Air Fryer Jamaican Jerked Pork Loin

These were some small 4-oz. pieces of pork loin I took out of the freezer tonight and I wanted to try my latest spice creation on them.  I chose to do these in my air fryer, but am sure they would be even better done on the charcoal grill.  Tomorrow is another day :).  Man, were these ever tasty!  Much better than the jerked chicken I had one time in a little cafe here in town (that has since folded, maybe that’s why).  I see many Jamaican Jerk meats in my future with my toned-down version of Jamaican Spice.   This recipe, with the typical brown sugar eliminated from my version of the spice, should be suitable on any eating program, ketogenic or otherwise.

INGREDIENTS:

4   4-oz. pieces boneless pork loin

¼ c. light olive oil

2 T. my Homemade Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Blend

1 oz. onion, minced fine (I used red onion)

DIRECTIONS:   Pour the olive oil into a marinating dish.  Add the spice blend and minced onion to the dish.  Stir.  Dip each “chop” into the mixture, using it all up, trying to get the minced onion evenly onto all sides of the meat.  Cover and marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

To air-fry, preheat your fryer to 375º for 3 minutes.  Open and place meat in the basket so they do not touch.  Cook at 375º for about 12 minutes.  Turn and if any left in the marinating pan, brush any marinade remainders onto the exposed side.  Raise fryer to 400º and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  As fryers vary, check before time is up to be sure yours doesn’t cook hotter than mine.  If charcoal grilling, have your coals very hot and place meat on the grate and grill for about 15 minutes on each side or until thoroughly done but not dried out.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 2 adult servings (shrink to about 3.2 oz. cooked ad they are so lean to begin with). Two chops contain:

578 cals, 40g fat, 6.9g carbs, 1g fiber, 5.9g NET CARBS, 49.1g protein, 204 mg sodium

Classic Shrimp Scampi

My father introduced us to this dish when we lived in Hampton, Virginia.  Of course, we had all the fresh seafood there in the world anytime we wanted it.  What is amazing about Shrimp Scampi besides its wonderful flavor, is how easy it is to make!  Traditionally served over white rice, as a low-carber, I tend to spoon ours over a heaping serving of my Foolproof Mashed Cauliflower.  I’m very pleased with this one and had it again for dinner tonight.  I like to add a bit of my Seafood Spice Blend to most of my seafood dishes, but it is not seen in most shrimp scampi recipes.  That’s my change to a classic dish.  I also been known to add a couple tablespoons of white wine to this dish, but do not always do that, so I don’t show it in the ingredients below.  Your call there.  It’s delicious with or without.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins and other Keto diets, as well as for Primal and Paleo followers.  Those still on Atkins Induction should not add the white wine I just mentioned.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 T. butter, unsalted

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ c. parsley, chopped

1/8 tsp. coarse black pepper

¼-½ tsp. my Seafood Spice Blend

1 oz. (optional) dry white wine, (Pinot Grigio, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc are good)

DIRECTIONS:    Preheat broiler.  In a large skillet melt the butter over high heat.  Add garlic and let saute a couple minutes.  Add shrimp and saute until the begin to get opaque and golden on the edges.  Add black pepper and spice blend.  Saute couple more minutes.  Finally add parsley and stir to blend.  Remove and pop into broiler long enough for the shrimp to begin to brown just a bit.  Remove from oven and serve immediately over bed of mashed cauliflower (or rice for non low-carbers at the table)

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 3 servings, each contains:  (does not include mashed cauliflower, 1 cup of it would add around 2.8 net carbs to each serving)

306 cals, 18.1g fat, 3.73g carbs, 0.43g fiber, 3.3g NET CARBS, 31.4g protein, 233 mg sodium

Chicken Florentine

Chicken Florentine

This has, over time, become one of the most popular recipes on my website.  Sometimes we food bloggers get so wrapped up in creating new dishes, we can easily get lost and forget some of the old favorites and need to be reminded of them from time to time.  I’m making this again tonight, so I thought I’d share it with my newer followers that may not have seen this one. This recipe takes a mere 20-30 minutes to pull together.  It’s amazingly tasty and worth every one of those minutes.  So attractive on the platter, too!  And better yet, it’s Induction friendly!  The creamy spinach-mushroom topping compliments the seared chicken so nicely and is also good on seared salmon!  If in Atkins OWL Phase 2, adding 2 T. white wine to the spinach mixture is very, very good!  🙂

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INGREDIENTS:

3 large chicken breasts, deboned and skinned (I used 30 oz.)

1 T. unsalted butter

½ lb. fresh mushrooms sliced thick

1 clove minced garlic

Pinch salt and pepper

6 oz. fresh spinach (3-4 oz. if using frozen)

1/3 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. chicken broth

3 T. grated Parmesan

2 T. white wine (optional)

Pinch xanthan gum (if needed to thicken)

DIRECTIONS:  If using frozen spinach, cook in water as directed on package in a saucepan and drain well.  Set aside.  Now slice each chicken breast diagonally into 3-4 thinner slices to speed up cooking.  Melt butter in non-stick skillet and saute the chicken slices or “filets”, as I call them,  until lightly browned and thoroughly cooked (medium-high heat).  This won’t take long at all, which is precisely why I like to slice them.  Remove chicken to serving platter.  Add mushrooms to the same skillet and saute until done.   Add fresh spinach and garlic.   Saute until spinach is wilted.  Lower heat and add cream, broth, wine and cheese to spinach/mushroom mixture in skillet.  Add pinch of salt and pepper.  Lightly dust with xanthan gum 2-3 times, stirring between each addition to slightly thicken sauce.   Pour sauce over chicken.  Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley if desired.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 4 servings each with:

436 cals., 23g fat, 6.8g carbs, 2g fiber, 4.8g NET CARBS, 49g protein, 200mg sodium

Pork in Queso Flameado Sauce

Pork in Queso Flameado
Pork in Queso Flameado Sauce

If you’ve ever ordered Queso Flameado in a Mexican restaurant, it’s a flavor you won’t soon forget. It’s a thick melted cheese fondu with chorizo crumbled in it served with flour tortillas to roll it up in. It is considered an appetizer.  It is sooo good!  Well, this new dish I created this it taking it to the entree level.  If you love Mexican food, you’ve GOT to try this dish!  It has been one of my more popular recipes!  My husband just loved it, as did I!   This dish also sports some very impressive nutritional numbers below, so it’s a keeper in my book.  It is suitable for all phases of Atkins and other Ketogenic diets.

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INGREDIENTS:

12 oz. pork loin, cut into 4 portions

1 link chorizo, removed from the skin and crumbled

2 T. unsalted butter

4 large green onions, chopped

1/2 c. red bell pepper, chopped

1 c. cilantro, chopped

1/2 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. water

6 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded (or more if you can afford the carbs)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Pound the 4 pieces of pork with a meat tenderizer.  Melt butter in large skillet over high heat.  Brown pork on both sides until nearly done.  Remove.  Add crumbled chorizo and brown, crumbling as small as you can as it cooks.   Add the green onions, bell pepper and saute until they are tender.  Lower heat to medium low and add cream, water and cilantro.  Simmer a couple minutes to reduce a bit. Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce and lay pork on top.  Pop into preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly and the meat appear to be done.  Serve 1/4 of the sauce over each portion of meat.  This pairs nicely with mashed cauliflower or a nice guacamole salad alongside.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 4 servings, each contains:

567 cals., 45g fat, 4.35g carbs, 1.15g fiber, 3.2g NET CARBS, 36g protein, 654 mg sodium

Coffee Mousse

CoffeeMousse-1

This one’s for all you coffee lovers out there!  This is delightfully light after a big meal.  Been making this since before low-carb was a household word!  This recipe is even OK for Atkins Induction and Keto diets alike, without modifications.

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INGREDIENTS: 1½ tsp. unflavored gelatin stirred into 2 T. cold water

1 tsp. instant freeze-dried coffee crystals, dissolved in 2T. boiling water

2 pkts. Splenda, Truvia or sweetener of your choice

1 T. butter, unsalted

1 ice cube

4 oz. heavy cream, whipped

½ tsp. vanilla

DIRECTIONS:  Sprinkle gelatin over 2T. cold water in small saucepan.  Stir and let stand for 1 minute.   Add 2 T. more water and bring the mixture to a boil.  Lower heat to lowest setting.  Add the coffee granule/hot water mixture.  Heat this mixture stirring constantly until gelatin appears to be completely dissolved.  Add butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat.  Stir in sweetener, ice cube and stir until ice is melted and mixture begins to thicken.

In separate bowl, whip heavy cream until thick, add vanilla and stir to blend.  Reserve 2-3 T. for garnish. When the mocha mixture is cooled down, slowly stir most of the whipped cream (be sure you saved out 2-3 T. for garnish) into the mocha mixture.  Spoon into two pretty clear serving dishes.  Top with a nice dollop of sweetened whipped cream that you reserved.  Sprinkle a few crushed coffee granules over each serving and garnish with a sprig of mint or a strawberry slice.  Chill.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes two servings, each containing:

258 cals, 28 g fat, 2.6g carbs, 0g fiber, 2.6 NET CARBS, 1.56g protein, 24 mg sodium

Boursin Scrambled Eggs

Click to enlarge

I keep Boursin  soft cheese “Garlic and Fine Herbs” flavor in the door of my refrigerator almost always.  Not something I like to run out of.  I keep finding interesting things to try it in or on.  It reminds me a lot of cream cheese, but much more intense flavor.  I find it way too heavy all by itself, as a dip or spread.  But I am really starting to like it in small amounts in a variety of odd places.  This morning’s eggs is yet another example.  Very tasty and not the usual frowns and winces from my husband who prefers plain eggs.  So I thought I’d share this Induction friendly recipe with everyone.  I’m going to try the “Chive and Onion” Boursin in my eggs next time!  Boursin cheeses are usually found in the deli or specialty cheese section of better grocery stores.

INGREDIENTS:     

2 T. butter, unsalted

4 large eggs, beaten

1½ T.  Boursin cheese, (I used Garlic and Herb flavor)

2 T. parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS:   Melt butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add Boursin cheese and stir to dissolve.  Cheese will look like it’s curdling, but don’t worry, not a problem.  Add all the parsley but 1 tsp. reserved for garnish.  After 1 minutes, add beaten eggs and cook until done.  Serve with garnish of remaining parsley.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes 2 servings, each contains:

262 cals, 23g fat, 1.2g carbs, 0.15g fiber, 1.05g NET CARBS, 13.1g protein, 165 mg sodium

If you’re not familiar with Boursin cheese, it’s a soft cheese that comes in a foil wrapper in a little box that looks like this.  It’s usually in the specialty cheese/delicatessen are of your grocery store.HerbBoursin

Louisiana Shrimp Gumbo

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This is what I’m making for dinner tonight as I haven’t made it in awhile.  I’m using bulk pork sausage in tonight’s batch, but smoked sausage is always good.  I have made this many times before, but change it up every time as to what seafood I throw in the pot.  Tonight I plan to add 12 oz. crawfish tails to the mix.  This recipe is Atkins Induction suitable if you skip the flour/roux step or use sifted Carbquik or oat flour instead.  As always, you can always just thicken it with xanthan gum, but it isn’t quite as good, without the nutty depth of flavor a roux gives Cajun food.  If you omit the roux step entirely, be sure to omit the olive oil used in that step.

A teacher I used to work with taught me how to make “roux” and a good gumbo.  She was born and raised in Louisiana and cooked gumbo for a teachers’ holiday social gathering once years ago.  Though she used smoked sausage instead of bulk pork breakfast sausage, I find I like breakfast sausage a little better in gumbo.  Two things I have added to the recipe are the stick of butter and the parsley.  She used chicken stock and I prefer a mixture of chicken broth and seafood stock I keep in the freezer.  I make my seafood stock from boiling shrimp or lobster shells for 10 minutes in 1½ quarts of water and freeze in 1 cup portions.  Be sure to adjust the nutritional info below if you make changes in the seafood you use.

INGREDIENTS:

2 T. Carbalose flour (or oat fiber for lower carbs)

2T. olive oil

1 stick butter (1/2 c.)

½ c. chopped onion

½ c. chopped parsley

3 cloves minced garlic

6 oz. crumbled breakfast sausage (or sliced smoked sausage if you prefer)

3/4 c. chopped green bell pepper

½ c. chopped celery

3 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped (or a 14-oz. can diced tomatoes)

4 small bay leaves

2 tsp. thyme

10-15 drops Tobasco

¼ tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you like things spicier)

2 lb. shrimp in their shells, heads on (I often do half shrimp and half crawfish tail meat)

1qt. (4 c.) seafood stock made from shrimp shells (or chicken stock)

1½ c. frozen okra slices  (added last 5 minutes)

1 tsp. gumbo file powder (added last 5 minutes)

OPTIONAL:  Add 1-2 tsp. my Seafood Spice Blend

VARIATION:  Add 1 can smoked oysters well-rinsed of oil or 1 c. fresh oysters (if available).  Add 12 oz. crawfish tail meat.  You can also add chunks of fish filets, but do so at the very last 10 minutes of cooking so they don’t fall apart from overcooking.

DIRECTIONS:  First make the seafood stock by peeling the shrimp and boiling the shells in 1½ qts. water in a large cooking pot for about 10-15 minutes.  Scoop shells out of the broth with slotted spoon and discard.  Pour stock into bowl and set aside.   Wipe moisture out of pot.

Chop all your vegetables and have them at the ready by the stove top, because once you start to make the roux, you can’t stop to cut them up.  Now you’re ready to make the roux and start the gumbo.  The roux imparts a nutty, browned flour taste to the broth of this dish and if this step is bypassed, you will merely be making an ordinary fish soup with much less depth of flavor.

There is an art to making roux with respect to knowing when to “kill” the browning action just short of it burning, which gives it an unpleasant, bitter taste.  If it burns, you just have to toss it out and start again and you’re butter is wasted.  I’ve burned it one time in hundreds and hundreds of batches.  Once you get the hang of it, it’s really quite easy!

Heat oil and add Carbalose flour (or oat fiber for lower carbs) and whisk constantly on high heat.   You want to brown the roux as dark as you can get it without it getting black. I shoot for chestnut horse color myself.  If you see black bits of burned bits that look like pepper in it, it’s ruined and willl spoil your gumbo.  Start again and whisk constanly.  This can burn in the blink of an eye, so absolutely do not get distracted or walk away from the stove while making a roux!    The second it gets to a dark brown color, immediately dump the chopped vegetables in the pan to drop the temperature of the roux and halt further browning.  Lower heat to medium.  Now add the stick of butter, relax and continue sauteing the vegetables for 5-10 minutes until they wilt and begin to caramelize.  If still on Induction,  thicken with xanthan gum or your favorite thickener instead.  You won’t get that nutty flavor browning the flour gives to the final dish, but it will still be a good seafood stew.

If on Atkins Induction and omitting the roux, just begin by melting the butter and sauteing the veggies until tender.  Now add all remaining ingredients (except the gumbo file), including the seafood stock.  Simmer covered on lowest heat for about an 1-1½ hours to allow flavors to mellow.  Add okra and Gumbo File powder and simmer 5-7 minutes longer to let okra get just tender.  Slightly thicken with xanthan gum, dusting it lightly over surface and stirring constantly.  Repeat xanthan gum additions until gumbo reaches desired thickness (takes about 1/4 tsp or so total).  Serve with a nice salad.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: As a full meal, this recipe should serve 6 people a large bowl of gumbo.  If serving a small cup of gumbo as an appetizer to another entree, it will make about 10 servings.

6 Servings: each contains 450 calories, 30.28 g fat, 7.83 g carbs, 2.23 g fiber, 36.45 g protein, approx. 96 mg. sodium 5.6 NET CARBS

10 Servings: each contains 272 calories, 18.17 g fat, 4.7 g carbs, 1.34 g fiber, 21.87 g protein, approx. 58 mg. sodium, 3.36 NET CARBS

Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

It’s what’s for dinner tonight!

When I was growing up my mother made a braised chicken dish she called Chicken and Spanish Rice.  Of course, that was before the low-carb movement, so she browned and used REAL rice in the dish I had as a child.  The skin-on chicken pieces were first browned in oil, the rest of the dish was put together and then the masterpiece was oven-baked in a deep, tightly-covered Dutch oven.  Man, was it ever good!  The smell drove us wild while it was cooking.  I was thinking about that today and wondering what to do for dinner with 2 drumsticks and 2 chicken thighs.  Decided on this childhood favorite.  This consistently comes our fantastic, although I do change it up a bit with bits of leftover cooked squash, green peas, a few sliced green olives or some diced carrots.  I usually use all cauliflower rice in this dish, but had some rice I cooked for my husband for Indian food recently and just tossed that cup into the skillet to get it out of the refrigerator. 

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

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. cauliflower, riced by hand or processor coarsely

2 T. olive oil + 2 T. chicken fat or finely diced chicken skin (or 1/4 c. olive oil)

3 oz. onion, chopped coarsely

4 oz. green bell pepper, chopped coarsely

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp. ground cumin

4-6 pieces chicken (I like thighs and drumsticks for this recipe)

Dash each chili powder and black pepper

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1/4 tsp. oregano (preferably Mexican oregano leaves if you have them)

1 can tomatoes, drained and chopped coarsely (or 3 fresh Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced)

Dash saffron threads (I use 3 threads only as too much is NOT a good thing!)

2 T. cilantro, chopped (optional)

VARIATION:  Add 1/2 c. sliced pitted green olives.

DIRECTIONS:  Heat cumin in dry skillet over medium heat until it smells toasty but is not burned.  Pour onto paper towel for now and set aside.  Rice the cauliflower either with a hand box grater or in a food processor.  I like to do the stems first and a little extra before ricing the flowerettes. Set aside to be added later. 

Preheat oven to 350º.  In your skillet (14″ skillet in my photo), heat the oil over high heat.  Add the meat and brown to golden on the surfaces.  Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper.  If using any raw carrot or yellow squash in the dish, saute those now as well.  Saute just to partially tenderize veggies. Add roasted cumin back to skillet, salt, pepper, chili powder, oregano and saffron threads, minced garlic and bouillon cubes.  Stir in the tomatoes.  Add the cilantro last, if using.  Stir to blend uniformly.  Turn off heat.  Add the UNCOOKED cauli-rice to the pot and stir to mix it evenly into the veggie mixture.  Top the dish with seared chicken pieces.  Cover skillet with a tight-fitting lid.  Pop into 350º oven for about 35-40 minutes and allow flavors to blend.  Check to be sure chicken pieces are thoroughly cooked before turning oven off.  Pairs nicely with a lovely guacamole or green salad.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes 4-6 servings (based on pieces of chicken), each contains approximately:

240 cals, 14.4g fat, 8.61g carbs, 2.93g fiber, 5.68g NET CARBS, 18.6 g protein, 166 mg sodium

Indian Beef (or Lamb) Koftas

Delicious with or without gravy!

I like to throw my favorite Indian or Middle Eastern spices into ground meat and make what I call “mini meat loaves”.  The correct name for these is Koftas (or Keftas in some countries) and they are even better if cooked over hot charcoal! This goes together so fast you can be eating them in 30 minutes from the time you start mixing your ingredients.  It’s what’s for dinner tonight!  I’ll be tossing some leftover frozen peas and cooked carrots into the curry gravy for a change of pace.  I’ll be serving a nice cucumber salad as well.

I like to mix this stuff up in my food processor, but you can just blend it in a bowl like you would meatloaf if you are more comfortable doing it that way.  These little meat patties are often served without a sauce, but I like a little moisture with mine, so I included below a light cream curry sauce recipe.  Greek Tzatziki is also good with these meat patties.  These are often done with bread crumbs or grated potato, but my lower-carb choice of rutabaga ended up being good and made these indistinguishable from other koftas I’ve eaten in restaurants.  By using grated jicama, sauteed a few minutes, instead of the rutabaga, these would be acceptable for Induction.  But as written, this recipe is not suitable until OWL.

VARIATION:  Use Baharat Spice Blend instead of Garam Masala, making these more Middle Eastern than Indian.  🙂

INGREDIENTS (for Koftas):

20 oz. ground meat (beef or lamb)

2 tsp. grated ginger root

2 large cloves minced garlic

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped very fine

2 oz. onion, chopped very fine

1 beaten egg

½ tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. my Garam Masala

1 c. cilantro, chopped

1 tsp. spearmint leaves, chopped (Optional.  I grow my own. :))

¾ c. rutabaga, peeled and grated (use grated jicama, pre-sauteed for Induction compliance)

2 T. olive oil for frying

INGREDIENTS (for sauce):

2 oz. heavy cream

¼ c. water

1 T. tomato paste

½ c. beef stock or bouillon

Dash more my Garam Masala spice blend (or Baharat, if doing the Middle Eastern version)

Dash Tandoori spice (I use Sharwood’s brand)  (omit for Middle Eastern version)

Dash salt & black pepper

DIRECTIONS: Place all meat ingredients except olive oil in food processor (or bowl) and blend well.  I process until quite smooth for this recipe.  These are great cooked over charcoal, or just heat oil in large skillet and fry.  I form meat mixture into 2-2.5″ oblong patties.  Fry until lightly brown on both sides.  Lower heat to lowest setting and add all sauce ingredients.  Stir, simmer 5 minutes and serve.  These go nicely with my Indian Spiced Cabbage or Indian Cauliflower dishes here on my blog.  Fresh mushrooms are a nice addition to the sauce, too!  For the non-Atkins folks at the table, some basmati rice is excellent with these.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 12 koftas, (2 patties per serving).  Each serving has:

332.3 calories, 22.95 g  fat, 4.13 g  carbs, 1.0 g  fiber, 3.13 g  NET CARBS, 26.3 g  protein 465 mg sodium

Pork Rind French Toast Cakes

Click to enlarge

This is a slight variation on the YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT’S FRENCH TOAST recipe floating around on the web.  This is the particular recipe that was my inspiration:  http://www.lowcarbluxury.com/recipes/recipe-bread13.html.  I added some golden flax meal and we like it even better than the original recipe.  These really do taste a lot like traditional French toast; just don’t look like traditional French toast.  They have that little bit of crunch that the surface of French toast has!  These are DELICIOUS with sugar-free maple syrup or your favorite fruit preserves!  You simply cannot tell there are pork rinds in them!  for those wanting a more traditional, fluffy pancake, and you’re farther along in your weight loss, try this one instead, but this one is not Induction suitable.

This recipe is Induction friendly.  Another low carber on the Atkins Community Forums  reported after making these:  “I froze the leftovers and ate the next day toasted and they were still GREAT!!!”  So you working people can double/triple the recipe and save some frozen for another day!  Bear in mind, if you like a sweeter pancake, you can add a few drops of liquid sweetener to this batter, but we find the syrup on top does the trick for us.  Your call on that one.  🙂

INGREDIENTS:

1½ oz. pork rinds, crushed fine (about 1¼ c.)

2 T. golden flax meal

2 eggs, beaten

¼ c. cream

½ tsp. vanilla

¾ tsp. cinnamon

2 T. water

DIRECTIONS:  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and let it set for about 2-3 minutes and get thick.  Making 4 “french toasts”, dip the batter onto an oiled, hot griddle, pancake style, forming into roundish “cakes” with the back of a spoon.  Brown on first side and flip.  When both sides nicely browned, serve with your favorite low-carb syrup (I use Cary’s) and breakfast meat.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 4 french toast “cakes”, each contains:

141 cals, 9.5g fat, 2.8g carbs, 1g fiber, 1.8g NET CARBS, 10.8g protein, 278 mg sodium

Bacon “Risotto”

This delicious low-carb version of risotto was ready for our lunch in about 30 minutes flat.  Really nice flavor and I could not taste “cauliflower” in this AT ALL.  Next time I think I’ll try it with crumbled Italian sausage, but bacon was all I had to work with today. This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets, Primal-Paleo as well.

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium 5-6″ head of cauliflower, leaves & stem removed

3 oz. raw bacon, chopped (3 thick or 4 thin slices)

1 c. green onion, chopped

1 tsp. lemon pepper (I use this one: http://www.vgourmet.com/no-salt-lemon-pepper)

1 oz. cream cheese

3/4 c. shredded Parmesan Cheese

VARIATION:   Substitute yellow or white onion for the green.  Other tasty variations:  use crumbled Italian sausage or regular smoked sausage chopped in lieu of the bacon.

DIRECTIONS:  After removing stem from cauliflower, cut up into uniformly small flowerettes, placing them into a food processor bowl.  Pulse until it is fine like rice.  An alternate method is to grate it with a box grater but that can really get messy.  A blender will work but in small batches.  Set the cauliflower “rice” aside for now.

In a large non-stick wok or skillet, fry the bacon until done over high heat.  Add the green onion and stir fry until the onion wilts.  Lower heat to medium and add lemon pepper and stir.  Now spoon in the riced cauliflower.  Stir fry until cauliflower no longer smells raw (3-4 minutes) stirring often.  If it is browning, your heat is too high.  When it appears to be fully cooked but before it is cooked to mush, dot with the cream cheese and sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top of the mixture.  Stir to melt and uniformly blend both cheeses throughout the dish.  Serve at once with your favorite green salad.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes 5 servings, each contains:

194 calories, 14 g fat, 8.44 g carbs, 3.40 g fiber, 5.04 g NET CARBS, 10.8 g protein, 426 mg sodium

Chicken-Eggplant Parmigiana Casserole

Chicken Eggplant Parmegiana Casserole

This Italian dinner was created with leftover cooked chicken breast meat, a small amount of cooked spaghetti sauce and some commercial no-sugar sauce (Lucini) from a jar.  I bought a beautiful eggplant and some nice mushrooms, so I created a quick Parmigiana dish I know you are going to like!  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto lifestyle and Primal followers that eat occasional cheese.  This meal would not be suitable for Paleo diners due to the cheese.

INGREDIENTS

8 oz. cooked chicken meat, cut bite size

2 T. olive oil

6 oz. mushrooms, sliced

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

1/4 c. low-carb spaghetti sauce (I use Lucini with no added sugar)

3/4 c. homemade spaghetti sauce   [you could use all homemade or all Luccini sauce]

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

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherds Pie

I decided to try my hand at a low-carb version of this tasty British food that has now become an American staple as well.  My hubby is not so fond of mashed cauliflower, but even he admitted this was pretty darn good and said “Be sure to post this recipe on the blog!”  This meal is not suitable for Atkins Induction, but can be enjoyed once you reach the higher carb veggie rung of the Atkins OWL carb ladder where carrots reside.  This dish is perfectly OK for Primal-Paleo if coconut cream/milk is subbed in for the cream in the mashed cauliflower.sheppiesvg

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. ground beef

6 oz. homemade pork breakfast sausage (or ground pork, or use all beef if you prefer)

2 medium carrots, diced

1 c. zucchini squash, diced

1 c. frozen green beans

2 oz. onion, chopped

Dash salt and black pepper

1 medium (6-7″ diameter) head cauliflower

4 T. butter or ghee

¼ c. heavy cream

Paprika to garnish (optional)

OPTIONAL:   ½ c. leftover beef gravy  (I save and freeze all leftover gravy)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 375º.  Peel and dice the carrots.  Chop the zucchini into ½” dice.  You can substitute diced turnips for the zucchini if you prefer.  Chop the onion.  Place all these veggies and the green beans into a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower to a slow boil for about 5-6 minutes.  Cook just long enough to slightly soften them, trying not to overcook, lest their bright color be diminished in the final dish.  Drain veggies in a strainer/colander while you do the next step.

Clean and chop the cauliflower into smaller pieces, place in/over water and boil/steam until completely tender.  Drain well in a colander and put back into the cooking pot and puree, along with the cream and butter.  You can either do this with a stick blender if you have one, or in a food processor or regular blender in small batches to avoid overflow. Season with salt to taste.  If a little too thin for your preference, dust 1/8-1/4 tsp. glucomannan powder in and stir well to thicken the mash up a bit.

In a large no-stick pan, brown the beef and sausage, crumbling as it browns.  Gently stir the drained veggies into the meat mixture and toss gently.   Spoon off and discard as much excess grease/liquid that is in the pan as this can get soupy in the final dish.  Stir in leftover beef gravy (if using).  Spoon the meat/veggie mixture evenly into the bottom of a greased casserole dish.  Using a spoon or rubber spatula, evenly distribute the mashed cauliflower over the top.  Sprinkle with paprika to garnish if desired.  Pop into preheated 375º oven for about 35 minutes or until the top is beginning to slightly brown.  Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes eight 1-cup servings, each contains:

288 calories, 22 g  fat, 8.18 g  carbs, 3.18 g  fiber, 5 g  NET CARBS, 16 g  protein

Ranch® Buttermilk Salad Dressing (or dip)

Ranch Buttermilk Dressing

Ranch Dip for Veggie Tray

I came up with a low-carb version of Ranch® Dressing for my husband, who just loves it on salads.  I think my version tastes even better than what is sold.

I’m personally not too fond of dill which is distinctly present in the commercially-sold Ranch® Buttermilk Dressing powder blend.  My husband, on the other hand, LOVES dill, thus the flexible amount of dill shown in the powder blend 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 other 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 cals, 26.8g fat, 1.81g carbs, 0.1g fiber, 1.71g NET CARBS, 1.72g protein, 66mg sodium

Breakfast Sticks

Breakfast Sticks

Realized this morning I hadn’t made my most popular recipe of all time in quite some time.  So I resurrected this tasty ‘Top O’ the Mornin’ simple treat today.  You can also cook these in the bottom of muffin cups (for a circle shape) or muffin-top pans (flatter, round shape) as well if you don’t want to invest in the specialty pan.  These are simply delicious!  Just the right amount of cheese to make them a bit rich and creamy without it being too dominant.  These are suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets and Primal Blueprint as well.  Omit the cheese for Paleo adherence.  Below is a photo of the pan I used.  Although they still make it (BTW, it is rimmed in metal framing for support, which I really like), it is difficult to find on the internet.  You can make this recipe using muffin pans however.  I stumbled upon these two Chicago Bakeware pans at my local Tuesday Morning store several years ago and snatched them up. 🙂  Other companies make similar pans:  http://www.amazon.com/Purple-Silicone-Sponge-Finger-Bakeware/dp/B00AFRALOS. Another option from Etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/659190209/finger-biscuit-baking-pastry-10-hole

Bar Mold

This recipe, on first posting, garnered more Facebook fans than any other recipe I had posted there at that time.  Simply amazing!  Thanks to all my readers and fans for making this recipe go viral on its original posting.  Few have surpassed it in sheer numbers since.  When you try these, you’ll see why it went viral!  🙂    Capture

INGREDIENTS:

1 T. oil of choice

2 slices bacon, chopped

3 oz. breakfast sausage

2 large green onions, chopped

4 large eggs, beaten

1 oz. (¼ c.) shredded Monterrey Jack or Mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS:   Preheat oven to 350º.  Oil your muffin/pan slots with oil using a brush and set aside.  Beat the eggs with the shredded cheese in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.  Using a non-stick skillet, brown the bacon. Add the sausage crumbled, stirring and cooking until it is no longer pink.  Add onion and saute just until onion begins to cook/wilt.  Remove from heat and cool 1-2 minutes.  Add the meat mixture to the egg mixture and beat together well with a spoon.  Using a ¼c. measuring cup, scoop up ¼ c. of the mixture into each of 8 slots.  Pop into preheated 350º oven for about 15-20 minutes (ovens do vary) until just set and barely beginning to brown on tops.  Remove from pans/slot with a knife tip and serve at once.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 8 Breakfast Sticks, each contains:

142.4 cals, 12.3g fat, 0.73g carbs, 0.16g fiber, 0.57g NET CARBS, 7.16g protein, 220 mg sodium

Air Fryer Chicken Breasts with Sofrito Sauce

I keep seeing recipes on air fryer 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

New England Clam Chowder

With a chill in the air, this scrumptious chowder is what I’m making for lunch today.  It’s a favorite and ever so easy to whip up.  We drove over to Killeen to a big Asian grocery this week and I picked up a couple daikon radishes.  They make a wonderful potato substitute in soups.  I always keep a couple cans of clams around, so a no-brainer today, this one.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins and other Keto diets if the macros will work for you.

INGREDIENTS: 

4 oz. bacon, coarsely chopped

3 oz. onion, chopped

10-oz can of clams, with juice

1 c. daikon radish, peeled and chopped

½ c. parsley, chopped

1/8 tsp. coarse black pepper

1/2 recipe Jennifer Eloff’s homemade Condensed Mushroom Soup

½ c. heavy cream

1 cup water (or seafood stock if available)

DIRECTIONS:  Make Jennifer Eloff’s homemade Condensed Mushroom Soup recipe by her instructions at the link above.  Reserve half in your refrigerator for some other use and use just half the batch for this chowder recipe.

Chop bacon, onion, daikon and parsley and set each aside.  Brown bacon over medium high heat in a 4-quart saucepan.  When it is brown, add the onion and black pepper and saute to allow it to begin to brown/caramelize.  Add the clams, daikon radish and parsley.  Stir well.  Add the mushroom soup concentrate, the cream and water.  Bring to low boil and lower heat to a simmer about 30-40 minutes or until daikon is tender.  Stir occasionally during cooking to prevent scorching on bottom of the pan.  Add more water if it gets too thick for your liking.  Serve at once.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes five 1½c. large bowls (as shown above).  Each bowl contains:

274 cals, 20g fat, 7.38g carbs, 1.08g fiber, 6.3g NET CARBS, 13.9g protein, 434 mg sodium

Italian Meatloaf

Italian Meatloaf

After trying many meatloaf recipes over the years, I keep coming back to the recipe I’ve made for 50+ years, using low-carb bread/flax to lower the carbs.  This one cooks up consistently every time!  Meatloaf is not something I usually serve with a planned dinner party, but it has never failed to garner compliments if shared with a surprise guest for dinner.  It’s what I’m having tonight, so I thought I revive this long-posted recipe in case you missed it before on my site.  This tasty fare is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets and if you omit the cheese, it is suitable for Paleo-Primal followers as well.  This is also the recipe I use when I want to make meatballs, forming the meat into 1½” meatballs.  I bake my meatballs for about 30 minutes and usually don’t bother turning them during cooking.  If you are avoiding flax, you can instead sub in 1 tsp. chia seeds soaked 15 minutes in 3 T. water OR just increase to 2 eggs.  If available, you can add 1 water-soaked and crumbled leftover low-carb slice of bread/biscuit.  You definitely want to do one of these things to avoid the meatloaf coming out hard and dense.

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 lb. lean ground beef (or 1 lb. beef+½ lb. ground pork)

2 oz. chopped yellow onion (more if you can afford extra carbs)

2 oz. chopped green pepper  (more if you can afford extra carbs)

1 T. bacon grease

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 c. parsley, chopped fine

1 egg, beaten (or 2, if you want to omit the flaxmeal below)

1 T. flax meal soaked in 3 T. water (or a crumbled low-carb biscuit/roll, or 1T. ground chia soaked 10 minutes in 3-4 T. water. or another beaten egg)

2 T. Parmesan cheese, grated (more if you like)

4 oz. can tomato sauce (no added sugar)

1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS:  Soak flax meal or chia, if using, in water in a small bowl for about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally as it thickens up.  Place meat in large mixing bowl.  Chop onion and pepper and saute in bacon grease in an oven-proof skillet until very soft.  Add to the meat in the mixing bowl, grease and all.  Add oregano, parsley and Parmesan.  Add soaked flax meal, salt and pepper.  Add all remaining ingredients (except tomato sauce).  Using your hands or a fork, thoroughly mix all ingredients until well-blended.  Shape slightly and tip bowl to allow meat to fall onto baking pan (I use the same saute pan, actually).  Reshape as desired.  Place in 350º oven and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and pour tomato sauce evenly over the top of meatloaf and return to oven for 30 more minutes baking.    Best to check at 15 minutes here as every oven cooks differently.  I can usually tell if the center is done by pressing lightly with a knife center top.  If it feels firm the meatloaf is done.  If still soft, cook a little longer.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:

Makes 6 servings, each 4 oz. serving has:

349  cals, 22.9 g  fat, 4.27g carbs, 1.1g fiber, 3.17g NET CARBS, 30.2g protein, 588 mg. sodium

Perfect Rib Roast

The Perfect Rib Roast
My easy, Perfect Rib Roast

It seems as though we’re running toward another Christmas feast at breakneck speed.  As we had our annual turkey on Thanksgiving, I’m planning to serve a beef rib roast for Christmas this year.  This is my favorite method for cooking rib roasts so I am re-posting this recipe in case some of you also plan on cooking one during the holidays.  Folks, it just doesn’t get any easier or tastier! This method has never, EVER failed me.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Ketogenic diets (and Primal-Paleo if you use coconut aminos in lieu of soy sauce).

My roasts are usually bone-in as I think they cook more evenly with the bones in them.  I do remove them after cooking to make slicing the meat easier (above photo is after I they were cut off).  Occasionall I get a good deal on a boneless roast and will avail myself and cook one boneless (shown belos).  I usually serve my rib roasts with horseradish sauce and with sides of French-style green beans or broccoli, and a tasty cauliflower casserole of some sort.  I often serve a family-traditional Grand Marnier fruit salad on the side as well.  Mmm, Mmm, Mmm!

We like our beef medium rare and you can see in the photos (cooked on different occasions), it cooks perfectly & effortlessly with this method.  My roasts average 3.5 pounds after removing the bones, so I shoot for a 4.5 pound bone-in roast at the market.  You should allow ½ lb. meat per person when buying a roast.  I usually get 8 nice servings (3/8″ thick slices) from this size roast.   Prime Rib Christmas Dinner 2014

INGREDIENTS:

4½ lb. bone-in beef rib roast (3½ lb. boneless)  [use larger if needed, adding 15 min. cook time per lb.)

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

½ clove garlic (or 1/4 tsp. garlic powder)

¼-1/3  tsp. coarse cracked black pepper (I will use more to coat meat well)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat the oven to 325º.  Place the roast in your roasting pan.  If using fresh garlic, the first step is to cut your clove in half and rub the cut surface all over the surfaces of the meat (all sides, including the bony side).   If not using fresh garlic, step 1 is to drizzle the coconut aminos or soy sauce over the meat surfaces and rub it in with your fingers.  Step 2 is to sprinkle the garlic powder on the meat surfaces.  Last, sprinkle the black pepper all over the meat surfaces.  Place roast bone side down in the pan once done coating with seasonings.  Roast at 325º for 15 minutes per pound.

Check center of the roast with a meat thermometer (be sure the thermometer tip isn’t touching bone).  The meat is rare at an internal temperature of 115º; medium rare at 120º; well done at 125º and probably overcooked and thoroughly “dead” (dry and tough) at 130º or higher.   I personally think it is a crime to eat such a wonderful cut of meat well done, but to each his own preference.    Since we like our rib roast medium rare, I always take it out of the oven when it reads (115º rare) as it will continue to cook as you let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes before carving.  You don’t want to bypass the sitting period or the minute you start slicing your roast, all the wonderful juices will ooze out making it tougher and dryer when served.  Carve off the bones and set aside.  Then carve up 8 nice 3/8″ slices and serve at once.

I like to deglaze the roasting pan with a dab of water over low heat while the meat is “resting” awaiting slicing. Just stir to loosen up all the flavorful brown bits to make your “au jus” gravy.  Add a dash of salt and pepper to the jus if needed.  Serve your roast with horseradish sauce if desired.  My recipe for that sauce is here:  Horseradish Sauce

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes eight 8-oz.servings (plus the meaty bones leftover).  Each 8-oz. slice contains:

846 cals, 69 g  fat (less if you trim all visible off), 0.7 g  carbs, 0.2 g  fiber, 0.5 g  NET CARBS, 52 g  protein, 209 mg sodium

Blue Crab Stuffing

Click to enlarge
For Christmas we often cook lobster tails with a side of stuffed crab.  How we both adore seafood and have really missed the qualaity seafood we had access to when we lived on the Texas Gulf Coast where we lived for over 30 years.  This is the crab stuffing recipe I’ve made for many, many years.   I developed this recipe in an attemps to imitate the wonderful stuffed crab I ordered many times at Gaido’s seafood restaurant, perched on the Galveston Island seawall.  where we lived for over 20 years.  This was one of my favorite dishes on their menu.  Bar none, the best stuffed crab I have ever eaten.  My take on it is fairly close, so I am still cooking this to this day.  It’s easy to prepare and always at hit with dinner guests.  If you have access to fresh, picked crab meat, you’ve GOT to try this one!  This is also great used to stuff baked fish or stuffed mushrooms!  

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

Mom’s Chicken Stew

It’s what’s for dinner tonight!  It’s chilly outside and that always makes me like beef or chicken stew!  My mother started making this tasty Chicken 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 or chunks of daikon radish are suitable subs 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 any 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 legs and 3 thighs)

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 pc. chicken + veggies.  Each serving contains:

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

Iranian Kubideh (ground meat kebabs)

Iranian Kubideh 2

When I was 10 years old, my family lived in Teheran, Iran.  Dad, USAF,  was  teaching their  then fledgling air force,  to fly F-86 jets.  Our motor pool driver, Reza, loved good food and sometimes would cook for us to show off his skills in the kitchen.  Kubideh was one of his favorites.  Although I don’t have his actual recipe (which he cooked simply as small meat patties), my creation evokes the flavor of his specialty.  The jalapeno is not traditional but I like it in these.  It does not make these spicy “hot”, just adds a nice flavor layer in my opinion.

