keto taco casserole side view

Keto Taco Casserole

Sometimes I just crave some Tex-Mex flavors. But it can be tough to make the meals in low carb form. My version of Mexican food typically involves a bunch of chips, tortillas, beans, etc. All super yummy and super high in carbs. So when I found a keto taco casserole, I knew I had to try it. All my favorite flavors in a low carb package? Sign me up! Ingredients Ground beef Onion Garlic clove Bell pepper Taco seasoning Eggs (2) Shredded cheese (Mexican blend) Optional toppings: sour cream, tomatoes, green onions How to make this keto taco casserole Start

Keto beef stew in a white bowl

Keto Beef Stew

Today I have another of my classic recipes that I experimented with to make a lower carb version. I started with Bloody Mary Beef Stew and created Keto Beef Stew. Just as yummy, with significantly fewer carbs! Ingredients needed Beef – I usually buy stew meat but a chuck roast works well also, if cut up Beef stock Tomato paste Parsnips – I use these to substitute for the carrots Turnips – substitute for potatoes Onion – yellow usually Carrot – just one, and this is optional (see below) Worcestershire sauce Spices: garlic powder, dried thyme, dried marjoram Bay leaf

butternut squash spaghetti bake on a white plate with salad

Butternut Squash Spaghetti Bake

I love pasta, but also love it when my jeans fit. 😀 So it’s always a good idea to have some pasta substitutes around for when the craving hits. This one uses spiralized butternut squash baked with a simple spaghetti sauce. It’s delicious! Ingredients needed Butternut squash noodles (frozen 12 oz package) Zucchini noodles (frozen 12 oz package) Ground beef (1 pound) Olive oil (for browning beef) Marinara sauce (24 oz ) Garlic cloves (2) Shredded cheese, 2 cups (Italian cheese blend or mozzarella) Seasoning: salt, pepper, Italian seasoning How to make this Butternut Squash Spaghetti Bake Like most casseroles,

zucchini and beef casserole on a small white plate

Zucchini Casserole with Ground Beef

I have one more recipe for all you gardeners with a zucchini surplus. This time, I combined the zucchini with ground beef to make a casserole. Because we all need easy dinner recipes for busy weeknights! Ingredients needed I had a couple priorities with this casserole. Keep it low carb was one, so that means no rice or pasta. I also wanted to avoid using a can of soup, but still wanted a simple ingredient list. I was delighted when I was able to accomplish all these goals. The primary ingredients are of course ground beef and zucchini. The “sauce”

spinach added to sun=dried tomato pesto chicken sauce

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken

It’s time for an easy and delicious recipe that combines chicken with sun dried tomato pesto in a creamy pasta sauce. Start the pasta while making the sauce and you will be ready to serve this in about 20 minutes! What kind of chicken is needed for this recipe? There are different versions of this recipe floating around, most using chicken breasts. I started out making this with chicken breasts and worked on the sauce. But after a few tries I realized that this sauce is ideal for using cooked shredded chicken. So now I either use leftover shredded chicken

skewers cooking on the grill

Beef Kabobs in the Oven or Grill

There’s something about cooking your meal on a stick that is just so fun! It cooks quickly, looks colorful, and is easy to eat. Traditionally we think of making kabobs on the grill, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate it’s good to have an oven method handy. That’s why today I am making my beef kabobs in the oven, but also including instructions for the grill. It’s all about the beef marinade Anyone can stick hunks of meat and/or veggies on a stick and cook it. But to really get great flavor and texture, a good marinade is key. Over

chicken legs on the grill

Chicken Legs on the Grill

Again I am cooking on the grill! Today, some BBQ chicken legs. So many people seem to migrate to white meat whenever eating any type of poultry, but I prefer dark meat. It’s moist, tender and has more flavor, IMHO. Why chicken legs, not drumsticks or thighs? Both drumsticks and thighs are fine. This recipe works with all parts of the leg because we cook to an internal temperature, not a specific time. I decided to cook whole legs – drumstick with thigh attached because they’re a healthy portion. These are sometimes referred to as chicken quarters. Pick whichever piece

Pork tenderloin

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

In the world of cooking meat, the tenderloin is not only one of the most tender cuts, but also lean and healthy. The only problem with pork is that, since it’s so lean, it’s easy to over-cook (such a fine line between tasty, tender meat and shoe leather). For years I struggled using various ingredients and this technique and that. Finally, it came down to having a good marinade and a careful cooking technique. Marinade for grilled pork tenderloin The inspiration for this marinade starts at allrecipes.com, but I revised it many times to make it my own. You may

