Tag Archives: low carb

Stuffed Banana Peppers

These were simple and good but they sure were hot!  Start by making the stuffing which was primarily hot sausage with chopped onion, garlic, and Italian cheese.  Make the stuffing with the proportions of your choice.

Cook the sausage about half way and drain the grease.

Add the other ingredients once the sausage is ready and put aside.

Cut the stems off of the peppers and remove the seeds and pulp.  You may want to wear gloves and be sure not to touch your face….TRUST ME!

Then stuff as much filling as you can into the peppers and line in a baking dish.

Cover with a bit of tomato sauce and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

We put them on a bit of pasta to cut the heat of the peppers.

Enjoy!

Greg

Thai Peanut Stir Fry with Skirt Steak

When we made the pork and peach spring rolls we also made a delicious peanut sauce to dip the spring rolls in. I intentionally made a lot of the sauce because it is that good and I knew I would want to use it in another dish. Alas, here is what I came up with!  The peanut sauce was made in advance and stored for about 2-3 days before I made this.

I started off with some onion, which I sauteed in some toasted sesame oil. I kept the onion pieces pretty big as you can see- I guess they were technically quarters. Typically I add my aromatics (garlic, ginger, etc) once the onions cook for a few minutes, however, this step was not needed here because the peanut sauce already includes these ingredients.

Next, I added some carrots.

And then some spinach.

Time for the peanut sauce! I thinned it out using some chicken broth.

I blanched some broccoli and then added it to the mix.

For my protein I used skirt steak. I went to Whole Foods for lunch and they were giving out samples of their skirt steaks, which were also on sale. One bite and I was sold. It worked really well in this dish too!

I seasoned it with a little salt and pepper and grilled it. When it was ready I sliced it up and threw it in with the veggies and sauce. This dish really came together nicely- I give a lot of credit to the peanut sauce. As I mentioned it packed a ton of flavor, so for this dish it was really just a matter of putting it all together.

I wanted a more broth like sauce, so I thinned it out to my liking, but you can easily adjust this depending on your taste.  I ate it as is, but I am sure it would be great over rice or some thin rice noodles. It was also great leftover.

And this was going on while I was cooking! So starving!

All in all, I thought this came out great. See our post about the spring rolls for the link to the peanut sauce recipe!

– Eileen

Seared Salmon Salad with Grilled Tomato and Avacado

Summer!

This was another summery grilling inspiration.  I had a hankering for seared salmon and figured to keep it light by having it on a salad with an oil based dressing.  I also decided to spruce up the salad with some methods that I had never tried and some that were truly experimental, but worked out.  This turned out much better than the last post, but we give you the truth here!

First off the primary ingredient, the salmon.

It did have the skin on it and I had an idea of how to get it off.  I have tried to cut it off, but I always feel like I lose so much in the difficult process.

All dressed up and nowhere to go!

I sprinkled a store bought cajun seasoning on the meat side only.

Next was to prep some of the other salad ingredients.  The first was to prep a foil packet of walnuts, sliced garlic, oil, and salt and pepper.

Ready for the grill

I had never roasted walnuts and garlic on the grill like this but it worked out.  This packet went right onto the grill for about 6-8 minutes each side.  The flavors intermingled well and I threw them right on the salad though I know some would be weary to throw the roasted garlic on the salad.  Feel free to discard it or recycle it for another dish, but I think that it worked out well and was not too overpowering.

Post Grill

That was one of the new methods mentioned, the next is also a new method and one that was truly experimental and I was not sure if it would work out.  I sliced 2 tomatoes in half and an avocado in half, sprayed them with a little oil, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper and then……

Whats next?

Probably not a big surprise, but right on the grill face down!

It worked out just fine and I would suggest it and try it again myself!

Maybe a minute or two less next time though

I wasn’t sure how the avocado would fare on the grill and it could have used a minute or two less but I was able to peel away some of the burnt parts sort of like peeling the blistered skin of a roasted red pepper.  I sliced them and added them to the salad.

Back to the salmon.  I was planning to sear it and placed it skin side down first.

Ok, I forgot my plan and put it down meat side for a second.

Once I flipped it after a few minutes, the skin came right off which was the hopeful plan!

Skin came right off. Nice!

Once the salmon was done, I sliced it and put it atop the rest of the salad ingredients.

We used some olive oil and vinegar as a dressing, though much wasn’t needed since there were so many great flavors.

In addition, I threw a little bit of goat cheese on the salad.  The warm salmon and grilled veggies melted it a bit and the creaminess tasted great.  Overall, was a good meal.

