Low Carb Meals, Simple and Healthy

After nine months on the Keto diet, my low carb meals have evolved to become simple and healthy.

Meals don’t have to be difficult and I rarely follow a recipe. Vegetables are at the top of my list when I shop, and they make up the bulk of the food I eat. Often I eat vegetables, with an egg, for my “breakfast”, which I eat at noon.

Keto breakfast food eggs, mushrooms, bacon, kale and biscuit
Egg, kale with bacon, mushrooms, and keto muffin

Many Meals Begin With Homemade Broth, or Stock

One thing I do quite often is make my own broth, or stock. The beef broth is made with bones I buy from the butcher. I bake the bones first to brown them, then add to water in my LeCrueset along with the bones, and fat that leaks out of the bones while they bake. Don’t skim off the fat! This is the good fat we need in our diets!

Chicken stock is made from the carcass of a baked chicken. Vegetable broth is of course made from only using vegetables.

Vegetables such as onion, celery, carrots, peppers, and herbs such as parsley and basil can be included. The vegetables don’t have to be perfect – use up older veggies this way. I usually add bay leaves too. The vegetables I add depends on what is around the house. Nothing has to be added, but the veggies add nutrients and flavor.

Make beef or chicken broth

Simple Scallops and Green Beans Meal

Seafood is a favorite of mine and this simple meal consists of fresh scallops which cook up quickly in a frying pan. The frozen green beans were boiled in water then topped with butter. That’s it! Serve with a salad if you like.

keto scallops green beans meal
Simple scallops and green beans meal

Ground Turkey, Asparagus and Shallots

Cook ground turkey (or chicken) in a pan. Remove the meat. Add butter and / or oil with pieces of fresh asparagus and sauce until nearly tender, then add sliced onions and return ground turkey to the pan.

Tamari or soy sauce can be added at this point, unless sodium is a problem.

keto meal turkey asparagus shallots
Ground turkey dinner

Beef and Cabbage Keto Meal

In a large pot brown ground beef. Add spices and herbs as you like. Remove the beef once it’s cooked and use the same pot to cook the cabbage. Slice a head of cabbage into “noodles” and boil them until tender. Either use water with (sodium free) bullion, or use homemade beef stock if you have it. I cook the cabbage in a small amount of liquid and don’t drain it.

Add the beef back to the pot, and some tomato sauce, or chopped tomatoes. Cook a bit longer (10-15 minutes) for flavors to combine.

Beef and cabbage Keto meal
Beef and cabbage

Cheeseburger Using Lettuce as “Bun”

Buy lettuce with big leaves and wrap a juicy bacon-cheeseburger inside. I honestly don’t eat much bacon, but this burger was delicious with onions, pickles, cheese and bacon.

Keto burger, no bun
Bun-less bacon burger

My Own Turkey Chili Recipe

My son smoked the Thanksgiving turkey this year and it was delicious. With only two of us to eat, we had a lot of leftovers, which I froze.

Now it’s time to make some winter chili, and I broke out the turkey and broth from my freezer to make this recipe tasty.

Turkey chili recipe
My version of chili made with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving

To begin, I got out my LeCrueset Dutch Oven, which I love.

I sautéed lots of green pepper (from my garden) and onions in oil for a few minutes. Then I added chopped garlic and cooked a bit longer. Then I added the turkey broth (thawed), can of organic diced tomatoes, and spices. I chopped the leftover turkey into bite size pieces and threw it in. The spices I used were parsley and basil from my garden. Dried spices would work too. I had bought some jalapeño peppers at the local farm stand so I chopped a small amount of one jalapeño to add some heat.

To begin with uncooked meat, brown it first then remove from the pan.  Add the pepper and onion with oil and sauté.  Add the liquid broth and scrape the bottom of the pan.  Add meat, spices and tomatoes.

It’s really your choice about how hot and spicy you want your chili to be. I like a little heat, but not overwhelming. If you don’t have flavored broth, use broth granules in water. About a cup or 2 is needed depending on the amount of meat, tomatoes and veggies you use. I basically wing it!

Once those ingredients simmer for about an hour, I add the black beans (or kidney beans can be used) with the liquid (I use organic beans only). Then I simmer for at least another half hour.  Don’t add the beans too soon or they will get mushy.

Because our turkey was smoked, this chili has a slight smoky flavor. Between the jalapeño pepper and spices and melding of the flavors while it slow-cooks, it turned out super yummy!

When I make chili or soup I fly by the seat of my pants and add whatever I have on hand or seems to work.

I had made a batch of cornbread (recipe on the cornmeal box) and froze it.  That way I had ready-made cornbread to add to my chili.

Use your freezer.  It’s your best friend.  BTW I froze a serving of this chili to enjoy later.

Simple Bread and Butter Pickles Made From Garden Cucumbers

Cucumber on the vine
Cucumber on the vine

Now that the cucumbers are growing in my Florida garden, I was reminded of a simple bread and butter pickles recipe I found a few years ago. No canning was involved. Fortunately I was able to find my printed copy.  (Recipe Link Below)

I don’t do canning, but I love bread and butter pickles made with fresh from the garden cucumbers. These pickles are stored in mason jars (or any jar) but there is no boiling required. Slice and mix the six ingredients (and add some of your own) and store in the fridge.

Include sliced onion and green pepper for flavor. Garlic cloves and hot pepper slices may work as well. Other herbs could be added to change the flavor, like fennel and dill.

And by the way, you don’t need to use a specific type of cucumber.  I am growing two types, and I can’t remember what they are, but as you can see in my photo below, one type is very long!

The shorter, regular looking cukes taste better, but when making pickles it doesn’t matter.  There are many other ways to use fresh cucumbers from the garden.

Cucumbers and onion

The recipe calls for 7 cups of sliced cucumbers, so wait until you have a bunch to use up. Cukes don’t last long once they are picked, so plan to make pickles the day you pick the cucumbers.
A mandolin slicer makes all that slicing go fast.

Note:  One thing I changed in the recipe was the amount of sugar. The recipe calls for 2 cups, and I reduced that amount to 1 cup.  I also added a few slices of hot red pepper and fennel sprigs.

Spoon the mix into clean mason jars. Divide up the remaining liquid into the jars, cover and put in fridge for 5 days. Then begin eating!  They will be good for months.

mason jars
Clean mason jars

The full recipe can be found here: Mamaw’s Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

cranberry sauce
Boiling the cranberries
Because I took ideas from more than one recipe, I need to write it down here.  Thanksgiving Day 2016 was spent in Florida, in my new home, with my two sons.

Because I didn’t have any cranberry sauce, but I had a bag of fresh cranberries, I made my own sauce.  Here’s how I did it.

Rinse cranberries and pick out defective ones.

Dump them into a pan.  Add 1/3 cup of water or cranberry juice (I used juice – real, not sweetened).  Add 1 cup of sugar.  I would cut down on the sugar, or use real Maple Syrup in it’s place.  One recipe called for syrup.  How I wish I was in NH where the syrup is plentiful.

Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Cook until it looks mushy.  Add orange juice – how much?.  (I had an orange so I squeezed the juice and added that.)

I also added some cinnamon.  

The sauce came out very tasty, if chunky.  I could strain the chunks out, but don’t have to. I plan to use this new recipe each Thanksgiving, even if I am the only one who will eat it.