Archive | low carb recipes

Shishito Peppers: a perfect low carb appetizer

Never one to ignore the food trends, I thought I’d try my hand at growing and cooking the trendy “perfect appetizer” that the chefs and foodies are raving about.  The cooking of these sweet, crunchy peppers couldn’t be easier.  And I’ve yet to have that one-in-ten of the peppers that turns out surprisingly spicy.  Red or green, these shishito peppers are a delight at home, at the bar, or served up as tapas.

 

Shishito peppers

Shishito peppers

Why are Shishito Peppers so Popular?

Well…Sautéed shishitos are absolutely the best thing to nibble on with drinks, making them popular with the bar crowd or as tapas.  Shishito peppers have really thin walls, so they’re also easy to grill at home or use in a stir-fry, adding robust flavor to a quick week-night dinner.

The Shishito pepper is a bright, flavorful sweet chili, and although it looks like a hot pepper in appearance, you rarely bite into one with any significant heat.  The fun part is that one in twenty peppers pack a fiery punch and you never know which bite that is going to be.  They have grown immensely popular as a quick-to-cook appetizer or side.

Does it matter if Shishito peppers are cooked in their red or green stage?

The slender, finger-sized peppers are bright green in color, and like most bell peppers they will turn red when mature.  Most photos you see on the internet show Shishito peppers cooked in their green stage.  I tried both and they are both wonderful, but the sweetness is a bit more intense with the red, mature peppers.

Padrón peppers are a stand-in for the Japanese Shishito variety and  can be treated exactly the same way.

Are Shishito Peppers spicy or sweet?

Although they resemble many hot chile peppers, the typical Shishito pepper is much milder than a Jalapeno (13 to 160 times milder) and a bit spicier than the zero-heat bell pepper.  Even if you were to get the one out of every ten to twenty that is hot, it will still be milder than a jalapeno.  It’s just a bit surprising, and fun, when you’re munching on sweet peppers and all of a sudden there is a spicy one in the bunch.

Padrón peppers are a stand-in for the Japanese Shishito variety and Padrón peppers have a similar “Russian roulette” tendency, which adds to the fun when serving s an appetizer.

 Easy Recipe for Cooking Shishito Peppers

The skin on Shishito peppers is usually quite tender so a quick sear is all that’s needed for cooking.

I use a cast iron skillet to sear the peppers. Most recipes call for adding oil to the pan before adding the peppers, but they are a bit too oily for me that way.  Searing in a dry pan works just as well.

Adding a slice of lemon or lime to the skillet adds a really nice flavor boost to the peppers (alternatively squeeze the citrus on the peppers after cooking).

Ingredients:

  • 6-10 shisito peppers
  • ½ lemon or lime
  • refined olive oil
  • Kosher or flavored salts
  1.  Heat a large cast iron skillet (or a wide sauté pan) over high heat until the pan is hot but not smoking (with or without a couple Tbsp olive oil)  If you are using olive oil, use a refined olive oil because extra virgin olive oils do not have a very high smoke point.
  2. Add the peppers to the hot skillet, turn the heat down a bit and cook the peppers, turning occasionally as they blister.  They shouldn’t char except in places. Don’t rush. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook a panful of peppers.
  3. When they’re done, toss them with sea salt and add a few squeezes of fresh lemons or limes.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil (if you didn’t use it in the skillet).
  5. Place them in a bowl with extra salt and lemon or lime wedges for anyone that wants more.  You pick them up by the stem end and eat the whole thing, (minus the stem).

**Leftovers are great stirred into scrambled eggs, hummus or any soup or stew.

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.

 

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Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

While we still have a few red, pink and yellow heirlooms on the vine, the season is rapidly winding down.  Now is the perfect time to go for that iconic classic, fried green tomatoes.  Typically made with cornmeal or breadcrumbs, this recipe for low carb fried green tomatoes will meet the requirements of a low carb or ketogenic diet without losing a bit of flavor.

Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

How to Pack in the Most Flavor to Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

  1. First of all, start with firm, bright green tomatoes.  The variety does make a difference in terms of sweetness but the main thing is to pick them before they are ripe.  I’ve tried using varieties like Aunt Ruby’s Green, Green Zebra and a few other green varieties, but they en up being too soft (yes they are green, but they are ripe green instead of firm and unripe).
  2. After you have the right tomato selected, add in a little spice.  I like a bit of smoky but moderate heat…not too hot, just a little kick.  Any of the chile spices work for this.  My favorite is the chipotle spice for more intense heat and the smoky blend for mild to medium heat.  You can find pure organic chipotle spice with no additives here, or a milder blend of smoked peppers (chipotle, ancho and pasilla)  here.  Any spicy addition will work…just use your favorite or what you have on hand.
  3. And finally is the coating.  Classic versions of Fried Green Tomatoes use a mix of cornmeal and flour, but those are both out on a low carb or keto diet.  For the recipe I used almond flour, salt & pepper, and some chipotle spice for the coating.  You could also mix in some crushed chicharonnes, which I often add to breading mixtures.  Some people will add a tsp of onion powder and 1/2 tsp garlic powder also if you like adding even more robust flavor.

Recipe for Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium firm green tomatoes
  • 1 cup almond flour (I used Nature’s Eats brand)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp chile pepper (your choice, here is what I used)
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat or refined olive oil

Directions:

  1. With a sharp knife, slice the tomatoes about 1/4″ thick. Sprinkle with a little salt, and let them sit for a few minutes.
  2. In a medium size bowl, use a slotted spoon or fork to mix together the almond flour, the spices and the salt and pepper.  In another bowl, whisk together the egg and the water.
  3. Heat the fat or oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Using tongs or your hands, dip the tomato slices in the egg/water mixture, then place them in the flour/spice mixture and cover all parts of the tomato slices using a spoon or your hands.
  5. Using tongs or your hands, place the slices in the hot oil for about 3 minutes.  Use a spatula to gently turn them over so the breading doesn’t fall off, and cook for another 3 minutes on that side (gently lift them to make sure they’re getting the color you want and not burning.
  6. Don’t overcrowd the skillet with the slices.  Work in batches if needed.
  7. Serve alone or for a real treat make some tzatziki sauce to dip them in!

Carb count:  5.5 net carbs/per 2 slice serving

For some more protein and fat, try this recipe for

Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes with Poached Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium firm green tomatoes
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups almond flour/crushed-chicharrones mix
  • 1 tsp spicy chile pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat or refined olive oil
  • picante sauce for serving, if desired

Directions:

  1. Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices
  2. Whisk the egg in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour/chicharrone mix and the seasonings and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Heat the oil to medium high but do not let oil boil.
  4. Dip tomato slices into the eggs, then into the flour mixture.  Coat well
  5. Set them into the oil and fry 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oil and set onto paper towels to drain.
  6. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Crack eggs into the boiling water and lightly poach them (about 3 min each).  Strain in a colander and serve the eggs over the fried green tomato slices.  Drizzle a bit of picante sauce on top and enjoy!

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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Keto Sushi – aka Cauliflower Rice Sushi

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

keto sushi

keto sushi (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, when my parents food preferences differ.   

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 once 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 farmer’s markets.  The recipe below is not doubled.  Even my mom, the sushi adversary, raved about it!

Recipe for Cauliflower Rice Sushi (aka Keto 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 sushi 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 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.

 

Low Carb Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash makes a great foil for pasta and grains and “stuffed” dishes are always appealing and fun.  This low carb stuffed spaghetti squash can be extremely versatile using chicken, pork sausage or ground beef as the protein in the stuffing.  This particular recipe uses chicken, as chicken with enchilada sauce makes a stuffing that is familiar to most tastebuds, inexpensive and easy to cook.  The recipe lends itself easily to adaptation and creativity however.

low carb stuffed spaghetti squash

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Using Spaghetti Squash as a Pasta Foil:

In this particular dish, the spaghetti squash strands have the taste and texture of rice noodles.  I frequently use spaghetti squash as a bed for skillet dinners or stir frys, but they it is also great just as a side dish slathered with butter and some good salt.

Spaghetti squash is pretty simple to cook and can be ready in 10 minutes.  Some people cook winter squash in an oven to get the full richness of a nutty winter squash.  It’s not really necessary with spaghetti squash however, as the taste is so much lighter.  I usually cook them like this:

  • cut them in half lengthwise
  • take a large spoon and scrape out the seeds
  • turn them flesh-side-down onto a plate and microwave for 10 minutes
  • let cool enough to handle them (or use a mitt) and then take a fork and scrape out the strands from the shell.  They come out looking like…….well, like spaghetti!

 

Easy Adaptations for the Low Carb Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Recipe:

The chicken in this recipe is easy, but it is fairly bland and needs a spice mix of some sort to liven it up.  I used the harissa spice mix that we sell online, but there is a wide range of spice mixes that would be good.  Choose your favorite and go with it.  If you don’t want to bother with a mix, just add a little mild chile pepper or cayenne pepper.  I’ve included a few spice mixes at the end of this post that you may want to try.

The type of protein could also be easily and tastefully adapted.  Ground pork sauteed until no longer pink would be a good substitution that I plan to try next time.  Hamburger or ground beef would work fine also.  Any protein of your choice would work as long as it is shredded or fine enough to mix well with the somewhat delicate strands of squash.

Changing up the variety of cheese is another option, as is adding some sauteed onions or other vegetables.  It’s really a great dish to experiment with as it’s tough to destroy it!

Low Carb Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Recipe:

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:  

  • 2 8-oz boneless,skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 1/2 cup red enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 tsp spice mix (I used harissa, use your favorite spice mix – many would work)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Add the chicken to a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil.  After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the chicken about 15 minutes, or until no longer pink on inside.  Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let it cool a bit so you can handle it
  3. While the chicken is cooking, microwave the squash by placing the halved, seeded squash on a plate flesh-side down and microwaving for 10 minutes (or until flesh is tender).
  4. When the chicken is cool enough to work with, shred the chicken breasts with two forks and place in a large bowl.
  5. When the squash is cool enough to work with use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into the bowl with the chicken.  Set the intact shells aside.  Add 1 cup enchilada sauce, zucchini, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp spice mix to the chicken/squash mixture.  Mix everything together thoroughly.
  6. Place the shells on a broiler-safe pan and divide the mixture between the shells.  Top with the remaining 1/2 cup enchilada sauce and the shredded cheese.
  7. Bake on the lower rack for 10 minutes.  If a deeper browned cheese crust is desired, move pan to the upper rack and turn the broiler to high for a couple of minutes (watch carefully)
  8. To serve, cut each shell in half (they are filling, 1/2 shell is usually enough for 1 serving).

Nutrition:

  • CAL 408
  • FAT 22 CARBS 20 G
  • SUGARS 7 G
  • PROTEIN 34 G
  • FIBER 4 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.

 

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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