Category Archives: Main Dishes

Split Pea Soup (Pork free)

This recipe was touted as being cheap/inexpensive and thus great for people on a tight budget. So naturally I was expecting the split peas to be around 50¢-75¢ a pound but unfortunately they were about double that and the recipe calls for two pounds. :o So for this inexpensive dinner, I was going to have to pay close to $3 and I can get chicken breast for cheaper than that! But I wasn’t just fixing it for being budget friendly, I was fixing it for being healthy and a lighter dinner.

Well, when I started going to WinCo, they had the split peas for less than 70¢ a pound, if I remember correctly. So, I it made it more budget friendly.

Some people don’t eat pork and split pea soup is usually made with a ham bone and chunks of ham. But to eat these carbohydrates and still lose weight, I need to eat them with very little fat, so no ham bone nor ham.

You may wonder how to make it taste good if you don’t use a ham bone. Liquid smoke and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. I’ve never had split pea soup before so I had no taste that this recipe had to live up to. Sean even took one look at it and told me that he’d taste it but that he was probably going to eat something else. :D He ate his whole bowl and got seconds, if I remember correctly. ;)

So you start by soaking the dried split peas in water first thing in the morning. Then early afternoon drain and rinse them.

Next begin sauteing some finely diced onion in a soup pot or dutch oven. Add a bit of water for moisture as it cooks to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot or add up to 1 tablespoon of butter.

Then you simply add the water, peas and just a few seasonings. Cover and simmer for several hours. It can be cooked in the crock pot too, just soak the peas overnight.

I like to cook mine for about 4 hours. Really it is about how it tastes to you, when to stop cooking and eat.

Split Pea Soup (Pork free)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds dried split peas, soaked about 8 hours in warm water with 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 onion, diced
  • up to 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 12 cups of water
  • 4 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 3 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1-2 squirts Bragg's Liquid Aminos
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • several slices of turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled (I do one slice per person)

Instructions

  1. drain and rinse the soaked peas
  2. saute onion in water or up to 1 Tablespoon butter for a few minutes
  3. Add peas, water and seasonings.
  4. Cover and bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer for several hours on low.
  6. Serve with some turkey bacon bits on top and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, if desired. 🙂
http://lifeofjoy.me/split-pea-soup-pork-free/

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Taco Mac Salad (THM E- low fat version)

Taco Mac Salad is one of our favorite salads, if not meals. I have remade this as a healthy fats meal before using dreamfields pasta. But since this is a favorite meal, I looked for a way to make this without using that pasta.

The next solution I had was to use brown rice pasta or brown rice & quinoa pasta. You could use any alternative pasta like lentil, black bean, chickpea, or other such pasta. This night we used brown rice pasta from WinCo.

I took about a pounds worth of thawed boneless skinless chicken bread and put it in the food processor. I then ground it up, cooked it in a fry pan, and seasoned it with taco seasoning.

Meanwhile, I boiled the pasta and chopped up some vegetables. It’s important to measure the pasta so as not to overdo the carbs.

It is probably best to only 40g weight instead of 52-68g worth of pasta to give some space for some beans.

Tear the lettuce and chop the green pepper. I serve the diced tomatoes separately because the kids don’t like them. Drain, rinse, and heat up a can of black beans (it can be added to the meat).

Combine the drained, cooked pasta, beans, salad, and a cheese stick or two (sliced) in a salad bowl.

Serve with low fat/low carb dressing, low fat/fat free sour cream or yogurt and any other veggies you desire. I do choose to use some fat free cheddar cheese as well.

If you used a low enough carb pasta, you can probably add a tostada to it. :)

I added some nutritional yeast. :)

I hope you like it as much as we do.

Taco Mac Salad (THM E- low fat version)

Ingredients

  • brown rice pasta (or other alternative pasta, such as brown rice & quinoa, black bean, chickpea, lentil, etc)
  • boneless skinless chicken breast
  • lettuce
  • green pepper
  • tomato
  • low fat mozzarella cheese stick
  • fat free yogurt or fat free/low fat sour cream
  • taco seasoning (chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper)
  • black beans, drained and rinsed
  • tostada (corn, lime treated) optional

Instructions

  1. process chicken breast into ground chicken in a food processor
  2. cook chicken and add taco seasoning
  3. boil pasta
  4. chop veggies
  5. add beans to meat
  6. add meat, beans, and drained pasta to the chopped veggies
  7. serve with toppings desired
http://lifeofjoy.me/taco-mac-salad-thm-e-low-fat-version/

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Creamed Turkey (low carb)

Creamed turkey is one of those things that my mom made with the Thanksgiving turkey carcass. Recently I’ve started making it with the leftover dark meat and my family has been loving it.

I was concerned about how to make it without using a flour rue and that gluccie (glucomannan) would end up being slimy but it turned out great. The key is to sprinkle it in  very finely as the broth is simmering.

I got this salt shaker from Dollar Tree and keep some gluccie (pronounced glue-key) in it with one of the little silica gel packets in vitamins, to keep it from getting moisture in it and making it clump up.

So here’s how to make the creamed turkey.

Chop the turkey into bite-size pieces and place into a pot.

Add enough water or broth to cover and give you enough gravy. I use chicken broth because it is more flavorful. You can use water and bouillon or broth made from the turkey carcass. Once it comes to a slight simmer, sprinkle in the gluccie and stir.Keep adding and stirring until it thickens slightly. Add just a bit at a time. The shaker makes it easy not to get clumps. I added about 4 shakes at a time and stirred for a little before adding more shakes. I added shakes about 3 or 4 times, stirring well between additions.

Then we served it with creamed cauliflower.

I assure you this did not have the slightest fishy/slimy taste at all. It was delicious and was the comfort food we love. :)

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do. I know it is hard to have a “recipe” without exact measurements but this really is easy and customizable to whatever amounts you have. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Delicious Tender Simple Ribs

These ribs are delicious, tender, relatively quick, and simple to make.

Glenda Goff of Around the Family Table blog talked about how much she loves her Ninja Foodi. Then she shared that the model she loves was on sale, direct from the company. I happened to have some money left over from my Christmas budget, so I was tempted to purchase it.

We had a Cruisinart Toaster Oven/Air Fryer and I was never pleased with how it air fried things. Things either didn’t get crispy enough or got burnt. I was not impressed with air frying. Then several months ago it died. We’d had it about a year and a half–not good.

So I’ve been wanting an air fryer. This Ninja Foodi is an air fryer but I have an 8 quart Instant Pot. Thus I didn’t think that I needed another pressure cooker, which the Foodi is also. BUT it is also a dehydrator and I’d love a dehydrator. I have a very old one but the lid is cracked and parts are broken and melted. (Hey, it was a great deal MANY years ago, at only $3 at a garage sale . . . awesome stocking stuffer from my sister and hubby.)

The foodi is a 6.5 quart machine, which is something I’ve been wanting too. As I mentioned, my IP is an 8 quart and I didn’t realize when I got it that things would take longer to cook in it than a 6 quart machine. I’ll keep my 8qt IP but I think this Foodi is going to be used a lot more.

So . . . I’d gotten a decent deal on the ribs and did a quick internet search to see how best to make them. Foodi to the stage!

So according to the recipe I found, the first step was to remove the membrane on the one side of the ribs. This proved to take longer expected. Also, my ribs were about 5 pounds and the recipe used about 3 pounds, if I remember correctly.

I’d gotten it off of all the meat on the right and was working on this part when I asked Tiffany to get some pictures for me.

She made up the rub for me to put on it. I decided to use a rub instead of a lot of barbecue sauce, which I didn’t have at the time.

I used this recipe for the spice rub. I’ve used it before and liked it, so it was Tried and True. :)

Once I got off the membrane and rubbed the spice mix on it I realized mine was bigger and it wasn’t going to stand in the foodi the way they did on the recipe I was following. I decided to just let it fall over on itself.

Now, I am not one for sour things and usually reduce vinegar when called for but I knew that without the barbecue sauce for liquid in the pressure cooker (Foodi), I would NEED the the whole amount of vinegar. I hoped I’d just make up for it later in the sauce I was going to create. So I added the 1/2 cup of ACV (apple cider vinegar).

The recipe called for pressure cooking it for 30 minutes for 3-4 pounds of ribs, so I set mine for 40 minutes. They were super tender.

While it was cooking I whipped up a barbecue sauce with some tomato sauce I had–it turned out pretty good. I’ll share it after I make it again, so I can get the measurements right. I just put a bit of this and a bit of that and a bit more of this and mixed them all together. ;)

When they were done, I did as the recipe stated and poured out the juices from the pot and cleaned it out. Added the rack, placed some of the ribs on it with some bbq sauce and let the air crisper do its thing!

Here’s the recipe I followed: https://temeculablogs.com/ninja-foodi-ribs/ She has a ton of other Ninja Foodi recipes there. I’m looking forward to trying them out. :)

Tiffany and I had leftovers for lunch the next day and I had the little bit that was left on Tuesday. Yummo!

If you’ve thought about getting the Ninja Foodi, go ahead–I’m loving mine. It’s earned its place on the counter. I heated up my bit of ribs with the fryer function and added some seasoned cauliflower. Tasty in a fraction of the time it takes to make in the oven and quite a bit cooler too.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Pasta Again :) (Goulash)

So at this point I guess I’ll admit that when there is a meal scheduled that we don’t feel we have the energy to make or time to make, we switch it up. And a lot of those times we end up with a pasta dish of some sort. We love pasta.

Yesterday I started painting late in the afternoon and didn’t get it finished until after five. At that point I was too hungry to wait to cook the spicy sausage and butternut squash dish, so we went for “hamburger helper” which is what we call pasta dishes. ;)

So like other pasta dishes, we diced some onion, mushroom, and bell pepper and cooked them in an oil-sprayed frying pan and added water to keep them from sticking. ;)

cooked onions and mushrooms ~ Lifeofjoy.me
We actually had diced green pepper too but I didn’t get a picture of it. :(

Meanwhile, we cook up the ground meat; we use cheap ground turkey. Brown it and then rinse it.

Taco Mac Salad ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd also boil the pasta. :) This time we used the brown rice macaroni noodles. I really love these! Be sure to measure out the proper serving amounts. We actually use a scale and weigh in grams to get every gram we have coming to us.

Season with salt and pepper. I also used some oregano. Oh, and a little nutritional yeast (don’t add it if you don’t want to ;) ).

When the macaroni is done, drain it and add it to the meat and cooked veggies,

along with an eight ounce can of tomato sauce.

Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Those in wanting a crossover, can add some cheese but it is fine without it. We add nutritional yeast and more salt individually. We also serve with a side salad.

Pasta Again 🙂 (Goulash)

Ingredients

  • ground meat
  • ~ 1/2 onion, diced
  • ~ 1/4 bell pepper, diced
  • ~ 2-4 mushrooms, diced
  • brown rice macaroni (248 grams which is about half the bag)
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sprinkling of oregano
  • spray oil

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta and drain.
  2. Brown meat and rinse with very hot water.
  3. Spray skillet with a little oil (we use olive oil spray) and cook diced veggies until desired doneness. 🙂 Add a few splashes of water as needed to keep them from sticking to the pan as they cook.
  4. Add rinsed meat and seasonings of choice.
  5. Add drained macaroni and tomato sauce.
  6. Stir to combine.
  7. Serves 4
http://lifeofjoy.me/pasta-again-goulash/

This is an easy and tasty THM-E meal. I hope it helps you include a few more healthy carbs in your menu.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Cowboy Grub Taco

I made Cowboy Grub from Trim Health Mama Cookbook page 59, last week. I used the canned tomatoes that have the green chilies in it. Either I’ve never made this correctly before or my tastes have changed because this was delicious!

As you can see I used chicken breast instead of ground meat because I don’t like to rinse my meat and lean ground meat is a bit pricey for frequent use. I also used the par-boiled brown rice from Aldi to make my life simpler. I also used the frozen seasoning blend (albeit the chunkier version) which I broke up a bit with my mix-and-chop hand-held gadget. I served it with canned green beans with a bit of onion powder and liquid smoke in them. I might have served a bagged salad too, for ease.

When I served the leftovers, I followed the suggestion of stuffing it into tortillas with cheese (and sour cream).  I used a sprouted grain tortilla and used a light laughing cow cheese wedge. This really changed the taste, making it seem like a different meal completely.

At lunch the next day I used up the rest of the leftovers and added a bit of fat free cheddar–my personal choice item. I only used half of a tortilla because we have the huge ones and they are 28g of carbs for one and I knew that would put it a bit too many carbs but a half of one worked nicely. I’ll pick up some of the smaller ones next time. I’m trying to only use the Mission low carb tortillas once a week or less, so that wasn’t an option for me this time around.

I heated it up on the flame of the burner. :) I love my gas range.

Yes, I used an entire wedge and it made it nice and cheesy. :)

It was yummo! I ate the bit that didn’t fit on the tortilla with a spoon. :)

Do you have meals that you’ve found a way to make the leftovers seem like a completely different meal? Please share in the comments, if you do. I love easy meals.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Low Carb Wraps Expectations

A few months ago I saw an ad for a “free” book of keto “carb” recipes. I’m normally enticed to get more keto recipes as they are generally higher in calories than what my body can handle. But it included recipes for noodles, ravioli, buns, wraps, and even croissants.

It was the croissants that got me. I caved and spent the $6.95, supposedly for shipping and handling. I denied all other offers they tried to push on me when I did so. It granted me immediate access to the recipes in pdf format. I looked through them and was looking forward to the small book of recipes arriving. It took several weeks before it did so.

Tiffany has not been able to eat a lot of almond flour and definitely not flax or chia, which currently cause her stomach distress. The first thing we made was some naan. It looked nothing like the pictures in the cookbook but my daughter liked it well enough.

I was intrigued by the wraps. They looked so white and so much like regular white flour tortillas. These used pork rinds ground to a powder. I thought this might lend a nice flavor to the wraps. So I tried them.

I ask you, does that look anything like the picture? See how white/pale the ones in the picture are? Mine have a very yellow look, although you cannot see it well in this picture. It was tasty enough but I think it is more caloric than other low carb wraps I’ve tried.

It is pretty sturdy but as you can see, nothing as white as what is pictured. This was the last of my prepared wraps, so I’ll be needing to make up a batch of wraps soon. I don’t think I’ll make this one again because of the pork rinds. I’ll work on finding a new recipe. I may try the THM one again. (The one from the Trim Healthy Table Cookbook.) The problem with the THM one is it uses baking blend but it has flax in it, so Tiffany can’t have them. So I’ll be looking for one she can have or maybe modify one of these.

I’ll post again when I find a wrap recipe that is sturdy and lower in calories. Yeah, I know, we don’t worry about calories but since I’m menopausal I need all the help I can get and the higher calorie intake of keto recipes is not conducive to me losing weight. ;)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Another Pasta Skillet

We love Aldi’s brown rice & quinoa pasta. This pasta is a THM E meal, which means it is a healthy carbs and low fat meal. We like to weigh the pasta to ensure that we get the right amounts cooked for each of us. :) Measuring by cup doesn’t usually yield the correct amount of food.

So, bring the measured amount of pasta to boil. Be sure to check the serving size because it can vary per type of pasta.

Meanwhile saute your chosen vegetables. Seriously, pick whatever veggies you like. It is best to stick with non-starchy veggies since you’re having the carby pasta. Only spray your pan with a light coating of oil of your choosing (we either us olive or coconut spray). Then if your veggies need a bit more moisture, add a bit of water to the pan to help keep them from sticking.

This time we chose onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and zucchini.

Tiffany has discovered that although she does not like raw tomatoes, she does like them cooked. :)

We added some minced garlic and stirred it in.

I just used the jarred variety this time. You don’t have to add garlic if you don’t prefer it.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and then add it to the cooked veggies.

We had some chicken breast that we’d cooked up a few days prior in the crock pot. This is what we used but you could use any low fat meat. Canned chicken breast or canned tuna ( or fish from a pouch) would work well too.

This night Tiffany decided to add one wedge of Light Laughing Cow Cheese to add a bit more creaminess, but we’ve done it without it and it is just fine too. :)

Stir it in and serve. Of course add whatever seasonings you like.

This had me saying “Mmmm” with the first several bites and declaring how much I was enjoying it throughout the meal. The serving size of pasta is quite filling, so we didn’t serve it with anything else but a side salad would be good. Just keep it low fat to stay in E mode. :)

I hope you like this “recipe”. I’ll include what we used below but know that you can use whatever non-starchy veggies you like (and even a bit of the starchy ones, since it is an E).

