Welcome to my first “what we ate” post! I wanted to start doing this because the main question I get when people learn that Matt and I are doing the ketogenic diet and eating one meal a day (called OMAD in keto circles) is, “What do you eat?”
So I thought I’d start answering that question on a regular basis by sharing the meals that I cook for us almost every day. I can’t guarantee that I’ll have a meal worthy of sharing every single day, but I do hope to share often.
And, of course, if you’re not doing one meal a day (OMAD), you can just enjoy smaller portions of the foods I share and spread them out during your preferred eating window each day. But do keep in mind that the whole point of the ketogenic diet is to regulate your insulin and heal your insulin resistance, and that’s hard to do if you’re constantly eating and snacking throughout the day. But again, more on that later.
So let’s get to it. Today’s meal is baby back ribs, cheesy cauliflower casserole, and a salad with grilled chicken.
Here are the details:
Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs
This recipe comes from All Recipes, and you can find the link here…
Matt and I absolutely love this recipe! Just be aware that if you don’t like spicy hot food, you might want to omit the cayenne pepper altogether.
But to make it according to the recipe, you’ll need an Instant Pot or similar pressure cooker. This is the one I have.
Changes I made to the recipe:
- Used sea salt instead of kosher salt, and reduced the amount to 1 tablespoon.
- Omitted the brown sugar.
- Used smoked paprika, which I almost always use when a recipe calls for paprika.
- Used chicken broth instead of beef broth, because that’s what I had on hand.
- Set the timer on my Instant Pot for 50 minutes instead of 30 minutes.
- Baked the ribs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, as I don’t like our food touching aluminum.
I’ve made these twice so far. The first time I made them, I set my Instant Pot for 30 minutes, as the recipe says. They were really good, but they were far from “fall off the bone” tender. So the second time, I upped it to 50 minutes, and oh my gosh. They were AMAZING. So unbelievably tender!
Matt and I get all of our meats, including the baby back ribs I used for this recipe, from Butcher Box. It’s a subscription service where you can get free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, and heritage pork. We get the large box subscription, and I change up our order every month so we can try different things. This was our first month to try the baby back ribs, and I was really pleased with them, especially on the second try with the longer cooking time.
If you have trouble finding grass-fed beef, heritage pork, and free-range chicken locally, you might want to check it out. And if you use the link just below, you can get two pounds of ground beef free with each monthly box you get for the life of your membership.
Low Carb Barbecue Sauce
You can’t have baby back ribs without some sort of sauce, right? I used this recipe for ours…
Changes I made to the recipe:
- Used monk fruit sweetener (we buy ours here), and used half the amount that the recipe calls for.
- Used dijon mustard instead of dry yellow mustard, because that’s what I had on hand.
- Left out the Liquid Smoke, unfortunately. I didn’t have any, but I’ll be sure to have it the next time I make this.
Matt absolutely loves this sauce. I don’t really like it, but then again, I don’t like barbecue sauce in general. I don’t like anything that makes meat sweet. (Don’t even get me started on honey-baked ham. Just…why? 😀 ) That’s why I used half the amount of sweetener, thinking that I might like it that way. It was fine, but I just can’t love barbecue sauce.
My own version of rib sauce:
The second time I made these ribs, I improvised and made up my own sauce. After I took the ribs out of the Instant Pot, I turned it to the saute setting, and added about one or two tablespoons of the barbecue sauce to the broth and seasonings that had been left behind when I removed the ribs. I let it simmer and reduce until I had the consistency of a thick-ish sauce, and that’s what I used on my ribs. It was incredible — savory instead of sweet, which is just how I like ’em.
Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole
If you’ve joined any keto Facebook groups, I’m sure you’ve heard of “keto mashed potatoes,” right? Ugh. It’s basically mashed up cauliflower that pretends to be potatoes. We’ve tried it, and as long as you squeeze every drop of water out of the cauliflower as humanly possible, and then eat it when it’s piping hot, it’s good. As soon as it starts to cool off, there’s just something about the consistency that I don’t like.
