Low carb and Keto

So earlier this year I decided to try out low-carb/Keto recipes and dishes. To be honest, to start with, I was very sceptical about the dishes and recipes. I remember the Atkins Diet (not that I ever did it) and the seemingly fat-filled high-protein requirements didn’t inspire or attract me. The meals seemed too heavy and over rich to eat every day. Various other diets/eating plans have sounded good but realistically would be (I think) difficult and/or expensive to implement and maintain.

A friend of mine started the low-carb/Keto lifestyle last September when he was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, and has had (and continues to have) great results with weight-loss and a reversal of hyperglycaemic blood levels.

Other friends have been following the Keto way of eating for several years and are thriving on this. They are not hungry, are losing or maintaining weight, and have energy.

Contrary to what you might believe, low-carb/Keto doesn’t involve a limited range of foods to be enjoyed.

So for the last 3 or 4 weeks, I have been making low-carb bread, fathead lasagne, fat-head pasta bolognaise, mince and cheese pies (using fathead pastry), fathead crackers, and today, I made low-carb carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. All very successful with great results and tasty. So I have a very happy person.

The flour in baking and normal recipes is replaced with almond meal (coconut flour can also be substituted).

Full-fat options of dairy and fats/oils (incl mayonnaise and butter) are used.

No sugar.

Fruit and veges are dependent on the carb content eg cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce are good (low carb), as are cucumbers, pickles, tomatoes, some carrot *carrot is a higher carb low-carb vege*, and capsicum.

Rice, potatoes, kumara (and other starchy root veges) and pasta, are out (too high in carbs which metabolise to simple sugars/glucose really quickly, therefore raising blood sugars).

I’ve included a list of low carb fruit and vege options which is really helpful if you are on or starting a low-carb eating plan, or you have a loved one who is and you want to support them (like I am doing).  The balance and reasoning is really quite interesting.

Lean good quality meats, deli meats, fish, butter, cheeses (incl cream cheese), sour cream, crepe fraiche, bacon, salamis, prosciutto/jambon are all on the approved list.

Fathead is a low carb “pastry” made from mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, almond flour/meal, and eggs. You can use it as pizza dough, pastry, crackers, etc.

As with all my posts, I share the recipes with you. Complete with photos ….  so, on with the recipes 🙂

**disclaimer** these are not MY recipes (except for the mince and cheese pies, and I used fathead pastry for those), I googled low-carb (food item) and these came up, however, I HAVE used the recipes and they work (and are delicious).

 

Low Carb Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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The only complaint with this was I had not split the cake and put additional frosting between the layers!!  And that there was not enough frosting left in the bowl for him to eat!!  This recipe is no added sugar, gluten free,  and grain free

**I used thread coconut in the original recipe, and for the next one I would use dessicated coconut as thread coconut was quite “crunchy” **

Prep time: 15 – 20 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 10 large wedges

Calories: 312kcal

  • 5 eggs – medium
  • 200 g butter melted
  • 3 tbsp granulated sweetener of choice (I used Natvia, but Norbu would work well too) or more, to your taste
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups carrots grated/shredded
  • 50 g walnuts chopped, optional  (I omitted these)
  • 1/2 C shredded/desiccated unsweetened coconut unsweetened
  • 1.5 C almond meal/flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ginger (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 200 g cream cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp granulated sweetener of choice

 

Method

Beat eggs, melted butter, sweetener, and vanilla together.

Add grated carrot, walnuts, and coconut then mix ground almonds, spices and baking powder.

Pour into a greased and lined 8inch/20cm tin.

Bake at 180C for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer pushed in, comes out clean.  Let cool completely before icing.

I used an 8 inch/ 20 cm cake tin, lined with baking paper on the bottom and sprayed with cooking spray on the sides.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1. Warm the cream cheese in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it.

