Keto Creamed Spinach
A real-deal creamed spinach like at your favorite steak house.
Creamed Spinach is one of those dishes that used to trigger “can’t eat that!… gonna make me fat” kinda thoughts. Creamed Spinach is no longer on that side of the ledger and goes amazing with steak and magic shrooms to edge your keto macros in the right direction.
If you are not a fan of creamed spinach then you probably have not had a good one or had one made with frozen spinach. In a pinch, frozen can work but I’d hold out for fresh baby spinach which is so easy to find. If you can find the bunched baby spinach rather than the plastic boxed version, go for it. It is the closest to fresh picked without growing your own.
Many recipes call for flour to thicken the cream sauce. The same can be accomplished with a little cream cheese and the only difference is that you won’t need a nap after dinner.
- 10 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2.5 tbsp finely chopped onion
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp cream cheese
- 3/4 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Cook and drain the spinach: Bring a 4-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spinach in large handfuls until all the spinach is added, and cook for 15 seconds.
- Drain the pot of spinach in a colander in the sink and immediately run the spinach under cold water to halt the cooking. Shake as much of the water off the spinach as you can by shaking the colander.
- Using your hands or a wooden spoon, press the spinach against the sides of the colander, squeezing to remove as much excess moisture as possible. Set aside to drain further while making the cream sauce.
- Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, stir in the half-and-half and the cream cheese. Cook the mixture, stirring slowly and continuously, until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens enough to coat the back of the spatula, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes more.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese, nutmeg, mustard, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Add the spinach and mix well.
- Keep warm over very low heat.
Seared Scallops with Orange-Lime Vinaigrette Salad
This perfect, pan seared scallops with an orange-lime vinaigrette salad keeps me keto on busy days.
Every once in a while I find fresh, dry sea scallops (slightly pink) that look too good to pass up. I don’t bother with previously frozen or wet scallops as they have been treated to extend their shelf life and are not nearly the same.
This is a great satisfying, simple, and light dinner salad and if you are a scallop fan, it will become a new favorite. It’s important to keep scallops simple so they can shine on your taste buds and this recipe does that and so much more.
This recipe is for 2 and is an easy and great romantic dinner option with room for a low-carb dessert. Dark chocolate covered strawberries anyone?
- 1 pound large sea scallops, tendons removed - around 12
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 small shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 oz. fresh mesclune greens - divided.
- 1/2 Avocado - cubed.
- 1 sliced, grilled portobello mushroom - optional
- Place scallops on rimmed baking sheet lined with clean dish towel. Place second clean dish towel on top of scallops and press gently on towel to blot liquid. Let scallops sit at room temperature for 10 minutes while towels absorb moisture.
- Sprinkle scallops on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in 12‑inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking.
- Add scallops in single layer, flat side down, and cook, without moving, until well browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet. Using tongs, flip scallops and continue to cook, using large spoon to baste scallops with melted butter (tilt skillet so butter runs to 1 side) until sides of scallops are firm and centers are opaque, 30 to 90 seconds longer (remove smaller scallops as they finish cooking).
- Combine orange juice, lime juice, shallot, cilantro, and pepper flakes in medium bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt to taste.
- Plate scallops with mesculin salad and drizzle vinaigrette.
- Best to make the Orange-Lime Vinaigrette and prepare the salad before starting the scallops.
Rhonda’s Braised Brisket
A memorable Braised Brisket that does not take all day.
Everyone has a favorite go-to recipe for special occasions. This Braised Brisket Recipe was clearly everyones favorite when visiting my Dad and Step-Mom. I have only had to make a slight adjustment to low-carb this multi-generational family fav.
Warning 1: It is one of those dishes that you’ll find really hard to eat just one serving.
Warning 2: This is NOT and everyday deal as it takes a full 5 hours in the oven to deliver its full potential fall-apart-ness.
