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Chicken Cutlets Keto Style…

Who doesn’t love chicken cutlets? There are a million different ways you can prepare them (bruschetta, lemon, marsala…)

This is what happened last night: First I seasoned (salt & pepper) the thin cutlets, then I dredged them in almond flour (shaking off any excess) and pan fried them in my wok (I used less than 1/2 inch of oil – I don’t deep fry) or you can cook them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (timing will depend on the thickness). When cooked I place them on a serving dish lined with paper towels to rest while I prepare the rest of dinner.

Drain the oil from the wok, but don’t clean it (whatever little tidbits are left in the pan will help to thicken up the sauce. I used 3/4 cup of white wine, a tablespoon of butter, juice from 4 freshly squeezed lemons, and salt & pepper. Whisk, whisk, whisk. After it’s all incorporated throw in some capers and Voila! Lemon sauce.

So now you need mashed potatoes, but #keto…

To make this magic happen I used two bags of cauliflower rice (you can easily make this at home in your food processor, I was just being lazy). I put cauliflower rice in a pot with about 1/2 cup of water over medium heat. Season generously with whatever spices you like. I used salt, pepper, a tablespoon of butter, 1/4 cup of cream and two tablespoons of mascarpone. I use my immersion blender for a few minutes to make this creamy like “real” mashed potatoes. If you don’t know what this handy dandy tool is, you can read all about it on Amazon (not that Amazon needs my help selling things). After it all comes together, I put the mashed in a baking dish and toss in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes so it get nice and hot. I think cheese in this dish would be amazing (but the hubby).

I also served this with our go to veggie, broccoli rabe. So yummy and easy. Just roughly chop the broccoli rabe. In a pot (or same wok) bring about 4 inches of water with a chicken broth cube to a boil. Toss in the broccoli rabe and cook for seven minutes. Strain and refresh with cold water (this will bring that beautiful green color back). In the same pot/wok add a tablespoon of EVOO and coarsely chopped garlic (for me, the more the better) put the broccoli rabe in the pan and just quickly sauté for a few minutes and you’re done!

I plated the mashed first, topped with the chicken cutlet, topped with lemon sauce and broccoli rabe on the side. My husband plated his differently LOL.

Yankee in Florida…

So this Northern girl switched it up and made a Southern dish. I will admit I’ve never had, or even knew what, a boiled peanut was until recently. I’ve seen the trucks on the side of the road but thought “yuck” and kept driving. My husband brought some home the other day from a local place and they were very surprisingly yummy.

So, after some research, this is what I did. I bought a 2 pound bag of raw peanuts, which I tossed into the crockpot with 10 cups of water and bunch (like 1/4 of a cup) of this newly discovered spicy seasoning, “Slap Ya Mama” (sorry Mom!)

Now here’s the kicker, I read that you need to cook the heck out of these bad boys. Recommended time in the crockpot was 24 hours on low! My crockpot maximum time is 20 hours, so I had to reset it for an additional 4 hours (adding a little more water…and seasoning) while doing so.

About 20 hours into cooking

The result was super flavorful, soft but not mushy boiled peanuts. They’re low carb and I’m told can be frozen (without the liquid) if you can’t finish the bounty.

I’d definitely make these for tailgate or BBQ!

A little Poke…

Salmon & Tuna Poke for me

We’ve been trying to stay keto, and taco Tuesday wasn’t cutting it. We were going to make protein bowls (all the taco sans the shell) but came up with something fancier – Poke bowls!

You really need a fish monger you can trust when buying sushi grade fish (in today’s case it was tun and salmon). This dish was so easy and quick. First I prepared a salad of arugula, spinach, avocado and very thinly sliced jalapeño, dressed with a little EVOO balsamic, salt & pepper. Then I cubed up my tuna & salmon. I dressed the fish up with a little low sodium soy and black & white sesame seeds. I plated this with the salad on one side of the dish and the fish on the other topped with a little more sliced jalapeño and a side of both pickled ginger and wasabi.

This is definitely a game changer. It was so fresh, filled with good protein and low carb. We loved it!

Shrimp & Tuna Poke for the Hubby

Annie had a little lamb…

So, as you’ve figured out it’s full-on BBQ season.

A great appetizer that my hubby has been making lately is baby lambchops. I have to admit that I was spoiled by the lambchops at the Palm on West Street in NYC, they were just amazing. However, looks like the bald guy has nailed this recipe. And of course I had to add my two cents to make it pretty!

