Monday, December 16, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Energy Balls

Another delicious energy ball!!  I was impressed with how yummy these were also.  I enjoy them for a snack or after a good workout!  My kids loved them too!

Pumpkin Pie Energy Balls
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Cereal 5 Grain Rolled Cereal
1/4 cup Justin's Almond Butter or your favorite almond butter
1/2 cup pure pumpkin (I used canned pumpkin)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 scoop peanut butter protein powder*

Combine all ingredients in a bowl then cover and refrigerate for about a half hour to chill.  Form into balls by hand and store in fridge.  Enjoy as a yummy snack!

*I use About Time Whey protein powder -
If you use a different protein powder put in one whole serving size

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

I've seen so many of those no-bake energy balls and I've really been wanting to try them so I whipped up my own version.  Most other recipes I've seen include coconut and I knew I wouldn't get the kids to even try them if there was coconut in them so they're all whole grain oats.  They are DELICIOUS!  I love the chocolate and the crasins mixed together.  Try them for yourself!  Feel free to experiment with different nut butters or substitute different dried fruit or chocolate!

Peanut Butter Energy Balls
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Cereal 5 Grain Rolled Cereal
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate pieces (I had some dark chocolate chips and used my Pampered Chef Food Chopper until I had 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup craisins
1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder*

Combine all in a bowl, I ended up mixing with my hands.  Cover and put in fridge about a half hour to chill.  Form into balls and store in fridge.  Grab one or two whenever you need a yummy snack!!

*I used About Time Whey protein powder in the Birthday Cake flavor -
If you use a different powder use one whole serving of the protein powder.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Grandma Dora's Chow Chow

This is an OLD green tomato relish recipe my Great Grandma used to make.  When I've talked to my great aunts about this recipe they remember it fondly.  One of them said she liked it so much she would put it on her mashed potatoes.  Of course when I got it right on the first try, I had to mail a jar to her.  She was happy to get it.  I don't ever remember having this when I was little.  I still had my great grandparents when I was born, so I get the privilege of remembering them.  My dad remembers this relish fondly and was happy to have it again after all those years until I tried it.  Another relish that's good on hot dogs or hamburgers.  Get creative with its uses!  ENJOY!!

Grandma Dora's Chow Chow

green tomatoes, ground up
1/3 cup pickling salt
3/4 head of a cabbage, ground up
6 onions, finely chopped
6 cups vinegar
7 cups sugar
2 tablespoons pickling spices

Grind up enough green tomatoes, using a meat grinder or food mill with a fine screen, to fill a bread bowl about 3/4 of the way full.  I'm not talking any bread bowl.  I'm talking the old fashioned huge bread bowl that's about 12 quarts.  After you grind up all those green tomatoes combine with the 1/3 cup pickling salt and let sit overnight.  In the morning rinse and drain then add cabbage and onion.  Put in a stock pot and bring to a boil then add vinegar and sugar.  Put your pickling spices in a cheesecloth bag.  I just cut a large square of my cheesecloth making sure there are a couple layers of it and dump the spices in the middle.  Form a little pouch and tie another strip of cheesecloth around it to keep the spices inside the bag.  Simmer the whole mixture for 45mn to an hour.
Pack in jars and process in a hot water bath canner 10 minutes.
Makes about 12 pints.

Auntie Marcella's Cucumber Chow Chow

This is an old family recipe.  We love different kids of relishes and this was something my Mom made for my Dad because... well, she couldn't get Grandma Dora's chow chow the way Dad remembered it.  This is a GREAT way to use up all those cucumbers that you think are too big to do anything with.  Run them through a food grinder, you don't even have to peel them.  Very simple recipe and great on hot dogs or hamburgers.  You can also pour over cream cheese and serve with crackers as an appetizer.  Something to note - if you are using cucumbers that are large or very seedy/watery, you might want to seed the cucumbers before grinding them up so that the chow chow isn't quite as watery.

