Jalapeno or Pepper Poppers – Low Carb

When you do low-carb, you miss regular old junk food snacks.  Sander and I decided last spring to and remake our “triple dipped poppers” by using crushed pork rinds, making these low carb.  We’ve experimented with them a few times and this is the final recipe.   These are double dipped in egg and crushed pork rinds, allowed to dry a bit, and then deep fried.  They are completely over-filled with the cheese mixture, which gives you a great bite of pepper, cheese, and crunch.

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Jalapeno or Pepper Poppers – Low Carb

8 Ounces (226g) Cream Cheese, room temp
2-3 cups shredded cheese
Spices, to your taste *See note below
4-6 eggs
15 mini sweet peppers or jalapenos, split lengthwise, cleaned and seeded
2-3 bags (3 ounce bags) pork rinds
Lard, enough to deep fry in your favorite fryer.

Crush the pork rinds in a blender.  If you don’t have a blender, use a rolling-pin to crush.  The finer the crush, the better.

Mix the soft cream cheese with the shredded cheese and any spices you choose.  I use almost type of cheese – mix and match!  Mozzarella, cheddar, muenster..your choice.   Set aside and clean and prep the peppers.  Slice peppers lengthwise and, using a spoon, remove all the seeds.

In a bowl, mix the eggs well.  You may need more eggs, so have at least 2 more ready to go. Pork rinds soak up a lot of egg, but the egg helps give this a crispness that makes these so yummy.

Fill each pepper — and really over fill them.  Much more than you think they should be filled.  You almost cannot put too much in — they should be heaping.  Round the mix to fit the pepper.

Once all the peppers have been filled, dip each into egg and then directly into the crushed pork rinds.  Set aside and continue to dip the rest of the peppers.   Allow to sit for 10 minutes to dry.  Now repeat – dip each pepper into egg and then into the crushed pork rinds for a second time.   Allow to sit for another ten minutes.

Heat oil to 385F (195C)  in your favorite fryer – could be a Fry Daddy or a small pot of oil (on the back burner!!).  Add in peppers.  I do 2 or 3 at a time, as I have the small Fry Daddy.  Allow to fry for 1 minute or so.  Pull one out and check it – outside should be crispy, and when you cut into it (don’t BITE into it), the cheese should be melted well.  I find that as I go through the batch, they take between 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes, depending on how large the poppers are and how hot the oil is.  I let the oil re-heat after each batch for about 30 seconds.

Remove the poppers from the oil and allow to drain, preferably on a rack, which will help to keep the poppers crispy and crunchy.  Serve as soon as the last popper comes out of the oil.

Serve as is, or with a favorite sauce.

Notes:

  1. Using pork rinds works really well for a breading.  However, when you deep fry anything with pork rinds, you’ll find that some of the crumbs just slough off.  You may need to remove these as you go along deep frying.
  2. *Add in spices – maybe a little Chili powder or cayenne powder or a dash of red pepper flakes – enough to taste good to you.
  3. You can freeze these after frying.  To reheat, 400F (205c), for 8-12 minutes, depending on how small/large your poppers are.

Nutrition Information is for 1 popper.

Low Carb Popper Nutrition Info

Posted in Appetizers, Appetizers, Cheese, Diabetic Type 2, Low Carb | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Deep Fried Pork Chops – Low Carb

Low Carb/Keto Deep Fried Pork Chops.  I pan fried a few pork chops this afternoon for dinner.  I had one pork chop left over and decided to try deep frying it.

My life has forever changed!!  WOW!  So amazing and good.  And probably the simplest recipe ever!

As you can see, the pan fried pork chops, cooked perfectly to temp, are rather anemic looking compared to the deep fried pork chops.  The pan fried were  great.. but the deep fried were out of this world.

Deep Fried Pork Chops – Low Carb

Pork Chops, about 1/2 inch thick (boneless), patted dry.
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Oil, heated in your “Fry Daddy” or a high sided pot, to 375F or 190C

Depending on the size of your pot or fryer, place your pork chops in to the heated oil.  I have a Fry Daddy, and 2 would probably fit perfectly.  Allow to cook 2-3 minutes.  Drain on a rack.  Cool down so you don’t burn your mouth!! Eat.  Try to share….If possible.

