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Our Favorite Low Carb Breakfast

A low carb breakfast is essential for Type 2 Diabetics who control their blood sugar by limiting carbohydrate intake.  A low carb breakfast is also a great option for anyone who is trying to lose weight by restricting carbohydrate intake.  My husband Jack is the former, and I am the latter.  Therefore, a low carb breakfast is the perfect way to start our day.

Our new favorite low carb breakfast is called Early Rise Breakfast.  I first found the recipe here. Naturally, I made a few adaptations to the original recipe.  I am going to share with you my way of making this low carb breakfast casserole.

Ingredients:  

12 eggs
1 cup half & half
1 cup of shredded cheese
salt & pepper

Your choice of any of the following ingredients in any combination:

cooked crumbled bacon
browned crumbled sausage
diced ham
sliced mushrooms
chopped onions
chopped peppers

Instructions:

After the meats are cooked and the veggies chopped, sliced, or diced, the casserole is quite simple to put together.
First, spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray. Next, spread the meat and veggies in the bottom of the pan.  After that, sprinkle the cheese over the top of the meat and veggies.  

In a separate bowl, whisk the twelve eggs and add the half & half.  Pour that over the meat, cheese, and veggies.  Add salt and pepper, if desired.

Bake the casserole for 40-45 minutes until set.  

I cut this into twelve squares.  We love having this in the fridge for fast, low carb breakfasts!  If you’re not into low carb meals, add toast and orange juice for a quick high-protein start to your day.

I make one of these casseroles almost every week.  Not having to make a decision about what’s for breakfast is one of the best ways for us to make a wise choice in the morning.

What are your favorite go-to breakfast foods?   

 

 

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The Best Low Carb Chicken Wings Ever!

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I was never much of a wings fan until Jack began his lower carbohydrate eating plan a couple years ago.  At that time, I bought a cook book entitled 500 Low Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender.
It was in that book that I discovered a recipe for Heroin Chicken Wings, aptly named because of their highly addictive qualities.

These wings became one of our favorite low carb meals, and they happen to be gluten free for those of you who care about that.  I made these wings last night and served them with a tossed green salad.  Delicious!

 

Here’s the recipe as I make it (I did make one small change to the original recipe):
ingredients

4 pounds of chicken wings, cut and trimmed
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 TB parsley
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup butter

The hardest and ickiest part of this recipe is preparing the chicken wings.  I use a chef’s knife to cut the bones between both joints. 
I then take my kitchen shears to finish separating the pieces.  The little wing tip goes in the trash along with any loose pieces of skin or fat that can be easily trimmed.  Chicken fat is carbohydrate free, but it’s still not something that I want us to consume in vast quantities.

trimming chicken wings with kitchen shears

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.  Prepare your jelly roll pan by lining it with non-stick foil.  Don’t skip this step!  

Next, mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl that will be large enough for dipping the wing pieces.

Now it’s time to melt the butter in another bowl.  I like to set up a little dipping station with the butter bowl, the coating bowl, and the foil-lined pan.  Then I begin dipping each wing piece in butter, coating it with the “breading”, and placing it on the pan.

dipping time

After that, you’re all set to bake those wings in the preheated oven for one hour.  I always set the time for 30 minutes and use clean tongs to turn them on the pan so that they brown evenly.  Like this:
yummy chicken wings

Low Carb Chicken Wings

Now that’s some good eatin’!  We eat them just like this with no dipping sauces or dressing.  If you try these, you will understand how they got the name Heroin Chicken Wings.  You won’t want to stop until the plate is empty!

If you can stop yourself from eating the whole batch in one sitting, you’ll be happy to know that these reheat well.  I like to reheat them by putting them in the microwave for a couple minutes, then the toaster oven for ten minutes more to crisp them up some.

The carb count on theses suckers is pretty low, but the calorie count is not.  For that reason, you won’t want to over do it!

 

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Best Ever Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

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This macaroni and cheese, in all of it’s buttery, gooey, cheesy goodness is surprisingly easy to make.

I first tasted this particular macaroni and cheese several years ago at an all day scrapbooking event at my church.  One of the other participants had made this macaroni and cheese recipe to share, and it was definitely the best mac & cheese I’d ever eaten.

When I asked Bethany to share her recipe, she obliged, and I’ve been making it at home ever since.  That day at church, Bethany made her mac & cheese in a crock pot, and that’s the way I’ve always done it, too.  I will say that this doesn’t, in my book, qualify as a crock pot recipe since it’s not something that you can leave unattended for hours and hours.  It can be baked in the oven instead if that works better for you.

I got Bethany’s permission to share the recipe here.  Here’s what you’ll need:

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1 lb. of macaroni or shells, cooked al dente (thanks to shrinking food packages, I have to open two boxes)
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or in chunks
8 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed  (Bethany told me that Cooper sharp is good, too, and she’s right!)
1/4 c. butter
salt & pepper to taste
1 1/2 c. milk (I use a 12 oz. can of evaporated milk)
1/2 c. of bread crumbs (I use a 1/4 cup of bread crumbs)

Bethany’s recipe instructions call for layering of the ingredients in the crock pot or baking dish.  I just dump the pasta in the pot and then add everything else except the bread crumbs and give it a stir.

