When I was planning the menu for my last cooking class, I wanted to showcase a simple, healthy dessert that would compliment the spicy Thai peanut sauce entree we were making.
Introducing: Coconut Mango Sorbet!
You don’t need an ice cream machine to make it– just a blender or a food processor. It’s super refreshing and was a huge hit with my class. It’s easy to make ahead or in bulk, so you can keep dessert or a healthy snack frozen for the kiddos! There’s a hint of turmeric in this sorbet which accents the beautiful yellow mango color– and adds a really exotic flavor profile. Plus, it’s packed with antioxidants. DEEEEEELISH!
- 1 (16oz) bag of frozen mango
- 3 Tb coconut cream
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 5 Tb honey
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger (Gourmet Gardens tube)
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tb coconut meat
- shredded coconut and mint for garnish
- Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Put sorbet in the freezer until ready to serve. Top with shredded coconut and mint. (4-6 servings)
This picture does not do these little morsels of delish justice. They are reeeeeeaaaaallllllly good. It’s a recipe I modified from Smitten Kitchen’s sugary carb version….I didn’t sub out sugar free chocolate chips, but if you want ULTRA low carb, opt for that instead of the semi-sweet chocolate chips.
If you can picture me at 2am, the night before my first cooking class, I was totally stressing about prepping and realized at that late hour that I needed to make something for the ladies to munch on when they arrived. So, with copious amounts of peanut butter and cream cheese in my kitchen, this seemed like a winner. I converted Smitten Kitchen’s recipe into muffins– and by the Grace of Low Carb Gods, it all worked out. The women in my class went nuts over these!! The ganache is to die for. You can make the muffin or the regular cheesecake version– both were sublime.
Low Carb Peanut Butter Cheesecake
For the Almond Crust
- 1 cup raw sliced almonds
- 1 Tb Brown Sugar Splenda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 stick of butter melted
For the Fudge Layer
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 13oz semisweet chocolate
- 2 Tb smooth peanut butter
For the Cheesecake Layer
- 2 (8oz) packages of full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups smooth peanut butter
- ½ cup Truvia
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Ganache Topping
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 5 oz semisweet chocolate
- 1 Tb smooth peanut butter
- Make almond crust: In a food processor, blend almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon together until finely ground. Drizzle in melted butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together.
- Transfer crumbs to prepared pan. Press crumb mixture into muffin tins or on bottom of springform pan. Chill crust until next step.
- Make fudge layer: Bring cream to simmer in large saucepan. Remove from heat; whisk in chocolate and peanut butter until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into bottom of chilled crust and spread in an even layer. Freeze until ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes.
- Heat oven: To 325°F.
- For the cheesecake layer: Using an electric mixer or a standing mixer, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and Truvia until well-blended and fluffy. Beat in sour cream, then eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour over fudge layer that has set in the freezer.
- If using a springform pan, wrap foil around it and place on middle baking rack. If using muffin tins, just place on middle baking rack.
- To bake: Bake cake until slightly firm to the touch and the top appears dry, about one hour. The center two inches should only move slightly when pan is gently shaken. Transfer cheesecake to rack in the fridge until fully cool, at least three hours.
- For the ganache topping: Heat cream in a small saucepan until simmering.
- Off the heat, whisk in choocolate and peanut butter, if using. Pour onto chilled cheesecake and spread to the edges. Return cheesecake to the fridge until the ganache sets, about 30 minutes.
Parker’s Plate went national for the first time, y’all! Whoohoo!! Here’s a link to the segment on AMHQ, the Weather Channel’s new banner show.
Posing with one of my favorite TV personalities of all time– Sam Champion
When I landed my first on-air TV job back in 2002, I kicked it as a one-man-band for News 12 The Bronx and was also working as an overnight writer at WNBC in Manhattan. It was a brutal schedule, but I was determined to climb up the TV News ladder. I’ll never forget driving my clunker Oldsmobile to work every day (and night). The Delta ’88 had a red leather interior and I had to use safety pins to hold up the sagging headliner. Fancy!!! I sooo wish I had a pic!! Back then, Sam Champion was the meteorologist for the local ABC station, WABC. He was always one of my favorite on-air personalities– and continued to be when he moved on to Good Morning America.
