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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Quick Portobello Chicken

portobellochicken1

When you follow a Keto, Whole Food, or Paleo diet, weeknight dinners can easily derail your progress if you don’t keep an arsenal of quick and easy recipes on hand.  This recipe is both. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Quick & Easy Cheesy Portobello Chicken

  • 9 ounces Frozen Tyson Grilled & Ready Fully Cooked, Diced Chicken Breast (Thawed)
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Thinly Sliced
  • 4 ounces Sliced Portobello Mushroom
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Tarragon
  • Freshly Ground Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 425° F and grease a 4 cup baking dish with butter.

Heat oil in a medium skillet.  Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.  Add the chicken, Parmesan, tarragon, bacon, and mushrooms to the skillet.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in the wine and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Transfer to the greased baking dish and top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.  Put (uncovered) into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown.  I served this over a bed of mashed cauliflower for a perfect #KetoMeal

portobellochicken2Make Ahead Tip:  If you are making this dish ahead, put into the buttered baking dish and cover/refrigerate.  When ready to put in the oven, throw the dish in the microwave for about 3 minutes, at 50% power, to take the chill off, then top with the cheese and bake as directed.

Nutrition Information (Serves 3)

  • 447 Calories
  • 39 g Fat
  • 4 g Carbohydrates
  • 27 g Protein

 

Broiled Flat Iron Steak

broiledflatironsteakWhen I’m meal prepping, I like to multi-task.  Often I have something in the air fryer, the pressure cooker, in the oven, and even in the broiler simultaneously.  It’s easy to do that when you pre-plan your meals and know your timeline.

I love this marinade for flat iron steak (or any cut of beef) because it allows me to do other dishes while the meat sits in the bag to absorb all of the flavors for four hours.  If you marinate the steak while you’re at work during the day, you’ll be ready to have a great meal on the table for your family in under 30 minutes.  Steam a package of vegetables in the microwave and it’s a simple clean up as well!

Broiled Flat Iron Steak

  • 2 Pounds Flat Iron Steak
  • 2/3 Cup Red Wine (I used full-bodied Westerly Merlot)
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 4 Cloves Crushed Garlic
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a gallon sized zip bag then add the raw steak to the bag.  Push out as much air as you can then zip the bag closed.  Place the bag in the refrigerator and allow the meat to marinate for 4-6 hours.

Set the oven temperature to broil.

Line a broiler pan with foil and top with either the broiler pan top or a roasting rack if one fits on top of your pan.  My oven is a Kitchen Aid and didn’t come with a broiler pan.  There was an option to order one by mail or $49 + Tax and shipping.  I searched the part number on Amazon and found it (with the included roasting rack) for $34.51 + free shipping!  I use it all the time!

When oven has reached it’s temperature, place the pan under the broiler and cook for 6-8 minutes per side.  If you have a nice thick piece of steak you should get a medium end result.  Adjust your time up or down to fit your desired degree of doneness.

For most tender result, slice diagonally across the grain.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information (8 – four ounce servings)

  • 331 Calories
  • 26 g Fat
  • 3 g Carbs
  • 21 g Protein

Crustless BBQ Chicken Quiche

1A hearty, meat-filled quiche can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  If you skip the meat, it’s a great main course on #MeatlessMonday or during #Lent, and is a perfect way to use up #Leftovers!

This week I made more chicken thighs than we could eat, so they became the star of this spicy main dish pie!  I served it alongside a peppery arugula salad and a big glass of #WesterlyWines Côte Blonde Syrah.

Easy Crustless BBQ Chicken Quiche

  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 1/8 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Or any type you choose)
  • 2 Cups Chopped Cooked Chicken Thighs
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Mushrooms (Any type)
  • 1/2 – 6 oz Can Diced Green Peppers or Jalapeños (If desired)
  • 2 Cups Fresh Greens (Any type I used Spinach)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 TBLS Low Carb BBQ Sauce (I use Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard)

Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 9 x 9 square baking pan or Quiche/pie pan generously with olive oil.  Add 1/2 cup of the cheese to the bottom of the pan and set aside.

