Tag Archives: recipes

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs – Low Carb

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The inspiration from this recipe comes from Pinterest…..I saw a pin with spaghetti squash in a slow cooker with sauce and thought I’d give it a try. My first attempt was good enough to try the recipe again, but per hubby’s request I’ve added MEAT! Meatballs to be exact, just three simple ingredients if you’re lucky like me and can find freshly made Italian meatballs at your grocery store (frozen would work too) or make it a little more complicated and make your own, whichever route you go, this is a very satisfying dinner that cooks itself all thanks to my best friend in the kitchen, the slow cooker! Oh and it’s LOW CARB, but if you aren’t watching your carbs and just want a lighter “spaghetti” dinner, then give this a try, pair it with a green salad and maybe even some garlic cheese bread and dinner is done! How simple is that?!

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Homemade Low Carb Coffee Creamer

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**NEW RECIPES ARE POSTED AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST**

If you try any recipe from this blog, TRY THIS ONE!!!! I was drinking 20+ grams of carbs a day in 4 tablespoons of store bought coffee creamer until I started making my own. This recipe is adaptable for many different flavors and as I try different flavor options, I will post the recipes here.

I’m not even going to go into the ingredients in store bought creamer, but if you’ve ever read them, I bet you can’t pronounce some of them. Plus they are loaded with sugar and made with milk. That equals CARBS! Here’s the back of the creamer that was in my fridge.

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My recipe uses unsweetened almond milk which has less than 1 gram of carbs per cup and vanilla almond milk which has 16 grams of carbs per cup! Plus it’s free of dairy, soy, gluten, lactose, cholesterol, eggs, casein & MSG. No artificial flavors, colors or high fructose corn syrup.

I do add 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk to thicken the creamer and add sweetness, but this could be optional if you are trying to avoid dairy. Instead of the sweetened condensed milk, you could add more honey for sweetness, but your creamer will be a thinner consistency.

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My first batch is Cinnamon Vanilla.

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Cinnamon Vanilla

What you need;

The Base:
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 cups vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup honey (use a good local or organic honey)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Flavoring:
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tbls cinnamon

How to make;

Pour almond milk into a saucepan and heat to a low simmer. Whisk in the honey and condensed milk. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cinnamon and vanilla. Remove the pan from the stove to cool. Once cooled pour into a reusable airtight container. This should last 7-10 days refrigerated.

Tips: I like my creamer sweet, if you don’t like it very sweet then start with 2-3 tbls of honey and taste it along the way. Possibly omit the honey and use the vanilla and cinnamon as the only flavoring. Omit the condensed milk if you are wanting dairy free, but remember that is a contributing factor to the sweetness and thickness. I urge you to experiment with different flavors and experiment with the ingredients you use and how much you use.

Here’s the carb breakdown;

2 tsp pure vanilla extract = 1 gram of carbs
1/2 tbls cinnamon = 3 grams of carbs
2 cups of unsweetened almond milk has less than 1 gram of carbs per cup. I valued each cup at 0.5 grams of carbs for a total of = 1 grams of carbs
2 cups of vanilla almond milk = 16 grams of carbs per cup x 2 cups = 32 grams of carbs
1/4 cup of honey = 68 grams of carbs
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk = 88 grams of carbs

The whole batch of 4.5 cups = 193 grams of carbs. There are 72 tablespoons in 4.5 cups, that means that 193/72 = 2.68 grams of carbs per tablespoon of creamer!

If those numbers don’t convince you to try this recipe, I don’t know what will! It’s even more satisfying knowing that I know what ingredients are in my coffee creamer and it’s SUPER EASY TO MAKE!

Oh, and did I mention this is low fat and low calorie too?!

This creamer is sweet enough where I don’t need to add any sugar or sweetener! I use about 4 tbls of this creamer which is 10.72 grams of carbs!

Compared to my previous method with store bought creamer which was 5 grams of carbs per tablespoon for a total of 20 grams of carbs.

I’ve cut my carb intake from creamer IN HALF! I also know exactly what ingredients are in my creamer, too!

Check back often for new flavor combinations!

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Low Carb Fried Zucchini

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Yes, you read that right…..this is a recipe for low carb fried zucchini. It has all the crispy goodness and flavor of traditional fried zucchini, but a fraction of the carbs thanks to a coating of parmesan cheese & pork rinds. You will see pork rinds as breading in many of my low carb recipes because pork rinds have ZERO carbs and the original flavor is very versatile to use in many dishes. Last time you saw them in my Low Carb Peanut Butter Balls and you’ll see them again in many more of my recipes. Grab a few bags for your pantry, they are a nice substitute with dips instead of using chips as well as a great breading!

