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Category Archives: Condiments and sauces

Gretchen’s Green Goddess and Carrot Ginger Dressings {Gluten-free, Low-carb}

Gretchen’s Green Goddess and Carrot Ginger Dressings {Gluten-free, Low-carb}
Green Goddess and Fresh Cucumbers

Green Goddess and Fresh Cucumbers

Making your own dressings is a much simpler endeavor than many people realize.You not only have absolute control over your ingredients which assures that there won’t be any allergens or unwanted additives, it’s also 100% better tasting and you can tweak it to your own personal tastes! Most will last a week in the fridge, and if you eat as many salads and veggies as we do, you’ll get through it in plenty of time!

GREEN GODDESS: Traditional Green Goddess dressing is actually not made with avocados, but when you have something as green, creamy and full of nutritional goodness as an avocado is, why not include it! This dressing is pretty zingy from the green onion and garlic, so if you prefer something a little calmer, just use less. My son is a huge fan of ranch dressing, and he LOVES this one. I used fresh parsley as the herb because that’s what I had on hand, but when my herb garden is flourishing this summer, I would also add tarragon, chives, or perhaps even make a version with Basil, as the Barefoot Contessa has done here, though I would still add my beloved avocado ๐Ÿ˜‰ And speaking of ingredients, I’ve discovered that not all sour cream is created equally (or healthfully!) Many have a long list of ingredients which include additives. The commercial brand I buy is Daisy, which contains only Grade A cultured cream. Yay, Daisy!! They get an A+ from me, and they get my business!!

Gretchen’s Green Goddess Dressing

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 1/2 C sour cream
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 C chopped green onions (white and light green parts)
  • 1/2 C chopped fresh parsley (or blend of herbs such as tarragon, basil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 C half and half if needed for consistency

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and process until smooth. Store in refrigerator in airtight container up to one week. Makes about 2 cups. (10g net carb per batch, 1.25g net carb per 1/4C)

Green Goddess, Carrot Ginger and Simple Salad

Green Goddess, Carrot Ginger and Simple Salad

CARROT GINGER: Most of us who have been to sushi or hibachi restaurants have tried their simple iceberg salad with a Carrot Ginger dressing (most likely eaten with chopsticks!). I’ve always enjoyed the color and spirited flavors, and decided to give this one a try as well. I did steam the carrots slightly to make them easier to blend in my Ninja, but if your machine is powerful enough, you could just use them raw. I don’t think this is an exact replica of the dressing, but we sure enjoyed it last night on a simple salad to accompany a Broccoli Beef stir fry! I use light olive oil in this recipe because extra virgin olive oil has a much stronger taste that I do not prefer with the other flavors. Of course, use whichever olive oil you like. I prefer to get the flavor from a little bit of sesame oil… just be aware, sesame oil has a very strong flavor, and a little goes a long ways!

Carrot Ginger Dressing

  • 3/4 C chopped carrot, lightly steamed
  • 1/2 C onion, diced
  • 2 Tb fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/2 light olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 5Tb rice vinegar
  • 1Tb tamari
  • 1/2 tsp sweetener (optional, I used Truvia)
  • 2Tb lemon juice

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to one week. Makes about 1.5 cups. (22g net carb for batch, about 1g net carb per Tb.)ย 

Carrot Ginger Dressing

Carrot Ginger Dressing

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Hollandaise Sauce…. Lemony, Buttery, Eggy Low-carb Goodness!

Hollandaise sauce is one of those treats that used to be a guilty indulgence, before embracing a lower-carb lifestyle that includes a healthy amount of fat. NOW however, there’s no reason to be afraid to serve it up to enhance even a weekday meal.

Haven’t had Hollandaise? It’s the sauce traditionally served with Eggs Benedict… you know, the fancy breakfast of an English muffin topped with a poached egg, Canadian bacon and that lovely lemony sauce? (To make it WB compliant, how about Instead of an English muffin, we use an All-in-one Bun?) We also love Hollandaise for dipping steamed artichoke leaves alongside a succulent grilled steak and a bottle of wine. Oh My!!

Parmesan-crusted pork medallions, roasted Brussels sprouts and sauteed mushrooms with a side of homemade Hollandaise sauce.

