Tag Archives: Low carb

Zucchini Lasagna

If you love lasagna but don’t love the carbs, this dish is for you!!

Zucchini Lasagna Ingredients:
3 Medium Size Zucchini
4 cups spaghetti or marinara sauce (see below for link to recipe I used)
15 oz Ricotta Cheese
1 Bunch Fresh Spinach
1 Egg
2 cloves fresh garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh basil (finely chopped)
1 lb ground beef
8 oz fresh mozzarella
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella (or mixed Italian cheese)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tbls garlic powder
Fresh ground pepper

Zucchini Lasagna Method:

Pre-heat a gas grill to 350 degree.

Start by slicing the zucchini lengthwise in 1/4 in pieces. I use a mandolin but you can cut  these by hand if you don’t have one.


Salt the slices and set aside for 10 minutes.  This allows the moisture to come out of the Zucchini. Don’t skip this step or the dish will be moist and soggy. After 10 minutes, use a paper towel to pat each zucchini piece dry.


Heat a pot of water until boiling. Add the spinach to the boiling water for approximately 30 seconds. Remove and rinse under cold water. Press all the water out of the spinach using a paper towel and chop the spinach. Set aside.

Brown the ground beef along with basil and garlic. Drain after beef is browned add a cup of sauce, stir and set aside.


Combine the Ricotta, Egg, Garlic Powder and Spinach. Put in refrigerator until ready.


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the Zucchini on the grill and cook each side for approximately 2 minutes. This step pulls additional moisture  out of the Zucchini.

Place the Zucchini on a baking dish covered in a paper towel when done grilling and set aside.


In a 9 by 9 baking dish, add a cup of spaghetti sauce and cover the bottom with a layer of the Zucchini.


Coat the top of the Zucchini with another cup of Sauce and add a layer of the ricotta mixture, ground beef and shredded mozzarella cheese. add chunks of fresh mozzarella but use sparingly (as shown).

Repeat this for another layer. then top with another cup of sauce,  parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella and finish with fresh mozzarella.


Bake in the oven uncovered for approximately 50 minutes or until golden brown. I add a backing sheet on the second rack to catch anything that drips during cooking.  Remove and let stand for no less than 10 minutes. Slice as you would a lasagna and serve!!


Spaghetti Sauce Recipe:

Visit the link below for the spaghetti sauce recipe and method I used and for more great recipes!!!


Ciao, Mike!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

I have eaten Fra Diavolo sauce in restaurants and love the spiciness of the sauce. I’ve had it in many varieties including: over rigatoni, angel hair, with penne pasta and asparagus and of course the lobster Fra Diavolo that many of you may have tried.   Fra Diavolo literally means “Brother Devil” in Italian. I have no idea why the sauce got its name and I know it’s linked somehow to Michele Pezza (Michele is Italian for Michael!! -my name by the way!!), an Italian Guerilla leader from the 1700’s, but  that’s really all I know!   I’m sure I could find out why but just haven’t spent the time.   All I know is it’s delicious!! and versatile! If you chopped the ingredients in small pieces it could be the best salsa you have ever eaten!! You can eat this as a Shrimp appetizer as I’ve written, over any kind of pasta, or use your imagination! Maybe even as an omelet topping!!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo Ingredients:

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp Morton’s season salt (if you don’t have this use equal parts, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
3 garlic cloves, minced
dash of dried oregano leaves
3 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

Shrimp Fra Diavolo Method:

Toss the shrimp in a medium bowl with 2 teaspoon of Morton’s season salt and 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes. (this will make is spicy 4 on a 10 scale – add more for additional heat!)


Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat and add the shrimp.

Sauté for about a minute and continue cooking until they turn pink, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside.

Add the onion to the same skillet, add a teaspoon of olive oil to the pan and sauté until soft (don’t over cook, they will continue to cook).

Add the fire roasted tomatoes, wine, garlic, and oregano.  Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes or until thickened.  


Add the shrimp, and cook for about a minute. Stir in the parsley and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve as an appetizer or over any pasta you prefer!


