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This delicious curry draws  much of its flavor from the dried fenugreek leaves.  I can’t really describe the flavor of fenugreek, other than it is similar to dried parsley with a musty, somewhat earthy taste.  Although it is available in whole seeds and powder, I prefer using the dried leaf form of this spice in curries.  Widely used in Iranian, and Indian cuisine, it is a nice backdrop flavor that adds something special to the other spice profile of this dish.  I order mine on the internet, but if you’re lucky enough to have an Indian or Middle Eastern grocery in your city, they will surely have it.  You can make this recipe without it, but it won’t be quite as unique in flavor, more like a lot of other curries you’ve had before………good, just not AS good.  🙂

I like to make meatballs in big batches and freeze the leftovers for quick, easy meals in the future.  Although this recipe of meatballs makes thirty 1½ meatballs, I only cooked 9 tonight in my gravy and found that 3 (plus 2 large spoons of gravy) made a nice serving over some cooked cauliflower “rice”.  My husband ate 4 meatballs.    The two leftover (with a couple spoons of sauce) will make a nice lunch one day for someone.

MEATBALL INGREDIENTS (makes 30, some for future use):

24 oz. (1½ lb.) lean ground pork

18 oz. chicken breast (weighed before boning, removing skin and grinding)

2 oz. onion, finely minced

1/3 c. cilantro leaves, chopped

½ jalapeno, seeded and minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large eggs

½ sheet Joseph’s Lavash Flax & Oat Fiber flatbread (omit if still on Atkins Induction Phase)

1/8 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. Garam Masala Spice Blend

½ tsp. curry powder

¼ tsp. ground turmeric

½ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. coarse black pepper

VARIATION:  Use ground beef or lamb for a change in flavor!

CURRY/GRAVY INGREDIENTS:

2 c. homemade chicken broth

¼ c. heavy cream

½ c. tomato sauce (or 2 T. tomato paste)

¼ cilantro leaves, chopped

½-1 tsp. Garam Masala

1 tsp. curry powder

1/8 tsp. ground turmeric

1 T. crushed, dried fenugreek leaves (or 1 tsp. ground seed)

1/3 tsp. nigella seed (optional), also called Charnushka or Kalongi

1/8 tsp. coarse black pepper (or cayenne if you like curry spicy)

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ c. frozen peas (or frozen green beans to lower carbs)

3 Roma plum tomatoes, cut into chunks (added at very last of cooking)

Optional:  1/2 cup coconut milk for richer gravy (adds 1 more net carb than shown below)

DIRECTIONS: Mix all meatball spices in a bowl and set aside a moment.  Wet the bread with water to soften.  Squeeze out water and break/mush it up in a medium mixing bowl.  Add meat(s) and all other meat mixture ingredients to bowl.  Mix with a fork or your hands (like you do meatloaf) until all ingredients are uniformly blended into one mass of meat.  Using your palms, form thirty 1½” meatballs placing them on a non-stick or parchment-lined sheet pan.  I actually skillet browned the nine I was cooking for tonight’s meal.  Pop into 350º oven for about 30 minutes or until lightly browning.  Remove.

While the meatballs are cooking, if you skillet-browned tonight’s meatballs, in that very same skillet, add all listed gravy ingredients (except the tomatoes) and bring to a boil over high heat.  Lower heat to a simmer and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and meatballs back into the skillet at this juncture.  Continue simmering about 10 more minutes to reduce liquid and blend flavors.  The gravy will slightly thicken as it cooks down (keep simmering it too watery.  It WILL thicken up).  If you like your curry gravy thicker, add a light dusting of your favorite low-carb thickener and simmer 1-2 minutes to set up. Serve at once with green side, salad or if preferred, a prepared bed of cooked cauliflower rice.

TIP: Freeze the surplus meatballs for future Indian curry recipes.  Just make up any of your favorite curry gravies and drop the still frozen meatballs, simmering all long enough to gently thaw them and compose you new dish!  A quick week-night meal at the ready in about 30 minutes with pre-cooked meatballs!

