Blue Crab Stuffing

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I haven’t cooked this in years!  I picked up a carton of crab meat at the store today so I could make it for dinner tonight.  This is the crab stuffing I developed while I lived on Galveston Island in the 70’s and 80’s.   My recipe was inspired by the crab stuffing served at Gaido’s Seafood restaurant on Galveston seawall. One of my favorite items on their menu.  Best I’ve ever eaten, bar none. But this one I created is pretty darn close! It’s so easy to prepare and is always a hit with dinner guests! If you have access to fresh crab meat, I highly recommend this dish as an entree or use it to stuff baked flouder or other fish of choice.

INGREDIENTS:

1½ lb. crab meat, shelled and picked well for bits of shell (Blue crab is the sweetest and best for this)

3 Flax Sandwich Buns  (or other low-carb bread)

4 oz. finely chopped onion

4 oz. finely chopped celery

1 oz. finely chopped green pepper (or mixture of red and green if you like)

½ oz. parsley

2 oz. heavy cream

¼ tsp. salt

Dash of cayenne pepper

1 tsp. dry mustard powder

½ c. (1 stick) unsalted, melted butter

DIRECTIONS:    Using a large bowl, carefully pick out all bits of shell from crab meat.  Soak 2 of the pieces of bread with the cream and crumble over the crab.  Crumb the remaining roll into fairly fine crumbs.  Set aside.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add celery, onion, bell pepper, salt, cayenne and mustard powder and saute until slightly tender. Add parsley and saute couple minutes longer.  Pour sauteed veggie mixture over crab/bread mixture in the bowl.  Gently toss ingredients to mix well.  Spoon mixture into 6 large crab shells (if you have them) , into individual 6 oven-safe ramekins or stuff into fish prepared for baking.  Top with bread crumbs and bake in preheated 350º oven for 30 minutes (whole 1 lb. fish should be nicely done in that amount of time, but check for flaky done stage on your fish to be sure).

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 6 servings, each serving has: (numbers are just for stuffing & does not include fish)

351.3 cals, 25.9g fat, 5.4g carbs, 2.47g fiber, 2.93g NET CARBS, 25.3g protein, 120 mg. sodium

Grilled Steelhead Trout

We were in Sam’s a couple days ago and bought a pack of huge Steelhead Trout fiilets.  We enjhoyed them so much last year when we tried it for the first time, I decided do some on the grill for the Fourth of July.  Here’s a nice article on Steelhead Trout if you’re not familiar with this species that is closely related to salmon: Steelhead Trout

I will be doing it this time without the parsley added to the baste since I’m out of parsley, Oh, My!  May try it with cilantro or dried chervil today instead.  My husband isn’t too fond of salmon but he definitely likes Steelhead Trout! It is, in our opinion, much milder than salmon.  The skin of ths fish isn’t as “tough” as salmon skin either, so I actually eat it on this fish, whereas I will not do that with salmon skin unless charred very crisp.  When your husband, a lifetime fish hater, asks for seconds, you KNOW it’s gotta be good!!!  It is simply DELICIOUS!

This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, all Keto diets, and Primal Blueprint as well.  Paleo followers will want to clarify the butter.   I like to make fish tacos with any leftover fish that is smoked.  🙂

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb.10oz. (approximately) filet of Steelhead Trout

6 T. unsalted butter, melted

1/3 c. parsley, chopped (or fresh cilantro)

2 lg. cloves garlic, minced

3/4 tsp. my Seafood Spice Blend

VARIATIONS:  Use different spice blends in lieu of the Seafood Blend shown.  You can also add 1-2 T. white wine to the sauce for a different flavor twist.

DIRECTIONS:  In small saucepan/skillet melt the butter.  Add garlic, spice blend and parsley.  Heat low for 2-3 minutes and remove.  Baste the skin side of the fish and let it sit on the counter while you prepare the charcoal fire as for grilling steaks.  You want to cook these hot and fast.  They will only take 5-6 minutes on a side.  When the fire is hot, Place the fish filet on the grate  skin side down.  Next baste the top side of the fish.  Bring leftover butter baste in the house to keep hot on the stove for serving at table with the meal.  Using an extra-long spatula gently flip the fish after 5-6 minutes.  Grill the second side of the fish for 5 minutes and it will likely be done.  You don’t want to overcook or dry it out.   Test for flakiness at the thickest part to be sure it is done.  Using an extra long spatula (or 2 shorter ones) carefully remove to a large platter.  Serve with the extra butter sauce reheated if cooled off (melt more butter if need be).  Lovely served with sweet potatoes and a green veggie or salad.  My Chipotle-lime “Sweet Potatoes” go particularly well with grilled fish, as does steamed, buttered broccoli or asparagus spears.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 4 adult servings, each contains:

358 calories, 26.1g fat, 1.32g carbs, 0.20g fiber, 1.12g NET CARBS, 29.2g protein, 80 mg sodium

Paleo Pot Pie

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Made with Chicken

I want to use up some leftover baked chicken meat for dinner tonight and my husband voted for chicken pot pie.  I have even made this recipe with leftover pork before and it is quite good as well. I have a pot pie recipe on my site already that is Atkins suitable, but that recipe has Carbquick in it and I’m trying to cut back on my use of Carbquik.  I fall back on this recipe of old and it’s just as tasty.  This should satisfy his desire for one of his comfort foods tonight.  We both just love chicken pot pies and like this recipe equally.

This dish is suitable for anyone who has reached the nuts and seeds rung of the Atkins OWL ladder or who follows a Ketogenic or Paleo-Primal program.  The nutritional stats below are very impressive, making it a most nutritious dinner! This would also be good made with turkey or even with rabbit, if you have access.

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

2 c. homemade chicken stock

1 1/3 c. carrot, diced

1 1/3 c. red radishes, diced

½ c. red bell pepper, diced

1½ c. green beans, cooked and chopped a bit

½ tsp. red palm oil (optional, this is for yellow color only)

2 c. chicken breast, cooked, diced

½ tsp. glucomannan powder (or your favorite thickener)

Dash black pepper

3 T. coconut cream

3 T. homemade mayo

Dash olive oil to grease baking dish

TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

1 c. almond flour

2 T. butter or ghee, softened

1 whole egg

1 T. coconut cream or coconut milk

DIRECTIONS:  Pour chicken stock into 4 qt. saucepan.  Add diced carrot and radish.  Bring to boil and simmer until almost tender.  Add bell pepper and cook until it is just softened a bit.  Turn off fire and add chopped green beans.  Stir in coconut cream and mayo.  Dust the glucomannan powder (or whatever thickener you prefer) evenly over the broth and stir quickly to disperse into the sauce.  Sauce should begin to thicken right up.  Add black pepper and stir to blend all ingredients.  Preheat oven to 350º. Grease an 8×11 baking dish with a bit of olive oil and pour chicken filling into the dish.  Set aside while you make the topping.

In a small bowl, measure the almond flour.  With a fork, beat in the soft butter, then the egg and finally the coconut cream or coconut milk.    It will form a medium thick dough.  With the fork and a spoon, drop small dots of the dough evenly all over the top of the chicken filling.  Pop into the preheated 350º oven for about 40 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned on top.  This is nice served with a green salad.  ENJOY!

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 5 nice 1¼ cup servings, each containing:

426 cals, 33g fat, 12.5g carbs, 5.56g fiber, 6.94g NET CARBS, 24.3g protein, 382mg sodium, 58% RDA Vitamin A, 33% B6, 31% B12, 45% C, 15% E, 37% iron, 48% niacin, 34% phosphorous, 30% riboflavin, 48% selenium, and much more.

“Frosted” Sausage Donuts

Sausage Donuts

An interesting approach for a crustless quiche creation.  These rose halfway up the sides of the little pans and each one was a perfect portion for an adult!  And they were delicious! If you don’t like mushrooms, you can just omit them (carbs will go down a wee bit).  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins and Keto diets if you can fit the numbers into your daily routine.  They are suitable for Paleo-Primal folks if you substitute coconut milk for the cream.

INGREDIENTS:

5 oz. pork bulk sausage

4 medium mushrooms, chopped

1 green onion, chopped

3 medium eggs, beaten

¼ c. shredded Monterrey Jack or Mozzarella cheese

SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

1 c. heavy cream

¼ tsp. dried tarragon

Dash each salt, pepper and cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp. xanthan gum or your favorite thickener

OPTIONAL:  Chopped parsley to garnish

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Crumble and cook the sausage, green onion and mushrooms over medium-high heat.  Spoon 1/4 of the mixture into two non-stick mini angel food cake pans.  If you don’t have those, use a donut pan (you will have to spread mixture and cheese out over 4 donut wells instead of 2 pans as I used).  Alternately, you could fill 2 large muffin pan wells or use two mini-loaf pans.   Sprinkle 1 T. cheese over each one.  Spoon in the remaining 1/4 mixture into each pan again.  Again, sprinkle 1 T. cheese over each one.  All filling and cheese should be distributed now.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl.  Slowly drizzle the egg mixture over all the “donut” shapes you are making.  If you need more egg using different pan, beat up another egg and finish filling them up to 1/2 the height of your well shape.  Pop pan into hot 350º oven and bake for around 10-12 minutes, watching closely so as not to overcook them.  Will be dry to the touch on top when done.

While they are cooking, make the sauce.  Heat the cream in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the tarragon, salt (omit if very sensitive to salt), pepper and cayenne.  Dust your preferred thickener over the top and stir until it thickens up for you.   When you remove the cooked donuts from the oven, tip them out of the pans onto your serving platter, using a knife tip to help removing them.  Spoon the sauce over the top and garnish with chopped parsley if desired.  Serve at once.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 2 servings, each contains:

810 cals., 75.1g fat, 6.25g carbs, 0.85g fiber, 5.4g NET CARBS, 29.15g protein, 870 mg sodium

Since you may use different pans, I am providing the numbers for the entire recipe below.  Simply divide these numbers by the number of portions you made to get the values for one of YOUR servings.

ENTIRE RECIPE CONTAINS:  1621 calories, 150.2g fat, 12.5g carbs, 1.7g fiber, 10.8g net carbs, 58.3g protein, 1740 mg sodium

Sausage-Bacon Croquettes

These delicious cheesy croquettes were quite a surprise, considering I just started throwing stuff from the fridge into the skillet, having forgotten to defrost any major meat for dinner.  After Texas’ horrific arctic blast of single-digit temps in February, we all lost a lot of landscape shrubs and trees.  Over 3 months now of digging up dead ones, pruning those struggling to stay alive and as always, finding a few new ones I’d like to try.  So lately I’m choosing to work in my garden over cooking.  I often ‘overdo’ it in the garden, and fatigue blocks my energy to cook dinner………………..so meals on such days are real simple.

My husband loved these and ate three!  We both agreed this one’s a keeper for a simple, quick meal.  There’s just enough cheese in these to pull all the flavor layers together and to facilitate browning but you can use less if you need to pull the sodium count down a bit.  To these I chose to use a hint of Cajun seasoning, but you can use any favorite seasoning blend you like to enhance smoked meats.  These tasty patties are suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets and Primal Blueprint followers.  With the cheese, they are not acceptable for Paleo.

INGREDIENTS:

2 c. cooked spaghetti squash threads (half medium squash)

6 oz. smoked sausage (I use Burton’s)

2 slices thick-slice bacon

1 tsp. bacon grease  (if bacon too lean)

1 oz. each red and green bell pepper

1½ oz. yellow onion

1 clove garlic, minced

Dash black pepper

3/4 tsp. my Cajun Seafood Spice Blend (or spices of your choice)

2T. + 1 tsp. golden flax meal

1 large egg, beaten

1½ c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or mozzarella)

VARIATION:  Use different cheese of choice; use diced shrimp.

DIRECTIONS:  Cook the squash with your preferred method.  You will only be using half the squash for this recipe, so reserve the rest in the fridge for another use.  I cut the stem end off my squash, cut the squash in half lengthwise and microwave face down in a dab of water for about 13 minutes.  With a towel, hold the cooked squash in one hand and fork out the threads onto a cutting board.  Chop, place into a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

On a cutting board chop the onion, red pepper & green pepper fairly small.  Next chop the sausage & bacon into 1/4″ dice.  Over medium-high heat, cook the bacon & sausage in a skillet until nearly done.  Add chopped veggies to the pan and cook all until thoroughly cooked and veggies are softened.  I had to add 1 tsp. bacon grease to the pan (included in the fat number below) as my bacon was so lean.  You can leave that out if your bacon is fatty enough to fry the mixture properly.   Remove from heat and spoon over the squash threads in your bowl.  Add garlic, pepper and Cajun Seafood Spice Blend and stir to mix.  Add the cheese shreds, beaten egg, flax meal and again stir to blend well.  Let mixture rest a few minutes for the egg and flax to properly set up.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle to medium-high.  Using a serving spoon, spoon out 8 fairly equal portions of the mixture on the hot griddle.  Slightly press the mixture piles flatter.  DO NOT move these around as they are quite fragile until they are browned on one side.  When the first side is browned upon peeking, quickly flip them to the other side and brown as shown in the photo.  You don’t want to under-brown these as it is the browning of the mixture at pan contact that helps them taste their best.  I served these with a bowl of buttered broccoli, but they would be nice with any green vegetable or a lovely salad.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 8 croquettes, each contains:

191 cals, 14g fat, 5.75g carbs, 2.11g fiber, 3.64g NET CARBS, 11.7g protein, 484 mg sodium

Montreal-Chipotle Pulled Pork

Montreal-Chipotle Pulled Pork

I have been wanting to cook a large pork roast this week for a few meals and to have some leftovers for sandwiches and snacks.   My grocery store had fresh pork picnic on sale for $.97 per# this week so I bought a 9# bone-in picnic shoulder roast.  We didn’t feel like firing up the grill for this, so I just baked the pork roast low and slow in the oven.  Wanted falling-off-the-bone tender and that’s what we got!  I saved all the wonderful baking juices and froze them for future soup making.  Didn’t want the entire piece done as seasoned pulled pork, so I baked it just with salt, pepper and a little Homemade Montreal Seasoning on the surfaces.  Man, did this roast come out delicious!!  One of the best pork roasts I’ve ever done with the sauce on it.  Then I decided to put tonight’s dinner’s worth on the table as a seasoned pulled pork and went about making my sauce.  Mmmm.  Delicious indeed!  Next time we’ll perhaps do it on the grill, for that added flavor layer.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets, Primal and Paleo (provided you use ghee for the butter).

INGREDIENTS:

1 pork roast (I used a 9# bone-in picnic shoulder roast, but a Boston butt, shank, or loin will do)

Sea Salt and black pepper

1 tsp. my Homemade Montreal Steak Seasoning

SAUCE:  6 T. melted butter, 1 tsp. red wine vinegar, 2 tsp. Homemade Montreal Steak Spice Blend, ½-1 tsp. Tobasco Chipotle Sauce® and 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke (any brand, but I use “Amish Meadow”.   Sorry, don’t remember where I ordered it from).