Auntie Marcella's Cucumber Chow Chow

6 cups ground cucumbers*
2 cups ground carrots
2 medium onions, ground up
1/2 cup pickling salt
2 cups cider vinegar
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed

Run cucumbers, carrots and onions through a food mill or meat grinder with a fine screen.  No need to even peel the cucumbers.  Put in a large bowl with 1/2 cup pickling salt and let sit one hour.  Strain, rinse then let drain.  In a stock pot place the cucumber mix and the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes.  Pack in pint jars leaving about 1/4 inch headspace.  Process in hot water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Green Tomato Salsa Verde

Here is another recipe I got from a friend.  She had lots of green tomatoes left in her garden and looked up a green tomato salsa verde recipe online and tweaked it to make it her own.  Which I in turn tweaked myself.   I have lots of banana peppers in my garden and love to add them to my salsa, so that is one thing I added that wasn't in her recipe.  The best part about having friends who preserve is that they're almost always willing to share not only their recipes, but even a jar of their accomplishment.  Becky offered me a jar to try before I made it, but I'm a brave soul and figured if she said it was good, I would like it too.  I was not disappointed.  This was wonderful and I put it on my eggs for breakfast this morning.  Equally delicious with some chips.  Vayle (my 5-year-old) tried just a small bit and decided it was delicious so she had it with some chips with her dinner.

Here's a pic of Vayle helping herself to some more.
 Green Tomato Salsa Verde
13 pounds green tomatoes, cored and quartered
4 onions, finely chopped (I use a Pampered Chef Food Chopper)
3 green peppers, seeded and chopped finely
10 jalapenos, tops cut off and chopped finely
10 banana peppers, tops cut off and chopped finely
3 cans chopped green chilies
3 tablespoons minced garlic
6 tablespoons pickling salt
5-8 teaspoons cumin, depending on how spicy you want it
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
3 tablespoons cilantro
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons sugar
After you've done all the prep work of washing, coring and chopping your veggies place them all in a stock pot.  Bring everything to a boil everything in the stock pot, except sugar, cilantro and lime juice.  After it has started boiling you can add the last three ingredients.  Simmer your mixture about 30 minutes; it will reduce quite a bit.  After you've boiled it shut off your stove-top and either puree the mixture in batches in a blender or if you have an immersion blender you can just put it directly in your pot.  Everything in my pot was too deep for my immersion blender to reach to the bottom, but if you make a smaller batch than this, it should be fine.
Fill your pint jars to about a 1/4 inch headspace, clean rims and place boiled seals over top and a ring.  Process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.  I used the oven method and preheated my oven to 350 and placed all my jars inside the oven and shut off the heat to leave the jars inside for a few hours to seal.
This batch made almost 14 pints.

Friday, October 11, 2013

'Frog Puke' Salsa

The only credit I can take for this great recipe is that I have a friend that has gotten some garden produce from me since she wasn't able to get her garden in this year.  Other than that - this recipe is all Emily Gunnarson's.  She posted a photo (bottom of recipe) on Facebook of a cucumber-based salsa Verde and OF COURSE I had to have the recipe.  It was a bit time consuming, but then again, canning large batches of salsa or sauces typically is.  The result was worth it.  This is a wonderful vinegary-type salsa Verde that's great with chips.  Would be equally as good poured over a block of cream cheese, or even mixed with cream cheese, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, and served with crackers.  The name 'Frog Puke Salsa' came from Emily's son, Gus, who said that's what it looked like.  So the name has stuck. 
It's quite good - ENJOY!!

'Frog Puke' Salsa

14-16 cups of cucumbers - peeled, seeds removed and chopped fine
3 cups tomatoes - blanched & peeled
2-4 jalapenos - chopped (spicy to your own taste)
1-2 banana peppers - chopped
2 1/3 cups vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cilantro
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 can green enchilada sauce (I used red because I didn't have green)
2 packets Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
garlic powder, lime juice and black pepper to taste

Peel cucumbers then slice lengthwise and scrape seeds out with a spoon.  Chop finely (I use a Pampered Chef Food Chopper) then dump into a stock pot.  After your tomatoes are blanched and peeled, remove the stems and throw them in a blender to puree, add jalapenos and banana pepper(s) and puree also.  Pour into cucumbers, add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Simmer about 20 minutes.  Pack into jars leaving about 1/4 inch headspace.  Process in a hot water bath canner for about 10 minutes or freeze in freezer bags.  If you don't have a canner you can place your jars in your oven.  Just preheat the oven to 350.  Put all your packed jars in the oven, shut the door and turn off the oven letting the jars sit inside the oven for a few hours hours or overnight. 

Emily's photo of her 'Frog Puke' Salsa.  She had green enchilada sauce on hand, so her batch is more green than mine ended up being.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Paleo Salisbury Steak....balls

I wanted to create a paleo version of a Salisbury steak and decided to just make them into meatballs.  After all, Salisbury steak is just hamburger made into a patty and kids like meatballs better anyways.  So this is what I got people!!  The kids LOVED them and I really enjoyed them also.  If you prefer not to use the paleo version of my recipe, you can substitute out the almond meal/flour for bread crumbs and arrowroot starch for cornstarch in equal amounts.

