4/2/20

Quarantine Cooking: Yesterday was grinding and sealing ground beef and homemade chicken sausage



We are currently in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and most of us are under either 'shelter in place' or 'self-isolate' mandates, others are self-quarantined.  You would think this would be a great time to focus on my cooking website and post with a lot of recipes and photos but meh.  I've not been motivated to update the site to tell you the truth.  But yes, I'm still obviously cooking!

The past month I've been venturing out to the grocery store once a week or so but as of this point, the number of Coronavirus positives in our area is on the rise and my immediate plan is to not venture out for 1 month.  My last grocery trip to Sam's Club did not have a long list of groceries, but I did have some priorities and plans.  One of those was I wanted to see if they had roasts in stock and available (they did - about 9 packages that day) and chicken (they only had about 4 or 5 packages of chicken at that moment but had a full case of chicken thighs, wings, and drumsticks).  I got a package of chicken breasts and a package of chicken thighs, then headed over to grab a container of fresh spinach.  I knew I already had feta at home.

The other items I got for our freezer were added to the cart before checking out but chicken and spinach - that was my 'main' mission as I wanted to make a double batch of my homemade chicken sausage for the deep freezer!

Yesterday I ground beef and made the chicken sausage.  My freezer is stocked with this yumminess and many different 'quarantine meals' will be made from them in the upcoming couple weeks!


My Homemade Chicken Spinach and Feta Sausages

4-5 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cubed (can also mix thighs and breasts)
1 lb. fatback or 'salted pork' (I found this at Walmart - it adds the moisture you need in this recipe)
1/2 pound or about 6 slices bacon (use more or less as you wish)
1 T ground coriander
2 t salt (start with 2 and adjust after you taste test.  I like to use 3)
1 T garlic, minced
3/4 c feta cheese, crumbled
3/4 c spinach - more or less - up to you. I usually use a couple 'handfuls' of fresh spinach
1/4 c olive oil
dash or two of a lemon lemon pepper
Meat Grinder (electric or manual - and even a cheap one is fine. There are also KitchenAid attachments to grind meat and poultry - I'll link to one below this post )

Grind the chicken, fatback and spinach into a large bowl.  Add the rest of your ingredients to the ground mixture in the bowl.  Mix well.  Taste test by cooking a small patty of your mixture on the stove in a bit of oil or microwave a bite sized bit.  Adjust the flavorings to your liking and test again.  When you are happy with the cooked taste of your sausage, continue.

(Note: I originally would grind the feta and spinach with the meat but I like seeing the crumbled feta chunks instead of just incorporating them into the sausage link or patty so I stir that in last.  If you are using frozen, thawed spinach, you can add that in at the end as well and not grind it - but if you are using fresh spinach leaves, grind those with the chicken as they are just too big.  If you use a lot of spinach, it will taste wonderful, but your sausages will be quite green.)

You can use casings and stuff your sausages (as I've posted about a couple times already here on HousewifeBarbie.com) but a quicker and easier way is to make a sausage patty or just freeze as ground sausage in your Ziplocks or sealer bags.

I used to make sausages and patties but more often than not now I simply freeze in food sealer bags in 1-2 pound portions.  When thawed, I either make a patty out of them to grill and serve on buns (this is a huge family favorite in our home... my husband says I can make these every week and he'd never get tired of them) or you brown it in a pan like you would ground beef and use it in many dishes - especially those that call for pasta, tomatoes or a tomato based sauce; those with an alfredo based sauce or my favorite?  You'll  find recipes here on the site but basically just add diced/sliced zucchini, yellow squash, some diced onion and some red/yellow/orange peppers.  Use olive oil in your pan and for seasonings it only needs salt and pepper.  When heated and ready, I top with crumbled feta.  Oh my goodness.  SO good.





First yesterday, I used two chuck roasts and ground them and packed them for 'ground beef' in our deep freezer.




Then I got to the yummy chicken sausage!  A huge family favorite in our entire family.

 

 Sealing the packages for the freezer. 