Chicken Piccata

My sister sent me this recipe for chicken piccata almost two years ago and  Greg and I been loving it ever since. It ‘s certainly a basic version, but it’s  a nice easy to follow recipe and tastes great. I’ve served it with different sides in the past, including pasta, rice and veggies. Rice is probably the best as it soaks up the delicious lemony sauce. For this go round however I served the chicken with some steamed broccoli (another good sauce absorber),  squash and zucchini.

The ingredients include olive oil, chicken (of course), chicken stock, lemon juice, butter, capers and flour ( not pictured). I actually experimented a bit and substituted almond flour for traditional all-purpose flour. Almond flour/meal has more fiber and less carbohydrates than regular flour and worked pretty well in this dish.

I purchased chicken breasts that were already sliced thin. If you are using regular chicken breasts you can slice them in half and pound them out. This is a bit easier if the chicken is still semi-frozen or if you buy it fresh, you can put it in the freezer for a few minutes to make it easier to slice.

The next step is to coat each chicken piece with flour.

Then get your butter and olive oil going in a pan and begin to cook the chicken. Since the pieces are pretty thin they do not need much time, maybe 2-3 minutes per side.

As each piece of chicken finishes cooking just set them aside. Once all of the chicken is cooked and removed from the pan, add the chicken broth and lemon juice to make your sauce. Let the sauce get up to a boil, then turn it down to simmer and reduce. Once the sauce is nearly finished you can add capers (this was not part of the original recipe) if you’d like. Then dip each piece of chicken into the sauce, coating it completely. Plate the chicken and pour sauce over top or serve in a gravy boat.

Some pre-sauce shots:

and after the saucing… (I covered the veggies in the sauce too!)

I hope your enjoy this one!

Recipe for Chicken Piccata (courtesy of my sister)

Roasted Corn Salsa Dressing on Peppercorn Steak Salad

This is Greg and this is my first Kitten post!  A teacher has some summer time so you should be seeing me around here more often.  The original idea for this was black and blue steak salad and I decided to really focus on the black part and made a peppercorn rub for the steak.  I used a porterhouse cut of about 1.5 pounds which is not the typical or easiest cut for a steak salad, but they are always on sale at Giant in the summers and was a great deal for some quality meat.  With the trimming off the bone, there were some convenient scraps that had to be tested too.  When grabbing the blue cheese, Gorgonzola was right next to it and I decided to switch up the black and blue philosophy though it is not a major change as they are pretty similar.

Filet on the right!

The rub was just a combination of some dried spices and whole peppercorns that I ground in our spice grinder.  It was very loud at first and I ran it until itwas quieter but not fully ground.  I wanted to keep the peppercorns a bit coarse.

Preground peppercorns and spices
Don’t be afraid to use your hands and get it well covered

It is called a rub because you are supposed to rub it into the meat, so pour half of it on and get to work!  Flip it over and make sure that the whole piece is thoroughly covered. Grill it as you normally would a steak.  If possible, it is best to plan some rest time once the steak is done to allow the juices to set and to allow it a bit of time to cool to cut it and serve on a cold salad.

Where the term blackened comes from

Despite how it looks, the meat was cooked medium rare.  The rub just really blackened it that much.  It did not taste over spiced, again despite it’s appearance.  I let it sit for about a half an hour and sliced it up.  I kept the filet separate to make sure we got fair shares and as mentioned, many samples had to be had while carving it along with cleaning the bone.

Once the steak was sliced, I placed it on a bed or romaine lettuce and applied the salsa/dressing that I was simultaneously making.

Could always stop here and add a premade dressing

I had a hard time naming the dressing because it is sort of a salsa mixture that we used as a dressing.  There were so many important ingredients also that it was hard to focus on a few to give it an identity.  No other dressing was added once we topped the salad with this.  I first wrapped the peeled corn in foil with some butter and salt and pepper and roasted it on the grill for about 45 minutes or so turning once in a while.

Good ol sweet summer white corn
Double wrapped and ready for the grill

While the corn was roasting, I combined the remainder of the ingredients.  The lemon juice, oil, and vinegar tied it together as a dressing consistency which spread well on the salad and held the whole thing together too.

All of the ingredients for the dressing except for the corn

Once the corn was roasted, I let it cool until it could be handled and removed the kernels and mixed it in with the rest.

Apparently the center was on the most intense heat

Once all of the dressing ingredients were combined and well mixed, we used it as you would a normal dressing on the steak salad and sprinkled a little bit of extra Gorgonzola on top and enjoyed.

The final product!

It was sort of a lot of work but was well worth it and we really enjoyed it.  The dressing was so good itself that salad bites without steak were still really fulfilling.  An added bonus was that about half of the steak bites were filet mignon which most would consider a sin to be placed on a salad but the price was so great that it was just fine.  Give some or all of it a try!

Recipe for Roasted Corn Salsa Salad Dressing

Recipe for Peppercorn Rub

Moules Fromage Bleu

You know that show on the food network called The Best Thing I Ever Ate where famous chefs tell you where they had the best whatever the theme happens to be that day? Well, if I were ever asked what the best mussels dish I ever ate was it would hands down be the moules fromage bleu from Granville Moore’s in DC. In fact, these mussels beat Bobby Flay’s in his mussels throw down episode! Yeah, I love the food network 🙂

I have recreated them several times at home, and it’s actually quite simple. The ingredients are the same, but just not of the same quality as GM’s. (Sorry Giant, but you lack gourmet ingredients). But that’s how it goes sometimes and that’s OK! This dish still tastes amazing, particularly if you are a fan of bacon and blue cheese (an unbeatable combo in my book).

The ingredients:

From top left to bottom left: Blue cheese, mussels, lemon juice, shallots, spinach, and bacon. MIA- the white wine and oil.

Once you get cooking here, the process is very quick. However, first, it’s a good idea to put the mussels in a bowl and fill it with water. This allows any sand in the mussels to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Just remember to not drain them by pouring them out as this will just dump all the sand back onto them. I used a plastic strainer/spatula to remove the mussels from the bowl.

Next, it’s bacon cooking time! The recipe calls for cooking the bacon IN oil. I was very hesitant to do this, but I went with it. It forms the basis of the broth, but I find it very understandable if you wish to omit cooking your BACON in OIL.

Once the fat was rendered, I added the sliced shallots.

Doesn’t that look divine? And you can imagine how great it smelled. How can a dish go wrong from here?

[The next sequence of events is done rather quickly. My sous chef/photographer was feeling a little under the weather, so I was on my own. I tried my best to capture each step!]

At this point you want to add the mussels, wine and lemon juice and stir ’em up.

bacon shallots mussels

Once they are about half way open you want to add half of the blue cheese. You want the blue cheese to melt into the broth. I tried to move the mussels to one side of the pan to achieve this.

Just keep stirring and incorporating everything together.

Once they are fully open, you want to add the spinach.

That’s pretty much it. Once you spoon them into the bowls, top with the remaining blue cheese.

SO GOOD!

Recipe for Teddy Folkman’s Moules Fromage Bleu

Seared Tuna atop a Red Cabbage and Lime Slaw

Sorry that new posts on the kitten have been a little sparse lately! It’s summer and work is busy (and my dropbox had been blocked for several weeks, but now it’s suddenly working again!) but here is a dish that I made recently that I hope you all will like! I started off by making a version of Smitten Kitchen’s cabbage and lime salad with roasted peanuts. Lucky for me, SK and I share an affinity for slaw and she has several recipes on her site which all look amazing. I did not have any peanuts at home (gasp! for those who know me, you know my squirrel-like nut obsession) nor did I have green cabbage or spinach. I did have carrots and bok choy (thanks to Kensington’s farmer’s market!) however, and so this is what I came up with. As you can see, I topped it with some seared (grilled) tuna and topped it with some remaining dressing from the slaw. This dish totally rocked and is pretty much summer on a plate.

First, the slaw. Per SK’s recipe, I shredded my cabbage and placed it in a colander with at least one healthy tablespoon of kosher salt. The purpose of this step is to wilt the cabbage.

While that was happening, I shredded the carrots and sliced up the bok choy. I also added some green onion.

I also created the dressing for the slaw (process not pictured).  The ingredients of the dressing are certainly unconventional for a slaw (at least in my humble opinion) so check them out! Obviously you know one ingredient- limes!

Once the slaw was completed, I prepped my tuna. All I did was drizzle a little hot chili oil onto each side, and coat them with sesame seeds. Greg fired up the grill and seared each one for just a couple of minutes per side. I sliced them up and dinner was served!

Recipe for Red Cabbage and Lime Slaw

Avocado Salad Dressing

One of our friends from college is doing an internship in Maryland for the summer (yay!). He arrived a couple of weeks ago and to celebrate Ashley invited us over for chicken tacos.  I offered to bring a salad, since all I had at home was some produce. I picked up a few extras, such as avocados, and decided to make a homemade salad dressing to jazz things up a bit (making homemade salad dressings is easy and they taste SO much better than store bought!). I wanted to stick to the taco theme and figured an avocado dressing would be fun and different.

This is about the best looking avocado you will find in Wheaton. It was certainly ripe and about a day away from being bad. At least they were ripe though, if not a little too ripe.

Limes are so pretty! I love them. They go hand in hand with avocados in my book and the citrus helps the avocado from turning brown. They also seem to help in the mashing process, as the acidity must break them down a bit.

So, after a good smashing, I added yogurt, half and half (you could use milk or cream if you prefer), garlic, onion, and salt and pepper. Oh, and  a dash of cayenne. The onion was grated- which created an interesting consistency and also left the house smelling like onion for a few hours, FYI. It was almost like onion pulp and helped distribute the flavor evenly and without adding much texture.

I wanted to make a festive salad full of color. I included romaine lettuce, rainbow chard, grape tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, and green onions. Twas delicious.

The salad dressing tasted extremely fresh and the flavor was pretty mellow. It lasted for another 1-2 days, but did start to turn brown by that point. It’s probably best served on the day you make it.


Recipe for Avocado Salad Dressing

Greek Feast!

If you are a fan of Greek food I am pretty sure you will really like this meal. It is relatively easy to prepare and the flavors are intense and extremely satisfying. We made gyro burgers, which were composed of ground beef and lamb as well as some traditional Greek spices. We also prepared homemade tzatziki sauce and  a Greek salad of tomato, cucumber, red onion and fete cheese. It all went well together and you could also serve the burgers in a pita or flatbread if you so desired.

I will begin with the tzatziki sauce, which is a traditional sauce served with gyros that is made with yogurt and cucumber and is awesome.

The key ingredient here is mint. Luckily mint grows like weeds and we have plenty growing outside!

I just combined all the ingredients and let it chill in the refrigerator while we prepared the rest of the meal. Below is a pic of the final product. Not only is this a great sauce to put on whatever you please, really, but can also be served as a dip with pita or veggies. It is so good.

Along with the burgers we also prepared a Greek salad. I love this salad, especially in the summer when the vegetables are nice and fresh. It is a great accompaniment to any meat, really, and goes particularly well with the strongly flavored lamb.

Now, on to the burgers! I’ll let the pictures do the talking here….

The meat had a gyro like consistency as you can see below (sorry, it’s a bit blurry) and of course the flavor was right on.

Give this one a try!

Recipe for Gyro Burgers

Tzatziki

Greek Salad

Eggplant “lasagna”

This one’s for you Jeremy! I decided to make a pasta-less lasagna to please one of our biggest supporters, who had requested a lasagna recipe. Just for the record, this recipe could easily be duplicated with actual lasagna noodles in place of the eggplant. Though, I have to say this is a nice alternative if you like eggplant like me. In the past I have sometimes struggled to make tasty eggplant dishes at home, as sometimes the eggplant can be bitter, the skin off-putting, and the seeds crunchy and irritating. Since I like eggplant so much though, I have continued to try to make it and feel that this dish was a success.

I began by slicing the eggplant as thin as I could. I worked with a sharp knife and took my time. A mandolin probably would have worked a lot better in terms of getting consistency in thickness, but I don’t have one of those so I did the best I could.

I placed the eggplant slices on racks (two from my toaster oven) and the remaining pieces on a paper towel. I generously covered them in kosher salt and let them sit for about an hour.

The salt pulls out the bitter juices (remember what salt does to cells? wahoo, high school chemistry!), which I rinsed off along with the salt.

Next, I wanted to cook the eggplant a little bit so it wouldn’t make the dish too soupy. I used a grill pan, which I coated generously with olive oil so the slices wouldn’t stick. I seasoned about 1/2 of the slices with salt and pepper as they cooked. They only needed about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. This left some beautiful grill marks!

I also grilled up some baby bellas for some extra filler and added veggie-ness.

As the grilling went on, I also made my ricotta filling. I LOVE ricotta and always use it when making lasagna. Some people have told me about using cottage cheese, but I’ve never tried it. I usually buy part-skim ricotta and it’s delicious. To the ricotta, I added an egg, some fresh garlic and parsley, salt and pepper and some chili flakes for a little kick.

Alright. Now it’s time to assemble the lasagna. If you want to go the traditional route using lasagna noodles, cook the noodles according to the directions on the box. In this recipe when you see eggplant slices, substitute that for the lasagna noodles. Easy as pie.

Step 1: Layer the bottom of the pan with tomato sauce. I used the leftover marinara that I made several weeks ago, but store bought is fine too.

Step 2: On top of the sauce, create a layer of eggplant slices.

Step 3: Ricotta layer. Spread ricotta mixture all over eggplant slices, creating a thick layer.

Step 4: I threw the mushrooms on at this point. If you wanted to add meat or other veggies, you could add them here.

Step 5: Add another layer of eggplant slices.

Step 6: Add another layer of sauce.

Step 7: And then a layer of cheese.

That’s about it for the assembly of it

After it bakes it’s all cheesy/melty/gooey so let it sit before cutting it.

I couldn’t wait that long, so it was a little goopey, but still delicious!

Recipe for eggplant “lasagna”

Recipe for our basic marinara