Friday, February 17, 2017

Low Carb Parmesan Chicken Nuggets

Welcome back, reader friends! I hope today finds you enjoying the blessings around you! We had a super busy day, but when we got back home I still had chicken breasts waiting for me to turn them into jerky for my dog's treats. Once the dehydrator was full of thinly sliced chicken strips, there were still a couple breasts left. I decided to chop them up into nuggets to make a low carb dish for supper since it was almost time to eat. As I chopped, I decided to be creative and not do regular nuggets. It was Chicken Parmesan that ended up calling my name the loudest. I knew it was quick and easy enough that I could make a quick post for you to share the recipe.

Just a quick note before I give you the recipe: I had seen a breading method using butter as a base for the breading and then baking. I figured since I was already experimenting with a recipe, I would give it a try. In the future, I will stick with an egg base and quickly pan fry in coconut or olive oil.

Low Carb Parmesan Chicken Nuggets 
1/2 cup Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend
               If not available, equal amount 
               of almond meal can be subbed. 
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 t Louisiana Seasoning or seasoning salt
1 t Italian seasoning
1 stick butter, melted in a medium bowl
2-3 chicken breasts cut into strips or 
       nuggets
1 - 1-1/2 cups shredded Italian style cheese 
1 8oz can Hunt's Basil, Garlic, Oregano
        Tomato Sauce

Melt the butter in the bowl. Mix the first seven ingredients in a separate bowl.



Dip the nuggets in the butter and then dredge in the breading mix. Place coated nuggets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The nuggets themselves are low carb. 




Place in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until nuggets or strips are done. Liquid will run clear and meat will not be pink in the middle when proper doneness is reached.

Scoot nuggets close together. Top with 1 - 1-1/2 cups of Italian style shredded cheese. Pour desired amount of tomato sauce over the cheese. To keep the carb count low, limit the amount of tomato sauce. You could even leave it off and serve it on the side. If you are doing Trim Healthy Mama, the tomato sauce could push this dish into a crossover if care isn't taken. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it just may not be what you want to do.




Place back into hot oven and continue baking until the cheese is melted and the sauce is heated through. 

Make your life simple. Grab the easiest, quickest vegetable you have available that suits your tastes and needs, heat it up, and enjoy your meal!


I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pico



Pico, O, Pico! How I do love thee!!

When my husband worked in Texas we had a Mexican restaurant we absolutely loved to visit. Leaving that restaurant behind was one of the hardest parts about him leaving Texas.

After not being able to visit Rancho Grande in Port Arthur for several months, our craving for their fajitas was just more than we could stand. Thus began my mission to recreate the meal to the best of my ability.  I came pretty close to those same flavors. I said close. I don't know if anyone could capture the flavors we loved so much there. :)

Well, today we will be having the meal again. I just finished up the Pico, and I thought I would share my recipe with you. It is very easy, and is so very crisp and fresh!

Ingredients 
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1 onion, finely chopped 
2 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped 
1 small jalapeΓ±o, seeded and very finely chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/2 t garlic powder
1/8 t salt
1/8 t ground black pepper
Squeeze of lime

Chop the vegetables and cilantro. 












Place all the chopped ingredients in a medium bowl, add spices and lime juice, and mix.




Cover and refrigerate to let flavors meld together.

Agh!!! It is seriously so hard for me not to just sit down with that bowl and a spoon! I think I could eat the whole bowl, give a lazy, eyes-closed smile, and grunt like a content pig, but that wouldn't be so becoming, now would it? Who made up manners anyway? πŸ˜„

I hope you get to try it and let me know what you think!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!


Monday, October 24, 2016

Making Paprika

Good day, my reader friends! Someone in one of my Facebook gardening groups asked about making Paprika. It reminded me that I never wrote this post I have wanted to write since last fall since, surely, there are others out there just like me!

In my sheltered life I never stopped to think about where paprika came from (even though it is one of my absolute favorite spices!) until I ran across paprika peppers in one of my seed catalogs. It was one of those lightbulb moments! Of course paprika came from paprika peppers! Where else did I think it came from! Sadly, and truthfully, I didn't even know there was a such thing as paprika and pimento peppers until that very same day. Isn't that incredibly sad that so many of us have no idea about such basic and fundamental knowledge!? I am so thankful for the gift of being able to garden and explore! I have learned soooo incredibly much! I knew that day that both paprika and pimento peppers would be in my garden the following spring.

Fast forward to now. Those peppers did indeed go in my garden, and they produced beautifully! Today, I'll share with you how I made my own paprika powder.

After picking the paprika peppers from my organic garden, the peppers were brought in and washed before preparing them for the dehydrator.


Please pardon the spoons! I was also making different spice mixes for tomato sauce at the same time. :) Yep..I know..that was slightly random and veers off topic. I know the English teachers are having a fit, but I thought the picture was pretty, and I don't have to worry about my English teacher's red pen anymore, and... I digress.




Back to the subject. 😁 Next, the pepper were seeded and sliced.


I made sure to save plenty of seeds for next year!


The sliced pepper were then placed in the dehydrator. I set the dehydrator to the fruit and vegetable setting on my machine which is 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 58 degrees Celsius.


I let the dehydrator run until the peppers broke with a dry, crisp snap, and then I placed them in my coffee grinder.



The dried peppers were pulsed and ground into a fine powder and poured into a jar. Just a tip: let the powder settle before opening the grinder.



This is from the very first batch I made. I'm sure the best way to store it is in an airtight container with an oxygen absorber, but we are taking baby steps here. I was so amazed and excited! I felt so very humbled and blessed with the knowledge that was bestowed upon me that I could use for my family. God is so good! I can't wait to plant at least twice as many plants next year!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

White Bean and Ham Soup

The crazy summer madness has finally died down here. Homeschool has started back, we have had a few nice, crisp fall days (even though the weather has tried to squeeze in a couple more days of summer here lately!), and we have even visited the Georgia National Fair! It finally feels like autumn is here, even if it's just in the wishfulness of my mind! That sunburn from the fair tried really hard to steal my idealistic autumn thoughts, but those thoughts are still holding on by a thread! 😊 My mind has turned to pumpkins, cozy sweaters and blankets, cool weather, pretty leaves, and comfort food.

I have three boxes of apples awaiting my attention, but today, I started cleaning out my bean stash. I searched through my basket of dry beans and pulled out all my Northern Beans. I think I had three pounds of them. Since I had diced ham, shredded carrots, and celery in the refrigerator, I went ahead and turned them into soup for us to have later on during the winter. This recipe is so quick and easy, I just had to share it. The following recipe is for one quart of soup, so of course, multiply the ingredients to make as many as you need.



Ingredients 
1 scant cup dried navy or northern beans, sorted and rinsed only
1/2 c cubed ham
1/4 c shredded carrots
1/4 c chopped celery 
1/4 c chopped onion
Beef or chicken broth

Add all ingredients to a quart jar. Cover with boiling broth. Leave one inch headspace. Process 90 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. Adjust time and pressure for your altitude. 

I had enough ingredients to get six quarts and one pint. I think they turned out so lovely! 


Perhaps one day this winter when I am wearing a cozy sweater, I will get to enjoy them while snuggled under a fuzzy blanket. πŸ˜€

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

*To ensure the safety of your home canned items, be sure to follow safe canning guidelines issued by the USDA.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Meal Planning with Master Lists

Good evening, friends. I hope this early autumn evening finds you well and blessed! Hopefully, you had a productive week. Did you have a project you worked on? I did!

A couple years ago, I wrote this post explaining how I plan my menu and write my grocery list at the same time. Except that my computer with the template crashed and I now write my menu and grocery list by hand, I still plan the exact same way. I still depend on that piece of paper as much now as then. In fact, I am trying to get into the habit of using my phone to take a picture of it just in case I leave home without it.

The one thing I have wanted to do for a long time, though, is to work on some master lists to make my planning run more smoothly and quickly. I don't know about you, but more times than not, when I sit down with that blank sheet of paper, I get a huge mental block. Once ideas start flowing finally, I often spend a lot of time flipping through pages of recipe books and notebooks and websites trying to find ingredients lists to add missing items to my grocery lists. Many times I have guessed at the ingredients, telling myself I would check later, yet later never came. I'm sure you can guess what has happened too many times when I tried to make a meal. We live too far from a store to just run up the road to pick up one or two forgotten ingredients. That, along with a challenge from a friend, was my motivation to bite the bullet and get it done. If there was any bad news about the process, it would be that it took me a whole day, but the good news is that it only took one day! It didn't take me nearly as long as I thought it would! I was even doing our homeschooling during a lot of it!

In case you are curious about trying it or have thought about doing it but don't know where to start, I thought I would share with you what I did. Maybe it will spark brilliant ideas you can share with me or others!

Since this is something I hope to pass on to my own daughter one day, I put a list of kitchen essentials in the front. My plan is to share it with her. I plan to buy a few items during special days such as birthdays or Christmas. She can check the items off to see what she has and still needs to add to her hope chest to be prepared for her own kitchen. It is a very basic and minimum list. There is room to add other items either of us may think of.

Behind that begins my master lists.


I have list for chicken meals, beef meals, pork meals, fish meals, soups, salads, veggie/fruit sides, and rice/pasta/bread sides. On these lists are the most common things I prepare from those groups. That way, when I sit down to plan, I don't draw a blank as to what meals to write down. I also hope that this will help keep our meals varied so that we don't fall into a rut of having the same things all the time.


I tend to struggle most with breakfast, lunch, and snack planning, so there is also a master list of meal ideas for each of those.


The longest part of this process was starting with each meal idea and listing each ingredient to make that meal or item. Finally! For the rest of eternity (here on earth, anyway), I have everything all in one place!!! I no longer have to do so much searching just to make my menu and grocery list!!! I am so excited!! My goal wasn't to have the recipes here. My goal was just to have a quick reference for the ingredients. Perhaps adding recipes will follow later...😨 much, much later...maybe never later. πŸ˜„ I think adding a note about where to find the recipe would be much easier.

I hope someone feels inspired. May my insanity be your sanity!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Starry Quiet Night



These photos have nothing to do with my post for tonight. These were just images from the world around me that I found beautiful and captured. I just thought I would share them with you. 😊

I walked outside tonight. It was so incredibly dark and quiet and still. Simply beautiful, full of the Spirit of God. I looked up to the endless heavens to see some of the bright stars twinkling at me.The heavens were so wide and boundless. It reminded me of a thought to God I had just a few minutes before I walked out the door: Lord, I thank you for all you have given me. I have all I need. If I don't have all I need, I have some of what I need. If I don't have any of what I need, I have you. Surely, that is enough. I always have a reason to praise, You. Thank you, LORD, for being my everything.

Until we meet again, be blessed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Avocado Delight



This was a totally bizarre recipe creation for me. I had never heard of this or had this combination of ingredients, but one morning I woke up with the most incredible craving for it. I could almost taste it in my mind! I had to get the ingredients just to make it! This combination of ingredients left me a little hesitant at fist, but it was a palooza of "wow!" in my mouth right from the first bite!

If you are following Trim Healthy Mama, this makes a wonderful S meal! Be a little adventurous and try a little "Hello!!" today! I hope you enjoy!

Avocado Delight
2 slices of bacon
2 avocado wedges
1/2 c low fat cottage cheese 
1 T salsa
Salt and pepper 

Fry the bacon until crispy, and then let the slices drain on paper towels. In the same pan, while the bacon grease is still hot, fry the avocado slices a few minutes on each side. I actually fry the avocado slices in the same pan as my bacon cooks to save time. When the bacon is cool enough to handle, crumble the slices and spread in a ring. In the middle of the ring, mound the cottage cheese. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. Top it with one tablespoon of salsa. I like to use my homemade salsa, but your favorite salsa will work perfectly! Top the salsa and cottage cheese with the avocado slices, and viola! You have your avocado delight! Your taste buds will thank you!

My friend, Appie, likes to finish hers with a little extra zing of lime juice. Go for it, and own it!

Until we meet again, be blessed! πŸ’•