Monday, February 8, 2016

Chilly Willy Chili Perfect for this Chilly Winter Night

This evening we enjoyed a nice hot bowl of my Chilly Willy Chili which hit the spot because it is super chilly here tonight with snow flurries in our forecast. I actually made a big pot last night (double batch with extra meat) for Super Bowl. I modified it slightly by adding a couple of diced carrots as well as 1 can of kidney beans to the big pot since hubby and my son prefer it with beans (just leave them out for very low carb chili). It was filled with organic ground beef, fire roasted tomatoes, red bell peppers, poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, onions, diced zucchini and spices. It turned out great. I made a batch of my Parmesan Biscuits to go with it. We topped our chili with shredded sharp cheddar and a little dollop of sour cream. It was even better tonight after sitting overnight in the fridge. I snapped a quick photo below. Enjoy!



           

Saturday, February 6, 2016

BEST LOW CARB PIZZA - A Collection of 6 Amazing Pizza Crust Recipes

When I first went wheat free (grain free, gluten free, and low carb) 3-1/2 years ago, the one thing I missed the most was pizza. Even though there are plenty of low carb pizza recipes found online, I personally found most of them sub par at best and just not what my idea of pizza was. I didn't want to settle for "so-so" or "it's better than no pizza". So, I got busy at creating my own pizza crust recipes. To say that it changed my outlook (for the good) on being able to maintain this way of eating long term is an understatement. Most importantly, it kept me from feeling deprived (which is the kiss of death for most dieters). If you feel deprived, it equates to punishing yourself and who wants to do that forever? Mentally, this was a significant turning point for me and my positive attitude to making low carb eating a lifestyle and not just a phase. Thus far, it's been 3-1/2 years and going strong.

To make it easier to find my pizza crust recipes in one place, I've put together a collection of 6 of my (different) low carb pizza crust recipes. I have a variety of different crusts to suit different tastes. Whether you are looking for nut free, flax free, crispy or deep dish style, I hope you find one (or more) to suit your tastes. You might be surprised to find them better than you ever imagined a low carb pizza crust could be. These are pizzas that you can pick up and eat with your hands just like regular pizza (in other words, no fork required). If you haven't tried any of my pizza crust recipes yet, I would recommend starting with one of my Herbed Pizza Crust recipes (either the regular or flax free version). They are simple to make and delicious. It's time to put delicious low carb REAL pizza back on your Friday night menus again. Check out my collection below (the recipe to each is located on the link below each large photo). Enjoy!


Click on the title under each photo for the recipe

Herbed Pizza Crust

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Herbed Pizza Crust (No Flax)

Low Carb Pizza Crust (Nut free)

Low Carb Pizza Crust w/ Zucchini

Here are just a few of my most memorable pizzas...

"Pizza at the Beach...Vacation Pizza is always best!"

Friday, February 5, 2016

Low Carb Chili - "Chili Willy Chili" & the Best Low Carb Biscuits EVER!

This evening I'm sharing the recipe again for my Low Carb "Chili Willy" Chili since Super Bowl weekend is upon us. It's a modified version of the chili that I used to make, except in this version, I've reduced the carbs by substituting diced zucchini and yellow squash in place of the beans as well as omitted using chili seasoning from a packet and instead put together my own equivalent. It is so easily adapted to your own tastes...you can make it spicy or mild, whatever your family likes best. This chili is great when served with my Cheddar Black Pepper Biscuits or my Buttermilk Biscuits. Of course there is always my Parmesan Biscuits, too. I've added links to the recipes for the biscuits above (just click on the name of the biscuit in red that you want to see the recipe for). If you are looking for a different chili recipe that uses chunks of beef instead of ground beef...I have another awesome recipe for my Sweet & Spicy Autumn Chili that can be done either in a crock pot or on the stove. It's awesome, too (the recipe is linked above, simply click on the name of the chili in red). You can find the recipe for my Chili Willy Chili below. Enjoy!


Low Carb "Chili Willy" Chili

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound ground sirloin or ground round
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced (I used both red and orange peppers for color)
1 Poblano pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely diced
1-1/2 cups yellow squash, diced
1-1/2 cups zucchini, diced
14.5 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
16-ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 bay leaf
Few good shakes of cayenne pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot, brown meat, chopping it into small pieces as it browns; add onion and peppers after meat is lightly browned, cover and cook for about 5 minutes until peppers and onions begin to soften; add diced squash and zucchini, cover and cook approximately 5-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.  

Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Remove bay leaf.  Serves 3-4.

