Monday, March 30, 2020

Easy Raisin Square

I know that usually raisins aren't the first thing most people go to when they feel like a treat BUT, now hear me out, they SHOULD be. See, they are plump and juicy and sweet and...they are a know... healthy....ish. 
With only 5 ingredients, this square only takes about 2 minutes to whip up and then 25 minutes to bake so you could be enjoying a piece in under an hour! I dust mine with a little icing sugar because they aren't that sweet at all... but this is optional. It does make them look a little prettier though. 

Easy Raisin Square

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups raisins
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

For Decorating
1 Tbsp icing sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9 X 9 pan with parchment paper, set aside. 
Using a very sturdy spoon, stir together the condensed milk, raisins, flour, baking powder, and salt. Spread the batter into the prepared pan - NOTE: it helps to dip your fingers in water and then spread it in the pan as the batter is very sticky and thick. Try to get the top as flat and even as possible.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350, until edges are light golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool on wire rack for about 15 minutes. Use the parchment paper to lift the bar out and let cool completely on wire rack. 

Cut into squares (I believe I did 24).

Dust with icing sugar if desired.

These are dense and chewy and not-too-sweet. Plus they are inexpensive to make and make a great snack time treat. If you like raisins.... I'm assuming you do if you are reading this....
Raisins are great. 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Keto Bacon Clam Chowder

I'm always surprised at how many carbs can sneak into soup. All those potatoes and root veggies and things can quickly add up. I decided to try my hand at a low carb, keto friendly clam chowder using cauliflower instead of potatoes to thicken in up. 
Not that this is a new idea... cauliflower instead of potatoes in recipes has been around forever. My version includes bacon and clams to up the protein and fat factor for keto. Also... the deliciousness factor. 
From start to finish in under half an hour. Perfect for those busy weekdays or those lazy weekends! 

Keto Bacon Clam Chowder

5 slices bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp dried parsley
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
4 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 340 gr bag cooked clams, chopped
3 cups cauliflower florets, diced

In a large pot over medium heat, fry bacon until crispy and then remove from pot. Drain all but 2 Tbsp of the bacon grease from the pot. Add garlic and onions, and thyme and parsley to the pot and cook 2 - 3 minutes to soften. 

Add in the milk, cream, chicken broth, and cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese is melted. 
Add in the clams and diced cauliflower and cook about 15 minutes or so, until cauliflower is soft and cooked through. Serve hot. 

Sprinkle generously with bacon and a pinch more dried parsley for garnish.

This recipe makes 6 servings. The nutritional counts are: 308 calories, 21.7 fat, 7 total carbs, 1.7 fiber, 22.6 protein. That's 5.3 net carbs per serving. 
You can, of course, eat as much or as little as you like, just be sure to change the nutritional counts accordingly. :) 

I served mine with a little Mestamecher protein bread which only added another 4 net carbs to the meal. Not too shabby for a hearty, delicious meal, I'd say. 

I love how easy this is to whip up. If you don't have clams you could leave them out or sub them with chicken. The base of this soup is a simple cream base that would lend itself well to several other options, keto or not! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Keto Lasagna (Hearts of Palm Noodles)

I discovered this great website where I can order all sorts of keto friendly products called One of the things I found on their list of keto products was Natural Heaven Veggie Pasta Noodles made from hearts of palm.  

Have you ever tried them? They reminded me of artichoke with the smell and texture...

That being said, they are very noodle-y and work amazingly well in lasagna. I will be ordering more of these to experiment with for sure. Being as they are made from hearts of palm, a vegetable, they are naturally vegan and gluten free. I made my own simple tomato sauce for this lasagna but you could easily use a sugar free, store bought tomato sauce if you prefer. 

Keto Lasagna (Hearts of Palm Noodles)

2 containers Natural Heaven Veggie Pasta Noodles (or similar)

Meat Sauce
1 can (398 ml) diced tomatoes with garlic
1 slice onion, diced
1 lb lean ground beef

Cheese Layer
1 container (500 gr) Ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 Tbsp Parmesan, shaved
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded

1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
2 Tbsp Parmesan, shaved

Preheat oven to 350. 
Prepare meat sauce - In a large frying pan over medium heat, simmer the tomatoes and onions about 5 minutes. 

Push them to the side of the pan, add in the ground beef, and cook the beef until it is browned. Stir the tomatoes and ground beef together near the end when the beef is almost done. Set aside. 
Prepare cheese layer - stir together the ricotta, egg, first amount of mozza and Parmesan until well mixed. 

Assemble the lasagna - In a 9 X 13 oven safe dish, layer a single layer of the veggie noodles. Drop 1/2 of the cheese layer on top by the spoonful. 

Gently spread the cheese layer out with the back of a spoon.

Drop half of the meat sauce on top of the cheese layer by the spoonful and spread out as well as you can. Don't worry if there are gaps, you will be doing a second layer.  

Place another layer of the veggie noodles on top and then layer with the remaining cheese and meat sauce. Top with the last of the veggie noodles and then sprinkle with the remaining mozza and Parmesan. 

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes - until heated through and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 - 8 minutes before serving. 

Slice into 6 pieces and serve immediately. 

The nutritional counts, if you cut this into 6, are: 481 calories, 18.5 fat, 12.4 total carbs, 1.8 fiber (10.6 net carbs), and 28.6 protein. (As always, if you are counting for dietary reasons we recommend you enter your totals into a nutritional calculator yourself to be totally accurate.) 

This looks and tastes aaaaaaalmost exactly like a "regular" lasagna. I found the hearts of palm to have an artichoke-y flavor to them and the texture was fabulous. I'm pretty sure if you used a store bought, sugar free tomato sauce you'd be able to fool everyone into thinking they were eating "regular" lasagna. 
I love finding new ingredients to play with; like the hearts of palm, and can't wait to experiment some more! Any suggestions? Leave them in the comments below! :)