Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

 

Hello, good people!  I’m back with a new recipe review and I think you are going to find it very interesting… if not life changing (Yes, that is a little dramatic but hey… you never know!)   Here we go.. today’s recipe review is Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo.

There are few dishes more luscious and decadent than fettuccine Alfredo.  The big sticking point for low carbers, of course, is the fettuccine.    Finding a recipe for Alfredo dishes is not really difficult.  There are pages and pages of them on the internet.  There are also more than a few low carb versions, but are they good recipes? I chose the to use the recipe on this site:  http://eatfatlosefatblog.com/keto-low-carb-alfredo-sauce-recipe/.   Let’s get the low-down on Low Carb Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo.

This dish is remarkably quick and easy.  I bought a bag of steam-in-the-bag broccoli florets in the produce department.  I didn’t want to use the frozen florets because I really didn’t want any excess water.   The bag said to microwave on high for 3 minutes but I reduced that time to 2 minutes.  (Remember the broccoli will continue to cook for a few minutes once it is removed from the microwave.)   The broccoli was a beautiful bright green but also tender without being mushy.   I took 2 chicken breast filets that were not quite an inch think.  I salted and peppered the chicken  thenI heated some olive oil in a skillet on medium/high.  Once the oil was hot, I added the chicken and cooked  until the chicken was nice and golden on one side then turned to cook on the other side.  I reduced the heat slightly and allowed it to cook another 7 minutes or so.  If you use thicker pieces of chicken you would, of course, adjust the cooking time to make sure that it is thoroughly cooked.  Once the chicken was cooked I allowed it to cool a few minutes and then cut it into pieces that were about 1 inch by 1 inch.  Now on to the star of the show…. the Alfredo sauce !   In a medium skillet, I added 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (I used a little more since my son was coming for dinner),  2 tablespoons of butter into a skillet and turned the heat to low/medium.  Once the cream was heated I added the parmesan cheese and the nutmeg. (Quick note here.  Use fresh-grated parmesean not the stuff in the jar!  If you use the parmesean that is in the jar you will probably be disappointed in your Aflredo sauce because it will turn out somewhat grainy as opposed to nice and creamy.)   I didn’t add the garlic that was called for in the recipe this time and also didn’t add any additional salt.  I find the parmesan  and butter added enough saltiness for us.  The sauce simmered for a few minutes until it was thickened to a consistency that I found pleasing.  (This is an important point people.  Cook things the way that pleases YOU and YOUR family!  If you like a thinner sauce then by cracky make that sauce thinner.  If you want a thick, hearty sauce then give that sauce a few more minutes! )

Miracle Noodles are available in a variety of forms including Angel Hair and Ziti!  They are available in select stores nationwide as well as from the company, Amazon and Netrition.com.

At this point, I want to talk to you about the “noodle” part of most Alfredo dishes.   It is certainly permissible to make an Alfredo dish without the obligatory pasta component.  For low carbers this would probably be a common option.  Another option is to use spaghetti squash as indicated in the recipe.   I have used spaghetti squash and I don’t hate it but I also don’t love it.  It certainly looks like spaghetti.  No problem there.  The problem is that no matter what, it just doesn’t, to ME, have the consistency or taste of pasta.  So, I chose a different option.  I chose to use a zero carb shirataki noodle substitute.    I will tell you how I prepare it and it seems to work really well for us.  Shiritaki noodles have a noticeable odor when first removed from the package.  I place a colander in the sink and turn on the cold water.  i dump the noodles in the colander and let the cold water run over them for a few minutes.  Odor gone!  After that the noodles have to be cooked.  They can be boiled or placed in an un-oiled hot skillet or microwaved.  I have used the boiling and the skillet method successfully.  For this dish though,  I chose to boil the noodles for 2 minutes in well salted water.  I drained drained them in the same colander they were rinsed in.  You will notice that as the noodles cook they become opaque and white… like regular pasta!  By themselves they have little if any flavor.  The great part of these  is that they will absorb flavors from the foods they are paired with.  The other big plus is that they have the consistency of an al dente noodle  and they are available in a variety of widths including fettuccini size.   What is not to like?!   I used Pasta Zero by Nasoya.  It has about 1 net gram of carbohydrate per 2/3 cup serving.

