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


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


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


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.)


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.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Grilled Chipotle-Lime Wild Alaskan Salmon

This weekend our Costco had fresh wild Alaskan sockeye salmon for $9.99/lb. That is an awesome deal. Even though I've frozen a bunch already, I love to prepare it from its fresh, never frozen state. I wanted to keep it simple and change it up just a bit (to keep hubby from tiring of it). I could eat it EVERY single day! I made enough so I can have it for my lunch the next couple of days. I served it alongside a fresh green salad and it was the perfect meal for these hot and humid dog days of summer we've been experiencing. This morning it was 73 when we woke up and 97% humidity which is nothing but gross. I snapped a few photos of this evening's delicious grilled Chipotle-Lime Salmon. Those two flavors go excellent together. I only lightly dusted the salmon the ground chipotle and seasoned it with sea salt and topped the fillets with thinly sliced lime to cook. About half way through the 10-12 minute grilling, I squeezed fresh lime juice over the fillets. They turned out so good. I used my Lodge grill pan on top of my grill to make sure I didn't lose a single bite of salmon falling through the grates. Check out the easy peasy recipe below as well as the photos. Enjoy!

Grilled Chipotle-Lime Wild Alaskan Salmon


2 pounds wild salmon fillets
Sea salt, to taste
Ground Chipotle Powder
1 fresh lime, thinly sliced
Olive oil or olive oil spray to lightly grease grill


Rinse and pat salmon fillets dry with paper towels. Cut into portions to fit on grill or grill pan. Lightly oil grill pan or grates. Heat grill to about 400 degrees F (medium-hot). Season salmon with salt, chipotle (lightly dust) and top with lime slices. Place on grill pan or grill grates, skin side down. Cover grill and cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on thickness. About half way through cooking, squeeze with fresh lime juice, if desired.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Chicken-Pickle Salad Biscuits on Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

This evening we got a late start with dinner because we had to take our puppy to the vet because he's been sick the last few days. Hopefully he's on the mend now. It was hot and muggy here today. I decided to make a big bowl of chicken salad and since the only crunchy things hubby will eat in chicken salad is pickles, I went with a Chicken-Pickle Salad. It actually turned out really good and it was super easy to make. I had leftover cooked chicken that I diced up and then I diced Bubbies pickles (my favorite pickles) up and mixed it with some olive oil mayo and served it on some leftover Southern Buttermilk Biscuits that I had leftover from the weekend. They were delicious little "Chicken-Pickle Salad Biscuits" and so easy to quickly put together. I snapped a quick photo below and included the ridiculously easy recipe.

Beautiful Kalanchoe plant on my desk (the flowers are super tiny)

Chicken-Pickle Salad


3 to 4 cups diced cooked chicken
1/4 to 1/3 cup diced pickles
Mayonnaise to taste
Black pepper, to taste


In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, adding desired amount of mayonnaise, to taste. Serve in lettuce leaves or on grain free biscuits or rolls.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Chicken Parmesan - Easy Low Carb

This evening I made Chicken Parmesan since I had all the ingredients on hand. I simply seasoned and sautéed a package of Perdue boneless chicken breasts for about 8-9 minutes per side, then placed them in a small casserole dish with pasta sauce (one of my favorites by Del Grosso; Fireworks Sauce). I then topped them with sliced fresh mozzarella cheese (you could substitute regular mozzarella if you want) and then topped with shredded Parmigiano Reggiano (you could also use regular shredded Parmesan). I then popped it into a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes to bake and ran under the broiler for a few minutes at the very end to get the cheese nice and bubbly and browned. I served it with a fresh garden salad and one of my Parmesan Biscuits that I made this past weekend. If you haven't tried them yet, they are worth trying. If you wanted to, you could serve the Chicken Parmesan on top of Zoodles as well. I snapped a few photos below and included my easy peasy recipe. Enjoy!

Chicken Parmesan - Easy Low Carb


2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Generous pinch red pepper flakes, optional
2 to 3 boneless chicken breasts, approximately 1 pound (skinless or skin on)
1 to 1-1/2 cups pasta sauce (about half of a 26-oz jar)
2 1/4-inch slices of fresh mozzarella cheese (I used Bel Gioioso pre-sliced)
1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan


In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Generously season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Place chicken in skillet; reduce heat to medium and saute about 8 minutes per side until light golden brown. While chicken is cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cover bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish with pasta sauce. Place chicken breasts in casserole dish and pour remaining sauce over top of chicken. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until done. If desired, place under a hot broiler for 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Serve chicken with sauce spooned over top.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Skillet Sour Cream Coffee Cake - Topped w/ Walnut Streusel

Here's a re-post of a grain free adaptation I created for one of my favorite old recipes for sour cream coffee cake with cinnamon, sugar, and walnut streusel. I created a grain-free version of that coffee cake that is also sugar-free thanks to one of my favorite sweeteners, Swerve. This cake turned out moist, dense, rich and delicious, just like the original version. The recipe is super simple and it is baked in an ovenproof skillet! You can find the easy recipe below. Enjoy!