So, fast forward 12 years, I was absolutely honored to be a guest on AMHQ, Sam Champion’s new show on the Weather Channel. It was National PB&J day, so I got to tout the benefits of peanut butter and join the hosts in making their favorite peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! It was freaking awesome. Talk about an adrenalin rush!! A live national spot is pretty much this girl’s dream come true. It’s hopefully the first of many to come! ( :
To pay homage to peanut butter, here are my Top 3 peanut butter recipes….And if you want my favorite sam’wich, you gotta slather on peanut butter, Nutella and stuff it with bananas. Boom.
Low carb, Sugar Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Bombs
Low Carb, Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Low Carb Candied Bacon Dipped in Peanut Butter
Mint and Veggies? Sounds weird, tastes delish.
I love roasting my broccoli– at a high temp, the edges get nice and crispy. I cut up the asparagus because it keeps it from getting soggy and retains that lovely crunch factor! There is a freshness and subtlety to the mint that really takes the flavor to another level of fabulous. This, from the girl who is not a big fan of vegetables. Time for
bacon broccoli (and asparagus and mint) y’all!
Broccoli and Asparagus with Mint
- 3 cups chopped broccoli
- 1 bunch of asparagus spears chopped in 1 inch pieces
- 2 Tb chopped mint
- 2 Tb olive oil
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 450
- Put broccoli and asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.
- Roast for 15-20 minutes until edges of broccoli are crispy and asparagus is slightly seared.
- Toss chopped mint on top of roasted veggies and enjoy!
Short ribs have emerged as a star of shows like Top Chef and Master Chef, primarily because they are a cheap cut of meat that when slow cooked in decadent sauces– turn into fall-off-the-bone-delish. Poor man’s steak becomes a rich man’s delicacy.
I have made this recipe for many dinner parties– including one this weekend, where the host declared them the “best short ribs” he’d ever eaten in his entire life. I’ll take it! And now, you have a recipe for the best short ribs YOU’LL ever eat. Your welcome!
For the short ribs
- 2-3 pounds of short ribs (about 10 ribs)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 5 Tb vegetable oil
- 6 garlic cloves unpeeled
- 1 whole jalapeno
- 2 large sweet onions peeled and quartered
- 12 ounces beer (not light-- something like Bass or an amber beer)
- 2-3 cups beef stock
- 3 Tb rice wine vinegar
- 3 Tb molasses
- 3 Tb Thai chili sauce
- 1 Tb soy sauce
- 1 cup hoisin sauce (plus an entire bottle of hoisin for the glaze)
- 1 Tb brown sugar
- 2 Tb fresh ginger (or fresh from the Gourmet Gardens tube)
- Chopped scallions and sliced orange for garnish
For the glaze
- 1 jar of hoisin sauce
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 Tb butter
- Juice from ½ an orange
- Orange zest from ½ an orange.
For the short ribs
- Pat the ribs with paper towel to dry them off. Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot with a lid over high heat. Brown the ribs on both sides, in batches, about 3 minutes per side. (Don't crowd them or they won't brown evenly) . Remove the ribs and pour off all but a couple tablespoons of the rendered fat.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees. Put unpeeled garlic cloves, quartered onion and jalapeno on a baking pan with olive oil. Drizzle more oil on top of the garlic, onion and jalapeno and sprinkle sea salt on all of them. Roast in oven for 10 minutes-- turn over and roast for another 10-15 minutes. When you take out of oven, garlic cloves should be soft and slip out of the peel with a little squeeze. Smash the garlic cloves and add them with the onion and jalapeno (no need to de-seed) to the pot.
- Put ribs back in the pot. Add all of the other ingredients. Stir to combine-- and bring to a boil. (If ribs are not covered in the liquid, add a bit more beef broth.)
- Lower heat to "low", cover and simmer for 3 hours covered. Make sure to flip ribs over midway through cooking time so they are equally submerged in the liquid and cook evenly.
For the glaze
- Saute chopped garlic cloves in butter on medium heat in a saucepan. Add entire bottle of hoisin sauce, juice from ½ an orange and the zest from ½ an orange. Stir until combined and warmed.
- After the ribs have simmered for 3 hours, remove from the pot and put on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush glaze on ribs and broil for one minute to caramelize the sauce.
- Garnish with scallions and sliced oranges.
This recipe puts the TENDER in chicken tenders. It’s so easy, y’all. In my cooking experience, it’s all about using a combo of butter and oil in a grill pan with the right timing.
One of the most common mistakes people make when cooking chicken on the stove top is putting it into the pan wet. You will never get a good sear on any meat if it’s wet. As soon as you take the chicken out of the package, dry it off on paper towels. I season both sides with steak seasoning and a sprinkling of paprika.
Heat up a grill pan on medium/high heat and make sure your butter is “melty and bubbly” when you put your chicken in the pan. I have 2 of these Circulon 12″ grill pans and use them almost every night. They are awesome!!!
Those ridges make beautiful sear marks!
Once you put your chicken in the grill pan, take the Beatles advice and just “let it be.” For 7 minutes, DO NOT TOUCH IT. Let it get a good sear– put your timer on and after 7 minutes, flip it. Then DO NOT TOUCH IT for another 7 minutes. Turn the heat off, let it rest for 5 minutes and dig in. It’s tender, tender, tender!! I love the Sriracha mayo– you can make it even spicier by adding more of the hot stuff.
Super Tender Chicken Tenders with Srirachi Mayo
- 1 package of boneless, skinless chicken tenders
- Steak seasoning
- 2 Tb butter
- 1 Tb olive or canola oil
- 1/4 cup full fat mayo (I like Duke's best)
- 2 Tb Sriracha Rooster sauce
- 1 tsp garlic or garlic puree in the tube (I use the tube of Gourmet Garden)
For the chicken tenders
- Dry off chicken with paper towels.
- Sprinkle both sides of chicken tenders with steak seasoning and paprika
- Heat up butter and oil in a grill pan on medium/high heat
- When butter is bubbly, put chicken tenders into grill pan (don't overcrowd- you may need to do 2 batches)
- Put timer on for 7 minutes and don't move chicken around in the pan!
- Flip over and let sear on the other side for another 7 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let chicken rest for 5 minutes.
For the Sriracha Mayo
- Mix together the mayo, Sriracha sauce and garlic until combined.
- Serve with chicken.
I don’t normally indulge in rice or pasta on my low carb/high fat lifestyle, but my man loves starchy sides. I forgot about a box of orzo I had in my pantry and pulled it out the other night for a quick side dish. Orzo is a form of short-cut pasta which has the shape and texture of rice….even better, it takes half the time to cook! I treat it like a rice pilaf and kick the flavor up a notch with
whatever’s leftover in the fridge some creative additions.
We had grilled a bunch of peppers on our ‘steak date night’ over the weekend and I needed to use them or toss them, so I chopped up a couple roasted poblano peppers and a roasted red pepper. Toss in a few chopped black olives and your orzo goes from bland to BAM!
- 1/2 box of orzo pasta (1 cup)
- 1 Tb butter
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp steak seasoning
- 1 Tb fresh parsley chopped
- 2-3 roasted peppers chopped (roasted red pepper, poblano or your favorite)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
- Preheat medium saucepan on medium high heat. Add butter to pan and when butter melts, add orzo to the pan. Stir frequently until browned, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in water and steak seasoning. Cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium low and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add parsley, chopped peppers, olives and kosher salt and stir to combine.
- Let stand for 3-4 minutes before serving.
