Category Archives: Recipes!

Recipe! Zoodles with shrimp and pesto.

Man, it’s been forever since I’ve posted a recipe. I’m a little rusty, but if you’ll allow, I’d like to give you this two part recipe involving my first foray into what The Great Spousal Unit likes to call: Zoodles. You know… those zucchinis cut up into something approximating spaghetti strands. Zoodles.

It’s something that’s burned into my brain now, so in the absence of anything else, that’s what I’m going with. This recipe includes grilled shrimp with mushrooms, shallot, and tomato, tossed in with homemade pesto.

First, let’s begin with the pesto. I don’t really know how to make pesto… I just read the back of a jar of pesto in the store and thought, “hey, I can do that”. So this is really an approximation.

I got out the mini food processor (one of my favorite kitchen gadgets), and combined flat leaf Italian parsley (just the leaves, not the stems), and fresh basil. To that, I added some shelled pumpkin seeds. In retrospect, I think pine nuts would work better, but I had pumpkin seeds, so I used pumpkin seeds. Then, a little salt and pepper, some lemon juice (from maybe about half a lemon), and olive oil. I ran all that through the food processor, then added a little freshly grated pecorino romano cheese. The goal at this point is to get it to a consistency something like this, while getting the taste exactly to your liking:
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Meanwhile, I marinated the shrimp in a simple lemon vinaigrette, with salt and pepper. Nothing too out of the ordinary there.

After that, I just chopped up some baby portabello mushrooms, about half a shallot (it was a really big shallot), and one tomato. I tossed the mushrooms and shallot in a pan with butter and white wine. I don’t remember which white wine… it was whatever Maureen was drinking.
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I also got the shrimp on the grill (my new griddle/grill combo that fits right over the middle burner on my stove!). About two minutes per side max. They came out great.

At this point, I’ve also put the zoodles in a bowl with a little butter, a tiny bit of celery salt, and garlic. Then I cheated and put the bowl in the microwave to heat everything up. About three minutes was good. To finish up, I kept the zoodles in the bowl, and added the mushroom and shallots, the tomato, the pesto, and a little more pecorino romano.
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On the plate, I can tell you that it tasted as good as it looked.
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Estimated carb count per serving: How do I figure a carb count for this meal? I dunno… maybe 10g?

I don’t think this was the perfect interpretation of this meal, but one or two more tries and I might have a real winner here. All in all, it was delicious and mostly healthy. Have you tried something like this before? Have any tips?

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.

Throwback Saturday? Happy Halloween, and my chili recipe.

Okay, it’s not Thursday… I don’t do many throwback-type posts here, but since I do this recipe every year at Halloween, and since the weather has turned a bit colder here in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought I would pass along my Cincinnati Chili recipe once again. Even without a kitchen this year (renovation in progress), I will find a way to make this recipe. It’s Halloween tradition now. You might want to try it too. Hope this warms your soul and makes you smile this weekend. Enjoy!
 
 
When you grow up in Cincinnati, you learn two things. One is how to spell Cincinnati, and the other is how to make chili. This chili is more mild than what you might find in Texas. But very flavorful and warming on a cold night.
Also unique is how it’s served. Either on a coney… mustard, hot dog, chili, shredded cheddar, and onions if you like. Or with pasta, as part of a three, four, or five way. That is:

– Three Way: spaghetti, chili, cheese
– Four Way: spaghetti, chili, cheese, and either beans or onions
– Five Way: all of the above

I generally start with ground turkey, but you can use beef, pork, lamb, whatever you want. I also make a great vegetarian version with something called Boca veggie crumbles. I was told by a dietician once that if you rinse the turkey with hot water after cooking, you can wash off about 90 percent of the fat. This makes a lot, so be ready to freeze some for another day. Here’s the recipe:

2 pounds of ground turkey, beef, pork, lamb, or vegetarian substitue
1 large onion, chopped
8-10 ounces of low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon minced garlic
40 ounces of crushed tomato
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
5 tablespoons ground cumin (a lot of people think it’s the cinnamon that defines Cincinnati chili. Actually, it’s the cumin)
2 dried red peppers

Finally, take some cheesecloth and make a little sack to include 5 bay leaves and 35 whole allspice
Saute your ground meat and onions in a pan. Then put everything else in a crock pot and give it a good stir. Set the crock pot to high for about half an hour to get everything heated up, then turn it down to low for at least a couple of hours. You will love how the house smells after a while.

