Category Archives: Vegetables & Salads

Crispy, Cool Salad for Warm Evenings

Photo: Shrimp Salad

As we move into the dog days of August, I think about cool and easy to prepare dinners. That often means a salad. In this instance, it’s a lovely combination of shrimp, asparagus, avocado, and cucumber over a nice bowl of mixed salad greens. Requiring only a little cooking for the shrimp and asparagus, this dish comes together in about thirty minutes or less. The lemon vinaigrette can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve.

For the salad:
8 oz Shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups Spring Mix Greens
10 spears Asparagus, trimmed and cut into one-inch pieces
1/2 Avocado, cubed
1/4 cup Red Onions, sliced
1 small Cucumber, peeled and sliced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

For the lemon vinaigrette
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 large Lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Sugar-free Honey
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1-2 cloves minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Make the vinaigrette first. In a small bowl, add all the ingredients and whisk together. Taste to see if it needs more honey, salt, or pepper. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. Whisk again before serving. You can store any excess dressing in the refrigerator for about one week.

Heat a medium-sized pot to boiling and add the shrimp. Cook for about three minutes, then drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Heat olive oil in a saute pan and add the asparagus spears. Cook for about three minutes. Drain the shrimp, pat dry with a paper towel, and add to the pan and stir fry them for a couple of minutes to get slightly browned.

Remove the shrimp and asparagus to a pan or bowl to cool. Using two salad bowls, divide the spring greens and arrange half the onions and half the cucumber in each bowl. Divide the shrimp and asparagus between the bowls, then add avocado pieces. Spoon about two tablespoons of the lemon vinaigrette the ingredients in each bowl.

Serves two.

Tip: Buy pre-cleaned and deveined  frozen shrimp to save time, and it make less mess in the kitchen. If you don’t have a fresh lemon, use 6 tablespoons of lemon juice. 

Image: Nutrition Information: Shrimp Salad

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

 

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

Try fish for your Cinco de Mayo celebration!

Photo: Mexican-style Tilapia

For a long time, I haven’t included fish in my Mexican or Tex-Mex eating. Truth is, I am not a big fish fan, although shellfish is a whole different story. But I do like white fish, such as tilapia, cod, and halibut along with salmon. I never considered using them in Mexican food, but I decided it was time to try it out. I started with this delicious dish.

Mostly, I’m relying on seasoning to bring the flavor to the fish. I used Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning, but you can use your own favorite. This dish easy to make. Add about 1/4 cup of black beans or frijole beans as a side dish along with the riced turnips with chile I posted a few days ago or with the amazingly good riced golden beets I’m adding the recipe for below. I usually use them as a couscous substitute, but they work well with this fish.

Mexican-style White Fish

2 tilapia fish fillets (4 oz. each) or other white fish
1 cloves garlic minced
1/2 lime juiced
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

In a shallow pan or bowl, add garlic, seasoning, salt, and lime juice and mix. Rub the mixture over the fish fillets, making sure to cover them on both sides.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, place the fillets in the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn and cook the reverse side the same amount of time. Turn off heat, flip the fish back over, and let it sit another minute.

Serve with a salad, beans, riced beets, or cauliflower rice along with guacamole, sour cream, sliced onions, and tomato as preferred.

Makes two servings.

Photo: Riced golden beets

Riced Golden Beets

1 medium golden beet, peeled
1/4 cup Hot Water
1/2 teaspoon Better Than Bullion Chicken
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 cup Diced Onions (optional)
Salt to taste

Cut beet into cubes and use a food processor to chop until the pieces are rice-sized.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add butter. Add onions and sauté for two minutes.

Add one cup of the riced beets and stir into the butter and onions for a couple of minutes. Heat water to boiling, then add chicken bullion. When melted add to the skillet, add salt, and stir in. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Check a couple of times to make sure the rice doesn’t dry out. Add water as needed. Check to be sure beets are tender.

Makes two 1/2 cup servings.

Image: Nutrition Info Mexican whitefishImage: Nutrition Info - Riced Golden Beets

Delicious Stuffed Mexican-style Chicken Breasts

Photo: Stuffed Mexican Chicken breast and riced turnips with chile

As May starts, we’re only a few days away from Cinco de Mayo, which is a great time to celebrate Mexico and anything Mexican. The cuisine is spicy, bursting with flavor, and a favorite around the world. Just because you can’t go out to your favorite restaurant right now doesn’t mean you can’t have a great celebration at home. Even better, you can make low carb versions so you don’t have to worry about gaining back any hard-lost pounds.

I’m tossing out a shameless plug for my little cookbook that features over fifteen adapted Mexican food recipes. I tried  out and adapted every one of the dishes in the booklet to be under 10 net carbs. It includes my grandmother’s TexMex Spanish rice that I grew up with but adjusted to use cauliflower in place of the rice.  Delicious and flavorful, yet different from the Mexican restaurant version.

You can purchase a copy for only 99-cents from your favorite e-book seller by going to this one link:

https://books2read.com/u/mqzMyO

New Recipes

Now, on to the new recipes. I wanted to make a stuffed chicken breast that would celebrate the flavors of Mexico, so I came up with this delicious filling that gives enough spice to taste it, but not overwhelm the chicken. It’s easy to make and cooks in about thirty minutes, so less than an hour to prepare and have dinner on the table.

To compliment the dish, you can serve cauliflower rice or try the amazingly tasty recipe that follows the chicken dish  for riced turnips with green chiles. It’s so good, you won’t believe you’re eating turnips. They absorb the flavors of the dish and are a great substitute for rice.

Image: Stuffed Mexican Chicken breast

Stuffed Mexican Chicken Breast

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
2 teaspoons Taco Seasoning
1 tablespoons Chopped Green Chiles
1/2 tablespoon Dried Minced Onion
1/3 cup Cheddar Jack Cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle
2 tablespoons Southwest Style Salsa

In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, taco seasoning, chiles, and dried onions until blended and smooth. Add the cheddar jack cheese and mix it well.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F.)

Cut the chicken breasts in the thickest part almost the full length and close to the opposite side to make a pocket. Stuff one-half of the cream cheese mixture into each pocket. Use tooth picks to hold the pockets closed.

Put the chicken in an oven-proof skillet or in a baking dish. Sprinkle the southwest chipotle seasoning on top and rub it in. If you’d like it spicier, add additional. Spray the top with a bit of oil or cooking spray.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is done. If you poke the thickest part with a fork and the liquid coming out is clear, the chicken is done.

Add a tablespoon of salsa over the top of each breast and serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Photo: Riced Turnips with chile

Riced Turnips with Chile

1 large Turnip, peeled and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Green Chiles, diced
1/4 cup hot Water
1/2 teaspoon Better than Chicken Bullion
1/4 cup Onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Chipotle Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Boil water, pour into a 1/4 cup measure and add the bullion, stirring to dissolve.

Put turnip cubes into a food processor and pulse until it is chopped to the size of rice. In a medium-sized skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter, then add the riced turnips and onions. Sauté for about five minutes, then add the bullion water and stir it in. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add chiles, salt and seasoning, stir and cook for another 10 minutes until the turnips are tender.

If the water cooks out, add more water. It should be about the same texture as cooked rice. Fluff up the turnips before serving.

Makes two 1/2-cup servings.

Image: Nutrition Stuffed Mexican Chicken Breast

 

Image: Nutrition Riced Turnips with Chile