Cauliflower Baked Mac & Cheese

Another pre-keto household favorite was Alton Brown’s baked cheddar Mac and Cheese. That stuff is gold. So obviously I had to figure out how to ketofy it.

Ingredients:
3 pounds (about 12 cups) frozen cauliflower (or broccoli, or Brussels sprouts, or really any other low carb veggies)
4 tbsp butter
4 oz (8 tbsp) cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp mustard
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
16oz (1lb) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated vegetarian parmesan

Recipe:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Put frozen broccoli on a 9×13 casserole pan (or cookie sheet if you have a ceramic casserole pan like me) and spray with olive oil spray.
Bake for 17 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown.

Meanwhile, heat butter, cream cheese, and heavy cream over medium low heat until melted but not boiling.
Add in all the spices.
Add the cheese and stir with a whisk until melted and clumps disappear.

Lower the heat to 350F.
Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower in casserole pan. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling.

If you didn’t mistakenly grab shredded parm at the grocery store like me, you’ll end up with a lovely grated Parmesan crust if you broil for a second at the end!

This is a pretty easy recipe to tweak to fit your macros. I went with a “generous” ratio of cheese to veggies, but you can easily go up to 12 cups of veggies in this. Or, leave off the parmesan for less calories, or pile more on for a high protein boost.

Macros: makes 8 servings

435 cal / 5 net carbs / 38 fat / 17 protein.

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Sugarless Cookies


I’ve spent the weekend testing Christmas Cookies and can’t wait to share the best ones with you!

First up are these completely sweetener free and ultra easy “sugar” cookies! I kept adding things to these because I couldn’t believe the answer was so simple, but when I got back to basics magic happened. Obviously they aren’t exactly sweet, but they make up for that in buttery goodness and completely satisfy my crunch craving.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups hazelnut meal
    • You can also use almond meal
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
    • Vegan/DF: substitute unflavored coconut oil (I like Carrington Farms organic coconut cooking oil, unflavored)
  • 2 eggs
    • Vegan: actually, the eggs are only here to cut down on crumbliness. You can leave them out entirely, or add 2tbsp psyllium husk
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    • Optional, but gives it a chewier texture
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1 -2 tsp flavoring of your choosing:
    • Vanilla Extract
    • Orange Extract or Orange Peel
    • Lemon Peel or Lemon Juice
    • Instant coffee
    • Bourbon
    • Powdered / Freeze Dried Raspberries

Recipe:

Make sure the butter is very soft, it may need a few seconds in the microwave. Its best if its not completely melted though.
Beat together all ingredients.
Wrap with wax paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roll out on wax paper or parchment paper to desired cookie thickness.
Cut out into fun shapes using cookie cutters and place on a parchment lined cookie tray. (Tip: Lift up using a spatula, these are extra fragile before cooking)
Bake at 315-325F (depending on cookie size – I used 325 for 3″ cookies and 315 for 6″) for about 15 minutes. They are done when the edges are browned and the centers are firm to the touch.
Allow to cool still on the cookie sheet.


The macros for this one are tough since cookie sizes vary but…
Assuming you get 24 cookies, each would be: 123 Cal / 1 Net Carb (2 total) / 13 Fat / 2 Protein
For the entire recipe: 3176 Cal / 22 Net Carbs (53 total) / 317 Fat / 53 Protein

Buttery Roasted Green Beans

Buttery Roasted Green Beans
Buttery Roasted Green Beans

The most important Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition in our family is Grandma’s chestnut stuffing. Obviously, stuffing is not at all keto-friendly, so I had to find a creative way to keep the tradition going this year.

These green beans turned out super fantastic and retained all the savory deliciousness I loved about the stuffing recipe!

Note that for the Thanksgiving meal pictured, I did use chestnuts because roasting them the night before is such an important part of our tradition. But for everyday keto use, they’re too high in carbs, so on regular nights I’ve been using pecans in their place.

Thanksgiving Dinner: green beans, keto rolls, and Brussels sprouts gratin.

