Two Years: My Top 20 Recipes!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been TWO YEARS since I first created SlowCarbSnacktime. It’s been a long road learning how to eat properly and fuel my body, and there’s still a very long journey ahead, but it has been such an amazing and educational adventure so far and I’ve come up with so many healthy slow carb recipes along the way. There’s many more to come, but for now, I’m celebrating two years of SlowCarbSnacktime with my top 20 recipes.

All 20 of these recipes are grain, gluten, sugar, corn, potato, rice, and soy-free. Two recipes use some dairy, but I’ll make sure to note that in the list. I will also note paleo and whole30 compliant recipes (they are obviously all slow carb compliant). Items marked “vegetarian” are either vegetarian or can easily be made so by changing an ingredient such as swapping out chicken stock for vegetable stock.

  1. Amazeballs: Super Scallion Turkey Meatballs – paleo/whole30 – I used ground pork rinds instead of bread crumbs to give these meatballs the fluffiness they need without the carbs you don’t want.
  2. B^3: Butternut Bacon Bitespaleo/whole30 – It may take a few minutes to wrap these precious little pieces of squash in strips of bacon, but I promise it’s worth every second of your time.
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  3. Butternut Squeek Soupvegetarian, paleo/whole30 – There are few things better than a hot butternut squash soup on a cold winter day… this soup with butternut squash plus leeks is one of them.
  4. Chicken Liver Mousse – dairy – Okay, I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot of butter in this recipe, but it is one of the easiest things to make for a classy dish to stun your guests without sacrificing protein. Also tastes great with eggs for breakfast, or by itself on a very large spoon…

    Beautifully set. Dig in!

    Beautifully set. Dig in!

  5. Decontamination: Ginger Chicken Souppaleo/whole30 – The perfect comeback to any cold, my chicken soup is infused with a ton of ginger to help combat the ickiest of feelings. A favorite of my dad’s to fight back against chronic sinus infections.
  6. Duck Duck Asparaguspaleo/whole30 – Crispy asparagus oven-roasted in duck fat. The way to my heart is through my stomach.
  7. Easy Peas-y: Split Pea Soup w/ Sausage – One of The Boyfriend’s favorites, I boil the sausage in chicken stock and then use that stock in the soup. So rich, so good.
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  8. “Gazpacheaux” Gazpachovegetarian, paleo/whole30 – This cold tomato soup is a perfect snack to beat the summer heat or spoon into shot glasses for a classier kind of party.
  9. Hold the Sizzle: Fiery Chicken Fajitas – paleo/whole30 – This spicy little stir fry is a great option for a protein-packed dinner for two and tastes great with strips of beef too!
  10. Holy Crap! Garlic Soupvegetarian, paleo/whole30 – Over 20 cloves of garlic and a whole head of cauliflower into the pot for a super smooth, bright white soup.
  11. Kimchi Fried Cauli-Rice – paleo/whole30 – Cauliflower rice, kimchi, eggs, and bacon fat. What more could you want?
  12. Lamb Chop’s Play Along: One Baaaaad Burgerpaleo/whole30 – This ground lamb burger with fresh rosemary is so juicy, sticking it on a bun would just be a waste.
  13. Perfect ‘Stachio Guacvegetarian, paleo/whole30 – My copy cat version of the stunning guacamole at Jose Garces’ El Vez. Never pay $14 for guac again.
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  14. Red Lentils are Dal-iciousvegetarian – My take on a traditional Indian dal, prepared in a slow cooker using red lentils and a ton of fresh spinach. I crave this all the time and it’s a great dish entirely on its own, paired with a meaty protein, or even reheated in a pan with some eggs!
  15. Rosemary Bone Brothcrockpot, paleo/whole30 – This slow-cooked broth is made from beef soup/marrow bones and cooks on low for nearly two days to extract all the vitamin goodness from the bones. When it’s cold, it looks like jell-o, but warm it up for a mineral-packed cup of life. Seriously, I know how cheesy that sounds, just try it. It’s amazing.
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  16. Saturday Morning Shakshuka / Date Night Zoodlesvegetarian, paleo/whole30 – These two quick dishes pair great together for a meal so tasty, you won’t even realize there’s no meat!
  17. Sweet Hundos: Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomato Saucevegetarian, paleo/whole30 – This super easy tomato sauce is made with “Sweet 100’s” cherry tomatoes and is unlike any sauce I’ve tasted before. I just couldn’t get enough and ate half the jar with a spoon. Serve with just about anything.

    Mmm saucy!

    Mmm saucy!

