Easy Antipasto Bites

Gatherings are easier with quick, #MakeAhead, appetizers. #AntipastoBites can be made the day before and kept, in a sealed container, in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. The flavors are better when closer to room temperature, so, get them out 15-30 minutes before serving.

  • 1/2 c. Extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 Tablespoons, divided
  • 9 oz. Fresh cheese tortellini
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
  • 8 oz. Mozzarella balls (in deli case near specialty cheeses)
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. Red pepper flakes
  • 4 oz. Sliced salami (or Prosciutto, Pepperoni, Sopressata, etc.)
  • 1/4 lb. Roasted red peppers, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Bunch fresh basil
  • 14 oz. Artichoke hearts (drain & chop into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1/4 lb. Green olives (Can substitute black if you prefer)
  1. In a large pot of boiling water, add 1 tablespoon oil. Cook tortellini according to package directions until al dente. Drain and transfer to large bowl.
  2. Season cooked tortellini with salt and pepper. Add balsamic vinegar and 2 TBLS olive oil and mix to combine. Set aside.
  3. Marinate mozzarella: In a small bowl, add mozzarella balls, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Mix to combine and set aside.
  4. Assemble skewers by layering one piece each mozzarella, salami, roasted red pepper, tortellini, basil, artichoke heart, and green olives.

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Keto Banana Mini Bundt Muffins

These muffins are great to keep in the refrigerator all week for #GrabAndGo breakfasts. They freeze well too.

Keto Banana Mini Bundt Muffins

  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 Cup Truvia (best for baked goods)
  • 1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar Substitute (Sukrin)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Ripe, Mashed Banana
  • 1 1/2 Cups Superfine Almond Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease mini Bundt pan with a swipe of butter or cooking spray
  3. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
  5. Stir in banana.
  6. Sift dry ingredients into banana mixture.
  7. Mix until dry ingredients just incorporated.
  8. Spoon into pan.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

I like these with a little spread of #KetoFriendly cream cheese!

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I Guess Adult Pickles Are a Thing

Leave millions of people in isolation, with time to fill, an internet full of ideas + the ability to get anything you need to bring weird ideas to life shipped to you, and what do you get?

Apparently a whole lot of drunk people eating pickles! I’ve seen whiskey pickles, tequila pickles, Old Bay and vodka pickles, beer and pickles, apple infused vodka pickles, and even candied pickle pops made with vodka & Kool-Aid. I’m not a trendy, #TikTok kind of girl, but I’m up for a challenge, the boys are coming over for Father’s Day & I can’t wait to give this a try so I can see their faces when they take their first bites.

Drunken Pickles

2 C Small Pickles or Gherkins

1 C Pickle Juice

1 C Good Bourbon – I like Makers Mark

5 Sprigs of Dill

A Few Dashes of Hot Sauce – I like Frank’s Red Hot

If You like a little more kick, add a few shakes Red Pepper Flakes

4” Cocktail Skewers

  1. In a medium bowl, combine pickles with pickle juice, whiskey, dill and hot sauce. Refrigerate for at least an hour. I plan to leave them overnight.
  2. Drain and skewer pickles. Serve.

Recipe courtesy of Lena Abraham, Senior Food Editor, Delish Magazine, June 30, 2017; Photo credit: Chelsea Lupkin

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Pressure Cooker Bourbon Short Ribs

It’s time to ditch the #Covid15, so back to cooking at home instead of Doordashing dinners I go!

These short ribs pressure cook to a fork tender, falling off the bone, delicious finish in under an hour and are great with a simple salad and cauliflower mash. I used ground Chipotle, but you can use any pepper spice you prefer. I prefer it smokier with the bourbon.

Bourbon Short Ribs

  • 2 1/2 Pounds Bone-in Short Ribs (About 6)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Bourbon
  • 1 TBLS Paprika
  • 2 tsp Ground Cayenne, Adobo, or Chipotle (1 tsp if you want it milder)
  • 3 TBLS Granulated Sugar (you can use a sugar substitute if you’re strictly counting every carb)
  • 3 TBLS Balsamic Vinegar
  • 6 Cloves Garlic (Iused 1 TBLS jarred chopped garlic)
  • 3-4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Can Beef Consommé
  • 1TBLS Cornstarch + 1 TBLS Cold Water mixed together

Cooking Directions:

