Category Archives: Vegetarian

A quick stir fry made easier

Image: Shrimp Pad Thai

Happy Saint David’s Day! I should have included a leek in today’s recipe in honor of the patron saint of Wales. But I didn’t.  I’ll post a Welsh recipe later in the week, then it will be on to the Irish recipes for St. Patrick’s Day.  But for today, I was thinking Asian when I made this for dinner last night.

I like to experiment with the products I find in the produce department. A couple of days ago, I found Taylor Farms Pad Thai Kit. While it is not too high in carbohydrates, it is a little higher when made with the included sauce than I can use in my daily intake. So, I tossed the enclosed pack of sauce and made my own. This was about 6 or 7 carbs lower a serving than using theirs. If you can enjoy around 30 or more net carbs in the day, then this might work well for you.

I turned to making my own Pad Thai sauce with what I had on hand in the house. You can use fish sauce in it if you wish. I found the vegetables were pretty well chopped or sliced, but not as evenly as I’d like and some pieces required cutting. The carrots are thin slices where I would prefer thin rounds or sticks that cook faster, but they worked out okay. I made mine with 2/3 pounds of medium-sized shrimp, about 27 of them. You can also add in tofu or mushrooms as an alternate protein in the dish. This makes it a good candidate for meatless Monday.

If you can’t find the Taylor Farms mix, you can make your own. The vegetable selection for this includes about 1/3 cup each of Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, green cabbage, snap peas, bok choy, and carrots. Most are chopped or sliced thinly.

Shrimp Pad Thai with Spaghetti Squash 

6 ounces Shrimp, cleaned
1 package Taylor Farms Pad Thai Kit (vegetables only)
1-1/2 cups Spaghetti Squash (about 1-1/2-pound squash)
1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1/4 cup Chicken Broth or Bullion
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Thai Chili Sauce
1/8 teaspoon Ground White Pepper
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar Substitute (Swerve or LC Brown)
1 tablespoon Canola Oil

Cook the spaghetti squash by roasting it or cooking it in the microwave until tender. It’s easier to remove the seeds if you cut the squash in half and use a spoon to scoop them out before cooking it. Use a fork to shred the squash into strings.

Clean shrimp, removing shells and veins. Cool until ready to use.

Prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, add the rice vinegar, chicken broth, soy sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar substitute, and pepper. Stir together to combine completely. Set aside.

Heat a bowl-sided skillet or wok on medium high heat. Add oil and swirl to distribute. Add the shrimp and cook until pink on both sides, about a minute and a half on each side for medium-sized shrimp. Larger shrimp will take a little longer. Remove the shrimp to a platter and cover to keep warm.

Add the vegetables from the Pad Thai kit into the pan and stir them around. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, continuing to stir frequently. Lower the temperature to medium and add the prepared sauce. Stir it in and cook the vegetables a few more minutes, then add the shrimp back to the pan. Heat for two more minutes.

Put 1/2 cup of spaghetti squash in each serving bowl, then spoon the vegetables and shrimp on top. Sprinkle with chili flakes if you’d like a little more spice.

Makes 3 servings.

Nutrition Information

Warming Broccoli with Irish Cheddar Soup

Photo Broccoli Cheese Soup

Switching on a dime, the temperatures in Reno went from spring-like mid-50s to snowing today. Perfect time for delicious and warming soup. I ran across a recipe for broccoli cheese soup and made a couple of small changes to make this scrumptiously rich-tasting version using sharp Irish cheddar cheese.

Broccoli Soup with Irish Sharp Cheddar Cheese

3 tablespoon Butter, melted
1/2 cup Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
3 tablespoons All Purpose Low Carb Flour
1 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Water
2 cups Chicken Stock
2 1/2 to 3 cups Broccoli, chopped
1 Carrot, peeled and chopped
2 Celery stalk, cleaned and diced
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Spicy Seasoning
7 oz. Kerry Gold Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt butter and sauté onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the top and stir to make a paste. Add the chicken stock and stir or whisk to blend the flour in, then add the cream and water. Stir together over medium heat.

Add the vegetables and stir together. Add the spicy seasoning and stir, then lower the heat to a simmer. Let cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Add cheese, reserving about 1/4 cup for topping, then stir until it melts. Add the nutmeg, if desired.

Serve in one cup bowls and top with a pinch of reserved cheese.

Makes 4 to 6 servings depending on appetite.

Image: Nutrition Information Broccoli with Irish Cheddar Soup

Shrimp and Chicken Fried Cauli-rice

Photo: Shrimp fried Cauli-rice

Chinese New Year is coming up tomorrow, January 25th to start the Year of the Rat. But there’s nothing ratty about this quick-to-make and tasty cauliflower fried rice. You can get an easy start by using Green Giant’s Fried Rice Blend with carrots and broccoli all chopped up into crumbles to cook quickly. Or you can use one of the frozen rice blends with peas and carrots.

If you want the meat version, get pre-grilled chicken from the grocery store and shred or chop it into bite-sized pieces. Add in shrimp and you have a great celebration fried cauliflower rice that is low carb and delicious. To make this meatless for Meatless Monday, use just the shrimp or add tofu cubes. To make it vegetarian, use tofu only.

I did use a little too much soy sauce in mine, so I cut back on it in the recipe, but adjust to your own taste.

Shrimp and Chicken Fried Cauli-rice

12 oz. package Green Giant “Cauliflower Crumbles” Fried Rice Blend
1/3 cup sliced Snow Peas, fresh
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
2 teaspoons Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Ginger Root, minced or grated
1/3 cup Chicken Breast, cooked and chopped or Tofu, cubed
1/4 pound small Shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Eggs
2 stalks Green Onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Red Chile Flakes (optional)

Slice snow peas into small pieces and set aside. Slice green onions into thin slices using both the white and green parts.

In a deep skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for about 2 minutes. Add the fried rice blend vegetables and stir and cook for about 7 minutes until they are softened. Add the snow peas and chicken (if using) and cook two more minutes.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside for now.

Add the sesame oil, then add the shrimp and chile flakes to the mix. Cook until the shrimp start to turn pink, then add the beaten eggs and stir into the rice. Cook until the egg is done, then add the green onions and stir in. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Info for Fried Cauli-rice.

Italian Vegetable Sauce pairs with spaghetti squash

Image: Italian Veggie Sauce

Looking for a little comfort food on these cold winter nights? Want to keep on your Meatless Monday plan? Look no further!

This yummy meatless sauce with Italian seasonings and zucchini pairs well with spaghetti squash to give you a delicious and low carb alternative to pasta. While it comes in a little higher in carbs than I usually aim for with my recipes, it is still only 13.5 net carbs per serving.

If you’re just not into a meatless sauce, then feel free to add ground beef and/or Italian sausage to the dish. It works great either way.

Italian Vegetable Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1/4 cup Onions, chopped
3 Sweet Mini-Peppers
1 teaspoon Garlic
1 15-ounce can Diced Italian Style Tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning Blend
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 ounces Red Wine
3 cups Spaghetti Squash
1 cup Zucchini, diced
1/2 cup Mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Spinach, fresh

Preheat oven to 385 degrees (F.)

Cut the spaghetti squash in half, remove the seeds, rub with a little olive oil, and place face down on a foil-covered baking pan. Bake for about 40 minutes until a fork inserted into the squash goes through easily. Remove and set aside to cool.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil, then add onions and garlic. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes until the onion sweats. Add tomatoes, seasonings, and wines. Stir and cook for a few minutes, then lower the heat to simmer and cook about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be thickening. Add zucchini and cook about 10 minutes until it is almost tender. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook another few minutes.

Use a fork to separate the spaghetti strands of the squash and warm in the oven or a microwave for about three minutes.

Add the spinach to the sauce and stir it in until it is limp.

Put 3/4 cup of spaghetti squash on a plate, and top with 1/4 of the vegetable sauce. Grate Italian cheese over the top. Serve with a salad.

Makes 4 servings.

Image: Nutrition Info

 

Broccoli and Cauliflower Crepes Are So Good

Photo: Broccoli and Cauliflower Crepes

Happy 2020. The start of a new year and a new decade. We’ve had better starts throughout the years, but let’s make this one the best we can. Right?

I launched my new year  with determination to conquer the crepe, so I bought a crepe maker. Not the dip and cook model I’d seen on Facebook that looks so simple, but the flat cooker that will make bigger crepes, not as big as the ones at the Las Vegas Paris Hotel’s buffet though. Those babies are huge! This one might go to a 10-inch crepe, but initially, I made the smaller and easier to flip 7 to 8 inch ones.  My first crepe on it was a mess, stuck, wasn’t completely cooked, and practically shredded when I tried to flip it. After that, I sprayed it with cooking spray, made sure it was up to high heat, and tried again with much better success.

New flash! It’s going to be a while before I’m an expert with crepe-making, but even with the odd-shaped pancakes, they do work and taste quite good.

So, I made a simply delicious broccoli-and-cauliflower-filled crepe with ricotta and spinach and an amazing cream sauce on the top. Pop in the oven to just lightly toast the sauce and warm the whole dish up and you have a great meal for a meatless Monday or a delightful side dish with any meat or seafood entree.

While I haven’t tried it yet, I believe you can make crepes with coconut flour and unsweetened coconut milk, which makes it easier to find the flour ingredients. I’ve posted the carb count and the recipe for coconut flour crepes in case you want to experiment. When I make a batch, I’ll update this to let you know how well it works.

So, without further ado, here’s the recipe for these heavenly crepes.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Crepes with Cream Sauce

1-1/2 cups of Cauliflower, chopped
1-1/2 cups of Broccoli crown and stems, chopped
3/4 cups Mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Baby Spinach
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
8 Cherry Tomatoes, halved

Cream Sauce
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Low Carb Flour
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Water or Vegetable Broth
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning
1/3 cup Parmesan Reggiano Cheese, grated

Crepe Recipe:
3/4 cup Low carb Flour
3/4 cup Cream
1/4 cup Water
2 Eggs
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
Basil or Oregano if desired

Make the crepes batter.  In a blender, add all the crepe ingredients and pulse until the ingredients are mixed together, then blend a little longer to make sure the flour is completely mixed in. Put in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

While the crepe batter is chilling, prepare the filling:

In a skillet, heat a tablespoon olive oil. Add cauliflower and broccoli and sauté until lightly browned. Add 1/4 cup of water plus Garlic and herb seasoning and stir. Cook a few minutes more until the vegetables are almost tender. Add sliced mushrooms and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

Add about a teaspoon of olive oil to the pan and heat it a minute. Add spinach and sauté until it is limp. In a small bowl, place ricotta cheese and stir to loosen and smooth,, then stir in spinach. Add a little basil or Italian seasoning and mix. Set aside.

Cook the crepes: Heat an 8 inch skillet or crepe pan until a drop of water skittles across the surface. Spray the surface with cooking sprray for each crepe. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan, lift pan from the heat, and gently roll until the batter coats most of the pan. If you have a crepe pan, spread the batter with the back of a spoon or a spreader, keeping the rounded or oval shape. Cook until the crepe looks dry on the top then carefully slide a wooden or silicone spatula under the crepe and flip it to cook the back side.

Cook for about a minute, then put on a plastic, parchment, or foil sheet on a plate. Put another sheet on top, then make the next crepe. The recipe will make 8 crepes. You will only need four for this recipe, so save the others for another meal. You can fill with eggs and cheese for breakfast.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Assemble the crepes. Put the crepe in a baking pan, spread 1/4 of the ricotta mixture down the middle. Spoon in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the vegetables, then top with two cherry tomatoes cut in half. Roll or fold the crepe over the vegetables. (Mine looked more like tacos.) Slide the crepe to the end of the baking dish and repeat to make four crepes.

Photo: Top view of crepes.
A few of my tomatoes escaped during the plating, but they still tasted yummy. You can see these weren’t the neatest crepe yet they tasted wonderful. Cooking doesn’t have to be perfect.

Make the sauce. In a skillet or pan, melt the butter. Lower the heat to medium. Stir in flour and cook until it begins to form a paste. Add cream and water along with seasoning and stir until the liquid sauce begins to thicken. Add grated cheese and stir until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Spoon 1/4 of the sauce over each crepe. Bake for 15 minutes or until the sauce looks slightly browned.

Serve with a salad or riced cauliflower.

Makes 4 crepes. A pair of crepes make a substantial dinner serving, or you can use just one as a side dish.

Coconut Flour Crepe Recipe

5 tablespoons Coconut Flour
1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
2 Eggs
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
Basil or Oregano if desired

In a blender, add all the crepe ingredients and pulse until the ingredients are mixed together, then blend a little longer to make sure the flour is completely mixed in. Put in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Pulse a couple of times before using.

Cook as directed above. Take extra care in turning the crepes as they will be delicate.

Nutrition for Broccoli Cauliflower Crepe

Nutrition for Crepes with low carb flour and with coconut flour

Nutrition Information for filling
Nutrition information for the filling and sauce only.