  18. Top Secret Deviled Eggs / Devilish Egg Salad – My go-to potluck dish and an easy alternative for cravings at home.
  19. Tiny Viking Funerals – cheat day, dairy – Jalapenos stuffed with chorizo and cream cheese. A cheat day treat guaranteed to knock the socks off all your friends.
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  20. Whatsername Fish Tacos – Chickpea flour-crusted tilapia fillets and large lettuce leaves make for this delicate but delicious taco dinner. You won’t even miss the tortillas.
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Kimchi Fried Cauli-Rice

A few months ago, The Boyfriend and I took a little trip through Seattle and Vancouver, BC to celebrate his 30th birthday. While in Vancouver, we had the good fortune to grab seats at the bar at one of the renowned Guu Izakaya restaurants. The special that evening just happened to be kimchi fried rice with pork intestine… and we’ve been talking about it ever since.

There’s just something about fried rice – it’s both exotic and comforting, simple and complex. I could philosophize for ages, but let’s just get to the cooking.  I’ve made cauliflower rice before, so switching out regular rice for the cauli-good-stuff was no big deal. I had originally intended for this part of dinner to last us at least two days, but that just didn’t happen. Thankfully, cauliflower is packed with far more nutrients and other healthy goodies than rice so no real harm in filling up, other than the lack of leftovers. Guess I’ll just have to make it again!

Ingredients: 
1 large head cauliflower
8 oz kimchi
5 slices bacon (optional*)
3 large eggs
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste

Appliances/Special Equipment: 
Food processor or food mill
Large non-stick pan
1 small bowl

* if you are not using bacon for dietary or personal preferences, you will need about 3 tbsp of oil (avocado recommended) to replace the bacon grease.

Wash and clean the cauliflower, chop into medium-sized florets, and set on a paper towel to dry. Working in small batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor or run it through a food mill until it resembles rice (you can see the full length recipe in detailhere). Place cauliflower “rice” in a large microwave safe bowl, microwave for 60 seconds, and set aside.

Using a very sharp knife, chop 8 oz kimchi into smaller pieces (I make them just slightly larger than “bite size”) and set aside. Again using a sharp knife, slice bacon strips into smaller, bite-size pieces. Finally, using a fork or whisk, scramble three eggs together in a small bowl.

Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat (~ 8/10). Add about half of the bacon pieces, using tongs or a spatula to make sure they don’ t stick together. After about 2 minutes, add the rest of the bacon pieces – varying the cooking times makes for a fun change in texture and keeps everybody happy (The Boyfriend prefers the crispiest of bacon, I’m less excited by this). Continue cooking bacon for 3-5 minutes, stirring/flipping often to insure even cooking and that pieces don’t stick together.

Add all 8 oz of kimchi to the pan, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes or until cabbage begins to soften. Dump the entire batch of cauli-rice into the pan, stirring immediately so it’s not just sitting on top of the bacon and kimchi (it will start to burn this way). Continue cooking cauliflower mixture, stirring often, for about 7 minutes or until cauliflower begins to brown. Finally, dump the scrambled eggs over the cauliflower mixture, stirring/flipping all contents of the pan (so the eggs are fully incorporated) for about 3 minutes or until eggs are no longer raw.

Remove contents of pan to a large bowl and serve immediately.

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Render: Maximizing Bacon Fat

Half-eaten shot of the last batch. Practically perfect.

While I’m not particularly interested in the fake bacon flavor that seems to be found in everything these days, there are few things better than real, freshly cooked bacon. I love bacon, I really do, and now there’s a way to get some of that savory goodness every day without destroying your kitchen daily: rendering bacon fat. This is obviously not a new concept, I’m sure people have saved bacon grease since bacon was first discovered, but I struggled with the process for a while before I found a system that really works for me. If you have a fat rendering method that you love, more power to you, I’m just here to share my method for those still working on a way to cook with bacon grease on the regular.

Reserved bacon fat is excellent for quick meals like fried eggs or adding some flavor to simple dishes. Remember though, this will have a lower smoke point than other oils so if it’s crispy mushrooms you’re looking for, head for the olive or avocado oils.

Appliances/Special Equipment: 
2 medium-sized heat proof bowls (glass recommended)
1 medium-sized heat proof container with airtight seal (Pyrex recommended)
1 small-medium non-stick pan, at least 2″ deep
1 small fine mesh strainer (3″ – 4″)
1 pair heat-safe tongs (not plastic)

Ingredients: 
5 slices pork bacon, thick-cut (7 slices regular cut)

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Using a sharp knife, slice the bacon into small chunks – I usually keep the strips together when removing from the package and cut them all at once, 6-7 pieces per slice. Separate the pieces so they aren’t all stuck together.

Heat a non-stick pan, at least 2″ deep, over medium heat. Add bacon to pan and fry over medium heat, turning often with tongs, until all pieces are cooked through – the idea here is to render or melt as much fat as possible without burning the meat. I usually cook until the bacon is just slightly crispier than my personal preference (The Boyfriend will eat it all anyway).

Using the tongs, gently “shake off” excess fat from bacon pieces and remove them to heat-safe bowl. Place the mesh strainer over the second bowl and carefully pour the grease from the pan through the strainer into the bowl. Repeat by straining the grease from the bowl through the mesh into the heat-safe container. You should strain your bacon fat at least twice, as described above, but the more times you do it, the “purer” your fat will be – the fat in the photo above was strained three times.