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 325º.  Place pork roast skin/fatty-side up in a 9×13 baking pan.  Coat all surfaces with Black pepper, 1 tsp. Montreal Spice Blend, and I use Pink Himalayan Sea Salt.  Cover pan tightly with foil.   Pop into 325º oven and bake for 30 minutes to allow it to heat to the center.  Reduce oven to 250º and continue slow baking (for an 8-9# bone-in roast) for about 5 hours. This could be done in a slow-cooker, but I’m not experienced with them, so check for a slow-cooker recipe on-line for guidelines for a 9# roast for setting and time.

Make the sauce in a small sauce pan over low heat, simmering the ingredients for 2-3 minutes only.  Remove from heat.

At the 5 hour mark, open oven, remove meat from oven and take foil off pan.  Slice off any thick skin and the fat layer from the top of the meat (it should almost slide right off effortlessly if meat is done properly to 160-170º internal temperature).  I freeze this for other uses and seasoning. My dog sometimes gets a bit on her dinner.  It’s very good for a dog’s coat and skin and highly digestible for dogs.

Increase oven heat to 350º and return pan uncovered to the oven.  Allow meat surfaces to slightly brown for about 30 minutes.  Remove meat from oven and cool slightly.  Shred off the meat with a fork or tongs, pulling off as much meat onto your serving platter as you think your family will consume.  Using a brush, baste the meat with the warm Montreal-Chipotle butter sauce, coating it well.  Serve at once with your favorite sides or a salad.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Each 3 oz. portion of meat contains:

350 calories, 28.1 g fat, 0.90 g carbs, 0.30 g fiber, 0.60 g NET CARBS, 23 g protein, 87 mg sodium

London Broil

When you want to tenderize a tougher cut of meat, like flank steak or London Broil, you have to marinate it to loosen up those meat fibers a bit.  This is one of my favorite steak marinades to use on London Broil.  If you can’t get flank or London Broil, use a piece of lean chuck roast. The flavor on the outer crust of meat is just divine.  The longer you marinate the meat, the more tender the meat will get.  Marinating all day long is preferred, but a minimum of 4-5 hours is a must lest you end up with a very tough, difficult to chew experience.  My husband cooked ours tonight a bit too long (medium) for our personal taste, as we prefer medium rare, but it was still quite tasty and still fairly tender.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins beyond Induction.  If you are still on induction, sub in some beef broth for the red wine.

INGREDIENTS:

3 lb. piece of London Broil or flank steak

½ clove garlic, minced

1½ tsp. tomato paste

½ c. red wine (or beef broth if still on Induction)

¼ c. low sodium soy sauce

2 T. balsamic  vinegar

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

DIRECTIONS:  Coat the meat with the black pepper and set in a glass or plastic marinating pan.  Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the tomato paste well until it is evenly distributed in the liquid.  Using a basting brush, drizzle the marinade over the meat and place marinating pan in the refrigerator.  Marinate for at least 4 hours to all day long, drizzling over the meat carefully hourly.  Turn the meat once or twice while marinating.

When ready to cook, prepare a hot charcoal fire.  Lift meat out of marinating pan and discard the marinade.  Place meat directly over the hot coals and grill for about 8-10 minutes on a side or until it reaches your desired stage (around 8 minutes per side for medium rare; around 10 for medium as shown).  These two cuts of meat are really too tough to cook them well done.  Just being honest.  Serve with a nice salad or your favorite green side dish.  This is delicious with compound butter, if you have a favorite recipe.  Here’s the one I used tonight:  Garlic Herb Butter.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  As the marinade is discarded, a firm count per serving is difficult to arrive at.  No more than 1 T. is consumed on the meat surfaces, if THAT much.  1 T. marinade contains around 1.27 net carbs, so that is what is added to the serving below.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Serves 6-7 people nicely (maybe 8), so each serving of meat with 1 T. marinade contains around:

297 calories, 12g fat, 1.3 carbs, 0 fiber, 0 NET CARBS, 44 g protein, 101 mg sodium

Eggplant Parmigiana “Sandwiches”

EggplantSandwich

This recipe is deep in my blog archives so I thought I’d re-post it for my readers that love Italian food.  This recipe is inspired by a dish my mother used to make when I was in high school.  Of course, she used bread crumbs and not the pork rinds I used to keep the final sammies  lower-carb.  Her dish didn’t have meat in it, just the eggplant.  However the meat takes a veggie side to a complete meal!  This dish, prepared with meat, makes a delicious dinner entree that will WOW! your dinner guests and family.  It is quite filling!  I serve this with a tossed green Italian salad.  This dish can also be made with ground lamb if you prefer, giving it a Middle Eastern flair.  This recipe is suitable for Induction, too.  Despite their name, it takes a fork and knife to eat these hearty “sandwiches”.

INGREDIENTS:

½  recipe of my Oven-Fried Eggplant (adding the 1 oz. crushed pork rinds below to coating)   

1 oz. crushed pork rinds

6 oz. ground beef (or lamb)

2 slices provalone cheese

2  1-oz. slices mozzarella cheese (or grated)

½ c. low-carb spaghetti sauce  (I used this:  https://buttoni.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/peggys-spaghetti-sauce/ )

2 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or ¼ tsp. dried)

2 T. Parmesan cheese

VARIATION:  Use ground lamb instead of ground beef for a Greek twist, subbing in feta cheese for the provalone.

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 450º.  Make ½ recipe my Oven Fried Eggplant per instructions for that recipe, with the one addition of 1 oz. crushed pork rinds to the coating mixture.  This takes about 20 minutes to bake at 450º.  While this is baking, form two nice beef patties from the meat and brown them in a non-stick skillet.  When eggplant is browned nicely, remove from oven (remember, it will be browner on bottom than on top).  Lower oven to 350º.  Place 2 T. spaghetti sauce atop each of two slices (the other two slices will form the second layer of these stacks).      Next place a browned meat patty on them.  Top them with a slice of provalone cheese and ½ T. of the Parmesan.  Sprinkle on half the basil.  Now place another slice of eggplant on top.  Spoon 2 more tablespoons of sauce on top.  Top each with 1 oz. grated or sliced mozzarella.  Top each with half the remaining Parmesan and basil.  I had one small slice of eggplant leftover and laid it on top of the serving simply for photographic impact, but I don’t usually do this.   Sauce and cheese are usually the final layer.  Pop sandwiches back into oven at 350º for about 5-10 minutes to melt cheeses. If the tops slide off, just push them back on top before serving.  🙂  Happens all the time to me.  Cheese is slippery. 🙂

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes two servings, each contains:

502 calories, 31.7 g  fat, 8.1 g  carbs, 3.4 g  fiber, 4.7 g  NET CARBS, 44.4 g  protein, 1144 mg sodium

Indian Butter Chicken

This is my husband’s favorate Indian dish.  He always orders it when we eat Indian out, so I thought I’d try to duplicate it using my favorite chicken curry recipe as a starting point.  The flavors are very similar in my opinion, but this dish is richer (with all the butter and cream added) and it has more tomato in it than my regular curry recipe.  This is ever so easy to make once you have the ingredients on hand, and the results are simply stellar!  This dish is suitable for those still on Atkins Induction Phase and is also suitable for Primal diners.  Paleo followers will need to use coconut milk and ghee (clarified butter) instead of the cream or regular butter.  

INGREDIENTS:

1 T. whole cumin seed

2 T. olive oil

3 oz. sliced onion

2 deboned 7-8 oz. chicken breasts, cut into 1-1½” chunks

¼ tsp. salt

¼-½  tsp. cayenne pepper  (use ½ tsp. only if you like food really HOT with spice)

1 tsp. ground cumin

½ T. fresh ginger root, peeled and minced fine

¼ tsp. ground turmeric

1T. + 1 tsp. my homemade Garam Masala 

4 T. fresh cilantro, chopped

1 c. chicken broth

2  Roma tomatoes (3″) , cut into large cubes or wedges 

4 T. tomato paste (about ½ of 6-oz small can)

4 T. more butter

3/4 c. heavy cream 

DIRECTIONS:  In a dry non-stick skillet or wok, dry roast the whole cumin seed, stirring, just until they become fragrant but not burned (about 1-2 minutes).  Add olive oil and onions & saute a few minutes until onions are translucent.  Add chicken and continue to saute until chicken is no longer pink.  Add all remaining ingredients except heavy cream. Simmer covered on lowest heat setting about 30 minutes until tomatoes are tender and falling totally apart.  Some use a stick blender to puree the mixture at this point, but I personally do not do this as I like the onions to remain visible in my curry.  Your call there.  Add the heavy cream and continue to simmer (unlidded) over low heat for 5-10 minutes longer.  It should thicken right up as the cream reduces.  You can eat this as  is at this point, or…… if you prefer, you can serve it over steamed cauliflower, baked eggplant slices, or for any non-low-carbing diners at your table, over steamed basmati rice.   Those are not included below, however.  Make the necessary recalculations if you serve your Butter Chicken atop one ov these.  

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Serves 5, each serving contains:

463 cals, 35.5g fat, 7.88g carbs, 1.68g fiber, 6.2g NET CARBS, 29g protein, 530 mg. sodium (omit salt & recude cream if you are sodium sensitive)

Indian Chicken Tikka Masala or Curry

Chicken Tikka Masala

This particular curry recipe, similar to Chicken Tikka Masala, is the one I keep coming back to again and again.  I’m cooking this for dinner tonight with some leftover rotisserie chicken breast meat, so I thought I’d re-post this for those new to my site.  Typically one uses tomato paste in the creamy sauce for Tikka Masala, rather than whole tomatoes, but my husband really likes the fresh tomatoes chunks in curry. This is ever so easy to make with the ingredients on hand, and the results are simply DELICIOUS!  This recipe is also great made with a firm-fleshed fish or shrimp.  When doing it with fish, cut de-boned fish into large pieces and prepare sauce first.  Add fish the last 5-10 minutes of cooking so it won’t overcook and fall apart.  Firm-fleshed Red fish or Red Snapper are excellent choices for simmered dishes, if you can get it, as they are firm enough to not fall apart into the sauce!  This dish is OK for Induction and is also suitable for Primal diners.  Paleo followers need to use coconut milk instead of the heavy cream.  For true Tikka Masala, I use 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste instead of the chunks of whole tomato.  For Tikka, I also add more cream for its richness.  🙂

INGREDIENTS:

1 T. whole cumin seed

2 T. olive oil

3 T. butter

3 oz. sliced onion

2 deboned 7-8 oz. chicken breasts, cut into 1-1½” chunks

¼ tsp. salt

¼-½  tsp. cayenne pepper  (use ½ tsp. only if you like food really HOT with spice)

1 tsp. ground cumin

½ T. minced fresh ginger

½ tsp. ground turmeric

1 T. my homemade Garam Masala 

4 T. fresh cilantro, chopped

1 c. chicken broth

1   whole Roma tomatoes (3″) , cut into large cubes (use 1-2 Tbsp. tomato paste for Tikka Masala gravy or a Butter Chicken flavor and appearance).

¼ c. heavy cream [use ½ c. for Tikka Masala]

DIRECTIONS:  In a dry non-stick skillet or wok, dry roast the whole cumin seed, stirring, just until they become fragrant but not burned (about 1-2 minutes).  Add olive oil, butter and onions & saute a few minutes.  Add chicken and continue to saute until chicken is opaque.  If using fish or shrimp, wait to add later.  Add all remaining ingredients except heavy cream. Simmer covered on lowest heat about 30 minutes until tomatoes are tender but not falling totally apart.  Add heavy cream and continue to simmer 5-10 minutes longer.  If using fish or shrimp, add now and simmer just until it is done.  If desired, slightly thicken with a few successive, light dustings of xanthan gum or glucomannan powder, whisking or stirring vigorously between additions.  Serve over steamed cauliflower or basmati rice for non-low-carb guests.  Sometimes I add my cauliflower right into the curry the last 15 minutes of cooking for a change of pace.  Like the tomatoes, do not cook the cauliflower too long.  Adjust info below if you add cauliflower or other vegetables to the dish.

VARIATION:  Sprinkle in a few frozen green peas as shown above.  But just a few!

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Serves 3, each serving containing:

527 cals., 34.6g fat, 7.83g carbs, 2.03g fiber, 5.80g NET CARBS, 44.3g protein, 194 mg. sodium

Roasted Summer Vegetables

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This dish is incredibly easy to pull together and is exceptionally good with charcoal grilled meats.  Tonight I’m serving this with grilled pork loin chops.  I have even been known to cook this veggie dish in a grilling basket right on the grill with the meat!  Honestly, it’s even BETTER that way!   I’ve also used Chachere’s salt-free Cajun Seasoning in this, which is good, but not quite as good as the Seafood Blend (similar to Emeril’s spice mix).  I also like this dish made with my Chicken Shawarma Spice Blend.  No matter which spice you decide to try on this dish, it always elicits a MmmMmmmMmmm response from dinner guests.  If you don’t like very spicy food, reduce spice to 1T.  Atkins Induction friendly recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium yellow squash cut in 1″ chunks (or zucchini is OK)
1 small eggplant (about 10-12 oz) cut in ½” slices, then cut those in quarters
4 plum tomatoes cut into quarters
1 green, yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and cut in 1″ chunks
1 red bell pepper seeded and cut in 1″ chunks
1 purple onion cut into ½” wedges, layers separated
12 cloves garlic (entire bulb, cloves peeled but left whole)
1-2 Tbsp. Chicken Shawarma Spice blend or my Cajun Seafood Spice Blend
¼ tsp. each salt & black pepper

Splash of extra virgin olive oil (I like to use more personally)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 450º.  Cut up all veggies and place in large mixing bowl.  Drizzle olive oil over all and stir well to coat all veggies with oil and seasonings.  Toss to try and coat all veggies with oil.  Pour into glass casserole pan and bake at 450º for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Serves 6, each serving contains:

107 cals, 7.08g fat, 11.6g carbs, 3.3g fiber, 3g protein, 103mg. sodium, 7.3g NET CARBS

Boursin Bacon Brussels Sprouts

I’ve finally found a way to prepare Brussels sprouts that I really like.  I think the key was to cook them in the microwave instead of steaming or boiling them.  They came out so mild…….not bitter, or chemical tasting at all!  And the Boursin soft cheese gave them a nice flavor layer to complement the bacon topper.  In my grocery store, the Boursin is usually near the deli with the other specialty cheeses.  You’re talkin’ to a Brussels sprouts hater here, so all you sprouts haters be sure to try these sometime.  You’ll be amazed how much milder they are than steamed or boiled sprouts.  And the green color is preserved cooking them in the microwave!

INGREDIENTS:

10 fresh Brussels sprouts (cut larger ones in half)

3-4 T. water

Dash each salt and black pepper

2 T. Boursin “Garlic Herb and Chive” soft cheese (more if you like)

3 thick slices bacon, chopped 1″ and browned

DIRECTIONS:  Cut tiny bit off sprouts stems.  Cut larger sprouts in half lengthwise.  Place them in a ceramic or glass dish.  Add the water and microwave for 2 minutes, stir and microwave 2 more minutes.  While they are cooking, brown the bacon in a skillet and drain on paper toweling.  Remove sprouts from microwave and stir the Boursin cheese gently into the sprouts to melt.  Don’t be too rough here or the sprouts may fall apart on you.  Top with bacon crisps and serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 2 servings, each contains:

221 cals, 18.3g fat, 9.05g carbs, 3.6g fiber, 5.45g NET CARBS, 13.2g protein, 321 mg sodium

Beef Chile Relleno Casserole

beef-chile-relleno-casserole1

I just love chile rellenos, but I don’t like all the fuss of actually stuffing them.  So I just make the dish up in a layered casserole.  Tastes exactly the same, but it’s much less trouble to put together.   My last similar recipe was with chicken.  This is how I make this dish with beef.   This recipe is Induction friendly and Primal diners who eat cheese can also enjoy this dish. It would not be suitable for Paleo followers.

INGREDIENTS: 

3 poblano peppers (mine weighed 2-2.5 oz. each)

12 oz. lean ground beef

2 oz. onion, sliced

½ tsp. dried guajillo chile, seeded and chopped fine (optional)

¼ tsp. dried ancho chile powder (optional)

¼ tsp. chili powder  (use ½ tsp. if guajillo and ancho above are omitted)

¼ tsp. garlic powder

3/4 c. Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, solids only (the mild ones unless you like “hot”)

¼ c. cilantro, chopped (optional)

6 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS:   Preheat oven to 450º.  Roasting your peppers will make them milder and sweeter, so don’t bypass this step.  Cut tops off poblano peppers and remove seed cluster.  Cut in halves, lay the halves on a non-stick baking sheet and roast in 450º oven for about 15-20 minutes, turning once during roasting.  Remove and cool.  Lower oven to 350º. Peel tough skin gently off the peppers.

While they are roasting, heat ground beef in non-stick skillet over high heat.  When meat is no longer pink, add onion and saute until tender.  Add all remaining ingredients except the cheese.  Simmer 3-4 minutes for flavors to meld together.  Lay the skinned poblano pepper pieces in the bottom of 4 individual casserole dishes or one larger casserole dish if you prefer.  For the next layer, spoon half of the beef mixture equally amongst the 4 dishes.   Spread half of the cheese equally over the tops of the 4 servings. Next, place the remaining beef filling equally in the 4 dishes.  Finally top each equally with the remaining cheese.  Pop them into a 350º oven for about 20 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted.  Serve at once with a nice guacamole salad (and if you are in Pre-Maintenance or Maintenance, this is nice with a ½ c. of heated refried beans).

VARIATION:  If your are at goal weight and you can afford the extra carbs, a thin layer of refried black soy beans is delicious on this (I usually start out with the bean layer, or you can dot them on top before adding the final cheese).  

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   REcipe makes 4 servings, each contains:

412 calories, 27.7 g fat, 6.72 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 4.72 g NET CARBS, 32.6 g protein, 897 mg sodium

(adding ½ c. mashed soy black bean layer increases carbs to 10.7 g, fiber 5.5 g, net carbs 5.22 g).

Hot Roast Beef Poor Boy

Hot roast Beef Poorboy

This was what we had for dinner tonight.  It’s one of our favorite beef meals, in fact!  When I was 4-5 years old, my father was stationed in Springfield, Illinois.  With some regularity, we would enjoy these incredibly delicious hot beef poor boy sandwiches served on chewy Italian bread from a little Italian restaurant near our house.  I have since discovered on-line that it is still operating as Saputo Twins’ Corner!  It has been operated continuously by the Saputo family since 1948.  These stewed beef poor boy sandwiches were so good, and so popular, you had to order them early in the day to insure you would get one.  They would just melt in your mouth!!!  As the delicious juices permeated the homemade chewy Italian hoagie roll, they would be fairly messy to eat, but who cared?   They were so good!  The beef was slow-simmered all day long to render it so tender no chewing was needed really.  Mmmmm …….that flavor has remained with me to this day.  I have come up with my version of that sandwich and find it VERY close to the original from Twins Corner, other than the fact that I must serve mine on a low-carb roll, above it is shown on two of my 5″ long hoagie rolls:  https://buttoni.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/peggys-hotdog-buns-or-hoagie-rollbuns/.   These low-carb buns will not support the juice for picking it up with your hands, unfortunately, and therefore will require a fork.  I’m currently using a tougher, sturdier bread for my poor boys:  https://buttoni.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/einkorn-arrowroot-sandwich-buns-2/.   Or you can serve them on any plan-suitable Induction-friendly low-carb bun of your choice.

Just before adding thickener

INGREDIENTS:

3 lb. chuck roast, trimmed of major fat

2 T. olive oil

1 large onion, sliced (mine was 6 oz.)

2 c. celery, diced large

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

Water to just cover meat (add more as needed to maintain the meat being just covered)

Thickener of your choice

DIRECTIONS:  Trim off any major fat bands off the outside of your chuck roast.  Heat olive oil in a deep Dutch oven or soup pot (mine is non-stick).  Brown meat well on both sides on high heat. I like to cut my roast into 3 smaller pieces to speed up cooking, but it is not really necessary.  Add to the pot the sliced onion and celery.  Pour enough water over all the ingredients to just cover.  Add salt and pepper and bring to a full boil.  Lower fire to just a gentle simmer, cover and cook for about 4 hours (5 hours if you don’t cut the roast into 3 smaller pieces) or until the meat is literally beginning to fall apart when tested with a fork. If you use a pressure cooker, you can have this tender in under an hour.  Once the meat is tender, break up the meat into nice, small pieces, some shreds.  See the pic above. I don’t like to reduce it totally to shreds, as I find that to be a bit visually off-putting after reheating leftovers. Just my personal hang-up there, so you can shred it up however you like.   While low heat is still on the meat, add a little of your favorite dry thickener to just slightly thicken the liquid surrounding the meat.  I dust a few sprinkles of xanthan gum successively (Paleo folks will want to use arrowroot to thicken) stirred in until the liquid surrounding the meat is just barely thickened and clinging to the meat.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 8 servings (possibly more).  1/8 batch of the meat mixture contains:

254 calories, 7.09 g  fat, 2.54 g  carbs, .69 g  fiber, 1.85 g  NET CARBS, 38.3 g  protein, 682 mg potassium, 23 mg sodium, 66% RDA Vitamin B6, 125% B12, 22% copper, 41% iron, 14% magnesium, 60% niacin, 51% phosphorous, 25% riboflavin, 86% selenium, 14% thiamin and 122% zinc

Lobster Andouille Jambalaya

Lobster Andouille Jambalaya
Lobster Andouille Jambalaya

This recipe came out beyond delicious and I really wasn’t expecting to like the cauli-rice with this.  To date, I’ve only used cauli-rice as a side dish and not in or underneath foods as shown above.  But this was just marvelous!  Andouille is Cajun smoked sausage.  I find it not terribly different from regular smoked sausage so that is a good substitute.

This recipe is a little higher in carbs than most of my entrees, due to all the veggies in it and the veggie underpinning, but they are so healthy and so needed for the right flavor here.  If you need to cut carbs a bit on Induction Phase, trim off a little of the andouille, breakfast sausage and a little of the red or green pepper (or eat smaller servings).  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets and Primal-Paleo as well.  Shrimp can be substituted in this jambalaya but I would use more like 1/2 lb. of shrimp as it is milder in taste.

INGREDIENTS:

2 thick slices bacon, chopped (around 2-3 oz)

6 oz. Andouille sausage, sliced (or any smoked sausage)

3 oz. breakfast sausage, crumbled into large bits

3 oz. onion, chopped

1 oz. each red and green bell pepper (or all one color)

2 large stalks of celery chopped

4 oz. lobster tail meat, chopped coarsely (more if you want)

½ c. parsley, chopped

3 Roma tomatoes, diced large

1 tsp. my Seafood Spice Blend

Dash each thyme and black pepper (DO NOT SALT)

Few drops Tobasco or Sriracha sauce

1 large head worth of my cauliflower rice

DIRECTIONS:  Make the cauli-rice per that recipe’s instructions.  Set aside.  In a non-stick wok or large skillet over high heat, brown the bacon.  Add the andouille and crumbled pork sausage and cook until sausage is no longer pink.  Add the Holy Trinity, as Cajun cooks refer to the three veggies they put in just about everything but ice cream:  celery, bell pepper and onion.  🙂

Sauté until the veggies are tender.  Add the tomatoes  and just cook until they are softened a bit, stirring often.  Add the lobster, parsley and all spices and Tobasco. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes, stopping when the tomatoes are still discernible as such.  You don’t want to overcook this dish.  🙂 Arrange the cauli-rice on a serving platter and top with the seafood mixture and serve.  Goes nicely with a salad and your favorite low-carb bread.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 6 large adult servings, each contains:

250 cals, 14g fat, 13.4g carbs, 4.65g fiber, 9.7g NET CARBS, 16.3g protein, 479 mg sodium

Sloppy Joes

IMG_4535

Sloppy Joes have always been a comfort food for me, especially in the winter.   These came out great!  When I created the original recipe, I just started throwing things into the pot because I really wasn’t sure what all to add, or in what amounts, since I used to use one of those envelope seasoning mixes in my former life to make  Sloppy Joes.  Well, I guess I grabbed the right ingredients, because my husband gave these Sloppy Joes two thumbs up.  So we’re having them for dinner tonight, as they just seem to suit the current arctic cold front hovering over Texas this week.

You can serve over my Einkorn Sandwich Buns , a Flax bun or a Muffin in a Minute (without sweetener and cinnamon, of course).  Any other low-carb bun you have will work.  These are OK to enjoy on Paleo-Primal diets if you use a plan-suitable bun.

MEAT MIXTURE INGREDIENTS:

2 lb. ground beef

3 oz. onion, chopped

1  6-oz. can tomato paste

1 c. water

¼-½ c. apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar you have)

½ c. red bell pepper, chopped

1 tsp. sugar equivalent of you preferred sweetener

¼ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

Dash cayenne pepper

½ tsp. paprika

NOTE: You will need 8 low-carb Buns of your choosing, not included in nutritional numbers below.

DIRECTIONS:  Brown the ground beef over high heat in a large non-stick pan (I used a non-stick wok).  Add the onion and bell pepper and saute the two together until meat is browned and veggies are pretty tender.  Drain grease off if excessive (I did not have to).  Add tomato paste and stir in until evenly distributed.  Add water and stir.  I suggest adding half the vinegar to start out as you may not like yours as tangy as we do.  Stir well.  Add all the spices and lower heat to lowest setting.  Simmer with a lid on the pot, stirring often to prevent sticking.  Only add remaining vinegar if you like things tangy.  Low simmer for about 30 minutes for vinegar to develop fully and flavors to co-mingle.

I like to split and toast my buns and spoon the meat mixture over both halves.  Your call on whether you toast or not toast.  Dip about 2/3 cup meat mixture into each bun or serve open-faced if you prefer.

NUTRITIONAL INFO (Meat Mixture alone):  Make eight 2/3c. portions of meat filling.  1/8 batch meat contains:

246 calories, 15.4 g  fat, 5.65 g  carbs, 1.23 g  fiber, 4.42 g  NET CARBS, 22 g  protein, 301 mg sodium

Scrambled Eggs & Bacon Gravy

Scrambled Eggs & Bacon Gravy With half a carton of mushrooms on the top fridge shelf, I could quickly see what I wanted for breakfast today.  The final result was soooooo GOOD!  This creamy dish is one of the many ways I disguise eggs to be able to eat them daily.  You see, I’m just not very fond of eggs.  But they are the lowest carb and healthiest breakfast food there is, so I manage with spices, additives and a pinch of creativity to be able to face them day in and out.  🙂  Check out my EGGS category at the right.  I have lots of not-so-eggy egg recipes here.  🙂  This is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets and Primal Blueprint.  Use coconut milk instead of cream for a version that is more suited to a Paleo lifestyle.

INGREDIENTS:

4 large eggs, beaten

1 T. unsalted butter

2 thick slices bacon, chopped

4 oz. mushrooms, sliced (omit if you aren’t a fan)

2 medium green onions, chopped

Dash each salt and pepper

½ c. heavy cream

¼ cup water

2-3 light dustings of xanthan gum powder (or your preferred thickener)

DIRECTIONS:   Fry the bacon in a non-stick skillet over high heat until done.   Add the mushrooms (if using) and green onion.  When they are getting soft, add the water and cream.  Simmer a few minutes.  Dust lightly with xanthan gum and allow to thicken, stirring or whisking frequently.  As it is thickening, in your dedicated egg skillet, melt the butter.  Pour the beaten eggs in the skillet and scramble to your preferred stage.  Plate half the eggs on each of two plates.  Spoon half the bacon gravy over each and serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:     Makes 2 servings, each contains:  516 calories, 47 g fat, 6.2 g carbs, 1.5 g fiber, 4.7 g NET CARBS, 18.4 g protein and 425 mg sodium

Lobster Dien Bien

LobsterDienBien

This is the recipe I pulled out for our dinner tonight, only I am making it this time with shrimp.  I will be using lobster stock I made (and froze) from the lobster tails we had New Year’s Eve.  When I lived in Hampton, VA while in high school, my family often drove to Yorktown 30 miles away to eat at a wonderful restaurant called Nick’s Seafood Pavilion, operated by a Greek chef.  Sadly, it no longer exists:  http://www.pbase.com/airlinerphotos/image/21276281.  I often think fondly of one of their signature dishes, Lobster Dien Bien.  My parents managed to concoct their own recipe of the dish over time and I still make it to this day over 50 years later.  This version is very close to that served at Nick’s place, but I cannot have the rice that was traditionally in it, being on a low-carb diet.  For the best flavor, the 1 cup of rice needs to be cooked in seafood stock.   The rice is then stirred into the seafood/vegetable mixture right before serving.  This dish in some regards is vaguely reminiscent of Spanish paella when the rice is included. I now served it over steamed grated cauliflower “rice” or I stir it in at the last minute right before serving.  

I can’t get very good lobster in Central Texas, so I make this more often now with shrimp or crawfish, but it is hands down best with lobster. I have even made this dish with large sea scallops and fresh lump white crab meat (when I lived on the Gulf Coast).  All versions have been been very tasty.  As is true of most seafood dishes, this one really packs in the nutrients!  This dish is suitable for Atkins Induction, so enjoy.

Click to enlarge crawfish version
Crawfish version

If you are not following a low-carb diet:  Add 1 c. cooked white rice cooked in seafood stock, stirred in right before serving.  If using the rice addition, it is essential that you cook it in seafood stock!  Use 1 c. raw rice, rinsed well in a sieve/sifter with cold water to remove surface starch.  Then bring the rice to a boil in 2 c. lobster or shrimp stock. Lower heat to lowest setting, cover pot with a paper towel followed by a tight fitting lid and steam the rice over lowest heat possible until done (about 18 minutes).  Add the rice to the sautéed seafood mixture, folding in gently.  Serve at once!  Mmmm…….this is my all-time favorite seafood dish EVER!  I serve this with a Greek Salad or regular green salad.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. lobster meat cut into bite-size pieces (or peeled, de-veined shrimp)

1 stick unsalted butter

½ c. onion, chopped

1 c. celery, chopped

1 carrot, grated

1 2 oz. jar pimiento, drained

1/3 c. parsley, chopped

¼-½ tsp. cayenne pepper

10 drops Tobasco

½ tsp. ground thyme (or 1 tsp. crushed dried leaves)

DIRECTIONS: Sauté onion, celery and carrot in melted butter until onion and celery are completely tender.  Add parsley and pimiento.  Add seafood and remaining seasonings.  Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes only, stirring often.  For non-Atkins diners, add the seafood-stock steamed cooked rice.  Stir to incorporate all ingredients uniformly.  For Atkins diners, serve over steamed cauli-rice, spaghetti squash or oven-baked thick eggplant slices.  (To steam cauli-rice, grate or food process 3-4 c. raw cauliflower to coarse grains and steam in microwave for 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute).

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 3 servings, each with:  Steamed cauliflower not figured into the numbers below.

466 cals, 33g fat, 9.1g carbs, 2.3g fiber, 6.8g NET CARBS, 32 g  protein, 283 g  sodium

Air Fryer Chicken Breasts with Sofrito Sauce

I keep seeing recipes on air fryer Facebook groups that use baking powder to coat chicken for frying.  Well, I’m here to tell you that flat WORKS!  You will simply be amazed!  I can’t convey how crisp this chicken came out.  My husband said I could “do this one again and SOON!”  I want to caution people who must restrict potassium this techniques is not for you, as 4 tsp. baking powder has 2020 mg potassium.  You could substitute 1/4 c. almond, coconut, low-carb bake mix or Parmesan cheese instead of the baking powder if you are potassium shy.  Might not come out quite as crisp, but doable.  The sauce I made for this is one I’ve used in many of my recipes, as I find Puerto Rican Sofrito to be almost addictive it is so delicious!  This dinner tonight, served with steamed cauliflower and fresh green beans, was a big hit with my husband!

Added note:  Please don’t think MORE is better when it comes to this coating.  This isn’t like flour coatings, where more may be better.  With the baking powder coating, MORE is NOT BETTER!  Too much baking powder will taste sharp, almost bitter.  Been there.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHICKEN: 

2 medium chicken breasts, skin left on

4 tsp. baking powder (I use aluminum free)

¼ tsp. each onion and garlic

¼ tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. coarse black pepper

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SAUCE:

2 T. butter, unsalted

1 T. my Sofrito Sauce

1 Roma tomato, chopped

Dash each salt and pepper

½ c. heavy cream

½ c. water

(thickener of choice if you feel a need)

DIRECTIONS:  De-bone the chicken breasts (I buy with the rib frame so I can boil the bones for broth and any bits of meat for my dog).  If your chicken breasts are quite large, often these days, slice them laterally and splay them out for more even cooking.  Measure and stir the baking powder and spices on a paper plate and coat the chicken pieces well on all surfaces.  Set aside for a few minutes.  Preheat your air fryer.  Place breasts into basket skin-side down on piece of parchment paper lining, as mine tended to want to stick to my basket.  Set fryer to 375º and cook 18 minutes skin-side down.  Open fryer, turn and cook skin-side up another 18 minutes.  Check them at 15 minutes both sides if your chicken breasts are small…….also air fryers can vary.

While they are cooking, melt the butter in a medium skillet.  Add the Sofrito Sauce and simmer on low heat for 2 minutes.  Add chopped tomato and simmer 3-4 minutes to break them down a bit.  Finally add cream and water and simmer 3-4 more minutes, allowing to reduce and slightly thicken.  If not thick enough for you preference, add a light dusting of your favorite thickener, stir and simmer 1-2 more minutes.  Serve with sauce spooned over each breast.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 2 servings, each contains:

736 cals, 51.5g fat, 9.1g carbs, 1.9g fiber, 7.2g NET CARBS, 60g protein, 1180 mg sodium

Ranch® Buttermilk Salad Dressing (or dip)

Ranch Buttermilk Dressing
Ranch Buttermilk Dressing

Ranch Dip for Veggie Tray
Ranch Dip for Veggie Trays

I finally came up with a low-carb version of Ranch® Dressing for my husband, who just loves it on salads.  I think my version tastes better than what is sold in the bottle (which I actually don’t like).  No unhealthy ingredients in mine, either.

I’m not too fond of dill, so I tend to reduce it in most recipes.  But my husband LOVES dill and likes more in recipes, thus the range of dill shown in the Ranch® Powder recipe linked below.  I basically used equal amounts of the herbs I selected except the dill and thyme.  A tablespoon of thyme would have been waaaaay too much!   This dressing is super yummy!  Try it and see if you don’t agree it’s even better than the famous bottled stuff!  As you well know, this also makes an excellent dip for raw vegetable party trays.  All you have to do for the dip is increase the sour cream to make it thicker.  You’ll have to recalculate carbs to add in the extra sour cream.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins and Keto diets.

INGREDIENTS:

1 c. homemade mayonnaise

3/4 c. sour cream (add ¼ c. more if using as a veggie dip)

¼ c. buttermilk (only 2 T. if using as a veggie dip)

1 T. my Ranch Dressing Powder Blend

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

1/8 tsp. salt

OPTIONAL:  1/8 tsp. glucomannan powder if you like a thicker dressing

DIRECTIONS:  Measure the first 3 ingredients into a medium bowl.  Whisk well to blend to a smooth mixture.  Add my Ranch Dressing Powder Blend, vinegar and salt and whisk a couple minutes until the herb mixture is thoroughly blended in.  If using the glucomannan thickener, whisk it in last.  Transfer to a saved empty plastic dressing bottle (I always keep and wash them for homemade dressings) if you have one, or a lidded jar.  Close tightly and chill.  Serve on crisp green salads or as a dip for raw veggies.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes two cups or eight ¼ c. servings, each contains:

251 calories, 26.8 g  fat, 1.81 g carbs, 0.1 g  fiber, 1.71 g  NET CARBS, 1.72 g  protein, 66 mg sodium

Eggplant Parmigiana “Sandwiches”

EggplantSandwich

This recipe is deep in my blog archives so I thought I’d re-post it for my readers that love Italian food.  This recipe is inspired by a dish my mother used to make when I was in high school.  Of course, she used bread crumbs and not the pork rinds I used to keep the final sammies  lower-carb.  Her dish didn’t have meat in it, just the eggplant.  However the meat takes a veggie side to a complete meal!  This is a delightful lunch or dinner entree and is quite filling!  It goes nicely with a tossed green salad.  This dish can also be made with ground lamb if you prefer, giving it a Middle Eastern flair.  This recipe is suitable for Induction, too.  Despite their name, it takes a fork and knife to eat these hearty “sandwiches”.

INGREDIENTS:

½  recipe of my Oven-Fried Eggplant (adding the 1 oz. crushed pork rinds below to coating)   

1 oz. crushed pork rinds

6 oz. ground beef (or lamb)

2 slices provalone cheese

2  1-oz. slices mozzarella cheese (or grated)

½ c. low-carb spaghetti sauce  (I used this:  https://buttoni.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/peggys-spaghetti-sauce/ )

2 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or ¼ tsp. dried)

2 T. Parmesan cheese

VARIATION:  Use ground lamb instead of ground beef for a Greek twist, subbing in feta cheese for the provalone.

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 450º.  Make ½ recipe my Oven Fried Eggplant per instructions for that recipe, with the one addition of 1 oz. crushed pork rinds to the coating mixture.  This takes about 20 minutes to bake at 450º.  While this is baking, form two nice beef patties from the meat and brown them in a non-stick skillet.  When eggplant is browned nicely, remove from oven (remember, it will be browner on bottom than on top).  Lower oven to 350º.  Place 2 T. spaghetti sauce atop each of two slices (the other two slices will form the second layer of these stacks).      Next place a browned meat patty on them.  Top them with a slice of provalone cheese and ½ T. of the Parmesan.  Sprinkle on half the basil.  Now place another slice of eggplant on top.  Spoon 2 more tablespoons of sauce on top.  Top each with 1 oz. grated or sliced mozzarella.  Top each with half the remaining Parmesan and basil.  I had one small slice of eggplant leftover and laid it on top of the serving simply for photographic impact, but I don’t usually do this.   Sauce and cheese are usually the final layer.  Pop sandwiches back into oven at 350º for about 5-10 minutes to melt cheeses. If the tops slide off, just push them back on top before serving.  🙂  Happens all the time to me.  Cheese is slippery. 🙂

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes two servings, each contains:

502 calories, 31.7 g  fat, 8.1 g  carbs, 3.4 g  fiber, 4.7 g  NET CARBS, 44.4 g  protein, 1144 mg sodium

Duck Soup

This year I served an oven- roasted Marinated Duck for Christmas dinner. There isn’t all that much meat on a duck, but our 4-pound bird fed two of us amply with a nice amount of meat still left on the carcass. I love to make soup from leftover fowl carcasses, so soup it was today! After simmering the carcass for an hour and cooling, it yielded about 2-2½ c. duck meat for my soup pot. I wanted my soup fairly simple, with rich depth of flavor, so I added the duck fat it rendered during the initial roasting. I also used some homemade chicken broth to add even more flavor to the final soup. We were both very pleased with this creation! I used no recipe, but threw in the “usual suspects” for tasty game birds. My Marinated Duck had some bay leaf in it, so you will want to add a bay leaf to your pot.

This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets, Primal and Paleo followers.

INGREDIENTS:

4 slices thick bacon, cut into 3/4″ dice

1 c. chopped onion

1 c. chopped celery

1 c. chopped carrot

½ c. chopped parsley

2 cloves minced garlic

¼ c. duck fat (use butter if not available)

1 c. chicken broth (I use salt-free homemade)

water to cover meat and veggies

3/4 tsp. sea salt

½ tsp. coarse black pepper

1 large bay leaf (or 2 small)

3 T. Hemp Seed Hearts

1 4-oz can mushrooms with liquid

1 duck carcass (mine was from a 4# duck) or 2½ c. cooked diced duck meat

7 oz. pkg. shiritaki noodles with oat fiber, rice-shaped

DIRECTIONS: Brown bacon in soup pot over high heat. Add chopped onion, carrot, celery, garlic and parsley. Saute until onion begins to go translucent. Add all remaining ingredients to pot, bring to boil and lower heat to simmer. Cover and simmer for about 1½ hours, stirring every half hour.  Remove duck carcass and strip meat off bones, replacing meat into soup pot.  Discard bones.  Open package of noodles and rinse well in a sieve under running water. Add to pot and simmer 15 more minutes. I recommend serving this rich soup with a buttered low-carb dinner/sandwich roll if you have cooked and at the ready. 🙂

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 6 large bowl, each contains:

454 cals, 37.2g fat, 10.1g carbs, 3.85g fiber, 6.25g NET CARBS, 21.9g protein, 635 mg sodium

London Broil

London Broil
Shown with Garlic Herb Butter.

When you want to tenderize a tougher cut of meat, like flank steak or London Broil, you have to marinate it to loosen up those meat fibers a bit.  This is one of my favorite steak marinades to use on London Broil.  If you can’t get flank or London Broil, use a piece of lean chuck roast. The flavor on the outer crust of meat is just divine.  The longer you marinate the meat, the more tender the meat will get.  Marinating all day long is preferred, but a minimum of 4-5 hours is a must lest you end up with a very tough, difficult to chew experience.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins provided those still on Atkins Induction sub in some beef broth for the red wine.  It’s also delicious with my Garlic Herb Butter.

INGREDIENTS:

3 lb. piece of London Broil or flank steak

½ clove garlic, minced

1½ tsp. tomato paste

½ c. red wine (or beef broth if still on Induction)

¼ c. low sodium soy sauce

2 T. balsamic  vinegar

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

DIRECTIONS:  Coat the meat with the black pepper and set in a glass or plastic marinating pan.  Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the tomato paste well until it is evenly distributed in the liquid.  Using a basting brush, drizzle the marinade over the meat and place marinating pan in the refrigerator.  Marinate for at least 4 hours to all day long, drizzling over the meat carefully hourly.  Turn the meat once or twice while marinating.

When ready to cook, prepare a hot charcoal fire.  Lift meat out of marinating pan and discard the marinade.  Place meat directly over the hot coals and grill for about 8-10 minutes on a side or until it reaches your desired stage (around 8 minutes per side for medium rare; around 10 for medium as shown).  These two cuts of meat are really too tough to cook them well done.  Just being honest.  Serve with a nice salad or your favorite green side dish.  This is delicious with compound butter, if you have a favorite recipe.  Here’s the one I used tonight:  Garlic Herb Butter.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  As the marinade is discarded, a firm count per serving is difficult to arrive at.  No more than 1 T. is consumed on the meat surfaces, if THAT much.  1 T. marinade contains around 1.27 net carbs, so that is what is added to the serving below.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Serves 6-7 people nicely (maybe 8), so each serving of meat with 1 T. marinade contains around:

297 calories, 12g fat, 1.3 carbs, 0 fiber, 1.3 NET CARBS, 44 g protein, 101 mg sodium

Pumpkin Pie (Minis or large)

Pumpkin Pie
Individual pies (4″ mini pie pans) using FRESH pumpkin

This is my favorite traditional pumpkin pie filling recipe.  I have been baking this recipe of my mother’s for many years now.  It is very light and fluffy as the egg whites are whipped separately.   Of course, those still on Induction will need to leave off crust as shown to the right.  It’s very good that way.  Those that are already to the OWL Phase 2 level of Atkins can pour this filling into an uncooked low-carb pie crust of your choice and then bake.  Mine are shown on my “Flour” Pie Crust.  With that crust recipe, each pie (minus topping) contains 9 net carbs.  I usually use canned pumpkin for this but tried it with fresh today and it was delicious, although a tad milder in flavor I think.    This recipe is only suitable for Induction if made crustless.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 c. granular Splenda (or equivalent sweetener of your choice)

1 T. erythritol (or pinch stevia extract)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional)

1/8 tsp. salt

1 c. canned or fresh baked pumpkin flesh (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)

1/2 c. heavy cream

3 large eggs, separated per directions below

1 recipe my “Flour” Pie Crust

DIRECTIONS:  Make pie crust by that recipe’s directions.  Roll and shape in pans, crimping edges decoratively (9-10″ large pan or 4 mini pans)

For the filling, break and beat one whole egg in a medium mixing bowl.  Take out another medium mixing bowl.  Separate the two remaining eggs, putting the yolks into your first bowl with the whole beaten egg.  Put the whites in a clean, dry, separate bowl.

In the bowl with the 1 whole egg and 2 yolks, add all other pie ingredients.  Beat will with a stick blender or hand mixer until smooth, especially if using fresh pumpkin, as it can be lumpy.  Slowly stir in the cream and blend until smooth.

Beat the 2 egg whites to “stiff peak” stage using an electric mixer.  With a rubber spatula, fold the beaten whites into the pumpkin mixture.  When all is incorporated well, pour the mixture into 4 mini pie crusts or one 9-10″ pie plate.  For the crustless version, pour into a well-buttered baking dish. 

IMPORTANT:  For the large pie version, if you use an 8″ pie plate, this amount of filling will likely overflow during baking.  9-10″ pie plate works better, but if 8″ is the only size pie plate you have, only fill the prepared crust 3/4 full.  Put remaining filling into a buttered small dish to bake separately for the kids, who often don’t like crust anyway.

Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes.  Filling will puff way up during cooking and then fall level when removed from the oven and cooled.  When totally cooled, Serve with a dollop of whipped cream sweetened with the sweetener of your choice.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (for filling):   Makes 4 mini pies or 1 large pie.  Each mini contains enough filling to tally up the following numbers:  (Does NOT include topping or crust)

191 cals, 15g fat, 9.52g carbs, 2.2g fiber, 7.5g NET CARBS, 6g  protein, 72 mg sodium

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (for crust):  Entire crust recipe contains:  (divide by # servings you cut from your large pie)

612 cals, 70.7g fat, 70.8g carbs, 63.84g fiber, 6.8g NET CARBS, 26.4g protein, 648 mg sodium

Crustless Version

Roaster Oven Turkey

Roasted Turkey (done in a roaster oven)

I love roasting turkey in a roaster oven.  If you don’t own one, they are excellent for extra oven space when you entertain or during holiday gatherings and your oven is full to the brim.  They bake cakes, muffins, cookies, and meats just beautifully!  And they are getting so cheap, one can be had for sometimes as little as $29 during the holiday season sales.  I paid $60 for my first one in the 60’s, when $60 was worth a lot more than it is today!  I find a roaster oven to be the most useful and versatile small appliance in my kitchen after an electric mixer.  I can carry it out onto the patio to cook outdoors in summertime, eliminating excess kitchen heat, as well.  🙂

You go about cooking turkey in a roaster oven pretty much as you would in a regular oven.  Just be sure you buy a bird that will FIT in your roaster oven!  I cover the wing tips and drumstick knobs with foil when I first put it in the oven, as the bird sits so close to the lid where heat can rise and overcook those areas.  They consistently come out delicious, moist and tender.  More moist that my usual inside oven turkeys in fact!   The skin doesn’t get quite as crispy cooked in a roaster oven, but it is crisp enough for me to get that level of moist cooking. Turkey is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto, Primal and Paleo diets alike.

INGREDIENTS:

1  12-13 lb. turkey, thawed (follow chart on wrapper for a larger bird)

4 T. melted butter

Dash each of salt and black pepper

4 small pieces of foil

DIRECTIONS:   Preheat oven to 325º.  Open turkey wrapper and remove bird to a clean sink.  Remove the leg binding gadget.  Remove giblets and set aside for making your gravy.  I only use the neck meat for gravy and my dog usually gets the liver, heart and gizzard in her dinners over a week or so.   I like to eat them; I just don’t like them in my gravy much.

I like to rinse out the inside of the bird.  Pat the exterior dry with paper towels.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave.  Place turkey, breast side up in a pan large enough to hold it.  Baste with the butter all over on the outside and inside with a basting brush, using half the butter.  Sprinkle bird inside and out with salt and pepper.  I cook my dressing outside the bird as I like it to brown.  You can add some chunks of celery, onion and parsley if you like to the cavity, but I do not.  Your call there, but be sure to add those carbs below if you do. Cover wing tips and leg knuckles with foil so they will not burn.

Place pan with bird into the roaster oven, cover with lid and cook, for 1½ hours.  Open oven and baste with remaining butter.  Recover and cook for 1 hour and check for doneness with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast and around the thing-leg joint (slowest area to get done).  You want the thermometer to read 170º.  Cook for another 30 minutes or so, checking with thermometer every 10-15 minutes now so as to not over cook.  Remove when it has reached 170º internal temperature. Set on cutting board for 15-20 minutes before attempting to carve to avoid tearing up the meat and all the juices running out.  You want those juices to STAY in the meat.  This turkey should be extremely moist.  Roaster ovens do an incredibly good job at moist heat roasting.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   I can’t know what pieces or amount you will eat, so I’ll provide some numbers for both white meat and dark meat.

4 oz. dark meat contains:  250 calories, 13 g  fat, 0 carbs, 0 fiber, o net carbs, 31 g  protein and 269 mg sodium

4 oz. white meat, skin eaten contains:  222 calories, 9.4 g  fat, 0 carbs, 0 fiber, 0 net carbs, 32.3 g   protein and 255 mg sodium

Pumpkin Cake

pumpkin-cake

This moist, delicious pumpkin cake will be just perfect for your holiday dessert.  It is moist, delicious, cooks perfectly and has a lovely smooth texture.  I don’t care for the texture of low-carb cakes made exclusively with almond flour, so I use a mixture of almond flour and a bit of whey protein powder for a smoother texture.  I typically choose fresh pumpkin rather than canned, but you could use canned if you prefer.  This one’s a keeper for our holiday baking, for sure!  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets and Primal as well.  The cream cheese knocks this out of suitability for Paleo, unless there is a suitable substitute that meets that program’s requirements.

INGREDIENTS:

2 c. almond flour

1 c. plain whey protein powder

1 c. Splenda or equivalent sweetener of choice

2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

1 T. + 1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves

½ tsp. nutmeg

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

3/4 c. (1½ sticks) butter, softened

1 c. fresh (or canned) cooked pumpkin puree

4 large eggs

½ c. sugar-free maple syrup or caramel sugar-free syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Line the bottom of a tube pan with parchment cut-to-fit, or use a lightly oiled non-stick bundt pan.  Oil the sides and post of your tube pan as well.  In a medium bowl, soften cream cheese and butter.  With electric mixer, blend them well.  Add eggs, syrup, pumpkin and vanilla.  Whip on high until very smooth.  In a separate bowl, measure out all dry ingredients and stir well to blend to a uniform mixture.  Add to the wet ingredients and beat with the electric mixer until a smooth batter is achieved.  With a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the cake pan spreading it as evenly as possible.  Bake at 350º for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and dry.  Cool almost totally before loosening with a knife and tipping onto a cake plate for serving.   You can top with dollop of fresh whipped cream if you  like.

VARIATION:  Use lightly oiled silicone muffin pans for a muffin version.  Should make 12 large muffins that will take about 20-25 minutes to bake at 350º.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 14 slices, each contains:

295 calories, 25.8 g fat, 7.28 g carbs, 2.30 g fiber, 4.98 g NET CARBS, 12.4 g protein, 287 mg sodium

Smoked Gouda Cauliflower

Smoked gouda Cauliflower

I’m making this to go with some baked chicken tonight and thought I’d re-share one of my all-time most popular recipes on the blog here.  It remains a favorite in our household.

This recipe was inspired by one in Dana Carpender’s 500 Low-Carb Recipes. Most people do not cook cauliflower casseroles with this particular cheese as it doesn’t melt easily (why it is mixed into the dish here rather than being spread on top).  But once it DOES eventually melt, it truly transforms the ordinary into  the sublime.  In my opinion, it is the smoked Gouda that truly sets this dish apart from all the other cauliflower casseroles I have ever eaten.  I served it to my brother, who was once an executive chef at Top of the Mark in San Francisco and he RAVED about it!  It’s Atkins Induction friendly, too!

NOTE:  I have finally tried this with frozen cauliflower, and although I personally prefer the incredible flavor with this made from the fresh cut vegetable, the flavor tonight was still good, made with frozen cauliflower, just noticeably a little little softer/mushier result in my honest opinion.  But I WOULD not hesitate to use frozen if that’s all I had on hand.  🙂

This recipe appears in Volume 1 of Low Carbing Among Friends (click for more) by best-selling author Jennifer Eloff and other talented chefs.  You can order Vol. 1 or the entire set from here or at Amazon.com.  These cookbooks are filled with easy, gluten-free, tasty low-carb creations by a group of very talented cooks. GET YOURS TODAY!

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium large head cauliflower

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

4 oz. smoked Gouda cheese, grated

¼ tsp. coarse black pepper

Dash salt

Optional:  chopped chives or green onion to top

DIRECTIONS: Cut up cauliflower into manageable pieces and boil or steam until tender.  Drain off any water and mash the chunks up slightly with a fork (do not puree, however).   Stir in softened cream cheese until it is melted and blended well.  Grease glass casserole dish and spoon half the cauliflower mixture in.  Sprinkle with half the grated smoked Gouda.  Spoon remaining cauliflower into dish and top with rest of Gouda cheese.   Sprinkle with just a dash of salt, as the cheese has a lot of sodium.  If you are sodium sensitive, I wouldn’t add ANY salt.   Sometimes I add some chopped chives or green onion to the top, but this is not in the nutritional info below.  Bake at 350º for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Serves 6, each serving contains:  (you may get up to 8 servings and that will lower the net carbs even more)

190.3 cals, 15.22g fat, 6.17g carbs, 2.4g fiber, 3.77g NET CARBS, 8.77g protein, 312 mg  sodium

Hot Roast Beef Poor Boy

Hot roast Beef Poorboy

When I was 4-5 years old, my father was stationed in Springfield, Illinois.  During our stay there, with some regularity, we would enjoy these incredibly delicious hot beef poor boy sandwiches served on chewy Italian bread from a little Italian restaurant near our house.  I have since discovered on-line that it is still operating as Saputo Twins’ Corner!  It has been operated continuously by the Saputo family since 1948.  These stewed beef poor boy sandwiches were so good, and so popular, you had to order them early in the day to insure you would get one and at that, STILL had to wait in line to pick them up!  But they were well worth every minute you had to wait!  They would just melt in your mouth!!!  As the delicious juices permeated the homemade chewy Italian hoagie roll, they would be fairly messy to eat, but who cared?  They were so good!  The beef was slow-simmered all day long to render  it so tender no chewing was needed really.  I was shredded up in the very liquid is was cooked in.  Mmmmm …….that flavor has remained with me to this day.  I have come up with my version of that sandwich and find it VERY close to the original at Twins Corner, other than the fact that I must serve mine on a low-carb roll, above it is shown on two of my 5″ long hoagie rolls:  https://buttoni.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/peggys-hotdog-buns-or-hoagie-rollbuns/.   These low-carb buns will not support the juice for picking it up with your hands, unfortunately, and therefore will require a fork.  I’m currently using a tougher, sturdier bread for my poor boys:  https://buttoni.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/einkorn-arrowroot-sandwich-buns-2/.   Or you can serve them on any plan-suitable Induction-friendly low-carb bun of your choice.

I always get asked, so I’ll address this topic up front.  I would not personally ever cook this in a crock pot.  I ditched two of them because I never ate anything cooked in them I liked.  Just really not fond of crock pots.   If you try using one for this recipe, however, be certain the crock pot is big enough to totally cover the meat and veggies with water and stay covered with water until the end of cooking.  The last thing you want is for all the juice to cook away.  I have done this dish in a pressure cooker a couple of times, but again, it wasn’t as good as the slow, half-day cooking method in a regular old stew pot.  Here’s what mine looks like in the pot, so you can see the level of water you want to maintain:

Just before adding thickener

INGREDIENTS:

3 lb. chuck roast, trimmed of major fat

2 T. olive oil

1 large onion, sliced (mine was 6 oz.)

2 c. celery, diced large

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

Water to just cover meat (add more as needed to maintain the meat being just covered)

Thickener of your choice

DIRECTIONS:  Trim off any major fat bands off the outside of your chuck roast.  Heat olive oil in a deep Dutch oven or soup pot (mine is non-stick).  Brown meat well on both sides on high heat. I like to cut my roast into 3 smaller pieces to speed up cooking, but it is not really necessary.  Add to the pot the sliced onion and celery.  Pour enough water over all the ingredients to just cover.  Add salt and pepper and bring to a full boil.  Lower fire to just a gentle simmer, cover and cook for about 4 hours (5 hours if you don’t cut the roast into 3 smaller pieces) or until the meat is literally beginning to fall apart when tested with a fork. If you use a pressure cooker, you can have this tender in under an hour.  Once the meat is tender, break up the meat into nice, small pieces, some shreds.  See the pic above. I don’t like to reduce it totally to shreds, as I find that to be a bit visually off-putting after reheating leftovers. Just my personal hang-up there, so you can shred it up however you like.   While low heat is still on the meat, add a little of your favorite dry thickener to just slightly thicken the liquid surrounding the meat.  I dust a few sprinkles of xanthan gum successively (Paleo folks will want to use arrowroot to thicken) stirred in until the liquid surrounding the meat is just barely thickened and clinging to the meat.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 8 servings (possibly more).  1/8 batch of the meat mixture contains:

254 calories, 7.09 g  fat, 2.54 g  carbs, .69 g  fiber, 1.85 g  NET CARBS, 38.3 g  protein, 682 mg potassium, 23 mg sodium, 66% RDA Vitamin B6, 125% B12, 22% copper, 41% iron, 14% magnesium, 60% niacin, 51% phosphorous, 25% riboflavin, 86% selenium, 14% thiamin and 122% zinc

Iranian Curry

This is going to be my dinner tonight.  My husband just LOVES this dish.  It is traditionally made with lamb in Iran, but as I’m not fond of American lamb (too strong for me), I now make this with beef.  This was a dish  we ate often when I lived in Iran as a child.  Iranian lamb is processed under a year of age, and is thus not strong at all, so I could eat this curry made with lamb when we lived there.  But not once we got back to the States, where lamb is processed much older.  😦  This dish is quite simple to throw together and must simply simmer awhile for the flavors to develop.  Traditionally served over wonderful, nutty, aromatic Iranian rice (similar to basmati, but even  better!).  On Atkins we have to avoid the rice, so instead, serve this curry over a bed of grated cauliflower that has been lightly steamed 4 minutes.  Bananas (only for people on Maintenance) seared in butter are GREAT eaten with this particular curry! This is actually quite different from Indian curries, so I hope you like it.   This recipe as written is Induction friendly.  Sometimes dried pitted prunes or a few snipped raisins (if you are to the fruits rung of OWL only) and some walnuts are added to Iranian curries, so have fun with those variations.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 lb. slivered lamb, lean beef chuck or sirloin
2 T. olive oil
Enough water just to barely cover the meat
1/2 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
4 oz. chopped yellow onion
2 T. chopped parsley
2 tsp. high quality curry powder (I use Sharwood’s mild)
1 T. tomato paste
Xanthan gum to thicken

Dash salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:  Brown meat in olive oil over high heat. Cover with water and add remaining ingredients. Simmer covered with lid for about 1 hour or until meat is tender. Time will vary with different meats and thickness used in slivering it up. When your meat is tender, lightly dust the curry with xanthan gum 2-3 times, stirring between each addition to see how thick it’s getting. Stop when you’re satisfied with thickness (usually about 1/8-1/4 tsp total in my experience).

