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Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Once a year, we seem to be able to find spaghetti squash in Yucatan. This was it! If you have never baked a spaghetti squash it is so simple. When it is done baking you take a large fork and shred it et voila – spaghetti! The simple version is to bake it and the add your favorite spaghetti sauces (commercial or homemade) and lots of Parmesan cheese,

This version is a little more time consuming but well worth it. Take a look –

Spaghetti SquashThe original recipe called for the filling to be baked inside the upturned squash. It was very difficult to shred the squash with the filling in it and thus I adapted the version and filled the shredded squash, mixing the filling into it.

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Cut the spaghetti squash in half horizontally and remove the seeds. Put squash cut sides down in a baking dish with a half inch or so of water. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover with foil and bake in 350-degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Test with a fork for tenderness.

While it is baking, prepare the stuffing as shown below.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb. Ground beef
  • 5 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 large cooking onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • Seasoning to suit your taste
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of salsa (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Heat oil in pan.  (I like to use my wok) Throw in the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Throw in the onion and continue to sauté until tender.

Add ground beef and brown thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.

Add other seasoning such as Italian as you wish*

Mix in the cheese. Mix in the salsa.

Keep warm until the squash is tender.

Turn the squash over on a plate leaving on the outer shell, shred with a fork being careful not to break the shell.Fill with the ‘stuffing”.

Top with sour cream, more salsa? BBQ sauce?

 

 

 

 

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15 Minute Thai Basil Chicken

When life gives you lemons…oops…a great Thai basil plant, one makes more Thai food, right? This 15 minute recipe was incredible. You do not have to use Thai basil, but the taste will be a little different. In place of the Thai chilies, I used a few drops of Sriracha sauce.

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15 MINUTE THAI BASIL CHICKEN

Prep Time: 6 mins Cook Time: 9 mins Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 ounces green beans
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped
  • 4 sliced shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 minced Thai chilies, or to taste
  • 1 cup very thinly sliced fresh Thai basil leaves
  • Jasmine rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a wok or heavy, high-walled skillet over high heat. As the wok is heating up, whisk together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar until well-combined. Set aside.

Add the bell pepper and green beans to the hot wok. Stir-fry for one minute. Add in the chicken and stir-fry, breaking apart as you go, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the shallots, garlic, and Thai chilies. Cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute. Then, pour in the prepared sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce begins to glaze onto the meat, about 1-2 more minutes.

Stir in the Thai basil leaves and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, the basil is wilted, and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Serve warm with rice.

Roasted Parmesan Garlic Shrimp

“Honey, I’m home!” (for all of those familiar with that old greeting from some TV show?) Welcome back former followers. Your encouragement is appreciated. A recent house sitter left behind some really nice frozen shrimp and (Pinterest to the rescue) I decided to thaw them out- 24 beautiful specimens which only required peeling and deveining. Once done, I put them in some cold water with a little salt and put them back in the refrigerator awaiting dinner prep.  Some fresh asparagus was also waiting to be used. Everything came together with very little prepping…

  • 1 pound medium raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Cocktail sauce for dipping (1/2 cup ketchup + 2 tablespoons horseradish)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with oil.

Place the shrimp in a single layer on the sheet. Evenly distribute olive oil, Parmesan, garlic, oregano and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss together with your hands and spread out again.

*Place the pan in the oven and roast the shrimp until just pink, firm and cooked. This should take 9 minutes. When done sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with whatever side you have chosen.

*NOTE…since the oven was on I also roasted the asparagus which was drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan. If you choose to do the asparagus, put it in the oven 10 minutes before the shrimp and leave them in until the shrimp are done.

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Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken with Bacon and Cheese

Just another slow cooker recipe…LOL. This one tastes incredible AND its Keto friendly as part of my new JOURNEY to eat healthier this year. As always I was touring around Pinterest and came across this one by Kasey Trenum. It was so great I forgot to photograph it. It was on Kasey’s Pinterest page.

 

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Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken with Bacon & Cheese {low carb & keto}

Ingredients

  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ tsp poultry seasoning
  • ½ tsp rosemary
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 3 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup cheese
  • 3 pieces of bacon, crumbled
  • ¾ tsp Xanthan Gum (for thickening – available at higher end grocery stores)
  • salt/pepper to taste

 

Instructions

Add chicken and next 6 ingredients to slow cooker.