This is a paleo & clean eating option.

Paleo Salisbury Steak....balls

1 tablespoon EVOO
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup almond meal
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 can mushroom stems and pieces (or 1 cup fresh sliced)
1 medium onion chopped
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
2 cups beef broth

Combine beef, almond meal, egg, salt and pepper and shape into 1 1/2 inch balls.  Put EVOO in a skillet and add the meatballs.  Rolling them over to cook evenly on all sides.  Once they're cooked through remove from the skilled and put in a bowl.  Leave the meat pieces and fat (fat is good for you people) in the skillet and add the onion and mushrooms.  Sauté until onion is translucent then add the arrowroot starch mixing well.  Whisk in the beef broth and return meatballs to pan covering with the lid for about 10 more minutes to thicken the sauce and reheat the meatballs.  Stir every so often.  You can serve these over mashed potatoes or just with a side of Bacon Asparagus and Salt & Pepper Sweet Potatoes like we did.

Nutrition facts from based on 6 servings.
1 serving equals about:  Calories - 338, Fat - 22.85g, Cholesterol - 113mg, Sodium - 515mg, Potassium - 372mg, Total Carbs - 7.25g, Fiber - 1.7g, Sugars - 1.52g, Protein - 24.97g

Salt & Pepper Sweet Potatoes

These are like CANDY to me.  I love when the sweet potatoes kinda stick to the bottom of the pan and get a bit crispy.  I scrape them off with my fork and just eat the pieces right out of the skillet.  This is my favorite side dish, paleo or not!  I could eat the whole pan.  Serious.  Super simple and the kids love them too.  I highly recommend trying these as your next side. 
This is also a paleo & clean eating option.

Salt & Pepper Sweet Potatoes

2 to 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 to 1-inch chunks
1-2 tablespoons EVOO
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Peel and cube the sweet potatoes.  Put in a skillet with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Cover with lid and shake around to coat the pieces with the oil.  Then add the salt and pepper.  Cook on medium to low with the lid on for about 25-30 minutes.  I just shake my pan roughly every so often to mix them around well. 

Bacon Asparagus

Really simple recipe that is so very delicious.  My 5-year-old picked out some asparagus to have as a side so I whipped out my nitrate/nitrite free bacon, cut up about 5 slices and threw them in my non-stick pan (one with a lid). 

This is a paleo & clean eating option.

Bacon Asparagus

1 package of wrapped up asparagus, washed
5 slices bacon (I use Hormel Uncured Bacon - found at SuperTarget)

Take about 5 slices of bacon out of the package and cut into chunks.  Put them in your non-stick skillet (preferably with a lid) and cook on one side, flip over after cooking a few minutes then add asparagus.  Continue to mix them around in the pan until the asparagus is cooked through and the bacon has crisped to your liking.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Garden Tomato Ketchup

I made ketchup.  I MADE KETCHUP!!  I have often thought of doing this and I finally did!  And it was good!  I followed a baseline recipe from my Ball Blue Book of Preserving and modified it a bit, cuz that's what I do.  HAHA  It's not Heinz, but it's good.  I love the fresh taste and there is only 1 cup of sugar** in the whole batch.  I got 4 and a 1/2 pints so that's minimal sugar per serving.  Excited!!  I may work to get it closer to tasting like Heinz, because then my husband will no longer have to buy it.  He has a thing for Heinz - he loves it, but he did say he likes my ketchup, so I'm gonna chalk this recipe up as a success.  Simmer this A LONG TIME.  I simmered mine for 3 hours.  I wanted THICK ketchup because I wanted it comparable to store-bought ketchup. 

See the ** at the bottom of the recipe for a paleo and clean eating option for this recipe.