Check out http://www.sundaywithachanceofmeatballs.com for more great recipes!!

Ciao, Mike!

Chicken and Vegetable Soup


When there is so much bad weather across the country there is only one thing to do….make soup!! And vegetable soup is my favorite. This posting is a real challenge for me because, although I’ve made vegetable soup many times, I’ve never used a recipe. So this time I made it and took notes and this is what I ended up with. I don’t think you can mess up vegetable soup if you keep things basic, but with a few easy techniques, it can be an amazing meal.  I only served this recipe to three people and two of them told me it was the best vegetable soup they have ever eaten! I was the third and I agree! Enjoy!

Chicken and Vegetable Soup Ingredients:
2 Chicken Breasts
48 oz chicken broth (low sodium)
2 cloves Garlic(minced)
1 Celery stock (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
1 medium onion (diced)
1 can whole tomatoes (14.5 oz can) – (chopped)
1 cup frozen peas, corn and green beans
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbls crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
Optional, but important: 1 tbls Morton’s Season Salt

Chicken and Vegetable Soup Method:

I am making the short version of this soup by using chicken broth. If you want to be adventurous, simmer a small chicken in a pot of water for 2 hours, pull the chicken out of the pot and let cool. Strain the broth and reserve the liquid and cool the chicken and pull the meat and replace for the chicken breast in this recipe. I did a poach on 2 chicken breast because it’s much quicker and does not compromise the taste.

Poach the chicken breast in a pot or pan by covering it and simmering for about 30 minutes or until the breast is 165 internal temp.


While the chicken is cooking cut up the  vegetables. I like traditional vegetable soup ingredients so I use celery, carrots, and onion. (Use what you like!)


I start by heating a dutch oven to medium/high head and adding the garlic for about 30 seconds, then adding the celery, carrots and onion. I sweat the vegetables on medium heat until the onions are clear. This is key to this dish: add the crushed red pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the chicken broth. Cook for 20 minutes on medium heat.


When the chicken is cooked through, remove it and let cool for a few minutes and chop into similar size as the vegetables and add all of the remaining ingredients including all frozen vegetables.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, add Morton’s salt and pepper. If you like a more creamy soup you can run an immersion blender through the soup for a minute , but I like it chunky with a bite!


Ciao! Mike.

Makin’ bacon!

A bad piece of bacon (yes, it’s possible) can ruin a dish as much as a good piece can enhance it!! I know this may seem basic, but bacon adds so much to many dishes that I don’t think it can be taken for granted. Bacon can be baked, microwaved, or cooked many other ways, but the best, most effective (in my opinion!), is to fry it, You could just throw it in a pan and fry it and it would be just fine, but I have found that if you spend time with it, care for it while it’s in the pan, you will get the best results.

The first thing you should do is select a good quality bacon. I Like the thick cut. It cooks more evenly and is much easier to handle. It can be more expensive, but I pick it up on sale. It keeps for months so why not?

Start by heating the frying pan on high for about a minute, then turn it down to medium/high. Add the bacon but don’t overcrowd it. 6-7 strips for a large size skillet. I added fresh cracked black pepper to mine! You will love it!


One key step is to turn the bacon as soon as it starts to fry. This stops it from curling and helps it to cook evenly!  (Add fresh cracked pepper again to get some great flavor!). Turn the bacon often to avoid burning and to ensure it cooks evenly. Don’t leave the stove. Be careful to ensure it doesn’t burn. (If you are lazy or busy doing other things, you can line a sheet pan with parchment and lay the bacon side by side and bake in the oven at 375 degrees’ – turn once about 8 minutes in and cook for 15-20 minutes-turning more often will get best results!, just like it is in a frying pan!).

When frying, move the inside strips to the outside to ensure even browning and crispness.

This step is key: only fry it until it starts to “froth”. You can see it in this picture!


Once they froth, remove them from the pan and let them sit on a paper towel for a few minutes! Turn them over when all are removed to minimize the grease!

Add the bacon to any of your favorite recipes. I added them to my turkey burger tonight! Low carb, delicious and flavorful!!


Ciao, Mike!