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Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Spinach, Mushrooms and Goat Cheese, Wrapped in Bacon {Gluten-free, Low-carb}

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Spinach, Mushrooms and Goat Cheese, Wrapped in Bacon {Gluten-free, Low-carb}
Bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken

Bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken

I don’t know if low-carb, grain-free eating gets much better than this! Beautiful skinless, boneless chicken breasts stuffed with soft chevrie goat cheese, spinach, mushrooms, walnuts and wrapped in bacon… ohmygosh! And to top it off, it’s easy-peasy πŸ™‚ I enjoy recipes that use ingredients that I typically have on hand, or that can be modified easily.

This was a meal that I shared just with my husband on a weekend night at home while our son was spending time with friends, so we used ingredients we really enjoy like mushroom and spinach. (Yay, kitchen time together!)…I think next time I make this for all of us, I will let my son decide what to put inside his, so that he can enjoy as well. Why does pepperoni, tomato, basil and mozzarella come to mind?! πŸ˜‰ Β  Good for 2 of us, I also think that it would be great for a primal-ish dinner party, or even cut up in sections as an appetizer.

Normally, I do keep the skin *on* my chicken as a source of healthy fats, but in this case, I was happy to go without in exchange for some bacon-y goodness!! The filling was easy and could be tweaked in many ways to your own personal tastes (and pantry). I took several pictures along the way to show the process, but to be honest, the recipe amounts will just be a guess, as I made it up as I went along (as usual.) In other words, stuff it with whatever you want! The amount of stuffing you need will vary by the size of the chicken breast, so keep that in mind if you need to add a little more. The minced pork rinds are a great substitute for bread crumbs as a binder in stuffing recipes.

 

Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Wrapped in Bacon (serves 2-4)

Spinach Filling

Spinach, garlic, mushrooms, onion, and walnuts for the filling

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (butterflied open)
  • coconut oil or butter
  • 1/2 C frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 small onion, diced (1/4C or so)
  • 3 mushrooms, sliced thinly (used crimini, baby bellas)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4C pork rinds, finely chopped
  • 1/4C chopped walnuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3oz soft goat cheese such as chevrie
  • 6-8 slices raw bacon
Spinach Filling

Chicken breasts: butterflied and filled.

Directions: Preheat oven to 400. Prepare filling ingredients: I put the frozen spinach and chopped onion in a microwave-safe bowl, salt lightly, cover with wrap and microwave on high for about 5 minutes and then drain, but you can saute if you choose not to use a microwave (I just like the gentle sweetness of the onions steamed this way, and I can multi-task.) Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms and garlic in butter or coconut oil until done. Add the cooked spinach and onion, heat through, add the walnuts and pork rinds to complete the stuffing.

Wrapping in bacon

Wrapping in bacon

Lay out each butterflied chicken breast, salt and pepper to taste. Use 1/4 of the cheese on each breast, placing it near the center. Top each with 1/2 the stuffing mixture and the remaining cheese (if you have too much stuffing, don’t use it all.). Carefully fold each breast in half, keeping the stuffing in place with your fingers. Carefully wrap each breast in bacon strips, one at a time, spiraling around, making sure to cover all the stuffing. Bake on a cookie sheet (I used a silicone mat on mine) for about 20-25 minutes, (flipped chicken halfway through bake time.) I then broiled the tops for about 3 minutes per side to ensure bacon was cooked completely, but you may find that baking alone is fine.

 

In the pictures shown, I have a side salad of fresh spinach, tomatoes, swiss cheese topped with a simple vinaigrette of 2Tb warm bacon fat, 2Tb balsamic vinegar and 1Tb orange juice with a touch of tarragon, salt and pepper.

Stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon, and simple spinach salad.

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Low-carb Dark Chocolate Nut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Grain-free, Gluten-free, Low-carb}

Low-carb Dark Chocolate Nut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Grain-free, Gluten-free, Low-carb}
Low-carb chocolate nut cake with cream cheese frosting

Low-carb chocolate nut cake with cream cheese frosting

Β 

This recipe has been awhile in the tweaking stage, but I think I’ve got a winner now πŸ™‚

I do love dark chocolate. I always have, but perhaps even more so since ditching the wheat and going low-carb… as dark chocolate is one of the few sweet indulgences I still make in my healthy lifestyle. This cake is moist, rich, tasty, low in carbs and delicious enough to have for special occasions, while being simple enough to prepare for no reason at all!

 

Grain-free, low-carbers, Rejoice! 16 pieces will give you:

  • About 3g net carbs per slice without chocolate chips
    (4.25g with cream cheese frosting )
  • About 6g net carbs with chocolate chips
    (7.25 with cream cheese frosting)

The recipe is one that I evolved from my Pumpkin Maple Spice Muffins (which are truly awesome by the way, if you haven’t tried them yet!) The nut butter and pumpkin puree in the batter seem to really add to the moistness. I threw in some walnuts and a few chocolate chips, which made it even yummier, but those are optional of course. These would also work great as cupcakes or muffins, but I rarely make cake, so am happy having a slice with my coffee this morning πŸ˜€ While this was yummy when fresh, I find it’s much better when it’s been refrigerated overnight, as the frosting firms up and the cake takes on a fudge-y richness. It reminds me of the zucchini fudge cake my mom used to make back in the wheating days πŸ˜‰

Low-carb Chocolate Nut Cake

Adding wet ingredients into dry

Adding wet ingredients into dry

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 C almond flour
  • 2 Tb coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C dark cocoa powder
  • 6 Tb Truvia or other sweetener to taste
Prepared pan

Prepared pan

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 C nut butter (I have used both cashew and almond butters)
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 2/3 C pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 C half-n-half, coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1/4 C melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 Tb vanilla extract
Smooth batter on top

Smooth batter on top

Add-Ins:

  • 1/2 C dark chocolate chips (I used 60% cocoa Ghirardelli)
  • 1 C chopped walnuts, pecans or nuts of your choice

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake pan or cupcake pan with liners. (Note: I used a 10″ springform pan, greased with butter, the bottom lined with a parchment round, and dusted with gluten-free flour to prevent sticking.) In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients; set aside. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, and add other wet ingredients one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add wet ingredients into dry, and combine completely.

Cooling before frosting

Cooling before frosting

Stir in nuts and chocolate chips if using them. Fill cake pan with batter, taking care to smooth out the top a bit, as this batter is not self-leveling. Bake for a total of 35-45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through bake time to ensure even cooking. Remove to rack to cool. If splitting one cake into 2 layers as I have done, cool completely before attempting to cut cake. Frost with Cream Cheese frosting or serve plain.

 

 

Rich, thick cream cheese frosting

Rich, thick cream cheese frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 3/4 C butter, softened
  • 1/4 C Truvia or other sweetener to taste
  • 2 blocks cream cheese, softened (16 oz total)
  • 1 Tb vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tb half-n-half or cream if needed

Directions: In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat butter until lightened. Add sweetener and beat until well mixed and light. Add cream cheese, one block at a time, beating completely to ensure a fluffy frosting. Mix in 1Tb vanilla if desired. Add liquid if needed for desired consistency, and mix well. Be sure cake is cooled completely before frosting.

Very moist, rich and filling!

Very moist, rich and filling!

 

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COCONUT FLOUR TORTILLA! {Grain-free, Gluten-free}

Coconut flour tortilla with cheeseburger filling for lunch, YES!

Coconut flour tortilla with cheeseburger filling for lunch, YES!

 

I don’t do a lot of bread replacements, but I will definitely be using this one again. In fact, after I cooked it, and it was a success, I looked at it –blankly– for a bit, trying to figure out what to put in it, because my mind doesn’t even *think* in terms of sandwiches anymore!!

This is a recipe from www.freecoconutrecipes.com which is part of the Tropical Traditions coconut product website. I will probably tweak this a little after I have made it a few times, but as a basic recipe to work from, it ROCKS! I want to share this now because there are some who rely a lot on tortillas and wraps, and this might make your day a little easier and the switch to grain-free eating a little less scary.

 

Click for COCONUT FLOUR TORTILLA RECIPE.

It’s somewhere between a tortilla and a crepe, and was even sturdy enough for burger fillings! There’s no question it would be good with sweet dessert-type fillings as well, like sweetened cream cheese and berries, mmmm. I’ve been wanting to focus more on using coconut flour because almond flour can be a little harsh for my digestion, so this is perfect. KEEPER, thank you to my Facebook friend for posting this on her page, made my day!
 

 

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Sinfully Healthy EASY Chocolate Pudding (with a secret “super” ingredient!)

Sinfully Healthy EASY Chocolate Pudding (with a secret “super” ingredient!)

Silky, rich, creamy and nostalgic! Chocolate pudding has been enjoyed by many since childhood, but the varieties that we can purchase at the store in single-serving containers or powdered box form pretty much all contain ingredients that we either don’t want in our healthy diet, or worse yet, don’t even recognize!

The following is a recipe that I lifted from my Facebook friend, Carol (with her permission, of course!) and that she adapted from this one that is surely delicious, but is higher in carbs. Thank you, Carol! She has shared it freely on the Wheat Belly Facebook page, and it has gotten rave reviews from just about everyone who has tried it, including ME! It’s so simple, low-carb and borderline genius, that I had to share it with my readers here, because I believe everyone should know how to make it!

By now most of us know how many benefits there are to including avocados in our diets, and this is yet another way to use them, albeit somewhat anonymously πŸ˜‰ . The upside is also that I used a VERY ripe avocado (ummm questionably ripe), and it still turned out amazingly good! This can be vegetarian, sugar-free and dairy-free, though I made it with organic vitamin D milk.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Easy Healthy Chocolate Pudding made with Avocado!

I think that there is a lesson to be learned with this recipe and others like it…
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX when it comes to including healthy ingredients in our diet.
Some foods that we may not be crazy about in their original form, can be incredible when used in unexpected ways. Avocado and cauliflower are two that come to mind right away. My recipe for cauliflower cream (soup base) is similar, in that it takes a mild food (that many don’t care for), that also has many nutritional benefits and changes it into something neutral that capitalizes on texture more than anything else.

Carol’s Chocolate Avocado Pudding/Frosting

  • 1 medium avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sweetener (like xylitol)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 T. unsweetened almond milk (or any type milk you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Better if made an hour or so ahead. Stores well for several days. If large avocado, increase other ingredients accordingly. A few drops of peppermint extract can be added if desired.

To use as frosting, omit milk.

(Notes: I made a double batch, used dark cocoa, regular milk and slightly less sweetener, as the Truvia I used is on the sweeter side.) I’m wondering how this might be in a wheat-free low-carb pie crust, chilled with cream on top?!

 

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Which nutritional myths have you mistaken for fact?

 

This is something I haven’t done before, so please forgive me for relying on someone else’ writing and effort, but since this article does a great job of mentioning some of the most rampant myths in conventional wisdom regarding nutrition, that I have to POST IT HERE.

Kris Gunnars debunks the nutritional lies that say:

  • Eggs are unhealthy
  • Saturated fat is bad for you
  • Everybody should be eating grains
  • Eating a lot of protein is bad for your bones and kidneys
  • Low fat foods are good for you
  • You should eat many small meals throughout the day
  • Carbs should be your biggest source of calories
  • High omega-6 seed and vegetable oils are good for you
  • Low carbs diets are dangerous
  • Sugar is unhealthy because it contains “empty” calories
  • High fat foods will make you fat

Each of these items can be greatly expanded upon, of course, but this is a good starting point to share with those who are still afraid of eggs, fats, cholesterol and believe that they are eating healthy by making up most of their diet with processed, carb-heavy foods.

Following a diet based on eating whole foods and healthy fats (such as “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis or the “Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson) are good places to begin reading to put these learnings into practice!

 

 

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Dark Chocolate Low-carb Dairy-free Ice Cream (made with coconut milk!)

No muss, no fuss… just straight up chocolate decadence without the dairy and sugar.

Dark Chocolate Low-carb Dairy-free Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Low-carb Dairy-free Ice Cream… kind of tastes like fudgecicles!

 

Too good to be true? Nope!

There are a couple things I will admit.
I am a fiend for dark chocolate and I am a sucker for ice cream

I don’t think I could ever stick to a way of eating that made these two things totally off limits for me. Thankfully, Wheat Belly is all about healthy ingredients, not about being militant, so there is wiggle room for my indulgences. Yay!

However, I have realized that as much as I love heavy cream (wonderfully low carb!) and dairy, that some non-cheese dairy products tend to trigger an upset stomach for me, and weight gain. This is also the case with many of my friends following this way of eating, so I experimented a little with making coconut cream ice cream. I have no doubt that I will be tweaking this recipe in the future (I’d like to up the creaminess without adding dairy), it’s still really a good base recipe that I will definitely do again.

I’m surprised that I really can’t taste the coconut flavor in this recipe, although I thought it would be a good match for the chocolate. I think that the dark chocolate cocoa is just a much stronger player, and drowns out the coconut. I will be keeping my eyes open for a deal on a higher quality dark chocolate cocoa powder, but this is what I usually have on hand and it worked just fine. I’m imagining this now with a nut butter sauce, or maybe toasted sweetened nuts on top… or a blop of this ice cream in my coffee πŸ˜€

Dark Chocolate Low-carb Dairy-free Ice Cream

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2C dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • pinch of cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 Tb vanilla
  • Sweetener of choice equaling about 1/2C or to taste (I used about 1/4 C Torani sugar-free caramel syrup and 1/4C Swerve)

Thoroughly mix all ingredients in the blender. Finish up by using an ice cream maker or just pour into a freezer container and freeze until firm. Makes about 8 servings.

 

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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 πŸ˜‰

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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