Low-carb Enchilada Casserole

We have adjusted very well to our low-carb lifestyle. I do get asked if I miss carbs. It’s a loaded question. If I place emotion on food, then yes I’d say I miss it. But, I don’t miss how I felt. I don’t miss being overweight despite working out 6 days a week. I don’t miss feeling like crap, that’s pretty much what it comes down to. Plus, I’ve adjusted a lot of recipes to work for us and there are TONS online, so many bloggers cooking and baking low carb, it’s hard to feel like I’m missing something.

This is a lazy enchilada casserole. I used to make it with tortillas and corn. This one replaces the tortillas with poblano peppers and just recently I added a few sheets of the Fathead dough, recipe found here. No corn at all. The Fathead dough can be used for so many things! It does have carbs, but it’s low.

Low-carb Enchilada Casserole

Ingredient list:

  • Poblano peppers, leave whole without seeds and stem
  • Ground beef, turkey or chicken. Whatever your preference.
  • Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, Pepper jack cheese, again preference.
  • Ro-tel tomatoes. I buy the brand at Aldi, it’s the lowest carb I found.
  • Fathead crust. I made 3 sheets for my 8×8 pan.
  • Cream Cheese. Philadelphia is the lowest carb I’ve found.
  • Salt, pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, taco seasoning. Whatever you like to use.
  • 8×8 pan
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Guacamole (optional)
  • Salsa (optional)

Check your brands. So many off brands add carbs, even if it’s the full fat version. I don’t quite understand that. Also, some name brands are higher than store brand. I check constantly for something better.

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Here’s the carb count of the Philadelphia, less than 1 carb so we round up. The Kroger brand I was buying had 3 carbs per serving.

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Start by roasting the poblano peppers. You can do this in advance to save time. I buy these several weeks during the month, we use them a lot. They can be roasted and frozen whole (minus the seeds and skin) or pureed for all kinds of recipes. Mostly not spicy. I did buy one batch that was!

Here’s how I roast my peppers.

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I already had Fathead dough made, in the fridge. I usually double this recipe when I make it. It freezes well. Just throw it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds to warm it up so you can roll it out.

No, it’s not perfect. :)

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Here it is out of the oven! Watch it closely, it will burn quick. I start mine at 5-6 minutes.

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On the stove top, cook your meat, add ro-tel and cream cheese, cook until it’s melted. I did use 1.5 packages of cream cheese last time. Depends on how much sauce you want. If you have a larger family you may want to double this whole recipe.

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So yummy!

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Next, grab your 8×8 dish and all your ingredients to start assembling. Start with Fathead dough on the bottom, layer the meat sauce, peppers and cheese.

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This is what I mean when I say leave it whole, in “sheets”.

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Now cheese. This time I did pepper jack in the casserole.

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Now continue your layers. I topped it with monterey jack slices since I ran out of shredded pepper jack.

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Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Everything is hot and cooked, it just needs to set up. I turned the broiler on at the end to get some color on the cheese.

enchilada done

I served it with a salad this time. Guacamole, sour cream and salsa go great with this dish! If you have family members not watching their carbs, give them tortilla chips. I’m sure that would be tasty!

It may not be pretty, but it tastes good!

enchilada

We love our Tex-Mex food and I am so happy to be able to convert some of our favorite recipes!

Do you have a favorite Tex-Mex recipe?

Are you low-carb?

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Our low-carb life

I’ve touched a little bit on John and I eating low carb. Some people think we are crazy but it also surprises me how many people are eating this way and I just didn’t know. Besides the weight loss, we sleep better (he says I don’t snore), feel better, and no, I don’t have the crazy sweet cravings. Every once in a while I’ll make a low-carb treat because I still like to bake and so does Ally. And there are plenty of yummy low carb/sugar free desserts out there.

There are some links in this post, I don’t get anything from you clicking on them. :)

Our low-carb life (1)

 

John started us on the road last October and I followed in November. He really keeps me in line most of the time. I have had days where I have extra carbs, like vacation, for instance. It doesn’t take too long to get back on track though, we were strict from day 1 once we got home. Most days I don’t even think twice about it. It’s our new norm. Not a fad diet, but a lifestyle change.

I got my physical this month with x-rays, EKG, full blood panel. Everything from cholesterol to liver and all the numbers are normal or better than normal. So no, eating bacon and butter is not going to kill me. My doctor still takes a second glance at my resting heart rate and said “you don’t look 40.” Thanks, I don’t feel or act it either!

She did ask about my diet and for 2 seconds I hesitated. But she said, if it’s working for you, keep doing it. It does take a lot of self control. You really have to want it. You have to be so ready for a change that you are willing to put in the work. No matter what diet, or lifestyle change, you have to work. Anyone that tells you it’s easy is lying. Easy is ordering pizza or eating cheese fries instead of a salad with your bun-less burger.

Zucchini cheese bread (recipe here) Served with ranch or tomato sauce.

zucchini

I’ve been tossing around the idea of carb cycling or re-feed days, rarely though. I am at my goal weight but I don’t want to just start adding carbs in and start feeling like crap. I’m not talking about loaves of bread and cheesecake every week. I’m talking about rare date nights having pizza instead of chicken, or making whole wheat pancakes, something along those lines. I do not like how I feel when I over-eat on carbs and sugar. My body doesn’t like it and it tells me so.

We don’t use ketone supplements to get our bodies into ketosis, we do it with diet. Eating the right foods will do that without supplements. Yes, we eat bacon, butter, full fat dairy, cheese, beef, chicken, veggies and fruit. We steer clear of starchy veggies like potatoes and corn. We eat fruit in moderation like strawberries and blueberries. Lots of meat and veggies. Probably more veggies than I’ve ever eaten in my life.

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I can guarantee we aren’t deprived of good food. These are beef fajitas on low carb flat bread (found here) with homemade queso (NOT velveeta), guacamole under there and chips I made from the flat bread.

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I do meal prep, every week. If not, we will be eating take out. I make a breakfast casserole or egg muffins, hamburger patties, bacon, cut up lettuce and fruit and anything else I can think of. Ally has to take her breakfast to school to eat after morning practice. So she gets an egg muffin and this year she wanted sausage rolls. She gets them homemade and they are made with a low carb dough. Score! And before you ask, no her carbs are not restricted. If she wants pasta she gets it. She has chosen to cut her sugar and sweets way down and has been eating less pasta and bread lately. She’s a runner and I think she finally realized that the professional runners probably aren’t eating ice cream and brownies every night, or chips for that matter. She has made a few choices on her own. We don’t shame her or restrict her diet in any way.

Homemade meatballs served over spaghetti squash. One word, yummy.

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Some of our favorite recipes we got from Pinterest, other bloggers and every day people just trying to make this work for them. I will include a few below.

Anyone else eating low carb / keto?

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She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25

What’s new?

The date is May 16, 2017. I honestly can’t believe it’s been this long since I’ve written anything. So much has happened in the last few years. Good, bad and everything in between.

I have so much to say, but where do I start? Injury, oh yeah, that. I started running in late 2011 and ran injury free until about May 2016. Something happened, still not sure what. But I’ve been fighting an achilles issue for almost a year now. I ran off and on, took breaks, walked, did intervals. Thought I was good and then November 2016 after limping for 2 days following a 10 miler, I knew I was done. I have been to several doctors and rehab, nothing was helping. So, I hit the gym full on, got my eating under control (more on that later!) and got strong and healthy. Stronger than I’ve been in a long time.

Fast forward to today and I’m doing some interval running, very low mileage. Some days I want to cry, thinking about the progress I’ve lost. But I have so much to be thankful for and the gym is growing on me!

