Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Low Carb Linguine Al Forno (Baked Linguine) with Pancetta, Mushrooms and Radicchio

Low Carb Linguine Al Forno
This looks like a plate of cheesy pasta, doesn’t it? It tastes like it, too! Instead of wheat pasta, this fabulous dish uses noodles made from hearts of palm that are extremely low carb and gluten free. I’ve tried various low carb noodle substitutes, but these are the best, by far. (I used Palmini linguine noodles for this recipe.) Hearts of palm noodles have very little flavor on their own, but they absorb and take on the flavor of whatever sauce or other ingredients you pair them with...in this case, three types of creamy cheese, smoky pancetta or bacon, earthy mushrooms and spicy radicchio! You think you’re eating cheesy pasta, when in reality you’re eating mostly vegetables! If you haven’t given hearts of palm noodles a try, this incredible baked linguine recipe will win you over!

Low Carb Linguine Al Forno (Baked Linguini) with Pancetta, Mushrooms and Radicchio
Makes 4 servings

4 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
4 ounces shiitake or baby Bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1-1/2 cups (about 1 small head) radicchio, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan, divided
1/2 cup fontina cheese, roughly shredded
1/4 cup crumbled gluten free Gorgonzola or blue cheese
3 leaves fresh sage, chopped (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme)
Salt and pepper to taste
16 ounces hearts of palm noodles, linguini style (cut into smaller pieces, optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Before preparing the dish, cut up the hearts of palm noodles into 1-inch pieces (optional), rinse with water and then place the drained noodles into a large bowl. Cover with milk (or your favorite milk alternative) and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Drain and discard milk and rinse the noodles with water again before proceeding. (This step is a tip I received from the manufacturer of the Palmini hearts of palm noodles I used for this recipe and is optional, but it helps to mellow the flavor of the noodles.)

2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil.

3. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and reserve for another use. Slice the mushroom caps into 1/4-inch slices; set aside.

4. Heat the pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat until well browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels; set aside.

5. Add the mushrooms to the hot oil in the skillet and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are cooked through and beginning to brown, 3-5 minutes.

6. In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms, pancetta, radicchio, cream, fontina, 1/4 cup parmesan, Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles, sage or thyme, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Boil the hearts of palm noodles for a few minutes until hot, drain and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl. Toss well to combine. Divide the noodle mixture equally among four buttered individual gratin dishes or pour the entire mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake in the hot, preheated oven until bubbly and browned on top, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Low Carb Linguine Al Forno
Nutritional Information per serving: 432 calories, 8.1 g carbohydrates (3.9 g dietary fiber, 1.2 g sugars), 42 g total fat (21.9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 127 mg cholesterol, 991 mg sodium, 243 mg calcium, 155 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 17.1 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 4.2 grams

Photos and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2019
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Low Carb Peanut Butter with Chocolate Biscotti

Low Carb Peanut Butter with Chocolate Biscotti
I have always shied away from making biscotti, which are twice baked cookies. I guess it was that “twice baked” part that made me think they were too complicated. Well, I can tell you, they’re not! As a matter-of-fact, because I don’t need to scoop or shape them into individual cookies prior to the first bake, I find them easier! This recipe is quickly becoming a favorite. Crunchy peanut butter cookies dipped in chocolate...what more could I ask for? When dunked in coffee, cacao tea or low carb hot chocolate, these cookies make the best afternoon snack or dessert.

Low Carb Peanut Butter with Chocolate Biscotti
Makes 15 cookies

Biscotti Ingredients:
1-2/3 cups almond flour
1/3 cup granulated erythritol (I used LaKanto Classic)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional, but makes a crisper cookie)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (only ingredients should be peanuts and salt)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dark Chocolate Dip Ingredients:
2-1/2 ounces sugar free chocolate chips (I used Lily’s)
1-1/2 teaspoon refined coconut oil (or unrefined, but will impart a slight coconut flavor)

1. Before you begin, make sure that all of the ingredients are at room temperature (this will make the dough more flexible later). Preheat oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, erythritol, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt until no lumps remain. Whisk the egg and vanilla extract together and add to the dry ingredients, along with the crunchy peanut butter, and stir with a wooden spoon until a firm dough forms.

