Low-Carb Nachos

IMG_1462by Karen Frazier

I’m a big believer in the 90/10 principle of a paleo diet. Stick with paleo foods 90 percent of the time, and about 5 to 10 percent of the time you can sneak in a little something extra. For me, that something extra is often dairy. While I have a dairy allergy, it isn’t debilitating, although I will be stuffed up and inflamed for a day or two after eating it. Still, occasionally I sneak it in – just not very often.

However, even during that 10 percent of the time, I try to stay low-carb. I always avoid sugar, grains, gluten, starchy foods, and most processed foods. In fact, for me, dairy (and occasional sweetener like stevia/erythritol combos, or peanuts/peanut butter are my non-paleo foods I enjoy.

And every once in a while, I get a powerful hankering for nachos. That’s when I pull out these low-carb bad boys that have all the stuff that tastes marvelous with fewer carbs than traditional nachos. The dish is pictured here with a low-carb vodka, soda, lime cocktail.

This recipe serves 3 to 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups grated grass-fed Colby Jack cheese
  • 4 ounces grass-fed Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup guacamole (or more)
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Chopped green onions (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. In a large saute pan, cook the ground beef on medium-high, crumbling as you cook, until browned, about five minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to low. Add the water, chili powder, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for four minutes. Set aside.
  3. Line your microwave with a piece of parchment.
  4. Working a quarter cup at a time, mound the Colby-Jack (or cheddar) cheese on the parchment, and then spread it into a thin layer in a rough circle.
  5. Microwave for two minutes on high, or until the cheese is browned and crisp.
  6. Peel the cheese from the parchment and place it on a cold ceramic plate to cool. Continue working with the Colby-Jack cheese until you’ve used it all.
  7. Break the large pieces of cheese into smaller bite sized pieces, putting them on a plate.
  8. Sprinkle the cheese chips with the grated Pepper Jack cheese. Microwave for one minute, or until cheese melts.
  9. Top with the ground beef, guacamole, sour cream salsa, and sprinkle with the green onions.
Advertisements

Lemon and Artichoke Shrimp Scampi

by Karen Frazier

scampiThis meal came together within 15 minutes, and it’s really tasty. It’s also low-carb and paleo.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or your favorite paleo-friendly fat
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 zucchini, spiralized into noodles or cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • Sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
  1. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high until it shimmers.
  2. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, three to five minutes.
  3. Add the shallot and artichoke hearts. Cook, stirring occasionally, for four minutes.
  4. Add six of the minced garlic cloves and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the lemon juice, shrimp, white wine, and zucchini. Cook, stirring frequently, until shrimp is pink, about four minutes.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 minced garlic cloves, the parsley, the basil, and the lemon zest.
  8. Stir into the shrimp mixture just before serving.

photo credit: Healthy Zucchini Noodles with Prawns via photopin (license)

Spicy Asian Chopped Chicken Salad

slawby Karen Frazier

This is a tasty, simple throw together meal when you have leftover chicken, or when you have cold rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. It takes minutes to prepare, but it is satisfying and flavorful.

Spicy Asian Chopped Chicken Salad

  • 1 pound cooked chicken meat, chopped
  • 1 head green cabbage, julienned
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese hot mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or to taste for Whole30, use 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
  • Juice of one lime (or juice of half an orange)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped nuts or sesame seeds (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, celery, and cilantro. Toss to mix.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the Chinese hot mustard powder, grated ginger root, Sriracha, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Toss the vinaigrette with the salad and serve immediately.
  4. Garnish with the chopped nuts or sesame seeds.

Grilled Beef Short Ribs with Apple and Jicama Slaw

short ribsby Karen Frazier

Okay – here’s the deal. I had leftover marinade from my earlier pork belly recipe, but alas, I had no unfrozen pork belly. Not to worry, however. I have about 10 pounds of it in my freezer (yay!)

So anyhoo…I wanted to use the rest of the marinade. Which is why I headed to the grocery store and picked up some flanken-style beef short ribs (the kind of beef short ribs where they are cut thin across several bones).

