Ways to cut carbs while enjoying Italian feast


Since we covered a Mexican low carb night, let's explore foods from across the ocean.

This week, we'll go to Italy. There are many Italian fairs we all love, but avoid if we are being carb conscious. Let's gather a few carb friendly recipes you can make to have an Italian night.

Just remember that a healthy lifestyle takes planning and moderation.


Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

spaghetti squash

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground Italian sausage

1 onion (medium, chopped, about 1 cup)

4 cloves garlic (minced)

28 ounces crushed tomatoes

15 ounces tomato sauce

6 ounces tomato paste

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds


freshly ground black pepper

Cut spaghetti squash in half and cook. Scrape out squash as your spaghetti noodles.

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add beef, sausage, and onion and cook until mostly browned, about 5 minutes. Drain if desired. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, and bay leaf. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve over spaghetti squash noodles. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.


Low Carb Creamy Tuscan Chicken

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in half horizontally)

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves (minced)

1/3 cup chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (slivered)

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

4 cups baby spinach

Place olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with lemon pepper. Add chicken to skillet and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside.

Add onion to skillet and cook for about 3 minutes to soften. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add chicken broth and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer for 1 minute. Add Parmesan and stir until melted. Add sun-dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Stir in spinach. Cook and stir until spinach is wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Low Carb Lasagna

Cheese Dough Lasagna

4 oz full fat cream cheese softened

1 1/2 cups shredded part skim low moisture mozzarella cheese

2 large eggs

1 tsp Italian seasoning

Lasagna filling

1/4 cup onion minced

1 lb. ground beef

1 cup no sugar added marinara sauce

1 tsp Italian seasoning

6 tbsp ricotta cheese

1 cup shredded part skim low moisture mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Add all cheese dough ingredients into a food processor. Blend until evenly mixed. It should have a thick liquid consistency. If you do not have a food processor, you can mix by hand. Pour cheese batter into prepared baking pan. Use a spatula to spread batter across pan.

Place into middle of oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until surface is no longer wet and is firm to the touch. Set cheese noodles aside to let cool. While noodles are cooling, prepare your meat sauce.

In a large skillet, add onion and ground beef. Cook on medium heat until meat is browned. Drain excess fat from pan. Add in Italian seasoning and marinara sauce. Reduce to low heat and cook at a simmer for about 3 minutes

Assembling lasagna

Evenly slice your cheese dough into thirds. Your slices should just fit into an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan. Add a thin layer of meat sauce to the bottom of an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan. Add first noodle layer over meat sauce.

Add 1/3 of the remaining meat sauce across first noodle layer. Spread 3 tbsp of ricotta cheese across. Sprinkle 1/4 mozzarella cheese across.

Repeat with second noodle, meat sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella.

Add third noodle. Top with remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle on remaining mozzarella. If desired you can add a pinch of dried herb seasoning to the cheese. I like to finely crumble a pinch of dried oregano and add it to the cheese. 

Bake lasagna in the middle of your oven at 350F for about 20 minutes. If you wish to get some color on the top cheese layer, set your oven to a low broil (after the 20 min bake) and let the cheese bubble and blister for about 2 minutes. Let lasagna cool slightly before slicing and serving. If desired, sprinkle on some finely chopped fresh basil, oregano and parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese before serving.


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