Category: low carb

Spicy Citrus Seafood Cocktail With NC wild-caught shrimp

Spicy Citrus NC Seafood Cocktail

Spicy Citrus NC Seafood Cocktail

Published in Carolina Country Magazine July 2020

Who has time or desire to do much cooking during the lazy hazy hot days of North Carolina summer?  Not me! Y’all, this seafood cocktail is light… so full of flavor with just a hint of fresh citrus, and only a little bit of fuss when it comes to cook’n. Loaded with a bounty of fresh seafood from our coast, you can enjoy this for a late morning brunch… for lunch… or right out of a jar in your porch swing watching the sun set!  

This is one of those recipes where specifics and exactness isn’t important — you know, throw cook’n!  Use all of one seafood or whatever combo you like. Go with your favorite vegetables and what’s in season.  Add veggies you like to my recipe… as The Frugal Gourmet Chef Jeff Smith would say…

“Omit and substitute! That’s how recipes should be written. Please don’t ever get so hung up on published recipes that you forget that you can omit and substitute.”

And in keeping with my North Carolina company ingredients, I chose North Carolina’s Bruce Julian’s Blood Mary Mix to finish out my recipe!  Just round up what you need and throw together some of my seafood cocktail… soon!  You’ll be so glad you did… and so will your company.

And while you’re at it, be sure to make some of my Savory Bay Crackers with browned butter too.  Followed up with a little dish of my No-Churn Cantaloupe & Coconut Ice Cream.

Come on over, and hang out with us in my fun facebook community too, where you will find this and lots of other goodies.

Spicy Citrus North Carolina Seafood Cocktail

Light and spicy... with just the right hint of fresh citrus, the seafood cocktail features all sorts of North Carolina goodness!

Course: Appetizer, Brunch, Fun Food!, Main Course, Snack, Supper
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, Gluten Free, Mexican, North Carolina Goodies, Seafood, Southern, Summer Food, Tailgating
Keyword: bloody mary mix, bruce julian, crab, got to be nc, grilled salad, romaine, southwestern, north carolina shrimp, lobster, mexican seafood cocktail, north carolina seafood, seafood cocktail, spicy
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
Spicy Sauce
  • 2 quarts favorite Bloody Mary mix* or V8
  • 1 bunch radishes, roughly chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons horseradish
  • 4 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • zest of 1 lemon, lime, orange and juice of ½ each, Cut the remaining halves into wedges for guests to squeeze into their cocktails
  • cracked black pepper
Seafood Mixture
  • 2 pounds wild-caught North Carolina shrimp, peeled, cooked and cooled
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 6 small lobster tails
  • 2 firm avocados, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Garnishes
  • 1/2 pound lump crab meat
  • cilantro
Instructions
  1. Combine and chill the spicy sauce ingredients.

  2. A few minutes before serving, add about four pounds of cooked shellfish of your choice (or use our suggestions above) and gently stir in the avocados and cilantro.

  3. Sprinkle with crabmeat and more cilantro.

Recipe Notes

*I used NC’s Bruce Julian Bloody Mary Mix.

 

Easter Brunch Asparagus Casserole

Easter Asparagus Brunch Casserole

This light and velvety asparagus casserole will be a favorite with the cheese lovers in your crowd for Easter brunch, or anytime. Other vegetables can be substituted or added, and have fun trying other cheeses too. You can even add in diced ham or bacon. Use this recipe as a base and spiff up to make it your own.

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Anytime is Deviled Egg time!

While recipe developer and food stylist at Our State Magazine, I was asked to give a classic deviled egg a North Carolina twist. These recipes inspired by our culture are fun to make and good to eat.

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Chicken Breakfast Sausage

Chicken Breakfast Sausage

Pull out your cast iron skillet for this one to get a nice little “crunch” on the patties. Making sausage to suit your own taste is really easy to do, and making a big batch at the time is too since you can freeze and take out a few patties as needed. You can make this recipe with ground pork, but we love the moistness from using ground chicken. And if you like maple sausage, make some with a hint of syrup drizzled in also. This makes a great “breakfast for supper!”

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State Fair Stoup

State Fair Stoup

State Fair Stoup

Published in Carolina Country Magazine  October 2019

Thank you Jesus… I can feel fall in the air!  My favorite time of year… when we can stop sweating and turn to cook’n.  Tailgate pot lucks… comfort foods… and goodies like chowders, soups and stews.  

We work months ahead for the magazine (just covered an event Saturday for next September issue!), and when I was thinking about October in April and May, while eating my first tomato sandwiches, I was trying to put my head into sweater season.  Ahhhh…. state fair time!  

I do love state fair time… and all that comes with it. I especially enjoy all the days I get to judge the daily cooking contests with the NC Department of Agriculture.  For years, more than I can remember now, I get all giddy when my packet of stuff arrives with my judging dates, tickets, parking pass and all.  Each year, I block off fair days on my calendar for the next and do my best not to let anything interfere with those culinary adventurous days.  This year, I will be judging vegetables, apples, pork and beef days.  It’s really fun to see what entries arrive… and honestly, some are rather scary!  I want to coach some of the entrants… to fine tune their dish just a bit to what we, as judges, usually all come to a consensus on would make their dish a big winner!  My biggest advice (and usually a comment from all around the table)… “where’s the SALT!?”  For years, folks got scared of salt… and went from one extreme to another. 

My best advice… make your dish and get a variety of honest folks to taste it.  Make sure they tell you the good, bad and ugly of it and fine tune it from there. There is great prize money on the contests… so if not this year, do start looking at the NC State Fair site (or your own state) mid-summer for the daily categories. Read all the specifics of the one(s) you want to enter (one little omission can disqualify your awesome recipe) and get to cook’n and tweaking!  And maybe next year, you will take home a ribbon and money.  To see all my suggestions… take a look here at this piece I wrote for Carolina Country Magazine a couple of years ago. 

Till then, get out your pot and cook up some of this stoup!  You can have the delicious aromas and tastes of the fair right now in your own kitchen.  When you do, hop over to my facebook community and tell us all about it.   

State Fair Stoup

You know you’ve arrived at the NC State Fair when you’re greeted on the midway with the smell of sausages, peppers and onions. This stoup is my version of these fair favorites, but in a bowl to enjoy on chilly days at home … along with toasted hoagies and cheese butter.

Course: Fun Food!, Soup, Stew, Stoup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: stoup, stew, soup, state fair
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
  • 2 each red, green, yellow bell peppers
  • 2 large onions,
  • 2 stalks celery
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 14 ounce pkg. kielbasa
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced dehydrated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 16 ounce jar pepperoncini, drained
  • 1 12 ounce jar sliced sweet ‘n’ hot pickled peppers (We used Mt. Olive)
  • 1 6 pack hoagie rolls, toasted and sliced in wedges

Cheese Butter
  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon each mustard and mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 and crockpot to low.

  2. Cut peppers, onions and celery into 1-inch pieces. Toss with 4 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper; spread out on large baking pan. Roast 30-40 minutes until lightly charred, tossing after 15 minutes.

  3. As peppers roast, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large skillet. Over medium heat, cook sausages, turning to brown on all sides. Remove to bowl and cut into bite-sized pieces.

  4. Add broth, tomatoes, seasoning, garlic and sugar to drippings and bring to a slow simmer.

  5. Put vegetables into crockpot. Add sausages, broth mixture, applesauce and pepperoncini. Stir to mix. Cover and cook 2–3 hours in crock pot. Garnish with pickled peppers.

  6. For the cheese butter, whip ingredients together until creamy. Serve on toasted hoagie buns.

Everything’s HOT up ‘n here Bagels! Bye Bye Gluten & Carbs

Everything’s HOT up ‘n here Bagels! Gluten & Carb FREE

Cheesy gluten and carb free bagels… with a kick of cayenne and a dusting of crispy everything bagel dust!

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Grilled Southwestern Romaine Salad with NC Shrimp

Grilled Southwestern Romaine with North Carolina Shrimp

Let your grill do the work on this one… dressed up or down as you’d like, grilled southwestern romaine with NC Shrimp is as quick a side as you can fix … but watch it closely, it is ready in a flash!

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Winter Citrus Salad… with blood orange & red wine vinaigrette ~ Sunshine!

Winter Citrus Salad with Blood Orange & Red Wine Vinaigrette

Vibrant citrus fruits are plentiful in the dead of winter, and this is a great salad to brighten the dreariest of days. Don’t worry about exact measurements for salad ingredients. Use as much or as little as suits your fancy.

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Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Throw together this no-cook chicken salad in no time for a tasty meal on a hot summer’s day.

Well here we are, in the dog days of summer!  In my neck of the woods, it’s been the monsoon days of summer. Rain! RaiN! RAIN!  But hopefully, we have a little break in sight for that and can now “look forward” to good old hot.humid.days.of.August!  And who wants to turn on anything that will add to that heat?  Ummmm, nobody.  This recipe for Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes was first published last summer in Carolina Country Magazine and a frequent go-to for me.  We all love to grab a cooked rotisserie chicken now and then… we can do so many things with one… not to mention throwing the skin and bones into the crock pot overnight after pick’n for the BEST flavorful chicken broth. You DO do that don’t you?  Oh there’s so much flavor in those bones and skin (if you don’t eat it) and all you have to do is cover with a quart or two of water, turn on low, and head to bed.  By morning time, you’ll be waking up to the aroma of tasty broth to use for soups, cooking veggies like greens and butterbeans or just to sip. You can throw in some herbs on the front end, or simply cool and freeze and season on the back end depending on how you’ll be using it.  I freeze in pint-size containers and it’s great to be able to grab and cook a little pot of butterbeans or collards with this deliciousness!

So here’s to the versitile Rotisserie Chicken!!  Pick one up today and make this chicken salad twist… ooooh la LA, you’ll be glad you did.

While here, please subscribe to my “Table Scraps” newsletter (green box over there to the right)… an e-zine with great stuff for in, out and about the home!   Take a look at my contributors…

P.S.  Don’t forget to come follow along in my facebook world too…
classy with a bit of sass!!  

Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Who wants to cook on hot summer days?  No need with this flavorful Italian chicken salad.... just pick up a rotisserie chicken, throw in a few ingredients and toss with the simple Dijon dressing, and that's it!  Except for a juicy ripe summer tomato you're going to stuff with this good stuff.  

Servings: 8
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned, boned & shredded (about 5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sliced roasted peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus 2 tablespoons for garniish
  • 1 4 ounce carton feta cheese with basil and tomato, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained
  • 8 large tomatoes, cored and drained upside down
DIJON HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • crushed black pepper
Instructions
  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Stir dressing into chicken to coat. Add all remaining ingredients (except the tomatoes) and mix well.

  2. Chill several hours or overnight. Stuff tomatoes and garnish with reserved feta cheese crumbles and parsley. Serve immediately
Recipe Notes
  • Don’t cut out too much of the delicious tomato — just enough to mound the chicken salad!
  • If you have fresh herbs... oregano, rosemary, basil, etc., use them instead of dried for more robust flavor!

#BlackboardBlurbs… a little teachable moment!
So what are capers?

Sesame Parmesan Squash Crackers

Sesame Parmesan Squash Crackers

It’s here!  Squash season… the start of that time of year when squash seems to be coming at us from every which way. I planted squash seeds in the spring, but just for squash blossom cook’n and eat’n. If you have never eaten them but love squash… oh lordy!  I’ll come back soon with some recipes and “how tos” on that, but today, enjoy these nearly carbless goodies!  

And if this is your first visit, be sure to add your email addy over there to the right and subscribe so you don’t miss out on future recipe goodies and helpful HOME EConomics hints!

Sesame Parmesan Squash Crackers

A fun side for summer soup and yummy snack for low carbers! Soooo addicting.  

Course: Side Dish, Snack
Servings: 8
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated and drained* squash (yellow or zucchini)
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.

  2. Combine cheese and drained squash. Mix together with fingers. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Pinch tablespoon amounts of mixture and place onto baking pan about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading as they cook. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seed herbs of choice.

  3. Cook for about 8-9 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned. Let sit in pan a couple of minutes, then remove to cake cooling rack with spatula to finish cooling about 20 minutes. Store for a few days in covered container, if they last that long!  

Recipe Notes

Squash prep:  Line colander with paper towels. As you grate each squash, put onto paper towels and top with another layer of paper towels and repeat till all done. Make sure you remove as much water/moisture from squash as possible.  If too much moisture remains, your crackers won’t crack!

Easter Basket of Goodies! “3 Karat” Gluen Free Carrot Cupcakes with Pineapple Whipped Cream-Cream

To be sure it can’t be Easter week already! But alas, tis true… so time to throw together something tasty for all our favorite little (and big) bunnies. Lately, I’ve found myself concocting more and more gluten-free delights. About a year ago, my bestie Giny was thrust into the GF

Wendy & Giny... 1st grade circa 1963

Wendy & Giny… 1st grade circa 1963

world by her doc with little to no info on what that meant…. now keep in mind, “the girl don’t cook”… and like my dearly departed mama, makes no bones about it. Rather proud of it as a matter of fact. She has me on speed dial and calls me from the grocery store for guidance… or just for directions on how to get outta there before she breaks out in hives! (ok, just kidding) Her idea of ‘cooking’ supper “pre-gluten-freeous” was putting out some cheese and crackers. This journey has had us taste-testing a plethora of store bought GF stuff… from crackers to breads (ugh!) and I’ve been having fun throwing together new treats for her and the hubs… my human guinea pigs. I have become her culinary coach for this new journey and I must say, I’m darn proud of her accomplishments… and she’s tickled that her health has improved and she feels better to boot (and gets Wendy-made food, which Hubs particularly enjoys). In the process, I’ve had fun playing in the kitchen and have stirred up some pretty darn good stuff.

Also, for the past year, I have been doing some recipe development for a line of gluten free food products made here in North Carolina… and was featured on-stage chef for them at the premier Raleigh Gluten Free Expo last summer. The turnout was HUGE and will be in a bigger venue this year… stay tuned about that. From that collaboration came a marathon personal chef cook’n last week for a family member of the company… my first 30 breakfasts/30 lunches/30 suppers!
Ninety meals and sides! If that keeps up, I need to be investigating new orthopedic appliances. The sweet little lady has painful neuropathy in her feet so after trying everything else, we’re trying gluten free for her. We are all hoping this clean-eating will bring some relief… time will tell.

Mainstream eaters are migrating to more gluten free options too, self included. My sis and BIL along with his in-laws are all virtually gluten free now. It’s rather simple to cook and eat this way… especially IF you use nekkid foods… and stay away from all the processed gunk filling the shelves and coolers in the grocery stores. If you don’t read labels, START NOW. We are what we eat… so do you know what all that stuff is you can’t pronounce you are eating and feeding those you love? As a gal who shops, cooks and eats Nekkid, I encourage you all to point yourself in that direction and challenge yourself to eat “clean.” I’m not 100% there, but I do read labels, and cook fresh foods… because “undressed tastes best!”

With all this in mind, and because I’d love nothing more than to be in my kitchen concocting new recipes all day every day, I hopped right in there today to create the Easter recipe I woke up with this morning. Somehow, I seem to have it in my genes to just know what to throw together and rarely do I have a failure… and few tweaks are needed. That was true with these Easter cupcakes… I did not have to adjust one thing after making the first batch… tasty, moist and gluten free! This is a perfect recipe for children to throw together too. And a great way to get veggies into those picky eaters.

I hope you will make a batch of these… they can be thrown together in about 5 minutes while the oven is preheating…. and on their way out in about 25 minutes. Thirty minutes to an Easter dessert that will make all your guests “hoppy” that are not super sweet and just right to top off your Easter buffet… especially your gluten free friends who often have to bypass dessert.

Here’s to a Blessed Easter season to you and yours… and be sure not to forget the reason for the season...."3 Karat" Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes

…make as cupcakes, mini cupcakes or layer cake!

Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes, 24 bite size cupcakes or 1 layer cake

Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes

These moist gluten-free carrot cupcakes are a perfect dessert for your Easter buffet... not too sweet or heavy, and a great treat anytime for those picky eaters who need more secret veggies!

What to throw together...

  • 2 1/2 cups almond meal (I prefer from Trader Joe's)
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat organic sugar (or brown sugar)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 2 cups (about 3 large) grated carrots
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise (only Duke's used in my kitchen)
  • 3 farm fresh eggs
  • PINEAPPLE WHIPPED CREAM

  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1-8 ounce creamed cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1- 15 1/4 ounce crushed pineapple in juice, well drained
  • 2 tablespoons honey

How to throw together...

  1. Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Line cupcake pan with papers. Divide mixture into cupcake papers.
  3. Bake about 20-25 minutes until center is done to touch.
  4. Cool and frost with your favorite frosting or dollop of Pineapple Whipped Cream:
  5. Whip cream and cream cheese until well blended and stiff peaks. Fold in extract, pineapple and honey.

...gently sweetened with local honey, this Pineapple Whipped Cream-Cream is just right to dollop on the cupcakes!

…gently sweetened with local honey, this Pineapple Whipped Cream-Cream is just right to dollop on the cupcakes!