Easy Fried Veggie Fritters (low carb, gluten-free, grain free, keto, nut-free)

Yum! Veggie Fritters with Squash and Radishes | Cook Well, Eat Better, Live Happily

Yum! Veggie Fritters with Squash and Radishes

Oh my. These are soooo good. And really, you only have the carbs of the veggies, which makes it a win in my book. I have a son with sensory issues, especially in regards to eating (plus cold and water) and he eats a VERY limited diet. Until I created this recipe, he had yet to come anywhere close to a vegetable, so this recipe holds a very special place in my heart.

These taste like a cross between tater tots (which used to be a fan favorite of my sister and I growing up) and breakfast hash browns. The difference being there is no potato in sight and these are essentially carb-free!

I’ve made them at least 10 times in the last couple weeks, and the recipe is VERY forgiving, and also very adjustable. Make sure that you strain the veggies well, I don’t think it would work otherwise, but other than that…grate everything and then mix it with your hands. Fry it in lard, bacon grease or any other high-heat oil and call it a day. Makes an easy side dish for dinner or a breakfast in and of itself. Enjoy!

Easy Veggie Fritters (gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free, keto, low-carb)

1 – 1 1/4 cups veggies*, grated and squeezed to remove juice (measured after straining)
2 eggs
2.5 oz pork rinds, ground into a sandy flour-type texture
4 oz cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp dried chives

Begin by adding your cooking grease, approximately 1-2 Tbsp to your frying pan. If it’s not non-stick, use more. Heat your pan to med-high

Food process or vitamix the pork rinds and the cheese (Or smash the pork rinds in a bag with a rolling pin and grate your cheese). Add moisture ridden veggies*, eggs and spices.

Once oil is hot (sizzles upon addition of batter), make little patties, 2-3 inches in diameter, of your batter and gently lay them in the hot oil. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side or until crispy and well-browned. Remove to a cooling rack and make additional batches as needed. I can usually do it in 2 batches, using my 12 inch frying pan.

*For the veggies, I have used all combinations. Our favorites have been squash and radish (pictured above), carrot & parsnip, and squash, zuchinni and onion. I simply use the grating method with my vitamix to mix them together. To get the appropriate amount, you need approximately 8 radishes 2-3 baby yellow squash, 1 medium zuchinni and 1/4 of a sweet onion, just to give you an idea. After they are grated together, I use a Paint Strainer Bagto squeeze the ever-living crap out of them. Your amount will reduce almost by half when you get rid of the moisture.

PPS I don’t get paid to keep this blog. I have added some affiliate links to Amazon to products that I personally buy and use from Amazon, in case you have difficulty sourcing some of the specialty ingredients that make living a low-carb, keto or gluten free lifestyle easier. I may receive a small percentage of compensation from Amazon, should you access these links in my ingredient lists and purchase the items I recommend. This costs you nothing, and typically I have found the cheapest options. If you like what you see here, please feel free to support me at no additional cost by shopping my links or in my Amazon Store (still being built). Thanks!

Parmesan Ranch Kale Chips

Parmesan Ranch Kale Chips

Parmesan Ranch Kale Chips

So, I’ve made kale chips before, you know…olive oil, salt and pepper. I’ve even gotten crazy and added a little onion powder. That said, I kept seeing all these blog posts for cheesy (vegan) kale chips, that everyone claimed were out of this world. I wanted to try. However, I didn’t have any cashews, and they’re kind of high carb for me right now. Plus, I don’t really care whether or not the final result was vegan. Hence was born…3 ingredient Parmesan-Ranch Kale chips. Sooo good. Sooo easy. The hardest part was not eating both pans worth!

1 head of Lacinato Kale (the flatter kind…they crisp better, in my opinion without burning)
1/3cup ranch dressing – I used Ken’s Buttermilk ranch, because that’s what I had.
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Wash and spin (or dry on paper towels) your kale and de-stem it. Rip each leaf into a few pieces and place in a large, clean bowl. Dump ranch and parmesan on top of the leaves and use your hands to mix it well. You want ranch dressing on Every. Single. Leaf.

