Category Archives: Main Dish

A Mexican Cheese Pie Variation

Photo: Chicken Chile Rellano PieWhile a cheese pie is a lot like a quiche, it’s not exactly the same. It’s the basic recipe adapted with different ingredients that takes it on a different path. In this case, our cheese pie is similar to the Chile Rellano casserole but with a couple of differences. This recipe is adapted from Miz Liz at Low Carb Friends. I made a few adjustments and changes to spice it up a little more.

It cooks quickly and makes a thick, satisfying slice of pie. It will serve six average appetites, but those bigger eaters should be content with one-quarter of the pie.  You can dress it up when you serve it with other go-withs like pico de Gallo, avocado or guacamole, and/or sour cream.

If you want it to be spicier, add more fajita or taco seasoning to it. Don’t want it spicy at all? Omit the seasoning and simply add salt and pepper. While it does use a low carb baking mix – the original recipe came from Carbquik’s web site -, you don’t have to use it. Omit the flour if you wish, or simply use 1 tablespoon of any low carb flour to help thicken it.

I hope you will give this a try and let me know what you think

Chicken Chile Rellano Casserole

2 4 oz. cans chopped Green Chilies, drained
1 cup shredded Chicken
1/2 cup Onions, chopped
2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese or Cheddar Jack Cheese
1/2 cup Cream plus 1/2 cup Water
1 cup CarbQuik mix or other Low Carb Baking Mix
1 – 2 tablespoons of Fajita or Taco Seasoning Mix
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F.) Grease an 8″ pie plate or casserole dish or spray with baking spray.

Drain the chiles and spread them over the bottom of the pan. Top with cheese, then spread the chicken and chop onions over the top.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, cream, water, seasoning, and baking mix together until it is completely mixed using a spoon or silicone spatula. Pour over the chicken and cheese. Place pie pan on a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Insert a knife in the middle to check if it is fully set.

Cool for about 10 minutes to allow it to finish setting up to make it easier to cut. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, and/or guacamole to garnish. A green side salad works well with this dish.

Makes 4 to 6 servings, depending on appetite.

Tip: For those who want a meatless dish, simply omit the chicken.
If you would like to add corn to it, use Dynasty Baby Sweet Corn and chop it up. It adds the flavor with only 0.3 carbs extra per serving of 1/6.

Photo: Nutrition Info for Chicken Chile Rellano Casserole



A Substitute for a McGriddles Pancake

Photo: McGriddles-style Pancake Sandwich

I found this recipe on Tova Foods website. They are the makers of Carbquik, but the recipe was submitted by a user who compared it to McDonald’s McGriddles pancake sandwiches. I’ve never eaten one from Mickey D’s, so I can’t say how close it is to theirs. However, I will say it tastes delicious and works well to hold the sandwich together.

In fact, you can use the pancakes with any combination you’d like for a sandwich. Not too sure about tuna, though it might work fine.
If you don’t like flax meal, you can make it with another low carb flour or all Carbquik. However, the carbs will go up to another .5 to 1 carb, depending on what flour you use.

McGriddles-Style Pancakes

1/4 cup Carbquik or other Low Carb Flour
1/4 cup Golden flax meal
1 teaspoon Sugar Substitute
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract or Sugar-free Maple Syrup
1 Egg
3 tablespoons Butter, melted
2 tablespoons Cream plus 2 tablespoons Water

3 Eggs
3 slices Ham or Sausage Patty or 6 slices Bacon
3 slices Cheese of choice

In a medium bowl, mix the ingredients together. The batter should be easy to scoop and spread in a skillet like most pancake batter.

Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Put about two tablespoons of batter in it and spread to make a 4″ circle. If there’s room for a second pancake, make another about the same size. Repeat until you’ve used all the batter.

Use two pancakes to make your sandwich. Cook the meat in the same skillet with a little butter. Place the meat on one pancake. Cook the egg to your preference (I like to break the yolk and mix it into the white.) Place on top of the meat. Repeat for other two sandwiches.

Makes 3 sandwiches. If you only want one, you can store the extra pancakes in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze them to use later.

Nutrition Info for Pancakes and Sandwiches

Break Tradition With This Sushi Roll


Photo: California Roll made with cauliflower rice

I love California roll sushi. Not so crazy about raw fish, but put cooked crab or shrimp on it and I’m in. The only problem is that pesky rice exterior that holds the whole roll together! So as I was chomping down on a forbidden rice encrusted treat, I wondered if riced cauliflower would work with it. Just like that, this experiment blossomed in my mind.

I took fresh cauliflower, pulled apart the flowerets and tossed them in the food processor, pulsing until I had rice sized pieces. Then I cooked them in a pan with about 1/4 cup of water until the bits were tender and most of the water had evaporated. I put them in a bowl and placed it in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.

When I was ready to make the sushi, I took out an ounce of cream cheese and softened it, then mixed it into the cauli-rice. From this point, I followed the recipe to make the roll. It came out great! Okay, not as pretty as a restaurant-bought one, but this was my first try at making it at home. I did buy a sushi kit that provided the bamboo rolling mat, other tools like a paddle and an avocado slicer, and a sushi knife.

Photo: Trio of sushi rolls made with cauliflower rice

Curious about options, I also tried this using riced turnips. This works well also, although the turnip retains more moisture than the cauliflower, so it’s best to drain after cooking and squeeze the excess water out in a paper or clean kitchen towel. The turnip has a tiny bite to it that actually works with the oriental flavors.

So, if you’re adventurous, try this California Roll recipe with either cauliflower or rice and let me know what you think.

California Rolls made with riced turnips

Low Carb California Roll

1 cup Cauliflower rice or riced turnips
1 ounce Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
4 half-sheets Nori roasted seaweed
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Seeds
4 pieces Crab Meat or 4 tablespoons of Cracked Crab.
4 thin slices Cucumber, cut in sticks
4 – 8 pieces of Avocado, cut into sticks
4-8 pieces Zucchini, cut into sticks
4 Carrot sticks, about 3-1/2 inches long, cooked and chilled

Sliced Ginger
Sodium-reduced Soy Sauce

Cook cauliflower rice in a small pan or skillet with 1/4 cup water, bringing to a boil, then reducing to a simmer. Stir frequently and add additional water if it evaporates too quickly. Cook about 15 minutes until done. It sound be firm, but tender to chew. Drain any excess water off. Let rice chill for 1 to 2 hours. Mix cream cheese, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds into the rice. This will help to bind the riced vegetables together.

You will need a bamboo sushi mat for rolling. Place it on a counter or cutting board and cover with plastic wrap.

Cut the vegetables for the filling and ready the crab.

Riced cauliflower with sesame seeds, cream cheese, and rice vinegar mixed in plus sliced avocado and zucchini.

Place 1/2 sheet of nori, rough side up, on the plastic wrapped sushi mat. Spread 1/4 cup riced cauliflower over the nori evenly, leaving a 1/4 inch edge free at each end. Across the narrow side, lay down the vegetables and crab next to each other.

Begin to roll the nori across the length of it, using the mat to press it firmer in the roll as you go. Rolling the mat over the top keeps it clear of the actual roll as you work.

When complete, place the sushi roll on a plate and repeat with the remaining vegetable rice, vegetables, and crab.

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to chill and set. This also softens the nori. Cut each roll into five pieces with a sharp knife.

Place on small plates with about 1/4 teaspoon wasabi and several pieces of ginger to serve.

Makes 4 servings (1 roll each).

Hot Chile for Cold Days

Photo: Rene's Beef and Chorizo Chile

With a snowstorm arriving in Reno last weekend, my thoughts turned to warm comfort food. Weather like this calls for at least stew, soup, or chile. I went with the latter. Usually, I make my Tex-Mex chile, the variety that uses all meat chunks and carries a ton of heat. But I decided to try something a little different, so here’s my take on a meat and bean chile done low carb.

First, I added medium-hot chorizo in for a zap of spice and a different flavor, then mixed in ground beef. I chose black beans because they are a bit lower in carbohydrates than either pinto or red beans. The result is fabulous, tasty, and warming. Like many stews, soups, and curries, the longer the pot sits, the more flavorful it becomes. So if you want to make it a day ahead, you can cover it and put it in the ‘fridge for a day or so. Nonetheless, it is delicious on the first day.

Rene’s Beef and Chorizo Chile

1 Onion, diced
1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1 tablespoon Garlic, minced
2 pounds Ground Beef
1 pound Chorizo Sausage
1 can diced Green Peppers
1 packet Taco Seasoning or 2 tablespoons Spicy Seasoning
1 15-oz can Stewed Tomatoes, chopped
1 15-oz can Tomatoes with Chiles
1 can Black Beans, with juice
1 cup Pumpkin puree

In a 10 to 12 cup heavy pot, heat a teaspoon oil and add onions and garlic. Stir and cook for about five minutes until the onions are sweating. Add ground beef and chorizo, breaking it up as you stir it around. Cook until the meat is lightly browned.

Add green peppers, seasoning, and both cans of tomatoes. Add about a half-cup to each tomato can and swish them around to get the rest of the juice in the can, then add to the chile pot. Stir it together, then reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for an hour.

Taste the sauce to check the seasoning and adjust it if you want it spicier. Add the black beans and pumpkin puree. Stir well and cook for another 30 to 40 minutes until the chile thickens.

Serve in bowls with cheddar jack or Mexican cheese and sour cream if you wish.

Makes 8 to 10 servings, about 1 cup each.

Tip: You can make an excellent chile cheese omelet with this chile. Just add 1 cup of warmed chile in the middle of the partially cooked omelet and top with cheese. Fold the omelet over or cook the top in a broiler until the cheese is melted.

Put this spicy shrimp dish on the table quickly

Photo: Shrimp Creole

This is a simple to make and delicious version of Shrimp Creole. I started with frozen shrimp, thawed it in a colander under cool running water. Then popped it in the microwave for one minute to partially cook it. From there, the rest of the recipe is quick to put together. I served it over cooked riced cauliflower. You can start with fresh or use a prepackaged frozen one. Easy peasy.

Shrimp Creole

8 oz Shrimp, cleaned and peeled
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1/4 cup Onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Bell Peppers, chopped
3/4 cup canned Tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon Hot Pepper Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
2 tablespoons Water

In a medium skillet, cook the riced cauliflower in 1/4 cup of water and a tablespoon of Butter for about 10 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed and the cauliflower is done. Keep warm on the stove. Or microwave a prepacked riced cauliflower according to the direction on the package. Add a little butter before serving.

Boil 2 cups of water in a medium skillet and add the shrimp. Lower the heat to simmer and cook for 2 minutes until the shrimp turns pink. Drain, place on a paper towel on a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat then add the onion, garlic, and chopped bell peppers. Cook for about 2 minutes until they are fragrant. Add 1 tablespoon of water, lower the heat to simmer and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the vegetables are just fork tender.

Add the remaining ingredients and the other tablespoon of water. Stir together and cook over medium heat until the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Add the shrimp and cook for 2 more minutes.

Serve over one-half of the cauliflower. Makes two servings.

Nutrition information: Shrimp Creole