Cheesy Spicy Italian Sausage Casserole

plateI love dishes that can be anything: breakfast, lunch or dinner.  This one fits that description, plus it’s Keto Friendly!

Cheesy Italian Sausage Casserole

  • 1 Pound Mild Italian Sausage ( I use Johnsonville)
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 TBLS Dried Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 TBLS Parsley Flakes
  • 1/4 Chopped Yellow Onion
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Grated Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 TBLS Cajun Spice Blend (I use Zatarain’s)
  • 1 Cup Frozen Chopped Broccoli Rabe, Defrosted and Drained

Preheat oven to 375 and spray bottom of a 13 x 9 glass baking dish with olive oil spray.casserole

Sprinkle 1/2 of cheese then 1/2 of the broccoli rabe in bottom of baking dish and set aside.  In a 4 cup measuring cup, combine the eggs, heavy whipping cream, and Cajun spice and set aside.

Spray a medium skillet lightly with olive oil spray and break ground sausage apart into the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle the red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley flakes over the top of the sausage.  Brown the sausage over medium heat, stirring until browned but not cooked all the way through.

Layer the sausage over the top of the broccoli rabe in the baking dish.

Lightly spray the pan again with the olive oil spray and quickly saute the onions until translucent, then stir in the remaining broccoli rabe until just combined.  Layer over the sausage then give the egg mixture a quick stir and pour it over the top of the broccoli rabe layer.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Cook in the preheated oven for 25-28 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.  Allow to set for about 5 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.  Great with a dollop of sour cream!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information (15 Servings)

  • 109.3  Calories
  • 9.6 g  Fat
  • .5 g  Carbs
  • 6.13 g  Protein

Pepper-Jelly Cream Cheese Chicken

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When I am in a snacking mood, I adore spreading hot pepper jelly on crackers topped with cream cheese.  I don’t get to indulge in that guilty pleasure very often on my #KetoDietPlan, but I had a couple of tablespoons left in a jar of my favorite cranberry, pomegranate, pepper jelly and wondered why I couldn’t use the same combination with chicken, and still stay in my Keto guidelines, so I did.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Pepper Jelly Cream Cheese Chicken

  • 4 Skin-on, Bone-in Chicken Thighs (about 8 oz each)
  • 4 TBLS Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 3 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg (divided)
  • 2 TBLS Pepper Jelly (Any Flavor)
  • Olive Oil Spray

Preheat oven to 375° F and spray the bottom of an 8 x 8 Pyrex baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.

Using your hands (I wear disposable gloves) combine the  softened cream cheese, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and the spinach leaves in a medium bowl.

Place the thighs in your backing dish and gently lift the skin away from the meat to form a pocket sos you can divide the spinach mixture and fill each thigh with it.  Once you’ve filled each thigh pocket (A.K.A. Saddlebag LOL) spray the skin lightly with olive oil spray then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tsp of nutmeg & spoon 1/2 tbls of the jelly on top of each thigh.

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Bake for 40 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 165° – 180° F.  The higher the temperature the more the muscle fiber breaks down and the more tender your meat will be.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 1 Thigh)

  • 280 Calories
  • 19 g Fat
  • 7 g Carbs
  • 21 g Protein

 

Spinach Stuffed Chicken

thighsWhen I’m prepping for meals there is nothing that brings me more inspiration than chicken thighs.  There are so many ways to dress them up and keep them from being boring and they don’t take forever to cook!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Thighs

  • 6 Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs (about 8 oz each)
  • 3 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 375° F and spray the bottom of a 13 x 9 Pyrex Baking Dish with Olive Oil Spray.  Mix together your spices in a small bowl.

Toss Spinach with 1 TBLS Olive Oil and 2 tsp of your dried spice mix in a medium bowl.

Sprinkle each thigh with some of the spice mix and massage into both top and bottom.  Leave about 1 tsp of spice mix to sprinkle over tops at the end.

Gently lift the skin away from the meat and make a pocket for the spinach leaves.  Stuff each thigh with the spinach leaves until equally distributed.

Place the thighs in the baking dish and spray tops lightly with olive oil spray.  Sprinkle remaining tsp spice mix over thighs and put into preheated oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes divide the Parmesan cheese evenly between the breasts and put back into the oven until cheese is melted and begins to brown, about 15 minutes more.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 1 Thigh)

  • 306 Calories
  • 22 g Fat
  • 1 g Carbs
  • 24 g Protein

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

1My favorite thing about chicken is the many different ways it can be served and the many different flavors that can be combined with it to keep it from being boring when you eat a lot of it, like I do.

