Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Baby Kale & Sausage Frittata - Easy Low Carb

This evening I was exhausted when I got home. I'm still trying to fight whatever virus/bug I've got. I wasn't sure what to fix for dinner but I knew it was going to have to be quick and simple to prepare. I opened up the fridge and just stared into it hoping that an idea would jump out at me. Then it happened...the container of baby kale reminded me (via a "best when used by" date) that today was the day I should use it. So then the rest pretty much just unfolded. I had an open package of little hickory smoked beef smokies on the shelf beside the kale. Then I spotted an open package of 6-cheese Italian blend shredded cheese...and to the right of them was 2 dozen organic eggs. It was as if my fridge was telling me to make a baby kale and sausage frittata! LOL

I sliced and browned the sausages along with a couple of sliced green onions and transferred them to a small bowl. I lightly sauteed the baby kale in the same skillet, just until wilted. While that was going on, I whisked the eggs, cream and shredded cheese together and then added in some diced pimentos that I had leftover from a pimento cheese ball I made over the holidays. I chopped the sauteed baby kale and stirred the sausage and kale into the egg mixture and poured it into my greased 8-inch cast iron skillet. I popped it into a 375 degree oven and about 30 minutes later I had a beautiful puffy golden brown frittata. I snapped a few photos below and included my easy peasy recipe. You can swap out the ingredients and make it your own. Use whatever sausage or ground meat you have on hand...just brown it up nicely to add flavor. Add your favorite cheese...cheddar, pepper-jack, swiss, gouda, etc. Don't like baby kale; add baby spinach. Don't like baby spinach; add broccoli. Don't like broccoli...don't add broccoli. LOL You get the picture! Enjoy!









Baby Kale & Sausage Frittata

Ingredients:

6 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded 6-blend Italian cheese (or favorite cheese)
2 tablespoons diced pimentos (or red bell pepper)
1 cup of browned sausage (I used gluten free natural hickory smoked beef smokies)
2 sliced green onions
5 ounces baby kale, lightly sauteed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch cast iron or other nonstick ovenproof skillet.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and cream together. Stir in cheese, pimentos, cooked sausage, green onions, and kale. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into greased skillet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until puffed and light golden brown. 

  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Artisan Cheese Bread - Low Carb & Grain Free

This evening I used the ball of dough leftover from the Deep Dish Pizza I made last night. I had about 1 cup of the dough left that I refrigerated overnight. This evening I added about 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese and about 1/4 cup of additional mozzarella to the dough and worked it in to make it easier to handle and roll into ropes. I divided the ball of dough into thirds and rolled each third out into a "rope" between the palms of my hands and then rolling back and forth on parchment paper until approximately 12 inches long and 3/4-inch in diameter. I placed the 3 dough ropes side by side on a baking sheet and braided them together, then brushed the braided loaf with a bit of egg wash (egg whisked with a tablespoon of heavy cream) and baked at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes until brown. After the loaf cooled, I sliced and buttered it and enjoyed it alongside a bowl of leftover creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup. It was the perfect easy comfort meal for what was a very long day today. Enjoy!


Dough is rolled into ropes and braided, ready to be brushed with egg wash
Fresh out of thee oven...nice and golden brown
     

Monday, January 26, 2015

Deep Dish Pizza Sticks - Low Carb, Grain & Gluten-Free

This evening I made pizza sticks for dinner using my "Chicago Style" Deep Dish Pizza Crust. Rather than use my cast iron skillet like I usually do, I decided to make "pizza sticks" using it by baking the pizza in my USA Pan biscotti pan instead! It turned out beautiful! So, if you already have a biscotti pan or you are considering getting one, here's another way you can use it. Regardless, I don't think it's possible to go wrong with any USA Pan. They truly are the best pans ever.

This dough is simple to mix together and after pre-baking the crust, I topped it with pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, Fiorucci pepperoni, sauteed yellow peppers and onions. It came out of the pan so nicely and after setting for a bit, I cut it crosswise into pizza sticks. This would make an awesome appetizer for your Superbowl party this coming weekend. You could put your own favorite toppings on it. I think it would be great with spicy sausage and pepperoni. I only used about 2/3 of the dough in my biscotti pan and patted it down to about 1/2-inch thick (it rises to about 1-inch thick when baked). I'll make something else with the rest of the leftover dough that I refrigerated. I snapped a few photos below. The recipe for my deep dish pizza crust can be found here: Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza. Enjoy!









       

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup - Luscious Low Carb

This weekend, I've been a bit off the grid since I haven't been feeling well. I've got some sort of upper respiratory/sinus thing coupled with an eye infection. I felt so bad yesterday that I just had yogurt for dinner last night. This evening, I decided I needed to have something a bit more substantial and comforting to eat since the meds they put me on make my stomach feel yucky. 

Whatever I made was going to have to be easy. I decided hubby would assist me in making one of my easy soup recipes for dinner. He helped me prepare my creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup. He ran to the store and picked up a rotisserie chicken, some salsa, sour cream and green onions that I needed. He shredded the sharp white cheddar cheese for me so the only work I needed to do was to mix things together and heat them. It's a quick and easy soup to make and the flavors and light creamy texture provided the comfort that I needed. I topped the bowls of soup with shredded sharp white cheddar (Cabot), salsa, green onions and a little pickled jalapeno. I really love this soup, both because its tasty and because it is so simple to prepare. I snapped a few photos below. You can find the recipe by clicking here: Chicken Enchilada Soup. Enjoy!








  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chocolate Chip Biscotti - Low Carb & Grain Free

Today I'm doing another guest post for Honeyville and sharing my recipe for Chocolate Chip Biscotti. I absolutely LOVE these biscotti. Before going grain free, my favorite kind of biscotti was DeLallo's cranberry and pistachio version. I have thought about making biscotti for a while, but was finally nudged to do so after one of my sons gave me a biscotti pan (by USA Pan) for Christmas a few weeks ago. I decided the time to make them was NOW. I first considered making the cranberry pistachio version like I used to eat, but decided to go with something that might appeal to a wider audience...so I went with chocolate chip biscotti instead. And also because...who doesn't love chocolate???

These biscotti turned out delicious and beautiful. I was surprised at how easy they were to make. Even though I used a biscotti pan to make mine, don't feel like you need to have a special pan to make yours because a simple cookie sheet will work just fine (although I won't lie, I really do love my pan)! For those of you that have never had biscotti before, they are essentially a dry, crisp, twice baked cookie that originated in Italy. These "not too sweet" cookies (or biscuits as they are sometimes referred to) are baked the first time as a loaf, then sliced and baked the second time until they become dry and toasty. They're usually enjoyed dunked into coffee. The original biscotti I used to eat contained 18 grams of carbs and 10 grams of sugar each. My grain free version made with Honeyville's blanched almond flour and sweetened with Swerve only contain 3.7 net carbs and 1.8 grams of sugar each. To get my recipe, click here: Chocolate Chip Biscotti. I've posted some photos of these beauties below. Enjoy!








Dunking beauties!
      

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stir-Fried Sausage & Sprouts - NEW RECIPE ALERT Coming Tomorrow!

This evening, I'm not feeling quite up to par (nothing serious, just congested, coughing and oh...lets not forget my "deep manly voice"...LOL), so I wanted to make something quick and easy for dinner. I made one of my favorite easy meals, Stir-Fried Sausage & Sprouts. Most of the time it simply consists of sliced Aidell's smoked chicken sausage and brussels sprouts along with a bit of butter that I stir-fry in either a wok or large skillet. How is THAT for simple? 

Honestly, you can make this dish in about 15 minutes and you can use your own favorite kind of sausage instead. My favorite combination is using Aidell's Chicken & Apple Sausage but I also sometimes use their spicier Habanero and Pepper Jack Sausage. This evening I went with their Chicken & Apple. Since I had a partial small head of red cabbage in the fridge, I sliced it up and tossed it into the stir-fry as well. I love this dish...both because it's easy and despite it's minimal ingredients, it's really good, too. I snapped a quick photo for you to see below. Also, be on the lookout tomorrow for my NEW recipe post! You are going to love this one! I've been enjoying it for several days now...you know, taste testing it to make sure it's good enough! LOL For tonight's easy peasy recipe...click here: Sausage & Sprouts. For the longest rendition EVER written about brussels sprouts (by moi), click here (what was I thinking???): Sprouts Rendition. Enjoy!


   

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie (Crustless) - Quick Low Carb

This evening I made my crustless version of Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie. While I prefer the version with crust, this version is a bit of a compromise because I add a bit of almond flour to the pie which makes it very similar to the old Bisquick type of "Impossible Pies." It makes it just a little more substantial and saves the extra time of making a separate crust. If you don't have or want to add the almond flour, it is perfectly okay to leave it out. This pie only takes about 35 minutes or so to bake which is nice on a work night. After I pulled it out of the oven, hubby and I went for a brisk walk and the pie was here warm and waiting for us when we got done. I snapped a couple of quick photos below. The recipe can be found here: Crustless Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie. Enjoy!




