Category Archives: Main Dish

Cinco de Mayo book plug and a new taco recipe

Image: Pork taco with avocado crema

For those who like a reason to celebrate, Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner. That’s May 5th for anyone who doesn’t read enough Spanish to know. It’s a great celebration day for Mexico, but also just a good reason to raise a margarita in their honor and indulge in Mexican food. Of course, if you’re trying to stick to your low carb lifestyle, this presents some challenges.

One of our Reno Mexican restaurants has a sugar-free orange margarita made with Crystal Light that is not bad at all. If you’re making them at home, you can buy Skinny Syrup sugar-free margarita mixes in syrup form from Amazon. They also have a mojita mix if you prefer that flavor. Or you can find recipes on line for sugar free to make at home, like this one for a Skinny Margarita.

But moving along to the food, it is difficult to eat out and not indulge with more carbs than you want in your meal. Some dishes, like fajitas are not bad in carbs, but the tortillas, beans, and rice will really slam you, so best to avoid going out unless you can say no to the side dishes and just make something at home.

Here’s a plug for my low carb LC15 cookbooklet, Mexican Food for a Low Carb Lifestyle. This booklet has over 15 recipes for tried and true Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes that will satisfy your need for spice. At only 99-cents, this will give you main courses and side dishes with easy to follow instructions. I didn’t go into the desserts but I do have a recipe for flan on this website .

As a reminder, if you’re looking for low carb flour tortillas, most stores carry La Tortilla Factory or Mission flour tortillas in the low carb version. These vary from 3 net carbs to 6 net carbs per tortilla, so be sure to check the package for the carb count. For corn tortillas, I haven’t found a low carb offering, but I do have this recipe that is similar, golden flax meal tortillas.

While a few of my recipes from the book are on this website, most of them are exclusive to the booklet. If you prefer a book you can take to the kitchen and scribble notes in, the booklet is included in the 3-in-1 paperback book with Breakfast Choices and Magic Muffins for just $4.99. You can buy it here.

image: Open pork taco with apricots

Grilled Pork and Apricot Tacos with Avocado Crema

Now, for a new recipe that I tried last week, here’s a very tasty pork taco with an apricot salsa. This can also be made with peaches. I settled on apricot because I had some in my freezer and I couldn’t find a ripe peach at the grocery store. Using fresh is better than a frozen fruit that doesn’t look quite as attractive, but it tasted very good.

1 large  (8 oz) boneless Pork Loin Chop, about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 tsp. Chipotle Powder
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/4 tsp. Oregano
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp. Coriander
1/8 tsp. Allspice
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Olive Oil, divided
1 Avocado, diced
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Peach or 2 Apricots, chopped
1/2 Green Onion, finely sliced
Juice of 1 lime, divided
1 1/2 tbsp. freshly chopped Cilantro
1/2 tsp. Sugar Substitute
4 Low-carb Flour Tortillas
Cilantro leaves, for serving (optional)

In a large bowl, add chopped apricots or peaches, shallots, cilantro, sugar substitute, 1/2 the lime juice, and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Mix together well and season with salt and pepper to your taste. Cover and chill until ready to use.

In a big bowl, add chipotle powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, coriander, and allspice and salt and pepper. Mix all together, then add the pork and cover it the seasonings on both sides. Let sit while you mix the avocado crema.

Using your food processor, add the chopped avocado, sour cream, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and the rest of the lime juice. Blend until it is smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula if necessary. Set aside.

Grill pork chop on an outdoor grill or in your grill pan for three minutes. Turn to grill the back side for another two to three minutes until the pork is done. Let rest a few minutes, then slice thinly.

Heat the tortillas on the grill or in the grill pan until they are hot. You can also do this over an open gas flame allowing them to blister or bubble, then flipping to the other side. Top each tortilla with 1/4 of the avocado crema, then the pork, and top with the salsa.Garnish with cilantro if you wish.

Makes 4 tacos.

My picture at the top shows the taco with a scoop of riced turnips with green chile, corn, and beans. I’ll share that recipe next week.