Nasoya Pasta Zero is available in grocery stores nation-wide is also available on Amazon.carbs per 2/3 cup  serving.  You can find it with the tofu etc. in your grocery store.  I have also used Miracle Noodles which are made without the additional ingredients found in Pasta Zero.  Miracle Noodles have less than one carb per 3 ounce serving.  

I have also used Miracle Noodles which is made without any additional ingredients found in Pasta Zero.  Miracle Noodles also have less than one carb per 3 ounce serving. Both products are very good. There are a few other brands out there but I have not tried those. Again,  use what works for you and your family.

To assemble the dish, I placed about 2/3 to a cup of noodles on the plate, 1/2 cup each of chicken and broccoli on top and then spooned some of that beautiful Alfredo sauce on top.  Beautiful!  As for the taste, I can only tell you that my husband took a bite and said, “You have  to put  this on your blog!”  My son, too, finished his plate and was pretty impressed.

So the low down on Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo is that this is a dish that would thrill any family.  Add some pretty garnishes like some chopped parsley and a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesean cheese  and you have something that  is absolutely good enough to serve dinner guests and have them asking for the recipe!

Thanks for reading!  We will be back soon with more Low Carb Low Down reviews.

 

 

 

Zucchini “Apple” Crisp

Every now and then you run across a low carb recipe that is not just good it is DARN good!  The kind of recipe that makes you giggle to think you are actually eating low carb.  The kind of recipe your family takes samples of to amaze “non-believers”.   Today, we are going to discuss …..

Zucchini “Apple” Crisp

Mock apple pie using zucchini is really not something new.  There are lots of recipes available for the sugar-loaded versions which is not part of a low carb lifestyle! Th
e obvious carb offenders are sugar and flour.  Apples, though, carry a high enough carb count that they are caution flags for low-carbers.  One cup of sliced apples contains 15 g of carbs!  Add the sugar and add the flour crust and one innocent looking little piece of pie can contain almost 60 g of carbs!  Ok.  Now that everyone has recovered from their swoon let’s move on to your low-carb version.  I based my review on the recipe found on the Maria Mind, Body, Health web site.  Of course, I did make some substitutions and adjustments but the overall recipe and process remained the same.  Let’s go make some Zucchini “Apple Crisp!

Filling

For this recipe, I used about 8 zucchini that measured about 8 inches.  You ultimately want to end up with 6-8 cups of chopped zucchini.  The smaller zucchini has seeds that are not fully formed.   No one wants to see a bunch of seeds staring back from their dessert!  The zucchini was peeled, and any visible seeds scooped out with a spoon and then quartered lengthwise and chopped into pieces about 1/4 inch thick… maybe even a little less than that.  At this point in the recipe, I chose an alternate cooking method.  Because I didn’t have the apple tea,   I chose to steam the chopped zucchini for about 5 minutes until tender but not mushy. (If you choose to use the apple tea then Celestial Seasonings has a Cinnamon Apple Tea and also a Caramel Apple Tea that would work really well with this recipe.)  The pieces were then drained and allowed to cool slightly and placed in a mixing bowl.  I added the lemon juice.  (Let me say right here that this is something you really don’t want to skip or skimp on.  This gives the zucchini a little more authenticity if you will.  By themselves, cooked zucchini is pretty bland.  When you bite into an apple you notice they have a little acidity to them so you want to use the lemon juice to add that little acid bite to the zucchini.  How much is really a matter of taste.)    The sweetener and apple pie spice were mixed into the cooled zucchini.   The recipe called for 1/4 cup of erythritol sweetener.  I chose to up the erythritol considerably and added 1  1/4 cups of  Sukrin Gold instead of the regular white erythritol.  I swapped apple pie spice for the cinnamon and nutmeg keeping the same measurements used in the recipe.  I also added a teaspoon of vanilla even though it was not called for in the recipe as well as 1/2 tsp. of Thick-it-Up to keep the juice from being too runny.   I placed the filling in a 9×13 baking dish prepared with cooking spray.   (Make sure you preheat the oven to 325º!)

Crumble

I used the same ingredients for the crumble but I used them in different proportions.  I used 1 1/2 cups almond flour, 1/4 cup unsweetened whey protein powder.  I used 1 cup of granular white erythritol (Swerve), 1/3 cup chopped pecans and instead of 2/3 cup of butter, I used 1/2 cup.  The butter was room temperature and not cold.  It mixed into the dry ingredients much more easily.  You just have to be careful with using softened butter because you don’t want to have a batter-type result.  You want to those nice crumbles!  The crumbles were spread across the top of the filling.  To be honest, I did not use the entire batch of crumble.  I only used about 1/2 and my crisp was nice covered and I had enough to freeze to use fro another dessert!

The baking dish went into the preheated oven for about 30 minutes.  I know the recipe called for 45-50 minutes but I was in a bit of a hurry so I baked mine at 350º instead of 325º.  After about 15 minutes I placed a piece of aluminum for over the crisp to keep it from getting too brown.  Thirty minutes later I removed a gorgeous brown, bubbly heavenly smelling dish!

The most important part of the low down is that this was absolutely fantastic!  My husband kept saying, “These aren’t apples?”  He would take a bite and give a little laugh and shake his head and say, “These aren’t apples?  That is absolutely amazing!”   He even took some in to share with someone at work who was equally amazed!   So the Low Carb Low Down gives this recipe two big thumbs up.  I did change a few things but remember that things like sweet and sour and spiciness are a matter of individual taste. Use good quality low carb products and adjust the taste to suit you and your family.

Take Care!

Sugar-Free Sweeteners

Sugar-Free Sweeteners

So many sweeteners, so little time!

When you start applying low carb principals to your eating habits one of the first things you are acutely aware of is that there no sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, corn syrup etc are permitted.  We will not even go into a discussion of the carb counts in these items because it is just too darn scary!  (Can you believe 200 g of carbs in one cup of sugar?!  If you have one cupcake you stand to get at least 20 g of sugar carbs!  That is a whole day if you are on Atkins Phase 1 !    And that is just the sugar!!  Whew!  I need to take a breath and calm myself! )   It is easy to see that traditional sweeteners are not gonna be living with us in Low Carb Land!  The good news is there are many  sweeteners available to us and the only question is to determine which products will work best for us in a different applications.

We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to non-sugar sweeteners available for us to use.  That is a good thing for sure.  However, it isn’t just enough to be no-sugar. There are other considerations to consider before choosing a product.  What is the products use?  Baking,?  Sweetening beverages like tea or coffee?  Liquid? Powdered?  Granular? These are important questions because different products have different properties. Some are heat stable and some are not.   Some products may not be suitable if we want a silky-smooth frosting etc.  so we need to know how we intend to use a product.

This web page, Sugar and Sweetener Guide, will provide you with a long list of sweeteners, and their brand names.  By clicking on the individual sweetener you will be taken to a page that gives in depth information on each.  I highly recommend you take a few minutes and browse through the provided content.

Paleo Crab Cakes

Low carb crab cakes?  Is this for real or another cruel recipe joke that will break our carb-watching hearts?  Lets get the low down!

This recipe was found on the following site:

http://healinggourmet.com/healthy-cooking/make-paleo-crab-cakes-secret-ingredient/

Ingredients
•1 lb. crab meat, cooked
•1 cup cauliflower florets, steamed well
•2 pastured eggs
•3 Tbsp. coconut flour
•3 Tbsp mayonnaise
•2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
•½ tsp. sea salt
•½ tsp. Old Bay seasoning
•2 Tbsp. avocado oil or coconut oil
Nutrition Information Per Serving:     145 calories, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 7 g monounsaturated fat, 0.4 g polyunsaturated fat, 100 mg cholesterol, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 12 g protein

Now that you see the ingredients let’s get the low down on these crab cakes! You can read through the entire recipe and  preparation instructions by clicking the link shown above.

