Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Easy Grilled Chipotle Chicken & New Dessert Alert Coming Tomorrow!

This evening I had planned to make a different kind of burger recipe for dinner. I had all my seasonings out and was ready to go...that is, until I opened my package of ground beef. I have 2 things to say about it. P...U!!! As in ewwww, stinky-poo. LOL Even though the date on the package said "okay"...the smell screamed no, no, noooooo. So, my ground beef got tossed and I switched to "plan B."

Fortunately, I had a couple packages of chicken in the fridge...I had boneless chicken breasts and boneless thighs. I decided to make something quick using the thighs. I just spritzed them with olive oil and seasoned them with McCormick's new Chipotle Seasoning w/ Roasted Garlic and tossed them onto the grill for about 10 to 12 minutes. While they were cooking, I steamed some fresh broccoli and placed a skillet on the grill with fresh sliced mushrooms along with some Kerrygold Garlic & Herb Butter to cook them in. I had hoped to pile those sliced mushrooms onto the burger I planned to make, but instead just served them alongside my grilled chicken and broccoli. I only snapped one photo this evening because I was finishing up my new dessert project that will be posted tomorrow.

So...stay tuned for tomorrow's dessert alert. It's a good one...trust me on this (there's chocolate involved). I actually impressed myself with this one, which I don't do too often...LOL. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my new dessert recipe. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Simple Chicken Salad w/ Roasted Hazelnuts

This evening we had a quick and simple dinner. I made chicken salad. I love lots of crunchy things in my chicken salad but hubby isn't wild about crunchy things (well, not in the form of crunchy vegetables like celery and onion). He typically just likes chicken, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. So, tonight we compromised a little. Yesterday I roasted and skinned some hazelnuts...so I decided to make chicken salad with roasted hazelnuts. I love them...they have such a deep and distinct flavor unlike any other nut. They were absolutely delicious added to the chicken salad. It simply consisted of diced chicken breast, mayonnaise, pink Himalayan sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and chopped roasted hazelnuts. I piled it into little artisan romaine lettuce leaves. It was simple and different because of the hazelnuts. I snapped a couple photos below. Enjoy!



Sunday, August 24, 2014

White Chicken Enchilada Casserole - Low Carb, Grain Free & Out of this World Good!

Today was a busy day. We started at Einsteins Bros Bagels for breakfast (I brought my own "power bagel"). Then we headed to Costco, Sprouts, Sam's Club and Publix...oh, we went to Kroger too! LOL By the time we got back home this afternoon I felt like I had been around the world and back! When I got everything put away, I immediately began working on a project that will be debuted later this week. Since I had dinner with one son Friday night, only one of them came for dinner this evening. I made one of his favorites, my Chicken Enchilada Casserole. I'm watching the VMA Awards with him until 11:30 tonight so I'm just posting one photo. If you haven't tried this casserole before...put this one on your list of things to try. It is awesome and I swear you will feel like you are cheating. Every time I eat this I can't believe there is no wheat. It couldn't be any better if there was! If you make it, don't fret because you think the sauce looks thin when you pour it over your enchiladas before popping it in the oven. It thickens up beautifully when you let it cool a little after pulling it out of the oven. My meals today consisted of a "power bagel" for breakfast, which lasted me until dinner this evening. I had this awesome Chicken Enchilada Casserole for dinner with a side of steamed, buttered fresh broccoli and I'm about to have a little bowl of my Brownie, Chocolate Chip & Fudge Ball Frozen Yogurt. How does THAT sound for a low carb kind of day? Just so you know..."this chick doesn't want for anything!" ;-) Here' the link for the recipe: Chicken Enchilada Casserole. Enjoy! 



My breakfast "before schmear"
"After schmear"

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Grain-Free Power Bagels - Chocked Full of Seeds, Nuts & Fruits

This morning I slept in for a change. When I opened my eyes, I immediately started thinking about one of my old weekend favorites...Einstein Bros "Power Bagels." Hubby and I used to go once a week (on either Saturday or Sunday) for breakfast to Einsteins. I always got the exact same thing...a "power bagel" with cream cheese and coffee. For those of you that have never had one or don't know what they are...they are supposed to be a "healthier" bagel. They are very lightly sweetened with the addition of dried fruit, seeds and nuts and rather than being shaped like a traditional round bagel with a hole in the middle, they are shaped like tiny little loaves of bread and have a heartier texture. I felt so sad when I actually looked recently at the ingredients and wondered how I once thought these were actually healthy! I guess it's all relative though. Maybe they are healthier compared to a worse choice? LOL