If you need fewer servings, go on and cook the whole recipe, as it freezes well and like Italian spaghetti sauce, it just gets better each time you reheat it!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:  Serves 4, each serving has:

290.3 cals,12.6g fat, 3.88g carbs, 1.93g NET CARBS, 1.95g fiber, 38.58g protein, 39 mg  sodium

Broiled Shawarma Tomatoes

broiltomato

I did my broiled tomatoes a bit different last time.  I added some of my homemade shawarma mayo in lieu of the crushed pork rinds on top.  Came out VERY tasty this way!  This dish is nice with baked or broiled seafood and it pairs nicely with grilled steak.  This recipe is also good cooked on top of a bed of fresh spinach that was first sauteed in butter, for an even more nutrient-dense  dish!

VARIATION:  Omit the mayo and spice blend, sprinkle some oregano and crushed pork rinds on the tops before baking for an Italian version.

INGREDIENTS:

4 large Roma tomatoes (or 5 small), sliced 1/2″ thick

¼ c. my homemade mayo

½ tsp. Shawarma Spice Blend

1/3 c. green onion, finely chopped

¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese

Pinch salt and black pepper

2 tsp. olive oil (to grease pan)

DIRECTIONS: Slice tomatoes about ½” thick.  Place on non-stick pan oiled with the 2 tsp. olive oil.  These tend to stick badly, even on Teflon, thus the oil.  Next, stir the spice blend into the mayo and brush each slice with seasoned mayo.   Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.   Next sprinkle the chopped green onion over all.  Finish with the Parmesan cheese.  Broil until bubbly and browning or bake at 350º for about 20 minutes until they begin to get tender.  Don’t cook these too long as the natural sugar tends to make them burn fast.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Serves 4, each serving contains:

190 calories, 17.7 g  fat, 3.53 g  carbs, 1.28 g  fiber, 2.25 NET CARBS, 7.03 g  protein, 125 mg sodium

 

Mom’s Chicken Stew

It’s what’s for dinner tonight!  My mother started making this tasty stew when I was a senior in high school.  To this day, it’s the only recipe I use when I stew a chicken.  We love to serve this year round, but it is particularly good on a cold winter evening.  You can thicken the broth if you like with your favorite thickener, but I have made it both ways and like the clear broth just as well as the thickened broth.  You’ll note there are 3 small new potatoes in the photo, as my husband doesn’t low-carb as strictly as I do, but I have NOT calculated those carbs below.  Turnips would be a suitable sub for a low carber to enjoy in this dish, but I don’t always have those on hand and really don’t need them to enjoy this delicious dish.  Without the potato, this dish is suitable for all phases of Atkins and Keto diets, but as it is vegetable heavy, it is a little higher in carbs than many of my recipes.  Only way to pull the carbs down is to eat less of the vegetables. 😉

INGREDIENTS:

6 medium pieces of chicken (I used 3 leg quarters)

3 carrots, peeled, cut in 1″ chunks

3 stalks celery, cut in 2″ pieces

1 large onion, cut into wedges

½ tsp. dried, crushed thyme leaves (or 1 T. fresh, chopped)

½ tsp. sea salt

¼ tsp. coarse black pepper

¼ c. dry white wine (I usually use Chardonay)

Enough tap water to cover chicken pieces in the pot (for a richer result, you can use homemade chicken stock if you have enough in your freezer). 🙂

DIRECTIONS:   Place chicken into large stew pot.  If using breasts, cut into 6 portions.  Add enough water to just cover the meat.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and simmer  with lid on the pot until very tender, or about 1 hour.  Add the cut up vegetables on top of the meat at this point and bring back up to a boil.  Stir them under the broth so they are all moist (add a wee bit of water if necessary).  Lower heat a second time and simmer covered for about 20 minutes, or just until carrots are tender in the center when stuck with a sharp knife.   Thicken if desired and serve at once with a lovely green salad.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 6 servings of 1 piece chicken + veggies.  Each serving contains:

182.6 calories, 7.7 g fat, 9.16 g carbs, 2.06 g fiber, 7.1 g NET CARBS, 15.3 g protein, 953 mg sodium

Tuna Cakes

Click to enlarge

This is how I’ve made my tuna “croquettes” (as my mother called them) for many years now.  When I was still teaching, this was often what I cooked when I had forgotten to defrost any meat for dinner, but didn’t  really want to eat out.  It’s easy, fast and DELICIOUS!  This recipe also works with salmon, crab and fish.  My Pink Cream Sauce is delightful spooned over the top of these.

To make my old recipe low-carb, I just had to change the slice of conventional bread to a slice of low-carb bread.  Probably any low-carb bread would be fine, but today I had Sherrilee Artisan Flatbread made up and used ¾ slice.  The Revolution Roll (Oopsie) mentioned in the recipe will add the fewest carbs:  .  A piece of flax bread or leftover low-carb biscuit, or even 1 T. plain flax meal + 1 T. water would work also.    This recipe is OK for Induction.  If you prefer, you can coat the croquettes with the breadcrumbs rather than mixing them into the fish mixture.  But personally, I don’t see any difference in flavor.  The outside will get a bit crunchier if the crumbs are on the outside.  Your call there.

INGREDIENTS:

6.5 oz. foil-pouch tuna, oil-pack, drained, or salmon or fresh crab (5 oz. can will work, or two smaller 2.5 oz. pouches)

2 beaten eggs

½ tsp. my Seafood Spice Blend

3 T. my homemade mayo

½ c. celery, finely chopped

1/3 c. green onion, chopped

2 oz. yellow onion, chopped

¼ c. red bell pepper (best as it is sweeter, but any color is fine)

1 Revolution Roll (Oopsie) (or other low-carb biscuit or bread you have on hand)

Dash black pepper

2 T. olive oil (to saute veggies)

1 T. olive oil (to fry croquettes)

DIRECTIONS:  Heat the 2T. olive oil in non-stick skillet and saute veggies until tender.  Scrape into mixing bowl.  Add all other ingredients to bowl (except remaining tablespoon of oil).  Stir well to blend smoothly.  Form into 6 small patties and brown in the 1 T. oil in the skillet over medium-high heat.  Try not to disturb or flip them until the first side is fully browned or they will likely tear up on you.  Serve at once with your favorite cream sauce or tartar sauce, low-carb ketchup.  I like to serve these with a light cream sauce or homemade mayo into which I’ve stirred a bit of the Seafood Spice Blend or my Shawarma seasoning.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 6 tuna cakes, each containing:

201 cals, 16.3g fat, 2.13g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 1.63g NET CARBS, 12.9g protein, 127 mg sodium

Lobster Dien Bien

LobsterDienBien

This is my dinner tonight, made with shrimp and lobster stock I made from the lobster tails we had New Year’s Eve.  When I lived in Hampton, Virginia while in high school, my family often drove to Yorktown 30 miles away to eat at a wonderful restaurant called Nick’s Seafood Pavilion, operated by a Greek chef.  Sadly, it no longer exists:  http://www.pbase.com/airlinerphotos/image/21276281.  I often think fondly of one of their signature dishes, Lobster Dien Bien.  My parents managed to concoct their own recipe of the dish over time and I still make it to this day over 50 years later.  This version is very close to that served at Nick’s place, but I cannot have the rice that was traditionally in it, being on a low-carb diet.  for the best flavor, the 1 cup of rice needed to be cooked in seafood stock for the best flavor.   The rice was then stirred into the seafood/vegetable mixture right before serving.  This dish in some regards is vaguely reminiscent of Spanish paella when the rice is included. I now served it over steamed grated cauliflower “rice” or I stir it in at the last minute right before serving.  

I can’t get very good lobster in Central Texas, so I make this more often now with shrimp or crawfish, but it is no doubt best made with lobster. I have even made this dish with large sea scallops and fresh lump white crab meat (when I lived on the Gulf Coast).  All versions have been been very tasty.  As is true of most seafood dishes, this one really packs in the nutrients!  This dish is suitable for Atkins Induction, so enjoy.

Click to enlarge crawfish version
Crawfish version

If you are not following a low-carb diet:  Add 1 c. cooked white rice cooked in seafood stock, stirred in right before serving.  If using the rice addition, it is essential that you cook it in seafood stock!  Use 1 c. raw rice, rinsed well in a sieve/sifter with cold water to remove surface starch.  Then bring the rice to a boil in 2 c. lobster or shrimp stock., Lower heat to lowest setting, cover pot with a paper towel followed by a tight fitting lid and steam the rice until done (about 18 minutes).  Add the rice to the sauteed seafood mixture, stir gently and serve!  Mmmm…….this is my all-time favorite seafood dish EVER!  (with the rice, of course 🙂 ).

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. lobster meat cut into bite-size pieces (or peeled, de-veined shrimp)

1 stick unsalted butter

½ c. onion, chopped

1 c. celery, chopped

1 carrot, grated

1 2 oz. jar pimiento, drained

1/3 c. parsley, chopped

¼-½ tsp. cayenne pepper

10 drops Tobasco

½ tsp. ground thyme

DIRECTIONS: Sauté onion, celery and carrot in melted butter until onion and celery are completely tender.  Add parsley and pimiento.  Add seafood and remaining seasonings.  Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes only, stirring often.  For non-Atkins diners, add the seafood-stock steamed cooked rice.  Stir to incorporate all ingredients uniformly.  For Atkins diners, serve over steamed cauli-rice, spaghetti squash or oven-baked thick eggplant slices.  (To steam cauli-rice, grate or food process 3-4 c. raw cauliflower to coarse grains and steam in microwave for 3-4 minutes, stirring every minute).

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 3 servings, each with:  Steamed cauliflower not figured into the numbers below.

466 cals, 33g fat, 9.1g carbs, 2.3g fiber, 6.8g NET CARBS, 32 g  protein, 283 g  sodium

Creamy Broccoli and Mushrooms

Creamy Broccoli and Mushsrooms

This dish is a variation on a broccoli dip a friend of many years often served at parties.  I didn’t chop my broccoli as fine as she did, and there was no cheese in her dip.  Mine instead is made with a delicious low-carb soup.  The flavor was so memorable I decided to try and reproduce it as a vegetable side dish today.  It came out delicious!  Just as good as her dip, maybe even better with my addition of cheese!  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets but not acceptable for Primal or Paleo.

VARIATIONS:  Add 1 c. cooked leftover chicken or 1 cup cooked shrimp for a complete meal.  You can also substitute fresh coked green beans for the broccoli.

INGREDIENTS:

½ bunch broccoli, stems and flowerettes cut into medium chunks (about 3 cups)

1 oz. onion, chopped

6 large mushrooms, sliced (or a 4-oz can sliced mushrooms, drained)

1 T. olive oil

½ recipe Jennifer Eloff’s homemade Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

½ c. shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese

¼ c. heavy cream

Dash black pepper

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Lightly grease a medium casserole or vegetable dish and set aside. Make a recipe of the mushroom soup.  You will only use half of it for this recipe.  The remaining soup should be reserved for some other use.  It will keep a week in the refrigerator.  Chop and steam the broccoli over water or in your microwave just until tender crisp.  Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet and brown the onion and mushrooms until nearly tender.   Turn off heat.    Toss the broccoli into the skillet and toss lightly.  Stir the cream into the soup mixture and blend well.   Spoon it over the broccoli-mushroom mixture, add the cheese and stir gently with a spoon to mix. Sprinkle with black pepper and bake at 350º for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  ENJOY!

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes 4 servings, each contains: (does not include optional meat)

215.5 calories, 18.35 g  fat, 7 g  carbs, 2.22 g  fiber, 4.78 g  NET CARBS, 6.45 g  protein, 348 mg sodium

Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken

I finally got around to trying a whole, roasted chicken in my Power XL 7 qt. air fryer last night.  The meat of the nearly 5# bird was moist and cooked perfectly done (even at the joints).  My husband just loves chicken that is baked or roasted!  Also tried my new Peggy’s Poultry Rub on it and that was a winner, too!  I may add even more of the rub next time!  Yummy!  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins and other keto diets, as well as for Paleo-Primal folks.

INGREDIENTS:

1 whole chicken (mine was 4.75 lbs)

1 t. olive oil

1 T. Peggy’s Poultry Rub (or seasoning of your choice)

DIRECTIONS:  Pat the chicken dry of any water/moisture with paper towels.  Rub olive oil all over the chicken getting all skin surfaces damp with oil.  You’ll want to wash and dry off your hands at this point.  Next sprinkle 1 tsp. of the seasoning bland over the top surfaces of the chicken.  Sprinkle 1 tsp. over the bottom surfaces of the chicken.  Invert chicken to expose the carcass opening and sprinkle the remaining spice blend as best you can inside, rubbing until it is distributed.  Although I did not do it this, next time I may make a slit into the lower leg quarter joints and rub a tad in that joint as well as a tad underneath the breast skin as I am able.

Preheat your air-fryer at 350º a few minutes (mine requires 4 min. preheat).  Open basket/drawer and place seasoned bird into the basket/drawer breast side down. Cook the bird for 30 minutes.  Then open drawer and using a heavy kitchen fork, turn the bird over, now breast up.  Cook for 20 minutes and open basket to (check leg quarter with a meat thermometer (165º internal is done).  Also check thickest part of breast.  If not to 165º yet, continue cooking another 5-10 minutes and check again.  My 4.75# bird took precisely 25 minutes on side two.  Cookers vary, so the rule of thumb with air fryers is CHECK YOUR FOOD OFTEN to avoid under cooking, or worse, over cooking and major disappointment.   Always remember that any air-fryer recipe is just a guideline and nothing more.  Cookers vary for any recipe cookbook for them to be always spot on……….even the manufacturer’s cookbook!  Food size and volume/weight impact any instructions and cooking times/temps.

ADDED NOTE:  I recommend soaking your basket in 1″ water while you enjoy your meal (for easier cleanup).  Also don’t forget when fully cooled, to wipe off (use a soapy sponge) the element at the top and back walls of cooker to get any grease splatters there.  If you don’t do that, the cooker is likely to smoke heavily at next use and you’ll think the machine is dying on you.  It just wasn’t thoroughly cleaned after roasting meat.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  I can’t really provide that for you as I can’t know what pieces you eat, how large your bird is, nor how many pieces you will eat.  I certainly can’t know how much of the seasoning you will be ingesting on any particular piece.  Best calculation I can recommend for you is to take the stats for the piece/size of piece(s) of chicken you eat and add 1/8 tsp. of the spice blend for each piece you consume.  That said, this recipe is so low-carb…………I wouldn’t bother calculating anything but the meat itself that you consume.  One can get too anal about any diet in my opinion.  Just enjoy this delicious recipe and know that you are not breaking the carb bank doing so!

1 tsp. spice blend = 0.84g NET CARBS

Kielbasa with Cabbage & Kale

kielbasa-with-cabbage-kaleHaving made keilbasa and cabbage many a time I don’t know WHY it took me so long to  throw in a little kale into the skillet.  Once I did, there was no turning back.  This vegetable combo is so tasty!  The cabbage mellow any bitterness in the kale; the kale gives depth of flavor to the blander cabbage.  Even my husband wolfed this down and he’s not a fan of either one!  So it sounds like a keeper to ME.  🙂 The caramelized onion brings the perfect touch of magic sweetness to the flavor profile.

I use Burton’s brand of sausage (newly discovered at my HEB & Walmart grocery in Texas).  I always like a brand that  has much less garlic than most people.  Many companies put way too much garlic in their smoked sausage for my palate.   This hearty, delicious dish is suitable for all phases of Atkins, other Keto diets and Primal-Paleo as well.

INGREDIENTS:

2  T. bacon grease

4 links your favorite smoked sausage, sliced ¼”

3 c. chopped green cabbage

2 c. chopped kale (larger stem parts removed)

2 oz. slivered sweet yellow onion

¼ tsp. coarse black pepper

VARIATION:  Add a splash of your favorite vinegar to the skillet for the last few minutes of cooking for a more Polish or Czech-style of this famous dish. 

DIRECTIONS:   Heat  bacon grease in a non-stick wok or skillet over high heat.  Add sausage and stir fry until it begins to lightly brown. Add the onion and saute until starts to wilt and caramelize. Add cabbage and chopped kale, sauteing  just until cabbage begins to wilt.   Sprinkle with the black pepper and serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:     Makes 4 adult servings, each 1½-cup  serving contains:

266 calories, 21 g fat, 9.37 g carbs, 2.5 g fiber, 6.87 g NET CARBS, 11.1 g protein, 378 mg sodium

Cajun Shrimp and “Grits”

This dish came out so good.  Frankly, I was quite surprised!  I essentially took my method for making shrimp scampi, added some Cajun spices to take it up a notch, topped with buttery Parmesan bread crumbs and served over a bed of seasoned cauli-rice.  Man………this is definitely a keeper!  My husband just ranted about his dinner tonight!  I confess it was one of the better shrimp dishes I’ve created in quite some time!  Provided you use an Induction-friendly bread for the bread crumbs, this is suitable for Atkins Induction and all other Atkins diet phases!  Just leave out the 2 T. white wine until Phase 2, please.  🙂

BASE INGREDIENTS:

4 T. unsalted butter

2 oz. yellow onion, slivered as thinly as possible

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 tsp. salt (omit if using salted butter)

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 T. (1 fluid oz) white wine (omit if still in Atkins Induction Phase)

30 large peeled shrimp (I used pre-cooked, tail-on, but raw will work also)

CRUMB TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

2 slices plan-suitable low-carb bread, crumbed

2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

½ c. chopped parsley

4 T. more unsalted melted butter

‘GRITS’ INGREDIENTS:

½ small head cauliflower, cut into chunks

1 small carrot, peeled and cut into chunks

1/8 tsp. each onion and garlic powder

¼ tsp. (more if you like thinks spicy) my Cajun Seafood Spice Blend

1 c. Cheddar Cheese shreds

½ c. chopped green onions or chives

DIRECTIONS:  Begin by making the “grits” first.  Place the chunks of cauliflower and carrot in you food processor (or blender) and pulse until riced coarsely.  Scrape into microwavable bowl and cook on high for about 4-6 minutes or until no longer raw/hard (but not overly done)  Stir the spices in along with the green onions and cheese shreds.  Set aside while you make the rest of the layers.  In a large skillet (I used non-stick), over medium-high heat, melt one whole stick (8 T.) butter.  Carefully pour just half the melted butter into the bread crumb mixture and blend to moisten the crumbs evenly with the butter. Again, set the topping aside for now.

Preheat oven to BROIL.  In the 4 T. melted butter remaining in the skillet, add the slivered yellow onion and garlic.  Add cayenne and salt and continue to saute a couple more minutes to soften & caramelize them.  Add white wine and simmer 1-2 minutes only.   Spread mixture evenly in the skillet.  Scrape the cheesy grits mixture over the top of the caramelized onion mixture, spreading it evenly.  Next arrange the shrimp in a single layer, 2 concentric circles, tail out, placing shrimp fairly close together as they shrink during cooking.  If you end up with a few shrimp left out of the two circles, put those in the center, tail centered and pointing upwards.  That will look attractive for table presentation.

Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the shrimp.   When broiler is hot (450º-475º) pop skillet into broiler and broil until bread crumb topping is golden brown as shown above.  Shrimp cooks fast, so they should get properly done even if you are using raw shrimp. Those mounded in the center will cook the slowest, so check to insure they are properly cooked.

VARIATION:  You can construct this differently, by cooking the “grits” in a separate microwavable serving baking dish and cook the shrimp separately in the skillet.  Then simply top 1/3 portion of the “grits” on each of 3 plates and top with 1/3 the broiled shrimp mixture.  Your call on the construction method.  Will taste great either way.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 3 servings, each contains 10 shrimp & 1/3 the grits

643.6 cals, 52.5g fat, 15.8g carbs, 4.76 g fiber, 11.04g NET CARBS, 32.3g protein, 781mg sodium.  To reduce carbs, eliminate the carrot, reduce cheese & use 1 slice bread for crumb topping………or make it stretch for 4 servings. 🙂  )

 

 

 

Asparagus with Bacon and Onion

Click to enlarge

I’ve always steamed or roasted my fresh asparagus, but sometimes I just saute it.  It is marvelous done this way!  By adding the smoky taste of bacon and the sweet edge of caramelized onion it takes an already delicious vegetable to a whole new flavor level.  Each ingredient enhances the other!  This side dish is suitable for all phases of Atkins and Paleo-Primal diners as well.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch of fresh asparagus (mine had 20 stalks in it)

2 oz. yellow onion, sliced

4 slices low-sodium bacon, sliced

Dash each salt and black pepper

DIRECTIONS:  Break the bottom ½” or so off the asparagus stems off. Cut in 2″ long pieces, separating out the tips for shorter cooking time. Brown the bacon in a non-stick skillet.  Remove and drain bacon bits on paper toweling. Add the onion and saute in the bacon grease until it begins to brown and caramelize.  Add the 2″ stem pieces (holding out the tip pieces for now).  Saute for 2-3 minutes or until stems are tender crisp.  Add the tip pieces and saute just until the tips are tender crisp as well.  Pour all into a serving dish and top with the browned bacon.  You can add the bacon to the skillet and toss before plating if you prefer.  I served this alongside some tender oven-roasted grass-fed beef brisket and a lovely tomato-olive salad.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 4 servings, each contains:

101 cals, 7.1g fat, 4.98g carbs, 2.22g fiber, 2.76g NET CARBS, 4.8g protein, 133 mg sodium

Eggplant Quiche

Eggplant Quiche

This was one of the earliest recipes I developed when I began low-carbing 11 years ago and it was our lunch once again today.  It is truly delicious if you’re an eggplant fan.  We found that 1/8th of the quiche filled us up nicely with a green salad.  Instead of my Seafood Spice Blend, you could substitute a blend of Italian spices like oregano, basil, and rosemary.  With the crust, this is not Induction-friendly.  But without crust, it is definitely OK for Atkins Induction.

INGREDIENTS:

1 recipe “Flour” Pie crust 

10 oz. eggplant, sliced ¼” thick

1 large tomato, sliced thin

2 eggs

¼ c. heavy cream

¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese

½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Pinch each of salt, pepper and onion powder

½ tsp. my Seafood Spice Blend

VARIATION:  Add some cooked bacon crumbles in a layer in the middle. 

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350º.  Place eggplant on non-stick baking sheet and bake 10 minutes on a side.  Bake tomato slices 10 minutes on a side as well. If you are lucky enough to own 2 non-stick sheets, you can do this all at the same time.  Make pie crust as directed in that recipe but take out of oven in about 10 minutes (before edges get brown).   Layer mozzarella cheese, Parmesan, eggplant, tomato, spices onto partially cooked pie crust.  Repeat layers until all eggplant and tomato slices are used up.  In a bowl, beat eggs and cream together and pour evenly over the layered quiche.  Bake at 350º for about 30 minutes.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 8 servings, each containing:

193.5 cals, 16g fat, 11.8g carbs, 8.3g fiber, 3.5g NET CARBS, 8.85g protein, 188 mg sodium

Sausage-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

If you’re a mushroom fan you MUST try these.  You can use either breakfast bulk sausage or Italian sausage to make them.  They will be delicious either way.  My Homemade Italian Sausage is what I used, as it is low in sodium or you can use my Homemade Breakfast Sausage for a different flavor.  If you use commercial sausage, bear in mind the sodium count will be much higher than shown below.   For the breadcrumbs, I used a slice of my homemade Grain-Free Fluten-Free Focaccia because I have it currently made and on hand.  Using other low-carb bread for your bread crumbs will also impact numbers and require recalculations be done. This recipe is suitable once you are at Phase 2 Atkins.

INGREDIENTS:

4 Portobello mushroooms (about 4 oz. each)

3 T. olive oil

14 oz. ground Italian (any casing removed) or bulk breakfast sausage, crumbled

1/3 c. chopped red bell pepper (or green)

2 oz. onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ c. chopped parsley

¼ tsp. dried oregano, crushed

1/8 tsp. dried basil

1/8 tsp. each sea salt and coarse black pepper

¼ tsp. Sriracha sauce (or 6-8 drops Tobasco)

1 slice low-carb bread (I used my gluten-free focaccia)

1 beaten large egg

4 oz. mozzarella cheese shreds

¼ c. grated Parmesan

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Wipe mushrooms clean with a dry, clean cloth.  Stem and with a spoon, scoop out and discard black gills in center.  Chop stems and set on paper plate.  Chop/mince all listed vegetables and add to that same paper plate.  Heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Brush mushroom cap domed sides with olive oil and place on baking sheet.  In remaining oil saute the sausage crumbles, breaking up smallish.  Add all listed vegetables, including the chopped mushroom stems, cooking until all are tender.  Turn off heat.  Add all spices shown and the Sriracha sauce (or Tobasco).  Crumb your low-carb bread and add to the mixture.  Beat the egg in a small bowl and add.  Stir the finished filling mixture well so all gets moistened with the egg.  Fill each of the mushroom caps with 1/4 of the filling.  Sprinkle 1 T. Parmesan on top of each mushroom.  Finish with 1 T. mozzarella shreds sprinkled on top.  Pop pan into preheated 350º oven.  Bake 20-25 minutes.  Enjoy with a lovely green salad or green side of your choosing.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 4 servings, each contains:

522 cals, 40g fat, 10g carbs, 3.37g fiber, 6.63g NET CARBS, 32.3g protein, 316 mg sodium

 

 

 

 

Pork & Chorizo Taco Salad

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This is a variation on the popular taco salad we all know and love.  Constructing it with pork and chorizo, along with the spices and sofrito I included, was quite delicious and a pleasant change of pace.  I didn’t have an avocado in the house or else a dollop of  guacamole would have been added to the top.  You might want to consider adding one mashed up with a pinch of garlic powder to other recipe.  🙂  This salad is suitable for all phases of Atkins and Keto diets.

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz. lean ground pork

2 oz. chorizo sausage, removed from casing and crumbled

Dash ground cumin

¼ tsp. garlic powder

1-2 tsp. my sofrito sauce (optional, but real good in this)

1/8 tsp. my Smoky Chipotle Spice blend

2 c. Romaine lettuce, chopped

2 c. endive or curly leaf lettuce (green or purple), chopped

½ c. tomato, chopped

2 slices Monterrey Jack Cheese

½ c. shredded Cheddar Cheese

OPTIONAL:  1 mashed avocado + dash garlic powder

DIRECTIONS:  Have two plates ready by the stove.  If using guacamole layer as suggested above, make that now.  Brown ground pork in a non-stick skillet, along with the crumbled chorizo until they are done.  Add salt, cumin, smoky chipotle blend, sofrito and garlic powder.  Stir often as the meat browns.  Remove from heat when done.  Mix the two types of lettuce in a bowl and plate half on each of two plates.  Add half the chopped tomato on top of each.  Place 1 slice of jack cheese in the center of each stack of greens.    Top each with half the hot meat.  The heat should melt the jack cheese nicely.  If using guacamole, add it now.  Top each with ¼ c. of cheddar shreds.   Serve at once.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes 2 salads, each contains:  (does not include guacamole)

597 cals, 46.7g fat, 6.95g carbs, 2.2g fiber, 4.75g NET CARBS, 37g protein, 748 mg sodium  (coming from the chorizo and cheese)

 

 

German Brats and Vegetables

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We recently grilled some delicious German Beef Brats I get from my grass-fed beef supplier. The seasoning blend in his sausages is simply delicious!  Very heavy with black pepper, but we like that.  With the 3 leftover links I defrosted tonight, I created a quick, stir-fried dish that’s both tasty, satisfies and yet stays low in carbs, despite all the vegetables in it. This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto, Paleo and Primal nutritional programs.  You could also make this using any type of brats, smoked sausage or Kielbasa with equally good results.

INGREDIENTS:

2 T. bacon grease

8 oz. German beef brat sausages (or any lean link sausage), precooked & sliced

1 c. frozen green beans

4 oz. onion, sliced thinly

4 oz. green cabbage, sliced

1 large clove garlic, minced

4 oz. red bell pepper, sliced

4 oz. sliced mushrooms, drained

Dash each salt and black pepper

¼ tsp. Sriracha chili sauce

DIRECTIONS:    Heat the bacon grease in a non-stick wok or skillet.  Saute the green beans and onion until it begins to wilt.  Add the cabbage and garlic next and continue sauteing until it just begins to soften.  Add the bell pepper, stirring as it softens just a bit (but isn’t mushy).  Add sausage, mushrooms, salt, pepper and Sriracha sauce and stir well for 2-3 minutes for flavors to blend. Remove and enjoy.   I ate mine plain, but it would be good on brown rice for non-low-carb guests.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 4 servings, each contains:

274 cals, 22.5g fat, 10.1g carbs, 3.05g fiber, 7.05g NET CARBS, 8.7g protein, 384 mg potassium, 725 mg sodium

Chicken-Sausage Roulades

Chicken-Sausage Roulades

This is an excellent way to use up that dab of cooked spinach that I invariably seem to have leftover every time I cook it.  This dish is quick, easy and so flavorful!  You’ll want to give this a try sometime.  It’s suitable for all phases of Atkins and Keto diets.  Primal followers can enjoy it but it is not suited to a Paleo lifestyle unless you omit the cheese or sub in a plan suitable creamy binder.

INGREDIENTS: 

9 oz, chicken breast, skinned

2 slices (1 ¾ oz.) Muenster cheese (you can use Swiss or Jack cheese)

2 oz. pork breakfast sausage (or Italian sausage)

¼ c. cooked spinach

Seasoning blend of your choice

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Oil a small baking pan.  Pound the chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap with a meat mallet.  Try not to tear it and strive for ” thickness.  Remove top sheet of plastic.  Cut into 2 equal portions.  Form sausage into two flat oblong pieces and fold the cheese slices around them.  Lay those “logs” in the center of each piece of chicken.  Spoon 2 T. spinach down each “log” of cheese & sausage.  Tightly roll chicken around the log of sausage and cheese.  Lift onto the baking pan, seam down.  Drizzle the roulades with the olive oil and brush with a brush to spread it evenly on the surfaces. Sprinkle the roulades with your favorite seasoning.  I used a blend of Mrs. Dash (original), onion powder and granulated garlic.  Pop into 350º oven for 20 minutes.  Remove and baste all surfaces with the olive oil in the pan (add more if needed).  Return to oven and bake another 15-20 minutes or until firm and golden brown.  Sausage will be done by now and cheese will have begun to run out the ends.  Plate and serve with mashed cauliflower or your preferred vegetable.  ENJOY!

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 2 servings, each contains:

456 cals, 27.9g fat, 1.65g carbs, 0.95g fiber, 0.7g NET CARBS, 48g protein, 913 mg sodium

Crunchy Parmesan-Boursin Chicken Filets

Crunchy Parmesan-Boursin Chicken Filets

This simple dish will really please your family.  It’s almost effortless to make if you have some of my Shawarma Mayo made up (I always keep it on hand in my fridge).  You can use regular homame mayo, but it won’t come out quite as good, as the Shawarma mayo linked in the recipe really is quite good with Boursin cheese.  This can be ready in 30 minutes or less! Truly delicious and suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets, Primal-Paleo as well.

INGREDIENTS:

24 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, in 4 nice portions

4 T. my homemade Shawarma Mayonnaise

4 T. Boursin Garlic-Herb cheese (or garlic-herb Alouette cheese)

1 oz. pork rinds

½ c. parsley, chopped

¼ tsp. each black pepper, garlic powder & onion powder

¼ c. Parmesan cheese (any variety will work)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Using the flat side of a meat tenderizer or mallet, pound the 4 breast filets between 2 sheets plastic wrap to flatten them a bit using the flat side of a meat tenderizer or mallet.  Real thin is NOT necessary here, just flatten them so they aren’t too thick for fastest baking. Place filets on an oiled baking pan making sure they are not touching.  Brush each with 1 T. of the Shawarma Mayo.  Then dot each with 1 T. of the Boursin cheese.  Place all remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse to make a nice crumb mixture.  Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the chicken filets and pop pan  in 350º oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:     Makes 4 servings, each contains:

500 cals. 29.3g fat, 1.5g carbs, 0.22g fiber, 1.29g NET CARBS, 59.5g protein, 975 mg sodium

Beef Stroganoff

 

IMG_4983
Shown over Al Dente’s Carba-Nada egg fettucine noodles

This is how I usually put this famous dish together…..pretty simple, actually.  Takes under an hour to prepare. We low-carbers can serve it over low-carb noodles (I can highly recommend Al Dente’s “Carba-Nada” fettucini noodles), shredded stir-fried cabbage or mashed cauliflower.  I don’t care for it much on zucchini noodles, but you might like it that way.   This recipe is suitable for Induction if served over the cauli-mash and the red wine is omitted.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. sirloin steak, trimmed & cut in thin strips

4 T. butter, unsalted

4 oz. onion, chopped

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

1 c. beef broth (or deglaze the skillet with water)

¼ c. red wine (omit if still in Atkins Induction)

½ c. sour cream

xanthan gum or your favorite thickener

Low-carb noodles or veggie “noodles” of your choice

DIRECTIONS:  In a large non-stick skillet or wok, brown the onion.  Add meat strips and continue searing until nicely browned.  Add mushrooms at this point.  Saute for a few more minutes until they, too, are done.  Lower heat to lowest setting.  Add beef broth & red wine.  Simmer 5-10 minutes to blend flavors.  Cover with lid and simmer (or bake at 350º ) for 30 minutes or so.  Check and stir occasionally during cooking.  Slightly thicken with a very light dusting of xanthan gum or your favorite thickener, whisking continuously between additions.    Right before serving, with fire off, remove lid and gently stir in sour cream.  Lower heat and simmer just a few minutes.  Do not let boil after adding sour cream or it can curdle and be visually off-putting.  Serve over buttered stir-fried cabbage shreds, cooked zucchini noodles, Carba-Nada noodles or mashed/riced cauliflower.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Please note the numbers below do not reflect the veggie or noodles you serve this on.  The numbers below are for the meat sauce only.

Serves 4, with each serving containing:

344 calories

21.9 g  fat

5.6 g  carbs, 83 g  fiber. 4.82 NET CARBS

28.8 g  protein

313 mg. sodium

Chicken-Eggplant Parmigiana Casserole

Chicken Eggplant Parmegiana Casserole

If you love Italian food, you are really going to LOVE this dish!  So tasty!  This casserole  was created with leftover cooked chicken breast meat I had in the refrigerator and a small amount of cooked spaghetti sauce and some commercial no-sugar sauce I wanted to use up.  I bought a beautiful eggplant yesterday and some mushrooms, so I created a quick Parmigiana casserole.  You can just omit the ‘shrooms if you’re not a fan.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins and Primal followers that eat occasional cheese.  This meal would not be suitable for Paleo diners.

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz. cooked chicken meat, cut in bite size pieces

2 T. olive oil

6 oz. mushrooms, sliced

5 oz. eggplant, sliced 1/4″ thick (I do not peel)

¼ c. low-carb spaghetti sauce (I use Lucini with no added sugar)

3/4 c. homemade spaghetti sauce   [or all homemade, or all Luccini]

6 oz. Mozzarella cheese, grated

½ c. grated Parmesan cheese

½ tsp. dried oregano (or 1 tsp. fresh, chopped)

¼ tsp. dried basil (or 1 tsp. fresh, chopped)

¼ tsp. dried rosemary (or ½ tsp. fresh, chopped)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 400º. Use a small amount of the oil to grease your casserole dish and a small baking sheet.  Place eggplant on baking sheet and bake at 400º for about 15 minutes, turning once during this pre-cooking.  Remove from oven and lower temperature to 350º.

In a non-stick skillet, saute the mushroom slices in the rest of the olive oil. Place eggplant in a single layer on the bottom of your greased casserole dish.  Top with the shredded chicken meat.  Spoon half the spaghetti sauce over the meat. Sprinkle on half the Parmesan and half the mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle with half the spices.  Spoon on the remainder of the sauce. Sprinkle on the rest of the two cheeses and the last of the spices.  Top with the sauteed mushroom and pop into your 350º oven for about 30-35 minutes or until cheese is melted and the casserole is hot hot in the center.  Serve with your favorite salad or green vegetable and some garlic bread made with low-carb bread.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 4 servings, each contains:

427 calories, 26.1 g  fat, 10.4 g  carbs, 2.98 g  fiber, 7.42 g  NET CARBS, 38 g  protein, 270 mg sodium

Cheesy “Hash Browns”

Cheese
        Shown with sausage added

We’ve all tasted and love that well-known hash brown casserole.  I certainly see no reason we low-carbing folks can’t still have it even though we can’t eat those real hash browns.  The only changes needed here were substituting cauliflower for the potatoes and a low-carb mushroom soup for commercial soup, thus making it OK for Induction.  This is also great with crumbled, cooked pork sausage on top!  I keep a double batch of this soup made up in my freezer all the time, frozen in plastic drink cups in 1 cup amounts.  It’s awfully convenient to just pop one out and defrost or put it right into the simmering pot.  Here’s my recipe with necessary low-carb changes.  This is Induction friendly, too!  Sometimes I add 1 lb. browned pork sausage to this and turn it into a main dish (as shown above)  No meat is calculated into the nutritional info below, however.  This is such a large recipe I cook a half recipe unless I have company.

INGREDIENTS:

1 c.  finely chopped green onion

1 c.  (4oz) grated cheddar cheese

2 T.  butter melted

1/4  tsp. pepper

1 head fresh cauliflower, cooked & chopped (or 3 10 oz. pkgs. frozen, thawed, drained, coarsely chopped)

1/2 c. sour cream

1 c.  Dottie’s Mushroom Soup for Recipes

OPTIONAL GARNISH:  sprinkle top with paprika before baking

DIRECTIONS:  Thaw the frozen (or cook the fresh) cauliflower & drain well.  Preheat oven to 350º.   If adding sausage, brown it in a skillet.  Mix first 7 ingredients in a bowl and stir in the sausage if using. Spray glass baking dish.  Pour mixture into greased dish and bake at 350º for 30 minutes or until bubbly and “hash browns” are tender but not reduced to mush.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 9   1-cup servings, each has:  (does not include sausage)

190   calories, 15.94 g  fat, 7.36 g  carbs, 2.78 g  fiber, 4.58 NET CARBS, 6.28 g  protein

Greek Chicken & Spinach

Greek Chicken & Spinach

This chicken I’ve made for many years, but tonight I got the idea to add bacon to this dish and well,  we really liked that addition!  This goes well with a Greek salad but I have served it with broccoli and sauteed leeks as well.  I make my own Cavender’s Greek Seasoning, but you can use Cavender’s no-salt Seasoning if available.  Otherwise, just black pepper, thyme and oregano.  This recipe is Induction friendly.

This dish doesn’t freeze too well as the homemade mayo tends to separate upon freezing and reheating.

INGREDIENTS:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach

½ c. Feta cheese, crumbled and rinsed well with cold water in strainer.

2 oz. onion, chopped

¼ Parmesan cheese

pinch dill

1 c. total my homemade mayonnaise:  https://buttoni.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/homemade-mayonnaise/

4 slices finely chopped bacon

½ tsp. my homemade Cavender’s Greek Seasoning

½ c. crushed plain pork rinds

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 400º.  Cut chicken breasts in half, making 8 pieces.  Using 1/4 c. of the mayo, baste each piece of chicken on both sides and set aside.  If using whole pieces of bone-in chicken, make several slits in the flesh with a knife first to speed up cooking time.  In a medium bowl, stir spinach, Feta cheese, chopped onion, dill and Cavender’s seasoning.  Add 3/4 c. of the mayo and stir well.

Pour spinach mixture into baking dish (no need to grease pan).   Now place chicken pieces on top of the spinach mixture.  Sprinkle pork rinds and Parmesan over the pieces of chicken.  Place the finely chopped bacon over entire dish, being sure some gets on each piece of chicken.    Place in 400º oven and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes.   For a faster-cooking dish that will be ready in only 45 minutes, pound chicken breasts with mallet before brushing with mayo.   This dish is chock full of nutrients, including 168% of selenium, 129% vitamin B12, 110% riboflavin recommended daily requirements!  And lots more other good stuff!

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 4 servings of 2 pieces of chicken each.  Each serving contains:

734 calories, 63.5 g  fat, 5.25 g  carbs, 2.75 g  fiber, 2.40 g  NET CARBS, 46.6 g  protein, 655 mg. sodium

Spinach Mayonado with Sausage Meatballs

Spinach Mayonado (optional meatballs)

This is essentially a creamed spinach dish, but with a very special cream indeed.  I decided to not stir it altogether as that does not photograph so prettily.  The flavor of this creamy spinach dish will blow you away.  It’s sinfully rich and ever so good!  So good, in fact, I lick every bit of the sauce off the spoon and food processor bowl.  Seriously good eats.

Of course, you can always stir the sauce right into the spinach. It certainly ends up mixed on my plate while eating it.  🙂  To be quite honest, ANY meat, seared chicken breast strips, beef or pork meatballs or smoked sausage would be good alongside (or on top as shown) this extremely nutritious dish.

This recipe is Atkins Induction friendly, as well as being suitable for Keto diets, Primal and Paleo followers as well.

VARIATION:  This makes a great side dish without meat.  In fact, that is the first way I ate it when I created this creamy sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

5 oz. lean pork bulk sausage (I use homemade sausage but any low-carb sausage will do)

6 T. my Shawarma Homemade Mayonnaise

1 avocado

16 oz. bag of frozen, chopped spinach

Water to cover spinach

DIRECTIONS:  Place spinach in large saucepan, cover with water and bring to boil and cook per package directions, about 5 minutes.  When done, drain spinach in strainer pressing out excess water as best you can.  Set aside while you make the rest of the dish.

While spinach is boiling, roll sausage into 6 small meatballs and brown in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, turning and rolling them frequently to brown all sides.  Cook until fully done (about 10-15 minutes, turn off heat remove and drain meatballs on paper towels.

In a bowl of a food processor (or blender), process the avocado with the 6 T. homemade mayo until fairly smooth.  You can also just mash it well with a fork, as it doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth.  Add a few drops of lemon juice (to prevent darkening) and pulse.

Spoon the spinach into your serving dish, Add the thick, creamy mayonado sauce to the top as shown (or stir into the spinach if you prefer) and top with your cooked meatballs.  ENJOY!

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 3 servings, each contains:

468 cals, 48g fat, 12.03g carbs, 8.66g fiber, 3.37g NET CARBS, 15.2g protein, 453 mg sodium

 

Eggplant-Beef Lasagna

Eggplant beef Lasagna2

I’m defrosting spaghetti sauce for tonight, but since I have an eggplant I’m going to lose if I don’t use it ASAP, I think I’ll make us some lasagna tonight.  This dish is real tasty if you’re an eggplant fan.  It is Atkins Induction-friendly if you can fit the carbs into your day’s limits.  🙂  With all the cheese here, I do not recommend adding any salt to this dish.  This is not a particularly large recipe, so if you want extra for leftovers, double the recipe.  This recipe is not suitable until Atkins Phase 2 OWL (Ongoing Weight Loss).  It is not suitable for Primal-Paleo due to the cheese.

INGREDIENTS:

10 oz. eggplant

1 T. olive oil

1 c. low-carb spaghetti sauce with meat  (I use this recipe:  https://buttoni.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/peggys-spaghetti-sauce/)

4 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated

4 T. Parmesan cheese

1/3 c. ricotta cheese

4 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or ¼ tsp. dried)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 400º.  Stem the eggplant and slice into ¼” slices.  Oil sheet pan with olive oil and place each slice on sheet, coating both sides of them with oil as you go.  Bake until eggplant is nearly done, turning once (takes about 8-10 minutes on a side.  Remove from oven and lower heat to 350º.  Layer half the eggplant slices on the bottom of a well oiled baking dish.  Spoon half the spaghetti sauce over the top.  Evenly spread all the ricotta cheese on next.  Now sprinkle on half the mozzarella followed by 2 T. of the Parmesan.  Spread the chopped basil on next.  Now place the remaining slices of eggplant on top, reserving out one nice slice to decorate the top of the dish.  Add the remaining sauce. Sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella and then the Parmesan cheese.  Place the last slice of eggplant center dish and pop into 350º oven for around 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.  Garnish with colorful fresh basil leaves if desired.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 4 servings, each contains:

294.3 calories, 19.7 g  fat, 11.13 g  carbs, 3.65 g  fiber, 7.48 g. NET CARBS, 19.2 g  protein, 250 mg sodium