Category Archives: Tasty Tuesday

Because you have to feed them too

Menu Switch-Up

I don’t know how people make and keep a menu for a whole month because I can’t keep one for an entire week. :D I look at the weather for the upcoming week when I make my menu and yet I still can’t get it straight. :D

We look forward to eating soups once the temperature gets a little cooler but don’t like eating them if it is warmer. Well, this time of year, temperatures fluctuate quite a bit. The key for me is to have the key ingredients for some of our standard meals like spaghetti, tacos, burgers, and such on hand. That way if it gets too warm to have that soup I’d planned on the menu, I can switch out for one of the meals we have at the ready.

It’s really easy to switch out chili and have spaghetti instead, as long as I have the pasta on hand because they take very similar ingredients. However if I’d planned on split pea soup, burgers is a decent switch up even though the ingredients aren’t the same. Both are simple meals and require few ingredients. Chicken stew can be switched with chicken fried rice or a chicken pasta dish.

Basically, you just take the main ingredients and switch them from a soup base to casserole or main dish and sides. It just takes a little creativity.

I guess I’m going to have to give a little more thought to switch-ups. I had my menu flipped because it got a bit warmer.

Grilled sandwiches is a nice way to make sandwiches a bit upscale and seem a bit more special. Of course, you can go super simple and just do eggs, but if you add breakfast meat it is received much better. And hamburgers is always a good switch up.

I hope this helps you think of menu items you can switch up when the weather is not conducive to your planned meal.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Granny's Chicken Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Sick Time = Soup Time

The weather has gotten colder and has put us in a soup mood around here. Add to that, the fact that I have not been feeling well (I’m incredibly stuffy) and that means it is definitely time to have Granny’s Chicken Soup.

This can be eaten as a Trim Healthy Mama Crossover (XO) meal when made with Yukon Gold potatoes and broken up Dreamfields spaghetti noodles or some brown rice noodles. If you make it ahead, chill it and scrape off the fat it could be an “e” (healthy carb) meal.

As I said, I’m not feeling good, so I just went with the crossover and broken brown rice noodles. I’m going to share how to make the soup here today but I hope you’ll hop back over to the first time I shared it and read about Granny and how she made and served it.

Here is Granny’s wonderful chicken soup recipe. Well, recipe may be overstating it. This is another of those some of this and some of that recipes. ;) But the ingredients are very simple.

Granny's Chicken Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.meThese are not the right noodles but I no longer have access to the right noodles. This is angel hair pasta broken up, which is no where as good as fine egg noodles since this pasta is eggless but we make do.

Without further adieu, here are the directions to make a really yummy chicken soup.

Scrub carrots, wash celery, and peel potatoes and onion.

Cut the carrots into chunks. I cut them into chunks that will cook in about the same time, so the tips of the carrot are larger chunks than the end near the top.

Carrots ~ Granny's Chicken Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Chop the potatoes into chunks a bit larger than the carrots. I have found that they cook faster than the carrots.

Potatoes ~ Granny's Chicken Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Cut an onion in half and the celery into about thirds.

Onion and Celery ~ Granny's Chicken Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.me Place all of these veggies in a large pot with a whole chicken. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low boil/simmer, depending on how much water you used, and cook until the chicken is cooked through. This takes about an hour to an hour and a half.

I used way too much water the last time I made this and had to cook it longer in order to get the broth rich enough. Also, Mike turned the heat down and so it took longer for my chicken to get done.

When the chicken is nearly done, you want to cook your noodles in a separate pot. I like to use some broth or boil the neck and innards, remove them and use that broth for the noodles.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the pot, I put it on a rimmed cookie sheet, and remove the meat from the bones. I then remove the onion and celery and toss those because I only include them for flavor.

Fish out the potatoes and carrots and place in a serving bowl, so each person can get what they want.

Mash the veggies in your bowl to your desired consistency.

Mashing Veggies ~ Granny's Chicken Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Then carefully add some noodles and ladle in some broth and CAREFULLY carry it back to the table and enjoy. OH! You’ll need salt! This is one dish I don’t salt as I cook it. I add salt on top of my veggie before I add the noodles and broth.

Granny's Chicken Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Mike and the kids add the chicken to their soup.

Chicken added ~ Granny's Chicken Soup ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Granny’s Chicken Soup

Ingredients

  • Whole Chicken
  • About 4 pounds of potatoes
  • About 1 pound of carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 yellow onion
  • Extra fine egg noodles or angle hair pasta

Instructions

  1. Ensure the chicken is thawed. Remove the innards and rinse it out. Place in the pot.
  2. Scrub carrots and cut in chunks. Add to the pot.
  3. Peel potatoes and cut into chunks. Add to the pot.
  4. Wash celery stalks and cut into thirds. Add to the pot.
  5. Peel a med-large yellow onion. Cut in half and add to the pot.
  6. Cover with water, a couple of inches above the chicken.
  7. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low boil or high simmer.
  8. Cook until chicken is cooked through, 1-2 hours.
  9. Cook innards in water, then remove innards and cook noodles in the broth or just use water.
  10. Remove chicken from pot and remove the meat from the skin and bones.
  11. Discard onions and celery, if you don't care to eat them.
  12. To serve:
  13. Put the desired number of cooked potato and carrot chunks in your bowl. Mash with a fork. Add some noodles and then the broth. Add salt and pepper as desired and enjoy.
http://lifeofjoy.me/sick-time-soup-time/

I hope you’ll enjoy this easy and economical soup!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

 

Undone Cabbage Roll Skillet ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Undone Cabbage Roll Skillet

Today I’m going remind you of a recipe from about 5 years ago. It is one we have had many times. Sometimes we even have it as a low carb meal serving it on riced cauliflower or spaghetti squash instead of rice or potatoes.

I hope you enjoy this one. :)


This is one recipe that I was skeptical of even trying because I didn’t care for cooked cabbage. I got this about a dozen or more years ago. It was part of a weekly menu and grocery list, so to give the whole menu thing a decent go, we tried it. I was pleasantly surprised.

I actually think I like it better than I would actual cabbage rolls because you can modify how much cabbage you use. So let’s get to it. :)

Brown one and a half pounds of ground meat (I use ground turkey) with either onion and garlic or onion powder and garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Brown meat w/seasonings ~ LifeofJoy.me

Meanwhile, slice or chop half a head of cabbage. I slice it on my mandolin.

Shred Cabbage ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Break up the browned meat. Drain, if you have fatty meat. The turkey I use, although by the numbers it should be rather fatty, most of the moisture evaporates and I have no need to drain it.

Brown Turkey ~ Lifeofjoy.me

That handy gadget is one I got from Pampered Chef and I really like it for breaking up the meat.

Add the cabbage, bit by bit. If you try to add it all in at once, you will most likely, have a big mess on your hands. But if you add it bit by bit, it wilts and there is plenty of room for it all. :)

Add Cabbage ~ Lifeofjoy.me Add the V-8 juice.

Add V8 ~ Lifeofjoy.meCombine.

Finished ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Serve over rice, like we did this night, or with baked potatoes. If you prefer to have a low carb meal, you could serve it with cauliflower or spaghetti squash.

Served over Rice ~ Lifeofjoy.me

This night I served it with rice and that wonderful homemade artisan bread that I mentioned last Friday. I’ll be whipping up a batch of this awesome bread again today and will take pictures to share in the next couple of weeks.

The original recipe suggested serving with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Undone Cabbage Roll Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground meat
  • 1 onion, chopped or some onion powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or some garlic powder
  • 1/2 head cabbage, chopped or sliced
  • 8 ounces V-8 vegetable juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, start browning the meat, adding the onion and garlic or onion powder and garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  2. Drain grease as necessary.
  3. Add the cabbage bit by bit, as it wilts, add more.
  4. Add the V-8, simmer on low for 7 minutes on low, covered
http://lifeofjoy.me/undone-cabbage-roll-skillet-2/

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Taco Hamburger Helper

Some time ago I came across this “hamburger helper” recipe on Robin Brookshire’s website Mamashire. She has two versions: Italian and Taco. We love both versions. I’m sharing the taco version today.

Her version uses shredded cabbage but Michael isn’t doing well with cabbage right now, and thus not wanting to eat cabbage. But cabbage adds some good bulk and veggies, so I felt another veggie was needed. I went with ‘riced’ cauliflower.

Start by browning ground meat. We use ground turkey because Michael cannot have beef.

Meanwhile put 1/4 of an onion and a zucchini cut into chunks in the food processor and pulse cut them to small bits but not pureed.

Add it to the meat and saute until softened. I steam a bag of cauliflower, pulse it in the food processor. Then add it with the spices, salsa, and water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt (nonfat is good if you need to make it a bit lighter) or sour cream and more nutritional yeast, if desired.

Pop over to Robin’s site for the full recipe.

I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Low Budge Menu Planning

Have you watched any of those extreme low budget weekly meal plans? I have and it always makes me feel guilty for how much I spend on groceries weekly, in spite of going to 4-5 different grocery stores to get the best deals. You see I go to WinCo, Sprouts, Aldi, Walmart and sometimes Dollar Tree and I get the best deals I can for eating sugar-free and healthy as possible.

Most of those videos I watch have them eating the same meals 3-5 times during the week. I understand why with one or two people eating for the week but I cook for four people and that means we eat an entire meal at one meal and seldom have any leftovers. So we can make a different meal each day rather than eating leftovers for several days.

Another thing I notice is the high use of carbs and not the healthy ones either; I’m talking white rice and egg noodles, both of which are very inexpensive. Healthy carbs are a bit more expensive.

So I’ve been thinking about this. Thankfully healthy carbs like brown rice, beans, and lentils can be eaten on the Trim Healthy Mama program and these items are inexpensive. Some aren’t as inexpensive as their unhealthy counterparts but we’re already used to paying a bit more for them.

I generally get boneless skinless chicken breast for under two dollars a pound, so this is a good meat option for us. I also get frozen ground turkey for $1.35 – $1.50/lb so this is another good meat option for us. Limiting our fresh veggies will be important because they can be a bit more pricey.

A couple of the plans I watched made their own bread and I love it so much, I’m planning to try it myself. :) It is very similar to a no-knead sourdough bread on Glenda’s website. Of course the whole wheat flour is more expensive than the white all-purpose flour.

Here are some menu ideas I have for this. I’ll make another post when I actually make a low budget menu and how much it ended up being for me.

  • taco rice
  • tortillas filled with leftover taco rice
  • cajun sausage, rice, and beans
  • pizza (using 2 ounces of mozzarella or some cottage cheese, chicken, and veggies on a homemade crust – I used a can of tomato paste watered down and seasoned for my pizza sauce.)
  • chicken, rice, and veggie soup
  • make a gravy with the ground turkey and serve over brown rice and add some veggies (e.g. canned green beans) – this one will be a crossover if you don’t drain and rinse the meat but could also be made with chicken breast.
  • chicken “fried” rice using the pepper stir fry package of frozen vegetables from Dollar Tree for the veggies and reducing the amount of oil used to 2 teaspoons for 4 servings.

So, that’s what I’ve come up with. I buy my rice in BULK at WinCo, so I have a 20 or 25# bag of it but you could do this with 1-2 pound bags as well.

I make another post when I actually follow this menu or modify it and use it some time in the next month or so. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Cottage Berry Whip ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Light Food Day

When I feel like I need to make up for a more liberal day or few days of eating, here is what I eat. I start each day with a quart of oolong tea (2 tea bags) with collagen.

Breakfast

Sprouted grain toast or sourdough toast spread with

  • tiny bit (about 1/2 teaspoon) peanut butter and jam or 1/2 banana
  • just jam
  • light laughing cow cheese wedge with or without jam
  • light laughing cow cheese and everything bagel seasoning
  • light laughing cow cheese and 1/2 banana or other fruit

Lunch

Light Salad

Snack

This is always the trickiest meal. If I didn’t have the waldorf for lunch, then I  have an apple and cheese stick.

Otherwise, I have a shake of some sort or berries and greek yogurt or cottage cheese. (Cottage Berry Whip is another option)

Dinner

A light dinner is optimal.

  • sweet potato, chicken breast, salad
  • tuna noodle casserole
  • quinoa goes cajun (THM cookbook)
  • taco rice

Dessert

Light fuel pull dessert

  • gluccie pudding
  • cobbler
  • tummy tucking ice cream (THM Cookbook)
  • fat stripping frappe (THM Cookbook)
  • or just a cup of tea :)

That is my day of light eating. I feel better after eating like this for a day. However, I cannot eat like this more than once or at most twice in a week.

I hope this helps you in your journey.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

THM and Keto Jam/Jelly

For breakfast sometimes I like to have either a piece of sprouted grain toast or a piece of low carb bread. But either way, most times I like to have some jelly on it. Especially if it is a piece of sprouted grain bread and I’m not putting much, if any, butter on it.

