and blend for a few seconds.  Add some ice water(about 2-4 tablespoons) while blending and keep going until the texture is smooth and creamy.  If you need to add more water, do so. If the tahini gets too loose, add more tahini.  Check the seasoning and put in the refrigerator in a sealed container until needed.

The tahini sauce will last for 5 days in the refrigerator but can’t be frozen.

Use the flatbread as your base to build your kebab or Schwarma plate and dress with the tahini sauce.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Foolproof Cauliflower Crust

If at first you don’t succeed…listen to the experts and get a pizza stone if you don’t have one.  I got mine at Pampered Chef, but this Weber 8836 with the carrying tray is a great one too:

Next, find a video how-to on Epicurious.com.


Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Tomatoes & Mozzarella

  • 1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound), coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan (about 3 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup finely ground almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella (about 5 ounces), divided
  • Vegetable oil (for brushing)
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Arrange a rack in middle of oven; place pizza stone or inverted (if rimmed) baking sheet on rack. Preheat to 425°F.
  2. Working in batches if needed, pulse cauliflower in a food processor fitted with the blade, or grate using the medium holes of a box grater, until fine crumbs form and are rice-like in texture. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and tightly squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible.
  3. Mix cauliflower, egg, Parmesan, almond meal, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl until mixture holds together when pinched.
  4. Line pizza peel or second baking sheet with parchment paper; generously brush with oil. Form cauliflower mixture into a 12″ circle with your hands on parchment. Using a rolling pin, make thickness as even as possible. Carefully slide parchment onto preheated pizza stone or baking sheet.
  5. Bake cauliflower crust until golden brown and firm to the touch, rotating halfway through, 20–22 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with 1 1/4 cups mozzarella. Top with sauce, using the back of a spoon to spread over cheese. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella.
  7. Slide pizza back onto pizza stone or baking sheet and continue to bake until bubbly and browned in spots, 5–7 minutes. Top with basil and red pepper, if using. Let sit 5 minutes, then cut into 6–8 wedges.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat