Monday, June 22, 2009

New Cookbook!

I hit up pacific mall this weekend and bought a cookbook (which has english AND chinese language in it..) specifically on chicken wings! Kind of neat, eh?

Hopefully the recipes will be good..I'll have to bite the bullet and buy raw chicken wings.

For some reason any recipe that calls for anything fancier/different than "chicken breast" or "ground beef" intimidates me.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Running around like a chicken and other tales...

ok ladies and gents,

I am a low-carber who has had a glass of wine, so my typing is sure to suffer for it.

But regardless, I'd like to share something with you that I've been TRYING to find the time to cook for at least 1 week. Sheesh. Who thought finding time to make food would be so hard when I don't even have a family to trail after?

Apparently my time-management skills are lacking. (Either that, or I like watching two and a half men more than cooking... but I'm working to change that. :)

This week's recipe is a bit of a downer for me, because I didn't particularly cherish the results...and I have the leftovers in my fridge to prove it. HOWEVER, I am going to show you what I did, where I went wrong and what (I think) you can do to fix it and make this recipe fabulous!!

Here we go...

Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

(Recipe courtesy of

Calories: 157, 2 carbs, 15g fat, 4g protein.


  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • pinch of salt, pinch of pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp prepared pesto sauce (look with the spaghetti sauce at the grocery store)
  • 2 tsp grated parmesan
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • I added spinach...which was not in the original recipe

  1. Sauté the breasts in frying pan, then lower the heat and cook covered for another 10 minutes until no longer pink inside. (i.e. cook the chicken. lol).
  2. In a large skillet, bring chicken broth, garlic powder, italian seasoning, salt and pepper to a boil. Let it keep boiling until it reduces to about 1/2 volume.

  3. Stir in the cream, and again let it boil until it reduces to about 1/2 volume. (At this step, I added spinach so I got some extra veggies also..)

  4. Whisk in prepared pesto and parmesan. Serve sauce over chicken.

Here's what I did differently:

  1. I misread direction 2, and added the pesto right away. I really don't think this made any difference.
  2. I did not have italian seasoning (honestly I don't even know what it is..) so I used some mrs. dash garlic and herb. That sounds italian-y doesn't it?
  3. Because I have a hard time adding enough veggies to my day, I decided to throw spinach into this recipe as well. I think in cream sauces, spinach is divine. It gets all wilty and wonderful! How often can you say that wilted veggies are wonderful?

The result:

Ok. It was just....ok. VERY SALTY. I am not a huge fan...I think it LOOKS wonderful (despite my bad photography...) and it smells pretty wonderful. But, for a person who doesn't really dig're going to find this dish very salty. I attribute this to the canned chicken broth I used, as well as the mrs. dash, and the pinch of salt, obviously. I also think that the chicken I used was not of the highest quality (I got it in the freezer section of walmart. It was a week for penny-pinching). and possibly there was sodium added to it as well.

What I would do differently:

I definitely think that this recipe can be fixed. What I would do is substitute your favourite white wine for the chicken stock, FORGET adding the salt all together, and use a good quality, fresh chicken breast.

I would also not break my favourite pot lid by dropping it ontop of a can opener...

Sigh :)

Anyways..I'd love to know if someone else has better luck with this recipe than I have had...let me know!!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mexican Lasagna

So really, the name of this post SHOULD have been "Chicken with a basil pesto and spinach cream sauce", except I went to the store, bought all the ingredients, came home and realized that the chicken I thought I had did not exist.


Still needing something for dinner though, I fell back to an old standby which uses only a few simple ingredients, but tastes AWESOME!

Presenting: Mexican Lasagna!
(which actually has no noodles in it. And no Mexicans were harmed in the making of this dish.)

  • A package of ground beef. (Use lean or medium. Don't worry about the size much - a $4 pack is going to be ample unless you're doubling the recipe.)
  • A package of taco seasoning. I use Old El Paso, but whatever brand you like. It's with the tacos and salsa.
  • A small jar of salsa, spicyness of your choice!
  • Small tub of regular sour cream
  • Any grated cheese you want! (mozarella works really melts well!)
  • An 8" x 8" square cake pan, or glass casserole dish.
First thing's first. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.

Take your beef and cook it according to the method on the taco seasoning package. Generally it's just to brown the meat, mix the powder in with some water, and then cook some more. When the meat is done, drain out as much liquid as you can and then spread the meat out in the cake pan so it covers the whole bottom evenly.

Grab your salsa and spoon it overtop of the beef, so that you have a good layer of salsa covering the beef. I generally use the whole little jar or half of a big jar. Same with the sour cream! Be liberal with the sour cream - make sure the whole surface is covered.