The marinade he created is the following: EVOO, Sazon con Azafran (by Goya – see pic below), chopped onions (small chop), garlic and dill. Just toss it all in a covered container and shake, shake, shake. Let chops sit for about 30 minutes before cooking on grill (you can keep them out while you prepare the BBQ. Never put cold food, straight from fridge onto a hot grill, it messes with the grill temperature. There’s a good explanation for this bad practice (and I get it, we’re all in a rush) here. Note that lambchops should be cooked medium rare (about 120 degrees if you’re using a thermometer).

My addition to this great dish was a beautiful mint pesto (I really dislike mint jelly, which I know is the traditional accompaniment for lamb). I have mint growing on the patio so I harvested some leaves, tossed into my food processor with some EVOO, garlic (to your taste) pine nuts (aka pignoli – which you can toast for a few minutes before incorporating to enhance the nutty flavor) and salt & pepper. I would not add cheese to this pesto as I think the richness of the mint and the lamb is just enough. Process until all ingredients are incorporated and plate!

The outcome was amazing, really. Such rich, earthy flavors cooked al fresco on a grill – I mean how much better does it get?

Seafood BBQ…

Living on the West Coast of Florida has really let us enjoy outdoors much more than we did living in the Northeast. We love fresh seafood, fresh air and the amazing sunsets. While I can’t take credit for the BBQ expertise, that’s all on hubby – I can make a great menu and prepare everything so it’s good to go.

We are lucky to have a great fish monger nearby. For this BBQ, I butterflied colossal shrimps and blackened them. I just sprinkled blackening seasoning over them after butterflying and that’s it! I like the Old Bay Blackening Seasoning.

For the clams, I soak them for a while in just fresh water (no need to add flour, as I’ve read). Soaking them helps them to release any sand that they may be holding onto. When you’re ready to cook them lift them from the bowl (rather than dumping the bowl) leaving the sandy water behind. Rinse and then put in fresh bowl while escorting them to the BBQ. Hubby makes a concoction of butter, a whole (not chopped) clove of garlic, juice from 1 lemon and chopped cilantro) that he melts in a small heat resistant dish on the BBQ. Great dipping for either clams or mussels or even shrimp!

The veggies are fresh sliced zucchini with EVOO and a little ranch (powder) dressing sprinkled all over. The scallions were just trimmed (roots and tippy tops cut off) with a little drizzle of EVOO.

Of course we needed a little steak too…I like mine rare with just a little salt & pepper. Obligatory baked potato (which, to speed things up I microwaved for 3 minutes before oiling up and seasoning) wrapped in foil and tossed on the grill with the other goodies.

Simple, and yummy!

Taco Tuesday!

We may be late to the game but we just started doing Taco Tuesdays. It’s so much fun. I remember making tacos for the kids when they were little so I’m glad to be back at it again.

My husband makes a great fresh guacamole. All you need to do is mix fresh mushed up avocados (we do this using the back of a fork), chopped tomatoes, minced onion and jalapeños, fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon), salt & pepper in a bowl. I like the guac to be a little chunky, but it’s totally your preference. If you don’t know how to cut open an avocado, I found this good video here that you might want to check out. Also, a note of caution – we now use gloves when chopping the jalapeños, it’s a story I won’t share here…

Then we make the fillers…we eat shrimp, a lot of shrimp…so we sautéed some shrimp in a little EVOO with a bit of garlic and seasoning – and that’s it!

For toppings, I chopped up some lettuce, tomatoes, and some more jalapeño. Then of course there’s the obligatory shredded cheese, sour cream and hot sauce. We like the soft shell flour tacos, which I warm up for 30 seconds in the microwave before plating.

Get creative and have a fun Taco Tuesday!

Chicken Cutlets…

I’m not talking about a fashion accessory, I’m talking about actual chicken cutlets. It might sound boring but I love a simply breaded chicken cutlet with a green side dish and a little fresh Greek yogurt (or tzatziki) on the side.

For this plate I used egg dip and breadcrumbs and simply fried the breaded cutlets. (Let me know if you need details on this, it’s super easy!)

I had a side of broccoli rabe (which I steamed and blanched, then drizzled with EVOO, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes) and a bowl of cauliflower mashed “potatoes” .

Sometimes I make a tomato bruschetta (chopped cherry tomatoes, minced garlic, fresh chopped basil, salt, pepper and EVOO) and top the chicken cutlets with that and it’s great!

Slow and low Pernil…

Let me start by saying that I would probably not cook Pernil for any of my Latino friends, the same way they would probably not make Sunday sauce for me. That said, it came out delicious and was a rightful payment to my friend Dana who helped with a house project. I think the smell of it cooking in the oven kept her motivated and helped us get through it quickly!

Pernil is a a large, usually inexpensive, piece of pork labeled at the supermarket as “picnic shoulder”. It’s got a large layer of skin that crisps up as it cooks and keeps the meat tender and juicy.

To start I make a marinade of orange juice (3 cups), apple cider vinegar (1/4 cup) and olive oil (1/4 cup) and a ton of minced garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and fresh minced parsley. You want to make enough marinade so that at least half of the pork is covered (you’ll need to flip the pork over after a few hours so all sides get some loving). I usually marinate this over night turning a few times during the process. I’ve tried marinating it for just a few hours and it just wasn’t as good, it really needs to go overnight.

Now for the magic, using a sharp paring knife I stab several deep holes (while channeling a dark, serial killer persona) in the meat-not on the skin side-where I will place cloves of garlic deep inside to infuse the pork with flavor. Next, using a super sharp knife, I carefully cut long lines about 1 inch apart from each other across and through most of the fat layer (to the point where the skin meets the meat) and do the same on the bias to create a hatch pattern. (See pic below.)

I put this bad boy on a v-rack in my oven skin side down for two hours at 150 degrees. After two hours I flip it so the skin side is now facing up and cook for another two hours at 150 degrees. This piece of meat was about 5 pounds so you may need to adjust your cooking time depending on the size of pork you have. If you have a meat thermometer your inside temperature (which you take after the pork has rested outside of the oven for about 3-5 minutes) should be 145 degrees. (A useful meat temperature guide can be found here.) After resting I turn it over to hubby, who harnesses his inner caveman and carves this beauty up.

Nice side dishes are rice, salad, yucca, you name it!

Getting Greek…

The worst part of the lockdown was not being able to travel. We love Europe and all the different foods and flavors you find there. Greece was one our favorite trips. We spent time in Athens, Mykonos and Santorini (our hotel in Santorini was insane, check it out here).

Anyway, since we can’t be in Greece right now, we’re cooking up a simple Greek lunch. Souvlaki! This dish could not be easier. Many people like to use chicken thighs for this recipe, which are more flavorful but hubby only likes white meat so I use skinless, boneless breasts which I cube up. In a bowl I add about 2 cups of white wine, about 2 tablespoons of oregano, a tablespoon of EVOO and salt & pepper. Whisk this marinade well and then add the cubed chicken. You can marinate for an hour or as long as overnight. I then removed chicken from the marinade and put in shallow baking pan and baked in my oven for about 25 minutes (until there is no pink in the middle of the chicken).

I served the souvlaki with a salad, warm pita bread, fresh feta cheese (IMO Bulgarian goat feta is the best if you can find it.) and a side of freshly made tzatziki sauce. To make the tzatziki I use Greek Yogurt (I like the Fage brand, 0% fat) which I strain before using so it really thickens up. I add minced, peeled & seeded cucumber, garlic powder (fresh garlic is too strong, I’ve been told…) salt, pepper and a ton of fresh minced dill. Stir in all ingredients and let it set in a bowl in fridge for about 20 minutes).

You can make a sandwich with all of these yummy ingredients or if you’re on keto just plate it with the sides and no bread.

Let me know if you have questions!

Instant mood lifter…

There’s nothing better for the soul than a bowl of chicken soup. We’re down in Florida now and some will argue that it’s just too hot for soup. I say turn up the A/C and enjoy soup all year round.

I start with the trilogy (chopped celery-leafy tops included, carrots and onions) which I sauté in a large pot with a little EVOO. I season heavily with salt, pepper, thyme, tons of fresh dill and a packet of Sazon con Azafran (please don’t write me about color additives…) Once the veggies have sweated I plop in a whole cleaned chicken (as big as will fit in pot). Add water so the birdie is covered and season again with salt, pepper, thyme and yes, more dill. I cook this for about 90 minutes or until bird is cooked. Turn off heat and let cool a bit before removing the bird to debone (you can wrap the bird in cheesecloth before putting in pot for easier removal). One the bird has cooled enough to handle remove and toss any skin, bones and cartilage. Shred meat using a fork and return meat to soup. Turn heat on medium and let cook for another 20 minutes.

Plate soup over some cooked tubettini and serve with tons of fresh shredded parmesano, salt & pepper. I guarantee you will feel better just smelling the soup cook!

Pro-tip: My hubby likes potatoes in the soup sometimes instead of the pasta. To make with potatoes, add them about 45 minutes after starting the soup (so they don’t get too soft and fall apart). I use medium sized red potatoes which I cut in half and put in skin on.