Garden Tomato Ketchup

8 pounds tomatoes, blanched, peeled and cut into quarters (weigh after blanching and peeling)
1 medium onion, chopped finely (to equal 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 6-ounce can no salt added tomato paste
In a cheesecloth bag or spice bag combine the following 4 ingredients:
1 stick cinnamon, broken
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon celery seed

I have a handy little kitchen scale with a top that has raised edges, so I weighed my tomatoes out after I blanched, peeled and cut them.  In a large pot or Dutch oven put your tomatoes, chopped onion and cayenne pepper and simmer until soft, stirring occasionally.  In a very small saucepan bring vinegar with spice bag of cinnamon, cloves, mustard seed and celery seed to a boil.  After tomatoes have broken up a bit from cooking blend the tomatoes.  This can be done 1 of two ways.  I used my immersion blender which allowed me to blend my tomato mixture up in my pot without emptying out the tomatoes.  You can also blend the tomatoes a batch at a time in a blender until it's all smooth.  After tomatoes have been blended until smooth, add the spiced vinegar, sugar, tomato paste and spice bag.  Stir until sugar is dissolved and tomato paste is blended.  Make sure your stove top is set on a low or simmer setting, stirring occasionally, and just leave the lid off the pot to simmer until it reaches your desired thickness.  Like I said, I simmered about 3 hours.  You will notice it reducing and it will reduce by half before it's thick enough.  To test the thickness for myself, I put a small about in a small bowl in the fridge and tested it's thickness with a chip just to make sure it held together like ketchup should. 

Now comes the canning.  For those of you who have done this before, there's really no need for you to read further unless you wanna see my SUPER EASY canning tip.  Be sure your jars are cleaned and you have your seals softened in boiling or boiled water.  Pack your jars with the ketchup leaving about 1/2 inch head space.  Clean rims, place seals and screw on caps.  Process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes.  OR, here comes the super easy canning tip - preheat your oven to 350.  After your jars are packed, place the jars in a 9x13 pan (basically just for easier insertion and removal of the jars from your oven), put the pan in your oven and shut off your oven.  Let the jars sit inside your oven overnight or about 8 hours.  After you take them out they should all be sealed.  I have had really excellent luck with this.  If you happen to have a jar or two that doesn't seal, then you would have 24 hours to process them in a water bath canner to seal them up or just put the jar in your fridge and use!

I hope you enjoy - I would love to hear your reviews!!!!

**If you would like to try this as a paleo or clean eating ketchup substitute the 1 cup sugar for 1/2 cup of honey and let me know how it goes for you.  I will be trying it too!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Good For You Breakfast Bake

Today is my husband's birthday, so I wanted to make him a feel-good healthy breakfast to send him on his way to the farm full and satisfied.  Well, then he left the house!  So I made it anyways and texted him and said I had made a breakfast bake and he should come home and have some, so he stopped by on his way back to the shop to eat.  His review wasn't what I expected and he smothered it in ketchup, but most of the time I don't count his opinion anyways cuz he can be kinda picky.  (Sorry honey)  I thought this was GREAT!!  I didn't even need my usual Frank's Buffalo Sauce on top of it.  It had a nice flavor from the sausage and it was chock full of protein and healthy carbs from the sweet potato.  I got my Italian turkey sausage from our FANTASTIC local butcher (Ed Lehrke - You can't beat Ed's meat) at our grocery store (The Farmer's Store - Hallock, MN).  He makes some really wonderful homemade sausages and ground meats and I had this in my freezer and finally pulled it out to use it in this recipe!!!  I also made this recipe half with sweet potatoes and half with red potatoes because my hubby isn't much into eating sweet potatoes.  You can do the same or use all of one kind of potato.  Enough chatting - get cooking people!!

This a lacto-paleo and clean eating option.

Good For You Breakfast Bake

1 4-inch sweet potato, peeled & shredded (or if you have a large sweet potato, use half and save the rest for later)
2 medium red potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 pound Italian turkey sausage (Ed's is the best!!)
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 4-oz can mushroom pieces, drained
5 eggs
5 egg whites
1/3 cup your choice of milk (I used skim, but would try almond next time)
1 heaping teaspoon dry ground mustard
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice

Spray a 11.5x7.5 glass baking dish with olive oil.  Use a mandolin slicer to shredded your sweet potatoes and red potatoes into half of each side of the dish. 

Here's the attachment I used on my mandolin slicer.
Half sweet potatoes, half red potatoes
Brown the Italian turkey sausage in a small skillet along with the dried minced onion.  Top the potatoes with the mushrooms and the turkey sausage.  In a medium bowl combine the eggs, egg whites, milk and dry ground mustard.  You can add a bit of sea salt and pepper if you like.  Pour the egg mixture over top of the meat and potatoes.
Looks kinda gross here, but just you wait!!!

