Pepper-Jelly Cream Cheese Chicken

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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.

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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

 

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

Low Carb & Gluten Free Brownies

avocadobrowniesAlthough 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 tsp Baking soda
  • 2/3 cup Cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 2/3 cup Xylitol (Sugar Substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract, pure
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  1. 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.
  2. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan and smooth top with a spatula.
  3. 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.

Salted Lime Sweet Potato Chips

sweetpotatochipsI’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
  1. Preheat oven to 425° and place oven safe cooling racks on 2 baking sheets.
  2. Wash sweet potatoes and thinly slice with a very sharp kitchen knife or mandolin.
  3. Place sweet potato slices in a bowl and cover them with warm water and corn starch. Soak for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the water and dry very well with a paper towel.
  5. Lay a single layer of potatoes on each rack and spray each side of the potato slice with olive oil spray.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

Chicken Bacon Ranch Balls

chickenbaconranchballsAppetizers 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

 

Quick Zucchini Pickle Ribbons

zuccpickleribbonsBecause the photo of the recipe isn’t on the same page as this recipe from #EatingWell Magazine, you could blink and miss it.  I’d have been sorry if I did!

Not only was I able to adapt it to make it #KetoFriendly, but it’s quick and easy & makes a perfect compliment for the Keto sandwiches I’m now able to enjoy because of my latest discovery: #Sola, 3g carbs per slice, Sweet Oat Bread!  It’s not cheap, but I can get it on Amazon and get my grilled cheese sandwich fix again!

Quick Zucchini Pickle Ribbons

  • 2 Medium Zucchini
  • 8 Fresh Dill Sprigs
  • 3/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1 TBLS Erythritol (or other Sugar Substitute)
  • 2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Crushed Garlic Clove
  • 1/4 tsp Crushed Dried Red Pepper
  1. Cut zucchini into long strips using a vegetable peeler, discarding the inner seeds. (You should have about 12 ounces of strips.) Place in a heatproof jar and add dill.
  2. Combine vinegar, water, sugar substitute, mustard seeds, garlic and crushed red pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Pour into the jar. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Drain and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information per 1/4 Cup Serving

8 calories; 0 g fat; 0 g fiber; 0 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 10 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 0 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 99 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C; 8 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 40 mg sodium; 107 mg potassium  #ThisGirlLovesToEat