Ricotta Cheese Dip

On Friday of last week, I knew I wanted to make something fun for a snack to celebrate the weekend, but couldn’t decide what. Harris Teeter, a local grocery store in NC, had ricotta cheese on sale that week, so I had a big container of it in my refrigerator. Ever since we had giant clumps of ricotta cheese on our pizza at Alino Pizzeria in Mooresville, the girls and I (and Anthony too) love having ricotta on hand to add to certain meals!

I started looking up recipes on Pinterest for bruschetta-like baguettes with ricotta cheese as the base, but instead, I came across a bunch of different ricotta cheese dip recipes and knew that was the way I wanted to go!

The recipe I followed for the most part was from This Happy Mommy. Next time I make ricotta cheese dip though, I think I am going to roast two heads of garlic in the oven instead of using minced garlic, and maybe add some parmesan cheese in as well! But, here is what I did this time and it was really good!

Mix together (just with a spoon) ricotta cheese, egg whites, salt, red pepper flakes, parsley, minced garlic and lemon juice.

Then, drizzle olive oil on top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes and then broil it for 3-4 minutes.

I probably could have broiled mine longer, but since I used crunchy baguettes for dipping, less broiling was totally fine!

While the dip was cooking, I cut up my baguette, and then while I let the dip cool down, I put the baguette slices right into the oven on broil and they browned up in just a couple of minutes!

All four of us enjoyed this dip, so it is definitely kid friendly! I actually sprinkled extra red pepper flakes on my bites because I like it more spicy. If you are making it for just adults who don’t mind the spice, add a couple more tablespoons of red pepper flakes!

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Ricotta Cheese Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  2. Mix (just with a spoon) ricotta cheese, garlic, egg whites, parsley, red pepper flakes and salt in oven safe dish

  3. Drizzle olive oil on top

  4. Bake for 20 minutes and then broil for an extra 3-4 minutes or until browned on top

  5. Serve with baguettes, crackers or veggies 

 

 

 

 

Low-Carb Southwest Cauliflower Rice

I love using vegetables to make low-carb options for dishes that aren’t otherwise low in carbohydrates! When using riced cauliflower, I usually turn it into a pasta type dish by adding ricotta cheese and sauce, but when I was out of pasta sauce, I changed it up and made up a really tasty dish! I am sure there are other similar recipes out there, but as I was making this, I just used what I had on hand and added random ingredients as I went, and it turned out so yummy!

First, I sautéed onion and garlic until tender.

Then, I added a frozen bag of riced cauliflower and cooked that until tender also.

I threw in some salsa, black beans, shredded cheese, shredded rotisserie chicken, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes, mixed it all together and that’s it!

I topped it with some avocado and put some sour cream on the side and it was a really filling meal! It also only took about 10 minutes total to prep and make, which is a big thumbs up in my book!

It may not look very pretty, but it has a TON of flavor! 

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 12oz bag frozen riced cauliflower
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 cup cooked chicken I shredded a rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes optional

Instructions

  1. Sauté onions and garlic until tender  

  2. Add frozen cauliflower and cook until tender 

  3. Add Salsa and black beans and stir together 

  4. Add cooked chicken and shredded cheese, stir again 

  5. Season with salt and pepper (red pepper flakes, optional) 

  6. Top with avocado

  7. Serve with sour cream on the side 

 

Low-Carb Breakfast Casserole

A long time ago, when I talked about food prep, I mentioned this breakfast casserole. I love to make it for the girls and I (Anthony is not a big breakfast eater during the week, but he likes it too!) because I can make it in advance and it can be reheated in the microwave each morning.

This recipe (like most of the ones I post) is very flexible. I will tell you what ingredients I chose, but you can really add whatever you want to this casserole. I mean, don’t add cookies or anything, but any kind of veggie, sausage or cheese will be just fine!

First, I sautéed some onion, zucchini and squash in a pan with salt and pepper until browned a bit.

Then, I whisked together 6 egg whites and 2 whole eggs. I used the egg whites to cut out some calories, but you could use all whole eggs if that’s what you like.

