Low carb lasagna and change is good!

So I have lots of friends doing keto and low carb right now. That’s an excellent thing since it means lots of support and also they send me lots of recipes. As many of you know, I am also a pampered chef consultant and a friend of mine wanted to a virtual party because she, like me, loves Pampered Chef. Being a consultant and doing keto puts me in touch with lots of friends who have common interests and I love that. I have fallen in love with being a consultant and it’s a natural fit like I would never have imagined. Over the past year I have absolutely amazed myself with my ability to push past limits I had set for myself. I feel like I have stepped into this place where God wanted me to be and it’s all happening. It’s a wonderful thing and it has strengthened my faith twofold. I never thought my oldest could get accepted to an excellent high school Magnet engineering program and I’d not melt down and cry because he’s growing up. I never thought I could handle the THOUGHT of that transition.

And yet…I have.

I never thought my quiet, meek child would so bravely approach horse back riding like she has.

And yet…she has. She’s growing more confident with each lesson. Taking life on like a boss!

I never thought I could lose almost 60 pounds but it has happened. And I’m not done yet, peeps!!

I never thought I could go back to work full time and my family be ok. Somehow we have all thrived. I just thought it would be too much. It’s not. It’s exactly what I was supposed to do. I have found this wonderful community of support and positivity at the school where I work. When I say work I mean sub almost everyday. I am praying for a day when it becomes a real full time gig. I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m not there. My kids have thrived. My older two catch the bus to the school where I work and my two younger kiddos go to school. I never thought they’d love riding the bus but they do. I never thought we could leave our old school and feel at home and so much a part of a new school. And yet it is has happened. That my child who was “the problem kid” in class could excel and be so happy, just as he is.

And yet…he has. He has blossomed. Amazing what a little change can do! Even change we are so scared of and think it will never be ok. Never be the same. And no, they are not the same…they are different in a whole new, wonderful way! Change is good!!

My younger two babies are content and happy and feel at home. I never thought our family would be the same if Big Daddy did not work at Farm Bureau, and yet we are even better. He’s happier and his insurance business is thriving.

Thriving. That word. We have gone beyond surviving . Our family is THRIVING! My marriage is thriving.

We have walked through the fire, we have endured controversy and come out stronger. God has made a way when I saw absolutely no way. It’s amazing and wonderful and thrilling what he has done. No, life is still not perfect but somehow we are here and BETTER THAN EVER!! We have a wonderful support through our family and friends. They have held us up through prayer, through encouragement and little ways and big ways. The people I work with, the people he works with, the principals of our schools, the teachers at both schools, the people where we go to church. So. Much. Support. Literally a village. Our families have held us up and never faltered.

We have such wonderful people all around us!

What I thought would be a horrible time has turned out to be this beautiful time where things did not fall apart. No. They came together in a whole new beautiful way that I could never imagined. I say all of this to remind you that you are capable of so much more than you think. The people around you are behind you so much more than you know. If they are not, find new people. When things are falling apart, that is just a chance for God to help you rebuild in a whole new way. He can. He will. I’m getting somewhere with all of this, my friends. I just needed to take a minute to say things you think will never work, when your worst fear is realized, it can be ok. It can be better than ok. Trust, pray, believe.

How does this all tie into a low carb lasagna recipe, you might ask? Oh well let me tell you. When my friend, Michelle, sent me this recipe for low carb lasagna, I thought, I’ll try it but ain’t no way this is better than my mama’s lasagna. That recipe is here. It’s the best. I thought I’ll make this to stay in my macros dang it, but I know I’ll still want real lasagna, I’ll know it’s not the same. But wait. As with life, I was amazed. No lack. This lasagna is amazing. It’s so tasty. It’s full of flavor. I’m not lying y’all. It’s so good!!! I made my mama’s lasagna right alongside this low carb version for my family and I was not even tempted!! So take that for what it’s worth. Just like life can surprise you and something you think will be the end, only marks the beginning of something new…a low carb/keto lasagna CAN be satisfying and delicious. Just my two cents. And I had several taste testers (a teacher I work with and two of Big Daddy’s coworkers at Reeves, Coon, and Funderburg all liked it too!!)

