Archive | Ketogenic recipes

Low Carb Keto Lasagna – with spaghetti squash

Unlike many of the winter squash varieties, spaghetti squash does not pack in the carbs and sugar.  It has long made a good foil for substitutions for pasta dishes.  A baked lasagna made with spaghetti squash, aka low carb keto lasagna, is every bit as filling and tasty as a classic pasta lasagna.  Watch out for sugary tomato-based pasta sauces however.  Try this one with diced tomatoes for less sugar.

Low Carb Keto Lasagna

Low Carb Keto Lasagna

Spaghetti Squash vs. Zucchini Noodles for the “pasta”

Some low carb keto lasagna recipes use zucchini noodles rather than spaghetti squash but I think spaghetti squash is not only tastier, but also easier.  It does have to bake in the oven for about an hour but that is hands free.  I’ve just never gotten into the spiralizing craze and maybe that’s why I think it’s easier.

Spaghetti squash doesn’t take any specialized equipment, just stick it on a baking sheet and turn the oven on 350 for an hour (you can also turn it upside down on a plate and microwave).  If you do this part of the recipe a day ahead you can just keep it covered in the refrigerator (whole or scraped out strands) until you are ready to make the lasagna.

You do have to scrape the seeds out of the squash before baking and you do have to scrape the strands out of the squash when it has cooled, both of which take a bit of muscle.

The other nice thing about spaghetti squash is that you can buy it at the store or the farmers’ market and keep it on your counter until you are ready to use it.  Zucchini doesn’t have nearly the shelf life and should really be kept in the fridge if you are going to wait to cook it.  I never really know when I am going to get to a certain dish so the fact that I can just look at that spaghetti squash for weeks until I inspired to use it is a bonus.

I grow both zucchini and spaghetti squash on the farm and personally think spaghetti squash has more flavor than zucchini.  The flavor and texture differences are going to boil down to your own tastebuds.  They both have much more nutrition than pasta and the carbs, sugar and calories are pretty comparable.  So…..the bottom line is either one is a great alternative for pasta in a low carb keto lasagna!

Is Low Carb Keto Lasagna Quick & Easy to Make?

Well, it’s a heck of a lot easier than classic lasagna (and tastes just as good if not better).  Since I started coaching 4 years ago, I’ve seen that it is a huge challenge for people to cook whole food these days.  People are either too busy with families and careers or they never really learned how to cook so it is a bit intimidating.  My goal is to make it as easy, painless and quick as possible.

This recipe, therefore, uses canned tomatoes, garlic from a jar, and a minimum of equipment.  If you want to chop up fresh garlic and make your sauce with fresh tomatoes, it “might” taste better, but the jury is still out on that.

Like I said earlier, the spaghetti squash does take some time to bake so do it ahead, and it takes some muscle to cut in half and de-seed.  The rest of it is really just hamburger helper with a layer of cheese.

 Recipe for Low Carb Keto Lasagna

Serves: 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (or two small) *a large one will weigh 4-5 lbs.
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground pork (can substitute hamburger, sausage, ground chicken or any ground protein)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (from jar – alternatively mince 2-3 fresh garlic cloves)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tsp chili spice (I used our smoked chipotle spice but use your favorite)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan (I used freshly grated parmesan but it isn’t necessary)
  • 1 egg

Directions for the squash (can be done ahead)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (or just use microwave).
  2. With a large, sharp knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half.  With a strong spoon, scoop out the seeds.  Then, if using the oven, lay the squash flesh-side down on a baking sheet and bake for about an hour (flesh will be soft and easy to penetrate with a fork).  If using the microwave place the squash flesh side down on a plate and microwave about 20 minutes (or until soft)
  3. Let the squash cool so you can handle them and then take a fork and rake the flesh into a bowl. It will come out in strands….like spaghetti!  Set the empty squash shells aside and save for later use as a baking “vessel” if you want.
  4. Cover the bowl of strands and put in the refrigerator to use when ready.

Directions for the Lasagna:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, saute the onion in oil over med high heat for around 5 minutes, or until translucent.  Add the ground pork to the pan and saute with the onions until no longer pink.  When meat is no longer pink, add the garlic, spices and tomatoes.
  3. Turn the burner down to medium-low heat and let the meat sauce simmer about 10 minutes while you mix up the 2 cheeses and the egg in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Now you are ready to layer the lasagna.  Put some meat sauce in the bottom of a glass baking pan or in the saved shells of the spaghetti squash.  Then add a layer of the spaghetti squash on top of the meat sauce and then a layer of the cheese mixture.  Add one more layer of the meat sauce and then top it off with little dollups of mozzarella cheese if using fresh or a layer of shredded mozzarella if using packaged.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.  Let it sit for 5 minutes or so before serving so it can “set”.

** Add chopped up black olives and/or baby spinach for more taste and nutrition.

Nutrition:  Serving size = 228 g

  • calories: 396
  • carbs: 10.4
  • sugar: 3.1
  • protein: 26.6 g
  • fat: 27 g

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 2 years, the keto diet for 1 year and now do a nuanced version of the best of both including a 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol.  I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out and customize the approach that works for them.  I am currently an online fitness coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 325-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet or exercise, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

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Golden Milk Tea – Low Carb & Keto

I love coffee, especially in winter, but I also love sleep so I try to cut off all caffeine by 2 pm.  This Golden Milk Latte (aka Golden Milk Tea or Turmeric Tea) is a wonderful substitute for coffee, as it is warm, aromatic, tasty and yes, even healing and healthy!  This drink is quite addictive and is starting to be my go-to drink in the winter.  That first cup of coffee in the morning is still a mainstay, but this new-to-me elixir is taking over the afternoons and especially the evenings!

golden milk tea

Golden Milk Tea (aka Turmeric Tea)

What is in Golden Milk Tea (or Turmeric Tea)

I’m a big fan of the study done by National Geographic on the world’s “Blue Zones”.  A National Geographic team studied the regions of the world that had the highest number of people that reached an old age (beyond 80 years) in good health. They came up with 5 regions in the world, with Okinawa, Japan being one of them.

On the Japanese island of Okinawa, turmeric tea is a way of life. The population drinks this traditional favorite daily, and numerous studies have linked turmeric with wide-ranging anti-inflammatory effects.

While a number of different criteria were applied to understand the “why” of each Blue Zone region, the people of Okinawa were shown to have one of the world’s longest average life spans: 81.2 years.  A daily dose of Golden Milk Tea may play into the overall reason.

Why is Golden Milk Tea Considered Healing?

Turmeric is the Golden Milk Tea ingredient thought to be most beneficial.  Ginger, cinnamon, hot peppers with capsaicin, black pepper and honey all purport various types of healing, but turmeric is the star of this “tea”.

Inflammation is running wild in our bodies these days, leading to all kinds of seemingly disconnected symptoms, from joint pain to food allergies to digestive troubles.  Turmeric’s active ingredient is curcumin, which is a well-documented powerful anti-inflammatory herb.  Turmeric contains up to 3% curcumin by weight.

Consuming turmeric (whether in tea or in curries, soups, sauces, or other cooking) is an ancient healing spice, and this tea maximizes the natural antioxidant power of turmeric because it is a) hot and b) combined with other beneficial spices and a little bit of fat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of milk of choice (unsweetened almond or coconut) or use bone broth in place of the milk for a more hearty tea
  • 1 tsp turmeric (or 1 Tbsp peeled, grated fresh turmeric)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (or 1 Tbsp peeled grated fresh ginger)
  • pinch of black pepper (increases absorption)
  • pinch of hot pepper spice (optional – I used HeathGlen’s chipotle spice)
  • 1 tsp honey, maple syrup or sugar substitute (I use Truvia brown sugar substitute)
  • consider adding more fat like butter or coconut oil as it increases absorption (there is a little fat in the coconut milk but adding more fat is common, especially on a keto diet)

Directions:

  • Heat 2 cups light, unsweetened coconut milk (or almond milk
  • Heat all ingredients in a saucepan and stir well
  • Bring to a simmer for a few minutes up to 10 min.
  • Strain if you used fresh ginger and turmeric.  Pour into a cup if you used ground spices
  • Add honey or sugar substitute to taste

**Note: This may stain blenders and countertops. The color will eventually fade, but making a thick paste of baking soda and water and scrubbing the stain can help.

Recipe for Golden Milk Tea using dry spice mix

Ingredients for the dry mix:

  • 1/2 cup turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1-2 Tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or your favorite hot pepper spice)

To use:  Add 2 tsp of this mix to 2 cups milk of choice and simmer for a few minutes.

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 325-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

Low Carb Breading Mix – for Fish, Veggies, Pork, etc.

The main food that people say they miss most when on a low carb or keto diet is bread.  In fact there is some trending science indicating that the “mouthfeel” of breads and starches may indeed be the “sixth” discovered taste sensation (following the five tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami).  While it is totally compliant to fry proteins and veggies in olive oil, coconut oil, butter or ghee, it is difficult to enjoy a lot of fried food without some sort of breading.  Enter this low carb breading mix!  It tastes just as good as it looks….without all the carbs!

low carb breading mix

Low Carb Breaded Cod

Low Carb Breading Mix on Fish

I’ve been on a high-protein-low-carb diet for years now (nuanced versions of slow carb, low carb, & ketogenic) and most of the dinner recipes I share on my recipe blog focus on chicken, beef and pork proteins.

I have posted several really tasty dinner dishes using salmon and scallops, but whenever I cooked white fish of any kind (cod, flounder, tilapia, etc.) it just tasted blah.  Easy and quick to make yes, but blah.

Using this breading mix on white fish truly enhanced the flavor and is a go-to dish now for quick and easy week-night dinners.  It’s also a great foil for the walleye and crappies our friend brings us in exchange for bow-hunting the deer on the farm (thanks Greg!)

Of course the low carb breading mix could be used for zucchini sticks, fried cheese sticks, pork chops, and any number of fried foods.  I think I might try it on oysters next time.  I have a food memory of a Fried Oyster Po’Boy from San Francisco that I’d like to emulate sometime soon!

Recipe (& Variations) for a Low Carb Breading Mix

This is the recipe I used, but I’ve listed a few variations below also.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 fish filets (I used cod, but any white fish is fine
  • 1/2 cup crushed pork rinds (aka chicharonnes)
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (use ghee if you have it for high temp cooking)

Directions:

  1. Place the pork rinds in a Ziploc bag and crush with the bottom of a glass or a heavy small plate
  2. Combine the crushed pork rinds, the Parmesan cheese and the pepper in a medium sized bowl.  Mix well.
  3. In another bowl, use a whisk or fork to stir up the egg
  4. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Olive oil is a low temperature oil so don’t heat it to the smoke point.  Heat the oil hot enough that when you add a drop of water to the pan it sizzles)
  5. Dip the fish filet into the egg mixture and then dip it into the pork rind mixture.  You can use tongs for this or your hands.  If it is not thoroughly coated you might want to do a double dip (repeat the egg dip and the pork rind dip for the filet).  Place all of the dipped filets on a plate.
  6. When the oil is hot, gently place the filets in the skillet.  Do not move them around or try to flip them right away.  You want the crust to get crisp.  After a few minutes, gently lift the edge of a filet and see if it is brown and crisp.  If so gently turn it over to the other side.  The fish will cook quickly (only a couple of minutes on each side).

Variation of a Low Carb Breading Mix:

If you don’t like pork rinds this combination works well also:

  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp golden flaxseed meal
  • 1 Tbsp almond flour

Based on the current information on flaxseed, I don’t use it anymore, but the above combination is tasty if you prefer flaxseed and are not a fan of pork rinds.

Follow the same directions for either list of ingredients.  Feel free to add seasonings to match your tastes or the protein you are using.  Old bay works well with fish.  Some people like garlic powder, onion powder or seasoning salt.

Me, well I prefer one of HeathGlen’s pepper spices of course.  Sometimes I use the sweet paprika and sometimes the smoky chipotle.  It’s all good….as they say.

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 300-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

 

 

Keto Sushi – aka Cauliflower Rice Sushi

This Keto Sushi (aka Cauliflower Rice Sushi) recipe is a guest post by my wonderful daughter, Tesla!

keto sushi

keto sushi (aka cauliflower rice sushi)

Why Cauliflower instead of Rice?

One major benefit of working in a school district is having the summers off!  For me, that means Grandma’s Annual Fourth of July Party and lots of food, purchased and prepared for me by the parents (I know, rough life, right?).  There is a downside though, and that is when my parents food preferences differ from mine.  

If you’ve read any other posts on this site or if you know my mom at all, you know that we haven’t eaten rice at the HeathGlen homestead for at least five years.  Apparently, the absence of rice doesn’t bother my parents too much, but it’s especially hard for a sushi addict like me!  

Prior to going on a low-carb diet, my dad promised me we would make sushi together– that was 12 years ago and we even bought a mat and instruction book!  So I decided this year that, even though rice is now a four-letter word in our household, he could fulfill his promise to me.

Making Keto Sushi Simple

I attempted to make a low-carb cauliflower rice sushi a few years ago but it was unsuccessful and frustrating because there were so many hard-to-find ingredients and I was in the middle of my Master’s program with very little money to spare on these rare ingredients.  

I finally found a much simpler recipe and used that as a guide to make this “keto sushi”.  I doubled the recipe because leftovers are a requirement in our household, especially on Fridays before the weekend farmers’ markets.  The recipe below is not doubled.  

Even my mom, the sushi adversary, raved about this dish!

Recipe for Keto Sushi (aka Cauliflower Rice Sushi)

Serves  4

Ingredients

  • Half or 3/4 head of cauliflower (I used one whole cauliflower but had a little leftover)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 5-6 sheets nori
  • Sushi fillings- we used these items but the options are endless:
    • 2 cucumbers (peeled and thinly sliced)
    • 3 carrots (peeled and thinly sliced)
    • 8 oz package of plain cream cheese
    • 2-3 cooked salmon fillets and 2 smoked salmon fillets since mom  doesn’t like raw fish, otherwise I would have definitely gone for the real deal raw stuff!
    • In the original recipe, the blogger uses fruit, and as you may know, according to my mom, “Fruit is just nature’s candy.”  So, needless to say we skipped out on the fruit.

** Note 1:  The recipe I adapted this from used a food processor and a sushi rolling mat.  We don’t have a rolling mat and I have made cauliflower rice a multitude of times in my Ninja blender so neither are necessary to make this recipe work, but the tools definitely make it easier!  I’ve also been informed that you can buy pre-“riced” cauliflower at Trader Joe’s or other grocery stores if you want to skip those steps.

**Note 2: To ensure the roll stays together, it was helpful to use a bowl of water to wet the seam of the roll. See step #9.

Directions (or Steps):

  1.  Prepare the cauliflower rice:  I cut the cauliflower in quarters and then cut or break the stem off.  I then used a smaller knife to cut off any parts of the stem that remain.  Break the cauliflower in to florets or small chunks.  
  2.  Place all the florets in the food processor.  Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to split up the cauliflower and process it in smaller portions.  Pulse the cauliflower until the pieces are small and look similar to grains of rice.
  3. Place the cauliflower in large dish and cover.  Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes or until the cauliflower is heated all the way through.
  4.  In a small bowl, mix the sugar and rice vinegar until the sugar is mostly dissolved.  Combine with the warm cauliflower and set aside to cool.
  5.  Prepare your fillings.  I peeled and cut the veggies as thin as possible and crumbled the cooked/ smoked salmon, and used a cheese slicer for thin slices of cream cheese.
  6. Lay the nori out, either on the rolling mat or a cutting board for a flat surface.  The nori I used had perforated lines, and when the nori was on the board facing me the lines were horizontal.
  7.  Scoop the cauliflower rice on to the nori.  Cover the nori with a thin layer of the cauliflower, leave a space on the top.  I used the perforated lines as a guide and covered the nori up to the line that was closest to the “top” of the nori, farthest from me.
  8. Put your fillings on the side of the nori where the cauliflower reaches the edge of the nori. I put the softest things first- cream cheese, salmon, and then the veggies on top.
  9. Carefully roll the edge with the fillings toward the end with the gap.  Keep slight pressure on the fillings as you roll to make sure it rolls tightly.  Once it’s completely rolled up, dab some water on the edge with no cauliflower so it will stay together.
  10.  Using a really sharp knife, cut the sushi into pieces.  Alternatively- enlist your dad or someone else as a line cook to cut the pieces for you 🙂

This “keto sushi” recipe was much easier than I thought and it’s one sure fire way to impress the parents!

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

  • Calories: 266
  • Fat: 19.1
  • Carbs: 10.4
  • Protein: 8.8

Mom’s Required Trailer for Online Coaching:

 

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 2 years, the keto diet for 1 year and now do a nuanced version of the best of both including a 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol.  I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out and customize the approach that works for them.  I am currently an online fitness coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 325-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet or exercise, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

Low Carb Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth

This soup (or stew)  is easy to make, loaded with flavor, low carb friendly and it also delivers 665 mg of heart-healthy omega 3s.  That’s a lot to pack into a simple dinner recipe!  The coconut-curry broth gives seafood dishes that could potentially be bland a punch of creamy, rich flavor, and would work well with just about any fish or seafood.  I happened to pick mussels because they were in my freezer and waiting to be used.  This dish of Low Carb Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth ended up as the perfect foil for the mussels!

 

Low Carb Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth

Low Carb Mussels with Coconut-Curry Broth

This Low Carb Dish does not Require Rice for a Complete Dinner

I first had mussels and curry broth together at a restaurant called Thai Basil in Denver, Colorado.  They served it with a huge bowl of rice on the side of course, but the curry was so rich and full of flavor that the rice was easy to ignore.  I find that to be the case in most of the Thai, Mexican and Asian restaurants that I visit.  Rice is not compliant with a low carb, slow carb or keto lifestyle but a dish that is prepared with a knowledge of spice blends and classic flavor combinations really needs no rice to complete it.  In fact, I find the rice often just mutes the glorious, sometimes delicate flavors of the dish.

Sometimes with meat proteins, a long slow cooking process is required to really enhance the texture and flavor of the dish.  The nice thing about fish and some of the bright, spicy sauces that often accompany fish dishes is the length of cooking time needed to get the desired flavor is minimal.

Next time I make this low carb mussels with coconut curry broth for dinner I will probably add some white fish (halibut, cod, etc.) to get a little more protein and add a little more texture.  The broth is rich enough on its own however to make a completely satisfying weeknight dinner.

Recipe:  Low Carb Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 heaping tsp minced garlic (I used garlic from a jar)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp curry paste (you can use curry powder if you wish)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed (either in grinder or with mortar/pestle)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or any other hot pepper spice)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 14-oz can coconut milk (AROY-D is good brand, you can use lite if you want- I did not)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (dry red wine is OK also)
  • 2 lbs. mussels (I used frozen mussels – Bantry Bay Brand)
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook for about 5 min, or until translucent.
  2. Add tomatoes, garlic, ginger, curry paste or powder, fennel seeds, cayenne and salt; cook a few minutes until well blended and heated throughout.
  3. Add coconut milk and wine, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes
  4. Add the mussels, cover and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for a few minutes until mussels have opened (about 4 min).
  5. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Nutrition:

  • CAL 311
  • FAT 14 G
  • CARBS 17 G
  • SUGAR 3 G
  • PROTEIN 23 g

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

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