Steamed Radishes with Mixed Veggies

I wasn’t entirely sure whether to title this veggie side dish recipe for strictly radishes or for the hodgepodge of other veggies that joined in on the fun for this particular side….so don’t be thrown off.  Yes, radishes are vegetables, too – I know.  Let’s just say that I credit them as the inspiration of this post, as it was a new food ingredient for me to work with. 

I ordered a CSA vegetable package that was presented as a deal on GiltTaste from who-knows-what farm out in Ohio, in hopes I’d be forced to reckon with some not-yet-experimented-upon veggies.  Radishes are just not something I had attempted to prepare before (sure, easy enough – but just not usually my first grab at the veggie counter).  Plus, they look like they could take some serious prep time, the dirty little suckers.

But shame on me for assuming – these weren’t so difficult! And they turned out super tasty when steamed! I might just restock my basket next grocery run…

Ingredients:
Radishes (however many you desire!)
Mixed veggies (I find that carrots, squash/zucchini work best for steaming)
Salt & Pepper
Ghee (or butter)

Directions:

  • Over high heat, place a pot of water (in a pot large enough to accommodate a steamer basket insert), and bring to a boil.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, rinse the radishes off in a colander.  Use a paper towel to rub any leftover dirt from the outside.

  • With a small paring knife remove the ends.
  • Peel off the first outside layer of red (I will admit I left some of mine on, and these tasted just as well).

  • Cut up any other veggies, if any, that you wish to include with the radishes.
  • Season and toss veggies with salt and pepper (and any other seasonings, if desired).
  • When the water has reached a boil, place the veggies in the steamer insert, partially covering the pot with a lid.

  • Steam for 10-15 minutes, to desired tenderness, removing the lid to stir occasionally.
  • When finished, remove the steamer basket of veggies from the pot and let sit in the sink (or empty its contents into a colander first, if not a free-standing steamer basket).
  • Top the steaming veggies with a scoop of ghee, and toss to coat.  Season with more salt & pepper for taste, as desired.
  • Plate, and enjoy!

Mini Butternut Squash Pizzas

 

Butternut squash pizzas with pesto, tomato, and fresh basil

Mmm Pizza! One thing I tend to crave with frequency on my cheat days! There are a slew of different methods slow-carbers have put out there in an attempt to bridge that deep, dark 6-day void left by some distant pizza memory; and I fully intend to try some of them out to see how close I can get to slow-carb “pizza”  ……Eventually…   But this one was simple enough to give it a shot right away.  Plus, I had half of a butternut squash left over from the jalapeno cheddar quiche that I had just made.  Have you SEEN the size of a butternut squash?! Resources, people! Use ’em up.

I stumbled upon this grain-free mini pizzas recipe while internet browsing on some grain-free (yep, go figure!) recipe sites.  I am glad to have found this one, as it works rather well as a fun, somewhat unique, little veggie side dish.  And thes are not all that time-consuming to make, either (bonus!). And, of course, as it goes with pizza, the topping combination possibilities are endless.  I’m a big fan of using up whatever veggies I have in that fridge of mine.

Crust it up.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash (use all, or some, depending on how many mini-pizzas you intend to make)
Marinara, tomato, or pesto sauce (keep an eye on the sugar content!)
1 tomato
Fresh basil leaves
Any other toppings that you’d like!
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Coconut oil or ghee, for cooking

Directions:

  • Using a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, peel or cut away the thick outer skin of the butternut squash.
  • With a mandolin or sharp paring knife, slice the squash into thin disks or rounds (around 1/4 of an inch thick).
  • Prepare any veggies you plan to use as toppings and set them beside the stove.
  • Heat oil or ghee in a non-stick fry pan over medium-low heat.
  • Add squash slices and cover the pan with a lid.  Check the squash after 3 minutes.  If they are starting to turn a little brown, flip them over.  Cover and continue cooking the other side of the squash for another 3 minutes. 
  • Add sauce (if using sauce) and any other toppings.  Season with Salt and Pepper, to taste.  Cover for a few minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mini pizzas to cool some.
  • Then…I think you know what to do.