Low Carb Lasagna with Meatza Layer (adapted from Low Carb Yum)

stuff you need ~

Meatza layer

2 pounds lean ground beef

1/2 cup Grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder, more or less depending on preference

Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper to taste

3-4 teaspoons Italian seasoning *

1 egg yolk, beaten

Lasagna~

Meatza layer

10 ounces fresh spinach

1 cup ricotta

1 jar Rao’s marinara sauce (Walmart)**

2 egg yolks, beaten

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

A few turns of cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

What to do with the stuff~

Ok. First off you will need parchment paper. So if you do not have any, get some. This recipe was a little extra, I’m not gonna lie and I have revised it some to make it less complicated but the parchment paper is important.

First off, make this meatza layer. It’s the foundation of this whole operation.

Preheat oven to 450.

Line 2 9 x 13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. One for meatza layer and one for actual lasagna.

In a large mixing bowl…add all the meatza ingredients. Ground meat, beaten egg yolk….

Mix it together real good

Press into your parchment paper lined baking dish.

Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes or until done. Drain.

Now to make lasagna …

In other parchment paper lined baking dish, spread a little marinara sauce on the bottom (which is on top of parchment paper…to be clear)

While meatza layer is cooking, go on and sauté your spinach. Warm olive oil over medium heat and then sauté your spinach in it until wilted. Sprinkle in the onion and garlic powder, add a little black pepper.

When meatza layer is cooked, you can slice the meatza layer to fit nicely in the bottom of this pan.

Now, spread some marinara sauce all over top of the meatza layer. Sprinkle with some of the Parmesan.

Top this layer with the spinach.

Add the ricotta and 2 beaten egg yolks to a bowl and blend together. Now spread that ricotta cheese egg mixture all over this spinach. Top with half of the mozzarella.

More marinara, more Parmesan.

Now finish this with the rest of the mozzarella. Sprinkle it all over. Load it down.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and irresistible looking. Like you cannot handle how good it looks. And why yes, that is an old school Pampered Chef stoneware baker. I inherited it from my mother in law (shout out to Deb!) I use that thing more than I ever imagined, just as I use all my Pampered Chef. I guess that’s why I became a consultant! And guess what? It’s been a blessed business and I give God all the glory!! He continues to bless my path every time I ask Him to come in and do His thing. Just saying. But I digress..back to the lasagna!

Only 3 grams of carbs and it is perfection. Noodles? I don’t need no stinking noodles!! It’s a dish I will crave and make over and over again. I can eat this and stay in my macros? It’s keto and I love it!! Hope y’all enjoy it! Thanks Michelle for sharing this recipe with me! And keto peeps, I have started a Cajun Keto Mama Facebook page if you’d like to join me on there! This is a journey, not a destination y’all. Remember that and be patient with your body. Just keep at it!! Drop me a comment and let me know if you need anything!!

*original recipe called for all sorts of spices and I just did Italian seasoning. The spices were basically all the spices in Italian seasoning.

**you can use any marinara but Rao’s is fantastic and low carb. Just a thought

***cotton field pics photo creds go to my precious friend, Natalie, with Soul Rebels Photography. She’s an amazing friend and photographer who also works at The Razzberry Restorative Salon, owned by two of my good friends, Jessica and Whitney. That’s where I get my hair did. And my soul restored. More of my people.

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Cheesy asparagus stuffed chicken and this dish is just good

I promised this one a while back on my Cajun Mama Cooks Facebook page…I know. For shame. I wrote it up. I actually had a whole long verbose post written up in honor of the new year. It was very sentimental and touching…I just erased it. Yep. I did. An hour of work gone. I erased it. It was all too poignant and I was feeling it that day but now not so much. Today I’m feeling the saying “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that’s why it’s called the present.” I’m so grateful to be able to tell you about this chicken dish, so many blessings to give God thanks for, so much joy to tell of that it would take one million blog posts. So I’ll just say this chicken dish is so tasty, you have to try it! When I make this for my family, I eat only this. To make it a meal for my family, I make a starchy side because they think it is necessary…non keto people…what can I say 🙄. But it is a perfectly delicious meal. And you can always just cook a plain chicken breasts for those kiddos who would balk at asparagus and cheese touching their chicken. How dare you!!! Lol! I found this recipe on Facebook before I was doing keto and I fell in love. I really, really love it since it is on my list of things I can have!! Big daddy, Pappy, and madame toot adore this!! It’s amazing y’all! It’s even good cold the next morning for breakfast…uh, um…my friend told me. 😏

My precious blessings...and at the end of the day one of the few things that matter Cheesy stuffed asparagus chicken~

Stuff you need~

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts<<bis recipe, I use the thicker ones)

4 slices of provolone cheese

Bundle of asparagus, the bottom inch chopped off

Zest of 1 lemon

Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, pink salt and cracked black pepper

What to do with the stuff~ Butterfly your chicken breasts. Do not let this deter you! It’s simple! Put your chicken breasts on your cutting board. Use a sharp knife and yes a little caution. Put one hand firmly over one chicken breasts. Using knife with other hand, slice chicken breast almost in half horizontally. Go from outside to inside. So basically you can open the chicken breast like a book now or opens like a butterflies wings hence the term butterflied.

I am assuming some people do not know how to butterfly the chicken breasts. I know I was reluctant to do it at first. If you know, then skip reading this. Do this with all of your chicken breasts.

Now, you will season the inside of the chicken breasts with all of those spices and add some lemon zest. My Pampered Chef microplane zester always gets the job done perfectly!

Next, you will put 3 pieces of trimmed asparagus and a slice of cheese (I cut mine in half and use it that way. Whole slice per chicken breast but it fits better cut in half). Fold the breast over the cheese and asparagus. Season again with the same spices.

Heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. I use an oven safe skillet so I can do it all in one pan, but you can always transfer to a casserole dish if you want. Preheat oven to 350. Brown the chicken in your melted butter/warmed olive oil over medium heat. You’d rather brown it over lower heat so the cheese does not melt too fast. Brown on both sides. Pop it in oven and continue cooking until chicken is done throughout and no longer pink. Spoon some of those juices over the chicken during the baking process if you want. Yes some of the cheese will melt out of the butterflied chicken. It’s ok. Now on the video I saw when I first discovered this dish, it did not. But I operate in the real world, not smoke and mirrors and I’m telling you some of the cheese will drip out. Life is messy and that is ok!! There is nothing wrong with you! It only matters if you let it!! I usually cook the rest of the asparagus in the bundle right alongside the chicken because I have some asparagus lovers in my house. You do as you wish!

Cajun Mama Keto: Butter chicken and Cajuns eat crazy things!

I’ve never been to an Indian restaurant before but I think I’d love it! Truthfully we have an Indian restaurant or two in town and I really need to go there. But I’ll tell you what…I bet their butter chicken chicken is not much better than this divine concoction. I cannot imagine it could be. Yes, I said Indian food. I’m Cajun, but I love this butter chicken. Which when you think about it, Cajuns have a long history with eating different exotic foods. For instance, my parents live for Lent because that means fish every Friday and that means they can indulge in their favorite goo. Gasped goo. I’d walk in the door from school and want to gag and I knew dang well they were cooking goo fish. Another example, every Father’s Day meant there would be a ponce. Also referred to as gaug “gog”…I’m writing things I cannot even spell y’all. I just know what they are. My family would go stupid over this cajun delicacy. Here is a post from Acadiana Table that will tell you more about it. It’s a real thing though. So we have a long history of eating things that are different so what’s a little Indian food to a bunch of Cajuns? Exactly! I found this recipe here . This is a great Keto dish when you steam a little broccoli to go alongside it or make some cauliflower fried rice to go with it. I use my everyday Rock Crock from Pampered Chef to steam my broccoli for 5 minutes and it comes out perfectly every single time. What makes the butter chicken so perfect is the mix of the heavy cream (fat) and butter (healthy fat) with the chicken (protein). The tomato paste does have carbs. You use very little so it is spread out over several servings. I bought the Contadina brand and it has 6 grams of carbs 2 tablespoons and in our recipe we only need 1 1/2 tablespoons. So the carbs are minimal. I’ve learned to look at labels because carbs can vary over brands. So take a few in the store to check the carbs. It’s a good way to learn! So getting down to the recipe. It’s very simple and it makes enough for your lunch the next day. Or at least for me it does because no one else in my family eats it so there’s plenty for me!😉 Butter chicken Stuff you need~2 tablespoons butter or ghee 1 pound chicken breasts, cubed 1/2 medium onion, diced (optional)2 teaspoons minced garlic 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric3/4 teaspoons chili powder 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup heavy whipping cream1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt What to do with the stuff~I combine all of my spices in a pampered chef 1 cup prep bowl and then sprinkle it all over my cubed up chicken. Use your hands to rub those spices all into the chicken. It can sit for a little while if you want to let the chicken sort of soak in those spices. But it’s ok if you don’t. In a large skillet, melt butter or ghee (this is a keto suggested clarified butter and can be found in many stores now. If not Amazon has it). If you are using onion add it now and sauté until tender, add garlic towards the end and just sauté until fragrant. It does not take long. Now, add your spiced chicken to the skillet. Stir around until done and the chicken has soaked up that butter. It will smell heavenly. Next add your heavy cream and tomato sauce and whisk it until combined. Cook over medium low heat until the tomato paste and cream are blended together and the cream is thickening up a bit. The longer you let this simmer on medium low heat (whisk it or stir it some!)the thicker it will get. No need to add a thickener I promise. Now you serve it over your cauliflower rice or along side your buttered steamed broccoli and you are ready!! Keto-licious my friends!! It really is such a nice change of pace from grilled chicken or steak. Let me know what you think! This is definitely one of my favorites. Thanks for reading along! Glad I’ve found so many keto loving Cajun mama peeps! Keep calm and keto on! Take it one day at a time. Remember keto is a choice, your choice, and it is a way of eating not a diet. You are only as deprived if you let yourself feel that way. It is not that you have to eat this way, you choose to eat this way! Just that shift in words can make all the difference!A bunch of Cajuns at a pre-boucherie party (me, big daddy, my mama and daddy circa 1997)

