Sunday, July 12, 2015

Chipotle's Guacamole

Sigh. I've gotten pretty damn lazy lately. Well, maybe not exactly LAZY, but I've gotten myself stuck in a repetitive cycle of basically eating the same few easy-to-prepare meals over and over again. One of my go-to lazy meals are simple tacos, served on low-carb tortillas. I vary up the meat, from baked fish to the standard ground beef, but I always have to have sour cream, a sprinkling of shredded cheese, fresh cilantro and guacamole. 

I've even gotten lazy with the guacamole, opting to buy the premade stuff instead of making it from scratch. Shameful, I know...

I also realized that I've never posted an actual guacamole recipe here before. I mean, I've posted various avocado recipes, from Sinh Tố Bơ to Chocolate Pudding, but never THE quintessential classic avocado recipe. 

Luckily, Chipotle recently revealed its recipe for their much-loved guacamole. Personally, as a long-term low-carber (over a year now!), I love knowing that I can indulge in Chipotle and still hit all of my macros - thanks to the burrito bowl, without rice or beans, topped with plenty of sour cream, cheese and that guacamole. I love their guacamole so much that I don't even know how much extra it costs, nor do I really care. 

So, since I've already meal-prepped a ton of taco meat for next week, it's guac time!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Slow-Cooker Cuban Picadillo

Picadillo is a classic Spanish/Latin American stew with ground beef, tomatoes, and plenty of rich seasonings. It's almost like a thick chili in texture, and can be eaten in so many ways - serve it Cuban style with rice and black beans, in tortillas or even as empanada filling. C is a huge fan of stuffed peppers, so he opted to use the leftovers to stuff some peppers for lunch!

I like the Cuban version; the sofrito is studded with peppers and garlic and tons of my favorite spice - cumin! Some versions also call for potatoes, but I've left those out in order to keep this dish lower-carb. Raisins and olives are also an integral part of the traditional recipe - I know, meat, olives and raisins sounds weird together, kind of like Rachel's Thanksgiving beef trifle from Friends, but trust me, IT WORKS.

Ideally, if you're going traditional, you'll want to use alcaparrado - this is a blend of green olives, pimentos and capers. You should be able to find it at most Hispanic markets and maybe in the Hispanic aisle of your regular grocery store. If you can't, just use regular green olives and everything will turn out just fine.

The raisins are a sweet element to offset the sour brine of the olives. I left them out this time, but they really do add a nice element to the whole dish.

I ate mine taco-style with (low-carb) tortillas, but enjoyed them the next morning plain and topped with a runny egg for breakfast :)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Baked Fish Tacos w/ Chili-Lime Slaw

I know, I's been a while since I've posted on here, and I'm really sorry about that. I've been obscenely busy lately, and I've also been doing a lot of meal planning/batch cooking over the weekend. C & I have been making a concerted effort to eat up what's in the deep freezer, so I haven't really made anything *new* lately. On a bright note, we have ended up WAY under budget on our grocery expenses over the last month or so. I did all of my weekly grocery shopping yesterday morning, and spent a whopping $55 for a week's worth of healthy, homemade meals!

That being said, it's Memorial Day weekend, which, for most people, means grilling out, going to the beach, etc. Basically it's how we kick off summer! Of course, THE most important thing about Memorial Day is to remember what it stands for (and please don't confuse it with Veteran's Day). So, while you're spending your long weekend with family and friends and enjoying that 3-day weekend, take a moment to remember those who gave their lives so we could enjoy this freedom. 

C and I always have individually-wrapped frozen fish filets in the freezer. I'm a salmon fan, and make my Easy Oven-Baked Salmon at least twice a month. He likes to keep cod on hand for Beer-Battered Fish & Chips as well as tilapia for fish tacos. We both like our fish tacos pretty simple - fish, slaw and tortilla, maybe with a squeeze of lime or a tiny bit of Creamy Salsa Verde. Usually he handles the fish tacos, lightly breading the fish and pan-frying it, but I decided to make it more low-carb by baking the fish and using some low-carb tortillas

This recipe is super easy - you don't have to deal with any messy, splattering oil. You can make the slaw while the fish is in the oven, or make it a few hours ahead of time. I made the slaw while preparing the fish marinade, about 4 hours before cooking.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mom's Cajun Cabbage

The last time I went up to my parents' house, Mom insisted that I try some cabbage that she made. I tasted a small sample, loved it, and got sent home with a Chinese takeout soup container full of it. It's not the prettiest dish, but it's damn tasty.

I let C, the cabbage fiend, try some, and he loved it as well. Needless to say, I HAD to get the recipe from Mom. I don't know if she found it online or in a magazine, or if she came up with it herself - she's like Chris in that she likes to wing it in the kitchen, rarely using a recipe or even measurements. 

Anyway, this couldn't be easier to prepare - you simply fry some fresh cabbage, then simmer it with stewed tomatoes and some Cajun or Creole seasoning. This recipe makes a lot, but the ingredients are dirt-cheap!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs in Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Sometimes a dish just comes together and completely blows your expectations away. Like, you expect the preparation to be time-consuming or a hassle, or you worry about a sauce not thickening enough, and then everything falls into place and just ROCKS. 

That's what happened with this dish. It all started with a REALLY good sale on chicken thighs ($0.99/lb). I stumbled upon this recipe, realized it would be low-carb, and then realized that I had everything on hand except for the chicken thighs and sun-dried tomatoes.

The one thing that went wrong? I could NOT find sun-dried tomatoes in oil at several stores (looking at you, Target, Winn-Dixie and Wal-Mart). I finally found them at Publix...but anyway, back to this incredible chicken...

The thighs are seared in hot butter, then removed from the skillet. Using the remaining butter and pan juices, you make an incredible cream sauce with just a sprinkling of herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, and heavy cream. The partially-cooked thighs are returned to the pan and then finished in the sauce. The sauce is what really makes this dish - the meat retains so much moisture (without being greasy) and the sauce is amazingly rich without being heavy.

Since the chicken is finished in the oven, you obviously will need to use a large ovenproof skillet - I used a vintage Wagner Ware 12" and it fit 8 chicken thighs perfectly!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Blueberry Chia Jam

Last summer, C & I bought BUCKETS of Alabama-grown blueberries from the Pepper Place Farmer's Market here in Birmingham. They freeze great, and we've enjoyed them for months - he likes them on Greek yogurt, we made numerous lemon pound cakes with blueberries, and I've now realized that that make pretty darn good jam.

Speaking of jam, I've posted a few jam/jelly recipes here before, and all of them are 'old school' recipes. Meaning, yes, you'll need to use a boiling water bath and can them for food safety. Not everyone wants to deal with this hassle, especially if you want to make a small batch of jam, right? Also, dealing with pectin can be a pain, and most homemade jams and jellies have TONS of sugar. 

If you want a lazier, but still tasty jam, keep reading. This recipe uses chia seeds, that awesome little superfood, to naturally thicken the jam. You only need a minimal amount of sugar (and can easily substitute erythritol for low-carb, honey for paleo, and agave for vegan), about 10-15 minutes of cook time, and that's it!