Spicy Avocado Dip

Summer means abundant avocados in all their glory.

Here’s a dip that can be thinned down and used as a salad dressing or even a cold sauce for chicken.

Spiciness is a  matter of individual taste, so adjust as you like,

This also makes a large, party sized batch, so halve it if you are not sure.

Spicy Avocado Dip

4 large avocados, about 12 oz avocado flesh, peeled and seeded

1/2 cup sour cream (or 4oz softened cream cheese plus 3T cream, coconut milk or half and half)

2 jalapeno peppers, de-capped (seeds optional for heat)

1 bunch cilantro (I love cilantro, use less if you don’t)

1 bunch green onions (about 10, trimmed) chop 3 finely and reserve, rough chop the rest

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/4 cup lime juice

8 finely chopped sun dried tomato halves, optional

salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, pulse the jalapeno, onions, cilantro and garlic until it’s finely chopped, then add everything except the reserved onions and tomatoes.

Pulse to completely puree the mixture.

Spoon into a bowl and fold the remaining onions and tomatoes in, taste and adjust the salt and pepper.

Refrigerate with a piece of plastic wrap pressed tightly against the surface, until ready to serve.

To thin for dressing or sauce: add more sour cream or heavy cream (coconut milk, etc) plus either more lime juice or vinegar. A few drops of stevia also make this a little different. You could add mango puree as well.

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Mexican Open Faced Torta; Low-carb and Primal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torta

Typically, here, a torta is a Mexican sandwich made with yeast-free bread that’s thicker than a tortilla, but not as thick as a traditional sandwich bun.

Here, I am using my Big Batch Primal Muffin in a Cup mix (https://dietingsucksblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/my-big-batch-of-primal-muffin-in-a-cup-mix/) or you can mix equal parts ground flax, almond meal and coconut flour along with a little salt and baking powder to achieve a similar mix.

Mexican Open Faced Torta; Low-carb and Primal

The meat mixture:

  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1T good chili powder
  • 1/2tsp each garlic powder, ground cumin and onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

The bread:

  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 4T water or stock of your choice
  • 1 T melted/liquid fat of your choice (coconut oil, butter, olive oil, etc)
  • 5T my primal muffin mix
  • 1/2tsp each: garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin
  • salt and pepper (about 1/4tsp each)

The dressing (mock avocado crema)

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3T cream, coconut milk, half and half or whatever milky product you prefer
  • 1/2 a large avocado (about 3oz flesh)
  • 1T lime juice (or 2- taste and decide how you like it)
  • 2T chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 a chili pepper of your choice(hatch, jalapeno, etc – some spice)
  • salt and pepper to taste

To make:

1. Brown the onion, ground beef and seasonings while you prepare the dressing and bread. You want it relatively dry, so cook over low heat and stir often.

2. Blend all the dressing ingredients until smooth and refrigerate until ready to serve.

3. Beat the eggs and then the water/stock into them along with the fat, and seasonings. Once those are blended, add the dry mix and beat well (we’re talking spoon beating, not mixer beating).

Grease a 9″ square glass baking dish and spread the bread batter as evenly as you can.

Microwave for 6 minutes. If it’s not pulling away from the sides and “set” in the middle, go another 1 minute at a time until it is.

Once it’s cooked, turn it onto a rack for a few minutes.

4. When ready to serve: cut the bread into 4 pieces, then slice those in half horizontally. (At this point, you can lightly oil a pan or even a foreman grill and toast the bread pieces. I recommend this, it adds a nice depth to the finished product).

Place on a plate and top with 1/4 of the meat mixture, then 1/4 of the dressing on top.

You can, of course, add lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, diced onions, cheese, etc -the only limit is your imagination 🙂

 

A Post-And-Dash today!

Nothing from me, but here’s a great link.

Who knew you could make your own Paleo Worcestershire sauce? Not me!

I’m going to try the lacto-fermented relish and the ketchup recipes 🙂

Homemade Paleo Condiments

Radishes O’Brian

I love hash browns, O’brian or otherwise.
Is it O’brian or O’brien?
Trying to stay relatively Primal and Low-carb, they’re pretty much out of the question made traditionally with potatoes.
Here’s a simple but tasty low-carb spin.