You might be interested in links for products related to this post, available through Amazon;

  KitchenAid KSMMGA Metal Food Grinder Attachment, 2.5 lb, Silver


  Electric Meat Grinder, Meat Mincer with 3 Grinding Plates and Sausage Stuffing Tubes for Home Use &Commercial, Stainless Steel/Silver/1500W (Silver)

  Gourmia GMG525 Electric Meat Grinder - Accessory Kit with 3 Stainless Steel Grinding Plates, Sausage Horn, Kibbeh Attachment - Heavy Duty Stainless Steel - Recipe Book Included


  Foodsaver FSFSSL2244-000 V2244 Machine for Food Preservation with Bags and Rolls Starter Kit | 1 Vacuum Sealer System | Compact & Easy Clean | UL Safe, Single, Black

Hamilton Beach NutriFresh Vacuum Sealer Machine with Bag Cutter, BPA Free Food Sealing Starter Kit, Silver (78220)











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3/26/20

Pantry Pandemic Cooking: Black Bean and Corn Salsa (or as a Side Dish)


This morning I'm really not in the mood to post, and this is actually a recipe I've posted on An American Housewife many times in the past 14 (15?) years.  So this is a quick picture I had posted on my Snapchat yesterday just to some friends and family; but I decided it might be a good idea to post here as a reminder of not only how yummy this is, but it's also easy to make and uses a lot of ingredients that you might already have stocked in your pantry and/or freezer during this Coronavirus pandemic!

We normally eat low carb so I don't have corn or black beans on hand but my local Walmart had black beans stocked this week when I did a grocery run, and my Sam's Club had a bulk box of 12 cans of corn in stock so... in the middle of a pandemic, you buy what your stores have stocked and you plan meals around it, right?  So... low carb be damned, we enjoyed this old family favorite with tortilla chips last night.  I think there is a little bit leftover; I hope so because I plan to have it for lunch!


Black Bean and Corn Salsa (or as a Side Dish)
Almost all ingredients are optional based on your preferences - add or delete and adjust the amounts to your tastes or what you have on hand!  Serve as is, with tortilla chips or with flour tortillas.

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can or  1 1/2 cups petite diced tomatoes
1 can yellow corn
1 can white corn
4-5 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 avocado, petite diced
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1-2 t minced fresh garlic
1 small can diced green chili
1 small jalapeno pepper, diced fine
1 bunch cilantro - chopped
Juice from 1 lime  (about 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 t cumin powder
Salt to taste (start with a teaspoon and taste test)

Mix together in a bowl.  Serve right away or chill 2 hours before serving.  Serve as a side dish, with tortilla chips or with flour tortillas.


This recipe was also included in an old post where I gave you 6 different yummy, fun recipes for salsa:  Six Salsa Recipes




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3/22/20

Quarantine Keto Cake - Chocolate Crunch Cake - sugar free and low carb



The last couple days of self-isolation have been rough!  What started out last week as 'hey I get to stay home!' turned into 'I have to stay home'.  And it got cloudy.  And rainy. And cold. 

Today I decided a cake would be made.

Now, during the last two weeks, strict keto and low carb has gone out the window.  Seriously... don't care.  We had out of town guests and I have some leftover regular foods like spaghetti, hamburger buns and pizzas left here and yes, we absolutely are using them!  Anything in the house during a pandemic is fair game.  :)

Today, to help me feel more normal, I decided I would bake a cake.  Because my pantry is stocked with sugar free sweeteners, almond flour and other low carb products, that's the kind of cake I made, obviously.  I do have some flour and sugar somewhere in the house, but it's packed away in "Christmas Baking" boxes in storage in a guest room closet.  I will probably break the flour out soon for homemade bread... but we aren't there yet.  We still have plenty of other options yet.

And with that long rambling intro....  the cake!  It's called Epic Chocolate Crunch Cake and it's from this low carb cookbook: Keto For Life.

Keto for Life
2 c erythritol, granulated
1 3/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 c butter, melted but not hot
6 eggs
2 oz. unsweetened Baker's chocolate, melted
2 t vanilla
3 c almond flour - good quality, fine, blanched
2/3 c coconut flour
2/3 c cocoa powder
4 t baking powder
1/2 t xanthan gum
1/8 t salt

2/3 c cocoa nibs ground with 1/4 c erythritol

- frosting


Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and line with parchment, 2 - 9" round baking pans.  Place the sweetener, almond milk, butter, eggs, melted chocolate and vanilla into a blender and blend smooth.  Place the rest of the dry ingredients into a bowl and blend.  Add the liquid to the dry and mix.  Divide to the two pans and bake 35-50 minutes until they are done in the center.

Remove from the pans and let cool completely.

