Banana Muffin Tops

muffintops2I’m in the maintenance phase of Keto, where I have more leeway with the number of carbs I’m eating, which makes me a lot happier.  I’ve missed bread & pizza the most, but don’t want to completely erase my positive health gains by going back to high carbohydrate baked goods.  That leaves me few choices because, frankly, I have been very unimpressed with #KetoApproved recipes for breads.  It’s been really frustrating.

I’m stubborn though, so I keep trying.  I am still working to modify my recipes to create  #KetoFriendly baked goods that don’t taste like cardboard, have a too-dense, unenjoyable texture, and that I’d want to eat more than once.  This one was a win!

Banana Muffin Tops

  • 1 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats (they’re Gluten Free)
  • 1/2 Cup Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Liquid Stevia
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 2 Medium Ripe Bananas (6″-7″), mashed
  • Chopped Macadamia Nuts, Walnuts, Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Chips, Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350° F and lightly spray a baking sheet or muffin top pan with cooking spray (TIP: Don’t use an Olive Oil based spray – it will change the flavor of your muffin tops).

Combine oats, flax seed, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, lightly beat the eggs, then mix in vanilla, stevia, milk, and mashed bananas.  (TIP:  If you are adding unsweetened coconut to your muffin tops, add it into the wet mixture)  Leave mixer on low and slowly add dry ingredients until well combined.  Let the batter sit for 5 minutes.

If you are using a muffin top pan: Divide the batter equally between 12 top-cups.  Make sure you mound the batter – don’t smooth the batter flat. (TIP:  If you are adding nuts or chocolate chips, etc., to your muffin tops, gently press those items on top of your mounded batter)  Bake for 20 minutes and allow to sit in the pan to cool for 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

If you are using a cookie sheet: Divide the batter into 6 equal mounds per sheet remembering not to smooth the batter flat.  Tops will spread a little bit, so space them out on the baking sheet.  Bake for 18 – 20 minutes and allow to sit on the pan to cool for 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

Store the muffin tops in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.  These are great plain, but you can also spread peanut butter or cream cheese on them for an extra decadent treat.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Pizza Egg Cups

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I love bacon, but this #KetoGirl needs to switch things up once and a while to avoid breakfast boredom.  Enter pepperoni and breakfast is a whole new ballgame.

These are easy to prepare and a nice change from routine bacon and egg cups!  I only make a few at a time because they are a stronger flavor that I don’t really want to eat for breakfast every day during the week.  When I make these I change up breakfast with hard boiled eggs, berries and fat-free Greek yogurt, a 2 egg-veggie scramble, or breakfast pizzas.

Pepperoni Pizza Egg Cups

  • 12 Slices Unsulphured Deli Pepperoni, cut in half (I buy a pound at a time from the butcher at Whole Foods)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 TBLS Milk or Heavy Cream
  • 1 Slice Provolone Cheese, cut in quarters
  • 1 TBLS Diced Green Onion
  • 2 TBLS Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Line 4 cups in a 12 hole muffin tin with the pieces of pepperoni.  Place the muffin tin in the oven and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove pan from the oven and move the semi formed pepperoni cups to new holes.  Sop up the grease from the holes they cooked in.

Place one 1/4 piece of the cheese within each pepperoni cup and the green onion between the 4 cups.  Put the pan back into the oven for 3 minutes.

Lightly beat the eggs with the milk and divide them between the 4 cups.  Sprinkle the top of each with the cheddar cheese.  Bake for an additional 9 – 10 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through, and then remove from the oven.

Immediately loosen and remove the egg cups from the pan.  Serve immediately or store in a tightly covered container.  Reheat in microwave for 30-45 seconds.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Air Fried Coconut Shrimp

You might be able to tell I’m obsessed with my air fryer.  It’s so stinkin’ easy to use, clean up, and it’s great for healthy cooking!  The best part of having the air fryer is that the possibilities with it are endless.  All I’ve had to do so far is go to Google for recipe inspiration.  Today’s ingredient: raw shrimp.

airfriedcoconutshrimp

Coconut Shrimp with Honey Lime Sauce

  • 1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 1+1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Large Eggs (I use Eggland’s Best)
  • 2/3 Cup Unsweetened Flaked Coconut
  • 1/3 Cup Panko Crumbs
  • 24 Medium Peeled, Deveined Raw Shrimp, Tail-on
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
  • 1 Serrano Chile, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp Chopped Fresh Cilantro (Optional)

Stir together flour and pepper in a shallow dish.  Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow dish.  Stir together coconut and Panko in a third shallow dish.  Holding each shrimp by the tail, dredge shrimp in flour mixture, making sure not to coat tail; shake off excess.  Dip in egg, allowing any excess to drip off.  Dredge in coconut mixture, pressing to adhere.  Coat shrimp well with cooking spray.

Place half of the shrimp in air fryer basket in a single layer, and cook at 400°F until golden, 6 to 8 minutes, turning shrimp over halfway through cooking.  If you have larger shrimp it may take up to 10 minutes.  Season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.  Repeat with remaining shrimp and salt.

While shrimp cook, whisk together honey, lime juice, and Serrano chile in small bowl. Sprinkle shrimp with cilantro, if desired.  Serve with sauce.  Note: If you are keeping to a Keto lifestyle, skip the honey based sauce and just squeeze a bit of lime juice on instead.

Serving size 6 shrimp.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information per serving (Shrimp only – no sauce):  Calories 213  Fat 11  CarbsProtein 14

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Cooking Frozen Chicken Breasts

airfriedchickenSometimes, when you haven’t planned ahead, you get backed into a corner trying to make dinner with no thawed meat.  If you have a bag of #FlashFrozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts in your freezer, you don’t have to #ThrowInTheTowel and call for a pizza.  With your air fryer you can still salvage a quick and healthy dinner and look like you planned it all along.

Usually air frying thawed boneless chicken breasts at 375° F, takes about 13 minutes.  When they are frozen I kick the temperature up and add 6 to 12 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the breasts.

4 breasts fit in my Dash 6 quart air fryer, so I place them into the basket, set my temperature to 400° F and set the timer for 18 minutes. 

Open the fryer at about 8 minutes to turn the breasts over (for even browning) and continue cooking.  Check each chicken breast at about 14 minutes, by slicing into the thickest part of the breast, in order to ensure that is well-done.  Mine weren’t quite done at 14 minutes, so I added another 4 minutes and they came out perfectly browned, juicy and ready to decide what to do with them.

I can shred the breasts and turn them into #ChickenTacos,  cut the breasts into strips to top a #ChickenSalad, cut them into chunks and toss with some Buffalo sauce to eat as a snack, leave the breasts whole to serve alongside some vegetables for a healthy, low carb dinner, or leave them whole and make a #ChickenSandwich on grilled sourdough or a hamburger bun.  Once the chicken is cooked, you’re limited only by what other ingredients you have on hand. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Ham Wrapped Asparagus

asparaguswithhamaf2Talking to friends, I have heard a lot of them losing hope as the months of their dieting, and slow movements on the scale, drag on.  They’re getting bored with the foods they’re eating, or hate the foods that are promised to be the biggest help in losing weight, particularly eggs, on the #KetoDiet.  As one who suffers occasional food boredom as well, I’ve been sharing some of my favorite #MakeAhead snacks and #GrabAndGo meals that make me less tempted to cheat.

Air Fryer Ham Wrapped Asparagus

  • 8 Spears Fresh Asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • 4 Large Thin Slices Ham, sliced in half (I use Columbus Brand Apple wood Smoked Ham)
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • Freshly Ground Salt & Pepper
  1. Lay asparagus spears in the basket of your air fryer and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray.  Shake the spears in the basket to make sure the spears are coated.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and shake again before closing the air fryer.
  3. Cook spears for 3 minutes at 400° F, and remove from basket.
  4. Wrap each spear of asparagus with 1/2 piece of ham.
  5. Place back in basket, seam side down and lightly spray again with olive oil spray.
  6. Cook another 5-7 minutes at 400° F, shaking once in the middle of the time, until ham is lightly browned.
  7. Remove spears from basket and serve warm with grained mustard, if desired.

