Her Hacks: Keto diet hacks


breast of chicken mashed potatoes and gravy cauliflower PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


“You put the lime in the vodka andyou drink ’em both up.” PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


And the diet gods said, “Let there be diets that consist of more than just salad.” And it was delicious. PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


Close-up of a banana pepper PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


Brown and white eggs PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


If you garnish it, they will drink. PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


Yea, and truly, that was a wonderland of meat. PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


Senior male butcher holding sirloin of steak, mid section PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


young woman smiling and holding a bottle of wine PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


female portrait made of healthy food PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


You don’t need vodka to get through a work day. That’s what passive aggression is for. PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


We’re not going to say a good steak cures all ills ... but it’s a good start. Also, steak angel. PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


sliced lime surrounded by water-beads PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


A crockpot also is akin to a fanny pack. It holds stuff. You slip it on and forget about it. And it’s about as stylish as grandpa at a flea market. PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


Is chicken the tuna of the land? Vote by emailing tony.frenzel@thmedia.com. PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images


That’s a cocktail so fancy that just looking at it will empty your wallet. PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

When it comes to diets, there’s a variety to choose from in this day and age. From the South Beach diet of the 1990s to the Atkins diet of the 2000s, there’s always a new nutritional space to explore.

The official Her Hacks Spousetm took on the auspices of the keto diet in the past few months, and we’re here to report on the findings.

The keto diet is one that eschews carbohydrates as much as possible in favor of healthy fats. Such a quest eventually leads you to holy ketosis, where the body begins to burn the fat in your body for want of being fed carbs.

Now, the keto diet is an interesting one, even for the non-ketos in the house because it usually means that the house is awash in bacon at all times: The scent of bacon, the taste of bacon — even the textural masterpiece that is crunchy bacon.

In the time of this bacon-based paradise, several keto-friendly recipes have crossed the Her Hacks teams’ palettes that have been judged worthy of your consideration.

In other words, they’re so good you don’t even need to keto, bro.

These are those recipes.

Crockpot chicken, bacon and ranch

A crockpot is the stretch pants of the kitchen. Sure, it’s not the sleekest piece of equipment and it’s a little lazy, but who cares when you’re making a week’s worth of work lunches and the blinds are drawn?

A lot of people are familiar with the crockpot roasting of beef and pork loins — something we’ll get to a little later.

But, what would you do if I told you that chicken — or as the French call it, poulet — is a perfectly viable “roast,” as well? You’d salivate, I’m sure.

Check out Midget Momma’s recipe at tinyurl.com/y75c4m9w. It’s about as basic as can be — chicken, bacon, cheese and ranch — but it’s easy to prepare and very tasty.

If you’re looking to kick it up a notch or two, we’d recommend adding broccoli or squirting a little hot sauce on your portion.

And, if you’re truly seriously, extra-double-dog-daring the keto thing, don’t forget that there are reduced-sugar ranch dressings out there. Or, make your own: tinyurl.com/ycnp98h5.

Quelle poulet!

Crockpot butter beef

You know, without even reading a recipe, that something called crockpot butter beef probably is going to rock your socks (or other footwear) off.

Well, get ready to have frigid feet because this one has made the rounds about as much as the chicken, bacon and ranch recipe at Her Hacks Headquarters.

There are all sorts of recipes out there if you Google crockpot butter beef, but a good starting point is Beyer Beware’s at tinyurl.com/y6vzcwea.

The key to this one isn’t just that delectable chuck roast, it’s the use of banana peppers.

An unfairly maligned pepper — jalapeno, hatch and habanero seem to get all the press — the humble banana pepper adds a new, tangy layer to this Italian-style beef.

It’s a bold flavor that’s well worth your time.

Steaks!

If bacon is the No. 1 reason to keto, the No. 2 reason is steaks. Excuse me, I meant to type: Steaks!

If you’re anything like the Her Hacks team, you’ve probably run the gamut when trying to cook steak: From dangerously rare to leathery overcooked and all those shades of disappointment in between.

Luckily, in the course of feeding the keto beast, the team came across an article from The Takeout (tinyurl.com/y9wusqge) titled “The 3-3-2-2 method is a butcher’s trick for perfectly seared steaks.”

It has been put through trials in the official Her Hacks Kitchentm, and let us be the ones to tell you it works.

At it’s most basic, the method comes down to a little patience and a lot of self-control. Simply pan fry your steak for three minutes on one side (no fiddling with it!), three minutes on the other, two minutes on the first side then two minutes on the other. Another minute on each side can get you a little extra done.

If you’re wondering what kind of steak in which to indulge, our first foray was Taste of Home’s Greek-inspired ribeye (tinyurl.com/ybp8g43o). It was a perfect introduction.

And, if you’re stomachs are anywhere nearly as small as ours have become since college — no more multi-hour binging on ramen noodles, Doritos and Easy Mac — then you’re probably going to need to reheat that delicious bovine treat.

Visit tinyurl.com/yctap465 for an easy guide to reheating your steak while retaining its flavor. It also is team-tested and team-approved.

Rice that cauliflower

Cauliflower is the poster child of the keto movement. It’s supremely low carb, easy to cook and can take the place of anything from potatoes to rice — starchy foods that are decidedly non-keto.

While making mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes will have some calling foul on its usefulness for this purpose, in the Her Hacks Kitchentm we’ve come to prefer it as a rice substitute.

Ricing cauliflower is super easy if you’ve got a food processor. Just chop up a head of cauliflower into florets and feed it into the processor. Somewhere around six to seven pulses has proven effective for us. If you are processor-less, a cheese grater will have a similar effect but requires a little more elbow grease.

From there, we steamed the “rice,” cooked up some hibachi-style chicken (using gluten-free soy sauce, though you’ll want to substitute coconut aminos to be truly keto) and threw in some shiitake mushrooms fried lightly in the chicken’s pan leavings.

We finished it off with a garnish of sesame seeds and fresh-sliced avocado — as well as yum-yum sauce for the non-keto eaters in the crowd.

The blanco Russian

Sure, steak and bacon are all well and good, but what about the booze?

Indeed, in this we have not abandoned you.

As The Dude is known to say, “Careful man, there’s a beverage here!”

And, much like The Dude, we love an ice-cold White Russian. Unfortunately, with half-and-half and Kahlua (or another coffee liqueur) involved, it’s not the most keto-friendly drink.

Well, we’ve managed to assuage that keto guilt and deliver a lip-smackingly awesome drink with two simple replacements: Heavy whipping cream and Patron XO Cafe. The cream is oft-recommended in keto circles as a replacement for coffee creamer. And, according to My Fitness Pal, the total carbs in a shot of the XO is less than half of what’s in Kahlua.

Is it perfect? No.

Is it a delicious drink? Yes.

It’s a meeting of cultures that’s more profound than Tex-Mex.

Tasty, refreshing vodka

But the wonders do not end there.

Rather than taking a lesson from a movie, this time we’re looking to the world of music for inspiration — specifically Chumbawumba’s 1997 aural classic, “Tubthumpin.” In that ditty, they mention the possibility of taking a vodka drink. Don’t mind if we do.

This is less of a recipe than a loose consortium of things which can, singly or in combination with one another, be mixed with vodka for a keto-friendly drink.

First, start with vodka. Tito’s is our choice because it’s budget and palate friendly.

Next, you’ve got your cucumbers. This can either be the sliced variety, cubed or even squeezed cucumber juice.

Lime juice is recommended for a tart topper, and can be imparted in even greater quality if you decide to forego the cucumbers. In that case, a lemon wedge on the glass edge does more than rhyme — it rocks.

Next, water. Now, normally water in a cocktail can be a spritz or a simple parts ratio. But when we’re talking keto, there’s a whole other spectrum at which to look.

For that, we recommend you look at the sometimes maligned La Croix and other calorie-free flavored waters. The sometimes maligned part comes from the fact that they taste like the memory of whatever fruit flavor they are. But, that subtlety works well within the confines of a keto drink.

Some suggestions:

Plain water with two shots of vodka, several generous-sized slices of cucumber and one half slice on the rim. Top with a splash of lemon.

Pamplemouse or lime La Croix with two shots of vodka and a dose of lime juice. Garnish with a lime wedge and a little salt on the rim.

There are several flavors that go well with fresh blueberries and fresh raspberries. Just plop them in and finish with lime or lemon juice.

Anthony Frenzel writes for the Telegraph Herald. Send your hacks, tips, suggestions, DIY thoughts, inspirations and cobbled-together-machinations to tony.frenzel@thmedia.com or share your pins with me on Pinterest (Anthony Frenzel), and you might just be featured in an upcoming edition of her Hacks.

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