*Notes: Ground chuck and lean ground beef work great in this recipe too. If you don't like spicy chili, eliminate the jalapeno pepper...if you like it spicy, add more. If you want to use other types of peppers (yellow, orange, green, etc.), substitute with your favorite. I like to use fire roasted tomatoes because they add more flavor...if you don't like anything "charred" in your food, use regular diced tomatoes instead. You can add more or less salt to make it perfect for your taste. The diced squash and zucchini are low carb substitutes for beans. If you eat beans, add 1 can of beans in place of (or in addition to) the squash and zucchini. One of the benefits of not using a "chili flavoring packet" is that you can fine tune the salt, chili powder, etc. to make it exactly the way you like it....not the way "McCormick" likes it. This recipe is easily adaptable to your own tastes. I hope you enjoy it!


           

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Italian Sausage, Peppers & Onions Frittata

Yesterday I was in the mood for Italian sausage, peppers and onions. I thought about serving it over zoodles...but decided instead to simply whip it up into a frittata. It turned out amazing and included all the same delicious ingredients and flavor. I simply removed mild Italian sausage from its casings and browned it up in my cast iron skillet along with onions and red bell peppers (I used green spring onions, but regular diced onions would be great, too). After browning everything in olive oil and seasoning it with a pinch of red pepper flakes, I beat eggs, cream and finely grated Parmesan together, then stirred in some shredded mozzarella and poured that over the sausage peppers and onions mixture, stirring it around a bit to evenly disperse the eggs throughout the sausage mixture. I topped it with large flakes of Parmesan and popped it in the oven to bake for about 30 minutes. It came out nice and golden brown. It was an easy and delicious one skillet meal and a great way to enjoy an old favorite. I snapped a few photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!


Sausage, peppers and onions are browned
Egg mixture added and topped with large flakes of Parmesan
Puffed and golden brown ready to come out of the oven

Italian Sausage, Peppers & Onions Frittata

Ingredients:

16 ounces fresh Italian sausage, removed from the casing (I used chicken Italian sausage)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium red bell pepper, diced (or green bell pepper)
6 green spring onions, sliced (or 1 small diced onion)
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
8 large eggs
6 Tablespoons cream or milk
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (powdery style)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup shredded or flaked Parmesan cheese, optional (to top frittata)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in an oven proof 10-inch Lodge cast iron or nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up as it browns until no pink remains. Add red bell pepper and continue cooking until peppers are tender-crisp, about 5 minutes; stir in green onions and red pepper flakes; cook another 2 minutes (if using a regular onion, add onions along with red bell pepper). Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and cream together. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese and mozzarella; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Return skillet with sausage mixture to stove over medium heat. Pour egg mixture over sausage in skillet, stir gently to combine; and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to hasten crust formation and help keep it from sticking to the pan. Top with remaining 1/4 cup shredded or flaked Parmesan cheese. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. 


           

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Parmesan Eggs w/ Cheesy Italian Breadsticks - Low Carb Breakfast

For breakfast this morning, I made easy Parmesan Scrambled Eggs and served them with alongside a couple strips of bacon, fresh blueberries and my Cheesy Italian Breadsticks. The eggs were easy, I simply added and scrambled in 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese (the powdery style) to 2 eggs and cooked them in some of the bacon drippings. I served the eggs and bacon with my fresh hot out of the oven Cheesy Italian Breadsticks. No, I didn't get up and actually make a fresh batch of breadsticks this early in the morning (although it could easily be done). Instead, last weekend I intentionally wrapped up extra strips of uncooked breadstick dough loosely in parchment paper and stuck it in the fridge so I could see how they would bake up days later. Well, they turned out great! They weren't quite as "bready/fluffy" as when they are baked right away; they were a bit more crisp and absolutely delicious! They went perfectly alongside my Parmesan Eggs. These little breadsticks are so versatile and are great served as bread alongside soup (I did that this week), dipped in pizza sauce (I did that this week, too), or enjoyed as your bread alongside eggs for breakfast like I did this morning. I snapped a quick photo of my yummy breakfast below. The breadstick recipe can be found here: Cheesy Italian Breadsticks. To see photos of the steps, check out my post here: Breadstick Photos. Enjoy!



            

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cheesy Italian Breadsticks - Low Carb (NEW RECIPE)

Today I'm sharing my new recipe for Cheesy Italian Breadsticks on my guest post at Honeyville (the blanched almond flour gurus). These breadsticks are absolutely amazing! I tested them out on my family over the weekend and they LOVED them! We have eaten them as bread alongside our dinner AND also enjoyed them (a lot) dipped in pizza sauce. We love them! These would be awesome served at your upcoming Super Bowl gatherings. Regardless of how you choose to serve them...just make them! You won't be sorry. I snapped a few photos below of the various steps. To get to the easy recipe, simply click here: Cheesy Italian Breadsticks. Enjoy!









