I am trying to pretend that it is fall here in San Antonio! Sure doesn’t feel like it, but I heard a rumor that it might be coming soon :).
With fall approaching, we start to crave more comfort foods and home cooking. I’m not sure there is anything more comforting in cooler weather than some good ol’ southern cooking. The trick is trying to create southern comfort food lower on the carb scale.
While at Costco last week, I noticed that they had some huge, delicious, bone-in pork chops on sale. I bought them, put them in the fridge, and then began to wonder what on earth I was going to do with all these beauties.
Driving around, looking at all the fall wreathes on doors and pumpkins on stoops really made me want to try something southern good!
I searched, tweaked, and nailed it – gravy and all!
I just had to share so you can plan for this cooler weather we are rumored to have soon.
Best of all, I cooked this entire meal on my kids crazy sports day because it can all be prepared ahead!
Slow-Cooker Pork Chops with Herbed Gravy
3-4 pounds bone-in pork chops (6 chops)
1/2 cup butter
1 white onion
6-8 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup bacon drippings
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cup cream
3 tsp xantham gum
1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh basil chopped
Lay out your pork chops and coat each side with salt, pepper, thyme and ground mustard. Be generous with your seasoning.
Chop onion and mince your garlic.
Saute your onion and garlic in the butter until softened.
Press softened veggies to the side and add your seasoned pork chops. Brown slightly on each side over medium heat. (2-3 minutes per side)
Pour everything from your pan into your crockpot. Then add chicken broth and bacon drippings.
Add your parsley and mushrooms last, cover, and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
When you are almost ready to serve, remove the pork chops and cover to keep warm while you make your gravy – YUM!
These were so tender, they fell off the bone!
For the gravy:
Turn your crockpot up to high. Add your cream and basil. Stir with a whisk. Very carefully, lightly sprinkle the xantham gum over the top while whisking quickly. This has to be added very carefully with a fine sprinkle or it will clump similarly to corn starch.
Continue to whisk and you will see it thicken – be patient, it will take about 5 minutes.
We served this wonderful mushroom herbed gravy over the pork chops which we placed on a bed of garlic cauliflower mashers with a side of okra. It was a huge hit with the entire family just in time for fall!
It’s the weekend, and what is better than taking a night off from the kitchen to have a wonderful meal out? For those of you not local to San Antonio, you will have to make the trip down here. We know many of our readers are local though, so we have some great tips you can try for an evening out!
The kids are off to camp this week so we decided to try some new restaurants we had heard about. We ventured out four nights this week which I think is a record! Of the four, two were very much post worthy.
The first one worth mention was Cured, which is located in the Pearl area near downtown San Antonio. I went with Erin and another Keto friend, Kelley, where we decided to get three different dishes and serve them family style.
We ordered a great variety.
The first was the Crabmeat Ravigote:
It is basically lump crabmeat in a mayonnaise base topped with a ton of avocado and salad fixings. I asked them to leave off the beets. It was a delightful summer dish, not to mention beautiful!
The second was the Wagyu Brisket Sandwich:
Of course, without the bun! Another delicious dish. Look at the Herb Creme Fraiche and picked onions! And…the wonderful natural beef fat could only help to make it perfectly KETO!
The third dish was a hands down favorite with all three of us. Pork Cheeks Poutine:
I am still salivating over this one! I had never had pork cheeks or any kind of cheeks for that matter, but I guarantee I will have them again. They are melt in your mouth tender with wonderful flavor. They braise these and then slow cook them for hours. It was topped with gobs of flavorful cheddar cheese, pickled cauliflower, and we chose to add the fried egg. Can you say Keto, Keto, Keto! AMAZING!!! I can’t say it loudly enough!
Over all Cured got 5 Stars from all of us for food, atmosphere, staff, and Keto friendly!
The other restaurant we tried was The Cookhouse! This one is located off of St. Mary’s on Mistletoe in a cute little restored house. Make sure you have a reservation! We went on Tuesday night and the only reservation they had left was 6:00 pm. We probably watched them turn away 7 or 8 parties while we were there. Another advantage of this restaurant is their corking policy. You can bring your favorite wine to enjoy for a $20 corkage fee.
The Cookhouse is a New Orleans style restaurant so we were a little anxious going in because of all the heavy carb dishes usually associated with New Orleans. They could not have been more friendly about substitutions here even though they had a large party that evening. Everything is prepared fresh while you wait, and we were able to have a perfectly Keto Low-Carb meal.
We tried a lot of different dishes, and realized we ordered too much once the entrees arrived. They are massive so go hungry!
We started with the Shrimp Remoulade Salad and Pork Cracklins:
The Pork Cracklins are you guessed it, Pork Rinds served with an incredible cream cheese, sour cream and chive dip. These are a far cry from the pork rinds at the gas station!
Above is the Shrimp Remoulade Salad-A meal in itself but watch out for the fried green tomatoes.
Trout Almandine above
Braised Pork Shoulder with zucchini.
This was in place for the Blackened Drum in the menu, I believe it was a red fish.
When you think of cajun often the first thought after spicy and gumbo is grits. None of the four of us had grits and none of us missed them.
The Cookhouse was super accommodating and the objects on your screen are about three times larger than they appear. 🙂
Yesterday, Erin posted about air travel, and relatives or friends preparing for your visit. Summer also means road trips, and we do quite a few! The Lutz clan just returned from the Texas coast. I knew after a busy school year, that I wanted it to be a relaxing time for the family. As much as I love to cook, I didn’t want to be running upstairs, while the rest of the family played in the pool, just to start dinner. I also know that my kitchen at home is much more stocked than any vacation home on the planet – and I am not one that likes to be without my kitchen tools. It is just so much faster and more efficient to have the right tools! You can find many of the tools we use in our store. The best thing to do is prepare in advance!!!
There are a few staples we always take along with us (coconut oil, a spinner, cream, eggs, and Kerrygold), and several meals that are easy to prepare and freeze for easy travel that have become our “summer road trip meals”. It takes a little planning, but it is totally worth it, to prep some food before you go. I start making a list about a week before we leave, so I can do my grocery runs and start prepping! A few of the things I did before we left were:
1. Spiraled some zucchini for noodles, and packed in a airtight container. Spaghetti is a super easy meal to throw together in a pinch. I took some precooked sausage that I boiled to throw on top with my favorite low-carb pasta sauce. Normally, I would top with shredded mozzarella or parmesan, but I forgot the shredded cheese. We did have string cheese, so for those that wanted cheese atop their spaghetti, I just pulled some strings off the string cheese. Along with a salad, topped with avocado, we had a meal in a flash.
2. I used my Cuisinart to make Cauliflower rice in about 2 minutes. I put it in a Ziplock bag as flat as possible for easy packing, and freeze. This freezes so well, and then all you have to do is defrost, throw on a cookie sheet for about 25 minutes and you have rice ready to go. Serve with fish (you catch) or I used a chicken curry and broccolini that I had in the fridge. Another well-balanced meal!
3. Pack those frozen casseroles you have made when you have extra ingredients. I had a frozen zucchini lasagna made from extra ingredients when I made one recently for dinner. Defrost, throw in the oven, and dinner is ready in 40 minutes – no cooking or dirty dishes!
One trick I use for freezing is to line an 8×8 pyrex with heavy duty foil before I start layering lasagna or any other casserole. I wrap it up and freeze in the dish. Once frozen, I lift the whole thing out of the Pyrex and wrap in Saran very well. Now you have a brick of food that is easy to pack in the ice chest and don’t risk leaving your dish away from home. When you are ready to cook it, remove the plastic wrap and defrost in an 8×8 dish. Almost any condo or vacation home has an 8×8 pyrex or metal pan I have noticed. You can cook it in the foil in which it was wrapped. Check out this link at Southern Living for step by step freezing directions.
4. Another easy meal is precooked Bar-B-Que. I bought a precooked whole brisket which gave us dinner, a few lunches and dinner ready to microwave when we returned home. My trick for this is easy – save your bacon grease from breakfast when you cook on a foil lined cookie sheet. Yes! You can leave it out all day – I promise it will be fine! I plop that slab of meat in the grease, wrap it in extra foil, and you will have the juiciest pre-cooked meat you can imagine. I shredded cabbage before I left home and cooked it with bacon, onion and garlic. Store in an airtight container, and this re-heats better than any other veggie and is so good for you. We will be sharing this recipe soon! It is an excellent accompaniment to Bar-B-Que. This is the shredded cabbage before I cooked it!
5. I made another casserole that I had in the freezer that was similar to Chicken Divan like most of our mothers used to make. It’s the one with chicken, broccoli and cheese in a creamy curry sauce. The original recipe is almost Keto, but I change out the canned soups for more mayo, lemon, broth, and cream. Top with lots of cheese and you have a winner, winner, chicken dinner. I always serve with a side salad. Add the avocado my friends!
6. Generally we have scrambled or poached (yes, I take my poacher) eggs and bacon for breakfast. Check out our amazon store to see my poacher. Sometimes I mix in chorizo with the scrambled eggs to change it up. Last time I made a quiche at home, my kids requested ham and cheese, so I decided to do this ahead since the boys were playing golf early the next morning. It made for a quick breakfast with no clean up. I sprayed a casserole dish with Coconut Oil spray, cubed some ham, topped with cheddar cheese, and mixed 8 eggs with 1 1/2 cups of cream and garlic salt and pepper (go light on the salt for once on this one because the ham and cheese are already salty.) Poor the egg mixture over the ham and cheese and store in the fridge overnight topped with saran. In the morning when everyone is rising, remove the saran and pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for about an hour. This gave us two easy morning meals that were very filling, and the kids gobbled it up!
7. We had tons of left-overs at this point, so we served buffet style one night, and also at lunch if we weren’t making lettuce wraps for the beach.
8. We always eat out one night for some fresh fish. It just happened to be Snapper season, so my husband and I both started with peel ’em and eat ’em shrimp, and ordered the Snapper Special at Seafood and Spaghetti Works that was fantastic. It was blackened in butter and topped with sliced avocado and a crabmeat pico de gallo. It was amazing, and it could not have been more Keto. Once you learn to eat Keto, it really becomes easy to eat out. See our tips in our eating out post.
Isn’t that beautiful? REAL food is just awesome! These are the foods that were designed to fuel our human bodies.
As you can see, I really did no cooking at all for seven nights. It was all reheating, and I had a healthy dinner ready every night with less than 20 minutes of prep time. I literally prepped dinner and set the table while the children were bathing each night!
If you want a relaxing vacation with your family, plan ahead! It is so worth it when you can prepare dinner in a flash while the family is winding down from a fun day in the sun. (Wear your sunscreen!)
We all hope everyone has a safe, fun, relaxing summer filled with memory making vacations!