Filet Mignon Chili & Pepper Jack Crisps

My husband’s company, #Connectria, is so much different than anywhere he’s ever worked.  They do fun morale & team building activities and this week, following “come as your favorite Marvel character day,” they are having a chili cook off.  The fact that they are just outside St. Louis, Missouri, while we are in Irvine, California, is no impediment to my husband participating in all of their fun activities.  He submits photos and videos of himself participating from his one-man executive suite in his remote location.  After a $300 trip to the grocery store :|, I will be sending his chili submission to St. Louis on dry-ice via Federal Express tomorrow.

This chili doesn’t burn your face off at first touch of your tongue to the spoon.  It’s more of a second spoon sneak up on spicy experience.  Kind of like a great glass of wine…it has a long finish!  I prefer it that way.  I serve it with lots of additional chopped peppers, onions, cilantro and hot sauce for anyone who absolutely needs to feel the burn.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Filet Mignon Chili with Pepper Jack Cheese Crisps

  • 2 Pounds Filet Mignon (Beef Tenderloin), cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 Pounds 90% Lean Ground Sirloin
  • 3 Small Yellow Onions, chopped (About 4 cups)
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 2 Yellow Bell Peppers, chopped
  • 3 Jalapeño Peppers, stemmed/seeded & chopped
  • 1 Pasilla/Anaheim or Poblano Chili, stemmed/seeded & chopped
  • 1 Cube (8 TBLS) Butter
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 4 tsp + 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 2 – 6 oz Cans Tomato Paste
  • 2 – 14 oz Cans Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1-2 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)
  • 2 Heaping TBLS Unsweetened Cocoa (divided)
  • 1 tsp Chipotle Chile Pepper Powder (divided)
  • 1 tsp Hot Mexican Style Chili Powder (divided)
  • 1 tsp Ancho Chile Pepper Powder (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg (divided)
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (divided)
  • Juice of 1 Medium Lime
  • 1 – 10.5 Ounce Can Beef Consommé
  • 5 – 15.5 Ounce cans Reduced Sodium White Kidney (Cannellini) Beans, drained
  • 1 – 11.2 Ounce Bottle Guinness Draught Beer
  • 2 Cups Very Strong Brewed Coffee (I used Starbucks™ Verona Blend)

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, over medium-high heat, place the butter, 2 tsp olive oil, the garlic, onions, red and yellow bell pepper and jalapeño peppers.  Cook until all start to soften and the butter starts to brown, about 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and add the 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin and salt & pepper.  Stir occasionally while simmering.

Coat a large skillet with 1 tsp olive oil and, over medium heat, brown the ground sirloin but don’t cook to well done.  You want the meat to be a little pink, not rubbery.  Mix in the tomato paste, 1 can at a time, until completely incorporated, and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes until warmed through.  In a small bowl combine: 1 heaping TBLS unsweetened cocoa, 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder, 1/2 tsp hot Mexican style chili powder, 1/2 tsp Ancho chile pepper powder, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.  Stir combined spices into the beef and tomato paste mixture and stir over low heat until well combined.

Add the ground beef mixture to the vegetables, stirring well to combine.  Increase heat to medium-low and stir in the Guinness, coffee, and beef consommé.  Bring mixture to a boil and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the beans.

Combine your remaining spices in a small bowl: 1 heaping TBLS unsweetened cocoa, 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder, 1/2 tsp hot Mexican style chili powder, 1/2 tsp Ancho chile pepper powder, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.  Put 1 tsp olive oil and the juice of the lime into a large zip bag.  Add the 1/2″ chunks of filet mignon then sprinkle the spice mixture over the meat.  Zip the bag closed and shake the bag to coat the meat.  I massaged the meat from outside the bag to make sure all of the spices were stuck to the meat.

Heat your skillet with the remaining TBLS of olive oil and add your meat.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes until just seared then add the meat to the chili.  Add your chopped Anaheim/Pasilla/Poblano chili to the remaining cocoa/spice-oil mixture in the pan and stir fry for about 2 minutes until the peppers begin to soften.  Add the peppers to the chili and stir to make sure all of the ingredients are combined.

Increase the heat to medium and bring just to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 90 minutes or until chili is nice and thick.  Adjust seasonings as needed before serving.

To make the pepper jack crisps:  Shred your cheese and mound onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Bake at 400° F for 8 – 10 minutes, or until edges start to brown.  Tip:  Don’t pile too much cheese on your mounds or your crisps will be chewy instead of crispy.

Serve chili with: an ice cold Guinness, a pepper jack crisp, and topped with diced onions, peppers, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, and sour cream if desired.