Skillet Sour Cream Coffee Cake  


For the Cake:
1/4 cup ground golden flaxseed
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup Swerve Sweetener (or other granular sweetener)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure maple flavor, optional (I like Boyajian)
Butter or coconut oil to grease skillet

For the Topping:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons Swerve Sweetener (or other granular sweetener)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, flax, coconut flour, 3/4 cup sweetener, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; whisk to combine and break up any lumps.

In a separate small bowl, beat buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, sour cream, vanilla and optional maple flavor together. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture; mix just until combined.

For the topping, in a small bowl, mix walnuts, 2 tablespoons sweetener and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon together.

Generously brush or coat a 10-inch ovenproof or cast iron skillet with butter or coconut oil. Heat the skillet over medium high heat, just until hot; remove from heat. Pour batter into hot skillet; top with the cinnamon walnut mixture. Place skillet into preheated oven and bake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for approximately 30 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently loosen and carefully slide onto a plate or platter. Cut into wedges and serve. 


Berry Cheesecake Tart w/ Butter Pecan Cookie Crust - Festive & Delicious

Here's a re-post of one of my favorite dessert recipes that I created a few years ago with Fourth of July celebrations in mind. I have to tell is one of my favorite dessert recipes that I've created. There are a couple of others that rank up there close...but this one is REALLY...REALLY good! 

It's decorated in festive red, white and blue, but you can design yours however you'd like and use whatever fruits that are your favorite. I used sliced strawberries and fresh blueberries on mine. It is AMAZING...and you are going to love this recipe. It is simple to make. The only baking involved is the 20 to 22 minutes it takes to bake the "butter pecan cookie crust." Trust me, it's worth turning on the oven in July for this one! It has an unbelievable no-bake cheesecake topping and then it's topped with fresh sliced strawberries, fresh blueberries and whipped cream. I sweetened the cookie crust base and the cheesecake topping with Swerve (my favorite non-sugar sweetener) but you can substitute your favorite sweetener if you like. I swear that you would never EVER know that this dessert has no added sugar. Trust could fool all the skeptics with this one! Check out the photos and recipe below. Enjoy!

Behind the Scenes...

Crust before baking
Crust after baking
Cheesecake topping has been spread on the cooled cookie crust

This is the pan I appropriate that it's a "USA Pan" to make a Fourth of July dessert!  If you haven't tried these baking pans will love them. I've been using their loaf pan for a while now and picked this jelly roll pan up and absolutely love it.  I liked it so much I went back and bought a 5-piece set, too. They sell these on Amazon (below)...but if you have a Bed Bath & Beyond nearby, you can get them at a great price and even better if you use their 20% coupon that comes out all the time!

Fresh Berry Tart w/ Butter Pecan Cookie Crust 


For the Cookie Crust:
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (preferably aluminum free)
1/2 to 3/4 cup Swerve Sweetener, or preferred granular sweetener
1/4 cup butter, softened (1/2 stick)
3 ounces (brick style) cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecan meal

For the Cheesecake Topping:
16 ounces brick-style cream cheese (2 8-ounce bricks), slightly softened
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered Swerve Confectioners Style Sweetener (or preferred confectioners style sweetener

Fruit Topping:
Fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)
Whipped cream for serving, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 10"x15"x1" jelly roll pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and sweetener. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add softened butter, cream cheese, egg and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix dry and wet ingredients together until blended. Stir in pecan meal.

Using a rubber spatula spread and press dough evenly in pan. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

In a mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese, until creamy and smooth; stir in cream, vanilla and sweetener.  Beat with hand mixer for about 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth, light and fluffy. Spread topping over top of crust until smooth. Refrigerate for several hours until chilled. Arrange berries on top. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Note: If you are unable to find pecan meal locally, it can be ordered online or you can easily make your own by using the pulse setting of your food processor outfitted with a steel blade. Nut meal is more coarsely textured than flour and should resemble the consistency of cornmeal. The pecan meal provides more texture to the cookie crust.