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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Lasagna Zucchini Boats

I love zucchini boats because there are so many different options to stuff them with! I love lasagna so of course I wanted to stuff these with all of the same decadent flavors as you would get with the classic lasagna with noodles. This healthy twist is perfect without the carbs–believe it or not! They are also great reheated the next day so I would recommend making extra for leftovers.

*It’s important to look for zucchini that are a bit wider in width than usual so you have plenty of room to stuff. It makes a HUGE difference and is very helpful. #theRecipeRedux

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Lasagna Zucchini Boat Lasagna

Lasagna Zucchini Boat Lasagna

Ingredients

4 medium zucchini, sliced into halves through the length

1 cup low fat ricotta cheese

1 large egg

1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

8 oz. lean ground beef or lean ground turkey

4 tsp olive oil, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 3/4 cup marinara sauce

1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a spoon, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats--set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl stir together ricotta cheese, egg and 1 1/2 Tbsp of the parsley. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese--set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble beef into pan, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up beef when stirring, until browned. Stir in marinara sauce and 1 Tbsp of the basil, remove from heat.
  4. To assemble boats, brush both sides of of zucchini lightly with remaining 2 tsp olive oil and place in two baking pans. Divide cheese mixture among zucchini spooning about 2 1/2 Tbsp into each, then spread cheese mixture into and even layer. Divide sauce among zucchini adding a few heaping spoonfuls to each. Cover baking dishes with foil and place in oven side by side and bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle tops with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella, return to oven and bake until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle tops with with fresh basil and parsley and serve warm.
http://kathrynskitchenblog.com/2016/08/lasagna-zucchini-boat-lasagna/

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Spinach & Sausage

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If you don’t crave pizza every now and then you’re lying…Unless you don’t live in America because there is just something about it that we all crave. Pizza as we all know isn’t the healthiest so I made this into a low-carb meal by making a cauliflower crust instead of a pizza dough. It’s almost too good to be healthy to be honest..and you can customize your own pizza to your own likings! Also, did I mention this is probably easier to make than a regular pizza?

Ingredients:
1 head of a small to medium cauliflower
1 egg
1/4 cup italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup mozarella cheese (or cheddar)
1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp oregano (pinch with your fingers)
2 Tbsp tomato sauce
Mozzarela Cheese (I used a little less than 1/2 cup, but use as much as you desire)
Use your favorite toppings! I used a roasted garlic artichoke chicken sausage I got at Trader Joe’s.

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut off the florets and stem of cauliflower. Place in food processor until it looks almost powdery. Place cauliflower in a microwavable save bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. Let cool for another 2 minutes and add egg, breadbrumbs, cheeses, garlic powder, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined and it has formed an almost dough consistency.

2. TIME TO BAKE! Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or use parchment paper. Form cauliflower crust in a large round circle by pressing with your hands. If your hands are super sticky add more breadcrumbs to the dough. Bake for 15 minutes until crust is golden brown.
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3. Now for the finale! When crust is fully cooked, add your tomato sauce, cheese, and your toppings. Bake for another 5 mintues until cheese is melted and there you go! You can definitely feel good about eating this and you get an even bigger benefit by getting all the nutritous vitamins from cauliflower! It’s a win-win meal 🙂
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Smoked Salmon & Kale Frittata

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Yield: 6

Ingredients:
6 whole eggs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion; chopped
2 cloves garlic; chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
4 oz smoked salmon; coarsely chopped
3 cup kale; chopped
1/4 cup parsley; finely chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a frying pan on medium heat, add olive oil, onions, and garlic. Season well with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Sauté until kale is wilted.

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2. In a medium mixing bowl, crack eggs and whisk until combined. Add kale mixture in with a wooden spoon. Add in coarsely chopped smoked salmon and parmesan cheese. Lightly grease a pie dish with olive oil and add mixture. Bake for 35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley and parmesan cheese.

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Chickpea & Black Bean Hummus

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Yield: 6

Ingredients:
1 can black beans; drained and rinsed
1 can chickpeas; drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 garlic clove
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
6 whole wheat pita breads

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut each pita bread into 6 pieces and put on baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt on top. Bake for 10 minutes.

2. In the meantime, add beans, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, powder, garlic clove, lemon pepper, and cayenne pepper to food processor. Mix for about 3 minutes until hummus becomes creamy. Add more lemon juice and/or olive oil if hummus is too thick depending on the flavor. Also, feel free to add extra seasoning! Enjoy hummus with baked pita chips and fresh veggies..I particularly love sliced cucumbers with this hummus!