Summer is flying by, and I haven’t done nearly as much sewing as I’d hoped to. I’ve been busy this summer reading books about low carb and ketogenic diets. In the process of researching this way of eating, I’ve happened upon some websites and blogs that are full of amazing recipes.
One of my favorite blogs is Joy Filled Eats, and my favorite recipe from that site is Chicken Cordon Blue. It’s easy to make, tastes delicious, and fits in with our low carb eating plan. This recipe would be a hit even if your family is not into low carb fare. It’s a pretty basic recipe that uses ingredients that most of us have on hand.
The casserole consists of chicken and ham, a tasty sauce, and a layer of cheese.
Both times that I’ve made this, I used leftover rotisserie chicken and deli ham. I just layered the chicken and then the ham in a 9″x 13″ pan. Then I covered the meats with the sauce mixed exactly to the recipe specifications. (Click on chicken cordon blue above for recipe link.) The final step is to top it off with Swiss cheese.
Since it’s just the two of us at our house, this made enough for at least three meals. I served it with steamed broccoli.
You should definitely try this! Jack and I both liked it a lot. If you’re wondering if it’s possible to eat high fat delicious food like this while losing weight and stabilizing blood sugars, we are both living proof that it is!
I was never much of a wings fan until Jack began his lower carbohydrate eating plan a couple years ago. At that time, I bought a cook book entitled 500 Low Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender.
It was in that book that I discovered a recipe for Heroin Chicken Wings, aptly named because of their highly addictive qualities.
These wings became one of our favorite low carb meals, and they happen to be gluten free for those of you who care about that. I made these wings last night and served them with a tossed green salad. Delicious!
Here’s the recipe as I make it (I did make one small change to the original recipe):
4 pounds of chicken wings, cut and trimmed
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 TB parsley
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup butter
The hardest and ickiest part of this recipe is preparing the chicken wings. I use a chef’s knife to cut the bones between both joints.
I then take my kitchen shears to finish separating the pieces. The little wing tip goes in the trash along with any loose pieces of skin or fat that can be easily trimmed. Chicken fat is carbohydrate free, but it’s still not something that I want us to consume in vast quantities.
Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Prepare your jelly roll pan by lining it with non-stick foil. Don’t skip this step!
Next, mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl that will be large enough for dipping the wing pieces.
Now it’s time to melt the butter in another bowl. I like to set up a little dipping station with the butter bowl, the coating bowl, and the foil-lined pan. Then I begin dipping each wing piece in butter, coating it with the “breading”, and placing it on the pan.
After that, you’re all set to bake those wings in the preheated oven for one hour. I always set the time for 30 minutes and use clean tongs to turn them on the pan so that they brown evenly. Like this:
Now that’s some good eatin’! We eat them just like this with no dipping sauces or dressing. If you try these, you will understand how they got the name Heroin Chicken Wings. You won’t want to stop until the plate is empty!
If you can stop yourself from eating the whole batch in one sitting, you’ll be happy to know that these reheat well. I like to reheat them by putting them in the microwave for a couple minutes, then the toaster oven for ten minutes more to crisp them up some.
The carb count on theses suckers is pretty low, but the calorie count is not. For that reason, you won’t want to over do it!
Since perfecting the method of making crispy chicken pieces in the crock pot, I decided it was time to see if the same method would work for cooking the whole dang bird. I set out by cleaning out the still partially frozen chicken by rinsing it under cold water.
I dried off the chicken and seasoned it with some poultry rub–the same seasoning that I use on my crispy chicken pieces. I prepared the crock pot by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray and adding two upside down Pyrex ramekins to the bottom of the pot. I sprayed those with cooking spray, too.
I covered it with the crock pot lid, and set the crock pot on HIGH. I cooked it on HIGH for about three hours. At lunch time when I returned to the kitchen, I turned the crock pot back to LOW. I did NOT lift the lid! Lifting the lid on the crock pot can slow the cooking process up to thirty minutes. So if you’ve got any compulsive lid-lifters at your house, keep them away from the crock pot!
In the rather immodest photo above, you can see one of the glass ramekins on which the chicken was resting. These ramekins are the key to cooking crispy chicken in the crock pot because they keep the chicken from lying all day long in its own juices.
My whole chicken ended up being in the Crock Pot for over eight hours. Had I known that I was going to cook the chicken that long, I definitely would have cooked it on LOW for the duration. It was so well done, that I could not remove it from the pot in one piece. Or even in two pieces. Or three pieces. In case you can’t get the picture, here’s a shot of my completely cooked chicken on the serving platter:
Seriously. That is the plate that I took to the table.
So it doesn’t look so good. The important thing is that the chicken tasted very good. I can’t say that it was crispy, but it had none of the mealy, watered down flavor that is the norm for chicken cooked all day long in a Crock Pot.
The truth is that we did not waste one bite of this chicken. We had chicken for dinner the day that I cooked this, and we used all of the rest of the moist, delicious meat in chicken sandwiches that week.
I would highly recommend this method for cooking chicken. It’s great to be able to have roast chicken in the warmer months without heating up the oven. This meal is one that I would classify as a true Crock Pot meal since it could be left unattended for a good seven or eight hours on LOW. Why not grab a chicken at the store this week and give this method a try?
What do cook in your Crock Pot in the summer months?
Let me be honest with you. I like to go out to eat. I like having a whole menu of choices. I like not having to cook the food myself, and I especially like not having to do dishes when the meal is over.
So why not just go out to eat every night? Here are a few reasons why we don’t do that:
1. Restaurant food is expensive.
I’ve heard people say that eating out isn’t any more expensive than cooking at home, especially for two people. I disagree. I think it’s almost always cheaper to eat at home.
2. Restaurant food is often nutritionally inferior to food you prepare at home.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but not with the restaurants we frequent. The foods that we especially like at our favorite restaurants are high in fat, carbohydrates, sodium and probably other things that we should not be ingesting on a regular basis.
3. Restaurant food may not fit into your specific dietary plans.
Grandpa and I are almost always tempted to eat high carb foods when we are at a restaurant. Those of you who need to avoid high fat foods, gluten, nitrates, artificial coloring, soy, dairy, eggs, MSG, GMOs, and BLTs …. okay, not BLTs, but all those other things will have an easier time at home than in a restaurant.
4. Restaurants require shoes and clothes
Don’t get me wrong ….I always wear clothes when I eat dinner at home, and I hope you do, too, especially if you are eating hot foods. But if I’m going to go out to a restaurant, I’ve got to wear something decent, and sometimes I just don’t feel like getting spiffed up to go out.
I’m going to be sharing a few strategies this month for making meal planning and preparation easier. Let’s face it, when we don’t know what to cook or don’t feel like making the effort to cook, it’s way too easy to grab take-out or go out to eat. And it’s almost always cheaper and healthier to eat at home.
If it’s your dream to be able to save some money, reduce your stress over meals by getting organized, then please stick around for this series. If you are willing to make even a few changes, then you should be able to reduce you the amount of money you spend on take-out food or restaurant meals. Going out to eat should be a planned treat, not an act of desperation.
How much money do you spend each week on take-out and restaurant food? The total may surprise you, and you really should keep track of that spending. It will be fun to watch that number drop as you prepare more of your food at home.
Are you ready for your first assignment? Here it is:
Put an index card or a small tablet in your purse, and record the amount of money you spend on restaurant and take out food for the rest of this month.
What’s your most important reason for wanting to eat at home more often than you already do?