I Love Pumpkin!

I love Pumpkin!

At the first hint of the trees turning colors, my mind fills with visions of pumpkin spice and hot chocolate.  I crave pumpkin bread and pumpkin donuts and pumpkin cheesecake and well,  you get the idea.  I’ve learned a lot in the short time I’ve committed to going low carb, and dealt with the necessity of going gluten free.  So one of the first experiments in low carb/gluten free baking was definitely Pumpkin Bread!  I’m going to share some of my favorite pumpkin recipes that not only are nice and healthy but also delicious!

Pumpkin Bread

keto gluten free low carb pumpkin bread
Keto Pumpkin Bread via Green and Keto

One of the reasons I love this recipe is that, in my opinion, no-grain baked goods of the sweet variety taste the best when using a combo of almond flour and coconut flour.  The combination I like to use is if the recipe calls for 2 cups of almond flour, I’ll actually use 1 1/2 cups of almond flour and 1/2 cup of coconut flour.  The coconut flour lightens up the denseness of the almond flour, and the almond flour doesn’t overpower the flavor of the baked good, as coconut flour has a tendency to do. 

Another reason I love this recipe is because when working with pumpkin recipes a lot of take the easy way out of spicing the pumpkin by throwing a couple of teaspoons of pumpkin spice and calling it good.  That may work for lattes but you’ll find your baked goods more rich if you add the individual spice group that has made pumpkin so warm and inviting — cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove.  Another hint from my kitchen — if you like your bread on the spicier side, don’t get too terribly exact when measuring your spices, except with the cloves!

Pumpkin Donuts

low carb gluten free keto pumpkin donuts
Gluten Free Pumpkin Donuts via Low Carb Yum

This recipe is very similar to the Pumpkin Bread recipe above but this time we’re using our mixture to make donuts.  You’ll notice that the recipe calls for peanut flour, which if you’re like me, doesn’t exactly sit on your local store’s grocery shelves.  So instead I used my old stand-by’s instead — almond flour and coconut flour.  In this case I used 1 1/4 cup almond flour and 1/4 cup coconut flour.  I also used Splenda instead of the stevia blend since that’s what I had on hand.  Turned out beautifully.  Also note, one of my favorite new toys since going low carb is this little beauty, Sunbeam’s Donut Maker.  I picked this little baby up at a second hand store for about $5.  Pipe the donuts into each slot using a pint or gallon sized bag with one of the bottom corners snipped off, and they usually only take about 15 minutes to bake.  Yum, and easy clean up.

tabletop donut maker sunbeam

If you can’t find one for a decent price anywhere, there are always donut baking pans like this one from Wilton.

donut baking pan wilton

Pumpkin Pie

keto gluten free low carb pumpkin pie
Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie via Gnom-Gnom

I have a confession to make – I hate pumpkin pie.  But I know that I am definitely in minority in this which is why, despite my distaste for it, I include it in my recipe list.  Its a texture thing, I don’t think I could explain it.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

low carb keto gluten free pumpkin cheesecake
Low Carb Cheesecake via Wholesome Yum

I care what time of year it is, there is always room for cheesecake.  Of any flavor.  This recipe is quite rich so you’ll want to make sure to cut yourself small slices.  If you don’t have access to collagen peptides or whey protein isolate, the same amount of a vanilla protein powder should work just fine.

Pumpkin Cookies

Low Carb Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cookies via How to This and That

Some times you just need a little something.  And I think these little babies will do the trick.  And I love cookies.  They are easy to bake and easy to store.  And you can make them last — IF you can keep them away from the kids!

Pumpkin Pancakes

low carb gluten free keto pumpkin gingerbread pancakes
Pumpkin Gingerbread Protein Pancakes via BIg Man’s World

I love pumpkin pancakes!  Even being gluten intolerant, I love that I can still eat them when I want to and they still taste good.  There’s something about the spices and pumpkin combination that make for a warm meal on a cool day.

