Eureka! I have found a recipe that is brimming with health benefits for mere pocket change. Cabbage casserole, how did I never come across such a delicious AND nutritious casserole?? In one of my late night Pinterest “How to Install a Natural Water Feature” moments I made one more click to a recipe off on the sidelines. I saw a beautiful, colorful, 7 ingredient recipe of pure healthy genius; an I-have-all-the-ingredients-in-the-fridge-and-pantry meal serving up to six. Click! and my life changed.
I don’t remember the pin. I had to go to bed because the recipes can easily turn me into a wee-hour Pinterest zombie. This is what I remember and it worked out fine…so fine:
- 2 Tbsp olive oil in a deep heavy pot
- 1 onion diced
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1/2 head of large red cabbage sliced in thin strips (you will want to make it again with the other half at the end of the week)
- 1/2 bunch collard greens (about 5 leaves stemmed and sliced chiffonade style
- 1 Tsp Steak seasoning plus a couple of pinches
- 6 oz hand shredded pepper jack cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°. Dice your onion, slice the cabbage and chiffonade the greens and keep them in separate piles. Heat the oil until it shimmers on the bottom of the pot. Add your onion and cook on high heat until they are clear and beginning to brown. Brown the ground beef with a teaspoon of the steak seasoning. Add the piles of cabbage and greens and simmer until the mixture softens down to about a third its volume. Give it a good stir.
Empty the pot into a 9″x 9″ casserole dish and spread it evenly. Top with your pepper cheese and sprinkle a pinch or two of the steak seasoning around on top sprinkle a little Parmesan to brown the top nicely, then bake for 20 minutes.
It’s fast, it’s delicious, it’s easy, it’s delicious it’s healthy, it’s delicious, it’s affordable, it’s delicious!
My sister in law made these when we visited them in Houston on Valentine’s Day and I absolutely fell in love with this side dish. I could even make a meal out of it if others didn’t have to have some too. What makes these “potatoes” Paleo, is they are potatoes at all but cauliflower. Toss in some bacon, cheese, and sour cream and you’ve got a carbless companion to any roast or steak. I made everything in one large frying pan using these proportions:
- Three slices of bacon
- 1 cup water
- One large head of cauliflower
- one tablespoon butter
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese (about one cup)
First fry up the bacon until crispy and crumble it in small pieces. Drain off the fat leaving one tablespoon in the pan. While the bacon is cooking, steam the cauliflower in the water and butter (I do it in the microwave covered and on high for 3 or 4 minutes) until it is nice and tender. Pour off the excess water and place it in the pan with the bacon fat. Mash the cauliflower until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes…with lumps of course. Stir in the sour cream, season with salt and pepper, maybe some freshly minced garlic if you have it and top with the cheese and bacon. Place a lid on the pan until the steam of the cauliflower causes the cheese to melt and dig in!
Who needs pasta noodles in their lasagna when in the summertime, lovely strips of zucchini serve the purpose just fine? I don’t! I love pasta but in this day and age of low carb, gluten free this and that, a great lasagna can be served just the same. I love that a vegetable can be a carb substitute wheather it be a zucchini for lasagna noodles or spaghetti squash for spaghetti. It is great to enjoy the earth’s bounty straight from the garden instead of using processed foods in your favorite meals.
This lasagna is no exception when it comes to savory Italian flavor. I’ve posted a couple of lasagna recipes including meatless and traditional, but gluten free is another variation that is useful to many dietary needs today. You don’t have to sacrifice anything either way.
To substitute noodles I simply marinate 1/4 inch strips of zucchini (cut lengthwise with a cheese slicer or a very sharp knife) in equal measures of olive oil, soy sauce, and red wine with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. After 30 minutes or so I go out to the grill and cook them for a few minutes on each side…just enough to soften them and leave those lovely grill marks top and bottom. I then remove the slices to a plate and construct the rest of the lasagna indoors.
To begin the sauce we will use:
- one clove of garlic minced
- two tablespoons olive oil
- One medium carrot thinly sliced
- two ribs of celery also thinly sliced
- one medium onion diced
- three button mushrooms sliced
- five or six black olives also sliced
- 1/2 green bell pepper diced
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 can diced tomato
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 tsp basil
Between layers we will use:
- Of course the sauce
- 16 oz. ricotta cheese (low fat cottage cheese also works )
- 8 oz. shredded jack cheese
- 4 oz. mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp garlic powder, one third per layer
- 1/2 tsp black pepper also divided in thirds
- 1/2 tsp salt in thirds
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning in thirds.
Saute the first seven ingredients of the sauce in a large skillet with the olive oil. Scoot it off to the side and add the ground beef and stir until it is all browned. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and basil and stir everything together. Let this simmer a good while…about thirty minutes. Add some water or stock if it becomes too thick.
Once the sauce is made, ladle a bit to coat the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ baking pan and dilute it in half with some water…maybe a half a cup to one cup sauce. This thin layer will help later when slicing servings for your guests. Now lay enough strips of the zucchini you have just grilled, and begin begin adding the first layer of filling; ladle on a layer of sauce, add the cheeses, herbs, and spices and repeat for layer two…zucchini, ricotta, cheeses, and spices.
For the top layer lay out the zucchini, ladle on the sauce and only add a generous layer of the jack cheese and a light sprinkle of Parmesan because Parmesan browns more quickly. We want the top to be bubbly, gooey and slightly golden. Bake in a 350° oven for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Allow it to cool slightly before slicing and although this recipe has a long process let me tell you it is well worth the effort. I made this for a friend going through chemo therapy and another time for a friend who had just had knee surgery and has a son who can’t tolerate gluten. This dish worked out well for my friends because the leftovers are just as good if not better and there are lots of servings for a large family. I hope you too get to enjoy the bounty of the earth for what ever you are going through…especially if you don’t want the gluten.
Potatoes are great…when you add butter, or when you make a creamy potato salad slathered in mayonnaise. But mixing carbs with fat is the worst thing if you are looking to trim down like me. I’ve found a solution that has the same taste as potato salad but almost no carbs. I used steamed cauliflower as a potato substitute. With a few other finely diced veggies and about half the mayonnaise, this was a reasonable (and potatoless) version of what I really wanted, (to be perfectly honest, what I really want is a doughnut with chocolate icing and sprinkles, and a scoop of mint chip ice cream ) but this is a great way to cheat on my diet without really cheating.
Here is what I used:
- 1 head of cauliflower, steamed (careful not to steam it into mushiness)
- 2 ribs of celery in tiny dice
- 1 scallion thinly sliced
- several green olives sliced
- 1 baby dill pickle in tiny dice
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper in tiny dice
- a dash or two each of salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons pickle juice
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- paprika to garnish
After steaming the cauliflower, allow it to chill completely in the refrigerator. When cool, cut it up in 1/2 inch chunks and throw them in a mixing bowl with the other diced veggies. Add the seasonings, then the mayonnaise and mustard. Stir everything together until everything is well coated. Add a little more mayonnaise if needed. To finish, sprinkle with a little paprika to make it diva pretty, and enjoy a diet friendly low carb treat at your next barbecue. It goes great with grilled foods.