Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fried Egg Stuffed Bacon Cheeseburger

This meal was inspired by a picture my wife found on Pinterest (click here to see the inspiration photo). Although I have resisted the black-hole-otherwise-known-as-Pinterest, I can't deny the seemingly infinite cooking inspiration that it provides.

The best part...what looks like a regular ole burger treats dinner guests to an "eggceptional" surprise (sorry...couldn't resist) upon reaching the fried-egg burger center.

1 lb Lean Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
5 Strips Bacon
4 Medium Eggs
4 Slices Cheese (I used smoked gouda)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder

Cut bacon into small strips and pan fry until crispy. Set aside bacon.  Drain grease and wipe pan. I chose to save a couple of teaspoons worth bacon grease to fry the burgers (I said low-carb...not low-calorie!)  Mix ground meat, Worcestershire, and seasonings.  Form meat into extra large patties.  Using a small biscuit cutter or a knife, carefully cut out the center of the patty for the egg to drop in (you can add all the holed-out centers together to make another patty or just cook them as is and make slider-sized burgers.)  Carefully pick up the holy patty and drop in in the hot pan.  Cook about 30 seconds per side, then crack an egg and carefully drop it in the hole in the middle.  Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until the burger & egg are cooked to your preference.  If you prefer your yolk cooked harder or softer, you can add the egg earlier or later. Add the bacon strips and cheese on top and serve.  For low carb, serve naked (i.e. bunless), on a low carb tortilla, or as a lettuce wrap.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan

I don't like eggplant.  Broccoli and squash can get old. I admit, this purple vegi looks interesting when you see it in the vegetable isle, but looks can be deceiving. I have tried several "mushy" eggplant recipes without success, until I had an epiphany.

"Eggplant Parmesan"!!!!...Aaahhhhhhhhhhhh (That is an epiphany sound, not the beginning of a sneeze)

Eggplant Parmesan happens to be one of my all time favorite Italian recipes and eggplant happens to be the one of the main ingredients.  I figured that this would be an easy recipe to modify into low carb as the only change would be to find a replacement for the breading.  I have used this breading several times, and each time I modify it with precision engineering measurements (aka just throw in different amounts of the main ingredients and experiment as you go).

1 Large Eggplant
Shredded Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

1 Small White Onion
1 Small Green Bell Pepper
12oz Can Diced Tomatoes
4oz Can Tomato Sauce
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 Links Italian Sausage
Italian Seasonings or Basil Pesto

Low Carb Breading:
1/3 C Almond Meal
1/4 C Parmesan Cheese
1/8 C Ground Flax Meal
2 Tbsp Coconut Flour
Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning
2 Eggs

Peel the eggplant. Using the thickest setting on your mandolin slice the eggplant into slices.  If you don't have a mandolin, go buy one, you won't regret it.  You can use a knife, but it is difficult to get thin slices, so be patient.  Beat the eggs in a bowl, and in a separate dish mix the dry ingredients for the breading. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg, lift and let drain a second, then coat with breading.  Shake off excess and place on a roasting rack in a cookie sheet. Bake 15-25 minutes @ 350F or until the breading browns and is fragrant like roasted almonds.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage links in a pan.  Remove and set aside to cool.  Dice the onion, bell pepper, & garlic and saute until softened.  Add the tomatoes, sauce, pesto/seasoning, and a pinch of salt.  Slice the sausage links and add them to the pan.  Simmer until eggplant is ready.

In a casserole dish place a layer of eggplant, top with a layer of sauce, sprinkle with shredded & Parmesan cheeses, then repeat until you are out.  Should make about a 1" thick casserole.  Place in the oven @ 350F and bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.

Low Carb Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

This recipe definitely satisfied my craving for eggplant parmesan. Surprisingly the breading tastes great, and doesn't get soggy when you bake it in the casserole.  I even had reheated leftovers and the breading held up much better than the regular carb loaded versions.