Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pimento Cheese Burgers - Easy Low Carb

This evening I made Pimento Cheese Burgers for dinner. We had grilled uncured hot dogs with them. They were easy to make and I simply mixed in the basic ingredients found in pimento cheese and seasoned them with a bit of McCormick's Chipotle Roasted Garlic Seasoning and grilled them for about 5 minutes per side. They were simple and good. I snapped a couple photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. I've also included a small collection of side dishes that are perfect for cookout season (recipe links below photo collage). Enjoy!


Ground beef, mayonnaise, diced pimentos and shredded cheddar cheese
Sesame Seed Buns
Baked Zucchini Fries
Coleslaw
Yellow Cheddar Squash Casserole
Baked Cauli-roni & Cheese
White Cheddar Cauliflower Bake

Pimento Cheese Burgers

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons diced pimentos, drained
Chipotle seasoning, to taste

Directions:

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Divide and shape into 3 patties, about 3/4-inch thick. Make a slight indentation in the center to help keep the burgers level as they cook. Season with chipotle seasoning and grill on a hot grill for approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side or to desired doneness.

            

Friday, May 22, 2015

Low Carb Eating Out is Really Easier Than You Think!

This evening, hubby and I went out for a late dinner to kick off the long Memorial Day Weekend. We tried a place we had never been to before but had read that it served some of the best burgers and that they locally source their food (which is always a good thing).  

We enjoyed some of the best burgers ever, made using locally sourced grass fed beef. The burgers were topped with homemade pimento cheese, thick sliced bacon and pickled jalapeƱos. It was served alongside Brussels Sprouts & Red Pepper Slaw (to die for). It was an amazing meal. The slaw made with brussels sprouts was some of the best I've ever had. Hubby enjoyed his burger (but ate his on a bun) alongside bacon macaroni and cheese (just in case you were wondering if that little casserole dish was mine...it wasn't). LOL Check out a quick photo of my meal below. Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Grilled Chicken Topped w/ Skillet Style Imam Bayildi - Low Carb Turkish Cuisine

This evening I was in the mood for something different. I grew up eating a variety of different cuisines. One of my father's favorites was a Turkish eggplant dish called Imam Bayildi (translated to mean the priest fainted) which can be served as either an appetizer or as an accompaniment to a meal. In the traditional version, eggplant is stuffed with onions, tomatoes, garlic and other seasonings and simmered over low heat for a long period of time. It's usually served either at room temperature or chilled. The eggplant and veggies are cooked until they are melt in your mouth tender and sweet in a liberal amount of olive oil. It is absolutely delicious. Unfortunately, it is a dish that can take upwards of a couple of hours or more to prepare...and who really has time for that these days; I know I don't. Don't get me wrong, if you have the time, it is totally worth it. I decided to put my own spin on it where I captured all the flavors but with a much more realistic preparation time. I made my own version of Skillet Style Imam Bayildi that only takes about 30 to 35 minutes total from "skillet to table."

This evening, I used it as a side dish served on top of grilled boneless chicken breasts that I spritzed with olive oil and seasoned liberally with Turkish Seasoning (from Penzey's Spices). I let the Imam Bayildi cool to room temperature while the chicken was grilling. It turned out absolutely amazing to say the least. If you like ratatouille (which I do)...you will love this, too. It's simple, fresh and a perfect dish to use up your summer veggies. My simple recipe is below as well as a few photos of this delicious and gorgeous meal that captures the essence of summer from the grilled chicken to the bounty of summer veggies. The eggplants I used were so young and tender that they didn't have any seeds and were especially sweet. I also used the variety of fresh colorful tomatoes (red, orange, yellow, and purple) that I had on hand which made this dish particularly colorful. Enjoy!



I seasoned the chicken with olive oil and Turkish Seasoning


Skillet Style Imam Bayildi

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced (I used a sweet Vidalia onion)
4 small to medium eggplants, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes, divided (I used a mixture of roma and grape tomatoes)
2 teaspoons Swerve sweetener (or other sweetener equivalent to 2 teaspoons sugar)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet with lid. Add onions and cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add eggplant, garlic and 1 more tablespoon oil; cook, stirring frequently for a few minutes until lightly coated with oil. Add 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup water and cover skillet. Cook covered until eggplant is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Add remaining 1 cup diced tomatoes and sweetener. Season liberally with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil, parsley and lemon juice. Cook uncovered about 5 minutes until thickened and excess liquid has cooked off (it should not be watery). Allow to cool to room temperature before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

*Note: When I add eggplant to any dish, I usually remove every other strip of skin with a paring knife or vegetable peeler (it looks striped before I cut or dice it) to reduce the amount of skin by about half. You can choose to leave all of it if preferred.

     

Monday, May 18, 2015

Southwest Turkey Burgers - Easy & Delicious Low Carb

This evening I had originally planned to grill for dinner but since we had thunderstorms move through the area around dinner time, I scrapped that idea. Instead, I decided to put together quick and delicious Southwest Turkey Burgers that I just mixed together as I went along. I wanted to keep them simple but flavorful.

