Low Carb Cauliflower & Ham au Gratin


After searching the web for a simple low carb au gratin recipe I beginning to think that I wasn’t going to find one. Mind you I did find several that sounded amazing, even looked incredible, but the list of ingredients were insane. So I decided to do my own thing and take certain ingredients from the few recipes I really liked and created this! 

What you’ll need:

2-16 oz bag frozen cauliflower, thawed, chopped, and sauteed

1 large onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced(or less if you prefer)

2 tblsp butter or coconut oil

Salt n pepper to taste

1 pound of ham, chopped 

8 oz cream cheese brick, softened

4 oz velveeta, cubed and melted

3/4 c plain greek yogurt, or sour cream

2 c shredded cheese

Directions:

First heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 15×11 glass casserole dish with a little coconut oil or your favorite cooking spray. Set aside.

Chop thawed cauliflower into bite size pieces and dice the onion. Cook in a large skillet with butter until onions are trqnsparent. Add minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Stir in chopped ham and set aside. 

In a medium microwave safe bowl add cream cheese and velveeta. “Nuke” on high until velveeta is melted, stirring after a minute each time. Once melted, stir in greek yogurt. And now the fun…

In your casserole dish combine the cauliflower ham mixture with the cheesy sauce mixture. Smooth out into an even layer and top with shredded cheese. Bake covered for 40 minutes or until bubbly around the edges. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes for the brown slightly. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. 

Goes great with your favorite salad and/or veggie side. 

1/10th serving: 8g net carbs

This has a keeper for us, might tweek it a bit and add some chopped fried bacon next time and maybe sausage instead of ham. Of course, if you want to keep a meat free dish you absolutely can! Whatever works best for you! 

Now my dad wasn’t too keen on the twanginess, I personally didn’t notice it and neither did anyone else. If you are not a fan of cream cheese or greek yogurt by all means cut back on those two or eliminate one all together. I just like how the greek yogurt doesn’t break down as much as say sour cream or mayonnaise. It lent to the creaminess of the sauce which helped to offset the velveeta a bit. 

It is important to cook the cauliflower with the onions. This will help produce a more thoroughly cooked vegetable in the end. I’ve discovered that cooking in the microwave doesn’t cut it, cauliflower still comes out crunchy even qfter baking in the oven for 40-50 minutes. Crazy I know. So be sure to precook it just until the onion is transparent. 

You can also make this amspicy dish, just a dash of red pepper flakes for a kick! Or leave the velveeta out all together and add jalapenos for a jalapeno popper version. Play around with the flavors and enjoy!

Almost forgot, this freezes well too! Just thaw out completely before baking. Have a blessed week!!

Easy(Lazy) Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole/Soup

Tonight I based this recipe off of a recipe called Lazy Chicken. Basically, you take a chicken breast, add a dollop of cream cheese mixed with chopped jalapeno peppers and cheese mixed in, cover with bacon slices and bake it. Sounds amazing, but I knew my family might prefer it a bit broken down. Which is what I did! 


What you’ll need:

1 1/2-2 pounds chicken, thawed and cubed
2 bricks cream cheese, soften

1 green onion, sliced thinly

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound bacon, lightly fried and drained

2 c shredded cheese, divided

1/2 c pickled jalapenos, chopped

Directions

Chop chicken up and blot dry with paper towels, set aside covered. Partially fry up bacon, drain on paper towel and set aside.
In medium bowl combing softened cream cheese, sliced green onion, minced garlic, and 3/4 c shredded cheese. Stir chicken into cream cheese mixture and spread out into a 9×13 pan in an even layer. Cover top with bacon and bake in a 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, uncovered. Afterwards, add remaining cheese on top and bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, let it cool for 5-10 before serving

NOK NOTES:

It looks soupy, letting it sit out to cool before serving will help it to tighten up. This can be served with tortilla chips(if you can handle the carbs), salad, or eaten by itself. I ate mine just as is, very filling too! For 1/10th of a serving it comes out to 1.3g net carbs, so not only is this incredibly low, but did you notice that I didn’t mention salt in the ingredients list? With a pound of bacon on top you really don’t need any extra salt. Now, I leave it up to you if you want to add some black pepper. 
In my above picture I didn’t let it cool before serving. I dished mine out as soon as I pulled it from the oven. Hence why I call it soup on my Instagram post. You don’t have to let it cool if you don’t want to. Serve it immediately, whatever floats your goat! Leftovers are great the next day on low carb wraps and on salad! 