 

Posted in Beef, Pork & Poultry, Dinner, Low Carb | Leave a comment

Creamy Rutabaga & Cheese Puree (Low Carb)

Eating low carb for the past year or so, I’ve really not felt like writing here on my food blog.  I think I have had to come to terms with the fact that most of the yummy recipes I have here I will no longer be able to make.  I’m learning now, though, to re-make them in a low carb version.  It’s a slow process, with trial and (a lot) of errors).  But I’m making my way there, slowly but surely.

My taste buds have certainly had a shock — and boy have they changed.  I haven’t eaten sugar (in any of it’s forms), in over a year, nor have I had any bread, rice, pasta, crackers, or potatoes (or any other grain).  Not a carb in sight, with the exception of what is found in eggs, cheeses or the good low carb veggies I eat.   Foods now taste differently.  Almonds are so sweet.  Bacon is freaking awesome.  Cheesecake has become almost boring, and dried zucchini chips are a staple.  And then there is the entire cabbage family.  Turnips and rutabaga are like .. well.. they are freaking awesome –  crunchy, tangy, sweet darlings that I have come to really adore.   It’s thanks to Sander that I’ve become acquainted with them at all, and his idea for the following recipe.  He’s gone low carb right along with me (for the most part), and is always coming up with ideas for new foods and recipes that work with this way of eating.

We started out a few weeks ago making a stuffed rutabaga recipe — the stuffing of which was pure yum, but the rutabaga was so over cooked it didn’t work out as planned.  We then mashed it up and decided to try again.  This recipe is our 3rd rutabaga recipe, but the 4th time we’ve played with the ingredient at all.

Michelle’s Pics

Sander’s Pics

Creamy Rutabaga & Cheese Puree (Low Carb)

1 Rutabaga, peeled and chopped into even 1 inch cubes (about 3 1/3 pounds or 1.5 kilos)
8.5 cups of chicken stock (2 liters)
2 to 6 ounces of cream (60 to 200 ml)
1 small onion, minced
2-3 ounces of bacon, chopped and cooked with the onion.
1 cup cheese, shredded (4 ounces or 113 grams)
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Rutabagas are usually covered in wax, so peel and wash well.  Slice the rutabaga in 1 inch slices, and then cube into one in squares.  In a good sized pot, pour the chicken stock and add the cubed rutabaga.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Boil for 30-50 minutes.  Depending on the rutabaga, it could take longer.  Check with a fork to see if the rutabaga is soft.  It won’t ever be as soft as a boiled potato, but every so slightly al dente.

In a saute pan, saute the bacon until it’s about 1/2 cooked.  Add in the minced onion and cook until golden.  Set aside, saving 1/4 cup for later.

Once the rutabaga’s are done, DO NO DRAIN the stock away.  Add in the onion/bacon mixture directly to the pot of chicken stock and rutabagas.  Using your stick blender ( I do NOT recommend a blender for this), begin blending the bacon, onion, rutabaga and chicken stock.  Do this until it’s pretty well pureed.  Add in the cream, in small amounts, to taste.  I liked less cream than Sander did – he added 6 ounces, I added about 2.5.  Once you add in the cream, the puree will become even creamier.  At this point, add in the cheese.  I used Monterey Jack and a bit of havarti.  Sander used a smoked gouda.  Your favorite cheddar or edam would work just as well.  Now puree until you can puree no longer!!  Or, until it is silky smooth.   Serve the puree with a bit of the onion/bacon mixture you set aside earlier.  Makes 12 Cups.

Nutrition information is based on using 3 ounces cream, cheddar cheese and 2.6 ounces bacon.

12 Servings.  1 Cup (240ml) per serving

96 Calories, 5.2g Fat, 756mg Sodium
6.8g Carbs, 1.5g Fiber (5.3g Net Carbs), 5.9g Protein

Nutrition Facts for Rutabaga Puree

Nutrition Facts for Rutabaga Puree

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Low Carb Pancakes, with Cream Cheese & Flax Meal

Made pancakes this morning. There are lots of recipes for low carb cream cheese/egg pancakes. They are great, but more like a crepe. I wanted a thicker pancake, so I experimented with using some flax meal. They came out great!  I mean to take pictures, but my excitement meant I ate them before I took the pictures!! haha

Low Carb Pancakes, with Cream Cheese & Flax Meal

2 eggs
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (to activate the baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon erythritol (or sweetener to taste)
Pinch of salt

Add everything to a blender, and blend well for about 30 to 60 seconds, making sure the cream cheese has blended in and has no lumps. Let sit for a minute and then cook as you would regular pancakes. Preheat a pan on medium heat. Butter the pan before each pancake. Cook until bubbles form and solidify. Flip over and cook another 20-30 seconds. This makes 3 pancakes. Serve with sugar free syrup.

Posted in Breakfast, Diabetic Type 2, Low Carb | Leave a comment

Things I’ve Learned – Nutrition Information

These days, I need to know what the nutritional values of foods are.  I’ve found a ton of places online that show you the values – some with uber fancy graphical images, some with just the calories and fat amounts,  and some with  information that no one can decipher.

What I want in a database:

  • I want standardized measurement selections (50 grams, 100 grams, 1 ounce, 2 ounces), etc.
  • I want to compare food items (example: skim vs regular milk)
  • I want a breakdown of where the calories are coming from (fat, carbs, protein?)
  • I want a breakdown of the types of carbohydrates (sugars)
  • I want the glycemic index and glycemic load calculation

I found a few ways that worked for me.

1.  Google

pear nutrition info from google

I’ve found one of the easiest ways to get nutritional info directly from Google is using one or the other terms:  “Nutrition” or “Carbs”  For example, searching for pear nutrition or pear carbs will bring up the relevant nutritional values associated with a pear.  Any pear, not specific pears.  It does have weird (and seemingly arbitrary) serving size amounts.  For the most part, it does allow for at least 100 grams on most items.  If you run the values of a lot of items, always use the same amounts, if possible, to give yourself an understanding of the real value.  I mean, you might want to know the values on oatmeal, but you don’t need to know what 1 cup of dry, uncooked oatmeal is..you want to know what a serving 1/4 cups or 125 grams is.  Try to select the amount closest to what you know you are going to eat, and what you have seen.

Google’s data does not have some of my requirements – no breakdowns, no glycemic index or load – very sad, since this is the fastest way to search.  But just knowing carbs/fiber on an ingredient is helpful.

2. USDA

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Researchusda_nutrition_information Service has an online database, “National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference“, which is an excellent resource for most foods.  The database allows you to input your own weights and measures for items, which is really great.  It also seems to have a lot of items, including many fresh and raw items, plus some prepared items.  I like the breakdowns, though the sugars are not broken down as well as I would like.  In addition, you can download an excel file with all the information included.  There is also an ability to use the API and create your own app, if you are so inclined.  Anyone??!

Again, my own requirements aren’t met here, though the database does allow for input of my own measurements — 1/2 cup or 3 ounces, or 100 grams.  No glycemic load or index.

3. Self Nutrition Dataself

The last link is probably my favorite.  Not only does it show you the nutritional values, carbs breakdownhave ease of selecting weight/measurement, have tools to compare various items (!!)  etc., but it shows you the glycemic load for the selected food and serving size.  This site also has useless (to me) graphs & graphics.  But because I want the carb/sugars broken down, and I want to see the glycemic load, this site is incredibly useful and the one I use the most.

 

 

 

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Low Carb Panna Cotta – Sugar Free & Sinfully Mmmmy Goodness

Panna Cotta, coffee flavored with dark unsweetened chocolateSugar Free. Carb-less.  That’s my life these days.  I’m experimenting with a lot of things I had not tried before, which has been a lot of fun.  But I’ve missed having something dessert-ish.  We did some searching and found a low-carb, sugar free quick panna cotta recipe and woot!  Oh, baby!

(Update: Pictures are below) I would have taken pictures.  And I will put some up.  But apparently, in my excitement about making creamy goodness, I didn’t even think about it.

This recipe takes less than 3 minutes to prep, and a couple of hours in the refrigerator.

Panna Cotta – Sugar Free

Serving size: 5 servings of 1/2 cup each

1/2 cup warm water
2 teaspoons unsweetened gelatin powder (This is a single Knox Gelatin envelope).
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract (
sugar substitute equal to 3 tablespoons cup sugar (I used splenda, my boyfriend used stevia).* See note below
Pinch of Salt (just a tiny bit!!)
1 1/2 teaspoons shredded unsweetened dark chocolate

Sprinkle the gelatin powder on the warm water and set aside to soften for several minutes. Stir completely to dissolve any remaining bits. In a seperate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. With a whisk, stir in the gelatin. Mix well but don’t over mix or it will become foamy. Put into custard cups, ramekins, or one single bowl, and chill for 2-4 hours. Sprinkle the shredded chocolate on top just prior to serving. This is softly gelled, but no where near as firm as a jello would be.

Sprinkle the gelatin powder on the warm water and set aside to soften for several minutes. Stir completely to dissolve any remaining bits. In a seperate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. With a whisk, gently stir in the gelatin. Mix well but don’t over mix or it will become foamy. Put into custard cups, ramekins, or one single bowl, and chill for 2-4 hours. This is softly gelled, but no where near as firm as a jello would be.

Note:  For any panna cotta, start with a bit less sweetener, and then sweeten to taste.  I use less when making the Orange Creamsicle below, but more when making the coffee flavored as above.

Variations

A few upcoming ventures and variations will include adding and then a “key lime” flavor with zest of key lime, and the juice of 1 or two (depending on size).

“Orange Creamsicle” 2 teaspoons orange extract and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. The zest of 1/2 an orange would be great with this as well.

Oh, the possibilities!!!

Just as a side note — if you don’t want this sugar free, replace the sugar substitute with sugar.

Posted in Desserts, Diabetic Type 2, Low Carb, Sugar Free | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Chicken Fried Steak (aka Schnitzel), with Milk Gravy

I made “Chicken Fried Steak”, with milk gravy today.  Big deal, you say.  Well, for me, it was.  It was the first time I’ve ever made gravy that didn’t seize up into an inedible mass of flour-y greasy goo.  It made me way too happy.  Giggly, even.  Haha!!

I haven’t made Chicken Fried Steak in 15+ years (and never had the gravy turn out edible).  But I’ve made other schnitzels many times, but never the recipe my family made. “Schnitzel?”, you ask.  Why, yes,  Chicken Fried Steak is just schnitzel.

Schnitzel can be any meat, that is pounded out thin, dipped in flour, dipped in egg, dipped in a breading, and then fried.  Pork, chicken, veal, beef, alligator, kangaroo or squirrel, if that’s your thing.

A conversation I had with my ex-mil even before I was married:

Me: “Ah.. you are making chicken schnitzel.”

MIL:  “Schnitzel?”

Me: “Yes, it’s the German word for what you are making.  It’s just any meat that’s dipped in eggs, dipped in breading and then fried.”

MIL:  (in a very high pitched voice) “I don’t eat German food.”

I think Americans forget that foods we make, foods we love, and foods we grew up with are not always American.  Schnitzel being one of them.  In New York, we make “chicken cutlets”.  Meat, dipped in egg, dipped in seasoned bread crumbs, fried.  If I say I’m making “chicken cutlets”, everyone knows what I’m talking about.  If I say I’m making “chicken schnitzel”, only Europeans know what I’m talking about.

This recipe is what I grew up eating.  Instead of bread crumbs, it uses crushed saltine crackers.  My family alsways called this “Chicken Fried Steak”, but it’s also called “Country Fried Steak” as well.  I’m sure there are other names out there in the world, too.

Eggs, flour, crumbs, cube steak, salt & Pepper

Eggs, flour, crumbs, cube steak, salt & Pepper

Chicken Fried Steak

1/2 a pound cube steak
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
2 sleeves of crushed saltine crackers (240 grams or 8.5 ounces)
4 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon butter (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Dip the cube steak into the flour, removing any excess.  Dip into the egg and then lay in the cracker crumbs.  Cover the top and press the crumbs onto the steak.  Set the pieces to dry for about 10 minutes.

Allow to dry for about 10 minutes

Allow to dry for about 10 minutes

In a large frying pan, add in 4 tablespoons of oil.  Add in the tablespoon of butter.  Heat to medium-high.  Allow the oil to get nicely hot, and add in the steaks.  Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until the crackers are golden brown.  Drain on a rack or paper towels – whichever you have.

steaks in the frying pan perfectly cooked steaks

Note:

If you cannot get cube steak at your market, use a thin piece of steak.  Round or London broil sliced lengthwise thin.  Pound out to make the pieces very thin.  Starting from the outside edge, pound away from the center to get an even piece.

 

OMG I can make Milk Gravy!!!

OMG I can make Milk Gravy!!!

OMG I Can Make Milk Gravy

Gravy is supposed to be simple and easy to make.  I can make a pan sauce to die for, but have never succeeded in making milk gravy.  Yesterday was a first!! And it really was an “OMG, I can make milk gravy” moment!

2 Tablespoons or so of the drippings
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 Cup milk
Salt & Pepper to taste

Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the drippings from the pan you used to make the steaks.  At medium heat, sprinkle in the flour and whisk quickly.  Mix well and continue to whisk for about 1 minute.  After the minute is up, add in the milk, continuing to whisk.   Allow to cook on medium  heat for a couple of minutes, until the gravy begins to thicken.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately.

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