I love cooking. Actually, I love to cook ketogenic meals FAST. I don’t like to prepare a lot and I like the satisfaction of eating a healthy meal after about 15 minutes of work. That is one reason the ketogenic meals that I prepare are simple. I have a few tips and tricks to make them delicious, but first and foremost, they are simple! Keeping it simple helps you to stick with it.
Focus on Meats and Veggies
When preparing a ketogenic meal, your mainstays are going to be vegetables and meats. When you start trying to make that fathead pizza or the ketogenic dessert cake, you are likely going to be disappointed that it doesn’t taste like the real thing and you spent more than 15 minutes preparing the ingredients and baking the dang thing. Avoid the disappointment and stick to focusing on consuming meats and veggies. You’ll discover that they taste great and can look really impressive to your friends and family.
When you think about your meal, try to focus on a vegetable and a protein. You’ll add the healthy fats in as you cook with healthy oils or with a salad dressing. Avocados can help you meet your fat intake as well.
The main things that I make on the ketogenic diet are a variation of the following:
- Stir Frys
- Hamburgers (without the bun)
Make Use of Your Steamer
Get a steamer! It is one of the best time saving tools in my book. You can quickly toss spinach, broccoli or cauliflower into the steamer and turn the knob for 20 minutes. That gives you an easy side dish. While it isn’t the star of the show, you can now focus on frying up a hamburger or sauteeing a chicken breast. The set it and forget it feature of a steamer enables you to clean up or walk away from the kitchen and come back to eat your meal without worrying that you are burning down the house! Steaming food is simple and easy.
One time saving tip that I have discovered is that you can cook your eggs in the steamer and they will come out perfectly! Whenever I tried boiling eggs, I had a tendency to overcook them and they would have that ugly green ring around the edges. Once you figure out the cook time for your steamer, it is just a matter of set it and forget it. You can do a whole dozen eggs in the steamer and have a quick breakfast or snack handy.
Instant Pots and Electric Pressure Cookers are Great!
Pressure cookers are wonderful when it comes to cooking a roast. While most of the time, I think that a steamer will do the trick for low carbohydrate veggies, my power pressure cooker does a fantastic job on a roast. After my father bought it for me as a Christmas gift, I discovered that I can tenderize all kinds of cheap meats at the grocery store in it. They tend to come out perfectly and all I have to worry about it remembering it season it! (That has slipped my mind a time or two.)
The downside of the pressure cooker is that the meal will take up to an hour to cook, but like the steamer, it has a set it and forget it feature. You just have to plan in advance when you want to start your meal and when you want to eat it!
Another great thing that you can use your electric pressure cooker for is to create wonderful soups. I love butternut squash soup. However, I hate dealing with the butternut squash. You can’t really cut it easily unless it has been cooked. Often the butternut squashes are larger than the steamer will hold, but they will fit inside the power pressure cooker. A whole chicken fits inside the power pressure cooker as well, so making stock with it is a breeze.
I use my power pressure cooker about once a week to make one of the following meals:
- Pot Roast
- Butternut squash soup
- Chicken soup
- Chicken or beef stock
Make Use of the Frozen Foods Section
I used to think that frozen foods were gross and not as nutritious as fresh. However, after reading up on how fresh foods can lose their nutrients in the transportation from farm to grocery to table, I rethought that concept. Now, i regularly pull out frozen chopped broccoli (chopped cooks faster than the broccoli florets or the larger broccoli cuts), sautee it up with sliced mushrooms and extra virgin olive oil. This takes all of 5-7 minutes of my time and tastes delicious. I sprinkle some herbamare on it for seasoning and I’m done! Quick and easy.
Convenience of Canned Meats
Canned meats sound disgusting to me. I am not a fan of spam, but I will admit that once I discovered that Costco has wild caught canned salmon, I started adding some canned meats into my diet. Wild caught fish is always going to be a better choice than farmed fish, so even though the canned salmon wasn’t fresh, it was a step above some of the fish in the market.
I tend to use canned salmon to add a protein to my salads. I use canned tuna and mix it with mayonnaise to make a tuna salad that I can enjoy in a lettuce wrap, on top of a salad or on its own. It takes all of five minutes to mix it together and there is no cooking involved! It is easy, simple and inexpensive! Gotta love that!
Enjoy Fresh Sliced Veggies In Season
During the summertime in Virginia, there is nothing better than a sliced tomato. This year, the farmer’s market was my friend for snacks and side dishes. I bought up the large, beefsteak tomatoes and regularly sliced one and paired it with mozzarella cheese, olive oil and basil for a fun Italian side dish.
I also discovered that cucumbers and cream cheese dip is a fast ketogenic snack or side dish. Celery boats can be made with cream cheese and olive. It requires no cooking and just a bit of knife skills to get it right!