Radishes O’Brian
1lb red radishes, cut any funky looking parts off
6 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 of a green bell pepper diced, about 1/2 cup diced
Optional: 1/2 of a small jalapeno or hatch pepper, sliced thin
2T cooking fat of your choice (bacon fat is wonderful here!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash the radishes in cold water, pat dry and dice into small pieces (quarter small radishes, cut larger ones more).
Heat the cooking fat in a deep skillet and then add the onion and bell pepper (and hot pepper if using).
Saute until they’re just starting to soften, then add the radishes.
Saute for 3 minutes then reduce the heat, add 3T water and cover. Let cook for 5 minutes until the radishes are tender.
Taste. Add salt and pepper.
Then crank the heat up to volcanic and let cook for 1 minute, stir gently and cook until lightly browned and all the liquid is gone.
Serve as you would any O’brien potatoes.

One really nice addition is to add about 4 cups of fresh spinach right at the end of cooking, stir to wilt it. Makes a very nice side dish with fish or chicken.

** Radishes can vary a lot. I suggest taking a small slice off each one and tasting it before using it in a dish. One really strong of “off tasting” one can really make a whole dish taste bad.

Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Salad

My son loves chicken, bacon, ranch anything. But he usually picks up something very carby like a calzone, sub sandwich or pizza!
In an effort to make something a little more healthy (and less calories and carbs dense) I decided to make a salad.
I’m not fond of bottled salad dressings, so if anyone has a good home made ranch dressing recipe they love, please share:)

Chicken, Bacon and Ranch Salad
For 2 large meal sized servings:

6-8oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, not too thick -flatten if it is
salt, pepper, garlic powder and a pinch of chili powder -to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil for cooking
4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 head iceberg lettuce or 1 head romaine heart
2 cups fresh spinach
1/4 of a red onion, sliced thinly
2 roma tomatoes diced small or about 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 of a cucumber, peeled (or not) and cut into small chunks
3T shredded parmesan cheese (asiago or sharp cheddar also would be good)
2T Ranch salad dressing (I used Hidden Valley original) mixed with 1tsp vinegar and 2T half and half to thin
Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle the chicken with the salt, pepper, garlic and chili powders. Heat the oil in a small skillet and cook the chicken until it is cooked through, about 3 minutes per side unless it’s thick. You want a lightly browned finish.
Set aside and let rest a few minutes while you toss all of the remaining ingredients well. You should have a light coating of the dressing, not swimming.
Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces.
Add the bacon and chicken either on top or toss it all together.
Serve immediately.

My Guilty Pleasure: Frosted Diet Sodas

Ok ok – not Primal but low-carb and refreshing and better than a sugary drink!

You need a good blender like a Ninja or Vita Mix.
20oz diet soda (root beer, orange or coke my favorites)
1tsp vanilla extract (or orange, lemon or even cherry)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3T heavy cream
2 cups small ice cubes
1/2tsp glucomannan powder (optional but really makes it thicker)
additional sweetener if desired

In the blender mix the liquid ingredients for a second, then add the ice. Blend until well mixed then sprinkle on the glucomannan and quickly resume blending for 10 seconds.
Pour into 3 or 4 glasses and enjoy your very low calorie and carb frosty summer drink 🙂

Gussied Up Green Beans

Canned green beans can be drab and boring. But, for many of us they’re a “go to” staple for family meals.
Here’s a little take-off that keeps the carbs low, but adds a lot of flavor to the old standby.

Gussied Up Green Beans

4 strips of bacon, chopped and rendered slightly in the same pan you’re cooking in
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced or minced
2 cans green beans – drained
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons good Parmesan cheese (or use shredded cheddar, pepper jack, whatever you like)
Salt and pepper to taste

Once the bacon pieces are slightly rendered with enough fat to saute the onions, add the onions and garlic to the same pan and saute for a few minutes until they’re very fragrant and slightly softened.
Add the drained green beans and stir around over high heat for 3 minutes until they’re heated through. Add the butter, stir to melt then add the cream. Once it’s simmering, turn off the head and add the cheese. Stir until melted, add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Makes 6-8 servings.

Hatch Chile Bake

Hatch chiles are in season, but if you can’t find them, use any good whole canned green chiles, just drain, split open and pat dry.

Hatch Chile Bake
4 hatch chiles or 2 cans green chiles (4 whole chiles)
8oz cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer super sharp)
6 extra large eggs
4 tablespoons coconut milk, heavy cream or half and half
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
6 strips bacon, fried and crumbled (reserve bacon fat)
salt and pepper as desired

Use the reserved bacon fat to grease a 9″ or 10″ deep dish pie pan (I used glass). Set aside and preheat your oven to 350f.
De-cap the chiles and shake the seeds out. Drop them into boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes until they’re soft. Split open and lay on paper towels to dry while you prepare the rest.
Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for 1 minute. Fold the cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and bacon into the cream cheese.
Beat the eggs with the cream, salt and pepper.
In the prepared pie pan, spoon about 1/3 of the egg mixture in the bottom, then nestle the chiles down into it to cover the bottom of the pan.
Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the chiles and smooth to cover as much as possible.
Now: use a wooden spoon or small dowel rod to poke holes all over the cheese and chiles, then pour the remaining eggs over the top.
Tap to settle the mixture, then bake for 20 minutes. When the center is set, it’s done. It may take 30 minutes, depending on your oven.
Important: let the pie set for 15 minutes before cutting.
Serve warm or cold.

*If you want a more bacony flavor, drizzle the remaining bacon fat over the cheese mixture before pouring the eggs over.

This is a very rich dish. I get 8 servings from it.
Served chilled along side a green salad makes the perfect summery lunch.

Cheesy Pesto Chicken

If you like chicken, but want something a little different, this may be your lucky day1

Pesto Parmesan Chicken
With or without Goat Cheese
This makes 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry your group is.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 6oz each, cut into bite-size cubes (raw)
1/2 cup Basil pesto
4oz goat cheese (optional)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded (if not using goat cheese, or in addition to the goat cheese)
2 garlic cloves, shaved or slice paper thin
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350.
Butter or spray a 9×13 baking pan/casserole with whatever you like to help prevent sticking.
Toss the chicken cubes with salt and pepper and arrange in the baking pan close to a single layer.
Dot with the garlic and goat cheese, then spoon the pesto over it all(it’s not rocket science, and you’ll be stirring it later).
Sprinkle half of the parmesan and all of the mozzarella over the top and bake, covered, for 20 minutes.
Uncover, stir and top with the remaining parmesan and bake another 10 minutes.

**If you want to microwave this, I would saute the chicken and garlic in a little olive oil first, then proceed in a glass casserole and microwave just to soften the pesto and melt the cheeses, about 4 minutes on high.

My pesto depends a lot on what I have available.
Today was basil, a little parsley (adds a real brightness. For 2 cups of basil, I just use about 2T chopped parsley), walnut pieces, parmesan, garlic, salt, white vinegar, a few drops of stevia and extra virgin olive oil.

**After I made the pesto, I scraped the excess into my immersion blender jar and made a pesto mayonnaise:
About 2T fresh pesto, 1 large egg + 1 yolk, 2tsp lemon juice, pinch of salt, 1tsp mild mustard, 1.5 cups light olive oil. Put everything except the oil and pesto in the immersion cup, set the blender in to the bottom and gently pour all of the oil on top. Blend for 10 seconds then slowly pull the blender up to emulsify all of the oil into the mayonnaise. Once it’s completely blended, add the pesto and blend for a few seconds. Refrigerate.

I make my sriracha mayo the same way, adding up to 1 tablespoon sriracha, instead of the pesto.

Low Carb and the Veggie Dilemma

I love vegetables. I really do.
But trying to indulge that with low-carb can be a frustrating trial, especially when eating out.
I discovered something that works, for me, regardless of where I’m eating: protein first.

Simple enough: eat your entree protein first, then have your salad and/or veggies as a “dessert” of sorts.
Because protein is filling, you may find you are still eating your veggies, but it takes less to fill that void.

We go out to Texas Roadhouse often. I order my house salad(no croutons or egg -I don’t know what they do to their hard boiled egg but they’re gross), steak or whatever and a side of their green beans.
If you’ve ever eaten there, their side veggies are small!
Anyway, I would normally eat the salad while waiting for the entree, then eat the green beans and then the steak. Sometimes I’d get a double of green beans (same at Chili’s, I get double broccoli lol).
But, as luck would have it, our server was awful lol -and she forgot to bring the salads, so we got them with the entrees.
Green beans were cold, so I sent them back, while waiting I ate the steak first.
It was like a light-bulb moment.
I did eat the green beans, and only about 1/2 the salad because: I was full!
So I decided to try this at home and it worked.
Also, I noticed I am eating less protein, which cuts calories a little as well.
Now was this some magical moment, or is it wishful thinking?
I don’t know, but I’m going with it!