Crumble 3 pieces of cooked bacon on the top of the chicken.

Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 to 3½. (Watch your cooker – it was done sooner than I expected)

Add heavy whipping cream to slow cooker.

Dollop cream cheese on top and stir to combine all ingredients.

Using 2 forks, shred chicken in slow cooker.

Sprinkle ¾ tsp Xanthan Gum and allow to simmer with the top off for a few minutes while the mixture thickens.

Spray a casserole dish generously and dump contents of slow cooker into dish.

Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese (or more if you’d like) then crumble 3 pieces of bacon on top.

Place in oven on broil for 2-4 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly and bacon is extra crisp.

Enjoy!

Nutritional Information based on MyFitnessPal app (8 servings) – Calories 302, Fat 24.7, Protein 17.2, Carbs 3.3 -Fiber .8 = Net Carbs 2.5

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef)

Ropa vieja (Spanish for “old clothes”) is one of the national dishes of Cuba, but is also popular in other areas of the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico and Panama. It consists of shredded or pulled stewed beef with vegetables. This was a dish we had in Havana in 2014. The beauty is that it is done in a slow cooker.

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You can omit the olives, but trust me on this one. Serve with your favorite rice or use it with fresh tortillas.

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja (Cuban Beef)

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. beef flank steak (or substitute Mexican arrachera)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1 (14-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced ( I used red for contrast)
  • 1 cup Spanish olives – green
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled

Cooked yellow rice for serving*

Slow Cooker Size:4-quart or larger

Instructions

  1. Add the beef broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, turmeric and apple cider vinegar to the slow cooker. Stir.
  2. Add the flank steak and flip it around in the sauce so it gets coated. Add the bell pepper, onion, olives and garlic cloves, mix those items together to combine on top of the meat.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 9 hours on LOW without opening the lid during the cooking time. Shred the meat with 2 forks right in the slow cooker.

If you have been following me you know that our slow cooker cooks faster for some unknown reason. When I looked up cooking on HIGH (because I was short of time) it suggested 5 hours as the equivalent. Guess what? It was done in a little over 2.5 hours using an arrachera of 1.3 kilos.

LESSON—-dont let it cook while you are away at work unless you know your cooker very well. Keep checking  for doneness.

 

Creamy Cauliflower Chowder

Baby its cold outside (in the North, actually here in Mexico too, trust me on this one…). Great time for a hearty chowder – vegan if you leave out the bacon!

It calls for a whole head of cauliflower, but here we can but 1 lb. packages of florets which simplifies the recipe. I think you’ll really like this one my friends…great start to the New Year!

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Creamy cauliflower chowder

Prep Time: 10 minutes         Cook Time: 30 minutes       Yield: 4-5 people

Creamy Cauliflower Chowder is a healthy, easy, comfort food recipe and ready in under 30 minutes. It’s gluten free, low carb and keto friendly.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup diced Onion
  • 5 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 cup diced Carrots
  • 1 Whole Head of Cauliflower (cut into small florets)I bought a one lb. bag of florets
  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • Salt to taste

Olive Oil and cooked bacon (4 strips) for topping

 Instructions

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat butter and add onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until the onions are soft.

Add carrots, cauliflower, vegetable broth, pepper, oregano and salt to the pot. Bring this to a boil, and slow the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or so till the cauliflower is tender.

Switch off the flame and using a blender, blend the soup partly in the soup pot. If you don’t have a hand blender, pour half the soup into a blender and pulse a few tips till creamy.

Switch the flame back on and add a cup of water or broth along with the cream cheese. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and switch off the flame. Feel free to thin the soup further if  you like with some more broth or milk. Top with olive oil and bacon and serve hot.

Steamed Mussels in a Coconut Curry Broth

Its not too late to do your Nw Years Eve shopping is it? Your guests would love these coconut curry mussels with fresh baguettes for dipping into the sauce. If you need a veggie dish, go for the steamed broccoli…

 

Mussels

STEAMED MUSSELS IN A COCONUT CURRY BROTH

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2.5 pounds mussels (I prefer Prince Edward Island mussels)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk (lite version is fine too – just won’t be as rich)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken (or seafood) stock
  • 2 green onions, sliced

baguettes or bread for serving (or fries!) 

DIRECTIONS:

Keep the mussels refrigerated until you’re ready to use. Once ready, place them in a large bowl of ice cold water. Scrub the outsides of the mussels and remove the string (or “beard”) by using a towel or paper towel to pull it out. Discard any mussels that have opened already. Keep the mussels in the ice water.

Better still, buy the frozen ones which are already cleaned..just add them in where required in the recipe.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. Once it’s melted, stir in the onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, until slightly softened. Stir in the curry paste and continue to stir until it’s distributed throughout the entire pan of onions. Cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and stock, stirring until it’s smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring continuously. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the mussels and toss. Cover the skillet and cook just until the mussels open, about 5 to 6 minutes. Garnish with the sliced green onions. Stir the mussels well so the broth makes it into the shells. Serve immediately with baguettes or thin fries.

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Easy Deviled Ham Salad

Leftover ham from Christmas dinner? No ham? Buy some… this recipe really was good on crackers, etc. Try it Mikey…you’ll like it! (Who remembers that phrase?) Ignore the Keto reference, it really tastes good!

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EASY DEVILED HAM SALAD – LOW CARB & KETO

Author: Mellissa Sevigny      Yield: 5 servings

INGREDIENTS

For the salad:

2 cups chopped cooked ham

1/4 cup chopped dill pickles

3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp chopped onion

1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic

For the dressing:

1/2 cup sugar free mayonnaise (you decide, I used Hellamns Organic…)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp Sriracha (or other chili sauce)

1 tsp fresh lime juice

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the salad:

Combine the salad ingredients into a food processor or magic bullet and pulse until a coarse, crumbly mixture is formed – don’t over blend into mush.

To make the dressing:

Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.

Spoon the ham mixture into the dressing mixture and mix until the dressing is fully incorporated into the salad.

Serve chilled on low carb crackers, celery, romaine, or another low carb base of your choice! It was great with bacon rinds!

Nutrition

Serving Size: 1/2 cup Calories: 268 Fat: 24g Carbohydrates: 2g  Protein: 13g

Keto Parmesan Garlic Pork Chops

Do NOT be afraid to try these Keto recipes. Yes, they are low in carbs, medium in fat and high in protein BUT they really do taste great! Keto likes things like cream cheese, oil, whipping cream, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. There are very little pasta or grain foods in Keto, which aids in trying to shed some pounds. Most spices are allowed.

Once you try this recipe you will LOVE it!

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Keto Parmesan Garlic Pork Chops

Ingredients

1.5 lb. center cut boneless pork chops

½ medium onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 oz. cream cheese

cup chicken broth

cup parmesan cheese

½ cup cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon pepper

salt to taste

 

Instructions

Brown pork chops, onion, and garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on medium/high (approx. 3-5 minutes each side).

Remove pork chops from skillet.

Add the rest of the ingredients, and cook on medium until sauce thickens. Make sure to use a whisk and stir continuously.

Add pork chops back to sauce mixture and simmer on low for 5 minutes or until done.

Serve with cauliflower rice or broccoli (the latter is a little high in carbs)

Nutritional Information based on MyFitnessPal app (6 servings) – 529 calories,

36.5 g fat, 48.9g protein, 2.7g carbs – .2g fiber = 2.5g Net Carbs

Keto Salad Dressings – 5 Minute Caesar & Keto Garlic Dressing

Needing a great salad for a change? Both of these dressings are incredible and cheaper than the bottled stuff! Sorry, no photos today…

Keto 5 Minute Caesar Dressing

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons anchovy paste (I substitute equal amount of fish oil when anchovy paste is not available)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Nutrition  per 2 Tablespoon – Calories 140, Fat 15g, Carbs 0.8 Protein0.1g.

Keto Garlic Dressing

Servings 16 (of 2 tbsp)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-6 Cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup olive oil
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Pinch Black Pepper To taste
  • (Optional) Fresh herbs (I used parsley)

INSTRUCTIONS

Making the Keto Garlic Salad Dressing is really simple! – Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until it’s creamy and smooth. You can start with 4 cloves of garlic and add more after you taste the dressing, if you feel like it’s not strong enough.

Nutrition – Calories 123, Fat 13.5g, Carbs 0.5g, Protein 0.1g