Tag Archives: apple

For variety, try a curried chicken and pumpkin pizza!

Continuing my celebration of Fall and the delicious foods that reflect the season, I decided to expand on my pizza-making skills and create a pizza that combines Asian flavor in curried pumpkin and chicken with a delicious crust to create an Asian style pizza. Don’t scoff! It’s really good. I used mozzarella cheese on top, but I think other light white cheeses might be equally good with it.

Pumpkin is variable in the recipe. I actually used Butternut squash although you can also use Kobacha, acorn squash, Hubbard, or any other orange winter squash in it. They are all in the same family as pumpkin. In fact, the Kobacha is the squash usually used in Asian cooking when they refer to pumpkin. My preferred curry mix is S&B Golden Curry in cake form because it seems to impart the most flavor to my cooking and it thickens easily. You can mix your own curry together or use a curry powder from the store.

Curried Chicken and Pumpkin Pizza

1 cup cooked Chicken, chopped or shredded
1/2 cup Sweet Pumpkin or Butternut Squash, cubed
1/4 cup Onions, chopped or sliced
2 tablespoons Pico de Gallo or chopped onions, tomatoes, green chili and cilantro
1 cake S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix (1/5 pkg)
1 cup Chicken Broth or Chicken Bullion
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 Apple, cut into pieces (optional)
1/2 large Pizza Crust or 1 small 8″ crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F.)

Cook the cubed pumpkin or squash in a microwave safe bowl for about 2 minutes to soften to fork-tender. You can also parboil them until a fork penetrates easily. This may vary with the size of the cubes, so the smaller they are, the faster they will cook.

In a medium pan, add chicken broth, onion, and curry mix, Add additional curry powder if you like a stronger curry. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Add chicken and pico de gallo. Stir and cook for about five minutes. You want it fairly thick so that it spreads easily and stays put on the crust.

Pizza with all toppings except apples and cheese.

Put foil over the bottom of a baking pan or use a pizza stone. Spray the foil with cooking spray and put the pizza crust on top. Spread the chicken curry mixture over the top evenly. Top with pumpkin cubes and apple pieces. Spread mozzarella cheese over the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Information for topping only (including apple) per serving:
Calories: 202.7 Fat: 8.9 g Net Carbs: 6.8 g Protein: 21.7 g

Depending on the type of pizza crust you use, it can vary from 1 net carb per slice to 2 net carbs. LC Foods Pizza Crusts are about 2 net carbs for one slice while the homemade one that makes 4 servings is about 1.5 net carbs. Cauliflower and other vegetable crusts vary in carbs, but if you figure on 2 net carbs, you’ll be safe with most low carb crusts.

LC Foods Pizza Crust

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Chicken Pizza Crust

Flax Meal Pizza Crust

Low Carb Fruit Mini-pies are possible

Ever wished for a little mini-pie to satisfy your sweet tooth, then looked at the carb count on the package of one of those pre-made ones?  Yikes!  One of the them can run around 70 net carbs for an apple one.

But you can make a low carb one at home fairly easily.  How, you may ask? Using low carb flours and sugar substitute really brings the carb count down.  Apples are a high carb fruit, but you can make a low carb apple mini-pie (or turnover) for under 10 net carbs.  I definitely don’t recommend this for anyone who is still losing weight and on phases 1-3 of the Atkins plan.  But for those who are on maintenance or have a high daily net carb count, this recipe will give you a great little pie. Just don’t make a habit of it.

You can use the same recipe for other fruit pies, such as peach, cranberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry.  Of these options, raspberry is the lowest carb count, coming in around 4 net carbs per pie. I broke open the crust in the photo so you could see how flaky the crust is and how good the fruit looks.

Low Carb Fruit Mini-Pies

1 Gala or other semi-tart Apple or 1 cup of other fruit
2 tablespoons chopped Pecans or Walnuts
2 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Diet Cranberry Juice
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
2 tablespoon Brown Sugar Substitute

1/2 cup Low Carb Baking Mix
1/4 cup Coconut Flour
2 tablespoon Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
3 tablespoons Shortening
2 to 3 tablespoons Cold Water

Make the pie crust by mixing the flours together in a small and cutting in the shortening until it resembles crumbs. Add enough water to pull the flour mix together into a ball. Wrap in wax paper and put in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour.

While the dough is chilling, make the filling. Peel the apple, if you wish, and cut into thin slices or chop it, whichever you prefer. Melt butter in a skillet and add the apples, nuts, cranberry juice, brown sugar and seasonings and stir together, continuing to cook and stir for about five minutes. Turn off the heat and let the filling cool until the dough is done.

Before you take the dough out, preheat the oven to 265 degrees (F.). Prepare four muffin wells by spraying with baking spray.

Separate dough into five balls. Dough should not be sticky. Place a piece of waxed paper on a bread board and put a little low carb flour on it. Press the dough into a small round, then put another sheet of waxed paper over the top and roll until you have about a three-inch in diameter crust. Press into a well of the muffin tin. Repeat with three more balls of dough. Use a fork to poke a few vents in the bottom of the crust.

Spoon 1/4 of the filling into each of the muffin wells and top with 1 teaspoon of butter. Now, take the fifth ball of dough and split it into four smaller balls. Roll each one into a round that is large enough for the top of the muffin tin. Place the top dough on each pie in the tin and seal the edges. Poke a couple of holes in the top with the fork or a knife.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown. Remove and let cool about 10 minutes. Serve with a scoop of low carb ice cream or a tablespoon of whipped cream topping.

Makes four mini-pies.

Nutrition Information per Apple pie:
Calories: 320.5 Fat:23.3 Net Carbs: 9.6 g Protein: 11.5 g

Nutrition Information per Peach pie:
Calories: 307.2 Fat:23.3 g Net Carbs: 6.6 g Protein: 11.6 g

Nutrition Information Raspberry pie:
Calories: 276.4 Fat:22.7 g Net Carbs: 4.0 g Protein: 11.9 g

Cranberry and Peppers Salsa Perks Up a Party

Here’s a simple and delicious salsa made with cranberries and Serrano peppers. I’ve adapted a recipe my roomie found on the web to a low carb version. We’ve increased the number of peppers and it still doesn’t have a really spicy kick to it. I think if it sits on the shelf for a month or so, it might get stronger, but when it’s fresh, it’s only a smoky hint of fire. If you want more kick in it, then add some of the seeds from the peppers, but be cautious. If you can’t find sugar-free honey, then omit it.

This is a great treat to take to a Holiday party along with crackers and softened cream cheese to spread it on.  Pictured above with Flackers crackers.  For my review of these, go here.

Cranberry and Peppers Salsa

Low Carb Ingredients:

6 cups Cranberries (two 12-oz bags), chopped
3 cups Red Onions, chopped
1 Apple, peeled and chopped
6 large Serrano Peppers, chopped
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Cider Vinegar
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Water
3 tablespoons Sugar-Free Honey
2/3 cup Sugar Substitute
1/2 tablespoon Canning Salt

Canning Recipe

In a deep, large pot, put four one-pint canning jars and lids and seals, placed independently of the jars, in with water to cover the tops and bring to a boil.

Chop cranberries, onions, apple and peppers. A food processor really speeds this process up. Be sure to use gloves unless you like pepper juice in your skin.

In a large pot, mix all ingredients except the cranberries and bring to a boil while stirring. Reduce the heat to a high simmer, add the cranberries and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

About 10 minutes before done, remove the jars and drain.

Spoon or use a funnel to fill jars to about 1 to 1/2″ from the top. Take lid and sealing ring from hot water and seal each jar. Places jars back in the hot water, making sure the water covers the top. Boil for 25 minutes.

Remove the jars and wait for the lids to pop, which indicates they are sealed. This can take several hours. The lid will appear dented down a little when they are properly sealed. Once sealed, this can store for up to one year on the shelf.

If you are going to eat within two weeks, you can skip the hot water seal and just store in the closed jars in the refrigerator.

Makes 4 jars with about 15 tablespoons in each jar.

Nutrition Information per tablespoon:
Calories:10.2 g Fat:0.1 g Net Carbs:1.9 g Protein: 0.2 g

Closer view of the cranberry pepper salsa.

Regular Ingredients

6 cups Cranberries (two 12-oz bags), chopped
3 cups Red Onions, chopped
1 Apple, peeled and chopped
6 large Serrano Peppers, chopped
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Cider Vinegar
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Water
3 tablespoons Honey
2/3 cup Sugar
1/2 tablespoon Canning Salt

Cooking instructions are identical to the low carb ones.

Makes 4 jars with about 15 tablespoons in each jar.

Nutrition Information per tablespoon:
Calories:21.8 g Fat:0.1 g Net Carbs: 5.0 g Protein: 0.2 g

Is Quince a Quasi-apple?

The only quince I knew when I was growing up was my Great Uncle Quince and I always thought it an unusual name.  For many years, I had no idea it was also a fruit. I didn’t actually try that fruit until about two years ago when I found some at one of the local grocery stores.  Although they look like an apple, they are not and you don’t eat them raw. They must be cooked. Once cooked, they taste similar to an apple and they pair very well with apples and pears. Even though they are related, the quince is the only one in its genus, which is Cydonia, although it is part of the Rosaceae family, along with apples and pears. So, related but not… does this make them like an in-law?

Like many fruits and vegetables, the quince has a long history that goes back to ancient Asia, Turkey, Iran and pretty much the rest of the Mediterranean. Although it likes the rocky slopes and woodland marshes of southwest Asia, do not confuse it with the Chinese Quince. The Akkadians called it supurgillu. The modern name came from 14th century France as a plural form of quoyn. The Greeks called it kydonion melon or kydonian apple.

It is possible that quince may have been cultivated before apples and it may be that many references translated to apple may actually have been quince. Customs surround the quince. Ancient Greeks used it a ritual offering at weddings because it had come from the Levant with Aphrodite and was sacred to her. The Greek bride would nibble on quince to perfume her breath prior to entering her bridal chamber. Paris awarded Aphrodite a quince and it was for a golden quince that Atalanta paused in her race. The Roman Apicius cookbook had recipes for stewing quince with honey and even combining them with leeks.

In the past, quince was once a staple in kitchens world-wide but now it is a novel fruit and is not seen too often. I can find it in the fall at one grocery store in Reno. There is a pineapple quince variety that grows in California, but the majority of them are imported from South America. Although interest has diminished in North America, it is still popular in many Latin American countries.

Uses

How is is used in different cultures? In many ways. In Moroccan, Persian, Romanian and Balkan cuisine, it is used as a confection. Quince can be added to meaty stews and in much the same way as apples or pears. Called melimelum by the Romans, the Greek name means “honey apple” because the fruit was preserved in honey for jam. The Portuguese called it marmelo, a name that combines melimelum and marmelado, which was a favorite confection. The British used it in tarts and pies.

With a high pectin content, quince is easy to turn into marmalade, conserves, jams or jelly. They can be poached, stewed, baked and pretty much treated as a cooked apple. You just can’t eat them raw. They should be cored and peeled before use. An easy way to peel them is to par boil them for about three minutes, then the skin slides right off.

Nutrition information for 1 fruit, peeled and cored
Calories: 52 Fat: 0.1 g Net Carbs: 9.7 g Protein: 0.4 g

Quince Apple Jam

Scone with Quince-Apple Jam. Photo by R. Averett

Adapted for low carb by Rene Averett

Easy to make and will only store a few weeks. Quince may be found in the fall and there are places where you can order it online.  If you make more than you can eat in two or three weeks, freeze part of the batch in a freezer bag and store for several months.

1 Quince
1 Cooking Apple
1 cup sugar substitute (xylitol, like Ideal sugar)
2 cups of water
1 Tbs lemon juice

Peel and grate, or finely chop, the apple and the quince.

Bring the water to a boil and add the grated or chopped fruit. Let them cook, stirring now and then, until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the sugar substitute and lemon juice, lower the cook temperature to medium and continue to cook until the sauce thickens to a jam. Let cool, then ladle into a clean jar and store in refrigerator.

Makes about 1 cup of jam. About 16 servings.

Nutrition info per tablespoon of jam (1 serving)
Calories:9.7 Fat: 0.0 Net Carbs: 2.6 g Protein: 0.1 g

Sources for information in this blog include Specialty Produce,
Wikipedia, Nature’s Pride and Nutrition and You

Photo at top from Wikimedia Commons, used with permission – “Quitte Cydonia oblonga” by Dietrich Krieger – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons