Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie

I am fortunate to have a spouse who has been willing to “eat clean” the way I need to.  This has been a godsend, as I don’t have to come up with two dinners each night!  Last week, we were in a rut of what to do with our grass fed hamburger, and he came up with this, combining an old favorite with new “go to” replacements for our carbs.  Specifically, cauliflower mash for potatoes, and green beans for peas.  It was a hit!  We made a double recipe and then didn’t have to cook for a few nights.  WIN-WIN!

Steve’s Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie  (printable copy here)

1 Lbs grass fed ground beef or ground lamb
1 Tbl Oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 chopped green onion
1 medium chopped yellow onion
1 Tbl arrowroot (you can use cornstarch, but it adds carbs)
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Thyme
1 tsp Pepper (black, or aleppo, both work well)
1 cup Water
1 T organic tomato paste
2 T organic fresh parsley
1 cup steamed green beans

for topping:

1 head cauliflower
1 T ghee or grass fed butter
2 teaspoons salt OR teaspoon of chicken stock mix (the concentrated kind, I use “Better than Bouillon” Organic Chicken Base)
grated fresh black pepper (optional)

Optional:

8 Tbl shredded cheddar cheese
4 Tbl shredded parmesan
Sprinkle the top with paprika

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Trim the cauliflower stems off the flowerettes, and cook till very soft. Mash with the butter and add bouillon, and set aside for topping.
  3. In a hot skillet, brown the meat in the oil with the garlic, onions and green onion. When browned and the onion is tender, add salt, pepper and arrowroot.
  4. Cook 3-4 minutes, then add tomato paste and water and cook until thick and creamy.
  5. Add green beans and parsley. Taste and season at this point.  If you like it spicier, add more pepper.
  6. Place in an uncovered casserole dish, and top evenly with the mashed cauliflower and add both grated cheeses. Bake 20 min until golden brown. Serves 4.

Nutrition Info (using all ingredients, including cheese)

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Chicken Kebabs

2017-01-23-18-56-01Chicken Keema Kebabs

Healthy doesn’t have to be bland.  These Pakistani inspired Chicken Kebabs are an example of healthy and delicious.  “Keema” is somewhat of a catch-all in South Asian cooking for most ground meat mixtures. Spices and meats can vary wildly from one keema to the next, and then they can be prepared in many different ways, including stewing, pan frying, or skewering and grilling.  We grill this recipe, but you could also use the broiler or a stove top cast iron grill.  Create your own version by experimenting with spices!
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes (with 20 more optional for frig/freezer time)
  • Cook Time: 12 Minutes
  • Total Time: approximately 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 kebabs (feeds 2-4 based on side dishes)

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 pound ground chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated onion
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh garlic, minced (2 large or 2-4 small cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons finely diced Thai green chilies or jalapeno if you can’t find Thai
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Equipment

  • 4 flat edged skewers, (or 4 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 min)
  • food processor with metal blade

Procedurechicken-kebab

  1. Place cumin and coriander seeds in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind into a fine powder.  Do not use your coffee grinder for this! (or your coffee will take on a distinctly odd flavor!)  I have a small grinder I use for spices only.  If you don’t have a grinder, use a mortar and pestle and grind them.  The amount is small and it will be easy.
  2. If you can’t find ground chicken, put very cold, partly frozen chicken cubes into your processor, and pulse very quickly until ground, being careful not to overdo it or you’ll have chicken paste.  Because they can get dry, I use chicken thighs.
  3. In a large bowl mix together ground cumin and coriander seeds, chicken, onion, cilantro, garlic, chilies, turmeric, salt, and garam masala until chicken is evenly seasoned.
  4. Form ¼ of meat mixture into a skewer-length cylinder on a baking pan or tray. Press skewer into chicken and form meat around stick. Repeat with remaining meat. Place skewered chicken in freezer for 20 minutes while preparing grill.
  5. Light the grill.  If using a gas grill, preheat on high, then turn to High/Medium/High for the cooking.  Brush oil on the grate before adding the skewers. Remove skewers from freezer and carefully transfer to hot grill. Cook until skewers brown all over and are cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter, let rest for 5 minutes, then serve immediately.
  6. Don’t worry if you loose the skewer or it falls off.  They still taste great!

You can serve them with a cucumber sauce (I use unsweetened dairy free coconut yogurt, dill and chopped cucumber).  They are also great on salads.

Here’s the tricks to grind chicken yourself.  Easy, and you can purchase the best natural chicken and not rely on mass produced ground chicken.

 

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Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Grain Free T2T Buns

2017-01-08-12-17-38No Grain Time2Thrive Buns:

First, these are so easy to make, but getting consistent results can be tricky.  I tried to make these at my son’s house over Christmas, and used a substitution for the apple cider vinegar. They were like hockey pucks. But, I made them again today and I think I’ve got the recipe down, so I’m going to tell you EXACTLY what I use so if you decide to try them, you have a chance of them working!  I would not alter ingredients (or possibly even the brands) at all.

