Category Archives: Tasty Tuesday

Because you have to feed them too

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

What to Cook When I Don’t Feel Like Cooking

A menu of items to choose from is one of my biggest helps to this problem. I usually plan to have things I’m hungry for so that means I have a little extra incentive to cook. ;) But sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking whatever is on the menu. This happened to me last night.

Don’t feel like cooking . . .

It was overcast here and the kids got the new Animal Crossing game, so there was not much motivation to do much of anything at all today. Evidently my afternoon snack was a bit filling too. So although I was a bit hungry when dinnertime came around, I did not feel like making anything.

On nights like that the first thought is to call a Yo-Yo, which means You’re On Your Own. :D I got that from one of my oldest friends. I love it. But any way, I really didn’t want to make my hubby fend for himself after having worked. So I did what came naturally and stood in front of the refrigerator and pondered what to make. I had a package of polish kielbasi that was unplanned and some cabbage, so I thought I’d make that but hubby wasn’t up for the cabbage, which is unusual but okay.

Breakfast for Dinner . . .

I was close to declaring a YoYo and considered another easy dinner option, Eggs for dinner. :) When I get stumped for a dinner menu item, I consider breakfast for dinner which is usually pancakes or some such specialty. But lately, when I want an easy dinner, it is eggs or oatmeal. :) But I wasn’t really in the mood for either of those. ;)

Then I was enticed by the veggies. :o Who am I? =)) I pulled out the red bell pepper, some onion, a green bell pepper, some mushrooms, and some zucchini. I wasn’t sure what I was thinking of making until I got out the zucchini. Next came the low carb tortillas and some cheese. At the last minute I got out some turkey lunch meat so my guys didn’t complain too much. ;)

I chopped up the veggies and Tiff heated up the tortillas. It was quick, easy, and filling.

Other Options

My other options are spaghetti, tacos, grilled sandwiches/paninis, fajitas, or salad (which admittedly is a last resort). I do ask that people eat up leftovers, if at all possible on YoYo nights too.

Well, that’s what I do, what do you do when you don’t feel like cooking?

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Go-To Meals and Menu Planning

What are some of your “go-to” meals? Are they seasonal? Our temperatures here are all over the place right now. I nearly had to turn on the air conditioner the week before last and then the bottom dropped and it got very cold again.

If I eat a salad, I like to do it when it is warm out (unless it is Chicken and Fries salad, Mmmmm, mmmm) and soups when it is colder. Of course “colder” is relative to what the temperatures have been. If it is the fall and just come out of 100º temperatures then the 60’s is definitely colder but if it spring and the temperatures have been in the 30’s and 40’s then 60 is definitely warmer. ;) See?

Soups/Chili

Well, all that to say . . . my go-to meals are subject to temperature. :D When it is a bit on the chilly side, we lean to adding chili and soup to our menu at least a couple of times in the week.

I’ve shared some of our favorites here. Sometimes I make this crock pot meal with added broth for more of a soup than gravied type casserole.

Hand-held Food

Hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos, and fajitas are ones that make it to our menu frequently, especially in warmer weather. I don’t know why it is more frequent during warmer temps unless it is the fact that it heats the house up less than turning on the oven.

There are other hand-held foods that we eat but not as frequently as those, such as quesadillas, grilled sandwiches/paninis, and chicken nuggets.

Casseroles/Pasta/Grains

We don’t have a lot of casseroles any more unless you call spaghetti a casserole. ;) Spaghetti and pasta dishes frequent our menu. Spaghetti is one of Tiffany’s favorite meals; she has been known to ask for it for her birthday dinner frequently.

I’ve shared several pasta dishes that are THM compatible in the last year, as these are ones that Tiffany loves to just throw together on the fly. She’s been enjoying quinoa again for lunches lately too.

Pizza

Yep, pizza or a pizza flavored dish is a weekly meal here. For a while I had stopped making pizza for dinner and Sean said he missed it. I happily brought it back to our menu as it is a favorite of mine.

We are really enjoying pizza with a sourdough crust for the last several months. It is our current favorite. We’ve even learned to enjoy it with little cheese. :o I know, shocking! However, when we are needing a cheese fix, we will switch to either a fathead type crust and go keto-style or shift to my pizza skillet or pizza topping casserole. :D

Salad?

When it is warmer weather we will sometimes do a salad for dinner but more often than not we will just have a side salad with whatever entree I’ve decided to cook.

My other go-to meals are printed out from recipes I’ve found online; I thumb through them to be reminded of how good they are and if they are simple, all the better. :)

My menu this ‘week’ is

  • fajitas
  • chili
  • pizza with salad
  • split pea soup
  • fried pork chops, crispy asparagus, and caulitaters
  • spaghetti
  • crock pot chicken and noodles with caulitaters (mashed/creamed cauliflower)

The chili was nice the day the temperature stayed in the 50’s and rained. Fajitas were a nice quick fix meal. Crock pot meal will make errand day dinner easy. And the fried pork chops will be a nice change–they were on sale a couple weeks ago, as was the asparagus.