Nutrition Information:  Makes 24 – 2 Cup Servings

  • 292 Calories
  • 10.65 g Fat
  • 16.41 g Carbohydrates
  • 24.86 g Protein

Total Recipe Information:

7012 Calories / 255.61 g Fat / 393.97 g Carbs / 596.76 g Protein

Mushroom Soup 3 Ways

There’s nothing else like a hearty mushroom soup to make my tummy super happy. #ThisGirlLovesToEat. Thankfully, mushroom soup is easy to make, and can be #KetoFriendly, as these three recipes, adapted from #RecipeIdeas, prove!

Basic Mushroom Soup 

Ingredients 

8 ounces of mushroom
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 tbsp of onion (chopped)
4 cups of milk
½ tsp of salt
2 cups of boiling water
¼ tsp of pepper
3 tbsp of flour

Instructions

Put the mushrooms in a saucepan. Pour in the bouillon and water. Add the onion. Boil this and let it simmer for half an hour. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan. Stir in the flour and add the milk. Cook and stir this simple mushroom soup recipe mix until the sauce gets thick. Pour this in the mushrooms. Sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Mushroom Soup with Sausages 

Ingredients 

16 ounces of sausages (cut thin)
4 TBSP of flour (reduced to make this #KetoFriendly)
4 tbsp of butter
10 ounces of cheddar cheese (grated)
1 clove garlic (minced)
4 green onions (sliced)
16 ounces of mushrooms (sliced)
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1/8 tsp pf ground black pepper
½ tsp of parsley
1 cup of heavy cream
½ tsp of onion tops

Instructions 

Begin by cooking the sausages at medium heat. Set the sausages on a plate. Toss the mushrooms in the pot where the sausages were cooked. Keep stirring until the mushrooms become tender. Toss in the garlic and onions.

Sauté this for a minute. Transfer this mushroom soup recipe mix in a bowl. Put butter in the pot. Add the flour and stir until the concoction turns bubbly. Add the broth and keep stirring. Toss in the cheese and heavy cream.

Pour the mushrooms and sausages in the pot. Add some pepper. Heat it. Serve with the parsley and some onions.

Mushroom Soup with Tomato Paste 

Ingredients 

4 cups of water
2 cans of condensed beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 lb of mushrooms (fresh)
6 tbsp of butter
2 celery leaves
1 cup of onion (chopped)
4 sprigs celery
1 ½ cups of carrots (chopped)
2 cups of celery (chopped)
1/8 tsp of ground black pepper
4 tbsp of dry sherry
½ cup of sour cream

Instructions

Start this mushroom soup recipe by chopping the mushrooms and set them aside. Melt the butter (4 tbsp) in a saucepan. Throw in half the mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes. Place it in the cooker. Add the tomato paste, celery and broth.

Pour in the water and pepper. Add the celery and bay leaf. Cook for 4 hours. Take out the celery, bay leaf and parsley. Puree the mix in a blender.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the other half of the mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. Put this on the soup. Add sherry on top. Serve with the sour cream.

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

Thai Street Chicken

thaistreetchickenKeith Schroeder of Cooking Light Magazine wrote a book, and received a James Beard Foundation Focus on Health Book Award, Mad Delicious – The Science of Making Healthy Food Taste Amazing!, in 2014 that doesn’t just talk about the what and how of cooking great meals, but also the why.  This recipe is one that was featured in both his book and the magazine, and perfectly illustrates why guests at his table love every dish this Atlanta chef prepares!

If you replace the brown sugar with Sukrin Gold, this recipe can easily become a flavorful, Keto Friendly meal.

Thai Street Chicken

  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro Stems
  • 1/2 Cup Parsley Stems
  • 1 TBLS Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp White Pepper
  • 2 TBLS Fish Sauce
  • 1 TBLS Oyster Sauce
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves (I use 4 tsp of jarred, crushed garlic)
  • 1 + 1/2 Pounds Boneless/Skinless Chicken Thighs (About 6)
  • Olive Oil Cooking SPray
  • 1 Cup Julienned Carrots
  • 2 Peeled/Scored/Sliced Cucumbers
  • 12 Sprigs Fresh Cilantro
  • 2 Limes Cut into Wedges

Put the parsley & cilantro stems into a gallon sized zip bag and, using a rolling pin or can of vegetables, bruise the stems by pushing down and rolling over the stems from outside the bag.  Add the brown sugar (or brown sugar alternative), the white pepper, the fish and oyster sauces, and the garlic and combine.  Add the chicken, zip the bag closed, and massage the marinade into the thighs.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the dipping sauce.

Thai Dipping Sauce

  • 6 TBLS White Vinegar
  • 6 TBLS Brown Sugar (or Brown Sugar Alternative)
  • 1/4 Cup Shaved Shallots
  • 4 TBLS Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Fish Sauce
  • 2 Minced Thai Bird Chiles
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Crushed (1 tsp jarred crushed garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper

In small saucepan, over medium heat, bring the vinegar, sugar and shallots to a boil.  Simmer for another 10 minutes then remove from heat.  Puree with an immersion blender (or in a blender).

Cool and then stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, chiles, garlic and white pepper.

After 30 minutes, removed the marinated chicken from the zip bag and discard the remaining marinade.  Put the chicken thighs on metal skewers.  Make sure your chicken is long and flat, you don’t want cubes with this style chicken.

Heat an oven safe (if cooking in your oven) grill pan, sprayed with Olive Oil cooking spray, over medium-high heat (or in a 300° oven).

Place the skewers on the hot grill and cook for 15 minutes.  Flip the skewers over and cook another 15 minutes.  You should be able to easily pull off a cooked piece of the chicken when it’s done.  Remove the skewers from the heat, slide the chicken off of the skewers and place on one side of a platter to rest for 10 minutes.

On the other side of the patter, in rows, line up the carrots, cucumber, cilantro springs, and lime wedges.  Serve with the dipping sauce.

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

Air Fryer Chicken Kebabs

chickenonrachOne way to meal prep for the week is to do kebabs in the air fryer.  Not only is it fast, but it’s a perfect way to measure out exactly what you’re eating.  Today I made chicken kebabs and put them together with 3 different sides for 3 different healthy meals this week.  These can easily be laid atop a bed of fresh spinach topped with olive oil and salt & pepper, beside a green salad, or on a mound of cauliflower mash.  Except for needing to remove and heat the kebabs separately with the salad, it’s a quick & easy minute in the microwave for a hearty weekday lunch or dinner.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Air Fryer Chicken Kebabs

  • 1 – 12 oz Chicken Breast, Trimmed (I used chicken breast fillets)
  • 1 Medium Zucchini, Cut into 1/2″ Slices
  • 18 Plum or Cherry Tomatoes
  • 6 Bamboo Skewers or metal skewers supplied with rack
  • 3 TBLS Low Carb BBQ Sauce

Cut the skewers (if using bamboo skewers & necessary) with a pair of kitchen shears, down to just short of the length of your Air Fryer Tray.  Soak the skewers in water for 10-15 minutes.

Cut your chicken into about 1″ Chunks and toss in 3 TBLS low carb BBQ sauce.

Thread each skewer with 3 slices Zucchini (About 1 oz), 3 plum or cherry tomatoes, 2 oz chicken breast cut into 4 chunks.  Start and end with a piece of zucchini for stability and alternate pieces of chicken and cherry tomato with a piece of zucchini in the middle.

If you have a rack for your air fryer (for holding skewers), place as many skewers as will fit without crowding (mine holds 3).  Cook for 9-10 minutes at 350° F then remove cooked skewers and finish cooking the rest.  Brush with more BBQ if desired.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 2 Skewers)

  • 166  Calories
  • 1.2 g  Fat
  • 10 g  Carbs
  • 28 g  Protein

Low Carb Spinach Wraps

spinachwrapsSince going Keto, I’ve missed sandwiches and wraps, so I’m always on the lookout for a low carb replacement.  Today I tripped across a simple recipe I could adapt for spinach based wraps that I can use for lunches or even burritos! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Quick & Easy Spinach Wraps

  • 1/2 – of a 16 oz bag of Frozen Spinach (defrosted)
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Psyllium Husk Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  1. Defrost spinach, then squeeze out all of the water.
  2. Put the spinach and all other ingredients in your blender or Vitamix.
  3. Process for 1-2 Minutes, gradually increasing your speed, until all ingredients are combined and very smooth.
  4. Add in 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese.  Blend another 15-30 Seconds.
  5. Lightly spray a small skillet with the olive oil spray (I used a 6 1/3″ Le Crueset Skillet) and put on stove with flame set to medium-high heat.
  6. After about 30 seconds, lower heat to medium and pour about 1/2 of the batter in the middle of the pan.
  7. Using a spatula spread the batter out to make a tortilla shape – the mix will be thick but not unspreadable, just keep spreading until you have created an even, thin disc.
  8. Cook for 2-3 minutes, you should see bubbles popping like when cooking a pancake, or until the edges start to shrink away; check if cooked by lifting the edge: if it lifts easily, you can now flip your tortilla over and cook the other side for about another minute.
  9. Remove from pan, cool on a wire rack, and fill with your favorite sandwich or wrap fillings.

Cool completely and make sure wraps are dry before storing in a sealed container, between pieces of parchment or waxed paper, in the refrigerator.  Can be frozen in zip bags as well.

Nutrition Information per wrap (makes 3 large wraps):

  • 168  Calories
  • 6 g  Fat
  • 3 g  Carbs
  • 9 g  Protein