The achilles injury really made me stop and reevaluate my priorities. I love running, but I love the social aspect of it more. That’s what I was missing so badly. My running group is also my gym group so it’s not the end of the world. I have figured out if I keep my mileage low, my pace low and my stride short I can run and not hurt. So for now, it’s what I’m doing. And I’m actually learning to love it!

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And the gym dates with John aren’t so bad either! We got a new Planet Fitness near us (aka The Purple Palace), anyone else a PF member? It is a lot of purple.

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John and I celebrated 20 years last year with friends in California. Definitely more on that to come! We have a driver in the house now. (yikes) We got a puppy. (double yikes)

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Meet Bear. He’s about a year and half now. Molly isn’t a fan, but they have their moments.

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Ally had her first high school cross country season, track season and we are sooooo close to the end of 9th grade! We are all ready for summer. So proud of this girl and how she handled her academics and athletics. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for her!

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John and I started eating low carb / high fat or keto last fall. He started in October and I dragged my feet for about a month or so. Still couldn’t let go of my carbs, even after my doctor suggesting it last summer. Fast forward 8 months and we are doing great! Hubby is down 50+ pounds and I got that 18 or so off that I gained during marathon training and life happening.

LOVE this guy!

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Just got an Apple Watch, still trying to get it set up and figure out how to use it. I got the Nike version, it didn’t cost any extra and I used to run with a Nike Watch so I’m hoping it’s similar. I ran with it this morning but the Apple workout app didn’t collect any of my run info. I’m sure it was user error but I’m not impressed with that just yet. I’m going to try it at the gym tomorrow. I still have my Garmin and will go back to it if this watch doesn’t get any better. I have 2 weeks to decide!

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Anyone else workout at Planet Fitness?

What watch do you run with?

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Zucchini-Poblano Lasagna {recipe}

Remember I’m not great at writing recipes, so just stay with me. This one is good. We started the Keto/Low Carb High Fat diet last fall. John started it in October and I dragged my feet for another month before getting on board. I didn’t want to tell him he was right. Last summer when I went for my check up my doctor even said that I may need to try cutting carbs or whatever it was in my diet that was adding the weight. I workout 5-6 days a week and was gaining weight. News flash: you can’t out exercise a bad diet. In case anyone was unsure.

So here we are 6 months or so in and hubby is down 50+ pounds and I’m down about 18, both of us lots of inches! Funny thing is I/we don’t really miss the carbs and sugar that much. Every once in a while I have a craving but John has some serious self control.

A lot of the recipes we use are ones other people have tried and perfected. This is one I created, although someone out there has probably done something similar. I just kinda threw some things together. A friend of mine puts green chilies in her lasagna and she brought it to me one night and it was so good! That’s what made me think to put the poblano peppers in this lasagna. Plus we’ve been using poblano peppers in a lot of recipes lately.

This recipe is low carb when compared to regular pasta lasagna, but depending on your ingredients could still be 8-10 carbs per serving. That’s way, way less than lasagna noodles! It all depends on your goal for the day.

