Saturday, June 16, 2018

Mexican Style Chicken Meatloaf - Easy Peasy

Earlier this week I made a 2-pound Mexican Style Chicken Meatloaf using ground chicken breast. It was so very easy to mix together with ingredients that I had on hand. We actually ate that meatloaf for 3 night's dinners and I had it once for lunch and believe it or not, I was sad to see it go. 

Here's the easy recipe that I used: 2 pounds of Perdue Ground Chicken Breast; 1 cup favorite salsa; 2 Tbsp olive oil; 1 tsp smoked paprika; 3/4 tsp roasted ground cumin; 1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper; 1/4 tsp salt; 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, Monterey, or Pepper-Jack cheese. Mix together in large bowl, form in loaf and place in center of shallow baking dish or casserole and bake at 400 degrees F for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 mins or until done. If desired, spread additional salsa on top of loaf before baking (this helps keep it super moist); top with additional shredded cheese during the last 10 mins of cooking, if desired. No breadcrumbs or eggs necessary. The cheese serves as the binder to hold the meatloaf together. 

The second night that we ate it, I sliced it cold and heated some butter in a non-stick skillet until it began to very lightly turn golden, then I added the slices of meatloaf, covered for a few minutes and once they were nice and golden brown, I flipped them over and browned on the other side. I scooted them over to a plate and cooked fried eggs in a separate small skillet while I added cut up multi-colored baby tomatoes to the skillet I cooked the meatloaf in and sautéed them in the pan drippings. I topped our browned meatloaf with a bit of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, a fried egg, and the sautéed tomatoes. It was amazing. We finished up our meatloaf last night and I look forward to making it again soon. 

This morning I made a delicious omelet for brunch filled with sautéed Vidalia onions, red bell peppers, mushrooms and baby spinach along with some sharp cheddar cheese. I served it with local Delia's Chicken Sausage. It lasted us all day long. I got ready to grill steaks this evening and the sky opened up and it began to thunder and rain so that has been pushed until tomorrow (hopefully). We didn't expect any rain today. I was disappointed that our Costco trip last night did not produce any Copper River Wild Salmon. Our consolation prize (of sorts) was filet mignon. Maybe they'll get some in next week I hope! Check out the photos of this week's delicious meals below. Enjoy! 




This was absolutely delicious (egg and tomato topped butter browned meatloaf)
This morning's omelet filled with delicious veggies & chicken sausage

           



Sunday, June 10, 2018

Easy Deep Dish Pizza - Low Carb, Grain Free, Gluten Free

This evening I created ANOTHER pizza crust (as if I don't have enough versions already). I wondered if I could make one that combined my Cheese Head Pizza Crust with my Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza Crust. Well, it turned out DELICIOUS! It created a thick and lighter more "bready" crust like traditional deep dish pizza yet still formed a nice crispy edged crust. This crust recipe was very good and I will definitely be making it again. With it being a thick crust pizza, I could only eat one piece. I used my 10-inch Calphalon Unison non-stick pan (oven safe) and it yielded 6 nice sized pieces. A cast iron skillet would also work nicely for this crust. The process for making the crust is almost identical to my Cheese Head Pizza Crust but has additional ingredients to create the "breadiness" more along the lines of my Chicago Style Crust (it adds a little ground golden flaxseed which I reduced significantly for this crust, baking powder, baking soda and a little buttermilk so the acidity can react with the baking powder and soda to create a bit of rise). If you don't have buttermilk, simply add about 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar to 1/4 cup milk, half-n-half or cream (or almond milk) and let it sit for a few minutes. It works just as well to add some acidity to help with the rise. I topped my pizza with sauce, Sargento's shredded Mozzarella & Provolone blend cheese and sliced red bell peppers and Vidalia onions. It was absolutely delicious!  Check out the photos and recipe below. You will be amazed that this pizza was made without regular flour. Enjoy!

Deep Dish Pizza - Low Carb, Grain Free, Gluten Free, LCHF, Keto - AWESOME!





How deep is your love...for DEEP DISH Pizza?  I really need to know...



Deep Dish Pizza Crust - Low Carb

Ingredients:

For the Crust
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 ounces "brick-style" cream cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried basil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons olive oil 

For the Toppings, Etc.

3/4 to 1 cup pizza sauce, or to taste
1-1/2 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Olive oil for greasing pan
Toppings, as desired (pepperoni, cooked sausage, peppers, onions, cooked mushrooms, etc.) 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a medium sized bowl, place mozzarella cheese and cream cheese. Heat cheese in microwave on high for 45 seconds; stir and heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until a hot melty mass of cheese is formed.

