Cheesy Poblano Chicken Bake

PoblanoChickenBrocBakePlaying around during #Keto meal prep this weekend, I came up with a high protein/low carb chicken and broccoli casserole that’s a great dinner with a salad or perfect for a grab-and-go lunch that can easily be reheated in the microwave at work!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Cheesy Poblano Chicken Bake

  • 1 Poblano Chili, seeded & finely chopped
  • 4 TBLS Butter, divided
  • 8 oz Fresh Broccoli Florets, trimmed
  • 1.75 lb (28 oz) Chicken Breast (uncooked and cut into appx 2 x 2 chunks)
  • 2 TBLS Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Half & Half
  • 6 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder

Preheat the oven to 350º F and spray the bottom of a 9 x 11 inch Pyrex baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.

In a microwave steamer, cook the raw broccoli on high power for 4 minutes.  Layer the cooked broccoli into the Pyrex baking dish.

Using the same steamer, cook the chicken in the microwave for 5 – 6 minutes, just until cooked thru.  Remove the chicken to your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and shred the chicken on low (about 2 minutes).  Layer the chicken on top of the  broccoli layer.

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 TBLS of the butter and the chopped Poblano pepper and saute until the peppers are soft and the butter has turned green (5-7 minutes).  Add the remaining 2 TBLS butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder, and, once melted, stir in the flour.  Cook while stirring constantly for about 2 minutes, over medium heat, until the mixture is bubbling and very well combined.

Add milk then water, and whisk until smooth, scraping roux out of the corners of the saucepan.  Increase heat to medium high, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, 2 to 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until smooth.  Add the paprika.

Pour the cheese sauce over the top of the chicken layer and spread to the edges of the pan.

Bake 20-30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and the casserole is warm throughout.

Nutrition Information (6 Servings)

  • 350 Calories
  • 20 g Fat
  • 2 g Carbohydrates
  • 37 g Protein

 

Holiday Bites: Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cups

I am a Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups, but they are Hell on the diet…these are Keto Friendly & give me a little less guilt.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cups

  • 9 oz Bag Lily’s 55% Cacao Sugar Free Chocolate Chips
  • 3/4 Cup No Sugar Added Peanut Butter
  • 2 TBLS Crisco Solid Shortening
  • 2 TBLS Butter

Melt together the chocolate chips and the shortening over low heat until smooth.  Using either a silicone mini muffin pan or a mini muffin pan lined with mini muffin liners, drizzle about half of the melted chocolate into each cup, making sure to drag or brush it up the sides of each.  Put pan into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt together the peanut butter and butter until smooth and remove from heat.  Take frozen chocolate cups from the freezer and divide the peanut butter into each cup then top with the remaining melted chocolate.

Place pan back into the freezer for at least 2 more hours then remove the chocolates from the muffin liners.  Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information (Per 1 Peanut Butter Cup)

  • 66  Calories
  • 1.45 g  Fat
  • 4 g  Carbs
  • 1.3 g  Protein

Holiday Bites: Naughty But Nice Peppermint Fudge

I was honest when I said that I abide by the adage that calories, fat, and carbs don’t count in December, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t try, where I can, to trim all of them to try and stay loyal to my Keto lifestyle.  So, this is the Chocolate Peppermint Fudge from a couple of days ago, just slimmed down a bit… As written, each of the 36 pieces clocks in at 77 Calories, 5.6g Fat, and 2.6g Carbs.  Because this fudge turned out so rich, and was so thick from the 8 x 8 pan, I cut each piece in half again so the nutrition information in that case would be: 38.5 Calories, 2.8g Fat and 1.45g Carbs.  My sweet tooth was completely satisfied with one piece halved. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

naughtybutnicefudge

Naughty But Nice Peppermint Fudge

  • 1 TBLS Melted Butter
  • 1 Cup Truvia
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 3 TBLS Keto Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 TBLS Water
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 4 Ounces Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
  • 2 Ounces 60% Bittersweet Baking Chocolate
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 4 TBLS Butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp Peppermint Oil (to taste – see tip below)
  • 2 Ounces Peppermint Candies, finely crushed

Line an 8×8″ baking dish with foil, overlapping the edges.  Melt 1 TBLS Butter and brush the foil with it thoroughly.

Heat Truvia, cream, corn syrup, salt, and 2 Tbsp. water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves.  Add chocolate.  Stir until melted and mixture is smooth, then bring to a boil.  Fit saucepan with candy thermometer and increase heat to medium-high.  Cook, brushing down sides of saucepan with a wet pastry brush as needed to dissolve sugar crystals, until thermometer registers 238° F.

Immediately pour mixture into a large bowl.  Dot top of mixture with butter; do not stir.  Rinse thermometer, removing any sugar crystals, pat dry, and fit on bowl.  Let mixture sit until thermometer registers 110° F, 30–45 minutes.

Remove thermometer.  Add vanilla extract and peppermint flavoring to mixture and beat with a hand mixer (I admit I used my stand mixer…I don’t own a hand mixer :|) on high speed until mixture is light and thick like frosting and has lost its high gloss (will still have a slight sheen), about 4 minutes.

Scrape into prepared pan; smooth surface, then top with peppermint candies, pressing gently into surface.  Cover with plastic and cool in refrigerator until set, at least 3 hours.

Using foil, remove fudge from pan, peel away foil, and cut fudge into a 6×6 grid to make 36 squares.

Nutrition Information: (Makes 36 Squares – 1 piece per serving)

  • 77  Calories
  • 5.6 g  Fat
  • 2.6 g  Carbs
  • <1 g  Protein

Do Ahead: Fudge is best stored in a tightly sealed container, between layers of waxed paper, in the refrigerator.

Tips: 1) Crush the candies in a zip bag using a rubber mallet or rolling pin, 2) Peppermint oil is quite strong so, for less intense peppermint punch, you can easily cut it to 1/8 tsp, and 3) A hand mixer is better than a stand mixer for this recipe, but I do admit that I got lazy this time and used the stand mixer and it turned out just fine.

Get Thee to Whole Foods!

Food & Wine Magazine shared the tip that, today, Whole Foods announced it’s bringing back its popular 12 Days of Cheese promotion. Because Whole Foods loves us and wants us to be happy, 😉 from December 12 to 23, we can eat our way through a choice of high-quality artisanal cheeses at ridiculously prices!

Each day from December 12 to 23, Whole Foods’ will make a different one of its “highest-quality cheeses available at a generous discount, from artisans like 2019–20 World Cheese Award–winner Rogue Creamery.” That discount: 50 percent off—with an additional 10 percent off if you’re a Prime member. This is reason enough to renew my #AmazonPrime membership! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Here’s a cheat-sheet of the 2019 sale lineup – bonus, Whole Foods loves to let you sample:

Dec. 12: Roth Pavino
“Rich, earthy, medium-firm Alpine cheese with notes of sweet hazelnut. Exclusive to Whole Foods Market.”

Dec. 13: Istara P’tit Basque
“Aged a minimum of 70 days, this creamy and smooth sheep milk cheese has a mild, nutty flavor with a subtle, sweet finish.”

Dec. 14: Uplands Cheese Pleasant Ridge Reserve
“A cow’s milk Alpine-style cheese modeled after favorites like Le Gruyère and Beaufort, with flavors ranging from milky to nutty and grassy. The Pleasant Ridge Reserve is America’s most awarded cheese.”

Dec. 15: Neal’s Yard Dairy Keen’s Cheddar
“This cheese is dense yet creamy with complex flavors ranging from fruity to sweet butterscotch. Each wheel has been hand selected by our experts.”

Dec. 16: Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog
“A goat’s milk soft-ripened American original with a beautiful ribbon of edible ash through the center. Floral, herbaceous overtones, buttermilk and fresh cream flavors.”

Dec. 17: Emmi Cave Aged Le Gruyère
“A firm, almost crumbly Alpine cheese. Robust, deeply flavored, with tangy fruit notes and classic nuttiness.”

Dec. 18: Sweet Grass Dairy Thomasville Tomme
“Raw cow’s milk, handcrafted cheese with a semi-firm texture. Rich, earthy flavors with a finish of light salt, grass and tangy cream.”