Pumpkin Bars

healthy keto gluten free pumpkin bars cream cheese frosting
Healthy Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting via Wholesome Yum

You know when you go to an office party or church function and pretty much everything is sugar ridden and carb laden?  Yeah well, here something you can bring that is better for you and may be just delicious enough that it will fool your fellow party goers.  And its pumpkin!

So there is my list!  You should now not lack for any delicious, healthy pumpkin treats that will get you through these chilly days and freezing nights!  If you’re not feeling the pumpkin vibe, might I suggest my recipe for Homestyle Banana Bread.  Its got the warmth and hominess without the pumpkin!

 

Eggs, eggs, eggs!

Seems like eggs are a staple of the low carb lifestyle.  At least at first. It’s pretty easy to get sick of eggs, however.  I know I fell into the habit of having eggs nearly every morning when I first started eating more healthy and pretty quickly got sick of them.  The problem is I didn’t have much of an imagination of what eggs could be besides over-easy, scrambled or boiled.

Thankfully, eggs are extremely versatile as well as healthy and quick.  So I compiled some recipes for you to enjoy. Makes eating eggs more enjoyable again but also gives some variety in the way you enjoy them!

1. Deviled Eggs

low carb keto eggs devlied
https://www.ketovale.com/recipe/keto-deviled-eggs/

These low carb deviled are basic but super delicious at the same time.  If you’ve already got a bunch of hard boiled eggs sitting in your fridge already, then making these up should be fast.  To add an extra bit of juiciness, top with a bit of crumbled bacon!  These make the perfect lunchtime meal or the most popular dish at your next summer potluck or picnic!

2. Egg Salad

low carb keto egg salad recipe
https://www.idratherbeachef.com/the-best-egg-salad-recipe/

Again, another basic egg salad recipe.  But I have to say usually the basic is not only the fastest way to go but also the tastiest!  The great thing about egg salad is that there are so many things you can do with it.  You can eat it as is.  Eat it on a bed of salad greens for that extra bit of roughage.  Put in a fathead bun or whole wheat pita and you have a great lunch time meal!

3.  Avocado Egg Salad

low carb keto avocado egg salad
https://lifemadeketo.com/avocado-egg-salad/

This is one of my personally favorite ways to eat egg salad.  I love the combination of the creaminess of the avocado but the tanginess that mayo gives it as well.  I love topping my salads with this and just chowing down.

4. Cobb Salad

low carb keto cobb salad
https://www.lowcarbmaven.com/chicken-cobb-salad-with-cobb-salad-dressing/

You know when you get down to the last part of the pay period?  Like the last three or four days before payday?  You know you’ve got all that lovely sandwich meat, salad greens, avocados, and bacon sitting in the fridge that needs to get eaten but you’re not sure what to do with it all?  I introduce the Cobb Salad.  Look at all that deliciousness in the same bowl?  This recipe does include a suggestion for particular salad dressings, I’d say use what you have on hand.  I’m pretty sure anything would taste good.  Goodness, even just eating this without dressing would taste good as well!

Now that I’ve given my list of favorites, I’m curious to know what your favorite ways to eat eggs is.  Let me know down in the comments!  And in case you’re cool with eggs but not sure what else you could do with breakfast, my 8 Ways to Healthy Oatmeal can give you another few ideas to make breakfast time less boring and oh so delicious!

 

Crockpot Meatloaf

Today, I’m sharing an old family recipe. I got this great Betty Crocker cookbook for my wedding. It had a recipe for meatloaf that my husband and I were delighted to find was absolutely delicious. Its been a household staple since.  Honestly though, I don’t make it very much. On lean paydays, it takes a lot of ground beef that sometimes you just can’t justify. And its a very long cook time – nearly 60-65 minutes in a conventional oven. Plus, once my husband and I started eating low carb/keto, the bread in my normal recipe made it a no-no.  So I set out to find ways to make one of our favorite dishes that was diet friendly and easy to make.  And what I came up with is my crockpot meatloaf.

crockpot meatloaf ingredients

The beauty of the internet is that you can sometimes find solutions to the problems you have with your favorite recipes. I starting seeing recipes for crockpot meatloaf. At minimum, that solves one of the problems with the long cook time. Throwing the loaf together is pretty simple and then letting it cook all day in the crockpot guarantees little stress after a busy day.

