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Main Course/Pratos principais

Italian Series – “Fettuccine all’Amatriciana”

Italian series is something I came up with knowing how people believe that is not possible to eat Italian foods while following a lowcarb or ketogenic diet.

Italian is one of my favorite cuisines, and there is something about the combination of spices and ingredients that so much makes me feel at home.

As far as the Italian series go, I still have a list of recipes waiting to be posted, but knowing how much some people miss a pasta, here it goes my keto version of Amatriciana, a classic Roman dish check these ones already published https://heelsandspices.com/2019/07/italian-inspired-chicken-stew/ and https://heelsandspices.com/2019/03/keto-tuscan-chicken/(opens in a new tab)

I used shirataki fettuccine, that you can buy at Amazon, but zoodles, cauliflower spaghetti (South Africa) or edamame spaghetti/fettuccine (Amazon) can also be used.

I promise you that if you follow my instructions, the funky smell of shirataki and the weird texture will go away, give it a try.

Enjoy my new Italian Series Recipe, and wait for more, Italian, tasty, quick, easy, and keto recipes.

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Shirataki Amatriciana

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  • GF
  • DF
Who says shirataki is awful? Not me, with simple tricks, you will a have a pasta that will surprise you. Amatriciana is one of my favorite pasta sauces, and I challenmge you to make it and leave me a comment!
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:25 mins
  • Serves:2
  • Freezable:No

Nutrition per portion

Ingredients
  • 1 pack shirataki fettucine
  • 1 can chopped tomato
  • 3 slices streaky bacon or pancetta
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 30 g grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
Method
  • Wash and drain the shirataki (if you do not have fettuccine, any form will do)
  • In a bowl add water, 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp tomato (from the canned tomatoes for the sauce) and let it rest for 20 minutes
  • Drain the shirataki and dry fry for 3 to 4 minutes, set aside
  • Slice the pancetta/bacon in small sized strips
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the pancetta /bacon, cooking on a high heat until crisp
  • Stir in the chilli flakes and cook for a few seconds
  • Remove the pancetta and add the onions and garlic
  • Cook on low heat for 5 minute, add the tomatoes, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.
  • Cook your shirataki in boilng water for 5 minutes, drain
  • Add the shirataki to the pan with the sauce, half of the grated pecorino and the cooked pancetta
  • Mix everything together to coat the pasta.
  • Serve topped with the remaining pecorino and chopped parsley.

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Italian Inspired Chicken Stew

Italian, equals yummy food right?

The Italian Series appeared basically for two reasons. My love for Italian food, and your choice in our facebook group.

I went to Italy recently (yesh, you all know that) and Italian food is for sure one of my favorite types of cuisine. Maybe because of the fantastic flavor and smell their food has, the magnificent tomatoes, the seasonality of their kitchen, the love they impart into their cooking.

Or, who knows, maybe I have an Italian ancestor,  I did not discover yet (crossing fingers, as I would not mind at all living there ahaha).

I am always trying to come up with recipes that combine deliciousness, fantastic smell, easy to make, quick to make, and adaptable to any taste and setting.

My recipes are also suited for 1 person (as most of the time I cook for myself) generally, which is an added value.

This one is no exception, and as usual, I added ingredients and spices and cooked intuitively.

Is it from any Italian region? I have no idea and I doubt it, as I invented it. So, Di, why Italian then? Because it has an Italian flavor, because of the spices, because it reminds me of it.

I have other Italian inspired as good as this one that you can check, like my last post https://heelsandspices.com/2019/07/the-italian-series-ossobuco, check it out.

In the past I lost so many recipes because, as I cook by instinct, I did not write them down. Lesson learnt. I am getting smarter, as I am now writing down my recipes as soon as I cook them.

Please, if you like my recipes, give it a like (it helps to increase my reach and engagement), and rate it (the 5 blank stars in the recipe card are intended for you to rate it).

I need it, as I am paying a lot of money to keep this site alive. So, again, please help maintain it, do not just use it and do not show appreciation. Thanks a million

Just make it, enjoy it, be happy!

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Italian inspired chicken stew

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  • GF
  • DF
Oh, la bella Italia and the beautiful cuisine, full of flavor, full of charm, tantalising our tastebuds. This dish is easy to make and will get you covered as far as Italian goes!
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:25 mins
  • Serves:3
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

Ingredients
  • half a 1kg chicken, cut in pieces, bone in
  • 3/4 can passata di pomodoro (a good quality one, no sugar added)
  • 2 tbsp black olives
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 cup cherry or rosa tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Method
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and fry the chicken pieces on high heat until golden brown, reserve
  3. In a pan, heat the remaining olive oil
  4. Add the bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and garlic and fry until fragrant (1 minute)
  5. Add the passata di pomodoro and simmer for 5 minutes
  6. Add the chicken (with its juices), 1/2 cup of water and simmer for 15 minutes
  7. Add the olives, capers and cherry tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes
  8. Adjust seasoning, add the chopped parsley and serve
Buon appetito ragazzi!!

Ossobuco – The Italian Series

Ossobuco means literally “bone with a hole”, due to the shape of the meat cut used. Ossobuco is originally from the Lombardy region in Italy (I will be there in September yupiiiii)!

It uses cross cut veal shanks, that are slowly cooked with vegetables, wine and a broth.

Most people today use wheat flour in this recipe to make the gravy thick. I don’t.

Not only because it does not fit my low carb/keto llifestyle, but because I see no reason for using it. My recipe is my variation, with less steps than the ones you may find on the internet. I use the oven, as I do not have a slow cooker, but you can use a slow cooker.

I hope you like it, if yes, leave a comment and rate the recipe!

Enjoy and be happy

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Ossobuco

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  • GF
  • DF
Italian comfort food, is the best way to describe this succulent, hearty, delicious dish. If you never tried it, just do. You will be forever in love with it.
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:15 mins
  • Cook Time:240 mins
  • Serves:3
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

Ingredients
  • 500g cross cut veal shanks
  • 300ml white or red wine
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable, beef or chicken home made stock
  • 3 tbsp passata di pomodoro
  • Chopped parsley to garnish
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
Method
  • In a bowl, add all ingredients minus the broth and meat and mix well
  • Transfer to a container that can be used in the fridge
  • Add the meat, making sure it is will covered with the ingredient mix
  • Marinate in the fridge over night or for 24 hours
  • Pre heat the oven to 150ºC
  • Transfer the meat and marinade to a oven proof dish, add the broth and mix well
  • Cover it with a lid or aluminium foil
  • Cook it in the oven for 2 to 4 hours, until the meat falls off the bone
  • Sprinkle the chopped parsley and drizzle with olive oil
 

Be happy!

Bacon and Maple Syrup Pancakes


This recipe was made at the same time as the sweet buttermilk pancakes I posted earlier. I was cooking brunch and wanted something different. I have several pancake recipes, but I remembered that I had some buttermilk left from a curry I made, and thought to myself “humm, buttermilk pancakes, I like it, lets make it keto). And so I did, and made two versions, being this one the savory version.

They came out really yummy, and I could not be happier with it. Paired with the bacon and maple syrup, they were just what I needed to give a special touch to my brunch.

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Bacon and maple syrup pancake

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  • V
  • GF
Fluffy and crispy at the same time, totally delicious, the whole family will love this and it will be easier to "convert" them to the low carb living
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Serves:3

Nutrition per portion

Ingredients
  • 2 small eggs
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 4 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 slices of streaky bacon
  • 3 tbsp lakanto maple syrup (or home made maple syrup)
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
Method

For the pancake batter

  • Beat the eggs until light and fluffy
  • Add the liquid ingredients and whisk
  • Add the flour and salt and whisk well
  • Fold in the baking powder
  • Oil a small pan (I use a one egg size pan)
  • Heat the pan, and add a third of the batter
  • Let it cook until bubbles appear on the surface, the edge is dry and you can flip the pancake
  • Flip the pancake and cook on the other side until golden in color
  • Put on a wire rack to cool (keeps it crispy)
  • Repeat the process with the other 2/3 of the batter

