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

Companion blog to the e-book
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Monday, August 31, 2015

Roasted Broccoli and Smoky Sweet Almond Salad

Sometimes food is just too beautiful. Like this salad. Gorgeous! And so delicious. It is unusual because it combines salad greens with roasted broccoli. I adore roasted veggies. The broccoli was so good. Then the almonds, who doesn't love those?

On my anniversary date, John had a salad with glazed walnuts. Of course, that was a honey or sugar glaze, but it got me thinking. I am still really trying to keep calories low, so I wondered if a glaze of fat free sugar free dressing would hold the sweetener on the nut. I am so happy to say that it did. The sliced almonds in this salad are incredible. Just a touch of tart to go with the sweetness.

Then the slight bit of the red onion and the burst of flavor from the grape tomatoes. This is salad heaven. It feels substantial with the roasted broccoli, and so full of flavor. I dare say it would be fabulous for entertaining--but treat yourself!

Funny that this inspiration turned out so gorgeous and delicious. This is part of my lunchbox themed Diner News. I didn't realize how "fancy" it would feel while I was developing it. Still great for the highlight of a lunch salad bowl, but definitely nearly gourmet. Most of the other recipes in this issue are a bit more like brown bag fare.

Roasted Broccoli and Smoky Sweet Almond Salad

8 oz broccoli florets
2 tsp refined coconut oil or MCT oil
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3 tbsp Skinny Girl Poppyseed Dressing (divided use)
1 packet sweetener (I used stevia and erythritol)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
4 cups diced lettuce (Romaine and Red Leaf)
12 grape tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced red onion

Toss broccoli with oil. Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.  Combine almonds with 1 tbsp dressing, sweetener packet and paprika. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Stir and return to oven for another 5 minutes. Let cool. Divide lettuce between 2 lunch bowls. Top with cooled broccoli, tomatoes, and onion. Just before eating, toss with additional poppy seed dressing and the almonds.

Serves 2:  213 calories      9 net g carb

If you do make this ahead of time, be sure to add the nuts at the last minute so they retain their crunch. You can use any dressing you choose, but I do like Skinny Girl Poppyseed dressing. If you aren't watching calories, use your favorite sweet vinaigrette. Be sure to use the smoked paprika, as that flavor is key.

 The Diner News for September will go out tomorrow. I will do another post to show you some of the goodies included to make work week and school lunches more delicious. I start back to teaching next week, so it is good timing for me. Even if you don't work outside the home, it is fun sometimes to pack food up and eat on the patio or in the park, getting some sunshine.

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book 
or the latest version for couples and singles, A Table for Two here. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Quiche Cups

Crustless quiche is a classic low carb food. Quiche tastes good any time of day, at any temperature. Those facts make quiche great for lunch bags. But baking it up in individual cups is even better. Quiche cups in lunch boxes are neat. They are super quick to pack, requiring no assembly time in the morning. They can be baked ahead and frozen. Plus, quiche comes in an almost infinite variety!
This particular recipe, developed for September's Diner News dedicated to lunchbox foods, has the popular flavors of Buffalo style chicken. Just enough heat. A light crunch from the celery baked right in. The creamy flavor of the blue cheese drizzle. So good.   I bake mine in silicone cups for easy transfers and reheating, but they are great popped out of any muffin tin also. Finger food that is tasty and fun to eat.

Buffalo Chicken Quiche Cups
1 1/2 cups cooked, diced chicken breast
1/4 cup chicken wing sauce
2 oz Neufchatel cheese
2 ribs celery
4 eggs
3 tsp blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing

Stir the wing sauce into the diced chicken. Add cream cheese and celery. Stir. Add eggs and stir. Spoon into 6 sprayed silicone muffin cups. Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and drizzle 1/2 tsp dressing over the top.

Per Cup:   112 calories   2 net g carb

I use chicken wing sauce that already has butter flavor added, Louisiana Supreme, but you can use any hot sauce. The mini quiches don't have to be topped with blue cheese dressing if you don't like that. Ranch is good too, or you can leave them plain. Still yummy. Plan on adding some of these to your lunchbag. They are a lot less messy than Buffalo Chicken Wings. Be watching for more on the upcoming Brownbag edition of the Diner News. It will be packed with great ideas. I am looking forward to packing my lunch again. 

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book 
or the latest version for couples and singles, A Table for Two here. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Broccoli Bites

I was grabbing a recipe today from Low Carbing Among Friends Volume 2. Sometimes we food bloggers get so wrapped up in trying to think up new recipes, we forget about some of our favorites from years past. This is one of those. I love my cake pop appliance. This is one recipe I need to make again. Broccoli Bites are so fun to make and eat. This machine does not have to make cake, I promise!

Even though this fun treat was good enough to put in the book, it was among the recipes I published in the Diner News rather than here on the blog. Afterall, if we share everything we make on our blogs, would you still buy our books? I dunno. But, because I just put these on my menu for the week, I decided to share this fun one with all of you...especially those I have convinced to buy a cake pop machine. But don't worry, you can make them as mini muffins too. Just not quite as fun. If you happen to be looking for creative lunch box items, give these a try. I love having something fun in my lunchbox.

Broccoli Bites

1 cup broccoli, chopped 
1/cup Parmesan cheese 
1/4 cup water 
2 eggs
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp olive oil 
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 
4 oz Cheddar cheese cubes (1 per bite) 

In food processor, chop broccoli. Remove from food processor and measure 1 cup  broccoli. Add Parmesan cheese, water, eggs, coconut flour, olive oil, baking powder and salt. Process until mixture is blended. Stir in shredded cheese and chopped broccoli by hand.

Place a scant tbsp of batter in the cavity of a cake pop machine or mini muffin tin. Press a cheese cube into the batter. Add additional batter over the top of the cheese cube, making sure to seal the cube entirely with the batter. Bake until golden on the outside. Cake pops bake in about 7 to 8 minutes. Mini muffin bites bake in a 350°F  oven for about 15 minutes.

Helpful Hint: I cut up Cheddar snack sticks for the centers. String cheese would also work well.

Makes about 22 pops. 2 per serving:  70 calories     1 net g carb

These Broccoli Bites are listed in the cookbook as appetizers, but they are great as a side dish, picnic food or lunchbox treat. What a fun way to eat your veggies.

Speaking of lunchbox fun, I am really happy to have a teaching assignment starting after Labor Day. I love teenagers...especially the ones who need a little extra understanding. I am only promised 9 weeks at part time at this alternative school, but I hope things will go well and I can continue. After closing my own school, I was in such a funk. I think this will be a good thing. With teaching part time and blogging, recipe developing and working with the diabetics group, I think I will have full time hours again! Giving up control has always been tough for me. I am trying desperately to go where God leads. So far, he seems to be sending opportunities to do a lot of good for a lot of different people. That makes me happier.

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book 
or the latest version for couples and singles, A Table for Two here.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Chicken and Green Chile Volcanoes

My daughter-in-law is a New Mexico girl. She loves her green chiles. After a recent visit to both sets of parents, my son told me how those who reside in Albuquerque seem to offer green chile on everything. He even took some photos of some of the amazing food he ate there. See, I do have some influence on him. He now takes pictures of his food too.

I am sure the green chile they get in New Mexico is a cut above what I use here, but it is still all good. I buy my chiles by the institutional sized can. I open it up and freeze them in smaller containers. Basically everything I can find in my kitchen at that point! Ice cube trays, 2 oz condiment containers, etc. So much more economical that way. I hate seeing those tiny cans at the grocery for over a dollar. I also have some amazing green chile powder that I ordered from New Mexico. I am pretty stingy with that. Since you all probably don't have access to that easily, I opted not to put it in this recipe, Still good...if you appreciate chiles. But if you happen to have some, by all means add a half a tsp to the ground chicken. This way is very mild. Even my hubby had no complaints.

Why ground chicken?  I use ground chicken for several reasons. Although I am not a fan of the texture of the raw chicken, I do really like it once it is cooked. It is a little too sticky raw, but I can work with it. That is why the edges on these patties are not entirely smooth. It grabs the spoon a bit. I don't try to shape it with my hands like I would beef. But hey, ground turkey has the same problem, so why hate on the chicken? This is a really finely ground batch, and that is because of reason number two. I love to infuse flavor into the ground meat rather than have it sit on top. With ground chcken, you can mix all the good add ins right into the meat. I ground this chicken at home and added the chiles right in the processor with the chicken breasts. That's flavor infused. Did you notice that I said chicken breasts? That is reason  number three. I like the fact that this ground meat is very lean. I am certainly not fat phobic, but I prefer leaner ground meats. They hold their shape better and make less mess. Plus, I do watch my calories these days and I would rather put my fats into coconut oil candies. You can certainly grind your own from dark meat, or buy ground chicken. I never seem to see it in my stores, but it must be out there somewhere...  The last reason I like ground chicken is the price. Beef costs are soaring. Good quality turkey is expensive. Chicken breasts seem to go on sale often. That makes ground chicken about half the price (or less) of many other ground meats.

I have told you all this before, but for you newbies, I use my Ninja Master Prep to grind chicken breasts in under a minute. It takes longer to wash the blades and lid than to process the chicken. I am pretty picky about cleaning all the nooks and crannies since I use this for protein shakes as well. That part is a pain. Food processors would work too; they might take a bit longer. That all said, now back to this recipe.

The 'Volcano" before filling
Volcanoes -- such a fun name. The lava here is a thick cream cheese, cheese and green chile mixture. So good. The cone of the volcano is the chile infused chicken patty. A couple of month's back I made the beer can burger patties for the "manfood" edition of the Diner News. For that recipe, you form a patty around the base of a beer can to create a bowl shape. Then you fill the bowl with all sorts of man pleasing goodies and bake. They were great. This is a cousin to that idea. The chicken is a bit too sticky to form around a can, but I improvised. I simply place a blob of chicken onto the baking sheet. Used an oil coated spoon to form it into a rough ball shape, then sprayed the bottom of a glass with coconut oil cooking spray. Pressed it into the chicken to form a crater. That is the inactive volcano because the cream cheese lava doesn't come until later. Got the idea? Let's get to the recipe.

Chicken and Green Chile Volcanoes

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 oz canned green chiles
1/2 tsp garlic salt
Coconut oil cooking spray
4 oz neufchatel or cream cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Grind chicken breasts with 4 oz green chiles and garlic salt. On a rimmed baking sheet, spoon the ground chicken into 4 mounds. Spray the back of a spoon with cooking spray and spray each mound as well. Smooth the mounds into round shapes. Spray the base of drinking glass with the pan spray. Press it into the mounds of chicken to form a well. Use a circular motion to make the well wider, and a twisting motion to release the glass. Repeat with each mound, spraying the glass in between each. Use the spoon to smooth the edges a bit for more even baking. Place into a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

When cooking time is up, remove chicken from oven and collect roughly 2 tbsp of cooking juices. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, the cooking juices, Cheddar and about 2 ounces of the chiles. Spoon this mixture into the wells in the chicken patties. Top each with the remaining green chile. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Serves 4:  229 calories   3 net g carb

Yum. I served this new dish to my middle son Monday night. He gave a big thumbs up. We had a salad on the side along with grilled peppers, zucchini and onions. We have one leftover and it is lunch today. Woohoo for me!

I am crazy busy again. Working on a diabetic cookbook project for a wellness group. Gotta get back to it! Stay cool, but go ahead and turn on the oven for this one.

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book 
or the latest version for couples and singles, A Table for Two here.  

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Zucchini Hummus

Hope the summer crop is a bumper one for you! This is the time of year we are usually up to our eyeballs in zucchini. That is a good thing. But in this weather, zucchini bread is not such a great idea. I don't know about you, but I try not to turn on my oven. I even hate standing over the stove in the heat. This amazing little recipe is so healthy for you--and it uses RAW zucchini. It becomes an incredibly light, yet flavorful dip. Eat with celery sticks and you can give yourself a big pat on the back for getting in those veggies.

This month's Diner News is all about avoiding the heat in the kitchen. I have lots of ways to keep us fed, while keeping cool. Not just popsicles and ice cream, but some fantastic salads! Real summertime meals. Snacks too, like this wonderful stuff.

This one is a healthy snack. I have to say I loved it. I am a lover of hummus. This is much lighter--even lighter than my cauliflower variety. I chose not to peel the zucchini, so it is lightly green and so pretty. It is a wonderful snack or lunchbox treat. My mom wants to thin it just a tad and make it into a cold soup. She plans to serve it to her book club. Yum.

Zucchini Hummus

1 large zucchini
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sea salt

Cut zucchini into large chunks. Place in food processor or good blender. Add remaining ingredients and process until very smooth. Serve with vegetable dippers or low carb crackers. Thin it a bit and it makes a terrific cold soup appetizer as well.

Serves 4:  97 calories  3 net g carbs
Serves 6:  65 calories  2 net g carb

Maybe I have peaked your curiosity about no cook August? Here is a sampling of some of the recipes in this month's Diner News. 

Steak Italiano Salad

Tomatoes Alaska

Gingered Napa Cabbage Salad

Coconut Cream Pie Smoothie

Grown Up Wine Slush

Mexican Chopped Salad

Strawberry Limeade

Tuna Nicoise Salad

Microwave Zucchini Chips

Simple South of the Border Soup

Tropical Punch Pop

Southwestern Cobb Salad

Honest Fizz Orange Cream Soda

Summer Haystack Salad

I bet you want to order the Diner News now! It is a deal at just $6 a year.

Get more great  low carb recipes at Low Carbing Among Friends.

 Order any of our great cookbooks at

Order my original e-book 
or the latest version for couples and singles, A Table for Two here.