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   (meat will make 30 meatballs total).  Using just 9 of them for this meal.  3= 1 serving.  Each serving plus 2 large cooking spoons of the curry/gravy will contain:

349 cals, 21.47g fat, 9.93g carbs, 2.08g fiber, 7.85g NET CARBS, 26.55g protein, 670 mg sodium

 

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My husband raved about our Char Siu tonight!  Throughout the meal he just wolfed it down saying “Yes!” over and over again, ending the meal with “You can make those again any time!”.  LOL  I have to admit, it did come out pretty darn tasty.  I had thawed 4 small pieces of lean pork loin, but when I decided to do an Asian grilled dinner, I thawed two more pieces so there would definitely be some leftover.  The marinade I came up with basically has all the usual things I like to put in my Chinese stir-fries.  I wanted a sweet edge, so other than the plum flavor in the hoisin sauce, all I had on hand was canned pineapple juice or fresh-squeezed orange juice.  But after seeing the carb count for both, I decided to go another route for the sweet factor needed:  diet orange drink and maple extract.  If you use the actual fruit juice, know your carbs will go up to around 8.5 net carbs per serving with the orange juice and around 10 net carbs with pineapple juice.

The vegetable combination in the side stir-fry was stellar with this delicious smoked meat.  If you don’t own a grill, you CAN bake this meat on a metal sheet pan in a 400º oven for about 30 minutes, but we don’t think kebabs of any sort are as tasty cooked inside.  🙂

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MEAT:  1½ lb. boneless pork loin (leave bit of fat on edges), cut 3/4″ strips

VARIATION:  Substitute strips of chicken meat for the pork

MARINADE INGREDIENTS:

3 cloves garlic, minced

1½ tsp. fresh ginger root, peeled and minced

2 T. my Homemade Hoisin Sauce

3 T. soy sauce (I use low-sodium)

1 T. rice wine vinegar

2 T. toasted sesame oil

2 T. dry sherry (or white wine)

¼ c. diet orange soda (Zevia® brand with stevia) (or squeezed orange juice)

½ tsp. maple extract

¼ tsp. each black and cayenne peppers

VEGGIE STIR-FRY SIDE:

3 T. light olive oil

2 oz. onion, sliced

3 oz. red bell pepper, diced to 3/4″

2 c. bok choy (2 stalks)

Remainders of meat marinade

DIRECTIONS: Cut boneless pork loin into 3/4″ strips and set aside.  Measure up all marinade ingredients into medium mixing bowl.  Stir well and add pork.  Stir, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.  Stir contents every 2 hours to be sure all meat is getting a good soaking in the marinade flavors.  Also soak your wood skewers in water (to prevent catching fire during cooking) while your meat is marinating.

When ready to prepare meal, set meat out on counter to come to nearly room temperature. While meat is sitting, cut up the onion, red bell pepper and have ready by the stove.  Next cut leaves off the bok choy stems and cut or tear them into large pieces.  Cut the white bok choy stems separately into ½” slices.  Have all veggies at the ready by the stove.

Now go over and skewer the pork as evenly as possible onto your skewers (I do mine like a “Z” or snake, piercing meat 2-3 times for stability during grilling).  I put 2 long strips on each skewer (3 smaller pieces on a couple skewers) using this “Z” method.  I do make every attempt to put equal portions of meat on each skewer.

Prepare charcoal fire in your outdoor grill. When your coals are white hot, place skewers of meat directly over coals.  Reserve the marinade for final recipe step.  If coals are plenty hot, this meat will only take 2-3 minutes on a side to get done, provided it was cut as directed.

While someone is cooking/watching the meat outside, prepare the veggie stir-fry at your stove-top.  Heat olive oil in skillet or wok over high heat.  Add onion, cut up white bok choy stems and diced red bell pepper.  Stir-fry until all just begin to soften.  Add bok choy leaves last and cook the veggies until bok choy leaves just go limp.  Finally, add in the reserved marinade, stir-frying, stirring continuously, long enough to insure the marinade juices are thoroughly cooked, for health reasons.  Raw meat juices in the marinate MUST be fully cooked to be safe to eat (about 3-4 minutes).  Plate the veggies alongside the grilled meat on your serving platter and serve.  This would be tasty with some favorite low-carb dinner roll or bread.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 8 skewers.  Each 2-skewer serving with 1/4 of veggie stir-fry contains:

