Category Archives: Low Carb

Herb-Roasted Root Veggies

I’ve been LOVING the fall veggies this year.  That means much experimenting with cooking and combining them in different ways with awesome results!  This is a simple mixture of roasted root veggies that you can mix and match however you’d like.  I used beets, white sweet potatoes and carrots, but if you like something else better (or don’t like some that I used), any root vegetables would work great in this.  I do this all the time with regular potatoes or just carrots, but this is definitely a nice twist.  The sweeter veggies actually caramelize as they cook, making this a sweet and savory treat indeed.  My kids gobbled up huge piles of these.  If you’re looking for an interesting but easy side dish for Thanksgiving, look no further.  These are as gorgeous to look at as they are delicious.

Herb-Roasted Root Veggies.  As beautiful as they are delicious!

Herb-Roasted Root Veggies. As beautiful as they are delicious!

Herb-Roasted Root Veggies

1 large white sweet potato
2 large beets
6 large carrots
Olive oil
Fresh herbs (I used rosemary, thyme and sage), chopped
Salt & pepper

Heat oven to 400˚.  Peel vegetables and chop into similar size pieces (about the size of a french fry).  Lay out on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Scatter herbs on top, add a dash of kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Toss about with your fingers and spread out evenly.

All ready to roast.  Minimal tossing will prevent the beets from turning everything pink.

All ready to roast. Minimal tossing will prevent the beets from turning everything pink.

Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once about halfway through.  Veggies are done when they are tender and starting to brown on the edges.  Serves 4.

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Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken

When I was a kid, every once in a while we’d pick up a bucket of chicken for dinner.  This was a real treat.  I liked the chicken and LOVED the mashed potatoes that always accompanied it.  I’m not such a fan anymore.  It’s been this way for a number of years, ever since that fateful day as a teen when I dived into the bucket for my favorite piece – the drumstick – and came away with a drumstick…and a gnarly, extra crispy chicken foot still attached.  Yikes.

These days, I would probably be less squeamish about the foot, but more so about the quality of the food and the unhealthy way it’s cooked at most fast food places.  Besides, I always felt shorted on the drumstick front.  A whole bucket of chicken and most of it not what I wanted.  It makes so much more sense to cook it myself.  I like to buy the “family pack” of chicken legs and cook that whole sucker up all at once.  It usually makes enough for 2-3 meals for my little family, or it’s great if you’re feeding a crowd.

This is an easy recipe and it turned out so pretty!  I recommend marinating the chicken for a few hours (or all day) but you don’t have to if you don’t have time.  I wanted the texture to be similar to a roasted chicken so I packed them all together in a roasting dish.  For quicker cook times and more crispy chicken, you can lay them out on a baking sheet instead.  But this made for a pretty presentation and the chicken was melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken.  So yummy!

Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken. So yummy!

Citrus-Herb Roasted Chicken
(slightly adapted from thecomfortofcooking.com)

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 whole lemons, one juiced and zested, and one sliced
2 whole oranges, one juiced and zested, and one sliced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
12-20 pieces chicken drumsticks (and/or thighs)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
1 tablespoon dried or fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, sugar, lemon juice and zest, orange juice and zest, Italian seasoning, paprika, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Add marinade to a large plastic bag or baking dish (I prefer to use a plastic bag for marinated since it’s easy to rotate and get the marinade on all the parts equally.  I set the bag inside a baking dish just in case it leaks).

Place chicken in a large casserole dish.  Since my pan was the deeper sort, I placed my chicken so the small ends were down in the bottom and the larger ends poked up (think chicken leg bouquet). Place parts skin side up and spread them out evenly in the pan. Pour marinade all over chicken, turning pieces to coat all sides. Arrange slices of lemon, orange and onion around and under the chicken. Sprinkle all over generously with thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.

All ready to pop in the oven.

All ready to pop in the oven.

Bake uncovered for about 1 hour – hour & 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and juices run clear. (If you use breasts for this recipe, the cooking time should only be around 40 minutes). Remove to a serving platter and garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs, if desired.

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Tomato Quiche Cups

I love quickie breakfasts.  Even more, I love quickie breakfasts that are delicious.  Baked eggs are an easy and very tasty way to start the day.  Ever since I bought my ramekins, these have been coming out of my oven on a regular basis.  What I really love about them is that there are so many variations!  Whatever your imagination (and refrigerator) can dream up will most likely turn into a tasty breakfast.

Sometimes I just break the eggs into the cups on top of the veggies and meat.  But I was in the mood for something a bit fluffier so I added a little cream and beat it into the eggs for a more quiche-like texture.  The result?  Fluffy, light and oh so good!

Pretty and so good!

So pretty and so good!

Tomato Quiche Cups

For each cup:

1plum tomato, diced
1 oz. hard salami, cut into matchsticks or small cubes (1-2 tbsp)
2 slices brie cheese
2 eggs
1 tbsp. heavy cream
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray your ramekins with cooking spray.  Place tomatoes and salami in the bottom.

Tomato & salami.  Feel free to sub bacon or pepperoni, or leave out for a vegetarian version.

Tomato & salami. Feel free to sub bacon or pepperoni, or leave out for a vegetarian version.

Top with brie.

Top with brie.  Feel free to use a different cheese if you prefer (or no cheese).

Top with brie. Feel free to use a different cheese if you prefer (or no cheese).

Whisk together eggs, cream and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Pour over veggies and cheese.

All ready to go in the oven.  Be sure to make on a baking sheet, just in case they spill over just a bit as they cook.

All ready to go in the oven. Be sure to make on a baking sheet, just in case they spill over just a bit as they cook.

Place ramekins on a baking sheet (sometimes they poof up so much you get a little overflow so this is a good idea).  Bake 15-20 minutes until eggs are set.  The quiche will be poofed up when you first take it out.

Let sit for a couple of minutes.  The eggs will settle as it cools, looking more like this:

Deflated a bit after cooling a few minutes.  Dig in!

Deflated a bit after cooling a few minutes. Dig in!

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Tossed Caprese Salad

It’s nice to have a salad once in a while that doesn’t involve lettuce.  When you eat salad often (which I try to do) sometimes you just can’t look at another lettuce leaf.  There is just something about this simple salad that reminds me of summer.  And truthfully, summer is my favorite time to make it, with vine-ripened tomatoes and basil from the garden.  But I make it year round, because I love these flavors together so much.  And even in winter the cherry or grape tomatoes taste sweet and juicy. Do yourself a favor and spring for the fresh mozzarella for this one.  The taste and texture are completely different from the rubbery stuff and well worth the extra buck or two.

So toss this one together, kick back, and think sweet thoughts of summer days.

Tossed Caprese Salad

Tossed Caprese Salad

Tossed Caprese Salad

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (I usually leave the tomatoes out at room temperature for maximum flavor)
1/2 cup basil leaves, torn or sliced in ribbons
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
1-2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra version olive oil
Salt & fresh ground pepper

Toss together all ingredients until the oil and vinegar coat the cheese and tomatoes somewhat evenly.  Serve at room temperature.

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Apple Pomegranate Slaw

I am loving Fall this year!  Well, I love Fall every year.  The pretty colors, the crisp mornings, and yes, even the rain.  I like it.  So sue me.

The other thing I love about Fall is the produce that comes into season.  Honeycrisp apples (my favorite of all the apples) and pomegranates!  When those ugly red bundles of joy hit the shelves my heart goes pitter pat.  Yes, they are a bit of a pain to pick apart.  Yes, they stain your fingers.  I don’t care, they are wonderful!  And they are really good for you!  Eat them, eat them now!

I made up this recipe on the fly the other day when I needed a quick side dish.  And can I just say, YUM!  This is easily one of my favorite cole slaw variations to date.

Apple Pomegranate Slaw

Apple Pomegranate Slaw

Apple Pomegranate Slaw

1 cup purple cabbage, shredded or chopped
2-3 cups green cabbage, shredded or chopped
1/2 pomegranate (seeds only)
1 apple (I used Honeycrisp but any kind will work), shredded
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. yellow or dijon mustard
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients.  Serve immediately.

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Brown Sugar Chili Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Crema

The photos had me drooling.  I spotted this on one of my favorite blogs and I had to make it.  Immediately.  And let me tell you, it was amazing. And to top it off, it is one of those recipes that is easy enough to make on any weeknight, but fancy enough for special guests too.

You have to make this.

Sweet with a tiny touch of spice, cooled with a creamy avocado sauce.  The little tang of lime.  Perfection.  I’m told it’s not bad form at all to lick the crema bowl (good thing!).

If you only try one new salmon recipe this year, make it this one.  Easily in my top 10!

Tastes as delicious as it looks!

Could it possibly taste as delicious as it looks?  Absolutely!

Brown Sugar Chili Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Crema
(from canyoustayfordinner.com)

For the crema:
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
2 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh parsley (optional, I didn’t have any so I left it out)
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp. salt.

For the salmon:
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 – 5oz. salmon filets
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lime, sliced into rounds (at least 4 slices)
In a blender or food processor, combine crema ingredients and blend until smooth.  If you want the sauce thinner, you can add a bit of water to thin it (I didn’t).
In a small bowl combine brown sugar, chili powder, salt and cayenne.  Sprinkle over fish and rub into all sides of the filets.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium high heat. Add 2 of the salmon filets (skin-side-up if they have skin on) and cook, undisturbed, until the underside is crisp and just beginning to blacken, about 4 minutes. Flip the filets and cook an additional 4 minutes, until the fish feels firm to the touch. Remove to a plate immediately. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add the remaining 2 filets of salmon and repeat the cooking process. Once all of the salmon is cooked and transferred to a plate, add the lime slices to the now-empty pan and cook just until they begin to caramelize, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
To serve, top filets with a generous dollop of crema and press a caramelized lime into the top of each filet.
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Moroccan Chicken with Eggplant

I really like chicken, but man it can get boring, especially if you fall into a rut where you are making the same thing over and over again.  Never fear!  This recipe will pull you out of your chicken rut.  Close your eyes, take a bite, and take a little trip across the world while your taste buds do a little happy dance.

Don’t be alarmed by the long list of ingredients.  Most are spices that you probably already have in your cabinet (and if you don’t, you need them!).  I am not a big eggplant fan, but I really liked it in this dish, since it soaked up the flavor of that lovely sauce.  And the chicken was so tender it completely fell apart and melted in our mouths.  If you REALLY hate eggplant, I think this dish would be just as good with mushrooms (and give you a similar chewy texture).  Next time I make it (which will be soon!) I know I’m planning to throw a few in there.

I served this over couscous, which I kicked up a notch by mixing it with some dried fruit (a mixture of golden raisins, dried blueberries and cranberries) and some slivered almonds.  You could also just use rice or another grain.  You don’t have to serve it with a starch, but that sauce is definitely worth soaking up with something!

Moroccan Chicken with Kicked Up Couscous

Moroccan Chicken with Kicked Up Couscous

Moroccan Chicken with Eggplant
(adapted from eatgood4life.com)

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cups water
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (go ahead and use the stuff in a plastic lemon in a pinch)
12  chicken thighs, fat removed
1 small to medium eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tbsp marjoram
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds or slivered almonds

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook until onions are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add paprika, salt, turmeric, coriander, fennel, pepper, cumin, and ginger, stir for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, water, and lemon juice and bring to a boil.

Arrange all chicken in a single layer in the pot and spoon some sauce over. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir eggplant and marjoram into chicken. Carefully stir and cook uncovered 10 more minutes over medium to high heat until chicken is tender and the eggplant is fully cooked. Season stew to taste with more lemon juice, salt and pepper if you like. Transfer chicken to a large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with almonds and cilantro.

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Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad

I’ve been eating this salad all summer.  It’s pretty, refreshing and really, really tasty!  Especially nice for large groups and potlucks, this recipe is easy to double, triple or more.  Everything can be made ahead; simply wait until serving time to toss with the dressing for an easy, crowd-pleasing dish.  And if you don’t have a crowd, no problem!  More for you.

 

Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad

Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad

Strawberry  Poppy Seed Salad

1 head romaine lettuce
1 head red leaf lettuce (or baby spinach)
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. raw sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. poppy seeds

In a small bowl mix onion, mayo, vinegar, sugar and milk.  Mix well and set aside.  You can do this ahead of time and refrigerate if you’d like. In a large bowl toss together lettuces and strawberries.  Toss with dressing right before serving.

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Festive Black Bean Salad

Easy, pretty and delicious.  This salad is hearty enough to eat as a main dish – I usually throw it over the top of a pile of greens in that case – or great as a side with pretty much anything.  I especially like it for BBQs and potlucks because it doesn’t have to be refrigerated and tastes great at room temperature.  This will also keep in the fridge for several days so I usually double the recipe so I have yummy leftovers.  If you like it spicy, toss in a little finely diced jalapeno for an extra kick.

Festive Black Bean Salad

Festive Black Bean Salad

Festive Black Bean Salad

1-2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 orange (or red or yellow) bell pepper, diced
1-2 diced tomato
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
Salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients.  Eat!

Festive Black Bean Salad

Festive Black Bean Salad

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April’s Famous Salsa

I recently reconnected with my stepbrother after a number of years.  The first thing he told me (not kidding!) was that in all the years since we’d seen each other he had yet to find a salsa that measured up to mine.  A proud moment for me as a big sister, a cook, and a salsa lover.  🙂

And he’s not wrong.  Not to toot my own horn (okay, maybe a little), but this stuff is pretty awesome.

You can make this chunky by just pulsing in a food processor, or smoother by using a blender.  For this batch, I used the blender.  During the height of tomato season I use fresh tomatoes, but most of the year canned tomatoes work just fine.  I especially like the newish “fire-roasted” diced tomato variety, for a little extra smoky flavor.  You can also roast the veggies before throwing them in for an extra smoky finish as well.

April's Famous Salsa

April’s Famous Salsa

April’s Famous Salsa

1/2 cup red or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 – 1 jalapeno, (green or red or a bit of both – stemmed & seeded)
3-4 tomatillos, husked and quartered
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 handful fresh cilantro (about 1/3 – 1/2 cup)
1 can diced (fire-roasted or regular) tomatoes (or use 3-4 large ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped)

In a blender or food processor, add onion, jalapeno, garlic, tomatillos, lime juice and cilantro.  Pulse or puree (pulse for chunkier texture, puree for smoother salsa).  Scrape down sides and add tomatoes, salt and cumin.  Pulse to combine.  Check texture and blend more if you’d like it smoother.  Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.

Makes about 2 cups.  Store in an airtight container.  This will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks (if it lasts that long!).

April's Famous Salsa.  I eat this on just about everything.

April’s Famous Salsa. I eat this on just about everything.

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