Hope you enjoy and happy low-carbing!!!

Cornbread Chili Casserole and Caramel Apple Crisp

Afternoon everyone, I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything. It’s been a crazy recovery since September. I certainly do have a backlog of posts I need to share with you all, and what better one to start with than the cornbread chili casserole and caramel apple crisp!!

Y’all know I’m always on the prowl for food inspiration, even when I have a pretty good idea how something can go, I still like to see if someone else has done it with success. I’m weird that way 😉 Let me just preface this in saying, my Mom makes THE best chili and cornbread in all the 50 states. She learned from the best, who had learned from the best and so on 🙂 I’m not the least bit biased hehe!! Well, I got it into my head that those two needed to be put together in a big ol’ pan just because. Now putting these two together is not anything new, just do a google search and you’ll find oodles of recipes that put together chili and cornbread. Why is mine worthy to blog about? Perhaps it’s not, but the family thought it was pretty amazing and left only two servings in the pan afterwards(even G–Man ate some, huge shocker). But hopefully on those chilly fall/wintery nights when your family is sick of having another pan of soup you’ll consider making this version and win them over 🙂

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This is by far the easiest meal I’ve made yet, bakes up in 20 minutes and can be made as spicy as you like…or not! 😉

Cornbread Chili Casserole

For the Chili:

2 pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans black beans, one drained

2 Tblsp chili powder

1 Tblsp Spanish paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp oregano(or more if you like)

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 cup shredded cheese(Mexican blend is nice)

For the Cornbread

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 Tblsp + 1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tblsp sugar

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a dutch oven pan, brown ground beef with onions and garlic. Drain fat if needed. Add in black beans, chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and oregano. Let simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. If mixture seems a tad loose(almost soupy) sprinkle in a little instant potatoes. It won’t alter the flavor and will thicken the mixture up perfectly! Spoon into a lasagna pan, spread out evenly and top with shredded cheese.

In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add in milk, vegetable oil and egg. Whisk briskly until completely combined. Pour over cheese layer, smoothing out to the edges and corner with the back of a spoon or spatula. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and somewhat bubbling around the edges. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Yields 8-10 servings

 

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My Dad grew up having desserts almost every night, and while I wasn’t raised that way I do indulge him occasionally. Seeing that it’s apple season I went looking for a quick and easy dessert and thankfully I found one! Chow (dot com) has a very tasty apple crisp recipe with an oatmeal streusel topping. I just took it a step further and added a caramel drizzle over the top.  I didn’t have 2 1/2 pounds of granny smith apples, I had about three of them and several gala apples. It worked out nice in the end and is now one of G–Man’s favorite desserts! SCORE!! I’ll share the original recipe below since the website is acting all wonky on my computer. Not sure if it’s my system or the website. But I’ll post my changes/additions afterwards.

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Easy Apple Crisp

(Original recipe from Chow.com)

2 1/2 pounds medium Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples (about 5 or 6), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 to 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces, plus more for coating the dish

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter.

Combine the apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl and toss to coat. Place the apple mixture in the prepared baking dish and set aside.

Using the same bowl as for mixing the apples, mix together the brown sugar, oats, flour, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt until evenly combined. With your fingertips, blend in the butter pieces until small clumps form and the butter is well incorporated, about 2 minutes.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples and bake until the streusel is crispy and the apples are tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a rack at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

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***NOK’S Touch***

Instead of thinly slicing the apples, chop the apples into bite size pieces. I left the salt out of the sugar and cinnamon mixture on purpose because I use salted butter when I bake. If you use unsalted butter by all means add in the salt. I even cut back on the cinnamon by 1/4 tsp because we use an imported cinnamon which is very strong. A little goes a long way!

I added the Breyer’s caramel ice cream sauce(comes in a soft black squeeze pouch, we use this one specifically because there is no high fructose corn syrup in it) after I pulled the crisp out of the oven. No need to poke holes or drag a knife through it, just let it cool with the caramel sauce on top till it’s warm and serve with vanilla ice cream. Simple!

This dessert was definitely a hit and a keeper! There wasn’t any left, I’m not surprised 😀 If you like, you could certainly add golden raisins or dried unsweetened cranberries to the apples(or both). Instead of apples, try this with peaches for a peach crisp (which is another favorite of my Dad’s)!

 

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!!

Crunchy Top Casserole

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Afternoon everyone, I know it’s Monday. It’s not everyone’s favorite day of the week but I hope you’re making the best of it as much as possible. Our school day is dragging on, my headache in tow. Not exactly sure why I have a headache, woke up with it and haven’t been able to shake it. Just one of them days I guess.  -.-

 

Last week, as you may remember, I didn’t menu plan at all and was pretty much flying by the seat of my pants. It’s not an unpleasant thing to do, it tends to open the creative gates every now and then. Which is exactly what it did last Friday night. I don’t suggest that anyone get too lazy and forget to plan a week’s worth of meals. Even when I do meal plan I might leave a couple of days open for whatever pops into my head. And the Crunchy Top Casserole was such a recipe that I drew from other related recipes that I’ve made in the past and just went from there.

I’ll just say this now, my family scarfed this casserole up! In fact, my own mother said I just needed to make the topping on a baking sheet alone 🙂 I love them, when they praise they go all out! I will admit that the topping is quite yummy, a nice contrast to the creamy casserole. Definitely a tried, true and tasty dish!

 

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This is a quick recipe, a little precooking involved, but the over all time is 50 minutes for baking.

Crunchy Top Casserole

(Yields 8-10 servings)

Ingredients

1 pound tater tots, thawed and crumbled**

1 small onion, chopped

1 pound sausage, cooked

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans cream of chicken and mushroom soup

8 oz sour cream

1 large jar pimentos, drained

4 oz potato chips, crushed**

2 cups shredded cheese

1 Tblsp paprika

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Crumble thawed tots into baking pan(I always use a disposable aluminum roasting pan for our casseroles, but you could use a 9×13 or a lasagna pan). Set aside.
Brown sausage with onions and garlic. Drain off fat. Stir in soup, sour cream, and pimentos. Fold into the crumbled tots in pan and smooth out evenly. In a gallon size bag crush potato chips(not into a fine dust, leave some large bits), combine with cheese and paprika. Spread over casserole, cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes to finish melting the cheese and to crisp up the topping. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes before serving.

**COOK NOTES**

You can certainly use any form of frozen potatoes that you like. We keep tater tots in the house most of the time. You can choose to use shredded potatoes, cubed hash browns or hash rounds. Just be sure they are thawed completely. If you choose to use hash rounds they will need to be crumbled just as the tots. The shredded or cubed potatoes will not needed to be crushed or crumbled.

To avoid having to measure out potato chips to crush, simply grab 4–1 oz bags of potato chips. Open them and crush them inside each bag before adding them to the bowl of shredded cheese and paprika. Cuts out the use of a gallon size bag.

Now, if there are any questions feel free to shoot me an email(nightowlkitchen@yahoo.com), comment below, or leave your Q’s on Instagram (@nok_amandagayle) where I have shared the above picture. Hope you all enjoy and have a wonderful day!!

 

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Crunchy Creamy Goodness

~Breakfast for a Crowd~

Good morning everyone!! I’ve had the pleasure last night and early this morning in making some goodies for my Dad to take to work today 🙂 I love making things for him to share with everyone, it’s fun, relaxing and it’s therapy that I can afford lol! Any time I can get in the kitchen to whisk something up and try something new is always enjoyable for me…just wish I had a kitchen fairy to clean up afterwards hehe!

So last night I made a family favorite(honey bun cake), and I really need to thank The Country Cook for sharing the recipe in the first place. Honestly, it is the easiest cake you’ll ever make and is perfect for any breakfast, brunch or dessert! Your family is going to love it, friends are going to request it, and be sure to have the recipe on hand to share. It is a keeper!

