When I first started the keto diet, I stuck to the basic meat and veggies. I didn’t want to over complicate things until I understood my new eating habits, and how they would affect my body.
You can only eat so much chicken and broccoli before you start to lose your mind.
Baked Ricotta (AKA crust-less Ricotta pie, AKA Ricotta Bake) was first introduced to me in one of my binge eating groups. The ingredients fit within the keto requirements, and individual portions can be prepared in bulk and frozen for those of us with over-eating issues.
Basically the ingredients are ricotta cheese and an egg, mixed and baked at 450 for about 25 minutes.. but there’s so much more you can do!!
I frequent the discount rack at our grocery store. They mark down ultra ripe produce to 99 cents per container. The downside is that they’re so ripe that they’re about to go bad, so they need to be used or frozen the day you buy them. No problem for this mama! I’ll take deals on clean food where I can. It isn’t cheap to feed a one income family of 5 non-processed food, but it’s 100% my goal. Ambitious, I know.
So here was my amazing mega- find on the discount rack:
Looking at the ingredients bestowed upon me, I knew immediately what I was whipping up. In addition to the discount ricotta, produce and eggs, I also grabbed shredded mozzarella cheese and steel cut oats.
The detailed recipe I use:
8 oz Ricotta cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
*optional 1/2 cup grated cheese. It binds the ingredients better, and will result in slices vs. scoops. It isn’t always something I have in the house, so I typically omit it.
basic topping ingredients:
1/2 cup red sauce
1/2 shredded mozzarella
Mix ricotta cheese, Parmesan, beaten egg and seasonings together.
Place in an oven proof dish, either casserole- style in a 9×13 or (my preferred) in cupcake tins.
Top with marinara and mozzarella cheese.
Add any additional toppings. (I pulled some ground beef out of the freezer, used my discount mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes)
Bake at 450 for about 25 minutes.
Freeze in batches.
Place wet paper towel over ricotta bake, microwave until hot or reheat in the oven for 10 minutes.
Viola! Baked Ricotta.
So, you’re probably thinking- what about all that other stuff you bought? Well, it all had to be used or frozen the same day, so I did a major meal prep haul.
I first whipped up a double batch of steel cut oats. Although oatmeal is technically not keto friendly, now that I have reached my goal weight I have reintroduced whole grains in small doses. My children also LOVE oatmeal, so we go through it fairly quickly.
I peeled and boiled my zucchini, and threw it in my ninja until it was blended thoroughly. Then, I folded the blended zuc into the cooked oats. This is similar to zucchini bread where the produce adds moisture, vitamins and fiber but doesn’t have a detectable taste. Add 2 pinches of salt.
I sorted my produce into similar- flavored piles. For this haul I got apple & cinnamon, pear, and “tropical” mango, orange &kiwi.
I blend each pile separately in the ninja blender, then incorporate into 1/3 of the cooked oats.
When cooled, separate into single portion containers to freeze.
I also cooked those sweet potatoes, mashed with salt and nutmeg, and froze them.
Let me tell you, my freezer is STOCKED. It’s nice that there are different flavor options when the kids choose their oatmeal. The cooked sweet potato is great to heat up quickly as a side for Anna’s lunch. The baked ricotta has been used as both the star of the plate (paired with baked eggplant chips topped with Parmesan cheese) and also as a side to our typical meat and veggie dinners. It’s incredibly versatile and delicious, and I love that my toddler can eat it herself without the fear of her choking.
This entire stock cost me less than $20. All home made. All natural. No additives. All healthy.
We’ve been using this stock for almost a week now, and still are not sick of it. While cooking, we make a point of using different flavors in each batch. After it’s prepared, the pairing options are unlimited. It’s fed the five of us multiple meals- still working from the same investment of $20.
Don’t fear the discount rack! Save money, stay healthy. Use your brain and your freezer. You’ve totally got this, and your family’s health will thank you!
With happy hearts (and full tummies!)
Kate and the Kids.