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I cook mine in the crock pot on low for two hours.  At that point, I stir in the 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and cook it on low or on the “keep warm” setting for another 30 minutes.  And that’s all there is to it!

You can bake it at 325 degrees for 30 minutes if  you’d prefer.  I can’t vouch for that method since I’ve never tried it.

We almost always have this macaroni and cheese when we have fish for dinner.  I also serve it with thickened and sweetened stewed tomatoes which we dump over the macaroni and cheese on our plates.  I used to think that everyone the world over ate mac & cheese topped with stewed tomatoes, but I’ve since learned that is not the case.  We Pennsylvania Dutch country folks have some interesting combinations, and most of them are quite tasty.

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Either way, with or without stewed tomatoes, this is the best macaroni and cheese recipe I’ve ever tried.  It’s always a hit at our house!  Thanks so much for sharing the recipe with me, Bethany!

 

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Easy Cheese Ball Recipe

It’s that time of year again when I pull out my easy cheese ball recipe.  Last night I made two of these cheese balls:  one to take to a party today and one for us to enjoy at home.

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Cheese Ball Recipe

12 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. cheddar cheese spread (I use 7 oz. because this is an example of another incredible shrinking food package.)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp worchestershire sauce
3/4 cup of chopped walnuts

That’s it!  I allow the cheeses to soften at room temperature for a couple hours and combine everything in my KitchenAid mixer bowl.

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The next step is to dump the chopped nuts onto a piece of waxed paper.  I like to make this piece of waxed paper big enough to wrap up the finished cheese ball.
I use a spoon to throw some of those nuts all over the cheese ball.  You will need to pick it up and roll the edges in the chopped nuts, too.

That’s all there is to it!

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I store mine wrapped in the waxed paper in a plastic bag or container.

This is an easy treat to make to take to office parties or family gatherings.  Be sure to make an extra one to keep at home for yourself.  That’s what I did when I made this one.

What treats do you like to make to take to gatherings at this time of year?  

 

 

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Make Ahead Meatloaf

When I was a young wife, I wish that someone had taught me how to maximize my cooking time by making extra meals for the freezer. For that reason, I’m going to show you how to turn six pounds of ground beef into four dinners–one for today and three for the freezer.   In this post I shared some other strategies for getting a head start on dinner, but today I’m going to show you how to do it.

Recently I bought six pounds of ground beef at Sam’s Club.  The ground beef was marked down since it was nearing its “sell by” date, but that doesn’t bother me.  I knew I wanted to make meatloaves, and I was happy to find 90/10 (just 10% fat) ground beef for a reasonable price.  I like the lower fat ground beef for meatloaf.

Meatloaf is a favorite of ours, and I use a recipe that I found on a Quaker Oatmeal box in 1980.   Here it is:

1.5 pounds ground beef                                     

1/4 c. onion, chopped

1 egg

1 cup tomato juice (I use tomato sauce)

3/4 cup quick oats

1 TB salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Bake for one hour at 350 degrees.  Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

Since I had six pounds of ground beef, I simply mulitiplied all of the ingredients by four. (I love it when it works out like that.  Math skills are not my strong suit!) I used a clean dish pan to mix this very large meatloaf.

The worst part about making meatloaf is mixing it with your hands.  That’s exactly why I prefer to make more than one meatloaf at a time.  Why go through all of this just for one meal when you can make four meals at once?

When it’s thoroughly mixed, I use a spatula to flatten it out in the dishpan so that I can divide it into four equal portions.

Once you have the meatloaf divided, you can wrap the four meatloaves in plastic wrap or put them into plastic storage bags.

I like to divide each of the four meatloaves in half since smaller meatloaves cook faster.  When I was making this batch, I wrapped up three meals for the freezer, and put two of the small meatloaves in a pan to cook for our meal that day.

You can see that my meatloaves are not exactly the same size.  That’s okay.  I’m not a perfectionist, so I can deal with this. 😉

After bagging the meatloaves in the plastic storage bags and securing with twist ties, I put them in Ziploc Freezer bags before putting them in the freezer.

If freezer space is an issue for you, you can flatten the meatloaves out and freeze them flat.  You can reshape them into loaf form when you thaw them.

The meatloaves that you see here will give us eight meals since I’m feeding just two people.   I love the pay off that comes from this kind of preparation.   It took me about the same amount of time to prepare eight meals as it would have to prepare one meal.  Granted, the bagging up takes a little time, but not nearly as much time as the food prep.

When we want to have meatloaf again in a few weeks, I will thaw the frozen meatloaf in the fridge and then bake according to the directions on the recipe. Meal prep doesn’t get much simpler than that!

What are your favorite make ahead meals?