E-Z Cauliflower and Chicken Sausage Risotto

Photo: Cauliflower Rice Risotto with Chicken Sausage

Last night, I made a quick dinner using Green Giant’s frozen Riced Cauliflower Risotto Medley with Aidell’s Chicken with Gruyere Sausage in it. While I had a busy day yesterday, the deciding factor in making this meal was that the freezer tossed the risotto package back out on the floor when I put it in, and I didn’t notice. So, when I found it, I had a bag of thawed, but still cold, risotto. It’s not a big production to make, but it’s a good example of how you can manage a delicious quick meal on a low carb diet.

Now, if you want to start from scratch with the riced cauliflower, you can make it by running the cauliflower through the food processor, then chopping about a quarter cup of mushrooms and about three stalks of asparagus up finely. You will need to cook this a little longer than you would the frozen one that is already cooked.

For this version here’s the recipe:

Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken Sausage

1 package Green Giant Riced Veggies Cauliflower Risotto Medley, thawed
2 links Aidells Chicken Sausage – Roasted Garlic & Gruyere Cheese
2 tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream
3 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Seasoning Blend
1 teaspoon Olive Oil

In a large skillet, add the oil, then add the garlic and cook until it is fragrant. Add the cauliflower medley. Stir for about three minutes, then add the chicken, cream, and about a quarter cup of water. Heat the mixture to a boil, then lower the temperature to a medium simmer. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

Serve with a salad or other side dish. I used a broccoli salad from the grocery store.

Makes 3 servings.

Do you have a recipe that you would like for me to try to adapt to low carb? If so, let me know in the comments and I’ll tell you where to email it.

About that Salmon Salad

Photo: Salmon and Bacon Salad

Heavy winds and rain are blasting my area as we approach the end of March. (I think it came in like a lion, but not sure it will depart like a lamb.) We can only hope April looks more like spring than March has. When the month started, I promised to post the recipe for a great salmon salad. Then it totally slipped my mind as I started getting more of the St. Patrick’s Day recipes up. But here it is. This works great if you have left-over salmon, or you can grill a piece before you make it. You can also use canned or packaged cooked salmon.

This is another yummy recipe from Paleo Leap’s web site, so it is good for Atkins, South Beach, Keto, and Paleo.

1 cup Salmon, grilled and flaked (8 oz)
1 hard boiled Egg, diced
1 Mini Pepper
1/2 Avocado, diced
2 slices Bacon, cooked and broken into pieces
1/4 Onion, minced
2 tablespoons Mayonnaise (homemade or your preference)
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon fresh Parsley, minced or 1/2 teaspoon dried Parsley
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 drop liquid Sweetener
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of fresh greens (Spring mix lettuce, spinach, arugula – your choice)

To make the dressing:

In a bowl, add the mayonnaise, parsley, lemon juice, cayenne, sweetener, and olive oil then whisk until it is blended.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the salmon, diced eggs, bell pepper, avocado, and red onion. Add the mayonnaise mixture and toss it together gently. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Divide the greens into two bowls, then top with half the salmon mixture into each bowl. Serve.

Makes two healthy servings.

TIP: If you’d rather have shell fish, make this with shrimp, crab, or lobster instead of salmon. It will work just as well.

Image: Nutrition Info

Sooo good! A delicious Corned Beef and Asparagus Breakfast

Image: Asparagus and Baked Eggs

Well, this is a little late for a St. Patrick’s Day brunch, but who needs that excuse to make a tasty breakfast with sliced corned beef? You can also substitute in Canadian bacon or slices of turkey. I found this recipe in my excursion looking for paleo recipes that are also low in carbs. And It’s also low enough to satisfy the keto fans. Of course, I made a minor change or two, such as the extra seasoning and adding a garnish of avocado, but those are optional.

St. Patrick’s Day Brunch Asparagus and Eggs

4 Eggs
1 Leek, sliced
1/2 bunch Asparagus. sliced
4 slices Corned Beef, quartered
1/2 teaspoon Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Tomato, Garlic and Basil seasoning (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 Avocado for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F.).

Slice the vegetables and cut the corned beef slices into quarters. (If your corned beef is a small cut, then just cut in half.)

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a skillet that can go to the oven.