– Total estimated carb count in each coney: 26 grams
– Total estimated carb count in each 3-way, 4-way, or 5-way: 45 grams

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.

A cheese Coney

A cheese Coney

The classic Cincinnati chili 3-way

The classic Cincinnati chili 3-way

Recipe! Flatbread pizza.

Happy Friday!

Cliche alert: Like you, I’m always on the lookout for low-carb options of my favorite foods. Today, I’ll be showing you just how easy it is to make a tasty flatbread pizza. Not only is it low carb, it’s also about three dollars (or less) per pizza. Let’s begin:
 
 
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. I’m still working on this; you can probably cook these a little lower, say around 350. The idea is to get all the ingredients cooked through while crisping up the flatbread, but not burning it. A little finesse is required. We’ve also done this on the grill, which requires a very low flame so you don’t burn the flatbread. Regardless, watch it like a hawk the first time.

Flatout-Flatbread

I started with flatbread from Flatout Bread. Good size, easy to use, fits on a cookie sheet. 16 grams of carbohydrates per flatbread. They come in a variety of options, including Garden Spinach and Sundried Tomato. I used the Italian Herb. FYI: Their website contains great recipes from other bloggers.

I like to put a very thin layer of olive oil on the bottom of my cookie sheet, along with some garlic powder or celery salt, to give the crust a little zing. Then I went to the refrigerator.

Ingredients

I just looked for anything that might taste good on a pizza. I found turkey deli meat (for Maureen), salami deli meat (for me), green onions, baby portabella mushrooms, and green olives. I also had some cherry tomatoes left from my garden.
 
 
Classico-Pizza-Sauce

We began the pizza build with Classico Fire Roasted Pizza Sauce. The nutrition label says that ¼ cup carries about 6 grams of carbohydrates, and that’s about the amount we used on each pizza. I’m also a big fan of basil on my pizza; we didn’t have fresh basil, but I sprinkled some dried basil flakes on top of the pizza sauce to give it an extra layer of flavor.

Then we just started piling on ingredients! One thing about the tomatoes: A lot of flavor is in the juice of tomatoes, but that extra liquid can really make your pizza soggy if you’re not careful. These cherry tomatoes worked fine, but we made sure to put them on top of the other ingredients. If you’re using something like a Roma tomato, slice it really thin and place each slice on a paper towel first. It won’t drain all of the liquid from the tomato, but keeping the slices thin will keep from weighing everything down, while still giving you that tomato boost. Yes, I’m a fresh tomato addict.

Once we finished with our ingredients, all we needed was a little mozzarella cheese on top. Here’s a look at one pizza before the cheese and one after the cheese. Looks good, right?

Half
 
 
Well, they were even better when we took them out of the oven. Cook your pizza at 400 degrees for 5 to 5 ½ minutes. In our case, thanks to our 50 year old oven (literally), we needed to finish it off for 30 seconds or so under the broiler to brown the top a little bit.

Flatbread-Pizza

From start to finish, these two flatbread pizzas took about 15 minutes. It may not have taken that long to eat them.
 
 
Carbohydrate count: Let’s see… 16g for the flatbread, 6g for the pizza sauce, maybe 3g for anything else. That’s 25 grams of carbohydrates for everything you see in the photos! A regular store bought or pizzeria pizza of the same size would probably be three or four times that amount. Note: You might want to take the fat content of the cheese you use into consideration too.

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.
 
 
Full Disclosure: I’m not getting anything from Flatout Bread or Classico for writing about their products. They are just what I used to make this pizza.
 
 
 

Recipe! Tomato Salad.

I had a really great ear of corn last weekend. The kind where it was just so sweet and creamy with just the right amount of butter and Old Bay seasoning (it’s a thing here). Of course, my BGs didn’t necessarily like the effect of a big fat ear of corn.

So the next day, even though I was grilling something again, I decided to think differently about a side dish. This one isn’t completely carb free… but it’s a lot less than an ear of corn, and don’t forget, tomatoes are just coming into their own in North America now too.

I started with a handful of small tomatoes, yellow and red, that I got from my local farm truck. And a few of my purple cherry tomatoes that are just starting to ripen.

