January 31, 2019

The best low carb pizza crust recipe so far! (Option: Using Arise 8000)

Although I've tested many, many pizza crust recipes since starting low carb in 2002, there have been more misses than hits. As a matter of fact, other than the popular dough that uses a ton of mozzarella cheese and almond flour, there have been NO low carb pizza crust that we really liked well enough to make it our go-to crust.  So for that reason, usually made a 'pizza' on a low carb tortilla shell or I'd make my husband regular pizza (because he has a crazy metabolism and can handle a lot more carbs than I can) and I'd just have one tiny slice and then eat the toppings only off the other slices.

Years ago, in the early 2000's, there was a poster on a low carb recipe site that doesn't even exist anymore, who baked a lot with items like wheat protein isolate, better known as "Arise 8000" and wheat protein isolate 5000 as well as LifeSource Foods Resistant Wheat Starch 75.  He passed away years ago, but it was because of him, I started to purchase those products.

I have to admit I really NEED to start working with those two products more than I currently do because they help making amazing low carb breads and baked goods but admittedly, life has been insane the past few years and I haven't played around with these ingredients as much as I hope to in the future.

Arise 8000 is a clean label wheat protein isolate that is prepared by removing starch from wheat flour and carefully drying the remaining high protein fraction to retain the native viscoelastic properties.  It's highly effective in applications where strength, elasticity, exceptional functionality and high protein content are required.  Arise 8000 can also be used as a partial replacement of egg whites in bakery, pasta, noodles and breadings and pre-dusting agents due to its exceptional textural binding abilities.
Wheat Protein Isolate 5000 is a highly functional wheat protein isolate containing 90% protein that delivers extensible, film-forming properties and moisture management control to bread and other bakery products. In low-carbohydrate, high-protein applications, Wheat Protein Isolate 5000 is essential to the development of bakery products that maintain texture and flavor profiles similar to traditional bakery items.

The company that makes them (MGP) makes more in this line but personally I have only bought the 5000 and 8000 - and I buy mine online from Netrition.

I think you can probably make this crust just fine without the Arise 8000 or resistant wheat starch.  But this is the amounts I used when I made it twice so it's the recipe I've stuck with!

*Note- This does not reheat well nor reheat after freezing either.  The crust doesn't crisp back up easily again and it's rather... floppy.  

Low Carb Pizza Crust

Dry Mix:
1 1/4 c almond flour
1 scoop Nature's Best IsoPure unflavored whey protein powder
1 T LifeSource Foods Wheat Protein Isolate 8000
1 T LifeSource Foods Resistant Wheat Starch 75
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t granulated sweetener
1/4 t yeast (this is for flavor, not rising)
3/4 t basil
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 garlic powder
1/2 c shredded or grated parmesan cheese

Wet Mix:
1 egg
1/4 c water
1 t apple cider vinegar
1 T olive oil

Preheat your oven to 375 and leave your baking stone in the oven to preheat as well.
Add the wet to the dry and combine with a spatula or wooden spoon until mixed.  If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more resistant wheat starch or wheat protein isolate.  Divide the dough into 2 pieces;  this makes 2 thin crusts.  Roll circles out between parchment paper.  Leaving the pizza on the parchment, bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until golden on the edges and 'crisp'.  Remove and top with your toppings, return to the oven to bake until your cheese is melted and starting to turn golden.

I got my pizza boxes from Amazon!

Corrugated Pizza Boxes, 12w X 12d X 1 3/4h, Kraft
Corrugated Pizza Boxes, 14w X 14d X 1 3/4h, Kraft


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January 28, 2019

Parmesan Ranch Chicken - low carb, keto and oven baked!

When it comes to chicken breasts, there are a million recipes or ways to make it and sometimes you just throw 'stuff' together.  If you aren't doing anything extremely crazy, it's probably going to turn out.  When it's time to throw together a last second oven baked chicken dish I often resort to covering the chicken breast with either ranch dressing or mayonnaise and then adding a crumbly topping - whether it be panko crumbs, ground or chopped pecans, parmesan cheese or whatever.

Right now we are doing low carb and I'm trying to stay as close to keto as I can.  As I flipped through a keto cookbook I bought last week, (Keto Comfort Foods: Family Favorite Recipes Made Low-Carb and Healthy) and I spied this recipe that was quite similar to recipes I already make but took it a step further by marinating first and used either pork rings or almond flour to top.

The recipe called for preparing and cooking in a heavy cast iron skillet - which I don't own one as they've just never been in my budget so it's never been a priority.  I meshed that recipe with my own and came up with a dish that my husband really, really liked.  I made my bbq ranch cabbage salad to go with it.

Parmesan Ranch Chicken

1/2 c avocado oil
1/2 c ranch dressing
3 T Bragg's Liquid Amino's
1 T minced garlic
1 t rice wine vinegar
1 t lemon juice
1 t ground black pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
oil for frying

1/2 c ranch dressing
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

1/2 c ground pork rinds or almond flour
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese
2 T butter, soft or melted
1 t garlic salt

4 slices American Swiss, Provolone or favorite cheese

Mix the marinade in a Ziploc and add the chicken.  Marinate for 2-8 hours.
Remove the chicken and toss the marinade.
Heat a little oil in a pan and start to brown the chicken breasts.  Flip and brown the second side, cooking them through. 

Lay the chicken in a baking pan (I foil line mine).  Top with the ranch dressing/cheese topping.  Lay a slice of cheese over each and then sprinkle the topping over all. 

I only used 2 large chicken breasts, and decided to just use all the topping so my photos are HEAVILY topped!  Ha.  Usually that would be enough for 4. 

Bake in the oven at 350 until the topping is golden brown and crisp; about 10-14 minutes usually does it.

I only used 2 chicken breasts but did not halve the recipe so I have very heavy sauce and topping on mine.

I used ground pork rinds to top mine so it's a darker color than yours will be if you choose to use almond flour.

This recipe was kind of based on one I found in this book:   Keto Comfort Foods: Family Favorite Recipes Made Low-Carb and Healthy.

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January 25, 2019

Chicken Flavored Riced Cauliflower with Slivered Almonds - like a low carb version of Rice-A-Roni

We were having oven baked wings for dinner with this Riced Cauliflower Side Dish - Yum!

Although I don't follow a Paleo plan of eating, many Paleo recipes overlap with regular low carb & sugar free.  I've been a fan of Dana Carpender's original low carb cookbook from years and years ago (2002 I think), although I didn't have the budget to purchase her original cookbook until later - probably around 2004 or 2005 maybe?  It was really a struggle to eat low carb and sugar free from 2002-2010 when it got to be a little more mainstream and more products and recipes were available.  (When I first started there weren't even sugar substitutes available to purchase except for the chemically ones like Equal and Sweet N' Low!  I remember I when I was able to order Splenda online from Canada for the first time... not my sweetener of choice now but back then there was nothing 'easy' about cooking or baking this way.)

Although I don't follow Paleo (I love cheese, cream and other dairy products!) I saw Dana's Paleo book and decided to purchase it, knowing I should be able to find a few recipe ideas in it - at least to help brainstorm 'ideas' to make even if I don't follow the recipe - because honestly it's RARE I follow anyone's recipe.  I usually read 4-5 different similar recipes and make up my own.  When I saw this Paleo Chicken Almond Rice-a-Phony recipe it was perfect timing as I was looking for a new idea to use my riced cauliflower in.

If you want to pick up the book as well, my version is based on her version found in: 500 Paleo Recipes

Chicken Flavored Riced Cauliflower with Slivered Almonds

1/2 head cauliflower, shredded with an S-blade to 'rice' it
1/4 c slivered or sliced raw almonds
2 t coconut, olive or almond oil
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1/4 c fresh, chopped parsley or 2 T dried
1 1/2 T Tone's Chicken Base

Steam the cauliflower in the microwave for about 4 minutes.  You want it to remain crisp enough to double for 'rice'.  In a skillet, place the oil, heat to medium high and add the almonds.  As the almonds start to brown, be sure to stir them or they will burn quickly when you aren't watching.  Add the cauliflower when the almonds turn golden; add the scallions and parsley along with the chicken base flavoring.  Stir until the chicken base is all mixed in.  Serve along with your dinner!

This makes about 3-4 servings.  If you make it as 3, it will be about 8 carbs with 3 for fiber, resulting in a carb count of about 5 g.

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January 24, 2019

Blue Cheese & Bacon Coleslaw

I love my traditional coleslaw that I've been making for 20+ years and have posted here on An American Housewife but once in a while I like to mix it up a bit.  The traditional style goes well with pulled pork, bbq, cheeseburgers and fried chicken but if you are having grilled steaks, grilled chicken, hot wings or again, cheeseburgers, this blue cheese version is amazing.  

Blue Cheese & Bacon Coleslaw

1 small head of cabbage, shredded
Tops of 3 green onions (can add the onion if you wish)
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/4 c sour cream
salt and pepper
1 t sweetener of choice
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 t lemon juice
1/2 t celery salt
1 t mustard
1/3 - 1/2 c crumbled blue cheese
Real bacon crumbles

Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl or large Ziploc baggy.  Mix the rest of the ingredients together except the bacon crumbles.  Pour over the cabbage and mix.  You can add the bacon now or later; it's up to you.  Let this chill and set for the best flavor.  At least 2 hours but it's best if you can give it at least 4-6 hours or more. 

(I used up leftovers 2 days later for lunch by adding some sliced kalamata olives and feta cheese... oh my it was good!)

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January 17, 2019

The best low carb and sugar free vanilla, white cupcakes!

This is a recipe I've used for years, and posted previously on An American Housewife and even made into a cake I served to my parents (not doing low carb or sugar free) and my Dad couldn't believe it was wheat and sugar free.  However, the original recipe uses Carbquik, which thousands of people love and use regularly but I am one of those weirdos that can taste carbolose in items even in small amounts (along with coconut flour and soy protein, among other things) and I don't care for it.  I can eat it in this cake, as it's not too strong of a flavor to me, but most people can't taste anything in particular so I absolutely would suggest you TRY Carbquik if you haven't.  You might find you love it.

And here is one of the previous posts showing the cake I made for my parents Anniversary from the original recipe.  (Previous recipe using Carbquik here)

To make the cupcakes this time, I substituted the coconut flour and Carbquik for a mixture of almond flour, whey protein powder, a tiny bit of coconut flour, a little xanthan gum and because I am not allergic to wheat, I added a tablespoon of wheat germ.  If your cake batter is a little thin, add more almond flour or whey protein powder, or even a tablespoon of coconut flour (but wait a few minutes after stirring to give the coconut flour time to thicken it up as it thickens upon sitting for 4-5 minutes).

White Cake - Low Carb and Sugar Free

1/2 c butter, soft
8 eggs
1 c equivalent to sugar of natural sweeteners - mix 2 for best flavor (Just Like Sugar, Ideal, etc)
10 drops liquid sweetener
1/2 t salt
4 t vanilla extract
2 T Torani Sugar Free Vanilla flavor
1/2 c sour cream
2/3 c (not quite heaping) almond flour
1/2 t xanthan gum
1 T wheat germ
1 1/2 T coconut flour
1/3 c Isopure Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (0 carb, 0 sugar)
1 t baking powder

Whisk or mix eggs and vanilla flavorings in a bowl until yellow and frothy.
In another bowl place the dry ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and the sweeteners; Beat until fluffy.
Add the eggs by pouring them in as the mixer is running on low. Add half the dry ingredients, half the sour cream, then the rest of the dry and the rest of the sour cream.

Place in 2 round 8" or 9" pans sprayed or oiled - or parchment lined (my favorite way) or about 15-ish cupcake tins lined with paper cupcake liners.  Bake at 350F for approximately 18 minutes for cupcakes or 30-40 minutes for cakes until the center is set. Let cool about 10 minutes so you can remove it easily from the pan. Invert it onto a platter and let cool completely before frosting and serving.

You can use any icing or frosting you wish.

I tested a 'new' recipe for these that uses non-fat dairy creamer and a base cooked on the stove.  I hated it.  I make a similar version using milk, and I know the non-dairy creamer version was an attempt to be dairy free (not important to me but I like testing recipes) and it tasted exactly like... non dairy creamer.  I couldn't stomach it.  I tried to save it with other ingredients but I finally put it into a ziplock and stuck it in the freezer to deal with later.


Instead, I whipped up a stick of butter, 2 oz. cream cheese, 2 t vanilla and about 1/2 cup of natural sweetener and just used that to frost the cupcakes.  An old standby, but it works every time.  Just keep tasting it to get the amount of sweetness and vanilla you like.  You'll have to double this to make enough to ice all the cupcakes if you using a bag and frosting tip.  If you just frost with a butter knife and 'smear' some on you can probably get all the cupcakes iced out of this.

You also might like this butter creme version: Sugar Free and Low Carb Frosting

Out of the oven - VERY GOOD PLAIN TOO!  You don't have to frost or ice them, although they are 'prettier' with frosting, they are fine as they are.  I left a few plain but frosted the rest. 

One of my cooling racks....
This angle shows how the eggs in the recipe help them to rise.  It's usually hard to get almond flour baked goods to rise but these did beautifully.

A simple frosting in a bag and tip... quickly transforms them from plain to pretty.

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January 15, 2019

Low Carb Chicken Alfredo - And even easier if you use an alfredo sauce from a jar that you've 'improved' a bit

Last night I wasn't sure what I was going to make for dinner for our family.  I looked in the refrigerator I saw 2 chicken breasts.  That was my starting point.  I also realized I had zucchini I could spiralize to make 'noodles' and I decided to make a pasta alfredo - but make it into chicken alfredo.  I knew I was out of heavy cream (I've made homemade ice cream twice this week!) but I suspected I still had a jar of alfredo sauce in our pantry.  I remembered picking up a 3 pack at Sam's Club for $5.91 months ago and was sure I had at least two of them there.  Bingo!  I did.

Although I like to keep jars of alfredo sauce on hand for 'emergencies' like this, I do not like the taste of a store bought alfredo sauce so I always improve it by adding other ingredients.  Actually I have a whole post on that here.

So last night I whipped this up for dinner - in 4 parts and only one pan.
First I cooked the chicken in the pan.
Then cooked the zucchini 'noodles' and garlic in the pan.
Cooked the bacon in the pan.
Then made the sauce in the same pan.

If you are doing keto or low carb you can leave a little of the bacon drippings in the pan when you make the sauce.  If you are not, or don't prefer to, then remove the bacon and drippings and you can even wipe the pan with a paper towel I suppose.  NOTE: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE BACON AT ALL.  I just love it in our alfredo dishes!

Quick and Easy Chicken Alfredo over Zucchini 'pasta' for low carb or regular pasta for those who aren't

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 T olive oil
2 T butter, real
salt and pepper or seasoning of choice for the chicken (I used a 'Blackened Chicken' seasoning mix)
1-2 t fresh minced garlic
4 oz. cream cheese
optional: a little cream, half and half, grated parmesan, diced red pepper, smoked provolone, bacon, green onions, mushrooms
2-4 zucchinis - medium sized but use as many as you wish for as much 'pasta' as you wish OR use real pasta
1 jar alfredo sauce

Spiralize your zucchini and place it in a bowl until ready to use or if you are using real pasta, cook it as directed.

In a pan on the stove, heat the oil and butter, add the seasoned chicken and cook until golden brown and done.  Remove to a plate.  Scrape the pan to get the bits up and if you want to add bacon to your dish you can cook it now (or make it in the microwave or a George Foreman type grill while you are making the rest of this recipe OR you can just use 'real' bacon crumbles you've bought - or leave it out completely if you wish.) If you are using bacon, cook it crisp and then remove it to a plate.  Pour off most of the bacon drippings.  Add your zucchini 'pasta' and tossing and stirring it for about 3-5 minutes in the pan.  Remove to your serving bowl.

Add garlic and mushrooms to the pan if you are using them and let them cook 1 minute then pour in the alfredo sauce (or you can make homemade from mixing butter and heavy cream in your pan).  Add any additions to your sauce (I used the garlic, crumbled bacon, 4 oz. cream cheese, 4 oz. mushrooms, fresh black pepper and a little salt).

Stir or whisk until smooth and heated through.

Slice your chicken breasts and lay them over the zucchini noodles or your cooked pasta.

Pour the sauce over.  Sprinkle with bacon crumbled or some green onion tops, parsley, grated parmesan or some diced bright red bell peppers if you wish.

I used a 'blackened chicken' seasoning mix - you can season with just salt and pepper or whatever you wish.

Briefly cook your zucchini 'noodles' in the hot pan.

We are doing a keto version of low carb right now so I left about 1 Tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan for flavor but if you can pour it all out if you wish or if you've made your bacon in another way (like the microwave) just cook your fresh garlic and mushrooms in a tiny bit of butter or oil for 1 minute before proceeding. 

This is SO good even just at THIS STAGE WITH NO SAUCE.  I had about 4 bites of it just like this and it could easily be served this way for a very low fat, low calorie dinner!  Yum!

Real food - not a "photo shoot" obviously because I don't do those.  I take the pictures of the food as it's being served or even while I'm eating it because I usually forget to take pictures at all!  And my photos are taken on my cell phone...  so REAL FOOD FOR REAL FAMILIES - not picture perfect.  Just real.

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January 12, 2019

Delicious Homemade Ice Cream AND a great ice cream maker that I absolutely love! The Cuisinart ICE-60 Cool Creations

My favorite is vanilla; because using that as a base, we can make it into almost any kind we wish at the time of serving.  Last night it was coffee ice cream.  Tonight my husband made his chocolate and I opted for plain vanilla.  Peanut butter, cookies and cream, chocolate peanut butter marshmallow, lemon cookie crunch, salted caramel, cherry nut....  make any kind you wish out of it! 

Homemade Ice Cream

4 cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks
dash of salt
1 T unflavored gelatin powder
3/4 c natural sweetener(s) of choice
3 T vanilla

In a saucepan on the stove but with the heat off, place 2 cups of the heavy cream, along with all the other ingredients.  Whisking them briskly, turn the heat on and heat over medium until it starts to steam and you start to see tiny bubbles start to form around the edge but do not let it simmer or boil.  Just remove it from heat.  Whisk in the rest of the cream and either chill it in the refrigerator until you wish to use it, or pour it directly into your machine. 

Turn it on and press the button for ICE CREAM.  And wait.  In about 30-35 minutes you have soft serve ice cream ready to eat and you can put the rest of it into a container of your choice, seal it tight and place it into the freezer to harden for scooping at another time.

(Remember your ice cream maker bowl needs to come straight from the deep freezer and needs to be frozen solid.  If you can hear the liquid swishing around the inside, then your freezer isn't cold enough or the bowl needs to be moved to a colder part of your freezer because it needs to freeze solid.  (Note: my upright freezer doesn't get as cold as our chest style deep freezer.  The bowl freezes solid within about 6 hours in that one!  But 24 hours in our upright style barely gets it solid.) 

*I like to fill a coffee mug with ice cream and pour 6 ounces of strong brewed coffee over mine.



When the ice cream is 'done' it's soft serve and ohhh  so creamy.

Serve it somewhat soft now or place it in another container to get harder for scooping later.

Soft serve, straight from the machine.

YES it tastes just as good as it looks.

You have to hurry to get the ice cream out because your bowl is still frozen and freezing the mixture that is closest to its walls.  If you work fast enough to scrape all the soft ice cream out into another container, you won't have much left that is hardened on the bowl... but then again, I always figure that's my first serving!  I just grab a spoon and dig in!

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January 08, 2019

The Best Low Carb, Keto Biscuit! Ham and Biscuits were back on the menu today!

Today's breakfast was a ham 'breakfast sandwich' on a cheddar biscuit and then for lunch, sliced ham and... cheddar biscuits!  I still haven't had my craving quelled.  I'll be having them brushed with garlic butter and dipped in my homemade pizza sauce for 'cheesy bread sticks' and serving them along side dinner with spiralized zucchini noodles (zoodles) and alfredo sauce.  

Without the ham slices, you can have your own version of the southern McDonalds favorite, "Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit" - which makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

The only "weird" ingredient that many people new to low carb or keto might not know about is wheat protein isolate 5000.  I've been buying this and the 8000 for about 12 (?) years now (back before low carb products were readily available and we all had to bake with very minimal ingredients available to us).  Over the last 7 years, I get it from Netrition.com but I suspect some local retail health stores might carry it as well.  Although I'm an Amazon affiliate, I don't think Amazon has it.

These biscuits can probably be made without it though!  All it does is add some texture, chewiness & helps the 'crust' form when baking but I honestly think they will be just as good if you need to skip that part.  For those of you with wheat protein isolate 5000 in your pantry, here is another recipe you can use it in!

Low Carb, Keto Cheddar Biscuit

1 c almond flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
3 T wheat protein isolate 5000
1 T baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
3 T real butter, cold from the refrigerator; grated if you have one or just dice up small
1/2 cheddar cheese, grated or shredded
3 egg whites, beaten stiff
optional: 1/2 - 1 t fresh minced garlic

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter and whisk it in, use a fork, or use your fingers, to cut it in until its incorporated into the dry ingredients and is crumb like. Add the garlic and the egg whites and fold gently and slowly so you don't break down the whites too much. Lastly, fold in the cheese.

Use a spoon or small 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop to form mounds on a greased, foil lined baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 12-14 minutes.  Remove and serve in a plethora of ways.

The dough is ready to be scooped onto the baking sheet.

I like baking these on foil because I feel like they get more crisp.

And fresh from the oven, steaming hot.

My mouth waters....

They were on the menu TWICE today already and probably going to be served with dinner tonight as well.

Hickory smoked ham slices and cheddar biscuits...

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Roasted Green Beans and Cauliflower - Quick and easy side dish that's low carb and delicious

It's not a recipe so much as a "dump it into the pan and put it in the oven" kind of thing!  Cauliflower and green beans paired with seasonings and butter, along with a little olive oil, popped into the oven to bake until it's golden and the butter starts to caramelize.  Yum!

Oven Roasted Cauliflower and Green Beans
  • In an oven safe pan, place as many green beans and cauliflower as you wish.
  • Dot with a good amount butter according to how many vegetables you are using; and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Add some fresh minced garlic if you wish (we usually do).
  • Salt and pepper to your desire.
  • Pop into a preheated oven at 400.
  • Let it roast until it starts to get golden, gently toss with a spatula or stir.
  • Continue roasting until they are most all golden brown and starting to crisp.
  • Serve immediately.

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