While cheese is melting in microwave, combine next 9 dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and stir with a whisk to help break up any lumps. In a separate small bowl, combine egg, buttermilk, and olive oil.  When cheese is melted, add flour mixture to bowl of hot melted cheese. Working quickly, fold and stir mixture together with a rubber spatula until a ball of dough is formed. Add egg, buttermilk and olive oil mixture, folding with a rubber spatula until combined and a sticky dough has formed (make sure the cheese mixture is hot before adding flour and egg mixture).   

Generously grease a 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet or oven proof skillet with olive oil. Using a rubber spatula sprayed lightly with oil, place the dough in the center of the baking pan and begin working your way pressing the dough out toward the edges, about 3/4 to 1-inch thick spreading the dough up the sides of the pan about 1-inch high.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and add sauce, mozzarella, and desired toppings. Reduce oven temp to 375 degrees F. Bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. If additional browning is desired, run under broiler for a few minutes until bubbly and cheese is lightly browned. Carefully remove from oven and let sit about 5 to 10 minutes for cheese to set. Cut into wedges and serve. If using a nonstick ovenproof skillet, adjust baking time as necessary (it will heat more quickly than cast iron), then slide finished pizza onto a cutting board before slicing so you don't damage your pan.

           

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Easy Poached Wild Copper River Salmon

Tonight we enjoyed poached Wild Alaskan Copper River Salmon for dinner (these are what I had frozen last year). I placed sliced Vidalia Onions and lemon slices in the bottom of a large nonstick skillet, then placed my beautiful “mostly thawed” fillets on top. I seasoned them with sea salt and a bit of dried dill (I didn't have any fresh), then poured 1 cup of white wine over top (you can use half wine, half water or just water if preferred). I covered the pan and placed it on the stovetop over medium-high heat until it began to simmer and then cooked/poached them covered over medium heat for about 7 minutes or until opaque and it flaked easily when pressed with a fork. I served it topped with a pat of butter melting on top. Note that you will never see this brilliant color in any farmed salmon. My motto is eat wild salmon or eat no salmon at all (#justsayNOtofarmedsalmon)! 

I can't wait for this season's fresh salmon to reach our markets here in Atlanta. I called all over the place multiple times last weekend and this past week. I will begin my search for it yet again this weekend! I think that Costco, The Fresh Market, and Whole Foods probably recognize my voice at this point and I'm sure there's a major eye roll that occurs when they hear it. No worries...I just roll my eyes back and sweetly ask if they've received their shipment of wild Alaskan Copper River Salmon yet! Check out my skillet of salmon before I placed it on the stove to cook! Enjoy!


        

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Pan Seared Halibut in Brown Butter & Creamed Dijon Spinach

This evening I was looking forward to preparing the remaining 3 fillets of fresh Wild Pacific Halibut. First of all, I really, REALLY love halibut; second of all, it only took 6 minutes to cook (how great is that)! I wanted to change it up a bit from last night so I kept the halibut very simply. I heated 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet until it just began to brown (it was deep golden). I added the 3 fillets that had been seasoned with a pinch of sea salt and few grinds of black pepper and cooked them over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, and then flipped them over and cooked for an additional 3 minutes before transferring them to a plate and covering for about 3 minutes to sit.

Before I cooked the halibut, I prepared the most delicious and easy Creamed Dijon Spinach with the pound of organic baby spinach I had in the fridge (I only cooked about 10 ounces of it). It served as both a delicious side dish to our halibut as well as an amazing creamy Dijon sauce for the fish. The best part is that it required no flour to thicken...only creamed cheese. I used the creamed spinach as a base to place the halibut atop of and then added another spoon of it over the fish, too. You'd be amazed at how great cream cheese substitutes for flour in creamy sauces. I included the easy peasy recipe for the Creamed Dijon Spinach below. Enjoy!




Creamed Dijon Spinach

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
3 ounces brick style cream cheese
3/4 cup of half-n-half, cream or milk
Pinch of salt, to taste
Few generous grinds of black pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Dash of garlic powder
1 rounded tablespoon Dijon Mustard (add more if desired)
10 ounces of lightly sautéed baby spinach

Directions:

In a small saucepan over low heat, add butter and cream cheese to soften and melt, about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once it has softened, whisk it together until smooth; add milk or cream, whisking to blend. Increase heat to low-medium until sauce is hot, then turn back to low. Add salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and Dijon mustard. Whisk together over low heat and heat until hot. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired; add more milk for a thinner sauce or more mustard for a stronger mustard flavor. Stir spinach into sauce and heat through.

*Note: If desired increase amount of spinach to 16 ounces.