I hope this helps you create your menu.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Prayer and Food

Recently I was a bit frustrated with my weight reduction progress (or lack thereof). I began to wonder if maybe the fat choices I was making were not the best ones for me to release weight. (I know all foods are not created equal and that this goes for fats as well.)

Pearl and Serene talk about virgin coconut oil and how good it is for you. And I think that it has been said that it is better than the refined coconut oil. We’ve had some virgin coconut oil here for a while but I haven’t used it because I didn’t care too much for the flavor.

I realized that the bacon fat, beef fat, and pork fat I’ve been eating probably aren’t the best for me. So in my frustration, I bowed my head and asked God to help me like the foods that are best for me and will help me release this excess weight.

Answered Prayer: Tastes Changing

The other day I had some oatmeal and prepared it the way Pearl calls her ‘sweatpants oatmeal.’ I decided to go ahead and try using the virgin coconut oil melted in the 2-4 tablespoons of hot water. And you know what? I loved it!

So yesterday I made the eggs and hash and used the virgin coconut oil in it. Once again, I really enjoyed it! I even liked the smell of the oil in the jar. I asked my daughter, “Who am I?” :D

Try Different Things

So I am pleased that I’m trying things I didn’t like before and that I’m liking them too. It gives me confidence to continue to pray about my food choices.

If you are struggling with weight, or health, or exercise, or some such thing, take a moment and ask God to help you with something specific. He always hears us and I am glad that I can see this prayer being answered.

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

Brown Rice Pasta and such

Following the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan, I know that I should not over use any particular food. But I tend to overdo things. I get on one thing and if I love it, I keep using it. Several days a week, if not every day. I try really hard not to use it more than once in a day but depending on the item, I’m not always successful. ;)

My latest favorite is brown rice pasta. The cool thing is that it has only one ingredient: brown rice. The bad thing that a serving is about 45 carbs. So, that is the max carbs I should have in a meal but I’m better off if I have half that amount.

I’m in love with this brown rice macaroni. :) They are nice big macaroni elbows. It makes a wonderful E meal. :) Of course, I cannot have any regular cheese with this, so that means I have to be a bit more creative. A wedge of laughing cow cheese works good though and  adding a little bit of chicken broth to it loosens it up a bit.

I like to add sauteed vegetables and lean meat. I put boneless skinless chicken breast in my food processor and blend it with the ‘s’ blade. It cooks really fast this way.

Cheese is another problem I have. I love cheese. I eat way too much of it to lose much weight. (I also struggle with eating too many Lily’s chocolate chips, skinny chocolate, and peanut junky butter.) But that’s a different topic.

This spaghetti is great too! It is thinner than the one I’ve been getting at Sprouts, which I really like. It is so nice to have spaghetti that isn’t dreamfields, as I think they do not do what they say they do and I really should not eat them. So I brown up some ground turkey and rinse it with boiling hot water and then proceed with my regular spaghetti recipe. :) Yum!

What I need to eat more of though is green veggies; you know, like salad. :o That is not my favorite thing to eat. I’ve tried from time to time but it just isn’t my favorite–it’s not like cheese or chocolate. :D

I need to add a bit more variety in my E meals: sweet potatoes, beans, lentils, and fruit. I get enough oats, brown rice,  and sourdough. ;) I also need more fuel pull foods–spinach, lettuce, and okra. Of course, according to a recent podcast I should increase my fish consumption too. :)

Well, I’m going to run for now. I hope this helps you in your effort to eat healthy.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

PS. I just checked the THM E foods guide and found that brown rice flour needs to be sprouted! Ugh!!!

Recipe Trial and Error: Rockin’ Roll Cake

On Friday I tried the Rockin’ Roll Cake for Valentine’s Day dessert. I wanted to keep it a fuel pull (FP) because we had Sourdough Pizza from Around the Family Table Cookbook for dinner, which is an E (healthy carb) meal. I wanted to be able to eat dessert without thought for the carbs or adding fats.

It would have turned out perfectly except that I overcooked the cake. I don’t know what I was thinking except that part of the cake seemed to be uncooked when the timer went off, but truth be told, I think it would have been fine. Then because I knew that this was basically egg whites, I hand meringues on my mind and meringues are supposed to be dry. Yep! That was my problem!!!

So I will remake this cake and share how I deliciously kept if fuel pull at that time.

The important thing is that Michael really likes the cake. :)

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

Super Bowl LIV Dinner

Michael likes to watch football, although the kids dislike it. I don’t care either way. I learned to at least understand the game shortly after we were first married. We used to get together with my parents and sister and her family for the big game and Mom would make homemade pizza. We did this for a number of years.

