Saturday, October 17, 2020

Keto Beef Stew


Looks like a regular beef stew, doesn't it?
It tastes like a delicious, comforting, beef stew but it is keto friendly! How? Well, we left out the potatoes and put in a few turnips instead. You could also use daikon if you have it. We used a little xanthan gum as a thickener instead of flour as well so as well as being low carb it is also gluten free!
I love making stew when the cold weather sets in. It only takes about 15 minutes of prep and then it bubbles on the stove top for a couple of hours making your house smell amazing! 

Keto Beef Stew

1 1/2 lbs beef, cut in small chunks
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp oil
4 1/2 cups beef broth
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 bay leaf
1 lb turnip, cut in chunks
2 medium carrots, cut in chunks
1 onion, diced fairly large
1 celery stalk, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 Tbsp parsley, garnish


First step - chop all your veggies. 

In a large pot, cook the beef and salt in the oil until browned over medium heat. Remove the beef and set aside. 
Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of the beef broth. Add in the red wine vinegar, tomato paste, Worcestershire, and bay leaf. Stir well. Pour in the remaining beef broth. Place the beef back in the pot and let simmer on low heat for an hour. 
After an hour, add in all your vegetables. 
Remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and whisk in the xanthan gum. Stir this into the stew.
Continue to simmer for another hour or so - until nice and thick and veggies are tender.

Remove bay leaf and discard. 
Serve hot, sprinkled with a little parsley. 

The recipe, as written, makes 6 servings. According to MyFitnessPal the counts are: 341 calories, 20 fat, 9 carbs, 3 fiber, and 31 protein. So 6 net carbs per serving. 
This is one of those meals that no one will notice isn't "normal" stew. I promise. 
My mother insists on having barley in all her soups and stews so I just boiled her up a little bit in a separate pot and added it to hers when I served it and she was none the wiser. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Big Batch Bacon and Kielbasa Mac And Cheese With Mediterranean Cabbage Salad

I am never making another macaroni and cheese recipe again. This is the one!
It has the most amazing flavor. You know how most mac & cheese is just "meh"... like, not terrible but not *jazz hands*. This is super *jazz hands* with a little *razzle dazzle* thrown in for good measure. 
It is a big batch - like it makes about 20+ cups of mac and cheese. I developed it for a meal program I was running. For a smaller, family sized amount I would maybe just make 1/4 of it. The size here is perfect for a potluck or if you want to make up some meals to share with extended family/friends. 
The Mediterranean Cabbage Salad is the perfect accompaniment. It is light and refreshing and helps add a few veggies to an otherwise carb-heavy meal! 
First up the salad:

Mediterranean Cabbage Salad with Garlic Vinaigrette 

4 cups cabbage, shredded (or thinly slices)
4 large tomatoes, sliced and seeded
2 English cucumbers, sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 red onion, sliced
garlic vinaigrette (I use Simply Natural Organic Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette)

Place all ingredients, except vinaigrette, in a large bowl.

Drizzle on a little of the vinaigrette and toss gently. 

Cover and chill until ready to serve. 
When ready to serve: serve with more vinaigrette and add as needed.
On to the main course!

Big Batch Bacon and Kielbasa Mac and Cheese

2 lbs macaroni, cooked
1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 pkgs kielbasa sausage
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
3/4 cup butter
2 onions, diced
3/4 cup flour
8 cups milk, warmed
1 16 oz brick aged cheddar
1 16 oz brick Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups parmesan, shredded (divided)
4 oz cream cheese
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
2 Tbsp fresh parsley

Before starting: boil your macaroni and set it aside and cook your bacon and set aside as well. 
Prepare the kielbasa sausage: place sliced sausage onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with a little BBQ sauce. Place under broiler until it starts to brown. Flip the pieces over and broil another 3 - 4 minutes - until browned. Set aside.

Prepare mac and cheese - In a LARGE pot (I use a canning pot), melt the butter and add in the onions. Let cook for a minute. Add in the flour and cook another minute, until thickened. 
Very gradually add in the milk, stirring in between additions until smooth. Cook about 5 minutes until thickened. Reduce the heat and add in all the cheeses (reserve 1 cup of Parmesan for sprinkling on top). Stir until melted.

