Spicy Pork Rind-Crusted Bacon


I first saw pork rind-crusted bacon on a terrific low carb blog called, “Step Away From The Carbs”. Being a bacon fanatic, of course I immediately made them, which was a cinch since I always have bacon in the fridge, plus bags of chicharrones (fried pork rinds) in the freezer. I use ground up pork rinds instead of traditional bread crumbs when I cook low carb at home.

In the past, I’ve made candied bacon with brown sugar which gave the bacon a terrific crunch, but it was always a bit too sweet for me. This pork rind-crusted bacon is absolutely my new favorite, low carb snack. I add cayenne pepper and crushed red peppers for an extra kick.

Ingredients:
1 cup of ground, fried pork rinds (store-bought chicharrones)
6 pieces of thick bacon
1 egg mixed with one tablespoon of water in a pie plate (or something similar)
Cayenne pepper (I used 1/2 teaspoon but judge for yourself)
Crushed red peppers (I used a teaspoon to sprinkle on after cooking)
Black pepper (optional)
Parsley or thyme to garnish after plating (optional)

You’ll also need:
Non-stick baking rack (or baking rack with non-stick spray)
Baking sheet
Foil (wrap baking sheet with foil to catch bacon grease)


Preheat oven to 400°. Bring bacon to room temperature.


Blitz pork rinds in food processor or use a sealed bag to crush by hand (or mallet). Add cayenne and black pepper (optional).


Set up a dredging station with the egg/water and ground pork rinds. Take each piece of bacon and dip in egg then pork rinds, shake loose rinds and place directly onto baking rack.


Prep baking tray by lining with foil to catch drippings. If you don’t have a nonstick baking rack, spray with non-stick spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until done to your liking.


I kept the bacon full length in the first batches, then cut them in half to STOP ME FROM eating too many in one sitting (it didn’t work). These are so good on their own, and really bring joy to a salad too.

Top Photo: Pork-rind crusted bacon on avocado and slaw.

More low carb recipe ideas here.

Step Away From The Carbs blog.

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Low Carb Frico (Parmesan Crackers)

Frico (Parmesan Crackers) & Seeds
I’ve been cooking up lots of frico (parmesan crackers) lately. Mostly to top salads, but I also use them on soups and simple snacking too. These frico with toasted seeds were a big hit at my dinner table recently. So easy to make and low carb too!

Step-by-Step
How to make Frico w Toasted Seeds
Clockwise (from top left):
1. Sprinkle seeds in heated non-stick pan.
2. Add shredded Parmesan (Manchego is lovely too) and make sure the seeds are covered with cheese bits. Use a spatula to make a tight circle.
3. When the edges turn brown, gently start lifting with a thin spatula.
4. Turn frico (use two spatulas if needed) and cook until browned underneath. Carefully transfer frico to plate and let cool to harden. Break into pieces for salad topping or just EAT as is.

This works with pieces of herbs or leafy greens too. Frico with toasted baby kale here.

More Low Carb Recipes here

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Originally publishes 5/9/2015

Churrasco + Spicy Herb Sauce


My husband Peter and I love grilled skirt steak and we eat it several times a month. The beef is so flavorful that it really doesn’t NEED a marinade, and it cooks up quickly on the grill or stovetop.

Skirt steak is usually so much cheaper than rib eye or filet mignon, and (in my humble opinion) it tastes better than those more expensive cuts.

Churrasco is (according to Dictionary.com), “a South American method of grilling meat on a wood or charcoal fire, especially in Argentina and Brazil.” The Spanish word churrascar means “to scorch or singe.”

Luckily for us, we have an Argentinian restaurant just up the street, and since we try to eat low carb at home, it’s our “go to” take out dinner when we’re working late.

However, I love it best when Peter and I cook steak together, especially on the weekends when he has time to tend to the hot fire. I do the prep work and mix cocktails while he’s grilling.

Churrasco-Style Skirt Steak & Spicy Herb Sauce:

First, make the herb sauce.

Spicy Herb Sauce Ingredients:
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup jalapeño chilies (I like it SPICY)
1 small white onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups fresh parsley leaves (packed)
2 cups fresh cilantro with stems (packed)
1 cup stemmed fresh mint leaves (packed)

To make herb sauce, add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth. Cover and chill while you’re grilling the steak.

Grilled Skirt Steak:
2-3 lb. skirt steak (I cut steak to fit grill or pan)
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

To make the steak:

Bring steak to room temperature before cooking.

Heat your grill to medium-high or heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat.

I like to add oil the actual piece of steak, then add salt and pepper to both sides.

Grill the steaks (turning once), about 6 minutes for medium rare, depending on thickness.

Rest the steaks for at least five minutes before serving with the spicy herb sauce or make a classic chimichurri.

If you want to cut the meat before serving, make sure you cut AGAINST the grain.

Photo above: Skirt steak with spicy herb sauce, avocado with fresh chilies and a quick salad I made with purple cabbage, kale, radish, onions and lime vinaigrette.

Use leftover herb sauce to top eggs, quesadillas or grilled veggies.

If you don’t want to try my spicy herb sauce, here’s a recipe for classic Chimichurri sauce.

Thanks Dictionary.com, for letting me choose Word of the Day!
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#LowCarbJo Caviar Bites


Love caviar? Are you living low carb and miss blinis and caviar? ME TOO!

Hubby Peter and I are fans of the show “The Americans” (1980s era Russian KGB spies who pose as Americans) and I wanted to make something with caviar (and Stoli VODKA) for the season finale.

There’s always a pack of sliced provolone cheese (full fat) in my fridge because Peter loves my #LowCarbJo Crunchy Tacos. Honestly, they’re REALLY good, even if you don’t live low carb.

For these SUPER EASY caviar bites, I first cut the provolone slices into oblong shapes, so they looked more like traditional crackers. I was worried about the weight of the toppings, but they turned out really well!

What you need:
Nonstick pan
Provolone slices
Oil (optional)
Caviar
Crème fraîche (or sour cream)
Garnish (chives or scallions work)

How To Make #LowCarbJo Caviar Bites:


Heat nonstick pan, add oil (optional). Lay provolone on cutting board and cut. Fry until golden, flip and brown other side. I use two silicone spatulas to flip the cheese. I also fried up the cheese ends, so there was NO waste.


Set provolone pieces aside and let cool. They’ll harden up after a few minutes. Then top with crème fraîche fresh, caviar and garnish. I used microgreens because I had them, but chives would be pretty too.


I also made small round bites (like traditional blinis) then added wasabi under the crème fraîche, just for a little extra (surprise) kick.

На здоровье!

I tweet low carb recipes daily at @LowCarbJo on twitter.

More Low Carb recipes here.

My Low Carb page on Pinterest.

If you’re on social media, check out my #LowCarbJo hashtag (on twitterinstagram and Facebook). I post links to recipes I plan on trying and also share photos of my low carb home cooking. Happy eating!

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Crunchy Tacos (Low Carb)


Think you have to give up CRUNCHY TACOS on a low carb diet? Think again.

I CRAVE old-school crunchy tacos all the time, especially Henry’s Tacos, which is located (dangerously) close to my house. The crunchy yellow corn shell tacos with ground beef and bright yellow cheese are (in my opinion) perfect “drunk food” bites. They work for hangovers too.

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve indulged in Henry’s Tacos. Especially after I started playing with low carb tacos at home. I started with pan-frying just one slice of provolone, but the “taco shells” were a bit small. Next I used two slices, tearing one to make a larger shell. These turned to be the perfect size and I make them at least once a week.

They’re so easy to make too. All you need are slices of provolone cheese (FULL FAT), a non-stick pan and a taco holder/shaper. You really don’t NEED the taco holder, but it makes the process so much easier. I got mine (in photo above) on Amazon ($8 for two).

I now add chopped onions and chiles to the shells for an extra kick (photos below). I’ve also experimented with CHICKEN SKIN (precooked) and ground up pork rinds too. My husband Peter loves these provolone shells so much, that he said he never wants regular taco shells (or tortillas) again. Fine with me!

How To Make Low Carb Crunchy Taco Shells

What you need:

  • Two spatulas (silicone if possible).
  • Provolone cheese. Two pieces of cheese per “taco shell”.
  • Oil or butter (optional).
  • Taco shell holder/shaper (or you can make a holder out of foil).


Step 1: Heat nonstick pan and add a little oil (optional). Lay two pieces of provolone in hot pan. Tear one piece to help make a tortilla shape.


Step 2: Using a silicone spatula, gently shape the cheese into a circle.


Step 3: Gently cook the first side and keep shaping.


Step 4: When the bottom is browned, use two spatulas to gently flip.


Step 5: Cook the second side until firm.


Step 6: Transfer to taco holder and help shape the shell. It will get crispier as it hardens. After a few minutes you can remove from the taco shaper onto plate.


Fill and enjoy! This taco is filled with Brussels sprout slaw, guacamole, ground turkey, pickled red onion, radish, cilantro and hot sauce. I’ve also made the tacos for breakfast with eggs and leftover steak.


If you want to add more flavor and texture, chop up some scallions (or chilies) and add to frying pan before adding the cheese. Habanero-crusted, Chicken skin-crusted, Ground pork rinds & onions.

The provolone shells can be made ahead of time, refrigerated and then heated up before filling.

More photos.

I use Sargent provolone cheese which has 70 calories per slice and NO CARBS.

More Low Carb Recipes

White plastic taco holder on Amazon.com

Low Carb Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Low Carb "Mac & Cheese"
This cauliflower mac and cheese is one of the EASIEST low carb dishes to make. Start with your favorite Mac and cheese recipe and just swap out the ingredients.

In the photo above I used roasted, bite-size cauliflower florets, heavy cream (instead of milk), coconut flour (instead of flour for bechamel sauce) and delicious, ground up pork rinds (instead of breadcrumbs). See the step-by-step photos here. Note: I added ground turkey, roasted peppers and some leftover bacon on top.

Enjoy!

WHY #LowCarbJo?

List of 40 low carb foods (I keep this bookmarked for carb counting).

If you’re on social media, check out my #LowCarbJo hashtag (on twitterinstagram and Facebook). I post links to recipes I plan on trying and also share photos of my low carb home cooking. Happy eating!

For NON low carb and eating out, click here.

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Searching for my old blog? Click here!

EASIER Low Carb Bacon Grilled Cheese (2)


Yesterday (April 12) was National Grilled Cheese Day, so of course I cooked up my favorite low carb, bacon-wrapped grilled cheese. This new version is SO MUCH easier, because instead of cauliflower florets for the “bread”, I used Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower .

For the low carb grilled cheese (above), I started with the basic cauliflower pizza crust recipe, then formed bread squares instead of round pizza shapes. If you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s or can’t find riced cauliflower at your market, just follow the original recipe (using a head of cauliflower) here.


Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower basically cuts prep time down in half. I keep extra bags of the riced cauliflower stocked in my pantry for quick, low carb meals.


This is what the basic cauliflower “bread dough mix” looks like. I use this same recipe for low carb pizza, burger buns and tortillas.


Low carb “bread dough” ready for oven. I cooked at 450º for about 20 minutes on a non-stick pan. You want it firm, like a piece of hearty bread.


Low carb bread!


Grilled cheese sandwich assembled. I like old-school, melty American cheese and provolone.


Depending on the size of your bread slices, lay down strips of bacon (I used three thick pieces), then wrap the grilled cheese with bacon. Turn and wrap again and make sure the ends are on one side only. Next, use large tongs and a spatula to start frying (all sides) with the seam (bacon ends) side DOWN. This will help seal the bacon and hold the sandwich together. Take your time – it’s worth it!


Happiness!


My grilled cheese necklace I bought a few years ago on Etsy. I always wear it on National Grilled Cheese Day!

Basic Cauliflower Crust Recipe. Again, I use this same recipe for low carb pizzaburger buns and tortillas.

More Low Carb Recipes (many more added soon)

If you’re on instagram or twitter, I tag all my low carb dishes with #LowCarbJo. Enjoy!

Low Carb Grilled Cheese Video (instagram)

Trader Joe’s Website

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Provolone & Cauliflower Crust


I recently started playing with a crispy, provolone edge on my low carb pizzas, and shared a few test photos on instagram. Basically I wanted to add some more texture to my beloved cauliflower pizza.

The first time I tried it, I surrounded the cauliflower (cauli) dough with slices of provolone and baked it in a nonstick (deep dish) pizza pan. The problem was that the provolone cooked much faster then the cauliflower and the cheese was almost burnt. Even though my husband Peter loves burnt stuff (he’s funny that way), I wasn’t happy with it at all.

Next I tried cooking the cauli crust pizza first, then adding the provolone edge at the end. It turned out pretty good (not too burnt), but the provolone crust was so good I wanted MORE.

That’s how I came up with this #LowCarbJo Provolone & Cauliflower Crust Pizza. The one in photo above (more photos below) was topped with precooked mushrooms, onions and peppers for #MeatlessMonday, which is always a challenge since I cook low carb at home. At a recent Super Bowl party I switched it up with lots of bacon and I must admit, I was surprised to see it devoured in less than five minutes. Next time I’ll make a few more.

HOW TO MAKE the Provolone Crust Pizza

Preheat oven to 400º

First make the cauliflower crust pizza dough (ingredients here). Leave any precooked toppings off until you combine the two crusts.

For the provolone crust you need about 12 slices of provolone cheese plus a tablespoon of shredded cheese to place in between the two crusts.

I used two deep dish pans to make this pizza. One for the provolone crust and another for the cauli crust. The pans I use are 14 inches, so you may need more or less depending on your pan size.

If you only have one (non stick) pan, just make the cauli crust first, then carefully transfer to large plate. Add the provolone slices back on the (now) empty pizza pan and place back in oven. After the provolone crust is done, sprinkle a tablespoon of shredded cheese on the provolone before carefully sliding the cauli crust onto the provolone crust. The shredded cheese in between helps meld it together. Finish by adding cooked toppings, more cheese and warm through in your oven for a few minutes.

Again, two non-stick pizza pans are much easier! They cost under $15 each on Amazon and well worth it to me.

Step-by-step photos:


Step 1: In a nonstick, deep dish pizza pan, lay down 12 pieces of provolone cheese.


Step 2: In 400 degree oven, cook for five minutes or until melted together.


Step 3: Turn pan for even cooking (no need to flip) and return to oven another five minutes.


Step 4: The crust should be fully formed after 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven. You want a crispy bottom.


Crispy provolone crust!


In between the provolone crust and the cauliflower crust, add some shredded cheese to help make them stick together.


Now add whatever you want… sauce, cooked toppings and more cheese. Warm through in oven and enjoy.


I’m so happy with this #LowCarbJo pizza. Please let me know if you try it!

Basic Cauliflower Crust Pizza

More #LowCarbJo

Why I eat Low Carb At Home

List of 40 low carb foods (I keep this bookmarked for carb counting).

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How To Make Bacon Roses

A few years ago my husband Peter and I spent Valentine’s Day making bacon roses in our tiny kitchen. The dogs were going nuts of course, especially Ziggy (above) who simply would not stay out of the kitchen.

The bacon roses (naturally low carb!) are really easy to make (step-by-step photos below) and (at least in my book) a super romantic gift ANY time of the year. Plus it’s a fun, low-cost way to spend some extra time together, and isn’t that the point?

What you need to make bacon roses:
24 strips of bacon (I prefer thick cut)
24 toothpicks (soaked in water for at least 15 minutes)
24 long skewers
4 disposable muffin tins (6 compartments each)
Vase or tissue paper and ribbon
Paper towels
Hammer and nail

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


Poke holes in muffin pan bottoms (for draining). Place muffin pans on a baking sheet covered with foil to catch grease. You want the “tips” of the roses to get extra cooked, so use the pan walls to hold each piece up.


Roll individual bacon slices into “rose” shapes.


Secure with toothpicks (soak in water to prevent burning) and place one each into muffin tins.


Bake for about 40 minutes until nicely browned (depends on your oven). Transfer to paper towels to drain.


Gently remove toothpicks and replace (in same hole) with long skewers.


Present in a vase or bouquet to the pork lover(s) in your life.

We couldn’t finish them all in one sitting of course and added leftovers to salads and omelets the rest of the week. Peter and I have been together over 20 years, so maybe that old adage is true… “those who bacon together, stay together”? Ok, maybe not. But we do love our bacon.

All my BACON photos on Flickr

Link to Sarah Tisdale’s Bacon Broquet (where I first saw the idea!)

More #LowCarbJo

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Originally posted March 2011