Stuffed Chicken Breast with Roasted Cauliflower
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Stuffed Chicken Breast with Roasted Cauliflower

Want to come over tonight?  I'm thinking diet food! :-)

Receiving that text is probably not your idea of an invitation to an exciting weeknight dinner.  But this isn’t a celery sticks and water kind of diet (sorry celery apologetics) this is a tasty diet!  I have friends that will humor me, but I wasn’t about to serve bacon and eggs to my dinner guest, I have a reputation to maintain here, and had hard-boiled all my eggs.  Here’s a great meal idea I came up with that is not only within the parameters of my ketogenic diet (no carbohydrates), but also within everyone’s parameters for cheese-love (plus I promised cheesecake, but that’s for another day).  Chicken breast stuffed with bacon, cheddar, and spinach (pigs in a blanket, a blanket of chicken) and a side of roasted cauliflower.

Careful dear, your bacon is showing

Stuffed Chicken Breast:

2 slices of bacon
2 large chicken breasts
3 cups of spinach
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
tsp olive oil
butcher’s twine

Cook your bacon crispy and keep the rendered fat.  In the baconed skillet (it’s a culinary term), wilt the spinach–if you used a leaner bacon like turkey, feel free to add some olive oil to the skillet.  Crumble the bacon into the wilted spinach and stir in the grated cheddar cheese–set this aside, it will be the stuffing.  Heat the oven to 350.  Butterfly the chicken breasts and brown them in the aforementioned baconed cast iron skillet in a bit of olive oil, then remove from the heat.  Using your better judgement, or your calloused bear hands, stuff the breasts with the spinach mixture and use some butcher’s twine to keep everything snug.  Put the breasts back in the skillet, cover with foil, mark it with a “B” and put it in the oven for baby and me.  15 minutes should do the trick–but baby doesn’t get stuffed chicken, baby gets smushed peas.

Roasted Cauliflower:

1 head of cauliflower
1/2 cup of olive oil
salt
pepper
paprika

Set oven to 350.  Break the cauliflower into small florets, coat in olive oil and place in a single layer in a baking dish.  Sprinkle with spices and bake while debating the differences between roast and bake.  Upset the houseguests, apologize, remind them that you were right all along (like always)–should take about 15 minutes.

Keto pizza and mock n’ cheese
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Keto pizza and mock n’ cheese

Every once in a while I will go on a ketogenic diet for a few weeks.  This, is one of those weeks.  It’s interesting to read up on, can be a bit complicated, but is essentially a diet high in protein and fat, and very low in carbohydrates.  It’s always been fun for me to challenge myself to come up with “keto” versions of meals that I enjoy while on a more traditional diet (I have an a strange idea of fun, yes).  Because it was Friday night, and because I usually have greasy takeout on Fridays, I wanted something that could compare with my usual (pu pu platter for two, for one…and an orange chicken…and a scallion pancake…and a bucket for all this gluttonous shame…and a diet coke).  Pizza and mac n’ cheese – two things that would otherwise be forbidden on this diet due to the crust and the pasta.  My solution, replace the crust and pasta with a very “keto” friendly vegetable, cauliflower.  I present to you, a 12g net carb Friday night treat.

So cheesy

Pizza:

1cup of riced cauliflower
3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese
1 egg
finely chopped garlic
pepperonis
oregano and crushed red peppers

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Rice the cauliflower with a cheese grater, mix in a little less than the 3/4 cup of the cheese, the beaten egg, spices, and garlic (as a general rule of cooking, put garlic in everything).  Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet (I used parchment paper and put it on a baking stone in the oven) so that it looks like a pizza crust, obviously.  Bake that sucker for 15 minutes, and feel free to give it a brush of olive oil to help it brown.  Pull it out, throw on the rest of the cheese and the pepperonis and bake for another 3-5 minutes.  Easy a’cheesy a’pizza pie (say it in a thick Italian accent or your pizza will burn).

Mock n’ cheese (as cheesy as the name, yum):

1 head of cauliflower
1 cup of milk
3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup of cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of cream cheese
1/4 cup of dijon mustard
1 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grate the cheese.  Break the cauliflower into small florets and boil for 5 minutes.  In a separate saucepan heat the milk and stir in the cheeses, the mustard, and the pepper, but put aside a bit of the cheddar.  Eat some of the cheese before putting it back in the fridge.  Drain and pat dry the cauliflower, put it in a baking dish, and top with the rest of the cheddar cheese.  Pull a chair up to the oven window and sit watching the cheese bubble, drooling, for 5-10 minutes.