Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tropical Parsnip Cake

So... cake probably isn't the first thing you think of when you hear "parsnips". 
Am I right?
I mean... parsnips are all "look at me I'm a long tuberous root vegetable" .... not exactly dream dessert material.
That is.... until now.
Now you can take their pale little bodies of oddness and turn them into cake. 
Cake is always good.

Tropical Parsnip Cake

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2/3 cup coconut flakes
2/3 cup craisins
2 1/2 cups grated parsnip
2 cups pineapple tidbits, drained

1 brick cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups icing sugar

24 pecan halves 
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray, set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, applesauce, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla until well combined.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut flakes, and craisins. 

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just mixed. Stir in the parsnips and pineapple, again, until just mixed. 
Spread into prepared pan.

Bake in 350 oven until top is well browned and  toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, about 45 - 55 minutes.

Let cool on cooling rack before frosting.
Prepare frosting: In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until creamy and smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Gradually beat in icing sugar until you reach the proper consistency for spreading. (*If it is too thick you may need to add a bit of milk to thin or more icing sugar to thicken*)
You can either frost the top of the cake in the 9 X 13 pan OR run a spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake and then invert the cake onto a serving platter and then frost the top and sides of  the cake. (I did the latter.)

I decorated my cake with the 24 pecan halves so it would be easier to cut 24 pieces of cake the same size. I also sprinkled about 1/4 cup chopped pecans on top (basically because I'm terrible at frosting cakes and sprinkling them with nuts covers all mistakes.)
Of course, the pecans are optional. 

In case you haven't guessed it yet... this parsnip cake is just a different take on a carrot cake. 
A deliciously different take. 
A few notes:
I used toasted coconut AND regular coconut (that's why it look odd in the photo up above of the ingredients).
Don't like craisins, use raisins.
Don't like cream cheese frosting (umm...what? Is that even possible?) then use a vanilla buttercream or a browned butter buttercream.
Don't have coconut oil, use regular oil.
We hope you give it a try - especially if you are looking for something a little different! It's a moist, dense, delicious dessert that will have everyone asking for the recipe. 
Be sure to check out these fantastic linky parties - Ms. enPlace, The Chicken Chick, Flamingo Toes,

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna & Cauliflower Garlic "Breadsticks"

It does not get much better than this.
I mean... it's healthy, it's delicious, it's easy to make, it looks pretty, and it's overall just a fantastic meal. 
You would never guess you weren't eating "real" lasagna. 
Okay... the cauliflower breadsticks aren't going to fool anyone BUT they are still tasty in their own right. 
That lasagna though.....

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

1 medium spaghetti squash
(Yield approx 4 cups cooked squash)
salt & pepper
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup spaghetti sauce + 2 Tbsp
2 cups light Ricotta cheese
1 cup light mozzarella cheese, shredded & divided
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded & divided

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Season with salt and pepper.

Now, you can either place them on a cookie sheet and roast them in the  oven for about an hour OR you can place them on a plate and microwave them for 10 - 15 minutes. You just want to cook them long enough that you can easily shred them with a fork.
When they are done, shred the squash into a bowl and set it aside. You will need about 4 cups for this recipe. (You can use more, of course, but I used 4 cups to figure out the nutritional counts)
In a medium frying pan over medium heat, cook the turkey, onion, and garlic until turkey is completely cooked. Stir in the 1 cup of spaghetti sauce and remove from heat.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the Ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese. 
Prepare lasagna - In the 9 X 13 pan spread the 2 Tbsp of spaghetti sauce.

Spread out half of the spaghetti squash evenly in the pan.

Now spread half of the Ricotta cheese mixture. (It helps to spoon the mixture over the whole pan and then spread it with the spoon.)

Lastly spread with half of the meat mixture.

Now repeat the layers one more time. Spaghetti squash, cheese mixture, meat mixture.
Top with the remaining 1/4 cup of Mozzarella cheese and 1/3 of Parmesan cheese. 

Pop into a 350 oven and cook until lasagna is bubbly, about 45  minutes to an hour. 

Let sit for 5 minutes and then serve.

It is soooooo good. 
Want some even better news?
According to Myfitnesspal one serving is 393 calories, 20 carbs, 20 fat, 3 fiber, and 35 protein. (Recipe makes 5 servings)
That's like HALF the carbs of "regular" lasagna and a few less calories too. 
It freezes very well too. I portioned it into containers and froze it for my lunches at work. A few minutes in the microwave and it is just as good as right out of the oven. 

