Low-Carb Vodka Pasta One-Pot

This low-starch/ low-carb vodka pasta calls for neither vodka nor traditional pasta, and it also skips the heavy cream. But it has all the other ingredients I think of when I remember vodka pasta that my best friend used to make when we were roommates after college–broccoli, sausage (chicken sausage in this case), as well as a pink sauce that is incredibly tasty yet makes for a super healthy recipe. It’s reasonably quick on time and only uses one big pot, so it’s perfect for weekday evenings. Enjoy! Serves 5 Ingredients 2 servings dry low-carb pasta (such as black bean spaghetti) 3 medium heads of fresh broccoli, separated into flowerets 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil Lots of fresh garlic (~ 6-10 medium cloves), minced 2 links sweet Italian chicken sausage, sliced 1 can (15 oz) low- or no-salt added petite diced tomatoes 1 small can (8 oz) low- or no-salt added tomato sauce 1/2 Tbsp dried basil 1 tsp dried oregano 1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese 2 oz light stick cream cheese   Directions Cook the low-carb pasta according to package instructions, drain, and place aside. Place the broccoli in a microwaveable glass dish with a little bit of water and microwave until al dente. Drain and add to the pasta bowl. In a dutch oven or extra large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic and sliced sausage (unless the sausage is already pre-cooked, in which case just add it to the pasta and broccoli.) To the garlic and sausage add the pasta, broccoli, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, and oregano. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for approximately 8 minutes, or until broccoli is cooked through. Add Parmesan and cream cheeses, and stir to combine well. Heat through until cheeses have melted, approximately 3-5 more...
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Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese

This cauliflower mac and cheese doesn’t use traditional macaroni or pasta. It has just a couple of low-carb pasta servings along with nutritious spinach and an entire head of cauliflower to bulk it up and make for hefty servings. As you likely realize by now I’m a huge fan of oven-roasted cauliflower, and especially of using it to substitute for pasta in some of my homemade dishes. This is one of my all-time favorite low-starch meals. Serves 8-10 Ingredients 1 x-large head of cauliflower 2 servings dry low-carb pasta (such as black bean spaghetti) (2) 12 to 16-oz packages frozen spinach, thawed 2 Tbsp whole wheat dry breadcrumbs 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 to 1/2 tsp paprika Lots of fresh garlic (~ 6-10 medium cloves), minced 2 small (or 1 large) sweet onions, chopped 2 1/2 cups skim or low-fat milk, divided 3 Tbsp stone-ground whole wheat flour 2 cups shredded low-fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided 1 1/2 cups low-fat organic cottage cheese <1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp salt Optional: low-fat cottage cheese for topping   Directions Roast the cauliflower ahead of time: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and lightly grease a large roasting dish. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets and sprinkle with sea salt. (Note: I’ve since discovered that you don’t even need to further oil the cauliflower if the baking dish is well-oiled.) Roast for 30 mins, stir, and roast 15 min more. Once cooled, place in a very large mixing bowl. Grease a separate 13×9-inch glass baking dish, and set aside. Cook the low-carb pasta according to package instructions, drain, and place in the mixing bowl. Place spinach in a fine-mesh strainer and press out as much excess moisture as possible. Add to the large mixing bowl. Mix breadcrumbs, oil, and paprika in small bowl and set aside. Saute the garlic and onions with just a tiny bit of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until translucent. Add to the large mixing bowl along with the cauliflower, low-carb pasta and spinach. Using the now-empty skillet heat 2 cups milk over medium-high heat until steaming. Whisk remaining 1/2 cup milk and the flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers and thickens, as much as 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of the Cheddar...
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Cauliflower “Pasta” Bake

