I came across this sample food at Costco. It was Kirkland Organic Marinara from Tuscany dipped in ciabatta bread. It was surprisingly good, but the ciabatta bread was high in calories and not keto. So, here’s a keto version that is super quick to make and can fill you up in a jiffy.
Artisan Bakery Sonoma County Keto Bread (available at Costco)
Kirkland Organic Marinara from Tuscany
Heat up some of the marinara in a microwave
Toast the bread slices to your desired toastiness
Spoon the marinara onto the bread slices
It’s like eating a healthy pizza without the high-calorie cheese. Four slices followed by a glass or two of water will make you feel satiated while only consuming less than 200 calories!
If you’re making a burger and your meat is not frozen, then you can stick a thermometer in your patty and let the thermometer beep when the meat is at your desired temperature. The problem with this is you may have to flip the burger one or more times and, if your patty is thin or not dense, it may be difficult getting the thermometer probe in the center and staying there. If your patty is frozen, like it is at many stores that sell packages of burger patties, then you can’t stick a thermometer in it.
Frozen burger patties may not taste the best, but they are still good. Since they’re frozen, they will last long as well. To simplify the cooking process, I use the T-fal Optigrill. It grills both sides and has a drip tray to catch all fatty juices.
Here’s how to cook a frozen beef patty in the simplest way possible.
Press the power button to turn on the Optigrill
Press the snowflake button because your patties are frozen
Press the burger button since we’re making a burger. The Optigrill will heat up as indicated by the blue light. This takes about 5 minutes.
When the Optigrill beeps, it’s done heating up. Open the lid and place your patties.
The Optigrill will beep and change color every time the meat reaches a doneness level.
When the Optigrill has reached your desired doneness based on the color of the doneness cycle, remove your patties. In my experience, it takes about 7 minutes to get to medium-well.
For the buns, Artesano Bakery Buns are pretty good. Don’t toast these buns. They taste good as is at room temperature.
One thing I really dislike when cooking is having to occasionally stir the food. This is the case with fried rice, soups, and stir-fried vegetables. Fortunately, the Koreans feel the same way. A company called LAMPCOOK with the slogan “Innovative Cooking” sells this (overpriced) automatic pot stirrer on Amazon for $155. I normally would spend that much on a pot, but like I said, I really dislike manually stirring food every so often for 10-20 minutes while cooking.
I’ve had the pot for a couple of weeks now and it actually works. But, you can’t put it over heat higher than medium. If you do, you’ll see discoloration at the center.
There are many spice blends available for chicken. But, which one is the best? I tasted 7 different ones and scored each on a scale of 1 to 10. The winner goes to Target’s Good & Gather Chili Lime seasoning followed closely by Chef Merito Chicken seasoning and McCormick Perfect Pinch Rotisserie seasoning.
One of the food options I like the most at Chipotle is their beef barbacoa. Chipotle doesn’t tell you their recipe, but they do tell you the ingredients. Here’s a beef barbacoa recipe that tastes almost as good as the one at Chipotle and is super easy to make.
This recipe involves using a slow cooker.
3 lb Beef brisket or chuck roast (trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks. Remove most of the fat.)
1 cup Beef broth (or chicken broth)
2 medium Goya Foods Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (including the sauce, about 4 tsp)
5 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 tbsp Dried oregano
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Sea salt
1 tsp Black pepper
2 whole Bay leaf
1/2 tsp Ground cloves
2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar (optional)
2 tbsp Lime juice (optional)
Combine the broth, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, garlic, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, dried oregano, cumin, sea salt, black pepper, and ground cloves in a blender (everything except the beef and bay leaves). Puree until smooth.
Place the beef chunks in the slow cooker. Pour the pureed mixture from the blender on top. Add the (whole) bay leaves.
Cook for 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low, until the beef is fall-apart tender.
Remove the bay leaves. Shred the meat using two forks and stir into the juices. Cover and rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the beef to absorb even more flavor. Use a slotted spoon to serve.
People may not realize this but traditional fried rice contains an enormous amount of calories from the rice. Fortunately, there’s a low-calorie alternative: cauliflower fried rice. It has only 10-20% as many calories as regular rice.
400 grams of long grain rice (leftover from the day before or refrigerated for at least 2 hours)
3/4 cup carrots, diced (can just chop pre-shredded carrots)
3/4 cup red or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp oyster sauce
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 cup meat (chicken or beef, optional)
¼ cup green onions, chopped into small pieces
To taste MSG, salt, pepper (MSG is actually not bad for you)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Make an omelette. Beat the eggs (I like to use a handheld electric mixer). Using a small pat of butter, make an omelette (I use a large pan for this). Slice the omelette into squares and set aside.
Cook the meat. I used ground beef. When done, set aside.
Sauté veggies. Using butter, sauté the onions, carrots, peas and garlic until soft and cooked through. (I use a wok for this)
Stir fry rice. Turn the burner to high heat. Scooch the veggies over to one side of the pan, melt the remaining butter in the other half, and add the chilled rice, soy sauce, and oyster sauce (if using). Then stir to combine with the veggies and continue sautéing the rice, stirring every 15-20 seconds or so for 3 minutes, or until you notice the rice and veggies starting to brown slightly.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in the green onions, sesame oil, sliced omelette, and meat.
Taste and season. Give the rice a taste, and season with MSG and pepper, plus any extra soy sauce or sesame oil, if needed.
To break up the rice, use a food masher utensil.
You can also just buy one of these spice packets to make things simple.
I’ll try to make fried rice using each of these spice packets and rate each one.
People may not realize this but traditional pasta like spaghetti contains an enormous amount of calories, both from the pasta itself and the sauce. Fortunately, there is a healthy, low-calorie alternative, albeit a bit more expensive. Below is a comparison of traditional to healthy pasta. First, we’ll start with healthy pasta which uses HealthyNoodles available at Costco.
This pasta comes precooked. Since one serving is a ridiculously small amount, let’s say we make 4 servings (452 grams, 120 calories).
For the sauce, we’ll make our own using tomato sauce from Target.
I find that one 18oz can is a good amount for the amount of pasta above. The sauce comes with some spices but we can add more like Italian seasoning, oregano, etc. There are many recipes online for making pasta sauces from tomato sauce. One can (427 grams) of this sauce has 105 calories.
The calories listed on this package is for dry spaghetti. To compare with HealthyNoodles above, we want the calories for cooked spaghetti having a weight of 452 grams. According to Yazio, that amount is 714 calories.
Now, for the sauce, let’s go with Raos marinara, which is a very popular sauce available at Costco.
125 grams of this sauce has 90 calories. Therefore, 427 grams contains 307 calories.
Now that we have our values, let’s compare the total calories from each type of pasta.
For the amount specified above, Healthy pasta is 916 calories LESS than the calories in traditional pasta. That’s 80% less calories!