Check out "their healthy ingredients"...
Einstein Bros Power Bagel: Enriched bleached flour (wheat flour, malt barley flour, niacin, reduced thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, raisins, rye flakes, dried cranberries (sugar, cranberries, sunflower oil), sunflower seeds, honey, high fructose corn syrup, walnuts, yeast, wheat gluten, whole wheat flour, rye meal, salt, rye flour, cinnamon, sesame seeds, oatmeal, corn meal, barley flakes, millet, molasses, malt, sugar, diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides (DATEM), ascorbic acid, soy oil, mono and diglycerides, lactic acid, acetic acid, enzyme, malt barley flour, L. Systeine (an amino acid), Egg wash (eggs, water), Allergens: Wheat, Tree Nuts, Soy, Egg.

Lord have mercy...I got exhausted just TYPING those ingredients...and to think THAT is supposed to be healthy? Seriously...to sweeten them they add honey AND HFCS...WHY??? Nothing that has HFCS in it could ever be considered healthy. Wow...we have been SO lied to for far too long! I don't even know what half of those ingredients are, nor can I pronounce them. If I were to say them out loud, people would think I was speaking a different language. 

Well, no worries...I took care of that by recreating my own "Power Bagels". Mine are round instead of rectangular, and like theirs, are without holes (leaving more bread to spread).

Take a look at the list of ingredients in MY power bagels...
Blanched almond flour, organic coconut flour, ground chia seeds, baking powder (no aluminum), baking soda, organic non GMO dried and unsulfured fruit and seeds (tart cherries, blueberries, goji berries, cranberries, raisins, pepita seeds, apple juice), walnuts, cinnamon, sea salt, Swerve natural sweetener, organic eggs, buttermilk, vanilla extract, organic coconut oil, apple cider vinegar.

These power bagels turned out great and contain just a subtle hint of sweetness, mostly from the dried fruit. There is only 1/4 cup of dried fruit in 6 large bagels. If you want to make them a bit sweeter, you can increase the sweetness a bit with some stevia so it doesn't affect the volume or texture. I enjoyed my first bagel warm out of the oven with a schmear of cream cheese. I look forward to slipping one into my purse and taking it with me to Einsteins soon where I can finally eat a true "healthy power bagel" for a change! 

I snapped a few photos below as well as my easy recipe. I found the "antioxidant fusion" blend of dried fruit and pepita seeds at Costco (made by "Made in Nature"). It's also available on Amazon and probably at other stores like Whole Foods, etc. If you can't find it or don't have this particular fruit mixture available, you can substitute other dried fruits and seeds in their place. Dried fruits are higher in sugar and carbohydrates because they are concentrated, so if you are watching your carb and sugar intake, like I am, they should be eaten and used sparingly. I only used 1/4 cup of them for the entire recipe (6 generous servings). If you wanted to, you could easily make smaller bagels. If you make 6 large Power Bagels like I did, the carb count is approximately 10 net carbs each (slightly less). Depending on what you spread your bagel with will add an additional 0 carbs if you use butter, or less than 1 carb if you add 2 ounces cream cheese. This is well within my 15 net carb allowance per meal. When I eat one of these, it IS my meal and actually holds me through the second meal (lunch) which I usually skip on weekends.  This recipe would also make 8 nice sized bagels, too, if you were looking to reduce the carbs even further. Check out the recipe and photos below. Enjoy!




Dough is divided and scooped into wells
Dough is smoothed with moistened fingertips before baking
Fresh out of the oven
Cooling on a rack
This is the pan I use for these



Friday, August 22, 2014

Brownie, Chocolate Chip & Mini Fudge Ball Frozen Yogurt - A Low Carb Chocolate Lover's Fantasy

Last night I made a double batch of my Frozen Vanilla Greek Yogurt. I absolutely LOVE this frozen yogurt treat. It doesn't require an ice cream maker or any special pop molds, although if you have molds, you can easily fill them with this mixture to make Frozen Yogurt Pops. I actually have a nice Cuisinart ice cream/frozen yogurt maker and 2 different sets of pop molds...but I like this easy peasy version best. The only thing you need is a bowl and a rubber spatula (well, a measuring cup and spoon would be helpful too)!

I mix the frozen yogurt recipe together and then place it in a bowl in my freezer and stir it every 30 minutes or so until it begins firming up. I just set my timer and go about whatever I'm doing at home and use a rubber spatula (that I keep in the bowl in the freezer) to stir it around a bit until almost frozen. When it is the consistency of soft serve ice cream, I stir in whatever add-ins I'm using.

