Saturday, May 30, 2015

Squash-Zucchini-Onion-Broccoli Veggie Bake

Are you scared yet? Just kidding! I don't want all this healthy to run  you off. We are almost one month into our healthier eating and are loving the changes! We even managed to be on vacation for a week, eat out several times and leave the table without being a member of the clean plate club. Picture this...we made a stop at the Memphis Barbecue Co.; ordered two appetizers to split and totally avoided the fries that came with the rib basket. Seriously, last month we would have knocked that out and gone in for the sampler plate.

Every time we cook out for the family and friends, we are required to make Andy's potatoes and onions. If they're missing, you will hear some whining. We were thinking about an alternative that would be a lot healthier but tasty enough to satisfy our guests. This combination popped in my head and it went over very well.
 CAREFULLY using my Mandolin slicer, I sliced about 5-6 small yellow squash and zucchini each in an aluminum baking pan. Because of the crazy rain we've had for the past week or more, I baked these in the oven, normally the grill is the way to go. Either way I don't want to have to clean up a casserole dish, hence the aluminum pan. Bake-serve-eat and toss!
 Again, CAREFULLY using the Mandolin slicer, slice up two sweet Vidalia onions. 
Lightly season with salt and pepper.
 Wash a head of broccoli and cut into florets. Evenly space over the sliced veggies.
 Slice up one stick of butter and place evenly over the top of the broccoli.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350-375 degree oven or grill. Check after one hour. If broccoli stems are not tender enough, return for an additional 15 minutes.

Baked or Grilled Bacon Wrapped Cabbage

When we started planning the food for the Memorial Day get-together, Andy and I were marking items we always fix off the list when we started thinking about the carbs in some of our favorites. We went ahead and fixed the items anyway but made sure we included some healthier options. We avoided the favorites and dug into the healthy dishes. Wouldn't you know it? The healthy options were a huge hit and the pans nearly cleaned out leaving us lots of the stuff we need to back off of. The bacon wrapped cabbage pictured above shows my son Dale's plate. He has a little bit of everything: baked beans, potatoes & onions, Tammy's incredible pasta salad, veggie bake and assorted smoked meats. He is fortunate he can eat anything and never gain an ounce. This is a dish we would normally cook on the grill, like we do our grilled sausage-stuffed cabbage, but courtesy of the incredible amounts of rain we received; I opted for the oven.
 Remove the outer leaves of a head of cabbage. Rinse thoroughly and drain. Slice the head in  half, cut out the core and quarter.
Wrap a thick slice of bacon around the cabbage quarter; sprinkle with salt and pepper and tightly wrap in aluminum foil. Bake in a 350-375 degree oven or grill for approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours. If you bake these in the oven, be sure to place the foil packs on a baking dish to keep your oven fee of juices/fat that escapes.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Low Carb Flour-Free Brownies

Yes, this picture is an optical illusion. It almost looks like we ate the majority of this pan of low carb brownies. Could we have? Yes. A delicious 2x2 square bite of chocolate has only 3 carbs! However, Andy and I both showed great restraint. The food choices we have been making for the past month are choices we can live with long term. I've never been a big fan of "dieting." If you don't keep it up, your loss eventually catches up with you and then some. We don't plan on spending the rest of our lives not enjoying a treat now and then, so I'm finding new ways to fix what we enjoy. These don't replace "Meme's Brownies," but they were very good. I found the original recipe on the website. After reading about twenty comments from folks who had baked them, I tweaked the recipe just a little and was pleased with the outcome.

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares
2 sticks salted butter
(Slowly melt the butter and chocolate squares, set to side for 10 minutes to cool)
1-1/2 cups Truvia Baking Blend
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 tbsp. cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

 In a medium bowl whisk 4 large eggs until fluffy. Beat in the Baking Truvia Blend.
 Slowly add the melted cooled butter and unsweetened chocolate squares. Whisk in the vanilla.
 Stir in the cocoa a little at a time.
 Blend until the batter is smooth.
 Pour into a greased pan. I used a 7.5" x 12" oval stone baking dish.
The brownies will puff up starting on the edges. 
When the whole pan has risen equally, check the center.
A toothpick inserted shouldn't have runny batter, but you will pull a few moist crumbs.
In my oven, it took 45 minutes for them to be done.
From the comments I read from others, the timing ranged from 30 minutes to one hour
Be aware! Check at thirty minutes and every five minutes until done.
Let the pan cool for at least one hour before cutting into 2" squares.

Loaded Baked Potato Slices

Do you like stuffed potato skins but don't know what to do with what you scoop out? We normally don't eat potatoes that frequently but we can sure knock out potato skins. My dilemma is what do I with the extra. If you mash them when they're hot and add a little milk and butter, you can refrigerate it to make fried potato cakes at a later date. One weekend (before we started cutting back on carbs) we did a heavy appetizer dinner. Instead of scooping, I started making thick slices. Needless to say, they were very tasty. I got about four good slices per medium potato.

Several medium Russett potatoes
6 slices bacon fried and crumbled (or more)
Shredded Cheddar/Colby/Jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream
Green onions, chopped (optional)
Wash and wrap potatoes in aluminum foil. Bake potatoes in a 450 degree oven for at least one hour, or until done.
When potatoes are done, let them cool a little and cut potatoes long way, about 3/8" to 1/2" thick. Lightly season with a little salt and pepper.

Top with crumbled bacon and shredded cheese.

Put back in the oven until cheese is bubbly.

Top with sour cream and green onions. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Low Carb Creamy Swiss Chicken

This one was too good to not post the day we tried it. All I can say is Momma doesn't know what she missed tonight! She visited my niece Tristan today to attend my great-niece's Kindergarten graduation and I had planned this meal with her in mind. The minute I saw this one floating around the internet, I knew I had to try it. Like I said the other day, we have been trying to eat a little healthier. Andy has now lost ten pounds in three weeks and I've lost five.How is it that a man can drop the pounds like that. Really?

I did the math on the carb count and each chicken breast has a little less than 4 carbs each! Now, if you fixed the six chicken breasts as stated in the original recipe or eat half of one like I did, you'd be consuming 2 carbs. All I can say is that it's delicious and left room for us to try the flourless brownies (3 carbs per 2"x2" square) for dessert. I'll post it soon too!

4-6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
6-8 Slices Swiss Cheese (Can substitute with Mozzarella)
½ cup Hellman's mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
¾ cup grated Parmesan Cheese (divide into 1/2 and 1/4 cup)

 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

 Pat chicken dry and place in a greased 9x13 pan. Lightly season chicken with salt and pepper.
 Add sliced cheese on top of chicken breasts.
 In a bowl mix mayonnaise, sour cream, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
 Spread this over the cheese and chicken and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.
Bake for one hour or until chicken temp is done.
You see all that cheesy goodness around the edges of the chicken? Well, Mr. "Lost 10 Pounds" was making sure that didn't go to waste. I do admit I snuck a few bites myself. :-) 
Recipe credit to

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cauliflower Substituted in Potato Salad

Well, the Queen and King of eating good food are trying to incorporate a little healthier recipes into our diet. By lowering our carbohydrate intake, we have both lost about four pounds in the last two weeks. If our after work schedule would slow down a little, we could get the mile we were walking every evening back in our regular routine.We are not starving ourselves, we aren't doing the no carb thing...just controlling portion size and really thinking about how much sugar is in our diet. Do you regularly read labels? On and off I do but it really makes you think. We don't consume a lot of sweets but when you look at pastas, breads and potatoes alone, it's crazy! We had a big family get together last weekend and I wished I had tried this dish out then. The most hard-core cauliflower hater would have probably loved it. It passed the Mom test. If my Momma will eat, you know it's good. The ingredients are what you would normally put in your favorite potato salad with the substitution of cauliflower for the potatoes.  

Cut up a head of cauliflower. Bring to a boil. Cook until you can easily run a knife through. Drain water and let cool. SIDE NOTE: I did bite-size pieces, but I've heard of people cooking this until falling apart tender.
While the cauliflower cooled, I boiled three eggs. To the cauliflower I added dill pickle, (substituted to reduce the sugars from the sweet pickle relish) chopped onion, chopped egg, salt and pepper to taste, a little mustard and Hellman's mayonnaise.
Stir until the cauliflower is coated well. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour and serve cold.