Wednesday, April 27, 2011
If you have been a Diner for very long, you have come to realize that I love my smokey flavored foods. Yesterday, I made a new dressing that is a little like ranch, a little like a hot bacon dressing and pretty tasty for a change of pace. It turned our plain chicken cube salad into a very nice lunch. It is definitely not a low calorie dressing, but it does have good fats, so indulge. We lost our internet connection yesterday afternoon, and my dear hubby just managed to get it back up. We still aren't sure what the problem was, but hopefully it will work now. Amazing how dependent we have become on such technology!
Smokey Bacon Dressing
4 Tablespoons plain yogurt
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons bacon fat
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Wright's Hickory liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon Bacon Salt
1 packet sweetener,I used stevia
Mix everything together and chill. Good as a salad dressing, or as a burger topping.
For our salads, I also added some Monterey Jack cheese and some cherub tomatoes. Of course, you could add some crumbled bacon too--that would taste awesome. My chicken cubes were all prepped in the freezer so the salad was really fast to put together. If you don't have any chicken prepped Diner style, just grill some chicken up fresh. It's all good.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
California Chicken is in the e-book as a Multiply Meal. Tonight I served it on top of one of the coconut cheese biscuits left from yesterday. This was so good. While we are accustomed to eating it alone, the biscuit base made it so much like the California style pizzas my guys adore. So delish. Chicken, peppers, onion, mushrooms and bacon all in a rich alfredo sauce. What is not to love?
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I don't own THE definitive book for coconut lovers, Cooking with Coconut Flour by Dr. Bruce Fife. But I should, I really should, because I do appreciate my coconut flour. I think my online friend Rachel shares my sentiments, because she posted this great recipe of her own, also based on Dr. Fife's book. Rachel's blog, Until the Thin Lady Sings, featured these great cheese biscuits today. If you believe in coincidences, this is a good one, because my oldest son has been talking about the cheddar biscuits at a certain seafood place, and my mom has a coupon for that same place. I saw this recipe, and just knew it would be tasty. Ok, so Rachel's photo helped too.
To make my onion version, I left out the spices, and added instead 2 tablespoons of dehydrated onions and half a teaspoon of onion powder. I also accidentally added a half a teaspoon of baking powder rather than a fourth. Admittedly, I was running back and forth from my computer to the kitchen trying to remember the ingredient list.
I think this could be a pretty versatile recipe, given the flavor combos we could come up with. You can play with herbs and spices, different flavored fats, and other cheeses. Thanks Rachel for the starting point recipe. The cheese really does make a difference here. I had a recipe for an almond meal cheese bread, but I like this one too!
Really wish I could say the same about the chicken dish I tried tonight. Normally, I like anything with balsamic vinegar, but this just didn't do it for us. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
Monday, April 18, 2011
This is just too versatile. Not only do you not need special flours or odd ingredients, for this bread, you don't even need a special pan. I made a batch of Mr. Peanut Bread, then spread the batter out on a non stick pan. I sprayed a spoon with some cooking spray to smooth the top of the sticky batter. They bake up in about ten minutes--I think. To be honest I was running around getting breakfast at the same time and forgot to set a timer. Just watch and you will be able to tell.
For John's lunch, I made him a mixed deli special, with bologna and turkey. I know processed meats aren't that good, so we have them only on occasion. He was on old "bolognavore" in his bachelor days. A treat now and then will keep him happy. After the weekend we had, I had no time for my prep day.
Prom went well, and I stuck to my chicken salad rather than eating the Chicken Kiev, cheese ravioli, lasagna rolls, cheesecake, sopapillas and rolls. Yeah me. Here is my cute prom couple.
Then yesterday, we got invited to an impromptu birthday party at a pizza and game place. We behaved ourselves again, and took advantage of a great salad bar. I even robbed the taco bar for some taco meat and sour cream. Made for a nice taco salad. I have to admit, too, that I did strip a few pieces of pizza of their toppings. Yum. We ate enough that we didn't even need dinner last night. Good thing, since I had plenty of school activities to catch up on. Now on to graduation!
Friday, April 15, 2011
I love having lots of little mini quiches around to pack in quick lunches. This was my lunch at school today. Three of my favorite silicon cups baked with some super yummy Cheezeburger Quiche. THAT recipe is in the e-book. I think they really do taste better than real cheeseburgers because they are all the good stuff. One change, now I use Wright's liquid smoke in mine.
In addition to my little quiche cups, I had some sliced red bell pepper. I also tried the jicama slices coated with lemon juice then sprinkled with an orange and chili pepper blend. They look like seasoned fries, but didn't taste much like them. They weren't bad, just not a fav for me. Could have been because I used lemon rather than lime. I found the lime juice upside down empty in the door of the fridge. I guess now I also have some dried juice to clean in the shelf, but I refused to look. There are simply too many other projects this weekend! I also packed some strawberries. They are gorgeous this time of year, and cheap too. A single peanut cheesecake dib was my dessert.
Lunch is way more fun when you eat bento style. Not only is it pretty, but I tend to pack far more variety in there.
Busy weekend here. It is prom weekend, and I am coordinating a formal dinner for 17 teenagers. Then I get to be a chaperone. That will be fun. I have never been to a prom before. At least I am getting that in before I hit 50. I am so glad I have such wonderful kids who don't mind sharing this special event with their parents.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Remember the Cheesecake Dibs I created? Add all that creamy yumminess and add peanut butter flavor to it, and you have these wonderful little treats perfect for Easter. I always did love those Reese's Peanut butter eggs. These are not quite as peanutty, but very good...and low carb legal!
I make mine in that special little pan, but any mini cupcake pan would do fine. I like them best when they are just a little bit frozen still. See the ice crystals in the photo? That is what makes them the most like the Dibs Ice Cream Bites. They are just chilled or room temperature too, as long as it is not too hot. The coconut oil tends to melt onto your fingers too much.
On my last post, my incredibly talented baker friend, Jennifer, said she had some trouble getting the erythritol to not be gritty. I have had a problem with that myself in other recipes, even though I used the powdered version. I will share something I learned that is helpful, and I hope it works for you. I read on Low Carb Friends that you can melt erythritol into a simple syrup. I tried it with a teaspoon of vanilla on my stovetop and it worked well. I then stirred that into my frozen yogurt mixture and it worked like a dream. Absolutely smooth!
I thought yesterday, I would try the same technique with the powdered xylitol. While it did melt, I may have let it get too hot, or something else is chemically different, and it behaved differently. The sweetener formed into a mass that would not mix in with the coconut oil and cocoa. I had to throw away the sticky sweet lump. Then I just added some liquid stevia to sweeten the remaining coconut bark. At this point, I would recommend not trying to melt Ideal sweetener, but it may have just been "my bad." That was the end of that bag, so I will probably just keep using the erythritol I tried in the original recipes. I think it also helped the coconut bark coat better. These seemed to make a thinner coating than my first batches. Sweetening low carb treats sometimes requires the assistance of a food chemist!
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Dibs
16 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup powdered xylitol or 1 1/4 cup erythritol
1/2 cup coconut oil
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup powdered erythritol (or to taste with any combination of sweeteners)
Bring cream cheese to room temperature. Beat cream cheese and eggs. Add in peanut butter and sweetener. Poor into special baking mold or use mini muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 325 degrees.
Remove from oven and let cool. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours. When ready to dip, first prepare chocolate coating. In a ceramic mug or small bowl, melt coconut oil and then stir in cocoa powder and sweetener. Remove the frozen cheesecakes from their pan. Using tongs, dip each frozen bite into melted chocolate mixture. Set on foil to firm up. Eat frozen for an ice creamlike treat, or eat chilled for a cheesecake treat. Either way is great! My tray makes two batches, or 48 dibs.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I feel like I should eat this outside, soaking up some rays. I promise that when my parents took me for my college graduation trip to Hawaii, I must have had something like this! I can just picture hula dancers and palm trees. We don't have many of those here in Oklahoma. I'll just close my eyes while I eat.
The cream cheese in the dressing base makes this really creamy. I got that idea from a similar salad on Allrecipes. Of course, to make this low carb, we must do without real pineapple and other fruits. This would be wonderful with some extra fresh fruit stirred in if you can afford the carbs. I think some jicama would make a nice crunch too.
This is simple to put together using Freezer Favorite chicken cubes. I used pineapple flavored Da Vinci sugarfree syrup, but you could easily sub some sweetener and a drop or two of pineapple flavoring. I used to have a bottle but haven't found it in the stores lately. Pineapple DaVinci is one of the flavors I like to keep around because it is great in sweet and sour sauces too. If you can't do sucralose, you should seek out an alternative flavoring.
Hawaiian Chicken Salad
2 cups precooked chicken cubes, thawed or cooled if freshly cooked
3 ounces cream cheese
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup Pineapple sugargree Da Vinci syrup
1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut
1 diced celery rib
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped nuts--walnuts, almonds or macadamia nuts
Warm the cream cheese and stir in the mayonnaise and the syrup until well blended. Add the coconut. Dice the celery and bell pepper finely. Add them to the chicken cubes. Stir the dressing in until everything is well coated. Chill for half an hour. Place chilled salad on lettuce leaves. Serves 4 as a light lunch or 2 hungry islanders.
This is a busy time of year for me, so I must now go to prepare some table decorations for the prom dinner for my youngest son. I am sparkly with glitter from head to toe. So glad you all can't see me today! I think the break to enjoy this out on the patio will do me some good. Even if it is all in my mind, a mini vacation is a wonderful thing.
Monday, April 11, 2011
So I posted this pic over on Facebook--not that it is much to look at. It was filling and tasty though. I wasn't going to post the recipe from tonight's dinner because I feel like I still have so much to learn about jicama. But since some of you asked, I will go ahead and share. It seems like I am really making some ugly food lately. Diamonds in the rough, though.
I want to play around with jicama more. I have been reading all I can about the so-called Mexican Potato. I hadn't planned on buying it when I went to the grocery store. I was searching out a rutabaga. The ones I found looked like they had been around since the disco age, so I passed. My mom suggested I try a jicama. I like it raw, but had a hard time getting it soft when cooked...it always reminded me more of water chestnuts. I do love those, but they are not like a potato. Alas, knowing my boys had some red potatoes on the menu, and being unable to consume them myself, I had to do something. I used to be a big tater girl. I miss those, and it is hard to cook them and not get to partake of that feast. So, jicama it was!
Now, after some research, I understand that to tenderize this formidable root, we must give it a spa treatment involving fine dicing, freezing, squeezing and even possible nuking. I did not have time for that today. I opted for the express treatment. Unafraid, I hauled out my spiral slicer and my vegetable peeler. Wow, was this jicama hard to peel. I don't remember struggling that much before. Must be getting old. I finally devised a rock back and forth method of peeling rather than my usual quick swipe. That worked best, but it is hard to describe. Anyway...
I used the ribbon cutter to make really thin slices. Online, I learned that some had luck with making oven chips. I tried baking those. Delicious as they were, they were nothing like chips. Besides that, it took 20 minutes to bake one cookie sheet of slices and only five minutes for me to single handedly devour the entire batch. They did remind me of this old style Hamburger Helper my mom used to make. In fact, I think my husband even asked me to marry him because I could make Hamburger Helper. I think the one I remember was potato stroganoff or something similar. It came--or comes, as it may still exist--with these dehydrated potato slices. For some reason, that is what I was aiming for. That inspiration turned into today's hash recipe and some future experimentation with hashbrowns. I know others have had luck with those after they have devised a way to make the jicama soft and not so sweet. Soon, I will try those.
By this time, the dinner hour was fast approaching and the kids were already making those hungry noises. Time to get something on the table fast. Their potato dish was doing fine, if only I could adapt the jicama for us. I decided the way to avoid large crunchy chunks was a smaller cut. I had no time to freeze and pre-cook. Half of the jicama went into the slicer with the julienne blade. I got tiny angel hair strips that would also make a terrific salad. Just like a kid, I always get excited when I see a veggie cut that way. I decided to get some different textures, I would cut some into cubes by hand. I was going for a little of the home fries feel where a few cubes are always crunchier and a few softer.
Because I was taking advantage of my Minute Beef, I added a little oil to the skillet. I fried the jicama cubes in that for about ten minutes to give them a head start. I squeezed the julienned jicama with my hand to get out extra moisture. Then I added the julienne strips to the skillet for about five minutes. Lastly, I added the precooked ground beef and let it fry for about ten minutes. For seasoning, I used Braggs Liquid Aminos, onion powder and the beef broth. It was a simple meal, but really homey. A lot like the old Hamburger Helper, in fact. Next time, I will add more different veggies, especially onion and celery. But for simplicity sake, this is the recipe. You could build your hash from this basic plan.
1 - 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, browned or Minute Beef
1 large jicama
1 Tablespoon olive oil or other healthy oil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 can beef broth, or two cups
1 Tablespoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
1 teaspoon glucomannan powder
Peel the jicama. Cut about a quarter of it into a small dice. The remaining, shred in a food processor, spiral cutter or even a hand grater. The smaller the cut, the more tender the end product will be. Add the oil to a skillet. When it is hot, add the cubes of jicama. Let them cook for about ten minutes, then add the smaller shredded jicama and cook for another five minutes. If using fresh ground beef, add it at the same time. If using pre cooked Minute beef, add it after the shreds have browned for five minutes. Sprinkle with the onion powder. While this is browning, make the sauce. Pour the broth into a bowl and stir in the Bragg's or soy sauce. Very slowly add the glucomannan while whisking rapidly. Pour the sauce into the skillet and stir to coat. The sauce will thicken a bit more with heating.
Jicama has about 5 net carbs per cup, and only 46 calories. It is not a nutrition super food by any means, but can come in handy when we crave a manly meat and potatoes type meal. I think I will play around with making a replacement for rice and come up with some more jicama salads. Low carbing never gets boring because it seems like there is always something different to play with in the kitchen.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
What a great way to clean out the veggie drawer. I had a few odds and ends that needed to be eaten really soon. This is what I came up with. Using Freezer Favorites Chicken Cubes makes it easy.
The five spice powder is exotic and full of flavor--slightly licorice. Combined with the sweetness of Pineapple Da Vinci syrup and the tartness of garlic vinegar. Yum. John couldn't stop saying how much he liked it. He does miss his Chinese buffets..."Shiney Food" as my boys used to say when they were little. I almost named this dish after that affectionate term, but I am betting that would confuse you!
Five Spice Sweet n Sour Chicken
2 Tablespoons good quality oil
2 cups diced pre-cooked chicken
assorted veggies to stir-fry, about 5 cups
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons sugarfree ketchup
2 Tablespoons sugarfree Pineapple Da Vinci syrup
2 Tablespoons garlic vinegar (or cider vinegar plus 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
2 Tablespoons of soy sauce or Bragg's Aminos
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
1 dropper of liquid stevia--or sweetener of choice to taste
3/4 teaspoon glucomannan powder or 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
Hot chili paste, optional
Chop and dice vegetables into sizes which will cook in the same amount of time. Heat oil and add vegetables, stirring lightly. Add chicken cubes. While those are cooking, prepare the sauce. Stir together all sauce ingredients except thickener. Once they are all combined, very slowly add in the glucomannan or xanthan, whisking briskly. Pour this sauce into the cooked vegetables and chicken. Stir to coat. Sauce will thicken a bit more with heat if using glucomannan. If you want a hotter dish, stir in some chili paste before serving.
I love having Freezer Favorites waiting. The chicken cubes can be turned into so many dishes, and make the prep quick and easy. The kids were eating leftover pizza, so we got this. I think it really should feed 3-4, but John and I managed to eat it all up! Dinner will be light, I think.
Friday, April 8, 2011
The Diner e-book explains all about making a burger buffet night. That is what we did tonight. I had three different burgers. Small in size but big gourmet flavor. One was blue cheese and grilled onions, one was hickory sauce,pickles, bacon and cheese, another was Pepper Jack cheese and a smidge of habanero sauce. All completely different. And all the family got to choose what they wanted--even our guest who prefers chicken! We low carbers had ours on Mr.Peanut bread muffins, I got three slices from each muffin. The carbivores had dinner rolls with their sliders. Now if I can get someone else to put away all those bottles of condiments, the cook will retire to more Friday night fun!
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Life is entering the really busy season around here. We are wrapping up the school year... Prom, of course, and I am on a parent committee for food! I am teaching an extra class for a few more weeks, and we are planning my son's graduation. I have a couple of church projects coming up too. Busy, busy with party planning and guests and programs and such.
While the kids today were working on their filming project, I made a to do list. Oh my heavens is it long! I am really going to try to get some extra meals done on my prep day this weekend. With everything scheduled in the upcoming weeks, I think I will need them. That is when the Diner system can save our lives. Busy, hectic days are so much better when all I have to do is plop a defrosted casserole in the oven and grab a handful of salad.
Of course, not every meal comes from the oven. Today's breakfast is one of those. It is one of the E.Z. Fix scrambles. Ham and eggs is about as simple as it gets. Normally, I don't bother to photograph such simple low carb fare, but today, I got to try out my "new to me" camera. Granted it is used, but I now have my first dslr! I promise the photography for my food shots will be improving. Maybe I can even replace that old purple gravy shot!!!! You long time diners will remember that one and laugh.
I have been experimenting with my new used ice cream machine too. I want a frozen yogurt. The last version was fantastic as a soft serve, but somehow lost flavor when it froze overnight. Has that ever happened to you? I am still trying to get the perfect recipe. So, if life had not been so busy, I just might have blogged about my wonderful soft serve Praline and Cream frozen yogurt. But now that I tasted it a day later, I think it still needs a little work. But that will have to wait. I can't eat too many of my mistakes, and now I have to make a new batch of yogurt too. Maybe next week. It is definitely ice cream weather here lately. I think spring is busier than Christmas!
Monday, April 4, 2011
30 seconds. That is all the time it takes to make the perfect tortilla/crepe. Well, to cook one, that is! The tortillas is this dish are really easy to make--much more so than any crepe I have ever tried. I used a technique I learned when I was learning to make Bento lunches here. I replaced that recipe and added a bit of coconut flour, making these a little sturdier than the original egg wrap. They are so much stronger than you would guess. And better yet, there is no trying to turn a delicate egg crepe in a skillet.
The flavor is bland enough to go with sweet or savory dishes. The other day, I met with pretty good success when I used these for chimichangas, frying them in a little oil once they were filled. They held up great, so I knew I needed to explore this technique a little more. In that first experiment, I used 3 Tablespoons of my coconut flour bake mix. Today, I just went with plain coconut flour to make it simpler. I also decided to make them a little thinner to speed up the process. I think both ways work fine. The thinner version is quicker and easier, but a little wetter and more crepe like. The thicker version is more breadlike, but a little tougher to handle and not as smooth.
Coconut Flour Tortillas
4 beaten large eggs
2 Tablespoons coconut flour (3 for a sturdier version)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Mix all ingredients. I used my bullet blender to get out all the lumps.
Choose a dinner plate with a defined center well, or in other words, a raised rim. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the plate, pressing it well into the curves of the plate at the rim. Pour the egg mixture onto the center of the plate, about the size of a small pancake. Tilt the plate to let the egg mixture run to the edges. If using the 3 Tablespoons recipe, you may need to spread it with the back of the spoon. Microwave the egg for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave oven and check to see that the egg is set in the center. If not, put it back in for 10 seconds. When completely set, peel the egg off of the plate and set it aside for the next.
If using the tortilla like a quesadilla, pan fry it to further firm it up. To use like a crepe or a softened tortilla, simply fill and heat.Makes 7-8.
These made great chicken enchiladas. They are never going to make Doritos, but they will replace tortillas in cooked recipes, or where a tortilla would be soft.
Now on to the scrumptious way we had them tonight.
2 large chicken breasts
2 cups water
1 tablespoon green chili powder
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon Jalapeno salt
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces sliced American cheese
12 low carb tortillas
1/2 shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Boil the chicken with the chili powder, bouillon and salt stirred into the water. When chicken is done, remove from heat and shred the meat. Set the meat aside. Stir in the cheeses until they melt. Fill each tortilla with shredded chicken and roll up. Line the enchiladas in a baking dish and pour the cheese sauce over the top. Add the shredded cheese and bake at 300 for 30 minutes.
For tonight's dinner, I used our 8 low carb tortillas, and 4 regular ones for my carby boys. All of us agreed they are wonderful. We do love our cheese, and this sauce is the cheesiest!
Sunday, April 3, 2011
I am in like with the new gadget I found when I went junkin' yesterday with my wonderful old friend, Donna. I found a slider pan, and it just called to me. I already loved my ground chicken patties, but this makes them even more fun. I have this thing. I really dislike handling raw chicken. I think I inherited this particular quirk from my mom, who always refused to cut up a chicken. How far we came from her grandmother who used to chase the chickens in the yard and ring their necks! I do not make a good pioneer woman, but I do make an excellent slider cook.
I got 15 sliders from two large breasts. Into my Ninja they went. I added two capfuls of Wright's liquid smoke--so much better than the others, and all natural too. I also added some black pepper, some onion powder and salt. After a few quick spins to grind them up, the neat little spoon puts just the right amount of chicken into the wells in the pan. No handling the raw meat! It then has a press that puts the squeeze on the meat and makes nice round sliders. It also helps cook them by holding in the heat. I did still turn them once to get the browning from the hotter surface. Easy stuff.
While those were cooking away, a batch of Mr. Peanut bread was baking in muffin cups. These make the perfect little buns for the sliders. I got 12 from one recipe. Each roll is cut in half to make the mini sandwich.
I also made a fresh batch of Honey Roasted Barbecue Sauce. Love that stuff. I added a little more mustard this batch and had to use the plain yellow kind. Still delish.
This is an awesome meal. I love bargains. I also picked up a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker. I am experimenting with that today too--in between getting ready for classes tomorrow. I think I know what I am taking for lunch! Sliders to go!