            

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Spicy Beef & Cabbage Soup - Easy Low Carb

This evening we enjoyed my Spicy Beef & Cabbage Soup for dinner. I usually prepare this soup in my crock pot and cook it all day long or overnight. Recently, I was asked by one of my followers if this soup would work okay cooked in a pot on top of the stove instead (because she did not own a crock pot), so I decided to go ahead and test it out to see how long it would take. I actually prepared the soup last night and then refrigerated it overnight to make dinner quick and easy this evening.

After I browned the beef and onions and then added the cabbage, stock, tomatoes and seasoning, it took about 2-1/2 to 3 hours for the beef to become fall apart tender. It took me 3 hours from start to finish. I tweaked the recipe slightly by increasing the beef to 2 pounds and rather than cut up a head of cabbage I used a 2-pound bag of coleslaw mix that was already sliced up which saved both time and clean up. I also decided to make it more "tomatoey" by bumping up the tomatoes. I added 2 large cans (1 pound 12-oz each) of San Marzano tomatoes that I crushed by simply squeezing them in my hands directly into the pot. When I served the soup this evening, I added a dollop of sour cream to our soup bowls to stir in and add a bit of creamy tang. It was delicious. I snapped a few photos of tonight's modified stove top version of this soup. You can find the original slow cooker recipe by clicking here: Spicy Beef & Cabbage Soup. Enjoy! (P.S. - Stay tuned for a NEW recipe post tomorrow)




         

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturday Brunch - Scrambled Eggs, Biscuits & Sausage

This morning we awoke to 27 degrees with a generous dusting of snow. We are fortunate not to be amidst the blizzard conditions happening up the east coast and to our north. The wind is blustery and cold though. I had a small bowl of my Parmesan Biscuit dough left in the fridge that I didn't use from last weekend so I made a couple of biscuits and popped them into the oven. While they were baking I shredded Cabot's sharp white cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs, then sliced and browned some Aidell's smoked chicken sausages. I mixed the shredded cheese into the eggs along with lots of freshly ground black pepper, then topped it with more cheese. Everything was ready by the time the biscuits came out of the oven. It was the perfect brunch for this frosty morning. Who knew that a low carb, grain and gluten-free breakfast could look and taste this good! I snapped a couple photos below. Enjoy!



      

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bacon, Baby Greens & Cheddar Frittata - Low Carb

Yesterday I made a quick and easy frittata for dinner and we're having the leftovers for tonight's meal as well (I also enjoyed a piece for lunch today). I made a Bacon, Baby Greens & Cheddar Frittata. It is so easy and so delicious and makes a perfect meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This past weekend I picked up a large container of fresh "Baby Power Green's" by Olivia's Organics at Costco which is a medley of predominantly baby spinach and baby kale, but also has baby collards, chard and mustard greens in it, too. I lightly sauteed them in a bit of olive just until wilted and then squeezed out the excess liquid and chopped them up. I cooked bacon in another skillet until nice and crisp to crumble into the frittata. I used my favorite Cabot Sharp White Cheddar Cheese in this frittata which adds such a nice intense cheddar flavor. I really love Cabot's 3-Year Classic Vermont White Cheddar; it's one of my favorites...but while I was at Costco this weekend, I also picked up a brick of their 5-Year White Cheddar to try and tested it out in the frittata. Well, now I'm torn and can't decide which one I like best! Both are really good and both have BIG cheddar flavor. I snapped a few photos of my frittata below and included the easy recipe as well. Enjoy!


This big container of baby greens morphs into...(continued below)
...this little bowl of wilted baby greens
Best sharp white cheddar ever! 
Ready to come out of the oven...




Bacon, Baby Greens & Cheddar Frittata

Ingredients:

8 ounces fresh baby greens (baby kale, spinach, collards, etc.)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, finely chopped
8 large eggs
4 Tablespoons cream or milk
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (powdery style)
1 1/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
8 strips of crumbled cooked crisp bacon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add greens and saute just until wilted. Squeeze out excess moisture and chop coarsely. In same skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil and cook onions until translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside while preparing the frittata. 

Grease a 10-inch Lodge cast iron or other nonstick ovenproof skillet with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and cream together. Stir in Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, chopped greens, and cooked onions; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in crumbled bacon. Heat greased skillet on stove top over medium-high heat until hot. Pour egg mixture into hot skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes (this hastens crust formation and helps to keep it from sticking to the pan). Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until puffed and light golden brown. 


