Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Low-Carb Chicken Taco Pizza (with a Low-Carb Crust!)

I crave pizza all day, every day. I love a skillet pizza when I'm feeling lazy, but nothing beats having a real, crispy crust underneath all of those gooey toppings. I made this recipe one day with some alterations and found that what emerged from the oven was taco pizza that satisfied all of my pizza desires.

Low-Carb Chicken Taco Pizza


For the crust:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 teaspoons taco seasoning
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

For the topping:

1 pound diced chicken breast (about 3 average-sized breasts)
1/4 cup tomato sauce (I like Monte Bene, because there's no sugar added)
3 teaspoons taco seasoning
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
4 ounces shredded pepperjack cheese


To begin, beat the cream cheese, eggs, heavy cream, and taco seasoning with a hand mixer until there are no lumps.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9"x13" baking dish if you prefer a crispier crust, but it's not necessary.

Spread the 4 ounces of shredded cheddar evenly around the bottom of the dish, and then pour the cream cheese mixture over it until the entire dish is covered.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

In the meantime, cook the diced chicken in a saucepan with a little oil or butter.

Mix in the tomato sauce and taco seasoning.

Remove the crust from the oven and let rest for five minutes so it can cool and deflate.

Spread the chicken mixture evenly over the crust and top with cheddar and pepperjack cheeses.

Lower the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.

Low-Carb Chicken Taco Pizza
the cheese on the bottom of the pan, covered evenly with the cream cheese mixture

Low-Carb Chicken Taco Pizza
the crust fresh from the oven; it looks more like an omelet at this point but will become crispy later

Low-Carb Chicken Taco Pizza
the crust topped with chicken and two types of cheese

Low-Carb Chicken Taco Pizza
the finished product

Low-Carb Chicken Taco Pizza
just like pizza

Low-Carb Chicken Taco Pizza
no, really, just like pizza!

You can pick it up with your hands and everything. I LOVE this pizza and have since used the same crust (taco seasoning and all, because I love that flavor) to make a regular pizza with mozzarella and pepperoni that even my non-low-carbing boyfriend thought was delicious. It seems like the crust will taste eggy or be too soft with all of the creamy ingredients, but that second baking in the oven somehow turns it from a cheesy-looking omelet to something I might actually mistake for bread. I can't believe how well this satisfies my pizza cravings.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Homemade Taco Seasoning

In the past, before I had a fully stocked kitchen with every spice I'd ever need, I used to look longingly at the taco seasoning packets in the grocery store. I wanted to make my own low-carb taco dishes so badly, but I couldn't bring myself to buy the pre-mixed stuff full of sugar, starch, flour, artificial color, and preservatives.

Finally, I moved out of my Manhattan studio and into my Brooklyn two-bedroom with a whole kitchen shelf I could dedicate to spices, and taco seasoning was one of the first things I made for myself. If you make your own already, you probably use this one from, because it has thousands of positive comments. And for good reason: it's perfect.

The recipe on AllRecipes is great, but it only makes one ounce of seasoning. I quadruple the recipe so I can keep a jar of taco seasoning on hand all of the time.


1/4 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon black pepper



I store mine in this huge honey jar my boyfriend finally emptied, but any airtight container will do.

The most basic thing I do with it is brown a pound of ground beef in a saucepan,
drain the fat,
add 1/4 cup water,
mix in 3 Tablespoons of the seasoning,
and simmer it on the stovetop until the water has dissolved.

I'll post some of my favourite recipes that use taco beef and taco chicken in separate posts soon.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chicken Cheddar Bacon Ranch Bake

This is one of the very easiest but also most delicious things I've been making for myself recently. I'm sure I didn't "invent" this recipe, not that there's really anything to invent. But boy, am I glad it's in my life now.

Chicken Cheddar Bacon Ranch Bake


6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup low-sugar ranch dressing
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled (or equivalent store-bought bacon bits)


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and rub the bottom and sides of your 9"x13" baking dish with butter.

Arrange the six chicken breasts so that they're just barely touching.

Top each with ranch dressing, making sure that no chicken is left exposed so it won't dry out.

Then, layer on crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes in your 375-degree oven or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Chicken Cheddar Bacon Ranch Bake

Chicken Cheddar Bacon Ranch Bake

Chicken Cheddar Bacon Ranch Bake

The result is a big, cheesy, bacony mess that you'll either think looks like the most delicious thing ever or looks like a disaster. (I like to scoop the melted butter out of the dish and spoon it over my portion, which makes it look even crazier.) But no matter how you think it looks, you'll love the way it tastes.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Perfect Bacon Bowl: Is Everything Really Better with Bacon?

My BFF, Tracey, has been my BFF approximately our entire lives at this point, so she of course knew that I'd been seeing the commercials for the Perfect Bacon Bowl and was intrigued. Meaning I wanted one really, really badly. Well, mine came in a set of four, and I'm now the proud owner of them thanks to her. But are they as mind-blowingly awesome as they seem? My boyfriend and I decided to find out.

They really seem like the simplest thing right out of the box, lightweight like plastic but obviously made of something that can stand the heat of the oven. The booklet that arrives with them has instructions for use and a few recipes, but of course the first recipe was for bread bowls. NO!

Perfect Bacon Bowl

First, we draped two half-slices of bacon across the dome of the bowl in a criss-cross pattern:

Perfect Bacon Bowl

Then, we wrapped a second slice around the bottom of the center dome. It was long enough that the ends overlapped, which was no problem at all. Finally, we wrapped a third slice around the top of the center dome. The bacon easily stuck to itself, so there was no sliding around.

Perfect Bacon Bowl

We nudged the bacon up and down until there were no exposed areas. We were serious about forming these bowls.

Perfect Bacon Bowl

We put them in a glass baking dish, and 35 minutes later, we pulled these beauties out of the oven:

Perfect Bacon Bowl

All of the extra fat was captured in the base of the bowl (to be poured over Brussels sprouts later). The finished bacon bowls weren't easy to pry off, but even with all of my clumsiness, I still got mine off the form in almost one piece. And the little piece that stayed behind was a nice crunchy little treat that I couldn't help but eat the moment I finished taking this picture. The inside didn't look as crunchy as the exterior, but I didn't notice anything but crisp bacon when I was eating it later.

Perfect Bacon Bowl

My boyfriend made his famous scrambled eggs with even more bacon and filled the bowls for us:

Perfect Bacon Bowl

And then we were ready for dinner:

Perfect Bacon Bowl

The verdict? Yep, mind-blowingly awesome. But basically not functional as bowls. The moment we took a first bite, the remaining eggs tumbled out onto our plates, and after that, we were taking a bite of bacon bowl and then eating a forkful of egg. So I want to say the bacon bowl is mostly just novelty . . . except that somehow, this was THE BEST-TASTING BACON. Seriously, I don't remember eating more delicious bacon. Maybe it was my mind playing tricks on me, excited by the prospect of a bacon in bowl form, but maybe something about the Perfect Bacon Bowl just makes the bacon cook better. We'll have to see how my second attempt turns out.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Low-Carb Success Story in Progress

I've lost 40 pounds since May of last year on a low-carb diet. I don't want to post dramatic before and after photos of myself where I look sad and sloppy in the "before" photo and upbeat and put-together in the "after" photo, because I don't consider my current body an "after" yet and because 40 pounds in seven months isn't some amazing feat. But I did want to talk about how I'm doing it, both for anyone who might read this and for myself in the future.

1) I've found recipes I love and don't mind making often. When I would low-carb in the past, I was living in a tiny New York City studio with zero counter space, no oven, and no freezer. The things I cooked for myself were usually compromises–whatever I could make on a stovetop with as few ingredients as possible–and that's if I even cooked for myself at all. Once I moved into a larger apartment, I began to find easy recipes that really worked for me, things I truly loved eating and that made me feel like I was lucky to be on a low-carb diet, if you want to call it a diet at all. I plan to talk about those recipes in separate posts, but my low-carb Pinterest board is a great place to start if you want to get some ideas.

2) I don't deny myself the things I crave. Right now, I'm at the end of a two-week period in which I've told myself I'm not going to have any cheat meals at all. I've lost about eight pounds in those two weeks. The other night before bed, I tried to think to myself what I might want for a carby cheat meal once the two weeks are up, and I genuinely couldn't think of anything I was craving. I wondered why, when the mere thought of pizza or ice cream has set my heart a-flutter in the past, and I realized it's because I've been eating everything I want to. I've made skillet pizzas when I've wanted pizza, I've made buffalo chicken dip when I've wanted buffalo chicken fingers, I've made so much ice cream in my ice cream maker. Seriously, that thing has changed my life. Ice cream is one of my biggest cravings and probably my favourite food. I can do without a lot of things, but I can't do without ice cream. So now I keep a quart of the homemade, low-carb variety around at all times and find that a small scoop satisfies me like I never would've believed. When I go out to eat now, I usually don't even care about dessert, because I know my favourite thing's already waiting for me at home.

