Spaghetti Squash Beef Lasagna – Twiins Style – Gluten-Free

Spaghetti Squash Beef Lasagna - Twiins Style - Gluten-Free

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy

You will not believe this healthy lasagna is as satisfying as the traditional one made with lasagna noodles, but it definitely is! It is filled with a blend of creamy ricotta, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, basil & is layered with ground beef as well as our homemade tomato sauce. You build the layers just like traditional lasagna only replace the noodles with cooked & seasoned spaghetti squash & topped with sliced mozzarella. This dish has it all...can be made ahead, freezer friendly and perfect for a crowd. Our family loves it and so will yours. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 med to large spaghetti squash (cut lengthwise and seeded)
  • light drizzle of EVOO over each half of the squash before seasoning & baking.
  • dried oregano to sprinkle over squash before baking
  • salt & pepper to sprinkle over squash before baking
  • garlic powder to sprinkle over squash before baking
  • 2 lbs. ground beef (85/15 or leaner)
  • 1/2  onion, diced
  • 4-6 large cloves garlic, smashed
  • 32 ounces whole milk ricotta
  • 3/4 cup grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano)
  • 16 ounces whole milk mozzarella, shredded or leave some slices for top layer
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 2-3 cups prepared tomato sauce

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
    2. Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise & remove seeds.
    3. Lightly drizzle each half with EVOO then season with salt, pepper, dried oregano & garlic powder (the more the tastier). Place each half face down onto foiled baking sheet and bake until soft when touched (about 30-40 minutes)
    4. While the squash is baking, heat a large skillet. When the pan is hot add the ground beef and brown. Add the smashed garlic and onions and cook until softened.
    5. Drain fat and set aside in a medium bowl.
    6. In a large bowl, combine ricotta, half the shredded mozzarella, 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, salt & pepper and 1 tsp garlic powder. Mix well then add chopped basil. combine and set aside.
    7. Removed the squash from the oven when soft and let cool. Once cool use 2 forks to shred it then add to a colander to drain excess liquid. Set aside until ready to layer your lasagna.
    8. Lower oven temperature to 350ºF.
    9. In a lasagna pan or casserole dish, place a light layering of tomato sauce. Take enough forkfuls of shredded squash and place on top of sauce. Spready evenly. Sprinkle with some grated Pecorino Romano.
    10. Layer half of the ricotta mixture and spread evenly.
    11. Layer with cooked ground beef mixture. Sprinkle with grated Pecorino Romano.
    12. Add tomato sauce to cover lightly. Sprinkle with grated Pecorino Romano.
    13. Repeat for the second layer and top with remaining shredded or sliced mozzarella.
    14. Sprinkle with Locatelli cheese, then a try light drizzle of EVOO on top.
    15. Bake about 30 minutes or until cheese melts.
    16. Best served with a nice Italian salad on the side.

    Note: May be substituted with ‘Beyond Beef Crumbles’ in place of ground beef for a meatless meal.



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    Baked Stuffed Eggplant & Sardines 🍆🐟

    Baked Stuffed Eggplant & Sardines

    • Servings: 4
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Not everyone likes sardines but Teresa and I love them! To be honest, when my husband & son heard I was making sardines & eggplant they made some weird faces. I told them that's what I was cooking so they could either join me or cook for themselves! The combination of eggplant, sardines, garlic, onions, and tomatoes was making my mouth water. This dish doesn't have a strong 'fishy' taste at all but the flavor is reminiscent of Sicilian cuisine. My son had one request; please add some tomato sauce to it. Since I didn't have any made I whipped up a quick sauce using Italian stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic & oil. At first, their faces were very skeptical and then they took their first bites. I'm pretty sure they didn't want to say they liked it, but those weird faces turned to smiles and both wanted to split the 4th eggplant, which I immediately said 'NO', it's mine and Teresa's lunch for tomorrow! Moral of the story: never be afraid to cook what comes into your head because it just might be a new family favorite...you never know. Enjoy!

    Ingredients

    • 2 (4.375 oz) cans skinless boneless sardines in olive oil, drained and flaked
    • 2 large eggplants, cut in half lengthwise (leave stems on)
    • 1/3 cup EVOO
    • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
    • 1 ½ large sweet onions, diced
    • 4-6 large cloves garlic, minced
    • 1  (14 ounce) cans Hunt’s Italian style diced tomatoes
    • 1 Tablespoons Hunt’s Italian style tomato paste with garlic & basil
    • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano (more or less to taste, fresh oregano may be substituted.)
    • 1/4 cup grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano)
    • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • 1 cup Quick Tomato Sauce (any homemade or jar sauce is fine) more if you are serving with pasta

      Directions

      1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
      2. Cut eggplants in half, lengthwise with the stem attached. Score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern being careful not to cut through the skins.
      3. In a large skillet on medium heat, heat 1/3 cup oil then lower heat. Add the eggplant, flesh down. Cover and cook until completely softened but not falling apart. About 10 minutes. Carefully flip over and cook until soft, about 5 minutes more. You may have to do this in 2 batches if your skillet isn’t large enough.
      4. When done, let cool in a separate dish. Once cooled, leaving a 1/8-inch border, gently scoop eggplant flesh into a bowl and chop. Lightly drizzle some EVOO on the bottom of a baking dish and place the eggplant shells gently inside, close to each other to support them from flattening.
      5. In the same pan, add the 1 Tablespoon EVOO and saute onions for about 6-7 minutes on medium heat. Add all remaining ingredients including the chopped eggplant & flaked sardines, except the grated Locatelli and mozzarella cheeses. Remove from heat and combine well.
      6. Sprinkle with Locatelli cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese then top with 1 or 2 spoonfuls of quick sauce down the middle, again sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese again. Bake about 5-10  minutes or until cheese melts.
      7. Serve by itself or over your favorite pasta!

      Note:


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      Quick Tomato Sauce – Twiins Style 🍝

      Quick Tomato Sauce - Twiins Style

      • Servings: 4
      • Difficulty: Easy

      Don’t have time to make a pot of tomato sauce? This quick and easy sauce can be made in no time at all with staple ingredients from your pantry.

      Ingredients

      • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian stewed tomatoes
      • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
      • 2 frozen Dorot garlic cubes
      • 2 Tablespoons Hunt’s Italian style tomato paste with garlic & basil
      • 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning (more or less to taste)
      • Immersion blender

        Directions

        1. In a small saucepan on medium heat, heat the oil and add the garlic cubes. Sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
        2. Add tomato paste and stir well for a minute. Add the stewed tomatoes and stir well until the tomato paste is blended.
        3. Add 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning and simmer for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender right in the saucepan,  purée the tomato mixture and simmer another 5-10 minutes.

        Note: Makes enough sauce for our Baked Stuffed Eggplant & Sardines (4) plus a few spoonfuls to top spaghetti.

        Pantry & Freezer Staples:

        2 cans stewed tomatoes, plain or Italian style, preferably Hunt’s

        2 cans diced tomatoes, plain or Italian style, preferably Hunt’s

        2 cans tomato paste, preferably Hunt’s with garlic & basil

        1 tray Dorot’s frozen garlic cubes (you can get these at Target and most Harris Teeter grocery stores)

         


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        Homemade Balsamic Ranch Dressing – Twiins Style

        Homemade Balsamic Ranch Dressing - Twiins Style

        • Servings: 6-8
        • Difficulty: Easy

        Ranch dressing is delicious on salads, cooked vegetables, chicken tenders, and as a dip for fresh vegetables. When my grandsons were little boys ranch dressing was the perfect way to get them to eat fresh vegetables. They couldn't get enough. Actually, this dressing is good on everything!!! Our homemade Balsamic Ranch dressing is so good and easy to make you will never buy store-bought again! 😋❤️

        Ingredients

        • 1 cup mayonnaise
        • 1/2 cup buttermilk
        • 1 tsp. celery seed
        • 1 tsp. oregano
        • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
        • 1 clove garlic, minced
        • 1 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
        • salt & pepper to taste

        Directions

        1. In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
        2. When ready to serve remove from refrigerator and pour over salad greens or vegetables.  Enjoy !

        Notes: Try adding blue cheese crumbles and bacon crumbles on top for an added touch…Delicious!

        Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

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        Ciambotta Twiins Style (Italian Summertime Vegetable Stew)

        Ciambotta Twiins Style (Italian Summer Vegetable Stew)

        • Servings: 6-8
        • Difficulty: Easy

        If you’re lucky enough to have a have a garden with an abundance of fresh vegetables, you must try making some Ciambotta (pronounced chim-botta)! Even if you don’t have a garden, grocery stores are full of a variety of fresh, local produce during the summer. It’s a delicious and nutritious way to use your harvest or take advantage of the fresh produce available now. Ciambotta can also be spelled giambotta, depending on the region of Italy. This version is a southern Italy farm dish. The great thing about this dish is you can use whatever veggies you like. The key is big, equal size cubes or chunks... and it’s naturally Gluten-Free. I served it with crusty whole wheat French bread drizzled with EVOO and Za’atar seasoning. It was delicious. Enjoy. 😋❤️

        Ingredients

        • 1 large yellow onion, cubed
        • 8-10 cloves large garlic, peeled and diced
        • 1/4 cup EVOO
        • 4-5 golden Yukon potatoes, cubed
        • 6 large Roma tomatoes, skin & seeds removed, cubed
        • 2 medium eggplants, ends removed and cubed
        • 2 medium zucchini, ends removed and cubed
        • 1 large green bell pepper, washed, seeded & cut into big chunks
        • 1 large red bell pepper, washed, seeded & cut into big chunks
        • 1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, washed, seeded & cut into big chunks
        • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach (optional)
        • 1 jalapeño (I used jalapeño) or long Italian hot pepper (optional)
        • Salt & pepper, to taste
        • 20 fresh basil leaves, torn right before adding
        • 1 sprig Greek oregano, (optional)

        Directions

        1. Boil the Roma tomatoes for a few minutes until the skin starts to crack. Remove from boiling water and cool. Once cool enough to handle you can easily peel off the skin., Cut them in half, remove the seeds and cube.
        2. In a minimum 6 qt deep Dutch oven, On medium-high,  heat EVOO until it starts to shimmer.
        3. Add the onions and garlic and turn several times until fragrant, about 1 minute.
        4. Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeño pepper, zucchini, potatoes, give it a good turn.
        5. Add the eggplants last. Turn well and cook about 10 minutes.
        6. Add salt and black pepper to taste and tear the basil leaves, sprig of Greek oregano (if using) and add to pot. Stir together.
        7. Lower flame to medium-low and cover. Cook about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
        8. Now is a good time to prepare any pasta or crusty bread.
        9. For the bread: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Slice the Italian or French bread into 1/2-inch slices and place on foiled baking sheet. Drizzle each piece with EVOO then sprinkle with Za’atar seasoning, garlic powder, & a little sea salt.
        10. Bake about 4 minutes until golden brown. (Bake when Ciambotta is just about done)
        11. Serve in pasta dishes with crusty bread on the side or over pasta & garnish with  fresh basil leaves.

        Notes: Serve with crusty gluten-free bread to keep completely gluten-free or use Italian or French bread to soak up the juices! Can be served with pasta too.

        Recipe adapted from Pasquale Sciarappa.

        Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

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        Summertime Bean Salad – Twiins Style

        Summertime Bean Salad - Twiins Style

        • Servings: 6-8
        • Difficulty: Easy

        I'm always looking for ways to use the herbs I'm growing in my garden. I have quite a bit of Thai basil which I've made delicious chicken salad and Thai basil Chicken with but I wanted to experiment with other dishes. I made a summertime bean salad and added quite a few Thai basil leaves to see how it tasted...we loved it. You're still getting protein through the beans and this dish delivers big time on flavor. Enjoy by itself in lettuce leaves or as a side dish with no cooking as an added bonus during the hot summer! Naturally Gluten-Free. Enjoy. 😋❤️

        Ingredients

        • 1 can (15 oz) Chickpeas, rinsed & drained
        • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed & drained
        • 1/2 large red onion
        • 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
        • 1/4 cup EVOO
        • 2 Tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
        • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
        • ground black pepper, to taste
        • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
        • 1/4- 1/3 cup fresh Thai basil, chopped

        Directions

        1. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, parsley, Thai basil, garlic & pepper. Slowly whisk in the EVOO & set aside.
        2. In a medium bowl, combine the rinsed & drained beans, celery, and red onion.
        3. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and gently toss to coat evenly.
        4. Garnish with a few Thai basil leaves.

        Notes: Leftovers can be added to rice & cooked green beans for a delicious side to basil pesto chicken.

        Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

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        Grilled Greek Chicken Breast – Twiins Style

        Grilled Greek Chicken Breasts-Twiins Style

        • Servings: 4
        • Difficulty: Easy

        When marinating chicken with Greek-inspired flavors the Mediterranean is brought to your dinner table and with it all the sunshine and joy for life that is associated with a beautiful outdoor dinner in the Greek Islands! This dish is so simple but packs huge flavor! Whether you want a quick family meal or a casual dinner with friends you will love it...Enjoy!😋❤️

        Ingredients

        • 2 large boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise to make 4 pieces
        • 2 tsp EVOO
        • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
        • 1½ tsp fresh Greek oregano, chopped (dried may be substituted, but use a lesser amount)
        • 1½ tsp fresh dill, chopped ( dried may be substituted, but use a lesser amount)
        • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
        • Salt & pepper to taste
        • 1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
        • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
        • 3-4 Tablespoons 2% milk ( any milk works well)
        • 1½ Tablespoons red onion, chopped
        • 1 large tomato, sliced
        • Fresh oregano, chopped for garnish
        • Mixed salad greens with  olives, cucumbers, red onion, thin sliced
        • Optional: Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)

        Directions

        1. In a large bowl, combine 2 tsp EVOO, red wine vinegar, oregano, dill, garlic powder, salt & pepper.
        2. Pound chicken between sheets of waxed paper to a 1/4” thickness. Cut each piece in half to yield approximately 6-8 pieces of chicken breast.
        3. Add chicken breasts to the marinade, cover & refrigerate 30 minutes. (this step can be prepared ahead of time until ready for cooking.)
        4. In a small bowl, combine the Feta cheese, garlic powder, 2% milk & chopped red onion. Using a fork, mash well to make a spread. Add additional milk if too thick until you reach desired consistency. (this step can be prepared ahead of time & refrigerated until ready to serve)
        5. In a grill pan or large skillet drizzle 1 tsp of EVOO, then using a paper towel, coat pan.
        6. Heat pan to medium-high. Once hot, place half the chicken pieces in the pan and cook until browned approximately 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan & set aside. Cook remaining chicken breasts and set aside.
        7. Place mixed salad greens on a dinner plate then top with cooked chicken breast(s).  Garnish the chicken with Feta cheese spread.  Arrange tomato slices on the dish and garnish with fresh Greek oregano.

         

         

        Notes: Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers.  To enhance this Greek meal, drizzle salad greens with EVOO, red wine vinegar, add a little feta cheese, red onion, cucumber, and some Greek olives for a side salad. The creamy feta cheese spread is delicious on any vegetable or baked potato.

        Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

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        Grilled Greek Chicken Breasts – Twiins Style

        Grilled Greek Chicken Breasts-Twiins Style

        • Servings: 4
        • Difficulty: Easy

        When marinating chicken with Greek-inspired flavors the Mediterranean is brought to your dinner table and with it all the sunshine and joy for life that is associated with a beautiful outdoor dinner in the Greek Islands! This dish is so simple but packs huge flavor! Whether you want a quick family meal or a casual dinner with friends you will love it...Enjoy!😋❤️

        Ingredients

        • 2 large boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise to make 4 pieces
        • 2 tsp EVOO
        • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
        • 1½ tsp fresh Greek oregano, chopped (dried may be substituted, but use a lesser amount)
        • 1½ tsp fresh dill, chopped ( dried may be substituted, but use a lesser amount)
        • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
        • Salt & pepper to taste
        • 1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
        • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
        • 3-4 Tablespoons 2% milk ( any milk works well)
        • 1½ Tablespoons red onion, chopped
        • 1 large tomato, sliced
        • Fresh oregano, chopped for garnish
        • Mixed salad greens with  olives, cucumbers, red onion, thin sliced
        • Optional: Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)

        Directions

        1. In a large bowl, combine 2 tsp EVOO, red wine vinegar, oregano, dill, garlic powder, salt & pepper.
        2. Pound chicken between sheets of waxed paper to a 1/4” thickness. Cut each piece in half to yield approximately 6-8 pieces of chicken breast.
        3. Add chicken breasts to the marinade, cover & refrigerate 30 minutes. (this step can be prepared ahead of time until ready for cooking.)
        4. In a small bowl, combine the Feta cheese, garlic powder, 2% milk & chopped red onion. Using a fork, mash well to make a spread. Add additional milk if too thick until you reach desired consistency. (this step can be prepared ahead of time & refrigerated until ready to serve)
        5. In a grill pan or large skillet drizzle 1 tsp of EVOO, then using a paper towel, coat pan.
        6. Heat pan to medium-high. Once hot, place half the chicken pieces in the pan and cook until browned approximately 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan & set aside. Cook remaining chicken breasts and set aside.
        7. Place mixed salad greens on a dinner plate then top with cooked chicken breast(s).  Garnish the chicken with Feta cheese spread.  Arrange tomato slices on the dish and garnish with fresh Greek oregano.

        Oops, I had a brain freeze!  I forgot to add the olives, cucumbers, and sliced red onions to the salad greens before taking the photo for this post…then we ate & it was too late!😜😂