Eat fried bacon pieces within 12 hours. Store rendered fat in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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Cheat Day: Bacon’d Date Bundles

Happy 2014! Big news here today, new year new ideas! After some deliberation with The Boyfriend, and a few tweaks to our personal slow carb journey, I’ve decided to expand SlowCarbSnacktime’s recipe arsenal. Lately we’ve been cooking more and more of our cheat day meals at home in an effort to consume less processed food, so in addition to the slow carb/gluten-free meals you’re used to seeing here, I will now also be adding some of my gluten-free Cheat Day recipes as well. Mostly this just means I will be using more ingredients like fruit, cheese, and other natural sugars. My focus has never shifted from preparing and consuming fresh, local, organic ingredients with minimal processing and I just felt like it was time to share my approach to Cheat Day as well. Realistically, I can only hold off on a Taco Bell craving for so long, but for the rest of the time it’s just as easy to avoid gluten and weird chemicals for Cheat Day as it is the rest of the week (plus this gives me a chance to test out all these great treats I’ve been dying to experiment with).

For our first Cheat Day adventure, I’m sharing a snack I made for our New Year’s Eve party. Pecan-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates. Yah, more bacon, couldn’t help it, sorry. These are great for cocktail hour, appetizers, date night, or even a quick snack. All you need is a box of dates (like I said before, Costco has everything)! I’m writing out this recipe with the quantities I used for our party (30 pieces for 12 people), but you can of course make more or less. Cooking time will remain the same.

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Ingredients: 
15 whole Medjool dates
1 lb bacon strips (regular cut)
30 whole salted, roasted pecans

Pre-heat oven to 400*F and cover a large baking shit with aluminum foil. Using a sharp knife, cut lengthwise down each date to remove the pit and separate into halves. Cut the bacon strips into halves as well – I just removed the whole thing from the package in one piece and did them all together to keep from stretching the fattier pieces too much. Press a pecan into the center of each date half, rounded side facing inwards, and wrap with a piece of bacon. Place on the baking sheet seam-side down.

Bake for 10 minutes. Flip bacon bundles over, secure with toothpicks, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until bacon is completely cooked through. Serve immediately.

Note: Before you roll your eyes at having to flip the dates over, I did try to bake them without this step before and it just doesn’t work. If you do not flip the pieces over, the dates will burn before the bacon is cooked through.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to photograph the completed dish because they were gone by the time I got the B^3 out of the oven. Guess I’ll just have to make them again!

B^3: Butternut Bacon Bites

No you didn’t read that wrong, it actually says butternut squash and bacon. Baconnnn. What a perfect little holiday treat! It took some time to put these guys together, but they made for an amazing cocktail hour at our “Chrismukkah” New Year’s Eve/housewarming party last night.

If I were making this just for The Boyfriend and myself, which I’m sure I will do in the future, I would probably peel and dice the squash myself. However, I needed to make a ton of them for our lovely little shindig so I managed to get some squash that was already peeled and diced. Costco has everything.

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Ingredients: 
~ 50 pieces peeled butternut squash, cut into 1″ cubes (I used about half of a 2lb container)
1 lb bacon strips
1.5 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp chili powder (to taste)

Pre-heat oven to 400*F and cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash cubes with 1 tbsp oil, salt, and chili powder.

Using a very sharp knife, cut the bacon strips into thirds – I just removed them from the package in one piece and did it all at once to keep from stretching the fat too much. Wrap each piece of squash with a piece of bacon, placing them seam-side down on the baking sheet.

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Bake the bites for 20-25 minutes or until squash is fork tender and bacon is crispy. Serve immediately.

Note: Squash can be wrapped a few hours ahead of time and stored in the fridge, but I would not recommend doing it the day before.

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Bacon + Dirty Eggs (for one)

baconDirty Eggs get their name from the “dirt” they pick up when being cooked in the same pan that you just made bacon in. Pretty simple recipe, I really don’t have that much to tell you.

Ingredients:
3-4 pieces bacon (be careful to make sure it doesn’t have sugar, I like _____)
2-3 eggs

Seasoning:
Chili Powder
Onion Powder
Salt
Pepper

Heat a large pan on high heat. Add the bacon, seasoning only the top side with chili powder. Cook bacon to desired level of crispiness and then place on a paper towel on a plate (to absorb excess grease). Save a few tablespoons of the bacon grease and dump the rest (or strain and save in your freezer). Do NOT wash the pan.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the salt, pepper, and onion powder. Add some of the bacon grease back to the pan (a few spoons will do) and add the eggs.
Cook scrambled eggs according to your regular recipe.

I am terrible at telling people how to cook eggs. Sorry.
Just do what I said and then eat them.