Here is the one I prefer: Nature’s Hollow Mountain Berry Jam

HealthSmart® Mountain Berry Jam

It is sweetened with only xylatol and erythritol, and the berries, of course. I really enjoy this one and their strawberry one. Unfortunately I cannot get that one in my local store anymore. I also like their peach. :)

One tablespoon of Nature’s Hollow is is just 2 net grams of carbs, whereas the Simply Fruit by Smuckers has 10g of carbs.

I keep forgetting to take pictures of our Fish Tacos and a couple of other dishes, to share with you. Maybe next time I’ll remember. :D

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

How Often Should I Weigh Myself?

I used to be the person that weighed myself every single morning. The problem with that practice is that sometimes what you did or ate yesterday does not show up on the scales for a couple days.

This used to be a problem because if I had eaten something I thought was going to cause me to gain and I didn’t gain any weight the next morning, it made me think that I was wrong and I could eat that thing without fear of gaining weight. The opposite was also true. If I thought I’d done amazingly and that I surely had lost some weight and then either stayed the same or gained, I’d get sad.

Now with either of these feelings, it was entirely possible for me to eat either out of sadness/depression or happiness that I could get away with eating whatever it was but usually I’d end up gaining some weight in the end.

My life became too much about the number on the scales. So, I went a long while without stepping on them at all. This too was a problem because I was just in denial of gains and losses. And ultimately I gained more weight. :(

I finally realized that I needed to have some weight accountability and the only way for me to do that is to step on the scales periodically.

So I decided that knowing how much I weigh at the start of the weekend might be a good way to keep me on the straight and narrow, not indulging too much, over the weekend. So I weigh on Friday morning.

But one time is not really enough for me. So I decided I needed to weigh at least one other time in the week. By weighing on Tuesday morning, it gives me Monday to crack down a bit and hopefully correct any splurges from the weekend.

This method of weighing twice in the week keeps me from being obsessed with the scales and more focused on what I’m eating. It also helps me to get a real indication of my weight and not just get frustrated with little ups and downs.

I hope this post helps you consider your relationship with the scales. ;) And if yours is an unhealthy one like mine was, that this has given you some ideas of how to make some changes.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

THM FP or E Berry Cobbler

Some time ago we were looking for a light dessert. We found this berry cobbler from A Home with Purpose. We don’t like raspberries, so we use a mixture of strawberries and blueberries. :)

It’s a pretty simple recipe and my lovely daughter Tiffany is pretty amazing because she not only made the dessert last night but also took the pictures for me to use. :) Such a jewel!

Start by measuring out a total of 3 cups of berries and putting them in an 8x8ish pan. Then sprinkle them with sweetener. Tiffany can’t do THM Super Sweet very well, so we use about 3 tablespoons of THM Gentle Sweet. But taste your berries and add sweetener as needed. Our strawberries were pretty tart and could’ve used a bit more sweetener. ;)

Then mix the topping ingredients in a bowl.

We use the ground oats because Tiffany cannot tolerate the flax in the THM baking blend well. Sometimes we go with the greek yogurt and other times we use the applesauce. This time it was applesauce. :)

Combine and spread evenly over the berries and bake.

We follow her directions of baking uncovered for 20 minutes and covering it with foil for 10 minutes.

As you can see, it is really an easy recipe. It is also very yummy. :)

This serves 4, so there are no leftovers. :D

I hope you’ll hop on over to her website and make this one for yourself. Oh, it is gluten free, dairy free, and of course, sugar free. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Instant Pot Taco Rice

Several months ago I was looking for recipes using my Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi. I came across this recipe from My Table of Three.

It is a very simple recipe and quite yummy. :) Also this meal feeds our family of 4 adults dinner, twice. So I make it in full and then freeze the other half. Then on the night we eat the leftovers, I thaw it and steam it.

We serve it with salad and a very small drizzle of oil (about 1/2 a teaspoon) or some canned green beans.

It’s really a simple process, add all the ingredients to the pot and pressure cook on high for 22 minutes with a quick pressure release.

Combine and cook.

Meanwhile, I put about two pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast in the food processor to grind it up and cook up.

Cook quickly in skillet, seasoned slightly.

When it is cooked and the rice is done, add it to the remainder of the dish and stir to combine.We serve with some fat free greek yogurt (and some fat free cheddar cheese, which is our own personal choice item).

Head on over to MyTableofThree for the full recipe and her notes on the recipe.