My husband and I often go into diet mode every once in awhile. We both feel really good about eating clean and feel like we have more energy. The Keto Diet is pretty hardcore; I’ve never been able to do it! I think simply eating low carb is hard enough, so it’s good enough for me. However, it’s been a challenge to cook for 1 person on Keto, 1 person on low carb and 1 toddler who is not a great eater. Plus, I’d like to stay away from preservatives and fake sugar foods as much as possible.
Here’s one of my favorite dinners that actually works for us all!
Cauliflower Mac & Cheese: This is an insanely popular dish, even for people who aren’t on a diet! The key to the recipe is to make sure the cauliflower is 100% dry before you bake it in the dish. I bake it for way longer than 15 minutes – maybe 35-40 minutes total. I like the ends to brown up and get crispy. I also mash the cauliflower pretty hard so that it’s undetectable to the naked eye. The magic of cauliflower is that it can be transformed into a texture that is almost exactly like carbs! Anything smothered in heavy cream and topped off with cheese is destined to be delicious!
Roasted Veggies: Vegetables are seriously the worst thing ever to force a toddler to eat… until now! It’s so simple, I almost didn’t believe it myself. Just chop up some broccoli, onions, bell peppers, carrots and cauliflower and heavily douse it with your favorite oil. I mixed mine with garlic oil and olive oil. I mix it well in a bowl with a plastic glove, add salt, pepper, and chopped garlic. That’s it! Bake it in the oven at around 360 for about 40 minutes, then turn off the oven and let it sit there for at least 15 more minutes. The vegetables are soft, juicy and the ends are crispy. Toddler Pencil literally has begged me for more vegetables! (If nobody was on a diet, I would add some chopped sweet potatoes!)
Instant Pot Chicken: I know there are a million chicken recipes out there for chicken, but this one is very simple and plain for children people on a diet. I simply put some chicken thighs in the instant pot and add about 1.5 cups of chicken stock, 1/4 cup of white wine, salt, pepper, chopped garlic, and my secret ingredient is adding 2 tablespoons of Better than Bouillon. I set it to about 20 minutes in the poultry setting. The chicken is always moist, maybe a little bit bland but that’s OK with me.
For the toddler, I typically shred some of the chicken and mix it with the cauliflower mac and cheese. Then plate some roasted veggies on the side. If I happen to have rice, I’ll add that to the mix so it’s more filling.
For my husband and I, we can eat everything! Keto dieters may need to stay away from the onions and carrots, because they tend to have a little extra sugar. I typically chop up more broccoli and cauliflower anyway.
The great thing about this meal is that the mac and cheese casserole and the chicken can last a few meals. The roasted vegetables don’t hold up well, so I would try to eat it all in one sitting. You can try to re-bake them, but it tastes the best when it’s freshly made.
The mac & cheese is a for sure winner, the roasted veggies are the best way to eat vegetables. And chicken is chicken, but at least it’ll stay moist and not chewy when made in the Instant Pot! Enjoy!