           

Monday, January 18, 2016

Stuffed Beef Tenderloin - Easy, Elegant, & Low Carb

Last night both of my sons came for Sunday dinner. I made Stuffed Beef Tenderloin. It turned out unbelievably good. The meat was fork tender. I stuffed it with a mixture of spinach, green onions, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano. The tenderloin I prepared was 4 pounds. I know tenderloin is a pricey piece of meat but for special occasions it really isn't as pricey as you might think. The price of my tenderloin at Costco was $67, but when I picked it up a week ago they had a special for $10 off of all of their trimmed beef tenderloins, regardless of their size (trust me, you want to buy a "trimmed" tenderloin). I chose a smaller 4-lb loin so it cost me $57 after the discount. I know that is still a lot for a piece of meat but when you take into account that we got 8 very generous servings from this single piece of meat, that brings the actual price per serving to a little over $7.00 per person for filet mignon! How often have we all spent that much money (or more) at some fast food place for something subpar to eat without batting an eye? To go along with last night's meal, I made the guys oven roasted red skinned potatoes and buttered organic carrots. I also baked a batch of my delicious Parmesan Biscuits. It was a delicious and beautiful meal. I snapped a few photos below and included the recipe below as well. Enjoy!



I purchased an already trimmed tenderloin at Costco
A pocket is sliced lengthwise to place spinach stuffing (careful not to slice through other side)
Tenderloin is closed and tied closed with kitchen twine and placed on a rack in roasting pan
Parmesan biscuits fresh out of oven, carrots cooking on stove top, potatoes roasting in oven and tenderloin waiting to be added to the oven
Dinner in progress...red skinned potatoes roasting in the oven for the guys


Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

Ingredients:

1 4-pound trimmed beef tenderloin, patted dry with paper towels
Sea salt and black pepper
1 pound lightly cooked fresh baby spinach, well drained and chopped
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green spring onions (about 8), sliced
3 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano (or regular Parmesan cheese)
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a rack in the bottom of a large shallow roasting pan and set aside.

Place tenderloin on a large cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice a long slit lengthwise through center of tenderloin (not through the other side), within 3/4-inch of opposite side, making a long pocket to hold spinach stuffing; open flat. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside while preparing stuffing mixture.

In a medium skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute garlic and onions over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in fresh parsley and cook about 1 minute. In a medium bowl combine drained chopped spinach and onion/garlic/parsley mixture. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, cheese and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread spinach stuffing mixture evenly down the center of beef tenderloin, pressing firmly. Tightly roll up tenderloin, tucking the small end under so it cooks evenly. Tie beef with kitchen twine at 2-inch intervals. Place beef on rack in roasting pan. Brush with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Bake at 450 degrees F for the first 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and cook an additional 25 to 30 minutes to desired doneness; or until an instant read thermometer inserted into thickest part of roast registers approximately 140 to 145 degrees F for medium rare; 160 degrees F for medium; or 170 degrees for well done (note that meat will continue to cook after removing from oven and the temperature increases approximately 5 degrees as the meat rests). Remove from oven and cover loosely with foil for about 10 minutes before slicing. 


        

Sunday, January 17, 2016

No-Flip Blackberry Buttermilk Pancakes w/ Fresh Blackberry Buttermilk Syrup - Low Carb

This morning I made my Thick & Fluffy No-Flip Buttermilk Pancakes filled with big ripe fresh blackberries. I picked up a beautiful container of fresh blackberries at Costco yesterday. I placed half of the fresh blackberries in the pancakes and used the remaining half (about 1 cup) to make Fresh Blackberry Butter Syrup to top the pancake wedges with. I served the pancakes alongside crisp strips of bacon. The recipe for the pancakes can be found by clicking here: Thick & Fluffy No-Flip Buttermilk Pancakes. The quick and easy recipe for the syrup can be found below. Enjoy!









Fresh Blackberry Butter Syrup

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries (or other fresh berries)
3 tablespoons butter (I used Kerrygold)
3 tablespoons sugar free pancake syrup, or to taste (I used Nature's Hollow)

Directions:

Puree blackberries in a small blender or food processor until smooth (I used a Magic Bullet). Strain through a mesh strainer to remove seeds. Heat pureed and strained berries in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot; whisk in butter and syrup. If desired, sweetener of choice (such as Swerve or stevia) can be used in place of the pancake syrup to add sweetness.