        


Monday, June 4, 2018

Pan Seared Wild Pacific Halibut & Oven Fried Vidalia Onion Rings

This evening I prepared the beautiful piece of wild Pacific halibut that I picked up at Costco on Saturday. I went there looking for wild Copper River Salmon but sadly, they had not received a shipment of it yet. I'm hoping they will soon! However, I was excited because they had 3 packages with single large halibut fillets. I picked up the largest 2-pound package and cut it into 6 nice sized fillets. I prepared 3 tonight (the third one is for tomorrow's lunch for me). I kept it simple and pan seared it in butter (with a bit of salt and pepper for seasoning) and fresh lemon juice near the end of cooking. You can find the easy recipe for the pan seared halibut here (it only takes about 7 minutes total, depending on thickness) ---> Pan Seared Wild Halibut.

To go along with our halibut, I made French style green beans and my Oven Fried Onion Rings made with sliced Vidalia onions. I doubled my recipe and made 2 large baking sheets of onion rings; one for tonight and I didn't brown the 2nd tray of onion rings as much so I could just pop the tray of them in the oven to heat to go with tomorrow's dinner. I make a seasoned "breading" using almond flour and a few spices and dip them in an egg/cream wash before coating. This evening I used buttermilk (because I had it on hand) in place of the cream or milk and it made a much thicker "egg wash" that clinged a bit better to the onion rings. They are so delicious...even hubby who isn't an onion lover will eat these. Vidalia's are a sweet onion grown in Vidalia, Georgia. It was a delicious meal and I realized how much I've missed FRESH (not frozen) wild fish. My two favorites are Copper River Salmon (King, Sockeye and Coho) and wild Alaskan and Pacific halibut. Even Spike, our Bichon loves it! He kept sneaking tastes from my plate. I've copied and pasted my recipe for the Oven Fried Onion Rings below. Enjoy!





Oven Baked Onion Rings

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium to large sweet onion, sliced into 1/4" rings (I used Vidalia)
1 or 2 eggs
3-4 Tablespoons half-n-half (or cream, buttermilk or almond milk)
1/2 cup (slightly heaped) almond flour
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika (or enough to give color to the almond flour coating)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Olive oil

DIRECTIONS
:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil (I used Reynold's non-stick foil) or you can use parchment paper; brush lightly with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil (no need to use your good Extra Virgin olive oil; I used my light "non-virgin" olive oil for this).  In a small bowl, beat egg and half and half together; season with salt and pepper to taste; add onion rings to the egg mixture, toss and let sit to soak while you make the coating/breading.

In a shallow bowl or plate, mix almond flour, salt and pepper to taste, onion powder, paprika and mix well with a whisk to remove any lumps. 

Take onion rings out, one or two at a time and place in the flour mixture, pressing and turning over with a fork until well coated on both sides.  Place on lightly oiled foil covered baking sheet in a single layer, not touching each other.  Place in oven and bake 7-8 minutes; flip and continue baking another 7-8 minutes or until golden brown and done.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt, if desired.


        


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sunday's Spanakopita Omelet - Spinach, Feta, Onions & Dill

We awoke to a sunny and very humid morning. The sun was a complete surprise and probably won't last long because there's actually no sun whatsoever in our forecast until next Saturday! The humidity with all the rain we've had over the past 2 weeks makes being outside quite miserable. I decided to start our Sunday morning with a good breakfast. Since I had a bunch of fresh spinach in the fridge and 2 large containers of President's Feta Cheese (it's on sale at Costco right now by the way), as well as some fresh dill, I went with spinach and feta omelets for breakfast. I made two omelets, one for me and one for hubby. I lightly wilted and sautéed about 8 ounces of fresh spinach in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then moved it out of the skillet to a large cutting board. I added a bit more olive oil and sautéed 2 sliced green onions and about 1/4 cup of diced Vidalia onion until translucent and slightly caramelized. I moved that out of the skillet and wiped it clean.  I placed the sautéed spinach on a large cutting board and blotted the excess liquid out by pressing it with several paper towels, then I coarsely chopped the spinach. I chopped a few springs of fresh dill and set it aside.

I picked up a dozen Vital Farms pasture raised eggs this week and decided to give them a try this morning. They were beautiful large brown eggs with the deepest golden yolks that I've seen. I would definitely buy these eggs again. We each had a 2-egg omelet that I prepared one at a time. I added a pat of butter to the hot nonstick skillet and poured 2 beaten eggs (beaten with 1 teaspoon of water) into the sizzling butter and rolled the pan around to evenly spread the eggs in the bottom of the pan. I cooked it over medium heat until done, then scattered half of the cooked spinach and 2 to 3 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese, half of the chopped dill, a few grinds of black pepper, and folded it over in the skillet before sliding it onto our plates. I added the cooked onions to my omelet only since hubby isn't a huge fan. I served his omelet with turkey bacon and mine with 2 Applegate chicken sausages. It was delicious and should hold us until dinner. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!