Once ranch-ed and cheese-ed, add the salt and pepper and mix again.

Using 2 large baking sheets (or 3), lined with parchment paper (don’t skip this step…they will STICK!), lay your kale leaves out as flat and as single-layered as possible.

Turn your oven on to 325 and place pans in the cold oven. Allow it to heat up with the chips inside. Check after approximately 15 minutes. You might need to pull some out, if they are crisp. Flip some over, you get the idea. Put anything that’s not crisp back in the oven and check every 5 minutes so that you don’t burn them, but they all end up nice and crispy.

Try not to eat the whole pan, or 3. If you have any left, save them in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. If they get un-crispy, just stick them back in the oven for a few minutes.

(This would probably work with other kinds of kale, however, I have never had luck cooking curly kale into chips evenly.)

Fresh Radish & Carrot Salsa {paleo, lowcarb, gluten-free}

Radish & Carrot Salsa
Radish & Carrot Salsa

Fresh Radish & Carrot Salsa {paleo, low carb, easy and delicious}

Yum. So, I picked up some radishes at the Farm last week, because it was the first week that they were offered and they looked so pink and pretty, with their lovely greens still attached, I figured I could do something with them, and something I have done! This salsa is absolutely delicious and comes together in a snap.  It’s pretty much spring in a bowl!

I think we’ll probably pair it with some grilled chicken breast this evening, as I think it will be even better once it hangs out in the fridge for a few hours, to let all the flavors mix and mingle. It would be delicious on tortilla chips, or even served fresh with some creamy avocado…hmmm, lunch tomorrow, I think?

1 1/4 cups radishes, cleaned, greens removed and diced into 1/2 inch cubes (about 1 lb) – save the greens, recipe coming.
1/2 cup diced sweet (or red) onion
1/2 cup shaved and then chopped carrot (1 medium sized carrot. I used my peeler to shave and then my knife to chop the ribbons into bite size pieces)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp jalapeño green hot sauce*
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 large lemon – juiced (about 2 Tbsp)

Mix everything in a medium sized bowl. Taste. Eat.

*My jalapeno green hot sauce is from Green Mountain Girls Farm, in Northfield, VT. If you have access to them, you should try it, if not. I’m sure any good quality green hot sauce would work, just add slowly and taste so that it doesn’t get too spicy!

Couldn’t be easier, right?

Roasted Rutabega Hashbrowns w/ Italian Sausage

Roasted Rutabega Hash with Sausage

Roasted Rutabega Hash with Sausage

2 small-medium Rutabegas (about 3 lbs)
1 lb cooked sausage (Italian, breakfast, chorizo all work well)
1 small sweet onion
3 Tbsp bacon grease/lard or
salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika

Peel and cut the rutabaga into 1-1.5 inch chunks. Place in a roasting pan where it can all fit in a single layer. Fill with water until all the veggies are covered. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of salt in the water and place in the oven for about an hour. (You could also boil them, I just like to only dirty one pan.)

Once the rutageba are cooked through (easily pierced with a fork), remove the pan and drain off the water. I used a large colander after the water had cooled slightly. Put rutabaga back in your roasting dish and pour olive oil over the top. Dot the bacon grease around. Lay thinly sliced onion on top of the oils. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, onion powder and paprika. Give it a mix with your hands or a large spoon. Spread cooked sausage over the top and bake, uncovered at 425 for an additional hour and a half. Give it a stir around 45 minutes and watch it closely that in that last 30…it’s a real bummer when your crusty, delicious veggies take a turn for burnt to a crisp, can we even eat this?!?!

Enjoy! (Makes a lot, probably 8 servings-ish, but reheats nicely the next day.

Perfectly Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce | Cook Well. Eat Better. Live Happily

Roasted Orange Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower (or any veggie, really)

So, you don’t like cauliflower, huh? Lies, I tell you. People perpetuate this lie to themselves all the time. Cauliflower is amazing. It’s pretty neutral in taste, so if it hasn’t been prepared right, then yes…I can see why you think you don’t like cauliflower. My husband was one of you, until just recently…he’s not real keen on my faux-nola bars, but as long as it’s cooked and on his dinner plate, he’s been pretty happy with it lately.

Anywho, I typically microwave it and puree it into a most delicious mash, however a few nights ago, I was craving mac and cheese…and since I don’t eat “mac” as of late due to blood sugar issues and our gluten-free-dom, I needed something else…enter a lowly head of orange cauliflower, just beckoning me to roast it. Of course, I obliged…who doesn’t oblige when their veggies beckon them? What, you don’t??

So, this couldn’t be easier. I hacked off the leaves, rinsed it well and shook it off the best I could. Whacked it into florets and prepped the rest of the recipe before I started bedtime with my little ones. By the time I was done with bath and stories, my cauliflower was just about done and I had a quick 10 minutes to throw the OMG BEST. CHEESE. SAUCE. EVER. together. I might have eaten the whole head of cauliflower. (Luckily, my husband wasn’t home, so I didn’t have to share 🙂 Make extras…it’s that good.

Here’s the recipe broken down.

1 head of cauliflower (or 2…I would make 2 if I had to share)
Olive oil, about 3 Tbsp per head
5-8 slices of bacon
salt & pepper

Clean up your cauliflower, cut it into florets and put it in a roasting pan. I used my Pampered Chef stone, because I love it, but you could use whatever. If stuff sticks on it, usually, I would use parchment first, but that’s up to you.

Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower and then sprinkle salt and pepper (sprinkle like you mean it.) all over. Toss it around with your hands and try a piece, it should taste well-seasoned. If not, add more and toss again. Once everything is coated and seasoned, lay the strips of bacon across the top of the veggies. (the fat will drip down as it cooks…2 birds, 1 stone…)

Roast at 450 for 45 minutes to an hour, checking on the bacon after about 30 to make sure it’s not burning. You can remove it when it’s crispy. Set it aside, eat it while you wait, add it to your cheese sauce…whatever, it’s bacon, it’s delicious…I don’t really have to tell you what to do with it, do I?

Remove from the oven when there are beautiful little crunchy parts on your cauliflower, it’s hard to over-do it. If you need more time before the rest of your meal is ready, you can always turn down the oven to around 350 after about 35 minutes. That will buy you about another 30-40 minutes.

Remove, plate and eat. Or, for a totally life changing experience, top it with some Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce.

Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce | Cook Well. Eat Better. Live Happily

Roasted Orange Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

Oh holy night….make this and then put it on everything. Meat, veggies, bread (if you eat that). I considered eating it by the spoonful and then settled for scooping another spoonful onto my cauliflower and licking the spoon. I felt better about myself that way.

It’s kind of a cross between an alfredo and a macaroni and cheese sauce, nice and thick with awesome texture. Seriously, you will not be disappointed! (In the photo, it’s on some awesome roasted orange cauliflower…yes, it was orange when I bought it, it’s not bad lighting. Promise!)

1/2 cup butter
5 oz cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
5-6 ounces of smoked gouda (not exact because I ate about 3 chunks while I was cooking)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic powder

Melt the butter and cream cheese in the heavy cream over medium-low heat. Stir frequently, you’ll cry if it scorches! Add the shredded gouda and the spices, stirring until it’s all smooth and melty. Try not to eat the entire recipe.

Cranberry pot roast and cheesy cauliflower mash

Cranberry Thyme Pot Roast w/ Easy, Cheesy Cauliflower Mash…the utmost in comfort food!
So, with a little pre-planning, this can be assembled in about 3 minutes in the slowcooker and 5 minutes of hands on time with the microwave. It doesn’t get any easier…or more yummy, especially when it’s 14 degrees outside (seriously, that’s what it is…no exaggeration here, unfortunately…)
So, pre-planning…as a busy Mom of two little ones, I don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen. I know, travesty, but that’s life these days. Like many of you, we’re busy people, work and play and kids and life all get in the way of the time that we have to prepare good, quality food for our families. Enter…pre-planning.  I’m going to be posting more recipes like this in the very near future, as they have become the crutch that I depend on to ensure there is always food in the fridge for lunches and on the table for dinner…yes, I could  order out, but we can’t afford it and honestly, end up disappointed by the quality for the cost when we do succumb to the ease of restaurant take-out. Not to toot my own horn, but my food just tastes better, and I know exactly what I put in it…and it’s not junk. Sooo…back to pre-planning.  For this to be SUPER easy, you have to have made some cranberry sauce before, and have doubled the recipe, and put about 2 cups in your freezer…remember that next Thanksgiving! (I usually make about 4 times the amount we need…that covers us for a few months!) That’s all…not so tough, right? So, what about if you don’t have cranberry sauce in the freezer? Well, my friend, this is your lucky day. It will take you approximately 30 minutes longer, but only about 3 of that is hands on…and next time you will have pre-planned and you’ll have some there, won’t you?
Ok, so assuming you have no cranberry sauce in your freezer…you need to make some. Rinse your 2 bags of cranberries (we’re pre-planning for next time…remember?!?!) and put them in a saucepan. Add a cup of water (or cider beer if you are feeling adventurous), a couple squirts of citrus (your choice, I usually mix lemon and orange, about 1/3 cup), 1 chopped up apple or pear, a little cinnamon, 1 tsp of stevia glycerite (or 1 cup of sugar) and simmer it all until the cranberries pop and it thickens up a bit. Taste it…if it’s still bitter, add a little more sweetener. It should take about 30 minutes…
Now, cool it a bit and portion it into 1 cup portions (this makes 4 portions-ish) and freeze all but 1 cup, for today’s pot roast, of course…
Now, onto the Pot Roast…
2-3 lb chuck shoulder roast, boneless, thawed or frozen**
1 cup cranberry sauce, fresh or frozen**
1 1/2 cups brewed coffee, hot or cold
1 onion, sliced thinly
3-4 carrots, daikon, parsnip (peeled and cut into 2 inch sections)
Layer the veggies (if using) and onion into the bottom of your slow-cooker. Add the meat. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, ground mustard and onion powder. Turn meat over and pour coffee and cranberry sauce over the meat. Season on bottom side with salt, pepper, mustard and onion powder.
Cook on high for approximately 8 hours or until the meat can be pulled apart with a fork.
**If you are using a frozen chunk of meat, add a couple additional hours. If you are using cranberry sauce from the freezer, add it to the top of the meat after you season it, instead of before. It can be like a cranberry ice cube…it will melt! 🙂
Cheesy Cauliflower Mash (one bowl and 24 minutes…)
1 head of cauliflower
3-4 Tbsp of butter, depending on the size of your cauliflower.
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
4 ounces (approximately 1/3 block) Mediterranean Herb Cheese (I use Cracker Barrel)
Wash your cauliflower and take off all the green leaves. Cut out any brown spots. Chunk it up into smallish pieces, so that it will all fit in your microwave safe container (preferably glass) with a lid. I use Pyrex. DON’T ADD WATER!!! Cut your butter into 4-5 pats and lay it on top of the florets. Pour the cream over the top. Put on the lid and microwave that bad boy for 22 minutes. This is NOT a typo…it takes awhile.
If you think your microwave is super fast, feel free to check it at 15, 18, 20 and then finally 22, but make sure it is done…you want it super tender and even beginning to get little brown marks on some of the top florets.
Once you get at least a couple brown edges, remove from the microwave and top with the cheese (which you chopped into small chunks while the cauliflower was cooking) and put the lid on it for 1 minute to allow the cheese to melt. Use an immersion blender, regular blender or food processor to puree your cauliflower into the most beautiful, cheesy mash you’ve ever had.
On the off chance that you had a very small head of cauliflower and your mash seems too mushy or watery, simply put it back in the microwave for 4-5 minutes with the lid off. It should thicken right up.
Notes –
1. You can shred your cheese, I just hate grating cheese.
2. The meat it also really good with a healthy helping of thyme.
3.  For a sweeter meat, you can double the cranberry sauce.
4. This would probably work without the coffee, using a dry red wine or even beef stock instead, but it probably won’t be as good.
5. Double down by making a double roast and use the leftovers the next night to make an easy Roasted Veggie Beef stew (recipe coming soon).



Pepperoni Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

1 lbs of mushrooms, cleaned and de-stemmed.
6 oz. full fat cream cheese
25-30 pieces of pepperoni
1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
2 heaping Tbsp pizza seasoning
1/2 Tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper

(Keep the stems, or chunk them…your call. No need for them in this recipe.)

Clean and de-stem the mushrooms. Place mushroom caps, open side down on a paper towel for at least an hour (the longer the better, unless you want to dry them).

Add remaining ingredients to a food processor, scraping down the sides until the pepperoni is finely chopped up and evenly distributed.

Fill mushrooms. It’s easiest to do this with your fingers, the mixture is too thick for a piping bag, and really even a spoon. I usually roll a log-ish type roll in my hands and then break off pieces and push them down into the caps.

Bake at 375 for 40 minutes, or 350 for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes (I prefer the longer cooking time, but the shorter one works in a pinch.)

Bring to any event and watch your plate get licked clean…or make them for dinner and prepare to Eat. Them. All.

Enjoy!

Hard Cranberry Sauce (with apple)

Hard Cranberry Sauce (with apple)

2.5 bags of fresh/frozen cranberries

2 large granny smith apples (can sub pears)
1 bottle (12 oz) hard cider – wood chuck, etc
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
100 drops cinnamon stevia / 1 c. granular splenda (or sugar or brown sugar if you aren’t worried about carbs)
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
Optional: Juice of one orange or lime

Wash cranberries.  Peel and dice apples ( I use a peeler/corer…) Put everything in a big pot (I use a 6.5 qt dutch oven). Heat over medium until it simmers, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Allow to simmer for approximately 1 hour, or until all the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens. 

Make approximately 8 cups of sauce. Freezes beautifully. Perfect as a sauce, a jam or jelly, or a pie filling! MMMMMMM….

OMG – Braised Cabbage w/ Bacon

 Head of Cabbage – loose out leaves removed, outside rinsed
4 pieces of Bacon
2 Tbsp (Approximately) Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
Salt & Pepper – Not sure on measurements…but use twice what you think you should.

Preheat the oven to 400 – 425 (gas ovens, 400 / electric ovens 425).

Cut the cabbage into chunks. I usually do fouths and then cut each quarter into 3-4 pieces. Break them apart a bit as you put them in your lasagna because it’s all you have roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the pieces…it’s ok if it seems like a lot or too much for the pan – it shrinks…A LOT! Liberally salt and pepper over the olive oil (Probably 1-2 Tbsp of each). Do the same with the garlic. Cut up the bacon into small pieces and sprinkle the raw bacon over the cabbage. Spread it out over the whole pan.

Put it in the oven and don’t think about it for at least 45 minutes. Check it then, if the tops are browning/crisping, stir it around. If there is a lot of water in the bottom of your pan, remove it with a baster or a ladle (the less liquid the better). Put it back in for another 45 minutes and repeat the same process. In some ovens, it will be done after these 2 rounds. In my oven, it takes a third. Do it until its wilted and there are some brown parts. The bacon should be crispy and the cabbage should be soft.

OMG – try not to eat the whole recipe…your digestive system will not appreciate it. It’s good people…I swear. If you try it, let me know what you think!