437.5 cals, 26.3g fat, 8.35g carbs, 1.82g fiber, 6.53g NET CARBS, 39.72g protein, 561 mg sodium

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Pork on “Lotus Petal”

I fell asleep in my chair in front of the TV yesterday afternoon and it was 6:30 when I woke up.  I’m dealing with a cold at present.  I had thawed 3 small pieces of pork loin but didn’t have the foggiest idea what I was going to cook us for dinner.  Well, a stir fry was all I could think of I could pull off fast.  This dish erupted in my head when I saw the fresh, small head of cabbage sitting right by the pork.  So I proceeded, almost as if in cruise control, when I pulled off the 3 outer leaves of the cabbage to shred up what I wanted in a Chinese stir fry.  Folks, I have no idea where that was coming from, as I was not fully awake yet.  I sure know we both loved this final dish!  My husband said to be sure and upload this one to my blog, but I had decided to do that after one bite!  This dish may sound spicy upon first reading, but I assure you, it was not, as I don’t care for overly spice food.  You will never find overly spicy food on my site for this reason.  Many of you will want to increase the Sambal Oelek, or even double the jalapeno!  There was just a tingle on my tongue and that’s all I want.

As I began preparation, I knew it would be too rich without something “bland” to stand in for rice.  Then I remembered a little of our cauliflower mash leftover from a couple nights ago.  What a great idea!   I seasoned it with my Sambal Oelek chile paste and voila!  A miracle that disguised any cauliflower taste.  It really complemented melange of flavors!  This recipe is suitable for Atkins Phase 2 and beyond as well as other ketogenic diets.  Omit the sherry and those on Atkins Induction can also enjoy this delightful concoction.

INGREDIENTS:

3 T. coconut oil (or your preferred oil)

9 oz. pork loin, trimmed of all fat, sliced julienne-style

3 T. total dry sherry

3 T. total low-sodium soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

2½ finely shredded green cabbage

½ c. green onions, chopped (I used the white ends only)

1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 tsp. sea salt

2¼-2½ c. leftover, butter-seasoned cauliflower mash

1 tsp. Sambal Oelek chile paste (any brand is fine)

½ small carrot, peeled and shaved into long thin strips with carrot peeler

VARIATION:  Use lean beef instead of pork.

DIRECTIONS:  Place julienned pork in a bowl with 2 T. of the sherry and 1½ T. of the soy sauce.  Mix with your hands and let marinate about 10 minutes while you cut up the other ingredients.

Peel off 3 outer leaves of cabbage and dunk in boiling water for 2-3 minutes to slightly soften.  If you want to actually eat the serving leaf, cook them a bit longer.  Remove from water and set on serving platter (mine, as you can see, is shaped like a giant lotus petal, hence the recipe name).  Discard water.

In a small non-stick skillet, mix the leftover cauliflower mash with the tsp. of Sambal Oelek.  It will turn the cauli pink when uniformly stirred.  Turn heat on low and warm while you do the stir-fry.

In a heated wok, melt the coconut oil over high heat.  Add the julienned pork and stir-fry until it begins to brown.  Add cabbage, green onion, jalapeno, ginger and garlic to the wok and continue to stir-fry.  Sprinkle the mixture with the sea salt, add the strips of carrot you have made with the carrot peeler and stir a couple times to let the carrot slightly cook. Add the remaining tablespoon sherry and the remaining 1½ tablespoons soy sauce.

To serve, spoon 1/3 of the pink cauliflower mixture onto each leaf of cabbage and spread out a bit, leaving the dark edge of the leaf exposed.  Then spoon on 1/3 of the meat mixture on top of the cauli mixture and serve your family and guests at once.  I found one of these filled me up like a tick, as we say in the South.  My husband did eat two of them, gluton that he is.  ENJOY!  🙂

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 3 servings, each contains:

439 cals., 26.7g fat, 13.93g carbs, 6.0g fiber, 7.93g NET CARBS, 23.3g protein, 1178 mg sodium

 

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To be so simple to prepare, these boneless pork loin chops were both delicious and especially tender.  My husband just loved these tonight and said to “please do these often!”  A quick pan dinner for a busy week-night when you’re tired, for sure.  Simply sear, simmer and EAT!  This recipe is not suitable until Atkins Phase 2 due to the wine, but subbing in chicken stock would allow this for those still in Atkins Induction Phase.

INGREDIENTS: 

2 boneless pork loin chops (or bone-in chops)

¼ tsp. my Homemade Montreal Steak Seasoning

3 T. butter

6 large mushrooms, cut into quarters

1 clove minced garlic

Dash black pepper and sea salt

¼ c. white wine (I used Riesling)

DIRECTIONS:  Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle Montreal Steak Seasoning on both sides of the pork.  Sear both sides of the meat until light brown.  Lift meat out to a plate when both sides are golden (meat will not quite be done).  Add garlic, mushrooms, black pepper and sea salt.  Saute  mushrooms until nearly tender, push them to the outside of the pan and replace meat in pan.   Lower heat to medium-low. Add wine to both de-glaze the brown bits from the pan bottom and to continue cooking the meat.  Simmer over low heat about 5-7 minutes or until meat is firmed up and fully done.  Remove from stove and serve at once with you favorite sides.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 2 servings, each contains:

443 cals, 31g fat, 3.3g carbs, 0.65g fiber, 2.65g NET CARBS, 33g protein, 143mg sodium

 

 

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What a pleasant surprise our lunch was today!  It was ready in under 30 minutes and DELICIOUS!  My husband isn’t as fond of kale as I am yet he dipped up seconds on this dish!  That tells you how well smoked sausage and kale taste together.  A flavor combination you really must try!  The addition of leeks and yellow onion, with their sweet edge, really mellowed the kale’s “greens” taste as well!  This quick and tasty dish is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets, Primal and Paleo programs as well.

INGREDIENTS:

4 c. curly leaf kale, stemmed and cut into large pieces (3/4 bunch)

2 T. bacon grease

3 oz. yellow onion, cut up in wedges

1 leek, well-washed and chopped large

6 oz. smoked pork sausage

Dash salt

Coarse black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:  Melt bacon grease in large pot over high heat.  Add yellow onion and saute until it caramelizes.  Add stemmed and washed kale to the pot.  Add salt and pepper as well.  Add enough water to just cover the kale.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat to medium-low.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until kale is softening.  Add the chopped leek and continue simmering for only about 10 more minutes.

While the greens are cooking, cook the sausage in a separate skillet.  I like to slice my links as shown above so the meat cooks more quickly and more evenly.  Brown lightly on both sides over medium heat and remove when done.  When the meat is done, the greens should also be done, as they won’t take long.  Overcooked kale is not only unappealing in color (brownish-green) but they are both strong and bitter.  I’m certain, such overcooking is why many people do not like them. They only take about 15-20 minutes TOTAL to get tender, keeping their mild, delicate flavor.  Any longer on the heat and they are simply inedible, in my opinion.  Remove from heat at 20 minutes, drain and plate 1/4 of the greens on each plate.  Add 1/4 of the sausage on top of each serving of greens as shown above.

MY PERSONAL NOTE:  Be sure to get a small bite of sausage with each bite of greens, you’ll be amazed at the almost sweet taste the flavor combo has in your mouth.  

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 4 servings, each contains:

307 cals, 22g fat, 11.45g carbs, 1.92g fiber, 9.53g NET CARBS, 19g protein, 809mg sodium

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jalapeno-meatloaf-burgers

I wanted a quick meal last night as I had been doing lots of housecleaning and was really tired.  I basically started with my meatloaf recipe (know it by heart) and added half of a  huge jalapeno.  Ate them on a Carb Smart Bun.  DEEEEElicious!  Not quite the same as a meatloaf sandwich (without the tomato sauce topping), but super tasty!  Will do these again, that’s for sure!  These are not suitable until late in Phase 2 Atkins OWL unless you substitute a phase approved bread to sub in for the Joseph’s pita called for below.  These will fit a Keto diet if the carbs will fit your daily limits.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. lean ground beef (I used grass-fed with a stronger flavor)