Pulse the cocoa nibs and sweetener for about 30 seconds in a small food processor.  Using your favorite sugarfree frosting, put a layer on top of one cake, sprinkle with most of the cocoa nibs and then top with the second layer.  If you have enough frosting, frost the whole cake, or just frost the top layer as I did in the photo if you are using less frosting or just one small batch.  Sprinkle with the cocoa nib/erythritol mixture.  Store in the refrigerator or the freezer.

The book says this is about 20 g carbs per slice (1/12)  with 13 g fiber to deduct. 










Two of my favorite cookbooks right now.......  available through Amazon (which is where I ordered them too!)

Keto for Life: Look Better, Feel Better, and Watch the Weight Fall off with 160+ Delicious High-Fat Recipes



Southern Keto: 100+ Traditional Food Favorites for a Low-Carb Lifestyle






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Santa Fe Roast - and leftovers are fabulous for tacos the next day!


With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine going on right now you would think it'd be a great time to cook and bake and update my recipe site, but guess what?  I've got zero interest in posting.  None.

Am I still cooking?  Of course.  But meh.  Just not in the mood to blog or add to my recipe collection.

Still, I made an amazingly delicious roast (I posted it on Instagram if you follow me) and because I can post that one quick and easy, I will... and I'll try to get motivated to do a real post.




This marinade is one I usually use on chicken.  It's the marinade for our Santa Fe Salad, which uses grilled chicken.  About a week ago I used half a large chuck roast, and put the other half into this marinade and popped it into the freezer.  A couple days ago I took it out, popped it frozen into the crockpot, and after a few hours on high, poured off the excess (now liquid) marinade and continued to cook the roast until it was fall-apart tender.

Leftovers made great soft-shell and hard-shell tacos the next day - as is, or mixed with some refried beans for a beef/bean burrito or taco.


Santa Fe Roast


Marinade:

1 cup water
2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T sugar (or natural sweeteners for lower carb diets)
1 T salt
1 T vinegar
1 t powdered chipotle pepper (could use 1/2 t cayenne, if it's all you have)
1 t hickory smoke flavoring
1 t paprika
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t round black pepper

Place your beef or chicken in the marinade and either marinate for at least 4-8 hours in the refrigerator, or place the whole thing into the freezer until needed for an even stronger flavor.  Grill or cook your chicken or beef as usual.



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If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon - An American Housewife at Amazon


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3/4/20

Homemade White Castle Style Mini Cheeseburgers (or Sliders) - can be made lower carb too


In January of 2008 I posted my recipe for mini cheeseburgers.  Much like White Castle or what people also call 'sliders'. 


January 2008 photo - still making them in 2020

I used to always make my own homemade buns for these, which are so delicious, and filling but eating low carb changes that so now, we do a couple different things for the buns.

Hot Dog Buns
Great Low Carb Bread Company Hot Dog Buns


Now, in 2020, there are low carb hot dog buns available - which makes it much easier to make these low carb.  Yes, these are cheeseburgers, but they are the perfect size to cut a hotdog bun into thirds.  Each bun makes 3 mini sliders or cheeseburgers.  These are similar to White Castle burgers.

If you don't want to order buns, or you are ok with using regular store bought buns, the Nature's Own brand of hot dog buns are a good low/no sugar brand to try.

NOTE:  Although you can purchase low carb or keto bread crumbs, I simply use my failed keto breads as bread crumbs.  And if you do low carb or keto baking very often you are bound to have 'bread' you aren't all that happy with. It happens!  Ha ha.  When I make a low carb or keto bread, and it is too crumbly or doesn't raise enough to use it for 'bread' I just crumble it and freeze it in a ziplock to use for breading, fillers, etc. later.  You can also purchase keto bread (my hotdog link above will lead you ALL kinds of keto breads - including hamburger buns, bread, bagels, pizza crusts and more).

If you don't have any of those options, just use regular bread, half the amount, use about 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal instead or any option you want to try.


Mini Cheeseburgers

2 lb. ground beef
1 c soft bread crumbs (I use keto bread ground to bread crumbs)
1/4 c mayonnaise
1 egg
1/3 c finely diced onion (I used green onion in the photos for this post)
1 t garlic salt
1 t Italian seasoning
fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
1 c shredded cheese (I've used mozzarella and cheddar blends)

Combine everything but the cheese and mash and mix together well either either with a wooden spoon, food processor, mixer or your hands. Press into a large jelly roll pan (about 15X10 inches). Do not press all the way to the edges, leave one (1) inch between the meat and the edge of the pan for drippings to bake away from the meat and not run over your pan.

Bake 25 minutes, top the meat with the cheese and continue baking 8 minutes more until the meat is done and the cheese is melted. Remove and let set 3-4 minutes and then using a pizza cutter, slice the meat into squares. Place a square on each mini bun. Serve with condiments - pickles, mustard and ketchup.








I do not have a GOOD finished picture because frankly?  I was HUNGRY and wanted to eat ASAP.
So I snapped this picture on my phone right before it went into my mouth.  Hot from the oven, and I hadn't even put ketchup or pickles on this one yet!






You can find the keto bread and buns at Netrition (Netrition Home Page) or you can look for options on Amazon or your local retailers.

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If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon - An American Housewife at Amazon









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3/1/20

#WhatsForDinner? Low Carb Bacon and Jalapeno Pizza! Oh, and (yawn) pepperoni and green olive pizza too.




Today it's not only what's for dinner... but lunch and dinner because I only wanted to cook once today.  I was craving bacon and jalapenos in some form (any form!) and was thinking of a chicken/bacon/jalapeno/cream cheese dish but, weekends are for pizza!  So, I went ahead and made some low carb dough, divided into two and decided I would make a jalapeno popper pizza for me and for my "I'll take pepperoni, please" husband.... pepperoni.  Although I did make his into pepperoni and green olives.  He likes that and he likes mushrooms too but doesn't get much more wild than that.

My pizza however?  Swoon.  

Although I've got a number of low carb pizza crust recipes on this site (keep in mind this site goes back to 2006 or so and we've been low carbing since 2003 so yeah... a lot of recipes) the one I've been making since last year so far is our favorite. I don't make it exactly, precisely every time but the basic idea is there and I'm pretty happy with it. It's a version of the popular fat head dough, but everyone has their own little tweaks.

I don't care for coconut flour and I can taste it in foods made with it, even if it uses very little.  So, although I use it once in a while, mostly I do not. But I usually use psyllium husk powder and an egg in mine, along with some whey protein powder. 


Pizza

1 1/2 c almond flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 c unflavored, zero carb, zero sugar whey protein powder (isopure)
1 t psyllium husk powder
1 egg
1 1/2 c mozzarella cheese

Toppings of your choice

The photo above uses;
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 c Mexican blend cheese (cheddar and others blended, or use just cheddar)
diced jalapeno
bacon crumbles - real, cooked bacon, crumbled

Preheat your oven.  400 ish.  I use a pizza stone - kept in the oven so it gets hot when your oven does.

Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to blend.  Add the egg and pulse to blend just a few times until it's a bit crumbly.  In a bowl, place the mozzarella cheese and microwave until it just starts to melt.  Add this to the food processor bowl and pulse a few times, but stop as soon as it comes together to form a dough.

Divide into 2 pizza crusts.  Roll each between two pieces of parchment.  Slide the pizza still on parchment, into the hot oven on the pizza stone.  Bake until it's golden - about 8 minutes.  Remove.  Bake the 2nd the same way.  While the second one is baking, top the first one with your favorite ingredients.  If you are making the jalapeno bacon version in my photo, just spread the cream cheese on the crust, top with the other cheeses, crumbled real bacon pieces and diced jalapeno (I use store bought in a jar as I have those on hand always). 

Take the 2nd pizza out and put the first back in to cook for 5-8 minutes more until it's golden and melty on top.  While it's baking, top your second pizza (today our second was pepperoni and green olive - my husbands favorite).  Remove the first, pop in the second for 5-8 minutes.

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Another 'note' is that sometimes for a more crisp crust, I remove it from the oven after the first bake, and then flip it over so when I put the toppings on, I'm putting them on the underside.   I also place mine in cardboard pizza boxes.













Some items related to this post you may or may not be interested in, available from Amazon if you can't find them locally near you.


  Isopure Zero Carb, Keto Friendly Protein Powder, 100% Whey Protein Isolate, Unflavored, 1 Pound (Packaging May Vary)


  NOW Supplements, Psyllium Husk Powder, Non-GMO Project Verified, Soluble Fiber, 24-Ounce

   Cuisinart CPS-445 Pizza Grilling Set

  50 Corrugated Pizza Boxes 12w x 12d x 1 3/4h Kraft




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