Meatball and Zucchini Casserole

I made some meatballs the other day using the Keto Quick Bread in place of regular bread. Then I sliced the meatballs to add to my meatball and zucchini casserole.

Keto casserole ready to bake
Keto casserole with zucchini, meatballs and tomato sauce

Ingredients for the Casserole

  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced and not cooked
  • meatballs sliced, or cooked ground beef (about 1 pound)
  • shredded cheese – I used a combination of mozzarella and parmesan
  • homemade tomato sauce, or jar of sauce
  • 1 container fresh mushrooms, sautéed in butter / oil

Make the meatballs or cook the beef. Make the sauce. I used one can of organic, low sodium tomato sauce and added spices, a spoonful of sugar, some olive oil, and the cooked mushrooms. Slice and cook the mushrooms before adding to the sauce. Shred the cheese.

Put ghee or oil in the pan to prevent sticking and begin the layers. I put my layers in this way: half the zucchini, sliced meatballs, 1/2 half the sauce, 1/2 the cheese. I did this twice. My casserole dish is only a 1.5 Quart, I think – it’s small. Just double everything to make a larger casserole.

Layering the meatballs and zucchini
Layering the meatballs and zucchini

I enjoyed making this meal and it will last me a couple of days – with part of it put into the freezer for a later time.

Keto casserole
Baked

My casserole dish was too small so it bubbled over near the end of cook time. I baked it at 320 degrees for an hour. I wanted it to slowly simmer so it wouldn’t do this. I just about made it.

A longer bake time will help the flavors to mingle. I am happy with this meal. The mozzarella cheese I used was strange and turned into clumps, but the meal had lots of flavor and good healthy ingredients.

Meatball and zucchini caserole
Meatball and zucchini casserole is Keto friendly food

There are plenty of Keto meals floating around the internet to find and follow, but it’s not necessary to continually follow recipes. Once you have a grasp of what foods are low carb, meals like my casserole here can be made up with what’s on hand.

Another tasty tomato sauce casserole you might like is my Poblanos and Beef. The beef could easily be left out of this one.

Check out my Pinterest board where I save favorite Keto / low carb meals.

Eggplant and Pepper Casserole Keto Friendly

Eggplant and tomato sauce and cheese go together well. For my next Keto friendly casserole I am including these ingredients along with Poblano peppers.

Here it is ready to bake. Read on to see how I made this simple meal.

Eggplant casserole ready to bake
Small casserole with eggplant layered meal

Ingredients For the Casserole

First I sliced the one eggplant into thin slices. I layered them in a sieve and sprinkled with salt to pull out any bitterness. I’ve found varying advice about salting, and I never leave the salt on. Some places say the salt pulls out the water so the eggplant won’t be soggy. Some say it’s for bitterness.

Here’s what I do: layer with salt in a colander for 20 – 30 minutes. I then rinse and remove moisture between paper towels. I certainly don’t want salty eggplant. This seems to work fine for me and it hurts nothing.

how to treat eggplant
Eggplant ready to layer

Meanwhile I am cooking one can of organic tomato sauce and mixing in coconut sugar, basil, oregano, and whatever you like in your tomato sauce. It simmers on low while I fry the peppers.

Organic tomato sauce
One can works for this recipe

I let that simmer while I de-seed the peppers and brown them in ghee. I’m still not sure about what to do with these peppers, but adding them to a casserole is flavor-inducing. I discovered this in my ground beef casserole.

poblano peppers sautéed
Sautéed peppers

I also shredded a block of parmesan cheese. Using fresh parmesan is definitely the way to go. It has much more flavor and goodness than the powdered stuff in a canister.

Layer some sauce in the bottom, add a layer of eggplant, cheese, peppers and so on. My layers were created to use up all the ingredients with sauce and cheese for the top. It was covered with the glass cover that came with the dish and baked at 350 for 25 minutes.

This meal is Keto friendly, with no big-carb ingredients. It could be eaten with a Quick Keto bread, if you are still trying to get over the no-noodle and no-bread thing.

Keto friendly eggplant and poblano casserole
Little casserole for a low-carb diet

I’ll tell you that this eggplant casserole was totally delicious. I love my new little casserole dish, because what I bake is for my eating pleasure only, and it’s the perfect size. The dish does not have handles, so that is a bummer, but it’s small enough (1 1/2 quart) to be lifted easily.

I’ll probably freeze some of it for later.

