Tag Archives: bell peppers

Perfect Time for Meatloaf

Photo: Italian-style meatloaf

Fall is here and the temperatures are beginning to drop a bit, so it’s time for another comfort food recipe. There’s nothing quite like meatloaf for a cozy and simple meal.

A few weeks ago, this delicious-sounding recipe made the rounds on Facebook. I decided I had to try it and, of course, make it low carb. With only a few changes to amounts and one real substitution, this meatloaf is delicious and lower in carbohydrates than the original. For the bread crumbs, I used one of my low carb sandwich rolls, but you can make a basic magic muffin, lightly toast it, then put it through a food processor to reduce it to crumbs. For the pasta sauce, I used Classico Vodka Sauce, which is about 8 carbs per half cup.

For a quick to make dinner with lots of Italian flavor, this meatloaf is perfect. It makes enough servings to leave a little extra for meatloaf sandwiches if you’d like.

Photo: Full shot of meatloaf

Italian-Style Meatloaf

1 pound Ground Beef
1/2 pound ground Mild Italian Sausage
1/2 cup Onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped Bell Pepper
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 Egg, beaten
3/4 Low Carb Bread Crumbs
1 T. Cream or Half and Half
1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cup Pasta Sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F.)

Heat a small skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and let it get hot. Add the onion and chopped peppers and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the ground beef and sausage along with the onions, peppers, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and cream. Mix together with your clean hands or a wooden spoon. Add 1/2 cup pasta sauce, Parmesan Cheese, and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella. Mix well.

Put the mixed meatloaf into a loaf pan or a deep baking pan about 9″x6″ and form into an even loaf. I used my Copper Chef Loaf Pan with an inset that allows for the excess grease to drain below the bottom, so I can get a nice crust and less oils on the bottom. But it isn’t necessary.

Spoon 1/4 cup of the pasta sauce on the top and spread it around. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. Pull it out and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Put it back in the oven and cook for another 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

Baking time may vary depending on how thick your loaf is. If you have a larger round but shorter than 3″ loaf, it may take less time, so check on it after about 25 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, it is done at 160 degrees.

Makes 6 servings.


Quick to Fix Garlic Cajun-Style Cod

Photo: Garlic Cajun Cod Fish

As I move through the heat of August, I am looking for less cooking in the kitchen and more salads. But an easy and quick cook meal I made recently was this spicy and delicious dish of one of the few kinds of fish I enjoy eating.

Cod is a sturdy white fish and takes well to this spicy seasoning. Use any Cajun blend seasoning to rub into the fish before you cook it in a skillet. The Cajun Holy Trinity of cooking includes bell pepper, onion, and celery. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any celery in the house, but feel free to add it to the dish.

Garlic Cajun-Style Cod Fish

2 fillets Cod Fish (about 4 oz. each)
1/2 Bell Pepper, sliced
1/2 Red Onion, sliced
1/4 cup Celery, sliced
4 tablespoons Butter, melted
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Cajun Spice mix

In a skillet, add oil and heat. Add onions, and garlic, and sauté for about 2 minutes, then add bell pepper and celery. Stir fry for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are just tender. Remove to a bowl or a plate.

Season cod with Cajun spices. Reduce heat under the skillet to a medium high, then add the cod. Cook about 4 to 5 minutes on each side until the cod is white all the way through. Add vegetables and stir together for about two minutes to warm them up.

Serves 2.

Nutrition Info

Meatless Asian Stir-Fry is Yummy

Photo: Broccoli and Mushroom Stir Fry

An Asian stir-fry is a great way to make a vegetable dish that is full of flavor and satisfying. Since meatless Monday allows seafood, you could add shrimp or white fish to this easy stir-fry, but I made it strictly vegetarian.

The biggest part of making a stir-fry dish is prepping all the food before hand. With this many vegetables, you need to get them all cut and ready to go. I split mine into groups — the onions, garlic, and ginger first, then the bell peppers. The next group has the vegetables that take longer to cook, broccoli, carrots, and Daikon. The last group is zucchini. Then add the liquid and thickener and cook before adding the mushrooms to cook a bit before adding the bean sprouts.

I used an Asian Chile paste for a spicy bite, but it is optional. Omit if you prefer a milder dish. You can serve this over riced cauliflower or lightly sauteed angel hair cabbage if you wish.

If you want a non-meatless version, add chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp to the recipe. Cook the meats either before cooking the vegetables or mid-way through the cooking, before adding the zucchini, by shoving the vegetables to the edges of the pan, adding a little more oil and putting the meat into to middle to quickly sear. Stir them in and continue the recipe. If adding shrimp, wait until you add the mushrooms as the shrimp will cook in about five minutes.

Broccoli and Mushroom Stir-Fry

Photo: Stir-fry in the pan

1 cup fresh Broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup Portobello Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup Onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Bell Peppers, sliced into strips
1 cup Bean sprouts
1/2 cup Daikon Radish, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup Zucchini, sliced or chopped
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Asian Chile Paste (optional)
1/2 tablespoon Corn Starch
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 tablespoon Ginger, shredded or use paste
2 tablespoons Garlic, minced
1 cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
1/4 cup Carrots, sliced into strips

Cut all vegetables as indicated and have them ready to go. Stir-fry comes together quickly.

In a wok or a deep skillet, add 1 tablespoon to heat, then add the minced garlic and onions. Stir and cook until they are fragrant, then add the sliced bell peppers and ginger, and cook a couple of minutes longer.

Add broccoli, carrots, and Daikon and stir to mix well. Cook and stir for about five minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes. Add the vegetable broth and soy sauce and stir into the vegetables. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the vegetables until almost tender.

Meanwhile, add about 1/4 cup boiling water to the corn starch and stir to dissolve. Add to the skillet and stir it around then add the mushrooms. Cook a few more minutes, then add the bean sprouts last along with the chile paste (if you are using). Cook about two more minutes.

Serve with riced cauliflower if you wish. Makes four servings.

Photo: Nutrition Information

Tastes of the Season – Asparagus Pinwheel Appetizers

For my second holiday party last weekend, I made these tasty little appetizers that are so easy to put together. If you want to be nice to non-low-carbers, you can make one portion with low carb tortillas and the other three with regular or flavored tortillas. I used the tomato spiced tortillas for mine for the party and made mine with low carb flour tortillas. Either way, these are a delicious and colorful snack.

Asparagus Pinwheels

Low carb version with low carb flour tortillas.

1 (8 ounce) package Cream cheese, softened
1 (1 ounce) package Ranch Dressing Mix
1 tablespoon Heavy Cream
1 Green Onions, finely chopped
4 large Low Carb Flour Tortillas
1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 cup Celery, finely chopped
8 to 12 stalks Asparagus, depending on the length
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Trim asparagus spears and par boil for 3 minutes. Drain and cool.

In a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, ranch dressing, and cream. Beat with a mixer until blended and smooth. Stir in the cheddar cheese.

Warm the tortillas to make them more pliable. Spread 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture on the tortilla, be sure to go all the way to the edge on the side that will be the end of the roll. Sprinkle 1/4 chopped onions, 1/4 peppers, and 1/4 celery evenly over the tortilla. Place two stalks of asparagus down the center of the tortilla, about 1″ apart. Make sure they go the full length. If they aren’t long enough, cut extra from the additional stalks you prepared.

Beginning at the side you did not spread to the edge, roll the tortilla tightly into a long roll and press the opposite side to secure with the cream cheese edge all the way to the bottom. If you didn’t get enough cream cheese on the edge, use a little extra on the edge to make it stick.

Wrap the roll tightly in aluminum foil. Repeat with the other tortillas.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Remove and use a bread knife to cut about 1/2 inch at each end off, then cut the rest into 3/4 to 1 inch slices. It should make about 10  slices per tortilla.

Arrange on a party tray and serve or refrigerate until ready to serve. Recipe makes 40 pinwheels.

Nutrition Information per pinwheel (based on 40):
Calories: 36.5 Fat: 2.9 g Net Carbs: 1.2 g Protein:1.7 g

Note: It helps to have a container of spreadable cream cheese handy in case you don’t have enough on the edges after you roll the tortilla.

Cheesesteak Casserole Variant

I am all about making food that tastes good and satisfies the palate and is pretty easy to make while still staying in the low carb zone. I have a recipe for stuffed bell pepper Philly Cheesesteak made with purchased roast beef.  Easy to make, but I thought it could be simplified even more and be easier to eat . So I came up with this casserole version that is absolutely delicious. I could eat this once a week and be happy.   This is prepared in a skillet and if you have a cast iron or other oven-ready skillet, then it can go from the stovetop to the oven.  Otherwise, you can put it in a deep dish pie pan or a casserole dish.

All the flavors of the cheesesteak are in this dish, except the bread. You could make a low carb pie crust if you wish and that would add about 2 net carbs to the total count. You can also vary this by using ham or chicken in place of the roast beef and it will still be awesome. I used smoky sharp cheddar slices on top and mozzarella in the mix, but you can use whatever cheese you prefer. You can also use thinly sliced steak for an different flavor.

Cheesesteak Style Casserole

8 oz. Thinly Sliced Roast Beef, ham, or chicken
6 Slices Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Cheddar or Mozzarella Cheese, grated
2 Large Bell Peppers
1 Medium Sweet Onion – Sliced
6 oz. Mushrooms – Sliced
2 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Garlic – Minced
Salt and Pepper – to taste

Preheat oven to 385 degrees (F.) Spray a pie pan or casserole dish with cooking spray or use a stove-to-oven skillet.

Cut bell peppers into strips or pieces. Slice onions. Cut roast beef, ham, or turkey into strips.

Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat. Add onions, peppers, and garlic. Sauté until peppers are softened. Add mushrooms and stir in then cook a few more minutes. Add salt and pepper, then add meat strips. Stir together and continue to cook another five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese.

Pour the meat mixture into the casserole pan if you’re using one.  Smooth with a large spoon to evenly distribute the mixture. Top with the sharp cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Information per serving:
Calories: 355 Fat: 26.7 g Net Carbs: 8.5 g Protein: 20.7 g