Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cheddar Green Chile "Cornbread" - Low Carb & Grain Free

This evening I tested my new recipe for Cheddar Green Chile "Cornbread"...the quotations are there because there isn't any "corn" in my cornbread. This is a low carb, grain free version that will knock your socks off! I tend to prefer my cornbread with a hint of sweetness (kind of like the sweetness of fresh corn). At Thanksgiving time, I always make a corn casserole that includes cornbread and creamed corn along with cheddar cheese and a few other ingredients. I don't eat that any more but my family still does. My hubby is Georgia born and raised and knows his cornbread. Even though there are different styles and preferences (some like it sweet and moist, others don't want any sweetness and they like it drier), I tried to create one sort of middle of the road that could go either way...moist or a little drier as well as more or less sweet.

My cornbread turned out AMAZING and is "Georgia-hubby" approved. This cornbread is crusty on the edges and tender and moist in the center. He prefers his cornbread a wee bit drier and I prefer mine more moist (this version suited us both). If you like yours more dry and crumbly, simply halve the amount of shredded squash added. He said the flavor was spot on and was surprised at how much it tasted just like real cornbread. Besides sharp cheddar cheese, I used canned diced fire roasted green chiles (by Ortega) that come in either mild or hot (I used hot but only added 1 tablespoon). They can be found in the Mexican food section of most grocery stores. You can omit them completely or use the mild version to get the flavor without the heat, or add more for a zippier bread. I can't wait to make chili to enjoy this cornbread with. I like to crumble my cornbread on top of my chili. I snapped a few photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!





Cheddar Green Chile "Cornbread" - Low Carb

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup ground golden flax seeds
1/4 cup granular Swerve Sweetener (or preferred sweetener)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (*see notes below)
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup shredded yellow summer squash (reduce to 1/4 cup for drier cornbread)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 tablespoon canned diced fire roasted green chiles, hot or mild (I used hot)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Generously grease an 8-inch cast iron skillet (or ovenproof skillet) with coconut oil or butter and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, ground flax, sweetener, baking soda, and salt. In a separate small bowl, beat buttermilk and eggs together. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir just until combined. Mix in melted butter, yellow squash, 2/3 cup cheddar cheese and green chiles.

Heat greased skillet on stove top over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles when flicked into the pan. Turn off stove and pour batter into skillet and smooth top. Top with remaining 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until done, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*Notes: If using a different sized skillet or pan, baking times may need to be adjusted. Using a cast iron pan will yield a more authentic textured cornbread that develops crusty edges. If you prefer a drier cornbread, reduce shredded squash to 1/4 cup. For a spicier cornbread, increase diced green chiles or omit them for plain cheddar cornbread. For a buttermilk substitute, add 1-1/2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup and fill with your choice of dairy milk to the 1/2 cup mark (or for dairy free buttermilk, use unsweetened cashew milk, almond milk or coconut milk). Allow milk to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before using.

            

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Soft Chicken Tacos Made with Grain Free Soft Tacos - NEW RECIPE

This evening I made Grain Free Soft Chicken Tacos for dinner. I actually got a head start on this evening's meal by cooking the chicken in my crock pot overnight. I used a new salsa (Heritage Streetfood Green Hatch Chili Salsa) that I found locally over the weekend that is made with Hatch chiles grown in the Hatch Valley in Hatch, New Mexico. The salsa is absolutely delicious and is not spicy but very flavorful. As soon as I tried it, I loved it and knew it would make delicious seasoned chicken for chicken tacos. Making the shredded chicken filling was ridiculously simple; it contained 2 ingredients, chicken and this salsa. Before going to bed late last night, I placed 3 large boneless chicken breasts (about 1-1/2 pounds total) in the bottom of my smaller 4-quart crock pot and then covered them with 1 cup of the Hatch Green Chili Salsa. I covered the crock pot, turned it on high for the first hour and then down to low and cooked it overnight. I actually turned it off when I came home for lunch today and then shredded it with 2 forks while it was still in the crock (it literally fell apart). I let it cool off and then popped it into the fridge for later. I simply reheated the chicken before filling my soft taco shells this evening.

When I came home, I created a super easy recipe for soft taco shells. They are so very simple to make and turned out beautiful, flexible and held up perfectly to our overstuffed Soft Chicken Tacos that we stuffed with lots of seasoned shredded chicken, shredded cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. They were AMAZING!!! You simply toss all the ingredients in a small blender (I put them in my Magic Bullet) and whiz it together and then heat a skillet, pour the batter and swirl away. In no time at all, you have a stack of 9 beautiful 6-inch soft tacos. These tacos are sturdy and thicker than my regular grain free tortillas. I have tons of leftover cooked chicken so I have lunch made now for the next few days. These beautiful soft tacos would also make great little sandwich wraps, too. I snapped a few photos below and included my easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!










Grain Free Soft Tacos

Ingredients:

1 cup egg whites or Egg Beaters (I used egg whites in a carton)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
3 tablespoons ground chia seeds
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or substitute Mozzarella or Monterey Jack)
Dash of sea salt
Generous dash of ground chipotle pepper or smoked paprika, optional

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a small food processor or blender and blend for 1 minute or until smooth (I used a Magic Bullet). Lightly grease an 8-inch non-stick skillet with olive oil or coconut oil and heat over medium-high heat until hot (a drop of water should sizzle in it). Pour about 3 tablespoons batter (scant 1/4 cup) into hot skillet, tilting and shaking pan, using a circular motion to evenly distribute the batter in the bottom of pan. Cook approximately 1 to 2 minutes, until very lightly browned and cooked around edges. Carefully loosen and flip using a rubber spatula; cook for another minute. Transfer to a plate and repeat for remaining soft tacos (lightly re-greasing pan after every 2 or 3 tacos). Makes 9 6-inch soft tacos.


               

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hungarian Style Chicken Paprikash - Low Carb & Gluten Free

This evening we are having Hungarian Style Chicken Paprikash for dinner and I don't have to cook because I actually made it for dinner last night when both of my sons came to eat with us. We are having the leftovers for dinner this evening. I added cooked sliced mushrooms to it this time, even though it isn't traditional to add them. I really liked the addition of them (hubby just picked them out...lol). I also added a little extra chicken. It turned out great. I enjoyed mine over yellow squash ribbon "noodles" made simply with a regular vegetable peeler, then sauteed in butter for a few minutes. The rest of the family ate theirs over regular buttered  noodles. I snapped a few photos below and included a couple photos of serving suggestions near the bottom from previous times that I've made it. I also included the recipe. Enjoy!


Ready for the oven
Fresh out of the oven...ready for sour cream to be stirred in
Ready to eat

Serving Suggestions
(one over yellow squash noodles and the other on zoodles)

 


Hungarian Style Chicken Paprikash

INGREDIENTS:

2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 (14.5 oz) can diced fire roasted tomatoes with juice (or regular tomatoes)
1 medium onion, sliced or diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon more, as necessary
1/2 - 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika (I used Szeged)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup sour cream (sit out while casserole bakes so it isn't cold when stirred in)
Zucchini or squash noodles (or substitute wide egg noodles if not wheat/grain free)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut chicken into approximate 1-inch sized chunks; pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Remove chicken to bowl and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot chicken was cooked in and heat over medium-high heat; add onions to pan. Cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute or so. Add chicken broth to de-glaze pan, stirring frequently and scraping bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add tomatoes with juice, paprika and cayenne; stir and bring just to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Return chicken back to dutch oven and stir in, along with any juices that accumulated in bowl. Bake uncovered for about 35-45 minutes or until chicken is tender and sauce has reduced by about 1/3. Remove from oven and let sit about 5-7 minutes, uncovered.  Stir sour cream thoroughly into the mixture.  Serve over zucchini or yellow squash noodles, or noodles of your choice.

*Note: I sometimes like to add about 1 cup of cooked sliced mushrooms to my paprikash


            

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Roasted Tomato & Pepperoni Pizza - Low Carb & Gluten Free

Today was a lazy rainy day. I was in the mood for pizza for dinner this evening and decided to make a Roasted Tomato & Pepperoni Pizza using my pizza crust that uses almond flour, chia, and cheese (it's really good). I roasted a big sheet pan full of halved multi-colored baby tomatoes. It's so easy to do. I simply placed them on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzled them with olive oil, seasoned them with sea salt and pepper, then roasted them in a 400 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. Instead of removing them from the oven, I turned the oven off and left them inside until it cooled down to allow them to dry out more without cooking them any longer.

I used a new pizza sauce that I picked up a while ago but hadn't tried yet until this evening; Muir Glen's Organic Pizza Sauce, and it was absolutely delicious. After baking my crust, I topped it with the pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese and small pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese (Bel Gioioso), then added uncured Fiorucci pepperoni and the roasted tomatoes. It was honestly one of the best pizzas I've ever had...period. The combination of flavors of the delicious sauce, cheese, roasted tomatoes and pepperoni on top of a super yummy crust was the best. I snapped a few photos below. Here's a link to the pizza crust I used for this pizza: Low Carb Pizza Crust (I have several different crusts). Enjoy!





Before roasting...
ROASTED
            

First "Fall Weekend Breakfast" - Low Carb & Sugar Free

This morning it's dark, gloomy and raining here in Atlanta and won't get out of the 60s. We had rain all through the night and it appears like it is here to spend all weekend long with us. It did make it easier to sleep in this morning though without any sunshine to awaken us.

For our first Saturday "fall breakfast" I was sure to include both of my favorite autumn flavors; cranberries and pumpkin. Fortunately I had both Cranberry-Strawberry Sauce in the fridge as well as a big plate of Pumpkin Orange Spice Mini-Muffins on the counter. All I needed to make was the eggs and sausage. I made hubby and I fried eggs and chicken apple sausage patties (from Applegate). I cooked the eggs in Kerrygold butter in a covered skillet since hubby prefers his eggs a little more done (as in not running all over the plate). I served our eggs and sausage with the pumpkin muffins and a dollop of the cranberry sauce and served the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting alongside to use as a spread for the muffins. That, along with a cup of Nantucket Blend Coffee, (by Green Mountain) and I was in "perfect autumn heaven" this morning. It helped me not feel "quite" so disappointed that we wouldn't be making a trip to the pumpkin farm today (which I had been looking forward to). Enjoy!




            

Friday, September 25, 2015

First Friday of Fall "Fast Food" Meal

We had rain most of the day here today and it didn't get above 64 degrees...just a dark, damp and icky day. I didn't want much fuss for dinner this evening and didn't want to go out anywhere either. The only thing I looked forward to was getting into my p.j.'s as soon as I got home. LOL So, I had hubby pick up a rotisserie chicken on his way home and I made a couple of ridiculously easy sides while we waited for the chicken (and hubby) to arrive. I had a bag of coleslaw mix that I added to a large skillet with a bit of oil and I sauteed/fried it without adding any water. As it began to wilt a bit, I covered it and let it steam a little in it's own moisture while I cut up 4 strips of bacon and tossed it into the mix, then added some Kerrygold butter and let it cook uncovered on medium-high heat while I stirred frequently and let it brown up a bit.

While the cabbage cooked I tossed some cubes of fresh butternut squash (I purchased it already peeled and cut up) into a bowl with some olive oil, sea salt, and dusted it with chipotle chile powder and then added a few pinches of Swerve sweetener to get the sweet/salty/spicy thing going on. I spread it in a single layer on a baking sheet and roasted it at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until tender. By the time hubby arrived with the chicken, the sides were done. I added a dollop of my Cranberry-Strawberry Sauce to our plates and it was the perfect "first Friday of fall" dinner, and it tasted even better because we ate it in our p.j.'s on a dreary Friday night. I snapped a quick photo below. It was a delicious dinner that required minimal effort to prepare. Enjoy!


       

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pumpkin Orange Spice Mini-Muffins - NEW RECIPE (Sugar Free & Gluten Free)

To kick off fall in the most "fall-like" way that I know...translated into PUMPKIN, I'm sharing a new recipe that I am debuting on my guest post for Honeyville today that uses their blanched almond flour. It's for Pumpkin Orange Spice Mini-Muffins. These are moist little bite-sized gems packed with pumpkin and spice with some walnuts tossed in "just because" but I certainly wouldn't object if there were chocolate chips tossed in instead. These muffins are low carb, sugar free, and gluten free. I intentionally didn't make them too sweet, so if you prefer your muffins sweeter, feel free to bump up the sweetener a bit.

I tend to prefer my muffins naked as in, "not frosted"...but if you prefer yours drizzled, glazed or frosted, I have a yummy Orange Cream Cheese Frosting/Glaze that you will love. Simply add more liquid (cream) to it if you want a glaze that inches it's way over the top and then runs down the sides; or add less liquid if you prefer a thick and fluffy frosting that sits proudly on top of your muffins. When creating this recipe, one of my goals was that it must use the entire can of pumpkin. No more little portions of unused pumpkin taking up space in my fridge any more. Besides, more pumpkin equals a more pumpkiny flavor as well as a moister muffin (win/win). These little muffins seemed to get better with each passing day. I hope you enjoy these as much as my family and I do. I snapped some photos below. To get to the recipe, please click here: Pumpkin Orange Spice Mini-Muffins. Enjoy!



Using a 1-tablespoon scoop makes filling the muffin cups a breeze and keeps it neat
Fresh from the oven




            

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie (Appetizer Style) - Low Carb & Gluten Free

Happy 1st day of fall! This evening I was in the mood for my Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie. It's been a while since I've made it and it's one of my favorites. I decided to tweak it slightly to make it in a more traditional rectangular shape (instead of my usual pie style cut in wedges) to make it more versatile and "appetizer/party friendly". It turned out amazing and is the perfect shape to prepare and serve cut into squares for appetizers or simply as a meal. This evening we cut it into larger portion sized squares. It can easily be cut into smaller squares and placed on a platter and served as an appetizer for parties or holiday gatherings. I will definitely be preparing it this way for the upcoming holidays. I snapped a few photos and included my slightly modified recipe below. Enjoy!

*PS - Stay tuned for a NEW recipe coming tomorrow...you are going to LOVE it!








Greek Style Spinach-Feta Pie

Ingredients:

Crust:

2 cups almond flour
3 tablespoons cold butter, diced into small cubes
1 egg
1 teaspoon Greek Seasoning, optional (I use Penzeys)

Filling:

16 oz. fresh spinach (cooked, squeezed dry and coarsely chopped)
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
5 sliced green spring onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried dill (or 1 to 2 teaspoons, if using fresh)
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 large eggs
1/2 cup cream or milk

Directions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 13" x 9" baking dish or pan.

Place all crust ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut butter and egg into flour with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles small pebbles and the flour is thoroughly moistened (the same way you prepare a pie crust). Press crust mixture evenly on bottom of baking dish. Bake crust for 15 minutes; remove from oven and set aside.

While crust is baking, prepare filling. In a non-stick skillet, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until tender; remove and set aside. In the same skillet, saute spinach, just until wilted.  Drain and press as much liquid out of the spinach as possible (I use a mesh strainer and press it with the back of a large spoon). Coarsely chop spinach and place in a medium bowl. Add cooked onions and garlic, feta, dill, lemon zest, pepper, eggs and cream. Mix until combined; pour and spread mixture evenly over lightly baked crust. Bake 30 minutes or until done. If the center seems jiggly when lightly shaken, cook for an additional few minutes.


         

Monday, September 21, 2015

Zucchini Tomato & Parmesan Biscuit Frittata (Grain-Free Breakfast Casserole)

This evening I was exhausted when I got home and it was one of those nights where I wasn't in the mood to spend a lot of time on dinner. I decided what to make after looking around at the contents of my refrigerator. I had a few extra small zucchini left that I didn't use when I made my Chocolate Zucchini Walnut Cake yesterday. I had a bunch of green spring onions, eggs, a big container of Parmigiano Reggiano, a couple of leftover "stale-ish" Parmesan Biscuits and a few leftover strips of cooked bacon from the weekend. I also had a small bowl of grape tomatoes on the counter. Zucchini & Tomato Frittata was what came to my mind with a little bacon tossed in for good measure. To push it over the top and make it a little heartier, I decided to crumble the last two Parmesan Biscuits on top of my frittata before popping it in the oven...and "voila"...it morphed into a "Frittata Breakfast Casserole" in a skillet.