   

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Low Carb Lemon-Berry Juice - Refreshing & Packed w/ Antioxidants

Today I tried something new...I tried "juicing" for the very first time. One of my absolute favorite places in the world, Williams-Sonoma, invited me to participate in their "Juice Week", so naturally I was thrilled to participate (meaning I said yes)! Well, there might have been a little happy dance involved as well! Their theme is "Not Your Average Juice" which was THE perfect theme for me to partake in since I am a low carb, "no added sugar" foodie and juicing is something that I haven't experimented much with since many juices can be higher in carbs and sugars. So today, I was anxious to see if I could come up with a delicious, refreshing, low carb juice. I wanted it to be both healthy and delicious. 

Ironically, it just so happens that a few months ago I happened to have purchased a Vitamix blender from Williams-Sonoma. Believe it or not, until today, I had not actually used it (what's wrong with me?!?!)! So, it was only fitting that my Vitamix's "maiden voyage" was taken by participating in Williams-Sonoma's "Juice Week"! In addition to carrying the Vitamix blender like I purchased, Williams-Sonoma also carries a great selection of other juicer options as well. 

This juice was so simple to make and absolutely amazing! I really enjoyed using my Vitamix so much that I actually feel rather stupid for not trying it out sooner. It was actually fun to use! My version has a pre-programmed clean cycle which made cleaning it a breeze (it basically cleans itself). I used another pre-programmed "juicing" cycle to make my juice. My Lemon-Berry Juice consists of frozen wild blueberries, fresh cranberries, fresh lemon (pulp included), water, ice and a simple syrup made with stevia. It was just amazing, plain and simple. I snapped some photos below as well as included my easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!



Ingredients have been added
Blending has begun
Juicing away
Ta-da!



BEST. JUICE. EVER!
Lemon-Berry Juice

Ingredients:

1 cup of chilled water
1/2 cup ice
1/2 lemon, peeled and cut into chunks (remove seeds)
1/4 cup frozen organic wild blueberries (I used Wyman's of Maine)
1/4 cup fresh cranberries (I used about 1 dozen)
Sweetener, to taste (I used 1 teaspoon NuStevia Simple Syrup)

Directions:

In a blender, add water, ice, lemon, blueberries, cranberries and sweetener. Cover and blend at high speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth.  

*Note: If desired, 1 teaspoon of chia seeds can be added before blending. Approximately 7 grams net carbs and 5.5 grams sugar.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Quick & Easy Chicken Stir-Fry - Low Carb "Take-in"

This evening I made a quick and easy chicken stir-fry for dinner. It was delicious. I had several packages of boneless chicken breasts in the fridge and several crowns of fresh broccoli and a big orange bell pepper so it was practically calling my name. It also gave me another excuse to use my new wok again that my son gave me for Christmas!

I like to use nut butters to thicken my stir-fry sauces; either cashew butter or peanut butter. Cashew butter is the most mild and acts as a thickening agent without adding any nut flavor to speak of. Peanut butter also acts as a thickening agent but adds a delicious peanut flavor. It's actually great to use when making Kung Pao Chicken. I used cashew butter in tonight's stir-fry. I use chicken broth as the base for the sauce along with garlic, chili garlic sauce and Tamari sauce for flavor. Nut butter is a great substitute for the cornstarch typically used to thicken stir-fry sauces. I stumbled upon using nut butter as a thickener one night, shortly after going grain free, on a whim just to see what it would do. What it did was nothing short of amazing! I've been using it ever since. I've also used almond butter before, but prefer either cashew or peanut butter. I snapped a few photos below as well as included my easy peasy recipe. If you miss Chinese food, this is a great alternative to the regular version that contains cornstarch. You can swap out your favorite veggies or make a beef or shrimp stir-fry the same way, too. Enjoy!


Chicken is stir-fried until cooked and opaque
Garlic, green onion and bell pepper added
Sauce has been made
Broccoli added; topped with peanuts and red pepper flakes

Quick & Easy Chicken Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1-1/2 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cloves minced garlic
1 sliced green onion
1/2 bell pepper, diced (red, green, yellow or orange)
2 to 3 tablespoons cashew butter (or peanut butter)
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, optional
1 tablespoon organic gluten-free Tamari sauce, or to taste
1 cup chicken stock (added 1/4 cup at a time to desired sauce consistency)
2 to 3 cups lightly steamed broccoli florets
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1/4 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts or almonds

Directions:

Heat oil in wok over medium high heat until hot. Add chicken and stir fry until opaque, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, green onion and bell pepper and stir-fry about 2 to 3 minutes. Push chicken and veggies toward the outed edges of wok, making a well in the center. Add cashew butter and stir until melted. Add chili garlic sauce and Tamari and combine everything together until coated. Stir in chicken stock, about 1/4 cup at a time, until desired thickness and consistency of sauce. Add broccoli and stir until evenly coated. Season with red pepper flakes, if desired. Top with roasted peanuts and serve.

