Low-carb Super Bowl snacks

I don’t love football, but I do love watching the Super Bowl and just hanging out with friends and eating yummy food. I read recently online that on a Keto diet you can’t even go to a party or enjoy a social night with your friends because you can’t eat anything. I strongly disagree with that! Here are my family’s favorite low carb snacks and dips you can make for a Super Bowl party or a Tuesday night at home.

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1. Meat and cheese tray. So many choices here: nuts, cheese, cheese crisps, salami, summer sausage, bacon and pepperoni. Just to name a few.

2. Chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces, you can serve these on toothpicks with cheese if you’d like. Just use a dry rub and olive oil or your favorite low carb marinade.

3. Chicken wings, just steer clear of sugary sauces. Go with just seasoning and eat with ranch and veggie sticks.

4. Buffalo chicken dip with veggies, my personal favorite is celery.  Kraft seems to be the lowest carb cream cheese I’ve found, just check your labels. This recipe is so easy!

5. These sausage balls from Keto Size Me are so good!

6. These chocolate chip cookies from Peace Love and Low Carb! Ally made them for us this weekend.

7. Stuffed jalapeno peppers with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon.

8. The cheeseburger casserole in the photo above is very good. Served with guacamole or salsa, even better. It might be more of a meal depending on the serving size, but could be a snack as well. I made a few changes to the original. I use cheddar or something other than American cheese and added peppers and bacon.

9. Bell pepper nacho boats from Skinny Ms.

10. A million and one things to do with Cut da Carb wraps…..quesadillas are the perfect finger food.

So, there you have it folks. An amazing list of just 10 snacks we can think of. Truth is, there are tons! You do not have to miss a party or dinner with friends because you are low-carb. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Unless it’s a pasta buffet, then you are on your own!

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Do you watch the Super Bowl game? Do you host or attend a party to watch the game?

What is your favorite Super Bowl snack?

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Low-carb meatball casserole

Pasta used to be a staple in my diet and I cooked it almost weekly for my family. It was probably the one thing I didn’t think I was willing to go without. Turns out, I was wrong.

Low-carb meatball casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2-2.5 pounds of meat (I used sausage and pork this time)
  • 1/4 cup Almond flour
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Onion (optional)
  • Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Onion powder
  • Basil
  • Spinach
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Heavy cream (see note below)

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grab a large bowl and add your meat, almond flour, parmesan cheese, egg, onion and spices. You’re going to have to use your hands and mix it all together. You can also add grated mozzarella cheese to the meatballs if you want. Roll the meat into balls. This is where I just kind of wing it. You don’t want them too big, they take too long to cook as it is. Sometimes they all fit in one 9×13 dish, this week I needed a second smaller dish.

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Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes to start. While the meatballs are baking get your sauce simmering on the stove. I buy the unseasoned tomatoes (Cento brand) and add fresh basil, garlic, salt, pepper, whatever seasoning you have on hand. I also add a dash of heavy cream to up the fat content. I know that’s not an actual measurement. It’s not 1/4 cup, it’s maybe 2-3 tablespoons. And a splash of red wine if I have a bottle opened.

I usually buy the whole tomatoes, it’s the lowest carb for some reason. Always check your labels!

Then I use my stick blender to puree them.

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After 30 minutes in the oven, remove the meatballs, pour the sauce over them and place back in the oven for 25-30 minutes. This is not an exact science as the length of cooking depends on the size of the meatballs. Mine usually take 70 minutes. If the sauce is bubbling too much cover your dish with foil.

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The last 10 minutes pile the fresh spinach on the top and mozzarella cheese to cover the whole casserole. Bake until cheese is melted and slightly crisp. So good.

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Serve with something green to keep this low carb. Green beans and bacon are always a great choice! And that’s just how it sounds. I cooked the bacon in the pan then add a bag of frozen green beans that I have cooked a little in the microwave. Add butter, salt and pepper. Serve quick because we all know green beans don’t stay warm!

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Here’s the final plate. Our family really likes this dish! If you have carb eaters in your family you can always add pasta on the side for them. I don’t think they will miss it though!

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Hope you enjoy this as much as we do! It makes great lunch leftovers if you have any. You can also make meatball subs using the fathead dough if you want to change things up.

Happy cooking!

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Breakfast egg muffin recipe

Meal prep is a weekly occurrence in our house. One of the easiest and my favorite is the breakfast egg muffins. It’s so much easier for me to come home from a 5AM workout and have breakfast done. I just have to throw one or two in the microwave.

This recipe is low carb and keto friendly (of course depending on what you add that can change).

Breakfast egg muffin recipe

This recipe is very easy and you can customize it any way you want. I will give you the basics and you can add what you want.

Ingredient list:

  • 12 count Muffin tin
  • 8 eggs
  • Heavy cream, about 1/4 cup at the most
  • Cheese
  • Sausage or bacon or both
  • Spinach
  • Onion
  • Peppers
  • Muffin cups (I use the parchment ones)

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I have a muffin pan that needs to be replaced so I use the parchment liners. They are perfect for this recipe. There’s just a little crispness to the outside of the eggs when I use these cups. They are optional though.

I asked Santa for a new pan, please don’t judge mine.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I cook the breakfast sausage (1/2 a package) and beat the 8 eggs with heavy cream and a little water if you like, salt, pepper, whatever spices you like in your eggs. Once the sausage is done, spoon it into the muffin cups. If you are adding onion, spinach, peppers or anything else add them onto the sausage. Then pour just a little egg mixture into each cup and top with cheese. Sometimes I use cheddar, pepper jack, monterey jack, whatever I have on hand.

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My favorite thing to add is the pureed poblano peppers if I have the time to do it. You can also use canned green chilies if you like.

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Mine take about 27 minutes at 350. I typically set the timer for 25 minutes and check them. Let them cool off, store in the fridge and you have breakfast done for hopefully a few days. Most weeks I have to make a second batch.

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Do you meal prep?

What’s always on your meal prep list?

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Low-carb Enchilada Casserole

We have adjusted very well to our low-carb lifestyle. I do get asked if I miss carbs. It’s a loaded question. If I place emotion on food, then yes I’d say I miss it. But, I don’t miss how I felt. I don’t miss being overweight despite working out 6 days a week. I don’t miss feeling like crap, that’s pretty much what it comes down to. Plus, I’ve adjusted a lot of recipes to work for us and there are TONS online, so many bloggers cooking and baking low carb, it’s hard to feel like I’m missing something.

This is a lazy enchilada casserole. I used to make it with tortillas and corn. This one replaces the tortillas with poblano peppers and just recently I added a few sheets of the Fathead dough, recipe found here. No corn at all. The Fathead dough can be used for so many things! It does have carbs, but it’s low.

Low-carb Enchilada Casserole

Ingredient list:

  • Poblano peppers, leave whole without seeds and stem
  • Ground beef, turkey or chicken. Whatever your preference.
  • Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, Pepper jack cheese, again preference.
  • Ro-tel tomatoes. I buy the brand at Aldi, it’s the lowest carb I found.
  • Fathead crust. I made 3 sheets for my 8×8 pan.
  • Cream Cheese. Philadelphia is the lowest carb I’ve found.
  • Salt, pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, taco seasoning. Whatever you like to use.
  • 8×8 pan
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Guacamole (optional)
  • Salsa (optional)

Check your brands. So many off brands add carbs, even if it’s the full fat version. I don’t quite understand that. Also, some name brands are higher than store brand. I check constantly for something better.

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Here’s the carb count of the Philadelphia, less than 1 carb so we round up. The Kroger brand I was buying had 3 carbs per serving.

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Start by roasting the poblano peppers. You can do this in advance to save time. I buy these several weeks during the month, we use them a lot. They can be roasted and frozen whole (minus the seeds and skin) or pureed for all kinds of recipes. Mostly not spicy. I did buy one batch that was!

Here’s how I roast my peppers.

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I already had Fathead dough made, in the fridge. I usually double this recipe when I make it. It freezes well. Just throw it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds to warm it up so you can roll it out.

No, it’s not perfect. 🙂

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Here it is out of the oven! Watch it closely, it will burn quick. I start mine at 5-6 minutes.

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On the stove top, cook your meat, add ro-tel and cream cheese, cook until it’s melted. I did use 1.5 packages of cream cheese last time. Depends on how much sauce you want. If you have a larger family you may want to double this whole recipe.

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So yummy!

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Next, grab your 8×8 dish and all your ingredients to start assembling. Start with Fathead dough on the bottom, layer the meat sauce, peppers and cheese.

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This is what I mean when I say leave it whole, in “sheets”.

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Now cheese. This time I did pepper jack in the casserole.

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Now continue your layers. I topped it with monterey jack slices since I ran out of shredded pepper jack.

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Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Everything is hot and cooked, it just needs to set up. I turned the broiler on at the end to get some color on the cheese.

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I served it with a salad this time. Guacamole, sour cream and salsa go great with this dish! If you have family members not watching their carbs, give them tortilla chips. I’m sure that would be tasty!

It may not be pretty, but it tastes good!

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We love our Tex-Mex food and I am so happy to be able to convert some of our favorite recipes!

Do you have a favorite Tex-Mex recipe?

Are you low-carb?

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Our low-carb life

I’ve touched a little bit on John and I eating low carb. Some people think we are crazy but it also surprises me how many people are eating this way and I just didn’t know. Besides the weight loss, we sleep better (he says I don’t snore), feel better, and no, I don’t have the crazy sweet cravings. Every once in a while I’ll make a low-carb treat because I still like to bake and so does Ally. And there are plenty of yummy low carb/sugar free desserts out there.

There are some links in this post, I don’t get anything from you clicking on them. 🙂

Our low-carb life (1)

 

John started us on the road last October and I followed in November. He really keeps me in line most of the time. I have had days where I have extra carbs, like vacation, for instance. It doesn’t take too long to get back on track though, we were strict from day 1 once we got home. Most days I don’t even think twice about it. It’s our new norm. Not a fad diet, but a lifestyle change.

I got my physical this month with x-rays, EKG, full blood panel. Everything from cholesterol to liver and all the numbers are normal or better than normal. So no, eating bacon and butter is not going to kill me. My doctor still takes a second glance at my resting heart rate and said “you don’t look 40.” Thanks, I don’t feel or act it either!

She did ask about my diet and for 2 seconds I hesitated. But she said, if it’s working for you, keep doing it. It does take a lot of self control. You really have to want it. You have to be so ready for a change that you are willing to put in the work. No matter what diet, or lifestyle change, you have to work. Anyone that tells you it’s easy is lying. Easy is ordering pizza or eating cheese fries instead of a salad with your bun-less burger.

Zucchini cheese bread (recipe here) Served with ranch or tomato sauce.

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I’ve been tossing around the idea of carb cycling or re-feed days, rarely though. I am at my goal weight but I don’t want to just start adding carbs in and start feeling like crap. I’m not talking about loaves of bread and cheesecake every week. I’m talking about rare date nights having pizza instead of chicken, or making whole wheat pancakes, something along those lines. I do not like how I feel when I over-eat on carbs and sugar. My body doesn’t like it and it tells me so.

We don’t use ketone supplements to get our bodies into ketosis, we do it with diet. Eating the right foods will do that without supplements. Yes, we eat bacon, butter, full fat dairy, cheese, beef, chicken, veggies and fruit. We steer clear of starchy veggies like potatoes and corn. We eat fruit in moderation like strawberries and blueberries. Lots of meat and veggies. Probably more veggies than I’ve ever eaten in my life.

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I can guarantee we aren’t deprived of good food. These are beef fajitas on low carb flat bread (found here) with homemade queso (NOT velveeta), guacamole under there and chips I made from the flat bread.

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I do meal prep, every week. If not, we will be eating take out. I make a breakfast casserole or egg muffins, hamburger patties, bacon, cut up lettuce and fruit and anything else I can think of. Ally has to take her breakfast to school to eat after morning practice. So she gets an egg muffin and this year she wanted sausage rolls. She gets them homemade and they are made with a low carb dough. Score! And before you ask, no her carbs are not restricted. If she wants pasta she gets it. She has chosen to cut her sugar and sweets way down and has been eating less pasta and bread lately. She’s a runner and I think she finally realized that the professional runners probably aren’t eating ice cream and brownies every night, or chips for that matter. She has made a few choices on her own. We don’t shame her or restrict her diet in any way.

Homemade meatballs served over spaghetti squash. One word, yummy.

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Some of our favorite recipes we got from Pinterest, other bloggers and every day people just trying to make this work for them. I will include a few below.

Anyone else eating low carb / keto?

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She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25

Zucchini-Poblano Lasagna {recipe}

Remember I’m not great at writing recipes, so just stay with me. This one is good. We started the Keto/Low Carb High Fat diet last fall. John started it in October and I dragged my feet for another month before getting on board. I didn’t want to tell him he was right. Last summer when I went for my check up my doctor even said that I may need to try cutting carbs or whatever it was in my diet that was adding the weight. I workout 5-6 days a week and was gaining weight. News flash: you can’t out exercise a bad diet. In case anyone was unsure.

So here we are 6 months or so in and hubby is down 50+ pounds and I’m down about 18, both of us lots of inches! Funny thing is I/we don’t really miss the carbs and sugar that much. Every once in a while I have a craving but John has some serious self control.

A lot of the recipes we use are ones other people have tried and perfected. This is one I created, although someone out there has probably done something similar. I just kinda threw some things together. A friend of mine puts green chilies in her lasagna and she brought it to me one night and it was so good! That’s what made me think to put the poblano peppers in this lasagna. Plus we’ve been using poblano peppers in a lot of recipes lately.

This recipe is low carb when compared to regular pasta lasagna, but depending on your ingredients could still be 8-10 carbs per serving. That’s way, way less than lasagna noodles! It all depends on your goal for the day.

Zucchini-Poblano Lasagna

First, roast the poblano peppers. Here’s info on how to roast the peppers. I roasted mine about 20 minutes in my oven, this recipe says 30-40. Depends on how charred you want them. Definitely place them in a covered dish and let them cool before peeling the skin and taking the seeds out.
Roast the peppers. I pureed some (more on that later) and left some in flat “sheets”. Here they are straight from the oven. Cover them and let them steam, it makes it easier to peel later.
Make your meat and sauce like normal. I typically use Jennie O’ Turkey sausage. You can use ground turkey, Italian sausage or go meatless if you prefer!
So far, the Kroger Organic 4 cheese spaghetti sauce is the lowest carb I’ve found so far in the store, already seasoned. I bought San Marzano whole tomatoes in a can this weekend and made sauce. It’s 3 carbs compared to 5 + in most jars. I found a brand called Rao’s, but it was $9.29 at Kroger. I don’t have that kind of budget!
Try not to add any other liquid because the zucchini has lots of water.
Next up, the Zucchini.
I cut up 6 this last time, but only needed 5. You may want more depending on how many people you are feeding. Roughly peel it, cut the ends off, slice very thin strips top to bottom. Don’t use the core. Cut strips all the way around. I use a trash bowl when I’m peeling and cutting veggies. Surely I’m not the only one!
Lay all the strips out on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, cover with paper towels and try to squeeze the water out. Mine sat out for several hours and still had water in them. I baked the strips for a few minutes too. Just watch them, they will burn.
Back to the peppers. Peel the charred skin, remove the core and seeds. You can see what I mean by “flat sheets”. These make good replacements for tortillas in a mexican casserole as well. Then I pureed some of the peppers in my food processor.
Pureed peppers! I save the extra for breakfast casserole, soup, just about anything you want to make yummy!
Ricotta cheese mixed with the puréed poblano peppers, if you want. I added Parmesan cheese. You can add basil, spinach, oregano, whatever you like. We have fresh basil growing in our kitchen window. I use it whenever I remember to grab it. It smells amazing!
The sauce is simmering while all this other prep is happening.
I did 3 layers total in my 8×8 pan. I started with zucchini on the bottom.
Then a layer of meat sauce.
Then add ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese.
Then I did a layer of the pepper “sheets”.
Then more meat sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese. Bottom and top was zucchini with the middle being poblano.
I baked mine for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remember the zucchini is watery, so the dish may be too. Once it sits in the fridge over night it does hold up better, but right out of the oven you will notice the water. It still tastes good, trust me! If I wasn’t in such a hurry to eat it, it might be better if it rested a little on the counter before serving. Y’all let me know if anyone tries that!
This recipe is time consuming, I’ve only made it twice and it was on my day off.  I initially cut it into 6 servings but we ended up with closer to 8 servings.
Anyone tried a zucchini lasagna?

 

Throwback Thursday: Spaghetti Squash casserole

This is one of our favorite recipes and definitely our favorite with spaghetti squash. If you missed it the first time, check it out here.

Spag squash on the plate

And if it’s easier, you can Pin it here.

Do you like spaghetti squash? What’s your favorite way to cook it?

Did you workout today?

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Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Chicken Lo Mein recipe

I am not a food blogger or photographer, please excuse the barbaric photos. 

A few months ago Ally found this recipe for Chinese Lo Mein. We tried it out and loved it. I’ve made a few adjustments and have now switched out the peanut butter for PB2. The original recipe is here.

My version of Chicken Lo Mein

Ingredients:

  • Chicken, I use chicken breast, cut up into bite size pieces and saute it in my wok with Coconut oil
  • Coconut oil or Olive oil
  • Noodles, I use Linguine but you can use whatever you like
  • Broccoli Slaw
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Green onion to garnish

Peanut Butter Sauce: I usually double the sauce recipe

  • 2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter or 4 tablespoons of PB2 with 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 Tablespoons of hot water
  • 3 Tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (I use olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

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Don’t you love my empty box? I didn’t think to take a picture before I emptied it.

You can use a wok or big sauce pan. My wok’s nonscratch surface started flaking off so it went in the trash. I used a sauce pan last night. I saute the chicken in coconut oil then add the broccoli slaw and shredded carrots to the pan, let it cook down a little and soften the veggies. Boil the noodles.

To make the sauce:

The PB2 ratio is 2 T powder to 1 T water. Since I double the sauce I used 8 T powder and 4 T water. Then add the hot water, soy sauce, oil and spices (all doubled). Mix it up until it’s all smooth.

Once the noodles are done, add in the chicken and veggies and pour the sauce on. Toss it real well and add the green onions at the end. You can also add fresh garlic and onions to the chicken when you saute it or try different veggies.

I love the texture of this dish with the crunchy veggies and the noodles. The peanut butter just gives it an extra kick.

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I decided to sub the peanut butter for PB2 because of the fat and calorie content. In a doubled sauce recipe: the reduced fat peanut butter has 400 calories and 26g fat; the PB2 has 180 calories and 6g fat. Not to mention lower carbs, no saturated fat, lower sodium and lower sugar, per serving. We got 6-7 good size servings out of this dish.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash casserole

**This recipe was originally made when we weren’t eating low-carb. I used to make it with fat free cream cheese, but now I use the full fat version. Also, switching out the tomato sauce for a lower sugar version to make it more low-carb/keto friendly.

I originally found this recipe online, but the link is no good anymore so I improvised my best from memory. Here’s my version of this yummy spaghetti squash casserole!

Spag squash complete

Start with roasting a spaghetti squash. I have tried several ways and found the best way is to cut each end off, then slice it in half. Scoop out the seeds and lay face down in a baking dish with just a little water and some spices (basil, pepper, garlic powder) Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes until tender.

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Once it’s done baking you can easily scrape the squash out with a fork. Don’t forget to scoop out the seeds before you roast it!

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While the squash is hot add the cream cheese so it melts. I start with half of a package and add more if I need it. Sometimes I roast the squash the night before so I just warm it in the microwave with the cream cheese.

ingredients Spag squash

In a large skillet cook the onion with olive oil. I take the turkey sausage out of the casings and brown in the pan with onion and garlic, drain the fat. Add 1 small can of tomato sauce and the spinach to let it start wilting.

spag squash cooking

I then add the jar of spaghetti sauce and let it cook for a few minutes. Add the sauce mixture to the spaghetti squash and cream cheese, top with mozzarella cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

  • Spaghetti squash, roasted and shredded
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage (or go meatless). Remove the casings.
  • Spaghetti Sauce, any kind. I use an organic brand from Kroger.
  • Raw Spinach
  • Cream Cheese. (Low fat, fat free, or the kind with greek yogurt)
  • Mozzarella cheese

Spag squash on the plate

This does not last long in my house. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1