Keto Cheesy Meatloaf Poppers

Meatloaf is one of those classic home-cooked meals that I grew up on. The only drawback with meatloaf on a low-carb diet is that most recipes call for a significant amount of bread crumbs. But that’s not going to stop us, is it? It just so happens that almond flour (which is quite keto-friendly) is a great substitute for bread crumbs in most meatloaf recipes.

I try to get creative with “classic” recipes whenever I can, just to mix things up whenever possible. I recently started to get creative with my low-carb meatloaf recipe as well. Rather than molding one large loaf like I normally would, I decided to make meatloaf “poppers” instead. These look and feel more like Italian meatballs, but they retain the classic meatloaf taste that you’ve come to love. To top it off, I like to add cheese and bacon to really spruce up the taste into something slightly more exciting. I now present to you, Keto Cheesy Meatloaf Poppers:

keto meatloaf 5

What you’ll need:

  • 1lb Ground Beef (I recommend 80/20 or 85/15)
  • 3 Slices of Bacon, cut into 1-inch size pieces
  • 1 Egg
  • 3/4 Cup Almond Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Shredded Cheese (I recommend Colby-Jack)
  • 1/3 Cup Half-n-Half
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350F. While waiting for the oven to heat, place all of the above ingredients into a large mixing bowl. When combined, it’ll look like this:

keto meatloaf 1

Step 2: Using your hands, mix the ingredients together completely. Don’t be afraid to mush and mash the meat, almond flour, egg, and cheese together with your fingers. Mix it well!

Step 3: Begin to take small handfuls of the raw meatloaf mixture and roll them into small balls – about the size of a golf ball, if not slightly larger.

Step 4: Grab a cupcake/muffin tin and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the meatloaf “poppers” into a cupcake/muffin tin, like this:

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Step 5: Place the tin into your 350F oven and cook for 30 minutes. When finished, they should look like this:

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Let the poppers sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. I recommend dipping them in reduced-sugar ketchup or ranch dressing and serving with a side of cauliflower mash. My current favorite cauliflower mash recipe can be found here. Enjoy!

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Sugar Free Orange Cream Jello

Last week, I published a post about the possible benefits of adding gelatin to your low-carb/keto diet. So whether you’ve decided to introduce jello to your diet or even if you’ve been a long time fan of the bouncy goodness that is jello, this recipe is for you.

Sugar-free jello has been one of my go-to desserts for quite some time now. It is stunningly low in calories, high in sweetness, and quite cheap – often sold for about a dollar per box. Here are the nutrition facts for one box of sugar-free orange jello:

sugar free jello nutrition label

After making the plain old basic jello recipe dozens and dozens of times, I recently decided to spruce up this old favorite by adding a little bit of extra flavor and creaminess to it. I decided to combine my childhood love of orange creamsicles with my new-found love of sugar-free jello.

Your standard sugar-free jello recipe calls for the following ingredients:

It doesn’t get any easier than that. You simply mix the 1 cup of boiling water with the entire packet of gelatin mix and stir for about two minutes. Once the mix has dissolved, you stir in the 1 cup of cold water.

I completed the first step (mixing boiling water and jello mix) as instructed. On the next step however, I combined a 1/2 cup of cold water and a 1/2 cup of half-n-half. That was literally the only change I made. I mixed in the water and half-n-half combination for about a minute and then tossed the bowl into the refrigerator for 4 hours.

The final product looked like this:

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A closer look at one serving:

orange cream jello 2

Just as you’d expect, the half-n-half adds a creamsicle-type flavor to the jello. Not only that, but the half-n-half also gives you a few added grams of fat which may be useful in hitting your macros.

Remember, sugar-free jello is available in just about every flavor including strawberry, cherry, raspberry, lime, and more. I imagine that adding half-n-half will do just fine in any of the flavors!