With the holiday season coming up, this is the perfect answer to those "breakfast casseroles" of yesteryear that included the bread, sausage, eggs and cheese all in one casserole. This "biscuit frittata" is an amazing grain free substitute for those breakfast casseroles and everyone, grain free or not, will love them. Just fill your egg casserole with your favorite ingredients and cheeses and top it with crumbled day old biscuits before baking (here's another similar one that I made last year: Sausage-Broccoli Biscuit Frittata and here's another festive version I made last year where I added the crumbled biscuits to the bottom of the mini-frittata casseroles: Mini Breakfast Casseroles). I really enjoyed this frittata and have plenty of leftovers for my lunch for the next few days. I snapped a few photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. This is the perfect way to breathe new life into small amounts of leftovers in your fridge and transform them into something new and delicious. Enjoy!


The filling gets cooked in the same skillet the frittata is baked in
Eggs are poured over the filling, biscuits crumbled on top and then the final touch of cheese
Fresh out of the oven

Zucchini Tomato & Parmesan Biscuit Frittata

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small zucchini, sliced
2 sliced green spring onions
1 cup quartered grape or cherry tomatoes
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3 to 4 strips of crumbled cooked bacon
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
7 large eggs
2 tablespoons cream
2 Parmesan Biscuits, broken and crumbled into pieces

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until most of the liquid has cooked off; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with bacon and half of the Parmesan; remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs with cream and pour over the zucchini and tomatoes in skillet. Scatter crumbled biscuits over top of egg mixture and top with remaining half of Parmesan cheese. Cook on stove over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes to allow outer edges to begin to crust slightly. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top and center of frittata doesn't jiggle when skillet is shaken slightly. Allow frittata to sit for a few minutes. Use a rubber spatula to help slide the frittata onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve.

    

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Farewell to Summer Dinner & Happy Birthday to My Son!

This weekend was a busy one. Yesterday I worked a good bit of the day on a recipe project. Today I worked all day long preparing for my oldest son's birthday dinner celebration. I started my prep at 8:00 in the morning and just finished shortly before they arrived at 5:00. While a good bit of the day was spent on dinner prep, there is the housecleaning and all the other stuff that goes with preparing for a "special occasion".

We had a great time. I prepared Shish Kebab. I made both beef and chicken. I cut up 4 pounds of prime beef loin into chunks and 3 pounds of boneless chicken breast into chunks and marinated them for about 6 to 7 hours in a mixture of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, Greek Seasoning (from Penzey's), minced garlic and fresh rosemary. I also cut up 6 large red, yellow and orange bell peppers as well as a huge Vidalia onion and marinated them as well. I like to use gallon sized Ziploc bags to marinate in. I did the meats separately, the peppers separately and the onions separately. Just threading all of that on skewers is a big job. I served jasmine rice with the meal (I skipped the rice).

For my son's birthday cake, I made my Chocolate Zucchini Walnut Cake. Everybody loved it and they couldn't tell it from the original version I used to make them years ago. They had vanilla ice cream with their cake. I snapped a few photos of our meal below. I sent all the leftover kebabs home with the guys (but I did manage to save some cake for me...LOL). It was a beautiful "last Sunday" of summer to grill out and enjoy a zucchini cake while we celebrated my son's birthday dinner with the family. Enjoy!







        

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sriracha & White Cheddar Eggs w/ White Cheddar-Black Pepper Biscuits

This morning we awoke to a beautiful cool morning. I decided to start off our last weekend of summer with a "bang" by making Scrambled Sriracha & White Cheddar Eggs served alongside White Cheddar-Black Pepper Biscuits and crispy strips of bacon. There was lots of delicious flavor on our plates this morning. I actually tried these eggs out earlier in the week when my son stopped by unexpectedly for lunch. He loves Sriracha and I needed to make something quick and easy since I was home for a quick lunch and had to head back to work. They were SO delicious that I couldn't wait to make them again so hubby could try them. I grated my favorite Cabot's Sharp White Vermont Cheddar (a generous pile) and then scrambled 6 organic eggs and cooked them in a little Kerrygold butter. As the eggs began to cook, I added the grated cheese and a generous squirt of sriracha (2 to 3 teaspoons or so). I continued stirring and cooking the eggs and then served them alongside crispy bacon and my White Cheddar-Black Pepper Biscuits (made with Cabot's Sharp Vermont White Cheddar). It was a quick and easy breakfast to help usher out this ridiculously hot summer we had this year. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!