crockpot meatloaf in crockpot

Almond flour also solves the bread problem. The flour helps to bulk up the meatloaf and makes it a-ok for keto as well as low carb eating.  I will give you a bit of a warning however.  Make sure not to overcook your meatloaf.  This holds up pretty well, even with the lower fat ground beef but overcooking can dry it out.  Learn from  my mistake.  Its not pretty but it sure did taste good!

low carb keto delicious mess

 

Crockpot Meatloaf
Serves 6
Easy to throw together dinner that turns out so yummy in your crockpot.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs ground beef
  2. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  3. 3/4 c milk
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 tsp pepper
  6. 1/2 tsp ground sage
  7. 1 tbsp soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce
  8. 1 tsp minced garlic
  9. 1/2 medium onion, diced
  10. 1/4 c almond flour
Instructions
  1. In large bowl combine all ingredients until well blended.
  2. Form loaf shape in crockpot.
  3. Set to HIGH and cook for 4 hours or until juices run clear.
Notes
  1. You can also set the crockpot to cook on LOW and cook for about 6 hours if you need more time.
  2. Remember, do not overcook as this will dry the loaf out and it tends to fall apart.
Adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook
Adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook
Simply Tasty Foods https://simplytastyfoods.com/

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli

I get it.  Kids don’t  like to eat their vegetables.  Mine act like I’m asking them to eat dirt anytime dinner is served with a veg.  I find, however, that if the vegetables are covered in something yummy, say a cream sauce, then they are more likely to give it a try.  Its why this recipe for Creamy Chicken and Broccoli is so great.  The creamy sauce not only makes the chicken taste divine but it also gives the broccoli enough flavor your kids may actually eat it!

low carb paleo keto creamy chicken and broccoli on a plate

Another great thing about this recipe is the fact that you get all the creaminess that makes chicken taste so good but its fast and easy without having to use garbage ingredients that you find in most ‘cream of’ soups.  In fact, I’m willing to bet you won’t miss it at all because of how awesome this tastes.  You replace the canned soup with wholesome stuff like cream, butter, chicken broth and spices.  And don’t worry about messing up the sauce.  Its practically foolproof.  You throw it in, you let it simmer for a few minutes and wha-la!  Dinner is served.

Your mouth not watering yet?  How about some pizza instead?  My No Carb Dish Pizza is sure to please even the pickiest eaters!

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli
Serves 5
Creamy low carb dinner with chicken and broccoli.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs chicken breast
  2. 1 tsp minced garlic
  3. 1/2 medium onion, diced
  4. 4 tbsp. butter
  5. 1 c chicken stock
  6. 1/2 c heavy cream
  7. 1 tbsp dried parsley
  8. 1/2 tsp paprika
  9. 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  10. S&P to taste
Instructions
  1. In large skillet, melt butter then saute chicken, garlic and onion until chicken is cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. Add broth, cream, xanthan gum, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper. Bring to a slow boil and simmer until just starting to thicken.
  3. Return chicken to skillet and add package of frozen broccoli. Stir until everything is well coated and then simmer until broccoli is warmed.
Adapted from Best Recipe Box
Adapted from Best Recipe Box
Simply Tasty Foods https://simplytastyfoods.com/

Lemon Chicken Zucchini Skillet

Simple.  Easy.  Tasty.  Sound familiar?  It should since that’s practically the name of my blog.  It’s the whole reason I started it.  I wanted to follow a low carb lifestyle and I needed recipes that not only tasted good but were quick to make.  I belonged to an immensely supportive group on Facebook for people following the South Beach Diet as described in Dr. Agaston’s original books.  Pamela Bongers had a brilliant recipe that I loved.  The adaption of her one skillet dinner, Lemon Chicken Zucchini Skillet, follows all these principles.  It takes less than 30 minutes to make.  The ingredients are simple and easy to throw together.  And it tastes amazing!

