Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Emerilware 12" Cast Iron Skillet Review for CSN stores!!!

Look what Fed-Ex stopped by with yesterday!!

I thought I would make low-carb friendly chicken parmesan today in my new pan.   This pan is very heavy, which is what you want in a cast iron skillet.  It stays where you put it!!  No sliding around on your burners.

Before using I simply hand washed in warm mildly soapy water.  Then I dried it on the stove top and put a couple TB of vegetable oil on the inside, and rubbed it around evenly with a paper towel.  In a few minutes it was ready to use.  Very easy!

This skillet heat up pretty quickly.  By the time I was done trimming and cutting the chicken breasts, the heat was ready to receive them.  The five chicken breasts cooked evenly, which was much appreciated by me. 

When the stove top part of my recipe was done, it easily transferred to the oven for browning the top under my broiler.  Another plus was that the chicken left the pan effortlessly, including the melted cheese.

I cleaned the pan immediately after use, and it was easy, I just used a nylon spatula to loosen the couple of bits left on the skillet.  I enjoy my new kitchen toy, and can't wait to use it again.   

I had fun doing this review for CSN stores, and hope I am asked to do another in the future.  I've got my eyes on a few of their products! 

Now for the Low-Carb Chicken Parmesan recipe:

Add a couple TB of oil into your cast iron skillet, over medium heat.

Pre-heat your oven to broil.

Take your desired amount of chicken breasts, and filet each half, so that there are 2 thin pieces per half.

a cute outfit doesn't hurt!!  Thanks to son for his interesting photo angle..hehe

When skillet gets hot, add chicken breast pieces, allow to brown, slightly crisp, turning to cook second side.

In the meantime, gather the simple ingredients.  Granulated onion, Granulated garlic (I find the granulated to be much more pure and flavorful than "powder" varieties); you favorite sauce, pecorino romano grated cheese, deli-sliced mozzarella, and pepper if desired.

When almost done, top each breast with a good sprinkle of granulated onion and granulated garlic and 1 TB of spaghetti sauce of your choice.

Next add 1 TB of Pecorino Romano (found in a case near the deli...can be in block form and grated at home, or bought pre-grated in bags).  I  never use Parmesan, that is my secret, the Romano has a wonderful tang I have come to crave! 

Top each piece with a slice of mozzarella, folded in half.

 Get your potholders ready, and place this right into you pre-heated broiler for 1-3 minutes, watch closely for when the cheese is specked with brown.  It looks GREAT!!

This is one of my favorite comfort foods I just whip up without busting my diet plans!  This goes wonderfully with zucchini sauteed in butter, onion optional, and topped with grated romano.  Load those veggies up!

And hey if you don't like this recipe, don't let that stop you from the experience of working with cast iron.  Everything tastes better in this, so use your own favorite recipe.  Or do a search for some!  Next I think I will try Deep Dish Pizzafor the kids!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Low Carb Chicken and Beef Meals I am going to try this coming week

 I am tucking these away in my blog, as full recipes, with source, so that I will NOT lose them.  It will also be easier making my shopping list with it all laid out here.  They look like such winners, sure to help my family reach our goals!!  Tell me if you try any.

Creamy Southwestern Chicken

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 C minced onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 6-8 oz canned chopped green chiles (depending on can size)
  • Optional: small amt of chicken stock or Better than Boullion
  • 1/4 C cream
  • 1/3 C shredded cheddar or jack cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper
1) Heat large skillet with oil.

2) Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. Saute' till brown on both sides, adding onions about half way through.

3) Add garlic and cook for another minute.

4) If needed, deglaze the pan with a little water or chicken stock. Add 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon if desired.

5) Add green chiles and cream, and simmer until chicken is done and sauce is thickened.

6) Top with cheese, and serve when cheese melts.

Optional garnish: avocado slices; cilantro

Makes 3-4 servings

Nutritional Analysis for each of 3 servings: 4.5 grams of effective carbohydrate plus 1.5 grams fiber, 38 grams protein, 18 grams of fat, 347 calories.

Skillet Chicken Divan

  • 2.5 cups (or so) of chopped cooked chicken
  • 3 cups cooked chopped broccoli
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced, 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tablespoon Better than Boullion and 3/4 cup water, or 3/4 cup chicken broth and salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (see note above)
  • 2 teaspoons low carb thickener such as NOTStarch or 2 T whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped (it's nice if you toast them, but not vital)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1) Saute onion and mushrooms in oil for 4-5 minutes.

2) Add wine and boil most of it away.

3) Add thickener. If you are using flour, cook for a minute or so before adding the rest of the ingredients.

4) Add liquids and seasonings. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cheese - you can mix that in or sprinkle it over the top and put the whole thing under the broiler to brown.

Nutritional Analysis: (with NOTStarch): 6 grams effective carb plus 6 grams fiber, 31 grams protein, and 400 calories.

Korean beef
  It can be marinated anywhere from an hour to overnight, and the strips of beef cook really quickly on the grill.  Suggested Side Dish: Asian Broccoli Stir-Fry
  • Beef -- flank steak, sirloin, or your favorite -- cut in ½ inch strips or whole
  • For Each Pound of Beef, make the following marinade:
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup chicken broth (or water, the difference is subtle)
  • 2 Tablespoons artificial sweetener (or brown sugar -- not much of it probably actually gets into the meat)
  • 2 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 green onions (scallions) chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
Cut the beef into half-inch strips if the butcher didn't do it for you.   Mix the marinade ingredients up, and put the meat in. Marinate anywhere from an hour to overnight. If you use artificial sweetener, consider adding just a teaspoon of dark molasses for flavor.

Grill quickly on a hot grill.

There is no carbohydrate to speak of in this recipe if you use the artificial sweetener. It's hard to tell with sugar in a marinade how much gets in.

Chicken or Beef fajitas
  • 1.5-2 lbs skirt steak or other beef or chicken easily cut into strips
  • 1 medium onion, sliced, or 15 medium scallions (green onions) - same amount of carb!
  • 2 large Bell peppers, sliced - two different colors is nice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
1. Combine soy sauce, lime juice, chili powder, and oil. If grilling, save a couple of Tablespoons aside to toss with the vegetables.

2. Slice the meat into about 1/2 inch slices. If using skirt steak, flank steak, or other meat with an obvious grain (lines through the meat), be sure to cut perpendicular to the grain, or you will be chewing a very long time. (Think about it - you want to create a lot of short fibers, not a few long ones.) How to Cut Meat Against the Grain

3. If cooking in a skillet, marinate everything together in a bowl or plastic bag (a zip-type works well). If grilling, marinate the meat and veggies separately. Even a few minutes helps, up to 2 hours is great.

4. If grilling, remove from marinade and grill.

5. For cooking in a skillet (preferably regular, not nonstick), cook the meat first (it will probably take two batches, depending upon your pan). Add a little oil to the skillet and get it very hot (the oil will shimmer). If you don't get it hot enough (or crowd too much meat in), the meat will steam instead of browning. When the meat is browned, remove and add veggies. When they begin to soften, return meat to skillet to heat through.

6. Serve with salsa, sour cream, cilantro (if desired) and guacamole. If low-carb tortillas are available, that is a nice addition, but a fork works fine.

Serves 5

Nutritional Information:Meat and vegetables, with 1.5 pound skirt steak and green onions, have 4.5 grams of effective carbohydrate and 2 grams of fiber, 28 grams of protein, and 307 calories per serving. The marinade could add as much as 1 gram of carb (the whole recipe has 5 grams), but obviously not all of it makes it to the table.

---your favorite recipe minus the bread crumbs....can use crushed up pork rinds if desired

Lunch Ideas
Deviled eggs or egg salad
Chicken salad with bed of greens (baby spinach or romaine) and walnuts
Tuna salad occasionally (be careful for mercury exposure)
Stuffed bell peppers (use riced cauliflower in place of white rice)
Huge chef salad with full fat ranch (yeah!!)
Buffalo chicken salad (the chicken will NOT be breaded so it won't be quite the same, but I'll make do and the ranch will make up for it..hehe)
meatballs with sauce and cheese and a green salad

Coffee with:
Fried eggs with cheese and sausage
veggie and cheese Omelettes
Pizza Omelette (mozzarella, green pepper, onion, pepperoni or hamburger)

farmer scramble (minus potatoes) with salsa
any dinner or lunch leftovers =)

Tomorrow I go shopping and will have a very happy kitchen!!

I have a wedding I am a bridesmaid for coming in April.  I've got about 7 weeks until my dress comes in and I am measured for alterations.  I hope to be down 20 lbs. by then. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

~Black Forest Cake~

Oh I am so glad you stopped by!  Come on in out of the cold, let's set your things by the fire to dry and warm up.  Here's  a cup of coffee and an apron, I was just setting up to make a very easy lovely cake for our family's dessert this evening.  This recipe idea was given to me by my internet neighbor and friend, Connie.  Could you hold this camera for me and take a couple shots as we go along so I can share this with some dear friends online?  Thank you so much.  It's great having an extra pair of hands, and some girl talk besides!!

See this lovely bowl, isn't it old fashioned looking and simple?  I am drawn to that type of style.  I love everything retro, vintage or farmhouse.

Preparing for the evening's meal early on in the day while I have some quiet time when the home is still has become a helpful habit.  This way when the day's activities are at its peak, I am not running around trying to do too many things at once.   Attention, care and prayers can  be put into the meal.  The salad's been made,  and is covered in the ice box.  The dry ingredients for our baking powder biscuits have been mixed,  in that covered bowl on the counter.  All that needs doing come supper time is to add the milk, flatten out, cut and pop them in the oven.

Speaking of oven, I will set my oven to 350 degrees now, so that by the time the cake is ready to go in, it will be ready at the proper temperature.  That is an important step to any baking.

I suppose that is enough gabbing, now onto the recipe.  This really couldn't be any simpler.  It's simply a devil's food cake mix, 2 eggs, and a can of cherry pie filling.  Let's pour these each into the bowl, and I will mix it up with my old fashioned wooden spoon.

You know, this would be a good recipe for when company is coming, or you are pressed for time, but want to have something simple yet lovely to take to your dinner party.

Would you hand me that orange Spoonula over there?  Thank you.  I love using this to scrape every last bit of batter from the batter bowl.

You could also just make this in a retangular pan.  This cake will not come out perfectly flat and smooth, it has a more rustic look to it, which is part of it's charm.   

That's all there is to it!  Now in half hour or so I will test it with a toothpick or knife to be sure it is fully finished, and let them cool.  I think this will be great as is, or with my favorite, a huge dollop of sweetened home whipped-cream.  It's really your preference.  Get creative in your kitchen. 


devil's food cake mix
1 can of cherry pie filling
2 eggs

Into your favorite bowl pour the cake mix, cherry pie filling and 2 eggs.  Mix up good with fork or your best stirring spoon.  Scrape with your silicone spatula into well greased cake pan/s, and bake at 350 degrees for about half an hour.  Toothpick test to be sure it's done.  Cool.  Flip into best plate or serving dish, or if using large rectangular pan, just serve from there.  Be sure to have plenty of fresh whipped cream to dollop on top.  Enjoy!