Category Archives: Low carb

Spicy Zucchini Blossoms (fried)

I’ve seen fried zucchini blossoms on TV many times but have never tried making them at home. I planted a zucchini plant this year and it’s really doing well.  We’ve gotten several large zucchini’s so far and I decided to try something different and fry up some blossoms.

I started with making a beer batter which I added Sriracha to in order to spice it up a bit.

Zucchini Blossom Ingredients:

1 dark beer (I used Yuengling)
6 Zucchini blossoms
1 cup flour
salt
1 Tbls Sriracha

Zucchini Blossom Method:

Heat a skillet with about 1 inch vegetable oil. Heat to 350 degree.

In a bowl, add flour, salt, beer and Sriracha. Mix into a batter. Once the oil is heated, dip each blossom into the batter to fully coat.

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Fry to crispy golden brown, turning once during frying

imageThese are an excellent appetizer or could be served as a side.

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Visit http://www.sundaywithachanceofmeatballs.com for more great recipes!

Ciao, Mike.

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Zucchini Lasagna

If you love lasagna but don’t love the carbs, this dish is for you!!

Zucchini Lasagna Ingredients:
3 Medium Size Zucchini
4 cups spaghetti or marinara sauce (see below for link to recipe I used)
15 oz Ricotta Cheese
1 Bunch Fresh Spinach
1 Egg
2 cloves fresh garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh basil (finely chopped)
1 lb ground beef
8 oz fresh mozzarella
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella (or mixed Italian cheese)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tbls garlic powder
Fresh ground pepper

Zucchini Lasagna Method:

Pre-heat a gas grill to 350 degree.

Start by slicing the zucchini lengthwise in 1/4 in pieces. I use a mandolin but you can cut  these by hand if you don’t have one.

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Salt the slices and set aside for 10 minutes.  This allows the moisture to come out of the Zucchini. Don’t skip this step or the dish will be moist and soggy. After 10 minutes, use a paper towel to pat each zucchini piece dry.

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Heat a pot of water until boiling. Add the spinach to the boiling water for approximately 30 seconds. Remove and rinse under cold water. Press all the water out of the spinach using a paper towel and chop the spinach. Set aside.

Brown the ground beef along with basil and garlic. Drain after beef is browned add a cup of sauce, stir and set aside.

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Combine the Ricotta, Egg, Garlic Powder and Spinach. Put in refrigerator until ready.

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Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the Zucchini on the grill and cook each side for approximately 2 minutes. This step pulls additional moisture  out of the Zucchini.

Place the Zucchini on a baking dish covered in a paper towel when done grilling and set aside.

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In a 9 by 9 baking dish, add a cup of spaghetti sauce and cover the bottom with a layer of the Zucchini.

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Coat the top of the Zucchini with another cup of Sauce and add a layer of the ricotta mixture, ground beef and shredded mozzarella cheese. add chunks of fresh mozzarella but use sparingly (as shown).

Repeat this for another layer. then top with another cup of sauce,  parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella and finish with fresh mozzarella.

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Bake in the oven uncovered for approximately 50 minutes or until golden brown. I add a backing sheet on the second rack to catch anything that drips during cooking.  Remove and let stand for no less than 10 minutes. Slice as you would a lasagna and serve!!

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Spaghetti Sauce Recipe:

Visit the link below for the spaghetti sauce recipe and method I used and for more great recipes!!!

https://sundaywithachanceofmeatballs.com/2014/03/01/meatballs-and-spaghetti-sauce/

Ciao, Mike!

Baby Back Ribs – Oven then grilled

For years I have tried to do ribs many different ways but I’ve realized that the best way is to not over think them and simply cook them low and slow with your favorite rub and BBQ sauce.  Finishing them on the grill gives them an extra special crust and great additional flavor.

One important item for making ribs is to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs before seasoning and cooking them. I found this video on a great technique for making the removal easier.

After removing the membrane, rub the ribs with a good rib rub and refrigerate them for at least 2 hours. You can leave them up to 24 hours if you wish. I use Szeged brand and they come out great but any rub will do. Simply follow the instructions on the package. Szeged claims to be the “worlds best” on the package and I agree!

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Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees.  Cut the slab of ribs into two smaller slabs and place them into a roasting pan and coat with your favorite BBQ sauce.   Cover them with a lid or foils and put them into the oven for at least 4 hours. The longer the better!!

You want the bones to be pulling away from the meat as seen below, that’s how you know they are done!!

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Remove them from the oven and put them on a hot grill and coat with more BBQ sauce, turning a few times as you coat the ribs with BBQ sauce.  You want to create some char marks and then coat in BBQ sauce for that extra added flavor.

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I like to serve these with Texas Toast and corn on the cob!!!

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Visit http://www.sundaywithachanceofmeatballs.com for more great recipes and methods!

Ciao, Mike

Sausage and Peppers

This dish has become my go to dish for game day or main events. It’s a good luck meal for any of my favorite sports teams.  I have made this no less than 100 times and I have yet to have any left over when the night is over! It’s a hit time after time!

Sausage and Peppers Ingredients:
1 lb sweet sausage
1 lb hot sausage
1 large Onion (sliced)
2 green bell peppers (sliced)
3 banana peppers (sliced)
4 cloves of garlic (chopped in large pieces)
1 tbls olive oil
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

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Sausage and Peppers Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cut the sausage into 1 inch pieces (about 5 per link)

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Add the sausage to a baking dish and top with sliced peppers, onions and the chopped pieces of garlic.

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Drizzle olive oil over the sausage, and add fresh ground black pepper.  Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil, stir to mix all ingredients evenly and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

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This is great on a good bun as a sandwich!

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Visit http://www.sundaywithachanceofmeatballs.com for more great recipes!

Ciao, Mike!

 

 

 

 

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

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When there is so much bad weather across the country there is only one thing to do….make soup!! And vegetable soup is my favorite. This posting is a real challenge for me because, although I’ve made vegetable soup many times, I’ve never used a recipe. So this time I made it and took notes and this is what I ended up with. I don’t think you can mess up vegetable soup if you keep things basic, but with a few easy techniques, it can be an amazing meal.  I only served this recipe to three people and two of them told me it was the best vegetable soup they have ever eaten! I was the third and I agree! Enjoy!

Chicken and Vegetable Soup Ingredients:
2 Chicken Breasts
48 oz chicken broth (low sodium)
2 cloves Garlic(minced)
1 Celery stock (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
1 medium onion (diced)
1 can whole tomatoes (14.5 oz can) – (chopped)
1 cup frozen peas, corn and green beans
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbls crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
Optional, but important: 1 tbls Morton’s Season Salt

Chicken and Vegetable Soup Method:

I am making the short version of this soup by using chicken broth. If you want to be adventurous, simmer a small chicken in a pot of water for 2 hours, pull the chicken out of the pot and let cool. Strain the broth and reserve the liquid and cool the chicken and pull the meat and replace for the chicken breast in this recipe. I did a poach on 2 chicken breast because it’s much quicker and does not compromise the taste.

Poach the chicken breast in a pot or pan by covering it and simmering for about 30 minutes or until the breast is 165 internal temp.

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While the chicken is cooking cut up the  vegetables. I like traditional vegetable soup ingredients so I use celery, carrots, and onion. (Use what you like!)

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I start by heating a dutch oven to medium/high head and adding the garlic for about 30 seconds, then adding the celery, carrots and onion. I sweat the vegetables on medium heat until the onions are clear. This is key to this dish: add the crushed red pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the chicken broth. Cook for 20 minutes on medium heat.

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When the chicken is cooked through, remove it and let cool for a few minutes and chop into similar size as the vegetables and add all of the remaining ingredients including all frozen vegetables.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, add Morton’s salt and pepper. If you like a more creamy soup you can run an immersion blender through the soup for a minute , but I like it chunky with a bite!

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Ciao! Mike.

Crab Stuffed Sole Roulade

I have to admit I copied much of this recipe from Emeril. I made the essence of Emeril seasoning mix and used it exactly as described. It was fine, but a more basic salt, pepper and paprika with my own secret ingredient (in almost everything I make!), Morton’s Season Salt, would have been better. The cayenne added too much heat for my guests and I’m not a big fan of oregano (un-Italian?).  I would also eliminate the crackers and go with straight crab meat and veggies for the filling! Maybe add a little breadcrumbs, but do it sparingly. I also used Sole instead of Flounder, but any mild white fish will do!

Crab Stuffed Sole Ingredients:
3 tbls unsalted butter
1/2 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
1 1/2 teaspoons Essence (replace this with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika if you have Morton’s Season Salt, use it in place of the onion and garlic powder)
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced celery
2 tablespoons minced green bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon hot sauce of your choice
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (Progreso Italian Style)
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
4-6 large Sole fillets or any white fish will do! Skinless and boneless
2 lemons, 1 cut into thin slices and 1 cut into wedges for serving
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, for drizzling over

Crab stuffed Sole Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a shallow baking dish with butter and set aside.

Place the crabmeat in a large bowl and season with 1 teaspoon of the Essence (replace with my spice mix described above) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a medium skillet, Melt 2 1/2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the parsley and the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add the cooled vegetables to the crabmeat and toss gently to combine. Add the mayonnaise, beaten egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce and stir gently. Mix the Progreso Italian Style breadcrumbs into the mixture gently.

Season each fish fillet with 1/2 teaspoon of Essense (or my replacement!). Divide the crabmeat filling evenly among the centers of the fish fillets and, using your hands, roll the fillets up to encase the filling.

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Place the fillets, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the Panko breadcrumbs evenly over the tops of the fillets. Drizzle with the melted butter. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs become golden brown.

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Ciao! Mike.

Makin’ bacon!

A bad piece of bacon (yes, it’s possible) can ruin a dish as much as a good piece can enhance it!! I know this may seem basic, but bacon adds so much to many dishes that I don’t think it can be taken for granted. Bacon can be baked, microwaved, or cooked many other ways, but the best, most effective (in my opinion!), is to fry it, You could just throw it in a pan and fry it and it would be just fine, but I have found that if you spend time with it, care for it while it’s in the pan, you will get the best results.

The first thing you should do is select a good quality bacon. I Like the thick cut. It cooks more evenly and is much easier to handle. It can be more expensive, but I pick it up on sale. It keeps for months so why not?

Start by heating the frying pan on high for about a minute, then turn it down to medium/high. Add the bacon but don’t overcrowd it. 6-7 strips for a large size skillet. I added fresh cracked black pepper to mine! You will love it!

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One key step is to turn the bacon as soon as it starts to fry. This stops it from curling and helps it to cook evenly!  (Add fresh cracked pepper again to get some great flavor!). Turn the bacon often to avoid burning and to ensure it cooks evenly. Don’t leave the stove. Be careful to ensure it doesn’t burn. (If you are lazy or busy doing other things, you can line a sheet pan with parchment and lay the bacon side by side and bake in the oven at 375 degrees’ – turn once about 8 minutes in and cook for 15-20 minutes-turning more often will get best results!, just like it is in a frying pan!).

When frying, move the inside strips to the outside to ensure even browning and crispness.

This step is key: only fry it until it starts to “froth”. You can see it in this picture!

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Once they froth, remove them from the pan and let them sit on a paper towel for a few minutes! Turn them over when all are removed to minimize the grease!

Add the bacon to any of your favorite recipes. I added them to my turkey burger tonight! Low carb, delicious and flavorful!!

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Ciao, Mike!