Dear readers, I need you to picture this article like it’s one of those late night infomercials, complete with the over the top graphics bombarding your eyes and a pitchman with midnight black dyed hair and beard shouting all kinds of unbelievable claims at you. No, this isn’t going to be some gunk you can use to seal up your screen door so you can float across a pond, or a set of kitchen knives that cut through metal cans like a lightsaber from Star Wars and then cut see-through wafer slices of tomato. This infomercial is even better, yet might be even more unbelievable. What I am promising to you – without the full on TV frontal assault melting your frontal cortex – is that you can have Italian dishes like pasta in cream sauces and garlic bread and not blow up your diet like some crazy tv salesman trying to prove how strong his superglue product with 5 lbs of C4. Why, even if you are taking your fitness level to the extreme with maintaining visible abs at 48 years old (ahem), I can make that possible with the following recipes. How is that possible? Just some smart ingredient swaps and a little know how, and an open mind to try something new. I’d put this dish up against any full carb Italian restaurant fully confident people would have no clue it was a made over healthy version.
The garlic bread here is made with a cauliflower base. I was suspicious of alternate bread ideas when I first transitioned to this lifestyle, but this bread I found at Delish.com by Lauren Miyashiro completely exceeded my expectations, Not only is it better than traditional garlic bread, it sinks frozen garlic bread most people cook at home faster than that poor salesman floating on his screen door as soon as the camera shot ends on his commercial. Sadly, back in the day I did resort to that frozen box of disappointment of bad carbs when I would make pasta dishes. It’s one of the many reasons I had that 80 extra lbs of blubber on me, and had all the mirrors removed from my house. Let’s take a look at the ingredients, shall we?
Bread: Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Contains 2% or Less of: Yeast, Salt, Soybean Oil, Dextrose, Dough Conditioners (Datem, Mono and Diglycerides, Calcium Sulfate, Ascorbic Acid, Enzymes), Cornmeal. Spread: Soybean Oil, Water, Palm Oil, Dehydrated Garlic, Salt, Mono and Diglycerides, Dehydrated Parsley, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Whey (a Milk Ingredient), Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Beta Carotene Added for Color.
There are a lot of scary words listed there. Take the spread, for instance. A healthy version would just be grass fed butter and minced garlic. Their spread is soybean oil and palm oil, plus a whole host of other items not occuring in nature. Yuck. Predictably, the nutrition is just as bad. Your body does not like nor understand how to use those man made substances, and as a result, metabolism slows and weight gain creeps steadily forward. If you try this healthy cauliflower bread once, you will never go back. The extra time and effort will be well rewarded. I like to make a sun-dried tomato chicken pasta dish to go along with this bread. For for the pasta, I buy Heart of Palm noodles. I’ve found they most mimic real pasta noodles in texture, can hold up to heavy sauce dishes, and with a little preparation, have a neutral taste just like pasta. So, enough of me delivering my pitch, here’s what you will need to bring full fledged Italian meals into your life and keep the six pack you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Enjoy.
Cauliflower garlic bread:
- 3 c. riced cauliflower
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 6 tbsp melted butter
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9″-x-5” loaf pan with parchment paper. I like to spray the pan with a little non-stick spray to help keep the parchment paper in place.
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the riced cauliflower over medium heat until the cauliflower is soft and has given up most of it’s moisture. You can also microwave it for 3 to 4 minutes instead, but there will be much more water left in the rice. When cool enough to touch, dump the cauliflower onto a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
3. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Make sure no yolk is in the bowl or no matter how long you beat the whites, they will not form. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk the egg yolks, slightly cooled melted butter, garlic, and about a quarter of the whipped egg whites in a separate bowl. Combine the yolk mixture into the almond flour mixture and beat until well combined, then stir in microwaved cauliflower.
5. Fold in the remaining egg whites 1/3 at a time and fold gently until just incorporated. (Mixture should be fluffy.) Fold in the thyme and most of the parsley (save some for topping).
6. Transfer batter to prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining herbs. I like to use scissors to trim off any excess parchment paper at this time.
6. Bake until the top is golden, about 50 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then use the parchment paper to lift the bread out of the pan. Cover with a clean towel and place on a rack to continue cooling.
7. Let cool completely before slicing.
You can top with fresh grated Parmesan and more parsley, and then broil in the oven for 2 minutes before serving if desired. Wrap leftovers in parchment paper and then foil to store in the fridge. This bread is good cold direct out of the fridge as well.
Sun Dried Tomato Alfredo Chicken Pasta:
- 2 packages Heart of palm noodles
- 4 pasture raised chicken breasts
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1 package organic mushrooms sliced
- 1 jar sun dried tomatoes drained and fine chopped
- 1 cup grass fed heavy cream
- 1/4 grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves diced garlic
- 1 32 oz carton chicken bone broth
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
- 1 tbsp grass fed butter
- 3 strips pasture raised bacon
1. Drain heart of palm noodles in a colander and rinse well. Place in a large pot with the chicken bone broth and set over high heat, bring to a boil and simmer at a low boil constantly. Heart of palm noodles require a longer cooking time than traditional pasta.
2. Cut chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, then add to a cold pan with 1 tablespoon of olive or avocado oil and stir to coat. Season with sea salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. Cook over medium heat until no longer pink:
3. Add the sliced onions and mushrooms, cook until soft and the veggies have given up their moisture, then drain and place in a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm. Cook the bacon in the microwave on a plate lined with paper towels, 2 – 3 minutes until crisp, set aside.
4. Melt butter in the same pan, add garlic and saute for about a minute tops, stirring constantly. Garlic burns quickly so keep it moving. Add diced sun dried tomatoes and cook a minute more, then add the heavy cream. Bring to a slight boil whisking constantly, then slowly add the Parmesan cheese until melted as smooth. Season with sea salt to taste.
5. Add the chicken back to the pan with the sauce. Crumble bacon and add to the pan, stir. Drain the noodles well and combine the chicken and sauce into the noodles, stir to combine. Serve with roasted broccoli and the garlic bread:
See more of the Shirtless Chef recipes at www.mysaline.com/shirtless.