One Pan Zucchini Noodle Italian Bake (KETO / LOW CARB)

What is adulting, if not constantly worrying about what you eat? We've been doing Keto (which I think we use to just call low carb.)  This recipe involves many things that are important to me...

  1. Cooking
  2. Not making a bunch of dishes to clean whilst cooking
  3. Not having to make multiple recipes for every meal... because kids

I haven't shopped lately, so I had to make do with the ingredients I had, make a wish, and see what happened. It turned out so good, the kids cleaned their plate - yes they actually ate every bite! I will warn you, they originally said "Hey is this broccoli or something...?" Crisis averted, I assured them it was just healthier noodles, not vegetables.... certainly not zucchini noodles. It could have taken another turn had I told them the secret ingredient.

So what do you need? 1lb ground italian sausage, 1 15oz can of tomatoes, italian seasonings (come on, lazy with me and get the premade mix of it in a jar), ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, onions* I was out of real onions so I rehydrated minced onions and ventured on, 2 cloves of garlic cut up however you can manage. 3 zucchini, it's not an exact science. Salt.

zucchini noodles

Start with your faux noodles so they can be drying out. Use a zoodle machine, or there's plenty of DIY online on how to make the zucchini noodles without using a machine, and there's also premade ones now I have heard, though I have not seen them. Put them noodles in a collandar, douse in salt and let them reverse marinate. 

 Brown the sausage in pan big enough to hold your bake and also make sure it's oven proof! While you're at it, set the oven to 350 degrees. Make sure to use your pretty new wooden spoon  (I got mine here)

Brown the sausage in pan big enough to hold your bake and also make sure it's oven proof! While you're at it, set the oven to 350 degrees. Make sure to use your pretty new wooden spoon (I got mine here)


Once it's nice and brown, throw in your **onion, garlic and let them get nice and 'aromatic'.


Now add in your canned tomato - juice and all, some italian seasoning, and we always put garlic salt in pretty much anything. You can do that too. Let this all simmer and get happy for a lil' bit (re: 5 minutes). 

 About to get happy.

About to get happy.


This last part comes together pretty quick; once the tomato sauce is happy, stir in your dried out zucchini noodles. Stir stir stir (cut noodles some, because you didn't think to do it when you made them and now they're becoming a tangled mess).  Add salt if you're inclined. 


Add that ricotta like you just don't care, and feel confident that it's OK to look ugly, it'll get pretty in a minute...... 


Take heart, Smothering things in mozzarella covers up any imperfections in knife cuts, not that you'd need to do that of course.... now pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, till its golden brown, your house smells amazing, and your neighbors give you jealous scowls. 


Clean up is way easy, because they're going to eat that pan clean. 















DIY Kinder Egg Saga Finale

 Popping the balloon inside!

Popping the balloon inside!

 Balloons removed, hole cut, anddddd go!

Balloons removed, hole cut, anddddd go!

Sorry it took so long to follow up, one craft comes and goes and I quickly am on to the next! But here are the results of my DIY Super Kinder Eggs. The plaster did crumble quite terribly, and so I won't be using that again, but the kids loved ripping them open! 

I finished them with two layers of just colored paper strips dipped in glue+water.  Then I took a sharp knife and cute openings to stuff the toys, and did one big piece of colored paper to seal it up. 

 Time to get stuffing!

Time to get stuffing!

 Added a little bit of red so I knew which egg was which. Wouldn't want to mix them up.... 

Added a little bit of red so I knew which egg was which. Wouldn't want to mix them up.... 

One-Pot Sausage and Egg Noodle Dinner

Between working and raising two boys, I am forever on the hunt for recipes I can throw together with things I have around the house, and I most especially love “ONE POT” dishes – the dishes in our sink pile up quicker than I can say TAKE-OUT! However, I do love to cook and although it’s not a health-conscious choice, I really prefer the taste of home cooked meals.

This recipe evolved from one of my panicked days when I needed something to make with the few random ingredients I had on hand. I altered it quite a bit, and have since turned it into a recipe that I can change up and it still tastes great. Not only do my little boys love it, but my husband and I do too – a rarity these days with all our picky food tastes.

Without further ado, here is my “one-pot sausage and egg noodle dish” recipe. I spent a lot of time naming it.  

Ingredients Needed, and their alternatives. You can make this work, I promise! With all the alternative ingredients, I listed my favorite option first.

  • 1lb of Uncased Italian Sausage, mild hot or sweet - OR 1lb of Sage Sausage roll - OR 1lb of Kielbasa - OR 1lb of Ground Beef (Easy right???)
  • 1 Package of 10 or 12oz Wide Egg Noodles
  • Dried Thyme
  • 1/2c of Half & Half - OR 1/2c of Whole Cream - OR 1/2c of milk
  • 1 cube of chicken bouillon - OR 1 cup of chicken stock - OR 1 cup or 1 cube of any bouillon you'd like. You'll also need 1c of water if you use the cubes, no water if you use stock.
  • 1 finely chopped onion (yellow, red, or white!)
  • 1c of finely shredded Parmesan cheese - OR 1c of any shredded Italian cheese blend

I am assigning measurements for the ingredients, but I eye ball a lot of it, this is as close as I can think of. So, if you add a little more, it's ok! Everything cooks up nicely together. This is a hodge-podge version of when I made it. I didn't have the sausage or unopened packs of egg noodles (some reason recipes for this never match the ounces of my bags).


So here we have the sage sausage roll, 2 different brands of egg noodles half to a third empty - not exact? I don't care, throw caution to the wind!  I was also out of Parmesan, and discovered an italian cheese mix worked just fine. 


Cooking this dish is super simple, which is what I am all about on a busy night.

  1. Using a large stock pot, or whatever you normally cook noodles in, brown your sausage and chopped up onions, approx. 10 minutes over medium-high heat.
  2. Add some dried thyme to your liking, this ingredient is key IMO. I put about 2 tbsp, but you could do 1tbsp if you don't want a rich thyme flavor.  Stir in 1c of water + 1 boullion cube OR your 1c of stock.
  3. Stir in your dairy (Cream, Milk, or Half & Half), and dump in your noodles!
  4. Turn down the heat & cover and cook 12 minutes on a simmer or until noodles are soft.
  5. Remove from heat, and stir in your cheese (Parmesan or Italian blend)
  6. Enjoy and congratulate yourself on such an easy & delicious dinner. 

I hope you enjoy the ease of such a yummy recipe, post a comment and let me know which version you used and what you thought!

Creating a Movie Birthday Party!

Sometimes your kids feel like they've outgrown the themed birthday parties, much to your dismay! It can be really easy to pick up standard licensed products off the shelf at your local party shop, but with a little more work you can still pull off an awesome movie night themed birthday party with relative ease! 

Starting with the invitations, we have some great sets here for unique admission ticket style movie invitations: 

We also have VIP Pass lanyard style, that your guests can wear to the party, or you can even give them out at the party as a party favor! It adds that special touch to the theme of the party.

When you get your head count (and plan for a few stragglers!), stock up on some popcorn and purchase the red and white individual Popcorn containers from your local dollar store. You can pick up some dollar store movie size candy varieties while you're there! 

When your guests arrive, have some cozy seating - pillows & blankets are a good choice! - arranged on the floor in front of the TV.  Serve up some soda in fun plastic colored cups, fresh popcorn in the plastic bins, and pass out the candy! As your child watches their favorite movie with their friends, and enjoys their treats, you can light the candles on the cake. Serve it up on some matching plates and you've had a successful party! 

When your guests leave, you can pass out these cool thank you cards, or mail them to them after the party! 





Here's some other fun movie night birthday invitation options we offer:

DIY Kinder Eggs, Super Giant Kinder Eggs, and Easter Project

Ah, kinder eggs. If you're in U.S. like me, you may have only known about these things through the highly-addictive  Kinder Surprise opening videos on YouTube that have kids entranced.  However, I actually did a stint of foreign exchange in Australia when I was 14 years old and discovered them in another way. In a sad, gooey melted blob in my suitcase when I landed back in the U.S.  Really cool souvenirs, they were not. Many years later, I discovered they are actually ILLEGAL (Yes, EE-LEE-GAL) in the U.S. Your guess is as good as mine on that one. Luckily, customs likely didn't recognize the melted bag of chocolate and plastic, and didn't want to draw straws on who had to sort through that. 

Now, if you're a fan of the videos, you may have seen the SUPER GIANT Spiderman Kinder Egg... and had to peel your kids' face off of the screen. This one here, in particular.

I got a great idea, with it being Easter right around the corner, that I would be super mom and make my kids SUPER GIANT Kinder surprise eggs! The Easter bunny would get all of the credit of course, but we would definitely video tape it and make our own cool super giant egg video.

I started to brainstorm how to make the eggs, trying to avoid the mess of paper mache. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a better option. I ordered giant balloons (3ft diameter), and asked all my Facebook friends if they had any newspapers to spare. Most people didn’t know what a newspaper was (Joking…sort of), but nobody gets the newspaper anymore. I decided I would have to go to one of those magical newspaper selling places. Luckily for me, I procrastinated and one day the answer showed up on my door step in the form of a little yellow book with super thin paper inside. For the first time I can remember, I had a use for the Yellow Pages! 

 Day 1 of Super Kinder Egg DIY

Day 1 of Super Kinder Egg DIY

However, instead of using tried and true paper mache recipes, I decided to look online for a recipe. I found one that uses plaster of Paris, probably off of Pinterest (my nemesis for DIY!).  Don’t do this. I don’t know who decided you need to put plaster in paper mache recipe, but I am convinced they are just evil people trying to ruin paper mache projects. 

Here is Day 1; I realized after finishing that video, there are more toys in that SUPER GIANT egg than my kids get in 3 Christmases combined. Easter Bunny doesn’t run with that sort of budget around here. I couldn’t make a super huge egg and only have a few toys in it, that would probably ruin my awesome video I plan to make. So, I decided to only inflate the balloons about 2/3 of the way. I got to paper mache-ing, and everything seemed to be going fine. Until the drying set in. Again, don’t put plaster of Paris in your paper mache!!!!!  It cracked and crumbled, as the mess you can see everywhere.


I decided on day 2, using shop paper towels I purchased from Sam’s would be a little sturdier, could hold the plaster better. So day 2, I do another layer with the towels. They set up well, much sturdier and no cracks, but it still crumbles. I decided they will have to do, with one final layer of colorful tissue paper to make it look, you know, like an Easter egg! But, our weather has taken a turn and now it’s raining and drizzling all day. This isn’t good for drying paper mache, particularly when you dry them outside.


So, I have not started phase 3 just yet, but I can tell you now, I am going to be using the old fashioned – no –crumble – paper mache recipe from my childhood.

  • Equal Parts Water
  • Equal Parts Glue
  • Mix

That’s it! Don’t go throwing other silly things in there. You don’t need to make it fancy. (I’m looking at you Pinterest!)

So, stay tuned to see how they turn out—or if they turn out –it will be a mystery! They will either be a big hit and turn out great and I'll get to pat the Easter bunny on the back, or it will go into my sad pile of ambitious DIY I had no right to do myself. Maybe that’s why they are illegal.