If you feel like the dishes have barely been done following Thanksgiving dinner when discussions and planning for December holiday parties and dinners begins, you could be right. For those of us who love to entertain and treat our friends and family to fine meals, there are never enough days to plan the perfect meal. This appetizer, from the December 2019 issue of #EatingWellMagazine, is rich and flavorful while also being surprisingly low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates! #ThisGirLovesToEat
Crab Wontons with Brie
- 4 ounces Lump Crab Meat, drained & picked over
- 4 ounces diced Brie Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
- 2 TBLS Minced Jalapeno
- 2 TBLS Minced Chives
- 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- 24 Wonton Wrappers
- Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven; preheat to 350°F.
- Combine crabmeat, Brie, mayonnaise, jalapeño, chives, pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Scoop about 2 teaspoons of the crab mixture into the center of each wonton wrapper. Use your finger or a pastry brush to moisten the edges of the wrapper with water. Carefully lift two opposite points up until they touch. Gently pinch together to seal. Fold the remaining two points up toward the center just to close the opening. Pinch the edges together to seal into a four-pointed star.
- Carefully transfer the wontons to the hot baking sheet. Generously coat them with cooking spray. Bake until golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes.
To make ahead: Assemble wontons (Step 2) up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Serving Size 2 Wontons
- Calories – 121
- Fat – 7 g
- Carbs – 10 g
- Protein – 5 g
You know you need something to let people snack on before the big meal, but you don’t want them to be too full to eat the meal you’ve been slaving over for days…
This recipe, from November 2015’s Food & Wine Magazine, takes the edge off but won’t ruin anyone’s dinner! #ThisGirlLovesToEat
How to Make It
In a food processor (I used my Vitamix), combine the chickpeas with the pumpkin, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne and 1/3 cup of water and puree until smooth. Season the hummus with salt and pepper and serve with pita chips or crudités.
The pumpkin hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Getting rear-ended by a #TextingTeenager in my Shiny Red Porsche has left me incredibly sore, unable to exercise, do most things with my hands, lift just about everything, go just about anywhere, and, worst of all for my followers, type my blog. 😦 Unfortunately, for my hard earned weight loss gains, it has allowed me to, once again, sit on my butt and eat. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
Thankfully I have good Keto recipes, a stand mixer to stir for me, and a good friend willing to fix my one fingered typing errors, so I’m kind of back.
Keto Banana Muffin Tops
- 6 TBLS Egg Whites
- 1 Whole Large Egg
- 3 VERY Ripe Small to Medium Bananas
- 1+1/2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
- 2 TBLS Butter Melted
- 2 TBLS Truvia
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 Cup Macadamia Nuts, Walnuts or Pecans (if desired)
In medium bowl combine your baking flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.
In stand mixer combine your egg whites and truvia. Beat on medium/high speed until stiff peaks form then turn off.
In a third bowl combine the whole egg, bananas, butter and nuts (if using).
Add the banana mixture to the dry mixture. Stir until well combined then fold in egg whites.
Spoon mixture into muffin top pan and bake at 350° F for 14 – 16 minutes or until bottoms are browned. You can also line mini-muffin pans with parchment paper and bake for 18 – 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
- 56 Calories
- 1 g Fat
- 4.5 g Carbs
- 3 g Protein
Ground chicken breast is one of my favorite ways to build a base for a #Keto meal! It’s so versatile, mixes well with most of my favorite ingredients, and is easy to meal prep for the week ahead, that it’s become my go-to for creating new #KetoRecipes. This recipe for #ChickenBaconRanchMeatballs is fun because you can eat them all alone or pop them on a skewer between a piece of lettuce and 1/2 a plum or cherry tomato and drizzle with some ranch dressing for a fun lunch, light dinner, or appetizer. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
Chicken Bacon Ranch Meatballs
- 2 Pounds Ground Chicken Breast
- 4 Pieces Thick Cut Bacon
- 3 Pieces Thick Cut Peppered Bacon
- 1 Large Egg
- 2 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
- 4 TBLS Ranch Dressing
- 1/2 Cup Panko
- Olive Oil Spray
- Lettuce or Arugula (if desired)
- Cherry or Plum Tomatoes (if desired)
- More Ranch for drizzling
Spray 2 mini muffin pans (24 holes) lightly with olive oil spray or prepare 2 cookies sheets by lining with foil and spraying the foil lightly with the olive oil spray, then set aside. Preheat oven to 350° F.
Cut the bacon into 1/4″ to 1/2″ chunks and cook in a skillet over medium heat until browned. Remove bacon to paper towels to cool. Remove the bacon grease from the pan and quickly wilt the spinach in the same pan. Put the cooled bacon and spinach into your chopper or vitamix mini cup and pulse until bacon is chopped into small bits & spinach is roughly chopped.
Using your hands (I wear disposable gloves), combine the ground chicken breast, bacon, spinach, egg, 4 TBLS of Ranch Dressing, and Panko in a medium bowl until well mixed. Form the mixture into about 40 2″ balls and pot into either the mini muffin pan or space out on the baking sheets. Lightly spray the tops of the meatballs with the olive oil spray.
Bake in 350° F oven for 18 – 22 minutes, or until the meatballs register 165° F on your meat thermometer.
Remove the balls from the pans and lay on a paper towel lined plate to soak up any excess olive oil spray. Serve with ranch dressing on a bed of lettuce and plum or red tomatoes or thread lettuce, meatball and tomato on a small skewer then drizzle with ranch dressing. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
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.
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
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
Deciding 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
Although I’m not a daily dessert eater, I do have a wicked love of anything chocolate. These #KetoFriendly brownies satisfy that love without ruining my diet goals. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
Keto Avocado Brownies
- 2 Ripe Avocados
- 4 Large Eggs
- 6 TBLS Unsweetened Creamy Peanut Butter
- 1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Mix
2/3 cup Cocoa powder, unsweetened
2/3 cup Xylitol (Sugar Substitute)
2 tsp Vanilla extract, pure
- 1/2 Cup Butter
- Preheat oven to 350° and line a 8”-x-8” square pan with parchment paper. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Transfer batter to prepared baking pan and smooth top with a spatula.
- Bake until brownies are soft but not at all wet to the touch, 40 – 45 minutes. Let cool 25 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
I’m a savory snack girl, but don’t want to completely derail my hard earned Keto gains by cheating with a bag of store bought potato chips. What’s a snacker to do? This snacker chooses to spend her carbs on a healthier version of sweet potato chips, without the store bought preservatives and additives. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
Salted Lime Sweet Potato Chips
- 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes (or yams)
- 1 TBLS Corn Starch
- Olive Oil Spray
- 4 Limes
- Freshly Ground Sea Salt
- Preheat oven to 425° and place oven safe cooling racks on 2 baking sheets.
- Wash sweet potatoes and thinly slice with a very sharp kitchen knife or mandolin.
- Place sweet potato slices in a bowl and cover them with warm water and corn starch. Soak for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the potatoes from the water and dry very well with a paper towel.
- Lay a single layer of potatoes on each rack and spray each side of the potato slice with olive oil spray.
- If you have a small spray bottle, fill it with your lime juice & spritz top side lightly with the lime juice. If you don’t have a spray bottle, drizzle the lime juice lightly over your potatoes.
- Lightly salt the tops then bake for 15 – 25 minutes (depending on thickness of slices), flipping the potato slices half way through the baking process. Check the potato chips frequently, it may take less time if your chips are sliced extra thin, to make sure that they don’t burn! Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information (Serving Size 1 oz):
- 24 Calories
- 0 g Fat
- 4 g Carbs
- <1 g Protein
Appetizers and small plates are the easiest way to stay on target when I’m trying to lose a few pounds or clean up my diet. These chicken, bacon, ranch meatballs are perfect with a small salad and a side of cauliflower mash for an easy weeknight dinner and a great way to snack without guilt at tailgate parties! Low carb, nut free, gluten free, grain free, and, best of all for me, #KetoFriendly!
Chicken Bacon Ranch Balls
- 1 Pound Ground Chicken
- 12 Slices Thick Cut Bacon
- 1/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1 Large Egg, Beaten
- 1 tsp Dried Dill
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Dried Parsley
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
- Preheat oven to 425° F and line baking sheet with foil and baking rack. Lay bacon strips on baking rack in even layer. Bake bacon in oven until crispy, about 15-20 minutes depending on thickness of bacon. Crumble bacon into small pieces. (Dispose of foil from baking sheet or use second baking sheet.) Decrease oven heat to 375 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To a large mixing bowl, add ground chicken, crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar, egg, and spices. Using hands, mix together until thoroughly combined. Form mixture into equal-sized balls, about 1 1/2 tbsp of mixture per ball, place on prepared baking sheet, and lightly press down to slightly flatten. Bake until golden brown and cooked throughout, 25-30 minutes.
- Remove poppers from oven, allow to cool slightly, and serve with low carb ranch dressing drizzled on balls or on the side. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
Nutrition Information – Serving 1 Ball (Makes 16 Balls)
- 116 Calories
- 9 g Fat
- 0 g Carbs
- 9 g Protein