Sunday Supper: Low Carb, Gluten-Free Enchiladas

Happy Sunday!

I have decided to get back into the habit of posting recipes every week.  Last night’s dinner was my inspiration for today’s selection.

I don’t do well eating carbs.  My recent trip to Michigan, filled with midwestern breads, rolls, potatoes, and–most importantly!–potato salads satisfied my need for nostalgia, but left me 8 pounds heavier than when I had left.

Back at home, I found that my intense craving for Tex-Mex food was at odds with my need to get back on track with eating low-carb.  Fortunately, I found this recipe, which involves tortillas made from eggs and almond flour.  The tortillas do taste “eggy,” but within the casserole, they are excellent.

This dish is also gluten free.  Unfortunately, it does involve a lot of cheese, so it is not Paleo.  It could easily be adapted to be vegetarian, but substituting beans or mixed vegetables for the chorizo.

Here is my adaptation of the recipe:

8-10 Low Carb Tortillas

1 small tube browned chorizo

2 cups shredded cheese

2 tablespoons butter

3 ounces brick style cream cheese (1/2 of brick)

1 cup broth

1/2 cup sour cream

2 rings cut off of a habernero pepper, finely chopped

Chipotle Pepper (ground)

To Make the Tortillas

4 eggs, beaten

3 tablespoons water

1/2 cup almond flour

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ground flaxseed

4 teaspoons grated parmesan

Dash sea salt

Generous dash chipotle pepper (ground)

1.  Whisk ingredients together to make batter.

2.  Pour batter in a thin layer on greased skillet.  Spread to make a tortilla approximately 6 inches across.  DO NOT POUR TOO THICKLY!

3.  Cook over medium heat until tortilla begins to set.  Flip and cook until done.

4.  Makes 8-10 tortillas.

To Make Casserole

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease casserole dish.

2.  Mix chorizo and 1 cup cheese in large bowl.

3.  Divide mixture evenly and roll up in tortillas and place seam side down in casserole dish.

4.   In the skillet, with remaining juices from chorizo, melt butter, stir in cream cheese and cook on low until melted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

5.  Stir in broth and simmer over medium heat, whisking until smooth and slightly thickened and bubbly, stirring frequently.

6.  Stir in sour cream, habernero, and chipotle pepper to taste.  Heat until warm.

7.  Pour sauce over enchiladas in casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

8.  Cook for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

 

 

Alternatives to Soda, and a Healthy Treat

As the weather gets warmer, I often find myself wanting to enjoy a bottle of Diet Coke.  Or, worse yet, feed my addiction to sugar-free energy drinks.  I have tried, numerous times, to move away from artificial sweeteners, but I always find myself coming back to them.  I have tried iced tea (which I still do love, on occasion, especially chamomile and jasmine), seltzer (which I also still enjoy), and water (which I can not drink!).  As the temperatures have been hitting the 80’s and 90’s this month, I have discovered two beverages that may actually do the trick for me.

The first summer treat I would like to introduce to you, is fruit water.  This was inspired by our stay at Embassy Suites, on our way home from Michigan, over Christmas.  At the hotel, they had a water cooler, filled with water and fruit (and one day, they have cucumbers in the water!).  The fruit added such a delicious, subtle flavor to the water, that I couldn’t stop drinking it.  I now keep a pitcher of fruit water in the fridge.  Any fruit will work, but I really like water infused with citrus.  I use orange, tangerine, and lemon slices.  When I go to the gym, I fill my water bottle with fruit slices as well.  Simply refreshing!

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Another alternative to soda–and to cocktails–is an herbal-tea creation that I have discovered.  This yet-to-be-named mocktail requires a few steps to make, but it is infinitely worth it:

Bethany’s No-Name Mocktail

1.  Brew a pot of herbal/fruit tea.  I use 4 tea bags of rooibos, 2 tea bags of raspberry fruit tea, and 1 tea bag of chamomile.  Let it brew until it is very strong, about 30 minutes.

2.  Add just enough honey to sweeten, then chill.  The tea will become sweeter after chilling.

3.  Serve in wine glasses, one part chilled tea and one part coconut seltzer.  (If you can’t find coconut seltzer, any flavor will work.  But it is heavenly with the coconut!).

4.  Garnish with orange, lemon, and tangerine slices.

It looks elegant, and tastes like a summer evening.  If any of you make this, and can think of a clever name for it, please share in the comments!