Thanksgiving Dinner: green beans, keto rolls, and Brussels sprouts gratin.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) (dairy free: use 1/4 cup oil)
  • 1 shallot
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery leaves (which is about the amount you can get out of one bundle of celery – if you can’t get celery with the leaves still on it, just chop up a few celery stalks)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 pounds green beans, ends removed (I prefer the slender french ones)

Recipe:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add in the shallot and celery leaves, cooking until the shallots are translucent.
Add in all the seasonings and pecans and cook a few minutes more.
Toss the green beans in the butter mixture until thoroughly coated, then spread over 2 large tinfoil-lined baking sheets (so that they are a single layer).
Bake about 15 minutes, until tender and slightly browned.

Feel free to adjust the serving size to better fit your macros for the day. But this easily makes 8 generous portions:

Makes 8 servings: 235 calories / 5.5 net carbs (10 total) / 22 fat / 4 protein each

Thanksgiving Dinner: green beans, keto rolls, and Brussels sprouts gratin.
Thanksgiving Dinner: green beans, keto rolls, and Brussels sprouts gratin.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Thanksgiving Spread

This brussels sprout gratin was the ‘main event’ for our Thanksgiving meal this year, and I plan to make it again for regular dinner meal prep! With the flavors of gruyere, and tender but flavorful Brussels sprouts, I honestly think this beats my  traditional carb bomb baked mac and cheese. Plus, it reheated beautifully in a 350F oven.
True story: I had to look up whether it was ‘brussels’ or ‘brussel’ – its Brussels with a capital B, so I was wrong all around.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (1/2 pound) brussels sprouts, sliced
    • or purchase shredded if you can find them
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • Olive oil
  • 2oz (1/2 cup) gruyere, shredded
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream (1/2 container)
  • 1/2 tsp thyme

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Cook the garlic and brussels sprouts in olive oil until bright green and wilted.

Cooked Brussels Sprouts

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan melt butter. Add flax meal and coconut flour and stir until cooked. Add cream and thyme and heat, stirring, until steaming but do not boil. Basically, you’re making a keto roux here.

If you cooked the brussels sprouts in a cast iron skillet you can leave them there. If not, place the brussels sprouts in a baking dish (we doubled the recipe and used a 9×13). Top with half the cheese, then pour over cream sauce, and top with remaining half of cheese.

Ready for the OVen

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until bubbly and browned. 

Makes 4 servings. 357 cal / 5 net carbs (8.5 total) / 33 fat / 8 protein each.

Hot and Ready

Note for meat eaters: an excellent version of this involves cooking bacon, removing and then cooking the brussels sprouts in the bacon grease. You can add chopped bacon bits in before popping in the oven.

The inspiration for this dish came from Little Figgy Food: http://www.littlefiggy.com/creamy-brussel-sprouts-au-gratin/

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

When I first made these muffins, my husband was literally swearing about their perfection as he ate them. Not gonna lie, some explicatives may have slipped out of my mouth too. The texture is authentic and the spice is delightful. These are a great ‘treat’ to pack for snacks at work, perhaps to accompany a cup of coffee?

Ingredients:
For the muffins:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
  • 5 tbsp melted butter
    • (Vegan/DF: canned coconut cream
  • 2 eggs
    • (Vegan/DF: 2tbsp psyllium husk mixed with 4tbsp hot water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
    • (you can sub in protein powder for extra protein)
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1 tbsp ground psyllium husk
    • (optional but reduces crumbliness)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice

Note: Its not a mistake, there are no sweeteners in this recipe! But if you’re looking for a sweeter treat, feel free to add a few drops stevia or pure monk fruit.

For the frosting:

  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • generous splash of vanilla
  • Vegan/DF: Whip 1 14oz can coconut cream (best if refrigerated overnight) with 2 tsp vanilla until it resembles whipped cream.

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 12-muffin tin. Take out your cream cheese and butter (for the frosting) to soften.

Sift together dry ingredients in one bowl.
In a separate bowl melt the butter, then stir in the pumpkin. Finally, add eggs and vanilla and stir. Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Spoon into the muffin tins, and flatten tops since this batter does not rise. Bake for 25 minutes. 

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat together all ingredients with a hand mixer until frosting consistency.

Perfect inner texture.

You can store these in the fridge for a week, but I recommend keeping the frosting separate and topping just as you are ready to eat.

Macros (recipe makes 12 servings):
Muffins: 185 cal | 3.5 net carb (8 total) | 16 fat | 6 protein
Frosting: 135 cal | 1 carb | 14 fat | 1 protein per serving