Dec. 19: Mitica Cordobes
“Made with Castellana and Merino sheep milk from Spain. Rich and buttery flavors balanced by bright acidity and nutty undertones. Exclusive to Whole Foods Market.”

Dec. 20: Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue
“Aged at least 90 days in Roquefort modeled caves, this organic cheese has briny, earthy flavors with notes of sweet cream and huckleberry. Rogue Creamery recently made history by producing the first American cheese ever to win top honors at the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy.”

Dec. 21: Klare Melk Truffle Gouda
“Rich, flavorful, semi-firm cheese. Velvety notes of sweet cream and butter, generously laced with earthy truffles.”

Dec. 22: Cellars at Jasper Hill Harbison with Prosecco
“Soft-ripened, buttery, woodsy and sweet with balanced tones of mustard. A wash in Presto prosecco brings out bright citrus flavors. Exclusive to Whole Foods Market.”

Dec. 23: MonS Mary dans les Étoiles
“Stunning, ash-coated geo-rind goat cheese. Creamy and grassy, finished with light citrus notes. Exclusive to Whole Foods Market.”

Creole Spiced Mahi-Mahi with Lime Sauce

AirFriedMahiMahiI love my air fryer and have, so far, only experimented once with cooking seafood in it.  I did Salmon in it, which turned out so yummy!  Tonight I was behind the 8-Ball, having forgotten to get something out for dinner, so seafood attempt number two, with frozen fillets no less, is commencing as we speak!

Creole Spiced Mahi-Mahi with Lime Sauce

  • 2 – 6 Ounce Frozen Wild Caught Mahi-Mahi Fillets (I got mine from Whole Foods)
  • Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning
  • 4 TBLS Butter (room temperature)
  • Juice and Zest of 1 Lime
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Lightly spray the inner basket of your air fryer with olive oil spray.

Liberally sprinkle both sides of your mahi-mahi with the Creole seasoning and lay in the air fryer basket.  Lightly spray the top of the fillets and close the tray.

Cook at 380° F for 10 minutes then turn the fillets over and cook another 8 to 10 minutes, or until fish flakes and inner temperature registers 145° F.

While the fish is cooking, stir the lime juice and zest into the butter and set aside.

When the timer goes off, remove mahi-mahi from the air fryer immediately, cut each fillet in half, and spoon 1/4 of the lime butter over each serving.  Serve with a green salad and a steamed vegetable for a quick & healthy weeknight meal.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

AFMahiWithPuffs

Nutrition Information: (4 – 3 oz servings with 1 TBLS Lime Butter Sauce)

  • 170 Calories
  • 11.5 g Fat (7 g Saturated Fat)
  • 0 g Carbohydrates
  • 16 g Protein

Low-Carb Homemade Corn Syrup

There’s no way to avoid it, if you’re baking or making candy: you are going to need light corn syrup at some point to get a good result.  After a few trials (and errors), I finally came up with a corn syrup recipe that is close enough to maintain the integrity of the recipes without adding any weird after tastes or textures!

lightcornsyrup

Low-Carb Light Corn Syrup

  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Truvia
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 3/4 tsp Xantham Gum

In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix the water and Truvia.  Bring to a low boil and stir in the Vanilla.  Reduce Heat to low.

Spoon out 1 TBLS of the hot Truvia mixture and, in a small bowl, stir in the Xantham Gum.  It will be quite thick and sticky.  It’s ok if it’s not entirely smooth.

Stirring continuously, add the Xantham gum mixture to the saucepan.  Return the heat to medium and bring the mixture back to a low boil.  Cook for one minute until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

Pour the corn syrup thru a fine mesh strainer, pressing the corn syrup thru while leaving any unincorporated Xantham gum solids in the strainer.

Allow to cool slightly before using.  As this cools further it can become crystallized, although mine did not.  Mine just thickened into a jelly like consistency.  If either happens, just put it in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds and stir it again before you’re ready to use it.  Makes about 1/2 Cup and doesn’t keep real long, so plan to make it when you will be likely to use it up.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Holiday Bites: Crab & Brie Wontons

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

crabandbriewontons

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
  1. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven; preheat to 350°F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size 2 Wontons

  • Calories – 121
  • Fat – 7 g
  • Carbs – 10 g
  • Protein – 5 g

Chicken Bacon Ranch Meatballs

chickbaconranchmb2

Ground chicken breast is one of my favorite ways to build a base for a #Keto meal!  It’s so versatile, mixes so well with most of my favorite ingredients, and is so 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
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 4 TBLS Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2 Cup Panko
  • Olive Oil Spray

 

Using your hands, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until well mixed.

