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

Meatball and Zucchini Casserole

I made some meatballs the other day using the Keto Quick Bread in place of regular bread. Then I sliced the meatballs to add to my meatball and zucchini casserole.

Keto casserole ready to bake
Keto casserole with zucchini, meatballs and tomato sauce

Ingredients for the Casserole

  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced and not cooked
  • meatballs sliced, or cooked ground beef (about 1 pound)
  • shredded cheese – I used a combination of mozzarella and parmesan
  • homemade tomato sauce, or jar of sauce
  • 1 container fresh mushrooms, sautéed in butter / oil

Make the meatballs or cook the beef. Make the sauce. I used one can of organic, low sodium tomato sauce and added spices, a spoonful of sugar, some olive oil, and the cooked mushrooms. Slice and cook the mushrooms before adding to the sauce. Shred the cheese.

Put ghee or oil in the pan to prevent sticking and begin the layers. I put my layers in this way: half the zucchini, sliced meatballs, 1/2 half the sauce, 1/2 the cheese. I did this twice. My casserole dish is only a 1.5 Quart, I think – it’s small. Just double everything to make a larger casserole.

Layering the meatballs and zucchini
Layering the meatballs and zucchini

I enjoyed making this meal and it will last me a couple of days – with part of it put into the freezer for a later time.

Keto casserole
Baked

My casserole dish was too small so it bubbled over near the end of cook time. I baked it at 320 degrees for an hour. I wanted it to slowly simmer so it wouldn’t do this. I just about made it.

A longer bake time will help the flavors to mingle. I am happy with this meal. The mozzarella cheese I used was strange and turned into clumps, but the meal had lots of flavor and good healthy ingredients.

Meatball and zucchini caserole
Meatball and zucchini casserole is Keto friendly food

There are plenty of Keto meals floating around the internet to find and follow, but it’s not necessary to continually follow recipes. Once you have a grasp of what foods are low carb, meals like my casserole here can be made up with what’s on hand.

Another tasty tomato sauce casserole you might like is my Poblanos and Beef. The beef could easily be left out of this one.

Check out my Pinterest board where I save favorite Keto / low carb meals.

Eggplant and Pepper Casserole Keto Friendly

Eggplant and tomato sauce and cheese go together well. For my next Keto friendly casserole I am including these ingredients along with Poblano peppers.

Here it is ready to bake. Read on to see how I made this simple meal.

Eggplant casserole ready to bake
Small casserole with eggplant layered meal

Ingredients For the Casserole

First I sliced the one eggplant into thin slices. I layered them in a sieve and sprinkled with salt to pull out any bitterness. I’ve found varying advice about salting, and I never leave the salt on. Some places say the salt pulls out the water so the eggplant won’t be soggy. Some say it’s for bitterness.

Here’s what I do: layer with salt in a colander for 20 – 30 minutes. I then rinse and remove moisture between paper towels. I certainly don’t want salty eggplant. This seems to work fine for me and it hurts nothing.

how to treat eggplant
Eggplant ready to layer

Meanwhile I am cooking one can of organic tomato sauce and mixing in coconut sugar, basil, oregano, and whatever you like in your tomato sauce. It simmers on low while I fry the peppers.

Organic tomato sauce
One can works for this recipe

I let that simmer while I de-seed the peppers and brown them in ghee. I’m still not sure about what to do with these peppers, but adding them to a casserole is flavor-inducing. I discovered this in my ground beef casserole.

poblano peppers sautéed
Sautéed peppers

I also shredded a block of parmesan cheese. Using fresh parmesan is definitely the way to go. It has much more flavor and goodness than the powdered stuff in a canister.

Layer some sauce in the bottom, add a layer of eggplant, cheese, peppers and so on. My layers were created to use up all the ingredients with sauce and cheese for the top. It was covered with the glass cover that came with the dish and baked at 350 for 25 minutes.

This meal is Keto friendly, with no big-carb ingredients. It could be eaten with a Quick Keto bread, if you are still trying to get over the no-noodle and no-bread thing.

Keto friendly eggplant and poblano casserole
Little casserole for a low-carb diet

I’ll tell you that this eggplant casserole was totally delicious. I love my new little casserole dish, because what I bake is for my eating pleasure only, and it’s the perfect size. The dish does not have handles, so that is a bummer, but it’s small enough (1 1/2 quart) to be lifted easily.

I’ll probably freeze some of it for later.

Poblanos and Beef Casserole Keto Meal

I’m writing this recipe down so I can remember how to make it again. It began with the idea to make stuffed poblano peppers, but I decided to layer them in a casserole dish. These are not hot peppers. They are flavorful and relatively cheap to buy.

poblano peppers
Poblano peppers add flavor without heat

I seldom follow a recipe exactly, but the beef and peppers sounded good, so I began there. I bought Florida grown peppers and used ground beef from the local meat market. I also decided to add leftover stew beef (from cooking my broth) along with mushrooms, onions and garlic.

I’d cooked a spaghetti squash the day before and figured the two would work together. No pasta for me, and not for anyone on a Keto diet plan. But this meal would be delicious served over pasta as well.

spaghetti squash
Spaghetti squash

Making the Meal

Slice poblanos in half and remove seeds. Roast both sides of the peppers in oiled / ghee pan – cast iron. (It may not be necessary to roast the peppers, but I did it.) Place in the bottom of a rectangular casserole dish. The peppers added a wonderful flavor to this dish, so don’t skip them.

Cook ground beef and add chopped onion and garlic when the meat is nearly cooked. After cooking, remove meat and create a layer over the peppers.

Slice a whole container of mushrooms and cook with more onions and some garlic. When done, stir in one can of organic tomato sauce. Add a spoonful of sugar (coconut sugar next time?) to cut the acidity. Dash of spices, such as parsley, basil and oregano. Scoop this out and layer over the meat in the casserole dish.

Shred mozzarella cheese and sprinkle over the top. Bake (covered for part of the time – my cheese dried out) at 350 for 20- 30 minutes until bubbly.

Carbs in this meal, approximately

I estimate that there are approximately 46 grams of carbs in this entire casserole, which means a portion (1/8 of the dish) would contain around 6 grams total. Plus add in a cup of squash = 16 grams or so per serving. I could be off a little bit, but you get the general idea. This is a Keto friendly meal.

  • Ground beef – no carbs, 19 g protein
  • Mushrooms – yes, good for Keto
  • Poblano Peppers – 1 net gram in one pepper
  • Onions -have some carbs, 14 g in one onion – I used only a few slices
  • Garlic – 1 clove, .9 grams
  • Tomato sauce – Organic, 6 g in 1/4 cup
  • Mozzarella cheese – 1 gram or less per serving size
  • Spaghetti squash – 8-10 g, 1 cup
Keto ground beef casserole
This had excellent flavor

Because I am following a time restricted eating program, I only eat two meals a day. This one would be around a total of 22 grams of carbs. If I eat well at breakfast, I can stay under the 50 grams or less recommended for a Keto diet plan.

Photo credit for the squash and peppers goes to Pixabay.