3) I rarely eat more than one carby meal in a day. I've found that I can at least maintain my weight if I stick to eating empty carbs only once per day. So if I know I'm going to want to go on a late-night cookie binge while I'm visiting my family for Christmas, I try to eat low-carb throughout the day. I was in Ohio for a week for Christmas this year and had a couple of days where I had to eat multiple carby meals in one day because other people were feeding me, and I still managed to only gain one pound because I was eating low-carb as often as possible. The idea that I could eat one carby meal every day if I wanted to once I get down to a weight I'm comfortable with is so comforting to me.

4) I go to the gym, sporadically. Even though I know I'll feel relaxed and proud of myself once I get back to the apartment, I dread going to the gym, so it takes a bit of motivation to get me there. Some weeks, I'll go three times and use the elliptical or walk on the treadmill for 30 or 45 minutes. Other weeks, I won't go at all. I don't guilt myself for not going, but I do feel pretty awesome when I do. Walking up stairs later and noticing that it's easier feels like a real reward.

5) I weigh myself. I know there are a lot of reasons not to weigh yourself when you're dieting. I'll admit that it's a real downer for me when I expect I've lost weight and find that the scale tells me I weigh the same thing I did three days ago. But it's also a great way for me to make sure I'm on the right track with the things I'm eating. During this two-week period of eating no cheat meals, I'd lost two pounds when I weighed myself one day, but when I weighed myself three days later, I was the same weight. I'd had low-carb peanut butter fudge made with no-sugar-added peanut butter, and I'd had a cup of coffee with half & half because I was out of heavy cream, and those were the only new things I'd introduced into my diet, so I figured it had to be one of those. I made sure not to drink any half & half the next day and had lost another half-pound when I weighed myself again. Had I not been weighing myself, I wouldn't have known that I could be doing something to mess up my weightloss. Eventually, losing weight won't be the point, and I won't need to keep a close eye on the scale. But for right now, when I'm trying so hard to get back to a weight I'm comfortable with, it's dumb to sabotage what's giving me motivation with something like half & half.

6) I've realized that low-carbing is actually pretty awesome. I know it's not for everyone, and I don't fault anyone for wanting to go a more traditional route like a low-calorie diet. But when I'm eating a scoop of the dreamiest ice cream made with heavy cream, or when I'm chowing down on a cheese and meat plate at a restaurant, or when I'm eating Brussels sprouts with extra bacon and extra sausage, I'm so happy that I've found a diet that lets me eat the richest, most satisfying foods.

Obviously I could've lost more weight by now had I done things differently. Had I not eaten so much ice cream, not eaten as many cheat meals when I was out with friends, gone to the gym more often, I would've lost more than the five pounds per month I averaged. On the other hand, I'm not sure I would've been so happy, and I'm not sure I would've been able to stick to it so easily.

How's low-carbing going for you?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sticking to My Diet . . . Sort of

I've been absent from the blog since October, but I'm so happy to say that I haven't been absent from low-carbing. Of course I was a cookie-eating fool during the Christmas season (I scorn anyone who says Christmas eating should last a day, not a month), but before and since that, I've been limiting my quote-unquote bad meals and finding that I'm actually enjoying myself. Since I spend most of my evenings with my boyfriend, whose tiny Manhattan apartment lacks both a freezer and an oven, I eat take-out almost every night. Not only is it really difficult for me to find low-carb food to order, but he doesn't like most of the restaurants that actually have options for me, so it's just simpler sometimes for me to eat whatever he's eating.

As a trade-off, I just make sure to eat healthy, low-carb breakfasts and lunches. Knowing that I'm going to have chicken parmesan for dinner makes a spinach-filled low-carb wrap a really satisfying lunch and keeps my hands off the candy bowl all afternoon. I haven't been losing tons of weight this way, but I have been losing a little, and I'm certainly not gaining anything, which is a big, big deal for me.

But last night, I had a friend over to my apartment, and we ordered Mexican food. Which also somehow included jalapeno poppers (what?). I brought a leftover cheese quesadilla and some of those poppers to work today with the intention of doing something–I'm not sure what–other than eating them, because I'm planning to go to dinner tonight with another friend and want the option to order whatever I want. But of course they were calling to me by lunchtime, and I went ahead and ate them with no regard for my plan.

And they were terrible! They didn't taste good after being in the refrigerator all night, and I didn't even get the social fulfillment that comes with eating bad food among friends since my co-workers were eating salads for once.

You know the only thing worse than eating unhealthy food when you didn't mean to? Eating unhealthy food and knowing the healthy stuff would've actually tasted better.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Why We Get Fat

Tracey and I got a couple of comments here yesterday for the first time in a long time, and it made me realize that hey, people still care about low-carbing and that hey, we haven't written here for nearly a year. Crazy!