        

Friday, May 25, 2018

Simple Cheese Toast - Using My Cheese Head Pizza Crust & New Costco Find

Happy Friday before Memorial Day! Hubby and I took off to make our weekend longer and had hoped to spend it in a little cabin in the mountains but the weather here has been awful the last 2 weeks with lots of rain all last week, this week and its predicted to continue throughout the end of NEXT week. So, we decided rather than be cooped up in cabin for the long weekend that we'd take the opportunity to hang out at home and relax, watch movies, work on a few inside projects and just take it easy. Before I tell you about this morning's brunch, I wanted to share a new Costco find with you that I found in April...Costco now sells their own superfine blanched almond flour under their Kirkland brand. It's quite reasonably priced too! It was $11.79 for a 3-lb bag at my store. I snapped a photo of it below.

We slept in this morning and I made us a "weekend breakfast" to serve as our brunch. It was pretty simple, scrambled eggs with sharp cheddar and oven baked turkey bacon. I also mixed some plain Fage yogurt with my sugar free cranberry sauce mixed with some wild frozen blueberries to serve on the side. Hubby usually likes to eat a toasted asiago bagel with his breakfast (he's not wheat free) so I told him I'd make us "cheese toast" instead (using my Cheese Head Pizza Crust). I whipped up a quick batch of my pizza dough which literally takes just minutes (I did not add any seasoning to the dough); I spread it out on a rectangular baking sheet, baked it for about 12-15 mins and then grated spicy Three Alarm Cheese over the top of the hot crust, popped it back into the oven and ran it under the broiler for about 3 minutes to get hot and bubbly, then let it cool for a bit and  cut it into "toast squares".  You could swap the spicy cheese out for whatever cheese that you prefer or simply use the crust as is like plain toast. It works great. I snapped a few photos below. You can find the recipe for my crust here: Cheese Head Pizza Crust. Enjoy!





I get this bacon from Costco

        

Sunday, May 20, 2018

White Pizza Topped w/ Spicy Chicken, Spinach, Roasted Tomatoes & Crispy Vidalia Onion Rings

This evening I made the best pizza ever using my Cheese Head Pizza Crust. After baking the crust, I topped it with Paesana's White NY Style Pizza Sauce, sautéed diced boneless chicken breast (seasoned with salt, black pepper and a bit of cayenne), wilted baby spinach, roasted halved grape tomatoes and thinly sliced Vidalia onion tossed in olive oil, spread out on a baking sheet and roasted until caramelized and crispy. The combination was amazing. Even hubby said he thought it was the best pizza he ever ate in his life. The combination of flavors was delicious. Roasting the tomatoes intensified their flavor, roasting the Vidalia onions intensified their sweetness and the spiced chicken breast and spinach along with the white cheese sauce gave it a chicken alfredo like flavor. I snapped a number of photos and included the recipe for the crust below. I roasted the tomatoes and the onions at 400-425 degrees after tossing them with olive oil and cooking them (stirring a couple times) until they were the consistency I wanted. I used my large USA Pizza Pan for tonight's pizza, but a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper works fine as well. Enjoy!













CHEESE HEAD PIZZA 

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella (whole milk or part skim)
3 ounces brick style cream cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (powdery style)
1/8 teaspoon salt, optional
Dash garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil (to press out dough with hands or rubber spatula)
Desired toppings (pizza sauce, pepperoni, cooked peppers, onions, mushrooms, additional cheese, etc.)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.

Place mozzarella and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Heat cheese in microwave on high for 45 seconds; stir and heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until a hot melty mass of cheese is formed.

While cheese is melting in microwave, stir almond flour, Parmesan, salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning together in a small bowl. Add flour mixture and egg to bowl of hot melted cheese. Working quickly, fold and stir mixture together with a rubber spatula until a ball of dough is formed (make sure cheese mixture is hot before adding flour and egg).   

Place ball of dough in center of parchment lined baking sheet. Press dough out with oiled hands or pour the 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top of dough to help press and smooth dough out using the rubber spatula into the desired shape (round, oval or rectangular) until about ¼-inch thick. Prick holes all over crust surface with a fork to prevent crust from bubbling up. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden (be careful not to overbake so it doesn't burn when returning to oven to bake with toppings). Remove crust and top with pizza sauce, additional cheese, and any desired toppings. Reduce oven temp to 400 degrees F and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted and heated through.