Category Archives: Christmas

Keto Charcuterie Board

My apologies for the late posting, but the holiday season has begun and we had two guests for dinner on Sunday. This got me to thinking about holiday parties and how to cope if you are on Keto and want to host a small party (depending on your local restrictions during COVID 19).

This year in lieu of a larger party which usually sees us having 40 plus guests, we have had to make significant changes in how we entertain. In our region, we can have 6 people together and for the next four December weekends, we will be entertaining four other people beside ourselves each Saturday.

The easiest way to handle this is to avoid cooking!

Charcuterie is a way of entertaining in France which involves presenting a variety of cold meats and cheeses, along with some fresh fruits and nuts and a selection of breads and crackers. Keeping in mind KETO, a charcuterie can easily be assembled on a lovely wooden cutting board or two or just spread out on a layer of butcher block paper on a convenient hard surface, along with paper plates, napkins, etc. Make it finger foods by cutting up your items in bite sized portions in advance. BYOB means you don’t have to supply alcoholic drinks!

The trick is to choose KETO items ONLY , especially with the breads and crackers!!!

FYI… no two are ever alike! It all depends on what items you wish to choose. Vary the amounts depending on the number of guests you are contemplating. Whatever you choose be sure to carefully check the contents label for the total percentages of carbs, protein and fats !!!

A charcuterie can easily be modified for those who are not on a Keto program, by including non-KETO items.

The following is a suggested Keto board I came across on Pinterest. There are many more to view on that site.

INGREDIENTS for 5 servings…

  • 6 ounces sliced prosciutto
  • 6 ounces genoa salami
  • 5 ounces spicy capocollo
  • 4 ounces herbed chevre
  • 6-ounce sliced Manchego cheese
  • 5 ounces sliced peppercorn white cheddar
  • 4 ounces garlic white cheddar
  • ¼ cup Sugar-Free Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts
  • ½ cup fresh blackberries
  • 10 strawberries hulled and halved
  • 5 pepperoncini
  • ½ cup pickled artichoke hearts
  • 10 garlic stuffed green olives
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • ¼ roasted red peppers
  • ½ cup Low Carb Pickled Red Onion
  • 20 pickled asparagus spears
  • ¼ cup stone ground mustard
  • 1 sleeve low carb crackers

INSTRUCTIONS

Select a large platter from the list of options in this post and carefully arrange all of the ingredients on top.

Happy Holidays!

Holiday Recipes

With both American Thanksgiving and Christmas forthcoming, I am noting a few previously posted recipes which newer viewers may not have seen. Amongst these – what to do with leftover turkey? (Turkey Divan), an awesome Cranberry Chutney for either holiday, old-fashioned Hasty Pudding, a Christmas Morning Wife Saver which can be prepared the night before, as well as a few scrumptious cookies, like Biscotti with Ginger, Cranberry, Orange and Cashews for that after dinner coffee, Brandied Fruit and Nut Shortbread, and Cranberry Pistachio Salted Caramel Bars. Simply enter the names in the GO box to find them. Some might even be great for New Years.

Please observe social distancing and limit your dinners to local recommendations. Wear masks in public at all times! There will always be a next year if we observe the prescribed recommendations…

Biscotti with Ginger, Orange and Cashews

Calling all coffee lovers! Found this recipe for a great biscotti cookie for dipping in that morning or evening coffee. Or, just nibbling away whenever…NOT just for Christmas!!

20191207_154553.jpg

Biscotti with Ginger, Cranberries, Orange, and Cashews

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 large eggs or 4 medium
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Mix together flours, sugar, baking powder, cashews, ginger, and cranberries.
  3. In separate bowl, mix together eggs, orange zest, and vanilla.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Form the dough into two flat logs on the parchment paper. It spreads a little, but not much, so make these slightly smaller than the width that you would like your biscotti to be.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let the biscotti cool completely before slicing into ~1/4-inch-thick slices.
  8. Lay the slices flat on a baking sheet (you can use the same one, with the parchment), and bake for 7-10 minutes, flip each one over, and then continue to bake for an additional 7-10 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 24 pieces.

Blue Cheese, Bacon and Green Onion Cheese Ball

The holidays are always full of social events. What would it be without a cheese ball rolled in crunchy walnuts? Usually I make mine with Imperial Cheddar from Canada, some softened blue cheese and a package of Philly. This year, something a little different… did I mention it is Keto friendly, if you dip bacon rinds?

Blue Cheese, Bacon, And Scallion Cheeseball

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces bacon, chopped and fried and drained to make bacon bits
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 scallions (green onions), minced
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped and divided
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free blue cheese crumbles (or more, depending on taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped unsalted walnuts, raw or lightly toasted

Instructions

1 In a medium bowl, combine the bacon bits, cream cheese, scallions, 1 tablespoon parsley, blue cheese crumbles, pepper, and salt. Stir together to mix.

2 Using hands or a spatula, form the mixture into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

3 Place the walnuts and reserved tablespoon of parsley in a small bowl. Stir to combine.

4 Unwrap the cheeseball and roll it in the walnut mixture to coat all sides. Press the walnut coating gently to help it stay on if necessary.

5 Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

For 1/10th Of The Cheeseball

Calories: 197

Fat (g): 12.9

Carbs (g): 2.2

Fiber (g): 1.3

Protein (g): 7

Net Carbs (g) .9

simply so healthy http://simplysohealthy.com/

 

Easy Cranberry Chutney

No photo for this one as it is all blended together in a jar and then refrigerated. Great for using during the upcoming holidays…

Easy Cranberry Chutney

From inthekitchenwithkath.com

(Adapted from a recipe in Yumana’s Table by Yumana Devi)

Makes about 3 cups, and doubles easily if you’re serving a crowd.

1 (12-ounce) bag of cranberries

2 large apples

2 large oranges or limes

1 cup pure maple syrup (I used ½ cup)

  1. Zest the oranges.
  2. Wash and drain the cranberries and put them in a pot. (My 3 quart pot is the perfect size.)
  3. Peel, core, and chop the apples, and add them to the pot.
  4. Juice the oranges. Add the juice and the orange zest to the pot.
  5. Add the maple syrup.
  6. Bring the chutney to a boil over medium-high heat.
  7. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, for about 30 – 45 minutes, until the cranberries have popped, the apples have cooked down, and the chutney has thickened a bit. Stir it occasionally while it’s cooking.
  1. Cool and transfer to a bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve OR put it in an airtight jar, ready for use. Would be great over cream cheese as an appetizer or with roast beef…not just turkey!

Slow Cooker (Crockpot) Swedish Meatballs

What to do without Costco? I have had a bag of turkey meatballs in the freezer for awhile. The truth is we didn’t really like them! Not to waste I found this slow cooker recipe for Swedish meatballs and I got the chance to use them all up, never to buy again. If you have been following for sometime you will know that I had previously made meatballs for use with pasta. This recipe called for frozen ones. Et voila! Actually they tasted awesome…great for a buffet table.

DSC_0056

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup, low sodium*
1 can beef broth, low sodium*
1 packet dry onion soup mix
2 tbsp. A1 steak sauce
1 (2 lb.) bag frozen meatballs
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream (1 cup)
1 (16 oz.) package egg noodles

sliced mushrooms (optional)

Directions:
In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, mix undiluted soup with beef broth, onion soup mix and steak sauce. Stir well.

Then add in frozen meatballs.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high 3-5 hours. (My slow cooker is always faster than the recipe calls for, in this case they were done in about 4 1/2 hours.

After meatball mixture is almost cooked, add in the sliced mushrooms and stir in sour cream.

At this time, put a pot of water on the oven to boil for your egg noodles (make according to package directions.) Drain noodles well when done.

Mix noodles and meatballs together. Or serve meatballs on top of noodles.

Note: Low sodium is my personal preference for this to keep it from being too salty. If I’m serving for a crowd, I will mix together noodles and meatballs and keep my crock pot on the ‘warm’ or ‘buffet’ setting. But when it’s just my family, everyone can serve themselves and grab as many meatballs, noodles and sauce as they like.

http://www.thecountrycook.net

Its Christmas Cookie Time!

Yeppers, my elf has been baking away for several days, so I am going to share THREE of the recipes we actually liked, which he found on Pinterest.

