Friday, April 3, 2015

Black Bean Chili (THM E)



The weather in PA has been confusing to say the least.  Of course, this is rather normal around here.  One day it's hot, the next freezing.  And potholes are totally in bloom OUCH!  Our schedules are actually busier than normal and it's getting crazy.  Usually by Spring I'm ready to put away the crockpot and move on with fun spring menus.  This year, not so much.  Continuing to rely on the crockpot as I'm often out of the house during normal "dinner prep" hours...running kids to their evening activities.

Yesterday, I combined my recipe for black beans with some extra seasonings and some chicken and it turned out to be a very delicious black bean chili.  Will comment, I added ONE CUP of frozen organic non-gmo sweet corn.  I do corn is SERIOUS moderation, as in, 1 meal every couple of months as it's not purely on THM plan.  For the non-THMer, feel free to add more if you see fit.  Also, I love Tastefully Simple products, Onion Onion, Garlic Garlic and Seasoned Salt are my go-to products.  Worth every penny.  I'm listing in the recipe just as dried minced onion/garlic and seasoned salt, but do yourselves a favor and check into Tastefully Simple, you won't regret it!


Black Bean Chili (THM E)
1 1/2 lbs ground chicken breast*
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast - cubed*
2 cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 Cup frozen corn
1 Tbs dried minced onion
1 tsp dried minced garlic
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 - 2 Tbs Ground Cumin (to your preference)
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (or to your heat preference)
Salt to taste

*you can use all ground chicken (increase to 2 lbs) or use 2 lbs of cubed boneless skinless chicken breast

Layer all ingredients into a 5 to 6 quart crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours - adjust seasonings to your preference.

I liked served with 0% greek yogurt and a tiny sprinkling of 2% Cheese (small enough that you remain in an E setting).

ENJOY!!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (THM E)

Where've I been?  Here.  Buried under mountains of laundry, loads of dust and piles of paperwork.  Life has been a little crazy.  Three homeschooling kids, with lots of activities, I barely have time to breathe, let alone cook.

Newfound desire to cook more often, and Trim Healthy Mama are inspiring me.  Tonight, we're having stuffed peppers.  Usually, you use beef, and rice, and all sorts of things that just are not, well, healthy.  Definitely warm and comforting, but...not good for a waistline you're trying to decrease.

Hubby & I sketched out a menu for the week this week, based on our schedule, and the kids' schedules.  Tonight's meal must be a crock-pot meal, or it will not be done at all.  One kid at classes, taking two others on a field trip, then rushing home to take MIL to a doctors appointment means that I have to have it in the crockpot before I leave for the field trip.

We decided on Stuffed Peppers.  I'm making it THM-friendly so I don't have to be off-plan for dinner! :)  Patting self on back.

Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

4 medium-sized Peppers (I used a combination of Green, Orange & Red), cut in half and seeded
1 1/2 lbs. of Ground Chicken Breast
1 1/2 Cups COOKED Tri-Color Quinoa (I like Ancient Grains Brand)
2 Tbs. Dried Minced Onion, divided
2 tsp. Dried Minced Garlic, divided
1 tsp. Seasoned Salt, divided
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (make sure there's no sugar in there!!!)

In a large bowl, mix together ground chicken breast, cooked quinoa, 1 Tbs minced onion, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp season salt and 1 tsp. Italian seasoning.  Mix well to combine ingredients.

Place a scoop of the chicken mixture into each of the halves of pepper - I like to overstuff a little bit - I know, I know, I shouldn't....but I mound it in there and create a dome on top!

Pour about 1 cup of the crushed tomatoes in the bottom of a 5 to 6 quart crockpot.  Place as many peppers in one layer as you can, cover each tomato with a little sauce, add the rest of the peppers.  Pour the remaining tomato sauce over all of it.  Sprinkle in the remaining 1 Tbs minced onion, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp season salt and 1 tsp. Italian seasoning.

Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Enjoy!!!!

*sorry no picture - my family DEVOURED it too quickly!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Baked Ziti With Homemade Ricotta

I was feeling rather domestic this morning.  I always find when I'm short on time, the only thing I really WANT to do is cooking.  I know, that sounds counterintuitive, but cooking and baking relax me.  Help me focus on something other than my worries.  I've always loved it.

Anyway, last week I bought just a little too much milk, combined with the fact that my kids did not like the choices of cereals in the cabinet meant that there was WAY too much milk in my fridge this morning - all of it about to go bad!  I was able to salvage a half gallon to make ricotta cheese.  A task I've never done before, but seemed easy enough.  And the guilt over wasting milk when there are children in our community who would love that milk forced me to give it a go!

I'm glad I did.  Followed the recipe here.  Yummy.  Easy.

I turned it into a Baked Ziti for dinner tonight.  Can't wait.

Baked Ziti with Homemade Ricotta

1 recipe of homemade ricotta (or about 15 oz of pre made ricotta)
1 egg
1 8 oz box of your favorite GF pasta (I used Ancient Grains large Penne)
1 lb ground meat (I used Hatfield ground pork)
1 28 oz Can jarred tomato sauce (use your favorite that is GF) - I used Aldi's Simply Nature
2 Cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Prepare Ricotta.

Mix ricotta with 1 egg.

Prepare pasta, drain and rinse.

Brown ground meat, add jarred tomato sauce.  Set aside.

Return drained pasta to pot.  Add sauce, ricotta and 1 1/2 Cups of the shredded cheese.  Mix well and pour into a 2 quart baking dish.

Top with remaining Cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake Custard Cups




Happy National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day!  Seriously, folks, I can't even MAKE this stuff up to justify my baking bug.  I used to HATE pumpkin, but as I've aged, I've grown to love it, even crave it.  I'm still pretty picky about the things I eat with pumpkin.  I don't do pumpkin spice lattes (mostly because I don't do coffee...blech!), I don't do pumpkin flavored chocolate (icky!)...but I do do pumpkin cake.  Pumpkin cheesecake seemed like the perfect dessert.

Since following THM, I've been trying to figure out a good pumpkin recipe that I can crave.  As my usual, I can't just find a recipe and follow it to a "T", I have to take several and make a conglomeration that fits MY needs (and, well, let's be honest, what I have in my house!  HA HA HA!).

Here's what I came up with and I hope you like them as much as I do.  Creamy fall perfection. :)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Custard Cups (THM S)

1 Large Egg
1/2 Cup Canned Pure Pumpkin
4 oz 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream (or half and half or almond milk)
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/8 Cup + 1 Tbs Truvia (or your favorite sweetener equivalent)

Mix all ingredients in the blender.  Pour evenly into 4 4 oz greased Mason jars (or equivalent ramekins).  Bake in a 325 oven for 25 mins.  I placed mine in a water bath (using a square cake pan, I placed the mason jars in the pan and poured hot water about half way up the jars - this is referred to a bain-marie).

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the bain-marie for about 10 minutes.  Carefully remove jars and dry off the bottoms and allow to cool completely.  Cover and refrigerate for two hours or overnight (if you can wait THAT long, seriously!).  Top with a small squirt of Light Whipped Cream (like Redi-whip).  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

GF Sweet & Saltines



Last weekend we went to a pot-luck at a friend's house.  It was a lovely autumn evening, and we ate chili, salad, and lots of goodies there that I could not eat.  Sigh.  Such is the plague and curse of going to a pot-luck and being the only person who's gluten-free.  I had stopped at my favorite, local, gluten-free bakery and picked up a batch of cupcakes to take with me so I could have dessert.  I'm still allowing myself a weekly indulgence, even though I'm working on being a Trim Healthy Mama. Dinner was great, my friend assured me she made her chili with her own seasoning mix, so it was definitely gluten-free - she actually has a son who is gluten-free, so that was nice!  And, I had my cupcakes.  Which were delicious as always.

However, one of the guests showed up with a pan of Sweet & Saltines by Tricia Yearwood.  It smelled amazing.  And people were walking around and gnawing on it and gushing about how delicious it was.  I was officially, unequivocally, jealous.  Made my cupcakes pale.  Sigh.  I wanted some.

I set out this week to find a gluten-free, saltine like cracker, and found Schar Table Crackers, which I figured to be a good mix.  So, I set off to make this.  First, a review on the crackers themselves, they were packaged in such a way that they would not go stale as you wait to eat them, and so that they didn't break apart.  I appreciate a company that not only has a dedicated gluten-free facility, but takes such care in packaging that they would arrive to your table in such a manner as being edible!  Also, for taste and texture, they are very similar to a saltine and definitely satisfy that crunch need!  There for they were perfect for this recipe!

And as you can see....SUCCESS!!!  I only indulged in one piece as the bulk is a gift for a friend that I'm seeing tomorrow.  BUT, I did get to try it.  And that made me happy.  Very happy.  :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

White Chicken Chili


Autumn is here.  Leaves are falling (much to my husband's chagrin).  Evenings are getting colder.  People are getting sicknesses.  In fact, hubby's in the throes of an awful cold right now, poor guy!  Was sitting here, thinking, what can I feed him for dinner that is yummy, warm, comforting.  He's at work, had to trudge downtown today for an important meeting.  He'll be coming home later, tired, most likely frustrated at either traffic or train ride, wanting something that will be ready the instant he walks in the door.

He's always talking about an amazing white chili he had somewhere, can't even remember where.  I've tried it a couple times, and have gotten close.  I usually shy away from white chili because it just takes one wrong ingredient to throw off the color!  And now that I'm trying to make our dinners align with Trim Healthy Mama (there's that word again, I'm serious, go check it out!), I had extra thinking to do.  I had all the ingredients except for the green chiles.  A quick trip to our grocery store less than a half mile away and that was solved.

It's brewing in the crockpot awaiting his arrival.  (And you'll only SEE this post if he deems it worthy!).

White Chicken Chili (E on THM)

2 lbs Ground Chicken (make sure it's the lean, lean, lean cut; or use two lbs of chicken breast cut in chunks)
2 Cans Great Northern Beans, drained & rinsed well
1 medium onion, diced
1 Cup Low Sodium, Low Fat Chicken Broth (or fat free, or homemade with fat skimmed off!)
2 small cans diced green chiles
1 Tbs dried minced garlic (or 2 cloves)
1 Tbs. Cumin Powder (or to taste if you like more smokey of a taste)
1/2 to 1 tsp White Pepper Powder (usually found in asian markets)
*note, if you like spicier, add more white pepper, more green chiles and maybe a jalepeno! :)

Brown ground chicken with the diced onion until just cooked through.  In a 5 qt crock pot place beans, green chiles, minced garlic and other spices.  Add the brown ground chicken with onion mixture on top.  Pour in the chicken broth.  Cook on low 5-7 hours.

I topped mine with a little bit of 0% Fat Greek Yogurt and about a tbs of 2% Mexican Blend Cheese.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Crock Pot Beef & Mushrooms


Somehow, starting THM (you sick of Trim Healthy Mama, yet?  I'm not!!!!)...anyway....

Coming up with on-plan recipes and dinners have rekindled my love for experimentation.  It's quickly dropped temperatures here in the northeast, and life has gotten a lot busier.  When it's cold, and we're busy, I rely heavily on my crockpot.  Tonight is no different.  My oldest had classes at her co-op, we have bowling and Chik-fil-A with our friends this afternoon, and dinner needed to be ready when we got home so that hubby can go off and enjoy the football game with his cigar shop buddies.

While at the grocery store yesterday, I got a great deal on Eye of Round Steaks.  Of course, when standing in a grocery store looking at the meat displays, I don't always know HOW to cook the item, especially when it comes to red meat.  I can hold my own, but I've had many flops.

This is not one of them.

Crock Pot Beef & Mushrooms (S)
2-3 lbs Eye of Round Steaks (or an Eye of Round Roast)
10 oz pkg Cremini (or baby Bella) mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, cut in half then sliced
2 Tbs A1 (or similar) Steak Sauce*
2-3 tsp Steak/Grill Seasoning
8 oz tomato sauce (make sure it's a sugar free one, some brands sneak sugar in there!)

*okay, so steak sauce contains LOTS of off plan ingredients, including sugar...BUT you're using such a small amount and you'll get so little in the final product, I really, personally, don't mind using it!)  To be THM faithful, omit this ingredient and increase tomato sauce by 2 Tbs and add a plan approved beef broth granules or liquid aminos.

In a large 5 quart or 6 quart crockpot, line with a crockpot liner (this makes clean-up super easy!).

Lay onion slices in the bottom of the crockpot, lay the mushroom slices on top of that.  Open your steaks (or roast) and sprinkle liberally with the steak seasoning.  Lay steaks in the crock pot..if you have to do two layers, cover one layer with the steak sauce, and the other with the tomato sauce.

Cook on low 8-10 hours.

Remove steaks from crockpot, cover with onions and mushrooms (strain as much as possible).  Do this very gently as the steaks will fall apart like a pot roast would, it's very tender. Transfer cooking liquid into a sauce pan.  Using Glucomannan (about a tsp or so sprinkled over and whisked in), or your preferred method of thickening (corn starch, flour/butter, etc).  I use Kuzu Root Starch, which is not THM approved, but works very well to make a smooth gravy.  Thicken juices to a gravy and serve along side the beef.

I serve this with a salad and mashed cauliflower!  YUMMY!!!