companion blog to the e-book the 24/7 Low Carb Diner

Companion blog to the e-book
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Java Grilled Chicken

I am experimenting with coffee rubs. I saw an espresso spice rub at my spice store, but it had sugar in it. This one is made with coffee because that is what I had. I was afraid it would be too strongly flavored, but it is not. The pepper really comes through, but the coffee is more subtle. Just a hint of bitter, and not bad, actually. I think I will try this rub again on beef, and let it marinate longer before cooking. I was hungry tonight, so I didn't wait.

Java Rub

1 Tablespoon ground coffee, dry
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Today is my youngest son's birthday. We celebrated his 17th with family friends for pizza. Of course, we had salad instead, but it was just as fun---almost!

Because a lunch of salad doesn't hold you all day, a bigger dinner than is the norm was due for tonight. I didn't have the time to do a full prep day with our schedule change, so I came up with this. I keep some chicken in the freezer, ready to be thawed and grilled quickly. So, I seasoned the chicken, and threw some sliced grape tomatoes in the pan with it. Just for fun, I sprinkled some of the Java Rub on them too. I liked it. Of course, if you are not a fan of coffee, this probably isn't the dish for you. I do like playing around with different flavorings, so it was fun for me. John is an avowed coffee hater, so I left him to grill a ground steak for himself. He obliged to be spared the coffee. Go figure!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pork in a Pita

Friday night and we have a crowd of teenagers coming over for movie night. Supper time had to be quick. I used some leftover pork roast from the freezer, added barbecue sauce and heated it up. Then just stuff a Joseph's Low Carb Pita and add the fixins. Joseph's lavash would do fine too.

John got lettuce, celery, pickles and a radish. (he didn't want that one, but I keep trying) Super easy. Super quick. Now on to the movie and the popcorn. Hope we don't go too crazy smelling that!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sweet Onion Barbecue Sauce

Always on the lookout for a sugar free barbecue sauce--especially since the KC Masterpiece classic sauce has been discontinued. When I browse the condiment aisle, I see all these fancy names for exotic sauces I would love to sample. Unfortunately, they are always loaded with sugar! Tonight I did a little experimenting. What I set out to make was less than wonderful. What I ended up with was pretty good. It is a sweet onion sauce--the only catch is, you need some prepared traditional sauce in order to make it. Catch 22? Yup.

Sweet Onion Barbecue Sauce

1/2 onion, very finely diced
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
5 packets Splenda
1/4 cup water (or more)
1/3 cup traditional barbecue sauce

Use a blender to finely dice the onion. Combine it with all the remaining ingredients except barbecue sauce. Saute the mixture in a non stick pan until onions are tender. Add water as necessary if the mixture thickens too much. Just before serving, add in traditional sauce.

The recipe I was working from did not call for the traditional sauce. Without it, I found this too tart and too oniony. Next time, I may try roasting the onion, then pureeing all the ingredients together.

John liked this the most. Christian did not like the celery seed, so leave that out if you agree with him. I am an onion lover, so it appealed to me. I served it with oven baked chicken breasts and cauliflower with cheese. Another day, another experiment in the kitchen. It keeps life interesting.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

I am a fan of the cocktail sauce at Captain D's. Oh and all that battered and fried seafood too. We don't eat that anymore though. That used to be the only fish my young boys would eat and they had a great family deal. But now we eat healthier. That doesn't mean I can't like a sugar free cocktail sauce with my grilled shrimp.

I had an older recipe that I published about a year ago in the newsletter, but I like this one better. It has some bite, so be warned. You can always cut the amount of horseradish if you want.

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
This is one of the recipes included in my new cookbook project, Low Carbing Among Friends.
This recipe is available in the book, along with over 60 additional 24/7 Low Carb Diner recipes. By ordering the book, you get more than 300 favorite gluten free recipes from four other well known low carb cooking experts…Jennifer Eloff of Splendid Low Carbing cookbook fame, Kent Altena, the Atkins Diet Geek and You Tube star, nutritionist and author Maria Emmerich of Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious Journal, and popular blogger and food stylist, Carolyn Ketchum of All Day I Dream About Food. Unlike any other cookbook you may own, this one is a compilation of mini cookbooks featuring the talents of these well known low carbers. Think of it as a “best of” project.
Low Carbing Among Friends also features recipes from numerous other talented low carbing friends and recommendations from the medical community who recognize the health benefits of low carb, gluten free living. To preorder your copy, visit The official release date is 11/11/11, so pre-order now for a discount.

This is excellent with grilled shrimp!

We have been so busy lately; it has been tough finding time to blog. We prepared a formal dinner last night for my son and several of his friends who were attending the Prom. Since none of these long time friends were "dating" we parents got together and provided a beautiful dinner. We served them, and then amused ourselves out on the patio while the teenagers dined in private. It was a nice evening. I am so glad we have the kind of teens who appreciate family and don't act as if we are too uncool. With prom clothing costing hundreds, this dinner was a blessing for the budget and still very nice!

After we served the kids and they went off for the big event, we came home and made our own low carb meal. None of the bow tie pasta or Oreo cake for us!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Carnita Salad

With the weather warming up, more salads will be on the menu around here. I just checked all my past blogs. I have shown you how I make my Triple Play Carnitas recipe three ways--with low carb tortillas, with home made pizza type crusts, and with lavash bread. Today, it is even more simple. Carnita Salad. With out the bready substitute, there is more room left for lots of fresh veggies--crisp romaine lettuce, red onion and tomatoes. John is happily munching away now. You could be too if you had this pork as your Triple Play Meal (in the e-book) this week.

This roast is so huge, I am even going to have to put some in the freezer for a Freezer Favorite meal on another day. That will be even easier!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mexicali Meatloaf 's Return Engagement

I love Spring, but wow is it busy! Seems like a million details pull me away from being an organized homemaker. But gee, my hubby never stops needing to be fed, and a call to the pizza place just isn't going to do it. Flexibility is one key to making my Diner system work. If I couldn't make the meal I had planned today, I will always have a back up in the freezer.

Today, a good friend had a death in the family. With many of the arrangements falling on her, I knew she would appreciate some meals delivered for the family. That can be interesting--feeding picky kids who aren't the low carbers we are. Since I do still have one carby boy at home, I had a box of macaroni noodles. Not using the Dreamfield's on carb eaters! I made a meal for that family and arrived home just in time to need to feed my guys. Since there are better days when I plan for situations like this, I just pulled a meatloaf out of the freezer. It can go straight into the microwave or regular oven. Then all I have to do is prepare the veggies or salad.

This one happens to be a Mexican Meatloaf. That is a regular meatloaf seasoned with some chili seasoning. I also add some cheese to the meat. On the day I first made these, I baked all three loaves. That made tonight's dinner much quicker. If your prep day is super busy, though, you can freeze the raw meatloaf as well. It is a little trickier though, because that would need to thaw before cooking. If you try to cook from frozen, the center would probably stay undercooked while the ends got dried out.

I used a chili seasoning packet which was low in carbs. If you choose to do that, be sure to watch for added starches. Or, you can make your own seasoning mix too. I used one package for almost 5 pounds of ground beef. You could add more or less according to your family's tastes.

For a side, the carby boy got some of the mac n cheese I took to our friends. It is a fav of his. John got some cabbage. I fried it in olive oil with a spoonful of Rotel type tomatoes for extra zip. Once the cabbage is tender, just add a bit of salt and a sprinkle of cheese. Another successful easy dinner anyone could do.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Orange Chipotle Tilapia

Our local craft mall has a fun little stall which features spice blends of all kinds. I love to go in there and find a new gourmet blend I cannot make at home. I went for an espresso rub, but alas, it had sugar. Just may try that on my own sometime, though. Instead I bought this delicious blend that I used on fish tonight. It cannot, I mean cannot get easier than this!

The spice is a tantalizing blend of smoked jalapeno, orange zest, onion, garlic, parsley, bell pepper, paprika and salt. Sorry, I don't have the recipe, just the ingredients. To make the easiest dinner ever, just sprinkle it over a tilapia fillet and bake. Tonight, I even sprinkled it over the fresh asparagus I was serving alongside. I popped both in the oven until the veggies were tender crisp. Wonderful flavor!

If you want to order online, they do have a website. Or we could try to put together our own blends. I just don't know if I can improve on this one.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mesquite Chicken Burgers

Mesquite, Southern Hickory, and even Chipotle Chili burgers. That is what we cooked up tonight on our new charcoal grill. Fellow Diner, Tinkerbelle, inspired me to make up some ground chicken for these awesome burgers. She found pre made patties, but alas, I could not. So, I made my own. This way, I know what is in there. These are a huge hit. Thanks for the inspiration, Tinkerbelle!

The process is not too involved. You probably won't have all the same items I do, but a little make do will do fine. I used the Ninja Food Prep system to grind the chicken. Any heavy duty processor should be fine. Those double blades on my borrowed one are fantastic. Thanks, mom. I used some spice blends you may need to substitute. My spice blend came from Aldi. It was labeled Meat Rubs. I used Southern Hickory and Savory Mesquite. You could find anything similar. Just watch for sugar! I also made a custom mix for Chipotle Chili Burgers. For those I blended Chipotle chili powder, regular chili powder, salt, onion powder and garlic. Delish!

To make the patties, I processed two large chicken breasts at a time. After trimming the fat off, place the breasts in the blender. Add about a teaspoon of seasoning and process. Form into patties. Meat will be soft, so place patties on foil. I even stuck mine in the freezer for a bit to firm them up. Transfer the patties and foil to the hot barbecue grill and cook until juices run clear, being careful when turning.

These stay very moist and quite tender. Fork tender. The flavor is all in there. I like these better than plain grilled chicken because they are uniformly thick and flavorful. We made four of each flavor. Since they are grilled, I can pop the leftovers into sandwich bags and freeze them inside a bigger freezer bag. That way, I keep them from sticking to each other, and have a handy wrap for lunches on the go. The larger freezer bag protects from freezer burn--if they last that long. Just a quick trip to the microwave or toaster oven and the burger will be as good as fresh in an instant.

I had mine tonight with a nice green salad. You could add burger toppings if you want, but with the seasoning all the way through the chicken, these are great alone. A PERFECT low carb meal!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Black Bean Chocolate Cake Bites

Not much time to post. We are heading out for an Easter Picnic. Just thought I would share a photo of some Black Bean Cake bites I made this morning. John can eat some, but most are for my oldest son to take back to school. They will be featured in his business presentation for his Strategic Management project at the Governor's Cup Competition. They will be serving these low carb bite sized treats to the judges, who probably know nothing about low carb desserts. His business plan for the competition is an online service for diabetics, and the low carb cookbook is one feature of his proposed service. It couldn't hurt to let the judges sample how good the low carb life can be, right? I'll let you know if he wins the $20,000 prize!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bacony Broccoli Salad for Spring

Broccoli may not be a spring veggie, but it sure looks fine on an Easter table. We had the delicious salad with dinner this evening. It is a hit with low carbers and carbies alike.

Bacony Broccoli Salad

1 pound broccoli, frozen or fresh
3 Tablespoons bacon bits or 3 strips crispy crumbled bacon
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3 packets Truvia or alternative sweetener
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 Tablespoon dehydrated onion
1/2 tsp. Bacon Salt

Lighty steam broccoli drain in a colander and rinse with very cold water to cool. Dry well. Combine mayo, vinegar, sweetener, onion powder, dry onions and bacon salt. Stir into cooled broccoli. Add cheese and bacon and mix well. Just before serving, add slivered almonds.

I served some in my cute little bowl shaped like a fat chick. I couldn't resist the bowl at Michael's with my 40% off coupon. I paid just over a dollar for all that cuteness!

We are enjoying the holiday weekend with the whole family. We traditionally have a picnic on Easter Sunday. If the weather holds, we will be having some Nathan's dogs cooked out with more picnic fare. We used to get all dressed up for Easter. Now, though, we attend our church on Saturday evenings, so that seems less important. Gone is the stress of preparing a fancy dinner. The big event we celebrate is the resurrection of our Savior, not the pretty dresses and hiding eggs. I hope you all have a joyous holiday.