And no, it’s not a substitute for mashed potatoes. A potato is a potato, and there’s nothing else like it, so there’s nothing that will take it’s place. Sorry to be the one to break that bad news to you.
So what I’ve learned is that it’s best to just accept keto food for what it is. Why do I need to disguise cauliflower as a potato when I actually really do like cauliflower as cauliflower?
So that revelation is what led me to creating this casserole, which does not taste like potatoes, but does taste like amazingly good cauliflower. Instead of mashing up the cauliflower to pretend that it’s potatoes, we just enjoy the cauliflower as cauliflower, and then dress it up with some yummy cheese, butter and chives. We absolutely love this. Here are the details:
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-size or smaller pieces
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 ounce fresh chives, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar
- Steam the cauliflower until it’s tender.
- In a small saucepan, add the butter, sour cream, whipping cream, Parmesan, cream cheese, chives, salt and pepper. Stir over medium heat until everything is melted and mixed really well.
- Transfer the steamed cauliflower to a mixing bowl, add the mixture from the saucepan, and stir until the cauliflower is thoroughly coated.
- Pour the cauliflower into a small baking dish, spread it out evenly, and top with the grated cheddar.
- Set the oven to broil, and broil for about five minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
This recipe makes 6 servings for us, but it could be 8 smaller servings. This is the nutrition information for the whole casserole, according to Carb Manager, so you can divide the macros by the number of servings that you choose to make it…
Salad With Grilled Chicken
Our salad for this meal came from Whataburger, which made this a ridiculously expensive meal. I generally make our salads at home with organic spring mix and other veggies from the grocery store, but I hadn’t had time to go grocery shopping before cooking, and I was short on time since I really needed to get to Home Depot before lunch.
So I put the ribs into the Instant Pot to cook, headed to Home Depot, and picked up the salads on my way home. When I got home, the ribs were ready to go in the oven, and I made the cheesy cauliflower casserole while the ribs were baking. When the ribs were done, they came out of the oven, the casserole went under the broiler for a few minutes, and then everything was ready.
I really prefer making our own salads, because when you get food from a restaurant, you never know what’s going into the food. I don’t trust the nutrition information that most restaurants provide, and you can pretty much always count on the food having something like MSG on it.
And then there’s the sugar. I don’t taste sugar on Whataburger’s salad with grilled chicken, but I stay away from their dressing and make my own at home. You really do have to be aware that so much restaurant food has sugar in it, even on food where you wouldn’t expect it. I’ll never forget going to one particular chain restaurant years ago, ordering their “veggie platter” because I wanted to eat a healthy meal, and tasting the sweetest green beans I’ve ever had in my life. I asked, and sure enough, they add sugar to their green beans. Ugh. Why? Just…WHY?
So when trying to follow a strict keto diet, I try to steer clear of restaurant food altogether and make everything at home from ingredients I trust. But some days are hectic, my time is short, and exceptions have to be made.
Keto Macros For This Meal
So let’s see how this meal’s macros (i.e., fat to protein to carb ratio) stack up.
I have my Carb Manager app set to allow 1500 calories a day, with a macro ratio of 80% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. That’s the standard keto macro ratio that people talk about, however, I’ve learned that reducing the percentage of fat is ideal since your body will burn dietary fat first, and stored fat second. The goal is to burn stored fat, so reducing dietary fat makes sense.
And if you reduce fat, those calories have to be made up elsewhere. Obviously, we don’t want that to be carbohydrates, so the only other option is protein.
So while my Carb Manager is set up for 80% fat, 15% protein, and 5% carbs, I generally strive for a ratio that’s more like 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbs.
This meal had 18 of 20 allowable grams of net carbs, 95 of 116 allowable grams of fat, and 79 of 93 allowable grams of protein. The calorie count came to 1275.
And here’s a look at the ratios. It has 69% fat, 26% protein, and 6% carbs.
That’s about as close to my goal as I could get!
We loved the meal, and it will definitely go on our regular rotation, but next time I’ll make the salad at home and forgo the expensive Whataburger substitute.
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Please note that I am not a dietitian, a medical doctor, or a ketogenic diet expert. My goal is to simply share my own journey, and pass along some good food ideas along the way.