2. Stir in the 1 – 2 T of sweetener of your choice.  Add lemon zest if desired (although this will add a few carbs)

3. Cover cake in frosting.  Can split the cake and put frosting in the middle if desired (make extra for this)

 

Low Carb Lasagne

This is seriously the best lasagne I have tasted in a loooooong time.  And the best thing is that unlike regular lasagne, you can serve this straight out of the oven and it doesn’t fall apart.

For the “Pasta”:
2 large eggs
125gm cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp Italian herbs
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder *Masterfoods*

For the Meat Sauce:
1 onion, finely diced

3 t minced garlic (or 4 cloves finely minced)

2 carrots, peeled and finely diced

250gm  ground beef
3 T tomato paste

2 t mixed herbs

420gm chopped tomatoes

For the cheese “sauce”:

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
6 tbsp whole milk ricotta cheese

For the Lasagne “pasta” sheets:
This part will take the longest, so feel free to make the “noodles” the night before and just leave them in the fridge until you are ready for them.
Preheat oven to 190°C.   Line a 9×13 loaf pan with baking paper.
In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together cream cheese and eggs.
Next, add Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in mozzarella cheese and mix until well incorporated.
Spread the mixture into the baking dish, forming a nice even layer.
Bake on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes.
When the “pasta” is baked, cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes and then cut into thirds. This makes three perfectly sized pasta layers for an 8.5 X 4.5 X 2.5 loaf pan.
For the meat sauce:
In a large frypan over medium-high heat, heat oil, then add onion, garlic, carrot, mixed herbs, and saute until onion is clear and not coloured, and carrot is part cooked.  Add beef mince, and cook until meat has browned.   Cook until the meat is browned.
Add tomato paste, and mix well.  Then combine the chopped tomatoes with the mince mixture and mix well.  Let simmer until liquid has reduced and the mixture comes together.
Putting it all together:
Pour ¼ cup of the meat sauce into bottom of lined loaf pan. Top with the first pasta layer.  Layer a third of the ground beef mixture. Top with ¼ cup mozzarella cheese and 3 tbsp ricotta cheese, and cover with another pasta layer. Repeat these steps.
Cover the top pasta layer with remaining meat sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Italian herbs over top. Bake for 20 minutes.

Fathead Crackers.

img_1176

Ingredients
1¾ cups (approx) shredded/grated cheese (mozzarella is the best or Edam/mild cheese)
2 tbs cream cheese
1 egg
½ cup almond flour/meal
salt to taste
½ tsp flavourings of choice (optional – I use dried rosemary or oregano) to sprinkle over the top

Instructions:
Mix the shredded/grated cheese and almond flour/meal in a microwaveable bowl. Add the cream cheese. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.  Stir then microwave on HIGH for another 30 seconds.  Add the egg, salt, and flavourings, mix gently.
Place in between 2 baking sheets and roll thinly. Remove the top baking sheet. If the mixture hardens and becomes difficult to work with, pop it back in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to soften again but not too long or you will cook the egg.
Cut the dough into small bite size pieces. Place each one on a lined baking tray as shown.
Bake at 220C for 5 minutes on each side, or until browned on both side and crisp.
Cool on a wire rack and keep in an airtight container in the fridge. IF the weather is cool, you may store the container on your pantry for up to 3 days (if they last that long).

Fathead pastry is the same recipe, as the crackers, just roll out (between baking paper), then cut out circles to fit the pie tins (I use texas muffin tins that I line with baking paper; I use a small glass casserole dish for the bases, and a glass for the lid).  Fill with mince mix (recipe as for meat sauce for lasagne), and bake until pastry is cooked and browned.

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Bacon Wrapped Cheese stuffed chicken breast.

img_1168

This uses 2 chicken breasts, split almost through the middle horizontally (anchored each end), with grated mozzerella and parmesan cheeses in the cut.  Cut 2 rashers of bacon into thirds lengthwise, and wrap each chicken breast in two strips of bacon, securing with toothpicks.  Bake at 200C for 25 minutes, until bacon and chicken have cooked and cheese has melted and browned.

 

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