Perfect and Easy Oven Roasted Turkey Legs

When someone asks me what my favorite holiday is, I always tell them Thanksgiving. For me, Thanksgiving is the perfect mixture of friends, family, and food. I have no shame in admitting that I squeal in delight when the beautiful golden-brown turkey makes it way to the table. And while many of my family members fight over the white breast meat, I always go straight for the legs. I’m a dark meat type of guy, and nothing channels my inner caveman more than using my hands and chomping down on the leg of a turkey.

Now, I am of the belief that there’s no reason to eat roasted turkey once a year. Whenever I’m feeling tired of chicken or beef, I always head to my grocery store in search of something that will change up my protein game for a few days. Some days it’s lamb, other days it’s pork. Yesterday, it was turkey.

As I was glancing through the meat section, I came across an unbeatable deal on turkey legs. Take a look:

turkeyleg1

Two beautiful, meaty turkey legs for $4.88. You just can’t beat that! It’s almost $10 to get a single turkey leg at the State Fair, so I knew that I wasn’t going to pass this deal up. I decided to bring those legs home and cook them for dinner that night.

If you’re like me, you prefer recipes that are not only quick and easy, but also effective. Roasting turkey legs is just that – easy and effective. Let’s not make it harder than it has to be.

Today, I’ll tell you how to roast the perfect turkey leg with only 3 ingredients. Let’s get started:

What you’ll need:

  • Turkey legs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 Stick of Butter (softened at room temperature)

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350F. While waiting for the oven to heat, remove your turkey legs from the package and rinse them under cold water. When finished, pat the turkey legs dry with a paper towel and place them on a plate or cutting board:

turkeyleg2

Step 2: Take your softened, room-temperature butter and spread the butter all over the turkey legs using your hands. Massage the butter into the turkey meat and under the skin if possible. Try to cover the turkey legs with even amounts of butter, being sure to use only as much butter as needed. When finished, the legs should look like this:

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Step 3: Sprinkle your desired amount of salt and pepper onto the turkey legs. Be sure to cover the legs evenly with salt and pepper:

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Step 4: Place the turkey legs onto a wire rack over a baking/roast pan. This method is useful to catch the turkey drippings. I actually use a cooling rack and a cake pan:

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Step 5: Place the turkey legs into your 350F heated oven. Cook for 45 minutes and then flip the turkey legs over to cook for an additional 45 minutes. Total cook time is 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, the turkey legs should come out looking like this:

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Mmm…golden brown turkey legs with crispy skin to boot! Pro-tip: Use a meat thermometer to measure the heat in the center of the turkey leg, which should be 180F. If the center of the turkey leg is not 180F, place them back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes and try again.

When you do remove the legs from the oven, be sure to let them stand and cool for at least 10 minutes. Not only will they be piping hot, but leaving them to stand before eating allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, leaving you with more succulent and tender turkey legs.

Now stop waiting for Thanksgiving and go find yourself some turkey legs to roast!

Today’s Lunch: Buffalo Chicken with Cheese, Celery & Peanut Butter, and Cottage Cheese

Every now and again, I like to remind people just how easy it is to stay low-carb even when you’re at the office. While there might be a box of donuts in the break room, you can always keto on if you plan ahead. Case in point, my lunch today:

todays lunch

  • Baked chicken breast with Frank’s Buffalo Sauce and melted colby-jack cheese with ranch dressing on the side
  • Celery and peanut butter (2 tbsp of PB measured in advance)
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese (4% milkfat)
  • Powerade Zero (Fruit Punch flavor)

I cooked the chicken last night and prepared the sides this morning before leaving the house. See, preparing keto-friendly meals on the fly doesn’t have to be hard!

PSA: Adding Gelatin to Your Keto Diet May Aid in Weight Loss

As a child, one of my favorite desserts was also jello. I loved how sugary, fruity, and…bouncy it was. When I started eating low-carb, I was happy to find out that not only does sugar-free jello exist, but it also isn’t half bad. Thus, it quickly became a staple of my keto diet for those days when I craved something sweet. I’ve been enjoying sugar-free jello for nearly two years now, but I never thought of the possibility that it might be giving my weight-loss an extra boost.

