This Keto cooking is a whole different animal from Paleo… but I’m starting to get the hang of it. The trickiest part for us is lactose intolerance. While I LOVE cheese, and am really enjoying it in abundance on this run of keto, I’m having to be very careful to make sure I’m using lactose free dairy wherever possible to avoid swelling and abdominal discomfort for both E.J. and I. The good news is that most aged cheeses are naturally lactose free, and our local Sprouts store carries lactose free cream cheese, sour cream, and half & half (which I use instead of cream in recipes).
The other oddity with keto is the allowance of some processed food items like condensed soups as bases for casseroles and sauces. After more than 2 years avoiding these items, I just can’t bring myself to go completely back to the dark side, so I’m making my own cream sauces and thickening with xanthan gum.
That being said, I have made a few dishes lately which really are pretty awesome that I’d love to share:
Crock Pot Bacon Mushroom Chicken – This one is actually pretty simple if you simply stick with the condensed soup that it calls for. I made my own with half & half, chicken broth, spices, and xanthan gum, and finished in a casserole dish in the oven instead of the crock pot, just because I was doing a double-batch and wanted to make sure there was plenty of cheese and bacon on each breast. E.J. and I both really liked the flavors in this dish, especially since I used gruyere cheese instead of a basic Swiss.
Low Carb Hamburger Buns – With last week’s pizza crust success, I ended up extending my “fat head” dough experience and made these buns to go along with some beef patties on the grill crowned with bacon and a fried egg. We enjoyed it so much, we had it twice.
Low Carb Bagel Dogs – This was another similar version of the keto dough, this time wrapped around sausages…. we had this for lunch today and it was amazing. Being from Texas, I can say I missed my kolache fix, and this dough opens up all kinds of possibilities again.
Keto Cinnamon Swirl Bread – Though keto generally tries to steer you away from sweets, they do allow for them if you use sugar substitutes that don’t spike your blood glucose. I admit right off that none of these substitutes are as delicious as raw honey or maple syrup, but so far I’m finding that powdered Swerve (erythritol) is the least offensive when it comes to aftertaste. This recipe uses liquid stevia in the dough, which isn’t too bad once you get used to it, but is not so great when you still remember what regular sugars taste like. After a few days of having slices of this bread, though, I’m finding I really like it and it satisfies the sweet tooth.
Low Carb Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars – When you need a keto treat with minimal effort that curbs the cravings, this recipe delivers. I used to make a similar dessert for my family when I was younger using graham crackers and powdered sugar. This one is similar enough that it takes me back to happy places without tanking my ketosis. Because of my Paleo tendencies, I substituted almond butter for the peanut, and used melted Lily’s dark chocolate chips (sugar free) for the topping (without anything else added).
So far, I’ve seen some minimal weight loss, but I’m feeling it in how my clothes fit, so that makes me happy. Any diet that allows me to keep losing weight and allows cheese and chocolate can’t be all bad…