Category Archives: South Beach

Hungarian Sausage & Pepper Stew

I love when my friend Mat takes over my kitchen and invents dishes. It’s like I get a night off from thinking about dinner and I play sous chef: dicing veggies, finding him utensils or even just lazing on the couch while he does all the work.

Mat has been living the Keto lifestyle for five years so I know whatever he concocts will not only be delicious but also nutritious (or sometimes it’s just cheese; let’s face it, cheese is good.)

Today was rainy and chilly – a perfect evening for a warming stew. We raided my fridge and made the most of a Costco rotisserie chicken.

What Mat came up with was just what we needed on a night like this.

Hearty Hungarian Stew | A Perfect Fall Meal from

Sausage, Pepper and Paprika Stew

Serves 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 5-7 baby bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • A couple of dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound kielbasa, sliced
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cups sour cream
  • rice for serving (if Keto isn’t an issue)

Hearty Hungarian Stew | A Perfect Fall Meal from


Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high flame. Add the onions, celery and carrots. Sprinkle with salt. Cook until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and cook another few minutes.

Add the paprika, tomato paste, bay leaf, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, and kielbasa. Cover, bring to a boil and turn down heat to remain at a simmer. Add pepper to taste.

Simmer for 30 minutes. Toss in the chicken and simmer another 10 minutes. Stir in the sour cream.

Serve over rice and top with a dollop of sour cream.

Hearty Hungarian Stew | A Perfect Fall Meal from

Low-carb Chicken Nuggets

I love junk food. LOVE IT. But there are lots of reasons why I shouldn’t eat it on the regular.

I’m not a big fan of diet recipes that try to emulate the real deal. Usually they lack in flavor or texture. But I’m willing to try them once in a while.

Here’s a recipe that satisfies my fast food desire: homemade chicken nuggets. Not only are they kid friendly (my son gobbled them up), but they are great for those on low-carb or gluten-free diets.

This is a great weeknight dish since they only take about 40 minutes from start to finish. Serve them with cheesy broccoli quinoa and you’ve got yourself a tasty junk-like meal.

Low-carb Chicken Nuggets | A healthy, homemade recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Low Carb Chicken Nuggets

Serves 2-3


1 pound of chicken tenders (chicken breast would be fine)

1 tsp. baking soda (optional)

3/4 cup almond flour

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs

Low-carb Chicken Nuggets | A healthy, homemade recipe from Alaska Knit NatDirections:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Cut your chicken into two-inch pieces. Place them in a bowl with two tablespoons of cold water and the baking soda. Let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. (This step is optional, but I find it makes a more tender nugget as per America’s Test Kitchen’s advice).

Whisk together the eggs in a pie pan. Combine the dry ingredients in another pie pan.

Toss the chicken pieces in the egg then gently dredge them in the almond flour mixture. Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, flip them and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a couple of minutes before serving.

Low-carb Chicken Nuggets | A healthy, homemade recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Salmon salad lettuce wraps

With a new year comes New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve decided to join the countless others who resolve to eat more healthily. As a contributor to Anchorage Food Mosaic Project, I was recently asked what my Food Year’s Resolution was. Fewer cheeseburgers was the first thing that came to mind, but also to cut down on carbs and to eat more healthily in general.

My husband and I are trying out the South Beach Diet, which is a low sugar and carb regimen. The first phase is pretty strict, but that doesn’t limit my ability to cook delicious food.

Today’s lunch was quick to prepare and pretty dang delicious. I love me some smoked salmon, but that stuff is expensive. I wanted to make a dish that had the flavor of smoked salmon, but was a little easier on the pocketbook.

This salad recipe is chock full of nutrients and with the use of smoked paprika, it fulfilled my craving for smoked salmon. I purchased my canned salmon at Costco, but if you’re lucky to have an Alaska fisherman friend, you could certainly make this with fresh-cooked salmon!

Smokey Salmon Lettuce Wraps | A Healthy Lunch from Alaska Knit Nat

Smokey salmon lettuce wraps — A South Beach Diet phase 1 recipe

Makes about 6 wraps

Continue reading Salmon salad lettuce wraps

Chiles Rellenos with Smoky Cream Sauce

Chiles Rellenos with Smoky Cream Sauce | Alaska Knit Nat


7 fresh pasilla or poblano chiles

3/4 lb. ground pork

1 Tbs. taco seasoning

3/4 cup canned black beans, drained

3 oz. cream cheese

1 cup shredded mexican blend cheese plus more for topping

1 can diced green chiles

1/4 cup cream (optional)

black pepper


Chiles Rellenos with Smoky Cream Sauce | Alaska Knit Nat


Grill the chiles over high heat till blackened on all sides. Place in a paper bag and let steam for 10 minutes. Gingerly remove the skins and slice open on one side. Let cool completely and carefully remove the pith and seeds. Set peppers aside. Meanwhile, brown the pork in a lightly oiled pan over medium high heat. Add the taco seasoning and break up the meat. Remove from heat and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the beans, pork, cream cheese, Mexican cheese and diced green chiles and season with pepper to taste. Stuff each chile and secure with a toothpick. Place stuffed peppers in a greased casserole dish and sprinkle liberally with more shredded cheese. Pour cream over the chiles and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes till cheese is bubbling. Serve with brown rice and southwestern roasted butternut squash. Drizzle with smoky cream sauce — recipe below.

Smoky Cream Sauce


1 Tbs. butter

1 Tbs. flour

2 Tbs. cream

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbs. cream cheese

1/2 cup Mexican shredded cheese

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp. cumin

salt and pepper to taste


Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for one minute, stirring frequently. Add the cream and milk and whisk till thickened, about two minutes. Turn down heat till just bubbling and add the cheese and spices. Serve immediately. If it’s too thick, add more milk.

Chiles Rellenos with Smoky Cream Sauce | Alaska Knit Nat

How to Cook Perfect Beans

Taco night is always a big hit in our family and one of the most requested ingredients from our son is beans. Sure, canned beans are convenient and inexpensive, but there’s often a bit of sodium in them and when you reheat them, they can easily be overcooked.

Many are hesitant to cook dry beans due to lack of experience and convenience, but with a little planning and minimal effort, you can easily cook creamy, flavorful beans to accompany many food genres. And they are much cheaper than canned beans!

How to cook perfect beans | Alaska Knit Nat

Perfect Beans

Makes about 3 cups


One cup of dried beans such as pinto, great northern or black

1 Tbs. salt


How to cook perfect beans | Alaska Knit Nat


The morning you want to have beans for dinner, toss your dry beans into a mesh strainer and rinse with cold water. Add beans and salt to a medium saucepan. Fill with water so pan is about 2/3 full. Cover and let sit all day, about 7-9 hours.

Put pan on stove, still covered, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer beans for 1.5-2 hours. Be sure it’s not at a full rolling boil as the beans can get torn up if overly disturbed. Drain and serve.

*Beany tidbit: If your beans appear shriveled after soaking them it means they are past their prime. They will still taste all right but you may want to buy new beans next time.

How to cook perfect beans | Alaska Knit Nat

Crustless Breakfast Quiche

I had a hankerin’ for a fancy type breakfast this morning. I thought a quiche would be nice, but I didn’t want to make a crust or use a ton of butter. I found this tasty recipe and decided to tweak it slightly. I’ve never made a quiche, but whatever I concocted this morning was cheesy, salty, creamy and darn delicious. It’s also South Beach Diet friendly!

Crustless Breakfast Sausage Quiche | Alaska Knit Nat

Crustless Breakfast Quiche

Serves 3


2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

3 oz. Neufchâtel cheese, cubed

4 breakfast sausage patties

2 green onions, chopped

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

pepper to taste


Crustless Breakfast Sausage Quiche | Alaska Knit Nat


Grease a small casserole dish liberally with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fry up the breakfast sausage patties. Once browned, cut into bite-sized pieces.

Mix together the milk, eggs and yogurt. Add in the cheeses, sausage and green onions. Add pepper to taste. Pour into casserole and bake for one hour till browned and bubbly on top. Let cool for five minutes before serving.

The best part was the little pockets of cream cheese with every bite.

Crustless Breakfast Sausage Quiche | Alaska Knit Nat

Auntie A’s Choice Chili

My little sis has become quite a capable cook. Last month she came up from Pittsburgh to visit the family, but mostly to hang out with her nephew (my son), Jack.

While she was here I asked her to cook dinner for us one night and she could choose what to make.

She concocted a fabulous chili with a couple of surprising ingredients.

Here’s her basic recipe for a chunky, meaty, beany chili with a good kick. I did alter the recipe slightly, but that’s the great thing about chili — it’s really customizable depending on what’s in your pantry. These were the ingredients in my pantry today.

Awesome Chili Recipe from Alaska Knit NatIngredients (eyeball it):

  • 1 lb. of beef, cut into bite size bits (sub ground beef or pork)
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 fresh anaheim peppers, chopped
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo, seeds and pith removed, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 cans of fire-roasted chopped tomato, with their juices
  • chicken stock
  • 2-3 Tbs. cumin
  • 1 can pumpkin (optional)
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2-3 squares of unsweetened chocolate OR 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cans of beans of your choice, such as cannellini, pinto, kidney or black — partially drained and not rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Directions:
    If you’d like your peppers to have a smokier taste, do the following steps. Otherwise, just chop the peppers.

Turn your stove to medium and place the pepper directly over the heat, on the burner itself. Blacken the peppers on all sides (the process takes about seven minutes) and place in a Ziploc bag for 10 minutes. The steam should help make the skin come off easily. When cool enough to handle, remove as much skin from the peppers as possible. You now have roasted peppers and have no need to ever buy them in a jar again. Chop them and prepare chili as follows.

Heat a large dutch oven or pot over high heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. When hot, add the cubed meat and brown on all sides. Set aside with any juices. Add a little more olive oil and cook the onion and peppers till onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the meat (and any juices), tomatoes, pumpkin, paprika, chocolate, garlic powder, oregano and cinnamon. Add a couple of cups of chicken stock until it’s the consistency you like. Add the chili powder and cumin slowly. These strong spices are hard to chase away once added. Add a little at a time, wait five minutes, and then taste whether it’s a good move to add more.

Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat, stirring once in a while so the bottom doesn’t burn. If it’s too thick, add some chicken stock. If you like a more soupy chili, cook with the pot covered. If you’d like it more stewy and thick, cook uncovered. Either way, cook for at least an hour. Twenty minutes before serving, add the beans and cook till beans are heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with grated cheddar cheese in a squirrel bowl, if you desire.

Chicken with Artichokes in a Smoky Cream Sauce

I’m on day seven of the South Beach Diet (or, as I like to call it, the South Beach Challenge) and I’m finding more ways to make delicious food without missing pasta.

Last night was chicken with roasted red peppers, capers and artichoke hearts in a smoky cream sauce. Ok, ok, I broke a few guidelines on this one. I used chicken thighs when the diet recommends white meat and I used half and half. The official cookbooks recommend fat-free half and half (which sounds like an oxymoron to me) but when I looked at the ingredients at the grocery store, the second ingredient was corn syrup. What the? That’s why I stuck to the regular kind.

Chicken and Artichokes in a Smoky Cream Sauce

Here’s how to make it.

Serves 2

olive oil
2 skinless chicken breasts (or 4 thighs), cut into large chunks
1 roasted bell pepper, sliced
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs. capers
6 canned artichoke hearts, cut in half
1/4 cup chicken stock (eyeball it)
1/4 cup half and half or milk (eyeball it)
1/4 cup fresh or canned chopped tomatoes (eyeball it)
1 Tbs. smoked paprika
salt and pepper
handful of chopped fresh basil

Chicken and Artichokes in a Smoky Cream Sauce

Coat a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium high. Salt and pepper the chicken. When the olive oil is just starting to smoke add the chicken. Brown both sides (about 5 minutes each side). Refrain from moving the chicken around to ensure a nice golden brown. Set chicken aside.

Chicken and Artichokes in a Smoky Cream Sauce

Add the peppers, onion, garlic, capers and artichokes and sauté till onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan and pour in the tomatoes, stock, cream and paprika. Bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken it up a little. Turn down the heat and cover. Let simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is done all the way through. Toss in the basil and cook uncovered another minute or so, combining everything.

Chicken and Artichokes in a Smoky Cream Sauce

Serve and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if you like.

Asian Meatballs

I’m thinking about doing the South Beach Diet. The problem is, I love pasta and noodles. I had a hankering for gyoza tonight, so I thought I’d just make the filling in the form of meatballs and ditch the noodle.

Turned out I didn’t really miss the won ton wrapper after all. This meal is quick and uses common fridge ingredients. Put whatever veggies you prefer in the stir fry. I happened to find a tasty edible mushroom in my yard right before dinner, so I tossed that in at the last minute.

Asian Meatballs

Ingredients (I eyeball everything):
1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup panko flakes (not South Beach friendly, so omit if needs be)
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
2 green onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper

For the sauce:
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbs. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. corn starch (again, not South Beach friendly)
1 Tbs. oyster sauce (optional)

Broccoli, tofu, zucchini, and other stir fry veggies

If using tofu, drain it and cover in paper towels. Place a heavy pan on top to get more liquid out. Mix together the meatball ingredients thoroughly, cover and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Form meatballs and place on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet so the fat is allowed to drain away while they cook. Bake for 30 minutes or until they are browned and cooked all the way through. Set aside.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut the tofu into cubes and cut your stir fry veggies up into bite-sized pieces. Heat 2 tsp. cooking oil in a wok over high flame until the oil shimmers. Add the tofu and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Add another teaspoon of oil to the wok and reheat. Add the veggies and half the sauce. Mix well, cover and let cook for about seven minutes or until veggies are tender.

Uncover, add the rest of the sauce, the tofu, the meatballs and toss till everything is thoroughly coated.

Serve alone or with brown rice or farro if you aren’t in Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.

Asian Meatballs

Peppers stuffed with Italian Sausage

I’ve never been a big fan of bell peppers, but since I’m pregnant and I’m supposed to eat my veggies I thought I should give them a chance. They’re high in dietary fiber and vitamins A, C, K, and B6.

My husband is on the South Beach Diet in an attempt to lose weight (I think there’s some truth in husbands gaining weight when their wives are pregnant). I want to cook him yummy carb-free food.

The best South Beach Diet Web site I’ve been able to find is It’s full of recipes that would be appropriate for people on the South Beach Diet, but these recipes are also awesome for anyone wanting to eat healthy food.

I found a recipe there for stuffed bell peppers and they looked delicious and right up my alley. What a great way to get me to enjoy bell peppers — mix it with italian sausage and cheese. I tweaked the recipe a bit by adding ground up pistachios and garlic and using pork sausage instead of turkey (which I realize is a less healthy choice, but I freaking love pork sausage). The pistachios acted like bread crumbs and added a little more bulk and depth to the dish. I’m also spoiled because I used homemade Korshin Italian sausage.

I served the peppers with steamed green beans and it was truly a meal worth repeating.

Serves 3

3 bell peppers, a mixture of red and green
1/2 pound ground beef
4 Italian sausages, removed from casings (or 1/2 lb. loose sausage)
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
dash of dried basil
dash of oregano
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/4 cup or so freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 cup shelled pistachios

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brown the beef and sausage together over medium heat. Break up the meat as much as possible while you cook. Meanwhile, chop a couple of the bumps off the bottom of each pepper so they sit flat. Reserve the chopped bits. Chop the tops off the peppers and clean out each one. Cut around the stem of the cut-off tops and chop finely with the pepper bottoms.

Add the pistachios to a small food processor and grind till it’s the consistency of coarse corn meal. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

When the meat is browned, set aside and add the oil to the pan. Add the peppers and onions and saute for a few minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, basil and pepper and cook till garlic is fragrant, stirring often for about 4 minutes. Return the meat to the pan and add the marinara sauce and pistachios. Cook for another few minutes. Turn the heat off and let cool for 5 or 10 minutes. Add all the cheese, but reserve some mozzarella to sprinkle on top of the peppers.

Make sure all the ingredients are combined and fill the peppers, packing in the filling tightly and letting it mound on top of the peppers. Top with mozzarella cheese and loosely cover with a foil tent so the foil doesn’t touch the cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes or till the cheese is brown on top.

Serve with steamed green beans tossed with butter, pepper, parmesan cheese and lemon juice.