Then I was very committed to a diet I was on and pizza was off plan for several years but I managed to make something to go along. ;) Then for a couple years someone was on vacation or sick or we just were not interested in the game that year. It’s been a couple years now that we haven’t gotten together to watch the game.

Since the game comes on at 5:30 central, it is right around dinner time. So I made dinner food that was like game watching food. ;) I made garlic parmesan wings for Michael’s main meat.

Then Tiffany made the Eggplant “Queso”, which I had with pork rinds while the rest had some baked Tostitos chips.

It doesn’t look the best but it is pretty good for a queso made without cheese.

When I originally made this meal plan, this was it. But I’d planned ribs for dinner on Saturday but I wasn’t up to making them that night. Since I’d already thawed them, I needed to go ahead and cook them. Thus we had some amazing ribs. :) Fall off the bone tender with some good spice rub and homemade barbeque sauce.

I’ll share that recipe soon. I decided to share what we had even though the big game is over because it was just some good food that can be eaten any time. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

How to Find Meat Deals

The last couple of weeks I have been really getting some great meat deals! I thought I’d share with you how I found them.

So first up was a deal on chicken breasts at Aldi. The cheapest I’ve seen them is $1.49 a pound but then that was only like once or twice ever. $1.69 is the low I usually see. Well two weeks ago I saw that there were two $1 off stickers on some of the large packages of chicken breasts AND they were already at $1.49 a pound pricing.

Now the way you get the best deal per pound on the meat like that is to find the smallest packages because the $2 will be taken off the total. So if there were 5 pounds of chicken you’d be saving forty cents a pound but if there were only 4 pounds of meat then you are saving fifty cents a pound.

When I shop in our stores, I do a quick walk through the meat department looking for any sales or price reductions. I have found that Walmart has miscalculated the price per unit before, so if it doesn’t seem right, do the math yourself. ;)

Two weeks ago at Sprouts they had BOGO rump roasts and they were $4.99 a pound. So that meant that if I found two roasts the same weight (or very close to the same weight) they’d be $2.49 a pound but since Michael cannot eat beef right now and he didn’t have any work for nearly a month, that I should not spend that much money on meat he couldn’t eat. (Sorry for the incredibly long sentence!) Anyway, I checked it out again last week when we went and they’d raised the price per pound to $7.99! Uh yeah, that’s no bueno. :o Glad I didn’t want to buy any. :D

Last week I was on the Flipp app and clicked the grocery tab. I looked at my Sprouts, Aldi, and Walmart ads and saw Cash Saver. Now Cash Saver is a tricky store because they say they sell everything at cost + 10% added at the register. I personally don’t believe that is the case with every item in the store but believe that is the case with their sale items because each one of those has it listed on the price signs.

At any rate, they had chicken breast at 97¢ a pound, so that makes it $1.06 a pound which is the cheapest I can get it. We got 4 of their largest packages and had about twenty pounds of meat. Now those were frozen but frozen touching each other, so I had to put the in my refrigerator for them to thaw a bit so that I could separate them into individual breasts. (I place one in either a freezer or storage quart baggie and then put several of those into a gallon size bag so they don’t get lost in the freezer.

They also had whole pork butts on sale for $1.05 so that made it $1.15, which is also the cheapest I can get those. My low price has been $1.49 a pound so far. Now these were not frozen and came two to a package. So I individually wrapped them and froze them. I like to use freezer baggies. However, the one was too big, so I had to cut it and put it into two baggies but labeled them part a and b because one part had the bone and wouldn’t be a lot of meat all by itself. When I cook these up, we will have some for dinner but then I will bag the rest up for several more meals that will only require reheating/crisping. :)

Oh, to finish about Cash Saver, it is not a store I’ve ever gone to before. I did send Michael one time to a different one before because we get a flyer from a store in our county, but we don’t ever go to it. Since the store listed in the Flipp app ad was on the side of town and only a couple miles from Gardners (our used book store), I decided it would be good to check it out.

While at Cash Saver, I saw they had sausage for 89¢ pound, so it was only 97¢ a pound. Now here is where impulse buying is not good. This was meat and I didn’t even think to read the ingredient label. :p When I was filming a video for my meat bargains I saw that it had some things added for preserving flavor and later saw it also has MSG. SO…I probably won’t be buying that again but it did taste good. ;)

When I found turkeys at Walmart a few weeks ago at only 50¢ a pound, it was from just wandering through the meat department and actually looking at the turkey tags. I did this because I remembered one year overhearing a lady asking about turkey breasts that were just 30¢ or so a pound. So now I check around and after holidays for clearances. :)

So those are my tips:

  • check the local sale papers
  • check Flipp app and other such apps
  • walk through the meat department  looking for sales and reduced prices but be aware that when an item is marked down, the price per unit may not be accurate

I hope this post helps you find some meat bargains. I find meat is one of the most expensive things in my grocery budget, so finding bargains can really help lower the grocery bill.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº