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

Companion blog to the e-book
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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Man Pleaser Spaghetti Squash and Sausage

"Bacon Bits are like the Fairy Dust of the Food Community."  Jim Gaffigan.

So True. Everything may actually be better with bacon. Some even call it "Meat Candy."  I don't know about that one, but I do know that some bacon will make my hubby eat things he would otherwise turn his nose up to. Like Spaghetti squash. Butter won't do the trick. Neither will cheese. But add bacon and brats? You have a hubby pleaser!

The bacon flavor comes double--even triple-- in this recipe. First and foremost, is the wonderful flavor of the Johnsonville Brats--the Cheddar and Bacon Brat. Not a bad carb option at 2 carbs per link. Gluten free too. These are super tasty.

The next layer of bacon flavor comes in your choice of options. I used Hormel Bacon Sprinkles. Tiny bits of real bacon that adds just a touch of bacony goodness to so many foods. And no prep for me. I can just shake them out of a bottle. You can also use J & D Bacon Salt. If you want to spend some extra time in the kitchen, I am certain some home fried bacon crumbles would be amazing too. But I am lazy. Sometimes. Like today. The 3rd bacon flavor wave comes from the Bacon Ranch dressing. That is my hubster's favorite.

Another lazy thing I do is to cook my spaghetti squash in the pressure cooker. So easy to handle. I like the texture too. I cut mine in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, then pressure steam (with a cup of water in the base)  for 12 minutes. This is slightly undercooked--perfect because we will be baking again once we have that yummy sausage filling.

Man Pleaser Spaghetti Squash and Sausage

1 spaghetti squash
4 Johnsonville Cheddar and Bacon Brats
1/2 onion
4 tbsp bacon ranch dressing
1/2 tsp Bacon Salt  or 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp  Hormel Bacon Sprinkles
1 cup white cheddar cheese

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. (They cut easier if microwaved 5 minutes and cooled) Cook squash  in an oven or pressure cooker until the skin pierces easily with a knife.

While squash is cooking, brown the brats in a skillet for 5 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup water and braise the brats in a lidded skillet over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add sliced onion. Sauté until onion is golden. Remove sausages and slice into rounds.

Cut squash halves half again, leaving you with 4 wedges. Lightly beak up squash with the tines of a fork, but leave the outer shell intact. Distribute  1 tbsp Ranch dressing into the squash strands of each wedge. Sprinkle  Bacon salt or Bacon Sprinkles and salt over strands. Top with 2 tbsp of cheese on each wedge. Divide the sausage and onion mixture among the wedges. Top with remaining cheese. Place into a 425 degree oven until cheese is melted and  just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Drizzle with a touch more Bacon Ranch Dressing and Bacon Sprinkles for garnish.

Serves 4:  approx.  483 calories   12 net g carb (2 fiber)

So that is my culinary artistry for this week. I needed easy since I made a few dozen cake balls for last night's prom. The theme was a night in the Big Apple, so I made them in the colors of Tiffany's of New York. Not sure the students picked up on that one. So my cakepop maker got a work out, but not a low carb one this time! My cake pops are on the right side of the photo--almost cropped out. Funny how I don't get good shots for foods I don't make for the blog! It was a fun event, though tiring too!

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Hot Cuppa Inspiration - Roastaroma

Some mornings you just need your coffee. It is your friend. Sometimes you crave it at night, but just don't no what to do with all that energy at 2 a.m. Enter Roastaroma. It's not coffee. Now don't get me wrong. It doesn't even taste like coffee. When I first got it, excited by the reviews of all the folks who replace coffee cravings with this caffeine free herbal tea, is was quite underwhelmed. Sure, it was interesting. I didn't have that herbal tea undertone that all caffeine free teas seem to have to me. (Is it just me or do so many seem to taste alike regardless of flavor?) And it was kinda weak for my dark coffee loving palette. It was interesting. There is chicory, roasted barley and a touch cocoa in there. I like it, but I knew I was never going to crave it. It reminded me too much of all the coffee substitute concoctions our family tested out while we studied the Civil War. In the spirit of adventure, and willing to face hardships like the army boys did, we tried everything from chicory to toasted corn to peanuts brews. They were disgusting for the most part, but we tried. Yep, we were that family. But it was fun...and memorable.

So with its lackluster appearance in the Marshall home, this blend has been sitting ignored since the holidays. Today, I was totally out of coffee. Terrible, since I have a guest this week. I decided to brew this up really strong and add some other ingredients to amp the texture and flavor. I think I really found a winner. Look at the froth on top. The taste is much richer than my first taste test with a few additions. Granted it will still not be my morning eye opener, but the Roastaroma will combine nicely with my add ins to  make a fun coffee house kind of drink. For the Diner News, I recently made a coffee as a meal recipe that is very similar. I took the same ingredients, minimized them a bit, and made a frothy, sweet hot beverage you can enjoy any time of day with healthy ingredients and not too many calories. Up for the adventure?

Frothy Roastaroma

1 mug strongly brewed Roastaroma herbal tea from Celestial Seasonings
1 tsp coconut oil (I use refined with no coconut taste)
1 tsp collagen peptides or unflavored gelatin
1 tsp whey protein powder
1/8 tsp sunflower lecithin
pinch salt
sweetener to taste

Brew the tea for 5 minutes. Pour into a blender. (I used my bullet blender) Add coconut oil, collagen, whey protein, lecithin, salt and sweetener. If using a bullet blender, shake and open cap to release pressure before blending. Process 10-15 seconds. Pour into a mug and enjoy the creamy, frothy topping.

Serves 1: 50 calories  1 g carb

I love my flavored teas. I am kind of a collector, you  might say. This particular one is a little hard to find, but you can order it online at Vitacost, and it is on sale right now. No, I don't get paid anything for recommending the tea or the store. Just something I tried and decided to share with you. Feel free to share any of your finds here. I would love to feature them.

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Love the recipes I share on this blog? My ebook helps you plan and prep to stay healthy 24/7.