You'll be happy to know that we're still at least semi-low-carb. I say semi, because we both still absolutely believe that this is the right way to eat, but we still have all of these great feelings attached to foods we know aren't good for us. And don't hate us, but we don't exactly want to do anything about it just yet.

We've both been eating low-carb breakfasts and lunches and then whatever we want for dinner, which is keeping our weights steady but not allowing us to lose anything. For us, just maintaining is a pretty big deal. Tracey has been keeping up with low-carb blogs and podcasts all along, but I have to admit that I stopped paying attention and stopped caring for a while. Here's something I wrote back in July, when I was coming around to low-carb again:

I picked up Gary Taubes's Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It knowing what it'd say, "We get fat because we eat grain and sugar." I thought it'd give me some motivation to stop listening to everyone around me who continues to tell me that all I have to do is eat "right"–meaning low-calorie–and go to the gym. What I didn't expect is that it would give me brand new insight not just about why we get fat but why I specifically get fat.

I believe Taubes when he says that people are just wired differently and that I'm just one of those people who can't eat carbs without consequence. After all, lots of people have terrible reactions to dairy or gluten. Lots of people get angry when they drink alcohol. I'm just a person who can't handle my sugar very well. It almost seems more manageable when I see it in those terms; I can do it, but I have to do it a little differently than all of those low-calorie/gym people.

When I see my my co-workers eating chicken fingers and pizza for lunch, I have to remember that they're not trying to lose weight. When I see my friends with the crazy metabolisms scarfing down cupcakes, I have to remember that diabetes and double chins aren't even on their radars. I have to remember that celebrities, people whose job it is to look good, eat low-carb.

I have to remember that it's not just for weightloss, it's for overall health. I have to remember that it's not the end of the world if I feel like I need to eat something carby as long as it's a one-meal break or a one-day break and not a one-month break or a one-year break. I HAVE TO REMEMBER TO STICK WITH THIS.

Let's do this.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quick and Dirty

(In case you haven't noticed, Unbreaded has added a third blogger! Please welcome Ash, who, blogging as .  I can't wait to read all of her great recipes and tips.  I just have to deal with my jealousy that she lives in New York, and Katie gets to try all her low-carb cookin'.)

For the past few weeks (okay, months), I've been in a cooking slump where I just cannot find the motivation to prepare healthy food. This has mostly driven me to high-carb take-out and microwavable meals, and I'm so spoiled by the convenience of it all that I'm having a really hard time getting up the gumption to rededicate myself to spending time in the kitchen.

My first few meals in my return to low carb eating have consisted of eating pepperoni slices and gnawing on a block of cheese, and people, I AM BORED. I know there are a million things I can eat, but until I can make some time and find some energy to cut up some stuff and cook up some stuff to have on hand, I really need some ideas for quick and easy meals to get me through a busy week, and I'm hoping you can offer some ideas.

What are your quickest and easiest low carb meals? And I mean EASY. Just in case you're unsure of how lazy I really am, I'm talking minimal-step, minimal dish-dirtying, minimal standing-over-and-stirring. As out-of-the-package-and-into-my-mouth as possible food. Favorite fast food options are also welcome.

Thanks! And here's hoping that once I start feeling the increased energy that comes from ditching all the sugar and starch, I'll at least be able to be bothered to boil an egg again.

Monday, November 28, 2011

How Not to be Crippled by Cramps and Headaches When You're Low-Carbing AND Exercising

Get some electrolytes in to avoid cramps and headaches
I recently went through an induction phase for the Nth time, which should have been business as usual for someone who's gone low-carb at several points in her life, but the difference this time was that I was really on Atkins instead of South Beach, so my carb intake was a LOT lower than ever before (no milk, very limited quantities of tomatoes), PLUS I was a month into working out heavily, and I didn't want to stop. Add to that the fact that I (very unwisely) decided that, oh, I guess I'll try out Bikram Yoga (a form of hot yoga for those who don't know) for the first time at the same time. I can't even tell you how much I wanted to stop working out forever as I tried to convince myself I wasn't dying halfway through my third yoga class.

Lack of caffeine is what people usually point out as the culprit when it comes to low-carb headaches, but that's never been the real issue for me because I never listened no matter how many times Dr. Atkins/Dr. Agatson reitarated I should not be drinking coffee. No one. Touches. My. Coffee. So I had to figure out what else was giving me these blinding headaches, and from doing some more reading I figured the culprit might be lack of magnesium and potassium due to the strict diet. I just figured I'd take some Centrum and other supplements, no big deal. Except it WAS a big deal, when I had terrible leg cramps halfway through a Jillian Michaels workout (which has NEVER happened to me), and like I said, felt like I was dying during yoga.