I just sliced them in half and added about 2/3 olive oil and 1/3 red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste (I also added Old Bay seasoning– I admit– I’m addicted). Then I thinly sliced some fresh basil and fresh mint. Again, about 2/3 basil, about 1/3 mint. No need to measure out all of this. Trust me… You’ll figure out the right proportions.

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If you want to add a few extra carbs, you could cube up a slice of bread, throw it in a pan with butter or olive oil (just a tiny bit), and add something like celery salt or garlic powder, or both. Blue cheese or parmesan cheese too. Or experiment– how about a little cumin or siracha sauce? No matter what, this is a super-easy, tasty side dish.

Carbohydrate count: In what you see in the photos, about 6 grams to 8 grams. If you add a few croutons, add about 14g – 18g depending on the type of bread you use.

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.
 
 
 

Recipe! Cured fish with tequila.

Lots of pictures in this post today… I’ll try to do this recipe justice.

Living where I live today is different from anywhere else I’ve lived. I grew up catholic, way back in the old days when I used to go to mass all the time. However, the neighborhood I live in now has a high concentration of Jewish Americans, as well as Russian Jews and Polish, African, and, you get the idea. Over time, I’ve been lucky enough to make lots of friends in this part of the world, which means I’ve been invited to breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and everything in between by people who are as friendly as can be. Often, there’s some kind of cured or smoked fish on the menu. Not a big deal, right? Unless you’re used to eating beef and pork all the time. There’s a huge difference between a meat-and-potatoes Midwestern diet like I grew up with, and a Mediterranean-influenced Kosher diet.

But I’ve gotta admit… some of the food I’ve been exposed to has been awesome. Like the gravlax that I put together the other day. This isn’t a Kosher-exclusive dish, to be sure, but had I not been exposed to the influences I’ve been exposed to here, I probably never would have tried this. And I love it!

You’re going to find this is a very easy recipe, and one you can vary according to what’s on hand in your pantry and what you really like. If you close it up tightly after it’s cured, you can probably keep it in the fridge for four or five days.

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I started with a ¾ pound filet. What you see was labeled as steelhead trout, but you might also see it as freshwater salmon in places. You’ll also need a deep dish, and a brick or something weighty to place on top of the fish while it cures. For my recipe, I included:

½ cup of kosher salt

1 tablespoon celery salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon dill (fresh is best, but I used dried because that’s what I had)

1 tablespoon McCormick’s® Grill Mates® mesquite seasoning

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Tequila

Basically, you mix all of the dry ingredients, then add the olive oil and tequila until you have what seems like a dry paste. If you think your mixture is too wet, just add some more dry ingredients.

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Now it’s time to get your hands dirty. Put your fish in your deep dish… this is where it will sit for a couple of days. Take your mixture and rub it over your fish. Make sure the mixture covers every single inch of the surface of the fish. If you don’t have enough to cover the fish, make more.

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Once the fish is covered in your seasonings, wrap everything up. First in plastic, then in foil. Again, make sure the entire surface of the fish is covered. Place the fish in your refrigerator, and then place your “something weighty” on top. We used a brick from our landscaping outside, and wrapped it in foil. This helps your spices to really get into your fish, and it helps with the curing process too.

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Then the hard part starts. Because you have to wait 48 hours to unwrap everything and dig in. Don’t be surprised if some of the liquid drains from the fish during this time. That’s normal, and it’s why you have it in a deep dish.

Once your 48 hours are up, get the dish out of the refrigerator and uncover everything. If you have to, use a paper towel to remove any leftover moisture.

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I love bagels, but I don’t love what they do to my BGs, so I mostly avoid them. Instead, I opt for small crackers for my lox. I thinly slice the fish, then put it on the cracker with a little cheese (provolone in this case, because… that’s what I had), and maybe some tomato. If I can make some sort of swanky mustard sauce for it, I might do that too, but that’s a matter of personal taste. Anyway, the recipe turned out great, and I’m looking forward to enjoying this for the next few days, and sharing it too.

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So there you have it. Good for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sorry I don’t have a carb count; any carbs come primarily from the tablespoon of brown sugar in the spice mix, so it can’t be too much.

I hope you get a chance to make this recipe too. It’s a great example of something that’s easy, but tasty. Enjoy!
 
 
 

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