Chicken Bacon Ranch Meatballs

chickbaconranchmb2

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!

 

Buttery Crackle Chicken Thighs

Today I found this great recipe for Buttery Crackle Chicken Thighs on #SweetCsDesigns.
Buttery Crackle Chicken Thighs are the most delicious, juicy, and super crunchy chicken thighs you’ll ever make!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat 

Buttery Crackle Chicken Thighs

  • 1.5 lbs chicken, medium-large bone-in chicken thighs, skin on
  • 2 tbsp butter, ghee/clarified
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Lay chicken thighs out on a cutting board, and using sharp kitchen scissors, cut out bone from thigh.
  2. Remove bones (save them for chicken stock if you make your own!)
  3. Pound chicken flat and make sure they are very dry, pat with paper towel if needed.
  4. Generously salt and pepper meat side of chicken (don’t salt fat side, as it can easily burn).
  5. Heat a cast iron (or heavy) pan on high heat, so it is scorching hot (but not smoking).
  6. Reduce heat to medium-high.
  7. Add ghee/butter to pan, and let melt.
  8. Add chicken to pan, starting with the fat side down.
  9. Let fat crisp and chicken brown, about 7 minutes.
  10. Flip chicken and cook until 165 degrees internal temp – about 6 minutes.
  11. Let rest 2-5 minutes and pat off any excess butter softly with a paper towel.
  12. If desired, cut chicken into strips.

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Amount Per Serving

Calories277 Fat7g Cholesterol95mg Sodium113mg Protein21g

What’s the White Stuff on Cooked Salmon?

The white stuff on salmon is called albumin. Albumin is a protein that exists in the fish in liquid form when it’s raw that coagulates and becomes semi-solid when you subject the salmon to heat when cooking. As the meat cooks, the coagulated albumin gets squeezed out and becomes a white coating.
The more aggressively you cook your salmon the more albumin will appear on its surface.

Think of what happens when you wring out a wet towel. The water inside the fibers of the cloth is pushed out as you squeeze the fibers closer together. The same principle applies to salmon. As salmon cooks, the flesh contracts, pushing out albumin to the fillet’s surface. The higher the heat, the more quickly the flesh contracts, and the more albumin becomes visible.

To have as little albumin as possible visible on your finished dish, follow these guidelines:

  • Cook your salmon at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time. It’s gentler on the fillet, resulting in a super-tender piece of fish with less nasty white stuff.
  • If you are searing salmon (and fish in general), always do so with the skin side down. The skin acts as a protective barrier between the fish and the hot metal pan. **TIP: Even if you plan on taking the skin off, cook your fish skin-side down for 90% of the way, turn off the heat, and then flip the fish so the skinless side cooks on the pan’s residual heat.
  • Don’t overcook your salmon. You want it medium to medium-rare in the center, still a bit translucent. Overcooking salmon is the easiest way to get albumin everywhere. **TIP: When you can push on the top of your salmon with a fork, and the the layers of flesh separate easily and seem moist, your fish is finished cooking.

Thanks to my friends at Epicurious for the cooking tips! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

The Benefit of Green Peas

peafacts

I never minded cleaning my plate when I was a kid.  I actually liked eating my vegetables, but I never had any idea how much good they were doing!  I am especially amazed by the number of things that green peas can do for your health.

One of the most important things that peas provide us Vitamin K.  It plays a vital role in your body because it:

  • helps the blood clot – preventing excessive bleeding;
  • helps anchor calcium inside the bones which helps prevent osteoporosis; and
  • helps to restore strength to bones following steroid use.

Peas contain such high quality protein that commercial protein powders have begun using it as an alternative to soy or whey based protein.

  • Coumestrol, a phytonutrient in Peas, has been shown to reduce the risk of stomach cancers
  • The Pantothenic Acid in peas supports the energy producing cells in the body and play an important role in adrenal function
  • A cup of peas is just 81 calories, has no cholesterol, they are good source of soluble as well as insoluble fiber
  • A cup of peas provides 16% of RDA of folates. Folates are one of the B-complex vitamins required for DNA synthesis inside the cell
  • Fresh green peas are very high in Vitamin C.  A cup has 67% of the daily requirement.
  • Peas contain phytosterols, which helps lower cholesterol levels
  • A cup of peas is also high in antioxidants like carotenes, lutein and zea-xanthin as peas1well as vitamin-A (25.5% of RDA). Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy membranes, skin and eye-sight, and protects against lung and oral cavity cancers
  • Peas are also good in many other essential B-complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. Furthermore, they are rich source of many minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese

Looks like I am going to mix a cup of green peas in with my quinoa for lunch tomorrow!  Yum!

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

 

Almonds Rock!

I love almonds!  They are easily thrown into my Vitamix to make almond meal, almond flour or almond butter to spread on my morning toast, added to my smoothies to add healthy fat & as a protein boost, and, as it turns out, they are great for your health!

I’m going into the kitchen now to grab a bowl to munch on during the football games.  A much healthier alternative to our usual chips & dip!


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

Best Way To Cook Cauliflower Rice

how-to-make-cauliflower-rice-graterAnyone who has tried to diet, lose a few pounds, or who just wants to cut down on the many, many carbohydrates in the average American diet has likely heard of substituting white rice with cauliflower grated down into a low-calorie, gluten-free rice substitute that is also a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins C, K, and B6.

I have yet to master “cauliflower rice.”  The methods I have used so far have left me with either a pile of mush (something close to Cream of Wheat) or rock hard mini chunks that in no way resemble rice…UG!

