Monday, March 30, 2020

Low-carb coconut lime shrimp curry with cauliflower rice

I had no intention of writing a blog post about this recipe, but it's just too good not to share. This recipe is the result of me craving Thai food, having a little extra time to spend in the kitchen, and recently getting an Amazon Prime grocery delivery.

William said this recipe belongs on my "greatest hits" list. It only makes enough for about two people, so I recommend doubling or tripling the recipe if you plan to make it for more people.

If you prefer white rice over cauliflower rice, make the rice as directed but substitute the coconut milk and lime juice for water in a 3/4 to 1/4 ratio.

Low-carb coconut lime shrimp curry with cauliflower rice
For the shrimp
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (can omit if you don't like spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce (can omit if you don't have)
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • Cilantro for garnish
For the cauliflower rice
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 16 ounces cauliflower rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
Directions for the shrimp
  1. Melt coconut oil in pan. Add ginger and garlic and saute on low until soft, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add curry powder, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and coriander to pan and mix with ginger and garlic.
  3. Pour in coconut milk and lime juice and stir to combine. Let simmer for about 10 minutes to reduce liquid.
  4. Add shrimp and cook another 10 minutes.
Directions for the cauliflower rice
  1. Melt coconut oil in pan. Add ginger and saute on low until soft, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add cauliflower rice and salt and cook 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in coconut milk and lime juice and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the liquid evaporates.
  4. Combine cauliflower rice with shrimp and sauce in bowl and garnish with cilantro.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Low-carb buffalo chicken and cauliflower casserole

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I believe there's a time in life to follow recipes and there's a time in life to just cook. Obviously, we're living in times of uncertainty, and it's unclear what will be available at the grocery store during one of your very, very limited trips. So now is a time to just cook.

Cook whatever is available to you. Let your muse be whatever is in your pantry, your refrigerator, and your freezer. 

I realize that's easier said than done for many people who just aren't sure where to begin, so I wanted to share an idea for a casserole that you can easily customize depending on what is available.

For example, you could use frozen, fresh, rotisserie, or ground chicken; frozen or fresh cauliflower or cauliflower rice; barbecue sauce instead of buffalo sauce; dressing instead of sour cream; garlic powder or onion powder instead of ranch seasoning; and any combination of cheeses.

I made this recipe because I was craving comfort food, and I hope this casserole can provide you and your family with some comfort as well. 

I used Challenge cream cheese for this recipe because they don't add any unnatural additives, and they pride themselves in using hormone-free milk.

Low-Carb Buffalo Chicken and Cauliflower Casserole
  • 1 cauliflower head (or about 18 ounces) cut into florets
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce (use 1/2 cup if you like it spicier or 1/4 cup for less spicy)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (or ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing)
  • 0.4 ounces dry ranch seasoning mix, or 2 teaspoons garlic powder 
  • 1 1/2 pounds (or about 4 cups) chicken, cooked and diced
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Also, blue cheese and green onions if you want
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Microwave cauliflower florets for about 5 minutes or until fork tender. Set aside.
  3. Combine cream cheese, buffalo sauce, sour cream, and ranch seasoning mix.
  4. Stir in cauliflower, chicken, celery, and cheddar cheese.
  5. Prepare an 11x7 casserole dish with nonstick spray and dump mixture into casserole dish.
  6. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top starts to brown.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with blue cheese and green onion if desired.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Pot of Gold Cake Balls

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I’m so proud of these cake balls. They’re chocolate pots of gold with rainbow cake inside. They’re probably my favorite thing I’ve ever made for St. Patrick’s Day. If I'm being honest, they were more time consuming than I originally thought, but they were definitely worth it!

Cake balls always look adorable when they come from Starbucks or a bakery, but it seems they rarely turn out that pretty at home. There’s a lot that can go wrong, so I will share some tips I’ve discovered since the first time I attempted rainbow cake balls.

First, a cake ball is cake crumbs mixed with frosting and dipped in chocolate. That being said, it’s important to recognize the top of the cupcake is a different texture than the rest of the cupcake, so I recommend cutting off the tops and not using them.

Second, bigger is not always better, especially when it come to cake balls. If the cake ball is too big, it will be more likely to fall off the toothpick when you dip it. Try to make your cake balls about one inch in diameter.

Third, don’t spend too much time swirling your cake ball around in the chocolate. Dip it and get it out of there. That’s the key to a smooth surface. Also, your chocolate coating will be lumpy if your burn it in the microwave. The best way to prevent that is to heat it up slowly. Initially, microwave the chocolate for 1 minute and stir, but after that, heat up the chocolate in 15-second intervals, stirring every time.

Fourth, it’s tough to include every color of cake when making rainbow cake balls. I found it’s easier to grab a fairly large (size of a quarter) chunk of cake of every color, roll it together as one big ball, and then divide it in two, or three balls depending on how big it is.

Fifth, if you find the chocolate coating on your cake balls cracking after you dip them in the chocolate, it’s probably because of the difference in temperatures between the cake ball and the coating. (You froze your cake balls so they’re very cold; meanwhile, you just heated up the chocolate, so it’s very hot.) When the cold cake ball warms, it expands and cracks the chocolate coating. Make sure to let your melted chocolate sit for a few minutes after heating it and pull your cake balls out of the freezer for a few minutes before dipping them.

Also, when dipping your cake ball, make sure you coat the entire cake ball in chocolate and there are no leaks for the cake to pop out of.

You’ll notice I made homemade Irish cream buttercream frosting for these cake balls. I thought the Irish cream would make these cake balls even more Irish. It was certainly very tasty! But you can use any buttercream frosting flavor your want, or if you’re trying to speed things up, you can purchase store-bought frosting. It’s up to you!

I used Challenge butter in both the frosting and in the cake for this recipe. Challenge butter is 100% real cream butter with nothing artificial so you taste only the rich and natural sweet cream.

Pot of Gold Cake Balls
For the Irish cream buttercream frosting
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons Irish cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
For the cake balls
  • White cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • Red, yellow, green, blue, and purple food coloring
  • 1 (12-ounce) package dark cocoa candy melts (you can substitute with dark chocolate chips)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil (coconut oil, vegetable oil, anything to thin it out a bit)
  • Gold sprinkles
For the Irish cream buttercream
  1. Cream softened butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add Irish cream, vanilla, and salt and mix thoroughly.
  2. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat with mixer until combined.
  3. If frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add more Irish cream (1 teaspoon). If frosting is too sweet, add more salt (1/4 teaspoon).
  4. Set aside while preparing cake balls
For the rainbow cake balls
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix cake mix with eggs, butter, and milk. Divide the batter into 5 separate bowls. Color with a few drops each of red, yellow, green, blue, and purple food coloring.
  3. Pour cake batter into muffin tin. Each color will make about 3 cupcakes.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Cut off the tops of the cupcakes and crump each color into its own separate bowl.
  6. Add 2 to 3 Tablespoons of frosting to each bowl of cake crumbs and mix throughly until crumbs are consistency of coarse sand.
  7. Grab a small amount of each color of cake and roll it into a ball.
  8. Place the cake ball onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Stick cake balls into freezer and let harden for about 10 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, heat up candy melts with oil. Start with 1 minute, stir, and then continue to heat up in 15-second intervals, stirring each time, until chocolate is smooth.
  11. Remove cake balls from freezer. Place a toothpick in the top of each cake ball and dip in the chocolate, turning to coat. Lift the cake ball out of the chocolate and allow the excess to drip off before placing back on the parchment paper.
  12. Allow chocolate to harden. Remove the toothpicks and dip the top of the cake balls back into the chocolate. Quickly shake gold sprinkles on top and allow chocolate to harden again.
  13. Store cake balls up to 3 days.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Best pork carnitas with pickled onions and guacamole (Instant Pot, slow cooker, or oven)

These Instant Pot pork carnitas are my new favorite easy dinner recipe. There are many reasons why I love them.

First, it makes a lot of food. It’s truly a leftover lover’s dream! 

I use a bone-in pork shoulder. The smallest size I’ve been able to find is about 7.5 pounds, and very little of that is bone. That means this recipe makes about 7 pounds of meat! Sometimes I freeze half of the already-cooked meat because it’s a lot for two people to consume. Fortunately, it reheats well after being frozen.

Tip: This cut of meat runs about $3 per pound when it’s not on sale (I should specify this is the price in central Indiana), but every few weeks, local grocery stores will have it on sale for 99 cents per pound. That is an incredible price for this volume of meat! Last time it went on sale, I purchased and made two pork shoulders, and I froze the meat from one of them.

You can make this recipe a variety of different ways—Instant Pot, slow cooker, or oven. I made it in the Instant Pot. You all know by now how much I love my Instant Pot. 

Recently, I was listening to a podcast with author and New York Times food columnist Alison Roman, and she dissed the Instant Pot. She said something like you don’t feel as connected to the food because you don’t spend all day smelling it and tending to it. And while I wish I had the time to do that with every meal I prepare, it isn’t feasible.

Okay, so back to the recipe. I realize the cooking time seems like a really long time. You’ve probably never seen such a long Instant Pot cooking time. But keep in mind, this is a big piece of meat. And you want it to be super tender and fall off the bone. You could cut it up into smaller pieces, and it would cook quicker that way if you’re strapped for time. If you go that route, I would change the cooking time from two hours to about one hour.

I like to serve the carnitas with pickled red onions and guacamole, so I will include my favorite recipes for those as well.

NOTE: If you don’t own an Instant Pot, here are options for alternate cooking methods. For a slow cooker, cook for about 8 hours on low or 5 hours on high. Remember, you want the meat to be super tender and fall off the bone. For the oven, roast it at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 4 1/2 hours.

Pork Carnitas
  • 7-8 pounds bone-in pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed off
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 oranges sliced in half
  • 1 lime sliced in half
  1. Combine garlic powder, cumin, oregano, chili powder, dried basil, ground coriander, and paprika in small bowl.
  2. Rub spice mixture evenly over the pork and place in Instant Pot
  3. Squeeze the juice from the oranges and the lime over the pork. Place the oranges and lime pulp side down on top of the meat.
  4. Set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 2 hours.
  5. Once it’s done cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally.
  6. Remove the pork from the Instant Pot 
  7. Shred the pork using two forks and remove it from the Instant Pot and shred the meat using two forks.
  8. Preheat the broiler. Arrange the meat in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place the meat under the broiler for about 3 to 5 minutes. Monitor it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  9. Pour the cooking juices into a pot and boil for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup.
  10. Pour the reduced cooking liquid over the pork and toss to coat.
  11. Serve pork on tortillas with your favorite toppings, like pickled red onions and guacamole
Pickled Red Onions
  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sweetener of choice (sugar, honey, agave nectar, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Slice the red onion as thin as you can. I recommend using a mandoline.
  2. Stuff the red onions into your container of choice. I like to use a mason jar.
  3. In a pourable large measuring glass, heat up water to the point that it’s nearly boiling, or about 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Stir in apple cider vinegar, sweetener, salt, and red pepper flakes.
  5. Pour pickling mixture over sliced onions. Make sure they are immersed in the liquid.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
  7. They will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Best Guacamole Ever
  • 2 ripe Hass avocados
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2 jalapeño, including seeds and finely chopped
  1. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits
  2. Scoop the flesh of the avocados out of the rind and place in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour lime juice and salt in bowl with avocados.
  4. Mash it all together until just combined (don’t over mix!)
  5. Fold in the red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño (once again, don’t over mix!)
  6. Taste the guacamole and adjust seasoning if necessary

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