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

Spicy Bacon Baby Potatoes

petitepotatoesBeing Keto doesn’t mean you can’t have ANY carbs, in fact, depending on the stage you are at in your weight loss journey, you can actually enjoy a fair amount of carbs as part of your lifestyle maintenance.

At this point in my journey, I am enjoying 20 to 40 grams of carbs a couple of days a week, especially when I want a real sandwich, sweet potato, or something fun like this mini-potato recipe.

One trick I use to control my carb portions is to only prepare small amounts so I am not tempted to gorge myself on them and derail my health goals.  This recipe is perfect for doing just that.

Nutrition Information for this entire recipe (2 servings)

  • Calories 290 (145 ea)
  • Fat 18.5 grams (9.25 g ea)
  • Carbohydrates 22 grams (11 g ea)
  • Protein 7 grams (3.5 g ea)

The potatoes are an excellent source of potassium (more than a banana) and vitamin C.  Petites are also a good source of vitamin B6 and are fat, sodium and cholesterol free.

If you prefer these to be Vegetarian, omit the bacon.  The Vegetarian nutrition information is:  Calories 219  Fat 13.5 g  Carbs 22 g  Protein 3 g

Spicy Bacon Baby Potatoes

  • 5 oz (About 1 Cup or 20) baby/petite potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 Slices Bacon, diced while raw (I use kitchen shears)
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Chopped Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Red Pepper Flakes (+/-)
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

In a skillet heat the oil and red pepper flakes for about 1 minute on medium heat.  Add the bacon and the potatoes.  Cover and cook for about 4 minutes.  Remove the lid, turn the potatoes and finish browning the bacon.  Remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain.  Add the garlic to the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook for 3 – 4 more minutes.

When potatoes are fork tender (total of 7-8 minutes cooking time), remove them to a small serving bowl and add the bacon back in.  Toss to distribute and add more red pepper flakes if desired.  Serve warm.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Keto Friendly – Zoodles Alfredo

filetandZA

I was looking for a quick and tasty, but not boring, side dish to serve with the filet mignon steaks I grabbed from the butcher on the way home tonight and this recipe gave me a great excuse to try out the #ImpulsePurchase of the #SpiralifePro vegetable spiral slicer that I made on Amazon last month.  #WinWin

Zoodles Alfredo

  • 2 Medium Zucchini
  • Freshly Ground Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 2 TBLS Butter
  •  4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 oz Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Clove Garlic Minced
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste)

zuccalfredo.jpgUsing a spiralizer or hand held strip peeler, prepare your zucchini, pile onto a cutting board lined with paper towel or a hand towel and salt generously with the pink sea salt to help draw out as much water as possible.

In a small frying pan, heat about 1 TBLS of olive oil and add the zucchini to the pan.  Stir-fry until heated through then turn heat off.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter then add the garlic, the cream cheese and whipping cream.  Stir until the cream cheese has melted and is combined with the whipping cream.  Simmer for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from scorching.  Sauce will be thick and very cheesy.

Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese.  Adjust the seasonings.

Add as much sauce as desired to the zucchini in the frying pan and toss the zucchini until it’s well coated.  Super thick and satisfying.  Store extra sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Turkey Day Prep: Chunky Bacon Creamed Spinach

SpinachThis is the recipe made famous by the Southern California prime rib institution, Gulliver’s, with the barest of modifications to take away the baby food consistency and make it meatier.  There is also a seamless modification to make this a perfect Keto side dish.

Chunky Bacon Creamed Spinach

  • 2 – 16 oz packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 12 pieces thick cut bacon (Usually a 12 oz pkg) I buy from the butcher so it may be more than 12 oz
  • 3 cups milk (I recommend whole milk)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped (1 1/2 tsp if jarred minced garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour  (for Keto use 1/3 cup almond flour)

Thaw spinach and squeeze as much liquid out as possible.

Cut bacon into about 1″ pieces and cook in a large saucepan or medium dutch oven on the stove top over medium heat until it’s brown but not yet crispy.  You want as much fat to render as possible so it’s not too chewy. Using tongs, remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel.

Add onion and garlic to the pan and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  While onions are cooking, microwave your milk on high for 4 minutes.  Stir in pepper and flour, stirring continuously for about 2 minutes.

TIP: Pre-packaged bacon tends to be fattier, so you’ll have more grease and a better roux.  You may need to add a little butter (olive oil if you used almond flour) to the pan to give your mixture a better consistency if it’s too dry, if you used bacon with less visible fat.  If your bacon gave off more grease than whichever flour you used could absorb, add more a teaspoon at a time, thoroughly stirring in between additions until your roux is holding together and not too wet or dry.

Add milk and whip until smooth. TIP: If you don’t like the consistency of your almond flour, at this point you can use your immersion blender to smooth everything out, including the onions and garlic.

Stir and cook another 2 minutes, or until a slow boil starts.  Add bacon back in, then add spinach  Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  TIP: I like the creaminess of adding an additional 1/4 cup of heavy cream when it’s done cooking, but before the next. step, especially if you are doing the Keto version.  Cover top with 1/2 cup melted butter and lid until ready to serve.  If you can make this the day before, it is one of those dishes that gets better the longer it sits in the refrigerator.  Just warm it up slowly in the oven.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Turkey Day Prep: Keto Friendly, Low Carb Baked Cauliflower Au Gratin

Tomorrow’s all about talkin’ turkey, but tonight I wanted to look at an alternative to the usual sides and came across this recipe for baked cauliflower au gratin.  Anyone who is doing Keto or trying to avoid the bread and potatoes will definitely appreciate your (very limited) effort on this comforting side dish.

Baked Cauliflower Au Gratinlow-carb-baked-cauliflower-au-gratin-photo

  • 1 pound cauliflower cut into florets (or precut/bagged florets) 4 cups +/-
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP + 1tsp almond flour
  • 1 TBSP + 1tsp coconut flour
  • 1+1/2 cups 2% or almond milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz)

Preheat oven to 375° F and bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook 5 to 7 minutes until just tender.  Drain well and spread out on paper towels.  Using another layer of paper towel on top, gently press out as much moisture as you can.

While the cauliflower cooks, melt the butter in a medium pan over medium/high heat. Once melted, add in the almond and coconut flours and whisk, stirring constantly, until it just begins to brown, about 1 minute.

Whisk in the milk, salt, garlic and onion powder and pepper until smooth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally, until VERY thick, about 7-8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup of the cheese until smooth.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8×8 inch pan. Pack the cauliflower into the pan on top and then spoon the rest of the sauce over top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes. OPTIONAL: broil for 2-3 minutes until golden.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Turkey Day Prep: Zinful Cranberries

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This is a recipe I shared yesterday to my wine lifestyle blog #GirlsGoneWine that I love pulling out for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s one that I have been making for a few years. It’s fast, easy, and tastes so good!  If you’re serving a #KetoCrowd, there’s an adaptation at the bottom of the recipe.

Growing up, my family never ate any cranberry sauce that was homemade.  In the preparations for cannedcranberriesThanksgiving, someone was always assigned the task of bringing two cans of jellied and one of whole berry cranberry sauce.  You couldn’t try and pull a fast one by buying store brand.  It had to be Ocean Spray on Grandma’s Thanksgiving table!

When I began cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my own family I automatically followed the same routine until I became obsessed with the Food Network a few years back and made my first foray into making cranberry sauce from scratch.

For the first few years, I stuck with the basic “back of the package” recipe:

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 – 12 oz bag of whole fresh cranberries

Boil sugar and water, add cranberries and cook 10 minutes over a slow boil until berries have popped, refrigerate until time to serve.  *If you wanted it jellied you strained out the berry solids and skins using a mesh strainer before refrigerating.  BORING!

This year I put some time and creativity into the preparation and came up with a winner:

Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce

  • 1 & 1/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Zinfandel Wine (Best Quality 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
  • Orange or Tangerine Zest

Bring sugar, wine and cinnamon stick to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add remaining ingredients and return to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes.  You may want to use a splatter shield to avoid splashing when cranberries pop. 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.

Keto Conversion:  Substitute 1/2 Cup+1 TBLS Granulated Swerve (Stevia) for the Sugar

Don’t worry, for the holdouts who just can’t stand not seeing the canned Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce, I still have the obligatory dish with the slices in the shape of the can. 😉  #CAGirlsGoneWine

Vanilla Bean Whipped Sweet Potatoes

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For those of us hosting big family meals, at just over a month before Thanksgiving, we’ve officially reached the “almost the holidays” panic time.  That time when we revisit what we did last year to determine:

  • What dishes served had the most leftovers
  • What dishes got rave reviews
  • What dishes had no leftovers (for adjusting amount prepared)
  • What dishes were too much effort and underwhelmed

It’s also the time when we take a look at new recipes that we might want to add to this year’s menu, which means we get to make our families Guinea pigs for the next few weeks while we’re trying them out.

I already have one sweet potato recipe that my family loves, but this one (from the December 2005 issue of Food & Wine Magazine) looks pretty good, it’s easy, serves 10 – 12, and can be made the day before which frees up time on the big day, another bonus.

vbwhippedsweetpotatoes

Vanilla Bean Whipped Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 pounds medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 TBLS unsalted butter
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Poke the sweet potatoes several times with a fork and bake for about 35 minutes, or until tender.  Let cool slightly, then peel and transfer them to a food processor (I actually use my stand mixer). Puree until fairly smooth.

In a small saucepan, combine the cream with the butter and the vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to a simmer. Remove the vanilla bean.

With the processor (or stand mixer) on, carefully pour the vanilla cream into the sweet potatoes and process until smooth. Season the sweet potato puree with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl and serve.

I’d definitely consider doubling this recipe to make sure there were plenty of leftovers for piling on a turkey sandwich or frying up as sweet potato pancakes. #ThisGirlLovesToEat