These kubideh can be made with the more traditional lamb, but I prefer using ground beef.  Unless I can have mild Iranian lamb, which is highly unlikely now, I will not eat lamb in the States.  Just tastes awful to me.  When grilling your kubideh, you want them somewhere between the done stage between these two photos.  I like them as shown upper left; the hubs likes them as shown lower right.    The other skewers in the photo are some lamb kebabs we grilled to freeze for a future meal.  🙂  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets, Primal and Paleo.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. ground beef or lamb (preferably 80-90% lean)

1 egg, beaten

¼ c. parsley

1 oz. onion, minced very fine

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. black pepper

Optional:  1 T. bacon grease (if using very, very lean meat)

DIRECTIONS:   Soak wooden skewers for 20-30 minutes (if using).  This retards scorching of sticks during grilling.  Mix all ingredients well in a bowl with a fork or your hands like you would a meatloaf.     Dry off the skewers.  Form hot-dog like meat shapes on the wooden skewers, pressing the meat on tightly and as evenly as possible.   Set them on a platter as you form them. Prepare a hot charcoal fire.  Gently place the skewers of meat on your charcoal fire, disturbing the skewers as little as possible until the first side is lightly browned.  Carefully, with a large spatula, flip the skewers over.  If you use tongs, they are likely to tear up on you.  The voice of experience here.  Brown the second side of the kubideh.    Serve at once with a nice creamed spinach, a cucumber-tzatziki, sour cream mint salad or perhaps a quinoa side.  ENJOY! 🙂

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 4 kubideh, each contains:

371 cals, 30.4g fat, 1.95g carbs, 0.40g fiber, 1.55g NET CARBS, 21.4g protein, 93 mg sodium (I prefer to add salt to meat at the table so as not to dry it out during cooking)

Greek Olive Tapenade

Greek Olive Tapenade

This is my take on the olive spread often served with the bread and salad course at Greek Restaurants.  We just love this stuff and it disappears sooooo fast at my house.   Truly addictive flavors here.  I love to  spread it on my Almond-Flax Crackers or my Almond-Arrowroot Crackers for a delicious snack.  Just made a fresh batch this afternoon as we have someone coming to dinner and this makes a great appetizer!  🙂  Other ways to use this tasty spread:   stuffed inside slit chicken breasts before baking along with a dab of Boursin or cream cheese, spread on top of broiled fish filets when serving, atop tomato slices for a unique salad, or with a little more oil and balsamic vinegar, it’s great as a Greek salad dressing!  This recipe is Induction friendly.    

INGREDIENTS:

6 oz. pitted black olives (I use a mixture of canned black olives & kalamata olives)

1 small clove minced garlic

¼ c. olive oil

2 T. chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS:  Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until uniformly coarse texture, smooth but not reduced to a paste.  You want it very finely chopped.  You can pulse in a blender if you do not have a food processor.  Serve with your favorite low-carb crackers or Greek bread (for those not on Atkins).

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes about 3/4 cup or serves 6, each 2 T. serving contains:

111.5 cals, 11.7g fat, 2.2g carbs, 1g fiber, 1.2g NET CARBS, 0.4g protein, 200 mg sodium

Crab-Pumpkin Bisque

Crab-Pumpkin Bisque

I love seafood and especially a good seafood bisque.  I have a cup of picked crab meat and a fresh-baked pie pumpkin to use up and decided to make them into a crab bisque for lunch today that came out super delicious!  We both decided this one was good enough to share with my readers.  This recipe is not suitable for Induction unless you omit the wine.  It is OK for all other phases of Atkins and Keto diets.  This soup is not suitable for Primal or Paleo as it is dairy heavy.

INGREDIENTS:

3 slices bacon, chopped

1/4 c. onion, chopped

1/4 c. celery, chopped

8 oz. softened cream cheese

1 c. pumpkin (preferably the fresh)

Dash each black pepper and cayenne pepper

½ c. dry white wine (use more stock if still in Induction)

2 c. seafood stock (or chicken broth)

1 c. water

½ tsp. my Seafood Spice Blend

8 oz. white crab meat, picked of all shell

DIRECTIONS:  Brown bacon over medium-high heat.  Add onion and celery and saute until tender. Add white wine.  Add cream cheese and stir to blend.  Add the seafood stock and water.  Stir well.  Add pumpkin the spice blend, salt, pepper and cayenne.  Stir and lower heat to low.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Stir in crab and simmer 1-2 minutes longer only, or the crab will fall apart.  Serve at once with your favorite low-carb crackers.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes 6 large servings, each contains:

256 cals, 21.2 g fat, 4.86 g carbs, 0.63 g fiber, 4.23 g NET CARBS, 10.7 g protein, 550 mg sodium (use less cream cheese to lower sodium)

Swiss Chard Sauté

I’m trialing small-scale veggie gardening using 20 gallon grow bags on a rear, unused driveway at my home. Things are germinating and my Swiss Chard was ready to harvest today. Thought I’d try a little sauté to go with our broiled chicken breasts tonight. Chard is nearly as nutritious as kale and spinach, so I like to add it and many green, leafy veggies to our diet as much as possible. I tend to cut the stems off as I find it strong tasting, but they are edible and you can add the stems to your chard dishes. This side dish was absolutely delicious! It just took minutes to prepare from start to finish. This dish is suitable for all phases of Atkins as well as other Keto diets, including Paleo.

INGREDIENTS:

8 leaves Swiss Chard

3 slices thick-sliced bacon, chopped

3 oz. yellow or red onion, sliced in thin wedges

1/8 tsp. coarse black pepper

DIRECTIONS: Cut bottom of stem off chard leaves (if you wish). Wash leaves well under cold water and pat dry both sides of leaves with paper toweling. Cut into 1″ strips and set aside on towel or paper plate.

Chop bacon coarsely and fry over high heat in a medium skillet until browned and starting to crisp. Using slotted spoon, dip bacon bits onto paper towels to drain and await final plating.

In the same bacon grease you just generated, place the onion wedges, separating the slices as you sauté them over high heat and stir. When they have softened and caramelized, add in the chard strips and sauté just until chard goes limp. Plate the onion/chard mixture and top with bacon crisps. Serve at once.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 3 servings, each contains:

170 cals, 12.4g fat, 10.5g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 7g NET CARBS, 12.8g protein, 542 mg sodium

Pumpkin Cake

pumpkin-cake

This moist, delicious pumpkin cake will be just perfect for your upcoming family gatherings.  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

Greek Spinach Crustless Quiche

greek-spinach-beef-pie

I got to thinking earlier this week about those wonderful Spanakopita spinach-stuffed phyllo pastries they serve at Greek restaurants and decided that’s the taste I wanted today.  I thawed ground beef and just threw together my typical ingredients for Spanakopita and made a “pastry-less” version.  It  came out just about as good as my traditional Spanakopitas, just without the phyllo pastry.  We had it for dinner tonight.  I’ll freeze the leftovers for warming up one night later in the week. This is a particularly healthy entree with all the nutrients in spinach.   This dish is suitable for all phases of Atkins and Keto diets.  It can also be enjoyed by Primal followers.

INGREDIENTS:

1 T. olive oil + 1 T. butter

2 oz. onion, chopped

12 oz. ground beef

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach (cooked per directions, strained & squeezed dry to make about 1 c.)

1/3 c. parsley, chopped

1 tsp. dried mint (or 2 T. fresh, chopped)

Dash each salt & black pepper

Pinch dried dill weed

1 oz. cream cheese (optional, but makes it very rich)

½ c. crumbled feta cheese, rinsed well in strainer

2 large eggs

1/4 c. heavy cream

VARIATIONS:  Substitute ground lamb or goat for the beef

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350º.  Melt butter and add olive oil to medium non-stick skillet.  Add onion and saute over medium heat until it begins to brown and caramelize.   Add ground meat and cook until done.  Lower heat and add spinach, herbs, spices and cheeses.  Mash cheeses with back of spoon to speed up melting/blending into meat mixture.  Stir mixture well.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the cream and drizzle it evenly over the meat mixture.  Tilt pan to spread egg evenly over the top.  Pop into 350º oven for about 20 minutes just until egg is set in the center.  Serve with a nice Greek green salad and your favorite low-carb dinner rolls and butter.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 4 servings, each containing:

428.3 calories, 31.9 g  fat, 4.95 g  carbs, 1.55 g  fiber, 3.4 g  NET CARBS, 30.38 g  protein, 656 mg sodium

Chipotle-Jack Chicken Cutlets

There was such a ginormous chicken breast in the package my husband brought home from the store this week, one in particular would feed 4 people.  So this is what I made for lunch today with the monster and I’ll have two portions for another meal!  I wanted a Mexican food flavor, so I came up with these tasty cutlets.  This dish is quick to make and your family will love it!  If you’re not a fan of pork rinds, substitute almond meal instead.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins and other Keto diets.  Paleo followers would have to delete the cheese.