Speaking as, ahem, the winner of several chili cook-offs, the most recent one at my TV station a couple weeks back, I’m pretty confident in my Chocolate Chipotle Chili recipe. It beat out my co-worker’s venison chili, which got me thinking about deer meat. I’ve actually never cooked with venison before. It brings me back to memories of eating at my boyfriend’s house in high school. His Dad was an avid hunter and made absolutely delicious venison steaks– they were never tough or gamey. When my friend offered up a couple pounds of ground venison, I was stoked. “Thanks, dear!” Or rather, “Thanks, DEER!”
I mixed in some spicy sausage and made the main veggie shiitake mushrooms which lent a really nice earthiness to the overall body of the chili. I usually add a touch of sweet to my chili to offset the acidic tomato element— instead of brown sugar, I just added 2 Tb of Grade B Maple syrup. It was subtle and just the right amount. Try it. You’ll love it. And technically, it’s still low carb, since there isn’t a bean in sight! Can’t wait to enter this recipe into my next chili competition!!
Try serving it with my equally delicious jalapeño cornbread.
Venison and Shiitake Mushroom Chili
- 2 pounds ground venison
- 1 package spicy Jimmy Dean sausage
- 2 Tb butter
- 1 sweet onion diced
- 4 cloves of garlic diced
- 2 cups shiitake mushrooms (stems removed) and sliced
- 1 box small portabello or white mushrooms diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 poblano pepper diced
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 can rotel tomatoes
- 1 Tb paprika
- 1 Tb cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 6oz can of tomato paste
- 2 Tb cilantro
- 1 Tb black pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt (more to taste)
- 1 Tb garlic powder
- 1 Tb onion powder
- 2 Tb Grade B maple syrup
- 1 Tb Srirachi rooster sauce
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 12oz bottle of amber beer
- In a large frying pan, brown ground venison on medium heat in 2 Tb butter until cooked through. Put into a large stock pot or dutch oven and set aside. (I brown everything separately and then simmer it all together).
- Brown sausage and combine with venison (do not drain fat from sausage-- pour it all into that big saucepan.
- In the same frying pan you browned the meat (don't wash it out), saute onion, garlic, red bell pepper and poblano until soft, about10 minutes. Put the veggies with the sausage and venison.
- Brown shiitakes and portabellos together (you may need to add a touch more of butter) until the water is cooked out of them-- about 10 minutes. Add to the big chili pot!
- Now add all the other ingredients!
- Stir together and simmer for 2-3 hours.
- Garnish with chives and your favorite shredded cheese
I used to be a white meat girl. And over the many years that I dieted on and off, I began to dread the “steamed/baked/no skin/boneless chicken breast” that every damn
starve yourself skinny low calorie/drop weight quick plan calls for. Well, woman cannot live on white meat alone. Especially on a low carb/high fat lifestyle. Bring on the dark meat, baby! Haaaaaaay!
There’s so much more flavor and, well, fat, in dark meat. I know some of y’all can’t bear the thought of chewing around the bone, but the most flavorful cuts are the bone in, skin on variety. When you saute these bad boys in butter, the skin gets a gorgeous golden color and stays decadently crispy. I added pancetta to this dish to get a little fancy, but you can just snip some pieces of bacon in for the same effect.
This is one recipe that demands a cast iron skillet or one of those ceramic casserole dishes (pictured below). Remember, the key to browning chicken beautifully is to DRY IT OFF WITH PAPER TOWELS. AND YES, I’M YELLING THIS!!! When you take chicken out of the package, it’s gonna be wet and will not brown evenly if you toss it in the pan like that. Dry those thighs off, GURL. My go-to combo for browning meat is a 2/1 ratio of butter to oil. You can use salted or unsalted butter and your favorite oil– I usually do olive or a canola blend. Once the butter is bubbly on med/high heat, put the thighs in skin side down and then don’t touch them for 10 whole minutes. I add garlic and bay leaves for extra flavor in the pan. Then, flip over after 10 minutes, leave them for another 10, then flip over one more time. So, a total of 30 minutes. Then, add in about 1/4 cup of white wine or dry sherry, crank up the heat, and let the wine cook off for 5 minutes. Boom. You’re done.
