Crock-Pot Spaghetti Squash & Turkey Meatballs

I have been looking into low-carb recipes lately especially since I bought a Spiralizer. It really has inspired me to cut back on meals that are carb-friendly..I love the feeling of coming home from work and dinner is already made, thanks to my crock-pot! I have been trying to make more use out of it because it is so much easier to use than we all think. I guess I have been timid to use my crock-pot because I haven’t used it much. I can count the meals I’ve made with it on one hand so I am trying to get more practice out of it. Fall is quickly approaching us and you can bet I will be whipping up some comforting soups from my crock-pot by then! Just like all of us food bloggers, I have a Pinterset board full of crock-pot recipes that I have accumulated and I’m looking forward to trying them out!

Crock-Pot Spaghetti Squash & Turkey Meatballs

Crock-Pot Spaghetti Squash & Turkey Meatballs

Looking for tasty, low-carb and wholesome dinner to be ready when you get home? Here you go! All thanks to the crock-pot and this easy recipe.

Ingredients

1 small-medium spaghetti squash

About 4-5 cups of marinara sauce (approx. 1 jar)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Sprinkle of salt and pepper

Meatballs: makes about 14-16 mini meatballs about the size of a golf ball

Ground Turkey meat

2 cloves of garlic; minced

½ cup breadcrumbs

1 whole egg

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. onion powder

¼ cup fresh parsley; roughly chopped

¼ cup parmesan cheese; either grated or shredded

Instructions

  1. For the meatballs: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix with your hands. If you are thinking gross- it's not..wash your hands! Your hands do the best job incorporating all of the ingredients together. Roll into about 1 ½ inch size balls.
  2. Time to brown the meatballs! Heat olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan to medium heat. Add about half of the meatballs to the skillet; make sure none of the meatballs are touching each other. You can do this in multiple batches if you need to. Brown meatballs on all sides; about 3 minutes per side. They will brown quickly since they are mini! Remove meatballs and place on a baking sheet lined with a paper towel to drain access fat.
  3. Pour one cup of marinara sauce and a drizzle of olive oil into the bottom of slow cooker. Slice the spaghetti squash in half around it's middle, (not from stem to end). Scoop out the seeds, and place cut-side-down into the crock-pot on the sauce. Arrange the meatballs around the spaghetti squash in the slow cooker, and top the meatballs with one more cup of marinara sauce. Cover crock-pot, and cook on low heat for 3 hours.
  4. Once spaghetti squash is cooked, remove the spaghetti squash with tongs- it will be hot to be careful. Let cool for about 10 minutes then scoop out the insides with a fork. Pull the spaghetti squash strands apart. It will start to resemble spaghetti.
  5. To finish, place spaghetti squash on a dish and top with meatballs and marinara sauce. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and enjoy this low-carb tasty meal!
http://kathrynskitchenblog.com/2017/07/crock-pot-spaghetti-squash-turkey-meatballs/

Too busy for homemade marinara sauce? No problem! It is completely OK to not make everything from scratch all the time. As much as I would love to, it can be time consuming.  I am not a fan of sauce from a jar and to be honest I have not found a jar of sauce that I like..it’s just not the same as homemade marinara sauce. I can be picky with my sauces because my Nana makes the best sauce in my opinion and it’s hard to come close to the taste of hers..

BUT here is a little trick I use to make a marinara sauce taste more homemade.  Add the sauce to a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of sugar, 4 fresh basil leaves roughly chopped, 1 clove of garlic minced, and a few shakes of Italian seasoning. Stir until combined and that’s all. If you are not using this sauce for a crock pot recipe, be sure to warm on a saucepan so the basil and garlic can soften.

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Mini Cannoli Bites

Looking for a simple bite-sized dessert to make?! These are quick, easy and simple– I made my Dad a Lemon Meringue Pie for Father’s Day on Sunday with Pillsbury® pie crust and I had one roll of pie crust leftover. First of all, I love love love using Pillsbury®  pie crust because it is so easy and it’s delicious! It also always turns into a perfectly light golden brown crust when it is baked properly. Secondly, there are so many different ways to use pie crust! Check out my Apple Cinnamon Pie Crust Cookie recipe HERE.  There is also nothing wrong with making your pie crust from scratch of course, it just will take a bit more time.