Another Pasta Skillet

Ingredients

  • Brown Rice & Quinoa Pasta
  • Veggies of your choice: onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini were our picks this time
  • You could add some carrot or peas or a bit of corn if you like
  • Seasonings of choice: garlic, salt, and pepper were ours
  • Optional light laughing cow cheese wedge (1)
  • Protein: cooked chicken breast was ours

Instructions

  1. Boil measured pasta until done, and drain.
  2. Spray pan with cooking oil, lightly.
  3. Saute diced/sliced veggies.
  4. Add seasonings, drained pasta, and protein.
  5. Serve
http://lifeofjoy.me/another-pasta-skillet/

I hope you enjoy this “recipe;” we sure have.

Michele ºÜº

Quick and Easy Pasta Skillet

A couple of weeks ago Tiffany and I were stumped with what to make for dinner. For whatever reason, I didn’t have anything planned for dinner that night or didn’t want to make what I had planned. This  meal is what we came up with and we absolutely loved it!!!!

It’s very simple. Just use whatever you have on hand. We browned some ground turkey with some onions and peppers. Then we added some cut fresh tomatoes that we had on hand and needed to use. (You could use any meat of choice, including chicken breast, raw or pre-cooked.)

The night of this picture we didn’t have any peppers, so it was just onions and tomatoes.

 

While the meat and veggies were cooking, I boiled four servings of Dreamsfield Pasta. To be honest, I didn’t think that the amount stated as a serving (dry measurement) was going to be very much when cooked but went with it anyway. It was plenty!Once the veggies and meat were cooked, we added the cooked and drained pasta.

As you can see, the pasta we had this night was spaghetti. We made it with macaroni the first time and were concerned that we wouldn’t like it as much with this shape of pasta but thankfully, it was delicious as well. :)

We added extra virgin olive oil before eating. Yum!

The first time we made it we added a garnish amount of cheese but to be honest it wasn’t needed.

Quick and Easy Pasta Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 pound meat of choosing (I used ground turkey)
  • Veggies of choice: I used
  • Onion
  • Pepper
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil or whatever you choose
  • Dreamfield Pasta
  • Any herbs desired (we sprinkled with a bit of basil)

Instructions

  1. Prepare pasta as directed and drain
  2. Cook the meat and veggies with salt and pepper
  3. Add drained pasta, add any herbs desired, and combine.
  4. Drizzle with oil of choice.
http://lifeofjoy.me/quick-and-easy-pasta-skillet/

I hope this simple meal is as helpful to you as it is to us. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Pasta Salad Healthy Carb, Low Fat

I made this pasta salad last week and we devoured it. I like to make salads when it is blooming hot outside so that it doesn’t get quite so hot inside.

This salad is a THM E(nergetic) salad because I used pasta made from quinoa and brown rice that I get at Aldi. A serving is only 1/4 cup of the dry pasta so I added some lettuce to it as well. I had intended to make a different salad but this one turned out good.

So, here’s what I did:

Bring water to a boil and then add the pasta and cook as directed, drain, and rinse with cold water.

I steamed one bunch of broccoli, just so it wasn’t raw and rinsed it in cool water too.

I added 5 cups of chopped red leaf lettuce, 1 carrot shredded, about 1/4 cup diced green pepper, and a garnish amount of shredded parmesan cheese.

Then I took a piece of chicken breast, cut it thinly, seasoned it with salt and pepper and cooked it in a skillet sprayed with coconut oil.

I also added about 1/3-1/2 cup of the fuel pull 1000 Island dressing because it is very low fat (because I used even less that the recipe calls for so I don’t have to think about how much I’m using) and it needs some kind of flavoring. You could use any low fat healthy dressing but even my daughter liked it and she doesn’t care for dressings. :D

I added some grape tomatoes and some fat free cheddar cheese to my serving. :) (I view the fat free cheese as a personal choice item and try not to eat too much of it but I love cheese so this is helpful to me.)

Pasta Salad Low Carb

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dry penne quinoa and brown rice pasta, cooked, drained, and rinsed with cold water
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, steamed, and rinsed in cold water
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 5 cups of chopped red leaf lettuce or leafy greens of choice
  • about 1/4 cup diced green pepper
  • garnish amount of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1# chicken breast
  • 1/3-1/2 cup low fat dressing (fuel pull creamy 1000 island)

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta as directed on package
  2. Steam broccoli
  3. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper, cook, and slice (I slice the meat first, season and then cook when I'm in a hurry and don't have some already cooked.)
  4. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and serve.
  5. Serves 4
http://lifeofjoy.me/pasta-salad-healthy-carb-low-fat/

I hope you enjoy this pasta salad.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº