Showing posts with label keto diet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label keto diet. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Best Low Carb, High Protein, Gluten-Free Pasta

Kaizen Low Carb Pasta made with lupin flour is a health-conscious alternative to traditional pasta made with wheat flour and semolina. It is the best pasta I have found for those of us who follow a low-carb diet, such as keto enthusiasts, diabetics, or anyone looking to reduce their carbohydrate intake. It is also a great option for people who follow a gluten-free diet.

This product review will cover Kaizen pasta’s taste, texture, nutritional value, preparation, and overall value. As a bonus, I will also share a simple recipe I developed that uses Kaizen fusilli.

Kaizen low carb, high protein, gluten-free pasta

Taste and Texture

One of the most critical aspects of any pasta product is its taste and texture. Kaizen low carb pasta aims to mimic the familiar experience of traditional pasta, and it does a commendable job.

Taste

The pasta has a mild, slightly nutty flavor that pairs well with a variety of sauces. It reminds me of chickpea pasta. 

While it doesn't have the same taste as pasta made from wheat flour and semolina, it is quite enjoyable when combined with robust sauces like marinara or Alfredo. 

Texture

The texture is pleasantly firm, though slightly different from traditional pasta. It is a bit chewier, which can take some getting used to, but it holds up well in both hot and cold dishes. 

Nutritional Value

Kaizen low carb pasta shines in its nutritional profile, making it an attractive option for health-conscious consumers.

Low in Carbohydrates

This pasta is significantly lower in carbs compared to regular pasta, making it suitable for low-carb and keto diets. Each serving contains only 6 grams of net carbs, depending on the specific variety. 

The company has also come out with an even lower-carb pasta line, which I have ordered and will review after I have tried it.

High in Protein

With 20 grams of protein per serving, this pasta helps in meeting daily protein requirements, which is beneficial for muscle maintenance and overall health. 

High in Fiber

The pasta has 15 grams of dietary fiber per serving, contributing to better digestive health and helping to keep you full for longer.

Gluten-Free

Kaizen pasta has been reformulated with a gluten-free recipe, so more people can enjoy it.

No Artificial Ingredients

Kaizen prides itself on using natural ingredients, which is a big plus for those avoiding artificial additives and preservatives. 

Preparation

Preparing Kaizen Low Carb Pasta is straightforward and similar to traditional pasta. Just bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, cook the pasta for about 5–6 minutes (to the desired texture), drain, and use as desired, with a sauce or in recipes. 

Although the texture is different than traditional pasta made from wheat and semolina flours and cannot be cooked al dente, it's crucial to monitor the pasta closely to avoid overcooking so it does not become mushy.

Versatility

Kaizen Low Carb Pasta is versatile and, at the time of this post's publication, is available in four shapes: Fusilli, ziti, radiatore, and cavatappi. This makes it suitable for a variety of dishes.

It works well in classic hot pasta dishes like spaghetti Bolognese, carbonara, lasagna, and baked casseroles.

I used it to make a low-carb, high-protein, high-fiber version of a traditional Jewish sweet noodle kugel (a sweet egg, cottage cheese, and noodle casserole) and it was absolutely delicious!

It also holds up well in cold pasta salads, providing a hearty base for a variety of fresh ingredients. 

Overall Value

Considering its health benefits, Kaizen low carb pasta offers good value for money. Although it is more expensive than conventional pasta made with wheat flour and semolina, the added nutritional benefits will justify the higher price point for many consumers.

It's particularly valuable for those who need to manage their carbohydrate intake, follow a gluten-free diet, or want a higher protein alternative to standard pasta.

Kaizen low carb pasta is an excellent product for anyone seeking a healthier alternative to traditional pasta without compromising on taste and texture. Its high protein and fiber content, combined with its low carbohydrate profile, make it a standout option for low-carb dieters and health-conscious individuals. While it may require a slight adjustment in cooking and texture expectations, its versatility and nutritional benefits make it a worthwhile addition to your pantry.


Low Carb Fusilli With Pork and Mushroom Ragu

I whip up this delicious, low carb pasta dish often because it's quick and easy to make and my husband and I both enjoy it.

I usually serve it with a side salad and, sometimes, with garlic bread made with Hero bread (expensive but 0 net carbs and exceptional taste and texture for a keto-friendly bread).

I hope you and your family enjoy it.

Buon appetito!

Servings: 4

Ingredients

Boiling water

Salt

1 pound ground pork

8 oz. portabello mushrooms

1/4 cup wine (red is traditional but white is good, too)

Chopped fresh or dried Italian herbs (optional)

15.5 oz. jar Rao's Homemade Marinara sauce

8 oz. box Kaizen Fusilli low carb pasta

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Romano cheese

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil while you make the pork and mushroom ragu (meat sauce).
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, crumble and lightly brown the ground pork over medium-high heat.
  3. Slice the mushrooms and add them to the browned pork. Stir occasionally until the mushrooms are soft.
  4. Stir in the wine and the optional seasonings and cook until the wine is reduced by about half.
  5. Stir in the marinara sauce and turn the heat to a low simmer.
  6. Stir the fusilli into the boiling salted water (some foaming is normal) and boil for 5 minutes.
  7. Drain and stir the cooked pasta into the pork and mushroom ragu. Turn the heat down to low and let the pasta "marry" with the sauce for 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Divide into four portions and grate some Parmigiano-Romano cheese over the top just before serving.


The Best Low Carb, High Protein, Gluten-Free Pasta by Margaret Schindel


Read More Low Carb & Keto Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Recipes by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Health Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, July 5, 2023

The Best Quick & Easy Low Carb Sausage and Ricotta Calzones

Last month, I was watching an old episode of Chopped on The Food Network and my mouth started watering when I saw one of the chefs in the competition use the crazy basket ingredients for one of the courses to make delicious calzones. Then, my friend Sam Monaco published his easy homemade calzones recipe here on Review This Reviews. I guess I had calzones on the brain, because the next time I reached for my Scotty's Everyday Keto Pizza Crust Mix to make pizza, I decided to try using the zero carb pizza crust mix to make low carb calzones instead. 

I decided to fill the dough with ricotta, mozzarella and Parmigiano Romano cheeses, precooked sausage and herbs and serve the calzones with a good quality jarred pizza sauce as a dipping sauce. They turned out to be a big hit with both my husband and me. They also reheat well and we discovered that the leftovers are even good cold, which is great for a quick and easy hot weather dinner without turning on the oven.

I've provided both the low carb sausage and ricotta calzones recipe and variations for those of you who either don't follow a low carb or keto diet or who may be watching your calories and fat intake. And you can easily use regular pizza dough with wheat flour, if you aren't watching your carbs.

Enjoy!

Low Carb & Keto-Friendly Sausage & Ricotta Calzones -- Quick & Easy
Using Scotty's Everyday Keto Pizza Crust Mix with 0 net carbs makes this low carb sausage and ricotta calzones recipe quick, easy and keto diet friendly!

Just because you're following a low carb or ketogenic diet doesn't mean you can't enjoy delicious pizza or calzones! Check out my product review of Scotty's Everyday Keto Pizza Crust Mix with 0 net carbs, which I use in this low carb calzones recipe.

The Best Quick & Easy Low Carb Sausage and Ricotta Calzones Recipe

Low carb sausage and ricotta calzone

Using my favorite 0 net carbs keto pizza crust mix makes this recipe quick and easy to prepare so you can get this yummy dinner on the table in less than 40 minutes. It's a real treat for carb lovers who are watching their carbs, and it's also easy to adapt to make it lower in calories and fat.

You can also substitute conventional store-bought pizza dough if you aren't counting carbs, so it's a great recipe for everyone at your table.

Buon appetito!

Serves:
4

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Baking Time: 18–20 minutes

Tools, Supplies and Equipment

*When making low carb sausage and ricotta calzones, you can't use wheat or semolina flour (which is high in carbs and can spike insulin levels) to keep the dough from sticking as you roll it out. I have tried substituting almond flour or coconut flour, but it doesn't work well. A lightly oiled silicone pastry mat is the best rolling surface I have found for working with keto dough.

    Ingredients

    Filling:
    • 12 links Applegate Naturals Classic Pork Breakfast Sausage (or other sausage of your choice)
    • 1 cup whole milk (4% fat) ricotta cheese (I recommend Maplebrook Farms brand)
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
    • 4 ounces finely shredded mozzarella cheese
    • Fresh or dried herbs to taste (I love Penzeys Greek or Italian Herbs for this recipe)
    • 16 pitted black Greek olives (I use Divina organic kalamata olives), coarsely chopped
    Crust:
    Assembly:
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • Water
    Dipping Sauce:
    • 1 cup Primal Kitchen unsweetened pizza sauce (Rao's and Yo Mama's are also good low carb, keto friendly brands of pizza sauce)

    Directions

    1. Place the pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 425 ℉. Line the rimless cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
    2. To make the filling, pan fry the sausage links according to directions in a nonstick pan, then halve each link lengthwise and slice. (Alternatively, crumble and brown bulk Italian sausage.) Add to a mixing bowl along with the ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, finely shredded mozzarella, herbs and chopped olives and mix to combine. Cover and set aside.
    3. To make the dough, add the keto pizza crust mix, water and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to mix at low speed until the dough comes together. Scrape the bowl and the paddle attachment, replace the latter with the dough hook attachment and let the mixer knead the dough for about 3 minutes until it is uniform and smooth.
    4. To assemble, use 1 tablespoon of the oil to grease the silicone pastry mat. Divide the large ball of dough into four pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball. Roll out each ball thinly. Place 1/4 of the filling mixture along the center of one half of the dough, leaving a margin of dough around the rim. Moisten the rim with water, fold the dough over the filling and press the moistened edges together firmly. Use the extra-wide turner to help you carefully lift and transfer the calzone onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the three remaining balls of dough and the rest of the filling. Use your fingers to spread the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the tops of the calzones.
    5. Open the hot oven and, using potholders to protect your hands, carefully slide the parchment paper with the calzones onto the preheated pizza stone. Bake for 18–20 minutes, or until the bottoms are nicely browned and the tops are baked through.
    6. Put 1/4 cup pizza sauce in each ramekin and serve with baked calzones.

    Serving Suggestion

    I enjoy serving these low carb sausage and ricotta calzones with either a side salad of fresh greens or just some micro greens, as shown here. (Check out my Hamama microgreens seed quilts review. These microgreens are SO easy to grow, no green thumb required—just soak in water and let them do their thing!)

    Nutrition Information

    For those of you who are counting calories or carbs or tracking macros on a low carb or ketogenic diet, these generously-sized low carb sausage and ricotta calzones each have 691 calories, 54.3g of total carbs, 46.3g of fiber, 8g of net carbs, 35.1g of protein and 51.1g of fat.

    Recipe nutrition data calculated by Carb Manager app

    Variations for Conventional, Low Calorie or Low Fat Diets

    If you're not worried about calories, carbs or fat, you can easily substitute homemade or ready-to-use pizza dough, your favorite sausages (Italian would be great) and your favorite pizza sauce. You could also roll out your dough on a board sprinkled with semolina and bake on a semolina-sprinkled pizza stone. 

    To reduce fat and calories, you could try substituting low fat ricotta (although the filling might be a bit watery) and substitute Applegate Naturals Chicken & Sage Breakfast Sausage links.

    The Best Quick & Easy Low Carb Sausage and Ricotta Calzones by Margaret Schindel

    Posts About My Keto Diet Journey

    My First Year on The Keto Diet

    Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

    Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

    Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

    Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

    Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

    Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

    My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

    Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

    The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

    The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

    The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

    Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

    The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

    The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

    My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe

    Luscious Low Carb Keto Triple Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies Recipe

    Quick & Easy Livlo Blueberry Scones Keto Baking Mix Review

    Snack Better With The Best Healthy Keto Cookie Dough Bites

    The Best Quick and Easy Low Carb Keto Pizza Recipe

    The Best Quick and Easy Low Carb Keto Shortcake Cupcakes Recipe

    Comparing the Best Keto-Friendly Chocolate Hazelnut Spreads - No Added Sugars

    The Best Low Carb Keto Sandwich and Burger Buns Mix

    Blueberry Biscuit Scones — New, Easy, Low Carb Keto Recipe

    The Best Keto Pizza Crust Mix With 0 Net Carbs

    An Unusual, Delicious Strawberry Chocolate Tea With 0 Calories

    Delicious Sugar-Free Keto Cookies That OREO Fans Will Love

    Healthy Pistachio Cherry Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cereal Treats Recipe

    Easy, Decadent, High Protein, Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream

    The Best Quick & Easy Low Carb Sausage and Ricotta Calzones

    How to Make Refreshing Vanilla Italian Soda (With or Without Cream)

    Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

    My Personal Keto Testimonial

    How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating

    Read More Recipes reviewed by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

    Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

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    Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


    Wednesday, June 21, 2023

    Terrific High Protein, Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream

    Cottage cheese ice cream is an increasingly popular trend, and for good reason. We're learning more and more about the importance of prioritizing protein in a healthy diet and for muscle building, fat loss and weight loss. After reading several popular recipes, I decided to develop my own delicious sugar-free, high protein cottage cheese ice cream recipe in one of my favorite flavors, Rocky Road.

    In addition to being a decadent, silky, rich chocolate ice cream, it's also low carb and sugar free. As a bonus, it has a silky smooth texture with a base that doesn't require cooking or churning in an ice cream machine. Just process the base ingredients in a food processor, freeze partially, stir in the add-ins and finish freezing.

    Enjoy this review of my Easy, Decadent, High Protein, Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream recipe!

    Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream - High Protein, Sugar-Free, Keto-Friendly & Low Carb
    This decadent Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream recipe is quick and easy to make, packs a punch of high-quality dairy protein and is low carb, keto diet friendly, sugar free and high in dietary fiber.

    Why You'll Love This Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Recipe

    There are so many things to love about my new Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Recipe!

    • Quick and easy to make. The ice cream base takes just minutes to whip up in the food processor. Other than stirring in the Rocky Road mix-ins (mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and nuts), the rest of the time is just waiting for it to freeze.
    • No ice cream machine required. The only equipment you need is a food processor.
    • Rich, silky-smooth, creamy, no churn ice cream. Even though this ice cream doesn't need to be churned, it's rich and creamy (thanks to the whole milk cottage cheese with 4% butterfat) and has a silky texture. Also, unlike most sugar-free ice cream (both commercial and homemade), it's soft enough to scoop straight from the freezer without setting it out on the counter for 10 minutes or so.
    • Rich chocolate flavor. The combination of my favorite unsweetened cocoa powder and chocolate whey protein, plus a bit of salt, provide the rich chocolate flavor in the base.
    • Chock-full of chunky Rocky Road add-ins. Thanks to ChocZero's fabulous new sugar-free mini marshmallows, Lily's sugar-free chocolate chips and walnut chunks, this Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream will satisfy even the sweetest sweet tooth!
    • More than 17 grams of high-quality protein in a decadent, sugar-free dessert! Can't beat that with a stick, as they say!
    • More than 15 grams of dietary fiber, just 7.4 net carbs, 0 grams of added sugar and just 254 calories per generous serving. Perfect for a healthy low carb lifestyle and can fit into a low calorie, low carb or keto diet.
    So, what are you waiting for? Let's make some decadent, creamy, low carb Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream! Here's the quick and easy recipe.
    Dish of Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream with Spoon
    You would never guess this delectable Rocky Road ice cream recipe is made with cottage cheese and sugar-free maple syrup, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips and packs 17.4g of protein!

    High Protein, Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream

    Serves: 8 generous portions

    Ingredients for Rocky Road cottage cheese ice cream recipe
    Ingredients for making this Rocky Road cottage cheese ice cream recipe

    Ingredients

    Ice Cream Base:

    16 ounces (2 cups) whole milk (4% milkfat) cottage cheese, large curd (preferably organic)

    3/4 cup sugar-free Wholesome Yum Keto Maple Syrup sweetened with monk fruit and allulose

    1 tsp. vodka (optional but recommended, to keep the sugar-free cottage cheese ice cream scoopable straight from the freezer)

    4 scoops Perfect Keto Chocolate Whey Protein Powder (can substitute another brand, but it will affect the amount of protein per serving and may affect taste and texture)

    3 Tbsp. Ghirardelli Majestic Premium unsweetened cocoa powder (can substitute another high-quality, Dutch processed unsweetened cocoa powder, but it will affect the taste)

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Mix-Ins:

    2 ounces ChocZero Mini S'mallows sugar-free mini marshmallows (or use regular-sized ChocZero S'mallows sugar-free marshmallows and snip them into quarters with a pair of kitchen shears dipped in water)

    112 grams of Lily's No Sugar Added, Stevia-Sweetened 55% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Baking Chips or ChocZero Dark Chocolate Baking Chips

    2 ounces walnut halves or pieces, broken into small pieces

    Chocolate cottage cheese ice cream base in food processor
    The cottage cheese chocolate ice cream base become silky-smooth in the food processor.

    Tools, Supplies and Equipment

    Food processor

    Silicone scraper spatula

    Approximately 5-cup freezer-safe airtight food storage container (my 4.7-cup Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Container fit this ice cream recipe perfectly; the less air space above the ice cream, the less chance of freezer burn)

    Partially frozen chocolate cottage cheese ice cream base with prepared mix-ins
    The partially frozen chocolate cottage cheese ice cream base is ready for the mix-ins.

    Directions

    1. Place the ice cream base ingredients (cottage cheese, keto maple syrup, optional vodka, chocolate whey protein powder, unsweetened dark cocoa powder and salt) into a food processor. Process until silky smooth with no lumps, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl once or twice.

    2. Scrape the ice cream base into the freezer-safe, airtight food storage container and freeze for 2–3 hours.

    3. While the mixture is in the freezer, weigh out the mix-in ingredients (sugar-free mini marshmallows, dark chocolate chips and walnuts). Break the walnuts into small pieces. Set aside the mix-ins.

    4. After 2–3 hours, remove the container from the freezer, open it and stir the mix-ins into the chocolate ice cream base thoroughly. (Take care not to spill any of the mixture over the sides, since there will be only a small amount of headroom between the mixture and the top of the container walls.)

    5. Re-seal the airtight container and return it to the freezer for at least 4 more hours.

    6. Divide into eight portions and serve.
    Container of sugar-free rocky road cottage cheese ice cream
    Finished Rocky Road cottage cheese ice cream, ready to eat. Doesn't it look scrumptious?

    Nutrition Facts

    I entered the recipe into the Carb Manager Premium app using the ingredients shown in the photo. Here is the nutritional information it calculated.

    Per serving (1/8 recipe):

    Total Carbs: 45.3g

    Dietary Fiber: 15.4g

    Net Carbs: 7.4g

    Protein: 17.4g

    Fat: 13.7g

    Calories: 254

    Screenshot of my custom recipe's nutrition facts in Carb Manager Premium
    Basic nutrition data calculated for my custom recipe in the Carb Manager Premium app.

    Don't Eat Sugar-Free But Still Want a Delicious Protein Boost?

    Although I haven't tried it, I'm betting you could substitute regular maple syrup, marshmallows and chocolate chips for the sugar-free versions in this recipe. If you decide to give it a try, please let me know how it turns out.

    Enjoy!

    Bowl of Rocky Road cottage cheese ice cream with spoon

    Easy, Decadent, High Protein, Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Recipe by Margaret Schindel

    Posts About My Keto Diet Journey

    My First Year on The Keto Diet

    Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

    Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

    Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

    Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

    Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

    Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

    My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

    Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

    The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

    The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

    The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

    Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

    The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

    The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

    My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe

    Luscious Low Carb Keto Triple Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies Recipe

    Quick & Easy Livlo Blueberry Scones Keto Baking Mix Review

    Snack Better With The Best Healthy Keto Cookie Dough Bites

    The Best Quick and Easy Low Carb Keto Pizza Recipe

    The Best Quick and Easy Low Carb Keto Shortcake Cupcakes Recipe

    Comparing the Best Keto-Friendly Chocolate Hazelnut Spreads - No Added Sugars

    The Best Low Carb Keto Sandwich and Burger Buns Mix

    Blueberry Biscuit Scones — New, Easy, Low Carb Keto Recipe

    The Best Keto Pizza Crust Mix With 0 Net Carbs

    An Unusual, Delicious Strawberry Chocolate Tea With 0 Calories

    Delicious Sugar-Free Keto Cookies That OREO Fans Will Love

    Healthy Pistachio Cherry Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cereal Treats Recipe

    Easy, Decadent, High Protein, Sugar-Free Rocky Road Cottage Cheese Ice Cream

    The Best Quick & Easy Low Carb Sausage and Ricotta Calzones

    How to Make Refreshing Vanilla Italian Soda (With or Without Cream)


    Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

    My Personal Keto Testimonial

    How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating

    Read More Food Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

    Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

    Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




    Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


    Wednesday, February 15, 2023

    Healthy Pistachio Cherry Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cereal Treats

    I am in love with ChocZero's amazing new keto-friendly marshmallows. As soon as I received my first order, I knew I wanted to pair them with Magic Spoon cereal to make a healthier version of my husband's favorite marshmallow cereal treats. However, I didn't want to make just a plain, garden-variety, healthified version of the traditional treats. Instead, I came up with this fabulous, extra-delicious recipe where the vanilla flavored marshmallow and frosted cereal is studded with bursts of extra flavor from chopped salted pistachios, unsweetened dried cherries and sugar-free dark chocolate chips.

    In today's review, I'm delighted to share my brand new, original recipe that is gluten-free, grain-free and has no added sugars. Enjoy!

    Low carb, keto-friendly pistachio cherry chocolate chip marshmallow ceral treats <5 net carbs per serving
    My photos don't do justice to these firm yet ooey-gooey, healthy marshmallow cereal treats studded with chopped pistachios, dried cherries and dark chocolate chips. They're insanely good!

    Healthy Marshmallow Cereal Treats That Taste Even Better Than the Original!

    One of my favorite things about these treats is that they are firm and non-sticky when cooled while also having a fun, ooey-gooey, chewy consistency when you bite into them. This recipe truly exceeded even my high expectations for developing it. More importantly, it also earned the ultimate compliment from my husband, a dyed-in-the-wool Rice Krispie treats lover who said these are even better than the ones made from the sugar-laden original recipe!

    I do want to give credit to two recipes that influenced the development of mine. The first is Scott Loitsch's Rice Krispie Treats recipe (account required) from The New York Times' "NYT Cooking" section, which gave me the idea to brown the butter before stirring in the marshmallows. The second is Maya Krampf's Healthy Rice Krispie Treats recipe from the Wholesome Yum website, which recommended coarsely chopping the cereal (I decided to coarsely crush mine instead).

    The idea of adding chopped pistachios, cherries and sugar-free dark chocolate chips was entirely my own.

    Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free and Grain-Free Ingredients Are Just Healthy Options. Make These Treats Your Way!

    If you aren't concerned about healthy eating, feel free to substitute conventional marshmallows, chocolate chips and your favorite plain or frosted cereal (including Rice Krispies, if you like) to make these scrumptious sweet treats. 

    You definitely don't want to miss out on this fabulous, extra-special version of the beloved, traditional Rice Krispie treats recipe. Your family is sure to love my new variation!

    Healthy Pistachio Cherry Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cereal Treats Recipe

    Platter of healthy pistachio cherry chocolate chip marshmallow cereal treats
    I wish you could taste these incredibly yummy treats that no one would believe are actually healthy!

    Author: Margaret Schindel

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 5-10 minutes

    Cooling Time: 60 minutes

    Servings: 16

    Ingredients

    Directions

    1. Lightly butter a 9-inch square baking pan. Line it with baking parchment, leaving enough overhang to serve as handles. Generously butter both the parchment-lined pan and an additional small sheet of parchment paper. Set aside.
    2. Use your hands to mix the coarsely crushed cereal with the chopped pistachios and dried cherries. Gently rub the cherry pieces between your fingers to coat with cereal crumb "dust" so they don't stick together. Set the mixture aside.
    3. In a 5-quart, nonstick stock pot, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat until it starts to foam. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for another two to three minutes, stirring constantly with a silicone spoon or spoonula (spoon spatula), until the milk solids turn a deep golden brown. (Note: It took about five minutes on my glass top electric stove.) 
    4.  Use the back of the silicone spoon to smear some of the melted, browned butter halfway up the sides of the pot and add the marshmallows, salt and vanilla. Take the pot off the heat and immediately start stirring the marshmallows into the hot butter until they are mostly melted.
    5. Quickly stir in the cereal, pistachio and dried cherries mixture.
    6. Pour/scrape half of the mixture into the prepared baking pan, then sprinkle with half of the dark chocolate baking chips. Use the extra sheet of buttered parchment to press down gently to level the surface. Quickly repeat with the other half of the marshmallow mixture and the remaining chocolate chips.
    7. Allow to cool at room temperature for 60 minutes.
    8. Use the overhanging parchment paper "handles" to life the cooled slab out of the pan and invert it onto a cutting board. Peel off the parchment and use a long, sharp chef's knife to cut the slab into 16 squares.
    9. Turn the squares right side up, then serve. Wrap any leftover pieces individually in either wax paper or parchment paper and place inside an airtight storage container. Store at room temperature (do not refrigerate, which will cause them to harden too much) or freeze.

    Nutrition Facts

    Here are the nutrition facts for one serving of this recipe as calculated by the Carb Manager premium app, using the My Recipes feature to create a custom recipe and entering the ingredients and quantities listed in this recipe post. My photo of all the ingredients to shows the exact brands and products I used for each ingredient (the butter is Vital Farms unsalted grass-fed butter).

    Nutrition facts for this recipe calculated in Carb Manager premium app
    I used the Carb Manager premium app's custom recipe feature to calculate the nutrition facts for this recipe, using the exact brands shown in my ingredients photo.

    Tips for Making My Extra-Special Healthy Marshmallow Cereal Treats

    Here are my tips for getting great results.

    Choose the Ingredients That Fit Your Dietary Requirements and Taste Preferences

    Ingredients for recipe
    These are the exact ingredients and brands I used, and the ones on which the nutrition facts are based.

    I chose ChocZero marshmallows with no added sugar and ChocZero dark chocolate sugar-free baking chips, which are sweetened with low-glycemic sweeteners that don't upset my tummy, unlike some other brands that give my husband and me gastric distress. (Note: I bought my baking chips last year, before the packaging was updated.)

    Similarly, I chose Magic Spoon grain-free, gluten-free frosted cereal with no added sugars, one of the few such cereals that doesn't cause us digestive issues. (I initially bought a variety pack to try several flavors after reading my fellow Review This Reviews contributor Barbara's Magic Spoon keto cereal product review and both my husband and I really like all the flavors we have tried so far.) 

    If you want to make these treats low carb and keto-friendly, be sure to choose unsweetened dried cherries with no added sugars and minimal other ingredients. I chose unsweetened Sunrise Dried Cherries that contain only one ingredient: sweet cherries. They are surprisingly sweet, moist and delicious, and since the 1/3 cup used in this recipe is divided among 16 servings, the net carbs can fit within all but the most strict keto diet regimens. They also add a nice bit of dietary fiber and healthy polyphenols.

    Crush the Cereal While It's Still Inside the Bag

    Magic Spoon frosted grain-free cereal crushed with rolling pin
    I used a rolling pin to coarsely crush the cereal inside the bag before opening it.

    The first time I made these I tried coarsely chopping the cereal, but found it made a mess that was hard to corral. Pressing on the cereal with a rolling pin while it's still inside the sealed bag is a much neater and, for me, easier way to accomplish the same end.

    Line Your Baking Pan With Parchment and Butter Generously

    "Mise en place" of prepared and measured ingredients with parchment paper lined and buttered baking pan
    After crushing my cereal and chopping my pistachios and dried cherries, I measure and set out all my ingredients ("mise en place") so I can move quickly during this recipe, when time is of the essence.

    Keto marshmallows with no added sugar do not behave exactly the same way as conventional marshmallows made with sugar, especially when they are melted.

    Trust me when I tell you that butter alone, no matter how generously applied, is not enough to prevent this marshmallow mixture from gluing itself to your baking pan!

    Make sure to butter your 9x9-inch square baking pan (to help prevent the parchment paper from sliding around), paying special attention to the corners, line the buttered pan with two sheets of parchment paper and then generously butter the parchment. Make sure to cut the parchment paper long enough so that the overhang can serve as handles to let you lift the cooled marshmallow cereal treats out easily. 

    Mix the Crushed Cereal, Chopped Pistachios and Dried Cherries

    Coarsely crushed cereal mixed with chopped pistachios and dried cherries
    Mixing the cereal, chopped pistachios and dried cherries ahea of time helps to ensure that they are evely distributed into the browned butter-marshmallow mixture quickly.

    As soon as the marshmallows are added to the browned butter, the mixture will be very thick and can harden if stirred too long or reheated. Combining the pistachios and dried cherries into the cereal ahead of time lets you incorporate these dry ingredients into the thick, melted marshmallow and butter mixture quickly and still get a fairly even distribution.

    Tip: Use your hands to mix the nuts and fruit into the coarsely crushed cereal and rub the sticky chopped cherry bits between your fingers to coat them with cereal crumb "dust" and separate them.

    Brown the Melted Butter for a Rich, Slightly Caramelized Flavor

    Pot of melted butter, foaming
    When the melted butter starts to foam, turn the heat down to low and stir constantly...

    browned melted butter in pot
    ...until the milk solids turn a deep golden brown.

    This is a trick I picked up from Scott Loitsch's Rice Krispie Treats recipe in NYT Cooking, and it's a dandy one. 

    The added richness and depth of flavor is subtle but significant!

    Add the Chocolate Chips in Layers (vs. Mixing Them In)

    Keto marshmallow cereal treats mixture pressed into lined pan and sprinkled with chocolate chips
    To avoid partially melting the chocolate chips, sprinkle them in the middle and on top of the marshmallow-cereal mixture.

    I wanted the chips to stay intact and produce distinct "pops" of dark chocolate flavor rather than having it marbled throughout the vanilla marshmallow cereal base. So, I decided not to mix the chocolate chips into the coarsely crushed cereal with the chopped pistachios and dried cherries to avoid the risk of them partially melting when they were mixed into the warm marshmallow and butter mixture. 

    Instead, I pressed half of the marshmallow-cereal mixture into the prepared pan, sprinkled on half the chocolate chips, then repeated before pressing gently with a piece of buttered parchment paper to level the surface and press in the baking chips.

    Note: I love the paring of the dark chocolate with the pistachios and dried cherries, but you could substitute ChocZero milk chocolate chips if you prefer.

    Cut With a Long, Sharp Chef's Knife

    Cooled keto marshmallow cereal treats lifted out of baking pan with the help of the parchment paper overhang
    Using the long parchment paper overhang as handles makes it easy to lift the cooled, uncut slab of marshmallow cereal treats out of the pan in one piece.

    Inverted cereal treats slab cut into 16 squares
    Invert the cooled slab onto a cutting board, peel off the buttered parchment and cut into 16 squares.

    Using a long, sharp knife to cut these treats is extremely helpful. I use the chef's knife from our excellent, inexpensive Astercook 15-piece high-carbon steel knife set with steak knives and storage block (read my review). I had no trouble cutting the slab into squares with this knife, but if yours starts to stick, run it under hot water in between cuts.

    As you can see, the slab was inverted after I peeled off the parchment paper. I cut them that way and then turned them right side up before serving.

    Enjoy!

    Healthy Pistachio Cherry Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cereal Treats Recipe by Margaret Schindel

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