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

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?

 

Throwback Thursday: Spaghetti Squash casserole

This is one of our favorite recipes and definitely our favorite with spaghetti squash. If you missed it the first time, check it out here.

Spag squash on the plate

And if it’s easier, you can Pin it here.

Do you like spaghetti squash? What’s your favorite way to cook it?

Did you workout today?

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

Chicken Lo Mein recipe

I am not a food blogger or photographer, please excuse the barbaric photos. 

A few months ago Ally found this recipe for Chinese Lo Mein. We tried it out and loved it. I’ve made a few adjustments and have now switched out the peanut butter for PB2. The original recipe is here.

My version of Chicken Lo Mein

Ingredients:

  • Chicken, I use chicken breast, cut up into bite size pieces and saute it in my wok with Coconut oil
  • Coconut oil or Olive oil
  • Noodles, I use Linguine but you can use whatever you like
  • Broccoli Slaw
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Green onion to garnish

Peanut Butter Sauce: I usually double the sauce recipe

  • 2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter or 4 tablespoons of PB2 with 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 Tablespoons of hot water
  • 3 Tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (I use olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

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Don’t you love my empty box? I didn’t think to take a picture before I emptied it.

You can use a wok or big sauce pan. My wok’s nonscratch surface started flaking off so it went in the trash. I used a sauce pan last night. I saute the chicken in coconut oil then add the broccoli slaw and shredded carrots to the pan, let it cook down a little and soften the veggies. Boil the noodles.

To make the sauce:

The PB2 ratio is 2 T powder to 1 T water. Since I double the sauce I used 8 T powder and 4 T water. Then add the hot water, soy sauce, oil and spices (all doubled). Mix it up until it’s all smooth.

Once the noodles are done, add in the chicken and veggies and pour the sauce on. Toss it real well and add the green onions at the end. You can also add fresh garlic and onions to the chicken when you saute it or try different veggies.

I love the texture of this dish with the crunchy veggies and the noodles. The peanut butter just gives it an extra kick.

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I decided to sub the peanut butter for PB2 because of the fat and calorie content. In a doubled sauce recipe: the reduced fat peanut butter has 400 calories and 26g fat; the PB2 has 180 calories and 6g fat. Not to mention lower carbs, no saturated fat, lower sodium and lower sugar, per serving. We got 6-7 good size servings out of this dish.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash casserole

I originally found this recipe online, but the link is no good anymore so I improvised my best from memory. Here’s my version of this yummy spaghetti squash casserole!

Spag squash complete

Start with roasting a spaghetti squash. I have tried several ways and found the best way is to cut each end off, then slice it in half. Scoop out the seeds and lay face down in a baking dish with just a little water and some spices (basil, pepper, garlic powder) Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes until tender.

spaghetti squash

Once it’s done baking you can easily scrape the squash out with a fork. Don’t forget to scoop out the seeds before you roast it!

spaghetti squash cooked

While the squash is hot add the cream cheese so it melts. I start with half of a package and add more if I need it. Sometimes I roast the squash the night before so I just warm it in the microwave with the cream cheese.

ingredients Spag squash

In a large skillet cook the onion with olive oil. I take the turkey sausage out of the casings and brown in the pan with onion and garlic, drain the fat. Add 1 small can of tomato sauce and the spinach to let it start wilting.

spag squash cooking

I then add the jar of spaghetti sauce and let it cook for a few minutes. Add the sauce mixture to the spaghetti squash and cream cheese, top with mozzarella cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

  • Spaghetti squash, roasted and shredded
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage (or go meatless). Remove the casings.
  • Spaghetti Sauce, any kind. I use an organic brand from Kroger.
  • Raw Spinach
  • Cream Cheese. (Low fat, fat free, or the kind with greek yogurt)
  • Mozzarella cheese

Spag squash on the plate

This does not last long in my house. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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

January Jumpstart Day 9: Pre and post workout food

Happy Thursday! Welcome to day 9 of January Jumpstart.

