Look Ma, No Potato Perogies

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Next to poutine, perogies (or pierogis) are the unofficial food of Canadians who live in the Prairie provinces. It might have something to do with our eastern European ancestry or at the very least, the need to bulk up to face our harsh winters. By their very definition as a beloved comfort food, these plump dumplings (plumplings?), filled with potato and cheese or cottage cheese or sauerkraut or bacon or whatever staples happen to be handy, are very starchy and very delicious and very definitely NOT low carb.

So, I thought I’d try my hand at making a low-carb version of the recipe, substituting traditional flour dough for fathead dough and potato filling for one that is ricotta based.

In the words of my DH, wiping his mouth with a satisfied grin, “this one’s a keeper.”

Filling:

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (save bacon fat in pan)
  • ½ tbsp onion flakes
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper

Dough:

  • 2 cups full fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz, cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ tsp salt

Directions:

Make the filling at least 2 hours ahead of preparation time so that it can adequately chill. Chop bacon slices and fry until crispy. Do not drain. Add the bacon to a bowl that contains the ricotta and cheddar cheeses. Combine with onion flakes, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until just before ready to make the perogies.

Dough: in a microwave safe bowl, combine mozzarella and cream cheese. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove and stir cheese together, then microwave for 1 more minute. Stir in almond flour, 1 egg, egg yolk and salt, blending until all ingredients are well combined and resemble dough.

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.

Moisten hands with a drop or two of olive oil and portion dough into 12 round balls. One or two at a time, place the balls on a large piece of parchment paper. Cover with more paper. Using a rolling pin, flatten the balls into circles about 3” diameter. Remove top sheet of parchment and place a teaspoonful of filling in the centre of each circle. Fold dough and pinch edges to seal.

Put all 12 perogies on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are browned. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Serve with more crumbled bacon, a dollop of full-fat sour cream and onions.

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No-Grain Peanut Butter Granola

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My riff on All Day I Dream About Food’s amazing “power” granola recipe that calls for no grains or oats, making it low carb and keto-friendly. We’ve only had it for snacking but it would be great over Greek Yogurt and will definitely try a bowl of it with almond milk for breakfast!

 

Keto Double-Chocolate Dipped Donuts

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Who says you can’t have donuts when you live a low-carb lifestyle? These are moist, cakey and sooo good. The secret is adding coffee to your chocolate batter and glaze, which really enhances the chocolate flavour. Dunk away!

  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup sweetener (I used erthrytol)
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 Tbsp brewed instant coffee

Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix with beaters until batter is smooth.

In a greased donut pan (mine is Wilton non-stick brand; I bought it on Amazon), drop batter by the spoonful into 8 donut rounds, being careful not to cover the middle. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove donuts to cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, make the glaze in a bowl large enough to dip the donuts into. (A cereal bowl works perfectly.):

  • 1 ½ Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ cup powdered sweetener (I used Swerve icing sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 5 Tbsp brewed instant coffee

One by one, immerse donut about half way into the chocolate glaze and place back on the rack for the glaze to set. Makes 8 donuts.

 

Low Carb Beef Rouladen

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This traditional German recipe is fancy enough for company, yet quick enough for a weekday dinner. We served it with cauliflower mash to help soak up every drop of the yummy gravy. I found the beef already pounded flat to my liking at the butcher shop, but you could do it yourself with a meat tenderizer.

Makes 3.

  • 3 large (about 1/4” thick) slices of top round steak
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion, caramelized (fry in butter and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar until soft and browned)
  • 3 medium dill pickles, quartered into spears
  • Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 Tbsp butter + 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 cup beef broth, sodium reduced if possible
  • Salt and pepper

Caramelize onion in frying pan and set aside to cool. On a large piece of plastic wrap, lay out beef. Season each piece with salt and pepper and smear on a dollop of Dijon mustard. Lie 2 bacon strips onto each piece of beef. Top with an even amount of the caramelized onions and then lay 4 pickle spears across each piece. Roll up tightly and secure with toothpicks or kitchen twine.

Heat skillet with 2 Tbsp butter and olive oil. When hot, carefully add rolls and sear on all sides. Add the other 1 Tbsp of butter and let melt. Add mushrooms and let cook for 2-3 minutes, then pour in beef broth. Add the xanthan gum and whisk to remove all lumps. If the gravy becomes too thick, add more broth. Cook for 25 minutes, turning the rolls every 5-8 minutes and coating them with the gravy.

Low Carb Lobster-Coconut Bisque

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“Gordon Ramsay would definitely approve!” my partner said, smacking his lips upon reaching the bottom of his soup bowl. This may look like a lot of ingredients, but it is well worth the time and effort to cook a restaurant-quality recipe at home. Making your own soup stock not only lets you control the sodium, it is a great way to stretch a dollar and make a second meal out of leftovers.

To make the lobster stock:

  • Emptied lobster shells from 2 – 1lb lobsters
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion (skin on), roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 8-oz bottle all-natural clam juice (about 1 cup)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Enough cold water to cover

Put shells, celery, onion, carrots and garlic into a large stock pot. Add spices and pour the clam juice on top. Fill pot with enough cold water to cover all contents. Bring up to a boil and then simmer for one hour. Use a colander or fine sieve to save liquid by draining into a Dutch oven. Discard solid ingredients. Will make 3-4 cups of lobster stock.

To make the bisque:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup plus ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 (13.66 oz or 400mL) can coconut milk
  • 1 (6 oz or 156 mL) tin tomato paste
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 3-4 cups homemade lobster stock (see above for recipe)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (this is very important to achieve proper bisque-like thickness!)
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked lobster meat, cut into small chunks

Heat olive oil in large pot. Add celery, onion, carrot and garlic, stirring over medium high heat until softened. Add 1 cup chicken stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, tomato paste and lobster stock, then add spices (celery salt, thyme, pepper and cayenne) and xanthan gum. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add in heavy cream and remaining ½ cup chicken stock, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Once soup starts to thicken, remove from heat and carefully ladle it into the blender (you may need to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your blender). Blend well until smooth and return blended soup to large pot. Before serving add in lobster meat and heat thoroughly before serving.

Low Carb Slow-Cooker Greek Chicken

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Set your slow cookers to STUN! This great, low-carb comfort food is perfect to come home to on a chilly evening. It’s even BETTER the next day too.

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tsps minced garlic
  • 2 tsps onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded and quartered
  • 1-16 oz can black olives
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

In the bottom of the slow cooker, combine olive oil, sundried tomatoes, garlic and spices. Mix well. Add chicken thighs, tomatoes and olives then combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Before serving, transfer the chicken pieces to a plate. Stir feta cheese into the slow cooker mixture and spoon over each serving of chicken. Top with additional cheese, if desired.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (Keto)

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You’ll be a lunchbox hero with these coconut flour muffins (total carbs: 9g – fibre: 5g = net carbs: 4g each), as dense and as moist as chocolate cake! It’s up to you whether or not to add the icing, but it does pretty them up. This version is adapted from the Low Carb Maven’s creation.

Dry Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup Swerve granulated sweetener
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 oz zucchini, about 1 small-medium, grated fine
  • ¼ cup organic cocoa nibs

Melt Together

  • 4 oz butter
  • 1 ounce (30 g) unsweetened baking chocolate

Wet Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon Stevia drops

Icing

  • ¼ cup powdered Swerve sweetener
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • ¼ cup heavy whip cream (add more if needed to thin and achieve a drizzle-worthy consistency)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Put 12 paper cup liners in a standard muffin tin. Grate zucchini, place into a colander, and sprinkle with a little salt. Mix thoroughly and let sit. Chop the baking chocolate into smaller pieces.
  2. Measure the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk together.
  3. Melt the butter and unsweetened baking chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second intervals. It took mine 3 times (a total of 90 seconds, divided) to reach the right consistency.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the bowl starting with the eggs. Add the eggs and mix until incorporated. Add the chocolate and butter and mix until incorporated. Using your hands, squeeze the water out of the zucchini and add it to the bowl. Mix thoroughly with a hand mixer.
  5. Scoop the batter (it will be thick!) evenly into the 12 muffin wells. Top with the cocoa nibs, or if you have them, sugar-free chocolate chips.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes depending on your oven. Don’t over bake. Let cool in the pan 3 minutes before removing.

Once the muffins have completely cooled, drizzle the cream cheese icing over top. I refrigerated my muffins for a couple of hours in an air tight container before serving.