I started with my cauliflower first.  I broke the cauliflower into florets and placed them in a pot with a steamer rack and let them steam for a few minutes (about 4 minutes) until they were fork-tender.  I really didn’t want them to steam so long they would be moo shy (I know you are overwhelmed with my grasp of culinary terminology but I am trusting that everyone knows what I mean!).  After I removed removed the cauliflower from the steamer, I placed it in a strainer and allowed it to cool and for any water clinging to the florets to either drip off or evaporate.  In the meantime I placed the eggs,), the mayonnaise (Duke’s mayonnaise has no sugar added to it!) and the parsley, salt and Old Bay seasoning.   Now to turn to the steamed cauliflower.  I used a fork to gently break the steamed florets into smaller pieces about the size of marbles.  These were placed in the bowl with the crab meat ( I splurged and used lump crab meat. )  and then sprinkled the coconut flour over this.  I mixed everything very gently to try and keep those wonderful chunks of crab meat intact.  I chilled and waited for the oven to preheat to 350º.  Mean time I placed a skillet on the burner and put olive oil in the pan (I didn’t use cast iron and I didn’t want a coconut flavor for my crab cakes so I opted for olive oil instead.)   I took the chilled crab mixture out and took out about 1/2 cup at a time and formed cakes that were about an inch thick and about 3 inches across.  I placed them in the skillet and cooked 3 minutes on each side until they were a beautiful golden color.  I transferred the cakes to  a baking sheet and popped them in the preheated  350º oven for 12 minutes.

Beautiful crab cakes. I served them with the sugar-free coleslaw shown.

The Low Carb Low Down on Paleo Crab Cakes?   I can honestly tell you these were outstanding.  I would serve these to guests without hesitation they were that good!  I will add a bit more Old Bay the next time out and I think some chopped green onions but other than that this recipe is a definite keeper.

 

Coconut Flour Chicken Tenders

Do you miss those moist succulent chicken fingers with your favorite dipping sauce?  Maybe you won’t have to scratch those off the “Favorite Foods” list.

So… the recipe ( http://lowcarbyum.com/gluten-free-coconut-flour-chicken-tenders-baked-paleo-recipe/) for this was pretty simple…. only 2 key ingredients: Oil and coconut flour. Assorted spices were also added for flavor.  I used olive oil because it is pretty much the only oil I use when cooking aside from butter or coconut oil.  (FYI :   I use extra virgin olive oil.)  The recipe stated that dipping the chicken tender in oil oil and then coating with coconut flour to which seasonings have been added would result in a juicer tender.  In fairness to the recipe’s creator,  I have to say at the outset I didn’t have grated parmesan cheese on hand and the recipe did say its use was optional so I opted to proceed without it.

I added the tenders into a plastic bag and poured about 1/2 cup of olive oil into the bag with the chicken.  In a separate bag I added about 2/3 cup coconut flour ( I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour), salt, pepper,  smoked paprika, thyme, onion powder and garlic powder.  I didn’t really measure the spices.   I just eye-balled til it looked like a good amount for me.  I added the oiled tenders 2 or 3 at a time and shook them around in the bag and then placed on a baking cooling rack as per the recipe. They were then placed in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Beautiful golden brown tenders! Will they pass the taste test?

 

The tenders looked absolutely beautiful when I took them out of the oven.  Beautiful golden brown chicken tenders.  Exactly what you want to see your tenders look like!  Yay!    I took a bite of a cooled tender and the response was Not so yay.    The spice flavor was good.  The chicken itself was nice and moist.  But….overall it was like taking a bite of spiced talcum powder.  Not good.

So here is the Low Down on this low carb treat.  The entire concept outlined in the recipe was good.  The culprit is the coconut flour.  Coconut flour absorbs liquid in an almost surreal fashion.   Not kidding on this one guys.  The coconut flour on the outside of the tender dipped in oil resulted in all that water-hungry coconut flour gasping for moisture.  Consequently, when you take a bite of the tender you have a very dry coating on top of the juicy chicken.

So…. what to do?  Would there have had a less powdery mouth-feel had I added the grated parmesan cheese?    I will try again with the parmesan addition and give everyone the low down on the results another time.   That, good people, is the low down on this recipe.

Take Care!

Welcome to Low Carb Low Down!

Nothing is more frustrating or disappointing than purchasing and assembling ingredients and spending the time to make a recipe only to discover it is much less than what you had anticipated.  Sometimes we “goof” and the failure is our own and sometimes the ingredients, measurements, cook times etc. need a bit of tweaking to make the dish what we wanted and hoped for.   But don’t you wish you knew someone who had actually made the recipe who could give you a thumbs up or thumbs down or wave a caution flag?  I sure do!  It would have saved me a ton of time, money and frustration in the kitchen!

This little blog is designed to save you that time, money and frustration by harnessing my love of experimentation  to provide you with an honest opinion on various recipes and products.

So……time for some Low Carb Low Downs!