Healthy

Spinach Gratin (Keto Friendly)

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!  I’m now a week into doing Keto/low carb diet and so far it’s been pretty good.  I felt like this past week I had way more energy and I didn’t feel like I was craving sweets as much as I thought I would.

This past week has been pretty much protein in the form of some type of meat and than a vegetable side or a salad.  I’ve been trying my best to make veggies taste like something I’d want to eat more often.  So far it seems to have been working.

I made this spinach recipe this weekend and it came out phenomenal.  It was my first time making it and I’m pretty impressed.  Hey I’ll give myself a little pat on the back from time to time.

This recipe is simple to make and can be made ahead of time.  Perfect for a rather quick side dish. This is thicker than an average creamed spinach which is why it’s more of a gratin.  Give it a try!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Spinach Gratin (Keto Friendly)

Ingredients:

16 oz organic frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess liquid removed
6 oz cream cheese
6 T full fat ricotta cheese
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup +2T  grated parmesan or Romano cheese
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Heat a medium sauté pan on medium high heat.  Make sure that as much liquid as possible is removed from the spinach.  You can do this by putting in a strainer and using a spatula to press down on the spinach to remove the liquid.

Add the butter to the sauté, once it starts to melt, add in the garlic and onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.   Next add in the spinach and mix.  To the mixture add in the cream cheese and break up and mix often.  Reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally until the cream cheese is fully melted.  Remove from the head and stir in the ricotta and all the seasoning.  Taste and add more salt and pepper to your liking.  Lastly mix in the grated cheese, save 2 T for topping.

Spread mixture in a greased oven safe dish and top with remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese.  Bake at 375 for 20-25.

Note: This dish Is perfect to make ahead of time. If you refrigerator make sure to add another 15 minutes or so to the baking time.

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Before going into the oven!

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After baking

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Close up!

 

 

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Cauliflower Chowder

It’s been a cold and snowy last week or so in Chicago.  The weather is only about to get worse, unfortunately.   We are looking at more snow and super cold temperatures by the middle of the week.   I keep reading articles talking about coldest temperatures in 25 years.  I hope it doesn’t get that cold. However, what is better on a cold winter’s day but a nice bowl of a hearty soup.

Today I made cauliflower chowder.  It’s hearty but light at the same time.  I made this soup as a healthier alternative to traditional cream soups.  It’s very easy to even turn this into a Keto recipe. Check it out.  See cook’s notes below to make Keto.

Cauliflower Chowder

Ingredients:
3 T butter
1 T olive oil
3 T flour
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1  large red pepper, diced
1 cup gold potatoes, diced
3, 16 oz bags frozen cauliflower
3, 32 oz boxes unsalted or low sodium chicken broth
2 cups fat free half and half
8 oz reduced fat cheddar cheese (more for topping)
1 large bay leaf
2 t dried rosemary
2 t dried thyme
2 t garlic powder
2 t onion powder
2 t chili powder
2 t salt (more to taste)
2 t pepper (more to taste)
1 t crushed red pepper

Toppings (optional)
Shredded cheese
Chopped Bacon
Green onion

Directions:

Heat a large soup pot on medium high heat.  Add in the olive oil and let heat a minute before adding in the garlic and onion.  Once garlic and onion are added cook about 3-4 minutes until the onion is translucent.   Next add in the red pepper and cook another 3 minutes until soft.

Add in the butter and let melt completely.  Slowly add the flour and mix well.  Cook the roux for about 4-6 minutes.  Add in the chicken stock, potatoes and frozen cauliflower and mix.  Add in thyme, rosemary and bay leaf.  Simmer on medium high heat about 45 minutes, stirring halfway through.   Check potatoes and make sure they are soft.  Remove the bay leaf.   Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to break up the cauliflower, but leaving some chunks.

Once blended put back on the stove and add in the 2 cups of fat free half and half and mix well.  Season the soup with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, crushed red pepper and chili powder.  Mix well. Let simmer 15 minutes once the cream is added.

Remove the soup from the heat and add in 8 oz of cheese and mix to thoroughly melt the cheese.  Make sure to put the spoon to the bottom of the pot to make sure the cheese isn’t all fallen to the bottom.

To serve, ladle soup into a bowl and top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese, bacon and green onions.

Chef Notes:  For Keto recipe, replace 3 T of flour with ¼ t of xanthan gum.  Do not add in with the butter.  Make a slurry with the xanthan gum some liquid and add into the pot.  Replace fat free half and half for full fat heavy whipping cream. Omit potatoes entirely.

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Mushroom, Spinach & Mozzarella Egg Muffins (Keto Recipe)

Happy Monday everyone!! It’s officially time to get 100% back on track. I thoroughly enjoyed the holidays but it’s a new year and time to start fresh. Be prepared to see a lot of new recipes. I’m hoping to work in the kitchen on some new things that are healthy and make it easier to stay on track.

That brings me to this new recipe. I’m not a real big fan of eggs. I’d much rather something else besides eggs for breakfast but with having a lower carb/keto diet eggs are a big part of that. I have to make eggs taste like something completely different for me to enjoy them. So, here’s a take on some egg muffins I made. They are super simple and you can definitely add whatever ingredients you want. Note, that if you aren’t doing a low carb diet you can use just regular milk in place of the heavy whipping cream.

Mushroom, Spinach & Mozzarella Egg Muffins (Keto Recipe)

Ingredients:

6 eggs
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped (I used baby portabellas)
¾ cup shredded mozzarella
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Extras:
Cooking Spray
Muffin Tin

Directions: Preheat oven 375°. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs and the heavy whipping cream together. Season with salt and pepper. Spray the muffin pan well with cooking spray. Add the mushrooms and spinach to each opening. Top the veggies with an even layer of cheese. You can use more or less of both the cheese, mushrooms and spinach. Feel free to use different ingredients for inside the muffins. Evenly add the egg mixture to each opening. Fill ¾ of the way full.

Bake the muffins in the oven for 13-18 minutes. Check the muffins to make sure a toothpick or knife comes out clean and they are set. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before removing from the pan. Note: These are great to make ahead of time and have for the week. Just heat them in the microwave for 30-45 seconds for a quick on the go breakfast.

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Simple Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Simple Mexican Cauliflower Rice

I’ve never been a big fan of cauliflower unless it was smothered with gooey cheese. However, while trying to eat Keto I’ve now become obsessed with making cauliflower rice.  I must say though I cheat a little and buy the frozen already riced cauliflower.  It honestly comes out just as good to me.  It’s a quicker and easier alternative.  Hey anything to save a mess, am I right?  Cutting up cauliflower is the worse! J

I’ve done a few different rice recipes but this one I just made is probably one of my favorites.  I made this to make a taco “bowl” instead of using white or brown rice.  Give it a try. It’s only a few ingredients and yet the flavor is fantastic.  See below for the taco “bowl” I made with the rice. I also put the recipe for all the items in the bowl.

Simple Mexican Cauliflower Rice
3 servings

Ingredients:
12 oz, frozen cauliflower rice
2 T Butter
½ – ¾ cup shredded cheese (I used Mexican mix)
¼ cup chunky salsa
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 t low sodium taco seasoning (more to taste)
½ t garlic powder
½ t onion powder
½ lime, juiced
½ T olive oil
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
Sprinkle salt and pepper

Directions: Cook cauliflower rice in the microwave according to package but reduce the cook time by 2 minutes.  Heat a medium sauté pan on high heat.  Add oil and let heat a minute before adding in the onion and garlic.  Sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add in the cauliflower rice, butter and taco season, garlic and onion powder.  Add the salsa and lime juice and stir.  Let cook covered 4-5 minutes.  Add the shredded cheese and mix until fully melted, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle in cilantro and serve immediately.

Skirt Steak Taco Bowl

Ingredients:
Mexican Cauliflower rice, (see recipe above)
9 oz cooked protein, ( I used skirt steak)
½ red onion, diced
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
½ cup shredded cheese
1 jalapeño, diced (remove seeds and membrane for less heat)
8 black olives, sliced
6 T guacamole
3 T sour cream
Optional: Tortilla chips for serving.

Directions: If you want low carb tortilla chips, bake your own using low carb tortillas. Cut tortilla into triangles, brush with oil and sprinkle with salt.  Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes.  Watch the chips close as they will get brown quickly.  Remove from the oven and let cool so they can crisp up.

To assemble your bowl, start with 4 oz of Mexican cauliflower rice, top with steak, and toppings. Serve with guacamole and sour cream on the side and tortilla chips for dipping. Enjoy!

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Low Carb (Keto) Bacon & Swiss Cheese Quiche

Low Carb Bacon & Swiss Cheese Quiche

I’ve been eating low carb for the past few weeks. Doing Keto as much as I can be and just trying to adapt certain foods to lower carb options. This is a recipe I’ve posted before however I made this less carbs and I came out DELICIOUS. It may even have an edge over the original recipe.

A few things to keep in mind, the crust on this is NOT like a regular crust. It taste and smells delicious but it definitely doesn’t firm up the same and may fall apart slightly. HOWEVER, it’s super tasty and even when I make the regular version the crust seems to still fall part, so give this a try!

Check it out if you are looking for a great quiche idea with less carbs!

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 ½ cups almond flour, fine
6 T melted butter
½ t garlic powder
¼ t salt

Filling
8 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 small onion (1/2 cup), small diced
¾ cup swiss cheese, shredded or small diced
4 eggs
1½ cups heavy cream
¼ t salt
¼ t pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. For the crust: In a medium bowl mix together almond flour, melted butter salt and garlic powder . Mix well. Grease an 8 inch deep pie pan and press in the crust mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan and up the sides.

Note: I used less almond flour to make it less carbs, so this isn’t going to come completely come up the sides of the pie pan. Try and make it as even as possible when pressing into the pan.

Poke a few holes with a fork on the bottom of the crust and bake in the oven about 8-12 minutes until it starts to get brown. (It will continue to bake with the mixture)

Remove the crust from oven and let sit while making the filling.

In a bowl whisk 4 eggs well, add in the heavy cream and mix until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the bacon, onion, and Swiss cheese to the bottom of the pie pan. Gently pour in the egg mixture. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. Check the middle of the quiche to make sure it’s cooked and no longer “giggles” put a knife in the middle to make sure it comes out clean. Let set at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Notes: I figured about 5.25 net carbs for an 1/8th of this quiche. The Carbs are coming from the almond flour and the onions. Some almond flour may be different in net carbs so make sure to check your labels. If you don’t have a deep pie pan just use 1 cup of heavy cream and 3 eggs everything can stay the same.

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Chicken, Potato and Asparagus Bake

This recipe is my new favorite chicken recipe.  It’s so simple and yet is a well rounded dinner.  It’s has a protein, a starch and a veggie.  I’m always looking for that go to, easy week night meal.  Well here it is.

I made this recipe and I immediately knew it would be something I’d make again and again.  This recipe can be made with both chicken breasts or chicken thighs.  I choice a boneless and skinless chicken thigh because it’s much juicer and it was something I had on hand.  Chicken breasts can also be used, you just need to adjust the cooking times.

I added asparagus and mini potatoes but feel free to adjust to whatever vegetable you have in your pantry.  Check it out!

Chicken, Potato and Asparagus Bake

Ingredients:
8 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1 bunch asparagus, chopped in 1 inch pieces
15-20 mini potatoes, sliced in half or whole
2-3 T Olive oil
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 t paprika
1 t chili powder
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Directions: Preheat oven 375.  Heat a medium cast iron skillet or regular skillet on medium high heat.  Season chicken thighs on both sides with garlic and onion powder, paprika, chili powder and salt and pepper.

Add 1/2 T of olive oil to the pan and let heat 1 minute.  Brown chicken on both sides.  Brown all chicken and set aside.

In a medium bowl add the asparagus and potatoes and coat with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and garlic and onion powder.

Add the chicken to the bottom of a large baking pan.  Add the chopped asparagus and potatoes on top of the chicken.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until vegetables are fork tender and chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven, season potatoes and asparagus with salt and pepper and serve.

Notes:  The chicken cook times may vary.  Adjust accordingly.  Cut the potatoes in half to cook them quicker.  If you use larger potatoes they may need to be quartered.  Chicken breasts will take a bit longer to cook especially depending on the size of the breast.  Browning chicken first isn’t a mandatory step but it’s definitely one that will enhance the flavors.

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Cheesy Garlic Crispy Chicken

I have really been eating healthier for the last few weeks. I’m trying to not go too much off course and trying to eat less throughout the day when I know I have an event or a time that I may not be eating the best. During the week I’m always looking for something new to try. That’s where this dish came in.

I usually make chicken often and like I’ve said before I’m always trying to come up with new chicken recipes. I just made this dish last night and I had to share. The chicken came out so tender with a crispy top and a nice pop of garlic. It was delicious. I needed something different for chicken and I wanted it to be healthier therefore I used light and low fat items. Feel free to use full fat ingredients in this dish too. I’m sure it will come out even better.

Cheesy Garlic Crispy Chicken

Ingredients:
8 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
3 oz (1/4 cup+ 2 T) light ranch salad dressing
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
3 garlic cloves, grated (more or less to taste)
2 t olive oil
1 t Italian seasoning
1 t + more for sprinkling, garlic powder
1 t + more for sprinkling, onion powder
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 375°. Add chicken to an oven safe dish and season chicken with sprinkle of garlic and onion powder and salt and pepper. In a medium bowl mix together light ranch dressing, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, grated garlic, panko breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon each of spices and sprinkle of salt and pepper. Once completely mixed add a spoonful of the breadcrumb mixture to top of all chicken pieces and flatten. Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes until chicken in completely cooked to 165°. Let rest a few minutes and serve with your favorite sides.

Notes: You can do this with chicken breasts and depending on size you may have to just increase the cooking time. Feel free to double the topping to make extra as it’s super delicious. I only did this amount as I was trying to keep it healthier. Try to switch it up with different kinds of cheese or even different spices. You can make this earlier in the day and cook when ready.

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Before going in the oven!

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Cooked!