Sunday, April 19, 2015

Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry - Low Carb "Real Food"

This evening I made Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry for dinner since it was just youngest son eating with us and his 2 favorite foods just happen to be chicken and broccoli! Hubby and son ate theirs over rice and I ate mine as is and topped it with a few roasted peanuts. It was delicious and so simple to make. It's been an extremely rainy week and weekend, so it was nice when late this evening the sun popped out for about an hour. I took advantage of the sun and stepped out and snapped a few photos of some flowers in the yard. If you'd like the basic recipe for my stir-fry, particularly the sauce part (it can be used for just about any type of beef, chicken or shrimp and veggie stir-fry), click on this link here: Quick & Easy Stir-Fry. Enjoy!





        

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Easy Grilled Chicken 7 Superfood Salads - Keeping it Real (Food)

This evening I made a quick and easy dinner by using a bag of my favorite "7 Superfood Salad" blend made with kale, brussels sprouts and a number of other veggies. I topped with the Chipotle Grilled Chicken Cutlets I made a couple of nights ago (chicken cutlets spritzed with olive oil and seasoned with chipotle seasoning before grilling). I cooked the cutlets alongside the Bacon Double Cheeseburgers I made so I could cook a couple of meals at once. I grilled enough chicken cutlets to enjoy grilled chicken sandwiches last night and for the delicious and quick salads this evening. I will say, though, that tonight would have been a much better night for soup considering we didn't get above 55 degrees here today! It was quite chilly to say the least after the unusual heat wave we experienced just days ago. We have rain in our forecast throughout the week. I snapped a quick photo of our delicious salads below. Eating low carb "real food" can be as easy as you want or need it to be and you don't have to cook every single night to "keep it real." Enjoy!


      

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bacon Double Cheeseburgers a/k/a Grain-Free Baconators

This evening I decided to grill a couple of different meals at the same time since we already had the grill heated up. It's supposed to rain most of this week and it looked as though it could rain this evening so we went ahead and grilled both tonight's and tomorrow's dinner to make things easier. I was in the mood for burgers tonight so as soon as I got home, I whipped up a batch of my Sesame Seed Sandwich Buns. They only take 30 minutes to make from beginning to end (including the 22 minutes to bake them). They are the closest thing to regular bread I've had in almost 3 years of grain-free eating and I use them for burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, deli sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches and even breakfast sandwiches. They are so versatile and easy to make.

I made plain hamburgers using ground round lightly seasoned with McCormicks Montreal Steak Seasoning and grilled them for about 4 to 5 minutes per side. I decided to make bacon cheeseburgers so while my sesame seed buns were baking, I cooked some bacon until crisp. I topped the grilled burgers with sliced sharp white cheddar cheese and a few strips of crispy bacon. I kept it simple and served the burgers with a few grape tomatoes and half of an avocado. They turned out delicious! If you have been craving a burger on a bun or just a simple sandwich for lunch...these are the perfect sandwich rolls to use and each roll contains 4.5 to 5 net carbs and they bring back the convenience of portability (as in pack a quick sandwich for lunch). I snapped a few photos below. The recipe for my sandwich rolls can be found here: Sesame Seed Sandwich Buns. Enjoy!




            

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Night's "Pasta" Dinner - Low Carb

This evening both boys came for dinner. I made "pasta" by using my Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer to make the noodles with yellow summer squash. To make the sauce, I diced about 1-1/2 pounds of boneless chicken breast and sauteed it in olive oil just until it began to turn opaque and then added half of a diced red bell pepper, 2 sliced medium zucchini and cooked it until the veggies were almost tender and then tossed in some sliced fresh mushrooms and cooked everything until the juices cooked off. I poured a jar of DelGrosso'a Fireworks Sauce over the chicken and veggies, added a few pinches of red pepper flakes and simmered it uncovered on low heat for about 45 minutes to meld all the flavors, tenderize the chicken breast and thicken the sauce. I served it over the lightly sauteed veggie pasta and topped it with shredded Parmigiano Reggiano. It turned out delicious. I snapped a couple photos below. If you'd like to see my post where I showed how I make "non-watery" zoodles/noodles, click here: How to Make Non-watery Zoodles. Enjoy!




