Sunday, May 6, 2018

Low Carb NOLA Gumbo

Most good gumbo's start with a roux of flour and some sort of oil.  This recipe leaves that out, but still gives you that hearty thick gumbo.  My friend Sam Paul gave me this recipe and I've made it many times. This is the one recipe I've not tried to change.  And if you know me, you know I can't leave well enough alone and always put my own spin on things.  But this is already perfect as it is.

Making this recipe today, is a "perfect storm".  LOL  Kroger had large shrimp on sale for $5 a pound, which is unheard of in our landlocked Tennessee.  Also, I had just made a fresh batch of chicken stock.  And I had just bought some summer sausage because it was on sale.  The only thing I had to make a trip to the store for was the green pepper, celery and frozen okra.

This recipe calls for frozen shrimp, but I've got this beautiful fresh stuff. The first pound of shrimp that you add is going to pretty much disintegrate. But it adds such great flavor.  Add the last pound of shrimp at the end of the cook.  It stays whole that way.

SO Lets get started!!!  Here is all my ingredients (except the onion) ready to go.   Of course I'm using my Papa Smurf!   I love him so much and I've almost worn him out.  He's getting a little temperamental.

I find it's a lot more fun to cook something if you prep everything ahead of time.  That way you know you have everything, and aren't rushing to try to chop or slice when it should have gone in the pot already.  Makes for a few more dishes to wash, but what do we have dishwashers for??  The picture above shows everything but the onion, cause I almost forgot it!  And there is another pound of shrimp waiting in the fridge.

First you sweat out the veggies, onion, bell pepper and celery. When they start getting soft, add the sliced sausage and let it brown up a bit, and let out some of the yummy fat.

Then add your chicken chunks and when they are about half cooked, add the chicken stock and the 2 bags of okra.  Oh, and the seasoning like it says in the directions.

  • Green pepper, diced

  • Medium onion diced

  • Celery, diced (about 3-4 stalks)

  • 2 TBSP butter

  • Smoked sausage (1 pack Johnsonville)

  • (3) Chicken breast, cut into chunks

  • Cajon Seasoning (to taste - I use about 1TBS of Tony's))

  • Shrimp, frozen (at least one pound)

  • Chicken stock (Approx. 3 - 16oz containers) I used 48 ounces of home made

  • Crab boil, liquid (I like this stuff...I use about 2 TBS) Zatarains is really good

  • Old Bay Seasoning (1/2 TBS)
  • A couple bay leaves

  • Tobasco (to taste)

  • Okra, frozen (2 - 16oz bags) or 3 bags (see my notes)

  • Shrimp, thawed (1 pound)

  1. In stock pot, sauté onions, peppers, and celery in butter. After that cooks down a little, add the sausage.

  2. Once it starts rendering fat, add the chicken. Season everything with Tony's seasoning. After the chicken has mostly cooked, add some frozen shrimp, if using. Let that cook for just a few minutes, and then add the chicken broth. To that, add Crab Boil (liquid) and Old Bay seasonings, more Tony's, bay leaves and tobasco.
  3. Once everything is simmering, add two bags of frozen okra. Let this simmer for at least an hour, until the   okra has totally broken down. About 10 minutes prior to serving, add the raw shrimp. You can turn the heat off at this point, as the residual heat will cook the shrimp.

  4. Note:  some people don't want to "see" the okra.  I happen to like it, so I add another bag towards the end, before the last pound of shrimp, and let it cook till done to my liking.

  5. I hope you try this, and let me know how you like it.

  6. Just so you know, I do not blog for profit.  The links in the recipe are only there to show you the product. I make no money off of the links.  I do this for fun and sharing only.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

North Carolina Sweet 'n Spicy BBQ Sauce

Hi folks, been a while, huh? I thought I'd share my favorite BBQ Sauce with you My friend Sam Paul shared his original tweaked-for-low-carb recipe that he got from BBQ Brothers, and I tweaked it a bit further. Both are posted below. Sam likes a thinner sauce, and I kinda like it thicker which is why I let it cook for a long time on really low and let it reduce. When you let it reduce, it really concentrates the flavors so you may want to back off on the Red Peppers!! (ask me how I know that?) If you want, you can thicken it more with some Xanthan gum or other LC thickeners. I've done that once when I was in a hurry.
The recipe as I've tweaked it makes just shy of a quart of sauce, depending on how much you reduce it. It lasts quite a while in the fridge.
I have yet to find a Sugar Free BBQ sauce on the shelves of a grocery store thats any good, and I must say I prefer this one over any store bought one I've ever had. Next time I make some, I'll post some pictures.


Given to me by Sam Paul, and I changed it up a little bit

Original Recipe:

1-1/2 CUP White Distilled Vinegar
1/2 Cup Sugar (I used White Ideal)
1/2 Cup of Ketchup (I used low-sugar Heinz)
3 TBS Louisiana Hot Sauce
3 TBS Honey (I used SF syrup)
1 TBS Salt
2 tsp of Red Pepper Flakes
2 tsp of Black Pepper
*I add a tblsp of liquid smoke mesquite
Sam’s Notes: Mix all together in sauce pan and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes. This is a somewhat thin sauce, but it's very good! It's my favorite sauce right now.

My Tweaked version:

1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 10 to 12 ounces white vinegar (I use the tomato sauce can and pour the vinegar in to clean it out, a trick my mom taught me)

½ can of water

½ teaspoon of allspice

¾ cup of SF Sweetener of choice (I’ve used Splenda, Whey Low, and Xylitol with good results)

Splash of Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup of Louisiana Hot Sauce or Hot Sauce of choice

1/4 cup of SF Maple Syrup

1 Tablespoons of salt

2 to 3 teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes (depending on the heat you want)

2 to 3 teaspoons Black Pepper

½ teaspoon Xanthan Gum or other thickener of choice. (Optional for thickening)

My Notes: Made my way, it makes about a quart of sauce and lasts quite a while in the fridge. I like to cook it very low and slow for a long time and let it reduce by about 1/3. Makes it nice and thick.

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!

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'm editing this today to add some pictures, and to let you know a little secret.  The low carb tortilla shells can sometimes be sort of gummy once cooked.  So today, I put the tortillas in my air fryer oven for about 2 minutes at 370 degrees. It dried them out a bit. I'm hoping it will help them be less gummy.

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 tortilla
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. Next time I'll strain the sauce. So for all of those who don’t like the click through to get to other recipes, here is the enchilada sauce:

·         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

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.    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. Depending on how full you make them, this would make 5 to 8 enchiladas.

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


My little prep station.

I only had 5 tortilla wrappers so I made them huge

Add a bit more stuff on top

Cover it all with enchilada sauce

and CHEESE!!!

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:


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)


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.