Add the garlic and leek to the skillet and stir cook for two minutes. Then add the asparagus and all of the corned beef pieces except 4. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes until the asparagus is almost tender.

Put the four pieces of corned beef on top, one in each section of the pan. (I used a square pan, so each corner had a piece of corned beef in it.) Press down on the corned beef piece to make a small well, then crack an egg into the corned beef. Repeat with the other three sections. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Photo: Asparagus with eggs in the pan

Bake for 5 to 6 minutes until the egg white is fully set. If you like your yolk non-runny, cook about 7 to 8 minutes.

If you wish, sprinkle a little cheese over the top before servings. Makes two servings or four servings if you’re not super hungry or want even lower carbs.

TIPS: This may be made with bacon in place of the corned beef. Use four or more slices. You can also use Canadian bacon, ham, or turkey slices.

Based on a recipe at PaleoLeap.com.

Scintillating Salmon with Orange Sauce

Photo: Salmon with Orange Basil Sauce

PK’s new doctor recently suggested she try the paleo diet to improve her health. With this pronouncement in mind, I took a look at some of the paleo recipes and chose some that I thought I could adapt to low carb that would suit both of us. As a result of this quest, I will be posting more recipes that work for both low carb like Atkins and South Beach as well as ones that work with keto and paleo.

This is a delicious recipe that I found as Orange Rosemary Salmon at PaleoLeap.com. I didn’t have any rosemary, so I substituted basil. Dried basil at that. But it worked exceptionally well, and we loved the flavor of this dish. I grilled the salmon on my new Copper Chef stove-top grill, which worked perfectly, and I cleaned it up in just a few minutes after I was done. Yay for that! I even grilled the asparagus spears along with it. The side serving that looks a bit like rice is actually riced kohlrabi, which is amazingly delicious when cooked with a bit of broth, butter, and basil.

If you were going true paleo, you would use all fresh ingredients and your chicken stock would be made from chicken bones. I, on the other hand, made mine from Better Than Bullion.

Orange Basil Salmon

Atkins, Keto, and Paleo-friendly

2 salmon fillets (about 1/2 lb)
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh Basil, minced 0r 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Use a grater or zester to scrape the orange skin until you have 1 teaspoon of orange zest. Cut the orange and squeeze out as much of the juice as you can from one large orange. I use a little of the pulp as well since I like to have it in my sauce. Combine the orange juice, lemon juice, chicken stock, and zest.

Heat the grill on high heat until hot, then turn to medium heat. Brush the salmon fillets with a little olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill with skin side up and cook until the salmon is about half-way done, about 5 minutes. Flip so the skin side is down and continue to cook another 4 to 5 minutes. (Time will vary based on the heat and thickness of the salmon.) Add any vegetables to the grill at this point.

On another burner, heat up a saute pan and add a teaspoon of olive oil or cooking fat. Cook the garlic and fresh basil in it for a minute or so. If using dried, add it to the orange juice mixture. Pour the juice and broth into the pan and stir well. Lower the heat to medium-low and add salt and pepper to taste, about a pinch of pepper and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Stir and cook until the mixture begins to thicken.

Meanwhile, check on the salmon as you work and turn any vegetables that need it. When the flesh looks done all the way through, use a pancake spatula and slide it between the skin and the meat. The salmon will lift off easily. Transfer it to a serving plate and spoon or pour half the orange sauce over the top.

Serve with vegetables and riced cauliflower or kohlrabi. Makes two servings.

Photo: Riced kohlrabi

Riced Kohlrabi with Basil

1 medium (4″) Kohlrabi
1/4 cup Chicken Broth or Better Than Bullion
1/2 teaspoon dried Basil
Pinch Salt
1 tablespoon Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, or Butter

Prepare this before you begin the main meal.

Peel kohlrabi, cut into cubes and put in the food processor. Pulse until the vegetable is chopped into rice-sized pieces.

In a skillet, add oil or butter, then add the kohlrabi. Stir and cook for about a minute, then add the broth, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Add water if it is too dry. The kohlrabi will take about 20 minutes to cook until it is tender. Add seasonings about part way through.

When done the kohlrabi should look like rice in texture. Makes about three half-cup servings.

Nutrition: Salmon with Basil Orange Sauce