Zucchini-Poblano Lasagna

First, roast the poblano peppers. Here’s info on how to roast the peppers. I roasted mine about 20 minutes in my oven, this recipe says 30-40. Depends on how charred you want them. Definitely place them in a covered dish and let them cool before peeling the skin and taking the seeds out.
Roast the peppers. I pureed some (more on that later) and left some in flat “sheets”. Here they are straight from the oven. Cover them and let them steam, it makes it easier to peel later.
Make your meat and sauce like normal. I typically use Jennie O’ Turkey sausage. You can use ground turkey, Italian sausage or go meatless if you prefer!
So far, the Kroger Organic 4 cheese spaghetti sauce is the lowest carb I’ve found so far in the store, already seasoned. I bought San Marzano whole tomatoes in a can this weekend and made sauce. It’s 3 carbs compared to 5 + in most jars. I found a brand called Rao’s, but it was $9.29 at Kroger. I don’t have that kind of budget!
Try not to add any other liquid because the zucchini has lots of water.
Next up, the Zucchini.
I cut up 6 this last time, but only needed 5. You may want more depending on how many people you are feeding. Roughly peel it, cut the ends off, slice very thin strips top to bottom. Don’t use the core. Cut strips all the way around. I use a trash bowl when I’m peeling and cutting veggies. Surely I’m not the only one!
Lay all the strips out on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, cover with paper towels and try to squeeze the water out. Mine sat out for several hours and still had water in them. I baked the strips for a few minutes too. Just watch them, they will burn.
Back to the peppers. Peel the charred skin, remove the core and seeds. You can see what I mean by “flat sheets”. These make good replacements for tortillas in a mexican casserole as well. Then I pureed some of the peppers in my food processor.
Pureed peppers! I save the extra for breakfast casserole, soup, just about anything you want to make yummy!
Ricotta cheese mixed with the puréed poblano peppers, if you want. I added Parmesan cheese. You can add basil, spinach, oregano, whatever you like. We have fresh basil growing in our kitchen window. I use it whenever I remember to grab it. It smells amazing!
The sauce is simmering while all this other prep is happening.
I did 3 layers total in my 8×8 pan. I started with zucchini on the bottom.
Then a layer of meat sauce.
Then add ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese.
Then I did a layer of the pepper “sheets”.
Then more meat sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese. Bottom and top was zucchini with the middle being poblano.
I baked mine for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remember the zucchini is watery, so the dish may be too. Once it sits in the fridge over night it does hold up better, but right out of the oven you will notice the water. It still tastes good, trust me! If I wasn’t in such a hurry to eat it, it might be better if it rested a little on the counter before serving. Y’all let me know if anyone tries that!
This recipe is time consuming, I’ve only made it twice and it was on my day off.  I initially cut it into 6 servings but we ended up with closer to 8 servings.
Anyone tried a zucchini lasagna?

 

Marathon Monday: it’s taper week!

It’s finally here, less than a week to go. And guess what? I woke up congested and not able to take in deep breaths. I’m going to the doctor this afternoon.

grumpy cat

I got a new book and running journal. I’m excited to get into it.

Books

marathon training

Training last week: January 11-17

Sunday: Gym day, 3 treadmill miles plus weights

Monday: Rest day

Tuesday: 5 miles

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: 7 miles

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: 6.4 miles, hills, at Nola race pace. This group rocked those hills!

group pic

I’m participating in the #SweatPink #NoExcuses challenge this month. Last week included burpees, squats and planks. There’s something new every day.

Sweat pink no excuses

I haven’t done burpees in a looooonnnnnggggg time.

Burpees

Saturday we shared our favorite healthy snack. I came across these apples last month and love them. The new health/organic food store here is carrying them.

Peeled snacks

Today’s challenge is 30 seconds of mountain climbers. My goal is to get that done tonight, after seeing the doctor. Right now I’m struggling to take in a deep breath.

Got my Nuun on board and my new Kate Spade tumbler. Someone (not naming names) dropped my chevron tumbler and it cracked.

Kate Spade tumbler

This week is all about water, Vitamin C and good food! Hubby grilled chicken last night, I made a home made turkey pot pie for dinner tonight. I got the McCormick Thyme in my #FrostyVoxBox in December. We are starting this week off right with food prep!

pot pie

Do you food prep?

Anyone use a running log or journal?

Happy running,

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Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Marathon Monday: training update + Nuun review

The Dallas Marathon is in 2 weeks! It’s taper time! I cannot believe it is already here. It’s been a rough training season, but I think I am finally ready.

marathon training

Training last week:

Monday: Light gym workout, stretching, abs, 10 minutes on the elliptical and sauna

Tuesday: Track workout, 8×300 with 200 recovery, 2 mile warm up, 2 mile cool down

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: 15 miles

Friday: Shopping (this would be cross training!)