I marinated them in my extra marinade for a little over two hours, and then I popped them on my Foreman grill, which I consider a very underrated kitchen gadget. You can also grill them on the regular grill or use a grill pan.

Although the marinade was the same, the flavor was very different from the pork belly. The beef was super flavorful. As I was eating, I realized the ribs would be delish with a ginger broccoli stir-fry, but it’s also good with a crispy, slightly sweet, slightly acidic slaw (or why choose? you can do both!) I’ll include recipes for both, and you can decide.

Asian Marinated Flanken-Style Beef Short Ribs

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2-3 drops of liquid stevia
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
  • 2 to 3 pounds flanken-style beef short ribs
  • Sesame seeds
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, stevia, sriracha, garlic, sesame oil, and ginger root.
  2. Add the short ribs to a large zipper bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and squish it around (I believe squish is a technical term) until all the meat is covered. Refrigerate for two to four hours. The longer the marinade, the more flavor you’ll get. You can even marinade in the morning and cook when you get home.
  3. Preheat a grill on high.
  4. Grill the short ribs, three to four minutes per side.
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Broccoli Ginger Stir-Fry

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. In a large saute pan, heat the coconut oil on medium-high until it shimmers.
  2. Add the ginger and broccoli and cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about five minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the soy sauce. Cook for one minute, stirring frequently.

Apple and Jicama Slaw

  • 2 sweet-tart apples (I like Honeycrisp or Pink Lady), cored and julienned
  • 1 Jicama, peeled and julienned
  • Juice of two limes
  • Zest of half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  1. In a large bowl, combine the apples and jicama.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lime zest, ginger root, rice vinegar, cilantro, olive oil, and sea salt.
  3. Toss the dressing with the apples and jicama.

So those are the recipes. Trust me, they’re delicious! But, I just thought of something else that would be really delicious with the short ribs…a bok choy stir-fry, cooked in a manner similar to the broccoli above. You might even toss in a handful of sliced shiitake mushrooms for a tasty low-carb side dish.

Spicy Asian Pork Belly with Slaw

pork bellyby Karen Frazier

I love pork belly. I order ours online at Tenderbelly and cut it into one-pound slabs, which I freeze and use as needed. This tender meat is tasty and versatile. It’s also very rich, so I typically serve it with a side of something that is crispy and acidic, such as a slaw. The acidity and crispiness of the slaw cuts through the unctuous fattiness of the pork. The slaw here is a typical Asian slaw, but you can also try the recipe with a slaw made from julienned jicama or apples, which would taste delicious with an Asian vinaigrette.

Spicy Asian Pork Belly with Slaw

For the pork belly:

  • 1 to 2 pounds of pork belly
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2-3 drops of liquid stevia
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

For the slaw:

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • Cilantro leaves to taste
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • Juice of one lime
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginggeroot
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese hot mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the pork belly:

  1. Slice the pork belly into slices that are slightly thicker than thick-cut bacon. Put the slices in a large zipper bag.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, stevia, sriracha, sesame oil, and gingerroot.
  3. Pour the marinade in the bag with the pork belly, sealing the bag and squishing it around to distribute the marinade and coat all of the meat.
  4. Refrigerate for one to two hours.
  5. Heat a large saute pan on medium high. Working in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, cook the pork belly until it is crisp on both sides, three to five minutes per side.
  6. Serve the pork belly on top of the slaw with the scallions and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

For the slaw:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and scallions. Toss to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, ginger, garlic, sriracha, mustard powder, and salt.
  3. Toss the dressing with the slaw.

photo credit: umi nom pork belly adobo via photopin (license)

Avogolemono Soup with Herbed Lamb Meatballs

Avgolemono soup

by Karen Frazier

I’m on a soup roll. I’m making it about once a week right now because it keeps and freezes well, and because soup is tasty. This week, I decided to try my own take on an avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup made fragrant with garlic and herbed lamb meatballs. It was fully experimental, but incredibly delicious, and the house smelled fantastic! This is a simple soup that came together very quickly. It took me less than an hour to make. For fun, I used purple carrots in it, which added some nice color. I think next time, I may stir in about two cups of baby spinach after I add the lemon and eggs, because spinach goes so nicely with both lamb and lemon. The heat of the soup will wilt and cook the spinach almost instantly.

Avgolemono Soup with Herbed Lamb Meatballs

  • 15 garlic cloves, divided
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh marjoram
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons duck fat (or your favorite fat, such as olive oil)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups homemade chicken bone broth (or store bought chicken broth)
  • Juice of 2 to 3 lemons
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  1. In a food processor, pulse together ten of the garlic cloves with the marjoram, rosemary, oregano, salt, and pepper until finely chopped. If you don’t have a food processor, just chop the herbs and garlic finely and then mix with the salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the chopped garlic/herb mixture with the ground lamb. Roll into one-inch meatballs and set aside. I use my stand mixer for this, because my hands get so cold when I mix the meat by hand.
  3. In a large pot, heat the duck fat or olive oil on medium-high until it shimmers. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about five minutes.
  4. Chop the remaining five garlic cloves and stir them into the onions. Cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the chicken broth. Bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  6. Drop in the meatballs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat off under the soup. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and the lemons. Working about a tablespoon at a time, whisk about 1/4 cup of the hot broth into the egg and lemon mixture to temper the eggs so they don’t cook when you add them to the soup. Then, in a thin stream stir the egg mixture into the soup. If adding spinach, stir it in after you’ve stirred in the egg and lemon mixture.
  8. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Caramelized Onion and Italian Sausage Soup

soup

by Karen Frazier

I know, I know. More soup. It’s the first day of fall, so a nice, warming soup is perfect for your dinner.

One of the reasons I like soups and stews so much is that they really provide an opportunity to build flavor, which gives them a complex, rich taste. In the case of this soup, the complex flavors come from taking the time to brown your meat and caramelize your onions, which adds a deep savory richness to the soup. This soup is pretty easy and hands-off, so while it takes a bit of time to come together, it isn’t terribly labor-intensive.

Caramelized Onion and Italian Sausage Soup

  • 2 tablespoons duck fat, lard, or your favorite fat
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 6 cups homemade beef bone broth
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  1. In a large pot, heat the fat on medium-high until it shimmers.
  2. Add the Italian sausage and cook, crumbling as you cook, until it is browned, about five minutes.
  3. Remove the sausage from the fat with a slotted spoon and set it aside on a platter.
  4. Reduce the heat to low. Add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, until the onions are caramelized.
  5. Return the heat to medium-high. Add the sherry, using the side of a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add the bone broth, mushrooms, salt, pepper, and reserved Italian sausage. Bring to a simmer. Simmer until the mushrooms soften, five to ten minutes.

I like mine drizzled with a little bit of truffle oil.

photo credit: photopin (license)

Spicy Asian Meatball and Vegetable Soup

Spicy Asian Meatball SoupIf you’re a regular reader of my blog, then you may have noticed that I make a lot of soup. It’s because I love soup. I make some type of soup at least once a week. You can load soups with healthy bone broth, veggies, meats, herbs, and spices and never have the same meal twice. Well, actually – I usually have the same meal twice with leftovers for the freezer, but that’s because I follow the cook once eat twice (or more) philosophy. That means I always make an extra big batch of soup because I just know some is destined for the freezer. Of course, that also means I have a slow cooker full of broth simmering on the counter several days per week, as well. Because if you’re going to make the most flavorful soup, you definitely need homemade bone broth
or stock.

While I used homemade duck stock for the soup and ground duck for the meatballs, feel free to replace those ingredients with chicken stock and ground pork if you wish.

