Garlic Cauliflower Gnocchi

4I’m all-in on my #KetoLifestyle, but there are certain things I enjoy, like bread and pasta, that I miss incredibly.  I love zucchini, but I can’t accept zoodles as a legitimate replacement for pasta.  Trader Joe’s makes a great cauliflower gnocchi, but it’s not Keto friendly, so I set out to adapt a regular gnocchi recipe to one that fits into my Keto lifestyle.  It’s also a great recipe for anyone following a Gluten Free diet.

Garlic Cauliflower Gnocchi

  • Medium Head Cauliflower
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 TBLS Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • Olive Oil Spray

Combine the flour, salt, garlic powder and basil in a bowl and set aside.

Remove the stem from the cauliflower and cut it into florets. You want 5 cups of florets.  Put the cauliflower florets in a food processor (I use my Vitamix) and pulse until it’s riced into crumbles.

SistemaLargeSteamerUsing a microwave-safe steamer (I use the Sistema 6 Cup [Large] Microwave Steamer) cook the cauliflower 7+1/2 to 10 minutes on high – you want the cauliflower done but not soggy.

TIP:  If you don’t have a microwave steamer:  Place all of the cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a paper towel. Microwave for 5 minutes. Remove the cauliflower and spread it on a towel to cool.  Once cauliflower is cool enough to work with, wrap in a towel and squeeze the water out.

Place the cauliflower back in the food processor (Vitamix). Blend until creamy.

Put the drained cauliflower into a large bowl (I used my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment) and add the dry ingredients.  Mix together until your dough comes together.  TIP:  Do not add more flour – it’s OK that the dough is sticky at this point.

Transfer the dough to a floured bread board or counter top. To make the dough easier to work with, you’ll want to add an additional tablespoon or two (no more than that) of flour as you roll the dough. Shape it into a ball, then wrap it in a piece of waxed paper and refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes.  Take the dough out of the refrigerator and slice it into 4 equal sections.

Roll each section out until you have a rope about 1-inch thick.  Slice the dough into 1/2″ squares with a sharp knife.

I do a two part cooking process.  First I boil the gnocchi in rapidly boiling, salted water for 6 minutes.  Next you have the choice of how (if at all) you want to brown up your gnocchi.  I prefer to brown it to give the gnocchi a nice seal – you can decide on the degree of brownness you like.

To Sauté the gnocchi:  Using olive oil cooking spray (for the least added calories and fat), generously spray a skillet and, working in batches, place a single layer of gnocchi in the pan and then give them a light coating of olive oil spray on the exposed side.  Cook about 5 minutes per side if you like them crisp and deep brown.  You can reduce the time for lighter brown, less crispy, more traditional gnocchi.

To Oven Roast the gnocchi:  Line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly spray it with olive oil cooking spray.  Place your boiled gnocchi down in rows, spray the tops with olive oil spray and lightly season with salt & pepper.  In a preheated 425° F oven, bake for 12 minutes then turn the gnocchi over, return to the oven and continue cooking for an additional 10-12 minutes.  This will give you a nice, crispy, medium brown gnocchi.

To Serve:  I melt some butter in a skillet and add some freshly chopped basil and garlic to the butter and sauté for about 3 minutes over medium heat until the butter just starts to brown a bit.  Drizzle the sauce over the piles of gnocchi and serve immediately.  Alternatively, these hold up great in a spicy marinara sauce with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese too.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information per serving (Serves 4)

  • Calories   100
  • Net Carbs 6.75 grams
  • Fat             2.5 grams
  • Protein    5 grams

Air Frying Time Chart

The instruction guides that come with most appliances are brief and don’t give the precise times to cook the wide variety foods that people prepare.  I found a pretty handy time guide that covers most everyday cooking situations.

Air-Fryer-Cooking-Chart

When all else fails I head to Google and use the search term:  Air frying time for… whatever food I’m trying to cook.  #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.

Air Fried Skinny Bloomin’ Onion

outbackonionWhile there aren’t many of them left around near me, the worst part of going to Outback Restaurant was having to pass up their Blooming Onion because of the 155 whopping grams of fat and 123 grams of Carbs from the corn starch and flour they have in them from the deep frying.  Thankfully there is a work around now that there’s the air fryer, using this slimmed down recipe, that results in a total of 8 grams of fat and 10 grams of carbs per serving!  That makes this a treat I can add to my #KetoLifestyle on occasion, which makes me very happy!