What you need;

About 3 cups of whole pork rinds, original flavor
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 medium zucchini
1 egg
Vegetable oil

How to make;

First you want to pre-heat your vegetable oil so it’s ready for frying when you are. I use a skillet with deep sides for frying with about an inch of oil in the pan. While the oil is heating, crush the pork rinds until they are about the size of panko bread crumbs. I put mine in a plastic zip top bag and crush with a rolling pin. In a dish with sides, mix your crushed pork rinds with the parmesan cheese and set aside. Whisk the egg with a little water in a separate bowl and set aside. Cut your zucchini into disks about 1/2 an inch thick. Once everything is prepared, set up an assembly line with your zucchini slices, egg mixture and pork rind crumbs. Dip a piece of zucchini in the egg mixture and coat both sides, then dip the piece of zucchini in the pork rinds and coat both sides and then carefully put the zucchini in the oil. Fry on each side for 2-3 mintues or until golden brown. Repeat each step until all pieces are coated and fried. I fry in batches so the pan doesn’t get overcrowded. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Enjoy as a snack or accompaniment to any meal!

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Roasted Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

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This recipe for Roasted Broccoli & Cheddar Soup hits the spot on a cold day! Although I don’t know the exact carb count, I am considering this to be “lower carb”. By roasting the broccoli and infusing the flavor of bacon throughout the soup it adds tons of flavor without adding too many carbs. I would say this recipe rivals Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Their 13 oz portion has 23 grams of carbs, I would like to say this recipe would be less than that for the same portion, but I didn’t calculate all the totals so if you are really strict on your carbs you might want to take that into consideration and make substitutes where necessary. Here’s the recipe……

What you need;

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 cup of diced yellow onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large head of broccoli
  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 3 oz of Velveeta cheese, diced into cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • Salt & Pepper

How to make;

Preheat your oven to 400. Wash and dry the head of broccoli. Remove the florets and toss them with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Lay the broccoli out on a sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and soft. While the broccoli is cooking start the bacon in the soup pot you are planning to use. Once the bacon in crisp remove it from the pan and drain off all but about a tablespoon of the bacon grease. Saute the diced onion and garlic in the bacon grease until translucent. Add in the chicken broth and milk, bring to a simmer. Stir in the Velveeta cheese until melted. Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until melted. If you like your soup chunky then put the broccoli right into the soup pot when it comes out of the oven, if you like smaller pieces then dice up or pulse the broccoli in your food processor before you add it to the soup. Once everything is added, taste for salt and pepper and add as necessary. Simmer the soup for 15-20 minutes and serve warm. I topped mine with the crispy bacon and more cheese for dinner last night. For lunch today I used french fried onions. I must say the soup is even better the second day! I hope you enjoy!

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Low Carb Peanut Butter Balls

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If you’re a low carb eater, you know how hard it is to find low carb sweet treats that aren’t full of processed junk and artificial sweeteners. Not to mention ones that actually taste good and don’t cost a small fortune just for one piece! I have a major sweet tooth, I don’t miss pasta and bread as much as I miss fruit and CHOCOLATE! All things in moderation, I do allow myself fruit or juice on my cheat days and I can have these peanut butter treats with CHOCOLATE, anyday! Just 3 ingredients and no baking required, these treats will satisfy your sweet tooth and not ruin your low carb lifestyle!

What you need;

About 2 cups of original pork rinds (whole pieces)
1/4 cup peanut butter (I use Peter Pan Natural)
1 tbls of milk chocolate chips (I use toll house)

How to make;

Crush the pork rinds into about rice krispie size pieces. A food processor will make quick work of this but don’t turn them into powder! Mix the crushed pork rinds with the peanut butter until incorporated. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for about 20 seconds. They wont be fully melted, but stir the chocolate and it will all melt together.  Don’t over heat in the microwave or the chocolate will get hard. Take a teaspoon and make 10 balls out of the peanut butter mixture. Drizzle melted chocolate over each ball. Refrigerate for a few hours until they firm and enjoy!

The whole tray of 10 treats is 21 grams of carbs. The 1/4 cup of peanut butter has 12 grams of carbs, pork rinds are 0 carbs and the tablespoon of milk chocolate chips has 9 grams of carbs. Divide that up among 10 peanut butter balls and that’s just 2.1 grams per piece! Different brands have different carb totals so be sure to check your peanut butter and chocolate because your carb total might be a little more or a little less.

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Check out my other low carb sweet treats here….

https://simple2something.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/low-carb-sweet-tooth-snacks/
https://simple2something.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/low-carb-cheesecake/

Roasted Parsnip Puree

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Need a low carb potato substitute? Parsnips fit the bill! Tonight was the first time I’ve tried parsnips and I must say that I’m impressed and already looking for more ways to use them. Tonight to accompany our roast chicken and broccoli I made a very simple roasted parsnip puree. It has the same texture as mashed potatoes, even looks like mashed potatoes but the slightly sweet flavor makes them better than mashed potatoes. Here’s the recipe….

What you need;

4 parsnips
1 tablespoon diced garlic
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

How to make;

Wash & peel the parsnips. Cut into 1 inch chunks and coat with a few drizzles of olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking tray and bake at 400 for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, add the garlic and toss around. Bake another 12 minutes. Take the parsnips and garlic with any oil left over on the tray and put them in a blender or food processor. Add a few tablespoons of milk and butter to the blender and pulse until your desired consistency. Taste for salt and pepper, add more if needed. I served garnished with green onion and the onion with the slightly sweet flavor was very good. Next time I will add more green onion. This is a great low carb side and substitute for potatoes. This amount made 3 good size side portions. Enjoy!

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Bacon Cheeseburger Stuffed Peppers

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These low carb peppers are sure to curb your cheeseburger craving. All the flavors of a cheeseburger stuffed into a pepper and cooked in your slow cooker.

What you need;

1 lb cooked and crumbled ground beef
1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbls yellow mustard
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 can diced tomatoes
4 bell peppers
Salt and pepper

How to make;

Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Mix the ground beef, bacon, onion, ketchup, mustard, cheese and 1/2 cup of the tomatoes together in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stuff each pepper with the mixture. Place the peppers in the slow cooker and pour the remaining diced tomatoes and juice over the peppers. Add a few tablespoons of water to the bottom of the slow cooker to prevent burning. Cook on low for 4 hours.

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Top with shredded cheese before serving and enjoy!

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Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Sandwiches

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Here’s a quick, easy & delicious sandwich recipe that can be served a variety of ways. My favorite way to serve this sandwich is a drip beef sandwich……toasted bun, lots of sliced peppers, melted cheese & a big side of au jus for dunking.

What you need;

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2 pound chuck roast
1 can beef broth
1 pkt Italian dressing mix
1 pkt onion soup mix
1 jar peperoncini peppers
Sandwich rolls
Sliced cheese

How to make;

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Put roast in the slow cooker and pour in the can of beef broth, next sprinkle the dressing and onion soup mix over the roast. Pour the jar of peppers over the roast, including the juice. Cook on low for 8 hours. After 8 hours remove the roast, pull off any fat & shred the meat. It will fall apart. Strain the juice from the slow cooker over a bowl. Skim the fat from the juice and keep warm. Slice the peppers if desired and add to the shredded meat. Fill toasted sandwich rolls with the shredded meat, top with your favorite cheese and broil for about 1 minute until the cheese is melted. Serve with the warm au jus for dunking. Enjoy!

Better Than Anything Pumpkin Cake

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I am dead tired, I ran all over God’s creation today and at 33 weeks pregnant a trip to Walmart wears me out so today I am really ready to hit the hay, but before I do, let me share this delicious cake recipe with you before I forget! Also known as “Pumpkin Poke Cake” or “Better Than Sex Pumpkin Cake” this is my version and it’s sooooooo easy too! I just had a piece and it’s getting better as it sits in the fridge I think!

What you need;
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 can of pumpkin (reg. size – remember I’m tired)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
14oz can of sweetened condensed milk (hey I remembered that one)
1 container of whipped topping (cool whip)
Chocolate syrup
Caramel sauce

How to make;
Mix the cake mix, can of pumpkin and spices together until incorporated. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and bake according to the directions on the cake box. After baking let the cake cool completely. Once cooled take the round end of a wooden spoon and poke holes all over the cake (hence poke cake). Pour the entire can of sweetened condensed milk over the cake. Frost the top with whipped topping & drizzle with caramel and chocolate sauce. Other optional toppings are chopped nuts and toffee bits. Serve immediately or refrigerate. This cake is so moist & full of flavor….Enjoy & Goodnight 😉

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Marinated Zucchini Salad

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Sadly, this is probably my last zucchini recipe of the year. Our garden has quit producing and I used our last zucchini in this recipe. I’m so proud of our first garden, it produced a lot of veggies and we know what to do better next year. Since it’s the last day of summer I thought a nod to a summer salad would be appropriate. This is a low carb “pasta” salad but with no pasta. You won’t miss it, trust me! It’s loaded with veggies, a great place to use up bits and pieces of veggies from the fridge!

Here’s the lineup

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What you need:
Medium zucchini
Tomatoes
Artichoke salad (mine had artichokes, green olives & roasted red peppers)
Black olives
Red onion
Orange pepper
Parmesan cheese
Balsamic salad dressing

How to make;
Slice the zucchini in half and then in half again making 4 long pieces. Dice those pieces into about 1 inch chunks. Put the zucchini in a microwave safe dish and cook for 1 minute, stir, cook another 1 minute and 30 seconds. You want them to be slightly soft but not fully cooked. Drain and set aside to cool. Dice about 1/2 cup of each of these; tomatoes, black olives, red onion and orange pepper. Drain the artichoke salad and cut into bite sized pieces. Mix all the veggies together and pour 1/2 a cup of balsamic dressing over the veggies, stir. Cover and refrigerate a few hours or overnight. Before serving sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

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I promise you won’t miss the pasta, but you could add some cooked pasta to make this go a little further or make it a cold summer meal. You can leave out anything you don’t have on hand or you don’t like and add anything you want to use up or think would make this dish even better. Fresh herbs would add a bright fresh taste to this salad too! Enjoy!