Eat some spinach, that's all I'm axskin' you.
The one good thing that came out of me doing yoga then was I found a better way of getting electrolytes in me (magnesium and potassium are electrolytes), when the yoga instructor noticed I seemed to be dehydrated even though I had basically chugged an entire bottle of water throughout the workout and handed me an Emergen-C Electro Mix packet (5.30/box 18 cents/packet at Amazon), which has no sugar or carbs but plenty of electrolytes (it's sweetened with Stevia). It's a powder packet you just pour into your water bottle that instantly makes it a zero carb/calorie sports drink. I'm never low-carbing and doing a workout without it again.

If you want a more natural way to get electrolytes in you, go for beans and spinach. They're both good sources of potassium and magnesium.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Low-Carb Lemon Cheesecake

I think cheesecake is one of the best desserts to have as a low-carber because other than sugar, you don't really need to substitute most of the other ingredients, so you don't have to sacrifice much on the taste.

I found this recipe while looking for low-carb dessert recipes online. Dessert is my kryptonite when it comes to low-carbing (I can eat burgers and eggs all day for my main meals), so I'm constantly planning out what to make so I don't get the urge to buy ice cream and cupcakes. Here's the original recipe, with a few notes:



1 1/4 cup almond meal crushed almonds (almond meal is somewhat expensive $40/16 oz!, so I crushed some almonds in my blender. Make sure to use pulse mode to get all the pieces.)

Crushed almonds

2 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons sugar equivalent in artificial sweetener (I used Splenda)


1 1/2 lbs (3 packages) cream cheese, room temperature (important!)
1 1/4 cups sugar equivalent in artificial sweetener (I used Splenda)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, room temperature (important!)
1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is best)
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup heavy cream


1 cup sour cream
Juice and zest from 1 medium lemon (about 2 Tablespoons juice and 1 Tablespoon zest)
1/4 cup sugar equivalent in artificial sweetener (I used Splenda)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Heat oven to 375 F.
  • Prepare a springform pan. I like to put a piece of parchment paper over the bottom of the pan; no need to cut it to size, just snap it into place when you tighten the sides of the pan. The parchment paper makes it easier to move the cheesecake to a nicer serving plate once the cake is done. Butter the sides and bottom of the pan, including parchment. Wrap the outside of the pan in heavy-duty foil to protect it from leaks. 
If you don't know what a springform pan is, here it is.
It's easier to put the parchment paper in by sealing the pan
while the bottom is under the paper, then cut the parchment paper
Pan with parchment paper, buttered and wrapped in foil

  • Combine ingredients for crust. Press the mixture into the bottom of your springform pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant and beginning to brown. Remove from oven.
  • Lower oven temperature to 350 F.
  • Gather ingredients for the filling. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl and beaters. (The mixture will gradually become lighter as you add in the rest of the ingredients, and the denser stuff will cling to the bowl. If you don't scrape, you won't be able to incorporate the remaining ingredients as well.) It is important to scrape, add the ingredients gradually and beat properly. Otherwise parts of your cheesecake can be eggy (ick). I learned this the hard way.
  • Add sweetener, vanilla, salt, and 2 of the eggs. Beat well, scrape.
If you're not aware, they sell granulated Splenda, which makes cooking with it easier

  • Add the other 2 eggs. Beat well, scrape.
  • Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and cream. Beat well, scrape, and pour filling mixture into the pan over the crust.
  • In another bowl, mix together ingredients for topping and set aside.
  • Place a baking pan large enough to hold your springform pan into the oven and fill it halfway with boiling water. Place the springform pan into the baking pan and bake for about 60 minutes (give or take 10 to 15 minutes), until the cheesecake is mostly set but is still wobbly in the middle.
  • Remove cheesecake from oven, spread the topping over the cheesecake, then bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Cool to room temperature (1 to 2 hours), then chill completely for several hours before serving. 
  • If you'd like, put 2 tablespoons of Cool Whip on every slice. It contrasts well with the tart lemon flavor.

Nutritional Information: Each of 16 servings has 3 grams effective carbohydrate plus 1 gram fiber, 7 grams protein, and 295 calories. Cool whip adds an additional 2 grams of carbs per serving.

Quick intro: Hi all! My name's Ash and I obviously was recently invited to start posting on Unbreaded (either that or I'm a pretty good hacker). I wasn't sure what to post first, but since this recipe saved me from eating all the evil carbs at a pre-thanksgiving dinner I recently hosted, I decided to put it up. Hopefully this will be the first of many recipes I'll be trying out and sharing with you. When I'm not playing around with de-carbing recipes, I blog about New York city at