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Kefta inspired pork meatballs

i was looking for an appetizer to make for a party and was feeling a little Middle East inspired. These meatballs hit the spot perfectly. 
2 lbs regular ground pork

1-2 oz (by weight) dried mushroom 

1/4 cup heavy cream

3 cloves minced garlic

1/4 tsp all spice, ground

1/2 tsp cumin, ground

1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground

2 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste
Directions

My secret to moist meatballs or meatloaf is my soaked dried mushroom powder. Take a big handful of dried mushrooms and put them in a blender or food processor. Blend until you get “mushroom powder”. This stuff is great for a lot of things. Take the mushroom powder and add to a big bowl. Add the heavy cream and let it soak for 5 mins or so. Add the rest of your spices and eggs. Mix to combine. Then add your meat and mix. 

I use a small ice cream scoop to make my meatballs. I just scoop them on to a foil lined baking sheet. I get around 30-40 meatballs. Then o let the meatballs set in the fridge for at least 30 mins to firm up. 

Set a large frying pan on medium heat. Wet your hands slightly. Roll each meatball and add to the frying pan. Work fast so all balls cook the same amount of time. Turn the meatballs when brown on the first side, about 5-7 mins. Cool on the other side for 5 mins. I then put a cover on the pan and let the balls cook through. 
Sauce

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 clove grated garlic

Juice from 1 lime

1 tbs white vinegar

Salt and pepper

5-6 drops liquid stevia 

Combine all ingredients. And serve alongside the meatballs. 

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Low carb chicken cacciatore

This is a great warm comfort dish for cold winter months. Serve with a big green salad and enjoy

5 whole chicken legs (legs and thighs), skin on
2 tbs bacon grease or other oil
One package whole button mushrooms. Halved or quartered (depending on the size)
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tsp Italian seasoning 
1/4 cup vermouth
1 cup tomato purée (find lowest carb you can)
4-5 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped. 
Jalapeño peppers to taste
Salt and pepper
Divide the legs and thighs and cut 3-4 deep slits in each piece of chicken. This lets the fat render and the flavour to penetrate the chicken. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. 
Heat the backlog grease over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the chicken and brown about 4-5 mins per side. Do not over crowd the pan, do in batches if necessary. 
Once the chicken is brown, move to an oven safe backing dish (~8×12). Add mushrooms and garlic to the frying pan (keep all the fat that came out of the chicken). Add a little salt and pepper to the mushrooms. Fry for 3-5 mins to collet all the brown bits from the chicken. Add the Vermouth, scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce vermouth for 2-3 mins then add the tomato purée. 
Transfer tomato and mushrooms mixture to the baking dish and move the chicken around to let the sauce underneath. Add the crumbled bacon and jalapeños and move to a 350F preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour, uncovered. 
Optional: if you find there is too much sauce (I did) pour most of the liquid into a sauce pan and boil to reduce by 1/2-2/3. Took me about 10 mins, stirring often to avoid burning the sauce. Return thickened sauce to the chicken and serve. I like it with a nice green salad. 
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Bacon cheeseburger casserole

This was quickly thrown together without measuring. The following is my best guess but feel free to alter

2 lbs ground beef
1 tbs dried onion flakes
1 shallot, sliced
1 tsp chicken stock bouillon

Add beef to a frying and brown. Add onion flakes, shallots and chicken stock bouillon. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside

Sauce:
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
7-10 small gurken (sp?) pickles
2-3 tbs low sugar ketchup
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Mix sauce ingredients together and pour over ground beef. Stir to combine. Add to a greased casserole dish.

Top beef mixture with 6 processed cheese slices. (Optional… Not really that cheese was amazing!)

Crust mixture:
1 cup carbquik
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1 tsp chicken stock bouillon
1/4 – 1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients except water. Slowly add water until you get a soft fluffy batter.

Dollop batter on top of beef and cheese. Spread out (doesn’t have to reach the edges). Sprinkle with some sesame seeds

Back casserole at 350F for 30 mins. Then turn on the broiler on high for 3-4 mins until golden brown. Let cool 10 mins before serving.

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Cauliflower and ground beef stew

Comfort food at its best. With the cold weather upon us (at least in Canada) this stew really hits the spot.

Cauliflower and ground beef stew

2 tbs ghee or butter
1lb regular ground beef
1 shallot, sliced
1 tsp thyme, dried
1 tsp basil, dried
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp beef bouillon
1 small can (400g) tomato sauce – unsweetened
1 head cauliflower
1/2 bag coleslaw mix
Salt and pepper to taste.

Melt the ghee/butter. Fry the shallots for 2-3 mins till softened. Add beef and fry until browned. Add seasonings. Add tomato sauce and an extra can worth of water. Add cauliflower and coleslaw. Cover and summer for 30 mins or until cauliflower is soft. Remove cover and reduce until sauce is thick.

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Faux Mac and Cheese

Played with some cauliflower and cheese today and came up with a delicious Mac and cheese replacement.

