Browsing Category: appetizers

BLT’s — without the bread

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Once locally grown tomatoes are in season in Kansas, I always start craving BLT’s! (Bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich, for any poor souls who are unacquainted with this little bite of summer.)

I made some homemade bread last week just for this. Added some smoked turkey to punch up the protein. But to keep my carbs and proteins (sort of) in balance, I limit myself to one piece of bread per meal. After devouring one delicious BLT — ripe, sweet juiciness of the tomato contrasting with the salty crunch of the bacon — I wanted more! Looking hungrily at the remaining tomatoes and bacon, I wondered if the bread were really necessary.

So I took a bit of romaine, smeared it with a little mayo, and topped it with tomato and bacon. Added a slice of avocado to some of them. Oh yeah! It’s all the best flavors and textures of a BLT, without the carbs! Perfect for the gluten free, low carb, Paleo or Whole30 diet.  They’d make a great snack or appetizer, too.

 breadless-blt-s-480
A couple notes to make them healthier: choose nitrate/nitrite-free bacon; look for a mayo that contains no corn syrup. Or make your own! (Here’s my recipe for homemade Paleo mayo. It’s ridiculously easy!)

 

Ina Garten’s “guacamole” salad

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The recipe is Ina’s; the photo is mine!
Looking for a quick, easy dish to take to a Fourth of July party today? This is it! You can whip it up in about 10 minutes, and although it might taste better if it sits for a bit, you can serve it right away. And because it has no mayo, you don’t need to worry about it sitting at room temp for a few hours. Perfect for a potluck, barbeque or picnic! Plus, it’s just chock full of healthy stuff, and has no sugar in the dressing!
The recipe is from Ina Garten, and although she calls it “Guacamole Salad,” I think of it as avocado salad.
I do make a few minor tweaks. Being the spice wimp I am, I leave out the jalapeno and cut back on the cayenne. But I also add in some chopped cilantro. And after making it the first time, I think I’ll double the avocado next time.
It’s so yummy, I could eat it straight out of the bowl. For lunch. And I have!

Summer squash topped with sausage

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This squash topped with sausage is a quick easy dish to prep ahead of time, and then assemble and cook in about 15 minutes. It evolved from a recipe for stuffed portobello mushrooms — which is good, don’t get me wrong! — but I think I like it better on squash.
In these pictures, I was testing a batch without the sundried tomatoes, but I don’t recommend skipping them. I think they add an important zing to the dish.
 Note: I have since Paleo-ized this recipe. I used cashew ricotta and skipped the Italian cheese blend. I did sprinkle a little grated Parmesan on top. It was delish!
paleo sausage on squash

Recipe: Summer squash topped with sausage and cheese

Ready In: 30 Minutes      Servings: 3
1/2 cup cooked, crumbled sausage
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 T. finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated
1 medium summer squash
Optional for plain squash slices:
olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine sausage, half of the shredded cheese, ricotta cheese, onions and tomatoes in medium bowl.
Lay the squash flat on cutting board, and cut off the bottom on a diagonal.
 squash-slice-1
Slice the rest of the squash, parallel to the first cut, in approximately 1/2″ thick slabs.
 squash-slice-2
You’ll have some large diameter slices and some small ones. If you’re prepping this meal early in the day, you can put everything in the fridge now to hold till you’re ready to bake.
squash-slice-3
Lay the slices on the prepared baking sheet. Divide the sausage mixture among the slices; first just dump some on (shown upper left in the photo below), then pat it down with your fingers (shown in the top second one). Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the sausage mixture.
squash-w-sausage-topped
You may top all the slices this way, or you can use the two or three smallest ones without the sausage topping. If you’re not topping all the slices, brush the bare ones with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until squash is just tender. Remove from the oven.
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Sprinkle the plain slices with grated Parmesan.
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Serve it all up. Yummmm!
paleo sausage on squash
Topping squash slices for pizza-like bites

 

Asian lettuce wraps

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Asian lettuce wraps

This is another one of those dishes that you can prep early in the day, and throw together in minutes come dinner time. Also low carb and low fat! Easy to make Paleo and Whole30 compliant, with a couple minor tweaks.

Recipe: Asian lettuce wraps

Makes 4 servings

about 1.3 lbs. ground turkey
1/2 large onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 T. lower sodium soy sauce (for Whole30, sub coconut aminos)
1 pkt. Splenda or equivalent sweetener (just omit for Paleo/Whole3)
1/4 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (less for mild; more for hot)
1 T. fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 cups coleslaw mix with carrots, (or more)
butter lettuce or romaine lettuce leaves, for wraps
fresh cilantro and chopped cashews, for garnish, optional

This is the slaw mix I use:

Brown the turkey and onions in a large skillet; when the turkey is mostly browned but still showing some pink, drain the fat. Meanwhile, combine the sesame oil through the crushed pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Add the ginger, garlic and coriander to the pan; stir-fry for a couple minutes.

If you’re prepping ahead of time, you can stop here and refrigerate the meat and sauce. When ready to serve, just reheat and proceed. Also, since I was just cooking for two of us, I pulled out half the meat and put it in the fridge for lunch the next day. Be sure to only add half the sauce and cole slaw to the pan if you do this.

Add the cole slaw and the soy sauce mixture. Cook and stir constantly for one or two minutes.

(I’m warming up leftovers the next day in the photo above; that’s why the skillet’s smaller.)

Serve the meat mixture with lettuce leaves to fill, and roll up to eat. Offer cilantro and cashews for topping, if desired.

 

Seven-layer dip as salad

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I love seven-layer dip — sometimes called taco dip — and the dip itself is a pretty low carb treat. Plus, it’s got some decidedly healthy ingredients: avocado (15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat, plus potassium and vitamins C and K); tomatoes (lycopene, vitamins A and C); and the beans are a good source of iron and fiber — though they’re often made with trans fats. But the chips for dipping are not healthy in any way!

So I thought this would be another great dish to make into a salad on a romaine spear. (Which I’ve done before. More than once.)

This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a guideline. The base is a heart-of-romaine leaf, and you’ll probably want two to four for each person. This makes a great “assemble yourself” meal, letting everyone customize their own.

Just lay the leaf on the serving plate and smear it with your choice of one or more items from this list:
– refried beans (or just used canned beans for a later layer)
– ready-made guacamole
– sour cream or Greek yogurt, plain or mixed with taco seasoning

Then top that with your choices of:
– canned beans, rinsed and drained; pinto and/or black
– shredded cheese: monterrey jack, cheddar, queso fresca, or a mix
– chopped tomatoes
– diced bell pepper
– sliced green onion or diced red onion
– sliced black olives
– minced cilantro

As you can see, this can end up being more than seven layers — or less — depending on your taste and/or what you have on hand.

Here’s mine:

Seven-layer dip as a hand-held salad

You might also like:
Make-ahead Tex-Mex salad
Chicken club salad with creamy balsamic vinaigrette
Ginger-peanut salad dressing for Asian salad

Bonus Super Bowl recipe: crab rangoon dip!

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Just ran across this and had to add it! What a genius idea: crab rangoon dip!

Update: Made this yesterday… Not a big fan of the recipe as written. I mean it’s okay, but not what I imagined. But chilled overnight and heated up the next day, it’s much better.

I added a couple pinches of granulated garlic and salt. Also, I used green onion, and for authenticity’s sake, I would put sweet-and-sour sauce on it, not sweet chili.

25 Super Bowl Recipes, Part 4: Low Carb

low carb and Paleo party food

And onto day five of our Super Bowl recipes round-up: Low Carb!

I think more chips are sold SB weekend than any other week of the year. But it is possible to have delish, satisfying snacks on the table that don’t max out your carb allowance for the month, all in one sitting! Here are a few.

veggies n vases

Just about any dip you can find is low carb, it’s the crackers and chips they’re usually served with that makes them high carb. Use a crisp veggie instead, and it’s instant health food!  🙂 But skip the usual, boring carrots and celery on a plate; think jicama, bell pepper strips, ribs from hearts-of-romaine. And to make them even more appealing, place them in vertical glass containers, like the beautiful table shown here, from Sugar Plum Sisters.

 

Bacon-Avocado Sammies from non nom paleo. Don’t these look yummy?!

Zucchini/squash Pizza Bites, from yours truly. The “crust” couldn’t be simpler: it’s just slices of summer squash or zucchini, lightly baked before being topped with your favorite pizza stuff, and broiled. (Inspired by Kalyn’s Kitchen.) My recipe includes both pepperoni and vegetarian versions.

 

gluten-free pizza crust or flatbread

For real pizza, try this gluten-free pizza crust recipe!

 

Deviled Eggs. Did you know that deviled eggs from the grocery store sometimes contain sugar? Yuck! Much safer (and Paleo-friendly) to make your own. I like ’em simple and classic, like this take from SimplyRecipes.

 

garlic-herb cheese dip

Garlic-Herb Cheese Spread or Dip, also from this site. Tastes sort of like Allouette. Again, to keep it low carb, serve with veggie dippers.

 

avocado, cilantro, lime, pistachio dip, sauce, spread, dressing

5-Minute Magic Green Sauce! This stuff is amazing! Yes, it’s great on fish as shown above, but it also makes a fantastic dip for veggies or chips.

Not into dairy? Here’s my favorite Paleo dip…

Dairy-free Ranch dressing - dump ranch

Dump Ranch” – I make it thicker than the salad dressing version, and use it as a dip and spread. I almost always have some of this in my fridge!

Parties don’t have to mean blowing your healthy eating habits completely! Come stocked with one or more of these, and you’ll have less recovery to do the next day!