Sometimes I buy the pre-cooked sausage (pictured below), but other times I buy one pound of breakfast sausage and sauté it in a pan until browned.

I mix the eggs, sausage, veggies and about 1/2-3/4 cup of shredded cheese in an 8×8 dish and add a little salt and pepper.

Then I just pop it in the oven on 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes and that’s it! To make sure it is done, do the toothpick test in the CENTER of the casserole. The sides will cook and brown a little first, but make sure you cook it until the center is cooked through.

You can prep the casserole the night before and then bake it in the morning, or you can cook it right away and just reheat the pieces in the microwave each morning.

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Low-Carb Breakfast Casserole


Ingredients

  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage (or a package of pre-cooked breakfast sausage)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

  2. Chop veggies and sauté them with salt and pepper in a pan until browned  

  3. Sauté sausage in a pan until browned (Or buy pre-cooked sausage and skip this step) 

  4. Whisk together 6 egg whites and 2 whole eggs 

  5. Combine whisked eggs, sausage, veggies, salt and pepper in an 8x8 dish

  6. Stir in 3/4 cup of shredded cheese

  7. Bake for 20-30 min or until a toothpick comes out clean from the CENTER of the casserole 

  8. Enjoy! 

Because my kids also enjoy this breakfast option, I do not add red pepper flakes when I prepare it, but I do add them to my piece when it is done and ready to eat!

I hope you all enjoy this as much as we do!

What is your go-to breakfast?

Low-Carb Pepper Nachos

Is it Friday yet!? Monday, I was backing out of the driveway to go to the Y and got a flat tire. DISCLAIMER: I do not consider myself a great driver. When I drive our truck I park where no one else is, just in case! However, I have never been in an accident or been pulled over (knock on ALL THE wood!). I did lose TWO mufflers while driving, but that doesn’t count (just really really weird). Anyways, there were workers for the basement here and one of the guys had their lunch box kind of over the line I usually drive on, so I cut the wheel a little more than usual and my front wheel just caught the ditch. Anthony had to change the tire, which made him late to a meeting. Not a fun morning.

Then I go to get a replacement tire and they are on back order for 8 weeks and no one from here to Tennessee seems to have one, so I ended up having to get 4 new tires! My Jeep has 5,000 miles on it so we didn’t want to trade in 3 perfectly good, brand new tires. We kept the 3 and will get the 4th eventually, so we have basically a brand new set when we need them again. But that was my first really expensive OOPS!

Back to the pepper nachos…

We have been trying to eat low-carb during the week, and this is a perfect family friendly meal! Hailey wanted to take a picture of all the peppers!

I had little helpers with cutting them too!

Start with five peppers and cut each pepper into sixths. Minus one or two that the girls and I may have eaten as we prepped, we had about 28 little pepper boats for nachos.

Preheat the oven too 400 degrees. Sauté onions and garlic in a pan.

Then, brown one pound of ground turkey in the pan with the onions and garlic, and after browned, add a can of diced tomatoes and a packet of taco seasoning.

Fill the peppers with the turkey mixture and add desired toppings. We added cheese, olives and jalapenos on some for me!

Since we put onions and tomatoes in the turkey, we didn’t need to add much, but there are a ton of options for toppings: cheese, tomatoes, onions, black olives, jalapenos, black beans, avocado, cilantro, bacon…and probably so many more!

Bake for 10 minutes.

We served ours with sour cream on the side and then it was time to dig in!

Hailey loved them and finished her whole plate and some!

Aurora also ate a ton and was as messy as ever. She had some cottage cheese on the side because I wasn’t sure how many peppers she would eat, but she did really good!

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Pepper Nachos

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 peppers any color
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  2. Cut peppers into 6 small pieces per pepper

  3. Lay peppers on a cookie sheet with either parchment paper or cook spray

  4. Sauté onions and garlic in a pan

  5. Add ground turkey to the pan and brown

  6. When browned, add diced tomatoes and taco seasoning

  7. Top peppers with turkey mixture

  8. Top with cheese and other desired toppings

  9. Bake for 10 min

  10. Serve with a sour cream and enjoy!

I hope you all enjoy these as much as we do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italian Stromboli

Over ten years ago, when I still lived in Pennsylvania, a friend of mine would make an awesome Stromboli for football games, poker nights, etc. It was such a crowd pleaser that when I moved to North Carolina, I started making it for events as well!