Spicy Asian Meatball and Vegetable Soup

  • 3 bunches green onions, chopped, divided
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed but reserved, caps sliced
  • 10 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 2 teaspoons grated gingerroot, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese dry mustard powder
  • 2 pounds ground duck (or ground pork)
  • 1/2 teaspoon expeller pressed sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Boat fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons homemade sriracha, divided (or 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes)
  • 2 tablespoons of duck fat (or another paleo-friendly fat)
  • 6-8 cups homemade duck stock (or chicken stock)
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 bunches of baby bok choy, chopped
  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade, add one bunch of the green onions, the shiitake mushroom stems (save the caps), 5 cloves of the garlic, half of the cilantro, 1 teaspoon of the gingerroot, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the mustard powder. Pulse for 10 one-second pulses, or until everything is extremely well chopped.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the ground duck, the sesame oil, the fish sauce, and one tablespoon of the sriracha with the contents of the food processor. Mix with your hands until well-combined. Form into one-inch meatballs and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, heat the duck fat on medium-high until it shimmers. Add the remaining two bunches of chopped green onions and one teaspoon of grated gingerroot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, four to five minutes.
  4. Add the remaining five cloves of chopped garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the duck stock, the pepper, the remaining sriracha, the carrots, and the sliced shiitake mushroom caps to the pot. Bring it to a boil.
  6. Drop the meatballs into the boiling soup and return the pot to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  7. Add the bok choy and the remaining cilantro to the pot. Turn of the heat. Allow the soup to sit for five minutes before serving.

Protein Style Duck Burgers with Caramelized Onion and Orange Sriracha Mayonnaise

20150204_162322by Karen Frazier

I love foods that have a lot of flavor. Jim loves burgers. Therefore, I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to marry the two concepts – burgers with tons of flavor.

Since we went paleo, we no longer have buns of any kind on our hamburgers. Fortunately, we’ve discovered that butter lettuce makes a wonderful wrap for a burger – as long as you have enough layers of it. So that’s what these protein style burgers are – bunless but wrapped in tender and tasty butter lettuce.

They are also super flavorful, because as I’ve discovered, caramelized onions and sriracha can make almost anything better. And if those two ingredients don’t, then bacon will. Sriracha isn’t a strictly paleo ingredient, but Nom Nom Paleo has a great recipe for homemade paleo sriracha. It does the trick.

If you are unable to find ground duck locally, there are lots of places to order it online. It’s totally worth the effort.

Paleo Duck Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Orange Sriracha Mayonnaise

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound ground duck
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 large leaves of butter lettuce
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put a baking rack over a baking sheet.
  2. In a large saute pan, cook the four slices of bacon over medium-high heat until they are crisp. Blot the bacon on a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Leave the bacon fat in the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  4. Add the onions to the bacon grease along with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized, about 30 minutes.
  5. While the onions cook, pat the ground duck into four patties. Put them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  6. While the burgers and onions cook, put the egg yolks, orange zest, orange juice, red wine vinegar, sriracha, and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in the bowl of a food processor. Turn on the food processor and let it run.
  7. Through the chute of the food processor, add the oil a drop at a time for about 20 drops. Then, add the oil in a thin stream until the mayonnaise emulsifies.
  8. To assemble the burgers, put the duck patties on the butter lettuce. Top them with bacon, onions, and the mayonnaise.

Mustard and Herb Leg of Lamb

20150201_144406by Karen Frazier

What I really want is Super Bowl food, but it’s not going to happen. I love stuff like nachos and chicken wings, but they just don’t like me. Too much stuff I’m allergic to. So instead, I’m making a lovely roast that should be ready at halftime. While the roast sits for the last 20 minutes, I’ll roast some carrots on high heat and toss them with a bit of balsamic and mustard. It will be tasty and super easy.

Mustard and Herb Leg of Lamb

  • 1 5-pound leg of lamb, bone in
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 5 sprigs rosemary, stems removed and discarded
  • 1 small bunch chives
  • 2 bunches fresh basil, leaves only
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Season the leg of lamb with salt and pepper.
  3. In a food processor, combine the rosemary, chives, basil, salt, pepper, garlic, mustard, and olive oil. Blend until a paste forms.
  4. Rub the paste all over the outside of the lamb.
  5. Roast in a roasting pan in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and continue roasting, 10 to 12 minutes per pound until the roast reaches 145 degrees.
  6. Remove the lamb from the oven and tent it with foil. Allow the lamb to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

Balsamic and Mustard Roasted Baby Carrots

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, rosemary, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  3. Toss the carrots with the mixture and put in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, until the carrots are cooked.