Hot Italian Sausage Cauliflower “Mac” & Cheese (LC, HF, GF)

Hi, friends!

This is an exact copy of my Instagram post from last night when I made one of my favorite kitchen creations, Hot Italian Sausage Cauliflower “Mac” & Cheese. The recipe is below but feel free to make edits of course – change up the sausage flavor, add garlic, crush some pork rinds and make a “crumb” topping – the mockafoni world is your oyster 😉

Recipe time! This is what I lovingly call my “Cauliflower Mac & Cheese” even though most people then say, “but there’s no mac…”

KetoDeb's Hot Italian Sausage Cauliflower "Mac" & Cheese from ketodeb.com
It’s not pretty, but it’s delicious.

Simple and delicious:

Ingredients:
1 lb sausage (I used @hatfieldmeats Hot Italian)
1 12 oz. bag steamable frozen cauliflower
4 oz. (half a brick) cream cheese
4 oz. each of two other cheeses (this is mozzarella and Colby jack)
2 tbsp heavy cream

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400
2. Cook the sausage, drain the excess fat. At the same time, cook the cauliflower according to the directions (I use the microwave, because IDWIW)
3. Stir the cream cheese into the sausage until it’s thoroughly melted 
4. Drain the water from the cauliflower (the bag is HOT. For the love of your hands, be careful or, better yet, pour it in a bowl and use a lid to drain it)
5. Mix the sausage/cream cheese mix, cauliflower, additional cheeses, and heavy cream together and put them in a 9×9 casserole dish
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until you either a) can’t wait any longer or b) are satisfied with how bangin’ your kitchen smells
7. Eat it!

I used a bit more cheese than my recipe because there wasn’t much left in the bag, so this came in at just over 500 calories for me, but with only 4 servings. YMMV.

Let me know how you like this recipe and what (if any) edits you made!

Recipe Review: Taste of Home Chicken Thighs with Shallots and Spinach (LC, HF, GF)

As part of my calorie-counting plans,  I wanted to use actual recipes *gasp* for my meal plans. It’s just a little less thinking for me to plan all the things when I can at least start somewhere with an ingredient list. I decided last week that I wanted to incorporate at least three new meals or meal ideas into our week of dinners. Of course that meant heading to my favorite place to find such things, Pinterest.

I searched “low calorie dinners” and got really good results, but for things I wasn’t really down for spending the time/money on. Bird really love chicken thighs, so I narrowed my search to “low calorie chicken thigh dinners” and voila! Success. One of the results that came up was a list of 30 Healthy Dinner Recipes in 30 Minutes from Taste of Home. There were quite a few recipes in there I was interested in, but nothing strikes my fancy like a dish with spinach. I put spinach in my scrambled eggs every morning I’m home (I drink BPC when I have to travel) and so finding a recipe that would just allow me to buy a bit more spinach? That’s meal-planning winning fo’ sho. Enter this freaking gem of a dish: Chicken Thighs with Shallots & Spinach by Jenna Johnannes from Wrightstown, WI.

Here’s the ingredient and instruction list:

Ingredients and Instructions for Chicken Thighs with Shallots and Spinach

And here are the changes I made:

  1. Instead of using seasoned salt, I used himalyan pink salt and Simply Organic Herbs de Provence (affiliate link for Amazon, just an FYI!). I also added waaaay more than 1/2 teaspoon of the herbs, because YUM. It’s so delicious.
  2. I went with the reduced-sodium chicken broth. I’m sure the wine would be delicious, but meh.
  3. I used full-fat sour cream (Organic Valley makes reallllly good organic sour cream!) because I don’t believe in low-fat and fat-free things, except for cooking spray, lol.

I also logged all of the things into LoseIt as a recipe and put it as 4 servings (she listed six, but I try to make things that we can each just have half of, that way there aren’t leftovers to mess up my pre-planned lunches). Here’s what the recipe looked like:

my version

1010 calories for the whole shebang is perfect – that meant a 505 calorie meal for each of us. SO EXCITING when it just works out well! I knew that probably wasn’t quiiiite enough food for me after a really long day, so I added a side of roasted zucchini (zucchini, chopped with olive oil + salt + pepper, roasted at 400 degrees for 15 minutes) so the total meal came to 606 calories (29.4g fat, 14.2g net carbs, and 39.7g protein). Also, it plated up beautifully:

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This recipe was definitely a winner – can’t wait to rotate it in to a meal plan again in a few weeks!

Recipe Review: I Breathe I’m Hungry’s General Tso’s Meatballs

One of my “To Do’s” in my planner yesterday was to pin new recipes, which I did during my lunch break at work (because at least then I’m not making myself ridiculously hungry by pinning delicious food!). One of the recipes I came upon was for I Breathe I’m Hungry’s General Tso’s Meatballs, which immediately intrigued me because I fucking LOVE Chinese Food. And it’s one of my go-to cheat meals, and since I’m trying to avoid cheat meals right meow, it seemed like a perfect substitute. I had other plans for dinner, but as I was still at the grocery store at 8 o’clock last night, these made a much more time-friendly (read: me not murdering someone out of hanger) option.

Let me just tell you–these meatballs are BANGIN’. 

They’re made with chicken and a lot other ingredients I had to purchase (rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, etc.), so I’ll definitely be making them again. Initially I was going to roast some broccoli to have with them, but then decided on cauli rice instead:

img_20170113_213305
IBIH’s General Tso’s Meatballs over Cauliflower Rice – YUM

I was a little hesitant from the get-go because when I mixed up the ground chicken, almond flour, ginger, egg, and scallions, it was, well…disgusting. Goopy chicken all over my hands, and I was just worried they weren’t going to hold consistency. But they did! I fried them in Filipio Berio Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil for about 8 minutes per side to make sure they got that crunch Melissa talks about in her recipe post.

For the sauce, I had to make two edits:

  1. Our grocery store (Redner’s) only had gigantic bags of dried chiles, which I just couldn’t reason buying because I knew I wouldn’t use them all. So I got a can of chipotle chiles in Adobo sauce from the “mexican foods” aisle. Then they were drained and seeded and replaced the dried ones in the recipe.
  2. Because of this^, the total of the xantham gum in the recipe was upped by 1/4 tablespoon to accommodate for the extra water from having those chiles instead of dried ones, which worked out perfectly in terms of the sauce and it’s marvelous consistency.

Guys–the sauce in this recipe is fantastic. It was aromatic, had a perfect flavor profile, and the perfect kick of that classic General Tso’s heat. I loved the sauce on these so much, I’m tempted to make a double batch of the sauce next time I make the meatballs, so I can have more of a coated cauli rice dish! As always, Melissa, I just adore everything you do!

Any other interesting meatball recipes out there I should try? Please do tell!

Recipe Review: Dandy Dishes Spaghetti Squash au Gratin

When I first started eating keto back in September of 2012, I was way super content to eat “meat and cheese on salad”, “meat and cheese with vegetable(s)” or “meat and cheese with meat”. I didn’t venture out into the great wide world of actual side dishes, but when Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin was introduced to me, I verbally ‘unf-ed’. If ever something was to convince me to branch out, this was it.

Nutrition Info:
I entered all of the info as-is in the link above into MFP, and what you see is below (for a recipe that serves six, the total recipe is 7.5 cups, so each serving is 1.25 cups). 
5g net carbs–yay!
Reasons why I love this dish:
  • You can serve it as a side dish (preferably with a rosemary pork tenderloin) or add diced chicken to it and serve it as your main dish
  • It has a lot of cheese in it
  • The textures and feel are great–it’s got a little ‘al dente’ feel from the spaghetti squash, it’s creamy from the cheese and sour cream, and served piping hot it makes wonderful ‘comfort food’
Tips:
  • Check out this article about cooking spaghetti squash. I found that Dandy’s Dishes’s advice was okay, but some of the methods mentioned here work a lot better (especially if you have a tiny-baby microwave)
  • You can easily make this the night before Thanksgiving or Christmas and reheat it the next day
  • Like all good keto things, top it with chopped bacon… zing!

Do you have a favorite keto side dish? Share the recipe in the comments!