If you are fond of banana bread, you will like these…

Banana Bread Cookies

Prep Time: 35 minutes Cook Time: 13 minutes Total Time: 48 minutes Yield: 24

Ingredients

Wet Mix:

  • 3/4 Cup softened butter
  • 1 packed cup of brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed

Dry Mix:

  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 1/3 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips, dried cranberries etc. (you choose what you prefer)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, add the wet ingredients and combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, add all the dry ingredients and combine
  3. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet mixture and combine. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F, Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease / spray with non stick oil
  5. Use a tablespoon and drop the mixture on the baking sheet in spoonfuls.
  6. Bake for about 13 – 15 minutes. Allow to cool on cooling rack.

NOTE: These are quite a soft cookie, and a little crisp on the outside. If you want a crispier cookie, leave in the oven for a couple of minutes longer. However, they will harden slightly as they cool, so if you are not sure, remove one after the stated time and see if it is to your liking.

And from Martha Stewart…ta dah…my favourite ones …

Cranberry Orange Almond Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Yield: about 3-dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet or line with a silpat baking liner.

Place butter, powdered sugar, almond extract and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl if using a handheld mixer.

Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Turn mixer speed to low, and gradually add flour and orange zest. Mix until a dough forms.

Stir in almonds and cranberries with a spatula.

Pat dough into a ball, and then form into a log shape, about 2-inches in diameter.

Wrap the log in plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, at least an hour.

Remove the dough from the freezer and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Place on cookie sheet, at least 1-inch apart. Bake for about 15 minutes, just until the edges start to turn golden. Check them after 10 minutes as ovens can vary!

Let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.

Notes

Adapted from Martha Stewart. Dough can be kept frozen for up to 3 months. If frozen solid, let the dough thaw slightly before slicing.

Last but not least…these yummy raspberry lemon ones…

Raspberry Lemon Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies  15 min    Prep Time -15 min   Cook Time  – 30 min

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 large egg

1/2 lemon, zest and juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup frozen raspberries, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, egg, lemon zest and juice and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the salt, baking powder, baking soda and flour and mix until combined. Add in the raspberries and mix briefly to incorporate them.
  3. Drop the dough by tablespoonful (a cookie scoop works best here, the dough is extremely sticky, but two spoons works too, the cookies will just be less uniform) onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until they are just starting to brown on the edges and are no longer shiny at all. Put the second half of the cookie dough in the fridge while the first sheet is baking, it will get even softer as the raspberries thaw.
  4. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

This cookie dough is extremely sticky, and is best if the raspberries stay frozen, so leave them in the freezer until you’re ready to add them to the dough. If you find it is getting too sticky to scoop, chill it for 30 minutes and then bake. Don’t try to form it into balls by hand though, it works best as a drop cookie, scooping it onto the baking sheet by the tablespoonful and baking immediately. When baking, they are done when they are no longer shiny at all on top. If they are still shiny, they will be underbaked around the raspberries.

Source: Adapted from Lauren’s Latest via Mel’s Kitchen Cafe .

Christmas Cranberry Chutney

From the folks at Food Network…a little something different for Christmas dinner or use it as a topping for cream cheese appetizer.

Cranberry Chutney

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 cups frozen cranberries
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar

Directions

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, apples, and thyme; sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the raisins, cranberries, lemon zest and juice, orange juice, and sugar. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Recipe courtesy of The Neelys
Advertisement

© 2015 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Good Eats Roasted Turkey

Up until last year I always brined my turkey according to a recipe from Emeril Lagasse. (its here on the blog). Last year I wanted a different brine recipe and on Food Network, I found Alton Browns Good Eats Turkey Recipe. Lo and behold I liked it better! Sorry Emeril!

So here it is…you can choose Emerill or Alton…

Good Eats Roast Turkey Alton Brown The Food Network

Ingredients

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil

Directions

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Actually you can find special brining bags in most supermarkets these days, made by Reynolds. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting or less…use a timer. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, also featured in Food Network Magazine

French Florentine Cookies

These crunchy chocolate coated cookies are popular in France at Christmas. They were also great when our friend Kathy made them while we were visiting in December.

1 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
3/4 cup candied orange peel* (see note below)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 T butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup chocolate chips of your choice

Combine almonds, peel and flour. Set aside.
In heavy saucepan combine butter, cream and sugar. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in floured fruit.
Grease and flour 2 baking sheets. Drop batter by spoonfuls (1 T) at least 3 inches apart,
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool slightly and then remove to cooling rack.

Spread or brush with melted chocolate on the underside of each cookie.
Makes about 24 cookies.

* Since peel isn’t always available, you might want to check the Internet for an easy homemade recipe.