Cauliflower Steaks

Cauliflower Steaks

Cauliflower rice is a great low carb alternative, but did you know you could make cauliflower steaks as well?

It's a wonderful way to get more fiber and satisfaction if you're looking to cook yourself thin. Also, if you've been wanting to eat more vegetarian but don't want to give up some favorites, embrace your cauliflower.

This video shows how to make it into “chicken” fried steak.

What Would I Change

Well, we should talk about the gravy, of course. I mean, that seems like a lot of cauliflower. And yet, it's a good way to use up a small head if you're the only person, right?

But it's not easy to make a good gravy that's healthy.

If you wanted to keep the gravy vegan, you could check out VegWeb's Vegan Sausage Gravy recipe or BrandNewVegan's Country Gravy recipe.

If you think adding some sausage to your gravy would make your cauliflower steak better, you'll want to make it with turkey sausage along with the low fat milk. To make your sausage gravy paleo, you'll need to use arrowroot or for the thickening agent instead of flour. Also, you'll want to use almond milk in place of cow's milk.

Variations on Cauliflower Steaks

If you're enjoying the idea of a cauliflower steak but want a few more ideas, check out

That should get you started! Leave a comment with your favorite recipe!

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Spaghetti Squash Ideas

Spaghetti Squash Ideas

I've told you before that spaghetti squash is wonderful in place of pasta. I also enjoy adding it in so you can have some with pasta for a heartier meal.

Most people want to know how to cook since it's a squash. And it looks scary. Plus, if you're used to cutting up butternut squash, you may think all winter squash is difficult.  It's not so.  It does help if you have the right tools.

There's two ways to use spaghetti squash. You can cook and use the strands in place of pasta like with a carbonara sauce. Or you can bake things into the squash like Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash.

Cooking a Spaghetti Squash

I'm going to talk about how to cook the squash if you're going to use it in a recipe. If you're going to use a recipe where you put the ingredients in, and then bake it, don't cook the squash first.

I personally use an Instant Pot multi-function cooker. You can pressure cook a whole squash without cutting into it for 6-10 minutes depending upon the size. The skin then just peels off, and you can scoop out the seeds. Some people prefer to prick the skin or cut the squash in half before pressure cooking. Find what you're comfortable with.

You can also use a slow cooker to cook for 4 to 6 hours. It's a good idea to prick the skin a few times with a fork before putting it in.

If you have a microwave, slice the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Then put the squash cut side down on damp paper towels. Cover with more damp paper towels and microwave on high for approximately 20 minutes. Then let it sit for ten minutes. And you can scoop out the squash fibers.

Finally, you can bake in an oven.  Cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and put cut side down in a pan with a cup of water. Then bake at 400F for 45-50 minutes.

The important thing to remember is you do not need to skin the squash before cooking.

Make Spaghetti Squash Into Fritters

Here's a video for a delicious recipe in using the spaghetti squash to make a fritter with spinach.

Turning Spaghetti Squash Into Casserole

You can add the cooked spaghetti squash into a casserole like a frittata or a quiche. It adds in vegetables without seeming like a vegetable. And don't forget to add in additional vegetables like spinach. Go easy on the cheese. You want just enough for the flavor, but you don't want it to add in too much fat.

Resources

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Cucumber Sub Sandwich

Cucumber Sub Sandwich

Nikki Dinki posted this video for her cucumber sub sandwich. All I could think of was “Wow, that's a GREAT idea.”  If you don't know her, she was a contestant on Next Food Network Star. And she's published a cookbook called Meat On the Side. She was one of my favorite contestants.  I love how creative she can get with incorporating more vegetables into a meal.

She has the recipe here on her blog. It's a longer Facebook live video at 22 minutes, but she does give a lot of good tips. My favorites were:

  • Stuff it quite a bit because it will taste more like a sandwich than a cucumber
  • Using something warm will melt the cheese

Other Ideas

I'm mostly thinking cold sandwiches since it's over 90 here. I shouldn't complain. My mother-in-law said it was going to get to 102 where she lives.

  • Bay shrimp salad sandwich
  • Crab salad sandwich
  • Lobstah roll (sorry, I couldn't help myself)
  • Tuna salad sandwich (I love using diced celery and red onion) with some cheese (American, I'm so bad….)
  • Salmon and cream cheese (think tea sandwiches)
  • Ham and cheese
  • Bacon Lettuce & Tomato
  • Club Sandwich (any leftover chicken or turkey in the fridge?)

Making a cucumber sub sandwich reduces the carbs if you're wanting to try that to lose weight. And I am. I also get a bit tired of salads. This is a great way for me to feel like I'm actually eating a sandwich. But it's not as messy as when I made a burger with two portobello mushrooms as the bun.

Just note that you want to find a cucumber with a thin skin but that's also big enough to have the seeds scooped out. Also, make sure that it's not seedless or you'll be having some difficulties with trying to hollow out the cucumber halves.

If you are, try using a grapefruit spoon or a melon baller. And then save the insides for a salad or pop in your water for a refreshing drink.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto Shrimp

Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto Shrimp

Zucchini noodles with avocado pesto shrimp sounds so divine with all the zucchini I'm trying to grow in my garden. And shrimp is a lovely protein for warm summer evenings.

You can see the full recipe here.

What Can You Change?

This recipe calls for pistachios to make the pesto. You can make a more classic pesto with pine nuts.  I also love using raw walnuts in my pesto. It provides a flavor that reminds me of warmth and love.

Every November, my mom would set out a nut bowl with walnuts and hazelnuts so we could just have a few nuts when we walked through.  I love filberts, make no mistake. But there's something about a raw walnut that's so, oh I don't know, perfection.

I confess to being a nut for nuts. And I do say to look for unsalted nuts for this recipe. The avocado pesto would be way too salty otherwise.

But back to the topic. You could also use bay scallops (the little guys) in this as well for a delicious dinner.

Avocado pesto is a great way to make a creamy sauce with healthy fats. Now, don't get me wrong. Olive oil is super healthy too. I'd probably also add in more herbs like cilantro or flat leaf parsley.  Flat leaf parsley has a different flavor.

Try growing some and you'll see what I mean.  I'm a huge fan of growing something..anything…just to get in touch with the growing life cycles.

But I digress.  You can eat this on its own or have a crisp salad with it. I'd also think about adding in halved cherry tomatoes for a burst of acid and color.

Butter Garlic Herb Steak Packets

Butter Garlic Herb Steak Packets

Using foil packets on the grill is a great way to make these butter garlic herb steak packets. Since it's summer here, it's hot. I used my Weber kettle outdoors the last three nights.

But it's always kind of annoying to have to remember to rub down the grill after cooking. Using foil packets, you can keep the grill clean. Well, cleaner.  Anyway, it's all in one since you have your veggies in there too.

See how easy it is in the video:

Things to Note

In the recipe, the author has you cut the steak into bite sized pieces. This ensures it cooks as evenly as the potatoes and carrots. You could use different vegetables in the butter garlic herb steak packets. Since it's summer, you may want to do potatoes and zucchini or other summer squash.  Just know that the squash will cook faster than the root vegetables.

You may want to cook one as a test first to see how everything cooked. I prefer my meat rare. Hubby and daughter prefer it medium rare.

You could also cook this in a toaster oven if you're only cooking for one or two people

And while you could use dried herbs, you'll get a better flavor if you use fresh.

 

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Spiralizing Vegetables for Paleo Noodles

Spiralizing Vegetables for Paleo Noodles

I'm a big fan of spiralizing vegetables for Paleo noodles. It gets me a larger variety of vegetables, and I feel like I'm eating pasta.  Usually, I'll make a small amount of pasta and during the last minute of cooking, I'll toss in the spiralized vegetables. It cooks them up perfectly.

You can find the all the recipes here. It's something to inspire you to want to use the spiralizer more.

More Inspiration for Spiralizing Vegetables

You can make a wonderful salad by spiralizing cucumbers and serving with cherry tomatoes and a tzatziki sauce.