This dish is perfect for anyone who follows the Keto or Paleo diet, you make it in your air fryer and it’s super quick & easy!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

  • 6 Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs (About 1+1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 4 tsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 Medium Limes (Cut 1 in 1/2 & 1 in qtrs)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • Olive Oil Spray

Pat your chicken thighs as dry as possible with paper towels, then sprinkle all over with the baking powder.

Mix together your spices in a small bowl.  Sprinkle your spice mixture evenly between your chicken thighs.  Make sure to gently lift the skin away from the meat (without removing entirely) and massage some spices into the meat below the skin as well as into the skin.  Put a few leaves of cilantro beneath the skin if desired.

Cut one of your limes in half and squeeze the juice over the thighs.  Lightly spray the basket of your air fryer with olive oil spray then place the thighs, skin side up, in the basket. Give the skin side of your thighs a light spray with your olive oil spray, set your temperature to 380° F, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.  Turn the thighs over 1/2 way through your cooking time to assure even browning.

When thighs reach 165° to 180° F remove them and serve with wedges of lime & sprinkled with the fresh cilantro.

Nutrition Information:

  • 435 Calories
  • 29 g Fat
  • .5 g Carbs
  • 32 g Protein

Buttermilk Air Fried Chicken

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Yesterday was #NationalFriedChickenDay so, because I adore southern fried chicken, I tried to make it #KetoFriendly without losing texture or taste.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Buttermilk Air Fried Chicken

  • 1 pkg (4 – 5 lbs) 5 Chicken Leg & Thigh Quarters (or your favorite cut)
  • 3 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper
  • 3 tsp Salt
  • 3 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 4 Cups Buttermilk

Combine all of your spices in a bowl and stir until well mixed.

Place your chicken into a bowl large enough to hold your chicken pieces, with room for the liquid.  Wearing disposable gloves, rub each piece of chicken generously with the spice mixture.  Moving the pieces around in the bowl as you go, pour your buttermilk over and around the chicken.  Make sure you are moving the pieces around so the spices that come off the chicken mix into the buttermilk.  Once all pieces are covered, and remain submerged, in the buttermilk, cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 but preferably 6 hours or more.  Ideally, if you can, marinate it overnight or all day while you are at work.

When you are ready to fry your chicken stir together your dredging mixture with a fork in a shallow baking pan.  TIP: I like to put my dredge mixture together at least an hour ahead of frying, if I have the time, so that my spices have extra time for their flavors to absorb into the flours.

  • 2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 1 Cup Superfine Almond Flour
  • 1 TBLS Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder

When you’re ready to cook follow these steps for juicy fried chicken without the grease, extra fat and mess that you get when you fry in peanut or vegetable oil.

  1.  Lightly spray the basket of our air fryer with olive oil spray to keep your skin from sticking
  2. Take one piece of chicken out of the buttermilk marinade and hold it over the bowl until it stops dripping (you don’t want to drop a sopping wet quarter into the dredge mixture)
  3. Lay your chicken quarter in the pan of dredge mixture and spoon the mixture over the chicken.  Lift the chicken up by the drumstick end and lightly shake to release any extra mixture.  You want a thin coating so it crisps up perfectly and isn’t soggy between the coating and the chicken.
  4. Lay your chicken quarter in the basket of your air fryer skin side up.  Repeat with as many pieces of chicken as will fit in your basket but don’t crowd the pieces.  You want the air to flow around the pieces so they all cook evenly.  My quarters were large, so I cooked 3 at a time.
  5. Set your air fryer to 375° F and set your timer according to what pieces you are cooking (except where noted, all assume your chicken has bones/skin):  Leg Quarters 25 – 30 Minutes – Cook to 165° F to 180° F in the thickest part of the thigh.  Time will be solely based on the size/thickness of your pieces.  Cooking to a higher temp breaks down the fibers of the tougher thigh meat and gives you a more tender result.  Breasts: 22 to 25 Minutes – Cook to 165° F in the thickest part of the breast.  Boneless Chicken Tenders:  12-16 Minutes – Cook to 165° F in the thickest part.
  6. Using tongs, turn your chicken pieces over 15 minutes into cooking so that your chicken gets evenly browned.  Turn tenders over 1/2 way through your cooking time.
  7. When your chicken has reached the desired temperature, remove from the air fryer, set on a cooling rack (or your plate if your serving right away) and repeat the steps with your remaining chicken.

Nutrition Information & Comparison to Traditionally Fried Chicken (1 Leg/Thigh Quarter)

  • Air Fried:  290 Calories     Deep Fried: 1262 Calories (972 Less)
  • Air Fried:  5 g Fat     Deep Fried:  85 g Fat (80 g Less)
  • Air Fried:  7 g Carbs     Deep Fried: 56 g Carbs (49 g Less)
  • Air Fried:  23 g Protein     Deep Fried: 66 g Protein (43 g Less)

What you give up in apples to apples crispiness, you more than make up in the health benefits of converting this to a Keto Air Fried recipe!

Quick & Tasty Breakfast Sandwich

eggswservedOn days like today, when I can have a breakfast that isn’t on the run, I love making a fried egg sandwich.  That I can choose between using olive oil spray and butter, depending on my fat needs for the day, to make it #KetoPerfect, makes me even happier!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Quick & Tasty Keto Breakfast Sandwich

  • 2 Slices Sola Sweet Oat Bread
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Slice Cheese ( I used Colby Jack)
  • EITHER 1 TBLS Butter (divided) OR Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Heat your pan over a medium flame/setting.  Either spray with a shot of olive oil spray or drop about 1/4 of your butter into the center of the pan.  Crack your egg into a cup or ramekin so you can control the size of your egg in the pan.

Put your bread in the toaster and toast to desired degree of doneness.

eggUsing a spoon to control flow, add most of your egg white to the pan until and let it cook until a solid base starts to form (about 30 seconds).  Then, using your spoon to make sure you keep your yolk centered, add the rest of your egg on top of the set white in the pan.  Cook about 2 minutes and gently turn your egg.  Place your slice of cheese on top of the egg.  Cook another 30 – 45 seconds for a perfect Over-Medium.

Either spread your remaining butter between your slices of toasted bread or give each piece a quick spritz of olive oil cooking spray.  Slide or gently move your egg with a spatula, out of the pan and onto your toast.

openfaceIf desired you can add warmed ham, bacon, or Canadian bacon if you have some pre-made.

Nutrition Information (Serves 1)

  • 290 Calories (made w/olive oil spray)     392 Calories (made w/butter)
  • 20 g Fat (made w/olive oil spray)     31.52 g Fat (made w/butter)
  • 6 g Carbs
  • 21 g Protein

Angel Food Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Admittedly I prefer cooking meals to baking any day!  My desserts are never pretty. 😐  Regardless, I bit the bullet today and prepared to make something to take to a 4th of July BBQ tomorrow.  I thought about cookies, but wasn’t in the mood for something so labor intensive, then came upon a long forgotten boxed angel food cake mix in my cupboard.  The “best by” date had admittedly passed, but since the only added ingredient was water, I decided to give it a shot… #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Angel Food Cupcakes

  • 1 Box Betty Crocker Angel Food Cake Mix
  • 1+1/4 Cups Water

Add water to cake mix in metal or glass bowl and mix on low 30 seconds then medium for 1 minute.  Divide batter between 24 paper lined cupcake pan holes and put pans into a preheated 375° F oven.  Bake for 18 minutes, or until tops are browned and not sticky to the touch.  Remove from oven when done baking and cool on wire racks until ready to frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 Ounces Cream Cheese
  • 12 TBLS (3/4 Cup) Room Temperature Butter
  • 1+1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 4+1/2 Cups Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar

Put butter, vanilla, and cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat on medium speed until well combined.  Reduce speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated then turn speed to medium and whip until frosting is light and fluffy.

Frost each of the cupcakes & enjoy!  Keep in refrigerator.

Nutrition Information (24 Servings)

  • 236 Calories:  70 Calories (Cupcake)     166 Calories (Frosting)
  • 8.28 g Fat (All from the Frosting)
  • 38 g Carbs:  16 g Carbs (Cupcake)     22 g Carbs (Frosting)
  • 2 g Protein:  1.5 g Protein (Cupcake)     .65 g Protein (Frosting)