In a medium skillet, over medium-high heat, add 2 TBLS Olive Oil (I used garlic infused oil).  Add onions, jalapeños, and mushrooms and sauteé until onions are translucent and begin to soften a bit.  Add the spinach, another TBLS of olive oil, and cook another 30 seconds or so, just until the spinach begins to wilt.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add chopped chicken thighs to the pan.  Stir in the BBQ sauce and cook about 2 minutes.  Remove from pan and scatter across the cheese layer in the prepared pan.  Top the chicken with the Spinach mixture, making sure to distribute evenly around the pan.  Top with the remaining cheese.

In a medium bowl or large mixing cup, combine the eggs, milk, cream, salt & pepper.  Whip thoroughly with a wire whisk.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetable and cheese layers in the pan.  Put pan into preheated oven and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until center is set.  Remove pan from oven and cool on a wire rack.  If eating immediately, slice into 8 wedges and serve warm.

Suggested toppings:

  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream
  • Chives
  • Sliced Avocado

If meal prepping, slice into 8 sections and put into a large container in the refrigerator to eat during the week.  To reheat: Microwave a single portion on high for 30 seconds, top and enjoy!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Dessert Wine Pairings

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It’s no secret that I love food and wine, but even I have to admit that sometimes the wine you drink with dinner may not be the same wine that you want to keep drinking when it comes time for dessert. #GirlsGoneWine

Generally, it’s not a bad idea to follow the rule: the darker the dessert the darker the wine.  If you don’t feel secure with a rule that is so non-specific, there are a few other taste guidelines according to the different dessert types:

  • Custard and Vanilla
  • Fruit and Spice
  • Caramels and Chocolate

Custard and Vanillacremebrulee

When your dessert is based around the light, mild, buttery flavors found in most custard based desserts you want your wines to have the same basic flavor profiles.  So, if you are serving a vanilla custard, pudding, flan, crème brûlée, tart or pie, you’ll want to serve a white wine like a late-harvest Riesling, or a sparkling wine like an Asti Spumanti or demi-sec Champagne.  This Vanilla Crème Brûlée from The New York Times is #FastAndEasy and needs only 5 ingredients!

Vanilla Crème Brûlée

  • 2 cups heavy or light cream, or half-and-half
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar, more for topping

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan, combine cream, vanilla bean and salt and cook over low heat just until hot. Let sit for a few minutes, then discard vanilla bean. (If using vanilla extract, add it now.)

In a bowl, beat yolks and sugar together until light. Stir about a quarter of the cream into this mixture, then pour sugar-egg mixture into cream and stir. Pour into four 6-ounce ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish; fill dish with boiling water halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until centers are barely set. Cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours and up to a couple of days.

When ready to serve, top each custard with about a teaspoon of sugar in a thin layer. Place ramekins in a broiler 2 to 3 inches from heat source. Turn on broiler. Cook until sugar melts and browns or even blackens a bit, about 5 minutes. Serve within two hours.

Most crème brûlée recipes need a torch, but this one is simpler & safer: it uses your oven’s broiler to get the crackly top.

**TIP: Make sure the custard sets for several hours in the refrigerator before brûléeing the top so you don’t end up with soupy custard.

vanillaspicedpoachedpearFruit and Spice

When your dessert is fruit based with a spicy profile, like those with apple, pear, pumpkin or cinnamon in them, you’ll want to lean toward white wines that have more character to them.   In this case you’ll want to consider Pink or Rosé Champagne, Sauternes, or late-harvest Gewirtztraminer.

Caramels and Chocolates

When your dessert is rich and full of any of the flavors across the chocolate spectrum turtlebrownies1(except white chocolate) or has the gooey richness of caramel’s toffee goodness, then the wines you’re looking for will be Red.  Late-harvest Pinot Noir, Banyuls, Grenache, Australian Shiraz, Port (the classic chocolate pairing), and Grappa all are excellent pairings for these rich dessert choices.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

 

 

Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

Italian-Sausage Burgers with Garlicky SpinachI love a big, juicy cheeseburger but they can get boring after a while.  This recipe is one that will definitely take away the boredom and might even be one that I can whip out at a tailgate this football season to change it up a bit!

This can easily be #KetoFriendly by eliminating the ciabatta roll and eating with a knife & fork on top of the spinach.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat but this girl loves her skinny jeans too!

Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • Salt
  • 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausages (or a combination of both), casings removed
  • 4 slices of provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried-tomato pesto
  • 4 round ciabatta rolls, split and toasted  (If you’re Keto, skip the rolls)

In a large skillet, bring 1/4 inch of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 1 minute; drain and press out as much water as possible. Wipe out the skillet.

In the same skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and anchovy paste and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the spinach, season with salt and stir just until coated, about 10 seconds.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Using slightly moistened hands, form the sausage meat into four 4-inch patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Brush the burgers with oil and grill over moderate heat until browned and crusty on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the burgers. Top with the cheese and grill until the burgers are cooked through and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer. Spread the pesto on the rolls. Top with the burgers and spinach and serve.

These burgers would be great paired with a fruit forward zinfandel like a 2015 Sextant Zinfandel Holystone out of Paso Robles, CA or an Artezin 2016 Old Vine Family Farmed Sustainable Zinfandel out of Mendocino County, CA.   #GirlsGoneWine

Dreamy Creamy Mustard Chicken

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Anyone who thinks living a #KetoLifestyle or following a #KetoDiet to lose weight has to be boring and consists only of mass quantities of cheese, bacon, and butter, couldn’t possibly be more wrong!

This chicken thigh recipe, adapted from one featured on The Food Network by Ina Garten, has every component of Keto covered (High Protein, Moderate/High Fat, Low Carb) with flavor to spare!  Served alongside a pile of arugula & spinach tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, cracked black pepper & shaved Parmesan and a mound of creamy ricotta mashed cauliflower, it’s certainly far from boring! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chicken Thighs in Creamy Mustard Sauce

  • 6 Medium – Large Chicken Thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • Freshly Ground Himalayan Pink Sea Salt & Black Pepper
  • Garlic Infused Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, cut in half & sliced thin
  • 1/4 Cup + 2 TBLS Dry White Wine (I used an open bottle of Chardonnay)
  • 8 Ounces Crème Fraîche
  • 1 TBLS Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tsp Whole-Grain Mustard
  • 1 TBLS Chopped Fresh Parsley

Liberally season both sides of the chicken with the sea salt and pepper.

Heat 2 TBLS garlic olive oil over medium heat, in either a 10-12″ cast-iron pan or stove top dutch oven.  I used a 5.75 qt Le Creuset dutch oven.  When the oil is hot, place the chicken in the pan in one layer, skin side down. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes without moving, until the skin is golden brown.  If skin gets too brown before the cooking time is up, lower the heat slightly.

Turn the chicken, add the onions to the pan, it’s ok to add some under the chicken, and cook over medium heat for another 15 minutes, stirring the onions occasionally, until the thighs are cooked to 155 to 160 degrees and the onions are browned. Transfer the chicken (not the onions) to a plate and allow to rest uncovered while you make the sauce. If the onions aren’t browned, cook them for another minute.  TIP:  I took the chicken and moved it to a smaller dutch oven so that I could make this before the sides and keep it warm with the lid until it was time to serve.

In a 2 Cup bowl/mixing cup, stir together the mustards, Crème Fraîche, and 2 TBLS of the wine.  Set aside.

If you have an excess of chicken skin and/or onions that burned or stuck to the pan during the browning stage, deglaze the pan with the 1/4 Cup of white wine.  Scrape up only any burned bits and scoop them, with the tainted wine, out of the pan and discard.  Add the sauce ingredients to the pan, making sure to use a rubber spatula to get all of the flavor into the pan.

Cook and stir about 2 minutes, over medium heat, then immediately pour over the chicken you’ve moved to your smaller dutch oven OR return the chicken and the juices that settled back into the pan.  Cover until ready to serve.  Spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with chopped parsley when plating, if desired.

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