Tag Archives: pecans

Flavorful Pork with Apples and Butternut Squash One Pan Dinner

Image: Sheet Pan Dinner of apples, pork, and butternut squash

Oddly, I had several recipes for sheet pan dinners show up in my email feed this past week. They prompted me to create a delicious one pan dinner using pork. This one was originally written for chicken, but pork is frequently interchangeable with the bird.  The attraction with a single pan dinner is that it’s easy to get your dinner on the table at one time and the seasonings used enhance all the components. This one has a lovely sweet and lightly spiced sauce that works beautifully with the apples and squash. It uses pecans, but if you prefer, you can substitute walnuts or omit them.

Most of my recipes are 10 net carbs or below, but this ones comes in a little higher, depending on whether you want a large serving or a smaller one.  It will make four large servings or 6 smaller ones. You decide.

Apple and Butternut Pork Sheet Pan Dinner

Photo: Serving of pork with apples and butternut.

8 slices of Pork Roast or 6 boneless Pork Chops, about 1/2″ thick
2 Apples, cored and cubed
2 cups Butternut Squash, cubed
1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 tablespoons Sugar-free Honey
1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Thyme, dried
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees( F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to make clean up easier. Spray with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, add olive oil, sugar-free honey, Dijon mustard, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine.

Place pork slices or chops in the center of the baking sheet and season to your preference with salt and pepper.

If you’re cooking about 1″-sized cubes of butternut squash, precook them in the microwave for about five minutes. Smaller cubes will probably get done in the allotted cooking time, but the larger ones won’t. Alternately, you can cook them for about five minutes in boiling water, drain, then add them to the baking pan. Place them on one side of the pork.

Toss apple pieces and pecans together and arrange them on the other side of the pork. Brush or pour the seasoned honey and oil syrup over everything.

Place the baking sheet in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pork is done. Let rest about 5 minutes, then spoon the squash and apples on the place and top with a pork chop.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Image: Nutrition Information

Add craisins to chocolate chip cookies for a treat

Photo: Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

I decided to get a little creative with this great recipe from Carb Counters All Purpose Flour for chocolate chip cookies. I decided to add craisins and pecans, so it’s not a big change, but the result is delicious. If you want just chocolate chip cookies, leave out the craisins and pecans. I used CC’s low carb flour but you can make this with almond flour. Just substitute the same amount for the flour.

To make this low-sodium, use almond flour and unsalted butter. Otherwise, the recipe is the same.

1 cup Low Carb Flour
1/2 cup Sugar Substitute
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Egg
4 tablespoons Butter, melted
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/3 cup Sugar-free Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Reduced Sugar Craisins
1/4 cup Pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.). Place parchment paper in a cookie tin.

In a medium bowl, add flour, sugar substitute, and baking powder and mix together. Add eggs, butter, and vanilla, then stir to mix. If the dough does not absorb all the flour, add a little water and stir to incorporate. Stir in the craisins, chocolate chips, and nuts.

Drop cookies by one tablespoon at a time onto the cookie sheet about 2″ apart. Press down to about 2″ in diameter. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes for soft cookies.

Makes 14 to 16 cookies. (I got 14 using a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop.)

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE.

May 2020 be a deliciously healthy year!

Image: Nutrition Info for Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Derby Cheesecake Time is Coming!

Recipe: Derby Pecan Cheesecake

I promised I would do this and here it is. Just in time for this year’s Kentucky Derby on May 4th, I adapted this decadent recipe for a fabulous cheesecake celebrating the event. I made it for Easter and can attest to the incredible flavors of the dessert. In addition to changing certain ingredients to low carb ones, I did add a couple of things to the original recipe. For those who would like the full carb version, you can find it here on the Tasty.co web site.

One thing you will absolutely need to make this is a brown sugar replacement. I used a combination of LC-Foods Sweet Brown and Swerve Sugar Replacement Brown, both of which are 0 carbs. You could use all Swerve Brown as it is most like brown sugar where LC-Sweet Brown is a powder and doesn’t have the texture of brown sugar. Swerve is available at Amazon, maybe Wal-Mart, and through Netrition.com (also LC-Sweet Brown). Truvia also has a brown sugar blend that has 1 net carb per 1/2 teaspoon but also says you use half as much as you would use of brown sugar. I haven’t tried it, but I would assume that if you use it, you use 1/4 cup of Truvia in place of the 1/2 cup.

I made a small 7″-spring-form-pan cheesecake as the larger one is too much for a two-person household. Cut into eight slices, the piece is large enough for a reasonable dessert and as rich-tasting as this is, the smaller serving is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Here’s a hint though. I made this with an almond flour crust standing in for a graham cracker one, but it would work perfectly well without the crust and save 1.5 net carbs on the total carb count. Next time, I plan to omit the crust.

Derby Bourbon Pecan Cheesecake

Original Recipe by Matthew Johnson
Low Carb Adapted by Rene Averett

Crust:
1 cup Almond Flour
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar Substitute
1/4 cup Butter, melted

Filling:
8 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature
2 oz. Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Sugar Substitute
2 tablespoons Almond Milk
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoons Low Carb Flour
3 teaspoons Bourbon Whiskey, divided
1 Egg

Topping:
1/2 cup LC-Sweet Brown or Swerve Brown Sugar Substitute
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Egg Yolks
1/3 cup Sugar-free Maple Syrup,
1/4 cup Cream, warm to the touch
2 tablespoons Butter, cold
1 cup roasted Pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Prepare the spring-form pan with parchment paper over the base. Spray the pan with baking spray.

Prepare your ingredients and have them ready ahead of time. This actually goes together pretty quickly.

For the Crust:

In a small bowl, add the almond flour, 1/4 cup sugar substitute, and melted butter. Mix together with a spoon, then spoon into the bottom of the spring-form pan and press it to cover the bottom and about half-way up the sides.

Bake for about 10 minutes to set up and lightly brown the dough. Cool.

For the Filling:

Add the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup sugar substitute, and almond milk into a large bowl. Beat until blended and fluffy-looking.

Spoon in the sour cream, low carb flour, teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of Bourbon (more if really want to taste it), and two eggs. Mix on low until the filling is smoothly blended.

Pour the mixture over the almond flour crust in the spring-form pan. Bake for one hour, then turn the oven off and let sit for 30 minutes in the oven.

While the cheesecake is sitting for 30 minutes…

Make the Topping

Add egg yolks, sugar-free Maple Syrup, and warm cream to a bowl and stir together.

In a medium saucepan, add brown sugar substitute, cornstarch, and salt then stir together and put it on a low heat setting on your stove. Add the egg and cream mixture to the pan.

Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens to a pudding texture, around 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in the cold butter and a teaspoon or two of bourbon, depending on how much you prefer.

Fold in the chopped pecans, mixing them through. Pour the mixture over the cheesecake while it is still in the spring-form pan. Spread to make an even layer over the top. (Mine dipped in the middle a little so that well of pecan is thicker.)

Photo: Bourbon Pecan Cheesecake
You can see where I didn’t quite get the topping spread all the way to the edge. Not that there wasn’t enough of it, but I just missed it. The topping is quite thick on the cheesecake.

Put in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours and allow the topping to set up firmly. Remove the spring-form pan and slide the cheesecake off the parchment paper onto a serving plate if you want it for a formal presentation.

Serve either chilled or let come to room temperature if you wish. Sometimes the higher temperature will bring the flavors out more.

Makes eight delicious servings.

Note: A word about the roasted pecans. These are easy to roast in the oven ahead of time by spreading them out on a layer of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pour melted butter (about 1/4 cup over the top) and put in a 300 degree (F.) oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
However, it isn’t necessary to roast the pecans unless you really want the roasted taste. You can just use raw pecans chopped up.

Photo: Nutrition Information

If you try this, let me know how you like it.  I’d love the feedback.

Goes with Coffee: Apple and Pecan Muffins with Streusel

Photo: Apple Muffins

I had an apple that needed using so I decided to try this delicious-sounding recipe from AllRecipes.com user NMARIEA, but I adapted it to a low carb version. The result is delectable, especially when heated up before eating. It works well for a quick breakfast and also for a light dessert.

I put a light streusel topping made with almond flour and brown sugar mix on top, just enough to give it a little sweetness. For the flour, I used a combination of different brands, such as Carbolose, Bakesquick, and Carbquick in it. Each one has a different texture and taste so together, you get a nice mixture.

Apple and Pecan Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel

1 cup Low Carb Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup white Sugar Substitute
1 Egg
1 Egg White
1 teaspoon Vanilla or Almond Extract
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped Apples
1/3 cup Pecans pieces

Topping
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar Substitute
1 tablespoon Almond Flour
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon Butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F.) Prepare 10 muffin tins by spraying them with cooking spray or put paper liners and spray those.

In a large bowl, add the butter and sugar substitute and mix together until creamy. Add the egg, egg white, vanilla or almond extract and cinnamon. Mix until combined.

In a smaller bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together. Mix into the butter and egg in small batches until combined. This will be a fairly stiff dough. Stir in the apples and pecans.

Put about two tablespoons of the dough in each muffin cup. Because of the apples, they will nearly fill the cup.

In a small bowl, put in the brown sugar substitute (I used the Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, or you could use Sweet Brown from LC Foods and add a little more butter.) Add butter and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Cut together until it is crumbly. Sprinkle a little over the top of each muffin.

Bake 11 to 14 minutes. Use a toothpick to test if they are done. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack.

Makes ten average-sized muffins.

Rugalach for the Holidays

Photo: Close up of rugalach

Just a little late for the Jewish holiday, I made a batch of low carb Rugalach cookies. These are simple to make, although a little time-consuming, and make a delightful cookie for the holidays. After my first batch, I plan to make a few minor changes to the next batch I make, but I wanted to get this recipe up before I do that. I cut down a little on the chocolate used, and this recipe reflects that.

Rugalach Cookies

FOR THE DOUGH:
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup low carb all-purpose flour *

FOR THE FILLING:
1/2 cup raspberry jam, apricot jam or marmalade
3 tablespoons sugar substitute
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped nuts (I prefer pecans, but you can use walnuts or almonds)
1/3 cup chopped cranberries
2 ounces sugar-free chocolate, finely chopped

FOR THE GLAZE:
2 tablespoons egg whites
1 teaspoon cold water
2 tablespoons sugar, preferably coarse sugar

For this recipe, I used Dixie Carb Counters All Purpose Low Carb Flour rather than their biscuit mix. Tova Foods also has an All Purpose Low Carb Flour as does LC Foods. I have not tried this with Almond Flour, but I believe it would work fine since it is mixed with cream cheese.  You will need to make sure the dough is chilled well or it will break easily.

Make the dough first. In a food processor, place the softened cream cheese pieces and the softened butter pieces. If you use unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pulse until the cream cheese and butter are blended together. Add the flour and pulse several times to mix it in. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed to get all the flour mixed in. Pulse until the dough forms large curds.

You can mix it with a hand mixer also, but don’t let the dough form into a ball on the blades.

Turn the dough out into a bowl and gather it into a large ball. Divide it in half, shape each into a disk, wrap in plastic, then put into the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.

Before you begin rolling the dough out, make the filling. Heat the jam over low heat or in the microwave until it liquefies. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar substitute and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside. Chop the cranberries in a small food processor. In a microwavable bowl, add 1 tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of sugar to the cranberries. Microwave for 40 seconds. Stir well.

Ready two baking sheets.

Pull one disc of dough from the refrigerator, place a sheet of parchment over the breadboard, and sprinkle low carb flour on it. Roll out the dough into a circle about eight or nine inches in diameter. If it is too firm to roll easily, let it sit for about 10 minutes. Spoon or brush about 1/2 of the melted jam in a thin layer over the dough and sprinkle 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar over the top. Scatter 1/2 of the nuts, 1/2 of the cranberries, and 1/2 of the chopped chocolate over the jam. Cover the filling with a piece of waxed paper and gently press on it to push the filling into the dough. Remove the waxed paper, Slide the disk onto a baking pan and put the pan in the refrigerator to chill while you roll the second disc and repeat the steps.

Pull out the first pan when you put the second pan in, then cut the original dough into quarters, like you would a pizza. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter for this. Try to get it separated evenly. Now, cut each wedge into three triangular slices. Starting at the outside edge, roll the dough toward the middle to form a crescent cookie and tuck the end tip under the dough on the baking sheet, curving the cookie a little. Repeat with each triangular shape, cutting each of the quarter wedges into three triangles.

Pie cut for 12 slices.

Repeat with the second round of cookies. Put the shaped cookies in the refrigerator or other cold place on their baking sheets  to firm up for at least 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F.) Position the racks in the oven to divide it into thirds.

Before baking the cookies, mix the egg white and water together and brush over the tops of the cookies and sprinkle the granulated sugar substitute over each.

Photo: One dozen rugalach cookies

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom racks and turning them from the front to the back of the oven about mid-way through the baking. Remove when they are golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack until they are just warm or at room temperature.

Makes 24 cookies.

Nutrition information per cookie:
Calories:102.2 Fat: 8.9 g Net Carbs: 1.0 g Protein: 3.3 g