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

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. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

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 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.

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

Avocado Fries II

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When you get a new #KitchenToy, like the 6 qt, 1700 Watt #DashDeluxeAirFryer you experiment.  My husband said he loved the recipe last week for Air Fried Avocado Fries, but he drenched them in Spicy Ranch dressing, so I’m not sure if he was being objective, and the amount of salt from the almond flour in the main breading component just wasn’t doing it for me, so I decided to give them another shot.  This version wasn’t as heavy, or as salty, and, I think, much better suited to the buttery freshness of the avocado.

Air Fryer Avocado Fries II

  • 2 Medium Avocados
  • 2 TBLS Coconut Flour
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3 TBLS Extra Fine Almond Flour
  • 2/3 Cup Crushed Pork Rinds (Any Flavor)  I used 4505 Cracklins BBQ

Using a rolling pin, meat tenderizer, or even a rubber mallet from the garage, crush your pork rinds (TIP: I leave them in their bag or use a paper/zip bag to avoid a big mess) until they 1resemble coarse crumbs.  Using a fork, combine with the almond flour in a shallow dish.

Put the coconut flour in a zip bag or shallow bowl.  In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs.

Slice the avocado in half, remove from the shell, remove seed and slice each half into 4 portions.

Dip each slice in the egg wash then immediately coat with the crumb mixture.  Lay in a single layer in the basket of your air fryer.

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Set the temperature to 400° F and set your timer for 8 minutes of cooking time.  Open the drawer at with 1 minute remaining, and, depending on the thickness of your slices, you may want to add 1-2 minutes if you want them crispier/browner.  When your slices have reached your desired shade of brown, remove the basket from your Air Fryer and immediately move them to a serving dish.  I served with Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch dressing, which has only 2 grams of carbs per 2 TBLS serving, making this a perfect #KetoFriendly treat!  #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 Avocado Fries

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I bought another #KitchenToy and now have a whole new way to cook healthy meals.  Last week Amazon delivered a 6 quart, 1700 Watt, #DashDeluxeAirFryer to my front porch, and my avocados have finally ripened enough to give it a test run!  I’m not sure why, maybe because it was a killer #LightningDeal, but I bought the biggest one they make.  I hope I use it enough to justify giving up my storage space for it, it’s HUGE!

Air Fryer Avocado Fries

  • 2 Medium Avocados
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Flour (I use regular, not finely ground)
  • 1/2 Cup Crushed Pork Rinds (Any Flavor)  I like 4505 Cracklins Spicy Green Chili & Lime
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Paramesan Cheese (I like to use a 3 cheese blend of Asiago/Parmesan/Fontina)
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Using a chopper, food processor, or your Vitamix, crush your pork rinds until they 2resemble coarse crumbs.  Combine with the flour and cheese.

In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs.

Slice the avocado in half, remove from the shell, remove seed and slice each half into 4 portions.

Dip each slice in the egg wash then immediately coat with the crumb mixture.  Lay in a single layer in the basket of your air fryer.

Set the temperature to 400° F, set your timer for 10 minutes and cook for 5 of the 10 minutes.  Open the drawer at 5 minutes and flip the slices over then continue cooking to the end.  I served with a low carb spicy ranch dressing.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

 

 

Air Fried Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

buffalochickenmeatballs2After my first air frying 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