Tag Archives: bacon

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!)

 

Chicken club salad with creamy balsamic vinaigrette

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Working from home has its perks and its challenges.

One of the perks is making yourself lunch every day.

One of the challenges is making yourself lunch every day.

For me, answering “What’s for lunch?” usually starts with a peek in the fridge to see what protein options I have on hand. With the weather warming up, I feel like a salad pretty much every day, but it’s got to have some protein.

On this particular day, I had a bit of roasted chicken, but just a small portion; not enough to make even one serving of orange-cranberry chicken salad.

So what else was in there for protein? Some fully-cooked bacon. I’m okay with using bacon as a flavor accent, but it’s not really healthy enough to be the main protein in a meal, IMHO. Hard boiled egg would round things out nicely. Now we’ve got a chicken club salad!

So I grabbed a few eggs and boiled them. It just takes a few minutes, and ever since I got this handy little egg timer, my hard boiled eggs come out perfect every time. The product description says it best:

 Simply add the egg timer in with your eggs and boil… There’s an easy-to-read scale within the timer. During the course of boiling, the timer changes colors, from red to purple, starting from the outside edge and moving to the center. When the color change reaches your desired spot on the scale, the eggs are cooked accordingly.”

So although I just wanted one egg for my salad, I make a couple extra for deviled eggs, tomorrow’s lunch, or who knows what. While the eggs were boiling, I fried up some of the bacon. Since it’s fully cooked, that’s not really necessary, but I like it crispy.

I chopped up some romaine, and sliced a little red onion very thin. Then, to whip up the dressing.

This is based on a super-simple dressing recipe I learned from a friend…

Dressing option 1:

1-2-3 Dressing

1 part sugar (or maple syrup or honey)
2 parts balsamic vinegar
3 parts olive oil

You just combine those in a jar and shake them up. Easy-peasy, right?

But there are two things I don’t like about that. First of all, it’s got sugar. And although you can sub another sweetener, I’ve found that sweetener-based dressings don’t cling to the greens like the sugar-based version does.

Also, it tends to separate easily. So here’s my solution:

Dressing option 2:

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 packets Splenda (or sweetener of your choice equiv. to 4 t. sugar)
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. mayo
2 T. olive oil

Put the sweetener and the vinegar in a small jar. Swirl it around until the sweetener is mostly dissolved.

Then add in the mayo and shake it up well, until no more white flecks can be seen on the inside of the jar. Then add the olive oil and shake again.

This makes enough for the generous dressing of one good-sized salad, or two smaller ones.

The addition of the mayo helps both with making the dressing cling to the salad, and keeping it from separating.

So, by this time, your eggs should be done. Rinse them with cold water for a minute or so, then shake the pan so the eggs smack against each other, to crack the shells. Then remove the shells, and slice up as many as you want for your salad.

Assembly time: romaine, chicken, egg slices, bacon, sliced onion. I wasn’t in a cheese mood on this particular day, but you could certainly add feta, bleu, Swiss, or shredded cheddar to this. Then drizzle dressing over the top and toss lightly.

Chicken club salad, with bacon and hard-boiled eggs

There you have it: a fresh, healthy, delicious salad, in less time than it would take you to drive to a bistro and read the menu!

I call that a perk.

You might also like:
30-second Caesar salad
Ginger-peanut salad dressing
Make-ahead Tex-Mex salad

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!

25 Super Bowl Recipes, Part 2: Hot Stuff

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Super Bowl recipes: hot dips

Continuing this week’s round-up of Super Bowl recipes… Today’s theme: Hot dips.
Dig in!

Jalapeno Popper Dip from Big Red Kitchen — so much easier than wrapping jalapenos one by one!
French Dip Crescents from Mama Loves Food — Make this one even easier on yourself: use the super-simple au jus with my 10-minute French Dip recipe.
Buffalo Chicken Dip from SkinnyTaste – All the flavor of buffalo wings without messy hands!

25 Super Bowl Recipes, Part 1: Three-Ingredient Treats

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Every day this week, I’ll be posting four to six recipes I’ve rounded up that you might want to put on your Super Bowl table this weekend. Today’s theme: Three ingredients!  — aka, SUPER easy!

Mango Salsa
There are lots of recipes out there for mango salsa, but the first one I was introduced to was this one. It’s so simple, you’ll think, “That can’t be it.” But trust me, these three ingredients combine in some mystical way to create a deliciousness that outweighs the shopping list and expectations. For each two servings:
1 mango, diced (here’s how)
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Stir them all together, and enjoy immediately, or use within one day.
For party food, serve it with tortilla chips, but it’s also delish on top of salmon or pork.
Chipotle-Raspberry Salsa on Cream Cheese
Here’s another “recipe” that seems toooooo simple to be impressive, but oh my goodness, is this stuff addictive! And really, the picture above contains the whole recipe. You’ll want to soften the cream cheese first, and you won’t need the whole bottle — just pour it on till the cheese is well smothered.
The third ingredient? Your favorite crackers or chips: Ritz, Wheat Thins, Doritos — it’s all good!
You can find Bronco Bob’s at Amazon, World Market, and last time I checked, Dillons/Kroger.
Coming later this week: Hot Stuff, Cold Dips, Low Carb, and Sweet Treats!

Recipe review: Twice-baked cauliflower (low carb!)

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Kalyn's twice-baked cauliflower
photo by Kalyn’s Kitchen

Twice-baked cauliflower? — Yes, this is every bit as delicious as a twice-baked potato!

Whether you’re trying to cut down on carbs, or trying to sneak more healthy veggies into your kids’ meals, or just want to play a trick on someone who says they hate cauliflower (perhaps your own taste buds?), this is your ticket.

In Kalyn’s updated version of this dish, she uses reduced fat cream cheese and sour cream, but me, I use the real stuff. Do as your own conscience allows, though.

Kalyn’s recipe calls for completely mashing the cauliflower — which I think would peg the comfort food scale! — but I wanted a chunkier texture than the mixer would get me, so I used a pastry blender. Worked great!

If you try this dish and fool someone into thinking it’s really potatoes, let me know. I bet you can pull it off!

You might also like:
Roasted Garlic “Mashed Potatoes”
Garlic Herb Cream Cheese Dip
Peanut Butter Pie (low carb)