INGREDIENTS:

12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (four)

1 tsp. my Smoky Chipotle Spice Blend

2 oz. crushed pork rinds (about 1½ c.)

2 T. unsalted butter

3 oz. pepper jack cheese (3-4 slices)

OPTIONAL SAUCE:   Some homemade mayo with a bit of the chipotle spice blend stirred in, to be served at table.

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Crush pork rinds (or use almond meal) in a blender, processor or in a plastic bag.  Remove any big, hard bits.  Add the spice blend and mix well.  I used one single, huge chicken breast and cut up into 4 equal portions.  If you buy the ready-cut boneless, skinless breasts (I never have), probably 4 of those will serve 4 people nicely.  Sprinkle the spice-crumb mixture evenly on both sides of the chicken.   Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and melt the butter.  Add the chicken pieces and brown nicely on all sides.  Chicken will likely be nearly done by then.

You can bake this dish in the skillet if it has a heatproof handle or you can place the pieces of chicken into a baking dish.  Top the meat decoratively with the pepper-jack cheese and pop into a 350º oven for about 15-20 minutes or until cheese is well-melted.  Chicken should be fully done by then.  Serve with a green salad or your favorite guacamole.  I added a top dressing to my chicken made of homemade mayo stirred up with a bit of the chipotle spice blend.  It was VERY good on top of my chicken.  That sauce also makes a tasty salad dressing for a green salad. 🙂

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

324 calories, 18.8g fat, 1.25g carbs, 0.22g fiber, 1.03g NET CARBS, 35.6g protein, 835mg sodium

Chipotle-Guajillo Baked Chicken

0031
Yum!!!!!

It’s what’s for dinner tonight!  This simple baked chicken recipe delicious and a wonderful choice when you don’t feel much like cooking. Those are the nights I tend to bake chicken as simply as possible.  The seasoning flavor profile is subtle here and once you try it, you’ll be baking this bird again.  I usually serve this tasty dish with an avocado/green salad and ½ roasted sweet potato.  This recipe is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets and also for Paleo-Primal diners.  Clarify the butter if you follow a Paleo diet.

INGREDIENTS:

1 whole chicken, butterflied

4 T. unsalted butter, melted

½ tsp. guajillo chile powder (or 1 seeded, ground whole dried guajillo chile)

¼ tsp. smoky chipotle powder (or 1 rinsed, seeded & mashed/minced canned chipotle in adobo sauce)

¼ tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. onion powder

Dash of salt

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 450º.  Cut up the back of the chicken (butterfly or spatchcock).  Melt the butter in your baking pan (I prefer metal pans for roasting meats) and brush over all chicken surfaces.  Mix the spices in a small saucer or paper plate and sprinkle over the chicken.  Sprinkle with a dash of salt to facilitate browning.  Pop pan in the oven and in 15 minutes, take it out.  Using a brush, baste the chicken with the melted butter.  Return to the oven and bake at 450º for around 20 minutes.  Remove and lower heat to 350º.  Baste again with buttery pan juices and return to hot oven.  Bake an additional 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer stuck into the leg/thigh joint reads 180°-185º and breast reads internal temp of 175º.  Baste one last time with pan juices and serve with a nice guacamole or green salad and/or your favorite, low-carb vegetable(s).

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  I will provide the nutritional info for 1/10th of the basting marinade as I get 10 pieces of chicken from a whole bird.  Bear in mind the pan juices are not all consumed, but there is no other way to break this down as it is dependent upon how much of those you actually eat.  You will need to add in the info for the specific piece(s) of chicken eaten.

Will coat 8-10 pieces of chicken (1 whole chicken); One serving of spice mix contains: (does not include the particular pieces of chicken, since I can’t know which you will eat, co add meat values to these spice baste numbers)

46.3 cals, 5.1g fat, 0.31g carbs, 0.08g fiber, 0.23g NET CARBS (seasoning only), 0.07g protein, trace sodium

Artichoke Salad

Italian Artichoke Salad

We are very fond of salads, especially with grilled meats.  I’m digging out one of my older salad recipes to have with our grilled steaks tonight.  This low-carb, low-cal number is both tasty and filling.  It takes just minutes to make and I think your family will enjoy it!  You can use pitted calamata olives here if you prefer.  This is suitable for all phases of Atkins, Keto diets, and Primal-Paleo as well.

INGREDIENTS:

1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained

15 pitted black olives (or calamata olives)

1 Roma plum tomato, cut up into chunks (use 2 if they are pretty small)

5 fresh basil leaves, torn into several pieces

Dash of granulated garlic or minced dried onion

¼ tsp. your favorite Italian Seasonings (I use Victoria Gourmet’s Sicilian Seasoning)

Dash each salt and black pepper

1 T. a good balsamic vinaigrette

1 T. good quality extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS:  Open and drain the artichoke hearts.  Add them to a medium bowl. You can cut them in halves if you prefer (I did).  In a small dish, add the olive oil to the vinaigrette and stir.  Add the seasonings and stir once more.  Now add the cut-up tomato and olives to the artichokes.  Stir to mix.  Tear the basil leaves into small bits and add.   Add the vinaigrette mixture, toss lightly and chill for 1 hour.  Serve as a side salad or as an entree.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 4 side servings, each contains:  (if serving as an entree, serves 2 with double the numbers below in each)

101 cals, 7.8g fat, 7.6g carbs, 3.55g fat, 4.05g NET CARBS, 2.2g protein, 34 mg sodium (more if using calamata olives)

Blue Crab Stuffing

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This is the crab stuffing I’ve made for many years.   I developed this recipe to try to imitate the stuffed crab I ordered many times at Gaido’s seafood restaurant atop the seawall on Galveston Island, Texas where we lived for over 20 years.  This was one of my favorite dishes on their menu.  Bar none, the best stuffed crab I have ever eaten.  My take on it is fairly close, so I am still cooking this to this daay.  It’s easy to prepare and always at hit with dinner guests.  If you have access to fresh, picked crab meat, you’ve GOT to try this one!  This is also great used to stuff baked fish or stuffed mushrooms!  

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

Click to enlarge
 

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
As a dressing

Ranch Dip for Veggie Tray
As a Dip for Veggie Trays

I came up with a low-carb version of Ranch® Dressing for my husband, who just loves it on salads.  I think my version tastes even better than what is sold.

I’m personally not too fond of dill which is distinctly present in the commercially-sold Ranch® Buttermilk Dressing powder blend.  My husband, on the other hand, LOVES dill, thus the flexible amount of dill shown in the powder blend 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 other 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