Finally, take your cheese and grate it - and then sprinkle it all over the top of the "lasagna" and then stick the whole thing in the oven and let it bake until the cheese is warm and bubbly :)

Oh man is it good. This recipe makes for great dinners OR lunches...and even the most skeptical person will be won over by it's awesome smell and taste!!! That cake pan will make about 4 servings or if you're me - 2 and a half servings. <:}

Sides: Generally when I'm making this lasagna, it's because I'm lazy and don't have much food in the house. So generally I'll just have it with some baby carrots or a small Caesar salad. If you wanted to get a bit more fancy, you could always serve it with some broccoli and garlic bread for guests - but the garlic bread might be pretty tempting for those of us low-carbing, so it's probably best to save that for special occasions only!

As soon as I can find chicken for less than $10 for 2 breasts, I will make that chicken recipe! But until the chicken stock market comes back down, I'll have to find another exciting recipe to feed me for the latter half of this week!

Stay tuned....!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Date Night Chicken

Ok so I want to keep this in my memory, but will not be able to make this recipe right now as I a) do not have a hot date night coming up and b) think this is too much food for me to eat before it goes bad! oh and c)... I don't actually own a casserole dish.

But man, if I have people over...I would love to do this recipe!

Date Night Chicken by Kitchen Parade

Basically it is a chicken casserole with broccoli, cheese and a SUPER yummy sounding sauce. Now...they suggest as an ingredient "egg noodles, tossed in butter". But there is no step where you add egg noodles, so I would just leave them out to make this truly low-carb! Perhaps have this with a caesar salad instead. The site says it is 14g per serving of carbs, but that is including the noodles. I'd say it's 6-8g per serving with the carbs coming from cheese + a bit of mayo.

If anyone makes this, please do post your thoughts...!!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Aventures in Fish

So, I will just get this off my chest now: I really, really don't like seafood.

Now I'm not saying there are NO recipes including fish that I don't like...but as a general blanket statement, "I don't like seafood, sorry."

So of course, being an idiot, I fall in love with my lovely BF, who happens to be PORTUGUESE. (i.e., would eat seafood for breakfast, lunch and dinner). On my mission to be a nice (domestic? Peh.) girlfriend, I thought I'd try and find a fish recipe that a) wouldn't gross me out to cook and b) I could possibly enjoy.

Fish is healthy after all, so it would be nice to embrace it, instead of just skipping past all those recipes that deal with the ocean in each cookbook I own.

It will, admittedly, be a slow process.

So! On the recommendation of a colleague at work, I tried a very simple recipe for a white, "neutral"ish fish called Tilapia.

And thus was born: Tilapia Fillets in French Cream Sauce

(Photo is borrowed from Unprose's Photo stream)

  • 4 Tilapia fillets
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup of white wine (your choice but since you're prob. gonna drink the bottle after, perhaps something that goes with fish??) - I used barefoot Pinot Grigio
  • 1/2 Teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used a bit less, I am not a salt person).
  • 1 lime or a tablespoon of lime juice. (I used a lime.)
  • 1/4 cup of flour (more carb..) or 1/4 to 1/2 cup of powdered/crushed almonds. (low carb!)
  • A (generous) tablespoon of olive oil
Ok. Here we go. Take a plate and dump the flour or almonds out on the plate, and then coat the fish. (I can't really say "roll the fish around in the flour" because that would break it up, but you get my meaning). I had to use more than a 1/4 cup of the almonds, I think because they are not as fine as flour. Don't worry if the thing does not look exactly shake 'n baked. Coat it as best you can, then set them aside.

Now, heat up the oil in a frying pan on medium heat, and throw the fish fillets in there. (I could only fit 2 at a time in my pan.) Cook the fish for 2-3 minutes on each side. Seriously!

While the fish is cooking, Grab a bowl and mix the whipping cream, wine, salt and pepper together. Once the fish is done cooking on side 2, squirt the lime overtop of the fish, and thenpour the mixture overtop and let it cook for another 5-7 minutes. You may want to reduce the temp by a notch or two. The fish will be a bit flaky if you poke it with the spatula or a fork.

Done and done!

Now this was like, REALLY fast to prepare and cook. So I would suggest if you are having frozen veggies with this, or cooking potatoes for your non-lowcarb dinner buddies, do those first and the fish at the last moment before everything is ready.

I personally made green and yellow beans from frozen, boiled in a bit of water with a "dash" of Mrs. Dash. I also made some sort of rice-from-a-bag for my bf which I will admit, I liberally sampled. Yum. You could also do this with a fresh salad with a citrus dressing! Enjoy a glass of wine as your treat.

My thoughts on this recipe: It was good, but not my favourite. I might make it again though. Let's give it 3 out of 5 squeals of joy. It was super-easy and non-scary to a person who doesn't know anything about fish, seafood, etc. (This was my first time cooking fresh fish). My BF liked it a lot as well, and because you make 4 at once, you have lunch for the next day as well!
The best part: It actually tastes BETTER heated up the next day! Crispier, somehow.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Low-Carb Cocktails

Well here it is. As with any new project, you should start off with a bang! Or a drink, or even both! (as you will see...)

Our first two concoctions were very simple, as I think all drink recipes should be. I honestly don't think any recipe with more than say, 3 ingredients is worth the bother. I can't spend that much time on one cocktail when for less money I could buy a case of smirnoff ice.

So after scouring the net (for a grand total of perhaps half an hour), I chose these two drink mixes for their possible tastiness, and convenience of ingredients.

And remember: the best part of these drinks is they are truly LOW CARB!
Here is the mix of ingredients I used to make both drinks...

Diet Rootbeer, club soda, white rum, absolut citron (lemon vodka), a shot glass, a lemon, and some cream. (18%)

Drink #1: Root Beer Float
- Approx. 4g carbs per drink.

  • White Rum
  • Diet Root beer (The one I got was caffeine free as well, which is a bonus.
  • A Tablespoon of 18% Cream
  • A pretty glass :) (I would recommend a tumbler, or something deep. not a martini glass!)
So I found this drink as a note on a forum that just said: "rum, rootbeer, cream. heaven." and was quite understandably intrigued. On one hand, it sounds possibly gross. On the other...possibly GENIUS!

So I started out by pouring a whole shot of rum (provided free in my room when I visited Cuba in April...score!) into one of my stem-less wine glasses. I then filled the glass with the diet root beer about 3/4 of the way up.

And then I decided to get creative. In order to make it more float-y, I was going to take the cream (I started off with 1/4 cup but honestly this would be enough for like 3 I've listed less above) and blend it with 2 ice cubes in my magic bullet blender.. This did not work AT ALL. It made scary, violent sounds and didn't crush the ice I screamed a little, and abandoned that plan.

To make a long story short, you need to VERY SLOWLY add the cream to the drink. The second you do...BAM! The rootbeer fizzes right up, and in my case...all over the counter! careful! And then enjoy. That's honestly it. I know I babbled on and on, but it is as simple as: 1) Shot of rum in the glass. 2) Fill glass 3/4 with the diet root beer. 3) SLOWLY add cream, and then give it a mix!
You could also float an ice cube or two in there to make the drink more cool. I'd suggest throwing the rum in the fridge in advance, as well as the pop so it's nice and cold!

The end result:
(ok...I know it looks a bit gross. But trust me - it tastes like dessert.
The california raisins give it 2 thumbs up, and so do I.)

Drink #2 - Lemon Vodka + Soda (sounds very plain, but bear with me!) - 0 Carbs!

This one is amazingly easy, tasty and fresh! GREAT summer drink.

  • Lemon Vodka (In my case...Absolut Citron. Absolut has no sugar in it, unlike Smirnoff Lemon. But don't be afraid of that if it's all there is.)
  • Club Soda
  • One lemon (or lime, if you prefer those).
  • A fancy glass. This one could use a tumbler OR a martini glass :)
Take a shot of your vodka (I put mine in the freezer to make it lovely cold in advance..) and pour it into your glass, OR into a martini shaker if you have one. Next up, fill your glass up 3/4 way with club soda (or pour the same amount into your martini shaker...about a cupfull). Throw some ice cubes in, and give it a mix! (or a shake! And then strain that into the glass).

THEN to make this more than the average vodka + soda, cut a few slices off a lemon. Squeeze one into the drink itself, and cut a little notch into the other slice so it can sit on the side of the glass as garnish.

Done? Done! Wasn't that easy?

And now for another cheesy photo of the finished product..

(El Torro approves of our Lemon Vodka + Soda)

Until next time...;)

Monday, June 1, 2009

A new day begins...

Hi there, my name is Anne McDonald and I'm creating this blog in order to keep myself inspired and on the "pink path", as it were. (More on the pink path later, if I get around to it).

Basically the main thrust of this little corner of the cyber-world will be to get inspired, to learn, and mabye crack a few funnies every now and then. What am I talking about, you cry?

Cooking, of course! More specifically, Low- Carb cooking. (And perhaps baking, if I can be trusted not to eat the whole delicious recipe in one sitting).

The Rules:

Rule #1: No one talks about fight club. Oops - wrong blog.

Rule #2: I want to learn how to cook better, and inspire other people to take an interest in what I'm doing, and how they can do it too. I'm not sure that's really a rule, more of a goal. But hey... we'll let that pass.

Rule #3: Every now and then, I might cheat a little :)

Rule #4: There are really no rules. Just like there is no spoon.

There are some guidelines though.... I dislike it when Low-Carb recipes suggest things like "here is the recipe. Serve over rice, or a big plate of pasta!"

Like...WTF? That is not low-carb! Now you're giving me a recipe that's making me THINK! (Think about ways to fix it, that is....)

What I will try to do is not pick recipes like that. And if I find that a book or site is made up mostly of dumb recipes like this, I will say so. And wherever I possibly can, I will let you know the carb content + sugar content of the recipe. How does that sound? Good? Good.

I think I can get off my high horse now. Perhaps we should celebrate this post with a drink!

My first foray into the world of low carb will be a cocktail. Ready...setty...go!