Parmesan-crusted pork medallions, roasted Brussels sprouts and sauteed mushrooms with a side of homemade Hollandaise sauce (with a few capers thrown in.)

It’s really fabulous with just about any vegetable, and last night it was a complement to roasted Brussels sprouts, Parmesan crusted pork medallions and sauteed mushrooms, MMMM! I wish I was having it again for lunch right NOW! Since the single batch of Hollandaise uses 2 egg yolks, I made use of the whites for dipping the pork medallions before dredging them in a mixture of grated Parmesan cheese (1/2C) plus a couple tablespoons of almond flour and seasonings, before pan frying them in coconut oil. (My son says that this is the perfect way to make pork chops, and that they should all be this way, haha.)

There are only 3 simple ingredients to Hollandaise sauce: egg yolks, fresh lemon juice, and butter! If you want to kick it up a bit you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper or stir in some herbs, but the basic recipe is… well, basic!

And yet many people I know (and BEWARE, MOST restaurants) use the packets you can purchase at the grocery store instead. Why? Well, I’m not sure exactly. I think there is a misconception that it’s a very difficult sauce to make. It does take a little attention, but it’s actually quite easy, even if you’re not a seasoned home chef. Personally, I almost always have these simple ingredients on hand.

So, what are the ingredients in packaged Hollandaise? Let’s see…

hollandaise sauce mix.ashxMcCormick Hollandaise Sauce Mix:

WHEAT STARCH, CORN MALTODEXTRIN, WHOLE EGG SOLIDS, EGG YOLK SOLIDS, YEAST EXTRACT, SALT, ONION, SPICES (INCLUDING MUSTARD, PAPRIKA, TURMERIC), SOY LECITHIN, CITRIC ACID, AND NATURAL FLAVOR (INCLUDING LEMON EXTRACT).

Hmmmm…. looks like toxic sludge for those of us who are avoiding grains!

Here is the simple recipe that I always use for Hollandaise from Betty Crocker (I have added a few small edits in italics.), though there are many variations of the recipe, using different ratios of egg, lemon juice and butter, as well as some that first clarify the butter. This recipe is heavier on the lemon than many others, which is how we prefer it. I’ve made this many, many times and it’s always turned out perfectly and gets devoured ๐Ÿ˜‰

Classic Hollandaise Sauce

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup firm butter (cut into small chunks)

In small saucepan, stir egg yolks and lemon juice briskly with wooden spoon (I use a whisk.) Add half the butter; stir over very low heat until butter is melted.
Add remaining butter, stirring briskly until butter is melted and sauce thickens. (Be sure butter melts slowly as this gives eggs time to cook and thicken the sauce without curdling.) Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

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Coconut Shrimp {Grain-free and Low Carb}

Coconut Shrimp, Gluten and Grain Free!

Coconut Shrimp, Gluten and Grain Free!

 

This is a super simple recipe that is great for coconut shrimp, but it’s also wonderful for chicken strips or anything else that you may want to pan fry without traditional grain flours. The main ingredients in the “breading” are almond flour, shredded coconut and grated Parmesan cheese, and while I will give you the proportions that I used, feel free to tinker with the ratios to your own liking! I added a little Old Bay seasoning to compliment the seafood flavor I was after, but many times I will use my own seasonings such as garlic powder, fresh cracked pepper, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, or whatever you prefer. This is less sweet than many versions of coconut shrimp I’ve had in the past, but my palate prefers it that way. If you’d like it sweeter, just add a little sweetener (such as Swerve or Truvia)ย  to the dry ingredients.

I splurged a little on carbs when it comes to the marmalade dip, but it’s much lower than a traditional dip. Using the low sugar marmalade, and mixing in some butter and sriracha (hot sauce) will give you the flavor without the usual high carb content. If you want to stay Wheat Belly compliant, skip the sauce!

We love shrimp, and I much prefer to buy it raw than pre-cooked. We don’t have easy access to fresh seafood where we live, but frozen is great as well. When I peel the shrimp (after thawing), I like to leave the last tail section in place, but remove everything else. To devein, run a sharp knife along the backside of the shrimp, removing the dark vein. To butterfly, as I do for this recipe, remove the vein and then slide the knife a little deeper to open up the shrimp, but be careful not to cut all the way through. Here is a 25 second video demo in case you need a little visual to help!