        

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Easy Main Dish Salads w/ Chipotle Grilled Chicken

This evening we had big salads for dinner topped with chipotle seasoned grilled chicken cutlets. I whisked together my favorite Cranberry Chipotle Vinaigrette to top my salad with. It is one of my most favorite salad dressings. It consists of avocado oil, apple cider vinegar, a pinch of sea salt, McCormick's Chipotle & Roasted Garlic Seasoning and a dollop of my sugar free cranberry sauce. It's a delicious combination of flavors with a bit of sweet, tart, and spicy along with the smooth avocado oil. Hubby and I are getting ready to bundle up now and take a walk in the fresh air under the stars since it finally stopped raining. Enjoy!


BOOM!
    

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Easy Chicken Piccata with "Pasta" in Light Alfredo Sauce

This evening I made a super quick and easy Chicken Piccata and served it over Zoodle Pasta with Light Alfredo Sauce. It took less than 30 minutes to prepare.

I used my Paderno spiral vegetable slicer to transform 4 small zucchini into "noodles" (zoodles). I have the original tri-blade version and they also have a new 4-blade version now. It took less than 5 minutes from start to finish. I really LOVE this contraption! I lightly salted the zoodles and spread them out on paper towels to wick out the excess liquid while I prepared the chicken.

I lightly seasoned a little over a pound of chicken cutlets with salt and pepper and then sauteed them in olive oil over medium high heat for a couple of minutes per side. I placed the cooked cutlets on a baking sheet and placed them in a 325 degree oven to keep warm while I prepared the easy piccata sauce. I melted about 3 tablespoons of Kerrygold's Garlic & Herb Butter, in the same pan I cooked the cutlets in, over medium heat until it just began to sizzle. I squeezed in the juice of half of a lemon and added the zest of half of a lemon (about 1 teaspoon) into the sizzling butter and stirred it, scraping the browned bits of chicken from the bottom of the pan. I added about 2 tablespoons capers and then returned the chicken cutlets to the pan and spooned the lemony garlic herb butter and capers on top of the chicken and then covered the pan and set it aside to keep warm while I lightly cooked the zoodles.

I heated about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet and sauteed the zoodles for a couple of minutes, tossing frequently, until they just began to soften a bit. I added a couple heaping tablespoonfuls of sun-dried tomato pesto to the zoodles and then several heaping tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese and a few splashes of heavy cream and tossed well to make a light sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce. I served the chicken piccata over the zoodles and spooned the sauce over top. It turned out delicious and was so quick and easy to make. If you've never tried Kerrygold's Garlic & Herb Butter before, it's worth giving it a try if your store carries it. If you can't find it, you can simply saute some minced garlic in plain butter and add a couple teaspoons of minced parsley to make your own equivalent. I snapped a quick photo of this super flavorful and easy meal for you to see below. Enjoy!


        

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sandwich Monday - Low Carb & Grain Free

It was an extremely nasty day here today. It was dark, foggy, raining, and cold all day long. It was really great to have a nice hot bowl of my slow cooker Spicy Beef & Cabbage Soup for lunch today. 

When I got home this evening, I just wasn't in the mood to cook for some reason. Well...to be perfectly honest, I actually thought about making chicken cutlets with lemon, butter and capers. Well, until I spotted the plate of my Sesame Seed Sandwich Rolls sitting on the counter. I enjoyed last night's soup and sandwich dinner so much that I decided to have a turkey sandwich for dinner instead. After all, I already had everything needed to make them...the tomatoes were already sliced and my romaine was already washed and waiting for me. LOL Just so I wouldn't feel totally lazy and useless tonight, I decided to incorporate just a touch of the flavors from the chicken cutlet meal that I originally envisioned for a hot second. 

So, I simply mixed a couple tablespoons of olive oil mayonnaise with some freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 teaspoon) and then stirred in about 1 tablespoon of capers to make a "Lemon-Caper Mayo" topping to put on my turkey sandwich. It turned out great and added a bit of pizzazz to my turkey sandwich. I snapped a few photos below. If you haven't tried my Sesame Seed Sandwich Rolls yet...try them. I swear you will never again miss sandwiches or burgers with buns. Enjoy!