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And, finally, I wanted to share a recipe for a treat that I make Beanie, for her lunches.  My little pal loves granola bars, but I have a very hard time finding bars that are made without refined sugar, or worse yet, high fructose corn syrup.  We discovered Larabars, which are date-sweetened, but not the easiest thing on the budget.  So I’ve modified granola bar recipes that I have found online, and created this:

Versatile Honey Granola Bars

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup peanut butter (or almond butter, or chopped nuts)

1/2 cup honey (or 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup maple syrup)

1/4 cup butter, chopped into pieces

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup apricot preserves (or other fruit preserves, or raisins, or dried fruit)

 

1.  On a slightly greased pan (or cast iron skillet), toast oats (and chopped nuts, if using) at 350 degrees, for 3-5 minutes.  Stir, then roast an additional 3-5 minutes.

2.  Remove oats, and place in square-shaped container.

3.  Over medium, cook butter, honey, peanut butter (is using), vanilla extract, salt, and fruit preserves (if using), until mixed and melted.  Pour into container with oats.

4.  Stir mixture together.  Stir in any remaining ingredients.  Press down into container.  Chill, until bars stick together.

Notice Rob peeking over the snack bar...He insisted on photo bombing!

Notice Rob peeking over the snack bar…He insisted on photo bombing!

 

What are some of your favorite summer treats?

 

Better than Bullion

I’ve shared my bone broth recipe with you, but today I’m going to share something even better–my recipe for gelatin.

Gelatin is a wonderfully useful substance.  It is loaded with nutrients, it takes up little space, and you can use it in almost any recipe.  You can reconstitute it with water, in the same way you would use bullion cubes.  You can use it in its concentrated forms, to make some wonderful sauces.

I make gelatin at least once every other week, using whatever bones are on sale.  If I happen to cook something with bones–generally a chicken, in this area, then I use those bones.

Here is my gelatin recipe:

1.  Start with a good amount of bones.  Two trays full, from the grocery store (or one whole animal, such as a chicken) will do it.  Place them in a stockpot (or pressure cooker) and cover with water.

2.  Add a fair amount of an acidic medium.  I use apple cider vinegar and lime juice.  You may also use lemon juice, or wine.  Add some salt.  Cover and let soak overnight.

3.  Cook over low heat, at least 12 hours.

4.  To make gelatin, boil down as much as possible.  Remove the bones, then chill the liquid.  It should solidify in a couple of hours.

What can you do with gelatin?  You can mix it with vinegar and spices to make a delicious sauce.  You can reconstitute it and use it to cook rice or other grains.

Or you can try my lovely gluten-free French onion soup:

1.  Fry up 4 sliced onions.  Use animal fat, or at least a vegetable fat that does not contain omega 6’s or trans fats.  I recommend bacon fat, butter, or coconut oil.

2. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, 2 tsp thyme, sea salt, and pepper.  Cook until onions are soft.

3.  Meanwhile, toast gluten free bread slices in the oven.

4.  Add 1 cup red wine.  Cook until wine evaporates.

5.  Add 3 heaping tablespoons gluten free flour, and 1 heaping tablespoon flaxmeal.  Cook for 5 minutes.

6.  Add two quarts water and 1 cup gelatin (I use pork).  Cook 10 minutes.

7.  Place in individual bowls, and top with toasted bread and shredded cheese (I use pepper jack).  Bake in oven, until cheese is melted.

Enjoy!

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Action #1: Menu Plan Day

I’ve told you that I like to face fear head-on.

And, in the past, I have struggled with the fear of failure.

So, with my diet and weight loss, I have faced this fear head on.  In other words, I have failed completely.

So, it’s back to the drawing board.  I am doing low-carb, for two weeks, once again, with the exception of sushi bentos for lunch, thanks to the inexpensive nori that we found at the salvage grocery store.  Low-carb meals do cost a bit more to prepare–we’re looking at $80-$100 per week.  But I think we’re best off doing that for a couple of weeks, then adding whole grains back in.

I love to look at meal plans, to get ideas for myself.  So here is my meal plan, for this week.  I’ve just planned breakfasts and dinners, because I will be having sushi for lunch and Rob will be having salad or leftovers.  (Beanie’s lunch is provided at her school). 

Here is the plan:

Monday
Breakfast: Parmesan Eggs
Dinner: Curried Chicken with broccoli, Cashew Salad

Tuesday
Breakfast: Tuscan Baked Eggs
Dinner: Broccoli Cheese Casserole, BLT Salad, Roasted vegetables

Wednesday
Breakfast: Mexican Eggs
Dinner: Mexican Casserole, Roasted Vegetables, Cashew Salad

Thursday
Breakfast: Kale and Feta Casserole
Dinner: Spinach and Mozzarella Egg Bake, Roasted Vegetables, Cashew Salad

Friday
Breakfast: Kale and Feta Casserole
Dinner: Swedish Meatballs, BLT Salad, Roasted Vegetables

Saturday
Breakfast: Bell Pepper Casserole
Dinner: Greek Meatballs, BLT Salad, Roasted Vegetables

Sunday
Breakfast: Bell Pepper Casserole
Dinner: Bacon and Cheese Casserole, BLT Salad, Roasted Vegetables

So, what exciting meals are you having this week?

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Sunday Supper: Recipes for Special Diets

Rob used to tell people that I had a food intolerance.  That is, I was intolerant to all food.

Fortunately for me, after giving up dairy and soy for a number of years, I finally learned that the real culprit was high-fructose corn syrup.  Since my blood sugar also runs relatively high, I switched to a low-glycemic diet and have been doing well ever since.

Our experience taught us the frustration of creating delicious meals, while on a special diet.  And, in this day and age, it seems that more and more people are finding that their health problems can be corrected, by modifying their diet.  In fact, when we have friends over, we’re always surprised if they don’t have any special food requests

So if you are on a special diet, or if you know someone who is, here are some links to recipes, to make life a little bit easier!

Low Glycemic/Low Carb Recipes
Kalyn’s Kitchen
South Beach Diet Recipes
South Beach Century Club
Linda’s Low Carb Menu and Recipes
About.Com: Low-Carb Diets

Vegetarian/Vegan Recipes
Vegetarian Times
Vegengala
Simply Recipes: Vegetarian Recipes
Chooseveg.com
Vegweb.com

Gluten-Free Recipes
Frugal Granola
Gluten-Free Goddess
Celiac.com
Simply Gluten Free
Carla’s Gluten-Free Recipe Box
Celiac and Allergy Adventures

Food Allergies
Allergic Girl
Kids With Food Allergies – Recipes
Food Allergy Mama
Eating With Food Allergies
Living Without

I hope you find these resources helpful–happy cooking!

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Sunday Supper: Dinner Bread

I’ve told you about the virtues of my pressure cooker, so I thought it was past time that I shared a recipe with you! This bread is a meal in itself. It’s simple, and great to make in a small space.

You need a pressure cooker, with a pan inside. I have also made it on a trivet, but sometimes the dough gets a little soggy when I do that.

1. Mix 2 cups whole grain flour with 1 tbsp yeast, a dash of salt, and 2 tbsp sugar or honey. Add 1/2 cup fat (butter, bacon fat, oil). Add enough water to make a sticky dough. Knead in more flour, until the consistency is right.

2. Mix in some protein, sauce, and veggies. Clean out your fridge! I’ll add beans, salad dressing, spinach, cheese, eggs–anything!

3. Shape into a small loaf. Place in the pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes, then release, using the quick release method. Check for doneness. Cook longer, as necessary.

Sometimes we spread our bread with mayo, for a special treat. Enjoy!

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Sunday Supper: The Chicken Challenge

For a fun, money-saving activity, I like to see how many meals we can get out of one chicken. For example, we will cook it on Monday, and have chicken for dinner. On Tuesday, we will have chicken salad sandwiches. On Wednesday, Chicken fajitas. We’ll make broth with the bones, and that will give us soup for two days.

Are you interested in trying the chicken challenge? If so, here are some links to sites with some ideas.

1 Chicken, 5 Meals from the Nourished Kitchen

1 Chicken 5 Meals for 4 People! from Just a Pinch Recipes

5 Meals You Can Make from One Chicken from Coupon Shoebox

1 Chicken, 17 Healthy Meals, $26 Bucks, No Mayo from Cheap Healthy Food

1 Organic Chicken, 22 Healthy Meals, $49 Bucks by Squawkfox

So, how many meals can you get out of one chicken?