Chinese Chicken on a Stick

Chinese Chicken on a Stick

Sometimes, the appetizers on a restaurant menu are the most appealing to me. Chinese-American restaurants, especially. I love the egg rolls, wontons and soups. And I especially love chicken on a stick, sometimes called teriyaki chicken or chicken satay. They have a taste I cannot resist! You’ll find that special taste at most every mall food court. I count the guy handing out free teriyaki chicken samples as one of my closest friends. Chicken on a stick is also a common menu item at some summertime state fairs. Perfect walk-around-while-eating food! At home, the only walk required is to the

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Jalapeno Popper Hasselback Chicken

For a while during “Covid quarantine,” it seemed like chicken breasts were the only “meat” I could count on finding. So, I started looking for new ways to cook them. From that, comes today’s recipe: Jalapeno Popper Hasselback Chicken. This new twist on an old staple was warmly received in my kitchen. Let’s break down the parts of this: What are Jalapeno poppers? This is an appetizer made of hollowed out jalapeno peppers that are stuffed. The stuffing is typically cheese with spices, and sometimes ground meat. The peppers are typically breaded and deep fried, but also sometimes wrapped in

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Chicken Breast

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

I’m just gonna say it: I love beets! Always have. I was raised on a farm and we grew beets so I understood the yumminess of fresh vegetables straight from the garden. Cook ‘em up, slather in butter — all good! Then came a new way to enjoy my fav veggie: Beet salad. So, of course, I was first in line! What’s in a name? In the US (and Canada), we refer to this yummy vegetable as a “beet.” But in many other parts of the world, it is called a “beetroot.” (Wikipedia) That’s somewhat more descriptive  since the vegetable

Burrito Pie

Burrito Pie

Burrito Pie is perfect for Cinco de Mayo (or any other day) I’m posting this in anticipation of Cinco de Mayo, Tuesday, May 5, but really, Burrito Pie is one of those meals that works year-round. I make both meat and vegetarian versions to suit individual preferences, so you can take these recipes and adjust as preferred. How is Burrito Pie different from a regular burrito? Besides combining two disparate words (i.e. Burrito + Pie), there isn’t much difference. A burrito is a dish in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine consisting of a flour tortilla wrapped into a sealed tubular shape

Homemade Egg Rolls

Homemade Egg Rolls

Easier than you think As I shared before, I took a Chinese cooking class a long time ago. It was a very casual type of class generously offered by my employer as a quality of life enhancer. My co-workers and I learned how to make stir-fries and other delicious dishes. The most useful thing I learned was how to make homemade egg rolls. Making egg rolls may seem intimidating at first – the filling, the rolling, the stir frying – but it’s actually quite easy. And homemade egg rolls are incredibly delicious and easy to customize to your personal preferences.

mississippi chicken

Mississippi Chicken (Crock Pot Meal)

This is a recipe that a friend told me about, saying “you’ve gotta try Mississippi Chicken” – she was right! Its one of those oh-so-easy meals thanks to a trusty crockpot, a couple of seasoning packets (au jus and ranch dressing) and butter. The author at thecountrycook.net, uses boneless skinless chicken breasts. I also made them with boneless, skinless thighs and had great results so don’t get too hung up on specific cuts of meat. As long as it’s boneless and skinless, you will be fine. The recipe calls for peperoncini peppers, the whole kind, but the first time I

Vegetarian stromboli in puff pastry

Stromboli with Puff Pastry

Meat lovers OR Vegetarian versions Looking for some March Madness munchies? Even without a tournament happening, we still get in the mood for game time food, very much like football season, and Stromboli works whether the ball goes through the hoop or the goal posts.   I’m also happy to say that this is my 150th post! Time really does fly! So I’m glad to be bringing one of my favorites at this milestone. How to make Stromboli – meat version Traditionally, Stromboli is made with cheeses and cold cuts wrapped in dough. The dough can be pizza dough, but

taco chili

Easy Crockpot Taco Chili

In this house, we love taco flavors. And we love chili. So it only makes sense to try a recipe that puts both together – Taco Chili! This recipe is adapted from one found on Taste of Home. In reality, we Americans probably use the word “taco” wrong. I once worked with a man who was from Mexico. During a work lunch I asked for a taco salad. He thought that was funny because in his mind a taco is a completely different item from a salad. So ordering a taco salad made about as much sense as ordering a

ricotta meatballs

Ricotta Meatballs

Celebrate National Meatball Day March 9 is National Meatball Day. Now, if you’ve got some make-ahead meatballs in the freezer, go with that. But I wanted something new, so I’m going with Ricotta Meatballs. Where did meatballs come from? First, a little history. While many people think that meatballs came to the United States from Italy, that isn’t the case. As far as historians know, meatballs were first created around the 2nd century B.C in China. From there, it’s believed that the meatball moved across the Mideast and finally traveled trade routes to make it throughout Europe. Spaghetti and meatballs

