Category Archives: Pork

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.

Warm Up with Bean and Ham Soup

Photo: White Bean & Ham Soup

As a child, I grew up eating beans a lot. My grandmother would make a huge pot of pinto beans. We’d get bolillo (oval long bread rolls) from Mexico, and I loved to hollow the bread out and fill it with beans cooked with hamburger. But since I am trying to stay low carb these days, beans aren’t something I eat very often. Nonetheless, I’ll share this recipe for white beans with ham soup. This isn’t as low as I like most of my recipes to be, but it is still within reason for most people to enjoy on a low carb plan. The real trick is to add more ingredients to the pot to spread out the beans, so you don’t eat as many in one sitting. With that in mind, I added onions, carrots, and turnips to the pot with the ham and bean.

Generally, I use a ham hock to flavor the pot and add seasonings to round out the flavor. I also use a little of Better Than Bullion Chicken in it to add more flavor. If you want a heartier dinner, then cook up a sausage or a chicken breast to eat alongside the soup. These won’t add extra carbs and will help to fill you up with the smaller serving of soup.

White Beans and Ham Soup

1-1/4 cup Small White Beans (dry)
1 cup, diced Ham
1/4 cup Onions, chopped
1/2 cup Carrots, sliced
3/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic Seasoning
3/4 cup Red Ripe Tomatoes, chopped or sliced or peeled and canned tomatoes
1 cup Turnips, cubed
1/2 teaspoon Better Than Bullion Chicken

In a large pot, pre-cook beans as directed on the package. Rinse, then add fresh water, salt, and pepper. Cook the beans from 2-3 hours until they are done. I usually put a ham hock or bacon in them to add flavor as they cook. Once they are done, add about 2 cups of water to the pot, then add the rest of the ingredients and cook until the carrots and turnips are tender. Add water as needed to keep the soup consistency. When done, you should have about 3 to 4 cups of delicious soup.

Makes about eight 2/3 cup servings.

Nutrition Information

Sausage, Turnips, & Eggs Frittata

Photo: Sausage & Turnip Frittata

Here’s a yummy egg dish that works well for a family brunch or a special occasion, like Christmas morning or New Year’s mid-day. It works best if you have a cast iron or copper skillet that can go from the burner to the oven. Failing that, you can cook it in a deep skillet, then slide it into a casserole dish to go to the oven for the final step.

Double the recipe and bake it in a large pan once the vegetables are sauteed to make a large family-sized casserole that will easily feed 8 to 10 people. Simply add the vegetables to the baking pan (a rectangular cake pan works well for this), then beat the eggs and seasonings and add to the pan. Bake at 365 degrees for about 45 minutes and check to see if the eggs are set. Add the cheese on top and bake another 8 minutes to melt it.

Sausage, Turnip and Egg Frittata

6 large Eggs
1/2 pound (8 oz.) Pork Sausage
1 cup Turnips, cut in 1/2″ cubes
1/2 cup Kohlrabi, cut in 1/2″ cubes
3 Sweets-mini peppers, chopped
1/2 cup Onions, chopped
1 cup Cheddar Jack Cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon Italian or Mexican Seasoning
Salt & Pepper to preference

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F.)

To easily cut the turnips and kohlrabi, peel the vegetables, then cook them in the microwave for about 2 minutes to soften. Run under cold water and let sit for about 5 minutes to cool down. Your knife will cut through them easily. This little pre-cook also ensures they will get tender when cooked in the skillet.

In a medium bowl, add the eggs and the seasonings of choice. Whisk to mix well so the whites are worked in. (You can also use a blender for this part to get a smooth mix.) Set aside.

In a deep stove-to-oven skillet, such as a cast iron or copper one, heat to medium and cook the sausage, crumbling it into small pieces as it cooks to a lightly browned stage. Set aside on a paper towel covered plate to drain. Add the onion and the peppers to the skillet and sauté until the onion is softened. Remove to the plate to wait. Add the turnips and kohlrabi to the skillet and continue to sauté until they start to brown a little. Add the sausage and vegetables back to the pan and pour the egg mixture into the pan.

Cook and stir with a spatula, lifting the eggs and the vegetables to cook them until the eggs are set. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and place in the oven for about 8 minutes to melt the cheese and lightly brown it.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Notes: If you don’t like turnips or kohlrabi, you can substitute in zucchini or crookneck squash for either of them. The squash doesn’t need to pre-cook in the microwave. Just chop, sauté, and add to the casserole dish. You can also use liquid eggs for the eggs saving the whisking time.

Photo: Nutrition Info

 

A Touch of Cajun in this spicy frittata

Photo: Cajun Frittata with salad

Eggs baked into a quiche or a frittata is one of my favorite ways to prepare them. In many ways, a frittata is like a quiche without the crust, but I think it is much more flexible than the classic dish. It’s the more rustic cousin. The possibilities for fillings are numerous, so you can prepare it often and have a different recipe each time.

I bought some Cajun sausages made almost locally in Carson City, Nevada at our grocery store. They are spicy and delectable, so I decided to try them in a frittata. They brought just enough pepper to the dish to satisfy my desire for spicy food.

Sometimes a frittata has potatoes or zucchini in it, but for this one, I went with the low carb choice of a turnip chopped up. When fresh, they have a delightful taste. A bit of sugar substitute while cooking adds a touch of sweetness to them. If you don’t like turnips, then chop up zucchini instead.

Photo: Cajun Sausage Frittata in Skillet

Cajun Sausage Frittata

4 slices Bacon, cut into pieces and cooked
1/2 cup Onions, chopped
1/2 cup Sweet Mini Peppers or Bell Peppers, chopped
1/4 up Mushrooms, sliced or chopped
4 large Eggs
3 tablespoons Whipping Cream
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 or 2 Cajun Style Andouille Smoked Pork Sausage
1 cup Cheddar Cheese,shredded
1 cup Turnips, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the cubed turnips into a bowl, add 1 teaspoon water, a pinch of sugar substitute, and microwave for 2 minutes. Turnips should be fork tender, but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.

Slice the sausage into 1/4-inch pieces.

In a bowl, mix the eggs, whipping cream, salt, and pepper together. Add any additional spice you might like, such as a little red pepper or Italian seasoning.

Cook the bacon pieces in an oven safe 8-inch skillet, such as cast iron or copper. Cook the chopped onions, mushrooms, and sweet peppers in the same skillet until just tender. Add the turnips and mix the vegetables together well.

Stir the egg mixture and add in 1/2 cup of the cheese, then pour over the vegetables in the skillet. Lift the pan to distribute the egg mixture over all the vegetables, then let the eggs cook for about three to five minutes until they are beginning to set.

Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes until the eggs are almost done. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake another 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

For a crisp topping, you can put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings, depending on appetite or if you’re serving it with a salad or fruit.

Nutrition Information per serving for 4 servings:
Calories: 375 Fat: 26.6 g Net Carbs:6.3 g Protein:25.1 g

Nutrition Information per serving for 6 servings:
Calories: 250 Fat:17.8 g Net Carbs: 4.1 g Protein:16.7 g

A Twist on the Corn Dog

Photo: Frankfurter in biscuit called a Frankenpot.

Ever have the urge for a corn dog? One of those batter-covered frankfurters on a stick dipped in mustard or mayo can be a wonderful taste of comfort food. Unfortunately, corn bread batter is one of those things that can really pack on the pounds.

My alternative to it is this tasty hot dog in a pot, a personal-sized batter-covered frank made with low carb flours and golden flax meal. While it doesn’t replicate the corn dog, it is similar and satisfies my cravings for this simple summer fair food. Give it a try.  With this flexible recipe and you can add several variations. I haven’t tried the sauerkraut option, but I don’t see any reason it won’t work.

Frankenpot in a one cup ramekin. Run a thin knife around the edge and flip upside down to remove to a plate.

Frankenpot

Recipe by Rene Averett

This is a simple, low carb version of a corn dog, except it doesn’t use cornmeal. Instead, I’ve substituted in golden flax meal. It has the texture and a bit of the taste of the corn dog although it is baked instead of fried, so it isn’t quite the same.

If you want to try to fry it, I suggest baking it part way, then dropping it in a fryer for a couple of minutes to brown the exterior. I’d also leave off the cheese topping until after it’s fried.

Per 1 person serving

1 Hot dog or frankfurter
1 Egg
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 tablespoon ground Golden Flax Meal
2 tablespoons Low Carb Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
Pinch of Salt
1/2 teaspoon Sugar Substitute
Pinch of Black Pepper, if you wish
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder (optional)
Mayonnaise and/or Mustard for dipping

Additional add-ins you can try:
1 tablespoon Onions, chopped
1 tablespoon Green Chilies, chopped
2 tablespoons Chile Con Carne, no beans
1 tablespoon Sauerkraut, drained

Preheat the oven to 365 degrees (F). Spray a one-cup ramekin with baking spray. (You can also use an oval ramekin that fits the uncut frankfurter or any other shape you want.)

In a small bowl, add egg and oil and whisk until blended. Add sugar substitute, baking powder, salt, pepper, flour, and flax meal. Stir until completely blended and smooth. Put 1/2 of the batter in the bottom of the ramekin. Cut the hot dog into 1/2 inch rounds and layer them over the mixture.

At this point, add any of the additional add-ons you wish to include. Sprinkle 1/2 the shredded cheese over the top and spoon the remaining batter over the top, smoothing it out. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Let cool and eat with a dipping sauce of mayonnaise and mustard or use either alone. I love this with a mayonnaise and cranberry mustard sauce.

Nutrition Information per serving:
Calories: 538 Fat:46.9 g Net Carbs: 6.3 g Protein: 22.1 g

With onions, add 0.6 grams of carbs to the count.
With green chiles, add 0.5 grams
With chili con carne with beans, add 3.4 grams
With sauerkraut, the count is the same as with onion.

Loaded with onion, chiles, and chile con carne, the total net carbs are 10.9 g.

Hint: For a simple dipping sauce, I mix 1 tablespoon Mayonnaise and a teaspoon of Cranberry Mustard together. You can also use regular mustard. For a touch of sweetness, add a little sugar-free sweet pickle juice or a drop of liquid sweetener.

Looking for a more savory sauce? Use a couple of tablespoons of Ranch Dressing or a Sugar-Free Honey Mustard Dressing.

Give this a try and if you come up with some other good add-ins, let me know.