Sous Vide Egg Bites {starbucks copycat}


Anyone who knows me even slightly knows I’m obsessed with the Egg Bites you can buy at Starbucks. I think both flavors are delicious, but I’m particularly in love with the bacon and gruyere version. My habit/addiction is costly, however. At over $4 for two of these gems, I could spend over $20 a week if I bought these every day. Which I would like to do. Because they are that amazingly delicious. And of course that four dollars does not include any sort of drink I may purchase at the same time.

One day last week I went to Starbucks per normal on my way to work. I always use the mobile app because I don’t have time in the morning to dilly-dally at the counter. Plus I actually like the egg bites to be a bit cooled down by the time I sink my teeth into them. So I order them, leave my house and arrive at Starbucks about 5 or 7 minutes later and my bites are awaiting me. This morning was no exception.

When I got to the front door that morning, a bit earlier than normal, I found the door locked. Because I was early I wondered if I was too early. Maybe they hadn’t opened yet. But the sign on the window said they open at 4:30 am and it was 5:30 am. The door should have been unlocked. I could see my egg bites at the counter packaged all nice and neat with a fork taped to the packaging. I rapped my knuckles on the glass door to no avail. The barista behind the counter either didn’t hear me or ignored me. I rapped my knuckles slightly louder a second time with the same result. On the third go round I began pounding on the door with my fists. I’m sure I looked like a crazy person.

At that point the barista acknowledged me by waving her arm at me telling me to go around to the back of the store where there’s another door. I was completely miffed. Like first-world problems miffed. The barista apologized to me and I grabbed my egg bites and asked if I could exit out the front door. The door that’s along the street where my car was parked. Where I park my car every morning. Every single time I go to this Starbucks I enter the front door, no issues. The barista replied that if the door was locked I couldn’t go in or out.

As calmly as I could, I suggested they put a sign on the door so people know to go around back (and don’t waste their precious time). I’m sure when I left they mocked me. But whatever. It’s common courtesy to let people know the main door isn’t going to be unlocked. Is it not?

I haven’t been back to that Starbucks. And I plan to boycott that particular location in the future. Which isn’t hard because there’s one just about a mile or two down that same street on my way to work. There’s also about 6 other locations within a mile from my house.

Long story short, after the door debacle I was hell bent on making my own egg bites to save both my time and my money. I had purchased a sous vide maker about a week or two prior and had been futzing around with recipes since. But I decided to really buckle down and nail a copycat version of the Starbucks recipe at home. Complete with egg bites that are even shaped just like the ones at Starbucks. (Sorta.)

This took a lot of research and thought on my part. I’ve found several general recipes for copycat versions of the egg bites. I wanted mine to be an exact replica. So I looked at the ingredients on the website and tinkered around a bit on MyFitnessPal until I got a nutrient breakdown that was close enough to the one listed on Starbucks website.

I can’t quite figure out their recipe. The recipe appears to use only eggs and no egg whites, yet if you look at the cholesterol in their eggs it’s insanely low. I added egg whites to my recipe to up the protein and keep the cholesterol in check and fat slightly lower. Also, I’m perplexed by the butter listed in the recipe. I’m assuming the butter is used to grease the pans or whatever they use for cooking. I melted some and added it to the mixture. Butter makes everything better, right? I also omitted the hot sauce because there’s nothing “hot” about the egg bites you get at Starbucks. Unless you add a packet of sriracha sauce to your eggs, of course. I’m assuming the hot sauce listed on the ingredients is referring to the extra/optional packet of hot sauce.

Onto the “container.” I started out making these babies in glass jars. It’s fine. They work fine. I mean the egg comes out looking anemic, not nice and browned like the Starbucks version, but they taste decent. Since I’m used to something slightly round, almost like half a ping pong ball or something, I wanted my bites to have the same general shape.

I found a website that claims to give the recipe for a copycat version. This website will remain nameless. The pictures on the website look suspiciously exactly like the egg bites you will find at Starbucks. Right down to the cardboard containers they are served in. In the comments section someone asked the author of the blog how he/she got the perfectly formed egg bites. You will see in every other blog that no one’s bites look even remotely close to the Starbucks shape. The author evaded the question. Or answered it with a non-answer. Which has me even more convinced that he/she just took a picture of the Starbucks egg bites and claimed them as his/her own.

I will tell you that the pictures on this website are all my own. And you can tell because … they don’t really look like the Starbucks egg bites you buy. But given my expansive research I believe the containers I used will get you about as close as you can get to the Starbucks variety. Read on, my friend.

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ingredients.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 c. egg whites
  • 1 c. cottage cheese (2% milk fat)
  • 2 T. melted butter, cooled
  • 1 T. rice starch
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 oz. Monterrey jack cheese (shredded)
  • 4 oz. gruyere cheese (shredded), divided
  • 12 oz. uncured applewood bacon, cooked to desired doneness, torn into small pieces

equipment.

  • Blender or food processor
  • Sous vide maker
  • Silicone baby food (freezer tray) container with silicone lid (BPA free)

directions.

  1. Heat your sous vide mechanism to 172 degrees. I can make the recipe and get everything prepped and still my water is not hot enough. So get this started early.
  2. In a blender or food processor, add the eggs, egg whites, cottage cheese, salt, starch, and Monterrey jack cheese. Blend until completely smooth. I used my Nutribullet for this and it worked very nicely but for the fact that my ingredients were way above the fill line and leaked out a bit while blending. But that’s neither here nor there.img_4979
  3. Spray your baby food containers with cooking spray. Place a few small pieces of bacon and some shredded gruyere cheese into each cup. Fill almost to the top with the egg mixture. Cover the container with the silicone lid and secure.
  4. When the water is hot enough, gently place your container on top the water and let it float. So total transparency, my sous vide maker has a cover. It looks like a crockpot. I then cover the maker and let it do it’s magic for 90 minutes.
  5. Once the 90 minutes have passed, gently remove the container from the hot water. I have a large plastic … jeez … I have no idea what it is. It’s wider than a soup ladle and a lot flatter and has holes in it. That’s what I use to kind of heft my sous vide creations out of the water and then I use my hands to just place them on the counter.
  6. Let cool completely – I pop them into the fridge.
  7. When you’re ready to eat them, heat your oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with some sort of cooking spray. Place your egg bites on top. Top each egg bite with a piece of bacon and some extra gruyere cheese and even some Monterrey jack if you so choose. Bake for approximately 5 minutes and then turn up the heat to a broil and broil the top for a minute or two. img_4982
  8. Let cool slightly before you enjoy. Or let cool completely and reheat in the microwave another time.

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This recipe makes approximately 18 egg bites.

Here’s the skinny on the nutrition for each serving: 152 calories, 10 g fat, 1 g carbs, <1 g sugar and 12 g protein.

I brought these bites to a ladies brunch today and everyone raved about them. The words used to describe them were, “Better than Starbucks.” Hell yeah!

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Recipe rating: 

Seared Ahi Tuna Steak Salad with Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette 


It’s not often that I get excited about salad. It’s not that I don’t like salad, because I do. It’s just that I like it more as a starter. Not as a meal. It seems like when I try to have salad for a meal I end up getting hungry about 20 minutes later. I decided I wanted to try to eat more salad in my life because I have a hard time eating raw veggies and I thought that would be a good way to go. Plus, it’s hot and eating salad goes with hot weather, right?

So I thought that an Asian inspired salad with seared ahi tuna steak would be a good way to go. I found this amazing dressing at Trader Joe’s. It’s a Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette. It’s fat free and low calorie. It’s a bit higher in sugar than I would like and doesn’t really allow this dish to be classified as low-carb. But I don’t care. It’s so good I want to just drink it from the bottle. OK so it’s basically the best part about the salad. Like I probably wouldn’t be raving about this salad if I had not used such an awesome dressing.

ingredients.

  • 2 to 3 c. arugula, rinsed and dried
  • 1/4 c. shelled edamame
  • 2 roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 T. sliced green onion (the greenish-white part)
  • 1 4 oz. ahi tuna steak
  • 3 T. Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette (or dressing of your choice)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

directions.

  1. Get the salad base prepared. Place arugula in a large bowl. Top with edamame and tomatoes.
  2. On a small plate drizzle approximately some olive oil. Place your tuna steak in the olive oil and flip over to get olive oil on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Sear the tuna steak in a pan over medium-high heat for approximately 1 to 2 minutes on each side. I seared mine for closer to 2.
  3. Remove the tuna and place on a cutting board. Slice the tuna in strips and place it on top of your bed of lettuce.
  4. Top with the vinaigrette and green onion.
  5. Enjoy!

This salad was very quick to make. And very quick to eat. But maybe that’s because I eat all my food super fast. I plan to work this salad into my work lunch rotation. It would be a great salad to shake together in a tupperware container at my desk.

Hemp Seed Chocolate Chip Cookies


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It’s been about two years since I purchased Julie Morris’s cookbook Superfood Snacks. I’ve tried less recipes than I had intended but this recipe was one I always wanted to try. I love chocolate chip cookies so if you can make chocolate chip cookies healthy then consider me bought and sold. Turns out, you can.

I modified Julie’s original recipe slightly. Hers is a vegan recipe and I added egg. I also decided I wanted to use really dark chocolate because it’s lower in sugar and has a lot of fiber. It occurred to me while tasting the dough that I should have added more sugar to compensate for the fact that I wasn’t really using very sweet chocolate. So at the end I decided to roll the cookies in fake sugar to give them a bit more sweetness. I ate two straight out of the oven and have almost my entire day of fiber in my belly. Would I make these again? You bet. I could eat these cookies every day and not feel guilty about eating cookies on a daily basis.

ingredients.

  • 3/4 c. + 1/4 c. hemp seeds, shelled
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 c. coconut sugar or sugar substitute (I used erythritol)
  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 T. maca powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 c. cacoa nibs
  • 3.5 oz bar dark chocolate (80% or higher)

directions.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. I skipped this step on one sheet and trust me, it was a mistake.
  2. Pour 3/4 cup of hemp seeds into a blender, add the almond milk and vanilla and blend into a thick paste. Add egg, sugar and coconut oil and blend on low speed until completely incorporated.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour, maca powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, sea salt, chocolate, cacao nibs and the remaining 1/4 cup hemp seeds.
  4. Add the blender ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on low to combine to make dough.
  5. Take an amount of dough that fits into your hand and roll into a ball. Dip the ball into a bowl of coconut sugar or sugar substitute. Place on the prepared trays. I got 21 balls of dough using this method.img_4607img_4608
  6. Bake in the oven for approximately 12 minutes. The cookies will spread slightly. Take out of the oven and let the cookies cool on the tray for several minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

I know this is the part you’ve been waiting for. Here are the health stats for one cookie: approximately 145 calories, 9 g fat, 20 carbs, 13 g fiber, 1 g sugar and 5 g protein. Don’t you want to get to your kitchen and bake a pan of these cookies?

Recipe rating: 

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Chocolate Candy Bar Crush Cake


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One of my favorite parts about making a cake is that moment when you reveal it to the people who are going to be eating it and you hear the oohs and the aahs. I had planned on making a chocolate cake for my (joint) birthday (cake) celebration. Then the day after my birthday, I walked into work and my coworker had me me the most insane-looking cake. It was chocolate with chocolate chip cookie dough filling and had all these goodies attached to the top and sides: chocolate bark, cookies, meringue puffs, caramels, etc. It inspired the cake I made the following weekend to celebrate my birthday with friends.

I had intended to make the Blackout ChocolateCake by Pinch of Yum exactly as is, until Kira presented me with her cake monstrosity. So I used the blackout cake recipe for the cake and frosting and created my own monstrosity for toppings. My (slightly tweaked) version of the blackout cake is below.

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cake ingredients.

  • 3 c. flour
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 T. instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 1 T. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt (I used 0% fat because that’s what I had on hand but I would normally have bought whole milk yogurt for a cake)
  • 2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 T. vanilla extract

frosting ingredients.

  • 1 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • two pinches of salt
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c. cream (heavy, whipping or light)

directions.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or 325 if using a convection oven). Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, grease again and sift cocoa powder into the pan. Shake the pan to coat and dump any excess powder.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the eggs, oil, and sugar until well incorporated. Add vanilla, yogurt and water and mix well.
  3. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cakes are set. I baked mine 35 minutes and thought it was too long because the toothpick came out clean. (I like a few crumbs to be clinging to a toothpick when I stick into a cake and remove it.) However, when assembled for eating, the cake was not the least bit dry. Let the cakes cool completely (or freeze overnight) before frosting the cake.
  5. To make the frosting, cream butter and cream cheese together, scraping down the sides. Add the vanilla, salt, powdered sugar and cocoa powder and stir carefully. Add enough cream to make the frosting your desired consistency. I believe I used about half a cup
  6. To assemble the cake, slice the cooled cakes in half so that you have three layers. I use a bread knife to do this. It’s easier to me if the layer is cold so I usually freeze the cake layers and then let them come to room temperature a bit before attempting to cut in half.
  7. I like to place some waxed paper on the bottom of whatever platter I’m using for serving. I place three to four strips in a triangle or square so that when I set a layer down, the wax paper is between the cake and the plate. It makes for easy removal when you’re done and a clean platter.
  8. Stack the first layer on the platter and cover with frosting to about 1-inch of the edge of the layer. Cover with another layer and repeat the process until you’ve used all your layers. I usually do a faint  “crumb” layer covering the top and sides to seal in any crumbs and fill in any holes between the layers of cake with frosting. Then I’ll stick the cake into the fridge and let the frosting firm up a bit and do a second layer of frosting with what’s remaining.
  9. For the topping, be creative. You can do chocolate chips a la Pinch of Yum, which I think looks awesome. I topped my cake with homemade peanut butter nut chocolate fudge, peanut butter chocolate ganache and candy bars galore.

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I am always a bit nervous when trying out a new cake recipe and I was especially nervous with this one as I thought I had overbaked it. I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that this cake was not the least bit dry. It was very moist! And the chocolatey-ness of the cake is really just perfect. It’s plain awesome. I would definitely make this cake again, and it went over REALLY well with all those who had the pleasure of eating it.

Recipe Rating: 

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Lightened Up Slopped-Up Spaghetti


When I was a kid, my grandma watched my sister and I quite often. She lived about a mile from the Catholic school where we attended grade school and I remember walking to her house after school or being dropped off there so she could watch me when I was sick. We would watch Days of Our Lives. She would smoke cigarettes. And she would make me lunch. My favorite dish of all time as a child, and to this day, is my Grandma’s Slopped-Up Spaghetti recipe. I remember there was a time when I tried to recreate her recipe at home. It never really tasted like hers did. I mean sure she used her own canned tomato sauce and I used store bought tomato sauce but how could there be such a huge difference? Turns out, there can and is.

She can make her Slopped-Up Spaghetti dish in about 30 to 60 minutes so it made for a quick lunch or supper. The recipe doesn’t require a ton of ingredients and it’s the best tasting pasta dish in the whole world. I promise. I wouldn’t lead you astray on this.

When my coworker gave me three pounds of Roma tomatoes this past week I thought long and hard on what I could make to use all those dang tomatoes. I had some whole wheat spaghetti sitting on my counter and I thought it would be nice to recreate a slimmed-down version of my grandma’s pasta dish. I swapped her ground chuck for ground turkey, white noodles for wheat noodles, canned tomato sauce for roasted tomatoes + pasta water and I have to tell you … it’s pretty darn close to my Grandma’s famous spaghetti! No one will ever make the pasta dish as good as she can but I’ll settle for pretty close.

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ingredients.

  • 2 lbs low-fat ground turkey (go as low-fat as you can tolerate
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 3 lbs Roma tomatoes, halved and roasted in one table spoon olive oil
  • 16 oz whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/4 c. tomato paste
  • 3 to 4 c. pasta water
  • salt and pepper, to taste

directions.

  1. Roast the tomatoes. You can do this the day before. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread tomato halves on cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for two to three hours or until the tomatoes have shrunk and begun to char slightly.
  2. Cook ground turkey over medium-high heat along with chopped onion until turkey is cooked through. Drain or suction any grease you see in the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions to make the pasta al dente. Drain the pasta reserving approximately 4 cups of the pasta water.
  4. In the pot where you cooked the pasta, combine noodles, ground turkey mixture, tomato paste and tomatoes. Slowly stir in pasta water. You want there to be enough water in the pot so that the dish can simmer without drying out. The water sauce will reduce and/or be absorbed by the pasta so don’t worry if it looks a bit runny.
  5. Simmer the pasta over low heat for approximately 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. You can serve immediately or cool down and store in the fridge. It should taste even more flavorful the next day. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if you wish. I grew up eating the Kraft grated kind that came in the green can so I’m happy to use that kind. Use the “real” Parmesan cheese if you wish!

I got approximately 12 one-cup servings from this recipe.

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This lighter version of my Grandma’s famous dish takes a bit longer to make than the one I grew up eating. My issue is that I do not have any of my Grandma’s homemade canned tomato sauce so the only thing I can do is try to recreate her dish using other ingredients. I think the roasted tomatoes and pasta water worked great. I ended up adding the tomato paste on a whim toward the end because it seemed like it needed more of a tomato flavor. I almost put that the paste is optional but I do think adding the paste really brought the dish together. Perhaps if I had used more tomatoes I wouldn’t have had to have used the paste, but alas, my coworker cheaped out by giving me only three pounds of tomatoes instead of four. What can a girl do?

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Cauliflower Fritters



Every time I buy cauliflower (or rather cauliflower rice these days) I get grandiose thoughts of doing something cool with it and then sort of forget that the cauliflower is even in my refrigerator. I guess I must not find cauliflower all that exciting when you get right down to it or I wouldn’t procrastinate on making cauliflower recipes.

So of course this week I already had all my meals planned when I looked in the fridge and saw the cauliflower staring at me in an accusatory manner. Like I forgot about it again. Which I did. So for days I planned on making these fritters and I never got around to it. I had my day of food planned out today and it did not include cauliflower. And then I opened the damn fridge door and the cauliflower was frowning at me, per usual. So I set aside my low-fat lasagna to make this tonight for dinner.

What I love about this dish is how much protein there is in a serving. Over 30 grams! What I didn’t love about this dish was the cauliflower flavor. I think that I think I like cauliflower when really I don’t. Almost every recipe I try that involves cauliflower involves me hiding the flavor of the cauliflower. If it’s not hidden I’m just not a fan. So yeah. I’m like an addict who won’t admit she has a problem. I’m not that much of a fan of cauliflower I guess. In taste. In theory I love cauliflower. 

So I got the recipe from a low-carb website and I actually added some carb to it to make it a bit more balanced; it”s still high protein and relatively low carb though. If you are looking for low carb, you should follow the original recipe.

ingredients.

  • 16 oz. cauliflower rice (You can find a bag at Trader Joe’s; it’s already prepared for you)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese (regular or reduced fat)
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • large egg
  • 1/2 T. coconut oil
  • salt and papper to taste

directions.

  1. Cover the bottom of a large bowl with cheese cloth and place the cauliflower rice inside; sprinkle the salt on top and mix thoroughly with your hands. Let the cauliflower sit for 10 minutes.
  2. With clean hands, squeeze the water out of the cauliflower and put the cauliflower back  into the bowl. Add the onions, flour, cheese, baking powder and ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly. Add the egg and mix until incorporated.img_3982
  3. Place a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat. When hot, add coconut oil. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out the cauliflower fritter batter and place into the hot skillet. Push down gently with a spatula to make a flattened pancake. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Cook 3 minutes or until the fritters are well cooked on the bottom; flip over and cook 3 more minutes. Makes six fritters; three portions. I ate mine with a sunny side up egg.

Now though I wouldn’t say I overly loved this recipe I do think with a bit of tweaking it could turn out a lot better. It may have needed another egg in the mixture. It may have needed to cook a bit longer. It may have needed some garlic. It may have needed a delicious sauce to drizzle over the top. Or it may have needed something else to go along side it. Like a big fat steak.

Recipe rating: 

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Bran Muffins


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I wanted to make something simple to take to work for breakfast. Something I could grab and go and something that was healthy. So I decided to look up bran muffin recipes made with greek yogurt hoping I could find a recipe that has a bit more protein than your normal bran muffin. I found a recipe that looked like a winner at Life Made Simple. I based my recipe on this one.

I made the recipe twice. For the first batch, I used fresh blueberries and 1/4 cup of fake sugar. The muffins were barely sweet at all. For the second batch, I used 1/3 cup of fake sugar and frozen wild blueberries. I liked this second batch a lot better, but I actually think you could up the fake sugar amount to 1/2 cup. I was trying to limit the grams of carbohydrates in the recipe and if you want to do that as well, stick with the 1/3 cup.

ingredients.

  • 1½ c. non-dairy unsweetened milk
  • 1 c. Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ c. coconut oil, melted
  • ⅓ c. sugar substitute (I call it “fake sugar”); erythritol works well here
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ c. bran cereal (like fiber one; I found a box at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 c. berries, dried fruit or nuts (I used fresh blueberries in one batch and some frozen wild ones in another and liked the frozen wild ones better)

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directions.

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, egg, oil, fake sugar, and vanilla. Add the cereal and mix until incorporated.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight. On my second batch I let them sit in there two nights.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray or line one muffin tin, set aside.
  4. Remove batter from the refrigerator and gently fold in the berries, dried fruit or nuts. Dot the tops of your muffins with a few berries, some extra fruit or nuts to make it look pretty.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, dividing evenly between the wells. Place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. This recipe yields approximately 18 standard-sized muffins.

I pretty much like to underbake everything I make. Yes–I eat meat medium-rare too so I guess I like everything undercooked. There’s nothing worse to me than an overcooked bake good and bran muffins are no exception to me. I baked these muffins closer to 22 or 25 minutes. Both batches probably could have baked slightly longer, but because I like everything to be moist, I didn’t mind they were slightly undercooked.

One muffin weighs in at approximately 86 calories, 5 g fat, 13 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 2.5 g fiber and 1.5 g sugar. (This is according to the myfitnesspal app.) For a healthy recipe I found these muffins pretty stinking good!

Recipe rating: 

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Oreo Ooey Gooey Bars



I decided I’m an evil genius. An evil food genius that is. I may have concocted the best ooey gooey bar ever made: with Oreos.

I got the idea when I was rearranging some furniture and came across a package of open Oreos. I wanted to make something to use up the oreos and my mind drifted back to when I made dirt cake recently. And how yummy oreos taste when they are infused with a little moisture. They are almost cake-like. I figured the perfect way to accomplish this would be to add oreos in some sort of filling. Cake would definitely work but I didn’t have the wherewithal to make a cake. I needed something simpler. Like bars.

One of the best things about these bars as that they are simple. Easy-peasy. You need cookie dough, Oreos and condensed milk. And maybe some extra chocolate chips if you’re feeling kind of fancy. See below for specific details.

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ingredients.

  • 1 c. butter, margarine or Crisco vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 12-oz. package chocolate chips
  • 1 14.5 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 sleeves of Oreos
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips

directions.

  1. Grab a package of chocolate chips and make cookie dough according to package directions. The ingredients in Italics above are the ingredients I found on the back of the package.
  2. Prepare a 13×10 inch baking pan by covering in parchment paper or foil and cooking spray. You can even just use cooking spray but I like to use parchment paper because it makes pulling the bars out of the pan a snap and these bars get sticky.
  3. Evenly push about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the pan.img_3913-1
  4. Top with 2/3 of the can of the condensed milk. img_3914-1
  5. Top with Oreos.img_3915-1
  6. Drizzle the remaining condensed milk over the Oreos.img_3912-1
  7. Drop the remaining cookie dough in chunks on top of the drenched Oreos and press down. Cover with bits of Oreo and mini chocolate chips. But only if you’re feeling extra fancy. Cover with foil or Saran wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.img_3916-1img_3917-1
  8. The next day preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the bars from the fridge and remove the foil or Saran wrap. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the bars start to brown along the edges and the cookies look done in the middle. Don’t overbake.
  9. Cool and cut into squares. Serve immediately and dare yourself not to eat the entire pan. Really. Dare yourself.

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Recipe rating: 

{light} French Toast with Greek Yogurt and Berries


I LOVE breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day. I could eat breakfast for every meal if I had the time. I especially love anything bread-y like pancakes, waffles or French toast.

I have been obsessed with making something I call “Greek Yogurt Fluff.” I mix Greek Yogurt with a bit of cool whip and some sugar substitute to get a slightly sweeter version of the protein powerhouse. I’ve primarily been eating the fluff with berries but I got to thinking about other ways I could incorporate it into foods and I thought about it in terms of a dense whipped cream sort of topping. So then I thought … well what would you top with whipped cream and of course pancakes, waffles and French toast came to mind.

I tried out this recipe on one piece of bread as that’s about all I need for a mini-meal. The recipe below should feed two to four people (but could feed one very hungry person!), depending on appetite(s).

ingredients.

  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 T. lowfat or nonfat milk or nondairy milk
  • 1/2 to 1 T. sugar or sugar substitute
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cool whip lite or fat free (optional)
  • berries

directions.

  1. Make your Greek Yogurt Fluff. Combine Greek yogurt, cool whip and sugar or sugar substitute to taste. You can use a general rule of 2:1 (Greek yogurt: cool whip) if you don’t know where to start.
  2. Over medium heat, heat a frying pan large enough to fit the amount of bread you’re using. Coat the inside of the pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a shallow dish that is wide enough to fit at least one piece of bread, whisk together the eggs, milk and sugar substitute. A pie plate works well for this step.
  4. Place bread in the egg mixture and let saturate for about 30 seconds; flip over and repeat. Place saturated bread pieces in the heated frying pan and cook on each side for 1 to 2 minutes a piece or until the bread has browned.
  5. Top with Greek Yogurt Fluff, cinnamon sugar and berries. Serve immediately.

This lightened up version of French toast with berries and whipped cream tastes fantastically light and refreshing. With the combination of whole wheat bread, Greek yogurt and a sugar substitute, you can enjoy indulging in French toast with all of the satisfaction and none of the guilt.

Recipe rating: 

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Fruit and Greek Yogurt Fluff Parfaits


I have always been a bit ambivalent toward Greek yogurt. I love how much protein is in it but it basically just tastes like sour nothing to me. If you add fruit to Greek yogurt, it slightly sweetens it up to make it a bit more palatable but there’s still room for improvement. You can still make it dessert-y tasting without adding a bunch of sugar, fat and calories. And it’s really simple to do. Just mix with cool whip, cool whip lite or fat free cool whip.

I was checking out each of the tubs at the grocery store the other day and noticed not much of a difference in sugar between the three varieties, if any at all. They may have all been 1 gram of sugar per serving. I think the calorie count and fat may increase slightly when you go from fat free, to lite to the regular flavor. So depending on your nutrition needs you should choose appropriately. I grabbed cool whip lite.

This recipe is going to be sort of vague because I think you should make the fluff according to your taste. I used a ratio of 2:1, Greek yogurt: cool whip lite. But if you like it sweeter, add more cool whip.

ingredients.

  • Greek yogurt
  • Cool Whip
  • berries of your favorite variety
  • Cinnamon sugar

directions.

  1. Make the Greek Yogurt Fluff. In a large bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt and Cool Whip. You can make just enough for one portion or make a big batch for later use. I made enough for three portions.
  2. In a bowl, cup or jar, layer the berries and the Greek yogurt fluff, starting and ending with the berries. If you want it a bit sweeter sprinkle some cinnamon sugar over the yogurt layers. I used a sugar substitute to make sugar-free cinnamon sugar. Fir an eye-appealing dessert, use a glass dish so you an see the layers.
  3. Eat immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 48 hours.

Aside from making a berry parfait, I think this Greek Yogurt Fluff has multiple uses. You could make other sorts of parfait, like Granola. Or you could top your overnight oats with this fluff and some berries. Probably anywhere you would use Greek yogurt in a sweet-type of recipe would be a great place to try the Greek Yogurt Fluff!

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Recipe rating: 

{low-fat} Lasagna



I’ve become one of those people that I hate. One of those people I said I would never become.

I’ve become someone who cooks low-fat meals (instead of full-fat). Sigh. What’s happened to me? Well, let’s make a list: age, weight gain, stress, high cholesterol and wrinkles. Yep. I have wrinkles around my eyes that seem to be getting more pronounced with time.

It takes kids a long time to grow up these days. That’s my theory anyway. It took me an extra long time to become an adult and do adult-like responsible things. My career really only “started” in my 30s. I bought a condo when I was 35. I started regularly contributing to my 401K at 37 (instead of the hodge podge amounts I had been saving over the years). Not that it matters, but I’m single and childless. Most of my friends who got married/had kids did that years ago. I’m turning 40 soon (in a few years) and it occurred to me a few days ago that I need to start taking better care of myself.

Despite everything I’ve listed about myself in the second paragraph above. I’m one of those people who looks deceptively healthy. I look like I workout. That’s what I’ve been told anyway. (I don’t think I look like I workout!) My workouts usually consist of walking around the city buying coffee, groceries and cupcakes. Sometimes I go hiking. Also, I look about 10 years younger than I am. I’m told that as well. I’ve been told that since my late 20s.

I’d like to hang onto my faux-youth as long as I can as 40 starts knocking on my door. And thus here I am. One of those people I used to hate. And loving it. I have fallen in love with low-fat cooking. Why didn’t I decide to grow up years ago?

Once I learned that low-fat foods are actually palatable I began thinking of classic high fat dishes that I could healthify. Or that others have healthified. I came up with a long list. One of the first things on my list? A low-fat version of my mom’s family-famous lasagna.

meat sauce ingredients.

  • 2 lb. lean ground hamburger (I used 92% lean)
  • 1 12 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 15 oz. cans plum tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz. can pizza sauce (I could only find “jar” sauce but have seen canned pizza sauce before)
  • 2 T. dried parsley
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic crushed or minced (or ¼ tsp. garlic salt)
  • ½ T. dried basil
  • ½ T. dried oregano
  • ½ T. kosher salt salt
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms
  • large yellow onion, chopped

meat sauce directions.

  1. In a large stock pot, brown hamburger, onions, garlic, and mushrooms; drain well.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a slight boil then turn the heat to low, cover and simmer at least 1 hour. Let cool. Refrigerate overnight.

cheese sauce ingredients and directions.

  • 2 c. non fat cottage cheese
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 T. dried parsley
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ c. Reduced Fat Kraft parmesan cheese (I only had the full-fat version)

Mix all above ingredients together. Refrigerate overnight.

*I ran out of the cheese sauce mixture too early during the layering process and would suggest multiplying the recipe by one and a half or doubling it.

remaining ingredients.

  • 1 box whole grain lasagna noodles, cooked and drained well (put on wax paper to keep from sticking
  • 16 oz. Reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese

remaining directions.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray pans with cooking spray. I like to use glass pans. (Makes two 8 x 10 pans or one 8 x 10 glass and two 8 x 8 glass pans).
  3. Layer sauce on bottom of the pan, then noodles, cheese sauce, meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers.
  4. Cover with foil; Bake 350 45 minutes then take off foil and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer until the cheese melts.
  5. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving. (Even better the following day!) Can freeze unbaked. To do so, cover with Saran wrap, then foil.

I reason that the two pans of pasta I got from the recipe should be enough for about 15 portions. By my calculations, each portion is about 320 calories, 10 g fat, 33 g carbohydrates, 35 g protein, 6 g fiber, and 9 g sugar.

Here’s to something healthy for your family on Father’s Day!

Pork Yum Bowl


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When I lived in Portland, Ore., I worked out in the suburbs. There wasn’t much around us in the way of food in the immediate vicinity. There was an awesome coffee shop, a Subway, a conveyor belt sushi restaurant and a restaurant called Cafe Yumm. Cafe Yumm was popular with many of my coworkers but I only ate their once simply because I almost never went out to eat for lunch during the work week. I still don’t. I think it’s a colossal waste of time and, more importantly, money. I did thoroughly enjoy the bowl I had their, which was comprised of brown rice and chicken (with other ingredients I fail to remember) and was topped with their famous Yumm sauce. No clue what’s in the Yumm sauce but it was slightly reddish or pinkish in color and just tasted GOOD. You wanted Yumm sauce on your bowl. Everyone got the Yumm sauce. I think they even sold the Yumm sauce in bottles.

So today I was trying to come up with a healthy lunch. I found some pork loin on sale at the grocery store and I had brown rice in the back of my mind. I wanted some sort of stir-fry like dish … or maybe a Mexican rice bowl. I couldn’t decide. So I decided to combine the two. The below recipe makes one bowl; multiply the ingredients if you are serving more.

ingredients.

  • 1/2 c. cooked brown or wild rice (mine was a combination)
  • 3 oz. cooked, sliced pork loin, fat trimmed off
  • 1 tsp. avocado oil
  • 1 tsp. sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 c. fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 small avocado, diced
  • 1/2 T. Sriracha Mayo (mix low-fat may with sriracha sauce and lime juice to taste; it should be a bit runny in texture)

directions.