3. Turn the dough out onto the lined cookie sheet and pat or roll the dough into a long and low 4” x 10” rectangle. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until just firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce the oven temperature to 250F.

4. With a sharp knife, cut the rectangle into 15 equal slices. (Cut straight down, do not use a sawing motion which may cause the cookies to crumble.) Place the cookies, cut side down, onto the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at the reduced temperature. Remove from oven and gently turn the cookies over to the opposite cut side and bake again for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the cookies to remain in the oven until completely cooled. (They will crisp up as they cool.)

5. Once the cookies are cooled, make the chocolate dip by melting the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler over hot or gently simmering water (be sure no water gets into the chips while melting or they will seize). Another method of melting the chocolate is to heat in a microwave safe bowl at 15 second intervals, being sure not to overheat or boil, until just melted. Whisk the chocolate mixture until smooth.

6. Dip each biscotti into the chocolate mixture to coat one cut side and carefully place on the parchment lined cookie sheet, chocolate side up. Allow to cool until the chocolate is set. To hasten the process, you may refrigerate the biscotti for about 15-20 minutes. The biscotti can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Low Carb Peanut Butter with Chocolate Biscotti
Nutritional Information per cookie: 124 calories, 6.7 g carbohydrate (2.6 g dietary fiber, 0.6 g sugars, 2.7 g sugar alcohols), 10.3 g total fat (1.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 12 mg cholesterol, 86 mg sodium, 92 mg potassium, 50 mg calcium, 1 mg iron, 4.4 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 4.1 grams

Photos and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2019
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Low Carb Hot Chocolate made with Cacao Tea

Low Carb Hot Chocolate made with Cacao Tea
I love hot chocolate especially in the winter but, because I’m consuming a very strict low carbohydrate diet, even “low carb” recipes that depend on unsweetened cocoa powder for their chocolate flavor are too high in carbs for me. During my last visit to Williamsburg, I discovered Cacao Tea, a favorite of Martha Washington! Roasted cacao shells are the only ingredient (some brands add cacao nibs too), it is caffeine free and when brewed like ordinary tea, the resulting light chocolate-flavored tea has zero carbs! It’s good on its own with a little sweetener and cream but, when I use it as a base and doctor it up, it turns into a delicious milk chocolate hot cocoa! A huge 2-cup (16 oz.) serving is only 2 carbs, which fits perfectly into my daily meal plan...everyday!

Low Carb Hot Chocolate made with Cacao Tea
Makes 1 generous serving

2 teaspoons of cacao tea (can be purchased online, Oliver Pluff is the brand I used)
12 ounces of hot water (1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons (1 oz) Mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
5-8 drops of monkfruit extract, to taste (chocolate or regular, I used LaKanto brand)
A pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon chocolate extract, optional but adds more chocolate flavor (or vanilla can be substituted)

1. Brew the cacao tea in the 12 ounces of hot water for 10 minutes.

2. Into a blender, add the remaining ingredients. Strain the cacao shells out of the tea and discard the solids. Add the tea to the blender and blend until smooth. If needed, reheat the “hot chocolate” in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove until desired temperature is reached. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information per entire recipe (1 pint): 234 calories, 2.3 g carbohydrates (0.7 g dietary fiber, 0.1 g sugars), 26.5 g total fat (17 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 76 mg cholesterol, 34 mg sodium, 44.3 mg calcium, 13 mg potassium, 2.7 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 1.6 grams

Photo and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2019
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Low Carb Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Low Carb Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Lately I’ve discovered how easy it is to make biscotti, a twice baked cookie that is excellent dipped in coffee, low carb hot chocolate or tea. The first biscotti I made was from the All Day I Dream About Food website (click for recipe here: Cranberry Pecan Biscotti). They were easy and so delicious! That encouraged me to make more using ingredients I already had in my pantry. Although I must give credit to Carolyn Ketchum, author and blogger, for the idea, I’m extremely pleased with how my cookies turned out. If you get hooked the way I have, be sure to search Carolyn’s website for more biscotti recipes. I’m certain that these Chocolate Almond Biscotti will be a favorite of low carbers (or anyone) who visit my Christmas breakfast buffet.

Low Carb Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Makes 15 biscotti

Biscotti Dough:
1-3/4 cups almond flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup granulated erythritol sweetener
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, or to taste
1/4 cup sliced almonds, chopped into smaller pieces

Chocolate Dip:
2-1/2 ounces sugar free chocolate chips, such as Lily’s
1-1/2 teaspoons refined coconut oil (or unrefined, but it will impart a slight coconut flavor)

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Whisk together the dry ingredients (almond flour through salt) in a large mixing bowl until well combined and no lumps remain. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg and almond extract. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well until a dough forms. Fold in the chopped almonds until well distributed.

2. Turn dough out onto parchment paper and form with your hands and/or a rolling pin into a rectangle that is 10 inches long by 4 inches wide (the dough loaf will be about 1 inch tall). Bake for 28 minutes until just firm to the touch. Do not overbake or the cookies will be more difficult to cut later.) Remove loaf from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes. 

3. Reduce the oven temperature to 250F. Carefully and with a very sharp knife, cut the loaf into 15 equal pieces. It’s best to cut straight down instead of using a sawing motion to prevent crumbling. Place the biscotti, cut side down, and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake for another 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the biscotti remain in the oven until cool.

4. To make the Chocolate Dip, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler over gently simmering water (be sure to prevent any water getting into the chocolate to prevent seizing). Whisk until well combined and completely smooth. Dip each cookie into the melted chocolate on one cut side, allowing the excess to drip back into the pan. Place the dipped cookie, chocolate side up, on parchment paper to set up. (To hasten this process, you can place the dipped cookies in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.) Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Low Carb Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Nutritional Information per biscotti: 133 calories, 6.4 g carbohydrate (2.5 g dietary fiber, 0.8 g sugars, 2.5 g sugar alcohols), 11.7 g total fat (2.6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 23 mg cholesterol, 49 mg sodium, 46.5 mg calcium, 100 mg potassium, 18 mg Vit A, 2 mg iron, 4.1 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 3.9 grams.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

What’s on my Low Carb Thanksgiving dinner plate?

My Thanksgiving Dinner PlateFor me, being diabetic means I never get a free-for-all food holiday. Just because it’s soon to be Thanksgiving doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore my dietary restrictions and “blow it” for the day. I might eat more food than I usually do on an ordinary day, but all of it will be low carb/keto, so my blood glucose doesn’t fly out of control. I’ve planned ahead, have gathered the ingredients and already know exactly what will be on my Thanksgiving dinner plate. Below is a list of my favorite holiday recipes I’d like to share with you. This entire meal, including dessert, is only 17.3 total carbs, not subtracting fiber, so net carbs would be even less!! The best part about this menu is that the mashed cauliflower, cranberry sauce, creamy gravy and herb cauliflower stuffing can be made ahead, so there’s less chaos in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day. Now, this is how you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, keto-style!

1. Roasted Turkey (3 oz.) = 0 g carbs, 25 g protein
Note: Use any favorite method of cooking your turkey. The nutritional count provided is for 3 ounces of roasted meat only.

2. Perfect Mashed Cauliflower (1/2 cup) = 1 g carb, 2 g protein.  Click here for Recipe: http://diabeticsrejoice.blogspot.com/2016/06/perfect-mashed-mashed-cauliflower.html

Mashed Cauliflower
3. Creamy Spinach and Parmesan Soufflé (1/2 cup) = 3 g carb, 5 g protein.  Click here for Recipe: https://www.atkins.com/recipes/creamy-spinach-and-parmesan-puff/2180

Creamy Spinach Parmesan Puff
4. Homemade Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce (1/4 cup) = 4 g carb, 0 g protein.  Click here for Recipe: https://www.ketoconnect.net/healthy-cranberry-sauce/

Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce
5. Low Carb Cauliflower Stuffing (1/2 cup) = 5 g carb, 2 g protein.  Click here for Recipe: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a50127/cauliflower-stuffing-recipe/

6. Keto Giblet Gravy (about 3 tablespoons) = 0.3 g carb, 2 g protein.  Click here for Recipe: http://cavemanketo.com/keto-giblet-gravy/
Note: In this recipe, I sauté a mixture of vegetables (carrot, onion and celery) until golden in color, add the liquid and simmer until thickened. Then I strain out the vegetables to make a smooth, creamy gravy before adding the cooked giblets.