This cauliflower pasta bake doesn’t actually have pasta in it, which makes it a yummy low-starch dish that freezes especially well. It tastes just like any baked pasta dish–you really won’t notice the actual pasta is missing! In other low-carb recipes, you’ll note I tend to mix the cauliflower with some low-carb pasta, but in this case the cauly holds up well on its own. Serves 8 Ingredients 1 x-large head of cauliflower 1 package cremini mushrooms, rinsed well, and loosely chopped into large chunks Lots of fresh garlic (~ 6-10 medium cloves), minced 1 whole sweet onion, chopped 16 oz organic 93% ground beef 2/3 jar (24 oz) low-sugar marinara or spaghetti sauce 1/2 cup fresh (or less than 1/2 cup already grated) Parmesan cheese 1 1/2  cups organic shredded mozzarella cheese Optional: low-fat cottage cheese for topping   Directions Roast the cauliflower ahead of time: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and lightly grease a large roasting dish. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets, place in a sealable bag with 1 tsp of olive oil and sea salt, seal the bag, and then massage the oil and salt to cover all florets. Roast for 30 mins, stir, and roast 15 min more. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and grease a 13×9-inch glass baking dish. Microwave the cremini mushrooms in a microwaveable bowl for 2 minutes, until soft and mostly cooked. Drain and squeeze dry. Brown the garlic, onion, and ground beef with just a tiny bit of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until the beef is cooked through. Drain. Stir in roasted cauliflower, mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Spoon into the 13×9-inch baking dish, top with the mozzarella cheese, and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly. Serve with optional cottage...
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Tomato Basil Cauliflower OR Pasta Salad

This “pasta” salad can be made low-starch by swapping out the pasta for homemade roasted cauliflower and skipping the cannellini beans–for those following a low-carb lifestyle. It is one of my husband’s favorite summer dishes (mine too!) We like to add a hefty spoonful or two of low-fat cottage cheese for a protein-packed addition that complements the other cheeses and makes for a heartier dish that can stand on its own for dinner. It’s also a great side salad for any cookout. The absolute key is the fresh basil. Tomato, basil, and mozzarella really is a perfect combination, so enjoy this variation. It also keeps well for leftovers. Serves 5-6 as a main dish Ingredients Large head cauliflower OR 1/3 box whole wheat penne pasta (2-3 servings’ worth) 1 to 1.5 lb ripe tomatoes, diced 3 to 4 medium cloves fresh garlic, minced 1/3 cup grated Parmesan 1 to 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1/2 bunch (~ 1 large fistful) fresh basil leaves, cut into strips 1 cup shredded mozzarella (organic or light) 20 Kalamon olives, sliced 1 jar hearts of palm, drained and cut into disks Optional: 1 can cannellini beans Optional topping: organic 2% cottage cheese   Directions Either roast the cauliflower ahead of time, OR cook the pasta until al dente and drain. To roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and lightly grease a large roasting dish. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets, place in a sealable bag with 1-2 tsp of olive oil and sea salt, seal the bag, and then massage the oil and salt to cover all florets. Roast for 30 mins, stir, and roast 15 min more. Combine all other ingredients, except the cottage cheese. Add the pasta or roasted cauliflower and stir until well combined. Allow the flavors to marinate 20 minutes, or serve immediately. Serve with extra Parmesan and cottage...
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Healthier Spinach Alfredo

This spinach Alfredo is a fairly new recipe that my husband and I have already come to love. I’ve written the recipe as we make it, which means it is low-starch. But feel free to swap out the roasted cauliflower and low-carb pasta for a good quality whole grain pasta. Definitely make sure to grate the Parmesan yourself–the freshness can’t be beat! Serves 5-6 Ingredients Florets from 1 large head of cauliflower 1-2 servings of dry low-carb pasta, such as black bean spaghetti 2 Tbsp butter 2 Tbsp stoneground whole wheat flour 2 1/2 cups skim or low-fat milk Lots of fresh garlic (~ 6-10 medium cloves), minced 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp ground black pepper 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, separated into 1 c and 1/2 c 1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry Directions Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a large roasting dish. Roast the cauliflower florets ahead of time: Place them in a sealable bag with 1-2 tsp of olive oil and sea salt, seal the bag, and then massage the oil and salt to cover all florets. Roast for 30 mins, stir, and roast 15 min more. Cook the low-carb pasta according to package instructions, drain, and set aside. Heat a very small amount of olive oil in a very large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the minced garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until garlic is translucent. Set aside and wipe down pan. Melt the butter over low-medium heat, then add the flour. Whisk until there are no lumps. Add salt, black pepper, and milk. Whisk regularly to form a thickened roux, taking care not to let any roux stick, about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of the Parmesan, the sauteed garlic, and thawed spinach to the roux. Add the roasted cauliflower and cooked low-carb pasta and mix to combine. Toss with an additional 1/2 cup Parmesan (or reserve it to sprinkle on top) and let sit 10 minutes to thicken and combine...
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