  1. In a Wok or medium-sized saute pan over medium heat add the avocado oil, sriracha and soy sauces. Stir to combine.
  2. Add pork and rice and stir until heated through. Add spinach and stir until spinach has wilted.
  3. Top with avocado and sriracha mayo. You could also top with cilantro, diced tomatoes, black beans, corn, etc. Really whatever your heart desires.

This dish is spicy, light and satisfying and clocks in at just over 300 calories, if my calculations are correct.

Recipe rating: 

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{low-fat} Cheesy Tuna Casserole


Folks, I never thought I would be doing this. Honestly. When I started this blog I pledged (in the back of my mind) to only make good-tasting and (for the most part) completely unhealthy recipes. There was a time when I would take healthy recipes and make them unhealthy. (Recipe calls for low-fat milk? I’ll substitute with half and half! Use olive oil to sauté some vegetables? Why do that when I can use butter.)

Alas, as this blog grows old so do I. And so does my metabolism. And thus the need for change. I have tried doing high fat and low carb. And it worked. For a while anyway. But I just don’t see high fat/low carb as something many people can sustain for life. Not to mention my cholesterol levels sky-rocketed after starting a high fat diet. So I went back to the drawing board at the suggestion of my friend who swears by a balanced low-fat diet and (strange concept these days, right?!) and one “free” day of eating each week.

The concept behind this eating style is that you eat six small meals/snacks a day, every two to three hours. Your meals are low fat and have balanced carbohydrates and protein. Because you’re eating so often, you never get overly hungry. And the constant eating is supposed to rev up your metabolism. (Crossing my fingers for that one.) So I present to you (drumroll please!) a low-fat version of my mom’s classic cheesy tuna casserole made in the spirit of the Body for Life concept.

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ingredients.

  • 16 oz. whole wheat pasta, bite sized, such as penne
  • 12 oz. canned albacore tuna, drained
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 T. minced dry onions (you could also do fresh onion, minced)
  • 2 14.5 oz can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 c. low-fat or nonfat milk
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 8 oz. reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper, to taste

directions.

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Meanwhile, spray an extra large sauté pan with cooking spray and cook mushrooms and minced onions over medium-low heat until mushrooms are cooked through.
  4. Add the condensed soup, milk and tuna and mix to combine. When the noodles are done cooking, drain and add to the tuna mixture.
  5. Pour mixture into a 15×11 glass pan prepared by coating with cooking spray. Top with sliced hardboiled eggs and shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, uncovered, or until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbling up at the edges.

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I was practically salivating as I was trying to portion out this dish prior to digging in. It looked good with all that melty cheese on top but still I was afraid that removing the fat from the dish would remove the taste. My biggest fear with cooking “low fat” has always been that the food will not be palatable. To me fat=flavor. Today I proved myself wrong.

This dish may have been missing the fat but it was missing none of the flavor. And on top of that, I barely noticed the whole wheat taste of the noodles (which I normally find very pronounced).  I didn’t really notice much of a difference when using reduced fat cheese or low-fat milk. I’m assuming that if you didn’t advertise this dish as “low-fat” to your dinner guests, none would be the wiser. I would definitely recommend this dish to any of the calorie or fat conscious folks who may be looking for something that tastes indulgent but isn’t won’t ruin your waistline.

I got 10 portions of this pasta most of which I packaged up for reheating for another lunch or dinner. Each portion weighs in at approximately 315 calories, 9 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 40 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 4 g sugar and 23 g protein! (Note: I used low-fat 1% milk.)

Recipe rating: 

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Bacon Cheeseburger {low carb} Meatloaf


A few weeks ago I made the most amazing low-carb meatloaf. It had bits of fresh Mozzarella, mushrooms and Italian Seasoning. I honestly didn’t think it would be that amazing and didn’t think I would want to blog it so regrettably did not take pictures during the process. It took me about two weeks to eat all the meatloaf. I had to freeze half of it so that it would carry into the second week. At work we have a little toaster oven so I would use that to heat it up for lunch. One day one of my coworkers was commenting on how amazing it smelled so I gave her an extra piece I happened to have with me. She thought it was amazing too.

This recipe is inspired by the last low-carb meatloaf I made. Instead of mushrooms and mozzarella I added bacon and white cheddar cheese.

ingredients.

  • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground Italian sausage
  • 1/2 lb bacon ends and pieces, chopped and cooked
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c. grated Parmesan (like Kraft or a generic version)
  • 1/4 c. almond meal
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1 T. Salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 T. garlic salt
  • 6 oz. cheddar cheese cut into bite-sized pieces


directions.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients until incorporated.
  3. Place mixture into a lightly sprayed large oven safe dish. Form into a meatloaf shape. You can also put the loaf in a bread pan or a deep-dish oven-safe dish. I have a square pan that’s about six inches deep that is oven safe and non-stick. I used that.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until cooked through and beginning to brown on top. I let cool completely and then cut into individual serving slices and reheat as I eat. But if you’re eating immediately, let it cool for about 10 or 15 minutes before slicing into it. You’ll likely have to drain the grease from your pan before cutting and/or serving.


Mom’s Hot Taco Dip


I grew up in the Midwest where summers were long, hot and humid. Barbecues and outdoor parties were frequent. People (legally) set off their own fireworks. The huge Fourth of July fireworks celebration occurred over the lake front on the night of July 3rd at a massive outdoor music festival and everyone was hung over at their family’s get together on July 4th. For me, as a child, summer involved food, food and more food. No surprise I turned into a foodie as an adult!

This dip is one of those quintessential Midwest dishes. Anyone who knows me and knows that I grew up in the Midwest would eye me carrying this dish and just know that it was one of those Midwest dishes that I grew up on. Like Stroganoff or cheesy hash brown casserole.

I was convinced I had blogged this family favorite years ago until I tried to find the post today to update it with recent photos and came up with nothing. Nada. Zilch. No matter! There’s no time like the present to share this recipe; it’s the perfect dip for any picnic, barbecue or party. And as it’s Memorial Day today, may I suggest you bring this dish to your Memorial Day plans? It’s easy to put together and you may even have all of the ingredients already in your pantry/fridge/cupboards. I did!

When I was growing up, for about the first 10 years, we lived in a house that had an underground pool in the back and a yard so big in the front you could set up a full-sized volleyball court. We often hosted parties with family and friends; especially in the summer. This dish was a constant presence at my family’s summer parties and one that I always asked for on my birthday. (Along with brats, cheesy hash brown casserole and red velvet cake).

It’s about the easiest dip you’ll ever make. My mom called it Hot Taco Dip, which seems like a bit of a misleading name. We ate it with Doritos instead of tortilla chips because, well, we lived in the Midwest. The only time I remember eating tortilla chips was at our neighborhood Tex-Mex restaurant (Chi-Chi’s). Even though there’s nothing really taco-isn about dip, I’m going to stick with the original name because this recipe goes back so long in our family that it’s too late to change it now.

Everyone I’ve ever shared this dish with has gushed over it. If you like chili and you like cheese and you like Doritos (and who doesn’t?) you’ll love this dish.

ingredients.

  • 1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened at least slightly
  • 1 15 oz. can chili (I used Hormel brand, no beans)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 4 oz. shredded cheese (I used a mixture of Colby Jack and Monterrey Jack)

directions.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bottom of an 8×8 square dish, spread the cream cheese. Top with the canned chili, chopped onions and shredded cheese.
  3. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. (Alternatively, you can store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake; you’ll need to bake longer.) Serve with Doritos, the way my family ate it. Or tortilla chips, if you must.

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Note: You can easily adapt this recipe to make a bigger serving. My mom’s original recipe is for a 9×12 dish. It calls for two packages of cream cheese and one can of chili. The beauty of this recipe is that you can cater it to your taste. You can go heavy on the cream cheese or heavy on the chili or even-steven with both. If you want a bit of shredded cheese on top or you want your dish swimming in melted cheese … you can choose! So please take the above recipe and adapt it to your own tastes. It won’t be bad. I promise!

If you want a super simple way to dazzle party goers, make this appetizer and Easy Dirt Cake for dessert along with some brats, burgers and hot dogs and your guests will be more than pleased.

Happy Memorial Day and have a great summer in 2017!

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Southwest Chicken Pizza Rolls {low -carb}


I used to be a bit judgmental about people who ate low-carb. I thought they were weird. Sad. Obsessive. Crazy. Crazy because who doesn’t want to stuff themselves full of carbs??? But now that I eat mostly low carb I get it. You lose weight when you turn to a low-carb lifestyle. Your stomach feels flatter. You feel better about yourself. And most importantly, for me, you can eat food that’s considered really bad for you. All the time. So you’re always satisfied.

A couple years ago I was moving from California to Arizona and trying to get rid of food items in my fridge/freezer. I’ve been going through my freezer recently realizing I have a lot of food in there and needing to purge the aging food. I found a couple packages of chicken thighs I’d bought during a spell when I was feeding my diabetic dog chicken only. I thought about making some sort of a southwest pizza with chicken, salsa and cream cheese – all ingredients I have on hand.

For some reason I got stuck on the idea of pizza rolls (because they are so cool looking) so I decided to make those instead. I found a recipe to model my rolls after at the website ketogasm.com.

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dough ingredients.

  • 12 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (low moisture, part skim)
  • 2 T. cream cheese
  • 3/4 c. almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt

filling ingredients.

  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c. southwest salsa
  • 6 oz chopped boneless skinless chicken breast (cooked, seasoned to taste)
  • 8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

directions.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay out parchment paper on a flat surface and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Melt the mozzarella and cream cheese in the microwave for 60 to 90 seconds. Stir in almond flour, garlic salt and egg with the melted cheese mixture to form the dough. The dough will be sticky.
  3. Place the dough on the prepared parchment paper and cover with a second piece of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough in the shape of a rectangle. You want the dough to be relatively thin. Remove the top parchment paper and place the dough on a cookie sheet. Bake for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the cream cheese and salsa together with a fork in a small bowl. You can do this in a mixer but it’s a relatively tiny amount to dirty your mixing bowl and whisk.
  5. Remove the crust from the oven. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly across the hot crust. The heat from the crust will help the cream cheese melt a bit which will make it easier to spread the sauce. Sprinkle the chicken across the top and then the cheese. You want all ingredients to be distributed as evenly as possible. It’s OK not to take the ingredients all the way to the edge.
  6. Starting with one edge of the crust, gently roll into a log (the long way). Using a sharp knife, cut into even slices. I got about 16 huge pizza rolls that got smoothed when I cut them. So I decided to individually re-roll each of the rolls. This ensured the rolls were more round instead of oblong and the ingredients were held tight against the crust.
  7. Lay slices flat (and evenly spread out) on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes and remove from oven; flip rolls over. Return to oven and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes.

The directions above are written as what I would have done had I known better. While I think it would be wise to use a cooking spray when baking the rolls, I’m not sure parchment paper is necessary. I found it hard to remove the paper from the bottom of the rolls. Also, I crowded my rolls together which meant that the inner rolls didn’t really get done on the sides. I baked the rolls for about 25 minutes total. I noticed that the bottoms were nice and golden brown and the tops looked cooked in spots and undercooked in spots. For that reason, I would flip them over halfway through baking. I believe these will reheat very nicely, especially on my pizza pizzaz.

I swear you almost cannot tell the difference between the dough in these rolls and normal pizza rolls. I could eat low carb pizza or pizza rolls every day of the week and not get sick of them.

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Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake



I have a coworker who loves to bake as much as I do. Maybe more. We talk shop (baking shop) frequently. Like what kind of flour works best in biscuits. Or how macarons turn out one out of every three times you make them. So when I found out she was turning 30 (such a young’n!), I volunteered to make her a cake. It was a great excuse to try a new recipe. So I asked her what type of cake she wanted and she started out talking about a white cake with some sort of fruity filling. I’m not sure why but my mind immediately went to strawberry short cake turned into a layer cake. I found a great looking recipe at Go Bold with Butter. So I sent the recipe to the birthday girl for approval. I got a thumbs up and a suggestion for a sturdy whipped cream if I was looking for something that would hold up on the cake. Considering that the cake probably had to last a few hours before we could dig into it, I decided the sturdy whipped cream was the perfect option. Thus, a star was born.

cake ingredients.

  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 c. cake flour, sifted
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 c. half-and-half, whipping cream or milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

strawberry filling ingredients.

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

frosting ingredients.

directions.

  1. To prepare the cake, preheat oven to 350°F (or 325°F for a convection oven). Grease the bottom of the of two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the bottom (again) and sides and dust with flour to keep the cake from sticking to the pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on high speed until pale and creamy, about 3-4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  3. Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time beating over medium speed until incorporated.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the bowl, alternating with milk mixture and ending with flour mixture. (So three flour, two milk.) Scrape down bowl between each addition.
  5. Divide the batter between two prepared cake pans and bake until tops are barely golden brown and spring back when lightly touched. Begin checking the cake at about 30-35 minutes. If you’re baking in an 8-inch pan it will take longer. I used 8-inch pans and it took about 45 minutes.
  6. Cool the cakes in the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool to room temperature. Cover cake layers with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Or you can freeze the cakes right in the pans until you are ready to use. That’s what I did!
  7. When ready to assemble the cake and serve, prepare the strawberries. Toss sliced strawberries, sugar and vanilla extract in bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.
  8. To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. You may want to bump the speed up a notch or two. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.
  9. Remove chilled cake layers from refrigerator (or freezer, but you’ll need to thaw slightly first) and use a small knife to score each layer in half horizontally. Then use a large serrated knife to slowly cut all the way through each layer, using scored line as a guide.
  10. Place one cake layer on cake plate or stand. Cover with whipped cream and one quarter of strawberry mixture. Here I would lay the strawberries out flat and even to try to cover the entire layer. Repeat with remaining cake layers, whipped cream and strawberries. Garnish with additional strawberries, if you’d like.
  11. Serve cake immediately.

I baked the cake and made the frosting two days before I planned on serving it. This morning at 4 am I sliced the strawberries and assembled the cake. The pretty cake you see in the pictures was nearly destroyed by the 710 and the 405 freeways. I didn’t think I was driving that fast but as soon as I got on the 710 I glanced at the cake and saw that most the strawberries hand flung themselves off the top and landed on the serving plate. The top two layers were leaning dangerously to one side as though any sudden movement would topple the entire thing. I drove with one hand on the steering wheel and one finger on the top layer of the cake propping it up. And on top of that I drive stick shift!

When I got to work I had to wash off the whole strawberries, wipe away some of the filling that was all over the plate and generally rearrange the cake. One side looked acceptable. I faced that side forward for everyone to see.

This cake was a huuuuuge hit at work. Multiple people said it was the best cake I’d ever made. And I’ve made a lot! The cake is moist. The filling is perfectly delicious and the strawberries were (thankfully!) in season. We ate the cake for breakfast at 8 am

Death by Chocolate Cake



An updated version of an old favorite; six layers of chocolate cake topped with six layers of chocolate icing dotted with chocolate chips.

cake ingredients.

  • 6 1-oz square unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 1/2 c. sifted cake flour
  • 4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 4 1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. sour cream
  • 2 c. boiling water

icing ingredients.

  • 3 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 5 c. sour cream
  • 1 T. vanilla extract

cake directions.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 3 8-inch round cake pans (three inches deep) with non-stick spray or grease the bottom of the cake pans, line with parchment paper (only the bottom) and grease the parchment paper then dust with flour.
  3. Melt unsweetened chocolate in small bowl over simmering water (or in microwave). Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside.
  5. In large mixing bowl beat butter and brown sugar until smooth and creamy.
  6. Beat in eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in chocolate.
  7. Stir in sour cream and dry ingredients, alternating and ending with flour mixture.
  8. Mix with wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in boiling water. (Batter will be thin).
  9. Bake 50 to 60 minutes (check at 50 minutes.)

icing directions.

  1. Melt chocolate chips, set aside
  2. Whisk sour cream and vanilla, whisk together.
  3. Spread between cake layers and over cake.

Le Food Snob


I copied this recipe out of a magazine (I wish I could remember which magazine!) a few years back, tried it out for my mom’s 50th birthday cake and last year for my coworker Karen’s 50th birthday. It was a huge success both times. Since then it’s become a cake we make at least once a year (like the red velvet cake we make every year for my birthday).

cake ingredients.