Saturday: 4 miles

Sunday: Gym day, elliptical, abs, upper body weights and sauna

I’ve been using Nuun to hydrate for a few years now. I’ve used it exclusively this training season to see if it that alone will keep my dehydration headaches away. Between water and Nuun tabs it’s been a pretty good season.  Nuun sent me these 3 flavors to start with and I’ve already gone through them and purchased more.

I received free product to try. I was asked to write a review. All opinions are my own. 

Nuun tabs

I really like the Lemonade and the Lemon Lime. I do mix up my Nuun the night before, it helps get the fizzies out and gets it good and cold for the next morning. I suggest leaving the top open though. The tab has sugar-free electrolytes that dissolve in water. The tube makes it easy to throw in a gym bag. You can also break them in half for smaller bottles. I will throw a few in a baggy to carry on race day.

Nuun hydration

I grabbed this Nuun energy recently but haven’t tried it yet. I’ll get on that so I can let you know if I like it too!

Nuun Energy

Nuun Hydration has a Cyber Monday sale with 30% today! There’s free shipping and $20 four-packs. Grab a friend or 3 and share a pack to get started.

On Thanksgiving morning my group ran their long run so we wouldn’t have to over the weekend. We all definitely earned our turkey that day! I also earned a shirt and medal for a virtual Turkey Trot with through our running club. Last years shirt is one of my favorite long sleeve t-shirts.

Turkey trot

I did a little Black Friday shopping again this year. It’s a shop til ya drop day for me and my friend Alisha. I snagged an early present for my family, the Nutri Bullet. I love it!

NutriBullet

And my new MRTT tank and car magnet came in, so exciting!

MRTT shirt

Did you race this weekend?

Any big races coming up?

Happy running!

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Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

#SummerRefresh Focus on Nutrition

This week we are starting a new series with Fit Approach called #SummerRefresh. The topic this week is nutrition written by Sara at She Cooks, She Crafts, She Runs.

 

It’s August and Fit Approach has a big initiative this month called the #SummerRefresh.  So we are taking cues from them and helping you follow along with their cool challenges.  If you want to participate please join the Google+ community Living+.

For this first week we are focusing on nutrition.  So I’ve decided to take their challenges and make it easier for you to follow along.  I’ve gone day by day for this week and given you examples to help you make the challenges.

Meatless Monday

  • Salmon:  I love this super simple take on salmon on lemon baked.
  • Crab cakes:  Here’s some healthier versions from Cooking Light
  • Tofu:  This Spicy Garlic Tofu recipe looks pretty yummy for such a typified meal

Take your lunch to work Tuesday

Whatever you made the night before…heat it up!  For example, make a salmon sandwich by putting it between 2 slices of bread with some roasted red pepper and dijon mustard.  The crab cakes, lay one on top of a spinach salad with some baby tomatoes and a splash of balsamic vinegar and EVOO.
You can look in your fridge and grab and go.  It’s funny the different combos you can come up with.  Need some ideas?  Leave a blog comment and I’ll come up with something for you!

What I ate Wednesday

Write down what you eat all day.  It’s funny all the things we don’t even realize we put in our mouths!

Thirsty Thursday

Water is so very important.  Especially this time of year.  The easiest way to stay hydrated that I’ve found is to carry a bottle of water around with me.  It becomes a habit and you find yourself almost addicted to getting a sip whenever your heart desires.
Get tired of plain old water?  Check out my post on Infused waters using natural fruits and herbs to taste up the tasteless!

Paleo Friday

What is Paleo you ask?

Well don’t worry, I didn’t know before this post either!  I have just seen bits and pieces around Pinterest and Facebook.  From what I gather, it’s like a caveman diet, you only eat what the caveman had access to.  Here’s some graphics that help explain.
Make a little better sense?
I even took the liberty of finding some tasty looking recipes for you to try!

Sara is training for her first sprint tri and as a kick-off we have an app download to giveaway. Check out her first day of training here.

1stTimeTri App Giveaway

Check out our giveaway for the 1stTimeTri App!
Hope you have a great week and we look forward to some new challenges this month!
Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1