Creamiest Hot Mexican Dip

 

Dips are perfect additions to holiday get togethers! They are great to have out while you are finishing dinner and everyone is gathered around the kitchen looking for food! They are great for potlucks (especially when people anxiously await your dip!). And they are great for appetizer nights.

I have made Mexican dips forever —with seven kids, you can imagine the chips and crackers we have gone through over the past years! You can try my favorite cheese spread here, my favorite cheeseball here, and my low carb crackers and chips here!

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Sugar-Free “Brown Sugar” Apple Dip (Low Carb)

 

While I prefer my fruits fresh for the most part, I do love apple-anything desserts! (Okay, I also love this low carb/sugar-free cherry delight too!) Apples are a perfect snack (if you’re not keto). They are delicious, not messy, portable, and readily-available. But how I really love my apples is with a yummy, caramely apple dip. The one that I have made for thirty years is still a family favorite (1 package cream cheese, 1/2 cup (or more!) brown sugar, and 1 TBSP vanilla). However, for daily fare and for me and Hubby, I prefer to make a low carb/sugar-free one that is seriously just as tasty!

 

(Have you tried my SF Caramel-Chocolate Apple Nachos yet?)

 

And it begins….of course….with my Cream Cheese Dessert Base. (I’m telling you…you need some “parts” of this base in the fridge and the freezer both!) There are so many things you can make with this–and the whipping and sweetening are done and ready for you!

 

This amazing cream cheese dessert base makes a wonderful strawberry dip or dressing when you don’t add the maple flavoring and instead mix the dip with strawberry yogurt!

 

Below are links to the ingredients I use in this recipe. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

 

If you have learned how to make “powdered sugar-free sugar” for the dessert base from this post, you might have also learned how to make “brown-sugar-free-sugar” from here also. The key to the sugar-free brown sugar is the maple flavoring that you mix with your granulated sweetener (Pyure is what I use). For this dip, you want the brown sugar taste, but since the sweetener is already powdered and added to the cream cheese, you will just add the maple extract whipped into the base before you fold in the whipping cream.

 

If you are a Daily Intermittent Faster, I highly recommend that you open your window with a low carb item–it will keep you from craving during your eating window and sort of extend the fasting window longer. I recommend anything made with the cream cheese dessert base to open your window–just be sure you don’t overdo it because it is pretty calorie dense. (I use lower fat cream cheese for my dessert base–neufchatel–even though it is a little carbier than full fat cream cheese.)

 

 

Add some peanut butter or peanut flour and thin with a little low carb vanilla yogurt for the perfect “sweet” apple salad dressing! (See my Pb-mayo Apple salad here!)

 

 

I have so many recipes coming to the blog made out of this dessert base….but until I do, here are some ideas associated with this apple dip:

1) Berry Fruit Dip: Make the dip without the maple extract to use as a yummy fruit dip. Low carbers can have a berry fruit tray with this amazing dip and still stay very low carb!

2) Fruit Salad Dressing: Make the dip without the maple extract and mix with a flavored yogurt for an amazing fruit salad dressing—strawberry for a strawberry-banana cheesecake “salad” or blueberry for a blueberry salad.

3) Peanut Butter Dip: Add peanut butter or peanut flour to the dip for a peanut butter dip.

4) Peanut Butter/Apple Salad Dressing: Add peanut butter or peanut flour AND vanilla yogurt for a peanut butter dressing to make apple salad.

5) PB Chocolate Chip Dip: Add peanut butter or peanut flour AND coarsely chopped sugar-free chocolate bars or chips for a peanut-butter chocolate chip dip. (Use low carb sweet crackers from here or peanut butter cookies or fried low carb tortillas {elephant ears!} for dipping!)

More coming soon…..

 

 

While this dip is a little too sweet for celery as is in my opinion, you can add some peanut butter or peanut flour to it for the perfect low carb celery dip!

 


Sugar-Free "Brown Sugar" Apple Dip (Low Carb)
Author: 
Serves: 14 servings
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Whip the cream cheese dessert base with a whisk. (You might need to let it set out for thirty minutes or possibly use a hand mixer.)
  2. Whip in the maple flavoring.
  3. Fold in whipped whipping cream in one half cup increments until it is the "creaminess" you desire. (If you like it fluffier, use more. If you like it more "cream cheesy," use less.)
  4. Refrigerate until serving time.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ cup Calories: 120 Fat: 12 Carbohydrates: 2 Sugar: 1 Protein: 2

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Amazing Cheese Spread {With Low Carb & Healthy Options}

 

You know how you have those recipes that you go to over and over again? Every graduation party. Every baby or wedding shower. Every Christmas Eve appetizer party. Yep? Well, this is one of those. I have two cheese spreads/cheese balls that get rave reviews from everyone and that I have made for over twenty years. They’re that good. The first is my Creamy Delicious Cheese Ball that has one of those little glass jars of “processed cheese” (along with cream cheese, cheddar, and other ingredients). It really is wonderful. And the second is a cheese spread recipe from a friend many years ago (not sure where it originated). One of these has literally been on the serving table at every one of my kids’ seven graduation parties and every Christmas Eve. (Why reinvent the wheel, right?)

 

The spread is unique with its flavor combinations. It isn’t as attractive as a cheese ball. (But really, cheese balls don’t look so great after the first half dozen people cut into them anyway!) But you can serve it in a pretty dish and be good to go.

 

Another thing about this recipe is that if you have no problems with dairy (and you have a healthy mayo), it has a lot of real food in it–meat, cheese, nuts, cream cheese. Yum!

 

If you are trying to eat low carb, this makes a delicious snack served with my Sprouted Low Carb Dinner Rolls/Bread or Easy Low Carb Crackers/Tortilla Chips!

 

And….if you practice Daily Intermittent Fasting, I highly recommend the aforementioned low carb crackers and this cheese spread for opening your eating window! (I discuss good foods to open your eating window with in this informative slideshow)

 

*Note: The original recipe has two cups mayo and no cream cheese. We are not mayonnaise fans, so we do half and half. People who love mayo do love the original recipe!

 

Below are links to the ingredients I use in this recipe. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!


Amazing Cheese Spread {With Low Carb & Healthy Options}
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 cup Hellman’s Mayo (no substitutions)
  • 1 cup spreadable cream cheese*
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix all.
  2. Refrigerate.
  3. Serve!
Nutrition Information
Calories: 125 Fat: 12 Carbohydrates: 1 Sugar: 0 Protein: 3

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SIMPLE Low Carb Tortilla Chips and Crackers (Savory and Sweet Options!)

 

I have tried to make low carb crackers in the past. And even with my Very Low Carb Flour Mix, I really didn’t like any that I tried. When you think about the Power of Dilution that I have discussed here on the blog (along with my ten year old palate!), it makes sense that I wouldn’t like almond flour or my VLCF mix crackers. There is no diluting the flour flavors in crackers! After all, crackers are mostly whatever flour they are made of. Since I am not “keto,” I don’t really want to make all-cheese crackers or crackers made with mozzarella, eggs, and almond flour. Way too calorie/fat dense for the non-keto person. But I NEED crispy. I NEED salty. I NEED savory crisps to have cheese, meats, cheese ball, cheese spread, savory cream cheese dips, etc., with. (And a little lower in the blog post, I have SWEET crackers–substitutions for graham crackers and such–to have with sweet cream cheese dips, peanut butter cream cheese spread, chocolate chip cheeseballs, low carb frostings, and more. And I discovered how to make both of these quickly out of low carb tortillas, lavish, and pitas. So here you go…

 

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Smashed, Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Free Grammar/Usage Lesson from Language Lady too!)

 

At our house, we are all about veggies every night–for two reasons. First of all, we are trying to eat more healthfully in general as we lose weight and seek to eat more nutrient-dense foods and feel great. Secondly, since Ray Baby and I both practice Daily Intermittent Fasting, we only eat in a three to five hour eating window each day. We simply have to be sure that vegetables are a part of that eating window as much as possible.

 

I’ve raved about some of my favorite ways to make green beans in my 3 Favorite Green Bean Recipes post. We do a lot of oven roasting, air frying, and stir frying. My favorite way to prepare veggies for ease of cooking is oven roasting. You simply prep the veggies, put them on a cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan for a bunch!), and pop them in the oven. I love those easy preps!

 

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Easy, Convenient Breading Mix – Low Carb & Family Friendly Options!

 

Breading meats (and even vegetables) does not have to a taboo for the low carb cook or the low fat cook or the low calorie cook or the family-friendly cook. We have options! With healthy fats to brush over things, we can pop them in the oven with a healthy breading mix and have chicken nuggets the kids will enjoy. With air fryers, we can bread and fry fish or chicken to our heart’s content—and if we use a lower carb breading mix, we have the best of all worlds: low carb, low fat, low calorie!

 

This easy breading mix brings it all together:

 

1) Ease of a mix rather than store bought-less-than-healthy baking mixes

 

2) Low carb (yet still tasty!) options

 

3) Homemade options with real foods

 

4) Family-friendly options (some of the low carb choices are actually very family-friendly!)

 

So you have choices—use more low carb ingredients to keep the carb count down, knowing that it is more time-intensive than buying panko, cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, etc. (Let’s face it—grinding healthy lavash, pitas, and pork rinds IS time consuming!)

 

Use more readily-available, but less than healthy ingredients, knowing that each piece of whatever you are making is going to have less than a quarter of a cup and move on.

 

Or do something in between.

 

Regardless of what you opt to do, this is a super convenient mix to have on hand. I will be posting other recipes, but it is great for breading fish or chicken; cheese sticks or curds (in the air fryer!); potato wedges and squash quarters; and much more. Yes, an air fryer makes it convenient, but with a little brush or two of olive oil, you can oven fry many things.

 

Additionally, I use this mix for my “filling”—amazing meatballs, meatloaves, salmon patties, tuna balls, and more. Oh, and don’t forget mixing it with a little butter and/or cheese for a rich casserole topping.

 

Did I tell you it was versatile?

 

Below are links to the ingredients I use in this recipe. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

 

YIELDS

  • Joseph’s lavash has four rectangles. These four rectangles yield 1 ½ cups of finely ground crumbs after crisping.
  • One cup of bread crumbs is usually yielded from four slices of low carb bread.
  • For more “panko” style of crumbs, remove the bread’s crusts before pulsing or before drying out.

 

 


 

Easy, Convenient Breading Mix - Low Carb & Family Friendly Options!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups “crumbs”—choose from any or all of the following in any combination you desire, depending on how low carb you need for the mix to be and how “normal” you need for the mix to taste (!)**:
  • Crushed pork rinds
  • Panko crumbs
  • Low carb dried bread crumbs or dried low carb pita or flat bread crumbs (see directions below for making bread crumbs/pita crumbs)
  • Low carb or healthy crackers, tortilla chips, or zwieback (ground finely)
  • 4 to 6 TBSP All Purpose Seasoning Mix (I like to use upper amount since I usually combine this breading mix with parmesan cheese.)+
Instructions
  1. Night before: Lay bread slices all over the kitchen to dry out overnight. OR Toast the slices in a toaster or put in 250 degree oven until toasted or dried out but not so hard they cannot be ground/crumbed. You may also do something similar with low carb pitas or flat breads…you just need to get them “dried” out some.
  2. Pulse toasted/crispy bread slices or pitas/flat bread in food processor a few at a time until you have created fine bread crumbs.
  3. Note: To use, you may use as is (check each recipe) or add grated Parmesan at the time of using—for each cup of breading mix, add one cup of grated Parmesan cheese. (You may use equal part of the mix above and equal part Parmesan during the “mix making” if more convenient; however, you would need to keep the mix in the freezer (or at least the refrigerator) due to the cheese in it. Because my freezer space is always at a premium, I add my Parmesan at the time I am using each cup of mix.
Notes
**When determining which “crumb” options you want to include, consider the fact that many of my recipes that call for this breading mix call for half breading mix and half Parmesan cheese (a nearly no carb food). This will further reduce your per cup carbohydrate count when using it. Or you may use this mix as is.

+If you do not have All Purpose Seasoning Mix on hand, you may use another all purpose type of seasoning (not a salt substitute as that would be too salty tasting). Alternately, you may also add seasonings instead, such as the following: 1 TBSP pepper, 1 TBSP salt, 1 TBSP paprika, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp celery salt, 2 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp thyme.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 95 Fat: 5 Carbohydrates: 4 Sugar: 0 Protein: 9

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Nutrition info for this is based on low carb ingredients without combining it with Parmesan cheese. Serving size is approximately 1/8 cup per piece of chicken or fish. 34 total servings. Carbs will pretty much remain the same if you use half this mixture and half Parmesan.

Peanut Butter-Mayo Apple Salad (With Lower Carb and/or Lower Fat Options!)

 

I don’t remember my mom making a lot of salads when I was growing up. I remember some iceberg lettuce here and there on our plates and potatoes cooling in the fridge for potato salad, but that is about it. I do, however, remember the apple salad. Not because I ate it–it has mayo in it! (Yucky! ha ha) But because it was unusual to have anything other than potato salad and cole slaw in terms of “salads.” I quickly discovered that my high school sweetheart (Ray Baby–now my husband of almost 37 years!) loved salads of any kind, and he really loved my mom’s apple salad. So being the dutiful wife, I learned how to make it.

 

It isn’t hard, but it is unique. Every time I take it anywhere, people are always surprised by the combination of peanut butter and mayo–but in a good way. People really like this salad!

Below are links to the ingredients I use in the recipe above. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

 

Low Carb, Real Foods, and Family-Friendly Tips

 

1. Apples are a moderate carb fruit.

(I know…people say they are high carb, but only if you are keto.) They have 12-18 net carbs per medium apple with skin (depending on which variety). And they are packed with nutrients. If you have read my article about diluting flavors you don’t like, you might have learned about The Power of Dilution for flavor. But the same thing is true in diluting carbs–that is, having a moderate carb item within low carb ingredients. And that is what this dish is all about. While the entire carb count is not low, per se, when dividing it among four servings, a person on a low carb diet can usually handle half of a medium apple carb-wise. Be sure to leave the skin on your apples as that 3-5 grams of fiber per apple can be subtracted from the carb’s gross carb count to reduce its net carb count.

 

 

2. Low carbers can also use low carb apple substitutes if they like them.

For example, some people like to use zucchini or jicama. I’ve heard the jicama takes on the sweetness of other ingredients (not sure how the zucchini would work–though people do use it as an apple pie sub) and is a good trade out for apples. Maybe give it a try? (Let me know if you do…we are not low enough in carbs to make that switch; we enjoy apples every week in our Daily Intermittent Fasting and moderate carb lifestyle!) People also use jicama to replace potatoes, but my personal favorite is turnips. (Read about my potato substitute experiment here and try turnips in this amazing potato casserole recipe!) Here’s the scoop on jicama compared to apples:

  • 1 cup cubed apple with skin–17 carbs-3 grams fiber=14 net carbs
  • 1 cup cubed jicama—11 carbs-6 grams fiber=5 net carbs

 

 

3. Raisins are obviously high in carbs (all carbs–concentrated natural sugar!).

If you are trying to reduce carbs, you can omit them entirely. Another option is lower sugar Craisins, which are lower in carbs than raisins are.

 

 

4. Natural peanut butter and homemade mayo

In terms of real food, this dish is doable with natural peanut butter and homemade mayo or your choice of a healthier store bought mayo.

 

 

5. Not a mayo fan?

If your kids are not mayo fans, but you want to make this a family dish, you could try half mayo and half whipped cream cheese or sour cream. The former would have less bite and would help dilute the mayo taste.

 

 

6. Obviously, you can lower the fat by using a lighter mayo, which most low carbers and real food peeps won’t want to do.

However, I make this lower in carbs, calories, and fat by using peanut flour in place of the peanut butter. (I had to add a splash or two of almond milk to the dressing also, which is better in terms of calories and fat than adding more mayo.) My husband really liked it made my “lighter” way–and he sometimes isn’t such a fan of the peanut flour. (I use this easy-to-find version)

 


Peanut Butter-Mayo Apple Salad (With Lower Carb and/or Lower Fat Options!)
Author: 
Serves: Serves 4-6
 
Ingredients
Notes
+If using peanut flour, you might want to whisk it into some water or almond milk until smooth (as little liquid as necessary), and then whisk into the mayo in order to get the powdered peanut butter smooth.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 221 Fat: 15 Carbohydrates: 18 Sugar: 16 Protein: 3

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Low Carb 7 Layer Salad (More or Less!)

Low Carb 7 Layer Salad

 

I don’t like dressed salads of any kind. I am a super boring salad eater–if I have the right cheese and my homemade croutons (made in the air fryer with low carb bread), I’m happy! So when I find a salad that is dressed and laid out in detail for me (not “toss with your favorite vinaigrette!”), I am glad to make it over and over. I have made this salad for thirty years.

 

You know how many people buy ingredients just to make a special salad? Well, I am just the opposite. I keep a bag of frozen peas in the freezer at all times–and I make this salad when I am running out of ideas of other things to make! It is so versatile (can have five layers, six, eight, nine…whatever), and I almost always have lettuce, cheese, and eggs on hand. So there you have the start of it!

 

Below are links to the ingredients I use in this recipe. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

 

Here are some tips for low carb cooks:

  • To make this truly low carb, you will want to omit the peas or use them very sparingly. (Is it still the “original” 7 layer salad without the peas?
  • I use Pyure granulated sweetener in place of sugar in almost everything; however, you could use Pyure drops or stevia drops.
  • It is possible to use croutons in salad and still keep the salad low carb. You can use my Sprouted Low Carb Dough to make mini loaves and make croutons in the air fryer, skillet, or oven. OR you could use store bought low carb bread. Do not put croutons on this salad until serving time! They get mushy otherwise.


Low Carb 7 Layer Salad

 

 

Low Carb 7 Layer Salad (More or Less!)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • Salad
  • ½ head lettuce - cut into small pieces
  • 4 eggs - hard boiled and sliced
  • 1 pound of bacon, cooked, drained, and coarsely cut with scissors (Baking Bacon!)
  • 4 small Tomatoes - chopped
  • 6 Green Onions - thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup frozen peas - thawed
  • Dressing
  • ½ cup Miracle Whip (or mayo if you'd rather use a healthier dressing)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon granuated Pyure (Or use 2 tablespoons of a cup-for-cup sugar sub)
  • Optional: ½ tsp All Purpose Seasoning Blend
Instructions
  1. Clean and prepare all salad ingredients as directed in list.
  2. Prepare dressing and set aside.
  3. Layer salad ingredients in the order they are given in ingredients list.
  4. Top with salad dressing smoothed over.
  5. Add more shredded cheese and peas to top if desired.
  6. Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours prior to serving.
  7. Top with croutons at serving time, if desired.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 326 Fat: 24 Carbohydrates: 4 Sugar: 2 Protein: 21

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Creamy Greens

 

My hubby is doing so great three weeks into Intermittent Fasting*! I am excited to be doing this lifestyle with him, getting healthy together and losing weight. (We have been on our Plexus journey together for nearly two years, but now he is also losing weight with Plexus and IF!) We have big ballroom dance goals for the coming new year–and our weight loss efforts will go a long way in helping his knees and heels feel strong enough to dance more. (And I have secret plans for some amazing dips and twelve-consecutive-twirls!)

 

One thing that makes weight loss much easier for him than for me is that he absolutely loves vegetables! Whether they are Parmesan-Roasted Green Beans, Skillet Green Beans, Roasted Vegetables, or stir fries, he eats them in bulk (good thing they are so low calorie and low carb!). Because he loves veggies so much, I am always looking for new ways to prepare them. He usually tells me to just roast or stir fry them–and to not spend the extra time on him. But I know how he loves creamed peas, so when I saw various creamed spinach recipes floating around, I knew I wanted to try some sort of creamy greens for him.

 

 

And this Creamy Greens dish was a complete hit! He even liked it re-heated a couple days later. It is a little on the fatty side–but there are ways to make it less fattening; however, if you are keto or THM, it is a perfect, real-food, high-fat/low carb recipe. There are variations given below.

 

 

 

The greens cook quickly right in the same skillet or high-sided pan that cooked the bacon and onion.

 

 

 

Family-Friendly

If you have read my blog for long, you know that I believe in the power of dilution to make formerly-unpalatable foods more enjoyable to those of us with “ten year old” taste buds. 🙂 If you want your veggie-hating kids to enjoy a dish like this, here are some ways to “dilute” this for them:

 

1) Use more meat or bacon
2) Use more cream cheese or Parmesan
3) Use all kale rather than spinach (less strong flavor)

 

 

Lower Fat

This dish uses creamed cheese for the creaminess as opposed to a flour-milk/cream roux, which adds carbs (but saves fat). So….there are actually several options for lowering the fat of this dish:

1) Omit the cream cheese and use a milk (almond milk is super low in fat)/flour roux like traditional cream dishes do (you will be sacrificing flavor here)

2) Use a lower fat meat, such as cubed turkey ham or turkey link sausage or ground turkey

3) If you use the lower fat meat, consider stir frying the onion (and eventually the greens) in an enhanced broth rather than butter or bacon fat (I do this all the time in stir frying vegetables–small amount of olive oil with strong broth that has bay leaf, garlic, red wine, Worcestershire, minced onion, etc., steeped in it.)

4) Use a stronger cheese but smaller amount.

 

 

And…the cream cheese and Parmesan folds quickly into the greens. This dish comes together so fast—all in one pan!

 

 

 

Efficiency Expert

You know how I love efficiency! After thirty-two years of homeschooling and fifteen years of business building with a big family, I need to take short cuts quite often. I know you do too! Thus, I included a couple of short cut steps in the recipe:

1) Many recipes for creamed spinach had separate pans and steps for boiling the spinach. It is not necessary! The greens cook quickly and perfectly right in the one-and-only-pan!

2) The creamed cheese and Parmesan melt into the greens smoothly. I always found roux-making time consuming, so I love using creamed cheese rather than a roux in creamy, low carb dishes.

3) You can cut the time in half in this recipe if you don’t snip and cook bacon. Seriously, the other steps are that fast! (The greens cook in a few minutes!) You can use precooked bacon (or real bacon bits), store bought ham cubes, etc., and then cook the onions in butter (or broth as given above).

4) Buy pre-cut and cleaned greens. I used a huge container of mixed spinach, kale, and carrot flecks from a wholesale club. Easy peasy.

5) Use whipped cream cheese that melts even faster and pre-shredded/pre-grated cheese.

 

 

 

Hubby loved this delicious, creamy veggie dish!

 

 

 

Hope these tips help you! I love teaching when sharing recipes! I hope you enjoy “learning” from them too!

 

 

Below are links to the ingredients I use in the recipe above. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!


Creamy Greens
Author: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Net Carbs: 6 grams
Ingredients
  • 6 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces (or 1 to 2 TBSP butter)
  • ½ medium onion, chopped (or 1 tsp onion powder)
  • 2½ lbs (3 to 4 bunches) of spinach and kale (or just spinach)
  • dash of red wine vinegar
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • (Optional: ½ cup milk, cream, or half and half--I didn't use this, but it you want yours soup-ier or want to extend the dish to serve another or you want to reduce the calories/fat per serving, you can use almond milk and do that)
Instructions
  1. ) Cook bacon pieces and diced onion in large sided skillet or pan. (If not using bacon, cook onion in butter.)
  2. ) Add greens and continue to cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are wilty.
  3. ) Add all ingredients except for cheeses.
  4. ) Stir thoroughly and turn pan down to medium low.
  5. ) Add cream cheese cut into cubes and stir into pan, continuing to cook on medium low until melted (4 to 6 minutes).
  6. ) Sprinkle cheese over and fold in and serve.
Nutrition Information
Fat: 18 Carbohydrates: 6 Sugar: 4 Protein: 12

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Homestyle Skillet Green Beans (aka Best Fresh Green Beans EVER!)

 

I am not a fan of many vegetables….but fresh green beans are another story altogether. I adore them–and I have been known to make them every single week in my Parmesan Roasted Green Beans, Crock Pot Green Beans and “Potatoes,” or this homestyle recipe. I don’t like snapping green beans by myself. Ever since I have been married, snapping beans has been a family affair. My husband and I would put in a movie and snap buckets of green beans from our garden when we were first married. And later I would read aloud to my kids for hours as they snapped beans, peeled potatoes, cleaned fruits, etc. As a matter of fact, just recently, my twenty-year old son came in when I was cleaning veggies and said, “Do you remember when we would all gather around the table with fruits and vegetables and clean and cut all morning long while you read The Chronicles of Narnia series aloud to us? And how we never wanted to stop even when we were done with the produce? I miss those days!” Be still my heart….

Coat beans with bacon grease thoroughly and “fry” them.

 

 

My kids have become expert green bean snappers. I have to admit, however, that I love buying the pre-snapped, pre-cleaned beans at the wholesale club any chance I get now that I don’t have my “read aloud and snap” crew here anymore! 🙂

 

 

Fry beans until they “blister” and pan is somewhat dry.

 

 

These are not “quick” green beans. While the actual prep time is not long, they do need to simmer for quite a while under your watchful eye (and your frequent stirring). I tried to simplify these (you know I’m an efficiency-expert-wanna-be!)–I tried to make them in the microwave, the Instant Pot, AND the air fryer. (I love them so much that I really wanted a faster method for the same results.) It didn’t happen. They really do need fried then simmered in a huge skillet or dutch oven. As mentioned below in the two tips for using frozen beans, the beans must be thoroughly dried in order to absorb the bacon grease. And you really want them to absorb the bacon grease! If your beans are not pre-washed, be sure to wash them in advance, dry them with paper towels or a clean dish towel in a colander. I let mine sit in the colander until fully dry, sometimes for the day. That bacon grease is THAT important to me! 🙂

 

 

Combine broth, red wine, minced onion, seasonings, bay leaves, and sweetener.

 

 

 

Speaking of bacon vs bacon grease vs olive oil. If you do not want bacon pieces in your beans (or you don’t have bacon on hand), you can just use bacon grease from your bacon grease keeper (you do have one, don’t you???). I speed up this recipe some by using bacon I have baked and put in the freezer and bacon grease from my bacon grease crock. (See Baking Bacon here!) And, of course, you could use turkey bacon and olive oil, if desired.

 

 

 

Simmer beans in the broth mixture.

 

 

 

I personally add sweetener to my Homestyle Skillet Green Beans. Some prefer their green beans saltier with no sweet taste. If you’re not used to the sweet taste in your beans, I don’t recommend using it the first time you make these.

 

 

This recipe calls for fresh green beans, which really is important. However, these beans have so much flavor that I would hate for you to miss out if fresh beans are too pricey or out of season, so I am going to give you some tips on using frozen beans (um, not canned, please!):

 

Yum!

 

1) The first real key to these flavorful beans is in the stir frying in the bacon grease. The beans must be dry in order for the yummy grease/oil to fully coat and saturate the beans. This is why frozen ones do not work as well. If you must use frozen ones, try not to use old ones that have ice on them. I recommend that you let the beans defrost in a colander and dry as much as possible before using them in this recipe.

 

 

2) The cook time and amount of broth may also need adjusted if using frozen beans. Frozen veggies are par-cooked, so they will not need as much time in the broth to cook. I would start out with half the broth called for and half the time called for. Test, add more broth, cook more, etc. as needed.

 

 

Okay, that’s a lot of talk for a simple green bean recipe, but these are worth the extra attention to get them right. They are definitely replacing our “frozen green beans in broth with bacon bits and minced onion” for Christmas dinner!

 

Oh, and you might want to make three pounds rather than two if you snack on them straight out of the pan as they’re cooking. I have heard there are people who do that kind of thing…. 🙂

 

They are delicious!!

 

 

 

Below are links to the ingredients I use in the recipe above. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

 

 

Homestyle Skillet Green Beans (aka Best Fresh Green Beans EVER!)
Author: 
Serves: 12
 
Net Carbs: 4 grams
Ingredients
  • 4-6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces OR 2 TBSP bacon grease (if you do not want bacon in your beans---you still NEED bacon grease) OR 2 TBSP olive oil
  • ½-3/4 cup diced onion or the equivalent dried minced onion (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tsp minced garlic (optional)
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans with ends trimmed (snapping in half is optional)
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth (depending on how "done" you like your beans--see instructions)
  • 3 TBSP red wine or cooking wine
  • 1 tsp favorite seasoning mix (try my All Purpose Seasoning Mix)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • A couple to a few drops of Pyure liquid sweetener (or a drop of unflavored liquid stevia....or your favorite sweetener)--optional
Instructions
  1. Clean beans and allow to dry thoroughly.
  2. Cook bacon in huge skillet or high-sided pan until done but not overly crisp. If not using bacon, add the bacon grease to the pan and heat until melted and hot.
  3. If using fresh onion, add it and the minced garlic to the skillet when bacon is half cooked and continue to stir onions and bacon until onions are translucent and bacon is done. (Minced onion will be added with broth if using it.)
  4. Add green beans to the pan and continue to cook on medium high heat, stirring frequently to coat the beans with the bacon grease. Cook beans until they are bright green and start to "blister"--or until skillet gets a little too dry to continue, approximately 4 to 7 minutes. (You want to cook for as long as you can in the bacon grease.)
  5. Meanwhile combine the chicken broth, minced onion (if using it), red wine, seasonings, bay leaves, and sweetener (if desired). Pour this broth mixture (2 cups if you like crispy beans; 3 cups if you like "wilted" beans) into the pan, stir to combine well.
  6. Simmer on low with a lid half on/half off for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring frequently. (Cook time will be based on how "done" you like your green beans.) I cook mine until most of the liquid is absorbed. If you have a lot of liquid at the end, you may desire to drain them.
  7. Adjust seasoning/sweetener as needed. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 63 Fat: 2 Carbohydrates: 4 Sugar: 2 Protein: 4

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6 Low Carb Potato Substitute Experiments (With Pinnable Chart!)

 

One of my more intense-yet-least-productive recipe testing days has to be the day I compared the taste and texture of radishes, parsnips, and turnips. It took forever. Some things really didn’t taste that great. I couldn’t get my kids to eat most of the tested food. And I didn’t have a bar, cookie, cupcake, or candy to show for my efforts! However, I did gather some great data and narrow down my “potato substitute” options pretty well. I ended up with three potato substitutes, two of which are very low carb. And I discovered which ones mash the best—and which one really doesn’t taste like mashed potatoes!

read more…

Stir Fried Veggies & Fruit Salad (Efficiency in the Kitchen!)

 

I was combing through old blog posts from my old parenting blog and found this simple stir fry recipe post…and even though we no longer have four kids living at home with the hectic-ness that this post demonstrates, I thought I would run it here for those who…

(1) Find themselves throwing away little bits of this and that. Maybe this post will inspire you to use those healthy tail ends up!

 

(2) Want to learn to throw together quick stir fried veggies. Before I started stir frying veggies like this at least once a week, I had in my head that a “stir fry” was something in a wok—or at the very least with an elaborate Asian sauce and vegetables we didn’t like! Now, stir frying is such a huge part of my kitchen life, that I would love to pass its ease on to others.

 

(3) Want to be assured that a crazy busy house with teens is semi-normal—and, unfortunately, will pass much too soon!

 

 

Oh, and if you don’t want the “Asian” flair with the oyster sauce or soy sauce, you can use my smokey marinade mix instead!

 

 

 

Below are links to the ingredients I use in this recipe. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!


One of our many traditions/housekeeping rituals is that of cleaning out the refrigerator on grocery shopping day (which now with six “adults,” ages fourteen to over fifty living here is twice a week!). Everybody starts carrying in groceries, and as they are carried in, I sort them and bark out orders: “The SMALL deep freeze; not the big one. I need to be able to find this on Wednesday!” etc. etc. Also, while they carry (and I sort), I clean out the inside refrigerator and have people bring things in from the garage refrigerator. (Yeah, I am a mean multi-tasker after thirty years of homemaking/parenting/homeschooling/working!)

 

Anyway, all of this is going in WITH teenage boys talking about their day, our college age daughter going over her schedule with Mom or Dad (“Is it okay if I leave in ten minutes to run, so I can get five miles in before it gets dark?”), the dog pulling things out of the trash can as I put things in, and, of course, a radio drama playing in the kitchen cd player. (Yes, I can work with a lot of noise too, another survival skill developed through the years!)

 

Usually, one of these shopping days falls on “leftover night,” so I start organizing food for that night’s meal, “re-loading” (as my kids call it) some of the leftovers so that they look new, and cutting up old fruits and veggies before we put away the new ones. Someone will be called upon to make a quick fruit salad out of leftover fruits–and somebody will often start chopping leftover veggies to create a quick side dish to go with the main entree leftovers that we usually have.

 

A quick fruit salad…

 

We have gotten pretty good at throwing together fresh vegetable stir fries fairly quickly. We have variations on this side dish another night–we almost always have a chicken-veggie stir fry or beef veggie stir fry as one of our main entress each week. That night is is more involved and time consuming (cutting up meats, marinating meats, all the chopping and dicing and stir frying required for two huge pans of main dish meat/veggie stir fries). And, unfortunately, I don’t have much help on that night!

 

However, for “shopping day stir fried veggies” as a side dish, it is literally anything available chopped by whomever is available. I’ll give you some steps on tonight’s version, though it changes according to what’s left in the fridge on shopping day, who is home to help prepare veggies, and how many are there to eat it. (Leftover stir fry is not one of my family’s favorites!)

 

Stir Fried Veggies Side Dish and Fruit Salad
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Steam carrots in micro. (I put carrots with a tablespoon or two of broth in glass measure and cover with plastic wrap. Then I steam for three to six minutes, depending on how many carrots I have and how done I want them before I add them to the stir fry pan.)
  2. Heat small amount of broth in skillet while chopping onions, garlic, and peppers.
  3. Stir fry aromatics (the three in #2) while you pull out the carrots.
  4. Clean and chop brocolli and start steaming it in the micro in the same way as the carrots.
  5. Slice zuchinni in thin rounds.
  6. Add carrots, zuchinni, pea pods, garlic, Mrs. Dash, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and more broth, as needed and turn fire on medium high. Stir frequently as they cook.
  7. When stir fry has just a minute or two left of cooking time, fold in the brocolli. (My guys do not like mushy brocolli, so I fold it in at the end.)
  8. Continue to add more broth as needed while cooking.
Notes
*Note: I seldom use oil to make a stir fry. If I do, it is just a little olive oil or coconut oil. I usually use broth to "fry" my stir fries

+I am a big pre-cooker. And I precook in the microwave, despite what some say about the microwave. It steams brocolli perfectly, and it is fast. So...

 

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P.S. What are your favorite veggies to stir fry? What is your favorite seasoning or sauce combo for stir frying?

Fall Roasting Vegetables

As we head into fall, I am saddened that I won’t be able to just walk out the back door and get Ray Baby’s veggies everyday! I am still heading out there often and getting a tomato here and a green pepper there–I haven’t given up completely. However, very soon that obscure tomato or tiny pepper will not even be there to pick. Sadness…

On the other hand, it is time to turn my attention to buying (and even harvesting in my “fall garden”) and preparing fall vegetables.

Fall Roasting Vegetables

Roasting precooked meats (shrimp and kielbasa) and veggies—toss with olive oil and seasonings. Don’t even think about them for an hour or so! The modern-day, healthier “casserole”!

Here is a list of what I will be looking for to use in cooking low carb this fall:

 

1. Beets—very low carb, deep purple means very nutritious

 

2. Broccoli–very low carb and my sons like this veggie steamed with cheese, so that is a win-win

 

3. Cauliflower–low carb–plus I will use it for cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower rice–and I will stir fry it along with broccoli and zucchini for oriental dishes as well as just for sides

 

4. Eggplant–I have never cooked with eggplant, but it is relatively low carb, deep purple for all of that nutrition–and I have some recipes pinned to try it out!

 

5. Garlic–I didn’t even know this was a fall vegetable, and I definitely use it year round. I know everybody loves fresh everything, but I couldn’t live without my jar of minced garlic in oil that I can dip into and get those aromatics going (along with onions and peppers) as the beginning of tons and tons of low carb veggies and stir fries.

 

6. Green beans–I have my fifteen year old watching his favorite show on Netflix this afternoon and snapping tons of green beans! I can use them so many way–I love putting them in the crock pot with potatoes and ham or sausage for my kids–then pulling out a heaping serving of just the green beans for Ray Baby!

 

7. Kale–I have some winter kale seeds that I am planting this weekend! Anxious to see if they really grow in the cold weather that the package says they will grow in. Ray enjoyed the kale chips I made him for a snack a few weeks ago–but kale is pricey, so if I can get this winter kale to grow, I will be excited!

 

8. Zucchini—I have been harvesting and cooking zucchini all summer! I froze it three weeks: a. shredded for breads, muffins, etc. (anxious to try out my new almond flour and swerve sweetener!); b. cubed with yellow squash for casseroles and stir fries; c. sliced (also bagged with sliced yellow squash part of the time and sometimes by itself) also for stir fries, but Ray Baby likes the sliced zucchini just to steam in a little broth and season it (though he’s not the best seasoner! lol).

 

 

Fall Roasting Veggies

Simple Crock Pot Entrée!
Turnips, green beans, a little ham broth, all purpose seasoning blend (below), bay leaves, onions, and garlic on high until turnips are done (green beans got overcooked, so I would add them when turnips are halfway done next time). Add turkey kielbasa rounds the last hour or two.

I am also looking forward to using three “fall” herbs:

1. Basil
2. Rosemary
3. Thyme

Though my sons would have me using four of them–and they would have to sing it: “Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme”–they love to follow me through the kitchen when I am cooking, carrying those four spices in their hands and waving them in my face while singing “Scarborough Fair”! Kids–never a dull moment!

 

 

Fall Roasting Vegetables

Snacking on Roasted Parmesan Green Beans while I work. Yum!

 

 

Below are links to products I use and love. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!


 

My Four Favorite Ways to Prepare Veggies:

 

In addition to those “fall vegetables” and those “fall seasonings,” I am also looking forward to experimenting more with my four favorite ways of preparing vegetables lately.

 

1. Slow cooker—always love putting meat, potatoes, carrots, and green beans in the crock pot all day! Also love just putting in big loads of green beans with ham or bacon. I also like to “bake potatoes” in my crock pot with no foil, no watching, and no oven!

 

2. Roasting in oven—I have been all about roasting vegetables. My favorite so far this fall was a roasted jelly roll pan full of colorful vegetables. But I do individual veggies like this—tossed with olive oil and sprinkled with a little grated parmesan. Or I make a mixture of olive oil, enriched broth, soy sauce, ginger, etc., and toss them in this before roasting (not too wet). I’ve been eating roasted Parmesan Green Beans like French fries for weeks now!

 

3. Instant Pot—I am still experimenting with these last two ways of cooking vegetables. So far the Instant Pot has yielded softer green beans, turnips, and carrots (or potatoes)—more like a crock pot meal, which is nice for winter types of foods. I have also been doing a lot of “precooking” of veggies in the Instant Pot as it cooks them so fast—then transferring to my electric skillet to get that stir fried taste.

 

4. Air Fryer—The Air Fryer makes “fried” turnips, radishes, and potatoes just as if I had put them down in the ol’ Fry Daddy from days gone by—with no oil whatsoever! I need a bigger one to get my Parmesan Green Beans crisped the way I like them. But I have been using this little gadget most every day for something—grilled cheese, croutons, chicken tenders, French fries, green beans…..watch the blog for updates on this newest (and amazing!) countertop appliance!

 

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P.S. What are your favorite fall vegetables? How are you cooking them nowadays?

How to Roast Tomatoes

I recently froze spaghetti sauce with tomatoes from our garden. The recipe I used was fairly simple. (I will share that another time!) However, in an effort to get more flavor out of our tomatoes–and into some of Ray Baby’s low carb fare–I began the sauce with roasted tomatoes rather than just chopped tomatoes.

Our kitchen literally smelled like Olive Garden. And the final product of Chunky Marinara smelled amazing. I will be so thrilled to have those twelve quarts of it in the freezer this winter to use with Ray Baby’s winter veggies!

 

Below are links to the ingredients I use in this recipe. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

Here is how I went about roasting those fifty tomatoes:

 

Roasted Tomatoes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Clean and stem tomatoes.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half and lay in foil pans in one layer (doesn’t matter which side is up).
  3. Sprinkle each pan of tomatoes (approximately ten tomatoes) with 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic.
  4. Salt and pepper tomatoes generously.
  5. Sprinkle each pan of tomatoes with ½ tsp of oregano.
  6. Sprinkle each pan of tomatoes with 1 TBSP olive oil.
  7. Sprinkle each pan of tomatoes with 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  8. Roast in 400 degree oven for 30 mins convection and 40 mins regular---move pans halfway through.

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Baking Bacon

Baking Bacon

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After thirty years of homemaking (a few years ago), I finally hit upon the best, easiest, cleanest, least-time-consuming (in actual work time) way to make bacon: bake it!

 

According to experts (!), baking bacon is best way to prepare it because the bacon turns out golden brown and crispy; you don’t have as much mess (including the splatter mess from frying or microwaving); the oven cooks it slowly and at a lower temp (to start with), which keeps it from scorching; and, as I mentioned previously, it is easy! (Plus you have amazing, unburned bacon grease to cook with afterward! See Homemade Hannah note below!)

 

Baking Bacon

Because that is not quite fully cooked it can be frozen and then reheated a few slices at a time in the microwave oven. It makes it as good as new!

 

Before you start, go turn off your oven if you have already turned it on—or just don’t turn it on at all—to start with. You will start cooking your bacon in a cold oven.

 

When I prepare bacon in the oven, I do it in increments of three packages (three, six, or nine), depending on what other meats I bought that week (i.e. budget) and upon whether I am baking any up for the freezer at that time or not. (See freezing info below!) I have a convection oven with three racks—so I do many things in sets of three (love it!).

 

Below are links to products I use and love. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

 

 

Here are the steps for baking bacon (for one, two, or three jelly roll pans!):

1.    Line a jelly roll pan (huge cookie sheets with deep sides) with foil or parchment. I use parchment for nearly everything, but for this I prefer foil because I can tear it off much bigger than my pan and form it down into the pan with some edges of foil left over to lift up when I am finished. (It makes the pan less messy.)

 

2.    Arrange the slices of bacon on the foil and place the baking sheet on the center rack of a cold oven (or on all three racks in my case; or two middle racks if you are doing two pans at one time). Hopefully your pan is large enough that you do not have to squeeze the bacon together too closely; likewise, do not spread it out too much. Just lay the pieces side by side carefully without squishing or stretching.

 

bacon grease

The golden bacon grease after baking three pounds of bacon.

 

3.    Close the oven door. Turn the oven on to 400°F. Set your timer for 30 to 40 minutes in an convection oven, moving pans every ten to fifteen minutes. Regular oven–35 to 50 minutes, moving pans every ten to fifteen minutes.  These times are for three to four pounds of thick bacon at a time.

 

4.    Come back 30 to 40 minutes later. If your bacon is done, remove it. If it is not and you have more than one pan, change places with the pans and set your timer for three more minutes. Check in two or three minute intervals.

 

5.    Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the bacon from the pan and place on paper towels to drain.

 

Stoneware Grease Keeper

Love my stoneware bacon grease keeper! I just keep mine in the pantry since it has a mesh insert that strains out the bacon particles. So, so I am only storing pure grease. Some people still keep their strained bacon grease in the refrigerator. Either way is fine.

 

6.    Carefully tilt your baking pans to pour the grease into a glass or stoneware container. (Be extra careful!) . (See Homemade Hannah note below about keeping the bacon grease in a glass jar, stoneware container, or bacon grease keeper like this one.)

 

metal strainer

The stoneware bacon grease keeper that I have has a metal insert that fits into the top and allows you to strain your bacon grease right into the stoneware container. Then I just empty particles from the can strainer part, rinse the strainer, and replace it so that it is stored right in my stoneware crock. Then the stoneware lid fits over all of it.

 

7.    Once foil is cool enough, lift it up from the corners and discard it. Your pan shouldn’t be very messy! And your bacon should be perfect! 🙂

 

8.    To freeze bacon, place a dozen or more pieces on a double sheet thickness and wideness of paper towel. Fold it over and slide down into one quart zipper bag. To use; just defrost in fridge or micro (not in bag in micro). Yum!

 

Baking BaconIn my convection oven with three racks, three pounds of bacon can be fully cooked drained and ready to eat in under thirty minutes.

 

Note: You can undercook your bacon by a couple of minutes and freeze in the manner suggested above. Then take it out and finish cooking a few slices at a time in the microwave. We like to undercook ours just a bit for reheating purposes. When we reheat a few pieces in the micro, it is like freshly-fried bacon. Perfect!

 

 

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Click here or on the picture below to buy your own grease keeper!

Image via Amazon

 

 

Recipe Keys

 

 

Low Carb (LC): Most bacon is carb-free and delicious! Need I say more? Okay, I will. Bacon is great on a low carb eating plan besides the normal Not-So-Oopsie Roll sandwich or bacon and eggs. Bacon simply belongs in green beans. There are some terrific recipes out there for chicken-bacon chowder soup that are fairly low carb. We keep bacon in the fridge all the time for salad toppings. AND I love to coat homemade cheeseballs with crumbled bacon.

 

 Family-Friendly Low Carb (FFLC): There are so many ways to incorporate bacon in a family-friendly low carb household! You can use low carb bread, pitas, or tortilla shells to wrap it in. Of course, the old stand-by, BLT can be made FFLC with one of those low carb “bread” options. Turkey-bacon club sandwiches are great for FFLC. Bacon and eggs. Bacon-egg-and-cheese biscuit on a low carb bread, biscuit, or wrap.  (Not-So-Oopsie Roll recipe COMING SOON…the BEST low carb breakfast sandwich!)

 

Store-Bought-Stella (SBS): It doesn’t get much easier or faster than baking bacon! All of the mess and “so much work for so little end product” are gone with this approach. SBS’s should love baking bacon! To make the bacon go further and use some store-bought ingredients to make meal prep easier, consider the turkey-bacon club sandwich—store bought cold cuts, lettuce, bacon….you get the idea!

 

Homemade Hannah (HH): This should be right up the alley for HH who likes to cook from scratch—because it is time saving and homemade! HH’s—do not overlook the lovely, golden grease that you get when baking your bacon. Save it! Use it for everything—cooking eggs, stir frying veggies, drizzled over broccoli and other veggies before roasting. You get the idea. It is an amazing fat to cook with!

 

Freezer Cooking (FC): I have been freezing bacon for twenty-five years—even before I started baking bacon (though I admit that I dreaded “bacon cooking day” during those years!). I like to wrap the drained, cooled bacon loosely in thick paper toweling. It absorbs more of the grease before it freezes. I don’t recommend thawing in the bag in the microwave or cooking in the bag in the microwave. Tip: I try to be sure that all of my freezer cooking bags and pans have two important things written on them (besides any directions that the user might need). These include the DATE and the words RAW or FULLY COOKED or PARTIALLY COOKED. Not everybody will need to do this, but because our children alternated cooking nights for many years, I just felt more comfortable letting them all know the state that the meal was in (especially since we would freeze meatballs fully cooked sometimes and at other times raw, as well as many other meats). I do the same with my bacon bags.

 

Trim Healthy Mama-Friendly (THM) (www.trimhealthymama.com): This can definitely work in an S setting very well. You can use any of the ideas above in the low carb and the family-friendly low carb sections for THM S bacon ideas!

 

Sugar Free (SF): Be sure the bacon you use is not molasses or maple syrup infused!

 

Low Carb Mixes (LCM): While bacon is not specifically one of my “mixes,” I do consider it a staple just like one of my mixes and have it in a rotation of freezer items. (When you start filling your freezer with pre-made foods, you ALWAYS have meals to choose from. It’s a great feeling that you will love!)

 

 

Shredded Chicken–Cooking With Chicken Breasts and Thighs

 

I like to categorize my recipes just like I have done with all of my mega-cooking/freezer cooking recipes for the past twenty-five years…according to type of meat/main ingredients. For freezer cooking, this is ideal because I can cook up twenty, thirty, or forty pounds of that type of meat and put a lot of entrees together quickly.

So….I thought I would share on the blog some ideas and recipes that I have put together in the past.  So….here is the general information for Shredded Chicken. Watch for recipes soon!

 

(1) You can cook boneless, skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts in a variety of ways. My personal favorite is putting breasts and thighs in the crock pot overnight (an hour on high then the rest of the night on low) then when I get up in the morning, I take two forks and stir/shred all the chicken. I often put some of the chicken back in the crock pot and make one of the entrees below. (You can also put the chicken in before work/school then do the shredding and use part of the chicken that evening.) The rest of the chicken I put in zip lock quart bags and label. I like to put a half a cup to one cup of broth in the zip-lock bags to keep the chicken moist. (If you don’t need the broth when you make your meal with the meat later, you can drain it and pitch it.) Oh, I put a half a cup to one cup of broth in with the raw chicken when I cook it in the crock pot.

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

Use shredded chicken for chicken noodle soup!

 

(2) You can boil your chicken to use in shredded recipes, but I never do this as I’m always afraid it will boil the taste out of them. Others do though. You can also prepare your chicken three other ways: “poach” it in the oven with lots of broth covering it–be sure you check it with a meat thermometer if you do this as you don’t want to overcook it; microwave it–kind of poaching it like in the oven–again, don’t overcook and in this case, be sure the chicken is completely covered with broth and plastic wrap so it doesn’t have tough edges.

 

 

Important Note: If you do not shred your chicken while it is warm (after it gets cold or after it is refrigerated), it is ten or twenty times or harder to shred– and will take a lot longer (and will probably need cubed, not shredded). It is a five min job if you do it while chicken is warm.

 

 

(3) Shredded chicken is good in tons of ways–I will list some below. It used to be a staple for me when the olders were little–in chicken tetrazzini, chicken lasagna, hot chicken sandwiches, chicken rice casserole, soups, etc. It is an inexpensive way to make a meal because it is not very expensive to start with AND it is often used as part of a dish rather than the main entrée.

 

 

(4) A lot of recipes call for chicken or mushroom soup–it is better if you can make your own, but I would start out just buying it and using it as is. It helps make a lot of meals really fast. A lot also call for chicken broth. I use chicken base to make my broth, but you can buy cans of broth and then make it richer by adding some chicken base or granulated chicken bouillon.

 

Watch the blog for upcoming shredded chicken recipes, including chicken noodle soup, chicken strata, arroz con pollo, hot chicken sandwich filling, BBQ shredded chicken, chicken tacos, and more!

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Recipes:

Chicken Salad

Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce [Sugar-Free]

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Low Carb Cole Slaw

A KFC Cole Slaw Knock Off

Low Carb Cole Slaw

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Low Carb Cole Slaw—just in time for grilling season. We had this last night with grilled pork chops and strawberries and dip. My hubby loved it!

 

Cabbage is one of those foods that I never dreamed I would be buying almost weekly! I use it chopped and sprinkled in layers that would potentially have had pasta. I use it for Egg Roll Skillet (recipe coming soon), also known as egg roll in a bowl in many circles, and I use it without the meat at all in stir fried cabbage (sort of Egg Roll Skillet with no sausage). Gone are the days of smelly boiled cabbage that nobody would eat. Cabbage is now cool!

 

 

And so today, I bring you Low Carb Cole Slaw. This recipe actually began as a sugar-laden, high-carb KFC Cole Slaw knock off. I can’t attest to its tasting like KFC cole slaw now because we haven’t had much KFC, but I do know that my guys liked it a lot—and with the All Purpose Seasoning Mix, it is super easy!

 

There are options to not make it as low carb (but why not, right?). Oh, this is not a creamy slaw (though I guess it could be with more mayo or liquid). It is more of a crispy, barely-coated slaw, which my family likes better. (It is also good to put on sausage tacos, also made low carb—sort of like the Won Ton Tacos that they make at Applebees, which my guys crave!)

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Low Carb Cole Slaw
Author: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup creamy, milk-like liquid (see Note below)
  • 1 ½ TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup bulk sugar-free sweetener (Swerve, erythritol, xylitol, a blend, or Splenda)
  • ½ to ¾ tsp All Purpose Seasoning Mix (may just use salt & pepper here, but this is so much more flavorful!)
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • 16 ounce bag shredded cole slaw mix
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients together. Refrigerate.
Notes
Note: The original recipe called for buttermilk. I would say that you can use any “milk” that your family is used to. I used half and half. (See Recipe Keys below for more info.)
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 142 Fat: 14 Carbohydrates: 5 Sugar: 2

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Recipe Keys

 

Low Carb (LC): This is a very low carb recipe if made with the no-carb bulk sweeteners suggested and by using your normal low carb “milk” subs. I used half and half. Very low carb folks might want to use cream. Others might want to use almond milk or other non-dairy milk substitute in order to keep the carbs low.

 

Family-Friendly Low Carb (FFLC): With half and half, regular mayo, and sugar-free bulk sweetener (I used Splenda), my family loved this. If you don’t mind adding a few carbs, you could use whole milk and low fat mayo. This version would probably not be low enough for an under-forty grams low carb diet, depending on how much you eat, but would definitely work for FFLC.

 

Store-Bought-Stella (SBS): If you want to save money, you could use Splenda rather than one of the other more expensive bulk sweeteners suggested. I’m all about simplicity where possible (while still cooking and baking low carb and homemade), so I used the bagged slaw mix—a great SBS tip in general for veggies if your budget allows them.

 

Homemade Hannah (HH): Of course, this could be made more homemade if you do your own mayo and buy cabbage and carrots whole and shred them.

 

Freezer Cooking (FC): Don’t freeze this—or fresh salads in general (except for some fruit salads).

 

Trim Healthy Mama-Friendly (THM) (www.trimhealthymama.com): This can definitely work in an S setting very well with grilled meats and more! I would think you would be a little challenged to get it low enough in fat to use in an E setting—maybe use fat free mayo (is that allowed?) and almond milk or skim milk (?). Just some thoughts.

 

Sugar Free (SF): Sugar-free and healthy sweetener options! See ideas for sugar-free sweeteners here!

 

Gluten Free (GF): No reason to add gluten to this. Use my All Purpose Seasoning Mix, and you’ll be covered!

 

Low Carb Mixes (LCM): This recipe uses my All Purpose Seasoning Mix, a combination of amazing spices that is a great seasoning for meats, veggies, fish, salads, and more!

Favorite Things: Delicious, Creamy Cheese Ball

”Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
CHEESEBALL ON CRACKERS—they want me to bring,
These are a few of my favorite things”

 

Delicious Creamy Cheeseball

 

Note: this post contains affiliate links

Yep……everybody’s favorite cheeseball. Always asked to bring it. Simple to make. Loved by everybody.

Win. Win. Win.

Can cheese balls really fit in with a healthy eating plan? How about a low carb one? Well, the answer is yes and no.

How particular are you about your “healthy” plan? Is there wiggle room? Are there absolutely no cans or jars in your kitchen? Do the words “cheese product” scare you? 🙂

A healthy, fully natural cheeseball that would be good for real food or low carb peeps is the old “cream cheese, shredded cheese, worcestershire sauce, green onions, and nuts” combo (or something similar).

This isn’t that.

But it’s not horrible—I mean, it’s not sugar, white flour, terrible fats, etc.

So make this. And serve it with healthy crackers and/or veggies. Serve it with low carb tortillas or lavash that you crisp in the microwave on high for thirty to ninety seconds, brush with butter or olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. It doesn’t have to be an “off my diet” food. Really. (Check out how to make quick low carb crackers or tortilla chips here!)

 

 

Delicious Creamy Cheeseball

 

Don’t forget to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page for this recipe’s helpful Recipe Keys!

DELICIOUS CREAMY CHEESE BALL
Author: 
Serves: 1 cheese ball
 
Net Carbs: 1.2 grams per 2 TBSP
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 jar Kraft Old English cheese spread
  • ¼ tsp parsley
  • ¼ tsp onion salt
  • ⅛ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp worcestershire sauce
  • ½ green pepper chopped finely (or more or less)
  • a few green onions chopped finely (or more or less)
Instructions
  1. Cream the cream cheese in mixer.
  2. Add Old English cheese spread and mix it.
  3. Add all seasonings and chopped veggies.
  4. Add shredded cheese and mix until shape-able.
  5. You can shape now if not too soft or refrigerate and shape later and roll in nuts or bacon bits or ham bits.

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Cheeseball Nutrition Label

Below are links to the ingredients I use in the recipe above. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com.  If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission.  Thank you for your support of this blog!

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Recipe Keys

 

Very Low Carb (VLC): This is very low carb by itself. Of course, as with most meats, cheeses, nut spreads, etc., the carb damage is based on what you serve it on or with. Follow the instructions in the forward for crisping your own “homemade crackers,” and you can have a hearty cheeseball and cracker snack for under five carbs or so!

 

Family-Friendly (FF): No unfamiliar tastes or ingredients. Everybody loves it!

 

Store-Bought-Stella (SBS): Cheese balls made with canned/jarred cheese are super simple—but taste like you went all out!

 

Homemade Hannah (HH): Make this along with homemade crackers—and you are Queen Homemade Hannah!

 

Freezer Cooking (FC): I do not freeze cheese balls. The texture of cream cheese changes in the freezer, so even when I freeze cream cheese, I prefer to use it in a cooked recipe rather than a fresh one, like a cheese ball or spread. This does keep for week in the refrigerator though.

 

Trim Healthy Mama-Friendly (THM) (www.trimhealthymama.com): Definite S with low carb crackers and/or veggies!

 

Sugar Free (SF): No sugar, of course!

 

Gluten-Free (GF): Yep!

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