Spray the basket in your air fryer lightly with olive oil spray, place a layer of meatballs, with space between for the air to flow around, set the temperature to 380° F, and set the timer for 8 minutes. Cook the meatballs, shaking them to turn them about halfway through so they brown evenly.

Quick, easy and oh so tasty!

 

Turkey Day Prep: Creamed Spinach with Bacon

final

Creamed spinach may not seem like a side dish that pairs well with the traditional Thanksgiving meal, but the creamy richness is an especially nice companion to turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, and a nice change from the same old green bean casserole.  It’s also great with ham and, of course, any type of beef.  It’s #GlutenFree when you use #BobsRedMill Paleo Baking Flour and pretty #KetoFriendly too!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Creamed Spinach with Bacon

  • 2 – 16 oz pkgs Frozen Chopped Spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 3 Cups Warm Whole Milk
  • 1 Pound Bacon, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 Cup Finely Chopped Onions
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2/3 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour (Grain & Gluten Free)
  • 6 TBLS Butter, melted

Cook bacon slowly until browned but not crispy.  Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate and leave the grease in the pan.  Over medium heat, cook the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent.

RouxAdd the salt & pepper and stir in the flour.  Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes, until a very light brown, fluffy roux forms.  Slowly stir in the warm milk (I microwave mine in a Pyrex measuring cup for about 2 minutes) and stir until smooth.

cookedAdd the bacon back into the pan and cook for about another minute, stirring continuously.  Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, over low-medium heat until all of the spinach is mixed in and warmed through.

Cover the top with the melted butter until ready to serve.

Nutrition Information: (Makes 12 – 14 Half Cup Servings)

  • 165 Calories
  • 5 g  Carbohydrates
  • 6.4 g  Fat
  • 8.2 g  Protein

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Turkey Day Prep: Keto Zinful Cran-Blueberries

SmoothandWholeZCB

A few years ago I created a cran-blueberry sauce that was bursting with flavor and incorporated my favorite thing: wine!  Since then I have tried to limit my sugar consumption and been eating a modified Keto diet, so this year I’ve adapted my recipe, by #CookingWithStevia, for the Keto crowd.  No matter what, I use a good Zinfandel.  The taste matters.  This year it’s a 2015 #TobinJames #FatBoyZinfandel

Keto Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce

  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Steviadon’t use Truvia, it has an after taste when not cooked
  • 1 Cup Zinfandel Wine (Best you can afford – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
  • 1 – 12 oz Package Ocean Spray Fresh Whole Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Orange or Tangerine Zest

Bring Stevia, wine and cinnamon stick to a full rolling boil in a medium saucepan.

Add remaining ingredients and return to a full boil (cranberries will start to pop), stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure nothing sticks.  You may want to use a splatter shield to avoid splashing when cranberries pop.

Turn off heat and, if all cranberries didn’t pop fully, press with the back of a large spoon if desired.  I use my meat mallet and gently press down until all are popped.

Remove and discard cinnamon stick.  Cool slightly then move sauce to serving dish.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours and serve cold.  Sauce will thicken up as it cools.  Garnish with a few cranberries, blueberries and curls of zest.  To save time, and stove space, this can be made ahead and kept refrigerated in a tightly covered container.

*If you want it jellied:  Strain out the berry solids and skins by pressing them using a rubber spatula and fine mesh strainer before refrigerating.  To get the most of the strained pulp, I run it through my mini-chopper (or a food processor / blender) after the first pressing, then run that through the strainer again.  Sauce thickens as it cools and should be stored in a sealed container if not serving immediately (after the 2 hour chilling).

Nutrition Information: (Makes 3 CupsServing Size 2 TBLS)

  • 33  Calories
  • <1 g  Fat
  • 2.2 g Carbs
  • <1 g  Protein

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