Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Gazpacho Summer Soup

Gazpacho Soup served as an appetizer at my son's house last weekend.
Soup that isn't piping hot has never appealed to me.  Call me a soup snob, cause I probably am one.  But I love a challenge in the kitchen so what the heck!  A few weeks ago I was watching Ree Drummond on Food Network, and she made Gazpacho and it peaked my interest.  Produce is so beautiful right now, and Smiley's Farmers Market is right down the road so I decided to brave it!

Here is a link to Ree's recipe, but if you know anything about me, you know I'm not going to follow it but use it as a blue print and do it my way.  I made her recipe the first time and honestly, I didn't like it very much.  The cucumber overpowered the whole dish and kinda made it too rich for me.  I love cucumbers but they don't love me much.  I can have them pickled but if I eat them raw they "come back on me" for days.... but I've figured out the deal with that!!!  From one of the members of my group at I Love Low Carb I learned that the "burp" factor comes from the skin, and by golly I think she's right!  So for my recipe, I peel the cuc's.  But totally not necessary if you don't want too.

Anyway, here is how I did it!

Ingredients
3 good sized tomatoes chunked up for the food processor.  (reserve about 1/2 of a tomato and dice)
1/2 onion chunked up (reserve a bit to dice)
2 stalks of celery chunked up (reserve a bit to dice)
1 large Cucumber, peeled and chunked up (and guess what?? yep, reserve some diced)
1 zucchini chunked up (you get the drift yet????)
2 cloves of garlic (or more if you want)
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 cup Olive oil or Avocado oil, your choice
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (or a bit more, adjust to your taste)
2 tablespoons of "sugar" and yes of course, I used Splenda
1 to 2 tablespoons of a good hot sauce (I like Franks but I'm out so I used about a tsp of tabasco) ((franks is better))
dash of salt and pepper to taste
3 to 4 cups of tomato juice or use this recipe for homemade V8 juice (really inexpensive way to make it)  For today's recipe I got lazy and bought V8 juice but don't tell anybody.

Add your veggies and half of the juice to a large food processor, or process the veggies in batches adding a bit of the tomato juice to each batch, and then dump it all in a big bowl to mix it up.

Since I have a large Kitchen Aid, I dumped all the stuff in it except the reserved diced veggies.  I tasted the mix and adjusted the seasoning.  Process it till it's blended up.  The size you want the veggies to be is purely up to you!  And the thickness of the soup depends on how much juice you add to it.  For this batch I used 3 cups (1 1/2 - 12 ounce cans of V8) but I love a thick soup. Once you have it blended up to your liking and seasoned correctly, add the diced veggies.  But this is totally a personal preference.  You can blend all of it up if you don't want the veggie chunks in it.

Now this soup can be served several ways.  In my first picture, I added a slice or 2 of Avocado and some shrimp. (I made this as an appetizer at my son's house over the weekend).  But if you want it as just a "salad" type side, serve it with a grilled protein.  This would be perfect with a steak off the grill. Tonight I'm smoking chickens for lunch the rest of the week, and this will be our side.

Well, that's about it! But as a last note, I think I'm going to mess with the seasonings to change up the variety.  Some fresh basil out of the garden would be a great addition to this.  Maybe leave out the hot sauce and add some italian seasoning too.  Lots of ideas!

Hope you enjoy this!  As always, please let me know if you try this and if you have any suggestions.

Showing you the size of my maters.


I truly suck at pictures, but you get the drift.


Now, if you are like me, I like a chunky soup.  That's why I reserved some of the veggies to dice up and add after you process the veggies....   Here is what I did.  I think it's about a cup and a half to two cups of diced veggies....

Added the paring knife and spoon for perspective.
I also had some onion reserved but took the pic before I added it.







Monday, April 17, 2017

Low Carb Chicken Enchiladas

Sometimes, don't ya just get a hanker'n for some good and I mean GOOD Mexican food??  Well I do, and that hanker'n hit me yesterday.  Decided to do some chicken enchiladas and I think they turned out fabulous!!!  I think the secret to it is the homemade enchilada sauce.  I never realized how incredibly easy it is to make!  Never again will a canned version pass my pantry shelves.  Not such a great picture but the only one I have.  Looks sloppy, tasted fabulous.

I decided I had better write the recipe down before I forgot how I did it! So here is the recipe.

Chicken Enchiladas
Cooked 4/16/17

Ingredients for the chicken filling:
4 good sized chicken breasts
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1 15 or so ounce can of either rotel or diced tomatoes and jalapeno’s (which is what I used)

Other ingredients:
1 can sliced olives
1 bunch of diced green onions
1 package of Low Carb burritos
3 or so cups of cheese of choice. I used a Mexican blend

Season your chicken with Mexican flavors.  I used Arizona Dreaming from Penzy’s.  Add a sprinkling of salt

Place chicken in a crock pot.  Plop the cream cheese on top and then pour the tomatoes over the top.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low 6-8 hours.  If you use frozen chicken give it an extra hour.  When it’s done use two forks and shred the chicken.  Stir it all up to incorporate all the cheese and maters.  Taste and reseason.  I added some chili powder, cumin, more salt, a bit of garlic and some pepper.  (I didn’t really measure exactly)

While the chicken is cooking, make your own enchilada sauce!  I couldn’t believe how incredibly easy it is and how far superior it is in taste compared the canned crap.  This is the recipe I used for the enchilada sauce.  I had to make some substitutions for the exact items I didn’t have.  Example, I don’t keep instant coffee (yuck!) and used a dark cocoa from Penzy’s.  I didn’t have regular oregano but had some Mexican oregano, and instead of ground cloves, I used whole cloves and tried to fish them all out but didn’t quite get them all.  So for all of those who don’t like the click through to get to other recipes, here is the enchilada sauce:

Ingredients
·         3 cups unsalted chicken broth
·         3 tablespoons tomato paste
·         1 bay leaf
·         1/4 cup pure chili powder
·         2 teaspoons ground cumin
·         1 teaspoon dried oregano
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
·         1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
·         1/2 teaspoon onion powder
·         1/2 teaspoon granulated erythritol (I used Splenda)
·         1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
·         1/4 teaspoon instant coffee powder
·         1/16 teaspoon ground clove
·         1/16 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         2 tablespoons ghee, butter or olive oil


Instructions
1.    Put all of the ingredients into a medium to large frying pan on medium heat.
2.    Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the red enchilada sauce has reduced by one cup and about two cups are left. It will be thin but flavorful. It will thicken-up in the oven as the enchiladas cook.
3.    Remember: The enchilada sauce is what flavors the enchiladas, so taste and adjust the seasonings. If the sauce is a little bitter, add just a touch more sweetener. It will help balance the flavors, but go easy with it. Discard the bay leaf before using.


To assemble, use a 9 x 11 baking pan and put a thin coat of enchilada sauce on the bottom. Lay out the burrito’s and lay a row of both olives and green onions down the middle. Top it with a good line of the chicken filling.  Roll it up and lay seam side down in the pan. Repeat till you fill up the pan.  I think my batch made 7 enchiladas.  Pour the remaining sauce over the whole thing making sure you cover them all evenly.  Sprinkle with more green onions and remaining olives.  Cover entirely with a lot of cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until bubbly hot.

Serve with sour cream, green onions, avocado slices, or whatever you like!

Enjoy!!!!



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Notater Soup

In the last few days, I've had a cold, or something.  Haven't been really sick in a long time, and it never fails to remind me what a big baby I really am.  I'm a whiny brat when I'm sick and I don't even wanna be around me!!!!  I lost my voice on Sunday, which the world probably would have rejoiced, but I didn't have anyone around to talk to except my fur babies, and they didn't seem to care one bit.

But when I'm sick, all I want is comfort foods.  Something that will wrap it's warm arms around me and make me feel like I'm cradled in my sweet momma's arms, like when I was a kid, being a TRUE whiny brat.  And if you know me at all, you know I am the consummate soup-aholic.  So, being a true soup-aholic, and an addict in the world of all things potato, what do you think I was craving???  Potato soup of course!  Back in the day, I used to make a very simple tater soup.  Diced potatoes with some diced onion, in water till tender, add some butter and milk, salt and pepper. Done....  (I think this must be before I actually developed taste buds.)

Well, as bad as I felt, I HAD to have some tater soup....But since I have committed myself to staying true to my way of life, I had to come up with an alternative.

Diakon radish's have been my go-to for dishes that require a tater substitute.  Diakon in their raw state have a spicy, radish-like taste and texture.  But when they are cooked, that spicy heat goes away completely.  It's amazing how it works, but it does!  So using my basic recipe with several major twists and turns, I threw together this amazing bowl of soup.