Jalapeno Cheddar Quiche with a Butternut Squash Crust


A quiche treat! My husband came across this recipe on the web, and we were both pretty eager to try it out.  Now, I’ll admit it…I do have a fault of being a bit too much of a stickler when it comes to the 4-HB rules; so, at first, I was a little wary of the small amount of cheddar cheese involved in the recipe.  But these things are fine on the occasion; and if you’re going to use cheese, sharp cheddar is one of the best choices!

All hesitations aside, we prepared this quiche and had a slice with our dinner that evening.  It was rich and delicious! Seriously.  So much flavor! And suffice it to say, I am impressed with how well butternut squash slices worked to make the crust at the bottom.  I think this method just might be featured in several other food creations in the very near future.

Here’s to melt-in-your mouth eggy goodness:

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash (you’ll use half)
Coconut oil or EVOO (for greasing pie pan)
5 eggs
1/4 cup coconut milk
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp butter
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 jalapenos or serano peppers

Directions:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.
  • Roast the jalapenos or seranos in the part of the oven closest to the heat source.  After about 3 minutes, turn the peppers over and continue roasting for another 3 minutes.  The sides of the peppers will become slightly blackened.

  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Once cooled, peel off the outer skin and scrape out the seeds.  Discard the skin, seeds, and the stem.  Finely dice the remaining peppers and set aside.

  • Peel off the thick outer skin of the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife (the skin will be tough!).  Slice off the squash ends and discard with peel.
  • Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice the squash into very thin rounds.
  • Lightly coat the bottom of a pie pan with coconut oil or olive oil and place butternut squash rounds in the bottom of the pan, and up along the sides.  For the sides, you may need to slice the rounds into halves to fit.

  • Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped onions and sliced mushrooms and saute until softened, and onions translucent.  Pull off of the heat source and set to the side.

Husband sauteeing up a storm.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together with the coconut milk.  Add the cheddar cheese and whisk again.  Add the sautéed onions and mushrooms to the bowl, along with the peppers.  Stir to combine.

  • Pour filling into the butternut squash-lined pie pan. 
  • With oil, lightly brush the exposed edges of the butternut squash.

  • Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes (I would recommend placing the pie dish on a baking pan in the case of overflowing).  If an inserted knife comes out clean, it is finished!
  • Finally, allow the quiche to cool.  Then…slice and serve!

Meaty Lasagna with Eggplant Noodles

Eggplant “faux” lasagna is another meal idea which I have seen referenced several times in the 4-HB circles.  So, again, I had to give this one a shot! This turned out really tasty (and hardy!).  I have to be honest – the active cook time is a bit longer than most of my other recipes on here; but sometimes it’s that extra work and time that makes the flavor simmer right on up to its tastiest potential! I guarantee there are a number of ways to cut down on the meat/tomato sauce time, if you so desire.  But overall, I am pleased with the concept; and am thrilled with how well eggplant worked in this scenario as a substitute for lasagna noodles.  Furthermore, I always dig having leftovers in the fridge for any lazy mealtimes the remainder of the week!

Ingredients:

For the “noodles”:
2 large eggplants
Olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1.5 lb ground beef (can be substituted with ground turkey, sirloin, etc.)
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
1 28-oz can, diced tomatoes
1 6-oz can, tomato paste
1 8-oz can, tomato sauce
1/3 cup, water
1.5 tsp, Italian seasoning
2 tsp, dried basil
1 tsp, garlic powder
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 cup, baby spinach leaves
1 tsp, red pepper flakes (optional)

For the “cheesy” layer”:
1.5 cups cottage cheese (I used 1.5% milkfat)
1 tbsp, pesto sauce (Trader Joe’s has a good pre-made one)
2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

  • Chop the green bell pepper and onion into large chunks.  Dump into a small food processor along with the garlic, and process until well-chopped and combined.
  • Combine the contents from the food processor with the ground beef (by hand is easiest).
  • In a large dutch oven or pot, cook the meat over medium heat until browned.

