Meatballs with Liver

Who needs bread crumbs to make meatballs? Not me! Liver is very nutrient dense, but not everyone loves it all on it’s own, so most people don’t eat it. Liver is probably the BEST source of bioavailable iron and vitamin A, and since iron deficiency is one of the top nutrient deficiencies world wide, we need more liver (and organ meats) in our lives. These super nutrient packed, keto friendly, low carb, and gluten free meatballs are sure to please the taste buds and deliver a wallop of nutrition at the same time. Coconut flour is the secret binding weapon to keep these meaty morsels from falling apart. Can be made dairy free by using nutritional yeast instead of cheese.

Serve with a big ol' salad and spicy red sauce.
Serve with a spicy red sauce, a side of cauliflower mash and a big ol’ salad.

Ingredients

1/4 pound beef liver, frozen
1 -2 tablespoons bacon grease
1 small onion, minced
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
2 large eggs
2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup shredded pecorino romano cheese
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Remove liver from freezer and thaw for a few minutes, just to the point where it is easy to grate it by hand. Set aside in large bowl that will be used to mix the ground beef.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and then add the bacon grease. Stir in the onion and mushrooms and saute until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool
  4. In the large bowl that contains the liver, combine the eggs, ground beef, tomato paste, cheese, coconut flour and salt. Add onions and mushrooms when cool. Blend together with your hands until well mixed. Shape into 2 – inch balls and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 – 25 minutes, until cooked through (thermometer inserted should read 155 degrees F).
  6. Serve. May be cooled and refrigerated for several days, or frozen for later use.

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 24 meatballs. 3 – 4 meatballs makes a main meal or use individually as snacks or party appetizers.

Nutrition Info (per meatball)

Macros: 124 calories, 2 g carbs, 0.6 g fiber, 8 g fat, 11 g protein

Vitamins and Minerals (DV): B12 70%, riboflavin 15%, niacin 14%, B6 10%, vitamin A 32%, copper 37%, iron 7%, selenium 13%, zinc 14%

Spicy Keto Lasagna with Pepperoni and Chorizo

I’m launching a 90 Day Keto Challenge in January 2016. Would you like to join me? It includes weekly webinars, meal plans and shopping list, a workbook, and private online support group. For more info, click here.


 

This is the most nutrient-dense keto dish I have created so far! Go ahead – scroll down there and check out the nutrient information on this recipe. Amazing, right? One of the secrets to packing in so much nutrition in this dish is using chorizo, a spicy Mexican sausage that is made from organ meats. You get tons of flavor in addition to all the nutrients organ meats provide us. (It really is delicious, I promise!) (If you can’t find chorizo, you can substitute spicy Italian sausage.)

And if you love cheese, you’ll love this dish because I was extra generous with the cheese ingredients: 1 pound of mozzarella and 2 pounds of ricotta!

Spicy Keto lasagna
Spicy Keto Lasagna with Pepperoni and Chorizo

Ingredients

10 ounces of fresh spinach
9 ounces chorizo
1/2 pound pepperoni
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Frank’s hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon water
32 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese (I bought mine at Trader Joe’s)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 pound of zucchini, sliced 1/8th inch thin, length-wise (I used a hand-heldĀ mandoline like this one)

1 pound whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat a large pot of water to boiling and blanch the spinach. (Cook in the boiling water for about 1 minute, until it turns bright green.) Remove from heat and pour into colander. Set aside to drain and cool. (Alternately, you can use frozen spinach; defrost and drain well.) Squeeze out all excess water once it has cooled.
  3. In a medium skillet, cook the chorizo for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through. With a slotted spoon, remove the cooked chorizo and place into a small bowl, leaving most of the grease behind in the pan. Chop the pepperoni and add to the same bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, Frank’s hot sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of water. Stir to combine. Stir the tomato mixture into the medium bowl of pepperoni and chorizo. Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, salt, and pepper and stir well. Set aside.
  6. In a 9×13 inch glass baking dish, drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Layer half of the zucchini slices over the bottom of the dish, overlapping slightly if needed. Spread out all of the ricotta mixture over the first layer of zucchini. Top the ricotta mixture with the spinach (be sure to have squeezed out all excess water). Now top with the remaining zucchini, overlapping again, if needed. Top with the meat and tomato mixture, spreading out evenly. Next, sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and spread out evenly.
  7. Place the baking dish onto a sheet pan. Cover baking dish with foil and place into preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 20 – 30 minutes, or until the edges of the cheese start to brown and the whole dish is bubbly at the edges. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Here are more pictures of the layers as I went along:

First layer: olive oil and zucchini noodles
First layer: olive oil and zucchini noodles (I had a GIANT zucchini to work with)

 

Ricotta cheese layer
Ricotta cheese layer. Creamy goodness.

 

Spinach goes next
Spinach goes next.

 

Another layer of zucchini noodles, topped with the meat and tomato mixture (I started to put the mozzarella on before I snapped a pic, oops!)
Another layer of zucchini noodles, topped with the meat and tomato mixture (I started to put the mozzarella on before I snapped a pic, oops!).

 

Top with tons of cheese, then cover with foil and you're ready to bake.
Top with tons of cheese, then cover with foil and you’re ready to bake.

 

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition info: 764 calories, 9.8 carbs, 1.6 fiber, 60 g fat, 45 g protein
RDA info: thiamin 26%, vitamin B12 37%, riboflavin 47%, niacin 19%, vitamin B6 27%, folate 27%, vitamin A 91%, vitamin C 35%, vitamin D 15%, vitamin E 10%, vitamin K 232%, calcium 70%, iron 19%, magnesium 20%, manganese 32%, potassium 22%, selenium 71%, zinc 35%

Keto Chocolate Pudding with Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are odd little seeds that pack a wallop of soluble fiber and minerals (check out the RDA info below). The soluble fiber, when exposed to liquids, turns into a jelly-like substance that has impressive thickening ability. Additionally, this soluble fiber is great for stabilizing blood sugar. Many even report lower blood sugar numbers for the whole next day after they consume a tablespoon of chia seeds. Most of the carbs in chia seeds are fiber, which makes them a fun little ingredient to play with in keto and low carb recipes.

While this recipe is quite tasty, I recommend avoiding dessert recipes during your first month or more on keto. Initially, I find it easiest to reduce cravings by avoiding dessert type foods all together. After you have been on keto and your cravings seem mostly a thing of the past, then I would recommend trying a recipe like this, occasionally. If you experience increased cravings in the days following this recipe, I recommend going back to no desserts for a while longer.

Keto Chocolate Chia Pudding
Keto Chocolate Chia Pudding with Whipped Cream

Ingredients

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup Swerve, confectioners style

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

4 tablespoons chia seeds

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)

Directions

  1. Place the almond milk, cocoa powder, Swerve, and sea salt into a blender and blend on high until smooth.
  2. Pour pudding into storage bowl with a lid. Stir in chia seeds. Wait 10 minutes and stir again. (This helps distribute the chia seeds evenly, so that they don’t clump at the bottom.)
  3. Cover and refrigerate pudding overnight.
  4. Stir pudding well and divide among 4 serving dishes. In a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream on high with an electric blender until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Top pudding with whipped cream.

Yield: 4 – 1 cup servings

Nutrition info: 180 calories, 8.7 g carbs, 5.7 g fiber, (3 g net carbs), 16 g fat, 4 g protein

RDA info: vitamin A 14%, vitamin D 15%, vitamin E 12%, vitamin K 90%, calcium 31%, copper 16%, iron 14%, magnesium 19%, manganese 24%, zinc 11%

Iron – Why You Are Probably Deficient

Did you know that iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the US (and the world)? One of my students recently asked me how this could be so, since “Americans eat tons of red meat”. Let’s look at what factors contribute to making iron deficiency so prevalent (and clear up a myth or two in the process).

Who’s At Risk?

If you can say YES to ANY of the following, you are at risk of being iron deficient:

  • Are you a pre-menopausal woman?
  • Do you regularly use antacids or acid blockers?
  • Do you engage in regular, intense exercise (like cross-fit, marathons, half-marathons or triathlons)?
  • Are you a vegetarian or vegan?
  • Do you eat a diet high in nuts, seeds, grains and legumes, especially soybeans, that are not soaked and/or sprouted?
  • Are you an infant, child, teen or pregnant woman?
  • Do you have celiac disease (or other malabsorption issues, like IBS)?
  • Have you had gastric bypass surgery?
  • Do you avoid eating organ meats, like liver, kidney, heart, spleen, giblets?

Continue reading “Iron – Why You Are Probably Deficient”