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Creative Fit-Meal Creations: Traditional Pasta Dishes Transformed into Creamy Low-Carb, High-Protein Meals

This week’s artiimagePastaArticlecle features some of your favorite pasta dishes transformed into low-carb, creamy “pasta” meals that you can enjoy for lunch or dinner! For these recipes you’ll need three key kitchen appliances and/or utensils: a crockpot, a vegetable slicer and a vegetable stringer. These appliances and utensils are quite affordable and you can find them at your local grocer or kitchen gadget store.


In order to create these low-carb “pasta” dishes, I have substituted wheat pasta noodles for zucchini; by doing this, you can reduce the amount of carbs in these traditional pasta dishes by as much as 70%!


These recipes also feature added protein to help satisfy you without adding all the calories that come from traditional high-carb pasta. The main ingredient I use for added protein is plain non-fat Greek yogurt! Not only does this help reduce your calorie and carbohydrate intake (if these are key factors to your diet), but it also aids in these health benefits: lowers fat, lowers sodium, and increases protein intake to help you build and maintain a lean body mass.
Greek yogurt is incredibly versatile and it can be substituted in most cooking and baking from everything to mayonnaise, cream cheese, oil, sour cream, and buttermilk. Not only does it add a good source of calcium and protein, but it also adds a creaminess that makes these dishes taste extremely indulgent!


Now you can have your “pasta” and eat it too without all the guilt that comes from indulging in wheat pasta dishes.

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Crockpot Turkey and Beef “Lasagna”

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Ingredients:


Large Crockpot
Vegetable Slicer
2 large zucchini
1 lbs. of 93% lean ground turkey
1 lbs. of 93% lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 can (24 oz.) of pasta sauce
2 cans (15 oz. each) of no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup of non-fat cottage cheese
4 1/3 cups of skim mozzarella (shredded)
1 tbsp of garlic powder
1 tbsp of Mrs. Dash traditional seasoning
Black pepper (to taste)

1. Begin by slicing your zucchini into thick slices (“lasagna noodles”), set aside.
2. In a large pot sauté the chopped onion on medium heat until slightly brown and caramelized.
3. Add in the ground turkey, ground beef, garlic powder, Mrs. Dash seasoning and black pepper. Cook until just slightly pink (it will continue to cook through in the crockpot).
4. Add in the diced garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
5. Add 1-24 oz. can of pasta sauce to the meat mixture and 1½-15 oz. cans of tomato sauce.
6. Add the other ½ of the 15 oz. can to the bottom of the crockpot.
7. Next add in the Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Stir until well combined.

 

Building your “lasagna” layers in the Crockpot:

1.. Begin by layering your sliced zucchini on top of the tomato sauce you placed at the bottom of the crockpot.

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2. Next add a layer of the creamy meat mixture.

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3. Lastly, add1/3 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.

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4. Repeat steps 1-3 for 3 more layers (4 layers total).

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Let your “lasagna” cook in the crockpot for 4-6 hours on low heat.
Let it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

Nutritional facts: (makes 8 servings) Compare to traditional lasagna:
Calories: 355 Calories: 700
Fat: 12g Fat: 47g
Carbs: 23g Carbs: 39g
Protein: 37g
Sodium: 680 mg Sodium: 2860 mg

 

Ground Turkey and Beef “Pasta” in a Zesty Cream Sauce

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Ingredients:
Vegetable Stringer
4 large zucchini
1 lbs. of 93% lean ground turkey
1 lbs. of 93% lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 packet of zesty ranch seasoning dry mix
2 tbsp of garlic powder (divided into 1-tbsp each)
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
2 cups of fat-free half and half
2 cups of plain non-fat Greek yogurt
4 oz. of reduced-fat cream cheese
Black pepper (to taste)

 

1. Begin by bringing a large pot of water up to a boil.

2. Next begin spiraling the zucchini through the vegetable stringer. Cut the “pasta” in half to make the strings smaller and more edible once cooked, set aside.

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3. Once the water is boiling put in the zucchini “pasta” and cook for about 3-4 minutes (WARNING: this “pasta” will cook very fast!)

4. While waiting for the zucchini “pasta” to cook, make an ice bath.

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5. Transfer cooked “pasta” into the ice bath. This will shock the zucchini and allow it to stop the cooking process so it doesn’t become overcooked. Allow it to sit in the bath for about 1-2 minutes.
6. After the “pasta” has cooled transfer it to a large plate lined with paper towels to help absorb the moisture, set aside.
7. Next, in a medium sauté pan, cook the chopped onions on medium heat until they are slightly brown and caramelized.
8. Add in the ground turkey and beef and cook thoroughly.
9. Add in the diced garlic, ½ a packet of the zesty ranch seasoning dry mix, 1 tbsp of garlic powder and black pepper. Cook the meat mixture for another 2-3 minutes.
10. Next, in a large sauté pan, add the almond milk, half-and-half, Greek yogurt, cream cheese, the other ½ packet of zesty ranch seasoning dry mix and 1 tbsp of garlic powder.
11. Let the zesty cream sauce simmer on low-medium heat for about 10 min. You can always add more Greek yogurt until the sauce has achieved your desired level of creaminess and thickness.
12. Add the cooked zucchini “pasta” and the meat mixture to the cream sauce.
13. Allow the pasta and meat to reheat in the sauce for about 3-5 minutes and serve.

Nutritional Breakdown: (makes 8 servings) Compare to traditional meat Alfredo:
Calories: 315 Calories: 1540
Fat: 12g Fat: 97g
Carbs: 17g Carbs: 95g
Protein: 30g
Sodium: 535 mg Sodium: 1520 mg

 

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