Creamy Low-Carb (Mock) Mac and Cheese



I’ve been meaning to try this recipe adapted from a collection of similar recipes.  I happened to notice that our local grocer had riced cauliflower on sale and thought I would use the opportunity to make a little “comfort food” for this chilly Sunday afternoon.  The texture of the diced cauliflower simulates the texture of rice or noodles.  It’s certainly not exactly like my original version of mac and cheese that my family has grown to love, but it’s close enough for carb concious gals like me.

Creamy Low-Carb Mac and Cheese


1- 12 ounce bag riced cauliflower

3/4 cup cream or half and half

2 oz cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Steam or microwave riced cauliflower as directed. Pat dry with paper towels. Spray 13X9″ baking pan with non-stick spray. In a small saucepan bring cream to a simmer, add cream cheese stirring until cream cheese melts. Add dry mustard powder, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder; whisk to incorporate. Turn off heat and add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese slowly, stirring well to incorporate. Put cauliflower into prepared casserole dish, evenly pour cheese sauce over cauliflower.  Sprinkle the last 1/2 cup of cheese over the top. Bake at 375 degrees until topping is melted and beginning to brown, or about 15-20 minutes.  Remove  from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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Low-Carb Peanut Butter Mini Loaf

As we move into mid November/December, the holiday season ushers in a plethora of tempting chocolatey treats, sweetly seasoned baked goods, and a bounty of party trays that seem to line the expanse of grocery store isles all over the country.  As the season of eating (and over-eating) begins, I am forever looking for recipes that will help me to stay away from the carb-laden sweet treats that show up everywhere. Yesterday, while I was shopping for a few pantry staples, my neighborhood grocery store shared with customers an array of cakes, pies, and pastry samples.  Turning every corner of each isle offered a new taste of tempting delicacies including shrimp cocktail, hot sugary beverages, hors d’oeuvres, and various sweet treats.  Store owners even offered a full Thanksgiving lunch with all the trimmings so that customers could sample the items and entice them to place early dinner orders for upcoming holiday gatherings.  Food, food, and more food…Yikes!

As an alternative, this Peanut Butter Mini-Loaf is one of the recipes that I turn to for a small sample of low-carb deliciousness that has no flour, a slight bit of sweetener, and a portion size that is certainly doable.  I use peanut butter with ingredients that include only peanuts and less than 1% of salt.  (I use the Smucker’s brand in the glass jar.)  Sometimes I mix a 1/2 cup of cinnamon with a packet of sweeter to make my own version of cinnamon sugar.  I store it in an airtight container and sprinkle a bit of it over the top of a buttered slice. Oh my, simply delicious…



Low Carb Peanut Butter Mini Loaf

1 cup natural peanut butter, creamy 

3 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vinegar

1/2 teaspoon  baking soda

2 individual packets sweetener 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 1 quart mini loaf pan or 2-3X5″ loaf pans.  In a medium bowl, combine beaten eggs and peanut butter.  With a spatula, mix until smooth.  Add vinegar, baking soda and sweetener.  Hand whisk until smooth and creamy. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan(s).   Bake for 30-35 minutes until bread is fully cooked and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing into thin slices with a sharp knife.

 

Beef Salami

We recently had a substantial amount of local beef delivered to our home. One of my colleagues owns a beef ranch and I decided to try the product that so many often rave about.  The delivery came with a selection of cuts including various roasts, steaks, and ground beef.  As I looked at all of the individually wrapped beef packages, I was reminded of a recipe that I first spotted in a community cookbook that I’m fond of.  It’s an ole’ time recipe for homemade beef salami and the ingredients are few and common.  I substituted Lawry’s seasoning salt for the “tender quick salt” just because I didn’t have any on hand.  The beef salami turned out just fine.





As the holiday weekend approaches, I thought this might be a fun recipe to try as I’m often assembling plates of appetizers when friends stop by and the kids open the fridge constantly looking for something to munch on.







Low-Carb Taco Casserole

While most households were gobbling up lots of carb-laden snacks and appetizers this past Sunday, we watched the Super Bowl while munching on this delightful Low-Carb Taco Casserole.  I used to make this recipe without the added Doritos chips but I find the crust to be a bit more crunchy and a lot less low-carb tasting… just by added 3 little chips to the mix.  I looked up the  nutritional facts for Doritos and calculated that 11 chips equal 16 grams of carbohydrates so you can do the math to figure how many carbs exist in just 3 crumbled chips. Boy, those chips add a world of difference to the crust.  You be the judge…  It’s totally up to you if you’d like to omit the chips.  …Hope you enjoy this simple recipe that’s packed with flavor!

