Friday, September 26, 2014

Supreme Pizza Chicken

I haven't had a slice of pizza for over 1-1/2 years, since learning that I have celiacs (an intolerance to gluten).  Not long after that discovery, I chose to go totally grain-free, which has made all the difference in reversing my diabetes.  I don't miss pizza itself, but the flavor of pizza is another matter.  This recipe tastes so much like the real thing that I feel like I just ate a slice!  I think the secret is the turkey pepperoni.  It adds zip to the sauce.  I think this easy recipe will become a family favorite!  If you are lucky enough to have any leftovers, cut up the chicken into bite-size pieces, stir them back into the sauce and serve over zero calorie, zero carb shirataki noodles.  It will be the best chicken cacciatore you'll ever eat!

Supreme Pizza Chicken
Makes 6 servings

2 lbs chicken pieces, skin removed (I used thighs and breasts)
2 TB coconut oil
1 cup strained tomatoes (I used Pomi brand) or plain tomato sauce mixed with 1 TB tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine 
1 small onion, chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1-1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
34 slices of turkey pepperoni, cut into quarters
Salt and pepper to taste 
3 TB Parmesan cheese, shredded (shredded mozzarella can be substituted)*

1. In a heavy Dutch oven, heat coconut oil over medium heat.  Brown the chicken on all sides, remove to a platter and set aside.

2. To the pot add the wine, strained tomatoes (or tomato sauce thickened with tomato paste), onion, mushrooms, garlic, oregano and turkey pepperoni.  Return chicken to pot and turn heat to low.  Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

3.  When chicken is done, remove it to a serving platter.  Turn heat to medium and boil sauce for about 10 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Return chicken to pot to reheat briefly.  To serve, spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle each portion with 1/2 TB cheese.

Nutritional information per serving: 324 calories, 6.2 g carbohydrate (1.2 g dietary fiber, 2.4 g sugar), 14.6 g total fat (7.1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 117 mg cholesterol, 585 mg sodium, 45.8 mg calcium, 473 mg potassium, 37 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 5 grams

* For those with food allergies: To create a dairy-free version, omit cheese or substitute a dairy-free cheese product.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lamb Chops with Orange, Rosemary and Butter Sauce

I'm celebrating tonight after a good doctor's visit that brought excellent news!  My lab results show that the changes I've made in my diet to reduce carbs combined with moderate protein and increased fat over the past five months are working.  My A1c dropped to 5.8 and I'm being taken off all diabetic medication!  This is a special recipe for a special occasion.  Lamb can be a bit pricey, but if you choose a shoulder blade instead of a the smaller chop, you'll save money and get a tasty cut of meat.  Ever since experiencing lamb during a trip to Iceland a few months ago, I've fallen in love!  Honestly, the best free range lamb on the planet comes from Iceland.  I was thrilled to see Icelandic lamb available for a limited time at my local Whole Foods Market.  I had to create the best recipe, since it's a rare treat, and this definitely meets with my approval.  If you can't get good lamb, this sauce is equally delicious over pork chops or chicken.

Lamb Chops with Orange, Rosemary and Butter Sauce
Makes 2 servings

2 shoulder blade lamb chops (about 6 oz each)
Salt and pepper
onion powder
1 tablespoon ghee or butter*
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup chicken stock*
2 tablespoons high fat coconut milk or heavy cream*
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teas dried)
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum or low carb Thick It Up thickener (or 1/2 teas cornstarch or arrowroot)

1. Generously season the chops with salt and pepper, and lightly sprinkle with onion powder; set aside.

2.  In a heavy saucepan, melt the ghee or butter over medium heat.  Add the chops and cook, without turning, for at least 5 minutes.  When browned, turn and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.  Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or until done to your taste.

3.  Meanwhile, zest the orange and chop the rosemary; set aside.  Cut the orange and squeeze 2 tablespoons of the fresh juice into a small bowl.  Add the stock and coconut milk to the juice; stir until blended.

4.  When the lamb chops are done, remove them to a serving plate.  Add the juice and stock mixture to the pan and whisk.  Add the zest and rosemary.  While whisking (important), sprinkle the xanthan gum into the sauce and stir until thickened.  (In order to prevent the xanthan gum from lumping, I use a small shaker top bottle and lightly sprinkle it while whisking vigorously.  Do not add it all at once because it might turn lumpy.  If using cornstarch or arrowroot, stir into a tablespoon or two of chicken stock until smooth, then add to the sauce in the pan.)

5.  Divide the butter sauce equally over the two chops and serve immediately.

Nutritional information per serving: 500 calories, 3 g carbohydrate (0.3 g dietary fiber, 1.9 g sugar), 37.6 g total fat (17.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 144 mg cholesterol, 344 mg sodium, 59.2 mg calcium, 490 mg potassium, 35.4 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 2.7 grams

* For those with food allergies: To create a dairy free version, use ghee (clarified butter) and coconut milk.  If gluten is a problem for you, choose a certified gluten free chicken stock.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Lovin' Spoonful

I have been asked several times about how to use coconut butter (or manna).  A lot of people enjoy eating it by itself or as a dip for fruit, but others don't care for the taste or perhaps the texture isn't appealing.  Have you purchased a jar and it just sits in the pantry unused?  Well, in this recipe, you can use pre-made coconut butter or make your own.  It's so easy and the addition of rich, dark chocolate will definitely make eating coconut butter one of your favorite treats from now on!  There is a commercially available product that is similar called Cocoa Bliss by Artisana, but they use agave nectar as a sweetener.  Although agave is touted as a natural, healthful sweetener, it is anything but healthy!  It is about 90% fructose, making it higher in fructose than the dreaded high fructose corn syrup we are all trying to avoid.  If you have a blood sugar disregulation problem, stay away from agave nectar because it will overburden your liver (a problem diabetics already have).  My recipe is just as creamy, rich and full of good, healthy fat, but without the sugar.  I warn you: This chocolatey goodness is SO delicious, you'll want to portion it out.  The net carbs per 1 TB serving is a mere 2 grams, but it is a nutrient and calorie dense food, so spoon out a serving, then close the container, walk away and enjoy it.  I serve it in a very small bowl I purchased from Pier 1 for $1, use a tiny, demitasse spoon and eat it in little bites, savoring every one.  It is a spoonful of chocolate love!

A Lovin' Spoonful
Makes 24 servings (1 TB each)

3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut (or use 1 cup softened coconut butter or manna)
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 ounces raw cocoa butter (or substitute 2 more TB coconut butter)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
15-20 drops Vanilla Creme liquid stevia drops (or to taste, I use Sweet Leaf brand)

1.  Place the shredded coconut into a high speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  This may take a few minutes.  If necessary, stop the blender and scrape down the sides and continue blending.  After a few minutes the coconut will turn into a creamy liquid. (If using pre-made coconut butter, skip this step.)

2.  Add the coconut oil, cocoa butter and cocoa powder to the liquified coconut and blend.  Add the stevia drops and blend again until completely smooth.  Pour into a glass container with a tight fitting lid.  To hasten the hardening process, you may place the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Remove from refrigerator and store at room temperature.  (If you keep it in the fridge, it will harden into a brick!)  

3.  Suggested uses: Eat by the spoonful, serve over a few berries (as pictured), use as a spread or dip, stir a spoonful into your coffee (heavenly!), melt by microwaving for a few seconds then spooning into mini muffin liners and refrigerating to make candies...and anything else you can think of!

Nutritional Information per 1 TB serving: 136 calories, 3.7 g carbohydrate (1.9 g dietary fiber, 0.4 g sugar), 13.7 g total fat (11.4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 0 g cholesterol, 4 mg sodium, 2.3 mg calcium, 27 mg potassium, 1 g protein.  Net carbs per serving: 1.8 grams

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2014