All posts by Rene Averett

Easy Low Carb Pizza with No Fuss

Image: Low Carb Thai Chicken Pizza

Just about everybody gets a craving for pizza, some of us more than others. Most of the time, I make my own low carb pizza crust using this recipe.

But recently, LC Foods added a personal-pan-sized crust to its product list. With three 6-inch pre-made and partially cooked crusts for only $7.95 plus shipping, this sounded like a pretty good deal. I ordered two packages of them plus 2 of their pizza and bagel flour mix to make your own. If you order enough from LC Foods, you can get free shipping. As it was, the shipping was $8.95 for priority mail, and the package arrived in Reno, Nevada, three days after it was shipped from North Carolina. That’s pretty good time!

Now, to speed up the pizza-making process, I discovered that Papa Murphy’s pizza is selling their pizza ingredients in a package for Keto eaters. So you have about a 12-ounce, 7×9-inch tray of pre-cut vegetables and pre-cooked meat ready to put on top of your pizza crust. In fact, you can customize your pizza ingredients from their website. I bought a custom variation of their Thai Chicken Pizza with all the same ingredients. When I cooked our first pizzas with it, I used half of the package to make two personal-sized pizzas. The taste was really good, but I didn’t think it had enough chicken in it, and it needed a bit of kick with a base sauce. When I made the next two pizzas, I added more cooked and sliced chicken, plus I spread a layer of Asian Chili Sauce on the bottom before adding the ingredients. This worked much better, yielding delicious results.

If you have a pizza place that will sell you the ingredients without the crust, this is a real time saver in getting your low carb pizza fix. If you don’t, then the ingredient list is below to build your own. If you don’t want to order pre-made crusts, you can make your own or use a cauliflower crust that many stores now sell or create your own from this recipe.

Thai Chicken Pizza

1 to 1 1/2 cups of Chicken Breast, cooked and sliced or chopped
1/4 cup Green Onions or chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped Tomatoes or Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1 cup of Zucchini, sliced
1 teaspoon Dried Red Chiles, crushed
1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F.)

Place pizza crusts on a foil-covered pan or raised rack.

Mix all the ingredients, except the chile sauce together. Spread 2 tablespoons of chile sauce on each 6-inch pizza crust. Spoon 1/4 of the ingredients on top of the pizza and sprinkle with a little extra mozzarella if you like.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the crust is browned. Makes four 6-inch pizzas.

Nutrition Info for Thai Chicken Pizza

Cool Down with Cucumber

Photo: Thai Cucumber Salad

Summer has arrived with hot days and somewhat cooler nights. But with daylight lasting until almost 9 pm, I am not too keen on cooking right now.

Seeking a cool side dish, I pulled up this recipe for a cucumber salad. It has just a bit of kick from the peppers in it. It originally called for jalapeno pepper, but I had an Anaheim in my ‘fridge so I switched it. Takes away the hot bite for a milder one. It also used cilantro, which I didn’t have on hand, so I used fresh mint from the garden. Changes the flavor profile a bit, but it’s very tasty.

The onions are also my addition. I love the cucumber and onion combination. But if you don’t like onion, leave it out. The peanuts are part of the original recipe, but I forgot to add them when I served. We didn’t miss them at all, so up to you to add or not.

Thai Cucumber Salad

1 large Cucumber, peeled
1 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Sugar Substitute
3 tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 medium Onion, sliced and cut into pieces (optional)
1/4 Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon Spear Mint, chopped or cut into pieces
2 tablespoon Peanuts, chopped (optional)
4 leaves of Romaine lettuce, rinsed and dried

Peel a large cucumber and cut it down the middle lengthwise. Slice into 1/4-inch half-rounds. Put slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Turn the mixture with a spoon or your clean hands to spread the salt around. Let sit over the sink for 20 minutes. Wash off in cool water.

In a medium bowl, add the sugar substitute and the rice wine vinegar. Mix together until the sugar is dissolved. Add the sliced onion and chopped pepper. Mix in the cucumber slices and toss the salad to coat everything in the sugar-vinegar dressing. Sprinkle chopped mint leaves over the top. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour before serving.

Serve on a Romaine lettuce leaf or shredded lettuce. Top with chopped peanuts if you desire.

Serves 4 side salads or 2 large ones.

Nutrition Image for Thai Cucumber Salad

 

Easy Cheese Pie makes great snacks!

 

Photo: Cheese Pie sticks

Whether you want a side dish,  the main course, or snacks, this cheese pie is a quick and versatile option. I adapted this from a recipe at 12 Tomatoes to a low carb version, which is only a couple of changes. You can use any cheese you like, although mozzarella holds it together well. You can also add your favorite seasoning or mix it up. Use a Mexican cheese mix with taco seasoning and add in chopped green onions for variety. Mix in broccoli and garlic herb seasoning with mozzarella and Reggiano. The possibilities abound.

My flour choice was Bakesquick from Dixie Diner, but you can also use any other low carb flour, including almond flour. If you use coconut flour, use 1/3 cup and add an extra egg. You can use 1 full cup of milk instead of the heavy cream and almond milk, or use the heavy cream and add water to make 1 cup.

Photo: Cheese Pie

Cheese Pie

2 Eggs
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
2/3 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 cup Low Carb Flour
3/4 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
3/4 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Ground Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Use cooking spray or butter to grease a 9-inch pie plate or a baking dish.

Add the eggs to a medium bowl and whisk until they are mixed together. Add cream, almond milk, and flour, and seasonings and whisk until they are fully incorporated. You can use a blender to combine these. Stir in both cheeses and any other additions. Make sure they are mixed in well. Pour cheese mixture into the greased baking dish and use a spoon or spatula to smooth the top.

Bake between 25 and 30 minutes until top turns golden brown. When a knife blade inserted in the middle comes out clean, it is done. Remove to a counter or a trivet and let cool for 5 minutes.

This makes six servings for a luncheon or dinner. Or cut into snack pieces, by cutting into slices about 3 inches long and 1-1/2 inches wide. Makes about 12 slices.

Keeps well in the refrigerator for several days if it lasts that long. You can warm them for about 10 seconds in the microwave if you wish.

Image: Cheese Pie Nutrition

A Touch of Spice in Honey Sriracha Pork Chops

Photo: Honey Sriracha Pork Chops

When I wanted to spice up a pair of pork chops for dinner, I borrowed a recipe for Honey Garlic Chicken and added in Sriracha Sauce to the mix. This turned out wonderfully. The sugar-free honey gives it just enough sweetness while the sriracha adds the zing to it. It’s easy to do and can be done in one stove-to-oven pan. I have a set of copper skillets that can all go into the oven and broiler, but a cast-iron or any other skillet rated for the oven will work as well.

The same recipe works with chicken if you’d rather have bird for dinner. You can use chicken thighs or breasts, but allow a little more cooking time for thicker breasts or cut them horizontally and lay flat if they are too thick. You can easily double the sauce to make more than two pieces.

Honey Sriracha Pork Chops

1 tablespoons Butter
1/2 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Sriracha Sauce
1 pinch Salt
Ground Black Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons Sugar-free Honey
2 Pork Chops, 4-6 ounces each

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In an oven-usable skillet, such as copper or cast iron, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in honey and Sriracha sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Measure out half the sauce into a small bowl or cup and set aside.

Dip pork chops into the sauce, coating on both sides. Leave chops in the pan and use a pastry brush to coat any extra sauce on top of the chops.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Pork chops should be about 145 degrees on a food thermometer inserted to the middle of the chop. Remove pan from oven, turn the pork chops over with a fork to coat the top. Next, pour the reserved sauce over each chop and put under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown the edges.

Makes 2 servings.

Image: Nutrition

Cauli-Potato Pancakes: Make an old favorite with fewer carbs!

Photo: Cauliflower Potato Pancakes

For the most part, I’ve avoided potatoes because of their higher carb count. But when mixed with cauliflower, this lowers the hit considerably. Mashed potatoes are lower than some of the other ways of serving them, but they can be cut with cauliflower to lower the carbs. This recipe is a great one for using leftover cauli-potato mash, or you can make them just to make the pancakes. You can add in other ingredients, such as bacon bits, onion flakes, chopped green onions, garlic, or chopped green chile. Do not add cheese to the mix, but you can top it with cheese after they are cooked.

Eggs and flour help hold the mash together while you cook it. You can use any low carb flour, but if you use coconut flour, use 1/4 cup and allow time for it to absorb the liquid before cooking. Low carb flours break easily, so you need to allow time for the cakes to cook until the top looks dry before flipping. Even then, they might split apart. Smaller cakes work best as it’s easier to get the entire pancake over the spatula. I used Bakesquick in mine, and they held together pretty well.

Photo: Pair of pancakes
A pair of nicely browned cauliflower-potato pancakes.

The instructions below are to make the pancakes from scratch for this recipe. If you have leftovers, use 2 cups of the cauli-potato mash and omit the cream and butter. Then, skip to the second paragraph of the instructions.

 

Cauliflower and Potato Pancakes

1 cup Mashed Potatoes
1 cup Mashed Cauliflower
2 tablespoons Heavy Cream
2 tablespoon Butter
2 large Eggs
1/2 cup low carb Flour
Salt and Pepper
Seasonings of choice

Optional add-ins:
Chopped Green Onions
Drained Chopped Green Chiles
Bacon Bits or Pieces
Chopped Onions

To make the cauliflower and potato mash, combine one cup of cooked and cubed potatoes and one cup of chopped cauliflower in a pan of boiling water. Cook until tender, about 15 min. depending on the size of the pieces. Drain and dry off as much as possible. Put back in the pan and add cream, butter, salt, and pepper. Mix together and use a masher to break up the potatoes and cauliflower, or use a mixer or a food processor. They can be lumpy. Put in a medium-sized bowl and chill about an hour. (You can do this the day before if you wish.)

In a large bowl, mix the mashed cauliflower and potatoes, eggs, and flour together. Add seasonings to taste. If you are using add-ins, add them now. Mix well. The dough should be fairly thick.

Coat a skillet or griddle with baking spray and let it heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-high. Put a heaping tablespoon of the mixture in the pan or on the griddle and press to form about 1/2″ thick cake.

Photo: Pancakes cooking in a pan.
My square copper skillet can handle four pancakes. You can also cook them on a griddle.

Cook about 3 to 5 minutes per side, then flip to cook the other side about the same time. If the cake doesn’t hold together when you first try to turn it, give it a couple of more minutes. Remove to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the cauliflower-potato mix.

Photo: Cheese-topped cauliflower potato pancakes
As this picture shows, not all of my cakes held together. I can attest they still taste great and a little cheese covers the failure. The garlic honey pork chop recipe will be coming up soon.

Serve with a cheese sauce, sour cream, or ranch dressing, although the cakes are tasty just the way they are.

Nutrition Information