Low-Carb Taco Bake

For the crust:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 eggs

1/3 cup half & half

1/2 package taco seasoning mix

8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

3 Doritos chips, crumbled

For the topping:
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 package taco seasoning

1/4 cup tomato sauce

2 tablespoons green chilies, optional

1/2 cup tomato, diced

8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 9×13″ baking dish; set aside. 

To make the crust:  Beat the cream cheese and eggs until smooth.  Add the half & half and taco seasoning, mix well.  Spread the cheddar cheese over the bottom of the baking dish.  Spread the egg mixture evenly over the cheese. Sprinkle crumbled Doritos over egg mixture. Bake at 375ºF, 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.  Let stand 5 minutes.

To make the topping:  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Brown the ground beef until no longer pink; drain thoroughly.  Stir in the taco seasoning, tomato sauce and chiles.  Spread over the crust.  Top with diced tomato and shredded cheese.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Cool slightly before cutting into serving-sized squares.

Peanut Butter Bites

For those of you trying to reduce the amount of refined sugar and processed white flour in your diet, this is a doozy of a cookie.  I stumbled on a version of this recipe several years ago when the only readily available sugar substitute on the market was Splenda.  Since then, the options are abundant when choosing sweeteners to add to baked goods.  For this particular recipe, I use a mixture of unrefined coconut sugar and a brown sugar substitute blend to sweeten the batter. The result, an absolutely delicious cookie that everyone is sure to enjoy. Tuck them away in a safe place after they’ve cooled or they’ll be gone in no time at all!



Peanut Butter Bites

1 16 oz. jar natural crunchy peanut butter (no sugar added)

1/4 cup unrefined coconut sugar (readily available in grocery stores)

1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar blend

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray two cookie sheets w/ cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, sweeteners, eggs and vanilla extract; mix well.  With a small round ice cream scoop, press the dough into walnut-sized balls and place 2″ apart on the cookie sheet.

With a tines of a fork, flatten the cookies in a criss-cross pattern. Bake 9-10 minutes or until just starting to turn golden brown.  Wait a few minutes before removing from tray to cool on wire racks.  Store in an airtight container.

(Note: If you prefer a sweeter cookie, double the coconut sugar and brown sugar blend to equal 1/2 cup each.)



Cinnamon Spiced Pecans (Low Carb)



I’m always looking for a crunchy snack that is low in carbs but high in flavor.  This treat fits the bill. The sweet cinnamon flavor and spicy cayenne pepper make for a winning combination. Throw the simple ingredients together and this recipe takes about 5-10 minutes from start to finish.  The aroma of cinnamon and nuts warming over the heat  is simply devine!  Eat them alone or sprinkle them over a bed of lettuce with sliced berries and a light vinaigrette dressing.  YUMMY!

Cinnamon Spiced Pecans (Low Carb)

2 cups pecan halves

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 packets of Splenda artificial sweetener (or to suit your taste)

4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large non-stick skillet, melt butter and add cayenne pepper. In a single layer, add pecans to skillet and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly just until they begin to brown.  Be careful to regulate the heat as not to burn the nuts or butter.  Stir in cinnamon, salt, and powdered sweetener.  Remove from pan and cool.  Adjust seasonings to suit your taste.

Everyday Mini Muffin Omelets

This past weekend, local farmers took advantage of the rush to fill Easter baskets by posting signs on country roads advertising “farm fresh eggs”. These eggs seem to have the most beautiful deep, golden colored yolks and their smooth, creamy texture just can’t be beat. 

I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more roadside stands and local farmer’s markets as the weather begins to warm and an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables fill our Midwestern fields.  The idea of buying local takes me back to simpler times and reminds me of the wholesome goodness that can be found right around the corner. 

If you’re looking for a protein packed snack that’s quick and easy to assemble, then this recipe is for you.  I often make a double batch, pop them into an air-tight container, and park them in the fridge for a quick lunch or afternoon snack.  If you’re looking for a convenient breakfast idea, the pre-cooked mini omelets can be quickly reheated in the microwave.  We often slip the mini omelet between two mini bagel halves to make a delicious breakfast sandwich. 

Change up the ingredients, if you’d like…  Substituting bacon, sausage, potatoes, or red peppers are all great options. 

Mini Muffin Omelets

8 eggs

8 ounces cooked Canadian bacon, diced

1/2 cup green pepper, diced

1/2 cup onion, diced 

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, optional

2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease mini muffin cups or line with paper liners.

Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients to the beaten eggs; mix well.  Pour egg mixture evenly into prepared muffin cups.

Bake in the preheated oven until muffins are set in the middle, 12-18 minutes.  Remove from the oven; top with a little extra cheese, if desired.