I had a big container of fresh Jack's Cantina Style Salsa in the fridge that I picked up at Costco recently, so I used that to help flavor the burgers with spices and keep them moist. I used ground turkey breast which I intentionally buy instead of the regular kind, but not because it doesn't have fat but simply because I prefer to pay for meat and then add fat back into the burgers instead (which keeps my burgers from shrinking as they cook). Since my theme this evening was "southwest", I added avocado oil to them to moisten the turkey breast and add healthy fats back into the burgers. To give them a slightly sweet and smoky flavor, I seasoned them with smoked paprika which adds a delicate smokiness without overpowering the mild flavored turkey. I added a touch of sea salt and then mixed in shredded cheddar cheese (I used a mixture of white and yellow sharp cheddar). Besides adding cheese flavor, it also acts as a binder and helps hold the burgers together without drying them out. These burgers turned out amazing! I served them topped with a dollop of salsa and sour cream and then scattered some multi-colored quartered fresh tomatoes on top. I served the burgeres alongside my Easy Coleslaw which is so good and unbelievably easy to make. The recipe for my burgers is below as well as a few photos. Enjoy!






Southwest Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey breast or chicken breast
2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil (plus extra for cooking)
1/4 cup fresh salsa
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (use pepper-jack cheese for spicier burgers)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Divide and shape into 4 patties. Cook in a 12-inch nonstick skillet greased with additional oil over medium-high heat for approximately 5 to 7 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through (juices should run clear). If desired, serve topped with salsa and sour cream.


        

Friday, May 15, 2015

12 Desserts to Help Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth - Low Carb & Gluten Free

With the upcoming summertime holidays approaching, along with cookouts and other gatherings, I thought I'd share a few more low carb dessert ideas. Links to the recipes are below each photo and clicking on them will take you to the recipe posts. I've been going back through my archives recently and realize that I had a lot more dessert recipes than I remembered. Most of them are very easy to make and some don't require any baking at all (which is always nice in the hot summer months). I hope you find some ideas to help make your get togethers a little bit sweeter. Enjoy!



Pumpkin-Walnut Spice Muffin (MIM)
Crispy Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
Key Lime Pie w/ Almond Coconut Crust
Brownie-Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt w/ Mini Fudge Balls
Fresh Berry Tart w/ Butter Pecan Cookie Crust

No Bake Cheesecake w/ Pecan Cinnamon Crust

Salted Chocolate Chia Bark










Chocolate Dipped Hazelnut Cookies
Lemon Coconut Blueberry Yogurt Pops
Apple Cinnamon Walnut Rolls (Strudel)

Rich & Creamy Pumpkin Custard Cups


    

Did Somebody Say DONUTS? - Make Your Weekends a Little Bit Sweeter

Here's a few ideas for breakfast or dessert. You don't need Dunkin Donuts...you simply need a donut pan and you'll be dunkin at home in no time! Check out these delicious donut ideas below. They are guaranteed to make your weekends just a little bit sweeter. The recipes are linked below each photo...simply click the link to get to the recipe. Enjoy!



Chocolate Glazed Pumpkin Spice Donuts
Cinnamon Maple Donuts w/ Butter Pecan Frosting

Maple Pecan Bagel-nuts

Carrot Cake Donuts w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

             
   

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Grilled Chipotle Chicken & Southwestern Style Skillet Squash

This evening I made a quick and easy meal since I had several errands to run after dinner. I had a package of chicken cutlets that I spritzed with olive oil and then seasoned with McCormick's Chipotle & Roasted Garlic Seasoning. The cutlets only take about 5 minutes total to grill since they are thinly sliced.

While hubby grilled the chicken, I made a quick and easy Southwestern Style Skillet Squash to go along with it. It only took me about 20 minutes to prepare which included slicing up the squash. It was a quick and easy way to transform plain summer squash into a delicious side dish that complemented the grilled chicken perfectly. By simply sauteing the sliced squash in a bit of oil (with absolutely no water added unless you like the sound of squash squeaking against your teeth while you chew), tossing in a few sliced green onions and a couple tablespoons of fresh salsa, then topping with shredded cheddar cheese, and broiling for a few minutes until bubbly...it transformed it into a tasty side dish that paired nicely with the grilled chipotle chicken. I love it when something so simple to make tastes so good. I snapped a quick photo below as well as included my easy peasy recipe for the squash. Enjoy!



Southwestern Style Skillet Squash

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 to 8 medium yellow summer squash, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 sliced green spring onions
2 tablespoons salsa
1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; add sliced squash and saute until tender-crisp, stirring frequently, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add sliced green onions and cook an additional 2 minutes; stir in salsa. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and run under a hot broiler for a few  minutes until hot and bubbly (or cover skillet until cheese melts).