I made Brownie, Chocolate Chip & Mini Fudge Ball Frozen Yogurt with this batch of frozen yogurt. 



I diced up the last two Bulletproof Fudgy Brownies I had leftover. I stirred the brownie chunks into the yogurt along with a few tablespoons of dark chocolate chips (about an ounce or two of chopped dark chocolate bar) and the "piece de rĂ©sistance"...miniature Chocolate Hazelnut Espresso Fudge Balls! Yes...you read it right...mini FUDGE BALLS!!! 


I used Kolat Hazelnut Espresso Almond Butter that I picked up at Sprouts last weekend...but the truth is you can use plain almond butter or peanut butter instead. I "chocolatized" and sweetened the nut butter and rolled it into little miniature "fudge balls". I can't tell you how delicious these little fudge balls were in the frozen yogurt. 









The yogurt was studded with chunks of fudgy hazelnut brownies, crunchy dark chocolate "chips" and dense, rich little balls of chocolate hazelnut espresso fudge. All I can say is...oooh LAH LAH...amazing fudge balls. Leftover chocolate chip cookies would also be great broken up in this simple frozen yogurt, too. The recipe for the simple frozen yogurt is here: Frozen Vanilla Greek Yogurt. The recipe for the fudgy brownies is here: Bulletproof Fudgy Brownies. You can find the easy recipe for Mini Chocolate Fudge Balls below. Enjoy!


The only ice cream maker required!



Mini Fudge Balls (Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt Add-ins)

Ingredients:

1/4 to 1/3 cup almond butter or peanut butter (I used Kolat Hazelnut Espresso Almond Butter)
1/4 cup PLUS 1 tablespoon Swerve Confectioners sweetener, or to taste
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (slightly rounded)
1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia, or to taste

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix nut butter, confectioners sweetener and cocoa powder together with a rubber spatula until a stiff mixture is formed. Stir in liquid stevia, to taste. Mix well until the mixture pulls together into a tight, glossy ball. taste for sweetness and adjust as necessary. If adding the fudge to frozen yogurt or ice cream, slightly over sweeten because freezing blunts the sweetness. Use a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to scoop and roll into small balls with the palms of your hands. Place on a parchment paper lined pan about 1/4 inch apart and freeze until solid. Fold into soft frozen yogurt or ice cream and freeze. 

*Note: The confectioners sweetener and cocoa powder help pull the nut butter into a stiff dough. Use liquid stevia to increase the sweetness of dough so it remains pliable and doesn't get too dry. If desired, add 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder to plain nut butter/cocoa mixture. If you want to sweeten with stevia and add hazelnut flavor at the same time, you can use hazelnut flavored stevia.




        

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Roasted Macadamia Brussels Sprouts - Cooked on the Grill

Today was an extremely hot day here -- it was 93 degrees at 4:00 and the humidity was awful. It was one of those "dog days of summer" for sure. We had a very simple dinner this evening since it was so hot. Hubby picked up a rotisserie chicken on his way home from work and I made Roasted Macadamia Brussels Sprouts to go with it. To keep the house cool, I roasted the sprouts in my cast iron skillet on the grill outside rather than turn the oven on. 

I added a couple tablespoons of coconut oil to my cast iron skillet and placed it on the grill over medium heat. I added about 1/4 cup of diced onion to the skillet to start cooking while I halved and trimmed the sprouts. To hasten the cooking time for the sprouts, I placed them in a covered glass casserole with a couple tablespoons of water and very lightly steamed them for about 3 or 4 minutes. I transferred the lightly steamed sprouts to the cast iron skillet along with the onions. I covered the grill and stirred them about every 5 minutes or so for about 15 minutes until they were nice and caramelized. While the sprouts were cooking, I halved about 1/4 cup of roasted macadamia nuts and tossed them into the sprouts during the last 5 minutes of cooking so they would lightly roast as well. I seasoned the sprouts with some sea salt. I served the chicken on top of a bed of the Roasted Macadamia Brussels Sprouts. It was quick, easy and simple and the most important thing was it kept the house nice and cool! I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!



Brussels sprouts roasted with onions and macadamia nuts in coconut oil

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Moussaka Pizza - My Big Fat Greek Meatza Pizza

It was a hot and humid day here today. While driving home from work, thoughts of what to fix for dinner were running through my head. I knew that I had a bag of baby eggplants in the fridge that I picked up this weekend at Costco. I also had several packages of their organic ground beef. Initially, my Mini Stuffed Moussaka Boats came to mind. But, I was sort of in the mood for pizza, too. As the debate between moussaka and pizza went back and forth in my head...as I pulled into the driveway, I had the answer...BOTH! Yup...I would find a way to have moussaka AND pizza! LOL


I began my concoction (recipe) by thinly slicing a couple of the baby eggplants and lightly salting them on both sides and placing them between paper towels to wick out some of the moisture. After all, I didn't want soggy pizza. I let them sit for about 10 minutes or so, then lightly sprayed them with olive oil and grilled them for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. 


