All posts by Rene Averett

Delectable Shrimp and Mushrooms in a Creamy Sauce

Photo of Shrimp and Mushrooms with Sauce

Delicious shrimp with a creamy sauce and lots of mushrooms is absolutely wonderful. This is an easy recipe worthy of a the finest restaurant. It quickly went into my favorites and make often file.

I used Dixie Carb Counters Skinni Spaghetti (4 net carbs per serving), and split one serving (1/4 package) to make two servings, so 2 net carbs for the pasta. You can also use 2 cups of spiral zucchini (zoodles) in place of the pasta. As side dishes, I made fresh salad and some steamed green beans.

I admit, this recipe is loaded with calories. Lots of butter equals calories, but the carb count is really low. If you are nervous about a high calorie meal, cut the butter in half. It will still be wonderful.

Shrimp and Mushrooms in Cream Cheese Sauce

1/4 package low carb spaghetti or zoodles
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
½ cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
¾ teaspoon dried basil
⅔ cup boiling water
½ pound shrimp, cooked or raw

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti or zoodles and cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Put a medium-sized heavy skillet over medium-high heat and melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the shrimp if you are using raw shrimp and stir cook until they turn pink.

In the same pan, add 1/2 cup butter and the minced garlic. Cut the cream cheese into pieces and add to the pan, stirring and breaking it up as it melts.

Add the parsley and basil, stirring. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring as needed. Mix in boiling water, a tablespoon at a time until the sauce is smooth.

Add the shrimp and mushrooms and stir. Simmer a few more minutes to heat. Add pasta or zoodles and stir together.

Makes two delicious servings.

Delightful Corned Beef Tacos

Photo - corned beef tacos

I apologize for not being around much this month. Since it’s my birthday month, I spent quite a bit of time eating out or eating leftovers, but I did manage to cook a few new things during March.

If you have any corned beef left from St. Patrick’s Day, you can use it in this delicious fusion recipe of Mexican and Irish. Or you can do what I did and buy a pound of cooked corned beef from the grocery store deli. I had them cut it about 1/4 inch thick so that I could slice it into thin strips for the recipe.

Purple cabbage isn’t required and green cabbage will work just as well, but the reddish one is more colorful. The flavor is spicy and a bit sweet, so it makes for a nice tickle on the taste buds. I used La Banderita flour tortillas, which are 4 net carbs per tortilla. You can use one of the wheat ones that will save you a carb on each taco. Ideally, two tacos are a nice serving, but I’ve listed the carb count for each taco.

Corned Beef Tacos

1 pound thick-sliced Corned Beef
1 teaspoon Brown Mustard
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced Garlic
4 low carb Flour Tortillas
1/2 cup Irish Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Slaw
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
1/4 cup white onion diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard

Make the slaw first. Put all ingredients into a bowl and stir together until it looks creamy. Refrigerate.

Cut the sliced corned beef into thin strips. In a small bowl, mix the mustard, cayenne pepper, and garlic together and add 1 tablespoon of water. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet, then add the corned beef. Cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in mustard mixture and stir cook the corned beef for about 3 to 5 minutes until it is completely covered and warmed through.

To serve, warm the tortillas over a flame or in the oven, wrapped in foil, for a few minutes. Spread corned beef mixture down the middle of each tortillas, spread the slaw over the meat, and top with shredded cheese.

Mix 2 tablespoons salsa with 2 tablespoons mayonnaise to make a spicy sauce for the tacos.

Guinness Pot Roast is Grand

Photo: Pot Roast in Guinness broth

When you think of St. Patrick’s Day, your first thought probably isn’t a pot roast.  In many ways, it is similar to an Irish stew though. Beef, broth, vegetables, and Guinness Stout. So, I thought, why not? The stout not only brings flavor, but it is great to tenderize the beef. Add turnips and kohlrabi instead of potatoes, then throw in some baby carrots and onions, and you have a delicious low-carb meal in one pot.

Guinness Stout Pot Roast

3-1/2 to 4 lb. Pot Roast
1 16 oz.-can Guinness Draught Stout
2 cups Turnips, peeled and cubed
20-24 Baby Carrots
3 stalks Celery, medium-sized
1 Onion, peeled and quartered
2 cups Kohlrabi, peeled and cubed
1 packet LIPTON RECIPE SECRETS ONION Mix or other Onion Soup mix
1 tablespoon Garlic and Herb Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil

Heat oven to 325 degrees (F.)

Peel the turnips and kohlrabi and cut each into eighths. Remove the strings from the celery and cut into one-inch pieces. Cut the carrots in half or leave whole. Peel the onion and cut it into quarters.

In a Dutch oven or ovenproof deep pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Prepare the roast by rubbing it with seasoning on both sides. Sear the pot roast in the hot oil to get a brown char on one side, then flip over and repeat.

Remove the roast, add in the onions and sauté for about five minutes. Return the roast to the pan, then add the Guinness beer and 1/4 cup water along with the Onion Soup mix. Bring mixture to a simmer, then turn off heat. Cover with a lid or with a double layer of aluminum foil. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes.

Add the vegetables to the pot and cook for another 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours until the vegetables are fork tender.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

To help sop up that flavorful sauce, serve slices of low carb Irish Soda Bread. Get the recipe here.

It’s Gnudi Time!

Photo: Gnudi with meatballs and pasta sauce

Sometimes I learn about something and wish that I had known about it sooner in my life. Gnudi (pronounced nudee) fit in that category. I saw Giada Di Laurentis make these on television and decided I had to try them. They are similar to the filling in gnocchi, but really, it tastes like the center ricotta layer in lasagna. So delicious!

And they are easy to make. I adapted them only slightly to be low carb, which meant swapping out the regular wheat flour for low carb flour. I used Dixie Diner’s All Purpose Flour. I expect that coconut flour might work well in this also. I plan to try that the next time I make them. Since coconut flour absorbs more liquid, use only 1/4 cup in the ricotta mixture. If the dough gets too stiff, add a little egg white or water.

Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese, not the canned variety that’s been sitting in the cupboard for two months. It’s worth it. This recipe is adapted from one I found at thekitchn.com.

Ricotta Gnudi

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 cups Whole-milk Ricotta Cheese
1 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Garlic and Herb Seasoning
1 cups Low Carb All-purpose Flour, divided
1-1/2 cups Marinara or Pasta sauce, store-bought or homemade
Fresh Baby Spinach

Place freshly grated Parmesan cheese in a large bowl then add ricotta cheese, eggs, salt, pepper and seasoning salt. Stir together, then add 1/2 cup low carb flour and stir until combined.

Put parchment paper or aluminum foil on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Dust with 1/3 cup flour. Using a 1-1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop or an over-filled tablespoon, scoop out golf-ball sized gnudi and place on the baking sheet. You can shape them into balls with your hands if they aren’t rounded. Repeat until all the dough is used.

Sprinkle the remaining flour over the tops of the dough. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill for 20 to 30 minutes. The more chilled they are, the better since the low carb flour breaks down in the boiling water more than regular flour.

Fill a large pot with water, add about a teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil. While waiting, get out the spinach and cut or tear into pieces for garnish. Warm the pasta sauce in a pan.

Use a slotted spoon to lower five or six gnudi into the water, one or two at a time. Try not to get too much extra flour with each one. Boil until the gnudi float and are firm to a light touch, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the water with the slotted spoon and put on a serving bowl or plate. Repeat until all the gnudi are cooked.

Spoon warmed pasta sauce over the top, garnish with additional Parmesan Cheese and the spinach leaves.

If you wish, you can add a couple of meat balls to the plate as I did.

Image: Gnudi in pan with butter and spinach

The other way you can serve gnudi is with a melted butter sauce. I heated my day-old gnudi up in the butter, lightly browning them. Melt a stick of butter, add 1 teaspoon minced garlic and let the butter get slightly browned. If you wish, you can add 1/2 to 1 cup of baby spinach while you’re stirring the butter. Spoon over the gnudi to serve.

This is great with roast chicken or pork chops as well as the meatballs.

Makes 24 gnudi. I used 4 gnudi per serving.

Leftovers can be put in plastic bags with the air gently pushed out as you seal it, or you can put them in a flat plastic container with a tight lid. They will keep up to three days in the refrigerator.

Image: Nutrition

 

Easy Microwave Brownies

Microwave Brownie with Hazelnut Cream Topping

A few weeks ago, I splurged big time and bought a microwave brownie baker at my local dollar store. What the heck? It might turn out to be a shortcut to one of my favorite treats, you know. (By the way, you can buy one just like it or a Betty Crocket one for $5 to $10 dollars!)

The kit includes a plastic pan for the microwave and an odd little measuring box. It has separate compartments and markers to put in your ingredients. Then you dump them all into the baking pan and mix them together. So I guess you could call this a measuring box.

I tried it once as written, cooking them in the microwave for 3 minutes. My brownies came out a little too done and not gooey as promised. So, I changed the recipe a little, using another similar one but used butter in place of oil. I cut the time back by 15 seconds. Brownies were a little less done but lacking the texture I was hoping to get. On the third try, I cut the time back to two minutes. Whoops. Still not in the gooey mode. The fourth time, I cut them back to 90 seconds. This time, they weren’t quite done in the middle. So, the most recent attempt was one minute and forty-five seconds. Success! While the brownies looked a little underdone when I first removed them from the microwave, they cooked a little longer and are now perfect.

The moral of this tale is that you may have to play with the time in your microwave. Since my unit is 1000 watts, a 1200-watt one might need only 90 seconds, while an 800-watt unit might need two minutes.

Alternately, you can abandon the microwave and simply cook them in an 8×8″ pan in the oven. Instructions are below.

I used a combination low carb flour of 6 tablespoons Bakesquick and 2 tablespoons Almond Flour.

Microwave Brownies

1 cup Sugar Substitute
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup All-Purpose Low Carb Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

Wet Add-ins:
1/2 cup Butter, melted and cooled
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 cup Pecans or Walnuts, chopped (optional)

Optional Topping (ices two brownies):
1 tablespoon Sugar-Free Hazelnut Spread
1 tablespoon Butter, softened
2 tablespoons Cool Whip or other toppings

Brownies:

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together.

Melt the butter and let cool for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, add the butter, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk together until the eggs are completely incorporated.

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir together until all the flour is moist. Add nuts and stir them in. If you wish, you can add 1/3 cup of sugar-free chocolate chips to make them even richer. Pour batter into a microwavable 6″x6″ pan to microwave or into an 8″x8″ baking pan for the oven.

To microwave, cook 1 minute 30 seconds to 1 minute 45 seconds and let cool. With luck, this will produce a moist, gooey cookie. If it’s not quite as you like it, cook it more or less the next time you make it.

To bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.) Bake 20 to 22 minutes, checking with a toothpick to ensure it doesn’t get overcooked.

To bake in the oven, let cook for 20 to 22 minutes, checking to make sure it doesn’t get overcooked.

Makes about 6 to 8 brownies.

For the topping:
It’s best to make only enough for what you’re going to eat at the time. This recipe makes enough for two brownies.

In a small bowl, add hazelnut spread and butter. Mix together, then add Cool Whip (or even whipped cream if you prefer.) Stir together until it is blended, then spread over the top of the brownies.

If you have friends over and you’re eating the whole pan at once, simply triple the amounts for the topping.

Low Sodium Brownies

For my friends who need a low sodium intake, this recipe works with almond flour and coconut flour.

To make low sodium brownies, use these ingredients:

1 cup Sugar Substitute
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Almond Flour
2 tablespoons Coconut Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

Wet Add-ins:
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
2 Eggs
3 tablespoons Egg Whites
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 cup Pecans or Walnuts, chopped (optional)

Cook in the microwave as described above.