If they work, your family will not know that they are not eating bread, they are that good! The baseline recipe for these is from Leanne Vogel, and Keto Diet Blog.  Leanne is a nutritionist who writes a food blog, and this is my adaptation of their recipe (see her sloppy joe recipe at the bottom).

When I do these, it makes 14.

Mix together in a bowl the following dry ingredients:

1 ½ cup almond flour (Honeyville almond flour is brand I use)*
⅓ cup psyllium powder (find in bulk section, I use Bob’s Red Mill)*
½ cup coconut flour
½ cup ground golden flaxseed meal (Bob’s Red Mill)*
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley (optional)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (pink Himalayan or sea salt)
Optional: 2 tbsp sugar substitute, I use Virtue Sweetner from wheatfreemarket.com – you don’t need sugar, it just makes them a tiny bit sweeter.

Wet ingredients, use whisk to combine:

6 large egg whites
2 tsp. Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar*
2 large eggs
2 cups water, warm but not hot

Before placing in oven, sprinkle with sesame seed, poppy seed, or rye seed.  Yum.

img_2415Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the whisked wet ingredients and stir minimally until just mixed.  Then wait a few minutes, as the psyllium powder needs to absorb the liquid.  Then, taking bits with your hand, form a ball shape (that fits easily in the palm of your hand, maybe ¼ cup) and put on a baking sheet.  You can use coconut oil to grease a baking sheet, I use a silicone mat called Silpat that keeps things from sticking.

Realize that these have a ton of fiber.  If you’re eating them for the first time, don’t have four!  Especially if you’re introducing high fiber foods as a new thing.  Your body needs to adjust and a bit of distention is common, hence go slow. But what’s amazing is how light these are.

Ideas?  Make tiny lunch sandwiches, sloppy joes (see below), make an egg/bacon/breakfast sandwich or an egg/sausage sandwich.  Or, just have them with cheese, or almond butter, jam or pasture butter.

Here’s shots of what I use.  And the finished buns look great!  They also freeze well.  Make a bunch and freeze half.

Here’s Leanne’s sloppy joe recipe, for a Indian twist on sloppy joes!

Low Carb Stuffing

Cauliflower is becoming a miracle vegetable in our house.  We’ve made pizza dough, mashed potatoes, cheese bread and now stuffing out of it!  This recipe is from Delish, a website devoted to recipes.  I have the link at the end, but their site doesn’t include the nutrition info I’ve posted below.  We LOVE this recipe!

stuffingimg_2306

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. butter (preferably pasture butter — butter from grass fed cows)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped or thinly sliced
  • 1 small head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 c. chopped mushrooms
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ c. Freshly Chopped Parsley
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage or 1 tsp. ground sage
  • ½ c. vegetable or chicken broth (we use chicken)

stuffing-nutritionDirections

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté until soft, 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add cauliflower and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 5 to 10 minutes more.
  3. Add parsley, rosemary, and sage and stir until combined, then pour over vegetable broth and cover with a lid. Cover until totally tender and liquid is absorbed, 15 minutes.
  4. Serve.

This is amazingly tasty, and we had it with turkey and cranberries. It is a really good side dish for poultry, pork or even fish.  Give it a try!

Nutrition Info (provided by T2T, not on the original website) shows that at 15 net carbs, this is a huge win compared to regular stuffing! (Regular stuffing is approximately 25 net carbs because of the lack of fiber).

 

 

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T2T Low Carb Crabcakes

IMG_0580I adapted this recipe from one online that used flour.  I’ve substituted the flour with a combo of brown rice flour and almond flour.  You can also use a wheat free flour mix that is premade.  I thought they turned out better than ones made with flour!

The most important thing is that you have good crabmeat. If you like spicy, you’ll have to add some cayenne or sriracha.  These are tasty with a lot of flavor, but not spicy.

My adult kids voted this for our Thanksgiving night dinner.  They were fabulous!  At 8 gm net carbs and 19 of protein, these are a nutrition packed, guilt free entree.

See bottom of page for a PRINTABLE recipe.

Ingredients:

1 large egg
2½ T olive oil based mayo or your favorite mayo
1½ teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stalk celery finely diced
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
1 lb. lump crabmeat, drained well if you use canned
¼ cup blanched almond flour*
¼ cup brown rice flour*

*OR an option to the almond/brown rice is using ½ cup gluten free flour mix like Wheat Free Market has

2 T coconut oil for cooking, may have to add more if you have two batches.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and using your fingers, blend well.  Shape into patties. Makes 6-8 small to medium crab cakes.

Heat a non-stick skillet (I use Cuisinart Green Gourmet) on medium, add coconut oil, and carefully place cakes in once oil is hot.  Cook 5 min/side or until lightly browned.  You want them to cook slowly because you want the egg to cook and the crabmeat to warm thoroughly.

Make a remoulade sauce or tartar sauce to go with.  We had these with green beans and zucchini slices sauteed with shallots and parsley and a “remoulade” of sriracha mixed with mayo and relish.  Add sriracha to your batter or on top of the cooked crab cake if you want a kick.

We usually try and have a dinner with an entree, a salad and a “hot” vegetable.  That is usually enough food and fills us up without bread or starches like rice or potatoes.  (If you are having rice, you can DRAMATICALLY lower the glycemic load of it by cooling it first, which converts the starch to resistant — undigestable — starch. Just keep it below 130º, which is the point that the starch converts to “bad starch”, meaning digestible.)

IMG_0581crabcakes-nutritionIMG_0580

 

 

 

printable recipe click here for PDF

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T2T’s Falafel

This is absolutely my take on falafel.  Falafel is a vegetarian patty originally made with either chickpeas, fava beans or a combination of both.  Mine is made with chickpeas and is gluten free. Falafel has been around for centuries, and with good reason.  High in protein and economical to make, falafel is a great staple to add to your culinary arsenal.  Yes, it has carbs, but is high in fiber, and has tons of good vitamins and minerals, especially if you use fresh spices.

Common in the middle east, falafel is now international, and can be found in almost any major city in all countries.  Note you have to soak beans overnight, so start this a day ahead.  And don’t think you can used canned ones, it will not work…

T2T’s Falafel

see below for nutrition info

2 cups dried chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, stems removed
¼ cup fresh cilantro (if you hate cilantro, skip it and double the parsley)
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp. ground coriander
½ T ground sumac (add juice of ½ lemon if you don’t have sumac)
1 tsp. sriracha sauce or ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. ground cardamon
1¾ tsp. sea salt (regular salt works too)
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
2 T coconut flour

You will need coconut oil or olive oil for sauteing.

To prepare:  Put the beans in a bowl or large glass measuring cup and fill with water 4 inches ABOVE the level of the top of the beans.  Soak overnight.  When ready to make the filling, drain and rinse the beans.  You will want 4 or 5 cups of soaked beans.  I used 5 cups for the recipe above.

Put ALL the ingredients in a food processor and pulse it until it has equalized the size of all the ingredients and looks like gritty paste, but don’t go as far as pureeing it.  If it is too dry, you can add 1-2 T of water, but not more.

Put in the refrigerator and let the flavors come together for 2-24 hours.  This will keep in the refrigerator for 48 hrs.

IMG_1319 Melt a generous amount of coconut or olive oil in a skillet (I use ceramic non-stick) so that there is a completely covered cooking surface that is ¼ inch “deep”.  You will probably need to add more with each batch.  Place the flame on medium and warm the oil.  When it is ready, form the patties or balls.  You don’t want to have to place them anywhere, they should go from forming right to the skillet. (don’t make ahead of time, you’ll read why in next paragraph).

Wet your hands and make small patties (or balls) — I find the patties easier to cook and work well on salads as a lunch.  They will be “crumbly” as you place them in the oil, but they will hold together better once they cook, but they are fragile, so handle carefully if presentation is important.  If they won’t even hold together at all once formed, carefully add 1 T more coconut flour to mixture.  Some people add eggs or baking soda, I do not like how that changes the taste.

Cook on medium/medium low heat until browned on both sides.  Serve with Yogurt or Tahini Sauce.  I usually have it with a green salad, but you can also use pita bread and fill it with falafel and sauce, but it won’t be gluten free or low carb if you do that…

A recipe for Yogurt Sauce is below:

Ottolenghi’s Cucumber Yogurt Sauce from Jerusalem, the Cookbook

This makes a delicious cucumber yogurt sauce.  If you like dill, you may add that in also.

2 mini cucumbers diced or ½ average one, seeded and diced
2 cups full fat plain Greek yogurt – you can use low fat if it has low carbs (<10) but I don’t recommend it
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, parsley or cilantro
2 tbsp lemon juice
½tsp salt
¼ tsp ground white pepper

I had some greek yogurt that was almost gone, so I made ½ recipe right in the yogurt container.

IMG_1311 IMG_1317 I took fresh mint leaves, stacked them, rolled them up and julienned them into slivers, and added them to the yogurt.  Add the rest of the ingredients, stir and serve with the falafel.  This meal has protein, fiber, and tons of phyto-nutrients, and will keep you full for hours.

 

 

Here’s the nutrition facts on the falafel!  Note I have not added in the oil, so factor that in.

falafel-nutrition

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