By JoAnna Anderson Brown, Nutritional Therapist
Like most busy moms, I’m always looking for simple, nutritious dinners that will feed my whole family. That’s a tall order with three picky little boys! To add to that, my husband is gluten intolerant, and we both try to stick to a ketogenic (low carb, high protein/fiber) lifestyle. We go through a lot of ground meat in our home, and here are a couple of my go-to ground turkey/beef recipes. I almost always have the ingredients for these dishes on hand, so I can easily whip them up on the fly on a busy weeknight.
Meatloaf Bell Pepper Rings
Your go-to turkey or beef meatloaf recipe ingredients: I often use a variation of this recipe.
2 Bell peppers, any color
2 cups of your favorite salsa
3 tbs shredded cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with wax/parchment paper for easy clean up. Prepare peppers by cutting off the tops and bottoms and slicing into 3 thick rings. Place the rings on the cookie sheet. (If you want, you can dice up the remaining parts of the bell peppers and add them to your meat mixture, or add them to a side salad.)
- Prepare meatloaf mix in a large bowl. Stuff each pepper ring with meat, leaving a little mound on top.
Put a new spin on your mom’s meatloaf recipe!
- Heat oil in an oven-safe pot over medium heat (I use my cast-iron skillets for easy transfer to the oven, but you could use a regular skillet and then transfer to a casserole dish for the oven). Brown each stuffed pepper ring for about 4 minutes on each side.
- Pour salsa over each stuffed pepper ring and transfer to oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Top with cheese and bake for 3 more minutes. Serve and enjoy.
You could also top your peppers with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese for an Italian flavor.
A lean and green dinner!
Mexican Zucchini Boats
Skip the tortilla and try this low-carb, gluten-free one-dish wonder!
1 pound ground organic turkey or grass-fed beef
taco seasoning to taste (I use Trader Joe’s)
1 10 oz can of original Rotel, juice drained
3-4 zucchinis, cut in half length wise
3 tbs shredded cheese (optional)
1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- Brown the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add taco seasoning and Rotel and mix well. Once thoroughly cooked, drain any excessive grease/juice.
- While meat is cooking, wash and prepare the zucchinis. Use a small spoon or melon baller to hollow out the centers of the zucchini halves to form boats.
- Transfer zucchini boats to casserole dish and fill each one with the meat mixture. Top with cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.
- Garnish with avocado chunks, serve and enjoy.
Jazz up your hum-drum meatloaf and taco nights with these fun recipes!
Looking for a light and healthy dinner option after the decadence of Thanksgiving? Look no further! This one-pot meal is low-carb, gluten and dairy free, and packed with nutrition. The whole dish can be prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes.
2 medium pieces boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 2/3 lb) cut into chunks
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
3 medium zucchinis, cut into noodles using a spiralizer*
1 carrot, cut into noodles using a spiralizer
Sesame Seeds, optional garnish
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt, black pepper and red chili flakes to taste, optional
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and/or red chili flakes.
- In a large bowl, combine chicken with salt, pepper and drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of sauce over the chicken. Allow to marinate for a few minutes while you prep the spiralized veggies.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a large skillet / saute pan on medium. Add chicken and cook until lightly brown, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the pineapple chunks and cook for another 2 minutes, until slightly softened. Pour in the sauce and turn the heat to high. Allow sauce to bubble and thicken while stirring – about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the spiralized zucchini and carrots into the pan and toss to coat with the sauce. Cook for about 2 minutes, until zucchini is tender. Be careful not to overcook as the veggies can get mushy!
- Remove from heat and drizzle extra sauce in pan over chicken and serve immediately, garnish with sesame seeds if desired, serve and enjoy!
*After spiralizing the zucchini, wring out extra moisture and pat dry with a paper towel. This will keep your dish from being too watery!
If you don’t have a spiralizer, it is a must-have for the low-carb, gluten-free kitchen! They are relatively cheap on Amazon.
By JoAnna Anderson Brown, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner
Isn’t it great when you come across a simple supper recipe that doesn’t require you to run to the grocery store? As the mother of a preschooler, a toddler and an infant, it’s a miracle! That’s why I was so jazzed when I found this Baked Pepper Explosion recipe, which includes ingredients I almost always have on hand.
This dish is gluten-free, protein-packed, quick and easy, and it freezes well. It’s also warm, flavorful and comforting, making it perfect for fall!
Ingredients (serves 6):
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound of ground turkey or beef
2 chopped bell peppers, any color
Seasonings to taste: I used garlic powder, oregano, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, black pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
3 cups of cooked rice (I used organic brown basmati rice)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Your favorite salsa to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large skillet, saute the garlic and onion in oil until translucent.
- Add the ground meat and cook thoroughly. Drain excess fat if necessary.
- Add the bell peppers and cook until softened. Then add the diced tomatoes and season to your liking. Cook 3 minutes or so to blend the flavors.
- Transfer the meat/veggie mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked rice and 1.5 cups of cheese and mix evenly.
- Transfer the mixture to a greased 9×13 baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.
- Cook for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, remove foil and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese to the top. Broil for 2-3 minutes to melt/gently crisp the cheese.
- Remove from oven, serve with salsa and enjoy!
Since my kids are not big eaters yet, I froze half of this dish for another night. Serve it with a side salad and tortilla chips, and you’ve got yourself a dinner worthy of guests!