Now for today’s science lesson. Gelatin, which is found in sugar-free jello, is derived from collagen obtained from various animal by-products such as skin, bones, and connective tissues. Yum!

giphy

Gelatin is roughly 98-99% protein by dry weight. Though it has less nutritional value than other protein sources, gelatin has high amounts of glycine and proline.

Here’s where things get interesting. When consumed, glycine may promote glucagon to be released from the pancreas. What is glucagon, you ask? It’s basically the opposite of insulin.

“In place of insulin, your body will secrete a powerful hormone called glucagon, which will mobilize fatty acids and begin laying the ground work for some serious fat burning activity. And no hiding places can elude the ‘eagle eyes’ of the almighty glucagon! Cellulite (rhymes with the smell of your feet) doesn’t stand a chance against the triglycerides’ torching power of glucagon. Nor do double chins, love handles, beer bellies, bubble buns, lumpy legs, or thunder thighs.” (source)

In short, glucagon tells your fat cells to release fat, which in turn may aid and benefit in your weight loss.

Now, to be quite honest, sugar-free jello does not contain that much glycine. So if you’re looking to get directly to the source, try something like powdered gelatin or visit your local vitamin shop and purchase powdered glycine. Once you’ve got those handy, find some keto-friendly recipes that call for gelatin and see how it may benefit you.

As always, I encourage you to do your own research and consult a dietitian or doctor if you have specific questions before trying something new. 

7 Keto-Friendly Fast Food Restaurant Meals

For most of us, eating keto-friendly at home is (and should be) easy. We head to the grocery store with a food list and recipes planned out for the week, get what we need, and head back home. Simple enough. With that said, going out to eat at a restaurant can often prove to be more difficult.

We’ve all been in this situation: a friend calls you up and asks to go grab some food. Pizza place? Can’t do it. Italian? Pasta is a no-go. Mexican? Tortilla chips and rice aren’t allowed. Burgers? Buns and french fries are a problem. Clearly, making a decision that will work for both you and a friend can be tough.

The good news is that there IS a solution. We just need to think outside of the box. If you look hard enough, just about any restaurant (either fast-food or sit-down) should be able to accommodate your low-carb needs. It’s important to know that these keto-friendly options might not always be advertised, though.

Below, I’ve listed 7 keto-friendly fast food restaurant meals and how you can order them. I’ve done my best to select options from restaurants that are found commonly across the United States. Let’s eat:

1. Jimmy John’s – Unwich 

jimmy johns unwhich

Next time your friends want to grab some sandwiches, make sure you go to Jimmy John’s. Any of their sandwiches can be ordered as an unwhich. The unwich substitutes bread for a lettuce wrap which drastically reduces the carb count of any sandwhich. Delicious.

2. Chipotle – Salad

ChipotleVegSalad

Your friends are craving tacos? No problem. You’ve got this. Head to Chipotle and order yourself a salad. Throw some meat on there. Toss some cheese on there. Add guacamole and sour cream. All on a bed of a romaine lettuce. Completely filling and entirely keto-friendly.

3. Five Guys Burgers & Fries – Bacon Cheeseburger with NO Bun

fiveguysnobun

You and your pals are craving burgers? That’s easy! Head to Five Guys and order a bacon cheese burger without a bun. They’ll provide you with a hearty spread like the picture you see above. Word on the street is that extra bacon is also free, so be sure to ask for it when you order.

4. Panera – Power Breakfast Egg Bowl with Steak

panerabreakfastbowl

Panera may be known for their bread, but they haven’t officially left low-carb eaters out in the rain. Next time you head out of the house for breakfast, try Panera’s Power Breakfast Egg Bowl with Steak. Packed with protein, healthy fat, and only a tiny amount of carbs, this breakfast bowl proves itself to be mighty keto-friendly. If you’re at Panera for lunch or dinner, try the Power Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad.

5. KFC – Grilled Chicken 

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Kentucky Fried Grilled Chicken. While KFC has always been known for their crunchy fried chicken, they have recently begun to push their grilled chicken options more. That’s good news for people like us. As long as you have the courage to skip the mashed potatoes and biscuits, feel free to order grilled chicken next time you find yourself at a KFC and you’ll manage to escape unharmed.

6. Wendy’s – Chicken BLT Cobb Salad

wendyscobbsalad

This one is easy, and I’m willing to bet that each and every one of you have a Wendy’s in or near your neighborhood. If you’re looking for a keto quick-fix that you can pick up in a drive-thru, stop at your local Wendy’s and pick up their Chicken BLT Cobb Salad. Ask for a side of full-fat ranch or blue cheese dressing.

7. Starbucks – Iced Skinny Flavored Latte

skinnylatte

When you find yourself feeling tired of no-bun burgers and salads and looking for a sweet treat, head to Starbucks and order iced skinny flavored latte. A tall (12oz) typically has only 9g of carbs. To reduce the carb count even further, ask your barista to substitute milk for heavy cream or half & half, as the drinks are normally made with skim or 2% milk. This is a perfect and refreshing choice on a hot summer day.

See? Finding low-carb options at restaurants may be easier than you think. Like I said, just think outside of the box and be sure to clarify your food orders with the restaurant employees in order to ensure that you keep your meals as low-carb as possible.

Do you have your own low-carb restaurant recommendations? If so, let us know in the comments below. 

5 Uses for Hemp Seed on a Low-carb Diet

I’m constantly searching for new and exciting ingredients to add to my keto diet. Variety is the spice of life, right? So every time that I’m out grocery shopping, I try to keep my eyes open for any keto-friendly item I can add to my cart.

The other day, I stumbled across a new item that I had not yet purchased before – hemp seeds. Specifically, this brand:

photo 1

Hmmm. These look interesting. Most seeds are keto-friendly, I thought. So I looked at the nutrition label:

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Boom. Do you see that?! 0g net carbs per serving. Zero! On top of that, we’re looking at a hefty amount of vitamins and protein as well. As soon as I finished studying the label, I added the package to my cart and headed to the checkout lane.

Immediately after I got home, I opened the package. Let’s peek inside:

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Like I said, I had never purchased hemp seeds before. Before I opened the bag, I noticed that the seeds inside felt a bit soft. They felt more tender than say, sunflower seeds. After opening the bag, I took in the smell with a big whiff. The aroma reminded me of peanut butter. Nutty and sweet but with a bit more earthy-ness to it.

I poured some into a small bowl:

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They almost look like tiny flower pedals, don’t they?

Less than a minute later, I found myself spooning my first sample of hemp seed into my mouth. Just as I thought, they were softer and chewier than other seeds. While the smell reminded me of peanut butter, the taste was closer to sunflower seeds. They were nutty and salty as any good seed should be.

So here I am with a full bag of hemp seeds and not a clue of what to do with them. Where do I go from here? Like any normal person, I turned to the internet. After doing a fair amount of research, I came up with a solid list of practical uses for hemp seed. Let’s take a look at 5 of my favorite uses:

1. Add them to your salad. 

Okay, so I may have stolen this idea directly from the package of seeds that I bought. But hey, it seems logical. Seeds are a perfect addition to any salad, and these little buggers would add the ideal nutty zip.

2. Add them to your (full-fat) yogurt. 

The package also recommends adding them to your favorite yogurt. Be sure to go with a full-fat brand of yogurt without any sugar added. Try tossing a few raspberries in for added sweetness.

3. Make hemp seed pesto. 

Wonderful, wonderful, pesto. The great green goodness. Bob’s Red Mill recommends adding hemp seed to pesto for added flavor and nutrients. Check out a recipe here.

4. Sprinkle them on your avocado. 

Try sprinkling hemp seeds directly onto our favorite low-carb super food, the avocado. They should compliment each other quite well.

5. Eat them raw. 

That’s right, I said it! Open the bag and spoon them directly into your mouth. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a quick, nutty seed snack. Did I just say quick nutty seed snack?

You are now ready to head out to your local natural food store to pick up your own bag of hemp seeds. Just be aware that you should refrigerate the package after opening, and you should be good to go!

How do you use hemp seeds? Let us know in the comments below.