Spiralizing sweet potatoes are another great replacement for pasta. It has a more toothy feel to it. You will need to cook it longer than summer squash.

I spiralized cabbage to make sauerkraut. My husband loves my fresh sauerkraut but he prefers it to be chopped smaller. And I can chop it finer, but why? I can easily use my KitchenAid spiralizer attachment.

Want a fun dessert? Spiralize an apple and toss with some sugar and cinnamon. Then bake until soft.  It's so good.

Best Tips for Spiralizing Vegetables

Cut the noodles after you spiralize them. You don't want to be cutting while you're in the middle of creating the noodles.

Center the vegetable to have perfectly spiralized noodles. Otherwise you may end up with half-moons. It also help to use small to m

 

edium sized vegetables rather than larger ones. And be careful of too small ones. But that's only generally speaking. You will need to test with your particular spiralizer.

I've used Vegetti, Spiralizer, and the KitchenAid spiralizer attachment.  I liked the Vegetti because it was simple for some quick zucchini noodles. But it wasn't easy to use for harder vegetables.

The Spiralizer had a lot of different blade types and was more flexible. However, I don't have a good countertop, so I couldn't get it attached properly. And the KitchenAid is like a hot knife through butter.

I have to just be careful with how fast I have the motor going.

Peel the hard vegetables like carrots, beets and sweet potatoes before you spiralize them. And then cook them. Don't cook a vegetable before you spiralize them or you'll have a hot mess.

Dry your vegetables after you spiralize them. This is most important for summer squash like zucchini and cucumbers, otherwise you'll have a soggy salad or bowl of pasta.

Resources

 

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Quick Shrimp Stir Fry

Quick Shrimp Stir Fry

This quick shrimp stir fry is really tempting.  For starters, stir fries are a wonderful and quick way to get a healthy dinner on the table. You can pack in the vegetables.

You can find the full recipe here.

What Would I Change?

This kind of recipe is good for learning how to stir fry.  Zucchini is fairly simple to cook. And the most difficult aspects of this recipe are slicing the grape tomatoes and making sure the shrimp is deveined.

That being said, it's good to realize this isn't going to taste like a Chinese restaurant stir fry.  There's no soy sauce. And it uses basil and Parmesan cheese.  It makes a quick and easy dinner.

If you wanted a quicker dinner, you could pick up fresh or frozen stir fry vegetables from your local market. There's usually pea pods, onions and red bell pepper in them.

I would also add in bok choy or green cabbage. It doesn't matter if you choose Napa, curly leaf or smooth. Cabbage cooks quickly and adds a nice texture.

Broccoli is also another great vegetable to cook over high heat in oil.

Different Seasonings

If you want to make an Asian stir fry, then you'll need to whip up a sauce using soy sauce. And you won't want to use butter. Use a good high heat oil like grapeseed. And then you can use a bit of sesame oil for flavor.

But the whole world really is your oyster when it comes to stir fries. All you're doing is cooking small pieces of vegetables and meat over high heat, and then finishing with a sauce.  You could use chili powder for a Mexican stir fry.

Look for seasoning mixes in your supermarket. You may also want to add in Italian seasoning to this particular shrimp recipe for a deeper flavor.  Or find some Herbs de Provence.

You can swap out the shrimp for chicken, beef, pork, tofu, turkey, etc. The sky is the limit.

To make this low carb, find low carb noodles or make zoodles. Otherwise, serve with a bit of brown rice. You'll be so happy you did.

 

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Low-Carb Ground Turkey Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Low-Carb Ground Turkey Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Low-Carb ground turkey stuffed zucchini boats are a wonderful and easy to make dinner.

Zucchini is a wonderful vegetable that's often the butt of jokes because it grows so prolifically. You can use it in place of pasta as zoodles or sliced as lasagna noodles.  In this recipe, it provides a meaty holder of meaty cheesy goodness.  See what you think.

You can find the full recipe at From Valerie's Kitchen.

What Would I Change

If I were doing meatless Monday, I would use crumbled tofu instead.  You could also use regular sausage, ground beef or ground chicken depending upon what you have and what's on sale.

If you needed to save time, you could get ground turkey that's already seasoned. But I wouldn't skip the onion. You can buy pre-chopped onion and just toss it in. I buy bags from the freezer section of my local supermarket.

Also, you could buy pre-cooked turkey sausage. I keep a bag of Jimmy Dean's turkey sausage crumbles in my fridge for my morning egg scrambles.

Watch the Cheese

I don't think this recipe has too much cheese. But you could skip the mozzarella cheese entirely and just use fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Update the Marinara

You should make sure that the marinara sauce you choose has very low sugars. Or you could substitute in a can of petite diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce. It would have a more tomato-ey flavor which some people like.

However, if you want a more marinara flavor, here's a quick recipe that uses crushed tomatoes, basil, garlic, parsley, etc. It will take about 40 extra minutes. You could use this recipe in a slow cooker.  Or you could check out this ten minute recipe.

Alternate Flavors

You could easily use salsa, chorizo, beans, rice and fresh tomatoes. Here's one recipe for Mexican zucchini burrito boats. You would swap out Mexican seasoning for the Italian seasoning.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Easy Broiled Salmon with Lemon

Easy Broiled Salmon with Lemon

Broiled salmon is a great way to get your Omega 3's. Fish is a wonderful lean protein that we should eat more of. I always keep tuna packs at hand for a quick snack.

Salmon is more satisfying because it has a higher fat content and so you feel more satisfied after the meal. Some people are afraid of cooking fish, and we've all made that mistake where it comes out more like catfood than a gourmet meal. And it's OK to make mistakes.

I think this video makes it seem easy. And if you have a toaster oven, you can broil it in there if you only want a smaller portion.

You can see the full recipe here. What it doesn't tell you but the video shows is that they sprinkle lemon juice over the broiled salmon once its cooked.

The Key to Cooking Salmon Correctly

My family from Seattle told me the key to cooking salmon correctly is pull it off when it's still a little pink and shiny on the inside. You want it to look a little underdone. It will cook the rest of the way by the time you get the plate on the table, trust me on this.

What to Serve with It

Broiled salmon goes great with a wide variety of veggies. I've made it with swiss chard, green beans, broccoli, roasted brussels sprouts, etc. Pasta and potatoes along with rice can balance out the dinner.

I never serve tartar sauce with salmon. I think the lemon is quite sufficient. You could also make a mango salsa to go on top of this. It would go great with a salad and simple rice on a warm summer's evening.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Eggplant Parmesan Rollatini

Eggplant Parmesan Rollatini

Eggplant Parmesan is one of my absolute favorite things. Unfortunately, eggplant is right up there with Brussels sprouts for a lot of people. The bottom line is that it's important to prepare it correctly (more on that below). It doesn't take that much extra time but it will provide a better result.

My mom would make eggplant Parmesan occasionally. She'd also make chicken Parmesan. And I was such a brat that I'd complain because it wasn't eggplant.

But then I've always loved vegetables.  So, here's a cool and easy to prepare eggplant Parmesan recipe that's super light.

Watch the video:

This video doesn't have a recipe per se that I could find. So take notes when you watch it.

It's pretty light as is. So what would I change? I've become very aware of how much sugar is in things these days. I even found sugar in my Stacy's bare naked pita chips.  So before you buy your jar of marinara, check how much sugar is already in it.  Better yet, make your own. I'll make a post later this summer when I have an abundance of tomatoes on the vine begging to be made into a sauce.

How to Prepare Eggplant Well

One important thing to know is that it's essential to salt the eggplant slices and let them sit for at least fifteen or twenty minutes.  Then you can rinse off the slices and continue on with the recipe. It just makes the eggplant tastier.

Some people put the slices in a colander and then salt to make it easier to rinse off.

And others swear to salt and then put something heavy on top of the eggplant to squish out the stuff. The salt is drawing moisture out of the eggplant, and probably some other flavor. I'm not an expert or a nutritionist.  I just love growing eggplant and making Alton Brown's one pan quick eggplant parm.

As always, use the best possible ingredients that you can for the best flavor.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.