Let’s talk pre and post workout meals and snacks today. I’ll share a few recipes that I like.

workout fuel

Probably my favorite and easiest pre-workout snack are these granola bites. Here’s the original recipe, from A Dash of Compassion. I changed it up a little.

Granola bites:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw agave nectar, plus a little more since I use a cup of the main ingredients.
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup coconut

Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Roll them all into balls and store in the freezer. I usually get 15-18 out of a batch. The “dough” will be sticky, wet your hands when you roll them and they don’t stick.

Granola bites

If it’s a long run, I eat a bagel with peanut butter and banana. (if I get up in time). If not, it’s banana in the car on the way to my meeting place. I have to get better about eating before those really long runs.

One of my favorite post workout snacks or meal is a protein shake. So far my favorite protein powder is Body Fortress. We do the Super Advanced Whey Protein powder, mostly chocolate but sometimes I grab a strawberry too. John just adds powder and milk in a shaker bottle and drinks it. I put mine in a blender with frozen fruit, mostly strawberries, cherries and banana, with water.

Neocell recently sent me this Collagen Sport recovery powder to try. I’ve been using it this week. So far I really like it too. Watch for a giveaway from them this month too!

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Post workout recovery drink of choice is usually Muscle Pfarm Amino mix. I prefer it really cold so I mix it the night before and store it in the fridge. I’ve been trying a lot of different ones lately and I’ll update you on those.

I really like the Advocare Rehydrate gels too. I cannot do the Gu gels, the texture and taste just doesn’t work me. But these gels are good. I usually eat one mid run if it’s over 14 miles and will carry these during my full marathon.

  advocare 2

Most recently I’ve tried CytoSport CytoMax drinks for pre and during workout. I have the mixed drinks and the powder. It’s becoming one of my favorites! I want to try their Whey Isolate drink too.

cytomax 2

And I just thought this was funny!

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What do you eat before a workout?

What about post workout?

Favorite drink for recovery?

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

My favorite posts from 2013

2013 was a good year. It was my first full year of blogging. I had some good ones and some bad ones. I’m still getting the hang of this blogging thing. In case you are new around here, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.

2013 faves

January started off with a bang, Sara and I started the year with 30 Day Homies. How many of you were around for that? It was fun! (Watch for January Jump Start soon for 2014!) We had lots going on that month, one of my favorites was Leslie’s Story. Leslie and I went to high school together.

My first sub 2 hour half, the Patriot race.

post race

This post continues to go crazy on Pinterest. I think I probably have more I could add to it. Half Marathon tips for Beginners.

Half mary tips

Probably my favorite race this year, Dallas Allstate 13.1. There wasn’t much to complain about this race.

Allstate 4

My aha moment was another good one.  I was nearing the end of marathon training for Dallas and was really enjoying running.

And of course, my 1 year Blogiversary post.

One of my favorite recipes from this year, Pumpkin Protein muffins.

pumpkin muffins

This is my crew. These are (some of) the girls I run with, laugh with, pray for and share life with.

silly group

RnR3

Luigis

I’m looking forward to 2014 bringing great opportunities!

Have a great week!

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Pinterest Pin-up Party {link-up}

November went by way too fast. I can’t believe it’s time for another edition of the Pinterest Pin-up Party! If you are new to this party, we share our favorite (and sometimes not so favorite) pins. Feel free to join us and link up your post at the bottom.

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I love decorating for Christmas. I don’t have a lot of decorations, maybe I can make some things to add to my stash.

I really, really like these. I made similar ones for fall and year round decor, and really want to make these!

 

This is so simple and I would have never thought of it.

 

This recipe looks amazing! I may try it next weekend.

 

 

I made this recipe for Shepherd’s Pie last week, it was good!

Shepherds pie

I ordered this from Maurice’s online clearance. I’m thinking denim jacket, tights and boots!

new floral dress

What have you been pinning lately?

Have you decorated for Christmas yet? (My tree goes up the Friday after Thanksgiving)

Any new recipes lately?

You can follow my Pinterest boards here.

Link up your Pinterest post!


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