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)


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


  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)



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)


  • 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


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


  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.





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.


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.)





printable recipe click here for PDF



The Better Pasta

2014-04-26 13.59.16Recently I had an appointment with my Nutritionist, who is responsible for millions of people getting healthy.  Kathie Swift, MS, RD, LDN is the practitioner who introduced Mark Hyman, M.D. to both functional medicine and food as an avenue to health.  She was the person who taught half of my week long workshop in 2008 when I began my wellness odyssey and I am eternally grateful to her for her wisdom and guidance. She is the person I turn to when I get stuck in my weight loss journey, and she is brilliant and up to date on all things regarding food and medicine.  We were recently talking about the “holes” in eating gluten free (things we miss) and I mentioned that my husband and I occasionally ate Einkhorn pasta (a wheat pasta using the original wheat from Italy that hasn’t been hybridized and modified the way our wheat has, thereby making it much less reactive).  She suggested we try some of the low carb pastas made from alternative beans (black bean and mung bean).

I’ll be honest, much of these foods usually fall a bit short, but this one is AMAZING!  If you love pasta, but want to eat healthier, eat less carbs, lose weight or any of the above, you must try this pasta!  It is made by Explore Asian, and is Organic Mung Bean Fettucine.  Tastes fabulous, cooks in 8 minutes, and actually has a great flavor!
Today for lunch we cooked some chicken breast tenders on the grill (marinated in fresh garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil for about 2 hrs), then grill until cooked.  Set aside.

Cook mung bean fettuccine per package.  Rinse in strainer.  Put 2 tbs. olive oil in the pan, I added red pepper, fresh garlic, onion, sauteed, and put the pasta back in, toss and sprinkle a bit of parmesan on (optional).  Add the chicken, and we had a fabulous lunch, leave off the chicken and you STILL have a high protein vegetarian entrée!

Compare the nutritional content of this pasta to “regular old wheat fettucine”.


Unbelievable, right?  Just look at the carb content.  This mung bean pasta will not only taste good, but it will provide fiber, protein and it won’t cause your insulin to shoot sky high because you just injested 42 grams of carbs!  (And if you had a double portion, that’s 84 grams of carbs!)

So, the next time you want pasta, re-think it.  And yes, this is more expensive, but how do you put a price on staying healthy?  What’s your insurance deductible?  What is the cost of having to start taking diabetes meds, insulin, or having the inflammation wheat causes?  (read about WHEAT here).

I’d really like to know if any of you try this pasta, and what you think, so please report back! (Of the 69 reviews on Amazon, 56 gave it 5 stars!)

I also purchased their black bean spaghetti, I’ll be letting you know about that one soon.


Explore Asian on Amazon (note the price is for 6 packages!)

More about Kathie Swift and SwiftNutrition


Other recipe ideas:

olive oil, clams, oregano, mushrooms and garlic for Linguine with clam sauce


Two weeks ago, I made my husband dinner and used a carton of POMA chopped tomato, fresh garlic, pesto (2 TBS) and cooked up and drained some Italian sausage, and a few peppers.  Tossed the entire thing, Parmesan on top, and it was fabulous. (At least he said it was, I got home from a meeting to have some and it was GONE!)

Spicy Korean Pork with Asian Slaw


This recipe was so good when I had it at my brother-in-law Marty’s house, we asked him for the recipe.  Originally from Fine Cooking, I’m posting it here.  You can find a lot of good recipes on their site.

This is a beautiful and delicious presentation of an old standard.  Much more fun than roast tenderloin!  My husband made it again tonight, so I thought I’d post!  The only tricky thing in here is the brown sugar, which you could probably substitute honey (or even Stevia, but I have not tried that)!


Pork tenderloin (two small or one large)
wheat free tamari sauce or coconut aminos
rice vinegar
raw honey
sesame oil
walnut oil
Sriracha (Korean hot sauce, Thai red chili paste might also work)
1 lb Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup grated carrot
4 diced scallions
kosher salt

MEAT PREP: Trim the meat of any fat, Slice diagonally into 1/2″ thick slices.


Create marinade in a cup. Use 1/2 cup for marinade, and save rest for sauce, don’t put the ingredients away, you will need them again:

4 TBL tamari (wheat free soy sauce alternative) or coconut aminos
2 TBL rice vinegar
2 TBL raw honey
2 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 TBL fresh, grated or minced ginger
2 tsp Siracha sauce
1/2 TBL toasted sesame oil

Use a half cup of this to marinate pork in a bowl, for 25 min on the counter, or 2 hours in the refrigerator.


1 TBL walnut oil
1 tsp kosher salt
2 TBL rice vinegar
1 TBL honey or brown sugar
½ TBL toasted sesame oil
1 tsp Sriracha sauce


In a bowl mix the cabbage, two of the scallions and the carrot. Add the slaw sauce and toss. Toss a couple of times over the next 15 min.


Heat some olive or coconut oil in a cast iron pan over medium high heat until the oil shimmers. Brown the meat slices, about 2 min per side.

Put the slaw on a platter, put the slices of cooked pork on top. Sprinkle with remaining scallions and pour on extra sauce. Serve immediately.

Serve with fruit salad, or tossed salad with a citrus dressing. (Note, this can be the whole meal, but in that case, allow about 8oz meat/person)


Low Carb Meatloaf

meatloaf.ingredientsMy husband and I have been in a  ground beef rut.   Sick of making hamburgers (grass fed only), spaghetti sauce, tacos, and chili.  But Meatloaf had been off limits to us because of the fillers in it.  It often has bread crumbs and/or oatmeal, which have carbs.  So, here’s our version of meatloaf with a lower carb load.  Yes, it has some cheese, but one serving doesn’t amount to very much.

Serves 4-6    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


2 lbs. grass fed lean ground beef
2 whole eggs, beaten
2 pieces of cooked bacon, chopped up
1 cup tomato sauce, preferably organic – we used one with basil and garlic in it
3 T Wheat Free Tamari Sauce (or soy sauce if you can’t find Tamari)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 T onion powder
1 T dried parsley
ground black pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a bowl, using clean hands to combine it well.  Create a loaf shape in a 9 x 13 inch glass pan that you’ve brushed some olive oil on.  Bake uncovered for 1 hour.  Check at one hour and if the internal temperature is 160+, take it out.  If not, add another 10 min. until it reaches 160.  Drain the fat from the pan.  Let the meatloaf rest 10-30 minutes.

We honestly did not miss the bread crumbs in this.  The Parmesan helps hold it together.  I’d like to experiment with fresh peppers, but my worry is they’d add too much water to it, so I think that is why onion powder vs. “real” onion and dried parsley vs. fresh.

Here’s the dinner:  meatloaf, roasted yellow beets, green beans steamed, salad.  And I only had two slices of beets.  Do you know they have a higher glycemic load than corn?  Yikes, another thing on my “stay away from” list!