I baked this on convection bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  If you're going to conventional bake it, probably add another 5-10 minutes for the potatoes to cook through.  Remove from oven, add your cheese and then put back in oven another 5 minutes to melt the cheese.  Let sit about 5-10 minutes before eating and then DIG IN!!!
The finished dish - looks good enough to eat, right?!?
Nutrition based on 8 servings.  Without having the nutrition associated with Ed's homemade turkey sausage, this is based on a generic Italian turkey sausage on  There was a lot of sodium in that sausage, so hopefully there isn't as much in Ed's.  If I can get nutrition from the sausage I used, I will adjust the information accordingly. 
One serving equals about - Calories - 202, Fat - 8,23g, Cholesterol - 162mg, Sodium - 620mg, Potassium - 487mg, Carbs - 14.72g, Fiber - 1.9g, Sugars 3.9g, Protein 16.52g

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Creamy Italian Chicken Tomato Stew

The other day I was craving something tomatoey and something chickeney.  I know - those aren't words - but you know what I mean!  So I was surfing Pinterest on my paleo food board and found this recipe for a creamy chicken tomato soup.  However, it was the afternoon and I didn't have time for a crockpot meal, so I re-vamped it a bit and made my own one pot stew that everyone enjoyed!  It has a wonderfully creamy herbed flavor and if you have kids that don't like tomatoes, try this, they just might enjoy it.  I know mine did!  If you want a slow cooker meal, put it in your crock pot on low for probably 7-8 hours, shredding an hour before you serve, or whenever the breasts are tender enough to shred.  You can brown your chicken breasts ahead of time, but I usually just throw mine in frozen.
This is a paleo & clean eating option
Creamy Italian Chicken Tomato Stew

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons basil
1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock (read your labels - make sure there are no additives!!)
sprinkling of cracked pepper if you like

Sear the chicken breasts on each side in olive oil.  You can use the same pot as the one you will use for the stew.  After each piece is seared remove from pan and dispose of the drippings.  Put all ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer about an hour then remove chicken and shred with a fork.  Add chicken back to stew and simmer another 20 minutes or so.  ENJOY!!

Nutrition facts based on 5 servings.
Each servings contains:  Calories - 548, Fat - 18.81g, Sat Fat - 13.8g, Cholesterol - 78mg, Sodium - 734g, Carbs - 11.05g, Fiber 2.8g, Sugar 5.2g, Protein - 32.43g

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Heavenly Breakfast Hash

I whipped this up one morning when I was craving something more than just my usual 2 egg/2 egg white with bacon pieces breakfast.  I was craving something spicy and healthy carby.  This totally hit the spot.  It had a spicy-ish quality and the sausage really brought it all together.  Very simple to make and super delish.  This made about 3 servings so I had breakfast for 3 days in a row - or good for feeding a few people in the morning! 

This is a paleo & clean eating option.

Heavenly Breakfast Hash

1 (about 5-inch long) sweet potato, peeled and shredded
1 roma tomato, chopped
2 Savory Kitchen Sweet Pepper Chicken Sausages, found at Sam's Club, sliced*
3 eggs
3 egg whites
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon spicy spaghetti seasoning (Tone's brand found at Sam's Club)

Put eggs and egg whites in a bowl to pour into skillet later.  Shred sweet potato into a bowl and mix with tomato & basil.  Put 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil in an 8-9 inch skillet.  Put the sweet potato mix in the skillet and cover with a lid over medium-low heat.  Stir every couple minutes and after 5-6 minutes add the sausage and spicy spaghetti seasoning.  Cover again - stir after 3-4 minutes then pour the eggs over top trying to separate out an area for each egg & white.  Cover and cook another 5-6 minutes until egg whites are cooked.  If you don't want a runny yolk, cook a bit longer.

*the sausages are approximately 3 ounces each - so you can substitute your favorite kind of sausage for this dish, just use about 6 ounces total and adjust cooking times if using raw meat.

Nutrition from based on 3 servings.
1 serving = Calories - 248, Fat - 10.72g, Cholesterol - 265mg, Sodium - 720mg, Potassium - 269mg, Carbs - 13.71g, Fiber - 3.3g, Sugars - 4.43g, Protein - 22.25g

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Veggie Turkey Lasagna

After we made a Traditional Lasagna on Sunday I wanted to make a more paleo friendly version.  I have seen a few recipes floating around on pinterest so I picked one, re-vamped it a bit and made it.  It did require me to purchase goat cheese which I did find in the specialty cheese section.  It has a very 'feta-like' flavor so you could easilly substitute that.  While this isn't a strictly paleo recipe (because of the dairy) it is a lacto paleo (which is paleo that allows you to include dairy in your diet).  It smelled so good while it was cooking.  I even had a gal out for some CrossFit training that evening that needed a water refill and she smelled it and said she couldn't wait until I posted the recipe so she could try it.  This recipe I did use ground turkey, but you could easily use beef or a combination of ground meats. 