  • Pour in the cans of tomatoes and the water, along with the Italian seasoning, salt & pepper, basil flakes, and garlic powder.  Stir to combine.
  • Reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid.  Continue to cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • While the sauce is cooking, preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Wash and peel the thick outer skin of the eggplants.  Discard the skin.

  • Slice the eggplant into approximately 1/4-inch rounds.  Place slices on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Lightly coat the eggplant in olive oil and season both sides with salt & pepper.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until eggplant softens.

  • In a separate bowl, beat together the 2 eggs; then combine eggs with the cottage cheese and pesto.
  • When the sauce has finished cooking, layer the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with 1.5 cups of the meat & tomato sauce.  Top with a layer of spinach leaves.

  • Place eggplant slices in a single layer over top of the leaves.

  • Top the eggplant layer with about half of the pesto cheese mixture; spread to evenly layer over the eggplant.
  • Add another 1.5 cups of the meat sauce over top of the cheese layer.
  • Place another layer of eggplant slices over top.  Layer with the remaining pesto cheese layer.  Depending on how much sauce & eggplant remain, continue by alternating with another meat sauce layer, followed by an eggplant layer, using the remainder of the meat sauce as the top and final layer. Sprinkle red pepper flakes over the top if you’d like to add some heat!

  • Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375 F for approximately 25 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking for another 25 minutes.
  • Leave to rest and cool for 10-15 minutes after removing it from the oven, then cut and serve!

Grilled Garlic Butter Zucchini and Onions

Oh man, have I a mouth-watering side to share.  It’s so garlic-stinkin’ easy, too; and truly ideal when you already have the grill going with whatever else your delicious cuisine entails!

Ingredients:
Zucchini (as much as you’d like)
Yellow Onions (ditto!)
Garlic cloves. minced (about 1-2, per large zucchini…or more!)
Butter
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Cut zucchini into large cubes; cut off the ends of the onions and peel off the outer layer, leaving them intact.

  • Tear off a few sheets of aluminum foil large enough to eventually form “packages” for the zucchini and onions.  Place the zucchini pieces and onions on separate sheets.

  • Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle minced garlic over top of the pile of zucchini cubes and onions, and top with a slice of butter.

  • Fold aluminum foil to form a package, making sure that there are no open areas exposed.  Pinch foil edges to seal.

  • Place on the grill over medium-high heat, approximately 12-15 minutes.

  • Remove from the grill and let sit for a couple of minutes.  Then, unwrap the foil, being careful not to let the juices from the butter spill all over your kitchen, and plate the zucchini and onion pieces.

Tender to the touch! Now how’s that for a rich, tasty side delicacy?

Squash Noodles with Stir-Fried Veggies

This might not necessarily qualify as a brand new recipe, but more of a build-off of the recently posted standard squash noodle method.  This just takes these noodles a step further by preparing, and tossing them with, sautéed/stir-fried veggies.

This is my absolute favorite way to prepare squash noodles.  It’s a fantastic way to use up any remaining veggies in your fridge toward the end of the grocery week.  Call it, “shopping your fridge,” if you will!  But even more importantly – it’s a great way to get a good mix of vegetables in with your meal! Veggies are good for you, kiddos! Haven’t you heard?

So – if you’ve already read through (and perhaps even mastered for yourself!) the squash noodles recipe, you can probably skip over some of the beginning preparation below.  But for the sake of consistency, and for any new recipe-surfers out there; I’ve included the full process.

Ingredients:
1-2 large yellow squash, zucchini squash, or eggplant (all work well for this)
1 tbsp coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil), separated
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (contingent upon your preference of spiciness!)
Hodgepodge of chop-able veggies

Directions:

  • Wash and pat dry the squash or eggplant.
  • With a vegetable peeler, peel away the thick outer skin and discard
  • Once you have removed the outer skin, continue using your vegetable peeler along the full length of the squash to peel away into fettucine-like sized strands. (Tip: I find the best way to maintain full-length strands is by laying the squash down on its side on the cutting board, and pulling the peeler along, horizontally – rather than holding the squash as you peel)
  • Continue to rotate the squash as you peel away the strands, so your “noodles” remain somewhat uniform
  • Stop peeling once you reach the seeds, as the seedy strands will become mushy in the cooking process (I usually end up either chopping up the remaining vegetable to toss into a stir-fry for mixing with the noodles, or save it to chop up into a salad, later…I just hate wasting anything!)
  • Season the noodles with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you wish
  • Put plate aside, and chop up your veggies for the stir-fry.  (My standards: red or yellow onion, assorted bell peppers, broccoli, spinach leaves, jalapeno, sliced mushrooms, the remainder of the squash/eggplant post de-noodling).
  • In a medium frying pan, over medium-high heat, add the first 1/2 tbsp coconut oil. Once the oil is hot (not smoking), add the veggies and minced garlic, and saute for about 5-7 minutes until vegetables become soft.
  • Once almost cooked to completion, dump the contents into a paper plate to sit while you cook the noodles (below).
  • Using the same frying pan as was used to cook the veggies, heat the second 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot (not smoking), add the squash strands.
  • Saute the noodles in the pan, pushing them around frequently for 2 minutes as they cook in the oil.  The squash will turn a bright color when finished, and will have become limp and noodle-like.  2 minutes is all it takes, and your noodles are complete!
  • Once the squash noodles are almost at that 2-minute mark, I then dump the stir-fried veggie contents from the paper plate, back into the pan with the noodles, and toss briefly together to combine and reheat.
  • You’re now fully ready to distribute the oh-so-colorful mix of veggies & noodles onto your plates to enjoy! Hooray!!

Squash Noodles: Quite Simply

So – to my knowledge thus far, there are 2 pretty good ways of imitating noodles for your 4HB dish.  The spaghetti squash method; and a quicker, and probably my favorite method:  the standard squash noodle method.  Yep, at word-value, you’re probably wondering what distinction I’m pretending to make, here.  Keep on reading, oh skeptical one.

Squash noodles are so easy.  So quick.  And so good.  And they are a great way to cram those extra veggies in, all the while fulfilling that little pasta craving that has been creeping up on you somewhere mid-way between your cheat days.  A great thing about “pasta,” too, is that there are so many different variations your  course can take.  Serve as a side, or top with a chicken breast or filet of fish!

Plain and simple:

Ingredients:
1-2 large yellow squash, zucchini squash, or eggplant (all work well for this)
1/2 tbsp coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Any other seasonings

Directions:

  • Wash and pat dry the squash or eggplant.
  • With a vegetable peeler, peel away the thick outer skin and discard
  • Once you have removed the outer skin, continue using your vegetable peeler along the full length of the squash to peel away into fettucine-like sized strands. (Tip: I find the best way to maintain full-length strands is by laying the squash down on its side on the cutting board, and pulling the peeler along, horizontally – rather than holding the squash as you peel)
  • Continue to rotate the squash as you peel away the strands, so your “noodles” remain somewhat uniform
  • Stop peeling once you reach the seeds, as the seedy strands will become mushy in the cooking process (I usually end up either chopping up the remaining vegetable to toss into a stir-fry for mixing with the noodles, or save it to chop up into a salad, later…I just hate wasting anything!)
  • Season the noodles with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you wish
  • Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot (not smoking), add the squash strands.
  • Saute the noodles in the pan, pushing them around frequently for 2 minutes as they cook in the oil.  The squash will turn a bright color when finished, and will have become limp and noodle-like.  2 minutes is all it takes, and it’s ready!
  • Eat plain, or top with 4HB-friendly marinara or pesto sauce, or with a mix of stir-fried veggies.