Now, what goes better with lasagna than garlic toast?
How about some low carb, low cal cauliflower garlic toast?

Cauliflower Garlic "Breadsticks"

1 medium head cauliflower, shredded
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1/2 cup light mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
salt & pepper

Garlic Parmesan Butter
2 Tbsp butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp garlic salt

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the shredded cauliflower into a large, microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 4 minutes and then stir the cauliflower. Microwave another 2 - 4 minutes, until cauliflower is softened.
Let cool. (You can speed this process by placing in freezer for 10 minutes.)
Stir in the minced garlic, egg, mozza cheese, and spices. 
Pat into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake approximately 20 minutes at 400 - until top is nicely browned.
Carefully flip the cauliflower crust over and continue to cook another 10 minutes. (I place another piece of parchment paper onto another cookie sheet and then invert the one cookie sheet onto the other.) 

Stir together the Garlic Parmesan Butter ingredients in a small bowl.

Carefully spread the butter mixture over the cauliflower crust. (If it seems to be tearing the cauliflower crust simply microwave it for a few seconds to melt it and then it will go on much easier!)

Place back in oven and turn on the broiler. Cook until cheese is bubbly. *Keep an eye on it*
Remove from oven and carefully- using the parchment paper - slide it onto a cutting board. 
Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting.

According to Myfitnesspal one serving is 143 calories, 8 carbs, 9 fat, 9 protein, 3 fiber. 
I cut the crust into 16 slices so 1 serving is basically 3 slices. 

It goes very well with the lasagna.
The entire meal was 530 calories, 28 carbs, 29 fat, 44 protein, 6 fiber. 
Not too shabby for a hearty, healthy, and (most importantly) delicious dinner.

You could totally fool the family into eating this lasagna and they will never guess it is vegetables. Like I said earlier, the garlic bread may be a harder sell, but it is still tasty and buttery and garlicky like garlic bread should be. If you are watching your carbs or calories or even doing gluten free then this is definitely a meal you want to try. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chocolate Chip Mint Overnight Oats

It's official.
Dessert is now for breakfast. 
These ever-so-tasty overnight oats are double chocolate, double mint and double delicious.
According to Myfitnesspal a serving is 310 calories, 46 carbs, 10 fat, 17 protein, and 7 fiber. 
Whaaat whaat!
It just does not get much better than that. 
If you've already tried our PB&J Overnight Oats, Cinnamon Bun Overnight Oats, and our Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats, then you will want to give these a try. 
If you aren't a chocolate-for-breakfast person then give them a try for lunch or dinner or dessert. 
You know you want to. 

Chocolate Chip Mint Overnight Oats

1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup 1% milk
1/3 cup 0 fat, plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp cocoa
2 pkg Stevia
1 tsp ground flax
1/8 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/2 Tbsp Mint Chocolate Chips, chopped

In a small mixing bowl, combine the oats, milk, Greek yogurt, cocoa, Stevia, flax, and peppermint extract.

Stir until well mixed.
Stir in 1 Tbsp of the chopped mint chocolate chips. Pour mixture into a serving bowl or mason jar. Top with remaining 1/2 Tbsp chopped mint chocolate chips. 

Cover and chill in fridge for at least several hours.
Ready to serve when oats have absorbed the liquid.

Good luck fighting the urge to just dive into the bowl. 
So chocolaty and minty. Just like Thin Mint cookies. 
Looking for lots of fun and fabulous links? Check out these linky parties - The Chicken Chick, Ms. enPlace,  Memories By The Mile, Simple Life or a Fire Wife,

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sue's Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I know, I know, naming something after a person doesn't really help to let you know what the dish is about. I only decided to name this after myself because I was stumped as to what to call it.
Delicious Chicken Lettuce Wraps would've totally worked but, again, isn't very helpful letting you what the dish is about. 
Anyway, let's get past that.
These are sooooooo simple you won't even believe it.
Oh... and did I mention how tasty they are.
I'm pretty sure these are going to be your family's new favorite dinner thing for a while.

Sue's Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chicken & Marinade
4 chicken breasts (boneless/skinless), cut into 1 inch pieces
2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp Garlic Chili Sauce
1 clove garlic, minced

cucumber, diced fine
smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
toasted sesame seeds
green onion, diced
lettuce leaves (from 1 medium to large size head)

In a seal-able container (big enough to hold the chicken breasts), stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, garlic chili sauce, and garlic until well combined. Add in the diced chicken and stir to coat.

 Refrigerate at least several hours, up to overnight. Chicken will appear much darker as it soaks in the marinade. 

