Carb Free Pizza – Cheese IS the Crust

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted. It’s not that I haven’t tried anything new in all this time. Actually, I’ve tried quite a few things and I hope to backtrack and post about some of them. Since I last posted, my wife and I have really tried to eat healthier. One thing we have been doing is trying to cut down on carbs. Since pizza is one of our favorite dishes, we figured a healthier pizza would be a great thing to add to our meal plans.

This pizza really struck us as odd since it contains no dough. The crust is literally made of cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese – or more if desired
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp basil
  • pepperoni

Directions:

  1. Mix the cheeses, eggs and garlic well
  2. Spread the mixture on a 16 inch baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  3. Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes – but watch after 10 and remove when golden brown
  4. Add some additional mozzarella cheese as desired
  5. Add your toppings – we used pepperoni
  6. Broil on the center rack for around 5 minutes until additional cheese is melted and toppings are cooked

Carb Free Pizza - Crust

The idea of using cheese as a crust seemed very odd to me. I wasn’t quite sure how it would work. We saw several recipes for this kind of thing and this one used the fewest number of eggs. We figured we wanted to avoid an egg flavor to our pizza so we went with this one.

Carb Free Pizza - Crust Baked

Once the crust was cooked, we could kind of see how this was going to work. My only concern was how firm the crust would be.

Carb Free Pizza - Sauce

Carb Free Pizza - Chese

So we continued making the pizza pretty much the way we would if it had “real” crust. I’m not really sure we needed to add additional cheese after the sauce since the crust was cheese, but we did it anyway.

Carb Free Pizza - Ready to Cook

Next we added a whole bunch of pepperoni. Never hold back on pepperoni. The way I see it, every bite should have some. Unfortunately, we ran out so the last little bit was plain.

Carb Free Pizza - Fully Cooked

As you can see, it came out looking really good. However, my concerns about the firmness of the crust were valid. You will pretty much need a fork to eat this pizza. Either that or cut it into much smaller pieces. That is what we chose to do. It made a great Super Bowl meal along with some cheese fries we made. Cheese, pepperoni, fries, bacon and Patriots win were all I could ask for.

We didn’t finish the pizza last night, so I heated it up again for dinner tonight. I was really curious how well it would hold up as leftovers. I knew microwaving it would be a bad idea, so I tossed it in the oven at 400 for a few minutes.

Carb Free Pizza - Leftovers

It actually hold up pretty well the next day. Well, the crust was still not as firm as an actual dough crust, but it tasted just as good as the night before. I must admit that I am not really sure of any of the nutritional info for this pizza, except that it uses no carbs. If that’s what you are looking for in a pizza, this one definitely gets the fussy eater seal of approval.

 

The Problem with Purple Potatoes

Recently, my wife and I were shopping at the local Fresh Market and saw some purple sweet potatoes. We’d never seen them before. My wife loves the color purple and we enjoyed several sweet potato recipes, so we decided to pick one up.

We assumed that it could be cooked the same as a regular sweet potato and that just the color was different. So we decided to make grilled sweet potato fries out of it. We really enjoyed them in the past so it seemed like the perfect way to prepare them.

We’ll we were wrong. We forgot one thing about grilling sweet potatoes. It can be difficult to keep them from burning. That in itself isn’t so bad when you use a regular sweet potato because you can tell what color it is and tell when it is starting to turn black. That doesn’t work with purple sweet potatoes.

Purple Sweet Potato Fries

Purple sweet potatoes are very dark to begin with so it is nearly impossible to tell if the are burning until they are really burnt. Despite cooking a pretty reasonable number of fries, we ended up with only a few that were really edible.

Colonie-20130501-00260

The ones that were edible were just as good as the regular sweet potato fries. However, it was tough to pick them out. Sometimes, you thought you had a good one until you ate it. By then it was too late. If they were burnt, they were not at all appetizing.

In the future, if we cook purple sweet potatoes, I’ll try the baked sweet potato fries instead. I think they are too dark to try making potato chips since they tended to burn a little if you weren’t careful.

So I can recommend purple sweet potatoes if you like regular sweet potatoes, but you need to be a bit cautious in how you cook them so they don’t burn.

 

Flat-bread Pizza

It’s no secret that my wife and I love pizza. It was our first date meal (pizza, Con Air and The Rock – how that that miss?). It’s our typical anniversary meal. It’s our go-to fast food. Unfortunately, pizza isn’t exactly the healthiest thing to eat. Well, we’ve found a way to at least push things a little more in the right direction and that’s flat-bread pizza.

Most pizza has a thick crust. Even the thin crust pizza is far thicker than a piece of flat-bread. That’s a lot of unnecessary carbs and calories. So take a piece of flat-bread and spread a small amount of pizza sauce on it. Don’t use spaghetti sauce –  no matter who tells you they are they same, they are not and a fussy eater can certainly tell the difference (and probably an Italian too). Now take some 2% mozzarella cheese and cover the pizza. We like pepperoni on our pizza, but it isn’t really healthy. We figure that it’s still better than we would order from a pizzeria. Just go a little light on pepperoni or other unhealthy toppings.

Flat-bread Pizza Prep

 

OK, so maybe we didn’t go that light on the pepperoni. Like I said, it’s still better than pizzeria pizza. Get over it. Not everything I eat is going to be healthy. You do need some comfort food. If you can make it healthier than it was before, you are still helping yourself out overall.

Once the pizza is prepared, pop it in the oven at around 400 for around 8-10 minutes depending on how you like your cheese.

Colonie-20121216-00104As you can see, I like my cheese just a little bit browned.  It’s nowhere near as good as the local Vintage Pizza, but it is pretty close to a Newman’s Own. If you are looking for a way to eat pizza and not get all the carbs and calories, give it a try. It gets this fussy eater’s stamp of approval. What about your fussy eater?

 

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs Recipe

My wife has often commented on how we should cook chicken thighs since they are generally much cheaper than chicken breast. I tended to think they probably weren’t very good if they were so cheap – besides, they are kind of small too. Well, she found a recipe that changed my mind about them even though the recipe does include garlic powder.

Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs

I’m including the recipe as it was listed. However, we did stray from it a little.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat.
  4. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.
  5. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.
  6. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well.
  7. Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over.
  8. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.

We couldn’t find boneless chicken thighs so we got them with the bone. That was both good and bad. The good thing about the thighs with bone is that they are a bit bigger. I’m not sure if there actually is more meat on them than if we used boneless, but it gives the appearance of more. On the other hand, they seemed to take a lot longer to cook than the recipe calls for. They say 5 minutes  per side, then brush with honey and do one or two more minutes per side. I think we ended up cooking them around 10 minutes per side.

Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs - Plated

Regardless of how long they may have taken to cook, I must say they were absolutely delicious. I would never have guessed they were made with garlic powder if I hadn’t read the recipe. The honey made them nice and sweet and the red pepper gave them some kick.

With this recipe, my opinion of chicken thighs has been changed forever. It definitely meets with this fussy eater’s approval.

via Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs Recipe | MyRecipes.com.

Land O’ Lakes Saute Express – Lemon Pepper Chicken

Land O' Lakes Saute Express - Lemon Pepper

We finally had a chance to try the Lemon Pepper variety of the Land O’ Lakes Saute Express seasoning. As with the Italian Herb, it is a mix of butter, olive oil, and seasonings. Simply melt it in the pan and saute the chicken until done. It’s a great way to create a tasty meal with little effort. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said tasty though, since it got mixed reviews from my wife and I.

Land O' Lakes Saute Express - Lemon Pepper ChickenBelieve it or not, Linda was the one who didn’t care for it. She thought it was too lemony for her taste. Personally, I thought it had a nice lemon kick to it. I do think that it would be wise to pick the proper side dish to complement the chicken. We had  yellow rice. I’m not sure it really went well with the lemon. The chicken had a pretty strong lemon flavor so I’m not sure what would work best as a side dish. Any ideas?

Land O’ Lakes Saute Express – Italian Herb Chicken

While Linda was out of town, I opted for a lot for easy to prepare meals. I made Kraft Fresh Take chicken, burgers, and (I hate to admit it) even hot dogs and beans. Another easy meal I made was from a simple seasoning and butter combination – Land O’ Lakes Saute Express. It’s a simple premise. You probably already saute with either butter or oil and then add seasonings to it. Why not just do it all at once? That’s just what Land O’ Lakes has done.

Land O Lakes Saute Express Italian HerbWe picked up two varieties a while back – the Italian Herb and the Lemon Pepper. I haven’t had a chance to make the Lemon Pepper yet, so expect to see an entry about it at some point in the near future.

These couldn’t be much easier to use. Simply melt a pack in the pan and add the chicken to it. I prefer to cut up the chicken into nice bite sized pieces, but you could leave it whole if you prefer. Then just saute until the chicken gets golden brown.

Land O Lakes Saute Express ChickenI found this to be a pretty quick and easy way to saute up some chicken. However, the real test in in the taste. It doesn’t matter how quick and easy it is if it doesn’t pass the taste test. I’m glad to say that it does meet with this fussy eater’s approval. I look forward to trying the Lemon Pepper variety.

Kraft Fresh Take Southwest Three Cheese Chicken

Fortunately, Linda is now home after having been out of town taking care of her mother. While she was gone, our youngest daughter and I were left to fend for ourselves. Since we had some of the Kraft Fresh Take recipes on hand, I decided to let her try the Cheddar Jack & Bacon (which I made before with Linda) and also the Southwest Three Cheese, which was new to both of us. Needless to say, I made them on separate nights. Since I’ve already written about the Cheddar Jack & Bacon, I’m only going to cover the Southwest Three Cheese today.

Kraft Fresh Take - Southwest Three CheeseAs with the Cheddar Jack & Bacon, this was a very easy dish to prepare. These Kraft dishes remind me a lot of the old Shake-n-Bake. Simply open the bag, separate the two sides and mix. Then add your chicken and mix again. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Kraft Fresh Take - Southwest Three Cheese - Ready to bakeOnce you’ve coated the chicken, I suggest adding a little more on top once they are in the pan. Then pop it in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes. That’s all there is to it.

Kraft Fresh Take - Southwest Three Cheese - Ready to serveAs with the Cheddar Jack & Bacon, the outside gets just a little crispy from the cheese. As I mentioned in that post, don’t flip the chicken halfway through the cooking. It might seem like a good idea, but it looks a lot better if you don’t. Either way they still cook completely so why not make something eye catching and appealing.

Kraft  Fresh Take - Southwest Three Cheese - PlatedI chose to serve the chicken with a side of fries and Ketchup. Kate considered a little hot sauce to go with hers but opted not to so she could see how they were. We both really enjoyed them. I must admit I had a small bit of concern over seeing garlic listed in the ingredients, but I didn’t let that get the better of me. I couldn’t taste the garlic at all.

So far, I’m pretty impressed with the Kraft Fresh Take meals. They are very easy to make and taste great. I think we still have a few varieties to try though including Rosemary & Roasted Garlic. That one will be interesting.

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