THE IMPASTA

Photos by: Adrian Garcia (LASDI©)

Photos by: Adrian Garcia (LASDI©)

I was cooking for seven families.  Not seven people.  Seven families.  Well, Framilies.  You know what framily is, right?  When you have really good friends you consider to be more like family.  So let me correct myself - I was cooking a meal for seven Framilies!  

We were celebrating being together because our Framily from Hungary (they're missionaries there) were home in The States for a visit and we just wanted to be together and laugh and play games like we do every time they come.

So what does one cook that is inexpensive but delicious, and will stretch among all those people?  PASTA!  Oh, Y'all.  There were so many different kinds of pasta!  For the white "sawse" lovers, I made chicken alredo with the most beautiful rainbow pasta I've ever seen (I bought it at Trader Joe's).  For the meat-lovers, I made lasagna with pasta sheets from scratch and TONS of Italian sausage, ground turkey, and ground sirloin.  But then there's me.  The low-carb girl.  Who happens to LOVE pasta.  But I'm not the girl who can eat even a small plate of it and not gain ten pounds, which is why I'm low-carb in the first place!  So guess what?  I made IMPASTA.  Yep!  I made the most incredible fettucine out of almond flour!  And the best part is: It is only THREE INGREDIENTS!!

With this recipe (made very simlarly to Fathead Dough), I made a primavera with so many gorgeous veggies that it looked almost too pretty to eat!  I also made a simple garlic-butter-Parmesan fettuccine which may have actually been the star of the show! So I have provided the Impasta recipe below for those of you interested in low-carb deliciousness that will knock your noodle-lovin' socks off!

PS - I also made a salad.  You know, for balance.

IMPASTA

2 tsp almond flour

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1 egg yolk

(No, seriously.  That's it.)

Melt almond flour and cheese in the microwave for one minute (or a minute-and-a-half if cheese is not fully melted).  Wait about 30 seconds for the cheese to cool just a little bit and then add an egg yolk.  With a spoonula, press and fold the yolk into the melted cheese until it's completely mixed into the cheese, and gives a yellow appearance.  Reheat the cheese for 10-15 seconds.  Spray two pieces of parchment paper with cooking spray for rolling the dough out.  Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick, using one piece of parchment on the bottom, and the other piece of parchment paper on top to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin or your work space. Don't roll it out too thin.  

Slice fettuccine strips and let dry in the fridge for about four hours.  Bring a pot of water to a boil, cook for one minute, and then strain with a colandar, making sure you immediately pour cold water over the pasta, so the noodles don't stick to each other too much.

Reheat with any "sawse" you prefer together in a pan, or reheat in your microwave with a little butter for about 20 seconds.

NOTES:  What do you call a fake noodle?  (Oh, come on.  You get it!)

LIFE'S A BEACH

LASDI©

LASDI©

This particular catering gig was in June, so being the Themer-Girl I am, it only made sense that the summer menu was called Beach Party Roast.  It consisted of roasted salmon, roasted mini-sweet peppers loaded with green onion, cream cheese, and shredded cheddar, roasted asparagus, roasted beach bread, and sandy beach parfaits that I found a recipe for from a Texas-girl blogger.  With all of that yumminess, the peppers got quite a bit of attention.  I had the opportunity to pop a few in my mouth, and could completely see why they were so addictive!  Plus they're easy to make and low-carb!!  Shout out to The Daughts for the cute-and-appropriate title to this post!

MINI SWEET PEPPER POPPERS

1 bag tri-colored mini sweet peppers (about 20) seeded, and cut lengthwise

1 block cream cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 bunch green onion, sliced thin (both green and white ends)

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp pepper

Combine cream cheese, shredded cheddar, green onion, sea salt and pepper in a bowl.  Microwave for 15 seconds.  Mix well with a spoon and let stand about a minute or two.  Scoop a mound of cheese mixture into each pepper and press into pepper, careful not to over-mound so your cheese doesn't leak out during cooking.  Refrigerate for about an hour.  Heat oven to 400 degrees and bake peppers for 20 minutes; switch oven to broiler and broil peppers until cheese is brown and bubbly - about five minutes.  Let rest five minutes before serving, then pop a few in your mouth before putting them on the table because they go quick!!

NOTES: These are great for your Vegetarian Friends.  For you Meat Eaters, and for extra flavor, you can crumble some bacon into the cheese mixture, or just about anything you like!  I know an entire bunch of green onion seems like a lot, but it really lends an herbaceous, chivey taste to these loves.  For July, and some added heat, I use jalapenos in place of the sweet peppers for hot pepper poppers!  These are great served warm or room temperature and make a great side or appetizer.  

BREAKING BREAD

LASDI©

LASDI©

You won't believe this.  I mean, it took me a few blank stares and lots (and lots!) of tastes to believe it myself!  

As you know, I'm the low-carb girl of the family, and quite often cook that way without The Hubster even noticing.  Well, this is another sneaky-not-sneaky way of getting our low-carb on without allowing him to feel like he is missing out on anything.

For Superbowl Sunday,  he wanted wings and turkey burgers.  So of course I made them instead of buying them because that way I can control the ingredients.  For the burger buns I made cauli-bread.  Yes, I know.  That doesn't sound like the appealing direction I was taking when you first started reading.  But trust me here - this was OUTSTANDING!

I took a few recipes that I found along with some that were sent to me, added my own flare and touches, and came up with what I think is the best "bread" you could ask for!  This recipe is for flat, round buns.  And it was beyond delish!

CAULI-BUNS

1 head cauliflower, "riced" (Or if you can find it pre-made in a bag, PERFECT!) (see notes)

3 eggs

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 tbs sea salt

1 tbs pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (this is CRUCIAL for the success of these "breads").  Place mounds of the cauli-mixture into whatever mold suits your purpose.  In this case, it was the same round mold we used for the turkey burgers so they would fit perfectly.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  here's the thing: if they are not golden brown on top, WAIT UNTIL THEY ARE.  Flip for 5 more minutes.  Let rest for a minute or two before removing from the baking sheet.

NOTES:  Don't use frozen cauliflower or froze riced cauliflower, as there will just be too much moisture.  The other thing about this recipe is you can litch-rah-lay do whatever you want to make it INTO whatever you want.  For example: add lots of Italian seasoning and plenty of garlic and shape it into a long mound and you've got breadsticks!  If you want, you can add fresh sage and a tiny bit more sea salt and you've got hasbrown bread!  If you like, you can add cheese at the very end and heat until melty and you've got cheesy bread!  This is also SHEsTox-friendly for Week Three!  I promise you this, you will NOT believe how "bready" these things are.  It's delicious INSANITY without the carbs!

PICNIC LUNCH

LASDI2016©

LASDI2016©

I am learning that catering doesn't always mean a fancy, sophisticated spread.  Sometimes may also be doing a ton of amuse bouche or appetizers, and sometimes the theme could be low-key and understated - and yet still very appreciated!  In this particular case, I made a picnic-style lunch of gorgeous paninis with three kinds of cheese and shaved deli turkey on sprouted-grain bread, hand-crafted veggie-chip blend, baked cornichon, and the most wonderful chocolate chip cookies that were crisp on the outside and just-soft-enough in the middle that they melted in the clients' mouths!  I know, because they said so!!  I have a little trick for uniform cookies so read on in the recipe to see what that little hack is!!

CHOCOLATE CHIP PICNIC COOKIES

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 pkg (16 oz) chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg. Add vanilla and mix well. slowly add flour mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips. HACK PART ONE:  Spread your mixture onto a prepared baking sheet to meet the edges.   Bake until cookie "cake" is brown, which is approximately 13 minutes.  HACK PART TWO: Take a circular (or whatever shape) cookie-cutter (I used a small round with tiny scalloped edges for this catering job) and immediately cut your shape into the sheet of baked cookie.  DO NOT REMOVE.  Immediately place your cookie sheet in the freezer and leave there for anywhere between fifteen minutes to a half hour.  When you pull out the cookie sheet, carefully remove your cookies and keep the scraps for another recipe or as a treat for later!  I freeze mine and use in cheesecake for Sunday Supper!

NOTES: I use all-organic ingredients but it is not necessary for the flavor in the cookies for this particular recipe.  Also, be on the watch for your husband sneaking his nose into the freezer for the scraps you are saving for later.  I'm not trying to throw anyone in my house under the bus (The Hubster)......I'm just sayin'......

WELCOME TO TEXAS, Y'ALL!

SHE2016©

SHE2016©

The latest catering gig was for a meeting where some of the participants were flying into Texas from Indiana.  So providing lunch for this group was FUN because I wanted to welcome them TEXAS-STYLE!  I literally named the menu "Welcome to Texas, Y'all!".  Of course that meant stuffed barbecue chicken thighs, home-made baked beans, mini cornbread muffins, bacon-wrapped green bean stacks, cabbage salad with slaw dressing, and Texas tornado bars for dessert!  It was a huge hit and the chicken was delicious!!  So I have given you the gift of the easy recipe below!  Y'all.

Peppers & Cream Cheese-Stuffed Barbecue Chicken Thighs

extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

1 green bell pepper, diced finely

1 red bell pepper, diced finely

1 yellow bell pepper, diced finely

1/2 red onion, diced finely

1 tbs sea salt

1 tbs pepper

1 tbs cumin

1 tbs paprika

2 pkgs cream cheese, softened

2 pkgs chicken thighs

sea salt

pepper

garlic powder

1 cup barbecue sauce

1/2 cup mustard

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

In a heavy pan (I use my cast-iron skillet, of course!), sprinkle enough evoo to cover the bottom and heat for one minute on medium flame.  Add all peppers and onion, and cook for two minutes.  Add sea salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic, and then stir and cook another two minutes.  Remove from heat and add to the cream cheese in a bowl.  Stir until creamy smooth.  Pound each chicken thigh out to make sure it is not uneven.  Add a teaspoon of the cream cheese and bell pepper mix to the middle and roll, laying each one on a prepared baking sheet, fold-side down.  Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour.

