Kara's Keto Plates

Fatty Food Blogging

Month: November 2014 (page 2 of 2)

Italian “Wedding” Soup

You may or may not have had Italian Wedding soup – I love it. It usually has little round pasta balls and tiny Chef Boyardee sized meatballs and some kind of leafy green floating around in a light broth. Pretty much every soup can win me over with leafy greens floating around in the bowl and pretty much every soup I make features floating leafy greens because they’re awesome. They’re nutritious, they add bulk, they provide an interesting texture experience and an astringency that most soups desperately need.

Most of the recipes I looked at called for baby spinach to be the leafy green in Italian Wedding soup – but don’t fall into that trap. Baby spinach is needlessly expensive to just throw into a soup. I use curly kale instead, which is cheaper and I think has a nicer texture.

I decided to make a low carb version of Italian Wedding soup, featuring my homemade Italian Meatballs. I didn’t fuss with making small meatballs because that would be a pain, and it’s easy enough to split a meatball with a spoon in the bowl.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Ingredients:
One Tablespoon Bacon Fat (you could substitute butter or olive oil)
One Tablespoon Butter
Half of an Onion, chopped
3 stalks Celery, chopped
2 whole Carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
4-6 cups Chicken Stock
1/4 cup Dry White Wine (if desired)
1 teaspoon each of: Basil, Oregano, Parsley and Thyme
Black Pepper, to taste
1 bunch curly Kale – trimmed and cut into thin pieces
1 recipe of Italian Meatballs

Directions:
Heat your bacon fat and butter on medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, add your chopped onion, celery and carrots to the pan. Heat the vegetables, stirring often, until the onion is beginning to become translucent. Add the minced garlic. Cook the garlic an additional couple minutes and then add your stock. While the stock is coming up to a boil, add your dried herbs and some pepper. This is also the period of time where I start to prep my kale: rinse well, cut or slice out the stem and then chop or rip into small enough pieces to fit in a spoon.  Add your kale and meatballs, and bring the soup to a boil. Once it is boiling, bring the heat down to low and simmer until the meatballs are heated through and the kale is cooked – maybe 10-15 minutes.  The soup is ready to eat at this point, although you could continue to simmer it for an hour or so if desired. This recipe makes four large servings.

I garnished the soup with some parmesan when I served it.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 458 kcal
Fat: 24.5 g
Saturated Fat: 9.6 g
Total Carbohydrate: 16.1 g
Fiber: 4.8 g
Protein: 41.5 g

Italian Meatballs

As part of her means to ensure that her children would be able to cook for themselves, my mother had a grand idea to make each of us prepare a dinner one night a week. Every week, without fail, I made meatballs. A pound of ground beef, an egg, breadcrumbs and seasoning – then into the oven they went while I boiled pasta and made a spaghetti sauce out of canned tomato sauce and tomato paste, onion and garlic powder and dried herbs. Sometimes I even made garlic bread to go on the side (along with salad). It was easily my favorite meal and I really liked being able to control the seasoning because I had a texture thing against onions that was *finally* trained out of me by Michael after a couple years of marriage (ie, he sat me down at the dinner table and watched me eat an entire plate of what amounted to curried onions with chickpeas. At the time, I nearly cried).

In any case, meatballs were my favorite dinner and turned a chore (cooking for a large and picky family) into something I could enjoy. Luckily,  they are simple to make low carb friendly.

Italian Seasoned Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Beef, thawed
1 egg
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/3 cup Almond Flour
2 cloves Garlic, minced (or about 1 Tablespoon)
1 1/2 tablespoons dried Parsley
1 tablespoon dried Oregano
1/4 teaspoon Sweet Paprika
Dash Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper, as desired

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop up your garlic and set it aside. I mixed my dry ingredients (Parmesan, almond flour, and dried herbs and spices minus salt and pepper) in a separate bowl – but this is not necessary. Place the ground beef into a large bowl, breaking it up with your fingers as you do so. Add salt (I sprinkled maybe 1/4 teaspoon) and pepper (about 4 twists of my grinder), the egg and the chopped garlic, mix these until they are loosely incorporated. Do not be the person that mixes these ingredients with a spoon – get in that bowl with your hands, they’re the best tool for the job. Sprinkle the dry ingredients evenly over the top of the beef and then mix again until everything is incorporated – you don’t want any dry deposits or wet spots and the beef should begin to hold it’s shape.

Once you’re at that point, it’s time to roll! Make sure you have a cookie sheet – either grease it plenty or use parchment paper. I used parchment and the meatballs didn’t stick at all. The meatballs should be about an inch big – forming them is super easy. Just roll the beef mixture between the palms of your hand. That should make a nice, even ball shape. Throw the ball on the cookie sheet, make sure there’s a bit of room between each (they won’t expand, but you need the space in order to heat them evenly on all sides). Once you’ve rolled up all the meatballs, place the cookie sheet in the oven. It should take about 20 minutes to cook through, I flipped my meatballs midway through the cooking time  – partially to make sure they weren’t sticking and partially to brown the other side.

This recipe makes what I consider to be four generous servings. You can serve the meatballs with a low carb marinara sauce or do what I did: make a pot of Italian Wedding soup.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 298 kcal
Fat: 17.8 g
Saturated Fat: 6.5 g
Total Carbohydrate: 3 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 30.5 g

Baked Cod with Parmesan

I wanted a simple meal to make for lunch today since Michael was home. We voted, and then I came home and made the following recipe, which I served with an enormous Caesar salad since we have so much fresh romaine on hand.

Cod is not the fattiest fish, so in order to keep our macros looking good for the day, I added a bunch of fat in the form of delicious butter. We tend to use grass-fed dairy whenever possible (better fat profile, more Omega-3s) but that is not necessary by any means.

Baked Cod with Parmesan

Baked Cod with Parmesan

Ingredients:
2 Cod Filets, 6 ounces each, thawed
2 tablespoons Butter, melted
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons Almond Flour
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
Crushed Red Pepper, as desired
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the Parmesan, Almond Flour and thyme together in a bowl and set aside. Prepare a baking dish by spraying it with oil and then set the thawed fish filets in the baking dish. Sprinkle salt and pepper on each side of the filet. Thinly slice a clove of garlic and then place the sliced garlic on both filets. Melt the butter (I just use the microwave at 50% heat).  Pour (or if you have a pastry brush, you can use that) half the butter on top of the fish filets. Sprinkle the tops of each filet with the dry mixture and crushed red pepper, if you want (I did want). Pour or spoon the remaining butter on top of the dry topping on each filet and then place the baking pan in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cod is done. Cod is tricky for me and I have a tendency to overcook it, but I think I got it perfect this time, it flaked away without being rubbery.

Nutritional Information per Serving (this makes two servings):
Calories: 405 kcal
Fat: 21 g
Saturated Fat: 10.7 g
Total Carbohydrate: 2.7 g
Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 49.2 g

Traveling

Sticking to a diet when traveling can be particularly difficult – and it seems to me to be all the more important. How I eat affects my mood and my sleep and traveling tends to aggravate both of those issues for me, so being able to eat well is a worthwhile endeavour for me.

Michael and I made a weekend trip to attend the wedding of a friend of his, and I was anxious about it beforehand. Why so anxious? Because weddings mean champagne toasts and cake. And cake is my kryptonite. I knew the best way for me to refuse the cake was to have tasty things back in our hotel room.

So what did I bring?

Goodies to pack

1. Salty snacks (to ensure we got sufficient sodium; iodine and fat): Annie Chun’s seaweed snacks (sesame oil flavor); pre-packaged individual cups of green olives with pimentos (3 servings in one cup); Jack Link’s Beef and Cheese sticks; Roasted Macadamia Nuts

2. Atkins Shakes and Bars: for protein and fat. I criticize Atkins products for what I believe to be messed up net carbohydrate counts on their products (since they subtract all sugar alcohols from that figure). That being said, with the information Atkins provides on their labels, we can generally reverse engineer a more accurate figure for the net carbohydrate count. The nice things about the Atkins products: lots of fat; a reasonable quantity of protein (many protein shakes provide way more protein than I need); the meal and snack items are fortified with vitamins (but not the Endulge line); they’re convenient and portable. And Atkins Endulge has a Chocolate Coconut Bar which is so good that I pretty much eat one a day.

3. Chocolate. Because I figured if we resisted cake and champagne, we would deserve some chocolate. It was Lily’s original chocolate.

4. Rye Whiskey – not pictured. Because everyone deserves some whiskey and I figured it would be easier for us to find no calorie mixers in the hotel that would go with whiskey than it would be to find the same for gin. It was – I mixed my rye with coke zero, Michael mixed his with ice.

5. Electrolyte mix (Alacer brand – mix one packet with a liter of water) – not pictured. This product provides much more magnesium, potassium and calcium than most readily available products like Powerade Zero which has almost no potassium, magnesium or calcium in it although somehow they still get to advertise those nutrients prominently on the label – thank you, US labelling laws…

We didn’t just eat those snacks for the weekend, we also hit a couple low-carb friendly places to eat meals while we were on the road: Buffalo Wild Wings (traditional wings with garlic parmesan sauce); Red Robin (lettuce-wrapped burgers + bottomless broccoli) and Qdoba (Mexican Gumbo minus rice, tortilla strips and beans).  We also had a hot breakfast included with our hotel stay – which meant omelets and coffee for breakfast. On the one day we weren’t in the car for hours, we visited a zoo, which made for at least 2.5 hours of walking.

Neither of us tracked what we ate, but when I came home I found that I had kept losing weight. Maybe the bigger emotional win: neither of us felt particularly compelled to “cheat” while at the wedding. For me, at least, that win was due partially to the knowledge that I had a Chocolate Coconut Bar saved for when we got back to the hotel that night.

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