That is a picture of me, big daddy, my mama and daddy circca 1997 or so…at a pre-boucherie party. We eat some crazy things but we always have fun!!

Chicken tenders in cajun mama keto gravy

I love chicken. I love gravy. I mean I was raised Avoyelles parish style (my parents are both from Marksville, Bluetown and Broulliette to be exact) and loving gravy is just part of my genetic makeup. I think. Maybe it’s not that scientific, but I love of gravy is deeply engrained in me. So now that I have adopted the ketogenic woe, the rice is not on the list of items I choose to eat, I have found a way to make sure I can still have me some gravy. Yay!! Happy cajun girl over here! This is the tastiest, lip smacking, plum larapin’ gravy I think I’ve ever had. My dad says plum larapin when he likes something he is eating so I figured I’d toss that in there. Ha!! Love my daddy. And I love this gravy. This chicken in the gravy is over the top! I serve it over creamed spinach but it would go great with steamed broccoli with a little butter or even a salad. But me, I prefer to eat it over a nice bed of creamed spinach, which I suppose sort of acts like rice for me. All the same…a vehicle for getting that gravy into my mouth!!! I sort of concocted this recipe one night when I had chicken tenders and I wanted something creamy that fit within my macros. Now, if you are strict keto, you might take umbrage with this as a keto recipe, but it’s lazy keto, which is perfect for me. Ok. So this is an easy recipe and comes together fast! Make sure to make enough to have it for lunch the next day…you’ll want it again. Trust me.

Chicken tenders in cajun mama keto gravy

Stuff you need~

Package of chicken tenders

2 tablespoons Real butter

Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper

1 cup Heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons Chicken bouillon base

What to do with the stuff~

Melt butter in a sauté pan. I use my pampered chef grill pan and it works perfectly for this. Salt and pepper the chicken tenders on both sides. Add seasoned chicken tenders to the melted butter in the hot skillet. Cook on both sides until nicely browned and no longer pink inside. Remove the chicken from the pan. Stir in the heavy cream. Let this come to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk in bouillon base. You can add more to taste if desired. I add just enough to give my gravy that good chicken-y flavor. Once you have the gravy like you want it, add the chicken tenders back in. The “gravy” will thicken up the longer it simmers and the tenders will get more…tender. All in all, a perfect combination of tender tenders and chicken-y gravy. 🤣 I crack myself up! Make up some creamed spinach and you are good to go! Even the carb eaters in my house love this dish! Because it’s delish!

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t the best pictures but what can I say? I was ready to dig in!!