8 oz. lean ground pork (or more beef if you prefer)

1 oz. red bell pepper, chopped

½ large jalapeno, chopped fine (use the whole thing if you like “spicy” food)

2 oz. onion, chopped

1 large stalk celery, chopped fine

2 T. olive oil

½ c. parsley, chopped

¼ tsp. dried oregano

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1 Joseph’s Flax-Oat Fiber Pita, moistened with a little water and mushed up

2 large eggs

¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:  In a non-stick skillet, saute the celery, bell pepper and jalapeno in the olive oil.  When getting tender, add to a medium mixing bowl.  Add all remaining ingredients and stir well with a fork or use your hands to blend like a meatloaf.  Form into 6 patties and brown on both sides on a lightly oiled griddle until they firm up and no longer exude pink juices.  Serve on your favorite low-carb bun and ENJOY!

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 6 large burgers (we could only eat one!), each contains:

337 calories, 26 g fat, 3.08 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 2.10 g NET CARBS, 24.3 g protein, 190 mg sodium

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Pork Carnitas

Slow-cooked & fork-tender!

I’ve been meaning to make some carnitas for some time so I recently bought some pork tenderloins on sale so that’s what I used to make these for dinner tonight.  Of course, you can use fattier cuts of meat, like pork butt or shoulder roast (some people actually prefer the fattier cuts for this recipe).  Your choice on cut.  carnitas (wrapped ready to eat!)

This recipe can be done in your oven on low temp (275º-300º), in a roaster oven low setting, in your crock pot, just as you would any slow-cooked roast or pulled pork recipe.  I actually like to cook mine stove-top, in a lidded stew pot, on the lowest burner setting.  Any method will render fork-tender, delicious shredded meat for eating in flour tortillas with your favorite sides.  I just had a guacamole salad on the side; the hubs spooned his guac right into his tortillas along with the meat filling!  Made them a little messier to eat, but that didn’t slow him down.  These were delicious!One filled me up; the hubs had two.

This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, but if still on Induction, you need to sub in meat broth for the wine.

INGREDIENTS:

½ c. fresh-squeezed orange juice

Juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lemon

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 T. fresh spearmint, chopped (optional)

¼ c. cilantro, chopped (omit if you’re not a fan)

¼ dried ancho chili pepper, seeded & chopped

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crushed (or 1 T. fresh chopped)

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 T. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

6 oz. white wine (omit if still on Atkins Induction)

¼ tsp. chili powder

1/3 c. olive oil

OPTIONAL:  ½ tsp. sea salt, but I like the sweet edge of the citrus and didn’t use any

DIRECTIONS:  Use with this sauce, your choice of pork tenderloin, boneless pork loin, pork shoulder or butt roast.  Heat olive oil in a stew pot on high heat.  Sear your pork (whole) on all sides until brown.  Add rest of ingredients to the pot.  When it comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and tightly lid the pot.  Simmer for 3-4 hours or until meat is falling off the bones or a fork slides right into it easily.  Check every hour and add a bit of water to the pot if all your liquid is cooking away too fast before meat is fork tender and fully done.  Remove from heat and set meat on a cutting board or platter.  Using 2 forks, pull the meat off the bone, separating into shreds.  Slide the meat shreds back into your pot and stir well to coat with remaining juices/sauce.  Serve at once with warm low-carb flour tortillas (I use HEB’s “Carb Sense”) and a nice guacamole salad.  I like to serve some chopped lettuce, tomato and fresh cilantro at table as well.  Cilantro (if you like it) is really good added right before eating.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes about 1 cup sauce or 16 tablespoons.  Each 2 T. serving of sauce (sauce only!) contains:

FYI:  2 oz. pork will add about 5g. fat, 115 cals and 16g protein.  My HEB tortillas are 3 net carbs each.

116 cals, 9.1g fat, 5.11g carbs, 0.48g fiber, 4.63g NET CARBS, 0.57g protein, 4.37 mg sodium (more if you add the optional salt)

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