 

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Honey Bun Cake via the Night Owl Kitchen

 

I did cut the cake into 15 pieces, you can certain cut them smaller or larger depending on how you want to serve it. I wanted to give the option to cut a few pieces in half in case someone didn’t want to take a full piece. Be sure to head on over to The Country Cook‘s site to snag the recipe! You can click the above picture to visit her site or click HERE.

Not everyone is a fan of breakfast casseroles, frittatas, or quiches. Especially guys, and the guys I know cringe when you use the word quiche. So when Dad sent me the link to the Huevos Rancheros Casserole I was shocked! I did tweak the recipe just a tad to make it more “manly” and less chickie. I added chopped fried bacon and some onion powder, seriously you can’t have a mexican style casserole without an onion flavor. It’s just criminal! Instead of bacon you can add crumbled sausage, chopped ham or turkey. 😉

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Huevos Rancheros Casserole via the Night Owl Kitchen

As with any breakfast casserole recipe I like to spray and flour the pan, helps to remove each serving just a smidgen easier. The Better Homes & Garden recipe wasn’t too specific about what “potato nuggets” were, so we just went with tater tots. They’re a bit more substantial than hash browns and actually worked perfectly! You can certainly use the little cubed version that comes with or without the onion and green bell pepper bits. Just make sure they are mostly thawed before you use them for the best results. I would probably go a step further and cook those up in a skillet to get them somewhat browned before baking in the casserole. That would help them to hold up better and not become a mushy mess. 

You can certainly spice this up, add some chopped jalapenos, red crushed pepper flakes, or diced Tabasco peppers. To serve this, add a dollop of sour cream, your favorite salsa and fresh cilantro. The picture truly does not do it justice and I wish you all could scratch n sniff the screen. I was tempted to take a scoop for myself, but I didn’t 😛 You can click the above picture to view the recipe or click HERE.

What’s your favorite breakfast recipe to serve to a crowd?

Chili Relleno Wraps (Low carb and High Fiber)

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Here’s a great low carb/high fiber recipe that’s both easy and quick! It’s based on a recipe I found on Linda Sue’s website. I never like making two beef dishes back to back (same for chicken or pork), I have to break it up to keep things interesting for the family lest we get ourselves back into a rut. So, last night I studied the recipe decided what I could change to suit our palates. Really doesn’t take any more time to make it this way either 🙂

Amanda’s Chili Relleno Meat Mix

1 pound ground white turkey

1 pound sausage

3 bell peppers, chopped

2 small onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tablespoons homemade chili powder*

In a large skillet or dutch oven brown turkey and sausage with onions and bell peppers. Drain off most of the grease. Add in minced garlic and seasonings. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For this meat mixture alone, if you make it just as I have above, the net carbs come out to 4 grams even. You can eat it just as is with a little sprinkling of mozzarella cheese, some guacamole and sour cream on top. But if you can handle a few more carbs you can add it to a low carb/high fiber wrap. Click HERE to see the wraps we use.

To assemble

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Put small spoonful of the chili relleno mixture on the wrap.

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Sprinkle on a little cheese. Here in the photo mozzarella cheese was used but you can use any that you prefer.

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Add a little lettuce and sliced tomato on top with a little dollop of sour cream.  Can ya dig it?!

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Fold it up like you would any wrap and enjoy! You get the flavor of a chili relleno without all the carbs. Our family really liked this, it was a little unconventional of me to use the turkey and sausage but both were a nice change. This can definitely be made spicier, just add some crushed red pepper flakes, jalapenos and for those who like to push the limits…add a few drops of habanero sauce to the meat!

Total net carbs for the meat and the wrap comes out to 9 grams. You really can’t be that! Of course if you’re not living a lower carb lifestyle you could add the meat mixture to tortilla chips covered in a white cheese sauce for some chili relleno nachos. Or you could layer it with corn tortillas in a casserole dish for a chili relleno casserole. The meat mix is versatile for everyone and you don’t have to sausage if you don’t want to. You could use all turkey, all beef, ground chicken, or a mixture thereof. Don’t be afraid to play with the flavors and spices. Happy eating!