The ABC Low-Carb Wrap

Recently, I started making the occasional “tuna wrap” for a low-carb on-the-go meal.  Today, I ran out of tuna and had to find a substitute: Avocado!  Here’s a great quick recipe for those days when you’re too tired to cook or in a hurry.  It’s a good “pack lunch” option, too. 

The Low Carb Sandwich Wrap

There are increasing numbers of low-carb sandwich wraps out there.  I’ve used low-carb tortillas (La Tortilla is pretty good—obtained on Amazon), a sweet potato wrap (BFree–at Harris Teeter)  and a “white” wrap (Tumaro’s–available at Giant Food) very successfully.    La Tortilla’s are sturdy and the flavor is okay. Definitely my go-to for enchiladas and tacos. 

Low carb wraps usually weigh in at about 6 net carbs.  That’s usually better than low carb breads (which can be 10-12 net carbs).   Some people use lettuce leaves for wraps — which can be a bit messy. Low-carb wraps are nicely packable.  I can put one in a baggie and order a sandwich at any sandwich shop or even use it to contain a gyro, cutting the carbs on take-out.  

They’re definitely not on everyone’s list of “keto” products, of course.  Wheat is involved, and wheat definitely is on my list of “acid reflux” triggers.  I try to keep the use of these items down to once or twice a week.  

Sometimes, a sandwich

When I work late, or on a busy Saturday, a super-quick sandwich helps keep me “on plan.”  I’ve been trying to eat more fish, and tuna salad is an easy way to do that.   This weekend, I went to work on my signature tuna salad wrap and discovered that the can of tuna fish I thought I had in my pantry—was a can of cat food. (Oh my.)  I had been thinking about the new “avocado toast” that’s filtered on to menus from the West Coast.   I’d bought some avocados to test some recipes — so hmmm. Why not an avocado wrap instead?

This is a a really simple sandwich.  Here’s the ingredients

  • A low-carb sandwich wrap
  • Shredded cheese (I used Trader Joe’s three cheese blend of mozzerella, cheddar and ) — 2 tablespoons
  • Pre-cooked bacon (3 strips)
  • A ripe avocado
  • Garlic paste (1 tablespoon)
  • Lime juice (1 tablespoon or thereabouts)
  • Salt
  • Optional: a dash of cumin, onion powder and chili powder

I put the wrap on a plate and the pre-cooked bacon on it in an “H” pattern: two slices parallel, one across.

I put the cheese down the middle of the wrap. 

I microwaved the wrap, with the bacon and cheese, for 90 seconds.  Cheese should be bubbly! 

Next, I split the avocado, scooped it into a bowl. I added the garlic paste, lime juice and a good dash of salt and mixed it all together.  You can substitute your favorite guacamole recipe for this.  Adding chopped tomatoes and sweet onions would be a great addition.  That might add a carb.  Cumin, chili powder and onion powder can be added as an option to kick up the flavor. 

I put the avocado mixture into wrap with the cheese and bacon and there we have the ABC (Avocado, Bacon & Cheese) Wrap. 

I estimate that this is about 7 carbs net total–much of it will depend on the kind of wrap you use. 

 No picture!  I was so hungry, I ate it immediately.  It was so good, salty from the bacon, cheesy and cream–and the bacon added some nice texture.  Why pre-cooked bacon?  Convenience.  This is definitely a keeper recipe, easy to put together, with lots of good fat.   I’ll post a picture soon.

Quick chicken enchiladas

I need meals I can put together quickly.  This chicken enchilada recipe took me about half an hour from start to finish.  The result is cheesy and a little decadent!  And yet it’s simple and filling. The secret is sour cream and low carb tortillas. 

Cooking and Keto

Even with lazy, dirty keto, people have more success if they cook their own food.  Control over the ingredients is critical.  But most of us live “Standard American Lives.”  We work all day –and we don’t really know how to cook that well.  I myself was raised on canned, frozen and take out everything. Moving to a different standard, a higher standard, takes some conviction and help.   This is a good recipe to start out on. 