This is a great appetizer, light lunch, or even breakfast.  I love to make some of these and put them into the refrigerator to pack for a midday snack at the office!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

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Changing over to a Keto focused diet has meant embracing some foods that I wasn’t a fan of out of necessity, like cauliflower.  But, not having been a prior fan of anything cauliflower related, it’s been a journey making cauliflower my friend.

To be completely honest, without mass quantities of Frank’s Red Hot, Butter, Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning, Pesto Sauce, Cheese Sauce or any version of Queso, and plain old Salt & Pepper, I would likely still be struggling with it…

I’ve had buffalo cauliflower at restaurants but never been able to replicate it at home using my oven. It has either come out overcooked or soggy.  Major fail!  Now that I have jumped on the #Airfryer bandwagon, I have finally managed to create a recipe at home that I’d actually serve people I like. 😉

Air Fried Buffalo Caulifower Bites

  • Medium Head Cauliflower OR 1 Bag Fresh Cauliflower Florets
  • 2 tsp Dried Cilantro
  • 2 TBLS (or more to taste) Frank’s Red Hot or other Hot Sauce
  • 2 TBLS Butter, melted

Either cut the head of cauliflower into florets or empty your bag into a medium sized bowl.  Sprinkle the cilantro over the cauliflower and stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it’s evenly distributed.

Mix the Franks (or other hot sauce) and butter until well combined and pour over the cauliflower.  Toss to coat the cauliflower.

Spray or brush the basket of your air fryer with olive oil.

Pour the cauliflower into the basket and close the drawer of the air fryer.  Set to 400° F and set the timer to cook for 18-20 minutes, depending on how much cauliflower you have.  Shake your basket every 4 minutes.  If, at the end of your cooking time your cauliflower isn’t as browned as you want it (I like mine to be browned at the edges), add some more time in increments of 2 minutes.

Serve with low carb ranch dressing and carrot & celery sticks if desired.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Air Fried Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

buffalochickenmeatballs2After my first Dash Air Fryer test with the avocado fries didn’t bomb, I moved on to the scary territory of chicken.  Chicken can be hard to cook because you need to monitor the temperature very closely.  It has to be cooked enough so you don’t get sick, but if you cook it too much it turns into a rubbery or dry mess.  The out of sight, cook in a drawer without benefit of monitoring with a meat thermometer, method was a little bit daunting.  It turns out I had no reason to fear.

 Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

  • 1+1/2 Pounds Ground Chicken Thigh
  • 1 Egg beaten
  • 1 Green Onion chopped
  • 1 Stalk Celery, finely chopped
  • 2 +1/2 TBLS Almond Flour (not finely ground)
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper.
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 – 1+1/2 Cups Buffalo Wing Sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot)

Layout a sheet of waxed paper on your counter.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, minus the buffalo sauce.  Mix well using your hands.  Mixture will be sticky, I wear disposable gloves.

Roll mixture into about 2″ balls and layout on the wax paper until all of the meat is formed into balls.

Remove the air fryer basket and grease or spray it lightly with olive oil.  Place a single layer of the meatballs into the basket, put it into the air fryer, set the temperature to 400° F and cook for 13 minutes.  When cooking is complete check your meatballs to make sure they are evenly browned all the way around.  If they aren’t, add another 2 minutes time and finish cooking the meatballs.

buffalochickenmeatballs

When time is done, immediately remove the meatballs from the basket to a serving dish and drizzle with the sauce or put the meatballs into a bowl with a lid and toss the meatballs with the sauce to cover them completely in the sauce.  Serve with low carb ranch dressing and carrot & celery sticks if desired.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat