Dot to Trot

My world is expanding as my butt is shrinking!

Archive for the category “Cooking Prep”

Book Review: The Ketogenic Cookbook

My new cookbook. The recipes taste amazing. This to this book, I'm even more inspired to get into my kitchen and start experimenting!

My new cookbook. The recipes taste amazing. This to this book, I’m even more inspired to get into my kitchen and start experimenting!

Since going ketogenic, I’ve struggled with getting more healthy fat into my diet. Yes, I love butter. But I’d like to think I’m a little more creative in the kitchen than just adding a tablespoon of butter on top of my steak. That’s why The Ketogenic Cookbook is a godsend!

The recipes are high in fat, easily allowing me to hit my daily goal of consuming 75-80% of my calories in healthy fat. The recipes look amazingly delicious. And like my Julia Child’s cookbook, it inspires me to get into the kitchen and play with ingredients.

I’m working my way through the book, busily making lots of sauces and dressings in the book’s “Condiments, Dressings, Broth and Other Basics” section. The tomato sauce and yellow marinara sauce recipe were more than worth the price. This week I’m testing out the “compound butter” recipe using beef tallow and duck fat! Read more…

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Homemade, Low Carb Marinara Sauce

Last night we used the yellow marinara sauce over meatballs and zoodles. Absolutely delicious!

Last night we used the yellow marinara sauce over meatballs and zoodles. Absolutely delicious!

Powering through my new ketogenic cookbook, I spent a lovely evening making a marinara sauce for two dishes I’m making – Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles and a Pizza Casserole (recipe coming).

I love tomatoes, especially tomato-based sauces. While I’ve tried making my own sauce, it was mostly cooking down diced roma tomatoes in olive oil for a few minutes. Nothing to write home about.

Typically I’d just hunt the grocery store for the lowest carb sauce I can find. Not an easy task as many include added sugar.

Then I discovered the Yellow Marinara Sauce in The Ketogenic Cookbook. Intrigued, I was nervous about trying this recipe. Why? Peeling tomatoes. I’ve never done that before. It always seemed like an impossible task. Read more…

Roasted Garlic – Keto Style

I'm loving The Ketogenic Cookbook. I picked roasted garlic as the first recipe to try.  Easy to make, I'll use all of the garlic pictured over the next few days.

I’m loving The Ketogenic Cookbook. I picked roasted garlic as the first recipe to try. Easy to make, I’ll use all of the garlic pictured over the next few days.

While flipping through The Ketogenic Cookbook I was trying to decide which recipes to try first. Turns out nearly every recipe I picked called for roasted garlic, one of the first recipes listed in the book.

As much as I love garlic I never tried roasting a whole bulb. This one calls for an even dozen. Why so much? Apparently you can preserve roasted garlic in the freezer. Who knew?

I don’t know why I never tried roasting garlic before. The recipe is so simple to follow. The garlic tastes amazing. Plus you’ll love the fragrance that fills your kitchen.

Cooking With MCT
The big surprise for me with this recipe was the use of MCT oil. For some reason I viewed MCT oil as something I use when making my morning Bulletproof Coffee. I never thought of using it in cooking. Silly Rabbit! Read more…

Meat & Colon Cancer: Not What You Think

With our first nice weather of the year, I picked up some rib eyes and we fired up the grill. I like keeping the grill temperature low not just for taste, but for health reasons too! Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net and artur84.

With our first nice weather of the year, I picked up some rib eyes and we fired up the grill. I like keeping the grill temperature low not just for taste, but for health reasons too! Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net and artur84.

The Diet Doctor is on the case…again! This time around he tackles why red meat eaters get more colon cancer. Before freaking out and deciding to toss out that delicious cow meat, keep a couple of things in mind:

  • The studies conducted are observational. Meaning that correlation does not equal causation. Most findings from observational studies are typically proven wrong, exaggerated or misleading.
  • The associated risk is with processed meats. We’re not talking about prime cuts or ground meat. Think bagged pepperoni, ham and nitrate-loaded bacon.

The problem with these “findings” has more to do with researchers’ bias and bad reporting. We’ve been eating meat since man stood upright (and even before then). Yet now we’re seeing a slight increase in colon cancer. Hmmmm…something is afoot. Read more…

Gobble, Gobble! Dot’s Healthy Turkey Day Menu

low carb thanksgiving, weight loss,

What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? To have the smarts to plan my menu before Turkey Day arrives. A food strategy is the best way to make sure you don’t pig out! (Image via marthastewart.com)

Well Turkey Day is upon us and that means its time for another low-carb holiday menu. We’re staying put for Thanksgiving so that makes it easier for me to control the points and carb count. My goal for my weigh in after Thanksgiving is to maintain my weight. That means I need a menu that is both filling and delicious.

You can take a look at a snapshot of my menu with the carb and Weight Watcher point count. Below you’ll find either the recipes or links to the recipes for my Turkey Day menu.

Building My Menu
I’m allowing myself to eat up to 25g of net carbs. I have 29 daily Weight Watcher points. Because I plan to have wine and dessert, I’m going to tap into a handful of my weekly allowance points. But that doesn’t mean I go crazy. I’m allowing myself between 4-7 extra points. No more. I need to keep control. Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean food is the most important thing. Being with family is what it’s about…oh god, maybe I need to budget more points for wine! Read more…

Paleo Challenge Week 2: Rethinking Recipes To Avoid Triggers

Wisely, veggies and fruit make the base of the Paleo diet food pyramid. I just need to keep in check the high-carb produce that sends my sugar cravings into overdrive.

Wisely, veggies and fruit make the base of the Paleo diet food pyramid. I just need to keep in check the high-carb produce that sends my sugar cravings into overdrive.

Many of the Paleo recipes I used over the last two weeks called for vegetables I normally skip or use in small amounts, due to their high sugar/carb count. I think that’s what kicked my cravings into high gear this past week.  I never would have guessed onions, carrots and sweet potatoes are my new trigger foods.

Let me say up front that the issue is more my choice of recipes and not the Paleo diet. I chose recipes that sounded the most appealing. I made the mistake of not running the recipes through My Fitness Pal to get the carb counts before going to the grocery store.  It’s clearly a case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach. The meals sounded so appealing and healthy (which they are) I didn’t see any consequences to adding-in foods with higher carb counts than what I normally ate.

Read more…

Cracking The Spice Code

Inner foodie unleashed! I made my first infused oil and my own oven-dried tomatoes.

Inner foodie unleashed! I’m learning how to use herbs & spices. Last night I made my first ever infused oil with fresh rosemary and garlic.

I love cooking. But lately my inner foodie is tired of following recipes. I want to create my own dishes but need to build up my food knowledge. I’m starting with herbs and spices, the Rosetta Stone of cooking.

Once you knowing how to use herbs and spices you’ll bring out the flavor in foods and send your taste buds into orbit.

The spice aisle at my local grocery store is a mystery to me.  Unlike my wine store, there are no guides to tell me what anise seed taste like or which dishes call for saffron. There are so many spices but I have no clue which ones go with fish.  Which herbs go well with asparagus? Do you use different spices if you fry or grill a burger? By cracking this code, I feel I can really unleash my creativity.

I picked up Herbs & Spices: The Cook’s Reference: a wonderful book covering about 120+ herbs and spices, and  loaded with great info on aroma, taste, buying, storing and instructions on how to cook with them.

I started this new adventure by infusing olive oil with fresh rosemary and garlic. I also made my own oven-dried tomatoes. Yes, these are very simple to do, but I had to start somewhere. Each baby step I take builds my confidence.

Adding olive oil to fresh rosemary and garlic. It takes about 3-4 weeks for the flavors to mix.

Adding olive oil to fresh rosemary and garlic. It takes about 3-4 weeks for the flavors to mix.

Rosemary-Garlic Infused Oil
Ingredients

  • Several springs of fresh rosemary
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • bottle with airtight seal
  • extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  • Peal the garlic cloves and cut in half so they will fit into the bottle. Put the cloves in the bottle, making sure they are evenly distributed along the bottom.
  • Bruise the rosemary by rubbing or gently crushing the springs; place the sprigs in the bottle.
  • Add oil.
  • Close the bottle and keep in a cool dark place for 1-2 weeks.
  • Taste the oil and if you want a stronger flavoring, add more rosemary and garlic. Once infused, you can keep the oil in the refrigerator up to 2 months. The cold may make it cloudy, but that should clear up when it reaches room temperature.
Homemade oven-dried tomatoes add flavor to salads and sauces. I'm storing mine with olive oil and garlic.

Homemade oven-dried tomatoes add flavor to salads and sauces. I’m storing mine with olive oil and garlic.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes
Ingredients

  • 5-6 plum tomatoes
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ fresh ground black pepper
  • fresh herbs, like rosemary or thyme, (optional)
  • garlic cloves, chopped (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Jar with lid

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 200 F.
  • Place an oven proof wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Slice stem ends off of the tomatoes then cut each tomato in half lengthwise.
  • Place tomatoes in bowl and add in salt, pepper and herbs; mix well.
  • Place tomatoes, cut side up, on a rack.
  • Bake tomatoes in the oven for 5-6 hours (until wrinkled and shrunken). Cool completely on the rack.
  • Cut the tomatoes into strips or leave as is. If placing tomatoes in oil, add garlic and herbs to oil while tomatoes are in oven. Place tomatoes in a jar, and refrigerate up to 4 days. If not placing tomatoes in oil, store tomatoes in air-tight container in the fridge for several weeks.

Cooking Day! Prepping For The Week

food prepWhen I go to my Weight Watcher meetings, I always hear people talk about how they don’t have the time to plan ahead and that causes them to make bad food choices.  Well, I use to think like that too.  I did the 16-hour daily grind. Sat in traffic for an hour to get home. Did drive thru or order pizza for dinner because my day was grueling.   I use to tell myself I just don’t have the time. But that was really a lie.  I just wanted easy…and I got fatter.

Anyone who tells you they don’t have minutes to spare for their own health is fooling themselves. They just haven’t made themselves a priority.

And in fact, planning for the week only takes minutes. Every Saturday I do a weekly menu-10 minutes tops! Then on Sunday I cook a few items for the week. Not only is this a time saver, it takes the guess work our of what I’m eating each day and ensures that I eat healthy, low carb foods. Today, I’m whipping up:

Cream of Broccoli Soup
Grilled Chicken Breasts
Lime Chili Wings
Curried Egg Salad
Lots O’Chopped Veggies (snacks!)

Just try starting off prepping a few items, like chopping veggies for snacks or grab and go lunches. It will make your life easier and healthier.

Recipes will be posted after I do some chopping. But here is the cream of broccoli soup:

Low Carb Cream of Broccoli Soup

Makes 6 1-Cup Servings
Carb Count: 4g (if you make it without cheese, 3g)
Ingredients
1 lbs Broccoli, cut into florets, stems trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 C Chicken broth (can substitute veggie broth)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 C Heavy Cream
1 C Sharp Cheddar Cheese (optional, buy why leave tastiness out?)

Directions
Combine broth, salt and pepper in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat; bring to boil. Add broccoli, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until broccoli is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer soup to a blender. Blend at low speed to puree soup. You’ll want to do this in batches. Place pureed soup into a sauce pan. Stir in cheese. Bring back to simmer over medium-high. Whisk in heavy cream; simmer and whisk occasionally until thick, about 5 minutes. Serve.  This can store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Kicking Chicken Up a Notch: Rubs!

Image courtesy of Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I tend to use Sunday to cook for the week. Just makes it easier as I plan out my weekly menu. This week’s main staple: Chicken! Excited? Yeah, me neither. Since chicken can get a bit dull, and I’m making about 12 breasts, I have 2 rubs and a marinade I’ll be using on the chicken – 4 breasts per concoction. I find that I’m more likely to eat the chicken during the week if there is a bit of zip to the tasty goodness. Below are recipes for a blackened cajun rub and a moroccan rub that I discovered on the Atkins site. The amounts for each ingredient is what I use to make each rub in large batches. I started making the rubs in bulk so that I don’t have to constantly pull out all of the ingredients each time I want a rub. The batches can usually last about a month.

Rub 1: Blackened Cajun Rub
Good with beef, chicken or fish

1/2 C Paprika + 2 tbsp
1/2 C Dried Oregano
1/4 C Salt
1/4 C Garlic Powder
4 tsp Dried Thyme
4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Place ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Set aside a small portion of the rub, enough for 4 chicken breasts.

Rub 2: Moroccan Rub
Good with chicken, lamb or shrimp

1/2 C Cumin + 2 tbsp
1/3 C Ground Coriander
1/3 C Salt
2 Tbsp Black Pepper + 2tsp
2 Tbsp Ground Ginger + 2 tsp
2 Tbsp No Calorie Sweetener (granular is better than powder)
4 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

Place ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Set aside a small portion of the rub, enough for 4 chicken breasts.

Applying The Rub
After you’ve cleaned your meat, pat it dry. Take the rub in your hands and being rubbing it onto the meat, making sure to coat all sides. Some of you might be inclined to drop the rub in a baggie add the meat and shake the bag a la Shake n’ Bake. You could, but I like to physically rub the seasoning on the meat. Its the best way to ensure the meat is fully coated and that you have enough rub mix actually on the meat and not just a dusting.

Once you have rubbed the mix onto the chicken breasts, place it in a large resealable baggie and add 1-2 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil. Let the bag ‘o meat sit for about 30 minutes, flipping half way through. You want the olive oil to coat the chicken. After 30 it’s ready for grilling or baking.

 

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