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Archive for the ‘KKF Fast Food’ Category

If you’re a pasta lover like me, transitioning to a low-carb or ketogenic diet can feel like you’re being forced to give up your favorite foods. While I stand firmly in my position that I CAN eat whatever I want, but I CHOOSE to eat foods that are better for my body, it doesn’t mean that I don’t miss some of those “naughty” foods.

Luckily I’ve found a product that makes me feel like I’m eating pasta without all the negative effects of all those carbs: konjac noodles!

Konjac is a Japanese plant with a root that is extremely high in fiber and can be used to create noodles that have a strong resemblance to al dente pasta. Pretty much every gram of carbohydrate in konjac is fiber, resulting in a zero net carb food that also supplies lots of fiber and serves as an excellent carrier for my favorite pasta sauce – Alfredo!

skinny pasta

Skinny Pasta with Alfredo sauce, kale sauteed in bacon grease and smoked wild salmon.

I’ve tried several different brands of konjac noodle and so far my favorite is the Skinny Pasta brand. It doesn’t have the “off” aroma that I’ve gotten from some other brands and the preparation is super fast – much quicker than traditional pasta. Simply open the bag, rinse under running water for 1 minute, then heat in a pan for 2-3 minutes. Boom. Pasta.

Konjac noodles have a firm but squishy consistency, a bit like squid or octopus. There’s no real flavor to them on their own, so make sure whatever sauce you serve them with is flavorful.

Pros:

  • Has the consistency of and can be used just like pasta.

  • Holds on well to sauces.

  • Fast and easy to make.

  • Zero net carb, extremely low calorie and high in fiber.

  • Fairly long shelf life.

  • Comes in a variety of shapes including fettuccine, spaghetti and rice shape.

Cons:

  • Price. It is fairly expensive, which can make it costly to make to serve a whole family. The most consistent price I’ve found so far for the Skinny Pasta brand is here for the six-bag variety pack. At the current price this works out to $4 per 9.52 oz bag. Vitacost sometimes has them on sale and you can pick them up individually at a good price. Currently Vitacost has it for $3.43 per bag which is pretty darn good and I plan to stock up. If you use Rakuten and shop at Vitacost you can get money back, too! (Note: you may see the Vitacost brand konjac/shirataki noodle and it is much less expensive. Please feel free to try it, but I found the aroma a little off-putting and am happy to pay a little bit more for Skinny Pasta.)

  • Konjac noodles are not easy to cut like wheat pasta. If you don’t like the noodle length, I recommend cutting it with scissors prior to plating.

  • Some people have a strong reaction to the type of fiber in konjac. A friend of mine described the experience as turning his “colon in to a fire hose.” I have eaten a whole package myself in one sitting with no ill effects, but to test this on yourself you might try eating half a package and see how your body responds.

skinnypasta

Summary

As far as keto “look-alikes” for high carb foods go, Skinny Pasta is pretty impressive. Assuming you don’t have the “fire hose” experience it’s a fantastic substitute. The first time I tried it I was pretty apprehensive because I knew it wasn’t “real” pasta and it made it hard to enjoy purely because of my mindset. But as my commitment to a keto lifestyle has strengthened, I’ve truly come to appreciate all it is. I use Skinny Pasta about once a month to get my Italian on!

I no longer feel pasta deprived with Skinny Pasta. No, it does not produce the “carb high” of regular pasta – and that’s a GREAT thing. You can feel like you are indulging without the inflammation, weight gain or low energy consequences.

Hi-yah!

 

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Our favorite el cheapola Mexican restaurant recently closed down. This is sad, not just because we enjoyed the company of the owner and the staff and the food was pretty darn good for the price, but because now we have to A) find a new place not too far away or B) make our Mexican food at home.

Having an almost 9 month old baby is not particularly conducive to restaurant hunting so yesterday I went for option B.

Whenever I make tacos I make extra meat and freeze the leftovers for nights just like last night. We need something in a hurry, and thawing cooked hamburger is pretty darn speedy. We also had half a package of flour tortillas in the freezer (also a quick thaw) so the result was obvious. Quesadillas!

I call these leftover quesadillas not because they are leftover, but that they are generally made from leftovers (and pantry staples). They are fast, flexible and delicious! Use this recipe only as a guideline. Feel free – in fact I insist – on adjusting amounts and ingredients based on what you have in your fridge and your own personal tastes and preferences.