Note to self: Get olives WITHOUT the pits next time! And as someone who normally hates leftovers, this dish keeps well through the next day. Just pop it in the oven at 400 to warm it up for about 10 minutes and it’ll ‘re-crisp’ right up. Nuking it– not so much. That formerly crispy skin will get soggy and meh.
Mediterranean chicken thighs— OLIVE you.
Mediterranean Chicken Thighs with Olives and Pancetta
- 1 package of skin on/bone in chicken thighs
- kosher salt
- 2 Tb butter
- 1 Tb oil (I like olive or a canola blend)
- 4 whole garlic cloves
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 cup olives (combo of pitted green and kalamata)
- 1/4 cup white wine or dry sherry
- 4 slices of pancetta or bacon snipped in little pieces
- Dry off chicken thighs with paper towels. Season both sides of the thighs with kosher salt.
- Heat up butter and oil in a cast iron or ceramic casserole on medium high heat.
- When butter is bubbly, put thighs in skin side down.
- Add whole garlic cloves and bay leaves.
- Chicken will need a total of 30 minutes to cook-- 10 minutes per side. So, set timer for 10 minutes. Flip chicken. Set timer for another 10 minutes. Flip chicken.
- After chicken has been cooking for 20 minutes, flip chicken again and add pancetta/bacon and whole (pitted) olives. Set timer for last 10 minutes.
- *Note- turn garlic cloves and bay leaves over when you flip chicken so they don't burn.
- After thighs have cooked a total of 30 minutes, add 1/4 cup of wine/sherry to pan and crank up heat to high. Cook down the wine for 5 minutes and take chicken and olives out of pan to serve.
- The buttery goodness at the bottom of the pan can be served on top of the chicken if you'd like more buttery goodness, otherwise, just serve as is!
Love me some shrimp. This is slam dunk delish and super easy. If you’re doing low carb, opt for a lettuce wrap or use a cabbage leaf for your “taco.” The chipotle creme fraiche packs so much flavor, combined with the spicy kick of the shrimp. Did I mention I love me some shrimp?? Almost as much as Bubba!
Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Roasted Corn and Chipotle Creme Fraiche
For the shrimp spice seasoning (you won't use all of this, just save the rest for another meal!)
- 2 Tb chili powder
- 1 Tb paprika
- 1 Tb garlic powder
- 1 Tb cumin
- 1 Tb coriander
- 1 Tb dried thyme
- ½ tsp kosher salt
For the taco filling
- 1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp
- 1 Tb butter
- 1 Tb olive oil
- Lettuce wraps or corn tortillas
For the Chipotle creme fraiche
- ½ cup full fat mayo
- 2-3 Tb adobo sauce
- 1 Tb honey
- ½ lime squeezed
For the roasted corn
- 1 cup of fresh kernels (about 2 ears)
- 1 jalapeño chopped
- 1 Tb olive oil
- Pinch of kosher salt
For the shrimp
- Mix spice seasoning together and sprinkle on cleaned, peeled and deveined shrimp (about a pound).
- Heat a frying pan/grill pan with 1 Tb of butter and 1 Tb olive oil on medium high heat. When butter begins to bubble, lay shrimp on the pan. (Do not move around pan).
- Let sear for 3 minutes on one side and flip. Cook for 2 minutes on the other side.
For the creme fraiche
- Mix ingredients together, stir until combined. Top onto shrimp tacos.
For the roasted corn
- Heat up a frying pan with 1 Tb olive oil and saute corn and jalapeño together until golden, about 7 minutes. Add a pinch of kosher salt
- Serve topped on tacos or as a side dish.
- Garnish with cilantro
- Spoon some of the chipotle creme fraiche onto your favorite tortilla or lettuce wrap. Top with shrimp, roasted corn and cilantro.
- Or drizzle chipotle creme fraiche on top of shrimp if you are serving them without the "taco"