Keto Giblet Gravy
7. And for dessert: Low Carb Pumpkin Custard baked in a crock pot while the dinner is cooking, topped with whipped cream! (1/2 cup with 2 tablespoons of whipped cream) = 4 g carb, 5 g protein.  Click here for Recipe: https://simplysohealthy.com/low-carb-slow-cooker-pumpkin-custard/
Note: I love this slow cooker recipe because it frees up the stove for the turkey and other dishes!



Post by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
Links to recipes provided and are subject to copyright. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Dark Chocolate with Cool Peppermint Fat Bombs

Cool Chocolate Peppermint Fat Bombs
It’s almost Halloween and I saw a commercial on the television for one of my favorite childhood candies, the Peppermint Patty. It made me start wondering whether I could recreate a sugar-free, low carb candy with the same dark chocolate and strong peppermint flavor. These fat bombs definitely fit the bill! Coconut oil comes either unrefined or refined. I used refined because I didn’t want the taste of coconut to interfere with the other flavors. Also, you can adjust the peppermint extract to your taste, but I like the intense, mouth-cooling experience that only a strong peppermint flavor can give. These are excellent as an after dinner mint, late afternoon snack to give you a boost of energy and, when stirred into a hot cup of coffee, they turn it into a wonderful mocha mint bullet proof coffee! I usually keep fat bombs in my refrigerator at all times and these have become my new favorite.

Dark Chocolate with Cool Peppermint Fat Bombs
Makes 12 candies

5 ounces (about 3/4 cup) no sugar added chocolate chips (such as Lily’s Dark Chocolate Baking Chips sweetened with stevia and erythritol)
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract, or to taste
3 drops food-grade peppermint essential oil (optional)
3-4 drops monkfruit extract or stevia, or to taste

Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals until the chips are melted. Add the heavy cream, peppermint extract and monkfruit or stevia drops. Stir with a whisk until well combined and the mixture is smooth.

Divide the chocolate mixture equally between 12 silicone mini muffin cups, approximately 1 tablespoon per muffin cup. (If you have candy molds, you can make some fun shapes. See photo below.) Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. (You can put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes to speed up the firming process.) Store the candies in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Peppermint Fat Bombs

Nutritional Information per fat bomb: 84 calories, 7.5 g total carbohydrate (3.3 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugars, 2.5 g sugar alcohols), 8.6 g total fat (4.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0.8 g protein. Net impact carbs: 1.5 grams

Recipe and photos by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding

Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding
Autumn is here!! As soon as the weather cools down in Maine, I start craving pumpkin spice goodies. I’ve made these Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding Cups several times already. The warm spices in this dessert are so welcome at this time of year. The method of baking your puddings at 350 degrees, then reducing the temperature negates the need of using a water bath. The final result is creamy cheesecake deliciousness!

Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding
Makes 6 servings

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup puréed pumpkin
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon almond flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated erythritol (I used Golden LaKanto Monkfruit sweetener)
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand)
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place 6 custard cups or ramekins on a baking sheet; set aside.

2. Allow all of the ingredients to come to room temperature and place them into a large mixing bowl. Use a handheld or standing mixer to thoroughly beat the ingredients until a smooth batter forms. It may take a few minutes for the cream cheese to become smooth and well incorporated. Evenly divide the batter between the 6 custard cups or ramekins.

3. Bake the pudding at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, then turn the oven down to 250 degrees and continue baking for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and crack the door open slightly. Allow the pudding to cool for about 15-20 minutes before removing them from the oven and placing the cups on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled to room temperature, chill the pudding cups in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Nutritional Information per serving: 195 calories, 7.2 g carbohydrate (0.8 g dietary fiber, 1.3 g sugars, 4 g sugar alcohols), 16.4 g total fat (9.9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 113 mg cholesterol, 171 mg sodium, 59.6 mg calcium, 53 mg potassium, 2142 mg Vit A, 1 mg iron, 5.5 g protein. Net carbs per serving: 6.4 grams.

Photo and recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2018
All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate without the author’s permission.