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Sunday, May 5, 2013


Have you ever wondered what Cinco de Mayo is all about?  It is not just a colorful spring holiday when people celebrate and party eating Mexican food.  People often think it is to commemorate Mexico getting its independence from Spain, but that's not actually true.  It is to commemorate a battle that the Mexican army fought against a strong French army and won! Apparently not that many Mexicans actually celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but many more Americans do.  It's a great excuse for a party!  Here is the full story about Cinco de Mayo and what it is all about.  We are having a small party at our home today.  Here is what we're having:

Here are some ideas for appetizers:  Ham Roll-Ups   I used mayonnaise, Swiss cheese and canned asparagus in my latest Ham Roll-Ups.

Another idea:  Favorite sausages and cheese - cut up and place one sausage round and one tiny block of cheese on top.  Pierce with a toothpick.

Always great to have some fresh vegetables - here I used sliced tomato and cucumber.

Angeled Eggs are always welcome too.

Chicken Enchilada Dip (this is before it went in the oven for 20 minutes and came out all molten cheesy good!:

And here it is out of the oven (my guests are here, but I ran up to post it so you can enjoy my party via your computer!)

This is a great Cinco de Mayo dip, let alone for other times.  It feeds a crowd.

16 oz regular cream cheese, softened (500 g)
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, (411 g)
  (not drained)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and formed into balls
  with melon baller 0R 2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder (5 mL)
1 tsp cumin (5 mL)
1/tsp paprika (2 mL)
1/tsp oregano (1 mL)
1/tsp salt (1 mL)
1/tsp onion salt (0.5 mL)
2 cups cooked, diced chicken (500 mL)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).  In large bowl, mix softened cream cheese (nuke if necessary in the microwave oven), tomatoes, avocado balls or green onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and onion salt. Stir in chicken. Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) Cheddar cheese.  Place in pretty, large 2-qt (2 L) capacity oval dish.  Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar cheese.  Bake 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly.  Serve with sliced cucumbers, jicama or low-carb crackers.

Yield:  12 servings
1 serving
258.2 calories
12.9 g protein
21.4 g fat
3.8 g net carbs

Crispy Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard BBQ Dip  (I skipped the egg and water and used 1/4 tsp xanthan gum)  Yummy dip!

End the feast with Flan.  Although this is the real, authentic flan for my guests, below this photo is a lovely, low-carb recipe.  I will try and duplicate the one in the photo one of these days.

A rich, thick, smooth and sweet custard.  My favorite!

2 cups SPLENDA® Granular (500 mL)
1 cup half-and-half cream (250 mL)
1/2 cup water (125 mL)
10 egg yolks
11/8 cups Condensed Milk*, (275 mL)
  (instead of water, use
  Da Vinci® Sugar Free Caramel Syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract (5 mL)
Caramel Sauce:
1/4 cup SPLENDA® Granular (50 mL)
2 tbsp Da Vinci® Sugar Free Caramel Syrup (25 mL)
2 tbsp water (25 mL)
1/8 tsp Thickening Agent (0.5 mL)
1/8 tsp maple extract (0.5 mL)

In large bowl, combine SPLENDA® Granular, half-and-half cream and water.  Stir in egg yolks (do not beat).  Add Condensed Milk; stir until everything is well incorporated.  Lastly add vanilla extract.  Strain custard, if desired.

Caramel Sauce:  In small saucepan, combine SPLENDA® Granular, Da Vinci® Sugar Free Caramel Syrup, water and Thickening Agent.  Bring to boil.  Sieve and stir in maple extract.  Divide sauce between two 9 x 5 x 3-inch (2 L) loaf pans (or 3 mini loaf pans), sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Pour custard into loaf pans over Caramel Sauce.  Place loaf pans in larger pan and pour water in it, reaching 1/4 way up the pans.  Bake in 375°F (190°C) oven 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake tester or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool before serving.  This custard may also be served chilled.

Helpful Hints:  *Use only 2 tbsp (25 mL) melted butter in Condensed Milk, page 68.  I was unsuccessful at unmolding these custards with my old, no longer nonstick pans.  The trick is to wait until the custard has cooled completely, before inverting onto serving plates.  Perhaps it would have been easier had I lined the loaf pans with wax paper on the bottom.  It’s easier, though, to dish up each serving onto a pretty serving plate.

Yield:  12/16 servings
1 serving
165.4/124.0 calories
5.9 g/4.4 g protein
11.7 g/8.8 g fat
8.7 g/6.5 g carbs

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