Poblanos and Beef Casserole Keto Meal

I’m writing this recipe down so I can remember how to make it again. It began with the idea to make stuffed poblano peppers, but I decided to layer them in a casserole dish. These are not hot peppers. They are flavorful and relatively cheap to buy.

poblano peppers
Poblano peppers add flavor without heat

I seldom follow a recipe exactly, but the beef and peppers sounded good, so I began there. I bought Florida grown peppers and used ground beef from the local meat market. I also decided to add leftover stew beef (from cooking my broth) along with mushrooms, onions and garlic.

I’d cooked a spaghetti squash the day before and figured the two would work together. No pasta for me, and not for anyone on a Keto diet plan. But this meal would be delicious served over pasta as well.

spaghetti squash
Spaghetti squash

Making the Meal

Slice poblanos in half and remove seeds. Roast both sides of the peppers in oiled / ghee pan – cast iron. (It may not be necessary to roast the peppers, but I did it.) Place in the bottom of a rectangular casserole dish. The peppers added a wonderful flavor to this dish, so don’t skip them.

Cook ground beef and add chopped onion and garlic when the meat is nearly cooked. After cooking, remove meat and create a layer over the peppers.

Slice a whole container of mushrooms and cook with more onions and some garlic. When done, stir in one can of organic tomato sauce. Add a spoonful of sugar (coconut sugar next time?) to cut the acidity. Dash of spices, such as parsley, basil and oregano. Scoop this out and layer over the meat in the casserole dish.

Shred mozzarella cheese and sprinkle over the top. Bake (covered for part of the time – my cheese dried out) at 350 for 20- 30 minutes until bubbly.

Carbs in this meal, approximately

I estimate that there are approximately 46 grams of carbs in this entire casserole, which means a portion (1/8 of the dish) would contain around 6 grams total. Plus add in a cup of squash = 16 grams or so per serving. I could be off a little bit, but you get the general idea. This is a Keto friendly meal.

  • Ground beef – no carbs, 19 g protein
  • Mushrooms – yes, good for Keto
  • Poblano Peppers – 1 net gram in one pepper
  • Onions -have some carbs, 14 g in one onion – I used only a few slices
  • Garlic – 1 clove, .9 grams
  • Tomato sauce – Organic, 6 g in 1/4 cup
  • Mozzarella cheese – 1 gram or less per serving size
  • Spaghetti squash – 8-10 g, 1 cup
Keto ground beef casserole
This had excellent flavor

Because I am following a time restricted eating program, I only eat two meals a day. This one would be around a total of 22 grams of carbs. If I eat well at breakfast, I can stay under the 50 grams or less recommended for a Keto diet plan.

Photo credit for the squash and peppers goes to Pixabay.

My Own Turkey Chili Recipe

My son smoked the Thanksgiving turkey this year and it was delicious. With only two of us to eat, we had a lot of leftovers, which I froze.

Now it’s time to make some winter chili, and I broke out the turkey and broth from my freezer to make this recipe tasty.

Turkey chili recipe
My version of chili made with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving

To begin, I got out my LeCrueset Dutch Oven, which I love.

I sautéed lots of green pepper (from my garden) and onions in oil for a few minutes. Then I added chopped garlic and cooked a bit longer. Then I added the turkey broth (thawed), can of organic diced tomatoes, and spices. I chopped the leftover turkey into bite size pieces and threw it in. The spices I used were parsley and basil from my garden. Dried spices would work too. I had bought some jalapeño peppers at the local farm stand so I chopped a small amount of one jalapeño to add some heat.

To begin with uncooked meat, brown it first then remove from the pan.  Add the pepper and onion with oil and sauté.  Add the liquid broth and scrape the bottom of the pan.  Add meat, spices and tomatoes.

It’s really your choice about how hot and spicy you want your chili to be. I like a little heat, but not overwhelming. If you don’t have flavored broth, use broth granules in water. About a cup or 2 is needed depending on the amount of meat, tomatoes and veggies you use. I basically wing it!

Once those ingredients simmer for about an hour, I add the black beans (or kidney beans can be used) with the liquid (I use organic beans only). Then I simmer for at least another half hour.  Don’t add the beans too soon or they will get mushy.

Because our turkey was smoked, this chili has a slight smoky flavor. Between the jalapeño pepper and spices and melding of the flavors while it slow-cooks, it turned out super yummy!

When I make chili or soup I fly by the seat of my pants and add whatever I have on hand or seems to work.

I had made a batch of cornbread (recipe on the cornmeal box) and froze it.  That way I had ready-made cornbread to add to my chili.

Use your freezer.  It’s your best friend.  BTW I froze a serving of this chili to enjoy later.