  • 3 1-oz square unsweetened chocolate
  • 2-1/4 cup sifted cake flour (= 2 cup regular flour)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2-1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup boiling water

icing ingredients.

  • 1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1-2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

cake directions.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 2 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick…

View original post 238 more words

Low-Carb Pancakes


A few weeks ago I bought a low-carb baking mix from Bob’s Red Mill thinking it would be a disappointment. The terms “low-carb” and “pancakes” have never really jived with me. I’d always assumed if you ate a low-carb lifestyle you were destined for a life of eggs, bacon, cheese, red meat and high cholesterol. I have had good success eating a high-fat, low-carb diet 6 days a week. I don’t necessarily crave bread or carbs; I eat that crap on Sundays. But still it would be nice to change things up every once in a while with dishes that were previously thought to be off-limit. So when I saw a baking mix that would allow me to try pancakes that were supposed to be low-carb, I’ll admit I was intrigued.

Also because I did the math and one serving of these high fat beauties deliver 10 grams of fiber. Unheard of on a low-carb diet!

I’m a bit of an unusual person in that I grew up eating only butter on pancakes. I never cared for syrup. It was too sweet. (I also ate noodles with butter instead of marinara, plain cheese pizza and peanut butter sandwiches, no jelly. I didn’t start eating vegetables until my 20s!). To this day I still eat pancakes with butter only. Every once in a while while eating at a restaurant, I’ll dunk them in maple syrup–usually when pancakes are too dry/I don’t have enough butter. When I’m at home, I pour golden syrup over my pancakes.

Anyone who eats low-carb knows that butter is basically your best friend. And syrup is out. Golden, maple, whatever. It’s not your friend when you’re eating low carb. Luckily for me it’s no big thing to ditch the syrup and go with butter. It’s preferred!

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The recipe below is based on the recipe on the back of the Bob’s Red Mill low-carb baking mix package.

ingredients.

  • 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1 T. melted butter, cooled
  • 1  T. brown sugar, white sugar or sugar substitute
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. low-carb baking mix (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

directions.

  1. Heat griddle to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or a large burner on your stove to medium-low heat.
  2. Lightly coat griddle or large pan with vegetable oil, spray, butter, etc.
  3. Combine cream, eggs, vanilla and melted butter in a bowl and mix well with a whisk. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk until all dry ingredients have been incorporated. Do not over-mix. If you think the pancake mix is a bit too thick you can add more cream or some water to thin it down.
  4. Pour batter onto heated griddle or pan. Cook until bubbles form on raw side. Flip and continue to cook until steam stops rising from pancake. Approximately two to three minutes per side.
  5. To keep this low carb, serve with butter.

I was delightfully thrilled to discover these pancakes tasted like real pancakes to me. A bit healthier maybe because you can taste the different grains or flours but I don’t mind a “healthy” taste; I like wheat bread and multi-grain anything. I truly don’t think anyone would know these are low-carb. They came out pretty thick and I noticed that the batter seems to thicken as it stands so you’ll probably want to make them all at once before the batter becomes too thick to work with. The recipe only made about six pancakes anyway so making them all at once shouldn’t be an issue. You may want to eat them all at once too! If you have restraint, you should get two servings of three good-sized pancakes from this recipe.

If you are eating low-carb but missing pancakes or waffles, you should try this recipe. You will not be disappointed.

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Bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon and Brown Butter Asparagus


I found some pre-packaged bacon-wrapped filet at the grocery store this morning at what seemed like an amazing price. So I promptly searched how to cook these babies and found a standard recipe that everyone seems to use with maybe some slight variation. I had some asparagus in the refrigerator that needs to be used so I decided to make it a meal of steak and asparagus. I almost threw the asparagus into the pan with the steak but instead decided to cook it on the stove top with butter over medium-low heat.

If you’re not aware of brown butter or you’ve never made it on purpose I will let you know that if you cook butter over medium-low heat it will begin to bubble and hiss and turn brown. This technique gives the butter a slightly nutty flavor (and tastes amazing in any dish but really enhances baked goods). I figured asparagus would taste amazing swimming in the stuff  and I was right!

You can make this delicious dinner in under 20 minutes. Some people choose to allow their filet to come to room temperature before cooking. I’ve never been that thoughtful and/or patient. I tried leaving it out for about an hour or two tonight but it still seems fairly cold to me. The recipe, based off one found at food network.com worked perfectly.

steak ingredients.

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 beef filet steak, 8 to 10 ounces, 2 inches thick
  • 1 piece thin bacon (or use pre-packaged filet wrapped in bacon)
  • 1 T.  butter, more if needed
  • 1/2 T. olive oil

steak directions.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the steak. Wrap the steak with the bacon and secure with a toothpick or cooking twine.
  3. Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil. When melted and sizzling, add the steak to the skillet and sear on both sides until a really nice color, about 1 or 2 minutes per side.
  4. Remove the skillet from the stovetop and place into the oven to finish cooking. Cook until medium rare, 7 to 10 minutes, flipping halfway in between. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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asparagus ingredients.

  • 9 asparagus stalks
  • 1 T. butter
  • Kosher salt

asparagus directions.

  1. Snap the bottom of the asparagus off and rinse off the stalks; pat dry.
  2. In a small saute pan, melt butter over medium-low heat until it browns. Add the asparagus and a pinch of salt and cook through to desired doneness; approximately 6 to 10 minutes.

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Fat Head Pepperoni Pizza


I have been wanting to try the recipe for Fathead Pizza for a long time. Basically since I realized you can lose weight eating a high fat diet. I mean who doesn’t want to be able to eat pizza while on a “diet”?

While I messed up considerably on the crust by putting too much cream cheese in it, I still loved the concept of the pizza and liked the pizza a lot. The crust is super thin so if you’re a fan of thin crust pizza you would like this crust. I found the pizza even better the second time I heated it up on my Pizza-pizzaz because the crust got even crispier. You want a crispy crust because otherwise your slices will wilt considerably.

If you’re trying a high-fat or low-carb diet this recipe is highly recommended. I mean it’s good regardless but fare warning: it’s highly caloric! Below is the Fathead Pizza Crust recipe plus the toppings I used.

ingredients.

  • 6oz shredded mozzarella or fontina cheese 
  • 3oz almond meal/flour
  • 2 T. cream cheese (I accidentally used two ounces!)
  • 1 egg
  • pinch salt to taste
  • dried rosemary, Italian seasoning garlic or other seasonings to taste
  • 1/2 c. tomato sauce
  • 5 oz. fontina cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz. provolone cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 oz. parmesan cheese, shredded
  • pepperoni

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directions.

  1. Mix the shredded/grated cheese and almond flour in a microwaveable bowl. Add the cream cheese. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. (Here I added the seasonings.)
  2. Stir then microwave on HIGH for another 30 seconds. (I skipped this extra step because I found I didn’t need it.)
  3. Add the egg, salt, rosemary and any other flavorings, mix gently to form a ball of dough. My dough seemed slightly shapeless which could be because I put in too much cream cheese.img_3290
  4. Place in between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll into a circular pizza shape. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper. If the mixture hardens and becomes difficult to work with, pop it back in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds to soften again. Don’t reheat too long or you will cook the egg.img_3289
  5. Make fork holes all over the pizza base to ensure it cooks evenly. I found this difficult because my dough was sticky.
  6. Slide the pizza base with parchment paper on a baking tray, pizza pan or pizza stone, and bake at 425F for 12 to 15 minutes, or until brown.
  7. To make the base really crispy and sturdy, flip the pizza over once the top has browned. (Here I would bake again before topping; I did not do this and I felt as though my crust could have been crispier had I done so.)
  8. Once cooked, remove from the oven and add all the toppings you like. Make sure any meat you’re using is already cooked. Bake again at 425F for 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

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Cheesy Garlic “Bread” Sticks {made w/almond flour}


I had an argument with my coworker the other day about low-carb pizza. He oftentimes eats the low-carb lifestyle but doesn’t believe you should bother trying to make pizza low-carb. He’s a pizza purist.

I have been intrigued by the recipes and the pictures I’ve seen on the internet. Also I’m more along the lines of the philosophy of … I’ll try anything once. So I decided to give it a whirl and see how it turns out. I started with a recipe for garlic bread instead of pizza because I didn’t feel like worrying much about toppings and sauce. I found a good looking recipe at Butter is Not a Carb. My recipe below is pretty closely based on that one.

ingredients.

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 6 ounces shredded provolone cheese
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 2 c .almond flour
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder
  • 4 ounces shredded white cheese (such as fontina, mozzarella, romano, etc.)

directions.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. The original instructions say to soften the cream cheese and 3/4c shredded mozzarella in the microwave until slightly melted, approximately 45 to 60 seconds. My microwave kind of sucks so after 60 seconds I had some melted cheese, some cheese still in tact and the cream cheese was a big brick. I microwaved a bit longer and then went on with the show.
  3. Add almond flour and egg; mix until a dough ball is formed. I started with one cup of almond flour which wasn’t nearly enough. By the time I added another cup the “dough” was sort of ball-like, but not really. It was also really sticky. At this point I was kind of pissed thinking I’ve just wasted a bunch of cheese and almond flour but I carried on.
  4. Spread the dough out across the baking sheet. This will be difficult because the dough is sticky. I just tried to pound it down a bit with the heel of my hand. You want the dough to be as thin as possible. The parts that aren’t thin will taste slightly rubbery after being baked and won’t be as crisp. You can ignore the rubberiness but … just make it really thin, OK? Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning, some garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes until golden brown on the edges. (I thought mine could have baked longer than the 12 minutes, just an FYI.)
  6. Stir minced garlic into melted butter and brush the butter mixture over the crust.
  7. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake an additional five or so minutes. You may wish to broil it a bit to get the cheese to brown.

I actually thought this recipe was pretty fantastic considering it’s basically fake crust. You almost can’t tell it’s not pizza dough but for the slight rubberiness every once in a while with the thicker spots within the crust. I’d say it’s a great substitute if you are living the low-Carb life. Even for pizza purists. 

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies


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I have tried a lot of chocolate chip cookie recipes in my day in search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. So when I recently signed up for emails with America’s Test Kitchen and promptly got an email for the Perfect Chocolate Chip cookie, I knew I needed to try it.

The recipe is based on the classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe but changed drastically. I will warn you that it’s labor-intensive especially when compared to a regular ‘ole cookie recipe. But I will also tell you that it’s totally worth it to go the extra mile. The cookies are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Just really damn good.

I simplified the recipe a bit (below) but you should really read the whole recipe plus all the tips and tricks on the America’s Test Kitchen website. It talks about measuring flour (I weighed mine) and why it’s so important to have the right amount of flour in the recipe. It also talks about common problems and what you could do to fix them, as well as high altitude baking.

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ingredients.

  • 1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 14 T. butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1 14 c. chocolate chips, plus more for garnish (use your favorite chip, I used bittersweet)

directions.

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and adjust oven rack so the rack is in the middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in a pot over medium-low heat until melted and bubbling. After a while flecks of brown will rise from the bottom of the pan; the butter will still be bubbling. Swirl the pan a bit. The butter should smell nutty and be a golden brown. Don’t let the butter brown too much; you don’t want it to get too dark or it will burn. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to the bowl of a stand mixer (if you have one). Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted; your browned butter will bubble and fizz when you add the cube.
  4. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds.
  5. Here comes the labor intensive part: Let the mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat the process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.
  6. Stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. Dot cookies with additional chocolate chips. This will make sure you have a pretty cookie with chips facing upward/outward when the cookie bakes. I do this with all my cookies for picture-taking purposes.
  8. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Cool cookies completely before serving.

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Cheesy Creamed Brussels Sprouts



Whenever I decide to start eating more vegetables I go overboard in my buying. Which usually means I usually end up wasting too much. I randomly purchased a one-pound package of brussels sprouts last week with no real concept of how to cook them. Since I had bacon and heavy cream in my refrigerator that I planned to use for a different recipe (creamed spinach), I decided to stick with the same general theme. I found a recipe for “Over-the-Top-Creamed-Brussels-Sprouts” and realized I needed to modify it because I had less than half the amount of Brussels Sprouts called for in the recipe. No matter. Here’s my modified recipe below.

ingredients.

  • 1/4 lb bacon ends and pieces cut into good sized chunks (make them small enough where they can fit in your mouth)
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, split in half
  • 1 medium shallot, finely minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1. c. heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces shredded cheese (I used a combination of Gruyère and Fontina)

directions.

  1. Heat butter and bacon over medium-high heat in a large straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven. Cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about 8 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add heavy cream and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

  2. Adjust heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until cream has reduced by about half and has a consistency that coats each sprout, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a casserole pan and cover with shredded cheese (for make-ahead instructions, see note above).
  3. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 425°F. Transfer casserole to oven and bake uncovered until bubbly around the edges and cheese is melted and spotted brown, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

My excitement about this dish waned within the 5 days that I prepared the dish prior to me baking it to the point where it seemed like a bit of a chore to consume it. I had other yummy competing foods in my fridge that I thought would be better. But I had to bake the Sprouts because, per the recipe, I was at day five.

One bite of these beauties and I was bowled over. I’ve made creamed Brussels sprouts in the past and was less than impressed so perhaps my PTSD was tainting my anticipation of the tastiness of this dish. I baked the Sprouts for 5 extra minutes because the dish was cold when I put it in the oven and at 20 minutes the cheese was not browned. I accidentally doubled the cheese. Three ounces of cheese is probably sufficient but I would still recommend the full six ounces as there’s no such thing as too much cheese.

 

Cauliflower Fried Rice {with ahi tuna}


 

The first time I tried substituting “cauliflower” for rice in an Asian dish, I liked it enough but didn’t love it. There was something about the texture that didn’t thrill me. It was a great substitute and a great way to make a dish healthier but it was missing something.

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About a week or so I bought a bunch of veggies intending to veggie-it-up a bit in life and a week went by and I realized most my veggies were still in my fridge! I hate, hate, hate wasting food so tonight I stepped to it and began prepping for some veggie dishes for tonight’s dinner and the next few days.

I continue to buy riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s with no real concept of what I want to do with it. It basically just seems like a good idea at the time and then it sits in my fridge staring at me. About a month or so I actually tossed out a package that had gone bad. I would not let that happen to this new package So I found a recipe that looked somewhat intriguing that I thought would pair well with the last ahi tuna steak in my fridge: fried “rice.” The recipe called for bacon (bacon makes everything better, right?) and several other recipes I have on tap also called for bacon, so I decided to fry up all the bacon in my fridge (approximately 1 1/2 pounds) in an effort to motivate myself to eat all the veggies that are slowly dying in my fridge.

The recipe I based my recipe on is a low carb one found at Ruled Me.

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ingredients.

  • 1 16 oz. package of riced cauliflower (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 ounces bacon ends and pieces chopped into large chunks (or regular bacon will work too)
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • 3 to 6 T. bacon grease
  • 1 T. fish sauce
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced

directions.

  1. Spread cauliflower out onto a baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees until cauliflower starts to turn brown and crisp. Stir occasionally. This took me at least 30 minutes. May have been closer to 60. I wasn’t paying oodles of attention to the time.
  2. Fry bacon until very crisp. Drain grease if there is a ton but try to keep around 3 tablespoons, if possible. I can’t remember how much bacon grease I used. I had my grease in a mug and began pouring more into the pan when I thought I needed it. Add baked cauliflower and stir into the bacon and grease. Let fry for a few minutes as you slice the scallions and get your egg and sauces prepared.
  3. Add garlic and scallions to the pan and stir to combine. Add sauces and let the rice cook through a bit.
  4. After a few minutes, push your cauliflower to one side of the pan, adding your slightly beaten egg and allow the mixture to cook.
  5. Mix everything in well, chopping the egg up to form smaller pieces as you mix.
  6. Top with your favorite protein. I used Ahi Tuna but that’s because I had it on hand. It was delicious though!

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I actually think this recipe could make one big bowl of fried rice but I could not power through the whole thing. There’s so much fat in this dish I got full about less than half-way through. I ate about half the dish though because it was so freaking good! I don’t know if baking the cauliflower helped my case or not (I was trying to avoid mushy “rice”) but I believe that cooking the rice in bacon grease at least helped to cover up that skunky cauliflower taste that clings to cauliflower no matter how you try to hide it.

I had intended to cook the rice in a hot sesame oil but was disappointed to learn that I’d used all my sesame oil the last time I’d made cauliflower “rice” when I went to make this dish tonight. That being said, the bacon grease probably worked out as good if not better. I’d like to try a mixture of bacon grease and sesame oil next time, maybe.