Still not bad for a brisket as many people going for the BBQ smoker variety will be at it all-day… like 12-24 hours. Maybe this summer I will give that a go too. In the meantime, get started at around 1pm so you can eat at a normal hour.
Went for a 1.5 hour bike ride all the way to Massachusetts during the first 3 hours of oven time on this Braised Brisket so the day was not a total loss! Also, worked off that extra serving I anticipated in advance. As they say up in Mass… “wicked-smaat”
Serve this with a side of buttery magical cauliflower mash to get your macros more in line.
- 3.5 lb Beef Brisket
- 3 medium onions - sliced
- 1 large green pepper - sliced
- 1 28oz can of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- Salt and Pepper - fresh ground
- In a 6x9 baking pan or dutch oven place onions and peppers evenly over the bottom.
- Salt, pepper and garlic powder the brisket well on all sides.
- Place the brisket fat side up in the pan.
- Cover with can of tomatoes and cup of water.
- Seal tight with aluminum foil or cover.
- Place in oven at 325 degrees for 3 hours.
- Remove from oven and let cool so brisket can be sliced - 1/2 inch slices across the grain.
- Cover again and place back in 325 degrees oven for 1.5 - 2 hours more.
- Serve with a Magical Cauliflower Mash.
- I used red and yellow peppers as that is what I had on hand. May have added a sweetness factor different than green would have. Delicious, none the less.
Pork Chops With Caramelized Onions And Smoked Gouda
Time for a pork chops change up to make something old new again.
In the early years of my marriage, my wife and I would sometimes trade off nights cooking each other dinner. We often sourced more challenging recipes from the various gourmet foodie magazines we accumulated over the years. Some dishes more remembered than others.
As if in a dream, this pork chop dish came rushing back to me recently as one that was worth a revisit.
I have tried this, first brining the pork chops, and then again without, and can say that the brine step is not necessary and that these were really amazing.
I would suggest this dish be served over the weekend as there a few steps involved but they are simple ones anyone can do. The carbs from this pork chop dish come mostly from the caramelized onions so eat less of them if you have already had your fair share of carbs for the day.
I have been going back into the archives of my memory lately to see what kind of alchemy I can come up with to make some old favorites healthy, lower-carb and new again. Hope you enjoy these.
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 4 center cut rib pork chops -1-inch-thick (each about 8 ounces)
- 1.5 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
- 3 cups sliced onions (about 3 medium)
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese with rind (about 3 ounces)
- 1.5 tablespoons butter
- 1.5 tablespoons almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat 3 tablespoons avocado oil in heavy large skillet over high heat.
- Season pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add pork chops to skillet and sauté until brown, about 3 minutes per side.
- Arrange pork in single layer in 15x10x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon paprika over pork.
- Over medium-high heat add onions to the pan and sauté until well browned, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon paprika. Place onions over pork.
- Pour enough broth over so that chops are almost covered. Cover with foil. Bake until pork is tender, about 35 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 200°F. Using tongs, transfer pork to large bowl, leaving onion mixture in baking dish. Pour contents of baking dish into strainer set over medium bowl.
- Return onion mixture to same baking dish, spreading evenly (reserve cooking liquid).
- Arrange pork atop onions; sprinkle cheese. Cover dish with foil; set in oven to keep warm.
- Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add almond flour. Cook, until mixture just begins to color, whisking often (mixture will be dry and crumbly), about 4 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in reserved cooking liquid. Bring sauce to boil, whisking constantly. Add arrowroot powder. Boil until thickened, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer pork and onions to plates. Spoon sauce around pork and serve.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Chili Vinaigrette
This Roasted Acorn Squash with Chili Vinaigrette will be a treat you won’t soon forget.
Acorn Squash is one of those shopping items that I like to have on hand for when I have run out of ideas for an easy but substantial side dish. They last a while in kitchen before you have to get to them, so I usually have one around.
Now if I can just remember to get fresh cilantro and a jalepeno I’m in business!
My wife Lisa turned me on to this amazing Acorn Squash recipe from Gourmet a while ago – we have made a few tweaks and have been making this for years and it never gets old. This is lick-the-plate-good so be sure to sop up all that vinaigrette.
Acorn squash are a little higher in carbs than most of my “go-to” keto veggies so I tend to only make this about once a month and on a day when the rest of the meal or even my day was on the lower-carb side.
This is also a great simple recipe to impress guests at your next dinner party. If you are not a winter squash person, this one might convert you. Enjoy!
- 1 medium acorn squash
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove
- 3/4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoons finely chopped fresh hot red chile or jalepeno, including seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 450F.
- Halve squash lengthwise, then cut off and discard stem ends.
- Scoop out seeds and cut squash lengthwise into 3/4-inch-wide wedges. (8 slices)
- Toss squash with fresh ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl, then arrange, cut sides down, in a large shallow baking pan.
- Roast squash, until squash is tender and undersides of wedges are golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.
- While squash roasts, mince garlic and mash to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Transfer paste to a small bowl and whisk in lime juice, chile (to taste), cilantro, and remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil until combined.
- Transfer squash, browned sides up, to a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.
The Wedge Salad
This Wedge Salad delivers big flavor with bacon lardons and home-made blue cheese dressing.
Every once in a while I stumble upon a keto food with the perfect macros that I can’t imagine how I ever lived without.
My wife and I were out to dinner at The Capitol Grill in Hartford several nights ago and ordered The Wedge Salad. I forgot just how good these can be when they are done right and this one was friken amazing! We don’t often go to high-end steak houses but this place is worth the trip just for the wedge salad.
We are big fans of salads at our home but usually go for the more nutritious lettuce varieties like, Kale, Spinach, Arugula or at least Romaine. In fact, I don’t think I’ve even purchased a head of iceberg lettuce in over 20 years!
It’s time for a change!
In this case, the iceberg in the wedge salad is just a crisp delivery system for the whole-fat yumminess of the blue cheese dressing and bacon lardons.
To do this dish justice be sure to chill down your salad plates and dressing and keep the wedge cold and crisp until right before serving. If you want to go crazy, chill a few salad forks too.
I can see how this classic wedge salad might even be a meal for some if you add some grilled salmon or chicken but the slab bacon is really all you will ever need. Sometimes, messing with perfection is not always a good idea!
The lardons also adds a nice additional level of crunch to the crisp lettuce so you get to hold the croutons – perfect!
- 1 large head of Iceberg lettuce
- 1 cup crumbled blue cheese, divided (reserve a 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup sour cream - Full fat
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise (olive oil - Hellmans)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1/2 pound smoked slab bacon
- 1 large shallot, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and separated into rings
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place 4 salad plates in the refrigerator to chill.
- Mash garlic clove with salt with a chef knife against a cutting board to make a paste.
- Mash 1/2 of the blue cheese with the back of a fork in a medium bowl until mostly smooth. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, salt, garlic paste, chives, and black pepper, and mix thoroughly until completely combined.
- Add half the remaining cheese and mix gently, leaving clumps of cheese here and there. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the salad. Make at least 1/2 hour ahead of serving.
- Cut smoked slab bacon into 1/8 inch cubes.
- Cook the bacon in a single layer in a large frying pan over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and deeply browned and most of the fat has rendered out. Transfer with tongs to the paper towel-lined plates; set aside.
- Core the lettuce and cut it into quarters through where the core was. Place a wedge on each of the chilled salad plates. Divide the shallot rings and tomatoes evenly among the plates. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the dressing over each wedge. Add the reserved slab bacon lardons evenly over the salads. Serve immediately.
- The dressing can be made and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Fresh crushed peppercorns are best
Keto Zucchini Fritters
These Keto Zucchini Fritters are about as close as I’m ever gonna get to a low-carb version of one of my childhood favs – the potato latke. Sour cream with chives or creme fresh are still in but a little tzatziki can be a nice tweak to switch things up.
This is the perfect side dish in place of potatoes or if you are just cauliflower’d out.
These would also be a great base for a low-carb eggs Benedict on a lazy weekend morning. These Keto Zucchini Fritters are so good the kids will even like them. These will be especially good in summer with local farm fresh zucchinis but you can get good ones all year round.
- 2.5 cups zucchini, grated
- 1/3 cup almond flour or coconut flour or a mix of both
- 2 scallions, chopped fine
- 1/4 small onion, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1.5 tsp. Pepper, fresh ground
- 1 tsp. salt
- Grate the zucchini on a box grater - medium grate.
- Put the zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with the teaspoon of salt. Mix the zucchini gently to distribute the salt and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Squeeze the zucchini out with your hands and place into a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Add the eggs and scallion to the zucchini and mix together.
- In a small bowl, add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir together.
- Add them to the zucchini and mix thoroughly.
- Heat oils in a medium to large pan over medium - high heat.
- Oil should completely cover the bottom surface of the pan.
- When the oil is hot, stir the zucchini mixture one more time and dip a ¼ cup measuring cup into the batter, level off. Dump the batter into the pan and gently push it into a flat pancake shape with the back of a metal spatula.
- Cook for four minutes adjusting the heat up or down as needed, then flip, cooking for another four minutes. Add more oil to the pan if needed to prevent sticking.
- Salt then drain the zucchini fritters on a paper towel before serving.
Ahi Tuna Poke Towers
I feel in love with Ahi Tuna Poke on several trips to Hawaii.
Back when I was unconscious about carbs I would go out for sushi several times a week. I thought I was eating healthy and could never understand why eating so well I could never lose any weight. I’m kind of a sushi freak and when I find a place that is focused on great, fresh sushi I become the duke, a super-fan and frequent the establishment often.
Currently, I am the duke (yelp) with no one even close to 2nd place at an unassuming local hot spot in Avon, CT called Liki Sushi
This Japanese oasis is not distracted by hibachi like so many others in the area. This is reflected in the quality and freshness of the fish and the attention to detail my personal sushi chefs, Andy and company execute so well. They have great lunch specials and if you sit at the bar you may also get free app like the one below.
The trick to going low-carb is the shift I made to sashimi (hold the rice) several years ago. I do not miss the rice and I do not feel the need for nap after lunch anymore. Those balls of rice are clearly no friend to anyone attempting to get into shape. Another option is to get rolls made without the rice which many on-trend sushi spots will accommodate. Sauce on the side is not a bad idea either. If it tastes too sweet, it probably is, and you should use sparingly or avoid altogether.
When it comes to raw tuna at home however, I prefer this simple preparation of Ahi Sushi Poke. I hope you enjoy my take on Ahi Sushi Poke and I assure you it will be a big hit at your next get together with low-carb friends or a romantic evening starter with the one you love.
- 1 pound sashimi grade ahi tuna
- 1.5 tbsp. finely chopped shallot
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp. chilli powder
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 tbsp. good quality olive oil
- 1 tbsp. ponzu dressing (kikkoman or other)
- fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seed
- 1 ripe avocado 1/4 inch dice
- 1/8 tsp. coriander
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 ground pepper
- 1/3 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp. Black caviar or tobiko for garnish
- 1 tbsp olive oil for garnish
- Tuna chopped into 1/4 inch dice.
- Shallot, scallion, corriander, chilli powder.
- Add olive and sesame oils and toss evenly coat.
- Just before serving add toasted sesame seed and mix.
- Avocado, coriander, salt, ground pepper and lime juice.
- Use a 4" mini-spring form pan (or similar - tin can open at both ends)
- With a spoon, pack tuna then avocado - reverse if forming with a tin can.
- Place avocado side down then remove pan.
- Drizzle olive oil
- Top with black Tobiko.
- Makes 2 towers
Braised Lamb Shanks With Rosemary
Best Braised Lamb Shanks on a cozy night at home with family and friends.
I am a big fan of lamb. Chops, legs, shanks, loins are all in my foodie playbook. I have favorite preparations for each cut and have invested many hours perfecting my cookery of this beast. Every once in a while I come across a person who claims they are not a fan. I imagine their only experience mirrors my first exposures as a kid, dried out, overcooked with green mint jelly. Thanks Mom for the intro… I’ll take it from here. Then with empathy, I go about my quest to convert them with a high percentage success rate.
This Braised Lamb Shanks recipe is one of my favs on a weekend or snowy night.
It takes a little more time but the prep is easy and the house smells great for hours. It’s a hearty meal and as an early Sunday dinner will carry you the rest of the day. Keep the carbs down by serving this with my Magical Cauliflower Mash.
- 3.5 lbs Lamb Shanks - (about 8 smaller ones)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup leeks, chopped
- 1/2 cup fennel, chopped
- 3 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups dry red wine (about a 3rd of a bottle)
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with juices
- 1.5 cups - chicken broth
- 1.5 cups - beef broth
- 5 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 1 large portobello mushroom sliced
- Sprinkle shanks with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in heavy large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Working in batches, add shanks to pot and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer shanks to bowl.
- Add onions, carrots, leeks, fennel and garlic to pot and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in all remaining ingredients except sliced portobello mushrooms.
- Return shanks to pot, pressing down to submerge.
- Bring liquids to boil.
- Cover - place in 375 degree oven - about 2.5 hours total.
- Uncover pot last 45 minutes - stir once to coat meat with sauce.
- Sauce will reduce and exposed meat will brown.
- (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold; cover and keep chilled - Rewarm over medium heat before continuing.)
- Transfer shanks to platter - tent with foil.
- Boil juices in pot until thickened, med high - about 10 minutes.
- Add portobello mushroom slices - cook about 5 minutes more.
- Season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over shanks.
- Serve Lamb Shanks with Cauliflower Mash - http://www.everydayketogourmet.com/wp/a-magical-cauliflower-mash/
- Optional - Strain the sauce before final reduction - then add the mushrooms and cook for 5 min.
- You can add more red wine, but I follow the rule - "only cook with wine you would drink" So - I like to have more to drink while I am cooking - up to you!
Killer Keto Frittata
This simple keto frittata is loaded with good stuff and you’ll never miss the potatoes.
My wife Lisa is the master at the low-carb breakfast. Ever since we honeymooned in Spain, my wife and I have always appreciated a great frittata. The Barcelona Wine Bar in West Hartford, CT is where we usually go to get our frittata fix, complete with a dollop of fresh sour cream. Those off-the-rails carbs however are usually reserved for the weekend.
This Killer Keto Frittata makes a great late night snack after a night out with friends – we’re too old for Denny’s!
Back to breakfast! You can adjust the ingredients to your taste and you can swap out one veggie for another – same goes for the cheeses. I’ve included my favorites below – pick two or three and go for it.
- 5 large eggs
- 2 tbs. half n half
- 1/2 medium onion - chopped
- 1/3 cup leeks - chopped
- 4 asparagus spears - 1/4 inch chop
- 1 cup broccoli - rough chopped
- 1.25 cups cheese shredded (swiss, smoked swiss, gouda, smoked gouda, fontina, cheddar)
- 1 tsp. Fresh thyme
- 2 tsp. butter - divided
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Melt 1/2 the butter In a 9 inch non-stick, oven-safe pan on med-low heat saute' veggies slow - about 8 min.
- In a bowl whisk eggs & half and half.
- Add salt and pepper and stir in shredded cheese.
- Stir in veggies to the bowl with the eggs.
- Add rest of the butter to the pan and melt on low heat.
- Pour the eggs, cheese and veggie mix into the hot pan.
- Slowly scramble mixture until lose curds form and eggs are almost set - About 3 minutes.
- Finish in oven under broiler on high until eggs begin to brown - about 5 minutes.
- Serve hot.