Being passionate about several things keeps Stephanie Nematzhonov busy and often pulled in several directions.
“I am secretary of our church, I run a cottage food business from my home, I am a Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay, and I host a weekly Speaking Club for English students in Kazakhstan, where my husband is from,” shared Stephanie. “My family, friends, and church are all important to me, so I do what I can to ensure that each area is nurtured.”
Stephanie and her husband, Sher, recently celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary.
“The first movie my husband and I saw together was ‘A Night at the Museum.’ We loved it so much that we married in the Museum of Natural History in NYC, in front of the Easter Island statue. We watch the movie together as a family every year on our anniversary,” Stephanie explained.
Together, Stephanie and Sher have a 10-year-old son named Abraham. They are very proud of him and agree that he excels in math and science, has hilarious jokes, and loves everything space-related.
“Abraham could give any NASA employee a run for their money,” she shared.
As we close out 2023 and head into the New Year, Stephanie wanted to give our Eastern Shore parents a healthier alternative for a delicious meal.
“I am calling this recipe ‘Baked Impasta’ because it uses hearts of palm noodles as opposed to traditional ziti,” she said. “Last Thanksgiving, we resolved to start eating better. I am officially down 50 pounds just by making some simple changes in ingredients, like using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Although I still enjoy making pasta from scratch occasionally, we have found we enjoy the texture of these noodles, and it makes a world of difference in the carbs and calories without sacrificing flavor.”
Hearts of palm noodles are made from one simple ingredient – the center of a cabbage palm tree. They are typically found in the gluten-free section at your local grocery store. They are described as neutral tasting and cook quickly, making them an excellent alternative for weeknight meals.
- 1lb ground turkey (could sub ground lamb, beef or chicken)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
•1 /2 of a 24 oz jar of marinara sauce
- 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
salt/pepper to taste
- 8 slices provolone
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 2-14 oz can of hearts of palm noodles, rinsed and drained
1) Preheat the oven to 350*
2) Add one tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large skillet and heat to medium-high. Add ground turkey and onion and cook until browned. (If using meat with a higher fat content, you will need to drain it.)
3) Stir in marinara sauce, yogurt, garlic powder, dried minced onion, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to your liking, bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
4) Gently stir in hearts of palm noodles.
5) Spoon half the sauce mixture in a 9×13” oven-safe dish. Layer 4 slices of provolone and half of the shredded mozzarella. Add the remaining sauce, then layer the remaining provolone and mozzarella.
6) Bake uncovered until the top is lightly browned and the cheese is melted about 20-25 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a green salad for a low-carb, lower-calorie take on a family favorite!
Gabriele has been married to her husband Daniel for 17 years. Together they have three incredible children – two boys, ages 16 and nine, and a sweet girl who will be two in August. Gabriele is a full-time Sales Director for Mary Kay Cosmetics. When she isn’t spending time with family or building her business, she supports her husband who is the Lead Pastor and Planter of Forward Church in Gulf Shores.