Sunday, February 21, 2010

Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna

Hey Foodie friends,

I’ve been struggling a bit with which food direction I would like to go. I would like to lose a few extra pounds and achieve my long desired muscle definition goal. Most research says to dump the carbs and “beef” up proteins in order to kick your metabolism into gear. WELL…I grew up in an Italian family and asking me to give up carbs is like asking me to cut off a limb. So, in short I’m making a few tweeks to our diet. I hope you guys enjoy the ride with us and maybe get a bit closer to your fitness goals too.

Our favorite First Grade teacher shared a Low Carb lasagna recipe with us and to say I was excited to make it would be putting it mildly. I made a few changes to the recipe, actually only the sauce. I/we loved this recipe, even Kerri, our favorite seventh grade teacher, who is not a zucchini fan loved it. And I will have to admit, although don’t tell my mom, I didn’t miss the pasta.

Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna

Recipe adapted from: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Low-Carb Meals


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 (15oz.) can tomato sauce (I made a marinara with turkey sausage and ground turkey which can be found HERE)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I used Chimichurri instead and that can be found HERE)
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 2 tsp. rosemary
  • 1 ½ c ricotta cheese
  • ½ c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ lb. zucchini, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices
  • 4 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Brown ground beef in a large skillet and drain.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, garlic, basil and rosemary.
  • Heat to boiling.
  • Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes.
  • Mix ricotta, ¼ c Parmesan and egg in small bowl.
  • In 9x13 inch greased baking pan, layer zucchini, cheese mixture, meat sauce, and mozzarella. Repeat. Sprinkle ¼ grated Parmesan on top.
  • Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Let stand 20 minutes before serving.
  • Slice into 8 servings.

Friday, February 12, 2010


My son, the chocoholic, is on the couch recovering from his latest surgery. In addition to making sure he is taking his pain medication and that the other kids are letting him rest, I made him one of his favorite treats, Éclairs! Instead of filling them with custard these are filled with chocolate cream! YUM!

Pastry Ingredients:

1C Water

1/8 tsp Salt

½ C Butter

1C Flour

4 Eggs


  • Bring to a boil the water, salt and butter.
  • Add the flour and stir until a ball forms. This happens very quickly.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Stir the eggs in one at a time until they are fully incorporated.
  • pipe onto a lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 400 until golden brown and puffy.

Chocolate Cream filling Ingredients:

Heavy Whipping Cream

Powdered Sugar

Cocoa Powder


  • Add all ingredients and whip until firm peaks form.
  • pipe into pastry shells.

Chocolate glaze Ingredients:

½C Semi Sweet Chocolate chips

2 Tbls Butter

1C Powdered Sugar

2 Tbls Boiling Water


  • Melt the butter and chocolate together over low heat.
  • Add the boiling water and sugar.
  • Stir until smooth.
  • Dip or drizzle over éclairs.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes

It’s Barefoot Bloggers time. Barefoot Bloggers are a community of bloggers that get together twice monthly to make, eat and post about Ina Garten’s recipes. Today’s recipe was chosen by Jamie of Jamie’s Green Kitchen. Jamie chose Coconut Cupcakes, which can be found in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook or on the food network site.
I make coconut cake often; in fact I’ll be making a bunny shaped coconut cake here in few weeks for Easter. Anyway, I make them often but never do I add the coconut into the batter so I was excited to give her recipe a try. I followed her recipe with the exception of the cream cheese icing, which I didn’t use due to the refrigeration requirements and the fact that I will be giving away most of the cupcakes. I was not overly impressed with these cupcakes. I found them to be a bit dry. They had a “commercial” taste to them. I don’t really know how to describe them except that I think many of the box cake mixes are better than this recipe. SO, there you have it, my review. Sorry it’s not more favorable.

Ina Garten’s recipe



  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:


  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Decadent Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake!

Looking for a yummy and easy Valentine dessert? Well I have one! This Cheesecake is so simple to make and not all that time consuming. It turns out perfect each and every time too! Just remember to cut a small piece; you don’t want your Valentine to be passed out in a coma.


From” Better Homes and Gardens “

  • 18 chocolate graham cracker squares, finely crushed (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Peanuts (optional)(I didn't add these)


1. Preheat oven to 300 degreesF. Combine crackers, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press into bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan; set aside. In bowl beat 1 package cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in peanut butter and 1/4 cup sugar until combined. Fold in 1 lightly beaten egg; set aside.

2. In saucepan stir chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cube remaining cream cheese; add to chocolate. Stir to combine. Stir in milk and vanilla until smooth. Fold in 2 lightly beaten eggs. Spread half the chocolate mixture into pan. Carefully spread all the peanut butter mixture over layer. Evenly spread remaining chocolate mixture.

3. Bake 45 minutes or until top is set when lightly shaken. Outer 2 inches of the top will be slightly puffed and dry-looking; center will look darker and wet. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Use a small sharp knife to loosen crust from sides; cool completely on rack. Cover; chill 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with peanuts. Makes 16 servings.