Coconut Shrimp

Egg mixture and breading

Egg mixture and breading

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, butterflied and patted dry
  • 1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 C shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 C almond flour
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (or seasonings of your choice if altering)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • coconut oil for pan frying

Directions:
Combine the Parmesan cheese, almond flour, shredded coconut and seasonings; set aside.

Frying shrimp in batches

Frying shrimp in batches

Beat together eggs and mayonnaise. Heat coconut oil in a skillet (I used our new ceramic coated non-stick, which rocked!) over medium-high heat. Dredge each shrimp in the egg mixture, removing excess against the side of the dish, and then press into the almond flour mixture to coat. Place each shrimp into the hot oil, cooking about 3 minutes per side, turning once. Cook in batches, moving shrimp as needed to ensure even browning. Remove to plate to cool. Serve with marmalade dip if desired.

A plate of shrimpy goodness!!

A plate FULL of shrimpy goodness!!

ย 

Low-Carb Marmalade Dip

  • 1/4 C reduced sugar marmalade, melted
  • 1/4 C melted butter
  • dash of sriracha or other hot sauce

Combine all ingredients and serve with coconut shrimp.

Healthy fried food is possible!

We don’t have fried foods very often, but late on a Saturday night, using healthy coconut oil, this was perfect!!

 

 

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Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Shirataki Noodle Salad

 

Either you like crispy chicken skin, or you don’t… we DO! Mmmmm! It’s such a wonderful combination of texture and taste, and a good source of healthy fats. So, for the crispy-skin-lovers out there, I hope you enjoy this simple chicken recipe!

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Salad

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Salad

Most of the recipes I post here are for foods that traditionally contain wheat or high carbohydrate content, and that have been modified to fit into a grain-free, low-carb way of eating. This tends to include lots of baked goods… not because we eat lots of goodies (we don’t) but because that seems to be the hardest thing for people to convert within a new lifestyle.

This is a recipe that is just plain yummy, and it’s something I would have made in the pre-wheat-free days as well. If you enjoy a crispy skin on tender chicken, this recipe is a great base which can modified in numerous ways to fit the seasonings that you prefer or have on hand.

In this case, I was using Tamari, which is the gluten-free version of soy sauce, and it inspired me to season further with ginger, garlic powder, some fresh tarragon (because I had it on hand) and my homemade Gomasio. (If I’d had some green onion, I would have used it in place of the tarragon, but the tarragon was great!) Take note in the recipe that I pulled the skin back on the chicken to get the herbs and seasonings underneath. This helps to infuse the meat with wonderful flavor, and the skin to become nice and crispy, mmm. Don’t be afraid to mix up the flavors if you prefer lemon/garlic, blackened/cajun or any other combination you enjoy!

Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki Noodles

To accompany the chicken, I made a simple chopped salad of romaine lettuce, fresh avocado, cubed cucumber, shirataki noodles, slivered almonds and Gomasio, topped with a dressing I threw together that my husband ended up being crazy about. It’s very fresh tasting and was also an experiment in using the shirataki noodles in this way. Shirataki noodles are still a new ingredient to me, though I have been hearing about them for quite some time. They are in the refrigerated specialty section in some larger groceries, though they don’t carry them in my small town, so I picked some up when I was in a neighboring Kroger the other day. They are gluten-free and grain-free, and made of tofu, though I wouldn’t say that they have a tofu taste or texture. I quite liked them in this salad, and I also added some to a nice hot bowl of miso soup the other day, and enjoyed that as well!

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken quarters (thigh/leg)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup tamari
  • 2Tb each fresh tarragon and parsley, finely chopped
  • garlic powder to taste
  • powdered ginger to taste
  • gomasio to taste
Seasoning under the skin

Seasoning under the skin

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Gently separate the chicken skin from the meat (leaving it attached at the sides) and brush under the skin with the tamari, season with the herbs and spices as desired (except gomasio). Pull the skin back into place and brush the chicken on both sides with tamari, season with herbs, spices and tamari. Bake for 45 minutes at 375, rotating the pan partway through cooking. Raise temp to 425 degrees and cook for another 10 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165. Serves 4.

