Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Best Low Carb Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Best Low Carb Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Lately I’ve enjoyed learning about cake decorating. I bought an inexpensive kit that includes a lot of fun decorating piping tips and a cake turntable, so now my keto cakes can look more professional. My first few attempts have turned out remarkably well! The biggest problem about making low carb cakes or cupcakes is that it can be difficult to get the frosting just right. I’ve tried many recipes, but have finally come up with the very best! It has the taste and consistency of a true buttercream, but only 4 carbs (3 net carbs) for a generous 1/4 cup serving. This chocolate frosting is fudgy and so rich and delicious that my non-keto family really cannot tell this is sugar free. My husband is a serious chocoholic and gave this frosting his enthusiastic nod of approval when I made him this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake for Father’s Day.

The Best Low Carb Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Makes about 12 servings

2 ounces unsweetened baker’s chocolate, chopped
1/2 tablespoon refined coconut oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, softened 
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature 
2/3 cup powdered erythritol sweetener (LaKanto or Swerve)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream, room temperature (or as needed to reach the desired consistency)

1. Place the chopped baker’s chocolate and coconut oil in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high in 15-20 second increments until chocolate has melted. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

2. In a large bowl and using an electric mixer, whip together the butter, cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until combined and fluffy. Add the sweetener and cocoa powder and continue beating until well combined. You may need to scrap down the sides of the bowl occasionally. 

3. Add the vanilla extract and melted chocolate and beat again to combine. Add one tablespoon of the heavy cream at a time and beat until your frosting reaches the desired, spreadable consistency. (If you’re using piping tips, make sure your frosting isn’t too stiff or thick because it may be difficult to pipe it through the tip.)

4. This recipe makes enough frosting for 16-18 cupcakes, a single layer 9” round or 13”x9” sheet cake or a double layer 6” cake. The frosting can be refrigerated but, for best results, allow to come to room temperature before frosting your cake.


Nutritional Information per 1/4 cup: 186 calories, 3.7 g carbohydrates (1 g dietary fiber, 0.4 g sugars, 1 g sugar alcohols), 17.8 g total fat (11.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 39 mg cholesterol, 47 mg sodium, 7.3 mg calcium, 1 mg potassium, 58 ug Vit A, 3.2 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 2.7 grams

Recipe and photo by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2020
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Friday, May 29, 2020

Halibut in a Sour Cream Sauce with Buttery Onions (or Salmon)

Halibut in a Sour Cream Sauce with Buttery Onions
When fish is steamed in a pouch, it comes out perfectly cooked, tender and delicious! This recipe utilizes the fragrant moisture and natural sweetness of the onions to permeate the fish, giving it wonderful flavor. You can use any type of fish that you like, but I suggest a “meaty” fish, such as halibut, salmon, swordfish or tuna steaks, as they work particularly well with this cooking technique.

Halibut in a Sour Cream Sauce with Buttery Onions
Makes 2 servings

1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into 4 thin slices
2 (1/4”) onion slices from a large onion (or 4 slices from a small onion)
2 (5 oz.) halibut steaks, or fish of your choice
1/4 cup mayonnaise 
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons shredded or grated Parmesan cheese 

1. Place each onion slice on a 12” or 14” square of heavy duty foil (or a double thickness of regular foil). Place two slices of cold butter on top of each onion. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides and place one piece of fish on top of each onion.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream and seasonings. Set aside a couple of tablespoons for serving. Divide the remaining sauce between the two pieces of fish and spread to cover. Sprinkle each with one tablespoon of the almonds and one tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. Fold the foil around each piece of fish, sealing tightly, to create two puffed pouches, allowing for a little space over the fish so the steam can circulate and the sauce won’t be disturbed during cooking. (This step can be done ahead and the pouches refrigerated, if desired. Before cooking, remove the pouches from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.)

3. Grill Method: Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the internal temperature of the fish reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place foil pouches on a baking sheet and bake for 22-24 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees.