Dinah's Notater Soup

8 slices of bacon
1 small onion diced
2 stalks celery diced

32 ounce chicken broth
3 to 4 cups diakon radish diced
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
2 minced garlic cloves
pinch of red pepper flakes
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream

1. Dice up bacon and fry till crispy in a soup pot on the stove. Remove cooked bacon and reserve. 

2. Add the onions and celery to pot. Cook till translucent, about 5 minutes or so.
3.  Add the broth and the diakon radish. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and cook until the diakon is fork tender.
4. Place the cream cheese and cream in a bowl and microwave it till the cream cheese blends in with the cream.  Whisk it to desolve small clumps of cream cheese as best you can.  Some smaller clumps will desolve in the soup.
5. Add Cream mixture to soup and stir. Bring it up to a mild simmer and reseason to taste. 

Serve with reserved bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.

Although I've not done the detailed carb count on this recipe, I can assure you that the radish replacement is far less carbs than the recipe with those nasty, waist expanding, taters.  A cup of Diced Diakon radish has very little carbs according to USDA.  Unlike the unthinkable (but so lovable) potato carbs USDA.  


And as to the taste and texture?  Pretty much spot on!  Hope you enjoy this recipe, whether you are a whiny brat like me or not!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Baked Loaded Avocado??? No Really!!! It's good!


I know, right??? baking an avocado and topping it with butter, bacon, cheese and sour cream?? Can't be done.... well yes it can, and it's darned good!  I saw the idea on one of the groups on Facebook and decided to give it a try.  Simply used a very firm avocado, threw it in the microwave for about 4 minutes, cut it in half and removed the seed and scooped out the good stuff (and yes it was very hot and burnt my poor little fingers) and topped it with the "loaded"....  Not a great picture but man was this good!!  and with all that good fat, I'm still not hungry hours later.  SCORE!!!    Definitely will be having one of these with a big old ribeye soon!!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

No Wheat Coco Wheats!!

Hi Y'all!!!  Got a new one for ya.

One of my favorite memories as a kid was CoCo Wheats!!  That chocolaty, warm, creamy breakfast treat that was a huge comfort food!  Dip a piece of toast in it and you are in pure heaven.   Not sure if CoCo Wheats is a "northern" thing, but I know when I moved to Nashville 35 years ago I couldn't find it anywhere.  So when my mom would come to visit, she would bring me a couple of boxes.  So some of you may not know what CoCo Wheats is.  It's basically cream of wheat made with chocolate!  I've not had it in 13 years, since I went low carb, but now I can have it any time I want!!!!

Recently, my buddy George Stella published a new cookbook with a recipe for Low Carb grits!!! Got my mind churning once I made it... it could be made into CoCo Wheats!!! Well today I gave it a try. and it is fabulous!!

Look at that creamy goodness!!!!


Here is how I did it:

Ingredients:

1 cup Almond Flour  (I use Honeyville)

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream

generous pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons CoCo Powder (I get mine at the Amish Market in bulk)

3 tablespoons Sweetener of choice ( I use Whey Low D)

Directions:

Add almond flour, water and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat

Whisk about 5 minutes until it begins to thicken to your liking.  I think I went a bit longer than 5 minutes.  Whisk in the coco powder till incorporated in well.  add the vanilla and sweetener.  Taste and add more sweetener if you like.

Continue whisking a few more minutes and serve HOT in a bowl with a pat of butter and Heavy Cream (Optional).  You must have a piece of heavily toasted toast with this for dipping!!!  I make Souls Bread

I am just so happy to be able to enjoy a memory from my childhood!!!!  Hope you like it too.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Creamy Bacon Onion Soup

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a soup-a-holic.  And definitely not in recovery.  I love soups of all kinds!  There is just something so comforting about snuggling up with a warm mug of soup. Especially one that is creamy, rich, and full of my favorite things.

Well today I was noodling around the internet checking out recipes and came across this one.


My little brain started working. My tastebuds needed this to be low carbed!! 

Every year the Shriners in the area sell 10 pound bags of Vidalia onions.  I get one every year.  And I just happened to have a pound or so of some really lean and tasty bacon in the fridge, and a variety of cheeses.  So the old gears started grinding!

I got out my Papa Smurf and started cooking bacon.  Diced some onions, Grated some Swiss Cheese and I was off to the races!!

Here is how I low carbed the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 to 1 ½ pounds of bacon
2 cups large diced onion (I like it left big so you get the chew of it)
4 cups of chicken broth (I used a base that I keep on hand, but you can use homemade or canned)
¼ to ½ teaspoon Xanthum Gum or thickener of your choice (Optional)
½ cup Heavy Cream
½ to 1 cup grated cheese of choice (I used swiss but next time I think I’ll use a smoked cheddar)
1 tablespoon of dried parsley, or you could use chives but I didn’t have any.
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Salt to taste

Method:

Start cooking up the bacon till very crispy. Remove to a paper towel to drain excess bacon oil. When the bacon is cooled, crumble it up. Once the bacon is cooked, throw in the onions using the bacon oil in the pan. (my bacon was very lean so there wasn’t but a tablespoon or so in the bottom of the pan. Probably could have used a bit more).  Cook the onions about 10 minutes until soft and just starting to take on some color.  Add the broth and allow to simmer for 10 or 15 minutes.  sprinkle in the thickener, whisking the entire time. (next time I may leave this out and just add a couple tablespoons of cream cheese)  Add your spices and parsley and allow to simmer a few more minutes. TASTE BEFORE ADDING SALT!  This batch is a bit too salty.  Add in the cream and the cheese and allow to heat up.  Add a handful of the crumbled up bacon.  Serve it up!!!  Add some more bacon on top as a garnish and for a bit of crunch texture.

Hope you give it a try!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ain't-No-Pasta e Fagioli

Ain't-No-Pasta e Fagioli  Updated!!!   

Hi y'all! it's been a while, huh?  I haven't really had anything new to share for a while until now!
Last month my dad and I went out to eat at Olive Garden and then to a movie.  Well, I can never resist Olive Garden's Pasta e Fagioli.  I love love love that stuff.  Then last weekend my buddy Jackie and I were talking about how to low carb it, and she came up with a great idea to sub out the pasta.  Zucchini!! And that set my creative wheels in motion big time.  They have been dead for so long it seems.

So we looked up a recipe on line for a copy cat and we came up with this one. TopSecret Recipes.  Other than the beans and the pasta, it looked fairly low carb friendly so I decided to go for it!  Here is what I did:

Ingredients:

1 to 2 pounds ground beef or 1 pound sweet italian sausage and 1 pound ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrot (optional)
1 cup diced celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can red kidney beans (optional)
1 cup small diced cauliflower (or you can cube up some fresh mushrooms, 8 ounces)
2 cups homemade V8 Juice(cut way down on the sweetener, see below)
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 to 2 cups cubed peeled zucchini (about 1/2 inch by 3/4 inch)

Brown the ground beef and drain most of the fat off.

Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute for 10 minutes

Add all the rest except the zucchini and cauliflower and let simmer 45 minutes to an hour.

Add the zucchini and cauliflower to the pot and let cook another 10 to 15 minutes.  Serve sprinkled with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Serve this with this Cheesy Garlic Bread from my buddy LeeAnn's blog at Cutthewheat.com and you will think you are sitting in the dining room at the Olive Garden!  Her recipe is purely awesome!

Now, first you say, where are the pictures?????  I forgot!  I'm gonna be making this again this weekend so I'll try to grab some decent pictures to add.

And I thought I'd share this too. As Seen On TV Chopper is what I used to cube the zucchini.  I peeled them and then ran them through this thing to cut them into strips and then diced them about 3/4 inch long.  They really resembled the pasta in the original dish. But if you have crazy good knife skills you could get the same results.

Also, that V8 recipe that I linked to, is REALLY good!  But way too sweet. Next time I'll leave out the sweetener and see how it does.  I've never been a big V8 fan but I might be now!

The cauliflower was a decent substitute for the white beans, but I'm sorry, I had to add one can of kidney beans to this.  It's just not the same without it, but if beans aren't your thing, definitely leave them out and up the amount of beef you use.  That's why I put 1 to 2 pounds ground beef in the recipe.

So, what do you think?  Now that I have this recipe in my files, I think my draw to the Olive Garden will be curbed.  As my brutha of anutha mutha  George Stella would say, "Don't do without... REINVENT"  

5/21/16 Update!!!  I  made this today using 1 pound of sweet italian sausage and a little over a pound of ground beef.  Instead of cauliflower I used diced up white mushrooms.  Even better than the first time I made it.  Used fresh thyme picked out of my patio garden.  It's always so satisfying to get your herbs from your own yard.  Also, I will add that this makes a LOT of soup! My Papa Smurf is almost full (Ninja 3 in 1 cooker).... so unless you want to feed the entire neighborhood, you might want to cut the recipe in half...  Oh and one more thing... that recipe for the v8 juice makes 3 cups, and I used all of it in the soup.    That's all for now!!  Gotta go make some garlic bread to go with this!