Pizza Chicken (Keto)

IMG_8467After a long break, I’m back with more recipes! Pizza continues to be a favorite taste; however, I have to spread out how often I have the fathead pizza crust.  It’s delicious, but ultimately I just want the real deal (sidebar: when I’m visiting Kansas City, I absolutely eat the real thing at PIZZA 51–trust me here – it’s worth the carbs).  Ultimately, it’s the flavors of pizza that I want, so I’ve come up with a bunch of ways to get that flavor in different dishes.  They can all be made with whatever toppings you want.  Next time I’ll make this with my favorite P51 toppings: sausage and cream cheese.  Seriously, don’t knock it until you try it – cream cheese is DELICIOUS on pizza!

Today’s vehicle of choice was boneless, skinless chicken thighs (not something I keep around the house, but they were waaaaaaaay cheap at the grocery today, so I picked some up).  I’ve made this with regular chicken thighs before, and it’s even tastier, especially if you manage to keep the sauce around the chicken, and not on the crispy skin part, but this was still really good.  I made enough to eat it for lunch every day this week, and I may even add extra toppings throughout the week.  Try it out and have fun with it!

Pizza Chicken (Keto)

Nutrition: Calories (344), Total Fat (20.6 g), Sat Fat (5.4 g), Cholesterol (28.1 mg), Sodium (509.6 mg), Total Carbs (6.3 g), Fiber (1 g), Net Carbs (5.3 g), Sugars (4.1 g), Protein (34.7 g)

2# chicken thighs

1 Tbsp bacon fat (or fat of choice)

1-2 C Vodka sauce (this is slightly higher carb, but delicious – if you use a different sauce, it’ll alter the nutrition)

2 C shredded mozzarella-provolone blend

1/3 C sliced pepperoni (or toppings of choice)

Pinch each of basil and oregano

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1.- Preheat oven to 350.  In oven-safe skillet, heat fat over slightly higher than medium heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.

2.- When skillet is hot, cook chicken 5-10 minutes on each side.  If using thighs with the skin on, flip the chicken so the skin is up at the end.

3.- Pour sauce over chicken (or around and in between if using skin).  Cover with shredded cheese and toppings.  Sprinkle with basil and oregano.  Put the whole skillet in the oven for 30 minutes (until chicken is cooked through).  Remove and serve with a little extra cheese on top.  Alternatively, you can also add a little cheese at the end and stick the skillet under the broiler for a few minutes.

Buon appetito!

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Keeping Keto at Disney World

mk_crystalprerover_20170201_7938321358Last week we took Isak and met my parents at Disney World for the week.  We go every January near the end and celebrate Isak’s birthday early.  It is literally my favorite week of the year.  This year, I had lots of people ask me if we were breaking our food rules for the trip.  Nope, not at all!  It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, I’m not going to lie.  Not because there were so many temptations, because at this point, temptations aren’t really a “thing” anymore.  Yay keto–cravings disappear.  It wasn’t the easiest thing to do because literally, 95% of the food found at Disney contains grains or sugar, which we avoid.  There was one night at Epcot where we each had a quarter of a gluten-free roll.  It was really good as far as gluten-free goes…but most of that stuff feels like wet sawdust in my mouth, so the texture wasn’t appealing.

The thing about staying keto at Disney is that you have to implement some preparation and research.  I did not find any acceptable snacks on the menus of any of the restaurants beforehand when I was researching, so I knew that we were going to have to keep easily portable snacks.  Also, there isn’t much in the way of breakfast food (that isn’t ridiculously overpriced), so we knew we were going to keep a bunch of compliant stuff in the fridge at the resort.  Typically I don’t eat breakfast because of the intermittent fasting (though as of this week I’ve flipped my fast over, but that’s for a later post), but when we’re walking 10-15 miles a day in the parks, I eat more often.

For the fridge and pantry in the resort, we kept: pre-cooked bacon, black forest ham, cream cheese, french onion dip, string cheese, pork rinds, and pepperoni.  If you haven’t tried pork rinds with french onion dip, you’re missing out.  Try it now.  For portable park snacks, my only requirement was that they didn’t need to be kept chilled.  I didn’t want to carry a cooler pack in the park.  We carried macadamia nuts.  Lots and lots of macadamia nuts.  I also kept a few Atkins bars in the bag, and for Isak we had single bags of nut/dried fruit mix.

Now for the fun part…the meals!

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Neither of us could remember where the turkey legs were sold at Magic Kingdom, but after asking 900 cast members, we finally got the right location: the tavern in Adventureland, across from Pirates of the Caribbean.  This was our first stop as soon as we got to the park.  Usually we fly in and wait until the following day to go to the parks; however, we were able to snag an extra day, so JR and I went as soon as we got off the Magic Express and got Isak situated in the resort with Gammy and GrandDan.  We split one turkey leg between the two of us and dipped it in a few packets of mayo.  Everything tastes better at Disney, you know.

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Breakfast on official day one: steamed heavy cream with sugar-free vanilla syrup from Starbucks at Epcot.  This is Isak’s favorite drink.  He calls it “warm chocolate,” no matter what sugar-free flavor it is.  The vanilla though…it tastes like hot-off-the-stove vanilla custard filling.  It’s delicious.  That and a handful of cashews kept him going until lunch.

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This one was my favorite table-service meal of the trip (and yes, I left the handful of fried wonton skins on–they weren’t enough to kick me out of ketosis and Epcot is always where we walk the most).  This is the Beijing Roast Duck Salad from Nine Dragons in China, in the World Showcase at Epcot.  One alteration had to be made: the hoisin sauce dressing was out because, well, hoisin sauce.  Instead, they gave me a small pitcher of the potsticker sauce, which was to die for.  Seriously, my favorite meal of the week.

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In The Seas, at Epcot, there is a restaurant called Coral Reef.  Honestly, we go here for the experience because you’re basically eating inside a giant aquarium.  In my opinion, the food is decent, but it’s not the best food ever.  I got the grilled New York strip steak with double veg instead of veg and mashed potatoes.  We had them bring out extra butter because it wasn’t nearly fatty enough.  This is where the gluten-free rolls were.  Like I said, as far as gluten-free rolls go, those were pretty good, especially when slathered with butter.  If you’re looking for that option, definitely hit up Coral Reef.  JR got the heirloom tomato salad thing here.  I gave him half of my steak and we pretty much ate off of each other’s plates.

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You can’t really tell what this is from the picture, as is frequently the case when making keto alterations, but this is a bacon cheeseburger from Cosmic Ray’s in Magic Kingdom.  They have a topping bar there where we added the mushrooms, onions, and (not pictured) some garlic ranch dressing.  It was a pretty good burger.  JR and I split the burger and…

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…the Greek salad, from the same place.  It was a pretty rockin’ Greek salad, in case you were wondering.  The chicken looks huge, but really it’s just pounded out thin.  The feta wasn’t as good as the stuff we get from Ali Baba; however, it was a decent substitute (and let’s be honest, if you don’t have a refined palate for Middle Eastern food, you won’t notice the difference).  We also put the garlic ranch on this salad.  Yeah, I really liked it.

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This was an Italian sausage without the bun from whatever that sausage company is at Disney Springs (what used to be called Downtown Disney).  The sausage was our least favorite thing of the trip.  It was just “meh.”  Those pickles were awesome though.  Seriously awesome.

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This is actually one of the meals we had at the airport in Atlanta on the way back to San Antonio.  I forget what the place was called, but it’s similar to a Chipotle-type deal.  It was a steak burrito bowl.  Why do deconstructed foods always look like a pile of stomach contents?  Regardless, it was tasty.

I didn’t remember to take pictures of all the food we ate in the parks, so here are the other items we had that I can remember:

Chili Cheese Coney without the bun from that Casey’s hot dog place on Main Street in Magic Kingdom (a delicious addition to our curbside seating for the Festival of Fantasy parade!)