5. If desired, at the end of cooking, you can open the top of each pouch and broil for a few minutes until the almonds turn golden brown and the Parmesan cheese bubbles. With a spatula, carefully remove the onion and the fish onto serving plates. Drizzle the accumulated liquid from the pouch over the top of the fish and serve immediately. (I like to serve this over sautéed spinach.) Serve the reserved sour cream sauce on the side.

Nutritional Information per serving (made with halibut): 565 calories, 7.2 g carbohydrate (1.8 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugars), 40 g total fat (11.9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 98 mg cholesterol, 536 mg sodium, 213.6 mg calcium, 924 mg potassium, 2 mg iron, 192 ug Vit A, 3 mg Vit C, 42.5 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 5.4 grams

Photo and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2020
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Keto Cinnamon Applesauce

Low Carb Applesauce
I have always loved applesauce! But, sadly, it’s so high in carbs and sugar that it is completely off limits on my low carb, ketogenic diet. Ordinary applesauce that you buy in the store is 16 carbs for a 1/3 cup serving, all of which is sugar! (That equals 4 teaspoons of sugar!) This “applesauce,” made with chayote squash, tastes just like the real thing and has only 5 carbs per serving (3 net carbs) and is a good source of calcium and potassium! Honestly, you and your kids will not be able to tell the difference. You can make it chunky or smooth and add as much cinnamon as you like. It can be used in recipes, enjoyed over low carb ice cream, in yogurt or eaten by itself. It’s a treat you can feel good about!

Keto Cinnamon “Applesauce” (made with Chayote Squash)
Makes 3 servings

1 tablespoon butter (can be omitted for dairy free)
2 cups chayote squash, peeled, cored and diced fine (2-3 squash, depending on size)
1 tablespoon LaKanto Golden or other brown erythritol sweetener 
1 tablespoon granulated erythritol sweetener (or use all brown)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or apple pie spice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon apple extract, or to taste (see photo below)
6-8 drops monkfruit extract or stevia, to taste
3/4 cup water + 2-4 tablespoons water, divided

1. In a non-stick, 10 inch skillet, combine the butter, chayote squash, sweeteners, cinnamon or apple pie spice, lemon juice, apple extract and 3/4 cup of water. Simmer over a low heat, covered tightly, for about 35 minutes or until softened. Stir occasionally and, if the mixture is drying out, add a bit more water and continue simmering until most of the liquid has evaporated and the squash is fork tender, very soft and no longer has any crunch. Add the monkfruit extract or stevia, taste and adjust sweetness, if desired.

Cooking Chayote Squash 2. Remove from heat and allow the squash to sit covered in the warm skillet for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. 

3. Spoon the warm “apples” into a food processor. Pulse and then process on low until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula occasionally. Add 2-4 tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time, and continue to process until the sauce is smooth and has reached the consistency you desire.

4. The applesauce can be eaten immediately, warm or cold, or can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. This recipe makes about 1 cup.

OliveNation Apple Extract
Nutritional Information per 1/3 cup: 56 calories, 5 g carbohydrates (2 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugars), 4 g total fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 10 mg cholesterol, 29 mg sodium, 26.3 mg calcium, 129 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 51 ug Vit A, 12 mg Vit C, 0.8 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 3 grams

Photos and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2020
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Low Carb Deep Dish, Chicago-Style Sausage Pizza

Low Carb Deep Dish, Chicago-style Pizza
This is one of the most outstanding recipes I’ve ever made and tastes so much like the real thing, no one will be able to tell it’s low carb and gluten free. The dough comes together quickly in a food processor and really holds up during the baking process. The result is a crisp crust overflowing with gooey, melted cheese, savory Italian sausage and tangy tomato sauce in every bite. Believe me, if you like Uno’s Pizza, you and your family will be delighted with this copy-cat recipe. Fill the pizza with any fillings you desire to make it your own.

Low Carb Deep Dish, Chicago-Style Sausage Pizza
Makes 6 servings

Sauce:
26 oz. box of Pomi chopped tomatoes, drained of excess liquid (yields about 1 1/4 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Pizza Crust:
3/4 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons Keto Birch Benders Pancake Mix (or more almond flour)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder (I use this Terrasoul brand)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
3 tablespoons olive oil (or avocado oil)
1 large egg
3 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (for dusting inside of pan)

Filling:
6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
1 pound Italian pork sausage
Sliced black olives (optional)
Sliced mushrooms, heated in skillet until they release their moisture (optional)
6 ounces mozzarella, shredded (whole milk cheese melts better!)

Topping:
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch springform pan very well and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese, moving the pan around until the bottom and sides are coated; set aside.

2. If using mushrooms, heat over medium heat in a dry skillet until the mushrooms have released their moisture; remove to a bowl and set aside. Remove the sausage from their casings and sauté in the same skillet, breaking up into crumbles, until just cooked through. Drain on a plate that has been lined with several layers of paper towels to remove excess fat; set aside. 

3. Pour the chopped tomatoes into a fine-mesh strainer that has been placed over a bowl to catch excess liquid. Drain, stirring occasionally with a spoon, until most of the liquid has been removed. You want a thick, chunky sauce. Place the tomato sauce into a bowl and add the garlic, oregano and salt; stir to combine and set aside. (Discard or store the drained liquid in the refrigerator for another use.) 

4. Place the dry ingredients for the crust into the food processor and pulse to combine. Add the olive oil, egg and water and process on low until the dough comes together and forms into a ball. Roll the dough out between two pieces of plastic wrap (or parchment paper) into a 12-inch circle. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap and turn the dough into your prepared springform pan, dough side down. Remove the remaining layer of plastic wrap and then, with your fingers, gently press the dough into the pan. “Cut and paste” the dough evenly in the pan and part way up the sides (just tear and press where needed). Once the dough is pressed into the pan, prick the bottom with a fork.

5. Pre-bake the crust in the preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before filling. Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 410 degrees.

6. Into the pre-baked crust, put down a layer of sliced provolone cheese to cover the entire bottom of the crust. Spread the cooked sausage and any other optional fillings you desire on top of the provolone cheese in an even layer. Next, add a layer of shredded mozzarella over the fillings. Top the layer of shredded cheese with the drained and seasoned chunky tomato sauce, spreading with the back of a spoon to cover the cheese layer entirely. Finally, sprinkle the sauce with 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Pizza crust and layering fillings7. Place the pan on a baking sheet (in case the filling leaks). Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the Parmesan cheese has turned a golden color and the melted mozzarella cheese you can see below the sauce is bubbly.

8. Remove the pizza from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Slice of Deep Dish Pizza
Nutritional Information per 1/6th of pizza: 588 calories, 13.5 g carbohydrates (5.1 g dietary fiber, 3.2 g sugars), 41.8 g total fat (15.6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 123 mg cholesterol, 1292 mg sodium,  651.4 mg calcium, 169 mg potassium, 2 mg iron, 169 ug Vit A, 38.9 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 8.4 grams

Photos and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2020
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chaffle Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chaffle Cake
I love mini desserts and chaffles make it so easy to make a luscious, decadent little cake, without having a lot of leftovers to worry about. This particular cake includes my favorite flavors, and probably yours too: chocolate and peanut butter! You can’t go wrong with this little gem of a dessert for a special occasion or just because....

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chaffle Cake
Makes 1 mini cake (2 servings)

Chaffles:
1 teaspoon coconut flour
1 teaspoon unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated erythritol sweetener
1 large egg, beaten (or 2 egg whites)
2 teaspoons creamy peanut butter, no sugar added
1 teaspoon water
1/8 teaspoon chocolate or vanilla extract
1 drop of peanut butter flavoring (optional)

Peanut Butter Frosting:
1 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, no sugar added and at room temperature 
1 tablespoon butter, softened 
1 1/2 tablespoons powdered erythritol sweetener 
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache Drizzle:
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons semi-sweet, sugar free chocolate chips, chopped (such as Lily’s or Bake Believe)
Additional hot heavy cream, if needed

1-2 teaspoons chopped peanuts to garnish, if desired

1. Preheat a 4-inch mini waffle maker. Whisk together all of the chaffle ingredients until a smooth batter is formed. Divide the batter in half and spoon about 4 tablespoons of batter in the waffle maker, spreading it around with the back of a spoon to cover all the waffle bumps. Close and cook for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter to make a second chaffle. This recipe makes two chaffles. Cool completely before frosting.

2. Peanut Butter Frosting: In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the powdered sweetener and vanilla extract. Beat in the cream, one tablespoon at a time, until a fluffy and spreadable consistency is achieved.

3. Place one chaffle on a plate and spread with about 1/2 of the frosting. Add the second layer and top with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the Chocolate Ganache: In a small bowl or saucepan, heat the heavy cream in the microwave or on the stovetop until hot and beginning to bubble at the edges. Add the chocolate chips and allow to sit for a few minutes to melt before stirring. Whisk until smooth. If your ganache is too thick, add additional hot cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, and whisk until you achieve at smooth and pourable consistency. (Note: This recipe will make more ganache than you need. Store the leftover in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Simply reheat gently in the microwave, 10 seconds at a time, until melted.)

5. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of ganache over the top of the cake and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chaffle Cake (top view)
Nutritional Information per 1/2 cake: 367 calories, 7.2 g carbohydrates (2.5 g dietary fiber, 1.2 g sugars), 33.8 g total fat (14.3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 153 mg cholesterol, 212 mg sodium, 55.8 mg calcium, 48 mg potassium, 222 mg Vit A, 1 mg iron, 9.7 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 4.7 grams

Photos and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2020
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Low Carb Apple Pie Filling (made with Chayote Squash)

Low Carb Apple Pie Filling (made with Chayote Squash)
This all-purpose “apple” filling is great to use in any recipe that calls for apples, such as a pie or tart, cake, bread, pancakes, fritters or even applesauce. They are delicious on their own or served with keto ice cream. Their taste and texture is amazingly and truly like apples! Chayote squash is an almost tasteless, mild and firm squash, so it’s a perfect low carb substitute for apples. Simmered with apple pie spices, a zero-carb sweetener and lemon juice for tartness, it readily absorbs those flavors. Although it is optional, I think the addition of apple extract or flavoring is important to achieve the best apple-like flavor. I use Capella Double Apple flavoring (see photo below) and only a few drops is enough to impart a realistic “appleness” to this recipe. (You can leave it out and the recipe will still work fine, but the result may not give you the full apple punch, in my opinion.) I’m offering this basic recipe as a prelude to more “apple” recipes to come. Once you try these apples, I think you’ll be as delighted as I am to have this low carb alternative in your recipe box.

Low Carb “Apple” Pie Filling
Makes 2 cups

2 cups chayote squash, peeled, seeded and cut into thin slices (2-3 squash, depending on size)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons golden erythritol sweetener, or to taste (I use LaKanto Golden)
2 teaspoons apple pie spice blend
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon apple extract or 10 drops apple flavoring (I used Capella Double Apple), optional
6-8 drops monkfruit extract or stevia, if additional sweetness is needed
Water, if needed

Chayote Squash
In a medium to large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat and add the squash, sweetener, apple pie spice and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding water if needed to keep the apples hydrated (you don’t want them to dry out). Once the squash begins to soften, add the apple extract and monkfruit extract or stevia to taste. Continue cooking, covered, until the squash is tender, about 5-10 more minutes. You want the “apples” to be fork-tender. (If you plan to eat them without additional cooking, such as in a recipe that is baked, make sure they are very soft and no longer have any crunch.)

Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle or store in an airtight container for up to a week. You can use this filling in any recipe that calls for apples, such as a pie or tart, apple cake or bread. Or serve warm with whipped cream or keto vanilla ice cream.

Capella Double Apple Flavoring
Nutritional Information per 1/2 cup: 67 calories, 4.2 g carbohydrates (1.8 g dietary fiber, 1.4 g sugars), 5.9 g total fat (3.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 43 mg sodium, 27.6 mg calcium, 100 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 66 mg Vit A, 9 mg Vit C, 0.7 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 2.4 grams

Note: Compared to no sugar added, canned apple pie filling, this recipe is about 10 carbs LESS per 1/2 cup! 

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2020
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Keto French Toast Chaffle Breakfast Sandwich (or Monte Cristo!)

Keto French Toast Chaffle Breakfast Sandwich
As I do often, I woke up in the middle of the night but, instead of turning over and going right back to sleep, I started thinking. I had seen a video going around on Facebook using this cooking technique for making a french toast sandwich, so I thought “Why can’t I do that with chaffles?” The excitement of this idea took over my mind and I didn’t go back to sleep for hours! When morning arrived, I leapt out of bed and ran down to the kitchen to try out this recipe. It was worth the poor night’s sleep!! This breakfast sandwich is SO GOOD and, when drizzled with a little sugar free syrup, it tastes like a Monte Cristo! For greater convenience, it’s a good idea to make your White Bread Chaffles ahead of time. (I triple or quadruple the recipe and make a batch of 6-8 at a time; they keep well in the refrigerator and are always available as a bread or hamburger bun substitute whenever you need them.)

Click on the YouTube video to see how to make this amazing breakfast sandwich:



Keto French Toast Chaffle Breakfast Sandwich (or Monte Cristo!)
Makes 1 sandwich

White Bread Chaffle Ingredients:
1 egg (or two egg whites)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise, sour cream or ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon almond flour (or coconut flour)
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon water

Other Ingredients for Sandwich:
2 eggs, beaten
A pinch of salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon almond milk
1 ounce cheese of choice, sliced
2 pieces of bacon, cooked and halved
Sugar free syrup (optional)

1. First, make the chaffles by whisking the chaffle ingredients together. Divide the batter and spoon 3-4 tablespoons onto a hot, preheated mini waffle maker, close the lid and cook for at least 4 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining batter. This recipe makes 2 chaffles.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together the 2 eggs, salt, pepper and teaspoon of almond milk; set aside. Have the sliced cheese and bacon ready to go.

3. Melt some coconut oil or butter in a 10” non-stick skillet. Place over medium-low heat and add the whisked eggs. Dip the smooth side of one chaffle into the egg, turn over and place the egg-covered chaffle on one side of the skillet in the egg mixture (if your chaffle has a rough side, make sure it is up). Repeat with second chaffle and place in the egg mixture next to the first chaffle. You want the two chaffles in a line, in the center of the egg mixture. While on medium-low, cover and cook for a couple of minutes until the egg is just set.

4. As a whole unit, turn the chaffles and egg circle over to cook the second side. Top chaffles with slices of cheese and bacon. Fold the egg “wings” into the center over the chaffles and filling. Carefully, fold one chaffle to rest on top of the other chaffle (like a book with filling). Allow the chaffle on the bottom to continue cooking until nicely browned. Flip over to the second side to brown.

5. Remove sandwich to a serving plate and drizzle with sugar free syrup, if desired. Eat with a fork and enjoy!

Keto Monte Cristo Breakfast Sandwich
Nutritional Information: 546 calories, 3 g carbohydrates (0.8 g dietary fiber, 0.8 g sugars), 43.9 g total fat (14.8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 612 mg cholesterol, 912 mg sodium, 341 mg calcium, 354 mg potassium, 3 mg iron, 335 mg Vit A, 33.6 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 2.2 grams

Photos, video and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2020
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.