Mini Cannoli Bites

Yield: 12 mini bites

Mini Cannoli Bites

These sweet bites of a creamy cannoli are quick, easy and simple

Ingredients

1 premade pie crust; I use Pillsbury’s®  pie crust

12 oz. whole milk Ricotta Cheese; strained

1/3 cup mascarpone cheese

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips; plus more for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Unroll the pie crust onto a cutting board or clean flat surface. Use a 2 ½ inch round biscuit cutter (or a cup will work if you don’t have a biscuit cutter) and cut out 12 rounds of pie crust. Place rounds in a mini muffin pan. Use your fingers to press the dough to fit the pan.
  2. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until pie cups are a light golden brown. Once baked, let cool for 15  minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar and mini chocolate chips until combined.
  4. Spoon in ricotta filling into pie cups OR if you want to make them look extra pretty, scoop filling into a zip-lock bag and cut the tip off. Squeeze filling into pie cups and sprinkle mini chocolate chips.
  5.  
http://kathrynskitchenblog.com/2017/06/mini-cannoli-bites/

There are only 5 ingredients to make these bites so you should definitely give them a try. They are not too sweet and you can also top these with fresh diced strawberries. If you like your cannoli filling a little sweeter, add ½ cup of powdered sugar instead of 1/3 cup. The mascarpone cheese is like an Italian cream cheese so it will make your filling extra creamy. You will probably have extra filling so you can either make more pie cups if you have more pie crust, or you can eat the filling as it is for a dessert or sweet snack. Just scoop into a small bowl add chocolate chips and enjoy! It would also count as low-carb too if you ate it this way 😉

 

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Mini Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna Cups

Well….this may be the easiest dinner I have whipped up. I had leftover wonton wrappers from my Baked Crab Rangoon recipe so I used the leftover wrappers to make these little cuties! You can also enjoy these with meat such as ground beef or sausage! Just add it to the ricotta filling and you have yourself a nice wholesome meal.

IMG_4992Pasta Salad close up

Mini Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna Cups

Mini Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna Cups

This is everything you want in a lasagna, except it is in a mini version. Every bite is cheesy and filled with lasagna goodness.

Ingredients

24 wonton wrappers

4 cups of fresh spinach (about 1 bag)

3 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup ricotta

1 cup of fresh marinara sauce

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 cloves of fresh garlic; chopped

1 cup of shredded mozarella cheese

5 leaves of fresh sliced basil (to garnish)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium sauce pan sautee spinach by adding olive oil, garlic, and spinach. Sautee until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a cupcake pan, spray the bottoms with cooking spray, then add wrappers accordingly.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix in the cooked spinach and ricotta. Then add salt and pepper to taste. With teasoon, spoon in about 1 tablespoon of ricotta filling to the wrappers. Then top with about 1 tablespoon of marinara sauce, then sprinkle with mozarella cheese (about another tablespoon). Repeat until you are out of ingridients.
  4. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until cheese if completely melted and bubbly. Sprinkle with freshly sliced basil and enjoy these cuties! 🙂
http://kathrynskitchenblog.com/2015/06/mini-spinach-and-ricotta-lasagna-cups/

IMG_4983Pasta Salad close up

IMG_4985Pasta Salad close up

IMG_4987Pasta Salad close up

IMG_4988Pasta Salad close up

Ravioli and Sausage Bake

A few of my favorite things in life consists of Italian food..Raviolis is one of them.​ This is extremely easy to make and takes only a few minutes to prepare! I would say if you are in a hurry and want to make something hearty, Italian, and delicious, try this!

IMG_4854Pasta Salad close up

Ravioli and Sausage Bake

Ravioli and Sausage Bake

Creamy ricotta filled raviolis come together with sweet Italian Sausage in this luscious bake. I guarantee you can't just have one bite of this!

Ingredients

1 lb of raviolis (I used ricotta filled Raviolis)

1 pack of Johnsonville Ground Mild Italian Sausage or just simply remove the casings

2 cloves of garlic; minced

1/2 yellow onion; diced

2 tsp olive oil

3 cups of marinara sauce (homemade is always best)

1 cup of shredded mozarella cheese

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; season with salt. Boil raviolis according to directions on package.
  2. In the meantime, bring a large frying pan or skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic, and onions. Let them sautee for about a minute, then add sausage. Continue to stir the sausage for about 5-7 minutes until it is completely cooked (not pink at all).
  3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain, and place back into pot. Add about half of the tomato sauce and stir until every single ravioi is covered in sauce. Now time to layer (almost like a lasagna)... In a baking dish, add a layer of sauce to the bottom, then a scoop of raviolis, then a large scoop of sausage, then a scoop of mozarrella cheese, parmesan cheese, and repeat until you are out of ingredients. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!
http://kathrynskitchenblog.com/2015/04/ravioli-and-sausage-bake/

IMG_4853Pasta Salad close up
IMG_4855Pasta Salad close up

Baked “fried” zucchini bites

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Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs always make anything taste better. These crunchy bites are full of flavor and goodness you won’t even believe they’re fried. I always have too many zucchini laying around in my fridge so this is a great way to use up my leftover ones!

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
2 zucchini sliced into 1/4 inch slices
2 eggs; lightly beaten
3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan grated cheese

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Slice washed zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with whole wheat flour.

2. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl and dip each round into the egg mixture.

3. Combine the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs in a separate bowl. Dip each floured round into the mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray or use a silpat pad.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until zuchhini is golden brown. Serve with your favorite dip!