I make it for fantasy football drafts, football Sundays and sometimes just on random Tuesdays because Anthony and the girls love it! Let’s get to it!

I buy this dough in the freezer section.

It comes with three loaves so you can put the extra in the freezer for next time! I take it out the night before, spray cook spray in a large bowl, add the frozen dough and cover it with plastic wrap. If you are making it earlier the next day, just leave it out on the counter so the dough with rise overnight. If you are making it for dinner the next day, then put it in the fridge overnight and then put it out on the counter to rise early the next morning.

You can also buy already thawed and ready pizza dough of course!

The most frustrating part for me is rolling the dough out. Flour the surface you are rolling on generously, throw some flour on the dough as well and roll your little heart out! You just have to be okay with it not being perfect!

There is no real order to layering your Stromboli. I do it differently every time, but this is what I did this time! I started with ham and provolone cheese.

Then I added my garlic powder, Italian seasoning, Italian dressing and diced white onion. If my kids weren’t eating this, I would add red pepper flakes as well. That pretty much goes for every recipe other than sweets that I will share!

Then comes salami.

Add some mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced.

And some pepperoni.

Then fold it up very carefully. I usually roll it twice and then fold the open side in until it’s closed.

Spray your cookie sheet with cook spray and then either brush the top with olive oil or egg wash and finish it with some Italian seasoning.

Bake on 350 for 25-35, until golden brown.

Serve with pizza sauce and dig in!

**I don’t usually measure my ingredients, but in the recipe below I will give you an estimate of how much of each ingredient I use. If you want it super cheesy, add more cheese. If you don’t like ham but really like pepperoni, take out the ham and add more pepperoni…you get it!

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Italian Stromboli


Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pizza dough
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 lb ham
  • 1/4 lb pepperoni
  • 1/4 lb hard salami
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 8-10 slices provolone
  • 1 tbsp Italian dressing
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1 tsp olive oil

pizza sauce for dipping

Instructions

  1. Roll out dough using the flour

  2. Layer ham, pepperoni, salami, mozzarella, provolone, Italian dressing, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and diced onions

  3. Fold Stromboli and transfer to cookie sheet with cook spray

  4. Brush on olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning

  5. Bake on 350 for 25-35 until golden brown

  6. Enjoy with pizza sauce for dipping

 

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Many months ago, at a birthday party, a friend of mine made an amazing pasta salad. I’ve had the recipe since then and finally decided to make it over Memorial Day weekend. It was a hit so I decided to share it!

The original recipe came from Little Spice Jar and here it is.

I want to start out by saying that I measured nothing. When I think of a pasta salad, I don’t think of being precise. Add more of what you like and take out anything you don’t like!

I boiled about 12 ounces of pasta.

I used two different kinds just to get rid of what I had open already.

While the noodles were cooking, I cut up the marinated artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes.

I also cut up the Kalamata olives, parsley and scallions, and rinsed the capers.

When the noodles were done, I combined all those ingredients in a big bowl, mixed them together and put them in the refrigerator until it was time to mix everything at the end.

Then I made the dressing, which includes basil pesto, olive oil, oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

I put that in the refrigerator until it was time to serve the pasta salad.

When it was time to serve, I added arugula, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and the dressing to the bowl, mixed it all up and I was done!

So good! It’s an easy make-ahead pasta salad that you can assemble in a couple minutes before you want to serve it.

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Mediterranean Pasta Salad


Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 12 ounces marinated artichokes
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil but drained
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup scallions
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons oil from jar of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package

  2. Chop artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, scallions and parsley.

  3. Rinse capers

  4. Combine pasta, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, scallions, parsley and capers in a big serving bowl (Refrigerate if not ready to serve)

  5. Combine basil pesto, olive oil, oil from sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl to make the dressing (Refrigerate if not ready to serve)

  6. Add arugula, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and dressing to the big serving bowl with your pasta and other ingredients and stir to combine.

  7. Enjoy!