Caesar salad with salmon at the Prime Time Diner in Hollywood Studios.  This restaurant was so fun!  The staff is a hoot and the decor is hilarious.  The salad was great.

If you have any questions about going keto-friendly at Disney, feel free to ask me!  Before going, I spent an hour on the phone with one of their dietary people, who helped me navigate all of the menus in order to find compliant food that wasn’t all burger-without-a-bun situations.  But really, if you’re only going to try one thing from this list, get the salad from Nine Dragons.  You won’t be disappointed.

Avocado Chicken Bombs (Keto)

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A friend and I went out to dinner recently at Chuy’s and discovered something delicious: the stuffed avocado.  Or, at least the version of it that I had them make for me.  It’s typically breaded in panko and fried that way; however, I can’t have panko and they can’t fry it without.  The chef came out to talk to me and we worked out a similar dish, and I thought I would mess around with it once I got home.  The other thing that is like crack at Chuy’s is their jalapeno ranch dressing.  Duh.  Anyone who has been there knows that.

With the same friend coming over to our house for dinner a couple weeks later, that was the perfect time to come up with a similar recipe, try to replicate the dressing, and then unveil the final product at dinner.  This was waaaaaaay better than what they came up with at Chuy’s, so I’m pretty happy about it.  You could make this with a plethora of different layers, but I’ll list it the way I made it last weekend.  Try it–you won’t be sorry!

Avocado Chicken Bombs (Keto)

Serves 4

Nutrition for Avocado Chicken Bombs: Calories (597), Fat (54.2 g), Saturated Fat (10.6 g), Carbs (17.3 g), Fiber (13.5 g), Sugar (1.3 g), Net Carbs (3.8 g), Protein (17.8 g)

Nutrition for Jalapeno Ranch: Calories (101), Fat (10.7 g), Saturated Fat (2.7 g), Carbs (0.7 g), Fiber (0.3 g), Sugar (0.6 g), Net Carbs (0.4 g), Protein (0.2 g)

Chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/2 C olive oil

2 Tbsp chili powder

2 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp sugar-free maple syrup

2 Tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp black pepper

1.- Mix everything but chicken together.

2.- Cut chicken into small strips or chunks.  Put in resealable plastic bag and cover with marinade.  Mix around and allow to marinate for at least four hours.

3.- Heat skillet to medium high.  When pan is hot, add chicken in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.  Fry until cooked through and transfer to baking dish.  When all chicken is cooked, cover baking dish and put in 300′ oven for 20-30 minutes.

4.- Assemble into avocado chicken bomb.

Jalapeno Ranch

1 C mayonnaise

1/3 C buttermilk made from heavy cream

1/3 C sour cream

4 oz can chopped jalapenos

4 oz can chopped green chiles

1/3 C cilantro

1 oz ranch seasoning

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1.- Whiz everything in a blender and enjoy.

How I Layered the Avocado Chicken Bomb, from Bottom Up

1.- Avocado

2.- Chicken

3.-Shredded Cheese

4.- Table Cream

5.- Pico de gallo

6.- Jalapeno Ranch

7.- Crumbled Bacon

8.- Queso Fresco

 

Pumpkin Chai Mug Cake (Keto)

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I’ve tried quite a few grain-free cake-type desserts that all turn out like the consistency of a sweet pile of scrambled eggs.  Well, either that or a super dry scone-brick.  This is light and fluffy (at least while it’s hot–it hasn’t made it long enough to hit the cold stage, so I don’t know what it’s like then).  It’s a little more wet than traditional cake, but it’s not like eating pumpkin eggs.  It packs a wallop of a nutritional punch, and would likely be a great breakfast if you paired it with some bacon!

Unlike many keto or paleo/primal desserts, this is nut-free and coconut-free.  If you want to make this primal or paleo, you can.  You would replace the sweetener with honey or maple syrup–I don’t know the measurements of that replacement, and it would significantly alter the sugar content, but you could do it.

This is nutritionally dense enough that I can’t eat one whole serving by myself, so you might want to find someone to share this with.  Once they smell it, people should be lining up to apply for that position.

Pumpkin Chai Mug Cake (Keto)

1 serving

Nutrition: Calories (282), Total Fat (19 g), Saturated Fat (3.2 g), Total Carbs (12.8 g), Fiber (8.7 g), Net Carbs (4.1 g), Sugar (1.4 g), Protein (18.2 g)

1/4 C flax meal

1/2 tsp baking powder

3 tsp stevia

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of cardamom

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

3 Tbsp pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 egg

small pinch of sea salt

1.- In small bowl, whisk egg and pumpkin.  Add in all dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

2.- Pour into mug.  For shorter/wider mugs, microwave for 1:45-2:00.  For taller/thinner mugs, microwave for 2:00-2:30.

3.- To put on a plate, run a knife around the edge to loosen.  Flip the mug over onto a plate.  The cake will be steaming when it first comes out.  If you don’t want your whipped cream to slide right off, let it cool for a couple minutes.

Sheik al Mehshee (Keto and Primal)

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This past Thursday, I went to a Lebanese cooking class at CENTRAL MARKET, the shmancy grocery store next door to us (I mean really, could we live next to a more awesome place?).  It was an AWESOME class, where most of the recipes were adapted from recipes in ROSE WATER AND ORANGE BLOSSOMS, one of my favorite Lebanese cookbooks.  There’s something you should know though: I don’t particularly like eggplant, and I’m not much for tomato sauce, both of which are key components in this dish.  That being said, I LOVE the eggplant in this dish.  Still not big on tomato sauce (plus, it has like 40 bajillion carbs), so I altered the sauce a bit.  Okay, a lot.  It doesn’t really resemble the original sauce at all, other than it contains tomatoes and ground beef.

So, I turned it into a tomato cream sauce (hello, more fat), took out the carby onions, changed up the spices, and added layers of cheese.  Next time I might toss some ricotta in there as well, but I didn’t have any to work with tonight.  Oh well.  According to my husband, he could eat the whole pan, so I guess that means it’s good.  Seriously though, it’s delicious.

Sheik al Mehshee (Keto and Primal)

Serves 4

Nutrition info per serving: Calories (504), Total Fat (44.8 g), Saturated Fat (11.4 g), Total Carbs (11.8 g), Fiber (4.8 g), Net carbs (7 g), Sugars (6.2 g), Protein (18.1 g)

1.5# eggplant, 1/8-1/4″ slices

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

3/4# ground beef (or lamb)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp Lebanese Seven Spice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 can stewed tomatoes

1/4 C heavy cream

1/3 C pine nuts

8 oz shredded mozzarella

1.- Set oven to broil.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Trim each end of the eggplant, then slice and place on baking sheet.  Brush each slice with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Broil until deep brown (about 10-15 minutes per side).

2.- Adjust oven temperature to 375.  In skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef.  Season with 1/2-1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp Lebanese Seven Spice, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Stir well and cook until browned.  Add stewed tomatoes and crush up with the meat.  Add in heavy cream and simmer a few minutes until the sauce starts to thicken and spices are incorporated.

3.- Lightly oil an 8×8 square baking dish.  Spread a couple spoonfuls of the sauce on the bottom of the dish.  Layer some eggplant, then cheese, then pine nuts, then more sauce.  Repeat layers, ending with eggplant on top.  Cover with foil and bake for 80 minutes.  Remove the foil, spread another layer of mozzarella, then put back in the oven, uncovered, for another 15 minutes, until cheese is brown and bubbling.  Let cool a few minutes before serving.

 

How to Build a Mezze Platter (Primal and Mostly Keto)

Mezze 1

I had some friends over this past weekend for one of the 2-3 days per year that I deem to be “spa day.”  Basically, I gather up a bunch of body/home product recipes that I want to try out, and a few times a year I make a bunch of them all day.  Many of them become standard holiday gifts that we give out.  Usually I do it alone, but I decided that it would be fun with other people, along with wine and (of course) food.  I’m Italian and Lebanese, so both of my nationalities are known for feeding people.  That’s just what we do.  I’ve all but given up most Italian foods, as pretty much none of them work within the confines of a keto diet; however, many Middle Eastern dishes can become compliant (you just omit the bread).  In the Italian culture, one would make an antipasti plate.  In the Lebanese culture, the equivalent dish is called a mezze platter.  Typically the dishes are HUGE–like, between one and three feet in diameter–and are packed full of food.  You can put basically anything you want on the plate, but the purpose is for everyone to eat off of the communal plate.  Part of the enjoyment of the food is in sharing the food, so this is very important.

 

Tzatziki

Tzatziki (2)

Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh

Zucchini Hummus

Hummus

Dip/Salad Trio

Mezze 2

Some of the things I put on my platter weren’t entirely low-carb (hello, figs); however, I just avoided those.  If you look up “mezze platter,” you will find thousands of things you can include…but here is what I chose for this:

Seriously, making mezze for your gatherings will free up way more of your time so you can actually enjoy yourself.  Take it from someone who plans 78-course elaborate dinners on the regular…for this one, I got to breathe and eat…the whole time.

Zucchini Hummus

Approximately 15 servings

Nutrition per serving: Calories (115), Fat (10.5 total, 1.6 sat), Carbs (3.4 total, 1.6 fiber, 1.8 net), Protein (2.9)

3-4 zucchini, peeled and chopped (about 3 C)

1/2 C fresh lemon juice

3/4 C tahini

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp cumin

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

4 cloves garlic, peeled

Paprika to garnish

1.- Put everything in a blender.  Blend on high until creamy (about 60-90 seconds).

2.- Pour into container and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.  This will thicken up a little while chilling, but it is a thinner consistency than hummus made with chickpeas.

Lamb Kafta and Tzatziki (Keto and Primal–the Meatballs are Whole30 Compliant)

Lamb Kafta Meatballs

You all know how much I love Middle Eastern food.  There is no other set of flavors in the world that come close to competing.  The only thing about that is…Middle Eastern cuisine can be heavy on the bread.  I mean, many of the countries don’t even use utensils.  They just use pita.  And really, who wouldn’t rather use bread as a utensil?

I messed around with a few of my kafta recipes and found a good mixture of them that doesn’t use bread crumbs, nuts. or any other starch as filler, and they turned out perfectly!  They were so perfectly tender, juicy, and delicious!  The most important part is to use a food processor of some sort when making the meat mixture.  That way, everything was mixed (and further minced) really well.  The tzatziki lends itself well to the meatballs, as well as the lamb shawarma I made tonight (recipe to follow soon).  I might even eat it like yogurt–it has just under 1 g carbs per tablespoon (it’s about 0.7 g per tablespoon), but it’s not something you’ll eat huge quantities of.  Raw garlic can get spicy!

You can likely make these with any meat mince, but traditionally, they would be lamb.  Unless you REALLY don’t like lamb, try it out before you change up the meat.  It’s to die for!

Lamb Kafta

18 servings (1 meatball per serving)

Nutrition per serving: Calories (50), Fat (3.1 g), Saturated Fat (1.1 g), Cholesterol (15.7 mg), Sodium (15), Carbs (0.1 g), Protein (5.1 g)

1# ground lamb

1 Tbsp chopped mint

1 Tbsp chopped cilantro

2 Tbsp fresh thyme

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1.- Heat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Finely chop mint, cilantro, and time.

2.- In the bowl of a food processor, break up the ground lamb into a few chunks.  Add spices, chopped herbs, and garlic.  Pulse for a minute or two until the meat is well-mixed and becoming smooth.

3.- Roll into 15-20 meatballs (I made 18, so the nutrition is based on 18 meatballs) and place on baking sheet.  Cook in oven for 18-20 minutes.  Serve with tzatziki.

Tzatziki

Makes about 3 C.  Serving size is 1 Tbsp.

Nutrition: Calories (20), Fat (1.6 g), Saturated Fat (0.5 g), Cholesterol (1.6 mg), Sodium (3.4 mg), Total Carbs (0.7 g), Sugar (0.5 g), Protein (0.9 g)

16 oz full-fat Greek yogurt (2 C)

2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced (set back 1/2 cucumber’s worth of fine dice in a bowl and save)

1 tsp basil

1 tsp tarragon

2 tsp chopped mint

2 tsp chopped dill

5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

1.- Put everything except the reserved cucumber mince in a food processor or blender.  Pulse until mixed well.

2.- Pour into bowl, stir in reserved cucumber, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  I added about a tsp of Lebanese seven-spice as well, but that’s just a personal preference.

3.- Chill at least 30 minutes before serving.  This goes well with pretty much every meat on the planet.

 

 

Artichoke Dip Chicken (Keto and Primal)

Keto Artichoke Chicken

One of my favorite things in the world is artichoke dip…but a specific artichoke dip from a local place here called Cerroni’s Purple Garlic.  I don’t know what it is about it (though I think they may have recently changed their recipe), but it has this great flavor, texture, and the way they serve it is great!  First, it is generally still bubbling when they bring it out.  Like…for 10 minutes after it gets to your table.  They serve it with a basket of toasted bread.  It’s all I want to eat when we go there.  If I could, I would make it my entire meal.  Alas, I found out they use flour in it, so I can’t even get it and eat it without the bread (yes, it’s good enough to just eat with a spoon).  At one point a few weeks ago, I started trying to replicate it, and though I’ve gotten close, I’m not a dead ringer yet.  That being said, artichoke dip with fried chicken is DELIGHTFUL.

There are two ways that I cook this, and I’ll let you decide which way you make it: chicken on top, or chicken on bottom.  If you cook the chicken on top, the skin retains that great crisp that you work hard to get in the pan, prior to baking.  BUT…if you pile the artichoke dip on top of the chicken, it really keeps the chicken moist and the flavor soaks in.  It’s good both ways, so try it both ways and see how you like it.  This is also one of those meals that usually holds me over for 15-20 hours before I eat again, depending on what I ate prior to this.

Artichoke Dip Chicken

Serves 4

4 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)

1/2 C sour cream

1/2 C mayonnaise (homemade is the best)

8 oz soft cream cheese

1 C grated Parmesan

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1.- Heat iron skillet to medium.  Salt and pepper the skin of the chicken.  Put chicken in the pan and fry it for 10-15 minutes per side (until they are almost cooked through and the skin is crisp).

2.- In medium bowl, use mixer to mix sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, garlic, and Parmesan until smooth.  Add in salt and pepper to taste.  Fold in the artichoke hearts.

3.- Heat oven to 350.  If cooking chicken on bottom, place chicken in the bottom of am 8×8 glass baking dish.  Cover with artichoke dip.  If cooking chicken on top, spread the artichoke dip on bottom of 8×8 glass baking dish and place the chicken on top.  I grated a little Parmesan over the chicken skin at this point.

4.- Put dish in oven, uncovered, and bake for 30-40 minutes (until dip is starting to bubble).  Take out and enjoy!

Nutrition (per serving):  Calories: 596; Carbs: 12 g; Fiber: 3 g; Net Carbs: 9 g; Fat: 48 g; Protein: 32 g; Sugar: 4 g

 

BLT and then Some (Primal and Keto)

BLT

On Saturday, it will be eight months since I quit smoking.  In those eight months, my food choices went to hell and I gained almost 30 pounds.  The obvious fix to that is to hit another few months of strict primal, right?  Well this time, I’m also integrating a close-to-keto component.  Technically, keto is considered, what, under 20 grams of net carbs per day?  My carbs have been in the 20-35 range most days…so I’m close, but not in it to the letter.  Anyway, it’s hard, but I’ve lost almost 20 pounds in not-quite three weeks.

I felt like a BLT today.  I’m not big on sandwiches, but I love BLTs and club sandwiches.  Obviously bread is out (even most of the paleo versions of “bread”), so I chose to put everything in a romaine heart boat.  Really, the possibilities are limitless, but today it was all about the BLT.  For reference: to make this Whole30 compliant, eliminate the cheese.

BLT and then Some (Primal and Keto)

Serves 2-3

1 romaine heart, washed and leaves separated

1 pound of bacon

2 roma tomatoes

1 avocado, sliced

Extra sharp white cheddar, cut in small chunks

 

1.- Cook the bacon to your liking.

2.- Layer everything in the lettuce.

3.- Stuff your face.

Squashy Enchiladas (Primal)

Enchilada Bowl

I love enchiladas.  Technically, my favorite enchiladas to get are just plain cheese enchiladas.  I kinda hate the ones with meat in them.  One of my best friends and I used to go down to Little Mexico in Kansas City and eat at this place called EL PUEBLITO.  I have ONLY ever ordered one thing there.  I tend to do that with Mexican restaurants.  I find one thing and never order anything else.  At El Pueblito, I would order Enchiladas Mexicanas con Queso.  Never anything else.  My friend would occasionally mix it up and get flautas, but I never strayed.  The thing that made it AMAZING was their sauce, the chihuahua cheese, and the heaps of queso fresco on top.  It was like crack.  Oh, and did I tell you that seemed to have never-ending hours?  I can’t tell you how many times we went there in the middle of the night.

Anyway, I haven’t had many enchiladas lately because since I’ve gone away from corn, if I try to add it in occasionally, it usually makes my stomach hurt for a few hours after I eat.  This seems to happen more with corn starch than with whole corn, but it’s still not comfortable.  Anyway, I saw one of those videos that was showing you how to make fake “enchiladas,” but in a bowl of spaghetti squash (full disclaimer: this was the first time I tried spaghetti squash–it is delicious, but unlike some people tell you, it is NOT a substitute for spaghetti noodles unless you have never tried spaghetti).  I tweaked the recipe a bit and made it primal…but this is what I came up with.  It’s not a complete replacement for El Pueblito (but that does not matter, because I am living in San Antonio now…so when we go back to KC, I just suck it up and eat the corn tortillas), but the flavor profile is ALL THERE!

Squashy Enchiladas

Serves 2-4

1 spaghetti squash

2 tsp olive oil

Salt, to taste

1+ C enchilada sauce (In small saucepan, add a little olive oil and saute 2 minced garlic cloves for a few seconds.  Add 2 Tbsp chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, 1 1/3 C tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 3/4 C chicken broth, and salt and pepper.  Simmer 10-ish minutes and set aside until needed)

1 C whatever Mexican cheese blend you want to use (I used a mixture of chihuahua, jack, and cheddar)

Queso Fresco, chopped scallions, olives, avocado, chopped peppers, chopped cilantro, and whatever other toppings you want to put on top

1.- Oven to 400.  Put spaghetti squash on paper towel in microwave and heat for two minutes to soften.  Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and soft part in the middle.  Brush all of the exposed fleshy area (not the outer rind–just the inner part you’ll eat) with olive oil.  Liberally salt.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the squash halves upside down on the pan.  That is, so the fleshy part you’ll eat is facing DOWN.  Bake about 45 minutes.

2.- Let it cool a bit (maybe 5-10 minutes) and then use a fork to flake the squash.  It’ll come away from the sides, easily flaking into strands that look like pasta.  Put about 1/2-3/4 of a cup of enchilada sauce into each bowl, on top of the flaked squash.  Cover with your cheese blend and put them back in the oven for another 15 or so minutes.  When it comes out, top with scallions, cilantro, LOTS of queso fresco, and any other toppings that sound good.  Serve immediately and take pictures of your sauce-covered drunken-on-enchilada-goodness face.  Yep, they’re that good.