         

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

9 Low Carb Ways to Get Your Chocolate Fix

I've put together some of my favorite ways to take care of my chocolate fix when I need one. All are low carb, grain and gluten free and contain no added sugar. I've also included a link to take you to the recipe underneath each larger photo (simply click on the caption). I have many more chocolate recipes on my blog but thought I'd share a few favorites for some of my new followers who haven't had a chance to go back through all of my archives (I currently have 1,111 posts on my blog, most containing recipes). I have a hard time keeping track of all the recipes I've posted...and I actually wrote them! LOL Enjoy!



Brownie Bites
Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tartlets

Magical Cookie Bars

Bulletproof Fudgy Brownies

Best Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Pecan Truffles - No Bake

Chocolate Coconut Pecan Bark

         

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Beef Fajita Salad & Spicy Avocado Dressing

This evening I made big Beef Fajita Salads for dinner using the skirt steak I picked up at Costco this weekend. I usually like to marinate my beef overnight to tenderize and infuse it with flavor, but marinated it for a little over an hour this evening and it still turned out great (in other words, I forgot to marinate it overnight). While it was marinating, I sliced up some Vidalia onion, and red, yellow and orange bell peppers and sauteed them in a bit of olive oil until tender crisp. I considered making my grain free tortillas to wrap around my beef fajita filling, but instead decided to enjoy it over a big fresh salad since I had a huge container of organic baby spring mix in the fridge. I piled my spring mix on a big plate and then topped it with my Chipotle Lime Marinated Beef Fajitas. It was so good. It's funny, a year ago I would have probably made the tortillas but find that the longer I am grain free, the less I feel the need to do so...partly because I know I can if I want to. It really is partly a mind game and feeling like you "can't" have something like that makes you want it more...but once you know you can, somehow you relax and don't feel the need to duplicate everything any more. It's liberating.

I decided to whiz together a quick and easy salad dressing using avocado as the base. I've included the easy peasy recipe below that can easily be tweaked to suit your own taste. I snapped a few photos of my delicious meal below. The recipe for the beef fajita marinade can be found here, as well as the recipe for my grain free tortillas: Chipotle Lime Marinated Beef Fajitas. Enjoy!






Spicy Avocado Dressing

Ingredients:

1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and seeded
Juice of 1/2 lime
Sea salt, to taste (I used about 1/4 teaspoon)
Pinch ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh salsa, divided

Directions:

In a small blender or food processor (I used my Magic Bullet), puree avocado, lime juice, sea salt, chipotle, oil and 1/4 cup salsa until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons salsa. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a thinner dressing is desired, add additional oil or salsa.

         

Monday, May 11, 2015

Impossibly Easy Beef, Kale & Cheddar Pie - Low Carb One-Dish Meal

This evening I decided to make another Impossibly Easy Pie (my grain free version of the old Bisquick Impossible Pies). By making one of those this evening, it will provide me with a quick and easy lunch for the remainder of the week, which is always a good thing!

This evening I decided to use the pound of ground sirloin and fresh baby kale that I had in the fridge to make Impossibly Easy Beef, Kale & Cheddar Pie. It is so easy to make. I simply browned the ground beef with onion, garlic, salt and pepper and then tossed in fresh baby kale and cooked it until wilted. I also added in some organic oven roasted tomatoes packed in oil that I get at Costco. Instead of using those, you could substitute about half the amount of sun dried tomatoes packed in oil instead. It has shredded cheddar cheese and then my batter mixture poured on top. I used a fork to poke holes in a number of different spots to allow the batter to seep down through the beef mixture so it wouldn't all stay on the top as it baked. After it was almost done cooking, I added a bit more shredded cheese on top for the last 5 minutes or so of cooking. If you wanted to make it even more quick to put together on a weeknight, you could precook your beef and kale mixture and then simply place it in the pie dish along with the cheese, whisk the quick batter together, pour and bake. It's an entire meal all in one. For dessert we enjoyed my Panna Cotta topped with fresh blueberries...it was a superfood dinner and dessert fiesta. Enjoy!








Panna Cotta topped w/ fresh blueberries for dessert!

Impossibly Easy Beef, Kale & Cheddar Pie

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef (I used ground sirloin)
3 sliced green spring onions
1 large clove garlic, minced3/4 to 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
5 ounces fresh baby kale
1/4 cup oven roasted tomatoes packed in oil (or 2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes packed in oil)1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3 large eggs
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup half-and-half or milk
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup blanched almond flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray or grease a 10-inch deep dish pie plate and set aside.

Brown ground beef over medium high heat until no pink remains; add sliced green onions and garlic; cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Generously season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add baby kale and cook until kale is wilted and softened, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and remove from heat. Spoon beef into pie dish and spread out evenly. Top with 1 cup shredded cheese.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs with ricotta until creamy. Add half-and-half, baking powder, and almond flour, whisking together until smooth. Evenly pour mixture over beef mixture. Using a fork, gently wiggle fork back and forth in several places to allow batter to work its way down through beef mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese; bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until done and cheese is bubbly. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.

*Note: Make sure all juices are cooked off before placing beef and kale mixture into pie dish to prevent pie from becoming too wet.