  • Fill a large bowl or pot with cold water. Immerse the short ribs, and rinse the ribs in the cold water to wash off excess blood and bone dust.
  • Drain and pat dry the short ribs with paper towels. Generously sprinkle salt & pepper on all the ribs, on both sides.
  • Switch on the Instant Pot to the saute setting on high. When the instant pot is hot, pour in about 2 tbsp of oil. When the oil is hot, place about 3 – 4 short ribs in the instant pot to caramelize or to sear. It’s important not to overcrowd the bottom in order to get nice caramelization on your short ribs. Sear the short ribs on all sides, about 2 – 3 minutes per side. Place the caramelized short ribs on a plate.
  • Repeat with the rest of the short ribs.
  • Place the onion in the pot, and add the boubon. De-glaze the bottom of the instant pot to make sure that all of the caramelized bits on the bottom are mixed with the bourbon (de-glazing is an important step, so don’t skip it). Add the paprika, cayenne pepper, sugar, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and thyme.
  • Bring just to a boil, then turn off your instant pot.
  • Place the short ribs, fat side down, back in the instant pot.
  • Pour the consommé over the short ribs. Close the instant pot. Choose the manual pressure function and set it to high. Cook the short ribs for 45 minutes, followed by a 10 – 15 minute natural release.
  • Gently remove the short ribs on to bowl, and turn the saute function back on to thicken the liquid in the instant pot.
  • Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and add it to the sauce in the instant pot. Mix it in and bring it to a simmer until the liquid has thickened. Taste and season the liquid with more salt, pepper, or balsamic vinegar, if needed. Turm the Instant Pot off and put the short ribs back into the instant pot to coat with the sauce.

Serve over your cauliflower mash (I grilled some summer squash) with the sauce. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Bread

Paleo-Snickerdoodle-Loaf (3)One of my favorite ingredients in #MyKetoKitchen is Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour.  It thickens sauces and my favorite egg casserole and, being #KetoFriendly, it allows me to enjoy baked goods, pancakes, and waffles without sacrificing taste or loading up on dreaded carbs.  This recipe can be baked in the oven or using a bread machine that has a #QuickBread or #Cake baking cycle, like my #CuisinartConvectionBreadMaker does.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Bread

  • 3+1/2 Cups (322 g) Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 2 TBLS Premium Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 5 TBLS Truvia
  • 1 TBLS Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Whole or Almond Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Melted Butter or Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • Aerosol Cooking Spray (Canola Oil)

Topping – Combine in a small dish and set aside

  • 1 TBLS Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

If Cooking in a loaf pan in the oven: Spray the pan with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 325° F.

If using your breadmaker:  Spray the cooking pan with the cooking spray and set the bread machine to the settings for a 1+1/2 pound loaf (at your desired degree of crust darkness) and Quick Bread/Cake setting.

In a medium bowl, combine your dry ingredients and whisk them together until well combined.  Set aside.  In a second bowl, combine the wet ingredients.

If cooking in the oven:  Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir well to combine. Transfer batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth evenly.  Sprinkle as much of the topping over the top of the loaf (I use less than half).  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 60 minutes.  Let cool in the pan, on a wire rack, then remove from pan and serve.

If using your breadmaker:  Put the wet ingredients in first, then add the dry ingredients.  Close the lid and press start.  After the dough has mixed for 2-3 minutes, using a rubber spatula, stir in any of the flour mixture that remains on the edges and underneath the loaf.  When the final mix is complete, remove the dough paddle, if desired, and reshape your loaf to fill in the hole in the middle.  Sprinkle however much of the topping you want on your loaf, close the lid and allow the baking cycle to complete.  When the cycle ends, check the doneness of your loaf by inserting a wooden skewer/toothpick into the middle.  If it comes out clean, you are good to go.  If not, you can add time manually, 5 minutes at a time, checking doneness midway through.  Let cool in the pan, on a wire rack, then remove from pan, slice into 10 slices then slice again in half for 20 pieces, and serve.

I like to keep this dense, flavorful bread in the refrigerator, in a sealed container and serve it with some cream cheese to add some fat (for my Keto followers).

Nutrition Information (Makes 20 Servings)

  • 89  Calories
  • 9g  Carbohydrates
  • 3g  Fat
  • 3g  Protein

Get Thee to Whole Foods!

Food & Wine Magazine shared the tip that, today, Whole Foods announced it’s bringing back its popular 12 Days of Cheese promotion. Because Whole Foods loves us and wants us to be happy, 😉 from December 12 to 23, we can eat our way through a choice of high-quality artisanal cheeses at ridiculously prices!

Each day from December 12 to 23, Whole Foods’ will make a different one of its “highest-quality cheeses available at a generous discount, from artisans like 2019–20 World Cheese Award–winner Rogue Creamery.” That discount: 50 percent off—with an additional 10 percent off if you’re a Prime member. This is reason enough to renew my #AmazonPrime membership! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Here’s a cheat-sheet of the 2019 sale lineup – bonus, Whole Foods loves to let you sample:

Dec. 12: Roth Pavino
“Rich, earthy, medium-firm Alpine cheese with notes of sweet hazelnut. Exclusive to Whole Foods Market.”

Dec. 13: Istara P’tit Basque
“Aged a minimum of 70 days, this creamy and smooth sheep milk cheese has a mild, nutty flavor with a subtle, sweet finish.”

Dec. 14: Uplands Cheese Pleasant Ridge Reserve
“A cow’s milk Alpine-style cheese modeled after favorites like Le Gruyère and Beaufort, with flavors ranging from milky to nutty and grassy. The Pleasant Ridge Reserve is America’s most awarded cheese.”

Dec. 15: Neal’s Yard Dairy Keen’s Cheddar
“This cheese is dense yet creamy with complex flavors ranging from fruity to sweet butterscotch. Each wheel has been hand selected by our experts.”

Dec. 16: Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog
“A goat’s milk soft-ripened American original with a beautiful ribbon of edible ash through the center. Floral, herbaceous overtones, buttermilk and fresh cream flavors.”

Dec. 17: Emmi Cave Aged Le Gruyère
“A firm, almost crumbly Alpine cheese. Robust, deeply flavored, with tangy fruit notes and classic nuttiness.”

Dec. 18: Sweet Grass Dairy Thomasville Tomme
“Raw cow’s milk, handcrafted cheese with a semi-firm texture. Rich, earthy flavors with a finish of light salt, grass and tangy cream.”

Dec. 19: Mitica Cordobes
“Made with Castellana and Merino sheep milk from Spain. Rich and buttery flavors balanced by bright acidity and nutty undertones. Exclusive to Whole Foods Market.”

Dec. 20: Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue
“Aged at least 90 days in Roquefort modeled caves, this organic cheese has briny, earthy flavors with notes of sweet cream and huckleberry. Rogue Creamery recently made history by producing the first American cheese ever to win top honors at the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy.”

Dec. 21: Klare Melk Truffle Gouda
“Rich, flavorful, semi-firm cheese. Velvety notes of sweet cream and butter, generously laced with earthy truffles.”

Dec. 22: Cellars at Jasper Hill Harbison with Prosecco
“Soft-ripened, buttery, woodsy and sweet with balanced tones of mustard. A wash in Presto prosecco brings out bright citrus flavors. Exclusive to Whole Foods Market.”

Dec. 23: MonS Mary dans les Étoiles
“Stunning, ash-coated geo-rind goat cheese. Creamy and grassy, finished with light citrus notes. Exclusive to Whole Foods Market.”

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: 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

The Best and Worst Alcohol for the Keto Diet

Today, for my alcohol enjoying #Keto followers, I’m sharing an excerpt from an article in #HealthMagazine from November of 2018. #ThisGirlLovesHerDrinks

The best (and worst) alcohol for the keto diet

No matter what proof (80 through 100), gin, rum, vodka, and whiskey all have 0 grams of carbohydrate in a jigger (or 1.5 ounces). Have your drink neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of plain soda water. And it’s best to pour your own rather than cracking open one of those pre-made spiked seltzers; one can deliver anywhere from 1 to 5 grams carbohydrate.

If you’re craving a glass of wine, budget for it, and keep the pour size in mind. A glass of white wine ranges from 3 to 6 grams of carbohydrate per five ounces. (The sweeter whites—think riesling versus chardonnay—typically have more carbohydrates.) At home, you’re likely to pour more than five ounces, especially if you have larger wine glasses. And a standard restaurant pour is six ounces. Red wine has a tighter range of carbohydrates, at 2.5 to 4 grams per 5-ounce pour, with little variation between varieties.

Skip beer: It’s essentially bread in a bottle. A can of beer has around 12 grams of carbs. Though if you must have a beer, seek out a light beer, which comes in at around half that carb load per can.

Two other no-nos: mixers (they’re all pretty much sugar-laden) and sake. A 6-ounce pour is fairly common for sake, and it delivers nearly 9 grams of carbohydrate.

An unexpected perk of going keto

In any trendy diet, there are always nuggets of wisdom buried somewhere—and keto is no exception. Because it involves such a tight carb budget, the diet doesn’t leave much room for regular alcohol consumption. And when you do imbibe, quantity is limited, so you’re likely to stay within the recommended limit. (That’s one drink per day for women, and two for men.) Considering that more and more research suggests moderate drinking may be more detrimental to our health than experts previously thought, the keto diet’s booze restrictions could be a really good thing in the long run.

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.