This is a lacto-paleo & clean eating option.

Veggie Turkey Lasagna

1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 16-ounce can Hunt's Spicy Red Pepper Diced Tomatoes
1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 zucchini, sliced into medallions*
2 yellow squash, sliced into medallions*
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
2 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 egg

Brown turkey with onion then add tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat and simmer.  In a bowl combine Greek yogurt, egg, goat cheese and broccoli.  Slice zucchini and squash and place in a layer on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.  I sliced mine about a 1/4-1/2 inch thick. 

On top of the layer of squash/zucchini spread half the meat mixture then dollop half the broccoli mixture then repeat layers.

Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

*you can use just yellow squash or just zucchini and there will be some left over for later use

Nutrition facts from based on 9 servings, 93/7 ground turkey and Chobani non-fat Greek Yogurt
1 serving = Calories - 225, Fat - 9.17g, Cholesterol - 71mg, Sodium - 656mg, Carbs 13.96g, Fiber - 2.5g, Sugars - 7.33g, Protein - 21.54g.

This also has 46% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Traditional Lasagna

There aren't many meals I enjoy more than a good old-fashioned lasagna.  Chock full of tomatoey meat sauce and a thick cheesy topping.  This is one of my favorite comfort foods.... and it's something I don't make often.  Why?  I don't know.  It's so easy.  It makes a few messy pans and bowls, but is such a basic recipe that is so simple to assemble.  I have been known to more often make my CrockPot Lasagna just because you throw it all in a pot and leave it, but my husband thinks the noodles have a different texture when they cook in the crock pot, so I don't make it much anymore.  Chris actually wanted lasagna on Sunday and after church we had gone to the grocery store to get a few basics and went past the pre-packaged frozen meals and he saw the big box of family-style lasagna and he wanted to get it.  $20 - plus all those preservatives, fat and sodium?  No thanks - I can make it way cheaper and healthier - so that's what we did!

Traditional Lasagna

1 1/2 lbs ground beef* (I use 85% lean)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 heaping teaspoons dried basil
1 heaping teaspoon dried marjoram
1 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
2 eggs
1 20-ounce container of cottage cheese (I think it's a 20-ounce container, maybe 22)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus another 1/4 cup for the top
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 cups of your favorite shredded cheese or 1 cup each of shredded cheddar and mozzarella
6 lasagna noodles (3 for each layer tends to perfectly fit unless you use a larger lasagna pan, then probably make 2 more noodles)

Brown meat with onion and garlic; add tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, marjoram and mushrooms.  Reduce pan to simmering and while the meat is simmering boil your lasagna noodles.  In another bowl combine cottage cheese, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan and parsley.
Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9x13 pan.  Spread a small amount of meat sauce in the bottom of the pan - just enough for a thin layer before placing noodles.  Place a layer of noodles in the bottom of the pan (3 should be perfect) then half of the cottage cheese mixture, half of the meat sauce and repeat layers.  Top with the 2 cups of shredded  mozzarella and cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan.  Bake at 375 for about 45-50 minutes.  If cheese seems to get too brown for your taste you can spray some aluminum foil with cooking spray and place it over top of the pan to finish baking.  Let the lasagna stand another 15 minutes before serving.

--You can make this lasagna in advance and cover it in your fridge for a few days or freeze it for later use (thaw before you bake it).  You will have to adjust baking time accordingly.  From the fridge, bake it approximately 60 minutes.

*you can use a mixture of ground beef, turkey, Italian sausage or pork - whatever meats you like, just be sure to have 1 1/2 pounds

The hubby thought we should make the lasagna 'together'.  :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mexican Casserole

 There was a mexican casserole photo that made the rounds on facebook a few weeks ago... chock full of fat, preservatives and sodium.  Sure - I bet it tasted really good and would probably make good comfort food, but I wanted to 'healthy it up'.  So I did just that.  I took out the chips and added in long grain brown rice, took out the cream of mushroom soup and used my own homemade dry mix, took out the envelope of taco seasoning and used my own homemade dry mix and used much less (and reduced fat) shredded cheese.  I wanted to use the ranch-style beans that the recipe called for, but they weren't available in my local grocery store, so I used pinto beans, and I actually only found them a day ago at Hugo's in Grand Forks.  Might have to re-make with them... they had jalapenos in them!  I ADORE spicy food.  My kids LOVED this stuff - the hubby, not so much.  He isn't much of a mexican casserole fan, so his opinion doesn't count.  Enough of my ranting - here's the recipe!