lemon chicken zucchini

The secret ingredients to this dish’s amazingness are the lemon and the butter.  You sauté the zucchini, onions and garlic in the butter and it gives that sweet savory flavor you crave at dinnertime.  Then you throw in a little fresh lemon juice and lemon zest and it gives it a zippy fresh flavor that rounds out the meal.  Your family will wonder why you don’t make it more often.

zucchini and onions

Depending on the type of low carb lifestyle you follow, like paleo, keto or some of the others, some really good sides for this could be cooked brown rice or a simple garden salad.  I’ll tell you I thought I was in heaven when I added some Italian dressing to the salad.  It complimented this lemon dish so well!

low carb paleo keto lemon chicken zucchini skilletIn the mood for something a little more hands off?  Try my recipe for Chicken Vegetable Soup!  You chop everything up, throw it in the pot and let it simmer and you’re good to go.

 

Lemon Chicken Zucchini Skillet
Serves 4
A zesty savory chicken dish that is fast and easy!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs raw boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  2. 2 small zucchini, cubed
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped
  4. 1/4 cup (half a stick) butter
  5. Juice of 1/2 small lemon
  6. Zest of 1/2 small lemon
  7. 1 tsp minced garlic
Instructions
  1. Over medium heat, spray a skillet with cooking spray and cook cubed chicken until done through. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in same skillet and then add zucchini, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute until zucchini and onions have softened.
  3. Add chicken back into skillet. Squeeze lemon juice over the mix and then zest the lemon over and mix until warmed through and well coated. Serve!
Notes
  1. Feel free to use the entire lemon if you want a stronger lemon flavor.
Adapted from Pamela Bongers
Adapted from Pamela Bongers
Simply Tasty Foods https://simplytastyfoods.com/

Deep Dish Pizza

I have to be honest. When I saw the recipe from Low Carb Yum for a no carb dish pizza, I was only mildly hopeful. I am a texture eater. If the feeling of the food in my mouth is either egg-y or slimy or certain types of grainy, it could taste like the ultimate ice cream sundae but my stomach will heave. I’ve learned over the years to be ok with eggs in its myriad forms, and some types of puddings. But I knew that if this ‘crust’ turned out to have the consistency of a rubbery omelet then there was no way I could promote it.

finished pizza low carb keto

I am, however, pleased to announce that this pizza is fantastic. I think the combination of the Italian cheese mix on the bottom, and the crust that is almost a fat-head type of dough really seriously makes this dish. This is the first time I’ve made a no carb dish that didn’t have left-overs because my husband ate nearly half the pan all by himself. Win! Call this ‘pizza casserole’ and you can easily get away with serving this to guests without serving them ‘diet food’.

baked crust no carb keto

The crust is very forgiving. If you forgot to scrap the sides of the bowl as you’re mixing it because the cream cheese tends to cling, just throw the cream cheese scraping in the pan anyway. Or if you did like I did, and forgot to add the mozzarella into the pan before I added the egg mixture in the pan, you can just throw it over the top and it cooks up like a dream anyway.

As a bonus, I am including a fast and simple no-sugar-added recipe for pizza or spaghetti sauce.  Just throw it together while the crust bakes and the sauce will be done when its time to pour it over the time.

 

No Carb Dish Pizza
Serves 8
Low carb pizza baked in a dish and not a carb missed!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 4oz cream cheese, softened
  2. 4 large eggs
  3. 1/3 cup heavy cream
  4. 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  5. 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  6. 1/2 tsp oregano
  7. 1 cup Italian Cheese blend (found in the pizza aisle of most grocery stores)
  8. Or you can use just Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano on its own
  9. 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  10. Full portion of pizza sauce (noted below)
  11. Pizza toppings, if preferred
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9 in baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In mixer or food processor, combine cream cheese and eggs until smooth. Then add the cream, Parmesan, garlic and oregano until well combined.
  3. Sprinkle the Italian cheese mix (or any of the other cheese noted above as preferred)along the bottom of the baking pan, then sprinkle one cup of the shredded mozzarella over top of that. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  4. Spread the pizza sauce over the top of the crust and then sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese over the top of the sauce. Add toppings as desired.
  5. Heat the oven broiler to high. Add pizza pan under broiler and allow to melt and brown the cheese.
  6. Take the pizza out from the oven and let it rest until cutting and serving.
Adapted from Low Carb Yum
Adapted from Low Carb Yum
Simply Tasty Foods https://simplytastyfoods.com/
Bonus No Sugar Added Pizza Sauce
Serves 8
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 8oz can plain tomato sauce (no added flavorings or sugar)
  2. 1 tsp onion powder
  3. 1/2 tsp garlic powder, or 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  4. 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  5. 1 tbsp no-calorie sweetener, or to taste
  6. S&P
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients together in a small pot. Bring to a boil over a medium heat. Cover and reduce heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
Simply Tasty Foods https://simplytastyfoods.com/
 

Quick Mini Quiche

Quick Mini Quiche recipe is based on one of the first recipes I tried when I started the South Beach Diet many, many moons ago. It has all of the attributes that this blog is all about – simple, cheap, family friendly, fast and easy. While the veggie combo is the one I like the most, you can add any combination of vegetables to these – kale instead of spinach, broccoli or cauliflower, carrots, celery, and on and on.

One of the best parts of this recipe is that it freezes very well. Make a big batch, pop a single quiche in a square snack sized plastic bag, or two in a sandwich sized baggie and breakfast is portioned and ready go to for the work/school morning rush or as a last minute lunch option. Does well in the freezer for about two weeks. Tastes fantastic topped with a little salsa on top!

Quick Mini Quiche
Serves 6
Easy breakfast that has infinite variation and freezes well for busy mornings.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach
  2. 1 large egg
  3. 3/4 c shredded cheese (I like Montery Jack)
  4. 1/4 c mini diced onions
  5. 1/4 c mini diced mixed zucchini and summer squash
  6. dash garlic powder
  7. 3 drops hot-pepper sauce (optional)
Instructions
  1. Microwace spinach on HIGH for 2 1/2 minutes. Drain excess liquid.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil baking cups. Spray the cups with cooking spray.
  3. Combine egg, cheese, onions, zucchini, squash, and spinach in a mixing bowl. Divide evenly between foil cups.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.
Simply Tasty Foods https://simplytastyfoods.com/

Chicken Vegetable Soup

What’s better wafting through the kitchen than the smell of a savory chicken vegetable soup? Probably nothing. Which is why I love this recipe. This is based on Weight Watchers old school version of the Zero Point Soup. But we’re low carb-er’s, right?  We don’t have to worry about point following.  Plus, you are adding in some low-fat protein with the addition of the chicken that helps you feel full and satisfied. 

 

low carb vegetable chicken soup
Bowl of Color

There is one other bonus to this recipe. The soup freezes wonderfully! I might even argue that it tastes better after being nuked in the microwave. But you can judge for yourself! So make a huge batch – double the recipe – and separate into freezer safe containers and you’ll always have that last minute lunch or dinner ready as soon as it gets out of the microwave.

 

 

Chicken Vegetable Soup
Serves 6
A easy, savory soup that is low in carbs but very filling! Freezes like a breeze!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs chicken breast, diced
  2. 1 box (32 oz) chicken stock
  3. 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  4. 1 tsp minced garlic
  5. 1/4 tsp basil
  6. 1/2 tsp oregano
  7. 2 c chopped cabbage
  8. 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  9. 1/2 c carrots, chopped
  10. 1/2 c green beans
  11. 1/2 c zucchini
  12. 1/2 c summer squash
  13. S&P
Instructions
  1. In soup pot, spray with non-stick cooking spray. Saute chicken and garlic until done through and garlic fragrent.
  2. Add chicken stock and tomato sauce to pot and mix until combined. Add the rest of the spices and vegetables and bring to boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Notes
  1. For South Beach/Atkins Phase 1 and Keto, omit the carrots.
Simply Tasty Foods https://simplytastyfoods.com/