When chicken has marinated, heat a large frying pan over medium - high heat and cook chicken until done. Cover and keep warm while you prepare the rest of the wraps.
To prepare wrap - place a lettuce leaf on your serving plate. Top with a good spoonful of the cooked chicken. Sprinkle with some of the cucumber, almonds, sesame seeds, and green onions.
Repeat until all the lettuce and filling has been used up. 

Serve immediately.
We used iceberg lettuce but Romaine or such would work too.  
They have just a nice amount of heat from the Garlic Chili Sauce!
Another plus - this recipe is easy to double or even triple if you wanted to serve these during game day or a party. 

NOTE - these are also good the next day. I brought Jo the leftover wrap ingredients in separate containers. She kept them in the fridge, including the leftover chicken, and brought them to work the next day.
She then simply layered them in the lettuce leaves at work the next day. Apparently they are just as delicious cold too. She could have heated the chicken in the microwave too but she decided to just try them cold. 
We are sharing at this fun linky parties - be sure to stop by and check them out! - Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons, My Turn (for us), Hun... What's For Dinner?,  Anyonita Nibbles

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cinnamon Bun Overnight Oats

Welcome to the world of breakfast decadence.
Overnight oats are my new favorite thing. Seriously... you can eat all these wonderful flavors of chewy and creamy goodness and it's GOOD FOR YOU. 
Not even lying.
(Be sure to check out our other overnight flavors - PB & J Overnight Oats, Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats.)
This version tastes just like a cinnamon bun. For realz. 
A big, ooey gooey, cinnamon and cream cheesy cinnamon bun but for only 243 calories, 42 carbs, 4 fat, 17 protein, and 4 fiber. (According to Myfitnesspal)
Feel free to indulge!

Cinnamon Bun Overnight Oats

1/3 cup 0 fat Greek yogurt (plain)
1/3 cup 1% milk
1/3 cup oats
1 tsp flax
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp 95% fat free cream cheese
4 pkg Stevia Sugar Twin

In a small bowl stir together the Greek yogurt, milk, oats, flax, and brown sugar until well mixed.

In another small bowl (OR I use the measuring cup from the yogurt, etc..), stir together the cream cheese and Stevia.

Take half of the cream cheese mixture and stir it into the oat mixture.
Then, place the oat mixture into a bowl (or mason jar). 
Take the remaining cream cheese mixture and drizzle it on top of the oats. (I put mine in a little Ziplock bag as I find it easier to do.) 

Cover and place in fridge overnight - at least 8 hours. 
It will be ready to serve as soon as the oats soak up the liquid and soften. 

Can you hear that?
That's the sounds of your taste buds singing for joy. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Barley Paella

It's snowy and cold.
I know, I know...... it's January - what did I expect, right?
I could go for a Jamaican vacation about now. 
BUT.... since that is not going to happen anytime soon.... I will stay in and eat Barley Paella to keep myself all warm and comfy.
I saw this recipe over at Eat Good For Life and had to give it a try. I made a few changes to the recipe to suit what ingredients I had and what my hubby and I prefer. (Sue here, by the way)
This is so easy to make and everyone that tried it LOVED it.
I used Chinese sausage as I didn't have dried chorizo (in the original recipe HERE). I can't wait to make it again with some chorizo to see how different it is. 

Barley Paella
(Slightly adapted from Eat Good For Life)

2 Chinese sausages, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 onion (large), chopped
1 head garlic, chopped
2 carrots, cubed small
3 cups barley (not cooked)
1/4 cup tomato paste
5 - 7 cups chicken broth
2 cups shrimp
2 cups scallops
salt & pepper

green onion (optional)

In a 6 quart Dutch oven (or very large pot), over medium high heat, cook the sausage until almost cooked through. Add in the olive oil, Italian seasonings, onion, garlic, and carrot and cook and stir about 5 to 7 minutes - until veggies are softened.
Add in the barley, tomato paste, and 5 cups of the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until barley is tender. **NOTE - you will need to keep checking the barley to see if you need to add more chicken broth.  (I ended up using about 7 cups in total over about 30 to 40 minutes of cooking time.)
When the barley is tender - add in the shrimp and scallops and salt and pepper to taste. 
Stir until all is heated through.
Serve hot. 

Easy peasy, right?
Soooooooo good. 
And, I know it's not the lowest in calories or carbs BUT it is full of essential amino acids, protein, and fiber.'s super filling, hearty and comforting - perfect for a chilly January dinner!
We're sharing at these fun and fabulous linky parties - Dizzy Busy & Hungry, Mama Buzz, Nap Time Is My Time