Slow Cooker Sausage Soup

One of the most comforting meals in autumn and winter is a hearty soup.  I've grown to love my slow cooker especially when it comes to soup recipes.  Learning to make soup from scratch, without any carby fillers, has been a fun process, and today I present my favorite creation to date.  As with most slow cooker recipes, this soup only takes a few minutes to prep and throw together and then cooks on low for several hours - low maintenance, my favorite.  The key is using already smoked sausage; I don't have to worry about checking the sausage is fully cooked, only that it is heated through.  In this recipe I use linguica sausage which is a smoked cured pork sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika that comes from Portuguese-speaking countries.  You could easily substitute kielbasa (Polish sausage) or any other smoked sausage you may prefer. To start I plugged in my crock pot and set it to low.  My slow cooker is very small compared to standard size crock pots; I am not the original [Continue reading...]

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

I was a self-proclaimed pastaholic in my past carb-loaded days.  I could have probably enjoyed pasta multiple times a week, so I thought when I turned to keto I'd miss pasta terribly.  Turns out no, I really don't, which is a miracle in itself.  That said, from time to time I do enjoy an Italian-flavored dish (hence my love of zoodles) and this recipe fits the bill perfectly.  This is kind of a three-in-one recipe as I explain how to make super delicious and easy meatballs, how to cook a spaghetti squash to perfection and how to put it all together into one meal.  You're welcome!  Just kidding, but really you could make just the meatballs as a wonderful appetizer (I'm thinking on toothpicks for a Superbowl party perhaps?) or the roasted spaghetti squash as a holiday side dish (with a little butter and parsley on top - yum!).  Spaghetti squash is packed with Vitamins A, C, and E, magnesium and calcium, so aside from cutting the carb count significantly (7g vs 75g carbs per 100g of [Continue reading...]

Jalapeño Bacon Biscuits

Everyone loves those Red Lobster cheddar biscuits, right?  Today's recipe is a kicked up version of those for 1/4 of the carbs.  According to their nutrition facts, each Red Lobster biscuit has 16g carbs whereas each of my biscuits are only 4g total carbs and just 2g net carbs once you subtract the fiber.  After making today's batch I had to physically restrain myself from eating all of them, so be prepared to have your willpower tested once these come out of the oven.  As the weather cools down, there is something so satisfying about a delicious biscuit next to a hearty bowl of soup or even a crisp salad.  These would also make a wonderful alternative to traditional rolls this holiday season, particularly at Thanksgiving.  They are cheesy and flaky with a subtle hint of heat from the jalapeños - a winning combination that is also extremely keto-friendly! I prepped by pulling out the necessary ingredients seen above, pre-heating my oven to 350°F and spraying my jumbo muffin tin [Continue reading...]

Spicy BBQ Chicken Thighs

First, an exciting update:  On October 1st I reached 75 pounds lost since March when I began living a ketogenic lifestyle.  I am thrilled with my progress to date and I am looking forward to future successes as well.  I've been going to the gym 4-5 days a week, using the stationary bike for some cardio as well as working on strength training both with machines and free weights.  Keto has cured me of my cravings for bread, pasta and potatoes and has a long list of benefits in addition to the weight loss.  I've truly enjoyed my experience and only wish I had found it earlier, to be honest. Today's recipe is so easy I'm almost embarrassed to include it on my blog.  This is a no-fail 10 minute prep dish that comes out juicy, tender and full of robust flavor.  I've started branching out by using chicken thighs in addition to chicken breasts as they are a more keto-friendly option (more fat in the skin and dark meat than the lean white meat chicken breast).  My preference is usually white [Continue reading...]

Tuna Cakes

I guess I'm on a tuna kick lately but it's such a versatile protein.  Tuna salad is great by itself or in a low carb tortilla, in lettuce wraps or perhaps stuffed into a portabella mushroom.  This week I made tuna cakes which taste just as good as crab cakes for a fraction of the cost.  Crab could easily be used in place of tuna in this recipe, but the more economical choice here is tuna, obviously.  These tuna cakes are flaky, moist and flavorful and extremely easy to make. I began by pulling out all the necessary ingredients for the recipe including 3 cans of tuna in extra virgin olive oil.  For keto, it's preferred to use tuna packed in oil (better macro ratios) but it's okay to use tuna in water if you're not monitoring macros as closely. I thoroughly drained all three cans of tuna, flaked large pieces with a fork and added it to a bowl along with the diced red onion, two eggs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.  I used my food processor to turn the [Continue reading...]

Stuffed Zucchini Cups

Although autumn officially begins this week, I'm still knee-deep in my new found love of zucchini.  Hopefully Whole Foods continues to keep the vegetable well-stocked into the colder months as I have been eating 1 or 2 a week all summer.  This recipe will show you how to make zucchini cups that could be served as appetizers or entrees; you could also turn the zucchini into boats (slice end to end and hollow out the flesh the same way as demonstrated here) and stuff them that way instead, if preferred.  These are simple to make, low calorie and surprisingly filling - a winning trifecta for any recipe I try. I pulled all the ingredients out of the fridge and pre-heated the oven to 350°F.  Please note, I forgot to include the jar of salsa in the above photo and realized too late (ie vegetables already chopped and meat already cooked) - don't forget it!  I have nearly a pound of ground beef in the package and I cooked all of it but only used half of the meat mixture when stuffing the [Continue reading...]

Portabella Tuna Melts

I used to really enjoy tuna salad on white bread in my pre-keto life, but long gone are the days of reaching for highly-processed carb-loaded bread at the grocery store.  (Don't get me wrong, bread is still delicious and I will indulge on vacations and some holidays throughout life, but it is a thing of the past in my everyday living.)  I was a bread fiend back in the day and just before converting to a ketogenic lifestyle I learned to make tuna melts panini-style on my George Foreman grill.  This version using portabellas  bring the same great taste and satisfying warmth of a traditional tuna melt without the unnecessary carbohydrates. I started by pre-heating the oven to 350°F, lining a baking sheet with foil and spraying it with non-stick spray.  I also gathered all of the necessary ingredients as seen above.  For this recipe you want to use tuna packed in olive oil as opposed to water to raise the fat content, especially because tuna is packed with so much protein. Next I [Continue reading...]

Easy Zero Carb Egg Muffins

The words "zero carb" are music to my ears when looking up keto recipes online.  I was determined to make some zero carb egg muffins for breakfast that I can bring with me all week for lunch at work, too.  These muffins are extremely easy to put together and have the perfect low carb, high fat, moderate protein macro ratio.  I absolutely plan to create other egg muffin recipes in the future with different filling combinations; for now, this is a simple recipe that can be easily built upon by adding veggies or other cheeses that suit your taste. I began by pre-heating my oven to 350°F and spraying my 6 cup jumbo muffin tin with non-stick spray.   I sliced the Italian sausage into small bite-sized pieces and sauteed them in butter.  Although the Niman Ranch uncured sausage links are fully cooked in the package, I do want to brown them and heat them thoroughly before baking. After cooking I spooned the sausage evenly into the muffin cups and set aside. A quick note [Continue reading...]

Spicy BBQ Chicken Stuffed Peppers

I always hated stuffed peppers as a kid and I'm not sure why;  I don't think I gave them a fair chance.  Changing my eating habits the last six months has made me discover that a lot of vegetables I thought I hated are actually quite delicious (sorry Dad for not believing you!!).  I'm glad I've become a less picky eater and have come to appreciate certain foods I used to be vehemently against.  Some old habits are hard to break, though; I still refuse to eat raw tomatoes and olives and that will never change. I've tried a few different stuffed peppers recipes but this is my favorite right now.  It is filling, packs a big flavor punch and it's a great weekend meal to enjoy.  This recipe includes my favorite low carb condiment, Guy's sugar free spicy BBQ sauce.  Guy's is sugar free, gluten free, trans fat free and low sodium plus only 1g carb per serving (2tblsp).  The flavor is not at all compromised like low carb products often can be.  I purchased mine on Netrition (along with a [Continue reading...]

Chicken Crust Spinach Pizza

I previously wrote about a keto-friendly pizza crust that is truly delicious and a great replacement for normal pizza dough.  This time I tried something new and I'm sad I didn't attempt this sooner.  The use of ground chicken as the pizza "dough" (along with a few other ingredients) creates a sturdy base for my favorite toppings.  Since the base is cooked first on its own in order to crisp up a bit, the pieces slice easily and you are able to pick up and hold this like a true thin crust pizza slice.  This is another great option when craving pizza and is easy enough to make on a weeknight, too. I began by pre-heating my oven to 400°F and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper, not foil.  You want to avoid having the crust stick to the pan, so I highly recommend using parchment paper for this recipe.   I ground the pork rinds by themselves until very fine, like bread crumbs.  This helps hold everything together, especially once the eggs are added. Next I added both [Continue reading...]