Tag Archives: spinach

Happy Holiday Cheeseball

As I hinted, I did make a terrific cheeseball over the weekend, let it sit until Monday, then dug in. I would have posted yesterday, but time escaped me again! Wrapping packages, writing my last few Christmas cards, and the next thing I know, the day is gone. Funny how that happens faster when you get older.

I took time to look for the Christmas star, aka the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction. I expected it to be brighter and maybe a little larger, although I’m sure city lights dimmed the view. If I’d been in the desert like I used to be when I lived in El Paso, Texas, I’m sure it would have popped more. Still, how the heck did the Three Kings manage to follow that light amongst all the others?

But I digress… I found this recipe on gimmedelicious.com and had to make minor adjustments to make it low carb. Of course, I added a tiny touch or two to make it mine. Use low carb crackers, bagel chips, carrots, or celery as the base to spread a little of this yummy cheese on top. Easy to make, it comes together quickly once you have the chopping done. It’s great for a family gathering or a small party. Besides that, it’s festive-looking with the red and green in and on it.
One tip, though; when it comes to chopping chives or onions, it’s easier to use kitchen scissors to cut them into small pieces.

Photo: Cranberry-pecan cheeseball

Cranberry Pecan Cheeseball

8 ounces Cream Cheese
1 cup White Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
1/2 cup dried Sugar-reduced Cranberries chopped and divided
1 cup Pecans chopped and toasted (optional)
2 tablespoons Chives, chopped
2 tablespoon Spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Set the cream cheese out to soften for about an hour. Meanwhile chop the pecans, the craisins, chives, and spinach. Shred the white cheese if needed.

Toast Pecans: Pre-heat oven to 375F. Spread the chopped pecans on a baking tray and bake for 4 to 5 minutes or until they smell toasty. Be careful not to burn them.  Set these aside and turn the oven off.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder together until you have a smooth mixture. Add 1/2 of the roasted pecan and 1/2 of the cranberries, then the chives. Stir together until these are mixed through the cream cheese.

Cut a large piece of plastic wrap and put the mixture in the middle.  Use a spoon or spatula to begin to shape it into a ball. Once all the cheese is pulled together, use the wrap to push it closer together and round the shape as you encase the ball in the wrap and close off the top by twisting.

Put the cheese ball in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours. This will firm up the cream cheese.

Before serving, mix the remaining pecans, cranberries and spinach or chives together on a flat surface, such as a baking pan or cheese board. Unwrap the chilled ball and roll it in the pecan and cranberry mixture, coating all sides. Press the fruit and nuts into the ball if they won’t stick.

Place on a serving platter and surround with dippers. Makes about 12 servings.

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.

Celebrate the Harvest with this Meat-free Quiche

Image: Harvest Quiche

For many years, I’ve made my quiches with ricotta cheese. It adds firmness and texture to the mix so the egg doesn’t seem so much like custard.

This crustless, meatless quiche has plenty of fall vegetables, including a nice serving of mushrooms, to satisfy your hunger. Nearly every plant I used came from my garden in the almost last harvest of the year, and you can find them all in grocery stores now if you don’t have an outdoor source of your own.

I used Bakesquick for my flour to give the quiche a little more body and fill in for the missing crust, but it is optional. The recipe works quite well without it. Likewise, chili spices are optional, but I like a little kick in my food.

Feel free to substitute other vegetables if you don’t like one. Just be aware some vegetables may be a little higher in carbs, but most will come in close to the same amount. Hope you enjoy the recipe.

Photo: Harvest Ricotta Pie, top view

Harvest Spinach, Zucchini, & Ricotta Quiche

3/4 cup Spinach, fresh and torn (about 2 handfuls)
1 cup Zucchini, sliced
1 1/2 Tomatoes, ripe, 6 slices
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese, whole milk
2/3 cup Cheddar Jack Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Irish Cheddar Cheese (Or other sharp cheddar), shredded
4 Eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Mushrooms, sliced
3 Mini-Peppers, sliced down the middle
1/4 cup Low Carb Flour (optional)
1 teaspoon Garlic and Herb seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Chili Spices (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F.) Prepare a 9-inch deep dish pie plate by spraying with cooking spray.

Slice all the vegetables and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the ricotta cheese, the beaten eggs, and seasonings and whisk together until well mixed. Stir in the low carb flour if you are using it and mix until smooth. Set aside.

Line the bottom of the pie dish with sliced zucchini. This should make a fairly solid base for the pie. Top with mushrooms and spread them evenly. Put the torn spinach over the top and press it down a little.

Pour the egg mixture over the top, using a spoon to spread it evenly over the spinach. Place a slice of tomato at equal intervals around the edge to mark each slice. Place one-half chili between each tomato slice.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the pie is set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Let sit about 10 minutes before serving.

Makes six servings.

Image: Nutrition Information for Harvest Quiche

Thai Coconut Soup Bring the Flavor

Photo: Thai Coconut Soup

This week’s “Meatless Monday” recipe isn’t entirely without “meat,” but as I understand it, seafood isn’t included in the ban. I’m using shrimp in this tasty and slightly-spiced soup, but if you’re vegetarian or don’t want to eat seafood, then you can leave it out or replace it with cubes of firm tofu.

The base recipe came from the Atkins web site; however, I added more to it to make it a heartier soup. While it is delicious, it isn’t completely filling, so maybe you can add a salad and/or a low carb roll or even make a grilled cheese sandwich to accompany. Although the recipe makes six one-cup servings, it is low enough in carbs that you can make four servings and gain another half cup of yum. You can also increase the amount of shrimp in it.

Thai Coconut Soup

3 cups Chicken Broth
13.5-ounce can Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1 piece fresh Ginger, 1-inch, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
1/2 cup Spinach or Bok Choy, chopped
2 tablespoons Fish Sauce or Worcestershire Sauce
1 Jalapeño Pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated Lime Zest
1 teaspoon Sugar Substitute
1/2 pound medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ounces Mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup Daikon Radish, cubed
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh Cilantro (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh Lime Juice

Peel and chop or slice all the vegetables before you begin to cook. Cut the daikon into  small cubes so it will cook quicker.

In an eight cup pot, add the chicken broth, coconut milk, ginger, jalapeño, fish or Worcester Sauce, lime zest, and sugar substitute. Cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring a few times, then reduce the heat to low, partly cover the top, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the ginger slices and discard. Add the daikon and cook another 10 minutes to soften the daikon.

Add shrimp, mushrooms, and bok choy or spinach, Stir well and cook until shrimp are cooked, about four minutes. Stir in the green onions, cilantro if using, and the lime juice.

Spoon into bowls and enjoy.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Info: Thai Coconut Soup with Shrimp

Nutrition Info for Thai Coconut Soup

 

Creamy Tuscan Chicken for Two

Photo Creamy Tuscan Chicken

I make most of the meals at my house into small portions for two people. This is the case with this recipe for delicious creamy Tuscan-style chicken. If you want to make it for more people, it’s easy to double the amounts. If you have one very plump chicken breast, you can probably cut it across the middle as if you were butterflying it to make two chicken pieces. If the chicken is too thick, over 1/2″, then you should cut it to thinner slices, so it cooks thoroughly.

This recipe uses sun-dried tomatoes, but you can also use about six to eight cherry tomatoes cut in half.

Creamy Tuscan-Style Chicken

3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Chicken Broth
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Spinach, chopped
1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Add olive oil to a medium-sized skillet over medium heat and cook the chicken pieces for 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until they are browned. Remove to a plate and set aside.

To the skillet, add heavy cream, chicken broth, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese. If you are using cherry tomatoes, add them in now also. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring briskly with a wooden spoon until the sauce begins to thicken. Add spinach and the sun-dried tomatoes and stir them in. Turn to a simmer and cook until spinach begins to wilt. Add the chicken and any juices on the plate back to the pan and cook another three or so minutes until the chicken is heated.

Makes two servings. Serve with riced cauliflower or zucchini noodles. I served mine with a delicious riced golden beets side dish. Recipe follows.

Image: Nutrition Info

 

Savory Riced Golden Beets

Photo: Riced Golden Beets

I’ve tried the frozen riced purple beets, and they are yummy with the earthy taste that the dark beets have and make a great side dish. However, I prefer golden beets with their lighter flavor. So, I riced up a beet and added a little chicken broth and seasoning. Voila! Delicious couscous-like pearls of delight. Along with the chicken, they really provided that extra touch of the Mediterranean flavor.

1 medium-sized Golden Beet, cleaned and peeled
1/4 cup Chicken Broth
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (optional)
1 tablespoon Butter

Rice golden beet in a food processor, using the pulse until it is the size of rice kernels. You can also use a grater to grate the beet, but the food processor is much easier.

In a small skillet, melt butter then add riced beets. Add about 1/4 cup of water and cook over low heat until the water almost evaporates. Add the chicken broth, seasoning, and salt, reduce heat to simmer and continue to cook until the beets are done about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir often and add additional water if they get too dry.

Makes two servings.

Image: Nutrition Info