Fortunately there is Pinterest.

Pinterest, Youtube, and other Internet resources are out there to teach us how to cook. I haunt the food blogs looking for easy, tasty meals that don’t require a certificate from the Culinary Institute of America to prepare. I came across this recipe on Pinterest but there were several others, nearly identical.  

Differences from the main recipe.

I used fresh chicken, not cooked.  Rotisserie chicken would be rather dry (if leftover) and they’re so often overcooked to begin with.  My son said he would agree to “taste” but wouldn’t commit to eating a full meal of it.  I found a package of chicken breast tenders for $3.48  When I make this again, I’ll be using a package of chicken thighs — and save the leftovers as this is a really great recipe. 

I used a small can of El Paso (rather than a larger can) because really, I was making this mostly for myself.   My son was very unsure of this recipe.  I made three for myself with enough leftover for two for my lunch tomorrow.  As it happened, my son ate (and enjoyed) one of the three enchiladas. He was hooked on the first bite!

I added fresh red peppers.  This made the fresh flavors pop and added to the sweetness of the onions. 

Cheese and Time.  The original poster used about 3 to four CUPS of cheese.  And she cooked this for half an hour. I’m sorry but the chicken is ALREADY cooked and so you’re just melting cheese and reducing the sauce a little.  Half an hour and that much cheese?  Not really necessary. 

The ingredients

  • A package of chicken breast tenders (thighs will also work)
  • El Paso red enchilada sauce (I used the small can but I’d think the large can would be a little better if making more than the five enchiladas I made. I had to skimp on the sauce as it was.)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of chopped sweet onion
  • a clove of garlic (or a teaspoon of garlic paste)
  • low carb tortillas (I used La Tortilla brand)
  • shredded Mexican cheese (about a cup)
  • olive oil (2-3 tablespoons
  • 1 pat of butter
  • Optional: chopped red pepper (a  half will do) and / or chopped mushrooms 
  • I sprinkled some cilantro on the finished product (see photo) before serving — to make it pretty. 🙂 

Yes, that’s all.  

Just out of the oven!

The directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a large skillet, heat up the oil and butter together til hot. 
  3. Add the garlic and the onions to the pan, set it at a medium level of heat. Brown the onions.  This might take five minutes. 
  4. Cut the chicken into small pieces.  I took a tenderloin and cut it into three pieces; if I had used thighs, I would have done three or four. 
  5. If using the red pepper and mushrooms, add to the skillet and cook for another three or four minutes. 
  6.  Add the chicken to the skillet and brown, cooking until it’s all the way done. 
  7.  Add the sour cream to the skillet and about half the can of enchilada sauce.  Set the can aside, you’ll be using that later.
  8.  Combine the sour cream and enchilada sauce with the chicken and let that all cook for maybe two minutes.  Then turn off the heat. 
  9.  Take an oven-safe casserole dish and line it with aluminum foil. 
  10. Add a little more olive oil OR spray the foil with cooking spray (I use coconut oil spray).   This is to help slide the enchiladas out later. 
  11. Put 2-3 of tablespoons of enchilada sauce from the half can you’ve reserved (from step 7) on the aluminum foil. 
  12. Dip a tortilla in the sauce and coat on the outside. You want it just a little wet with enchilada sauce. 
  13. Add a tablespoon or so of chicken and sauce from the pan in the tortilla. 
  14.  Add a tablespoon or so of shredded cheese.
  15.  Roll up the tortilla.
  16.  You’ll repeat steps 13-15 til you run out of chicken.  Should make between four and five enchilada, possible six.  (If you use a large can of enchilada sauce and thighs, then you can get as many as eight. )
  17. Pour the rest of the sauce over the chicken enchiladas.
  18.  Scatter shredded cheese on top of the sauce. 
  19.  Put in the oven til the cheese gets hot and bubbly and slightly brown.  This will probably take ten minutes.  To be honest, I cooked these for five minutes in the oven. 

Dinner is done.   My son said “add this to the dinner rotation!  I heartily approve!”    He thought it was as good as or better than our favorite restaurant. There is no higher accolade in the house.  

Carb Facts

  • Enchilada sauce: 4g net carbs per servings
  • La Tortilla low-carb tortillas 6g net carbs per tortilla

Thus the two enchiladas I had were a total of 20 net carbs.   I’m going to work on a lower carb enchilada sauce to see if I can get these down to 7 carbs a piece.   That’ll take more effort on my part, but for a quick and easy dinner, this one works 

The Accidental Low-Carb Apple Pie Omelette

On reflection, I have to admit this. I created an omelette that tastes much more like apple pie than pumpkin pie. 🙂  This happy accident occurred when I omitted the sugar-free vanilla from the pumpkin pie omelette recipe, substituted fresh apples for canned–and added the spice called “mace.”  A very nice apple pie flavor emerged — for only 10 net carbs.

Trying to lower the carbs

I started with the Pumpkin Pie Omelette, version 1.
I was working on version 2,  trying to pare down the carb count with a goal of great flavor and half the carbs.  Fresh apples, I knew from my past experiences in creating sweet omelettes (and pancakes), are really tasty additions. You can brown them in butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and stevia and they’re gorgeous.  You don’t have to use a whole apple, either, — only a quarter of a medium sized apple will do. A fine dice should yield about 1/3rd of a cup–about 5 carbs for your average apple (Granny Smith or Golden Delicious). 

My key mistake

I simply forgot to put in the Torani sugar-free vanilla in the pumpkin pie/egg yolk mix.  Without that key ingredient, the apple pie flavor jumps out at you –especially when you use the fresh, tart Granny Smith apple I used in this recipe.  The pumpkin flavor recedes into an almost savory background flavor. But it’s really good as an apple pie omelette. It’s just not a PUMPKIN pie omelette. 🙂  Live and learn.

The real difference, however, may have been the use the spice, “mace.”

About Mace – No, the SPICE, NOT the WEAPON!

Mace is the outer coating of the nutmeg fruit.  The nutmeg seed, inside the fruit, is the “nut” that we called the nutmeg “nut.”   The nutmeg fruit is kind of gloppy — nothing you’d eat fresh, but we’re told that it is used in Southeast Asian chutneys and dishes. Not something we get in the West, though. 

When you can find mace, it’s usually ground (and expensive: I paid 11 dollars for a 1.5 oz bottle of organic McCormick’s brand bottle!)  The true foodies, of course, buy it in its unground, unprocessed dried form. Then you can grind it yourself with a spice grinder. You can get the unground form  (called “blades” of mace) from the Spice House for $8.49 at this writing for a 1.5 ounce bottle (which when ground up NOT mean a real cost savings.  But sometimes we like to feel so very foodie.)

If I manage to use up all the mace in this bottle, I’ll consider the purchase and figure out if it’s worth the price. 

Photo by Jon Connell on Flickr

The ground mace from McCormick’s is very fresh seeming, slightly clumpy and moist. It’s more “floral” and “lighter” than the seed, but with a similar flavor.  I’d heard that it was “the secret” to the best apple pies from a pint-sized champion baker on a kid’s cooking show. Hmmmm.  That kid knew something about his apple pies.

Oh my, the Apples!

  • 1 medium-sized Granny Smith apple  (you’ll use 1/4th of it) —
  • 1/2 tsp Truvia baking blend (brown sugar and stevia blend)
  • dash of cinnamon, dash of nutmeg
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of ground mace
  • 1/2 tsp or so of Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice and a sprinkle of sweetener of your choice.
  • Butter (for frying the apples)

Granny Smiths are known as the “tart, baking apple.”   The Granny Smith produced a very sweet, truly apple-pie flavor which just about overwhelmed the pumpkin. I cut the apple in two, peeled half, then cut the peeled half into two–and used a quarter of the apple. I diced the quarter apple quite small (about a quarter inch square) and measured it in a measuring cup so you, dear readers, will know how much I used. 