Air Fried Skinny Bloomin’ Onionairfriedonion

  • 1 Large Sweet Onion (I use a Vidalia) about 1 Pound
  • 6 ounces Beer or Seltzer
  • 1+1/2 Cup Flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour Mix)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tsps Salt
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 TBLS Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil Spray

Peel and cut your onion: 1. Cut off 1/2 inch from the pointy stem end of the onion, then peel. 2. Place the onion cut-side down. Starting 1/2 inch from the root, make a downward cut all the way through to the board. 3. Repeat to make four evenly spaced cuts around the onion. 4. Continue slicing between each section until you have 16 evenly spaced cuts. 5. Turn the onion over and use your fingers to gently separate the outer pieces.

In one bowl mix the beer, 1/2 cup of the flour, and the egg.  In a second bowl mix the remaining flour and the seasonings.

Dip the onion in the beer batter first and be sure to get in between all of the petals, next dip the onion in the flour and spice mixture making sure that there is coverage in between every petal. I wear rubber gloves and use a separate hand for wet and dry.

Spray the entire onion with Olive Oil Cooking Spray and Air fry for 13-15 minutes or unti golden brown and done in all of the crevices.

While the onion is cooking prepare the sauce.  Combine:

  • 2 TBLS Mayonnaise
  • 2 TBLS Sour Cream
  • 1+1/2 tsp Ketchup (I use sugar free ketchup)
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 TBLS Drained Horseradish
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • Pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • Freshly Ground Salt & Pepper to taste

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve the onion piping hot with the sauce.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

3

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

Turkey Day Prep: Buttermilk Brined Turkey Breast

bmilkbrinedtbreast

The biggest gripe I have about roasting a turkey is that, when roasting the whole bird, to get the thigh to come up to the optimal temperature of 170° you often will end up with a dry, overcooked breast that only needs to reach about 150° to be perfectly done.

This afternoon I came across an article on lifehacker.com that solves the problem!  Cook the breasts separately and brine them first in a buttermilk based brine that infuses the meat with an incredible amount of moisture and flavor while also adding some very needed fat to help retain both.

Word to the wise: buttermilk promotes browning so watch your breast carefully as you start to get into the latter stages of roasting.  The breast in the picture had foil on it for the last 15 minutes of roasting.

Buttermilk Brined Turkey Breast

  • 4-5 pound bone-in turkey breast
  • 1 quart of buttermilk
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 5 smashed garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns (white are ideal)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Citrus fruit slices (A couple of lemons and oranges is plenty.)

Pour the water into a sauce pan, along with the salt, sugar, garlic, pepper and bay leaf. Bring everything to a boil, then remove from the heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Let the brine cool to room temperature. Once it’s cool, combine it with the buttermilk, then pour the mixture over the turkey breast in a brining bag or small bucket. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375℉, remove the turkey from the brine, and let drain on paper towels, blotting to remove excess moisture from the skin. Scatter your fruit in the bottom of a roasting pan or large skillet, place a trivet or rack on top of that, then set the turkey on top. Roast uncovered until the skin is well-browned, covering with foil towards the end if it starts to look dicey. Continue to roast until the thickest part of the breast reads 150℉, about 90 minutes to two hours. If your breasts are Dolly Parton sized 😉 cook them a little longer. Remove from the oven, and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Sprinkle with some sea salt and citrus zest before serving.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Pumpkin Gingerbread

pumpkingingerbreadI’m not a big pumpkin spice anything girl, but I am a big fan of pumpkin pie and just about any bread or muffin that has pumpkin in it.  I am not, however, a big fan of the amount of fat that usually accompanies those recipes and look for any way I can to trim that aspect down so I can enjoy more of those seasonal treats.

On this first day of October, it may have been 90° and muggy in the shade where I live, but I’m kicking off my fall baking (well after dark) with this recipe for pumpkin gingerbread with no added fat.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

  • 3 Cups sugar
  • 1 Cup applesauce or banana puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 Cup water
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 3+1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1+1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-15oz can pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, applesauce or banana puree, and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove.

In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Cool loaves completely on wire racks.  Store wrapped in refrigerator.

#ThisGirlLovesToEat