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

Protein Packed Meatballs

proteinpackedmeatballs

I am guilty of not getting enough protein in my diet and need to take every chance I can to pack extra grams in where I can.  These #KetoFriendly meatballs can be served as an appetizer, between meal snack, light lunch main with a salad or vegetables, or even added to a sauce with zoodles for a perfect #KetoMeal.  Of course, if you aren’t Keto, feel free to add them to any rice, potato, or pasta dish you choose!

Protein Packed Meatballs

Combine everything except the ground beef in the container for your blender, food processor, or Vitamix.  Set your speed to the lowest, or start with a pulse, to begin chopping your spinach up.  Once the spinach is broken down, turn the speed up to medium to make sure your ingredients are combined but not liquified.  It should only take about 15 – 20 seconds.

Put your ground beef into a medium mixing bowl and pour/scrape the blender contents on top.  I put on rubber gloves at this point and use my hands to mix everything thoroughly.

Give the bottom of the basket of your air fryer a very light, quick spritz with olive oil spray.  Roll balls with about 1 TBLS of the meat mixture (doesn’t have to be exact) and set them into your air fryer basket.  Leave a bit of space between them, you want the air to circulate around them so they cook evenly.

When you’ve filled your basket with 12-15 about 1″ meatballs (that’s how many fit in my Dash Deluxe 6 Qt Air Fryer basket), set your timer for 9 minutes at 375° F.

Shake your basket at about 6 minutes to make sure the bottoms release and get browned.  When they’re lightly browned all over, remove them from the basket and cook the rest of the meatballs.  You should end up with about 30.

If desired, serve with your favorite low-carb / sugar free marinara sauce.  Some good ones are Rao’s, Newman’s Own and Yo Mama’s.  You can see all of them (and their nutrition information) at this link#ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 5 Meatballs)

  • 231 Calories
  • 15 g Fat
  • <1 g Carbs
  • 18 g Protein

 

Keto Friendly Anytime Smoothie

AnytimeSmoothieDeciding how you spend your carb allowance, when you are following a #KetoLifestyle, presents you with many options, depending on what stage of Keto you are at.  When you are in your induction and weight loss phase, smoothies are generally not the way to spend your day’s allotted carbohydrates, but this one tops out at 9 Net Carbs so it can be included from day 1.  This light and frothy smoothie a great #PickMeUp for that late afternoon slump plus it gives you a big protein, vitamin and fiber boost without piling on the calories.

Once you’ve hit maintenance phase smoothies packed with a higher berry to spinach ratio are a great way to get your fruits and veggies in with relatively little impact on your carb count.

Keto Friendly Anytime Smoothie

  • 1 Cup Cold Water
  • 1 Cup Halved Strawberries
  • 2 Cups (packed) Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 Scoop No Carb Protein Powder (I use Isopure Zero Carb Creamy Vanilla)
  • 1 Cup Ice Cubes

Starting with your water, put all of your ingredients, except your ice, into your blender or Vitamix.  If you have a smoothie setting, like I do on my Vitamix, include the ice, switch to that mode and hit start.  Your Vitamix will stop when it’s ready.  Otherwise, start on a low setting until ingredients are combined then turn your machine up to medium high and blend until smooth.  Without turning your machine off, Open your ingredient addition port (hole in top of blender lid) and add in the ice until desired consistency.

Nutrition Information (Serves 1)

  • 162 Calories
  • 0 g Fat
  • 8 g Carbohydrates
  • 28 g Protein

Cheesy Keto Cauli-Grits

I like a big breakfast and thought that living a Keto Lifestyle limited my breakfast choices.  A little experimentation corrected that notion.

1

Truth be told, I failed miserably on my first attempt at this recipe.  I envisioned a perfectly browned patty that resembled hash browns on the outside but inside had the creamy deliciousness of cheesy grits.  Not so much.  The ingredients were fine, it was that I thought using a lightly oiled cast iron pan would give me the results I wanted.  Instead I ended up with a burned mess that was impossible to turn.  Strike One!

The second attempt though nailed it!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Cheesy Keto Cauli-Grits

  • 2 Cups Shredded Cauliflower
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt

Tip:  I used my Vitamix to pulse the cauliflower down to rice sized crumbles.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a food processor, blender, or Vitamix, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, salt & pepper, and cauliflower.  Process until combined but not completely smooth.

Scoop the mixture (about 1/4 cup) into mounds about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.  Lightly press each mound down to about 1/2″ thickness.

Bake in 350° oven for 18-20 minutes, or until tops turn golden brown.  Remove from oven and leave on baking sheet to cool for 5 minutes.

Serve alongside scrambled eggs and bacon for a perfect Keto breakfast, or alongside beef, chicken, or fish for a perfect dinner side dish.

Nutrition Information per Patty (8 Servings)

  • 83.25 Calories
  • 7.2 g Fat
  • 1 g Carbs
  • 3.32 g Protein

22 Minute Chicken Schwarma

Earlier today I posted recipes for #KetoFlatbread and Lemon Tahini Sauce.  Now, thanks to this #HowToVideo, here’s something to top your Keto flatbread with! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

22 Minute Chicken Schwarma

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 4 Keto Flatbreads
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1/2 large English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/4″-thick half-moons (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 3/4 cup small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (about 5 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne, cinnamon, 2 Tbsp. oil, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, 12–15 minutes; wrap pitas in foil and warm in oven during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  2. Toss cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in another medium bowl.
  3. Thinly slice chicken. Place 1 warmed Keto Flatbread on each plate and top evenly with chicken and tomato-cucumber salad. Drizzle each Keto Flatbread with 2 Tbsp. Lemon Tahini Sauce; top with dill and mint. Serve remaining Lemon Tahini Sauce alongside.