For the topping

  • Cut the bacon into small pieces
  • Dry fry in a pan and strain (keep the bacon fat for cooking)
  • In a small frying pan add the butter and syrup and stir until well mixed and sticky
  • Add the bacon and mix
  • Pour over the pancake and

Be very very happy



Spinach, Cabbage and Ricotta Lasagna

I made a poll on the facebook group I admin as I needed some inspiration for my next series of posts. I added Italian, Portuguese, African and Asian as options, and Italian won by far (shame on you that do not know Portuguese cuisine and did not vote for it, tsk tsk tsk, ahahahaha.

Following that I made a list of all recipes I want to make (they will be posted interspersed with other recipes from different cuisines), and the first is this delicious lasagna. I always test my recipes before posting and I can guarantee you, that otherwise stated, all of them are original (I see so many bloggers copying recipes, with almost no changes, and never giving credit, which I find awful), and this one is no exception.

It is creamy, decadent, and I promise you will not need or crave the pasta. Even my son, that does not intend to eat low carb, loved it!

I hate to have to say this, but again, engagement is very important. I pay my site (and it is not cheap), my recipe cards, I pay the ingredients and all costs associated with my recipes. If you like my recipes, the only way I have to survive in this tough, and sometimes ugly bloggers world, is to get real, organic engagement from real people. If I do not, my blog will NEVER appear on searches, or be found by other people. Sometimes (like with the yeast bread I recently posted) I have hundreds of views, hundreds of prints (yes, we can see how many took prints, or printed/copied the recipe), and ZERO likes. The comments are always from my usual beloved “fans” like Kat, Wendy, Yvonne, Christine, Katherine, John, and a few more. I mean, you visit the site, you do like the recipe as you copy/print it, and do not leave at least a like? Show some appreciation, we recipe developers do it with love, hard work and costs, and not being rewarded with at least a like is very disheartening. Thanks, rant over!

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Spinach, cabbage and ricotta “lasagna”

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  • GF
The twist on this recipe is to make it low carb/keto by replacing the pasta sheets with eggplant, roasting the eggplant first to give it an interesting taste, and to add cabagge (it does not taste like cabbage). It is so delicious that the whole family will like it
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:60 mins
  • Serves:4
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

Ingredients
  • 300g ricotta cheese
  • 50g grams grated parmesan or pecorino Romano
  • 50g grated (at home) mozzarella cheese
  • 150g grated cabbage
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 250ml double cream
  • salt, pepper, chili flakes and nutmeg to taste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 medium sized eggplants, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
Method
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180º C
  • Arrange the eggplant slices (I sliced it longitudinal) on a baking tray and roast until soft but not crispy
  • In a pan, add the olive oil, garlic and spices and fry until fragrant
  • Add the cabbage and fry on low heat for 5 minutes,
  • Add the spinach and ricotta and mix well
  • Add the cream, and let it cook for 5 minutes, until you have a creamy (depending on the ricotta, it will have a light grainy texture) mix
  • Oil a baking baking dish and add one layer of eggplant
  • Top it with 2/3 of the ricotta mix
  • Add another layer of eggplant
  • Top with the remaining mix
  • Add the grated cheeses, sprinkle with oregano
  • Bake for 30min or until the top is golden in color and crispy
  • Before eating drizzle with 1 tbsp extra virgin (strong please) olive oil
Dig in!

Keto bell pepper mini muffins

I don’t know about you but I love bell peppers. Their taste is just so special and so powerful, they are definitely one of my favorite vegetables.

This time I made them into mini muffins. They are cute, easy to eat, a great breakfast, snack or even a main meal. Oh, and they are flavorful and aromatic.

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Bell pepper mini muffins

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  • V
  • GF
  • DF
Moist and fluffy, these mini muffins will not disappoint you or your taste buds, if you are a bell pepper fan as I am
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:9 mins
  • Cook Time:25 mins
  • Serves:16
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

Ingredients
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of fine almond flour
  • 100g of mixed bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
Method
  • Pre heat the oven to 180ºC
  • Grate the bell peppers using the medium size grater
  • Add the wet ingredients to a bowl and mix well
  • Add the dry ingredients to another bowl and mix
  • Add the wet mix to the dry mix and mix well
  • Add the grated bell peppers and fold in the mix
  • Put into a greased muffin pan
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown

Enjoy and be happy!

Keto Tuscan Chicken

I am not sure I have seen this in Tuscany. I have known this dish as such for ages, and I will keep using it, so please my lovelies Tuscans, if this is not correct I beg your pardon.

However, it does honor Tuscan and Italian cuisine, as it is based on using fresh and simple ingredients, is rich in flavor, it is filling, it is heaven on a plate. I promise it will leave you with a smile after eating it. It cannot be more Tuscan than that, I promise.

Note: This time, besides what is in the recipe card, I also added a few leaves of parsley, just for a touch.

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Keto Tuscan Chicken

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This is one of my favourite meals. It is creamy, filling and delicious. Easy to make, but will make you look like a masterchef
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:20 mins
  • Serves:4
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts - boneless
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • half a cup of sundried tomatoes
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 to 2 tbsp grated parmesan or pecorino
Method
 
  • Season the chicken breasts with the paprika, salt, pepper and chili flakes
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  • Add the chicken breasts and cook 6 to 7 minutes per side (depending on he thickness) until it is golden and almost cooked
  • Remove the chicken and let it rest for 5 minutes
  • Add the broth/stock, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic to the pan cook it for 2 to 3 minutes
  • Add the heavy cream, and the chicken breasts and simmer it for a few minutes until the sauce thickens (low heat to avoid thickening too much)
  • Add the spinach and cook it until wilted
  • Add the butter and mix until well combined
  • Sprinkle with grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, and the oregano and serve
 

Keto Turmeric, Broccoli and Dill Mini Muffins

Did I ever tell you that my colleagues at the office are my guinea pigs? That they get to eat almost all my baking recipes? Yes, they do. They are lucky it seems, because they always say they like it (hummm are they just being kind?)

These little cuties were a favorite of them. The mix of flavors is really good and they are a delight to eat. Just try it.

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Turmeric, Broccoli and Dill muffins

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  • V
  • GF
  • DF
Fragrant and delicious. Two words that perfectly describe these muffins
  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:25 mins
  • Serves:16
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

Ingredients
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • 100g riced broccoli
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
Method
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180º C
  • Rice the broccoli in a food processor, or chop very finely
  • Chop the dill
  • In a bowl mix the dry ingredients
  • In another bowl mix the eggs with the olive oil
  • Add the liquid to the dry mix and mix well
  • Fold in the broccoli and dill
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until Light golden brown
  • Put into a wire rack to cool down completely
Note: I used a mini muffin pan for this recipe. If using a standard size muffin pan you will get half the servings

Keto Croque Madame

What is a Croque Madame?

Nothing more than a Croque Monsieur with a sunny side up fried egg on top of it or in French, Croque-monsieur surmonté d’un œuf sur le plat.

And what is a Croque Monsieur?

A croque monsieur is traditionally a sandwich made with ham, in a brioche like bread, and topped with grated cheese, seasoned with salt and pepper and then The sandwich is then buttered and baked or fried. Traditionally, it does not have any sauce, and the cheeses used are usually Emmental, Gruyère or even Comté for a creamier and stronger taste. Some Brasseries do add the béchamel sauce, which I love, but most commonly it was only crispy melted cheese.

It was referred as Croque Monsieur for the first time on the menu of a cafe in Paris back in 1910, and appeared in 1918 in a book written by Proust – In Search of Lost Time.

History done! My challenge was to modify the bread, and bechamel sauce to make it fit the keto way of eating. So, what did I do? First used my microwave English muffin recipe that I love. For a more sweet bread mimicking the brioche, you can add a bit of sweetener and a dash of cream. I did not. So, bread problem solved?

And the béchamel? Traditionally bechamel is made using wheat flour and milk, totally not keto. I decided to use cream and butter, and let it slowly reduce in a pan, with a bay leaf, until I got a bechamel like consistency. Seasoned it with nutmeg, black pepper and salt, et voilá, mon béchamel!

The purists may crucify me, but as I always say, it is not possible to mimic 100% some traditional recipes, but using creativity and palate, you can get a pretty much close version.

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Keto Croque Madame

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A dream come true, Croque Madame turned Keto. Try it, it is such a delightfull meal
  • Difficulty:Intermediate
  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Serves:1
  • Freezable:No

Nutrition per portion

Ingredients
  • 1 medium sized egg
  • 100ml heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt, black pepper and nutmeg to taste
  • 1 slice of emmental cheese
  • 1 sclice ham or prosciutto
  • 1 bay leaf
Method
For the English muffins click on this link for the recipe https://heelsandspices.com/2018/02/speedy-lchf-english-muffin/ For the "Béchamel" Add the bay leaf, cream and butter to a pan and let it slowly reduce in low heat. Season with nutmeg, salt and black pepper. To assemble:
  • Toast the english muffin
  • Cut the muffin in half
  • To one half, add sliced cheese (I used Emmental) and ham (I used a clean one) or prosciutto to taste (I used 1 slice of each)
  • Top with the other half
  • Fry or poach an egg and put it on top of the muffin
  • Cover with the béchamel sauce

Be very very happy

The mighty Porchetta

I better start with a disclaimer before an angry Italian kills me for adulterating the ancient, amazing, unique Porchetta Recipe. So, this is not the traditional way to make it, it does not use the whole pig (I would need to change house to one with a larger kitchen anyway). It is my version, home made, still delicious and still very similar to what I had there.

Porchetta dates back to medieval times, it is said to be Nero’s favorite food (poor porchetta), and is most likely from a city just outside Rome, in Lazio Province, called Ariccia. The original recipe demands quite a bit of effort and time. They use a whole pig, de-bone it, season, roll it and cook it in a pit for up to 8 hours.

As you can see, there is no way I could faithfully replicate that process, in my 2-bedroom apartment kitchen. But I so wanted to make porchetta after having a delicious one at “Al Antico Vinaio” in Florence last summer. So I did, my version, and I can promise you it is delicious, juicy, fragrant, with the right balance between fat and meat (hence the loin being there). Try it if you have the chance and let me know if you liked it.

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Delicious Porchetta

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  • GF
  • DF
Ohhh the mighty Porchetta. I had it before, but never as good as I had it last year at Al Antico Vinaio in Florence. I decided I would try to replicate it. I am not sure if this is how they do it, but the taste and texture is really similar to what I had there
  • Difficulty:Intermediate
  • Prep Time:30 mins
  • Cook Time:270 mins
  • Serves:10
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

Ingredients
  • 2 kg pork belly, loin attached
  • 2 tbsp sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste
Method
  • Toast the fennel seeds in a frying pan until fragrant (approximately 30 to 40 seconds)
  • Crush the garlic cloves and add them to a food processor
  • Add the spices, salt, black pepper and herbs
  • Add the white wine and olive oil and process until you get a paste
  • Score the pork belly skin careful avoiding hitting the meat
  • With the pork belly skin side down, massage the paste into the meat
  • Roll it up tightly Tie it tightly with a cooking string and leave it to dry in the fridge overnight
  • Pre-heat the oven to 150º C
  • Place the pork belly in a wire rack, and place it in an oven tray.
  • Cook it for 3 to 4 hours
  • Up the temperature to 200º C and cook it a few minutes (check it regularly) to add extra crispness
  • Let it rest at least half an hour before carving
  • Serve warm or cold, carving it into thin slices (you might need to remove the skin and eat it aside, to be able to carve the meat

NOTE: If your oven is not fan assisted, add 500 ml of water to the tray, and check regularly adding more if needed

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