Low carb


Today we’re going to make more comfort food!  Yay!

This is a pretty basic recipe for macaroni and cheese, zhoozhed up a bit courtesy of Alton Brown and Williams-Sonoma…

On with the show…

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni.  (Use Dreamfield’s if you’re feeling low-carby.)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • nutmeg, to taste
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded  (use white cheddar if you’re feeling saucy.  Or you can throw in some Fontina, smoked gouda, Gruyere, or any other interesting cheese that haz a flavor.)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • White pepper

Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup (panko) bread crumbs  (If you don’t have panko, you can grind up some stale white bread in your food processor.)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to one minute less than the directions say.  (It will finish cooking in the oven.)

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, nutmeg, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes, stirring constantly, then remove the bay leaf.  (The bay leaf is optional, BTW.)

Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and white pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

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This New Year’s Eve, my Sweetie and I are going to The Grape.  Which is a Dallas institution.  And the Institution-within-an-Institution for The Grape is their mushroom soup.  It’s really famous.  I mean, really, REALLY famous.

I have the recipe for their soup, but I have tweaked it, and I daresay that mine is even BETTER.  For reals.  (Be sure and eat the soup with a sourdough baguette!  The bread really makes this dish pop!)

So, here is my redone recipe for The Grape’s Mushroom Soup.

Don’t say I never gave you anything.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbs butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3,  8-oz packages of various mushrooms, chopped.  I like to use button, shiitake, and crimini.  (And throw in some oyster mushrooms if I can find them!)
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups of beef stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • pinch of white pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in large saucepan.
  2. Add shallots and cook over moderate heat until they become translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in flour and coat vegetables well.
  5. Add white wine and cook for a minute or so, scraping the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add stock slowly, stirring constantly.
  7. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  8. Add white pepper & nutmeg.
  9. Remove from heat, stir in cream, and serve.

Serves 6.

If you serve this with a baguette of sourdough bread and a glass of red wine, you will be adored forever.  Ladies, this soup is a MAN TRAP.  I kid you not.  How else do you think I snagged my husband???  It’s THAT good!

Enjoy!

More low carby goodness for you today…

Philly Cream Cheese Chicken!

To make this, you will need:

  • .
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 pkg Zesty Italian salad dressing mix

Directions:

1.  Grease/oil up a casserole dish.

2.  Preheat oven to 375F

3.  Put chicken parts in the casserole dish…

4.  Sprinkle salad dressing mix over chicken.

5.  If the cream cheese needs softening, throw it into the microwave for 20-30 seconds.  Then stir or whisk to get the lumps out.

6.  Add mushroom soup and mix into the cream cheese.

7.  Spread over the chicken.

8.  Put in the oven for 35-40 minutes if the chicken is already thawed.   If you are lazy and get your chicken breasts frozen and refuse to thaw them, keep them in the oven for 45-55 minutes.

9.  You will get THIS:

10.  Plate it up with your favorite veggies (and potatoes or noodles if you don’t care about the carb count).

NOM!

Low carbing is such torture.  No sugar, no candy, no Little Debbie Snack Cakes…  What’s a girl to do when she has a hankering for some starchy, naughty goodness?

Make macaroni and cheese, of course!

(What???)

No, really!

Thanks to the wonder of modern food engineering, you CAN have low carb pasta.  And today, I’m going to show you how to make my favorite guilty pleasure, full of white trashy goodness and macaroni!

Spamaroni and Cheese.  (With Asparagus)

To make this, you need:

  • 2 cups Dreamfields elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 3/4 lb Velveeta (YES!) — cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used evaporated.  You can use cream, regular milk, soy milk, or whatever you have on hand.)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1-2 cups chopped asparagus
  • Spammity Spam.  Cut into cubes.

Directions:

  • Cook the macaroni.  It is low carb, because (*place deity name here*) is good.  But be sure and don’t cook it for more than 9 minutes, because if you cook it longer than directed, the low-carby goodness goes bye-bye.  You have been warned.
  • While you’re waiting for the water to boil, fry the spam until it is nice and brown.

  • While you’re cooking the macaroni, boil or nuke the asparagus.  (I got mine frozen in a box because I’m lazy, and asparagus is out of season and rather sad-looking at my local grocery store.)
  • When the macaroni is done, drain it and return it to the pan.
  • Add cheese, milk, salt, and pepper.

  • Stir on low heat until everything is nice and melted.  Feel free to throw in some shredded cheddar if you feel like it.  Or even better, GOVERNMENT CHEESE!

  • When the cheesiness has incorporated into the pasta, add the Spam and asparagus and stir.

  • ***OPTIONAL***  Put into a casserole dish, throw some shredded cheese on top, and bake at 350-400 for 20 minutes.
  • Eat.  And best of all, gloat that you’re low carbing AND having yummy pasta!

So this week I’ve started low carbing.  Again.  Joy.  But at least I get to have cheese…

Since I’ve done this drill many, many times before, I decided to start off my low carb experience with something extra super yummy…

Salmon and Fauxtatoes with Roasted Asparagus!

For the salmon you will need:

  • salmon filets

  • and the flavoring agent of your choice.  You could go as simple as salt/pepper/olive oil, or you could do what I did and use my favorite go-to Bottle O’ Asian Flavor:

Directions:

  1. Get a zip top bag.
  2. Put salmon into bag.
  3. Pour in marinade of your choice.
  4. Close top, squish around to coat all the salmon, and put into fridge for at least 30 minutes, while you work on…

Fauxtatoes!

These are seriously my favorite low-carb luxury foods…  SO yummy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic.  Yes, I am lazy and get mine in a plastic jug.
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary (or 1/2-1 tsp dried)
  • 1 bag of frozen cauliflower, or 1 head of chopped cauliflower

Directions:

  1. Put cauliflower into a big pot, add water to cover, and add cream.  (The cream keeps the cauliflower from turning grey.   Yuck.)
  2. Bring to a boil, and boil the everloving snot out of the cauliflower.  For at least 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, chop the rosemary (if it’s fresh.  Otherwise…Measure your rosemary sawdust?)…

4.  After your cauliflower has been boiled half to death, drain it and add it back to the pan, or a blender or food processor…

5.   Add the cream cheese, garlic, butter,  and rosemary.

6.  Smoosh, whirr, blend, or destroy the mixture into a pulp.  Whee!

7.  OPTIONAL:  Put  into a casserole dish and put into the oven while the salmon and asparagus are cooking.

Speaking of…

Roasted Asparagus!

This is amazingly, unbelievably good stuff!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary.  If you don’t have rosemary, use 1/2 tsp herbes de provence.  Yeah.  Get the rosemary.
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • aluminum foil for baking.

Directions:

  1. Wash and break woody ends from asparagus spears.  (You can do this by bending the spears until they snap.  They should break exactly where they’re supposed to!  SCIENCE!)
  2. Put asparagus onto a 1-foot long sheet of aluminum foil.  Add salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil.  Mix around to coat all the spears.
  3. Rearrange into a tidy stack, and top with rosemary and lemon slices
  4. Make a packet by gathering the two long ends of the foil and rolling down, then rolling in the two side ends.
  5. Bake in the oven at the same time as the salmon.  (Or put the asparagus in 5 minutes before the salmon.)  Total baking time should be 15-20 minutes at 425F.

Back to the Salmon…

  • Remove salmon from marinade, put into oiled pan, and bake at 425F for 12-15 minutes.
  • (Cook it at the same time as the asparagus.)

When everything’s done, plate it up and chow down!