Add in the spices and stir well.
Lastly, stir in the cooked sausage, bacon, and macaroni.

Let heat through and then serve. 

Don't forget to sprinkle generously with the reserved parmesan cheese.

Don't you want to just crawl right in there? 
Best mac and cheese EVER! 

I got 10 very large servings out of this (2 + cups of macaroni and 1+ cup of salad). If you were bringing this as a side dish to a potluck you would get 20 - 1 cup servings quite easily. 
You can half or quarter this recipe with no problem for smaller amounts. 
The macaroni is so flavorful. 4 cheeses and the smoky sausage and bacon make for the best macaroni EVER!

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Salty Pirate Monkey Cocktail


The toughest part of creating a new recipe is coming up with a name. I am TERRIBLE at naming recipes. I either go with way too much information in the title and it ends up being 4 paragraphs long, or I try to be all clever and completely miss the mark. 
This time I went to my friends on Facebook and had them help me out! 
My friends are all geniuses, in case you were wondering! They came up with names like "Bananas Faster (like bananas foster but with coffee)", "the boozy monkey", "the drunken monkey", "caramel banana dalgona", "spiked caramel banana split", and so many more great ideas. 
My friend Melissa came up with The Salty Pirate Monkey and I'm sticking with it. So fun, right? It has hints about what's in the drink and at the same time is just super fun to say. 
Let's make the Salty Pirate Monkey the new viral cocktail. It's half dessert, half drink and aaaaallll deliciousness! Recipe, as written, makes 1 large boozy milkshake cocktail but can easily be doubled or tripled. If you are a fan of boozy milkshakes then it is juuuuust the right size! 

The Salty Pirate Monkey Cocktail

Dalgona Coffee Whip
1 Tbsp instant coffee
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp very hot water

Banana Bailey's Milkshake
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup salted caramel Baileys
2 Tbsp dark rum

Prepare the dalgona coffee whip - in a small bowl, whisk (or use beaters) the instant coffee, brown sugar, and hot water until super foamy. This takes a few minutes and should resemble whipped cream when ready. 
Prepare the milkshake - place frozen banana, milk, Salted Caramel Baileys, rum, and ice into a blender and blend until smooth. If you like it thick then add more ice. I usually add 2 good sized handfuls of ice. 
Pour the milkshake into a large glass and top with the whipped coffee topping.

I like to serve it like that as it looks pretty impressive BUT when you go to drink it you definitely want to give it a good stir. 
The coffee whip is very strong so a mouthful of it right out of the gate will shock you. Make sure you mix it up well. 

Still looks pretty. 

And tastes soooooo good! Salted Caramel Baileys and rum, banana milkshake with a coffee twist. Everything you didn't know you needed. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Oreo Beignets (Mini Oreo Donut Bites)


I love donuts of all kinds. Beignets are adorable little bite sized donuts that... if you stuff with Oreos... are exactly what heaven tastes like. Pretty sure. 
Donuts of any kind are always a little bit of work because you have to make the dough, let it rise, shape it, let it rise, then cook it. They are ALWAYS worth the effort though. Don't let anyone tell you different. These little pillows of deliciousness are no different. All the tastiness of a beignet with a little secret surprise inside! 

Oreo Beignets (Mini Oreo Donut Bites)

one bag Mini Oreo Cookies
icing sugar, for dusting

Prepare dough as per original recipe (HERE) to just after the first rise. 
Punch dough down and roll to about 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 2 - 3 inch cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough. 

Place a mini oreo into the center of each round. 

Pinch the edges together very tightly. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. (NOTE - I like to cut the parchment paper into small squares, this makes it easier to transfer to the oil without deflating the dough.)
Let rise for another 30 minutes, then start heating oil to 350 degrees.

When oil reaches 350 (for best results use a thermometer), fry 5 or 6 beignets at a time. One minute, then flip and another minute on the other side. Dough should be golden brown. 

Remove from oil to paper towels to cool. 
When all are fried and cool, sprinkle generously with icing sugar. Donuts must be cool or the icing sugar will disappear. 

These are best eaten the day they are made but can be kept for a day in an airtight container. 

You get A LOT of these bad boys. I didn't count but I'd say about 4 - 5 dozen? Next time I make them I will count so I have a better idea! 

A perfect treat to make to share with friends and family! 
You can freeze them before you put the icing sugar on and then thaw them at a later time. Once completely thawed you can then sprinkle with icing sugar. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Big Batch Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes


I've been on a bit of a cupcake making bender lately. 
Remember when cupcakes were at the top of the social media dessert food chain? Cupcakes...everywhere...
Let's bring those days back. 
I mean... cupcakes are everything. Cake you can hold in your hand... the perfect dessert. And options? holy heck the choices cupcakes offer! There's a million bazillion. 
I know you're on my side. #cupcakesforever

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting and Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup + 3 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Cookie Dough Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups icing sugar
2/3 cups flour
pinch salt
2 Tbsp cream (milk will also work)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Prepare cookies - Preheat oven to 350. 
Beat together butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips and beat briefly to combine. Finish stirring with a wooden spoon a dough will be very stiff. 
Scoop with a small cookie scoop (about 1 Tbsp) on to a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for about 8 - 10 minutes, cookies should be ever-so-slightly brown at the edges but still appear a little under done in the middle. Take them out and let them cool on wire racks. 

Prepare cupcakes - Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until light, scraping bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Alternately beat in dry ingredients with the milk until just combined. A few flour streaks may remain. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop into 24 muffin tins lined with muffin cup papers.
Bake at 350 until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean and top is light, golden brown - about 15 - 20 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks. 

 Prepare cookie dough frosting - Beat together butter and both sugars until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat in flour and salt, cream, vanilla, and chocolate chips. You may have to finish with a wooden spoon as frosting gets very thick. (FYI - if you are worried about using "raw" flour then simply toast it at 350 for about 5 minutes before adding it to dough.)
Scoop about 2 Tbsp of frosting onto each cupcake and then flatter slightly with your fingers. 

I used a medium cookie scoop and had just enough for the 24 cupcakes. 

Lightly press a cooled cookie on top of the frosting. 

24 delightful, handheld treats that are going to make ALL THE PEOPLE happy. 
Well, maybe not all.... some people just want to watch the world burn...
I mean... who doesn't love chocolate chips... *sigh*

I love using mini chocolate chips for these but feel free to use regular, butterscotch, mini m&ms, peanut butter, skor bits, or even white chocolate chips. 

You can half the recipe for only 12 cupcakes, if you like, but these do freeze very well so making a bigger batch is always a good idea! :) 
Can't decide between vanilla and chocolate? Split the difference and go with chocolate chip!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Savory Gingerbread Man Cheese Ball


Anyone else about done with this year? I mean... I know it's only just barely coming into fall but I figure if we start with the Christmas/Thanksgiving/Halloween posts maybe we can just rush through the rest of this year and start new in January....
It might help. You never know.
Anyway, this adorable little guy is super easy and super delicious and you definitely want to Pin him or save him however you do. 
Bacon makes everything better... especially cheese balls. #youknowimright

Savory Gingerbread Man Cheese Ball

2 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, room temp
2 cans crab meat (about 1/2 cup shredded)
1/4 cup finely diced onion
generous dash of Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper

bacon bits
sour cream
red pepper

Place all ingredients in a bowl, except for the toppings. Beat until well mixed and creamy. 

Chill mixture for about half an hour to let it firm up a little. 
Shape into gingerbread man shape on a serving platter. Wet your finger in a bit of cold water and smooth the surface and edges. 

Press the bacon bits all over the cheese ball. 

Clean off any extra bacon bits and chill the cheese ball for about an hour to let set. Put a small amount of sour cream, about 2 Tbsp, into a small plastic baggie and snip off a tiny, tiny bit of the corner. Pipe squiggles on the arms and legs, a face, and three dots on his tummy. 
Press 3 small round bits of red pepper on his tummy where the sour cream dots are. The sour cream will help them stay in place. 

FYI - if you don't want to use crab you can sub in canned ham instead. 

Chill until ready to use. 
Serve with crackers, baguettes, veggies, or pretzels. 

Couple of notes - You can make this up a day ahead of time; just keep covered in the fridge until you need it.
If you find it too hard to shape because it is "gloopy", just chill it longer before shaping. 
This makes a LARGE cheese ball but can easily be halved for smaller gatherings! 
Leftovers store well for several days in the fridge.... if you have leftovers...