Pork Rind Nachos

This week, chef Graham Elliot introduced his take on ballpark favorites at Wrigley Field in Chicago. His innovative menu included pork rind nachos, which inspired me to try making my own! Keeping with the “piggy” theme, I used pulled pork, but you could go with chicken, ground beef, bacon or whatever kind of meat you prefer. Here’s how I layered it up:

  • 1 ½-2 cups prk rinds (chicharrons) Tip: use sturdier pork rinds that will stand up to cheese and toppings. Some will still soften.
  • 1 cup pulled pork tossed in sugar free barbecue sauce (here’s my recipe)
  • ½ cup Mexican-flavoured cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp green chilies, drained
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream

Spread pork rinds on the bottom of a foil-lined pan. Sprinkle with half the cheese and put under the broiler until cheese is melted and pork rinds brown. Top with chilies, jalapeno and remaining cheese and return to the broiler for 2 minutes. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

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Sunshine Coconut Shrimp

A little messy to make, but the tropicaltastic taste is soooo worth it!

You will need:

  • 1 dozen medium-sized shrimp, peeled, deveined and (optional) tails removed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ½ tablespoons coconut flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Dash salt and pepper
  • Optional: add more of your fave seasonings; I added in a few shakes of Old Bay
  • ½ cup (or more) medium desiccated coconut, unsweetened

Heat oil in deep fryer or large pot to 350F.

Place coconut in a shallow container and set aside.

Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Set on a paper towel while you mix up the batter: eggs, coconut flour, baking powder, water and seasonings. It will be very thick and pasty. With clean hands, mold the batter around each shrimp and press into the coconut to coat.

Cook shrimp in the oil, adding no more than three at a time. They will be golden brown, crisped up and float to the top when they are cooked (about 2 minutes).

Serve with this Sweet Heat dipping sauce:

  • 1/3 cup sugar-free orange marmalade, apricot preserves or peach jam
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp sriracha sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and taste, adding more sweet, heat or acidity to taste.

Shrimp

 

Chicken in Creamy Mushroom Sauce

A great one-skillet dinner that teams well with cauli mash, roasted asparagus or a side salad. For those in your family not eating low carb, serve over pasta or potatoes.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 container (4 1/2 to 5 1/2 ounces) Boursin cheese with garlic and herbs
  • 1 cup frozen small peas, thawed
  • 8 to 12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh or dried parsley for garnish

Put chicken breast between sheets of plastic wrap and pound evenly until about ½ inch thickness. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Place the other tablespoon of butter into the skillet, then add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until tender. Pour in the chicken broth and thawed peas, being sure to scrape the tasty brown bits off the bottom of the pan to enhance your sauce.

Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the Boursin cheese until well blended. Add the chicken and tomatoes; stir to blend, cover, and heat through. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

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Bacon-Wrapped Pickles & RB Float

‘Twas a beautiful afternoon for a snack outdoors! I whipped up a sugar-free root beer float and these adorable bacon-wrapped pickles to enjoy a bite in the sunshine.

Bacon Wrapped Pickles with Buffalo Dip

As my pickles were fairly small, I split them each in two and let them sit on a paper towel to drain well. For larger pickles, I would suggest cutting them into quarters.

Slice uncooked bacon lengthwise then wrap each piece around a pickle spear. Secure with a toothpick.

Place pickles on a wire rack set inside a foil-lined cookie sheet. I cooked mine for 8 minutes at 350 and then broiled on high for 4 minutes to crisp them up. Serve with your favourite dip. Mine is a mixture of ¼ cup mayo and 2 tbsp Frank’s buffalo wings sauce.

Sugar-free Root Beer Float

In the blender, combine ¾ can sugar-free root beer (I used Diet A&W root beer), ¼ cup heavy whipping cream and 6-8 ice cubes. Slowly pour into large glass (it will be very frothy!) and top with remaining root beer before serving.

bacon wrapped pickle

Shrimp Boil in Foil (grilling recipe)

I came up with this low-carb idea when temperatures sizzled this week. When it’s too hot to turn on the oven? Turn up the heat outside on the grill and make foil packet dinners!

I used 2 layers of sturdy aluminum foil. In the center, I included:

  • 4-5 large uncooked shrimp
  • 1/2 cup green beans (parboiled/partially cooked. I put parboiled potatoes in the rest of my family’s foil packets)
  • 3 small pieces corn (not low carb, but it was a real treat! To cut the corn small, chop uncooked cobs into three, then halve each third down the middle. Three cobs made enough to feed four people.)
  • 5-7 thick slices of garlic sausage (or your favourite sausage)

Melt 2 tbsp melted butter with 1/2 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper (optional: add Old Bay Seasoning, cayenne, parsley or cajun seasoning for a kick!) then pour over your pile of ingredients. Fold edges of foil to the center and seal it tight.

Cook on hot grill for 12-15 minutes, flipping half way through. Serve with additional butter and spices, if desired.

shrimp boil in foil

 

Breakfast Pizza

In our house, we love breakfast and we love pizza. So we combined both loves into one great, low-carb dish that will keep happy tummies satisfied the rest of the day!

Fat Head Pizza Crust (the best low-carb pizza crust recipe we’ve tried by far!):

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

3/4 cup almond flour

2 tbsps cream cheese, cubed

1 egg

Preheat oven to 400F. Put mozzarella and cream cheese in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir again. Add in 1 egg and almond flour and mix well. Put dough on a round pizza pan lined with parchment paper. Top with a similar sized piece of parchment paper and flatten dough to spread evenly. Remove top sheet of paper. Pierce holes in the dough with a fork to let steam out and avoid bubbles forming.

Bake for 8-9 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350F.

This is what I used for toppings: Salsa (instead of pizza sauce), 5 eggs (scrambled and cooked), 6 pre-cooked and sliced breakfast sausage links, pre-cooked mushroom slices, 4 pre-cooked and chopped bacon slices, 2 tbsp roasted red peppers, minced, and 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella.

Spoon the salsa onto the crust, then top with eggs, followed by remaining toppings. Bake for an additional 8 minutes at 350F. Remove from oven and let sit 3 mins before slicing.

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Sugarfree Poke Cake

I just discovered that even with a low carb lifestyle, you can have your cake and eat it too! This dessert, adapted from All Day I Dream About Food’s Kentucky Butter Cake is soft and moist and has the same texture of a traditional recipe. This makes a 9×13″ pan.

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup whey protein powder

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup softened butter

1 cup powdered artificial sweetener

5 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 9×13 baking pan. In a bowl, whisk together almond and coconut flours, whey protein, baking powder and salt, then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sweetener together. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually add the almond flour mixture and add the whipping cream and water. Keep beating until all ingredients are well incorporated. Pour batter into baking pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes until firm and golden brown on top. Test the cake doneness by inserting a toothpick and ensuring it comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together 1 package (4 servings) of sugar-free raspberry Jello, 1 cup of boiling water. Stir until Jello is completely dissolved. Add 1/2 cup cold water and continue stirring.

Once cake has cooled, use the end of a wooden spoon or a chopstick to poke holes in the cake about 1″ apart. Pour Jello over the entire cake and let it sink in.

Refrigerate for 2 hours. Top with whipped cream ( 1 1/2 cups heavy whipped cream beaten until stiff with 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tbsp sweetener).

poke cake