Remove from freezer and sprinkle the tops with evoo, and then sprinkle a little sea salt and a little pepper and garlic powder as well.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, mix barbecue sauce, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce together in a bowl.  Once fifteen minutes is up, baste the chicken thighs liberally with barbecue sauce mixture.  Bake another fifteen minutes.  Cowboy up!!

NOTES:  The longer you keep the thighs in the freezer, the less the cheese mixture will run out as the chicken cooks.  This is low-carb, too!

Let's Be Brie(f)

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

Oh, man.  I cannot TELL you how much this catering gig lit a fire under me!!  I had SO MUCH FUN doing this particular one because instead of a meal, it was a ton of apps for a ton of people.  And it was a SUCCESS!!  Among (many) other things, there was Teeny Tacos, Creamy Cake Truffles, Barbecued Meatballs, Stuffed Mushrooms, Pesto & Goat Cheese Stuffed Cherry Peppers, Shrimp in Texas Red Sauce, and so, soooooo much more.  One of the faves seemed to be the Streusel-Topped Baked Brie I made.  Considering the holidays, this is the recipe I'm sharing today.  It's so easy and very fast to make, but seems so sophisticated and like you spent all day in the kitchen!  I served mine with really hearty and rustic wasa crackers, but you can serve with whatever you like!  Happy Holidays indeed!

STREUSEL-TOPPED BAKED BRIE

1 full round of brie

cooking spray

1 cup pecan pieces

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 sugar

2 tbs pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Gently cut the top of the brie round off and lay it back on top of the cheese from where you cut it from.  Spray a circular baking sheet with cooking spray and place the brie in the middle.  Bake for exactly twelve minutes.  While the brie is baking, combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  After twelve minutes, take the brie out of the oven and sprinkle streusel mixture all over the top.  Bake another five minutes.  Take out of the oven and let cool completely.  Serve with crackers or just eat it with a spoon!  

NOTES: If any cheese runs out onto the baking sheet while cooking, you will be able to scoop it up in its entirety if you want to place it on a platter.  Simply place the crackers over it or for a rustic look, don't cover it up.  Let that melty-cheese look do all the talking! 

She-cago Cubs

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

Though I am not a Cubs fan, I am a fan of Cubs fans.  One in particular happens to be my favorite person - The Hubster!  As we watched the possibility of Back to the Future's prediction in progress, we were invited to two of my other Cubs fan-favorites, Cody and her husband Joe.  My job was to take a sweet and a savory.  I did not don the Cubs gear; however, in support, I did fix up some Cubs eats!  I did cupcakes decorated with a Cubs logo, as you can see from the picture above, and also dressed up some antipasto apps to look like baseballs!  That is the recipe I provided you below......throw them together for your next sports party!

BASEBALL ANTIPASTO APPS

1 pkg 'everything' bagel thins, sandwich-size

1/2 pound hard salami, sliced at a 2 or 3

1 pkg sliced smoked provolone cheese

1 jar roasted red peppers, keep the liquid

2 tbs mayonnaise

2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese

Toast the 'everything' bagel thins until just crisp.  Mix the liquid from the jar of peppers, the mayonnaise, and the Parmesan cheese in the jar, close and shake well.  Spread very thinly and evenly on toasted bagel thins.  Place a slice of salami on top of the dressed bagel thins, and then layer a slice of provolone cheese.  Cut each roasted red pepper into thin slices to make the baseball 'laces', and layer according to the picture above.

NOTES: I use Boar's Head salami because it has no nitrates or MSG, and is minimally processed.  Also, as the low-carb girl, I simply eat this without the bagel thin and it is DELICIOUS!

 

 

ALL FUN & GAMES

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

Put together a game night for us and two of our favorite humans and just HAD to have some delish snackies.  So with leftover tuna steaks I made tuna-cakes, and with leftover ham, sun-dried tomatoes and 1/2 a bell pepper I made some bruschetta sammies (that's what I call them, anyhow), set out some cheese, crackers, and olives, and we had a full belly and a great time!  I've given you the bruschetta sammies recipe below.  DO IT.

BRUSCHETTA SAMMIES

1 brick cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup cheddar shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 bell pepper, diced finely

6-8 sun-dried tomatoes, diced finely

1 cup sandwich ham, diced finely

sea salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp paprika

1 loaf of your favorite crusty bread, sliced into 1-inch slices and open-faced

Mix all ingredients down to bread.  Generously pile onto bread.  Eat.  Say YUMMM!!

NOTES:  Isn't is crazy that it's THIS EASY?!?