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Asian Inspired Salad with Shirataki Noodles

Chopped Salad

Chopped Salad

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 2 cups chopped romaine hearts
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 C slivered almonds
  • 1 bag shirataki noodles, rinsed and drained
  • gomasio to taste

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 2-3 TB tamari
  • juice of one lime
  • 2TB honey/ginger balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 TB sour cream
  • 1 tsp honey or sweetener to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1TB fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl, set aside. Combine all dressing ingredients, and use as desired on salad.

 

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Cream Soup Base… (you won’t believe it’s made from cauliflower!)

Cauliflower Cream for soup or sauce

Cauliflower Cream for soup or sauce in the pitcher of my Ninja. Hopefully you can see the very SMOOTH texture in this pic!

I never thought I would see a day that I counted CAULIFLOWER among my favorite vegetables.. and yet here I am! It’s actually one of my staple grocery items now, and I don’t want to be without it any more than I want to be without nut butter (egads… )

The problem turns out not to be that cauliflower was “icky”, but rather I’d never had the occasion to really get to KNOW Cauli. Before going on Wheat Belly, giving up grains and also going low-carb, I had only my trusty (high-carb) root vegetables and starches to rely on to thicken or act as a base for other toppings. The healthy head of off-white, cruciferous abundance was something I usually avoided at the store! I knew it was good for me, but if I was going that route, I’d grab broccoli or cabbage way before I’d reach for Cauli. If I had only known…

So here is one of the methods that will show you why I hold it with such high regard in my kitchen, and hopefully it’s something that you will try as well.

In my house we LOVE soup! Broths, chowders, stews… especially as cold weather becomes the norm, warming up with a bowl of homemade goodness is a cherished tradition! Well, most cream-based soups rely on a rue of flour or an addition of cornstarch to make them thick and creamy. Not this one!

To make this cream soup base, you will need:

  • A high-powered blender or food processor 
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cleaned, center stalk removed
  • 1/2C heavy cream
  • 1/2C cream cheese, softened 
  • Add-ins are optional and include shredded cheese,
    roasted garlic or other seasonings
  1. The first step is to steam the cauliflower on the stove top in a few inches of water. I use a covered stockpot because it’s easiest for me. I usually let it steam for 20 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is VERY soft. When it’s done cooking, strain it and let as much water drain out as possible. (Getting the cauliflower soft enough is essential to this method working.)
  2. Transfer cooked cauliflower to a high speed blender (I use my Ninja) or food processor. If your cauliflower is large or your bowl is small, you may have to do this in more than one batch. (This works with freshly steamed cauli, as well as with some that has been refrigerated for a few days.)
  3. Blend cauliflower until SMOOTH, adding 1/2C heavy cream as you go. (When I say smooth, I mean almost as smooth as pudding… like you can’t believe it’s actually cauliflower, “smooth”)
  4. When you’ve blended it to the right consistency, add the softened cream cheese and continue processing until all the small pieces are blended in as well.ย  Makes about 6C

That’s IT! Really.
Now that you have this incredible, thick, smooth Cauliflower Cream, you can use it in conjunction with a wide variety of soup recipes such as the (Easy) Creamy Veggie Soup with Bacon that I will be posting next. If you have a very small head of cauli, you may need to halve the other ingredients. I’ve had a giant farm-market head the last few times I’ve made this, and the quantities above were ideal.

If you want to use this as a cheese sauce over veggies or meat, you can add grated cheddar (or whichever cheese you prefer) to the smooth mixture while it’s still hot, and process until creamy again.

Mixing the Cauliflower Cream into a broth with veggies and bacon

Mixing the Cauliflower Cream into a broth made with veggies and bacon.