KKF Leftover Quesadillas

1.5 cups cooked and seasoned taco meat

1 14 oz can pinto beans or black beans, drained and rinsed

1 10oz can Rotel-style tomatoes (diced tomatoes with green chiles)

1 cup corn kernels (I pull them straight out of the freezer)

1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Chipotle tobacco (to taste)

Salt (to taste)

Flour or corn tortillas

For toppings: sour cream, green onions, cilantro, more cheese, avocados or guacamole

 

Mix all ingredients except for the tortillas (obviously) and toppings (or heck, throw them in and be your own man) in a large bowl. Throw a tortilla on a heated pan (cast iron would be nice for this) and top with as much filling as you want and top with another tortilla. I usually leave a good half inch of space around the edges to help keep everything inside. How much filling depends on the size of your tortillas and how fat you want them to be, but keep in mind that when you cut them too excess filling will come spilling out the sides.

Heat over medium heat until the bottom of the tortilla is browned and crispy. Using a large spatula, flip and brown on the other side. The cheese in the filling will make it stick to the tortillas, but if you find it’s not sticking very well you can sprinkle a little extra cheese on the tortilla before adding the filling and that should help.

Move to a wooden cutting board and let it rest for about five minutes (if you can). Cut with a pizza cutter and top with your choice of garnishes.

That’s it. Dinner is served in like 20 minutes. Take that, Rachel Ray!

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There’s nothing like fresh tomatoes. Straight from your garden or a real farmer’s market, fresh tomatoes are one of life’s amazing gifts. Sadly, this seasonal fruit (yes, fruit) has but a brief few months before they’re gone and you find yourself in the middle of February with some canned tomato paste and a sad face.

Now, no canned tomato is going to hold a candle to that summer Beefsteak. But here we are in (hopefully) the tail end of winter and our choices are limited. However, we do have some good choices! My favorite canned tomato is Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes. They actually do taste fire roasted, they’re organic, the cans are BPA free and they are the best tasting canned tomato I’ve tried thus far.

You can actally get them at a decent price from Amazon. If you do subscribe and save it’s $1.86 per can for 12-pack and you get them delivered to your door. If you’re an Amazon Prime member you can get them through the Prime Pantry program for $1.38 per can. If you’re a Costco member you can get them right now for $6.89 for a 6-pack which is only $1.15 per can – not bad at all.

Here’s some of the things I like to do with these ‘maters:

Bruchetta

Mix a can of fire roasted tomatoes with three cloves of minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Slice a loaf of French bread on the diagonal and toast in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes, then top with the tomato mix. Broil for 4-5 minutes. Top with shreds of basil and freshly grated parmesan.

Lazy Pasta

Cook 8 ounces of the pasta of your choice (I find small shaped pasta best for this purpose – fusilli, rotini, large shells, etc.) according to package directions. Drain and return to the pan and put on low heat. Stir in a can of fire roasted tomatoes, about two tablespoons of basil paste or a handful of shredded fresh basil to taste, a cup of shredded cheese (any good melting cheese will do) and about a half a cup of heavy cream. Heat through and salt and pepper to taste.

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Salmon Patties with Lemon-Thyme Cream on Wilted Swiss Chard

I recently got in on a bulk wild salmon purchase from Lummi Island which included some ground salmon. (You even got a free hat with purchase. Gotta love the freebies.)

On nights that I have classes at the gym I need something quick AND I’m a sucker for anything fried in butter, so tonight I tried my hand at some salmon burgers – turned out delicious!

KKF Salmon Patties with Lemon-Thyme Cream

1 lb. ground salmon

2 eggs

1 T Old Bay seasoning

2-3 T butter

For the cream:

1/2 c sour cream

1/2 T lemon juice

1/2 t lemon zest

6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme

Mix together the ingredients for the cream and set aside. Mix up the ground salmon, Old Bay, and eggs. Melt butter in a cast iron frying pan. Shape salmon into balls (as many or few as you’d like, I made 6). They will be loose and not really hold their shape at this point. When the butter is melted and hot, place the salmon balls in the pan and press down lightly to form patties. Flip after a few minutes of frying. When patties feel firm, they are done. Serve hot with lemon thyme cream.

Hint: if you used unsalted butter, you may want to add 1/4 tsp or so of salt to your salmon mix, or try adding it to the cream.

This was VERY fast. I got home from yoga, made this and wilted some swiss chard in bacon fat (heck yeah) and was done eating within an hour. Easy and delish, as a KKF fast food should be!

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Grilling out is a sign of independence. Humans. Fire. Meat. Electricity optional. Maybe that’s why it’s so popular to have a cookout on the 4th of July. Maybe it’s because this style of cooking was very popular during the early years of the USA, as it’s easy to feed a large crowd. Whatever the reason, it’s a great idea. And since I’m still in the honeymoon period with my Big Green Egg, I’ve been giving it a workout this holiday weekend.

Today’s meal was the epitome of simplicity and was heavenly delicious. I formed burger patties (no filling or binder) out of some dry aged beef I picked up from my local farmer last month and used the rub from Sarah Fragoso’s Everyday Paleo
(a great cookbook and her website is also great, btw). I cut some red onions, rubbed them with olive oil and salt and pepper and skewered them on metal skewers (no more charred wooden skewers for me). Finally, I made a simple tomato salad (recipe below).

Everyday Paleo burger, KKF tomato salad, grilled red onions and a few of Bubbie's pickles for good measure!

The burgers were unbelievably delicious and moist. I’m going to do them this way from now on, whether it’s with Sarah’s rub or with another seasoning. I always thought hamburger mix had to have egg and/or breadcrumbs…forget about it. Oil your gril (I used spray coconut oil), rub on your rub and slap them on the grill. I cranked up the Egg to about 650, put on the burgers and closed the lid. After two minutes, I opened, flipped, closed and left it another two minutes. Burgers were perfect. Oh, and I was doing all this in a FRIGGIN RAIN STORM. Yes, about three minutes before my grill got to temperature it started pouring.

Luckily the Egg works just fine in the rain. Test subject Bill was an excellent umbrella holder as I brought out meat and flipped and swapped. I think the struggle made my rain burgers taste even better.

KKF Too Easy Tomato Salad

1 pint farmer’s market fresh cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 small red onion, chopped

small bunch fresh basil, cut into thin strips

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Mix everything together and let it marinate at room temperature while you’re preparing the rest of your meal. Deee-licious.

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Happy Salad

Just in time for your holiday weekend (if you’re in the US) a quick and delicious salad to accompany your burgers, steaks, etc. This is a great way to use leftover roast chicken and/or another use for that package of bacon you’re opening for bacon cheeseburgers this weekend. If your spouse permits, adding shallots, onions, or green onions would probably be a tasty addition to this salad. Everyone have a fun, safe and delicious weekend!

KKF Memorial Day Chicken Bacon Salad

4 oz cooked chicken

5 slices bacon (home made recommended)

1 avocado, cut into chunks

1/2 cup chopped fresh broccoli

6-8 lettuce leaves (romaine or other leafy lettuce – not iceberg), cut into bite-size pieces

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/3 cup mayonnaise (home made if you got it!)

1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Cut your bacon up into little chunks and fry until crisp. Whisk together the mayo and the red wine vinegar to make the dressing. Combine chicken, bacon, avocado, broccoli, lettuce and garlic and pour dressing over mixture. Mix thoroughly and salt and pepper to taste.

Makes two large or four small servings.

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Bacon and cheese quiche on a bed of arugula

Even when you love to cook, there are some days you are just energy-zapped or plain too busy to spend time making a delicious meal. Takeout is tempting you. A pizza delivery is just a phone call away. Just say no! When I’m feeling like this, I often turn to a crustless quiche. It’s easy, flexible, takes next to no time to prepare and is super delicious. A bacon and cheese quiche is what I made last week.

KKF Bacon & Cheese Crustless Quiche

4 eggs

1 1/3 cups heavy cream

About ½ cup of cooked bacon bits (preferably nitrite-free from free ranging hogs)

About ½ cup of grated cheese (your choice)

Nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Butter (preferably grass-fed)

Coat a glass pie dish with butter. It doesn’t need to be a thick layer but make sure the whole surface is covered. (I use my fingers, but you could wax paper or plastic wrap.) Beat together your eggs and dairy, grate in a good five or six scrapes of fresh nutmeg (I never use pre-ground nutmeg) and season with a bit of salt and pepper, keeping in mind that you’re adding bacon so that will add salt as well. Pour the egg mixture into the buttered pan. Sprinkle the bacon bits and grated cheese onto the quiche-to-be. (I kind of push down the cheese and bacon so the egg mix covers them so that the cheese doesn’t burn.) Pop the dish in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes and pow – delicious dinner!

A note about bacon bits: I cook my homemade bacon up in large batches. Whatever I can wrestle away from Test Subject Bill I cut up into chunks and keep in the freezer. That way I can reach in and grab REAL bacon bits any time I need to add them to something. You don’t even have to worry about thawing them.

The great thing about quiche is that you can put just about anything into them. Leftover asparagus? Toss it in. Cooked spinach? Score. Diced ham, goat cheese, broccoli. It’s a great way to use up little bits of leftovers.

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