Low Carb Faux “Mac” and Cheese – Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Low Carb Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

1 med cauliflower, cut into florets and steamed
1 cup shredded Havarti
1 1/2 cup shredded old cheddar
3 eggs
2 tbs cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbs Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs fried shallots

Make sure you squeeze the excess water out of the cauliflower. Add to a bowl and cut into sort of small “macaroni-like” pieces. Combine the eggs, cream cheese, cream, mustard, salt and pepper. Add liquid to cauliflower. Add Havarti and 1 cup cheddar (reserve 1/2 cup for topping). Stir to combine. Transfer to greased casserole dish. Smooth the top and sprinkle the fried shallots and cheddar on top.

Bake at 350F for 30-40 mins until golden brown on the top. Let set 10-20 mins before slicing and eating (if you can wait. I never can).

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Low carb “honey” garlic pork riblets

These riblets are amazing! Easy to make, but does take some time (1-1.5 hrs). Good with faux cauliflower rice.

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Low carb honey garlic riblets

1-2 lbs pork riblets
1 can diet cola (splenda or stevia sweetened)
2 tsp minced garlic/ginger blend
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs white vinegar
1 tbs dried onion flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a med sauce pan (do not season with salt until later). Cover and simmer for 45-60mins till pork is tender. Remove cover and reduce the sauce until you have about 1/2 cup of liquid, approx another 15-20 mins. I removed the pork at this point and used a fat separator to remove the excess fat. Adjust seasoning (salt and pepper) and serve riblets with sauce.

I wanted mine to taste a little more “garlicy” so I sprinkled a little garlic powder in the sauce at the end.

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Low carb mushroom stroganoff

This dish came about when I wanted to use up some mushrooms. Loved it!

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Low carb mushroom stroganoff

230g (8oz) cremini mushrooms
3 tbs butter
1 small onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup beef stock
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tbs cream cheese
1 tbs parsley

Fry mushrooms in butter for 5-7 mins until browned. Add a pinch of salt after 3-4 mins. Add onions and garlic and cook for another 4-6 mins until onions are soft. Deglaze with beef broth. Simmer for 5 mins until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and add in sour cream and cream cheese.  The thickness or viscosity of the sauce can be adjusted by reducing further or adding water to thin it out.  I needed a little water (1-2 tbs). Garnish with parsley and serve over low carb noodles or thinly sliced zucchini “noodles”.

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Low carb burger buns

Burgers and sandwiches are staples in many peoples diets. However once you go low carb it is hard to find good replacements for buns. This is a quick and easy recipe for low carb burger buns. They work out to about 1g per bun (a little less actually).

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Low carb Burger Buns

 

3 eggs
3 tbs butter
2 tbs sour cream
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup Carbquik
1/4 cup almond flour
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.  Melt butter in the microwave for 20 sec.  In a bowl or blender, combine all ingredients together and blend until combined into a pancake like batter.  Spray a muffin top pan (also called a hamburger bun pan) with non-stick cooking spray.  Spoon 2 tbs of batter for each muffin and bake for 10-12 mins.  I made 9 buns total, but I think I could have gotten 10 with more careful measuring.  Cool and enjoy!

NOTE: Muffin top tins are available at most kitchen supply stores and are not that expensive.  They are great to have around!

 

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Spicy grilled pork with pesto hominy

I recently discovered that Mexican hominy (not the normal hominy, read the label) is low carb, with only 4g of net carbs per 1/2 cup. This was the result:

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Low carb pesto hominy

1 cup Mexican hominy
1 tbs olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
3-4 tbs jarred pesto
Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat olive oil in frying pan. Add onion and garlic and fry for 4-5 mins till soft. Add hominy. Cook 5-8 mins till heated through and softened. Remove from heat and stir in pesto. Taste for seasoning and adjust.

Grilled Spicy pork

3-5 pork chops
1-3 tbs house seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika)
1 tsp spicy chili peppers in oil.

Marinate pork in house seasoning and chili oil for 30min – 4 hours (or overnight if you have the time). Grill on high till cooked through.

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Low carb nachos

Nachos are one of those snacks many people miss when following a low carb lifestyle.  Well with these soy bean sheets, you no longer have to.  These sheets are available at Asian markets in the refrigerated section.  When fried and seasoned they make a great nacho replacement.

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Low carb Nachos

1 package soy bean sheets
Oil for frying
Salt and Garlic powder for seasoning
1 lbs Ground Pork or beef
3 tbs taco seasoning
1 med onion diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
10-15 cherry tomatoes, quartered
3-4 ounces cheddar cheese
Sour cream and chives for garnish

Directions
1. Slice the soy bean sheets into nacho sized triangles
2. Preheat your oil to 375F and fry the chips for 3-5 mins, until brown and crisp.  Remove and season with salt and garlic powder
3. Fry the ground beef/pork with the onions, garlic and taco seasoning until cooked through and nicely browned
4. Place the nachos in a bowl, and top with some of the meat mixture.
5. Top with tomatoes, sour cream, chives and cheese
6. Serve!