Just in time for Mardi Gras!

6 Feb

If you like Jambalaya and love those great flavors I recommend you try this. So many yummy ingredients here and lots of spice!  All low carb.  I don’t think you will miss the rice. It goes well with a crunchy green salad.  This recipe sent from a friend who found it online at http://www.allrecipes.comphoto (2)

Jambalaya   serves 4-6

1-tablespoon olive oil

1-tablespoon butter

1 large onion, diced

2 Andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch half-moons (I found this in grocery store by Hillshire Farms products, any smoked sausage would do)

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

3 green bell peppers, seeded and diced

2 zucchinis, diced

2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (available at grocery store)

1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste

1-cup chicken broth

1 pound chicken breast, cooked, cooled, and chopped

1 pound cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp

Directions

1.     Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and Andouille sausage and cook and stir until the onion starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

2.     Mix in crushed tomatoes, green bell peppers, zucchinis, Cajun seasoning, hot sauce, and chicken broth; bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered until the liquid cooks off and the mixture is thick, about 15 minutes. Stir in chicken and shrimp and simmer until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Whip up a Soufflé like a pro!

6 Feb

IMG_0144Last night I made a Spinach and Cheddar Soufflé.  It was light, fluffy and delicious.  This is a recipe from Ina Garten that I found in House Beautiful magazine.  Apparently the Barefoot Contessa swears by this recipe and I understand why!  Foolproof for sure.   My only recommendation is it took 40 minutes to bake.  At 35 mins it was not quite set. I served it with an arugula salad with radishes, red peppers and shaved parmesan cheese.  The dressing was a red wine vinegar variation on my usual balsamic vinaigrette.   Leftovers make a wonderful breakfast!

Ina Garten’s Spinach and Cheddar Soufflé

Serves 2 to 3

Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
 (the flour adds about 5 carbs per serving)

1 cup scalded milk

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature

1/2 cup grated aged Cheddar cheese, lightly packed

1 package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry

5 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the inside of one 6-to-8-cup soufflé dish (6 1/2 to 7 1/2 inches in diameter x 3 1/2 inches deep) and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk, nutmeg, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for one minute, until smooth and thick.

3. Off the heat, but while still hot, mix in the egg yolks. Stir in the Cheddar, the Parmesan, and the spinach, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

4. Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for one minute, on medium speed for one minute, then finally on high speed until firm, glossy peaks are formed.

5. Whisk one-quarter of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten, and then fold in the rest. Pour into the prepared soufflé dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula and place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (don’t peek!) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.    IMG_0138

NOTE: To make in advance, prepare the recipe through Step 3 (adding the cheeses). You can do this up to 2 hours ahead. Keep mixture covered at room temperature, and then proceed with the recipe just before baking.  This is what I did and it worked perfectly.  

IMG_0148

Leg cramps?

18 Nov

I have heard from lots of people that they suffer from leg cramps when starting the low carb life.  Many times they are not getting enough salt and may be dehydrated.  Taking a multivitamin helps and again lots of water and salt.

All those years of being told too much salt is bad for you, now you NEED that salt.  Especially when first starting out. Here is a another great link from Livestrong.  Check it out for tips on leg cramps and what to do.

Take care of yourself-

18 Nov

Living the low carb life you will notice a few changes in your body. One thing many people complain of is constipation. Here is a great link from Livestrong that has some helpful tips.  I can’t stress enough how much water you should be drinking. It really helps. I always have a thermal mug of ice water with me.

Chicken Roll Ups low carb style..

12 Nov

As much as we all love chicken parmesan the breading is not compatible with low carb eating.
So this recipe puts lots of goodness inside the chicken breast. It really works but you must take care not to overcook the chicken.

Italian Chicken Roll Ups (for two)

2 large boneless chicken breasts (about 1 lb total)

1/2 C ricotta cheese

3 T fresh chopped parsley

1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese

1 C shredded mozzarella cheese

1 can petite cut tomatoes, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare small baking pan with cooking spray.

Put chicken breasts in large zip lock baggie, flatten with meat mallet to 1/4″.

In medium bowl mix ricotta, parsley, parmesan and 1/2 C mozzarella cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

Spread cheese mixture over each chicken breast.   Top this with 1/2 can tomatoes divided evenly over each chicken breast.  Carefully roll chicken and and set with seam down on baking pan.  Sprinkle shredded parmesan over each piece of chicken.  This forms a bit of a crust.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, add remaining chopped tomatoes and remaining mozzarella. Check internal temp of chicken rolls. Bake for about 10 minutes more.  Done when internal temp of 165 is reached.  Watch this carefully or chicken will be very dry.

Slice each piece of chicken in half before serving.

Alternate options- Before spreading the cheese mixture on each chicken breast put a slice of prosciutto first. The saltiness of this would be great.  Or add chopped baby spinach to cheese mixture.

Green Salad every night

12 Nov

Doing the low carb thing almost requires a green salad every night.  The crunch, fiber and all the good stuff in greens are essential. Our dinner salads are quite large. In an effort to change things up I make varying types of fresh vinaigrettes.  They last about a week in the fridge.  Bring to room temperature before using.  Shake it up or whisk lightly and you are all set.

Lately I buy the greens already washed and ready to go in the plastic 5 oz recyclable containers.  Organic greens such as arugula, baby spinach and mixed greens are readily available.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 T Dijon mustard                                   

2 T balsamic vinegar

1 minced garlic clove

1/2 C olive oil

salt and pepper

Mix first three ingredients then slowly add olive oil whisking as you add the oil. This creates an emulsion. Salt and pepper to taste.  Salt the greens before dressing with the vinaigrette.  Shaved parmesan a nice touch.  Toasted pine nuts on top delicious!

Alternate ingredients-

Add 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon, use red wine vinegar in place of balsamic, add chopped shallots in place of garlic.  Or use fresh lemon juice in place of any vinegar to create a refreshing lemon vinaigrette and omit the garlic.

Winter has arrived and cookies in the oven..

12 Nov

A very chilly day here in Minnesota and our first snowflakes are flying around.  What could be better to help deal with reality of winter than the smell of gingersnaps baking in the oven.  I am not totally convinced about using sugar substitutes. There is no denying there is a cloying taste but until I find a better substitute I will just deal with it.  I love to bake and and a cookie and cup of coffee sometimes just essential.  Going back to using white sugar is just not happening so I am learning to adjust.

Low Carb Ginger Snaps                                    

1/4 C coconut flour

2 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/2 C unsalted butter, softened

1 T shortening

1 C granulated Splenda

3 large eggs, room temp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In small  bowl, mix together first 6 dry ingredients.  Set aside. In mixing bowl cream softened butter with shortening and splenda.  Add one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape sides of bowl.

Add dry ingredients slowly until combined and smooth.

Suggest putting in refrigerator for 30 minutes to help firm up the dough.  I made cookies immediately and the dough was a bit hard to work with.  Lightly flatten each cookie with the back of a spoon before baking. Bake on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I used a small scoop to form each cookie. Approximately 1 T each cookie.

Bake for 12 minutes for soft cookies, a bit longer if you want them harder.  Cool on rack, store in airtight container.

These are a very delicate light cookie.  Each cookie is around 2 g carb.

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