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

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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

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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: Pumpkin Hummus

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.

Make Ahead

The pumpkin hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Turkey Day Prep: Creamed Spinach with Bacon

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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

If you’re interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to, like:  health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, gadget reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a community page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

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