Tag Archives: low carb

Low-Carb Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

1-recipe

Today’s dish isn’t much like the original recipe. It is “inspired by” the clipping, but there are several significant differences: I don’t have a Dutch oven, I added strips of chicken, and I substituted spiral-sliced yellow squash and zucchini instead of using actual fettuccine noodles. The “thick” slice produced by my Veggetti slicer makes a pretty good pasta substitute!

Finding ways to make recipes low-carb is a challenge on several fronts. In recipes like this, which have a thick sauce, the biggest issue is water content. Vegetables tend to release liquid, where rice and noodles would absorb it. I’m still working on ways to alleviate this issue. I’ve had decent results with roasting vegetables, and less success with salting them. For this recipe, I chose to blanch the spiral-sliced vegetables in boiling water for 2 minutes, and then drained them onto paper towels. This did reduce the volume of released liquid, but the sauce still became thinner than I wanted. Perhaps next time, I’ll skip the “pasta” altogether and simply toss the alfredo sauce with a selection of primavera vegetables. :)

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 medium yellow squash and zucchini, spiral-sliced and boiled for 2 minutes
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:

2-chicken

In a medium skillet, combine the sliced chicken, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper, and sauté over medium heat until thoroughly cooked.

3-butter

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.

4-cream

Whisk in the heavy whipping cream, and heat gently to a simmer.

5-parmesan

Add the Parmesan cheese, and whisk until thick and creamy.

6-veggie-pasta

Remove from heat, and toss with the chicken and spiral-sliced vegetables.

7-finished

Serves 4.

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Forgotten Minestrone (100th Post!)

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Yaaaay! I’ve finally hit 100 posts on this blog! I’ve been writing since the end of September last year, and it’s nearly July now. I love the motivation to try new things that this blog has given me; every week is a new adventure. I’ve met some great people along the way, as well… food bloggers, recipe testers, professional chefs, and home cooks. The food is great, too. :) Here’s to another 100 delicious posts!

I’ve been doing a lot of slow cooker recipes lately. They work well with my busy schedule; I love being able to add a bunch of things to a pot, leave it alone, and come back in several hours to food. Today’s recipe is super easy, very nutritious, and yields a huge quantity. My slow cooker was literally full to the brim!

I only made one change to the ingredient list: in respect of the low-carb guidelines I’m trying to follow, I omitted the pasta. Please feel free to include it if you would like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean beef stew meat
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 tablespoons minced dried parsley
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1 (16-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to top

Directions:

2-crockpot

In a slow cooker, combine the beef, water, tomatoes, onion, bouillon cube, parsley, salt, thyme, and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or until the meat is tender.

3-pull_beef

Remove the meat to a plate, and pull into shreds using two forks.

4-add_veggies

Return the meat to the slow cooker, and add the zucchini, cabbage, and beans.

Cover and cook on high for 30-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

5-finished

Serves 8.

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Pulled Beef

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Lately, it seems that it either rains or it pours. I was just released from jury duty in time for several other situations to clamor for my attention. I haven’t been keeping up with this blog as well as I would like, as a result. Still, the goal is to be good, not to be perfect. My hope is that things will settle out over the next few weeks, and I’ll be able to strike some sort of a balance.

Today’s recipe is “inspired by” the original, and adapted for a slow cooker. I imagine that it would make a wonderful pulled beef sandwich (as recommended by the original author). Since we’re eating low-carb, I elected to serve the beef bunless with zucchini fries. The onions self-caramelized during the slow cooking process, and made an excellent garnish. Even without bread and potatoes, this is still a delicious meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2-3 lb.) boneless chuck roast, or other lean beef of your choice
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

2-cooker

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until meat is extremely tender.

Pull meat into chunks, and serve with a generous amount of onions.

3-finished

Serves 4.

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Rasta Pasta

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In the pursuit of new and better low-carb substitutes, I recently acquired a Veggetti slicer for the tidy sum of $14 plus tax. I am generally suspicious of “As Seen On TV” products, and not without reason. However, the Veggetti has been well worth its price. It’s basically a giant pencil sharpener for vegetables, which can slice them into thick or thin strings depending on which end you use.

Here’s a picture of what the sliced vegetables look like:

4-spiral_squash

For this recipe, I substituted yellow squash for spaghetti. I used the “thin” end of the Veggetti to slice the squash, and then boiled it for 2 minutes. The result was an excellent substitute, and I plan to use this device quite frequently in the future.

I substituted shelled edamame for the black beans in this recipe. I happened to have it on hand, and it fit the color scheme. :) Definitely making this dish again: the flavors are excellent, and it’s remarkably satisfying for a recipe which contains nothing but vegetables and seasoning!

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow squash, spiral-sliced and boiled for 2 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup shelled cooked edamame
  • 2 cups broccoli flowerets, blanched
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

2-peppers_onions

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender.

3-edamame

Add the edamame and broccoli, and cook for 1 more minute.

5-finished

In a large bowl, toss together the cooked spiral-sliced squash, vegetable mixture, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4.

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Savory Baked Spinach

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Hooray, another Dr. Matthews recipe! The man who contributed recipes for Salisbury Steak and Sherried Beef is back with a baked spinach dish that will knock your socks off – which isn’t easy to do with frozen spinach. It’s one of the least glamorous ingredients imaginable, in the same class with creamed corn and tinned fruit cocktail. There just isn’t anything good to do with frozen spinach… or so I thought.

This recipe is AMAZING. Seriously. SO GOOD. I try to avoid excessive use of capitalized words, as it is far too easy to overuse their emphasis, but this is an exceptional case. I have never had such good spinach in my entire life. The dish is something like a quiche, but without the “jiggly” texture. The seasonings, cheese, and spinach all combine to create an absolutely scrumptious flavor that neither I nor my SO could get enough of. If you make this, expect to hear cries of “More spinach, please!”. It may be a first. :)

I replaced the rice in this recipe with cauliflower rice, to continue the low-carb trend. Absolutely delicious, I don’t feel that it hurts the finished product at all. The “finished” picture is shown served with Josie’s Crockpot Apple Pork Tenderloin from Clean Eatz, which was super tasty! Full credit to this cool lady for a great recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower rice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-casserole

Combine all ingredients in an 8” x 8” x 2” Pyrex baking dish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Slice into squares, and serve.

3-finished

Serves 6.

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Low Carb Chicken Broccoli Casserole

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Doctor’s orders: it’s time for us to start cutting carbs. This is fine: I want to do what’s necessary to maintain good health. It does pose a challenge with some of these old recipes, however. Nobody cared about carbs when most of these were written. I’m going to have to find ways to adapt the recipes without sacrificing enjoyment or flavor. The basic truth is that if it’s not tasty, we won’t eat it. Health food shouldn’t make you miserable. Life is too short for that.

Ingredients-wise, today’s recipe is pretty similar to the Chicken and Broccoli Casserole I found earlier. This recipe is in my grandmother’s handwriting, so my guess is that she and my mother created a variation of their own and wrote it down. There are no biscuits on top, and this recipe calls for cream of celery rather than cream of chicken soup. The seasonings are the same, but they differ in proportions. For this casserole, I used leftover shredded chicken from a whole chicken I had cooked previously. We never make it through a whole bird in one evening, so I strip the leftover meat from the carcass and freeze it for just such occasions.

In order to make this recipe low-carb, I replaced the rice with “cauliflower rice”. For those unfamiliar with this substance, it is generated by finely chopping raw cauliflower into tiny chunks, which are texturally similar to rice. I highly recommend using a food processor for this, unless you like spending a great deal of time chopping cauliflower. :) The chopped cauliflower is blanched in boiling water for about 5 minutes, to soften it, and is then served in the place of rice. The flavor is not the same, but the texture is good enough for now – especially in a casserole, where everything gets mixed together anyway.

One key factor to be aware of with cauliflower rice is that it does not behave like rice in the presence of liquid. Rice absorbs liquid and increases in volume as a result; cauliflower rice tends to release liquid in small amounts, and may shrink ever so slightly. Note this carefully, and adjust your own recipes accordingly when using this substitute.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cauliflower rice
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped broccoli
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-caulirice

Grease an 8” x 8” x 2” Pyrex baking dish, and spread the cauliflower rice in the bottom.

3-chicken

Place the chicken on top of the cauliflower rice.

4-broccoli

Sprinkle the broccoli on top.

5-sauce

In a medium bowl, combine the cream of celery soup, egg, mayonnaise, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, milk, celery seed, salt, and curry powder.

6-in_casserole

Pour this sauce over the casserole.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

7-finished

Serves 4.

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Chicken Parmigiana

1-recipe_card

This recipe was not originally developed by my family, but we have certainly used it. The original recipe is copyright McCormick & Co, Inc. 1994. The recipe that I cooked for this blog post was adapted from the McCormick recipe, but is not identical to it. I increased the amount of breading, as the original recipe does not provide nearly enough to thoroughly coat 4 “modern-sized” chicken breasts. I also increased the ratio of Parmesan cheese to bread crumbs, and adjusted the seasonings slightly. Finally, I made some mild edits to the recipe directions for clarity.

I chose to serve this recipe over spaghetti squash, as a low-carb alternative to regular spaghetti. I cooked the squash following these directions from About.com (which I also wish I could edit for clarity!). In short: slice squash in half lengthwise, place rind-side up on a baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow to cool, and run a fork through the squash flesh to separate. One average squash makes 4 generous servings.

This recipe is so tasty! The chicken is moist and flavorful, and the mild sweetness of the spaghetti squash matches well with the flavor of the tomato sauce. As simple dinners go, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2-mix_crumbs

In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and pepper.

3-dip_egg

Dip each chicken breast in the beaten egg.

4-dip_crumbs

Then, dip each chicken breast in the bread crumb mixture to evenly coat.

5-bake

Place the chicken on a greased baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, turn, and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked (the internal temperature should measure at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit).

6-top_with_cheese

While the chicken is still on the baking sheet, spoon tomato sauce over the chicken and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.

Bake for another 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts.

7-finished

Serve on a bed of spaghetti, or spaghetti squash.

Serves 4.

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Cauliflower with Parsley Butter Sauce

1-recipe_card

This clipping originally came from a newspaper. On the reverse side of the clipping is part of this article on cranberry relish by Jeanne Jones. From the date, I can tell that this recipe was likely published near Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, it is not possible at this time for me to discern which newspaper this recipe came from.

I chose not to follow the original directions, which direct the reader to cook the cauliflower in a kettle. Here is the kettle I have:

I am not putting cauliflower in there. A medium-sized cooking pot works just fine.

When cooked, the cauliflower is soft, but not mushy. It soaks up the parsley butter sauce quite well. Follow the directions and serve immediately after cooking, or the sauce will begin to congeal. As side dishes go, this is truly a pleasant treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

2-flowerets

Break the cauliflower into large flowerets.

Place the cauliflower in a medium-sized cooking pot, and cover with water.

Add the salt, pepper, and milk.

3-boil

Heat to a simmer over medium heat, and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well.

4-melt_butter

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.

5-toss_cauliflower

Add the cauliflower, lemon juice, and chopped parsley. Cook, tossing, for 1 minute.

6-finished

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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Tuna ‘n Taters (or Turnips)

1-recipe_card

I am not certain of this recipe’s origins. It looks like it may have been clipped from a package, but I cannot identify it. From the age and style of the card, I’m going to tentatively assign this one to my grandmother.

In keeping with the low-carb requirement I’m currently cooking for, I chose to replace the “’taters” in this recipe with turnips. The flavor of turnips is mild enough that they substitute well for potatoes after incorporation into the casserole. There are 37 g of carbohydrates in one medium potato, but one medium turnip contains a mere 8 grams.

I had never eaten or prepared this recipe before. The flavor of the fresh parsley comes out quite well, and the casserole does taste good overall. The texture is similar to a chowder. If I were to make this recipe again, I would serve it over pasta or rice, as I do not feel that the recipe makes a full meal in and of itself. I would also mix in a can of peas or lima beans to help bulk up the casserole, and top the finished product with panko bread crumbs.

The directions on the original recipe, while usable, lacked a certain amount of specificity. I have edited them for clarity and consistency of ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peeled diced turnips (if desired, use potatoes instead)
  • 1 (5-ounce) can chunk light tuna in water
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish mustard
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3-boil_turnips

Boil the diced turnips until they are tender, approximately 10 minutes.

Butter the inside of an 8” x 8” casserole dish or baking pan , or use cooking spray.

4-tuna_soup

Drain the tuna. In a large bowl, combine the tuna and cream of mushroom soup.

6-mix_mustard

Add the milk and horseradish mustard, and mix well.

7-add_remainder

Add the drained turnips, onion, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

9-in_pan

Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Bake for 30 minutes.

10-finished

Serves 4.

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Rosemary Encrusted Pork Loin

This is one of those Mom-recipes that I have very fond memories of. And, as is traditional in my family, the recipe evolved beyond what she wrote on the card. My mother always added much more rosemary than was originally called for, creating more of a “crust” than a rub. Basically, if you could see pork underneath the rosemary, you weren’t using enough. I’ve added my own touches, embedding the garlic (to spread the flavor all throughout the meat), and using a slightly healthier oil for the initial cooking process. The result is a kitchen filled with the wonderful aromas of rosemary and roasting pork, and a tender, moist, flavorful roast suitable for all occasions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16-ounce) pork loin – you can buy pork loin in bulk and cut your own, if you like. I like to do this because it saves money, and I always have a freezer full of meat!
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the garlic cloves vertically into quarters.

With a sharp knife, make eight vertical slits into the top of the pork loin, approximately 1 inch deep.

Into each slit, insert a wedge of garlic clove.

5-rub_with_salt_and_pepper

Rub the outside of the pork loin with the pepper and salt,

and press a thick layer of rosemary onto all sides of the pork loin.

This is what the pork loin should look like, covered in rosemary.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and brown the pork loin on all sides for 3-4 minutes, or until the rosemary becomes a nice light brown, as shown below:

Don’t worry if some of the rosemary falls off during this process. Most of it will stick, and form a nice herbal crust, as shown.

Place the browned pork loin in a roasting pan (I find that a loaf pan works particularly well for smaller loins), and add the water to the bottom of the pan.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and make a few holes to allow steam to escape.

Roast the pork loin in the oven at 400 degrees until done: 25-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 3 minutes before slicing.

Slice into 1 inch slices and serve with side dishes of your choice. I chose mashed turnips with brown gravy and roasted cauliflower, because we’re eating low-carb and my SO loves those particular vegetables :)

This recipe serves 4, but scales up excellently. If you do choose to roast a larger loin in order to feed more guests, I recommend cooking for the standard 25-30 minutes per pound. When in doubt, check the internal temperature with a quick-read thermometer (or just cut into the center and look at it, like my mom did). Enjoy!

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