This is a clean eating option - because of the rice & beans it is not paleo.

'Healthified' Mexican Casserole

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 can reduced sodium pinto beans, do not drain
1/3 cup Homemade Cream Soup Mix
2 tablespoons Homemade Taco & Chili Seasoning Mix
1 cup long grain brown rice (the stuff that comes in the bag that has to cook for an hour)
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup shredded marble jack cheese (or your favorite cheese)

Brown hamburger with chopped onion in a larger skillet.  Reduce heat and add rotel, pinto beans, cream soup mix and taco seasoning.  Let simmer 5-10 minutes.  Grease a 9x13 pan and pour in hamburger mixture then add rice and water and stir gently within the pan.  Bake at 350 for a half hour, then stir, bake another half hour, then stir again.  Top with cheese and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is all melted and gooey.  Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, jalapenos, banana pepper rings, Frank's red hot sauce, taco sauce, sour cream or whatever mexican-style toppings you like!

Because of the homemade soup and taco mix it was difficult for me to create the nutrition information without a whole bunch of extra work.  I tried to average it out, but this does not include the soup mix or taco mix.  These two items would definitely increase sodium, but probably not much else.

Nutrition information from based on 10 servings, 85% lean ground beef and low-fat marble jack cheese.
1 serving = Calories - 285, Fat - 13.15g, Cholesterol - 54mg, Sodium - 294mg, Potassium - 406mg, Carbs - 22.24g, Fiber - 3.4g, Sugars - .91g, Protein - 19.67g

Homemade Taco & Chili Seasoning

Why buy pre-packaged taco or chili seasoning with all sorts of ingredients you can't even pronounce!  Plus - all that sodium!  Here is a great recipe you can use and store in a container in your cupboards for whenever you need!!

Homemade Taco & Chili Seasoning

1/4 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 teaspoons black pepper

Combine and store in an 2 cup airtight container. When making chili or tacos start with 1.5 tablespoons of seasoning and add more according to your tastes. I typically use 3-4 tablespoons in my chili recipe and 2-3 tablespoons in 2# ground beef for tacos meat. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cauliflower Rice

If you're looking for a substitute for white or brown rice - you're in luck.  Cauliflower can be 'ground up' in a food processor and made into rice.  I was a bit skeptical about how it would taste, even though I do like cauliflower.  I thought it would taste so different than rice that I wouldn't like it.  I was pleasantly surprised!  I could just eat the cauliflower rice by itself!  It was so tasty!  You can serve a multitude of dishes over the rice.  Spaghetti sauce with meatballs, sweet and sour meat dishes, you could make it into fried rice, throw a bit of it in your morning pan of eggs... just so many options - I'm sure you all can come up with things on your own!!  The best part of this recipe is that it's just so basic.  3 ingredients (not counting the sea salt and pepper).  Get out your food processor and get ricing! :)

This is a paleo & clean eating option.

Cauliflower Rice

1 head cauliflower
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (extra if needed)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Remove florets from the head of cauliflower and process in food processor in batches the size of your processor until they have a rice-like consistency.  Takes probably a minute - sometimes chunks get left, so just leave them in for the next batch.  Rice the whole head of cauliflower.  In a medium skillet heat olive oil and saute onion in olive oil until transluscent.  Add the cauliflower 'rice' and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper (you can add more or less according to your preference).  Stir and cover pan so the rice can saute with the onion - cook over medium-low to low heat to reduce the chance it will burn.  It's possible it will dry out a little bit during cooking and you will have to add another tablespoon of olive oil.  Cook around 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally until rice is cooked through.

Nutrition information from based on 4 servings.
Per serving: Calories - 78, Fat - 3.55g, Cholesterol - 0mg, Sodium - 189mg, Potassium - 478mg, Carbs - 10.57g, Fiber - 4g, Sugars - 4.63g, Protein 3.12g

Also has 114% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C based on a 2000 calorie diet