Directions for Preparing the Apple

  1. Cut the apple in two. 
  2. Peel half. 
  3. Cut the peeled half into two (giving you a quarter of the apple.)
  4. Dice one of the peeled, apple quarters, a smallish dice, about a quarter inch square or so
  5. Give a squeeze of lemon juice on top of the diced apples. No more than half a teaspoonful is needed.
    • Cook’s Note:I used a Meyer lemon. These can be hard to find–I found these at Trader Joe’s.
    • If you’re using an ordinary lemon,  I would add a light sprinkler of stevia or sucralose to the recipe, or add a little more of the Truvia blend
  6. In a small frying pan, melt a pat of butter.
  7. When it’s melted and sizzling, add the apples to the pain and begin to brown them.
  8. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmug over the apples as they fry in the butter.
  9. Add the 1/2 tsp of mace
  10. Sprinkle with Truvia baking mix.
  11. Brown the apples, remove the pan from the heat. I put them in a small container to help them cool for later.
  12. I save the rest of the apple in a baggie for later in the week!

The Rest of the Recipe

The rest of the recipe is the same as Pumpkin Omelette #1 except that we omit the canned apples and the craisins.   To recap, you’ll need

  • 3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste from a tube
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, to taste
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
  • sugar-free vanilla Torani syrup (optional) or 1/2 tsp of vanilla extra and 1/2 tsp of sweetener (also optional, see the cook’s note below.)
  • You’ll also need the cooked, diced apple that you prepared previously and set aside (see above).

The Directions for the Omelette

  1. Blend the pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl, seasoning to taste. 
    • Cook’s Note: For a more “pumpkin-forward” flavor, add a teaspoon of Torani sugar-free vanilla syrup. Or substitute a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of stevia or other sweetener.
  2. Add the egg yolks to the pumpkin mixture.
  3. Put the (oven safe!) omelette pan on the stove and provide a medium level of heat. Add butter and olive oil to the pan. Let the butter melt and stir occasionally to blend the butter and oil.
  4. Turn on the broiler to 550 degrees F. Let it begin to heat while you mix the egg whites
  5. Now for whisking up the egg WHITES. Add a half teaspoon cream of tartar to the egg WHITES.
  6. Whisp the egg whites until they double in volume, about 3 minutes.
  7. GENTLY fold the whites into the pumpkin mixture. Give it one or two gentle stirs with a spoon, no more. The egg whites should continue to be a foam on the top with just a few hints of stirred in orange streaks.
  8. Pour the pumpkin mix with the egg whites into the waiting, hot buttery pan.
  9. Gently add the cooked apple fragments evenly all over the omelette as it cooks in the pan. I use a fork to lower them into the omelette, one piece at a time
  10. Cook the omelette on the stove top still it mostly sets and the edges are beginning to look dry.
  11. Put the pan with the omelette in it under the broiler. Let it broil for no more than two minutes. It should puff up slightly if the low carb gods are in a smiling mood.
  12. Take the pan out of the broiler and gently slide the omelette onto a waiting plate.
  13. Give the omelette a light sprinkle of salt.

The Results

If you get the apples spread evenly all over the omelette, you’ll get a taste of apple pie in every bite.  An extra sprinkle of cinnamon and sweetener like Swerve would make this even sweeter — but I liked the slightly more savory flavor.

I can imagine other add-ins to this such as fennel or caramelized onions, to make a savory apple omelette.   

I can also imagine using sugar-free salted caramel syrup in this, to make it even sweeter. I could imagine serving it piled high with whipped cream as a dessert, even. 

In my next try at this, I’m thinking of adding a few fresh cranberries to the apple mixture–I’ll probably cook them separately with extra sweetener and a squeeze of fresh orange juice, then fold the cooked apples into them–and then make small dollops of apples and cranberries, hmmmm.  That would add four more carbs.  I’ll let you know how that turns out.  Sounds like a promising Turkey Day breakfast! 

The Pumpkin Pie Omelette: Take 1: The Test

The sweet omelette is a great treat for holiday mornings.  Everyone is usually carbing out on pancakes, doughnuts and sweet rolls.   What about a pumpkin omelette?  With all the taste of pumpkin pie, the ease of an omelette? And low carb to boot?  Here’s my first try and it’s tasty enough to share the initial recipe. It will only get better — and I will update this through the week as I perfect it!

Holiday Morning Hells

Holiday mornings can be a low-carber’s hell, especially given what’s coming up the rest of the day. Recent discussions in the dirty, lazy keto Facebook group (which I LOVE),  have been revolving around a certain no-crust, low carb pumpkin pie recipe. And I thought, that’s a good deal of trouble to go to when I would likely be the only person eating it.  That got me to thinking.  These ingredients are very similar to a good, sweet omelette recipe.  You wouldn’t have to use as many–and you could definitely get away with losing the Splenda blend if sweetness came from other elements, like, say, fried apples and dried cranberries. 

Warning: This is a NOT QUITE keto, REASONABLY low carb recipe coming in at 25 g of carbohydrates.  This is the first test, with just the ingredients I had in the kitchen (because it was snowing in Northern Virginia. And sleeting.) 

Eggs
Sweetness
& Fat

The Essentials of the Sweet Omelette

Eggs, sweetness and fat are all that make up the sweet omelette. Eggs provide the canvas, the texture and some slightly umami components of taste.  Sweetness (and spice!) can come from many sources.

Pumpkin pie is mostly eggs, pumpkin, heavy cream and sweetening agents. Usually sugar is required in order to create the chemical bonds that keep the pie from becoming a gloppy mess–which is why in the low carb pie recipes, you will see the use of baking blends.  Baking blends are mixtures of sugar with a low-carb sweetener. I like Truvia’s brown sugar and stevia blend, though sometimes you need the Splenda blend to provides the stronger texture. 

In the omelette, eggs, not sugar, provide the structure (and texture) of the dish.   In my deconstruction, I realized that the cream may be redundant.  The pumpkin pie puree may provide the “softening agent” to make sure the omelette version doesn’t get tough. And for sweetener, a teaspoon of Torani vanilla syrup, the kind I sometimes use in my coffee, would probably be ample as both a sweetener — and it would go well with the spice elements.  Ginger is a nice big flavor.  It’s a key ingredient in making for a “wow” pumpkin pie, along with the cinnamon and nutmeg.  (Mace, another beautiful warm spice, would go lovely with this, but I didn’t have any on hand).  Most pumpkin pie spice blends are weak on ginger — it’s one of those flavors that degrades quickly in powder form. 

Finally, fruit would definitely raise this out of the ordinary.  I had a can of apples that needed to get used up (from over a year ago) and also some reduced sugar craisins (cranberry raisins). While they added a carb or so,  (gads, it added far more than I intended!  see nutrition notes at the end.) the apples added some acidity and the craisins, a little more chewy texture. 

The results:  GLORIOUS on the first try!   I had a little trouble with getting it out of the plate as there was a slight “sticking” issues — not quite  enough structure in the omelette to allow it to entirely stay together from the pan to the plate — but the taste was everything I hoped for. My only problem: I made this a two-egg “test” omelette, rather than a 3-egg “meal.”  I definitely wanted more.

The Test Recipe

This is the recipe as I constructed it from what I had on hand.  In the next version, I will be more precise on measurements and I’ll experiment with more usual ingredients (like ordinary vanilla extract) to create look at more options. 

I know the chefs in my family would roll their eyes at my use of ginger paste from a tube, but who in the world has time to prepare fresh ginger?  Ginger powder loses its punch rapidly in the jar. Ginger paste retains it oomph and adds something special to pumpkin recipes, generally.  It’s also easier to measure.

The cooked canned apples were prepared with some sugar by the canner. What would probably be better?  Apples or pear pieces, fresh, fried in butter until slightly soft!)  Raisins or sultanas (golden raisins) would be good substitutes for the craisins. 

Ingredients

  • Two large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree (from a can)
  • 1 tsp Torani sugarfree vanilla syrup 
  • Ginger paste from a tube – 1 scant tsp
  • Cinnamon (two dashes, maybe 1/4 tsp, no more).
  • Nutmeg  (dash) 
  • Reduced sugar craisins (14)
  • 1 ounce (5 pieces) of cooked, canned apples
  • Butter (1 pat, for cooking)
  • Oil oil (2 tbls, for cooking)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (for the egg whites)

Step 1 – Separate the Eggs

The base recipe for this is the fluffy omelette recipe.

Separating the eggs is pretty important for this recipe. We’ll be adding the yolks to the pumpkin, which makes the mixture a bit heavy. It would be even heavier if I’d used applesauce, so the whole thing would have serious trouble rising and getting nice and fluffeh!

The whites need to be separated out into their own bowl, with no speck of yellow yolk in them.

Now you should have two bowls: a bowl with the yolks in them, and a bowl with the egg whites in them

Step 2 -Prepare the pumpkin base

In a THIRD bowl, add the pumpkin, ginger paste, sugarfree vanilla syrup, and mix with a fork into they’re well combined.

Next, add the cinnamon. Stir. Taste. If you’ve added too much, you have an entire can full of pumpkin puree, so you can start over. 😀

Next, add the nutmeg.  Stir. Taste.  Is it pumpkin pie flavor yet?  A little salt might perk things up.  Adjust seasonings a bit if you need to! 

Step 3 – Prepare the omelette pan.

The omelette pan should be oven safe. Cast iron or stainless steel or whatever, we’re eventually going to put it in the broiler.  But for now, we’ll be working on the stove top.

Heat the omelette pan, adding the olive oil and the pat of butter.  Let that warm up over a medium heat.  Don’t do this until you’re sure you’re ready to do the NEXT steps (4 and 5) are set up and ready to go.  Overheating the pan or underheating the pan are two of the usual mistakes. Be ready to have a hot pan ready to go for step 7! 

Step 4 – Pour the Pumpkin Mixture into the Egg Yolks

Stir until well combined.  This is simple, probably take 10-30 seconds.

Step 5 – Whip the Egg Whites

Use a whisk.  Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites (if you have it–found mine at the back of the cabinet!).  I whipped them for about two-three minutes, until the butter in the omelette pan melted into the olive oil and began to sizzle a little. 

Step 6 – GENTLY fold the whites into the egg yolk and pumpkin mixture. 

Do NOT MIX them well! You want to preserve the light fluffiness of the whites!.   Mix them just a little bit, to get them very lightly combined.

You now have 1 bowl of pumpkin pie omelette mixture.

Step 7 – Pour the Pumpkin Pie Omelette Mixture into the Hot Pan — and Turn on the Broiler

  • Pour the mixture in to the pan
  • Turn on the broiler (about 550 degrees F.)
  • Let the omelette begin to solidify slightly and the bottom to firm up
The apples are a bit sunk into the middle of the mixture. I combined them with the pumpkin mixture which was a bit of  a mistake.  They should’ve been set of the surface of the cooking omelette.  Don’t let this happen to you.

Step 8 – Add the apples and craisins to the omelette

Set the apple pieces around the omelette with an eye to not putting too many in the middle. You’ll see that I failed this step. Spread them out some. 

Dot the craisins around the omelette’s surface as well so that they’re spread out more or less evenly across. 

Cook’s note. I DID NOT add the apples, as I should’ve, on top of the omelette with the craisins. Idiotically, I added them to the pumpkin puree. They glopped into the center of the pan and created a structural weakness in the middle of the omelette.  I noticed this and moved them around a bit while the mixture was still wet in the pan, but you’ll see it did not entirely save the situation. 

Step 9 – Put the omelette pan under the broiler

When the edges of the omelette get dry and the center has begun to get solid, put the omelette pan under the broiler.  This will cook the top of the omelette without burning the bottom.   Let it sit there for no more than 2 minutes or so. It should be very, very slightly browned on top. 

Step 10 – Remove the finished omelette from the pan onto a waiting plate.

I found this to be the perfect sweetness for me, but if you’re really needing a sugar hit, maybe the lightest of dustings with Swerve might be in order.  Another option for this?  Fresh, heavy whipped cream. 

As I slid the omelette out of the pan, some of it was, sadly, left behind.  The failure to PLACE the apples on top (as I did the craisins) led to their settling in the middle and creating a weakness in the structure so that the omelette failed to land completely clean on the plate.   Still delicious though.  Thought you’d learn more from my mistakes! 

AND NOW For the Dirty, Lazy Nutritional Facts

  • Pumpkin puree: 1/4 cup has as many as five carbs, according to the label, 2 g of fiber — which would make this a little less than 3 carbs.  I used slightly less than that but I’m keeping the 3 carbs count anyway. It might be as little as 1.5 carbs.
  • Ocean Spray’s reduced dried cranberries package says 1/4 cup has 33g carbs with 10 grams of fiber.  That’s 23 grams (maximum).  It’s a substantive carb kick, but I know that I used far less than that (14 craisins). I’m saying about an 1/8th of a cup.   That would bring it down to about 12 carbs. Still a heftier punch than I had estimated.
  • Raisins or sultanas would be about 7 net carbs for a tablespoon. So, next time, I plan to use sultanas and only 3 or 4 craisins. I also want to consider fresh cranberries. 
  • Cooked apples:  I used Glory Foods, Sweet Traditions Fried Apples. Not the best choice! 🙂  We don’t always make good choices.  But it was what I had.  1/4 cup would be 10.5 carbs and .5 g of fiber, so 10 carbs it is.
  • In dirty, lazy keto, we’re not worried about the rest.  But that does bring this recipe up to a whopping 25 carbs.   
  • Now before we BOGGLE, I want to point out: most of the carbs came from my yummy additions — and I did NOT have to use the Splenda blend.  1/4 cup of the Splenda blend yields (drum roll please): 46 CARBS.  If you used 1/8th cup, like you would likely have in a slice of that pumpkin pie recipe? You’d be looking at 23 carbs.  So this recipe is pretty comparable to one slice of the crustless pumpkin pie. 

In tomorrow’s test, we’ll slim this puppy down! 

Recipe: Trader Joe’s Chicken Schawarma Thighs

On a busy week-night, I want food fast, easy and with as little fuss as possible.  Trader Joe’s chicken schawarma thighs fill the bill nicely. Schawarma is essentially an olive oil marinade with the essential ingredients of turmeric, onion, paprika and garlic, with some lemon and vinegar for acidity. Trader Joe’s version is not quite as delicious as, say, this NYT recipe, but for something I can throw in the oven for half an hour at 400 degrees F? Hey, this is my go-to meal for tired days. My picky son loves it (though he won’t eat the mushrooms).

Turmeric is a wonderful anti-inflammatory root with a delicate flavor.  Trader Joe’s almond butter and turmeric salad dressing reminds me slightly of Thai peanut sauce — but without the overpowering sweetness. I added it to this recipe to give it a creamy finish.

I pair this with Trader Joe’s reduced carb tortillas, two colors of peppers, onions and mushrooms– and baby spinach — and I have a fast meal that is almost restaurant quality. It’s kind of like a soft taco or a loose “wrap.”   To be honest, my son is no fan of vegetables (especially not mushrooms).  I often make the garnish just for myself, halving the amount of peppers, onion and mushrooms in the recipe below if it’s just him and me.

This recipe makes about five “tacos.”

What You Need:

The Chicken:
1 package of Trader Joe’s chicken schawarma thighs
1 lemon, cut in halves (optional)

The Garnish:
1 red bell pepper
1 orange pepper
1/2 onion
2-4 fresh white mushrooms (optional)
1 pat of butter
2 tablespoons of oil oil
1/4 tsp turmeric (or a good sprinkle)
1/4 tsp paprika (or a good sprinkle)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup (or a good handful) of baby spinach

Trader Joe’s Reduced Carb Tortillas
a spray can of coconut oil  (optional) — You can substitute spray olive oil or other oil as well.

Salad dressing (optional) – My personal preferences are Trader Joe’s “Almond Butter Turmeric” salad dressing or “Gorgonzola Pear Champagne Vinagrette”

The Prep

  1. First I preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. , then I start prepping the ingredients. This isn’t entirely throw the meat in the oven and forget it!

2. I remove the chicken from the package and cut the thighs into similarly sized, smaller pieces.   They come packaged together, with about three large thighs and a couple of smaller thigh pieces.  I cut each large thigh into about four pieces.  The smaller pieces can usually be cut into half and then they’re all mostly the same size — so they will cook in around the same time.

3. I put aluminum foil on a broiler pan and set the pieces on the foil.  I often squeeze half a lemon over all the pieces, to wake up the flavor, before putting it in the oven when the temperature hits the mark.   The thigh pieces will cook in about thirty minutes.

The Garnish

4. While the chicken’s in the oven, put the pat of butter in a saute pan, along with the olive oil. Turn on medium heat, letting the butter melt. Add paprika and turmeric to the oil while its heating.

5. Chop the onion into a small dice (small pieces) and mince the garlic.  Add to the pan. Cook on medium heat and let those onions brown.

6. Chop the red and orange pepper, (and the  mushrooms if using).  Add to the pan.

7. Saute the peppers and mushrooms with the onions and garlic in the oil/butter/spice mixture over medium heat for about five minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper.

8. Add the baby spinach. Cook til it just wilts–that takes less than a minute!   Take the saute pan off the heat and set it aside. I keep the garnish in the pan while I work on the tortillas.

Prepare the Tortillas

9. I use a grill pan or a skillet, heating it up to a medium high temperature.

10.  I spray each tortilla on each side with coconut oil and put them on the hot grill pan, about a minute on each side. They should get a nice hot scorch mark on them, but not much!   Set aside.

11. When the chicken comes out, assemble them like tacos:  a spoonful of garnish, three to four pieces of chicken per “taco.”

12. I add a small squeeze of lemon or often, a small spoonful (or “dollop” ) of salad dressing before eating. My favorites are Trader Joe’s pear gorgonzola salad dressing or the the especially lovely almond butter turmeric salad dressing.

The Salad Version

If you’re not a fan of the tortilla idea, you can put all of this on top of fresh greens for a wonderful salad.  I do this with leftovers of this recipe — if there are any (often not!). That takes off a few net carbs.

The Nutritional Info:

Trader Joe’s Chicken Schawarma (from the package):

Serving size 4 oz (112g) | Amount per serving: Calories 160
Total Fat 7g (9% DV), Saturated Fat 1.5g (8% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 100mg (33% DV), Sodium 440mg (19% DV), Total Carbohydrate 3g (1% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Total Sugars 0g—Includes 0g Added Sugars (0% DV), Protein 21g, Vitamin D 0mcg (0% DV), Calcium 20mg (0% DV), Iron 1.2mg (6% DV), Potassium 290mg (6% DV).

The Trader Joe’s Reduced Carb Tortillas
Serving: 1 tortilla | Calories: 10 | Total Fat: 1.5g | Total Carbs: 10g (7g fiber, 0g sugar) | Protein: 4g

<Trader Joe’s Almond Butter Turmeric Dressing (serving 1 tbsp).

Yes, it has a little cane sugar in it (it’s the fifth ingredient) but the rest of the ingredients are pretty good for you– almond butter, ginger, turmeric, black pepper and lemon juice — 4g of fat, carbohydrates, 4g, fiber 1g,  2g of sugar and 2g of protein in a tablespoon.

Here’s my admittedly rough calculations for my two tacos:
Chicken: 6 g net carbs
Tortillas: 6 g net carbs
Salad dressing: 6 net carbs
Peppers:  about 2.5 g carbs
Onions: about 2 g net carbs
Spinach: 2 g net carbs
Mushrooms: 1 g net carbs

This gives me a total carb accounting for this meal at 25.5 net carbs.