Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Tomato

I wanted to make a simple yet tasty dinner, so I looked in my fridge for something I could quickly whip up. When my eyes laid upon a beautiful fresh red tomato, I knew exactly what I was going to make!

Normally tomatoes aren’t encouraged in a ketogenic diet, however, I had fasted all day, so the amount of carbs in the tomato wouldn’t throw me off.

INGREDIENTS:
1 Fresh Red Tomato
1 Mild Italian Sausage In Natural Casing
1/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Ground Cayenne Pepper
French Grey Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt (to taste)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
Non-Stick Cake Pan
Non-Stick Skillet or Cast Iron Skillet

METHOD:
1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2. Cut a circle in the top off of the tomato and remove it. Core the inside of the tomato. Put it upside-down on paper towels so that it can drain while the sausage is cooking.

3. Remove casing from sausage and crumble into skillet. Brown sausage over a medium-low flame until cooked through.

5. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, ground cayenne pepper, French grey sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir until seasoning covers all of the sausage. Remove from heat and place on a plate with paper towels to drain excess grease.

6. Add cheese to the sausage and mix together.

7. Stuff the tomato with the sausage and cheese mixture.

8. Place tomato in the center of the non-stick cake pan. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

9. Gently transferring the stuffed tomato to a plate. Garnish with dried chives.

10. Serve immediately!

Bon Appétit!

XOXO,
Heather

Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Tomato

Shakshuka (Low-Carb Middle Eastern Breakfast)

Shakshuka is a really delicious, popular dish that originated in either Egypt, Tunisia, or the Middle East. It can be vegetarian or contain meat, and is easily adapted to any special dietary needs or your favorite taste profile. There are similar dishes in the Mediterranean, such as Uova in Purgatorio in Italy.

Shakshuka is an easy, one-pan meal consisting of a sauce made of tomatoes and various spices, meat, cheese, and poached eggs. It is easily adaptable to vegetarian palates, and is a delicious, satisfying low-carb meal! This dish works for both the Ketogenic and Paleo diets. The recipe below tells you how to make this dish with meat, however, my dish was ovo-lacto vegetarian. Skip step #2 if you are not cooking with meat.

INGREDIENTS:
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
Green, Red, Orange, and/or Yellow Bell Peppers, sliced thin
Cumin Seeds
Cayenne Pepper Flakes
Smoked Spanish Paprika
Ground beef, lamb, or sausage
Fresh or Canned Diced Tomatoes
Eggs
Goat Cheese or Feta Cheese
Fresh Cilantro or Parsley
Himalayan Pink Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper (to taste)
Cast Iron Skillet

METHOD:
1. Heat up the olive oil over a medium flame, then add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers (or other pepper of your choice). Season with cumin seeds, cayenne pepper flakes, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir gently until onions are caramelized.

2. If you are making Shakshuka with meat, add it to the skillet and cook until browned, stirring all the ingredients gently.

3. Once the meat is cooked, add diced tomatoes (fresh or canned). Allow the sauce to simmer down. Cook, stirring gently, for about 15-20 minutes, allowing all the flavors to mingle together. You may add a touch of water if the sauce is getting too thick.

4. Make little pockets/holes in the sauce using a cooking spoon.

5. Crack an egg into a ramekin, then slowly place the egg into the little hole you’ve made. Repeat the process for each egg. Season the eggs with Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground pepper.

6. Cover the skillet with a lid, and reduce heat to low, cooking until the eggs are poached, about 5 minutes. If you do not like poached eggs, cook longer. You may also choose to put the cast iron skillet into a pre-heated oven to ensure that the eggs are cooked to your liking.

7. Crumble goat cheese or feta cheese over the top of the eggs and tomato sauce. You may wish to cover the skillet again to quickly melt the cheese.

8. You will know the eggs are perfectly poached when the whites are cooked, yet the yolks are runny and warm. When the eggs are poached, you are ready to sprinkle with fresh cilantro or fresh parsley. (I did not have any fresh, so I used dried parsley.)

9. Serve immediately by gently dishing out eggs and sauce onto a plate.

Bon Appétit!

XOXO,
Heather

Shakshuka (Low-Carb Middle Eastern Breakfast)

Coconut and Curry Scallops

Thanksgiving was yesterday and since I was stuffing myself with all the leftovers for lunch, I needed to mix it up a little for my dinner.

I prefer fresh sea scallops, however, I didn’t feel like fighting the Black Friday traffic and going to the grocery store, so I thawed some bay scallops that I had in my freezer. Since I haven’t had a good curry in a while (and quite frankly, I’ve never made one myself!), I decided to try it out! I think it turned out delicious, so here is my recipe:

INGREDIENTS:
Ginger
Cinnamon
Garlic
Curry Powder
Turmeric
Fennel Seeds
Coriander Seeds
French Grey Sea Salt
Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil
Bay Scallops

METHOD:
1. Toast the ginger, cinnamon, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and pinch of French grey sea salt in an enameled cast iron pan on low flame.

2. Add a spoonful of the organic coconut oil and stir it on low flame until the fragrance of the spices permeates the oil.

3. Add the scallops and stir, cooking for an additional 60 seconds. Do not overlook the scallops. (If you use fresh sea scallops, cook on one side for 60 seconds, then flip them and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

4. Being that this is a low-carb keto blog, I did not make rice or any carb accompaniment. I also plated the juices from the pan (coconut oil mixed with the juices from the scallops.

Bon appétit!

XOXO,
Heather

Coconut and Curry Scallops

Low-Carb Fauxtato Soup (Using Cauliflower Instead of Potatoes)

Perhaps it’s the little bit of Irish ancestry I have mixed in, but one of the things I miss from my higher carb days is potato soup.

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When I went to the University of Arizona, I worked part-time in the now closed Austin’s Diner and Old Fashioned Ice Cream. EVERYTHING there was made from scratch, even the ice cream and chocolate chips. They had a 1950’s soda fountain. The owner’s name was Lynda Wilson and she loved me! She used to have everyone call me Blair because there was another waitress named Heather and we didn’t want to get mixed up. One day she revealed to me the secrets to her famous potato and tomato soups, but made me swear to never reveal it. And to this day, I have only ever disclosed it to my mom.

Today I will reveal one of the two secrets for the potato soup.

No, I am not betraying Lynda! I have improved upon the secret, so that is why I will reveal it. However, you will have to be at the reading of my last will and testament to find out the final secret. After all, a promise is a promise.

The following recipe is pretty much exactly how I’ve made potato soup since Lynda taught me, but instead I’m using cauliflower in place of potatoes. I also left out the carrots and celery to keep it more low carb, and I added bacon to raise the fats. Besides, everything is better with bacon!

INGREDIENTS:
1 lbs raw bacon (uncured), cut into small bits
1 large onion, diced
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
*** secret ingredient has been censored ***
1 (32 oz) box of low-sodium chicken stock
*** secret ingredient to be revealed below ***

GARNISH:
Shredded sharp cheddar
Green onions, chopped

METHOD:
1. If you haven’t already, cut your bacon into small pieces.

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2. Put the bacon pieces into your soup cauldron and fry them up until crisp.

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3. Remove bacon bits with a slotted spoon so the bacon grease stays in the cauldron.

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4. Dice your onion (remember, to prevent your eyes from watering, leave the root in the onion as you dice!)

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5. Sauté the onion in the bacon grease. If you want to put carrots and celery in the soup, cook them in the bacon grease first, as they take longer than the onion to soften).

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6. If you haven’t already chopped up your head of cauliflower, do so while the onion is sautéing.

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7. Put the cauliflower in the pot and stir so that the bacon grease coats everything. Cook the cauliflower for at least 5 minutes or until it has softened.

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8. This is where I put in my censored secret ingredient and stir. Sorry, readers, you’ll just have to skip down to step #9!

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Secret ingredient is in this picture! Can you guess what it is?

9. Pour chicken stock into pot and stir everything together. Bring to a boil on a high flame. Reduce heat to medium-high once boil has established and allow it to continue to boil on medium-high for at least 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.

10. After 10 minutes, add in the second secret ingredient. Instead of using whole milk, Lynda would use half-and-half. However, I’ve improved upon this by using straight heavy cream. It makes the soup taste amazing!

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11. Allow soup to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. When serving, garnish with grated sharp cheddar and green onions.

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Bon appétit!

XOXO,
Heather

Low-Carb Fauxtato Soup (Using Cauliflower Instead of Potatoes)

Pineapple, Orange, Coconut & Rosemary Chicken (With Quinoa For The Paleo Folks)

Cleaning out my pantry today, I saw a HUGE can of pineapple juice for which I needed to find a use. I’m not going to drink it, since I’m in Ketosis, and my freezer is too full to make popsicles for my boys. What to do, what to do?

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My mom was coming over to watch my youngest son Huggy (real name: Henry) while my oldest son and I go to a Taekwondo class. So I needed to make enough dinner for all of us. And an idea occurred to me, I’ll make pineapple chicken in the crock pot! Cooking it in the pineapple juice will impart the flavor without adding too many carbs (if any). But pineapple alone sounded boring to me, so I started thinking about the flavor profile and what could go with it.

Bananas. I have some of those. But cooking them in a crockpot with chicken didn’t sound too appetizing. I have some Cuties oranges for my oldest son Alex’s school lunches. Perfect! And rosemary sounded like it would be yummy too. Thus a creation was born.

INGREDIENTS:
3 chicken breasts
2 tbsp unrefined, organic coconut oil
1 tsp rosemary, dried
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
A few dashes of mild chili pepper (optional)
4 Cuties oranges or mandarine oranges
46 oz can of pineapple juice

FOR THE QUINOA:
1.75 cups of the juice from the crockpot
0.5 tsp extra virgin olive oil
0.5 cups organic quinoa
0.5 tsp rosemary, dried
Himalayan pink salt & freshly ground pepper (to taste)

METHOD FOR THE CHICKEN:
1. Turn crockpot on low, add coconut oil, a few sprinkles of mild chili powder, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and rosemary. Let the oil melt in the slow cooker.

2. Meanwhile, pulverize some mandarine oranges in a bowl or in a mortar and pestle. Drop the oranges and their juice into the crockpot and stir.

3. Open the can of pineapple juice and pour it into the crockpot. Stir.

4. Rinse chicken breasts and stab them with a fork so the juices impart flavor throughout. Drop them into the crockpot.

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5. Set timer for at least 3 hours. I cooked mine for 5 hours because I had things to do.

METHOD FOR THE QUINOA:
1. About 20 minutes before your chicken is finished, ladle out 1 3/4 cups of the juice from the crockpot and put into a sauté pan. Add 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 cup quinoa. Bring to a boil on a high flame.

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2. Reduce flame to medium and add rosemary, salt, and pepper. Gently stir.

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3. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed by the quinoa. Stir occasionally to keep it from burning.

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The picture I am showing is the plate for my mom, as mine looked a little boring. I put the quinoa in the middle of the plate, placed a chicken breast on top, and added some of the cooked oranges as a garnish.

For those following the ketogenic diet, forego the quinoa and cooked oranges, and instead top the chicken with a slice of melted cheddar, bleu cheese, or Monterey Jack. The flavor profile of all three cheeses goes well with pineapple.

I hope you enjoy the recipe!

XOXO,
Heather

Pineapple, Orange, Coconut & Rosemary Chicken (With Quinoa For The Paleo Folks)

Chori Pollo, Mexican Comfort Food

If you love Mexican cuisine, but have a hard time finding Keto or Paleo friendly options, you are in luck!

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This is a recipe you are going to want to start in the morning in your crockpot, go to work or do your tasks for the day, then come home and finish before dinner time. It’s not hard or complicated, you just need to slow-cook the chicken in order to be able to shred it. If you already have some leftover chicken, you can shred it up and simmer it stovetop with the butter and spices to impart the flavor.

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INGREDIENTS:

For The Chicken:
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 tbsp melted grassfed salted butter (I use Kerrygold brand)
1 tbsp mild chili powder (you can use hot chili powder if you want it a bit spicier)
1.5 tsp Adobo powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
0.5 tsp ground cumin
0.5 tsp ground coriander
0.5 tsp chipotle powder
0.25 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
0.25 tsp freshly ground pepper
Pinch of sea salt

For The Chori Pollo Dish:
1 cup sliced onions
2 tbsp grassfed butter
Shredded chicken
10-12 oz raw Mexican Chorizo
1 cup shredded Mexican style cheese (jack, cheddar, or crumbled queso blanco/ queso fresco work well too)

METHOD:

For The Chicken:
1. Pour melted butter into your crockpot slow-cooker. Turn it on low.
2. Add chili powder, Adobo, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, coriander, chipotle, crushed red pepper flakes, freshly ground pepper, and sea salt. I used a mini-whisk to mix the ingredients evenly into the butter, but you can easily use a spoon.
3. Rinse your chicken breasts and put them into the slow cooker. Place the lid on top and set your timer for three hours.

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Isn’t my mini-whisk cute?!

4. If you are home and are able, flip the chicken about halfway through cooking (1.5-2 hours into the process). Don’t worry if you can’t flip the chicken, the recipe will still turn out wonderfully!

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5. Check the internal temperature after 3 hours, and if it has reached at least 165°F, turn the slow cooker off. Gently remove the chicken (mine was so tender it was already falling apart), place in a bowl, and shred with two large forks.

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It started falling apart before I could shred it!

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6. Once the chicken is shredded, place back into the crockpot and stir it into the butter and spices.

7. Take a bite. Trust me. You will love me forever and become my best friend! Actually, no. Don’t take a bite. The chicken is so good that you might stop here and not finish the rest of the recipe!

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For The Chori Pollo Dish:
1. When chicken is back in the crock pot absorbing the delicious spices and butter, you can begin to prepare the rest of the dish. Take 2 tbsp grassfed butter and melt it in a sauté pan. Take your sliced onion, add it to the butter and gently caramelize them on a low flame (about 7-10 mins). Remove them from the pan and set aside.

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2. Take the casing off of the chorizo and crumble into to the pan. Use the same pan in which you caramelized the onions. Cook chorizo until it is cooked through, which takes about 5 minutes or so. Remove chorizo from pan and set aside.

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3. Using oven mitts, take the chicken and dump it into a 9″x9″ glass Pyrex baking dish. Use your spatula and spread it out evenly.

4. Sprinkle the chorizo over top of the chicken in a nice, even layer. Next layer the onions, and finish off with the cheese.

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5. Bake in the oven at 375°F for 10 mins or until cheese is nicely melted. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Top with chopped green onions. Serve with sour cream and guacamole, if you like. And if you have non-keto friends coming over, give them a few tortillas.

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Chori Pollo, Mexican Comfort Food

A Quick Lunch (Havarti Bacon Burger & Green Beans)

I have a very busy day today, so I needed a lunch that would be quick and easy to prepare.

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First I set the broiler in my oven to high, cut the ends off of a handful of green beans and put them on a baking sheet, drizzled extra virgin olive oil on them and tossed them around with some French grey sea salt. Then I broiled them for about 5-8 minutes.

In the meantime, I fried up 3 slices of jowl bacon and set them aside. I made a 6 oz grassfed beef burger, seasoned it on both sides with McCormick mesquite seasoning, and cooked it in the bacon grease. I topped it off with about 2 oz of jalapeño havarti cheese and let it melt a little. I plated the burger, placed the bacon on top and the beans on the side. Lunch is served! I would say the entire process took me about 10-15 minutes. And it tasted so much better than any fast food burger, and even better than most restaurant burgers! I also like the fact that I know exactly what is in my burger. Meat. No fillers, no junk.

XOXO,
Heather

A Quick Lunch (Havarti Bacon Burger & Green Beans)

Keto taco shell

I love keto taco shells. I did not invent this recipe, they’re on several websites on the interwebz. But since I’m frequently asked how to make them, here they are! 
I prefer sharp cheddar Tilamook. Slice, and place in this shape on parchment paper.   Microwave on high 1:15 and pull out and fold, wait a moment for it to harden. Stuff with taco meat, leftover meat, eggs, whatever you want! Add hot sauce and sour cream! 

 

  

Keto taco shell

Cheese Chorizo Poppers 

Tonight, I decided to make jalepeno poppers. I made several types. I like to make a double batch so that I can take them to work for lunch. I like leftovers. It’s easy to fail at ketogenic diet or paleo if one doesn’t plan well for leftovers, simply because there isn’t enough time in the day! I’m a single mom and run a business as well, so I am really short on time. 

First we made chorizo stuffed sweet peppers. You can add a cheese of your choice. I apologize for not including macros, but since I’m providing so many varieties here, it wouldn’t be possible. 

Cheese Chorizo Poppers 

Adobo Pork Tacos- Quick keto 

I had some pulled pork from Costco, the type that is already pulled and frozen.  I decided to use it for tacos.  The only thing that would’ve made it even better would’ve been sliced avocado, but mine were all too far gone. Having ripe avocados on hand seems to be the toughest keto battle. If you have avocado suggestions, please post comment!  I love Penzeys seasoning, in fact it’s one of the few places I buy my spices now. If you haven’t picked up their cinnamon yet, I highly recommend it also! 

For this recipe, you’ll need the following: 

  • 1 pound pulled pork 
  • Cheddar cheese 
  • Parchment paper
  • Sour cream 
  • Habenero sauce or salsa 
  • Penzys adobo seasoning 
  • Avocado (optional) 

The Costco pulled porknis already cookies, so I just pull a bit out of the freezer and place it in a pot with adobo seasoning.  This takes 5 minutes or so to heat.  

Taco shells: 

Cut a sheet of parchment paper and 5″ x 3″ slice sharp cheddar thinly (you can use multiple slices of block is too small) Place a piece on the parchment paper and microwave for 1:15 until cheese is bubbling and hard. Remove from microwave and fold immediately. Hold for a few seconds while it sets. Remove and add new cheese and repeat until you have enough shells.  
Place meat, sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa inside tortilla and serve! 
The macros for this meal without avocado are nearly perfect! 72% fat (where totals should be for the day) 27% protein and 1% carbs.  It does have 36 grams of protein, and to lose quickly, I like to keep my protein below 65g. Therefore, when making this meal, I would most likely choose a meatless dinner or use IF and only eat two meals.  

  • Carbs: 1 gram 
  • Fat: 43 grams 
  • Protein 36 grams 

   

Adobo Pork Tacos- Quick keto