Here's a pic of the Easter Basket Spike's brother (youngest son) got him

  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

It's Shortcake Season - Low Carb Blueberry Shortcake & Strawberry Shortcake

It was a beautiful bright and sunny day here today which was welcomed after yesterday's nasty stormy weather. A number of you have asked for my Strawberry Shortcake recipe that I made for dessert on Easter. While I already had it written out, I wanted to make it one more time and tweak it just a little. I wanted it to be the right texture for a shortcake that's going to soak up berry juice and whipped cream. I didn't want it to be too dry or too moist. So, I made it again today with a couple of minor modifications. I also made a Blueberry Shortcake version today...and I must say, I didn't know what I was missing! I don't believe I've ever just made a Blueberry Shortcake before but I think I liked it better than Strawberry Shortcake!

When I made the Strawberry Shortcake last week, I lightly sweetened sliced fresh strawberries and let them sit in the fridge until assembly and serving time. When I made today's Blueberry Shortcake, I didn't add any sweetener to the blueberries. I simply split my mini shortcakes in half and placed the bottom half on a plate, topped it with lightly sweetened whipped cream, scattered fresh blueberries on top; placed the top half on and added more whipped cream and few more blueberries. It was awesome! You could make it with raspberries, blackberries or a mixture of a variety of berries...whatever you have on hand or is your favorite. You could mash a few berries, too, if you wanted to make a little juice to drizzle on top. I snapped a photo of this evening's Blueberry Shortcake along with a photo of last week's Strawberry Shortcake. I used my USA Pan 6-well mini cake pan to make these and they make the perfect size shortcakes. If you wanted to make a smaller dessert, just make a single layer using half of a mini-cake and top with berries and whipped cream rather than making a double decker. The recipe for the shortcake is below as well as a few yard pics. Enjoy!




Azaleas are blooming...it finally looks like spring
Viburnum is one of my favorite spring shrubs
The hostas are poking out of the ground

Fresh Berry Shortcake

Ingredients:

2 cups sifted blanched almond flour

2/3 cup granular or confectioners Swerve sweetener (I used confectioners)
1/4 cup plain unsweetened whey protein powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs 
6 tablespoons melted butter   
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 teaspoons NuStevia Simple Syrup (or additional stevia, to taste)
Fresh strawberries, blueberries or other berries
Whipped Cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 6-well mini cake pan with butter or coconut oil and set aside.  


In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, granular or powdered sweetener, whey protein powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.


In a separate bowl, beat eggs, butter, vanilla, buttermilk and stevia together. Add liquid mixture to dry mixture and stir just until combined. Beat for 2 minutes with a hand mixer at medium-high speed until light and smooth.  


Divide batter evenly among 6 cake wells. Bake for 23-25 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes; invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Slice in half crosswise and top bottom half with berries and whipped cream; place remaining half on top and add additional whipped cream and berries.


*Note: Cakes can also be cut in half and frosted or glazed as desired.  


            

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Low Carb Pizza - Piled High w/ Toppings

This evening I was in the mood for pizza and it has been a while since I made it. I decided to make my crust recipe that's made using almond flour and ground chia. It's a delicious crust. I doubled the crust recipe to make a huge 14-inch pizza for hubby and I to share (it actually made a family sized pizza that filled my 14-inch USA Pan nonstick pizza pan).

I covered the entire pizza with sauce, diced fresh mozzarella, ground beef sausage (I made by browning ground sirloin, onions, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, ground fennel and sage), and then topped with large sliced pepperoni. Then, I customized the final toppings by placing Kalamata olives and artichoke hearts on hubby's half and cooked mushrooms and diced red bell peppers on my half. It turned out amazing. I cut each half into 4 large slices (a total of 8 big slices for the entire pizza). The pizza was so full of toppings that hubby and I were only able to eat one slice each. We have plenty left for tomorrow and lunch for the next couple of days. I snapped a few photos below. The recipe for the pizza crust I doubled and used is here: Pizza Crust. Enjoy!




 

           

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter - Chicken Divan & Strawberry Shortcake

Happy Easter! I hope everyone had a nice day. It's after 10:00 p.m., and everyone has finally gone home and I'm going to quickly post a few photos of our Easter dinner. I made Chicken Divan which is a family favorite. I made LOTS of it (the regular recipe calls for 1-1/2 pounds of boneless chicken breast and I used 8 pounds if that gives you any idea how much I made). I actually made both a regular version and a grain free version this year. A couple family members mentioned last year that while they liked my grain free version, they still preferred my regular version (as in the kind made with canned cream of chicken soup instead of homemade cream of chicken soup). So, since it's just me and one of my sons that are grain free (he is actually gluten free and not totally grain free), I made both versions. I am happy to report that my "gluten free" son that ate and enjoyed the grain free version along with me actually tried the regular version afterward to see how it compared taste wise and he said he honestly could not tell the difference and felt they both tasted the same. That's a side by side comparison which speaks volumes to me. Sometimes I think when we tell our regular eating family members and friends that a recipe or meal is "different", that we plant the seeds of doubt somehow and they are trying to detect a difference. So, next year I'm keeping my mouth shut and telling them it's the regular version (sort of like I did a couple of years ago at Christmas with my lasagna...I waited until the meal was almost over and asked them if they noticed anything different and they had NO clue)! LOL Anyway, the family enjoyed their Chicken Divan on a bed of jasmine rice and I enjoyed mine "as is." I had tons leftover so I sent home lots of leftovers for them and just kept one more meal for hubby and I to enjoy. For dessert, I made Strawberry Shortcake (grain free). It turned out delicious. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!


 



      

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chicken Parmesan Ratatouille - Easy Low Carb

This evening I got a late start on dinner. Fortunately, I had leftover grilled chicken cutlets left from last night's meal. I was torn between making Chicken Parmesan and Ratatouille...so I simply made Chicken Parmesan Ratatouille! It was so simple and easy and is basically just Chicken Parmesan cooked and served on top of a bed of ratatouille.

I diced a small eggplant, 1 medium zucchini, 1 medium yellow summer squash and diced half of a small onion. I sauteed the onion in a nonstick skillet in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and when it began to turn translucent, I added the diced zucchini, squash and eggplant; covered the skillet and cooked it down for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little additional olive oil as needed. By covering the skillet, it adds condensation to the pan which keeps the veggies moist but not wet as they cooked. After the veggies were almost completely cooked, I added about 1 cup of halved grape tomatoes and about 1/2 cup of pasta sauce. I didn't want it saucy but wanted a nice thick ratatouille. I seasoned it with salt and pepper and then added a couple of chicken cutlets on top of the layer of ratatouille, covered the skillet and heated a few minutes until the cutlets were warm and then topped each cutlet with 2 round slices of fresh mozzarella (you could use regular sliced or shredded mozzarella if you didn't have fresh); and then sprinkled finely ground Parmesan cheese over the top of all the veggies, chicken and mozzarella; covered it and heated until the cheese was melty. I served it in shallow bowls. It was delicious and we were able to enjoy both Chicken Parmesan and Ratatouille, all cooked in one skillet. I snapped a couple photos below. Enjoy!



Monday, March 30, 2015

Main Dish Salad Topped w/ Grilled Chipotle Chicken - Quick & Easy

This evening dinner was super quick and easy to put together. We had my favorite 7 Superfood Salad Mix that I simply pile into big bowls. I spritzed a package of chicken cutlets with olive oil and then lightly seasoned with McCormick's Chipotle & Roasted Garlic Seasoning and grilled for a total of 5 to 6 minutes. I whisked together a mixture of avocado oil, apple cider vinegar, chipotle seasoning, pinch of salt and a few drops of stevia and made a quick spicy and sweet vinaigrette to drizzle on top. The best part, other than enjoying our salads this evening, was that I grilled enough chicken cutlets to use for dinner tomorrow night. For dessert, I had a small bowl of fresh sliced strawberries and a few blueberries topped with whipped cream. A perfect fresh, quick, easy and delicious low carb meal for a Monday night. I snapped a couple quick photos below. Enjoy!


  
The start of tomorrow night's dinner sitting on the platter in back.
            

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Filet Mignon w/ Creamy Dijon Mushrooms & Costco Find!

This weekend was a "working weekend"; we worked on projects around the house most of the weekend, I worked on taxes a good bit of yesterday and finally got that done. This afternoon we went to Costco and did some grocery shopping. Youngest son came for dinner last night and we went out for Mexican. I had Roasted Poblanos Stuffed with Monterey Jack Cheese, Topped w/ Grilled Skirt Steak. It was great. Youngest son is the one that does not care for and rarely eats beef. Since oldest son was the only one that came for dinner this evening, I was able to make something with beef which happened to work out perfectly. Costco had unusually beautiful filet mignon steaks today and they just happened to have a package with 3 of them so I picked them up. I also picked up some beautiful fresh haricot verts (thin green beans) to make to go with the steaks (I steamed them and tossed with butter and toasted slivered almonds). The guys had baked potatoes with their meal. I made mushrooms with creamy dijon sauce to put on top of our steaks (except for hubby's...he's a mushroom hater). I absolutely LOVE that sauce and son really loved it too. He actually skipped putting steak sauce on his steak for the first time. The steaks took about 16 to 18 minutes to grill. I snapped a couple photos below. Enjoy!



Costco has almond butter again! Picked up this 27-oz jar
for $10.79 and the only ingredient is roasted almonds!

Friday, March 27, 2015

THREE-CHEESE Burgers (Not "Three Cheeseburgers") & Cherry Blossoms

Last night we took our hands in our lives and decided to grill again (after the grilling fiasco earlier in the week). I had a pound of ground beef in the fridge and decided to make "gourmet burgers". I considered making my Stuffed Babybel Burgers but decided I wanted to make them a little different this time. I decided to make "Three-cheese" Burgers (note I'm not talking about 3 cheeseburgers, we are talking cheddar, Parmesan and Babybel cheese as in THREE different kinds of cheese)!

They were SO delicious I am making them again for tonight's dinner and I also had a leftover burger for lunch today as well! The burger itself has cheddar and Parmesan mixed into the meat mixture and then a beautiful little wheel of mini Babybel cheese inserted deep into the center of the burger so that when you cut it open, the melted cheese just oozes out. These burgers are simple to make and don't require any special ingredients that can't be found locally at your supermarket....but believe me, the ingredients may not be special but these burgers most definitely ARE!

If you don't have a grill or you simply want to make them inside, you can cook these in a skillet or grill pan on top of your stove, too. Even though I had some of my Sesame Seed Buns available to place the burger on, I didn't want ANYTHING to detract from the flavor of these "three cheese" burgers! Instead, I sauteed onions, red bell peppers and half of a jalapeno and served the burger on a bed of the sauteed veggies and then scattered some quartered fresh grape tomatoes on top. Check out a few photos below as well as the easy peasy recipe. Under the recipe, I also tossed in a few photos I took this afternoon of a beautiful cherry blossom tree that sits outside of my office...it is absolutely gorgeous. I stood underneath this huge tree and shot some photos looking up into today's beautiful blue sky through the soft pink blossoms that were being tossed around by the huge wind gusts this afternoon. The tree reminds me of "home" as in Washington DC, where growing up we used to go to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival around the Tidal Basin. I had a painting of the cherry blossom trees in bloom surrounding the basin that hung in my bedroom while I was growing up. Enjoy!





Three-Cheese Burgers

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef
2 to 3 tablespoons ketchup (no HFCS)
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning, or to taste
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used sharp)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 Mini Babybel Cheese wheels, unwrapped

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix ground beef, ketchup, mustard and steak seasoning together; add cheddar and Parmesan cheese and mix just until combined. Divide equally into 3 portions. Roll each portion into a ball; press a mini Babybel cheese wheel into the center and form into a patty shape around the wheel, keeping it centered. Grill or pan fry over medium-high heat to desired doneness, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. 

*Note: You don't need to exactly measure out the ketchup or mustard and dirty up a measuring spoon. A few guesstimated squirts will get you where you need to go!








           

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Brownie Bites - LCHF (Low Carb High Fudgy)

Today my new dessert recipe debuts on Honeyville's site. It's for Brownie Bites! I've been wanting to make Brownie Bites ever since I received a Brownie Bite Pan from one of my sons for Christmas. No worries if you don't own a special brownie bite pan because these can easily be baked in a mini muffin pan as well. But, I must admit the cube shaped brownie bites are pretty cool.

These brownie bites are made with my favorite Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour, which in my personal opinion, is the best almond flour to use for grain-free baked goods (which many of you know from your own personal baking experiences). I used deep dark Varlhona cocoa powder, but most any cocoa powder would also work as well. I also used Kerrygold butter and Swerve confectioners sweetener to make these amazing little bites the best. You could use granular sweetener, too, but I prefer the confectioners style because it is less gritty (sometimes erythritol can be that way). If you don't have confectioners, simply grind the granular version and powder it.

These brownie bites would be great frosted or glazed. I made mini "brownie shortcakes" by topping them with whipped cream and fresh berries...YUMMY!  I've been enjoying them all week long and I got three thumbs up from my hubby and sons (who are not grain free like I am). They also thought they were great and said you could not tell they were grain free (YAY!). Check out a few pics below. You can get to the recipe for them by clicking here: Brownie Bites. Enjoy!






              

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Steak Topped w/ Mushrooms in Creamy Dijon Sauce, Asparagus & Easy Cole Slaw

This evening it was a gorgeous evening. It was in the low 70s, breezy and beautiful. So beautiful that I stopped at the store on my way home to pick up a couple of porterhouse steaks to grill for dinner. I was looking forward to a relaxing evening with a delicious meal. Well, we ended up with a delicious meal but it was anything but relaxing!

When I got home I made my Easy Coleslaw which is so simple and delicious. I popped it in the fridge to chill and let the flavors blend a bit while I prepped the fresh asparagus to roast (I tossed it with avocado oil, sea salt and black pepper and spread it out on a parchment lined baking sheet). I sliced a few cups of fresh mushrooms and sauteed them in a tablespoon of Kerrygold Garlic & Herb Butter until all the juices cooked off and then I added another tablespoon of garlic herb butter, about 1/4 cup of heavy cream, a couple tablespoons of dijon mustard (I used Grey Poupon smooth style) and stirred it around with the mushrooms until it became thick and creamy and then added a pinch of salt. I tasted it and added another splash of cream to get the perfect consistency. While hubby was out starting the grill, I seasoned our steaks with a light dusting of chipotle/roasted garlic seasoning. Sounds like a pretty blissful scene so far....right? NOT!!!

When I stepped out onto the patio to put the steaks on the grill, I was enveloped with thick billowing black smoke and it looked like our back yard was on fire. I ran over to the grill and opened it up and big huge flames were shooting up and it appeared to be on fire (yes, our less than a year old Weber Genesis Grill had become an inferno). Mind you it backs up to our wood fence. Hubby ran out and opened up the cabinet doors underneath where the gas tank sits. You could see flames underneath too. We shut it off and he pulled out the tank so we didn't have an explosion. It took a bit for the flames to finally extinguish. It appears that the metal tray underneath must have had grease in it that caught fire? I have no idea what happened to be honest because I have never seen anything like that before and we have been grilling for decades.

We let the grill cool off and then hubby pulled the tray out and cleaned the charred "whatever" out of it and we started it back up again. I placed the steaks on the grill and within 2 minutes, guess what...NO GAS!!! Yup, now we had run out of propane! I'm beginning to think this was some sort of sign that we weren't supposed to be grilling tonight. Hubby ran to the store and got a new propane tank and we were finally able to finish grilling the steaks. All I can say is holy moley cannoli...this evening was anything but relaxing! LOL Believe it or not, dinner actually turned out delicious but I only ate about half of mine because somewhere in the chaos my appetite sort of disappeared. I wrapped it up and will enjoy the other half for lunch tomorrow. I will say though, that if you like mushrooms, these mushrooms in creamy dijon sauce were amazing and my favorite part of the entire meal. They were great on the steak as well as all by themselves. I snapped a couple photos of the "meal that almost wasn't" below. Enjoy!