Chili

Chili

The fourth Thursday in February is National Chili Day.  Kind of perfect because chili is perfect for February. Actually, in my house, I think The Carnivore would like to designate EVERY Thursday a chili day. But maybe that’s just him. Chili is one of those soups that anyone can make and everyone should try. There are so many variations, probably because of the many cultural influences. Though typically attributed to Mexican cuisine, chili also incorporates Spanish and Native American culinary traditions, as well as regional influences from across the US. No two chilis are alike, which makes it a perfect

Jambalaya

Simplified Jambalaya

When you say “Jambalaya” most people will smile and say they love it. But a lot of people don’t make it. Why? Perhaps because it sounds exotic and the ingredients are sometimes hard to find. Andouille sausage, for instance. Not widely available. So, many years ago, I set out to make my own easy version of Jambalaya using readily-available ingredients. I call it: (What else?) “Simplified Jambalaya” just to keep the purists from reacting to non-traditional ingredients. LOL. Jambalaya traditionally has 3 different meats: sausage, seafood, and chicken or pork. I use chicken, so we can check that box. For

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Soup season is here With winter in full swing, I’m declaring it soup season! And this Chicken Tortilla Soup is not only warm and satisfying, it’s incredibly easy to throw together. Perfect for these busy days! Only 6 ingredients plus spices required Only six ingredients are required. One is cooked chicken. Disclosure: The original recipe on allrecipes.com calls for canned chicken. My personal preference: Cooked chicken. And it’s so easy. Leftover turkey from a holiday meal? PERFECT! Use that instead! And, if I don’t have any leftovers I just cook up some salsa chicken in my Instant Pot and shred

Hamburger Barley Soup

Hamburger Barley Soup

A hearty and satisfying soup Despite all the trends, old-fashioned comfort food is still a mainstay and this Hamburger Barley Soup is an old reliable. It combines some pretty common pantry items into a hearty and satisfying soup. I adapted this recipe from one on allrecipes.com many years ago. Before that, I almost never bought barley, but now I make it a habit to have it in the pantry. As well as V8, which I stock in the winter to make my beef stew. Other than that, you probably have the rest of the ingredients on hand right now. Barley

Puff pastry

Chicken (or Turkey) in Puff Pastry

I make this meal year-round, but it’s especially useful when you’ve got a bunch of leftover turkey. I adapted this recipe from Pepperidge Farm years ago. The original calls for cooking halved chicken breasts and then wrapping each in a piece of puff pastry. After making this many times, I found that I preferred using cooked shredded meat. Not only is it easier to assemble in the pastry, but it’s also much easier to eat. The fact that shredded meat can be plentiful after Thanksgiving or from any poultry meal makes it a huge bonus! No one’s going to call

Pot pie

Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie

There’s one thing almost guaranteed after Thanksgiving: leftovers. Turkey sandwiches are very popular in my house. B-u-u-t, that gets old. So, I turn to turkey pot pie. I got this recipe years ago from a co-worker, and I think it was originally adapted from campbells.com, due to its use of canned soup. Pot pie has a somewhat checkered history; evoking those days of beer can pyramids and dry, tasteless frozen TV dinners. But this recipe redeems the humble pot pie, especially when home cooked. It’s a great way to use a bunch of leftover turkey – any poultry will work

pepper steak with noodles

Pepper Steak – Instant Pot or Slow Cooker (Crock Pot)

Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Pepper Steak is a classic dish that warms you through and through on a chilly evening.  It is often described as “Chinese American” but it feels mostly American to me. I guess soy sauce as an ingredient qualifies it as a little Chinese? Either way, Pepper Steak is simple and satisfying.  I’ve made this many times in a slow cooker and recently adapted the recipe for Instant Pot use, for even faster and more convenient preparation. How to make Instant Pot Pepper Steak To start, cut the beef into strips. The recipe calls for sirloin,

meatloaf

Old Fashioned Meatloaf

It’s a classic Meatloaf is a classic meal that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention these days. Did it go out of style? Not in my kitchen. I’m feeding carnivores and meatloaf delivers the goods. Meatloaf is easy to prep ahead In the old days, when I was feeding a family of four and working full-time, I would prepare the meatloaf mixture the evening before and stick it in the fridge. The next morning, I would place it in the oven and pre-set the timer to start cooking before I got home. That way, I could concentrate on

Stuffed Peppers

Jack O’ Lantern Stuffed Peppers

Halloween meals should be fun Halloween is almost here and while costumes and candy distribution get top priority, don’t forget to have fun at meal time! I make stuffed peppers every year, and love to carve Jack O’ Lantern faces into each pepper. It takes only a few extra minutes and turns an everyday meal into a Halloween treat. Spooky good! How to make stuffed peppers For a meal as iconic as stuffed peppers, I turn to a trusted source: Betty Crocker. Betty tells us to make our stuffing from one pound of ground beef, one cup of rice, a

Beef Stew

Bloody Mary Beef Stew

This classic beef stew can be made in a Crockpot or Instant Pot to produce a delicious, warming stew for a cool weather meal.

caprese chicken

Caprese Chicken

This one-pot meal can be ready in under 30 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknights!

Meatballs

Freezer Meatballs

Meatballs are pretty easy to make – so quick! But, there’s a way to launch your meatball dinners into hyperdrive by freezing them. Yes, you can freeze them (gives you chills, amirite?). Now you know the secret to the poetically named: Freezer Meatballs recipe. And, here’s another plus: You can please everyone at the dinner table by making these morsels for carnivores and keep a portion of the sauce meatless for those who prefer it. How to prepare the meatballs The recipe is pretty straightforward with simple seasonings that complement a variety of sauces. The proportions are suitable for 1

kebabs

Sweet and Sour Pork Kabobs

(Also known as “Kebabs”) For the love of Chinese takeout The first formal cooking class I took (aside from Junior High Home Economics) was for Chinese cooking. It was the 1980’s and I worked at a hospital that offered sports leagues and enrichment classes to employees. What fun! My co-workers and I, all lovers of Chinese take-out, signed up to learn how to make it ourselves, and we had a blast. But the real winners were the guys playing basketball in the same building. They worked in various departments of the hospital, and felt comfortable showing up at the door

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Juicy Lucy (Stuffed Burger)

Have you ever heard of a “Juicy Lucy”? No? In that case, I will consider this my public service message for the day. What’s a Juicy Lucy? A Juicy Lucy is a stuffed burger with cheese inside the patty instead of on top resulting in a melted core of cheese. Cool, hey? Two bars in Minneapolis claim to be the inventor of the burger, though other bars and restaurants have their own interpretations. One, “Matt’s Bar, where I had my first JL (and not my last) ” uses a different spelling: “Jucy Lucy.” Cooking the cheese in the burger gives

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Grilled Pizza!

Make it vegetarian OR meatlovers grilled pizza! Pizza is America’s favorite food, according to a survey by the California Pizza Kitchen. (I’m sure they were COMPLETELY unbiased, LOL). But it is summer, and we love to grill. So can we combine these two loves? Yes, we CAN! Grilled Pizza! How to grill pizza Grilled pizza is essentially just a technique to get used to, particularly for the crust. Once you have that figured out, the rest is easy. The pizza can then be customized with whatever ingredients are preferred. Please note: I do all my grilling on a gas grill.

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Cheesy Brat Stew

A solution for leftover brats Since Memorial Day is upon us, I thought I would post this recipe just in case you’re about to throw some sausages on the grill, and are worried about having leftovers. This brat stew is so yummy, you might want to cook up some extra on purpose! The recipe is meant for bratwurst or Polish sausage, but really almost any sausage will work. When I made this recently I used 4 bratwursts and 2 Italian sausages – naturally, because that’s what was in the fridge! This is a really old recipe I can’t give you

Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork – Instant Pot

Includes Dry Rub Recipe for Chicken or Pork Memorial Day is coming and you’re probably planning to grill, but if the weather is sketchy or more meal choices are desirable, pulled pork is an excellent and easy choice. Plus, you can make it in your Instant Pot, which frees up other cooking methods for additional menu items. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, just use this rub. Then, slow-cook your meat in the crockpot (at least 6, up to 12, hours on low). Dry Rub First, the dry rub. A couple of years ago, I started using dry rub

salsa chicken

Salsa Chicken

Instant Pot or Oven This coming weekend will be Cinco de Mayo, so what better time to discuss some Mexican-inspired dishes? I’m going to start with Salsa Chicken because it is a simple way to prepare your chicken to use as the basis for many other dishes. I have prepared this in both an oven and Instant Pot and both work great. So no matter what cooking method you prefer, this is guaranteed to be an easy way to prepare an ingredient for the carnivores coming to your Cinco de Mayo party.  How to make Salsa Chicken First, start with