Thankfully the test kitchen at epicurious.com did the hard work of trying out the many methods we’ve all seen on pinterest and gave us the method that they found to be the best tasting and closest in consistency to rice so that home cooks like me can stop screwing it up so badly.  The one thing that they did note, for consistency, was that they added olive oil to all preparations (except raw).

cookingcaulirice

The following is taken directly from the article found at http://www.epicurious.com:  The Best Way to Make Cauliflower Rice; by   04.22.16

COOKING METHOD 1: NONE

They tasted the grated cauliflower in its natural state, as it is sometimes added to couscous-like salads raw and simply tossed with a rich, acidic dressing that helps break down some of its tough structure. But although the raw form is the easiest—no cooking required—it had a crunch that was too vegetable-like to approximate rice.

Epinion: Raw cauliflower rice is crunchy, and works to add texture to a salad, but it doesn’t mimic cooked rice.


COOKING METHOD 2: STEAMED IN CHEESECLOTH

Steaming the grated cauliflower is the most minimal cooking process. But since the cauliflower granules are so small, they had to use several layers of cheesecloth to hold the cauliflower in the steamer basket. The texture here was great, and the flavor was clean and fresh, very similar to the blank canvas of white rice. But removing the tiny cauliflower pieces from the cheesecloth was a pain, and some cauliflower rice was lost in the process.

Epinion: This process yields great results, but it’s too fussy.


COOKING METHOD 3: STEAMED IN WATER, THEN GRATED

They then tried steaming the whole cauliflower florets first, using a traditional steamer basket set into a medium-sized pot. Once cooled, the cooked cauliflower was grated. Although this greatly simplified the process, the cauliflower rice tasted waterlogged and was mushy.

Epinion: Steaming whole cauliflower florets doesn’t work.


COOKING METHOD 4: COOKED IN WATER

Next they tried cooking the grated cauliflower as if it were traditional rice: they added the grated cauliflower to a small amount of simmering water, covered the pan, and let the cauliflower cook until the water evaporated. Again, this yielded watery mush.

Epinion: Cauliflower rice shouldn’t be cooked the same way as rice.


COOKING METHOD 5: BOILED

Not wanting to give up on the ease of water-cooking, they tried dunking some of the grated cauliflower in a pot of boiling water and then in ice water to try out quick-blanching. But yet again, the cauliflower rice was wet and squishy.

Epinion: Water + tiny granules of cauliflower rice = soggy cauliflower.


COOKING METHOD 6: MICROWAVED

They placed the grated cauliflower into a microwave-safe bowl, stirred in the tablespoon of oil, covered the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and cooked for about 3 minutes. And viola! Super easy, delicious texture with distinct rice kernels, and clean flavor, very similar to the steamed version, minus the mess of the cheesecloth.

Epinion: For the easiest and cleanest white-rice—esque cauliflower, use the microwave.


COOKING METHOD 7: SAUTÉED

Finally, they tested high-heat methods of cooking the cauliflower, heating up the olive oil in a pan and sautéing the grated cauliflower until lightly cooked. The taste was much richer than the microwaved cauliflower (or any of the boiled/steamed versions), but the cruciferous flavor was much stronger.

Epinion: For a sweeter, more cauliflower-forward rice, sautéing is a great option.


COOKING METHOD 8: ROASTED

For the final test, they tossed the grated cauliflower with the oil, then roasted it on a baking sheet at 400°F for about 12 minutes. This version had the sweetest flavor, thanks to the caramelization of the cauliflower. But again, that earthy, cauliflower funk was much more apparent than in other cooking methods. Cauliflower rice made this way makes a great side dish on its own, seasoned simply with butter, salt, pepper, and perhaps some cheese, but for a white rice alternative, the microwaved rice was the clear winner.

Epinion: For a quick-cooking, caramelized cauliflower side dish, roasting is the way to go.

I can see now that my mistakes were:

  • I wasn’t adding any olive oil when cooking
  • I was adding too much water
  • I was overcooking the riced cauliflower in the microwave

Knowing where I failed, plus taking the expert advice of the Epicurious test kitchen, convince me that my next attempt at cauliflower rice is going to be much better!

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

Thanksgiving Night Helper

Bon Appétit is always such a lifesaver!

When we are at a loss for how to wow dinner guests, they have just the recipe for us.

glazed-and-lacquered-turkey-overhead-horizontalWhen we’ve agreed to host the feast and  bitten off a more than we could chew , I meant do, they’re there for us with Live (yes! Live) help via Facebook, podcasts we can play again and again, and even via shared tips and tricks on Instagram.

Tonight they seek to come to our rescue yet again, this time with a recipe to help all of us digest the mass amounts of food that we all intend to stuff into our bodies on Thanksgiving day.

Mint, ginger, fennel, and cayenne are known for their digestive properties.

Their recommendation is to have this ready for the morning after, but why suffer all night with a bloated belly?  I would make this the  day before, when you are prepping the rest of your feast, and make a double batch so it’s ready to go before you hit the hay on Thanksgiving night.

Overeater’s Tonic

Makes about 3 cups

  • 3 sprigs mint
  • 1 1½-inch piece turmeric, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, thinly slicedovereaters-tonic
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds or aniseed
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon aromatic bitters
  1. Muddle mint sprigs, turmeric, ginger, fennel seeds, and cayenne in a 4-cup measuring glass until turmeric and ginger are broken up into bits.
  2. Add vinegar, honey, bitters, and 3 cups cold water; stir to dissolve honey.
  3. Chill until very cold, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  4. Strain.
Per 4 servings: Calories (kcal) 60 Fat (g) 0 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 13 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 8 Protein (g) 0 Sodium (mg) 10

Tip:  Turn this into a spritzer by using club soda instead of water.

If you are on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to, recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood