Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Zucchini Alfredo Bake


So tomorrow is my birthday! I am going out of town with my husband for the honor band concert, so I'll be straying at my mom's house since she lives up there. I have made some birthday dinner requests, and none of them are low carb... But that's what birthdays are for! 

Since we will be out of town for a few days, I know that my perishables will probably not last that long. I tried to use up as many as I could in dinner tonight, and I really surprised myself- not only with how many veggies I could fit into a casserole dish, which was impressive in its own right, but also how delicious it could be.  

I know I've said it before, but I will continue to say it: A low carb diet is really the diet for me. I mean, on what other diet can I savor the creamy, garlicy, cheesey flavors of alfredo sauce? 

Ingredients
2 zucchini (zucchinis?), sliced or cubed
Several mushrooms, sliced
About a quarter of a big bag of spinach (I told you this recipe consisted of leftovers haha)
4 oz cream cheese (optional- I added it because it was already open and would have gone bad by Sunday)
1/2 jar low fat alfredo sauce
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 400.  In a skillet, sautée the mushrooms and spinach in olive oil with seasonings. Add cream cheese and alfredo sauce. Stir until melted and hot.  In a casserole dish, layer zucchini and alfredo mixture, ending with the alfredo. Bake for 20 minutes. To add some color, I topped it with a bit of shredded cheese and broiled it until it turned golden. 

I'm glad I was able to save some of my fresh veggies instead of them going to waste. It also makes me feel good to eat such a veggie-loaded dinner tonight, because I fully intend to enjoy my not-low-carb birthday dinner!!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crispy, Zero Carb Egg White Chips





Since I started eating low carb, my friends and family have been sharing recipes and ideas with me to try and create.  This one is from my sister-in-law Jessica.  She found it on Pinterest and sent it to me.  It calls for four egg whites, and I didn't really want to waste four perfectly good egg yolks, so I put it on the back-burner for a while.

On Sunday, my husband got a hankering for a batch of his mom's old chocolate pudding recipe.  He and sweet P set about cooking it and mixing it.  Chocolate pudding was made along side of some pretty sweet memories.


Be still, my heart!






And yes, she is wearing a superhero cape.  All the best chefs do.

The good thing about this recipe is that it calls for four egg yolks.  I had my husband save the whites for me so I could try the cracker recipe. 

I made a few changes to the original directions.  I doubled the amount of the egg white mixture for each cracker and lengthened the bake time. I was pleasantly surprised by how crispy these bites were.  They were great for dipping! The recipe made a ton, so I saved the extra in the refrigerator.  Reheating them was an experiment.  I heated the oven to 350 and baked them for 10 minutes.  They got pretty dark, but they had a great crunch, even more than the day before. My husband thought they were great, and my sweet P kept asking, "More chips, Mama?" What a great way to sneak some extra protein into her diet, and mine, too.




Ingredients (makes appx. 36 chips)
4 egg whites
1 tbsp water (to thin the egg whites)
salt
a small pinch of shredded cheese (for each cracker)

Directions
Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a standard-sized muffin tin with nonstick spray.  Add an equal amount of egg white to each muffin....

compartment? hole?  I never thought about it, but what do you call the spots where you put the muffin/cupcake batter in a muffin tin? Whatever it is, put an equal amount of the eggs in each one.

I used a trick from the original recipe to measure an equal amount for each cracker: a children's medicine dropper.  I measured out 5 mL of the egg for each cracker. It completely coated the bottom.  I topped them off with just a tiny sprinkle of cheese.  I tried some in the first batch without, and they just didn't do as well, further proving my theory that cheese makes everything better. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. 

For my dip, I mixed some mayo with my favorite Kernal Season's Ranch seasoning.

These little snacks are high protein and virtually ZERO carbs.  Can't beat that!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles


I found the inspiration for this recipe from one on Pinterest. It calls for an entire stick of butter, so the original poster warns that this recipe isn't diet friendly... 


Nope. 

Bring it on. 

Ingredients
One stick of unsalted butter!!!!
1 lb shrimp, tails removed
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Salt
Pepper
Lemon juice
1/4 c chicken broth
1 zucchini per person, turned into noodles using a veggetti

Directions
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a hot skillet. Add shrimp and cook until white. Set aside. 

Add seasonings and lemon juice to taste. Add chicken broth. Simmer to reduce. Add in remaining butter one tbsp at a time until melted. 

Add shrimp and zucchini noodles. Heat through and serve immediately. 

Garnish with a lemon slice and parsley if desired. 





Friday, April 17, 2015

Chicken Philly Soup


Rain, rain, go away! That pretty much sums up how I feel about Alabama in the spring. It has rained every day for a week solid! But, these rainy, dreary days are perfect for staying home and snuggling up with family. They're also perfect days to enjoy a bowl of soup! 

When I was cooking this soup, I took a shot of my peppers and mushrooms sautéing in a separate pan and posted it to my Instagram page. 


Like I said, I'm the only one who eats them. I was surprised how many of my followers were in my same boat.  Oh, well. More for us!!

I kind of felt bad for my husband. Without the peppers and mushrooms, he literally just ate chicken in the broth. I could have been nice and made some rice for him to put in it or some noodles, but I was tired and dinner was dinner. Maybe next time!

I, however, enjoyed my chicken philly soup, complete with all its ingredients. I just added my extras at the end. 

This is a good recipe to make if you have leftover chicken that you just don't know what to do with or if you have a rotisserie chicken to use. I cooked my chicken breasts in advance so I didn't have to worry about taking the time for them to cook. Anything to save me some time in the evenings to spend with my family!



Ingredients
2-4 c cooked, shredded chicken
6 c chicken broth
8 oz cream cheese
Diced green bell peppers and mushrooms- as much (or as little) as you like
Onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste
Olive oil 
Preferred thickener (I use a cornstarch and water mixture)

Directions
*I'm going to tell you how I'd LIKE to make this soup instead of how I made it the other night.*

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add peppers and mushrooms. Sautée until nearly cooked. While the veggies are cooking, bring chicken broth to boil. Drain extra oil from veggies. Add shredded chicken and cream cheese. Mix until cheese is melted. Add chicken mixture into boiling chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes. Thicken with cornstarch. Serve warm. 





Sunday, April 12, 2015

Low Carb Crab Cake Jalapeno Poppers

I've made jalapeño poppers, and I've made crab cakes, but for some reason I never thought to combine them until now. I have been missing out! 

It started because I wanted to make the cakes, but I didn't want to take all the time to fry them. I thought I'd try baking them this time, instead. And since I was baking them, I thought, "Why not try baking them inside a jalapeño?


I used the same recipe as I did for my tilapia cakes only this time I used crab meat. After I halved and de-seeded the jalapeños, I stuffed them with some of the mixture. I sprayed them with some olive oil to make sure they browned up nicely. They baked for 20 minutes at 400 degrees and came out perfectly!


If you don't want to bake them in jalapeños, you can also bake them in a muffin tin to still make them have the "patty" shape. Just make sure to spray the muffin tin with the olive oil spray I addition to the tops. They turn golden and crispy. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Carb-friendly Cheesecake






In the last few months of me going low carb, I have had so much fun recreating my old favorite recipes into low carb, full flavor versions of themselves.  It has allowed me to get really creative with my choice of ingredients and meals.  My favorite thing, though, has been getting to share all of my creations.  Several of my friends also started eating low carb in January in an effort to be more healthy. Passing along all my new recipes and hearing that other people have tried them and they've actually WORKED is amazing. 

On my Accidentally Wonderful Instagram page, a few followers have asked for dessert recipes.  Here's the thing: I don't typically eat dessert.  Sweets have never been my favorite.  I'd much rather have an extra helping of the meal than a treat afterwards.  Also, I hate baking.  Having to be so precise and measure everything is just not me.  I'm more of a "let's throw everything in here and see how it turns out" kind of person.  However, in keeping in my new attitude of branching out, I thought I'd give a dessert a shot.

I really didn't know what I was doing, but sometimes the most wonderful things happen by complete accident.

Ingredients
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 package sugar-free Vanilla instant pudding
1 cup milk
Sugar-free chocolate syrup (optional)

Directions
Combine cream cheese, pudding mix, and milk.  Use a hand-mixer to blend ingredients together. Spread mixture into a round cake pan or 4 small ramekins. Chill for at least an hour.  Top with chocolate sauce. Serve.

The pudding mix creates a super creamy texture and just a hint of vanilla.  It would be good with chocolate pudding mix, too, I think! The best part about this was that I didn't  have to bake! I still got to just throw everything in and see how it turned out!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Roasted Eggplant Bisque


I have been in such a soup mood recently. Even though it's springtime and even though the highs have been in the 80s this week, there is just something so comforting about a bowl of warm soup. 


The last time I went grocery shopping, I picked up another eggplant. I am loving all the new foods being on a low carb diet has gotten me to eat. Eggplant has quickly risen to the top because it's just so versatile. I've made eggplant Parmesan, eggplant croquettes, and now roasted eggplant soup with carrots and mushrooms. Low carb, paleo, vegetarian... I think I've pleased all the major food "groups" with this dish. 


Ingredients
(Now, I only made enough for me since I knew my husband wouldn't want it. Also because I only had part of one eggplant left over. I'm going to write the recipe the way I made it, but feel free to double it to serve more!)

One egg plant, halved
10 baby carrots (or one big carrot, cut in quarters)
3 mushrooms, sliced
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Onion powder
2 c vegetable stock (can use chicken broth if you'd rather)
1/4 c almond milk (or regular milk)
Salt and pepper
Tony's seasoning (optional)


Directions
Place eggplant, carrots, and mushrooms in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and add onion powder and garlic powder. Roast in 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. 

Carefully scrape out eggplant pulp and discard the skin. Place eggplant, carrots, and mushrooms into a pot with 2 cups of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until most of the liquid is gone. 

Slowly pour soup into a blender. Purée until there are no large pieces. Pour back into pot. Add almond milk. Simmer lightly. Add more vegetable stock or almond milk to this as needed. Season to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with sliced mushrooms and parsley if desired. 



Even my two year old loved this soup. It is loaded with veggies and incredibly healthy. It is so rich and creamy. Just the one bowl was enough to fill me up. And look at that color!! Gorgeous!! This is definitely a soup I'll be making again... Just maybe when it's a little cooler outside!