I browned about one pound of ground beef and about 1/2 cup of finely diced onion in a little olive oil. I seasoned it liberally with sea salt and pepper and then added about 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, couple dashes of allspice and a couple tablespoons of torn fresh flat leaf parsley to give the meat mixture a "moussaka-like" flavor. Moussaka usually has some tomato added to the meat mixture but not enough to make a tomato sauce. It's simply there for flavor, not sauce. I decided to use organic oven roasted Roma tomatoes in oil that I buy at Costco. They are loaded with deep tomato flavor and they wouldn't make the meat saucy and wet. I added a few heaping tablespoons of them to the meat mixture. 


For the crust, I made a double batch of my Grain-Free Pizza Crust and spread it in a rectangular shape on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 


I popped it in the oven to bake. While the pizza crust was baking, I mixed together my "grain-free bechamel sauce" that I use when I make my traditional moussaka. I made a half batch of the sauce.

To assemble my Moussaka Pizza, I topped the baked crust with about 8 to 10 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese; then added the seasoned meat and tomato mixture; then topped it with the sliced grilled eggplant; and ended with teaspoon-sized dollops of my bechamel sauce (ricotta, Parmesan, egg, and dash of nutmeg). 

Before baking
I baked it until the bechamel sauce was light golden and cooked. I topped the cooked pizza with a few more chunks of the oven roasted tomatoes in oil and some freshly torn flat leaf parsley, along with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 


It was absolutely delicious! It tasted just like moussaka but on a crisp pizza crust that you could pick up and eat with you hands. 


If you'd like to create this unique pizza, here is the recipe for my stuffed moussaka boats where you can get the recipe for the bechamel sauce (that I halved the recipe for on this pizza) as well as get an idea of the seasonings used in the meat filling: Mini Stuffed Moussaka Boats. My recipe for the pizza crust (that I doubled the recipe for on this pizza) is here: Grain-Free Pizza Crust. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!




   

Monday, August 18, 2014

Breakfast for Dinner - Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Toast & Buttermilk Berry Pancakes

This evening I was in the mood to have "breakfast for dinner". I haven't made it for a long time now and it was definitely overdue. I had leftover No-Flip Buttermilk Berry Pancakes in the fridge as well as a couple loaves of my grain-free bread (both the "with flax" and "without flax" versions). I sliced a wedge of pancake and reheated it briefly in the microwave and then sliced a piece of bread and popped it into the toaster. All that was left for me to do was cook a couple scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and heat up Applegate Chicken & Apple sausage patties. I had dinner on the table in less than 10 minutes! I enjoyed it along with a cup of coffee. It was quick, simple and a perfect meal for this stormy Monday night. I snapped a few quick photos before the sky opened up and it began to pour down rain, thunder and lightening. Enjoy!








         

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Grilled Zucchini Lasagna - Low Carb and Grain Free

This evening I decided to make Grilled Zucchini Lasagna for dinner since I had a bunch in the fridge that needed to be used. You can layer the lasagna any way you prefer, use whatever kind of cheeses that you like best and make as many layers as your baking dish will allow without bubbling over. Zucchini typically contains a lot of liquid so I decided to lightly salt my thinly sliced zucchini to draw out some of the excess fluid. It's not necessary to do that step, but it helps keep it from getting too juicy as it cooks. Grilling the zucchini also helps dry it out a bit as well. I absolutely love lasagna made with either eggplant or zucchini...especially in the summertime when it's plentiful. Rather than use ground beef this time, I used some bulk hot Italian chicken sausage that I picked up at Sprouts. I paired the spicy sausage with DelGrosso's spicy Fireworks sauce. I added some diced onion and red bell peppers to the sausage as it was browning. It was nice and spicy without being overly spicy. I served the lasagna with my Cheese Filled Dinner Rolls which were nice to use to dab up the extra sauce. Both boys came for dinner and they enjoyed it too. I snapped a few photos below as well as included the recipe. The most important thing (other than not using too much sauce) is to allow the lasagna to sit for a bit after it comes out of the oven before serving it so the cheeses don't run out when you cut it. It actually serves more nicely the second night. Enjoy!



Salted, excess liquid blotted and ready to grill