The method for making this into a creamy soup is to saute any other ingredients you may be using for your soup (such as bacon or other meat and veggies); add about 32oz of broth; simmer until all ingredients are cooked; stir in the cauli-cream and grated cheese if you will be using any. Voila! Creamy, thick, low-carb soup that can hide an entire head of cauliflower ๐Ÿ˜€ย  I plan to use this base to make clam chowder in the very near future (alas not today as my son is not a fan of foods that come from water.) I’ve used a variety of add-ins and may post updates using this base in the future. Flexibility in the grain-free kitchen is key!
Oh, did I say “hide”?….. Well, yes, cauliflower is one of MY favorites, but it is NOT a fave of my son… so this is an excellent means of kitchen camouflage! I think just about anyone would be hard-pressed to identify this as being made from veggies, even those who turn up their noses at the mere thought! If this describes you, and you give this a try… I’d love to hear what you think! Who am I kidding, I always love to hear your feedback ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Homemade Ketchup… Flavorful, Easy and Low Carb!

2 cups of Spicy Homemade Low-carb Ketchup!

2 cups of Spicy Homemade Low-carb Ketchup… We’re looking forward to sampling this on bacon, avocado cheeseburgers served on Oopsie rolls tonight!

Ketchup is one of those condiments that many people who have never counted carbs or worried about sugar content, may never have given a second thought. However, if you are among the growing number of people who are avoiding blood sugar spikes and keeping your daily carbs low, you know just how hazardous that red bottle in your fridge can be!

The Heinz Tomato Ketchup that I had in my fridge prior to following the Wheat Belly plan contains the following ingredients:

Tomato Concentrate, Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Salt, Spice, Onion Powder, Natural Flavoring.

The carb content is 5g per tablespoon. That may not seem huge, but when you are keeping your carbs between 20 and 50g a day, 2Tb would take up a whopping percentage of your daily allowance!

So, after looking (unsuccessfully) for a healthier option at the local grocery stores, I decided to make a ketchup that would be flavorful without all the sugar. The following is what I came up with… feel free to adjust your seasonings to suit your personal tastes, but everyone in my family was quite happy with the results of this recipe!

Spicy Homemade Low-Carb Ketchup

  • 12 oz can tomato paste (I used Hunt’s for 50g net carb)
  • 1/2C cider vinegar (I used Bragg’s with the Mother)
  • 1/2C water
  • 1Tb prepared poupon mustard
  • 1Tb Swerve (or sweetener of choice to taste)
  • 20 drops Stevia liquid (or additional Tb Swerve or alt. sweetener)
  • 1/2tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of ground allspice and clove
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
Blending homemade low-carb ketchup in my Ninja

Blending homemade low-carb ketchup in my Ninja!

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until the garlic and onion are liquified into the tomato mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Optional: heat in saucepan on stove and cook for several minutes to help “marry” flavors together.ย  Makes about 2 cups. (1Tb contains about 1.8g net carbs compared to 5g in Heinz)

 

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Thick Chops Roasted with Pesto Balsamic Marinade and Tomatoes

Pesto Balsamic Chops

Pesto Balsamic Chops

I just posted about making my annual pesto for the freezer, so that I can carry a bit of late summer with me in the kitchen all year long! Here is a recipe that I made with the pesto, just to show you how versatile it is as a seasoning. This is a very simple marinade because most of the work is already done by using the pesto, which contains basil, garlic, olive oil, nuts and Parmesan cheese. It’s also great on chicken or as a marinade for grilled meats and seafood (awesome on grilled shrimp!)

Thick Chops Roasted with
Pesto Balsamic Marinade and Tomatoes

  • Chops and tomatoes, ready for the oven.

    Chops and tomatoes, ready for the oven.

    3 large boneless pork loin chops
    (these were about 1 1/4″ thick or slightly more)

  • 1/2C fresh pesto (or frozen, thawed or jarred)
  • 1/4C balsamic vinegar
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes, roughly diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spread the tomatoes in a casserole dish and set aside.
  3. Combine pesto and balsamic vinegar; spread evenly over both sides of chops as well as the sides.
  4. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until meat reaches 165-170 using a meat thermometer (or to desired doneness.) Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes prior to serving. (Also great on the grill.) Serve topped with the roasted tomatoes.

I served this with a side of sauteed veggies including broccoli, purple cabbage and brussel sprouts. I’m sorry for not getting a better photo of this all plated up, but it was eaten too quickly! Very juicy and tender, and incredibly easy. Great for a busy weeknight when you don’t have a lot of time to spend on preparation!

Tender and delicious, Pesto Balsamic Roasted Chops

Tender and delicious, Pesto Balsamic Roasted Chops

 

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