Category Archives: Vegetables & Salads

Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts

Photo: Stir-fry Brussels sprouts

A member of the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts have some of the same flavors, but still have a unique taste of their own. They pair well with most meats and fish and can be cooked in many different ways, from boiled to roasted to baked or fried. This recipe combines the sprouts with another of my favorite flavors, celery. Add in a little onion and stir fry the whole dish, and you have a delicious side dish. If you want to add a bit more, then cook a couple of slices of bacon and crumble them into the mixture. Yummy.

Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts

2 cups Brussels Sprouts, shredded or sliced thinly
1 large stalk Celery, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning
1/2 medium Red Onion, thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Clean and slice the Brussels sprouts thinly or shred or chop them in a food processor. Clean and slice the celery stalk. Cut the onion into thin slices.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, then add the onions and garlic. Cook for about two minutes. Add in the sprouts and celery slices and stir fry them about 8 to 10 minutes until the sprouts are cooked. Add seasonings and stir into the dish.

Makes 4 servings.

Image: Nutrition Info: Brussels sprouts

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.

Vegetable Dinner Dish with Zing

Photo: Garden Vegetables with Cheese

For a quick, but tasty meatless meal, this easy skillet dish comes together in about thirty minutes. Starting with a frozen vegetable base, you can stir fry it, add in the fresh vegetables, make a cream sauce with cheese, and serve three people. If you want, you can make a flat bread, like this one, to go with it.

If you’re not worried about staying meatless, you can add in sliced sausages, bacon, or ham. Or you can add in shrimp and still count it as meatless.

The key in this is having the celery root peeled and cubed before you begin cooking. It will take the most time of any of your prep. But it brings a slight celery flavor along with a texture similar to potatoes, that gives this dish a unique, but delicious component. If you want to skip this, you can replace with sliced celery or chopped turnips.

I used cheddar cheese, but you can vary with other ones to change the flavor of the dish slightly. If you use an Italian cheese, change the seasonings to an oregano mix to bring in that flavor profile. With Mexican cheese, add in more chili spice to give it more bite.

Garden Vegetables with Cheese Sauce

1 10–oz package frozen Cauliflower, Broccoli & Carrot Mix
1 cup Celery Root, cubed into 1/2″ inch pieces
1/2 cup Asparagus, chopped
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
1/2 cup Vegetable Broth or Better than Bullion Vegetable base
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese
1 teaspoon Low Carb Flour or Corn Starch
1 teaspoon Seasoning Salt or Mrs. Dash
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

Partially cook the frozen vegetables in a microwave so they are defrosted. Cook the cubed celery root for 1 minute in the microwave. This will speed up the cooking time on the stove.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the garlic. Cook for about 20 seconds, then add the vegetables to the pan. Stir and cook the vegetables for a few minutes, then add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer. Add seasoning and let cook for about ten minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.

In a cup, add 1/4 cup water and flour or corn starch, then stir to mix. Add the cream to the pan, then add the water mixture. Stir into the vegetables. This will begin to thicken after a few minutes. Add the cheese and stir in to make the cheese sauce. Cook a few minutes until it’s a thick sauce, then serve.

Makes 3 servings.

Image: Nutrition Info for Garden Vegetables

Meatless Pizza Monday

Photo: Zucchini, Eggplant, & Beets Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza? And what do we miss when trying to stay low carb? You betcha! Good news. We have pizza crust alternatives that work very well for making pizza. If you haven’t tried any of these, give them a shot. First, there’s the cauliflower crust, which you can make yourself or now buy at places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. For that matter, you can order them online from Amazon. However, check the carbs on these as some of them are higher than making them yourself.

You can also make a pizza crust using low carb flour. I use LC Foods Pizza and Calzone mix to make this delicious crust, but I have also used DCC All Purpose Flour to produce an equally good, but slightly sweeter crust. You can also use a large portobello mushroom as a pizza base. While white meat chicken makes a great pizza base, that doesn’t work so well on Meatless Monday. You can also use a low-carb tortilla to make a fairly crispy crust, but be careful not to overcook it.

For this recipe, I’ve provided the toppings only and the carb count is just for them, so add in the count for the pizza base. My pizza recipe makes two personal-size pizzas, but you can make a larger eight-inch pizza and cut it in half. I like to cook my pizza on a rack since that allows the underside to brown evenly as well as the top. I really like this combination of vegetables and seasoning, but you can adapt it to others if you like. When buying pasta sauce, check the carb count. I used one that comes in at 3.5 net carbs for 1/4 cup.

Zucchini, Eggplant, and Beets Pizza Toppings

2 small Pizza Crusts
1/2 cup Zucchini, 1/4″ slices
1/4 cup Golden Beets, diced
1/4 cup Japanese Eggplant, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Spinach, fresh
1/4 cup Pasta Sauce
1/3 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb Seasoning

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F.)

Cook pizza crusts for 5 to 10 minutes if it isn’t already partially cooked.

Cook diced beets in a microwave for one minute. You can use the zucchini and eggplant raw or sauté them in a pan with a splash of Olive Oil for a couple of minutes to soften.

Spread 2 tablespoons of the Pizza Sauce on each pizza crust. Arrange the zucchini and eggplant slices on top of the sauce, then distribute the beets on top of them. Arrange enough spinach leaves over the tops to cover them. Sprinkle cheese over the top.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the crust is browned.

Serves two.

Photo: Nutrition Count for Pizza Toppings

Links to recipes for Low-Carb Flour Pizza Crust and Cauliflower Pizza Crust.

Meatless Asian Stir-Fry is Yummy

Photo: Broccoli and Mushroom Stir Fry

An Asian stir-fry is a great way to make a vegetable dish that is full of flavor and satisfying. Since meatless Monday allows seafood, you could add shrimp or white fish to this easy stir-fry, but I made it strictly vegetarian.

The biggest part of making a stir-fry dish is prepping all the food before hand. With this many vegetables, you need to get them all cut and ready to go. I split mine into groups — the onions, garlic, and ginger first, then the bell peppers. The next group has the vegetables that take longer to cook, broccoli, carrots, and Daikon. The last group is zucchini. Then add the liquid and thickener and cook before adding the mushrooms to cook a bit before adding the bean sprouts.

I used an Asian Chile paste for a spicy bite, but it is optional. Omit if you prefer a milder dish. You can serve this over riced cauliflower or lightly sauteed angel hair cabbage if you wish.

If you want a non-meatless version, add chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp to the recipe. Cook the meats either before cooking the vegetables or mid-way through the cooking, before adding the zucchini, by shoving the vegetables to the edges of the pan, adding a little more oil and putting the meat into to middle to quickly sear. Stir them in and continue the recipe. If adding shrimp, wait until you add the mushrooms as the shrimp will cook in about five minutes.

Broccoli and Mushroom Stir-Fry

Photo: Stir-fry in the pan

1 cup fresh Broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup Portobello Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup Onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Bell Peppers, sliced into strips
1 cup Bean sprouts
1/2 cup Daikon Radish, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup Zucchini, sliced or chopped
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Asian Chile Paste (optional)
1/2 tablespoon Corn Starch
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 tablespoon Ginger, shredded or use paste
2 tablespoons Garlic, minced
1 cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
1/4 cup Carrots, sliced into strips

Cut all vegetables as indicated and have them ready to go. Stir-fry comes together quickly.

In a wok or a deep skillet, add 1 tablespoon to heat, then add the minced garlic and onions. Stir and cook until they are fragrant, then add the sliced bell peppers and ginger, and cook a couple of minutes longer.

Add broccoli, carrots, and Daikon and stir to mix well. Cook and stir for about five minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes. Add the vegetable broth and soy sauce and stir into the vegetables. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the vegetables until almost tender.

Meanwhile, add about 1/4 cup boiling water to the corn starch and stir to dissolve. Add to the skillet and stir it around then add the mushrooms. Cook a few more minutes, then add the bean sprouts last along with the chile paste (if you are using). Cook about two more minutes.

Serve with riced cauliflower if you wish. Makes four servings.

Photo: Nutrition Information