Chicken Paprikash – Keto & Low Carb Friendly

chicken-paprikash keto friendly

chicken-paprikash; a keto friendly dish

Chicken Paprikash is one of those comfort foods that is uncomplicated and unpretentious, yet is full of the legendary flavor that has made it a classic.  In other words, it’s easy to make and outstanding in taste!

What is Paprika anyway?

The distinguishing ingredient of Chicken Paprikash is, of course, paprika, most typically sweet Hungarian Paprika.  I did an extensive search trying to figure out if there was a particular pepper variety that was the essence of paprika and found that the definition was very nuanced and a “true” paprika was not going to be readily defined.  Partly because of this wide-ranging definition I decided to test out a few different blends with our own homegrown peppers.

Paprika, even more so than other spices, loses its flavor quickly over time and deteriorates into a bitter ground spice.  If you don’t want to dry, smoke or grind fresh peppers that you get at the farmers market or grocery store, get the freshest sweet Hungarian paprika you can find.  (*note:  we will be sending out some dried and smoked peppers in our Christmas boxes if you want to make your own.)

Blending Peppers for a Homegrown Paprika

Since I had a bumper crop of peppers this year, I had the luxury of experimenting with making different kinds of paprika.  We dried and smoked most of our pepper crop,  ground the dried peppers in a coffee grinder, and then began mixing different pepper varieties into some unique and remarkable paprikas.

First up was a sweet paprika made with sweet banana peppers and the ruby red Lipstick sweet pepper variety.  Next we tried  a semi-hot paprika made with sweet bell peppers and medium hot Anaheim-type of peppers.  The third test was a very hot paprika made with a Thai type of chile pepper called Gong Bao and a bit of Habanero.  The final paprika we tried was a smoked variety made with Pasilla peppers and smoked Anaheims (Joe Parker to be specific).

In Hungary, where paprika is the national spice, it is divided into eight grades, each one with its own unique characteristics. The one that’s most commonly found in the US is a full-bodied, fruity paprika, and I therefore opted for a sweeter blend in this recipe, trying to stay as loyal to the classic dish as possible.  I do like a bit of spice so I used the semi-hot sweet blend that we made from the bell peppers and the Anaheims.  It had a touch of heat, but nothing that would turn away those with sensitive palates.

Cooking Notes for Chicken Paprikash

You can be quite generous with the paprika, depending on your taste, but make sure and saute it to release its full bouquet of aromas.

Be a little careful if you add cold sour cream to a hot liquid or it will curdle.  Either bring the sour cream to room temperature or add it to the hot liquid slowly.


Chicken Paprikash with Sun-Dried Tomatoes


  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (can use legs also)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  •  3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Hungarian paprika (or paprika of your choice)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup julienned sun dried tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (can use heavy cream as alternative)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat.  Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 min per side; remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Melt remaining 1 Tbsp butter in the skillet.  Add garlic and paprika and cook quickly until fragrant, stirring constantly.  Stir in chicken broth, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Turn heat to medium low and stir in sun dried tomatoes, Parmesan, thyme, oregano and sour cream or heavy cream.  (add sour cream slowly)
  5. Bring everything to a simmer for 1-2 minutes, stirring to combine.  Return chicken to the skillet and nestle into the sauce.
  6. Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through reaching an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, about 25-30 min.

Garnish with strips of fresh basil if you want to be fancy.

This dish is traditionally served with dumplings, egg noodles or potatoes, but if you are on a low carb diet, it is a great dish just served up in a bowl sans carbs!



Protein Smoothies for a Low Carb Diet

Blueberry Protein Smoothie

Blueberry Protein Smoothie

I’ve been playing around with low carb smoothies  trying to get good compliant mixes that taste good and keep you full until lunch.  It took me a while to buy in to the smoothie trend, but I’m fully on-board now.  The blended smoothies are great ways of getting leafy greens and protein into our diets, both of which have a pretty high correlation with weight loss success.

Template for a Basic “cover-the-bases” Smoothie:


  •  1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  •  1/2 cup frozen berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries are best tasting)
  •  1 scoop protein powder (Isopure, Premier, or MuscleTech are good brands – just make sure your powder is a whey isolate and not a plant-based powder)
  •  1 Tablespoon chia seeds (these are great for calcium and some minerals that are hard to get)
  •  1-2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves water (I use 1 cup, but it just depends on how thick you like it)
  •  1 cup water plus some ice cubes



Blend it all up together, pour  in a glass and enjoy!  Remember to run hot water in your blender to sit so that cleanup is easy when you get home from work or have time to rinse it out (it’s hard to clean if you let it sit without water).

Compliant Substitutions or Add-ins for the Basic Smoothie:

I never get tired of this smoothie for breakfast and look forward to it each morning.  If you do get bored with the same thing every day however, here are a range of low-carb compliant ingredients that you can substitute in to the above standard (or simply add in):

  • avocados
  • romaine lettuce instead of spinach
  • undistilled apple cider vinegar (if you have digestion issues or flatulence)
  • peanut butter (not much, it’s dense in calories)
  • cottage cheese (high protein)
  • MCT oil, or coconut oil
  • cacao nibs

Enjoy!  If you want to know more about low-carb diets and/or need support, accountability or information from someone who has “been there, done that”, I would love to share and help as your personal online diet coach.  If low carb is not your thing, there are plenty of options (vegan coaches, vegetarian coaches, Bulletproof coffee coaches, etc.)  Try it out!  The first 3 days are free with any coach.

Click here to link to my coaching profile, and you can explore other coaches from there:


Easy Vegetable Dish for a Low-carb Diet

Low Carb Romano Bean Side Dish

Low Carb Romano Bean Side Dish

Why is it so difficult for most of us on a Low Carb diet to cook/make vegetables?  I love vegetables.  Plus I grow vegetables on my small farm, but it is still hard for me to include them in daily meals!  I think the challenge revolves around two obstacles:

  1. Having to think about it:  Many of us grew up learning to cook with convenience foods (if we learned to cook at all).  Grilling meat has been a mainstay in most households so it is easy to do without looking at a recipe.  Making pasta is another one that doesn’t require a recipe.  Vegetables….now that requires a bit of thought.  How long do you cook them, what method, what spices to add, etc.?  If you didn’t grow up cooking vegetables, it is likely that the idea is attractive but the thought of looking up a recipe when our lives are so busy is less appealing.
  2. Prep Time:  Vegetables require washing and chopping.  While this isn’t really difficult, it is another step in that already hectic dinner-time rush.  Yet vegetables are very important to a healthy diet, whether your diet is low carb, high fat, or high protein.  So, one of my goals this year has been to try and make cooking vegetables as easy and mindless as possible.

Why even include vegetables at all in a Low-carb diet?

Vegetables offer the micro-nutrients that you can’t always get from high protein diets.  Getting a good repertoire of veggies under your belt will give you the micro-nutrients you need without resorting to fruit.  Fruit can be healthy (depending on what kind you are eating), but if you are interested in weight loss, fruit is considered “natures candy” as much of it is so high in fructose that it will essentially be processed in your body the same way that table sugar would be (in terms of spiking blood sugar and causing an insulin response that will result in storage in your fat cells).  Best to save fruit for cheat days and stick with the veggies……if you want to lose weight that is.

Easy Ways to Add Vegetables into a Low-carb Diet Plan:

The easiest way I have incorporated vegetables into my diet has been by adding fresh spinach to my morning smoothie.  (Click here for the smoothie recipe).

Before I was hooked on smoothies I would often just microwave frozen spinach or broccoli and slather it with butter (sometimes adding a vinegar).  Frozen veggies are generally flash frozen and have their nutrients intact, sometimes more than the older fresh vegetables you might find on the grocery shelf.

Because it is summer and the farmers’ markets are so abundant with fresh, organic, inexpensive vegetables, I have tried to get a little more creative.  Remembering a favorite dish I had a while back with Romano beans I decided to try and recreate something similar.  I did have a hard time finding the Romano beans as they are an Italian variety not common at our farmers’ markets or in the grocery store.  Luckily I found an heirloom variety of the beans called Dragon’s Tongue.

With a focus on “easy”, I decided to take advantage of all the cherry tomatoes that were coming out my ears.  I have the good fortune to live in the same area as Lynn Rosetta Casper, star of The Splendid Table on NPR.  She honors me every year by purchasing tomatoes from my farm booth at the St. Paul Farmers market and chatting with me about how she uses them.  I’m always amazed at the varieties she selects and one day when the big slicers were gone she picked up a bunch of cherry tomatoes.  She told me they’re actually quite good just mashed up and quickly made into a sauce.

I set to work and came up with the following dish.  It was easy and really flavorful.  I drizzled some of our HeathGlen Plum-Orange-Rosemary Shrub Syrup over it at the end to enhance it even further, but if you are being really strict on a low carb diet, the dish is quite good without the added syrup.  Have to say however, the shrub syrup took it to new heights!

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Romano & Cherry Tomato Mash-up


  • Olive oil (a couple of tablespoons)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into thin slices
  • a pound or so of Romano beans, snapped into bite size pieces
  • a pint or so of mixed cherry tomatoes (I loved the Yellow Pear with this dish along with some red cherries)
  • salt to taste
  • a drizzle of plum shrub vinegar (could also use balsamic or any other vinegar or none!)


In a large skillet, heat up some olive oil over med-high heat.  When oil is starting to get hot add the onion slices and cook over medium heat until caramelized (about 5 min.)

When onions are somewhat caramelized, add the beans and sauté with the onions for a few minutes (don’t burn them).

Add some water to cook the beans in to soften (I added about 1 1/2 cups but it depends on how many beans you have in your skillet – slightly cover them).  Cook this mixture down until the water has almost evaporated and the beans are soft (about 5-7 min).

Add the cherry tomatoes and mash into the mixture with a potato masher or a fork.  Cook until the mixture is heated through.

Season to your liking with salt and serve.  If you are using a shrub vinegar or another vinegar, just drizzle some over the finished dish and go ah-h-h-h.




Almond Crusted Cod – Slow Carb Dinners

Almond Crusted Cod

Almond Crusted Cod

Fish is a great protein to add to any low carb or slow carb diet.  The problem is many people don’t like fish, or find it too bland when you have to forego the breading.  Enter mustard and ground up almonds!  Begone Bland!  Hey that might be a good domain name to pick up for a new site I’m building.  What do you think?

Actually, I would like to talk about this new site that is going to offer all things fitness (diet, wellness, exercise, etc.).  I’m calling it (aka and it should launch October 1st.  More about that later.  Right now….focus on the fish.  Focus Dorothy, focus.

OK, I’ve been on a high-protein-low-carb diet for 4 years now (versions of slow carb, low carb, ketogenic) and most of the recipes I share focus on chicken, beef and pork proteins for dinner meals.  I have added salmon and scallops in as easy to prepare, tasty fish dishes, but every time I cooked white fish of any kind (cod, flounder, tilapia, etc.) it just tasted blah.  Easy and quick to make, but blah.

This dish (inspired by Eating Well magazine) was still quick and easy, but it packed a lot of flavor while still being compliant with a slow carb diet.  Here’s the recipe….enjoy!

Almond Crusted Cod with Dijon Mustard base


  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dill, either fresh or from the tube
  • 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt & pepper
  • 4 cod filets (or halibut or other thick white fish)
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Either use parchment paper or coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Zest the lemon over a small bowl.  Grind/chop the almonds to a coarse texture (I used a Vitamix blender).
  3. Add the almonds to the bowl, along with the lemon juice, the dill, 1 Tbsp oil and salt and pepper.
  4. Pat the thawed out fish dry and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Spread each filet with 1 tsp mustard and then divide the almond mixture among the 4 filets, pressing it evenly onto the mustard.
  5. Bake the fish until opaque at the thickest part, about 7 minutes for most.
  6. Cover and keep warm.  We served it here with a spinach-egg-drop soup.

I’ll keep posting more slow carb and low carb recipes on this blog until the new site is up and running (remember the name

In the meantime, if you want one-to-one coaching on diet and exercise visit me over at this online coaching site (there are also coaches there that coach on productivity, meditation, saving money and a host of other things).



Low Carb Chocolate Truffles with Pistachio Coating

Low Carb Chocolate Truffles

Low Carb Chocolate Truffles

While these Low Carb Chocolate Truffles are certainly not low calorie, they are low in carbs to spare your blood sugar from spiking and setting up an insulin response.  They are delicious and very easy to make and chocolate, especially dark chocolate actually has some health benefits.  They’re certainly not something you would want to eat on a regular basis if your goal is weight loss due to the calorie count, but hey….it’s Valentines Day weekend and if you’re going to treat yourself, or you’re loved one, do it with a scrumptious low sugar, low carb treat!

Recipe for Low Carb Chocolate Truffles (with Pistachio Coating)


  • 8 oz  80% dark chocolate bar (or even 70%)
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (fluid)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp good vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste, but choose your own)
  • 1 Tbsp bourbon
  • 1/2 cup crushed pistachios (or hazelnuts or pecans)


Double Boiler Method:

  1. Place chocolate and cream in a stainless steel or glass bowl and place over a pot of lightly simmering water.  Stir constantly until everything is melted and mixture is smooth. (maybe 5-10 minutes).  Do not heat over high heat or mixture might separate.  Stir with a spatula and watch it melt until it is smooth and creamy.
  2. Stir in salt, vanilla and bourbon while mixture is still warm.
  3. Pour into a pie plate or baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.
  4. When ready to make truffles, remove from refrigerator and let it get soft enough to form balls.  Using a melon baller or spoon, make balls (about 1 inch in diameter). Roll between palms and then roll in crushed nuts.
  5. Refrigerate, but don’t serve ice cold; remove from refrigerator about 10 minutes before serving.
  6. Can be refrigerated for up to 10 days or freeze and consume at a later day  (but consume within 10 days of thawing).

Microwave Method:

Place chocolate and cream in microwave for one minute and 10 seconds at HALF POWER (50%).  Take out and stir until smooth.  If not completely smooth, place back in microwave for 5 more seconds only.  Stir again.  Continue with above recipe starting at step 2.

Sugar Level in Low Carb Chocolate Truffles:

I made the first truffles (above recipe) with 8 oz. of Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate (60% cacao) and they were the best truffles ever.  I didn’t realize how much sugar could be in Bittersweet Chocolate however (when it says 60% cacao it means the remaining 40% is sugar), so I adapted the recipe below to include unsweetened chocolate and then used an artificial sweetener.  Still good, a little more bitter, but a lot less sugar!

The Skinny on Using Artificial Sweeteners in Baking:

Artificial sweeteners generally include something called “sugar alcohols”.  Sugar alcohols include such names as maltitol, xylitol and erythritol.

With respect to spiking blood sugar and insulin response, some of these sugar alcohols are fine, but others…not so much.

The worst artificial sweetener is Maltitol, , which has 75% of the blood sugar impact of sugar, but also only 75% of the sweetness. This means maltitol and table sugar end up being about equal.

The medical research does show that  Saccharin,  Aspartame, and Acesulfame potassium have strong evidence of negative health issues

Sucralose (or spenda) is one of the better artificial sweeteners as far as impacting blood sugar, glycemic index and  insulin.  The only other one that is comparable are things sweetened with xyrithitol (Truvia).

With respect to anecdotal impacts of using artificial sweeteners, some people believe that they will trick the brain into thinking it is getting sugar and therefore derail the effort to eliminate sugar cravings.

With respect to this recipe and other baking recipes, I used a combination of a powdered sweetener (Truvia) and a liquid sweetener (Sucralose).  The reason for this is many of the powdered sweeteners can leave a gritty texture (not so much in truffles because it is heated up with the chocolate).  Liquid sucralose on the other hand can leave the chocolate on the bitter side.  A combination of both of them in this truffle recipe made a truffle that was nearly indistinguishable from the truffle made with the sugary bittersweet chocolate.


Recipe for Low Sugar Low Carb Chocolate Truffles:


  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (shredded with a box grater)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp Truvia
  • 3/4 tsp to 1 tsp liquid sucralose
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp bourbon (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup crushed nuts (pistachios, hazelnuts, etc.)


Make according to the directions above.  The only difference is to shave or grate the unsweetened chocolate ahead of time so it melts quicker and watch the mixture closely until it is melted, making sure it doesn’t separate.

**Note:  Place these in the freezer and pull out one when you need a chocolate fix.  Just know that the cocoa has quite a bit of caffeine so don’t eat too close to bedtime.

Enjoy either way!!!! Just make sure if you do the Ghirardelli version that it’s on cheat day!



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