Saturday, July 4, 2015

July 4, 2015

Have a Happy and Safe July 4th!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Easy Chicken Parmesan

Here is my twist on Chicken Parmesan. Let me clearly state again...I am not a dietician or a health expert by any means. I am simply showing you some of the meals we are incorporating into our healthier lifestyle. We are not on a zero carb diet. When planning meals, we really pay attention to what we are consuming and how much of it. When my Mother was learning to make better food choices to live with diabetes, my sister and I attended a couple of classes with a nutritionist who educated us on READING LABELS, eating balanced meals and controlling sugar intake. Did I mention READING LABELS? Unfortunately, I am a back slider because I got out of the habit of doing that. Now that my husband is ready to make a change to eating healthier, it was easy for me to jump back in and do the right thing. Several years ago, my Aunt's nutritionist told her about Dreamfield's pasta.
This is not an advertisement for them, I'm just sharing what we switched to years ago and it enables us to enjoy pasta salad, spaghetti and meatballs and more instead of cutting it out completely. When you grew up eating pasta and rice dishes like I did, it was a blessing to find this. For a long time, we couldn't buy it in our little home town and had to load up on it when we did find it. It tastes just as good as any other pasta you can buy. Having said that, it doesn't mean you can eat five servings worth of pasta....which I can easily do. A serving size is 2 oz. (1/2" circle) of dry pasta. There are 6.5 servings per box. Each serving has 41 g. carbs, 5 g. dietary fiber (3 g. soluble fiber and 2 g. insoluble fiber) and 7 g. protein. I have not found a way to eat pasta carb free, so we enjoy this from time to time and don't overdo it.

Gone is the thick breading on the chicken, but we didn't miss it one bit. Normally, I make my own vat of spaghetti sauce, but since we are cutting back on sugar intake, I've been searching for a low carb tomato sauce. So far, Wild Oats Organic Pasta Sauce seems to fill the bill. I add additional Italian herbs to bump up the taste, but it's been a hit with both of us. Each 1/2 cup has 6 g. carbs and 2 g. of fiber. Reading the labels may be time-consuming, but it's so worth it.
INGREDIENTS:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup (more or less) Italian bread crumbs*
4 slices Provolone cheese
Parmesan cheese
Wild Oats pasta sauce
Cooked & drained Dreamfields spaghetti
Coconut Oil

*I will make my own bread crumbs in the future with a low-carb bread

DIRECTIONS:
In a plate, mix bread crumbs and additional seasoning (salt, pepper & Italian herbs)
Place a chicken breast between plastic wrap and beat with a mallet until thin. 
Heat enough coconut oil in a skillet on medium high while you lightly coat the chicken breasts.
Carefully place a chicken breast in the hot skillet. Do not turn until  you can see the lower part of the chicken start to turn white and the bottom is a nice golden brown.
Carefully turn the chicken and cook until cooked through. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.
Place a slice of Provolone cheese on top of the hot chicken and let it melt. Bake in the oven briefly to further melt if necessary. Make a bed of spaghetti and cover with up to 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle grated or shredded Parmesan cheese on top of spaghetti. Place chicken breast on top and add a little more sauce (optional). We did manage to eat this WITHOUT a loaf of garlic bread. :-)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Low-Carb Thin Crust Pizza You Won't Feel Guilty About Eating

It is in my nature to misbehave just a little bit every now and then. All this healthy eating has not felt like dieting in the least, but severely limiting pasta and bread from our diet has been tough for me. I grew up in a home of incredible Italian dishes and home made breads. Just so you  know, you don't have to bother getting out the violin when you see what I fixed for me and Andy the other night. I found this "Where's The Crust" pizza recipe on the Plain Chicken blog on Pinterest and we loved it!

I doubled the crust recipe and made two pizzas. One of the pans was a little smaller (9x12) than the other (12x17). The crust in the smaller was OK and tasted great, but the crust could have baked just a little bit more due to the thickness. I listed the carb count for the ingredients we used at the bottom so you can mix and match to your heart's content. Seriously, we will do this again whenever we want to eat something decadent and not feel one bit guilty about eating. The pieces left over heated up nicely and tasted even better the next day.

CRUST INGREDIENTS:
1 8 oz. package regular cream cheese, softened 
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Lawry's Garlic Salt
1/4 cup grated (powder type, not shredded) Parmesan cheese

TOPPINGS: (optional)
1/2 cup Ragu pizza sauce
Additional Garlic Powder
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Feta Cheese Pepperoni
Baby spinach
Fresh Baby Bella Mushrooms
Onions
Black Olives

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl mix, on low speed, mix the cream cheese, eggs, pepper, garlic salt and Parmesan cheese.
Beat until mixture is well blended.
Lightly spray the baking pans with cooking spray. Spread out the "crust."
This is the 9x12 dish during the baking process.
It puffed up quite a bit and took a lot longer to get "golden brown on the top and bottom.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.
See how pretty the sides are? This crust had the perfect bottom!
Pizza option one: Spread the pizza sauce on the crust and top with baby spinach, fresh mushrooms, onions,  black olives and feta cheese crumbles.Sprinkle a little extra garlic salt and return to oven.
Pizza option two: Spread the pizza sauce on the crust and top with shredded Mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions and black olives. Sprinkle a little extra garlic salt and return to oven.
Bake until veggies are the texture you like or the cheese melts. 
Let it cool for about 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Cream cheese: 8 oz. block has 16 carbs
Parmesan cheese: Zero carbs
Eggs: Zero carbs
Ragu Pizza Sauce: 5 g. carbs per 1/4 c./1 g. fiber
Feta cheese: 4 oz. container has 4 g. carbs
Mozzarella cheese: 1/4 cup has 1 g. carbs
8 oz. pack Baby Bella Mushrooms: 3 g. carbs/1 g. fiber per 3 oz. serving  
Spinach: 4 cups have 3 g. carbs
Pepperoni: Zero carbs
Black Olives: 3.8 oz can: 7 g. carbs.

For example, Andy and I could have eaten both pizzas and consumed a total of 75 carbs, but of course, we didn't. One slice of a thin crust Veggie Lover's pizza has 23 carbs and one slice of a thin crust pepperoni pizza has 21 carbs. In the past, we always ordered the hand tossed crust and those would have run 29 and 27 carbs per slice.