Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hatch Chile Chicken Salad - It's Hatch Chile Season!

This past weekend, I picked up half a dozen fresh Hatch Chiles. I've bought salsa made from them before and loved it but I wanted to use fresh Hatch chiles and roast, peel and seed them myself and use them in some new recipes. Hatch green chiles are grown exclusively in the Hatch Valley located in Hatch, New Mexico. They have a very short growing season that lasts from August to September. I was so excited when I stumbled upon them at The Fresh Market this past weekend. I was in the mood for chicken salad which is one of my favorite things, especially in these dog days of summer, so I decided to incorporate them into a recipe for Hatch Chili Chicken Salad. It only takes about 10 minutes to roast them on the grill, turning them every few minutes. I then placed them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for about 15 minutes until they cooled down and the steam helped loosen the skins. The skins came off easily, then I split them lengthwise and removed the seeds. I used 3 in this recipe (use more or less, to taste) and have 3 roasted Hatch chiles left to do something else with. It turned out great and hubby enjoyed it too. If you want to give these peppers a try while they are available fresh, you'd better get them soon. I snapped a few photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. To save time, rather than poaching chicken breasts like I did, a rotisserie chicken would make this a super quick and easy meal. Enjoy!






Roasted, peeled, and seeded



Hatch Chile Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

3 large cooked boneless chicken breasts, chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise, slightly rounded
1 to 2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 teaspoon roasted ground cumin (or regular cumin)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Zest of 1/2 of a large lime
Juice of 1/2 of a large lime
1 - 2 tablespoons pickle juice (I used bread and butter pickle juice), optional
2 or 3 finely chopped roasted, peeled and seeded Hatch green chiles
1 thinly sliced green spring onion

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, cumin, salt, lime zest and juice, pickle juice and green onion. Taste dressing for seasoning and adjust, if necessary. Fold mixture into chicken and refrigerate.

          

Monday, August 21, 2017

Roasting Pan Herbed Chicken Thighs & Sprouts - One Pan Meals

Last week I made a super easy meal with a package of boneless skinless chicken thighs I picked up at Sprouts Farmers Market. It was a large pack with 8 plump thighs in it. I also picked up a bag of fresh brussels sprouts and another bag of tiny creamer potatoes (the potatoes were for hubby). This meal was so good, yet so simple and we literally ate it for 3 nights (which is a rare thing for hubby since he usually turns his nose up to leftovers). This dish is similar to all the "sheet pan meal" recipes you see around but this one is cooked in a deep roasting pan instead which keeps everything from splattering all over the inside of your oven (win/win). I can't even tell you how delicious this was by simply roasting everything together. It made the veggies so delicious and the chicken so moist and tender (yes, even without any skin). The chicken remained moist and tender even when reheated the next day. I reheat on 60 or 70% power so nothing gets tough and remains just as tender and juicy as it was the first night. This dish was the perfect weeknight meal where everything cooks together in the same pan and is done at the same time. I can't tell you how nice it was to get meals for 3 days last week, particularly after our upstairs air conditioning unit went out last week and it was 93 degrees upstairs (yikes)!

Over the years, I've had folks tell me how difficult it is trying to cook separately for family members that aren't grain free or low carb without making two different meals. Well this dish is one that can please everyone...most importantly you, the cook! The potatoes I used were small creamer potatoes the size of  large cherry tomatoes and everything cooks together and is cooked perfectly at the same time. You simply add the potatoes to the plate of the family members that aren't low carb. It's as simple as that! I snapped a few photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!


Ready to be roasted

Fresh out of the oven



Roasting Pan Herbed Chicken Thighs & Sprouts

Ingredients:

3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 pounds fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
1 pound small creamer potatoes, optional
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Sea Salt and black pepper, to taste
Paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 to 2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Directions:


In a large nonstick roasting pan, place thighs, spacing about 1/2-inch apart. In a large bowl, add sprouts, carrots, and optional potatoes; toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss veggies until evenly coated with oil. Spoon vegetables around chicken in pan. Drizzle remaining olive oil over chicken pieces. Season generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle chicken with paprika and top with thyme and rosemary. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is done, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Baste chicken with pan juices about half way through cooking.


           

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Grilled Lemon Pesto Kabobs - Easy Low Carb Recipe

This evening both of my sons came for dinner. I made easy and super delicious Grilled Lemon Pesto Chicken Kabobs. They turned out great and were super flavorful and tender. You can use your own homemade pesto if you want or use one of the many brands of already made pesto. There are a number of good brands that I've used. Tonight I used Classico's Riserva Basil Pesto (Mezzetta also makes a delicious pesto as well). It's made with basil, extra virgin olive oil, Romano cheese and walnuts (instead of pine nuts used in many other brands). I served the kabobs with steamed fresh broccoli and I made jasmine rice for the guys. The marinade was super simple to put together and it added such fresh bright flavors to the chicken. I snapped a few photos and included the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!


Ready for the grill


Grilled to perfection

Grilled Lemon Pesto Kabobs

Ingredients:

2 to 3 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 heaping tablespoons basil pesto (I used about half of a jar of Classico Riserva Basil Pesto)
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1-1/2 large lemons
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bell peppers and onions, cut into 1-inch pieces, optional
Olive oil spray

Directions:

In a one-gallon sized Ziploc type bag, add chicken, pesto, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours, turning bag over occasionally. Thread chicken on metal skewers or bamboo skewers (pre-soak bamboo skewers for about 20 to 30 minutes prior to using). Heat grill to 350 to 400 degrees. Lightly spray kabobs with olive oil spray before placing on grill. Cook covered for 10 to 12 minutes, turning every few minutes until done. 


            



Monday, August 14, 2017

Grilled Zesty Lime Shrimp Salad

This evening I wasn't sure what to make for dinner. I remembered that I had a big 5-pound bag of large 16/20 wild raw shrimp in the freezer, so I poured some of the frozen shrimp out into my colander and ran them under cold water for about 5 minutes to thaw them, then peeled and deveined them. I debated whether to make shrimp marinara or to marinate them and grill them to put on top of a bed of tender baby romaine salad mix. I opted for grilling them for a salad. I whisked together a quick and easy lime marinade and then tossed them around in the marinade and let them marinate for about 1 hour in the fridge. I used my Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan to grill them on top of my Weber Gas Grill because I didn't want to lose any of the shrimp by having them fall through the grates. They only take a few minutes per side to grill, but as my luck would have it, it was bright and sunny when I started and as soon as I flipped them over to cook on the other side...the sky opened up, the thunder and lightning rolled in...and I scrambled to get them off the grill and inside...but I succeeded! Whew! It was a quick and easy meal to put together. I simply opened up a container of Sprouts organic baby romaine salad mix and placed it in big bowls, cut up a ripe tomato and topped the salad greens with the tomato and shrimp. I drizzled on a bit of vinaigrette and we enjoyed a healthy delicious main dish salad.




Grilled Zesty Lime Shrimp

Ingredients:

Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash onion powder
Dash garlic powder
Pinch of dried cilantro
Few drops liquid stevia (or favorite sweetener), optional
2 dozen large raw wild shrimp, peeled and deveined

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except for shrimp in a medium bowl. Taste for seasoning (I added just a faint hint of sweetness to enhance the lime flavor with a bit of stevia but you can omit any sweetener). Add shrimp and stir until coated. Cover and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour, turning once. Heat grill to about 350 to 400 degrees. Spray a cast iron or oven safe grill pan or griddle with oil and place on grill until hot. Using a pair of tongs, place shrimp on grill pan; cover and cook approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Turn over and cook an additional 2 min. Serve on a bed of baby lettuces, if desired.

                

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Roasted Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon w/ Old Bay Lemon Butter

Today was a busy day. Breakfast was easy though because I just heated up a slice of my Roasted Tomato, Vidalia & Bacon Frittata leftover from last night's dinner. I do believe that it was even more delicious today than it was last night. Hubby said the same thing. Not sure if the flavors just had a chance to mingle overnight or what...but it was really good.

For lunch, we decided to try a new restaurant that was having it's "soft opening" today. I just happened to stumble upon that in my Facebook feed and immediately made reservations to have lunch there today. It was really good and a beautiful place, too. It felt like we were eating in a midtown (Atlanta) eatery instead of a place in the outlying suburbs. We enjoyed it and will definitely try it again for dinner once it is in full swing. For those of you that may live in the Atlanta area, it was called Parkside District. I had their "Double District" which was a double gourmet bacon cheeseburger made with dry aged beef, topped with Applewood smoked bacon and it had cheddar cheese and Vidalia confit in between the burgers. I had them hold the brioche bun it came with. Hubby had a Pork Belly BLT served on a ciabatta bun and they served hand cut fries alongside of which I admit to sneaking a few. I can't wait to go back and try it for dinner.

We also went shopping to Costco (big shock, right)? I wanted to let all you Costco folks know that I was pleasantly surprised (actually shocked) that they had fresh WILD Alaskan Sockeye Salmon for $9.99/lb. It was the exact same price as their farmed. I must say that I was quite shocked to find a number of people putting the anemic colored farmed salmon in their carts instead of the wild because obviously price was definitely not a factor. I do believe that there are still many out there that equate the word "farmed" with 'farm fresh" as in eggs, milk, etc. instead of farmed in overcrowded cesspools filled with toxins and wastes. I wanted to stop each of them and say something but I know it's none of my business so I just walked away stunned. Now, back to the wild salmon...I picked up 3 large packages that had 2 fillets in each package. Did I mention how excited I was??? I prepared it  for dinner this evening and kept it very simple. I decided to add an old favorite from my past to the lemon and butter...I used Old Bay Seasoning (the 30% lower sodium version). It turned out AMAZING! I didn't overdo the Old Bay because I wanted to enhance the salmon not mask it. It was perfect and I will definitely make it this way again. I guess it was sort of like the Cheseapeake Bay met Orca Bay in one delicious dish. I roasted two large fillets on the grill for about 11 minutes. I snapped a few photos and included the easy peasy recipe below. Enjoy!



Brushed w/ Old Bay Lemon Butter - ready for the grill



Roasted Wild Alaskan Salmon w/ Old Bay Lemon Butter

Ingredients:

1 pound wild Alaskan sockeye salmon fillet
2 tablespoons melted or softened butter
Juice from half of a large lemon (1 to 2 tablespoons)
Zest from half of a lemon
Old Bay Seasoning (I used the 30% less sodium version)

Directions:  

Preheat grill (or oven) to 425 degrees.

Place salmon fillet in center of large sheet of foil. In a small bowl, combine butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir in Old Bay Seasoning, to taste (I used a scant 1/4 teaspoon or less). Brush seasoned butter over top of salmon. Gently crimp and form foil into a packet around salmon fillet to hold butter and juices as it roasts (keep packet open on top while roasting). Place on hot grill and close lid. Try to maintain grill temperature between 425 and 450 degrees F. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Remove and transfer foil packet to a platter or baking sheet. Crimp and close packet tightly to allow salmon to continue cooking gently off the heat for about 5 minutes. Dust lightly with a pinch of additional Old Bay Seasoning, if desired.



            

Friday, August 11, 2017

Roasted Tomato, Vidalia & Bacon Frittata - Low Carb

This evening I decided to use what I had on hand to make dinner. I had a big container of very ripe NatureSweet tomatoes on the counter that needed to be used and it was way too many to put on a salad. I also had a bag of Vidalia onions on the counter and some leftover cooked bacon in the fridge from earlier in the week. The plan just sort of came together. I decided a quick and easy frittata was in order. I halved about 2 cups of grape tomatoes, tossed them with olive oil, basil, oregano, salt and pepper, then placed them on a parchment lined baking sheet and popped them into a hot oven to roast for about 30 minutes. I sautéed a diced Vidalia onion until it was translucent and caramelized which enhances their natural sweetness. I cut up 6 slices of cooked bacon and then grabbed a bag of thick cut sharp cheddar cheese (Sargento's Traditional Cut) from the fridge. By the time the tomatoes were done roasting, I lowered my oven temp and whisked the eggs, half-and-half, tomatoes, onions and cheese together and poured it into my Calphalon oven proof skillet and then cooked it on the stove top for a few minutes and then popped it into the oven to cook for about 30 minutes until it didn't jiggle in the middle. The deep flavor of the roasted tomatoes, herbs, salty bacon, sweet caramelized Vidalia onions and sharp cheddar cheese was absolutely amazing. It was a satisfying and delicious meal and it used what I had on hand. What's even better is that I have plenty leftover to reheat for a quick and yummy breakfast tomorrow. This combination of flavors was so good but you could swap out the cheese for whatever you had on hand or use browned sausage in place of the bacon or whatever your heart desired. I snapped a few photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!





Roasted Tomato, Vidalia & Bacon Frittata

Ingredients:

2 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 small Vidalia onion, diced
8 large eggs
1/3 cup cream or milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used Sargento traditional cut)
6 slices crumbled cooked bacon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss halved tomatoes in a medium bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. Spread out in single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tomatoes begin to shrink up a bit, brown and caramelize. While tomatoes are roasting, add olive oil or butter to 10-inch oven proof skillet. Cook onions until softened and caramelized (golden brown). Set aside while preparing the frittata. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and cream together. Stir in cheese, onions, bacon and roasted tomatoes. Heat greased 10-inch Lodge cast iron or other nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Pour egg mixture into hot skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes (this hastens crust formation and keeps it from sticking to the pan). Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. 


         

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler - Low Carb & No Added Sugar

I'm reposting one of my favorite desserts for summer when peaches are at their best and naturally sweet, ripe and juicy. I had received many requests for a grain free peach cobbler recipe...so I created a recipe for Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler that I shared on a guest post a couple of years ago. This recipe is very similar to one that I used to make from Southern Living years ago, except this version is grain and gluten free as well as sugar free. It's very easy to make and there is simply nothing better in the summertime when peaches are at their peak as far as I'm concerned. I love it topped with a scoop of sugar free vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. It's also amazing with a simple drizzle of heavy cream. You can use this same basic recipe to make a variety of other fruit cobblers as well by swapping the peaches for other fruits. Check out the photos and recipe below. This is definitely one to try. Enjoy!








Peach Cobbler
Serves 8 to 10


Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons butter
1 cup confectioners style Swerve, divided (or other powdered sweetener)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
4 cups fresh ripe peach slices, peeled and pitted (approximately 4 large peaches)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground chia seeds
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Directions:


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Melt butter in a 9 x 13 baking dish. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, 1/2 cup powdered sweetener, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add buttermilk and stir just until combined. Pour batter over top of butter (do not stir together).

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add remaining 1/2 cup powdered sweetener, peaches and lemon juice. Heat just until boiling; stir in ground chia seeds and return to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to sit for about 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Spoon peach mixture over top of batter (do not stir into batter). If desired, top with chopped pecans.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm topped with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or drizzle of heavy cream, if desired.  

        

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Strawberry Mascarpone Dessert Cups - No-Bake & Low Carb

Here's an easy no-bake recipe that I shared on a guest post that I did a while back. It's perfect for this time of year because it requires no baking whatsoever...nada, zip, zero...none! My No-Bake Strawberry Mascarpone Dessert Cups are a healthier and updated, more gourmet-ish version of the old Strawberry Pretzel Salads of yesteryear (which aren't even a salad to begin with...I mean WHO refers to a dessert as a "salad")!

For those that don't know what a "strawberry pretzel salad" is, it's a salty-sweet crust made using crushed pretzels, topped with a no-bake cheesecake-type filling and a final layer of strawberry gelatin and strawberries. Once again, it's a dessert, NOT a salad! It's a delicious, cool, no-bake dessert to help you usher summer out with a bang! To make these extra special, I made them in my cute little Weck Tulip Jelly Jars, but you can make this in a square cake pan as well and simply cut into squares to serve.

Check out my photos for No-Bake Strawberry Mascarpone Dessert Cups below. They have a salty-sweet nut flour crust to take the place of pretzels; it has a to-die-for sugar free vanilla bean mascarpone and cream cheese filling; and it's topped with my Strawberry Chia Jam. It is "knock your socks off" good! The recipe is listed below the phots. Enjoy!






No-Bake Strawberry Mascarpone Dessert Cups
Serves 6

Ingredients:

2/3 cup ground walnuts
1/3 cup Swerve Sweetener (or other granular type sweetener)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese
6 ounces cream cheese (brick style), room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons confectioner’s style Swerve Sweetener (or preferred sweetener, to taste)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or substitute 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup Strawberry Chia Jam (or other preferred jam or sweetened strawberries)

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, ground walnuts, 1/3 cup sweetener, and salt. Add melted butter and cut in with a pastry/dough cutter or fork until crumbly.

In a separate bowl, beat together mascarpone, softened cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream and 6 tablespoons sweetener until smooth. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into filling mixture and add lemon zest; stir until evenly blended.

Divide crust mixture between 6 “6 to 8-ounce sized” custard cups or ramekins. Lightly press or tamp down until packed tightly. Divide cheese filling among custard cups and spread snugly to the inside edges of custard cups. Chill for about 1 hour or until cheese filling is firm. Top with strawberry chia jam and chill until ready to serve.

*Notes: If desired, mixture can be layered in an 8-inch square pan and cut into square to serve. If topping with fresh sweetened strawberries instead of jam, add them at serving time.

           

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Marinated Grilled Chicken w/ Brussels, Bacon & Onions

This evening was another not-too-hot and not-too-humid evening. Another perfect night to grill dinner. I marinated boneless chicken breasts that I pounded to less than 1/2" thick to even out their thickness and then marinated them for a couple of hours in a delicious new dressing/marinade that I purchased at The Fresh Market. It was a Cracked Black Pepper Dressing/Marinade made by Tessemae's and it was delicious. I added a pinch of sea salt and crushed a teaspoon of dried rosemary and placed everything in a large Ziploc bag for 2 hours. I grilled it for about 5 to 6 minutes per side over a hot grill (about 400 degrees F). 

I quartered, halved and trimmed a 2-pound bag of Green Giant fresh brussels sprouts that I picked up at Costco and prepared them with bacon and Vidalia onions on the stove top and browned everything in a bit of butter so they would be just like roasted sprouts without heating up the kitchen with a hot oven. I used my nonstick wok and they turned out great! I prefer using my wok to a skillet because of its depth, and there isn't any splattering on my stove. I included the easy peasy recipe for my Brussels, Bacon & Onions below as well as a few photos. Enjoy!








Brussels, Bacon & Onions

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds of fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered
1/2 of a small Vidalia onion, diced
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
4 - 5 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
Sea Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Place brussels sprouts in a 2-quart microwave safe, covered casserole dish along with 1/2 cup water. Cover and steam in the microwave on high for 2 minutes to soften slightly. While sprouts are steaming, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick wok or skillet; add onions and cook until translucent and beginning to brown and caramelize. Drain sprouts well. Add to skillet with onions and increase heat to medium-high. Add butter and stir-fry uncovered for a few minutes until sprouts begin to brown. Cover and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes until desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add crumbled cooked bacon and cook an additional minute.


        

Monday, July 31, 2017

Spicy Grilled Chicken Thighs w/ Stir-Fry Veggie Cauli Fried Rice

This evening I was so excited to be able to grill because it wasn't raining for a change or it wasn't so miserably hot and humid like it has been recently. I love to grill boneless skinless chicken thighs on the grill. I simply spritz both sides with olive oil spray and season them with one of McCormick's Grill Mates Seasoning. Tonight I used their Spicy Montreal Seasoning. I grilled them about 4 to 5 minutes per side at about 400 degrees and then turned the grill off and let them "bake" in the covered grill for another few minutes with the flames off.

To go along with our chicken, I wanted to make Stir-Fry Veggie Cauli Fried Rice (cauli-rice) and try a package of frozen Cascadian's Organic Cauliflower Rice that I picked up at Costco. You can rice cauliflower yourself in a food processor or blender but this was super convenient and quick. It took about 10-12 minutes to prepare and cook and it was delicious along with our chicken. I included a few photos below and the easy peasy recipe as well. Enjoy!





Stir-Fry Veggie Cauli-Rice

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 sliced green spring onions, divided
1 12-ounce bag of frozen cauliflower rice (I used Cascadian organic)
1 cup lightly steamed broccoli florets
1 small grated organic carrot
1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a nonstick wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute half of the onions for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cauliflower rice, stir and cover pan. Continue to cook over medium-high heat for approximately 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and continue stir-frying for about 3 minutes. Add steamed broccoli, grated carrots and tomatoes. Stir fry for an additional 2 minutes until heated through. Add butter and season with salt and pepper; stir. 


        


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Lunch - Grilled Chipotle Chicken Breast Salad

Happy Sunday! It's a beautiful "not too hot" Sunday with significantly lower humidity and a breeze flowing. It's a drastic change for us here in "Hotlanta". We're getting ready to go plant some daylilies that a generous coworker shared with me since the weather is probably about as nice as its going to be this summer. For lunch, we made simple fresh salads. I cut up small heads of fresh romaine lettuce, sliced a carrot, cut up grape tomatoes, and tossed them together in a big bowl. I pounded boneless chicken breasts to about 1/4" thick and then lightly sprayed them with olive oil spray and seasoned them with McCormick's Grill Mates Chipotle & Roasted Garlic Seasoning and grilled them for about 5 to 6 minutes per side over medium-high heat. I covered them on a plate and allowed them to sit for a few minutes while I divided the salad among our bowls and sliced up a big ripe avocado. I then sliced the chicken into strips and placed them atop of the salads along with the avocado. We tried a new brand of salad dressing (new to us, not "new") made by Cindy's Kitchens in the refrigerated section. We picked it up yesterday at Fresh Market and tried their "Fresh Buttermilk Ranch" which was delicious. It's one of the better healthy ingredient commercial salad dressings I've found and great if you don't have time to make your own. A 2-tablespoon serving has 1 gram carbohydrate and 1 gram sugar and that serving amount is plenty for me since I don't like my salads weighed down with dressing. I snapped a quick photo below. This is the perfect quick lunch if you have 15 minutes to put it together and would be even quicker if you had leftover grilled chicken from another meal to use. Now off to plant my daylilies. Enjoy!


*Note: Both seasonings can usually be found at most local grocery stores and supermarkets.


        

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Southwestern Cheddar Crust Pizza (Cheese Head Style) - Low Carb

This evening I had hopped to grill chicken but it began to rain on my way home so I had to come up with another plan. I decided to make pizza since we haven't had that for a while. I've been wanting to experiment with my Cheese Head Pizza Crust recipe by making a cheddar version. I decided to make a Southwestern Style Cheddar Crust version by using half sharp cheddar along with the mozzarella cheese in the crust and adding smoked paprika, chili powder, roasted ground cumin, dried oregano and a bit of cayenne pepper. Not only did it add flavor, but it also added a beautiful color to the crust as well. I recommend using sharp cheddar if you want to be able to taste the cheddar flavor in the crust. I used regular pizza sauce (Muir Glen), a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella on top, red and yellow bell peppers and to keep the Southwestern theme, I diced 2 Aidells Poblano and Queso Freso Chicken Burgers (pre-cooked) and lightly browned them a little bit in a skillet since I didn't have any taco meat to put on top. This would be the perfect way to use leftover taco seasoned meat. I added thinly sliced Vidalia onions to my half of the pizza since hubby doesn't like onions. It turned out delicious and it was a way we could enjoy both Mexican and pizza in one fell swoop. Hubby enjoyed it as well. We have plenty left. I cut my rectangular pizza into 12 squares and we usually 2 or 3 pieces max because it is quite filling. I snapped some photos below as well as included the easy peasy recipe. If you've already made my Cheese Head Pizza Crust before, this is the same with a few tweaked ingredients. Enjoy!




Topped and ready to go back into the oven

2 burgers packaged together




Southwestern Style Cheddar Crust Pizza - Cheese Head Pizza - Cheddar Style

INGREDIENTS:

4 ounces (1 cup) shredded mozzarella (whole milk or part skim)
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (1 cup)
3 ounces brick style cream cheese
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (powdery style)
1/2 teaspoon smoked Paprika
1/4 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Few dashes ground cayenne pepper, optional
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil (to oil hands before pressing out dough)
Desired toppings (pizza sauce, additional cheddar and mozzarella cheese, peppers, onions, taco seasoned meat, 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, and seasonings 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. Using oiled hands to press out dough, or pouring oil on top of the dough after placing it in the center of baking sheet using a rubber spatula to press and spread the dough out evenly. If necessary, lightly oil the rubber spatula to keep from sticking. Press dough out into 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 15 minutes or until golden brown (rotate pan half way through for even browning). Remove crust and top with pizza sauce, additional cheeses, and any desired toppings. Bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until heated through. If desired run under broiler for a few minutes.