Keto Flatbread & Lemon Tahini Sauce

My next post is going to be for Chicken Shawarma, but I was really sad that, in order to really enjoy it I’d need to cheat with a high carb Pita and Tahini sauce.

After doing some research and taking a couple of tries in the kitchen though, I discovered that making an acceptable Keto flatbread to host the deliciousness of the flavorful chicken dish, kebabs, or any other Middle Eastern delicacy isn’t that hard at all!

flatbread

Keto Flatbread

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 Cups (6 oz) Shredded Full Fat Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1+1/2 Cups Finely Ground Almond Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until they are light and frothy then add the salt and baking powder in, making sure to mix well.  Mix the mozzarella in with a spatula.  Add in the almond flour and mix everything well.

Wearing rubber prep gloves, put some oil on your hands and continue mixing with your hands, then separate the dough in 5 equal balls.   Flatten each section of dough into a disc and spread them out on a piece of parchment paper.  Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the flattened discs.

Use a rolling pin to flatten each disc further until they are about 5-6 inches in diameter.

Transfer the dough and bottom piece of parchment to a sheet tray, sprinkle with dried thyme, and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  When the flat breads have finished cooking, remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool.

TIP:  Flatbread will keep 3-4 days in the refrigerator in a zip bag, or can be frozen for 3 months.

lemontahini

Lemon Tahini Sauce

  • 1/3 Cup Sesame Tahini – I use Kevala Organic Sesame Tahini
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Crushed (2 tsp jarred crushed garlic)
  • Juice of 1 Medium Lemon
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • Ice Water
  • 1 tsp Freshly Chopped Parsley

Put garlic in a small bowl and cover with the juice of 1 lemon.

Let sit for 5-15 minutes until the raw flavor of the garlic goes away.  Add the tahini to a blender or small food processor, or use a handheld immersion bender in a tall and narrow jar.

Add the garlic/lemon juice blend, the parsley, and the salt, and blend for a few seconds.  Add some ice water(about 2-4 tablespoons) while blending and keep going until the texture is smooth and creamy.  If you need to add more water, do so. If the tahini gets too loose, add more tahini.  Check the seasoning and put in the refrigerator in a sealed container until needed.

The tahini sauce will last for 5 days in the refrigerator but can’t be frozen.

Use the flatbread as your base to build your kebab or Schwarma plate and dress with the tahini sauce.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Thai Street Chicken

thaistreetchickenKeith Schroeder of Cooking Light Magazine wrote a book, and received a James Beard Foundation Focus on Health Book Award, Mad Delicious – The Science of Making Healthy Food Taste Amazing!, in 2014 that doesn’t just talk about the what and how of cooking great meals, but also the why.  This recipe is one that was featured in both his book and the magazine, and perfectly illustrates why guests at his table love every dish this Atlanta chef prepares!

If you replace the brown sugar with Sukrin Gold, this recipe can easily become a flavorful, Keto Friendly meal.

Thai Street Chicken

  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro Stems
  • 1/2 Cup Parsley Stems
  • 1 TBLS Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp White Pepper
  • 2 TBLS Fish Sauce
  • 1 TBLS Oyster Sauce
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves (I use 4 tsp of jarred, crushed garlic)
  • 1 + 1/2 Pounds Boneless/Skinless Chicken Thighs (About 6)
  • Olive Oil Cooking SPray
  • 1 Cup Julienned Carrots
  • 2 Peeled/Scored/Sliced Cucumbers
  • 12 Sprigs Fresh Cilantro
  • 2 Limes Cut into Wedges

Put the parsley & cilantro stems into a gallon sized zip bag and, using a rolling pin or can of vegetables, bruise the stems by pushing down and rolling over the stems from outside the bag.  Add the brown sugar (or brown sugar alternative), the white pepper, the fish and oyster sauces, and the garlic and combine.  Add the chicken, zip the bag closed, and massage the marinade into the thighs.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the dipping sauce.

Thai Dipping Sauce

  • 6 TBLS White Vinegar
  • 6 TBLS Brown Sugar (or Brown Sugar Alternative)
  • 1/4 Cup Shaved Shallots
  • 4 TBLS Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce
  • 2 Minced Thai Bird Chiles
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Crushed (1 tsp jarred crushed garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper

In small saucepan, over medium heat, bring the vinegar, sugar and shallots to a boil.  Simmer for another 10 minutes then remove from heat.  Puree with an immersion blender (or in a blender).

Cool and then stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, chiles, garlic and white pepper.

After 30 minutes, removed the marinated chicken from the zip bag and discard the remaining marinade.  Put the chicken thighs on metal skewers.  Make sure your chicken is long and flat, you don’t want cubes with this style chicken.

Heat an oven safe (if cooking in your oven) grill pan, sprayed with Olive Oil cooking spray, over medium-high heat (or in a 300° oven).

Place the skewers on the hot grill and cook for 15 minutes.  Flip the skewers over and cook another 15 minutes.  You should be able to easily pull off a cooked piece of the chicken when it’s done.  Remove the skewers from the heat, slide the chicken off of the skewers and place on one side of a platter to rest for 10 minutes.

On the other side of the patter, in rows, line up the carrots, cucumber, cilantro springs, and lime wedges.  Serve with the dipping sauce.