Thursday, January 31, 2013

Low-Carb Superbowl Goodies

Cheeseball Log for Low-Carb Crackers
Make a Cheeseball Log
Super Easy Snack
for a Superbowl Game
Confession time.

I’m not really a Superbowl fan, and neither is my husband.

I’m actually addicted to the television series, NCIS, but foodies can never pass up an opportunity to talk about great party food!

Plus, NCIS marathons are a regular activity at our house.

To cover my own back, I have a few low-carb munchies that I like to keep the fixings for always on hand. Otherwise, I might be tempted to dive face down into my husband’s gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.

I don’t actually know how many carbs are in those cookies. I’ve been too afraid to figure it out. The homemade gluten-free hamburger buns were scary enough.


[Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you choose to buy something by using one of those links, I might receive a small financial compensation, at no cost to you.]

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Homemade Low-Carb Dips, Salsa, and Cheese Balls


If you’ve ever checked out the ingredient label on a box of Lipton Onion Soup Mix, it reads like a corn-infested chemical soup.

For years, I’ve been making my own dips and cheese balls because they are super easy and taste better than anything you’ll get out of a dip-mix package.

Just start with the basic recipe, then add whatever you have a hankering for. Let the dip sit for a day or two to give the flavors time to develop, and you’ll end up with a great party dip or spread.

Basic Dip Recipe 


Ingredients:

1 cup sour cream
8-ounces softened cream cheese

Combine sour cream and cream cheese, and then blend until the mixture is nice and smooth. That’s it. Nothing could be simpler. If you are doing high fat, you can also add a cup of mayonnaise to this.

Basic Cheese Ball Recipe

Ingredients:

16-ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 cup softened butter
assorted extras
crushed pecans

Combine cream cheese and butter, and then blend until the mixture is nice and smooth. Add any of the following variation goodies you like, and then roll the mixture into one or two balls. Roll the ball into a plateful of crushed pecans, and refrigerate to chill. Cheese balls don't have to sit as long as dip, but letting them chill overnight will produce the best flavor.

Dip and Cheese Ball Variations:


It is the variations where dips and cheese balls take upon themselves a character of their own. While dried minced onion and beef bouillon powder is traditional, bouillon is as scary as onion dip mix is, when it comes to chemicals and ingredients that you can't pronounce. Reach for less traditional, but tasty additions, instead - such as:
  • minced jalapeno, or other hot pickled peppers
  • bacon bits, ham bits, canned crab, or baby shrimp
  • chopped or minced red or green onions
  • black or green olives, sliced or chopped
  • minced pimentos or fresh red peppers
  • minced bell peppers in assorted colors
  • chopped pecans or walnuts
  • grated or crumbled cheeses
  • hot and spicy mustard
  • minced celery, cucumbers, mushrooms, or radishes
  • chopped artichoke hearts or water chestnuts
  • spinach, parsley, or cilantro
  • assorted herbs and spices
  • lemon or lime juices


Serving Ideas for Dips and Cheese Balls:



Serve your dips and cheese balls with:
My sons are particularly fond of taking a package of softened cream cheese, sitting it on a plate, and then pouring a little bit of homemade salsa over the top. That is what they call dip – quick and easy.

Salsa is also quite good served with pork rinds or homemade cheese chips.

Low-Carb Chicken Wings

Barbecued Chicken Wings
How to Make Low-Carb Chicken Wings
for the Superbowl Game

Superbowl isn’t Superbowl without chicken wings.

In fact, in our area, they’ve been whining on the news lately because the rumor is that there might not be enough chicken wings in the stores to go around.

Since you only get 2 wings per whole chicken, the news has been proclaiming that this Superbowl tradition has made things rough for manufacturers. Companies have to figure out what to do with all of the other chicken parts.

Sounded nuts to me, since chicken is so much cheaper than other meats, but that was the claim.

Hot Wings 


My favorite way to cook chicken wings is to bake them in the oven and then pour a nice hot wing sauce over the top of them. That sauce is particularly easy to make.


Ingredients:

1 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon onions powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

You just combine the Louisiana Hot Sauce, melted butter, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper together. Hubby doesn’t do hot, so I don’t make them very often.

Teriyaki Sesame Wings


Teriyaki is one of my husband’s favorite marinades, so I created this recipe back when I was doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF). When I went into my recipe archives to retrieve the link, however, I discovered it was missing!

I went after it for you because it’s a very good recipe. You can get that recipe here. I use this marinade for all kinds of things:
  • chicken breast
  • chicken legs and thighs
  • pork chops
  • and occasionally steak
It would also be great with cauliflower rice or low-carb pasta for an amazing low-carb lo mein.

Heroine Wings 


These wings originally came from Dana Carpenter’s book, 500 Low-Carb Recipes, that was published back in 2002. When a friend first gave me the recipe, I didn't know that it was one of Dana's.


Although the wings are dipped in Parmesan Cheese, they come out of the oven looking like authentic oven-fried chicken made with a flour coating. 

You can find the original recipe and the way I make them here.

The coating also works with chicken legs, if those are easier and cheaper for you. I'm guessing that the coating would also work for chicken nuggets or chicken strips, but I haven't tried that yet.

BBQ Wings



Although there are low-carb BBQ sauces you can order online from Amazon, it’s easy and simple to make your own.

Hunt’s Reduced-Sugar catsup is available in most grocery stores. If not, you can find it at Amazon as well.

It used to be called low-carb catsup, but when interest in low-carb products dropped off, Hunt’s simply took their low-carb catsup and renamed it to reduced-sugar to draw in more customers.

At 1 carb per tablespoon, it makes a great low-carb condiment.



Ingredients:

1 cup reduced-sugar catsup
1-1/2 teaspoons vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons spicy mustard
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of Worcesterhire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spices
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon molasses
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup bulk Splenda or other sugar substitute
2 tablespoons of sugar-free honey or maple syrup

Toss everything into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it start to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer. Let it simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, stirring often.

This barbecue sauce will also work with an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce, but you might want it a bit sweeter. You will also have to add a pinch of xanthan gum to thicken it when you use tomato sauce instead of catsup.

Additional Low-Carb Superbowl Ideas




The trick is to always look for great ideas that won’t make you feel deprived.

If you attempt to replace some of your favorite party foods with things you don’t like, or that are just okay, it won’t work very well, especially if you’re around others who are chowing down on:
  • take-out pepperoni pizza
  • quarter-pound hot dogs in soft fluffy buns
  • corn chips
  • and sweets
You need to create a memorable menu or snack plan that will allow you to look forward to the holidays and special events. How about making:
  • Low-Carb Pizza or pizza made with a ground-meat crust
  • Super Nachos using pork rinds instead of chips
  • BBQ ribs or strips of pork shoulder
  • Hot dogs or Bratwurst without the bun
  • Cheese, meat, pickle, and olive tray
  • Deviled eggs made with any of the above dip variations
  • Cold cooked shrimp dipped in faux Honey-Mustard Sauce
  • Mushrooms stuffed with sausage, onions, cream cheese, and pork rinds
  • Chicken Quesadillas made with low-carb tortillas, sour cream, chicken, cheese, and salsa
  • Taco Bar: make up taco-seasoned ground beef and serve with all of the fixings with or without a low-carb tortillas
  • Jalapeno Hot Poppers: stuff jalapenos with cream cheese, wrap in bacon, and bake until crispy
  • Meat balls with Alfredo sauce, BBQ sauce, or hot-wing sauce
  • Chicken Nuggets with BBQ sauce or faux honey-mustard
  • Guacamole with lemon or lime juice, and a little salsa for added flavor
Parties and special occasions won’t be boring if you plan ahead and keep a running list throughout the year of tasty-sounding recipes and ideas that can spice up your everyday low-carb foods.

While low-carb products shouldn’t become a habit, as they have a tendency to stall a lot of people (probably due to the wheat and corn), they can give your holidays and once-a-year events an extra-special kick.

So . . . How do YOU spice up your holidays, parties, and special occasions?

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