When is it OK to Eat Food With Mold On It?

In this season of food gifts and party leftovers, this article, previously published by My Recipes, is particularly important and worth sharing & re-sharing. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

“We’ve all let something languish in the fridge a bit longer than we realized. It’s not unreasonable to look at a single patch of mold on a strawberry and wonder if the whole lot has to be tossed. But what about a block of cheese with a quarter-sized fuzzy spot? Is that safe to trim and eat? Or does it have to go, too?

Fortunately, this handy guide from the U.S. Department of Agriculture can have the final say on what stays and what goes when you spot mold on your food.

4 Moldy Foods You Can Eat:

Hard salami or dry-cured country ham

It’s A-OK for hard salamis to have a thin white coating on the outside of the meat. This mold is put there on purpose: to produce flavor and protect the cured meat from bacteria. It’s safe to consume, as is any mold that grows on dry-cured country ham. Large slabs of the super salty pork are often used in restaurants as part decor, part conversation starter (and also a tangy topper to everything from pasta to avocado toast). If you buy one of these delicacies, don’t fear a little mold growth on the crust. Scrub it off (be sure to dry the ham well) before eating. 

Cheeses made with mold

The mold in blue, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Brie, and Camembert is to be expected. After all, these cheeses are injected with mold before they ripen—that’s why they’re so funky and delicious. But not all molds are made to eat, so you can’t assume all molds on cheese get the approval. Hard cheeses, like Gorgonzola and Stilton, aren’t harmed by a little extra mold. Cut the spot away—half an inch to one inch all the way around—and enjoy. Softer cheeses, like Brie and Camembert, have to go if you spot mold growing on them. The fingerlike organisms of mold can reach deep into these softer cheeses and may develop into toxic substances.

Hard cheeses

Even cheeses that aren’t made with mold veins are safe to eat if you spot a speck of mold growing on them. Cheddar, for example, just requires you to trim an inch around the moldy spot (some experts argue you only need a half-inch buffer; do what feels safest for you) and toss that before diving in. Be sure to use a clean knife, and keep the blade away from the mold to prevent cross-contamination. When you’re finished slicing for your sandwich or burger, be sure to rewrap the cheese in a fresh covering so you don’t reinfect with mold spores.

Firm fruits and vegetables

Tough vegetables and fruit, like carrots, potatoes, and turnips can take the mold in stride. The mold threads have a hard time penetrating deep into these dense plant foods. Trim off an inch around the mold, and eat or cook as you planned. Softer fruits and vegetables, like cherries, strawberries, and corn, should be tossed. Mold can easily spread to nearby areas, even if you can’t see the spores with your naked eye.

When can molds be toxic? 

All molds can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems. That doesn’t mean they’re toxic. However, in the right conditions, some molds can turn into mycotoxins, poisonous substances that can make people physically sick. These substances are produced by certain molds that are most commonly found in grain and nut crops. However, they’ve also been known to show up in apples, grape juice, celery, and other fresh produce. That’s why, when in doubt, throw the moldy foods out.

Which moldy foods should I always toss? 

The USDA says these foods are no good when you spot mold. Their high moisture content or porous nature makes them prime for rapid mold development. Don’t risk getting sick just to finish up Tuesday night’s pot roast. Toss it, and fry up a grilled cheese instead.

Foods you should always toss:

  • Luncheon meats, bacon, and hot dogs
  • Cooked leftover meat and poultry
  • Cooked casseroles
  • Cooked grains and pasta
  • Soft cheeses, like cottage cheese, chevre, cream cheese, and Neufchatel
  • Yogurt and sour cream
  • Jams and jellies — Mycotoxins can spread in these foods easily, so it’s not enough to scoop out a mold part and keep going deeper into the jar.l
  • Soft fruits and vegetables — They’re porous, which means mold can spread rapidly, even if you can’t spot the spores.
  • Baked goods and bread
  • Peanut butter, legumes, and nuts — Any foods processed without preservatives are at a high risk of developing mold spores. Be extra cautious and keep them stored appropriately.”

Low Carb Fruits & Veggies

#ThisGirlLovesToEat

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

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.

Broiled Flat Iron Steak

broiledflatironsteakWhen I’m meal prepping, I like to multi-task.  Often I have something in the air fryer, the pressure cooker, in the oven, and even in the broiler simultaneously.  It’s easy to do that when you pre-plan your meals and know your timeline.

I love this marinade for flat iron steak (or any cut of beef) because it allows me to do other dishes while the meat sits in the bag to absorb all of the flavors for four hours.  If you marinate the steak while you’re at work during the day, you’ll be ready to have a great meal on the table for your family in under 30 minutes.  Steam a package of vegetables in the microwave and it’s a simple clean up as well!

Broiled Flat Iron Steak

  • 2 Pounds Flat Iron Steak
  • 2/3 Cup Red Wine (I used full-bodied Westerly Merlot)
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 4 Cloves Crushed Garlic
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a gallon sized zip bag then add the raw steak to the bag.  Push out as much air as you can then zip the bag closed.  Place the bag in the refrigerator and allow the meat to marinate for 4-6 hours.

Set the oven temperature to broil.

Line a broiler pan with foil and top with either the broiler pan top or a roasting rack if one fits on top of your pan.  My oven is a Kitchen Aid and didn’t come with a broiler pan.  There was an option to order one by mail or $49 + Tax and shipping.  I searched the part number on Amazon and found it (with the included roasting rack) for $34.51 + free shipping!  I use it all the time!

When oven has reached it’s temperature, place the pan under the broiler and cook for 6-8 minutes per side.  If you have a nice thick piece of steak you should get a medium end result.  Adjust your time up or down to fit your desired degree of doneness.

For most tender result, slice diagonally across the grain.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information (8 – four ounce servings)

  • 331 Calories
  • 26 g Fat
  • 3 g Carbs
  • 21 g Protein

Amazing Lemon Everything Sauce

There’s no way around it, when you are dieting or following a low carb lifestyle, you will get tired of the same old, go-to, chicken or fish recipes.  It’s inevitable.  You can avoid this by keeping a stockpile of flavorful sauces to change up your routine.  This lemon sauce is one I’ve used forever!  It found it in the November 2014 edition of Cooking Light Magazine, and it’s a perfect solution to chicken burn out!  This sauce is so versatile that you can spoon it over any style chicken or fish, use it on veggie kebabs, drizzle it over a pile of zoodles, sauteed or steamed asparagus, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, or even dip luscious steamed artichoke leaves in it!

Amazing Lemon Sauce

  • 2 Cups Unsalted Chicken Stocklemoneverythingsauce
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 2 TBLS Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 + 1/2 TBLS Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil

Heat the chicken stock over medium-high heat in a heavy, medium saucepan to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around the edge. Do not boil.  Once you reach the tiny bubble stage, turn the heat down as low as you can.

Combine the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment.  Beat on medium until the eggs are frothy and lighter in color.  If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a hand blender or whisk by hand in a medium bowl or use your Vitamix or blender.

Slowly add about a cup of the hot chicken stock into the egg mixture 1/4 cup at a time, while stirring on low speed, or lightly by hand, constantly with a whisk.

Once you’ve mixed the cup of stock in, add the egg, lemon, and stock mixture back to the pot, stirring to combine.  Warm the sauce gently, until it thickens enough to a spoon. Turn off the heat.

Whisk in the olive oil to finish and serve warm over your favorite meat, fish or vegetables.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information (per 2 TBLS)

  • 19 Calories
  • 1.4 g Fat
  • 1.5 g Protein
  • <1 g Carbs
  • 28 mg Cholesterol
  • 84 g Sodium
  • 5 mg Calcium

Air Fryer Chicken Kebabs

chickenonrachOne way to meal prep for the week is to do kebabs in the air fryer.  Not only is it fast, but it’s a perfect way to measure out exactly what you’re eating.  Today I made chicken kebabs and put them together with 3 different sides for 3 different healthy meals this week.  These can easily be laid atop a bed of fresh spinach topped with olive oil and salt & pepper, beside a green salad, or on a mound of cauliflower mash.  Except for needing to remove and heat the kebabs separately with the salad, it’s a quick & easy minute in the microwave for a hearty weekday lunch or dinner.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Air Fryer Chicken Kebabs

  • 1 – 12 oz Chicken Breast, Trimmed (I used chicken breast fillets)
  • 1 Medium Zucchini, Cut into 1/2″ Slices
  • 18 Plum or Cherry Tomatoes
  • 6 Bamboo Skewers or metal skewers supplied with rack
  • 3 TBLS Low Carb BBQ Sauce

Cut the skewers (if using bamboo skewers & necessary) with a pair of kitchen shears, down to just short of the length of your Air Fryer Tray.  Soak the skewers in water for 10-15 minutes.

Cut your chicken into about 1″ Chunks and toss in 3 TBLS low carb BBQ sauce.

Thread each skewer with 3 slices Zucchini (About 1 oz), 3 plum or cherry tomatoes, 2 oz chicken breast cut into 4 chunks.  Start and end with a piece of zucchini for stability and alternate pieces of chicken and cherry tomato with a piece of zucchini in the middle.

If you have a rack for your air fryer (for holding skewers), place as many skewers as will fit without crowding (mine holds 3).  Cook for 9-10 minutes at 350° F then remove cooked skewers and finish cooking the rest.  Brush with more BBQ if desired.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 2 Skewers)

  • 166  Calories
  • 1.2 g  Fat
  • 10 g  Carbs
  • 28 g  Protein

Skip the Take-Out Beef & Broccoli

Clean eating isn’t hard if you put a little thought into it.  I love Chinese take-out but hate all of the carb-heavy thickeners and calorie bomb, sugary sauces that are used in restaurant fare.  A few tweaks, and a little make-ahead prep, lets me put this weeknight staple on the table in under 15 minutes after work!  The substitutions I made are also #KetoFriendly, which is something this busy Keto girl definitely loves. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

BeefAndBroccoli

Keto Beef & Broccoli

  • 3 TBLS Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil (I used garlic infused)
  • 2 TBLS Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 2 TBLS Clam Juice
  • 1 TBLS Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Freshly Grated Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients EXCEPT the Xanthan gum and set aside.

  • 1 Pound Lean Beef Sirloin, Boneless Ribeye, Flat Iron, or Flank Steak, sliced very thinly across the grain
  • 2 Cups Broccoli Florets
  • 1 TLS Olive Oil
  • 2 Crushed Garlic Cloves (I use 2 tsp jarred crushed garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 TBLS Sliced Green Onions  (Scallions)
  • 2 TBLS Sliced Almonds (if desired)
  • 1 TBLS Toasted Sesame Seeds (if desired)

Put the sliced beef and 1/3 of the marinade in a quart sized zip bag, seal and put in the refrigerator to marinate for 4-6 hours (while your’re at work all day) or overnight.

Do ahead tip:  Stir fry the broccoli until it’s just crisp-tender (3-4 minutes) in 1 – 2 TBLS olive oil over medium-high heat, then remove from pan to a large zip bag or covered bowl and put in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to assemble your dish, using a large skillet, (I use my 4.5 quart high sided Dutch oven) heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Discard the marinade and place the beef into your pan.  If you’ve sliced your beef nice and thin, it should take only 2-3 minutes per side to brown.  Remove the beef to the bowl with the broccoli and add the reserved 2/3 marinade, salt & pepper to the pan.  Cook for about 2 minutes then stir the Xanthan Gum into the sauce.  Cook another minute or two, or until the sauce has thickened to a desired consistency and add the meat & broccoli back to the pan to coat in the sauce and warm through.  Add the Green Onions in the last few seconds of cooking.

Serve over cooked cauliflower rice and top with sliced almonds & toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Nutrition Information (Serves 6)

  • 203 Calories
  • 14 g Fat
  • 1.3 g Carbs
  • 15.5 g Protein

Coconut Lime Cauliflower Rice

Lime-Coconut-Cauliflower-Rice

A new spin on a Keto staple.

This recipe is so versatile that it could be:

 

  • A side dish for chicken, seafood, beef, pork, or grilled vegetables
  • A base layer for a sweet flavored (like Keto Sweet & Sour Chicken) Asian inspired main dish bowl
  • A bed for kebabs
  • A layer in a cold chicken salad
  • A taco or burrito ingredient, or even
  • Chilled and served as a “rice pudding” type dessert.

Tip:  This dish is better a day (or at least a few hours) after it’s been made and refrigerated, then reheated.

Coconut Lime Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 TBLS Butter
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Crushed into a Paste (I use jarred, crushed garlic)
  • 1 Medium-Large Head Cauliflower, Riced (About 6 Cups)
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Lite Coconut Milk
  • 1 TBLS Lime Juice
  • Zest from 1 Lime

Heat the butter and garlic in a skillet over medium heat.

Steam the riced cauliflower in a microwave steamer for 3 minutes.  Add the cauliflower rice to the skillet, sprinkle with salt and cook for 2 minutes before adding in the coconut milk and lime juice. Cook the rice for 8 minutes stirring frequently until the rice has completely softened and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Sprinkle the rice with lime zest before serving.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information per serving – 6 Servings

  • 68 Calories
  • 2.5 g Fat
  • 6 g Carbohydrates
  • 2 g Protein