Quick Cream of Mushroom Soup

Every once in a while you just need a hearty, comforting bowl of soup, especially one that can be put on the table in under 30 minutes!  The great thing about this soup is that it’s #LactoVegetarian and #KetoFriendly so you can keep it as a #GoToRecipe for when you are hosting friends or family who may be making those lifestyle choices.

Once you’ve seen how quick and easy this soup is to make, and how great it tastes,  you’ll never stress about hosting Keto or Vegetarian friends for lunch or dinner again!

creamofmushroomsoup

Keto Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 24 oz Sliced Cremini Mushrooms (681 g)
  • 4 TBLS Butter (1/4 Cup)
  • 4 TBLS Olive Oil (1/4 Cup)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 3 Green Onions (Scallions) Chopped – Reserve 2 TBLS for garnish
  • 2 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Brandy
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 Pieces Thick Cut Bacon (Cooked), Chopped – Leave out for Vegetarian
  • Sour Cream or Crème Fraîche (optional)

In a 5 qt Dutch oven, or large saucepan, heat the oil and butter until melted.  Add the garlic and  all but 2 TBLS of the chopped green part of the scallions to the pan.  Sauté for about 3 minutes.

Add all of the mushrooms and stir to make sure they are well coated with the oil/butter.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, or until mushrooms have released their moisture and are softened.  Add the vegetable stock and cook and stir for 5 minutes, or until soup reaches a boil.

Remove soup from heat and, using an immersion blender, process the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.  I like mine to have pretty good texture, so I leave it kind of chunky.  If you like it really smooth, you can process the mushroom/broth mixture in batches, in your Vitamix or blender and return the blended mixture to the pan.  Make sure that you don’t over fill your blender container and watch your steam build up.

Once you’ve processed your soup, stir in your whipping cream and chopped, cooked bacon (if you’re not keeping it Vegetarian) and heat soup over low heat, but do not let it reach a boil.  Stir in the brandy for the last minute of heating and then turn off heat.  Keep covered until ready to serve.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Serving suggestions:

  • Top with a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche
  • Top with chopped chives or scallions
  • Top with additional chopped bacon

Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

Italian-Sausage Burgers with Garlicky SpinachI love a big, juicy cheeseburger but they can get boring after a while.  This recipe is one that will definitely take away the boredom and might even be one that I can whip out at a tailgate this football season to change it up a bit!

This can easily be #KetoFriendly by eliminating the ciabatta roll and eating with a knife & fork on top of the spinach.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat but this girl loves her skinny jeans too!

Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • Salt
  • 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausages (or a combination of both), casings removed
  • 4 slices of provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried-tomato pesto
  • 4 round ciabatta rolls, split and toasted  (If you’re Keto, skip the rolls)

In a large skillet, bring 1/4 inch of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 1 minute; drain and press out as much water as possible. Wipe out the skillet.

In the same skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and anchovy paste and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the spinach, season with salt and stir just until coated, about 10 seconds.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Using slightly moistened hands, form the sausage meat into four 4-inch patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Brush the burgers with oil and grill over moderate heat until browned and crusty on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the burgers. Top with the cheese and grill until the burgers are cooked through and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer. Spread the pesto on the rolls. Top with the burgers and spinach and serve.

These burgers would be great paired with a fruit forward zinfandel like a 2015 Sextant Zinfandel Holystone out of Paso Robles, CA or an Artezin 2016 Old Vine Family Farmed Sustainable Zinfandel out of Mendocino County, CA.   #GirlsGoneWine

Dreamy Creamy Mustard Chicken

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Anyone who thinks living a #KetoLifestyle or following a #KetoDiet to lose weight has to be boring and consists only of mass quantities of cheese, bacon, and butter, couldn’t possibly be more wrong!

This chicken thigh recipe, adapted from one featured on The Food Network by Ina Garten, has every component of Keto covered (High Protein, Moderate/High Fat, Low Carb) with flavor to spare!  Served alongside a pile of arugula & spinach tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, cracked black pepper & shaved Parmesan and a mound of creamy ricotta mashed cauliflower, it’s certainly far from boring! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chicken Thighs in Creamy Mustard Sauce

  • 6 Medium – Large Chicken Thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • Freshly Ground Himalayan Pink Sea Salt & Black Pepper
  • Garlic Infused Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, cut in half & sliced thin
  • 1/4 Cup + 2 TBLS Dry White Wine (I used an open bottle of Chardonnay)
  • 8 Ounces Crème Fraîche
  • 1 TBLS Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tsp Whole-Grain Mustard
  • 1 TBLS Chopped Fresh Parsley

Liberally season both sides of the chicken with the sea salt and pepper.

Heat 2 TBLS garlic olive oil over medium heat, in either a 10-12″ cast-iron pan or stove top dutch oven.  I used a 5.75 qt Le Creuset dutch oven.  When the oil is hot, place the chicken in the pan in one layer, skin side down. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes without moving, until the skin is golden brown.  If skin gets too brown before the cooking time is up, lower the heat slightly.

Turn the chicken, add the onions to the pan, it’s ok to add some under the chicken, and cook over medium heat for another 15 minutes, stirring the onions occasionally, until the thighs are cooked to 155 to 160 degrees and the onions are browned. Transfer the chicken (not the onions) to a plate and allow to rest uncovered while you make the sauce. If the onions aren’t browned, cook them for another minute.  TIP:  I took the chicken and moved it to a smaller dutch oven so that I could make this before the sides and keep it warm with the lid until it was time to serve.

In a 2 Cup bowl/mixing cup, stir together the mustards, Crème Fraîche, and 2 TBLS of the wine.  Set aside.

If you have an excess of chicken skin and/or onions that burned or stuck to the pan during the browning stage, deglaze the pan with the 1/4 Cup of white wine.  Scrape up only any burned bits and scoop them, with the tainted wine, out of the pan and discard.  Add the sauce ingredients to the pan, making sure to use a rubber spatula to get all of the flavor into the pan.

Cook and stir about 2 minutes, over medium heat, then immediately pour over the chicken you’ve moved to your smaller dutch oven OR return the chicken and the juices that settled back into the pan.  Cover until ready to serve.  Spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with chopped parsley when plating, if desired.

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The Wonders of Keto Cocktails

Woman (and) man cannot live on low carb food alone!  This woman needs, what my daddy used to call, a 5 O’Clocker when the stressful day is through.  Be it a lovely glass of red wine, a bubbly glass of Champagne, or a down and dirty cocktail, there is just something comforting about that time when I finally get to sit and pet my labs while I throw off the stresses and worries of the day.

vanillaoldfashioned

Thankfully, there’s no reason I have to ruin my diet while doing so.  There are no carbs in a 1+1/2 ounce pour of straight spirits like whiskey, rum, and vodka; a 5 ounce glass of red wine has 2.5 grams of carbs, and the drinks below, adapted from Lowcarb-ology, have 0-3 grams of carbs, so those of us who actively participate in the #KetoLifestyle can imbibe guiltlessly, as long as we also remember that frequent consumption of alcohol while dieting can stall weight loss (if that is our goal).

Vanilla Old Fashioned

  • 1″ piece of orange peel
  • 1″ vanilla bean, split in half
  • 2 ounces good quality bourbon (I prefer Maker’s Mark/Maker’s 46)
  • 1 tsp sugar free vanilla syrup (I use Torani)
  • Club Soda or Zevia sparkling water mandarin orange (I get it at Whole Foods) – optional

Rub the inner part of the orange peel around the inside and rim of the glass, then muddle the peel and vanilla bean at the bottom of the glass.

Add the bourbon and vanilla syrup.  Stir, add a single globe or block cube of ice (for slow melting) & top with an ounce of club soda (give a quick stir) if desired.  130 Calories / 0 Carbs

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  • 1 ounce Pineapple Vodka (I like Skyy Infusions Pineapple)
  • 2 ounces Vodka (Grey Goose is my preference)
  • 1 drop peppermint oil (it needs to be for ingestion) or 1 ounce sugar free Torani peppermint syrup (optional but for the minty taste, you need one or the other)
  • 1-2 drops blue food color or, if you have it, you can use blue zero calorie water enhancing drops like Zio blue
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 6 ounces sugar free ginger beer (I like 0 carb/0 calorie Zevia – I found it on Amazon)

Add all ingredients, except the ginger beer) to a shaker with ice and shake until well chilled.  Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice, top with ginger beer and garnish with a wedge of lime & sprig of peppermint.  194 Calories / 0 Carbs

And, as always, my #MomReminder, anyone who drinks alcoholic beverages please do so responsibly.  Always designate a sober driver, pre-schedule the very inexpensive option of Uber or take a taxi. #DontDrinkAndDrive.

Low-Carb Coconut Macaroons

I’m a total carb girl, which is why I need to go Keto occasionally to make my jeans less tight, but my carbs of choice trend toward the savory: breads, chips, and salty snacks.  But, even a #SaltyGirl needs something sweet & #KetoFriendly once in a while. 😉 #ThisGirlLovesToEat

coconutmacaroons

Chocolate Drizzled Low-Carb Coconut Macaroons

  • 2 Large Egg Whites (Cold)
  • 1 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Stevia Sweetener (like Swerve)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 Cups (loosely packed) Baker’s Sweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar Free Chocolate Chips (I use Hershey’s)
  • 1/2 tsp Crisco Solid Shortening

**Note – Because the coconut is sweetened, you can cut the amount of the sweetener down to 1 or 2 TBLS.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add your egg whites and lemon juice to your stand mixer bowl (with the wire whip attached).  Beat the egg whites until medium-stiff peaks form.  Make sure you beat the whites until they barely move in the bowl if you shake it – it makes a difference in the end result of your cookies.  Gradually add the sweetener, sea salt, and vanilla while continuing to beat at medium-high speed.

Gently fold in the coconut a little bit at a time.  Be careful not to break down the whites, you want a fluffy batter. Caution: Your cookies will spread out if you break down your egg whites too much.  They’ll taste the same but be flatter and take less time to cook.

Use a medium (About 1 TBLS) cookie scoop to drop the batter onto the lined pan.  I got 15 cookies from my mixture.

Baker for 20 minutes, or until a nice golden brown around the edges and tops of the cookies.  Remove from the oven and leave sitting on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes then move to wire rack to cool.

Melt chocolate chips (with the shortening) in a small bowl or mug in the microwave, in increments of 30 seconds on high until smooth enough to drizzle.  I use a fork to drizzle lightly across the cookies then move them to a plate to finish cooling in the refrigerator so the chocolate is completely set before serving.

Cookies can be stored in a sealed container on a cool counter for a few days, the refrigerator (if they last) for about 10 days, and can be frozen for longer term storage.

Nutrition Information Per Cookie:

  • Calories   –  65
  • Fat   –  3.75 g
  • Sat Fat   –  2.93 g
  • Sodium   –  31.33 mg
  • Carbs   –  2.66 g
  • Protein   –  .53 g

Oven Bacon Wrapped Omelettes

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When I don’t have the time to pull the pressure cooker out, and want to make more than the 7 egg bites that my silicone insert allows, I turn to my oven to make a big batch of breakfasts for the week.  Prep is quick and cleanup is a breeze.

Prepared as is, this breakfast is #KetoFriendly.  Take out the cheese and it becomes #PaleoPerfect.

Oven Bacon Wrapped Omelettes

  • 10 – 12 Pieces of Thick Cut Bacon (I buy mine at the meat counter – it’s less expensive, meatier and thicker)
  • 11 Large Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese (Any Type)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut your raw bacon so your strips just overlap at the edges when you line each muffin cups.  I use the small cut pieces to fill in any spots where pieces are short.  Divide the bell pepper and cheese evenly between the 12 muffin cups.

In a large bowl or 8 cup measuring cup, crack open your eggs and whip them up.  Add salt and pepper.  Pour the egg mixture evenly between the muffin cups – fill just below the level of the bacon – you don’t want them to overflow when they cook.

Put your muffin tin on a cookie sheet and put into the oven.  You want to make sure that any bacon grease that may drip doesn’t end up in your oven.  Bake for 20 minutes.

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Remove from oven then immediately use a knife to slide around the edges of each cup to loosen the edges.  Remove each omelette to drain off the grease on a cooling rack with a paper towel on top, set on a baking pan.

Step4

Store uneaten omelettes in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  Easily reheats in the microwave for quick hot breakfasts all week.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information Per Omelette:

  • Calories  197
  • Fat   15 g
  • Protein  14 g
  • Cholesterol  22.5 mg
  • Carbohydrates  < 1 mg

Fiery Spinach Artichoke Dip

chileartichokedipporkrindsA friend complained that she was spending #SuperBowlSunday at the home of someone who “only eats Keto,” like that was a fate worse than death for her snack choices during the game.  To me that sounded like heaven.  She had no idea what to bring, so I suggested she bring this #KetoFriendly dip with plenty of celery sticks and a couple of bags of pork rinds and she’d be the hit of the party.  I haven’t talked to her today, but she didn’t end up beside me on my couch, so I assume she wasn’t booted from the party. 😉

Fiery Spinach Artichoke Dip

  • 1 TBLS Butter
  • 1 – 4 oz Can Diced Chiles (Any type and heat level) I used Mild Green Chiles today.
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Green Onion (white and green parts)
  • 3 Cups Fresh Spinach, chopped
  •  1 – 14 oz Can Artichoke Hearts (in water) drained & chopped
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 1/8 tsp Cumin
  • 1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8×8 baking pan with butter.  Combine the shredded cheeses in a bowl and set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter.  Add green onions to the butter and saute for 2-3 minutes then add the diced peppers.  Cook another 2 minutes then layer the spinach on top (do not stir in) and continue cooking another 2 minutes.  Add the salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and garlic to the pan and stir to combine the vegetables and spices thoroughly.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine chopped artichokes, cream cheese, and mayonnaise, and mix.  Stir in the vegetable mixture from the pan and 1 Cup of the combined shredded cheese (reserve 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top). Stir until completely combined.

Pour mixture in the greased baking dish and spread evenly.  Top with remaining cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve warm with zero carb pork rinds or low net carb veggies like cucumber slices, celery sticks, florets o broccoli or cauliflower, or slices of bell pepper!

This dip also doubles as a great topping for chicken breasts, pork chops, and even steak!  I’ve even rolled it into slices of deli turkey breast, I’ve had sliced extra thick, for a different take on lunch.  Let me know what you think or how you make it your own! #ThisGirlLovesToEat