Pure comfort…

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FRENCH ONION TURKEY MEATLOAF

OR French Onion Soup Turkey Meatloaf – ’cause all the flavors are in there.  Yes, they are.

This takes a little longer because you do have to caramelize the onions, but it’s so, so worth it.  Just for the smell in your house alone!  You need two medium onions (about 1 cup, cooked) for this recipe, but sometimes, since I’m doing it already, I make a few extra to use on other things, like topping a veggie burger, inside an omelet,  mixed into Greek Yogurt with some spices for a quick dip, over ice cream…

…not really – but they ARE sugary-sweet and so delicious.  And, did I mention the fabulous smell?!  (Warning:  Your hair and clothes absorb it!  I did this before church one time, for a dish to take to potluck.  I left Caramel-Onion Eau d’ parfum all over the place.  Lovely…but not exactly what I’d planned.)

Anyway…please try this.  Even your non-onion eaters will love it because they just melt into the meat.  It’s another husband approved-two-thumbs up.  And, for the low-carbers, a meatloaf with NO breadcrumbs or oats.  Yay!

All the flavors of French Onion Soup including the cheese  – how can you possibly go wrong?

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Printable Recipe

2 medium sweet onions, diced (I prefer sweet, but yellow is fine)

2 teaspoons butter or olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

20-ounce pkg ground turkey (I like dark-light mix)

1 egg

1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere, Swiss, or Provolone cheese, divided

2 Tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Few drops of hot pepper sauce

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In a large skillet  melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add onions, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Stir to coat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until deep brown; about 45 min to 1 hour.  Set aside and allow to cool down to warm before adding to the turkey mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the onions, ground turkey, egg, 1/2 cup of the cheese, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce.

Place in 1 large or 2 mini loaf pans.  Bake large pan 50-55 minutes, small pans 30-35 minutes or until internal temp is 160 degrees. (Will continue to cook while broiling.)

Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup cheese over the top and broil for 2 minutes,  until melted.

Makes 8 servings.

Per Serving: 229 Cal; 20 g Protein; 14 g Tot Fat; 6 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 3 g Sugar;; 225 mg Sodium

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ITALIAN DRESSING POT ROAST

This is my husbands favorite – ever, ever.  I don’t remember when I first made this or where I got the inspiration – maybe it was his Gramma, way back in the day – can’t recall, but have been doing it like this for years.  It’s SO easy and always turns out great.  

I use a crock pot.  I’ve done it in the oven, and I suppose an Instant Pot would be fabulous.  The MAIN thing is to cook this low and slow for as long as possible.  I’m not talking until it’s just “done”.  I’m talking when you get a fork NEAR it, it falls apart in utter and total surrender! 

When I worked at an assisted living facility, I did this with big cuts of chuck roast, I’ve used a small 1-pounder, or even two snuggled in the pot together, and I’ve done it with chuck steak.   Because this doesn’t require slicing or anything fancy like that – any old cut will work.  

The secret is the Italian Dressing – full of spices already, so that part’s done – and it has vinegar, which will make the beef super tender.  Throw in any vegetables you have around, or nothing at all.  I usually use onions, celery, carrots and potatoes.  

For this blog I  used Lite Italian Dressing.  In real life, I use the regular, simply because I just do.  (And, really, I discard most of the liquid in the pot after removing the meat.  I’ve never tried to make gravy with it…not sure about that.)   When the roast is done, it will fall apart when you gently try to separate it with a fork – and not just on the edges – even in the middle of the roast.  I scoop it out with a large slotted spatula (like for fish) or a large slotted spoon. 

Anyway…it’s good.  Husband-falling-on-the-floor-after-first-bite-good.  Of course, he IS a drama king, so….

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Printable Recipe

 3 pound boneless chuck roast – see above notes for other ideas

 1-2 cups (16 oz bottle for a large roast) Lite Italian Dressing – doesn’t matter what brand, but Kraft Zesty is great

Onions, celery, carrots, potatoes – large chunks

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Preheat crock pot on high (or oven to 275 degrees).  Drizzle two or three tablespoons of the dressing on the bottom of the crock pot’s pot or a large, deep casserole.  Add the meat and veggies – no particular order.  Pour at least 1 cup of dressing over the whole thing.  For a larger cut of meat – use more dressing, even the whole bottle.  For a chuck steak or small roast, I usually use 3/4 cup, or so.  Doesn’t really matter at all.

Cover tightly and cook on high, in crock pot, until it is bubbling a lot, then turn to low.  My pot is older and doesn’t have a tight fitting lid so I even cover the whole thing with a couple kitchen towels.  If you need the meal sooner than later, keep it on high, but I like to cook this on low for several hours – like 7-8, depending on the size of the meat, of course.

In the oven, 275 degrees for several hours.  Instant pot – no clue.

It’s done when it falls apart very easily.  This makes a lot of it’s own juice, so if left covered tightly, it will NEVER dry out.  I turn the meat now and then, just so all parts of the roast are, at one point, sitting in the liquid.  Makes approx 10 (weight loss surgery-size) servings.

 Per Serving: 275 Cal; 30 g Protein; 15 g Tot Fat; 2 g Carb; 0 g Fiber; 1 g Sugar; 283 mg Sodium

(I use AccuChef for my stats.)

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Harvest bounty in a bowl!

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MY FAVORITE VEGETABLE SOUP

You can’t get more basic than this!  It is so good on wintery day.  SO good. Simple, easy, extremely full of nutrition, and vegan, even…unless…you want to add some chicken, turkey, ground beef, even hunks of firm fish…whatever you like.  Anything goes in this pot o’ deliciousness!

The following is how I usually make it – but, really, it’s a whatever-you’ve-got-in-the-fridge type deal.  I saute the first few aromatics and then add the broth and tomato sauce.  THEN, I can add as many vegetables as it will hold.  I love my soup to have a lot of substance and a little liquid, so I use a ton.  (In other words, the amounts of vege are only suggested, and negotiable!  If you use less the stats will go down a little, of course.)

As with just about every fabulous soup, this is better the next day…and the next…and freezes like a dream.

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Printable Recipe

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2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 large stalks  of celery, sliced

One 15-ounce can tomato sauce OR diced or crushed tomatoes

Two 32-ounce boxes vegetable or chicken broth

3 large carrots, sliced

2 medium zucchini, yellow crook neck, etc – diced

4 medium sized waxy potatos (red or white), chunked

One 14-ounce can green beans, drained, OR 2 cups frozen

1 cup frozen corn (Trader Joe’s roasted is fab!)

One (approx 9-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach

1 cup frozen shelled edamame

2 tablespoons pearl barley

1 teaspoon salt (may need more, depending on your taste)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Few dashes cayenne pepper

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In a large stockpot, over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and celery.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until onion is beginning to soften.

Pour in the tomato sauce (or diced or crushed, undrained) and broth.  Add in vegetables until it’s as “thick” as you like it.  I use them ALL in the amounts written!

Add barley, salt, cumin, sugar, pepper, and cayenne.  Stir well, and cover, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to  low and simmer for an hour or until veggies are tender.

Makes A LOT!  I don’t know…probably ten really good sized servings.  Let’s go with that.  It’s all vegetables and a little oil – shouldn’t even have to count the calories!!

Per Serving: 162 Cal; 7 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 26 g Carb; 7 g Fiber; 19 g NET carbs; 6 g Sugar; 519 mg Sodium

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Because…pudding!!

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BLUEBERRY LIME COCONUT CHIA PUDDING

Luscious, decadent, creamy, lite, zingy, cool…I could go on.

This chia pudding is just plain refreshing.  For breakfast, snack, dessert – yes, lets!

I recently started eating mostly vegan – trying for 90% on average.  (I was vegetarian before that, so if I decide to have something off the vegan plan, it’s usually a little dairy. The meat dishes on this blog are perfected for and tested on my husband!)

This is one of the staples of a vegan diet, it seems.  There are as many variations as you have imagination and once you have the basic ratio of liquid to chia seeds down, the sky’s the limit.  I’ve done this one with raspberries and lemon (thanks to Healthy Maven) and it’s TO. DIE. FOR.  Alas, the summer is two-thirds over and so went the raspberries, but the blues are in full swing.  We are taking advantage.

Because I’ve cut out dairy, my fat consumption has dwindled, also.  So I use the full fat canned coconut milk, most of the time.  The lite is fabulous, though, and I’ve given stats for both.

Chia seeds are very filling and have little to no flavor of their own, soooooo…we can work any magic we want and I plan on doing just that.  Stay tuned!

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Printable Recipe

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One 14 oz can coconut milk, liquid AND solid parts (regular or lite), room temp

4 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds

2-4 tablespoons Splenda Granular (or sweetener of choice)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Juice and zest of one lime

1 cup fresh blueberries

Pinch of salt

In a medium bowl combine the coconut milk, chia seeds, sweetener, vanilla, zest and juice, blueberries, and salt.  Mix well, and allow to sit for a few minutes.  Stir again to make sure the seeds are distributed evenly as they soak up the coconut milk.  Cover or spoon into individual dishes/glasses and chill for several hours or overnight.  Makes 4 servings.
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Lite canned coconut milk:
Per Serving: 193 Cal; 4 g Protein; 13 g Tot Fat; 15 g Carb; 6 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 101 mg Sodium
Regular canned coconut milk:
Per Serving: 315 Cal; 6 g Protein; 29 g Tot Fat; 14 g Carb; 6 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 15 mg Sodium
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Royal Blues

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BLUEBERRY COMPOTE

There’ll come a time in your life when you neeeeeeeeed  this gorgeousness.  

Blueberries, citrus, and a little vanilla…this is perfect as a sauce, jam, or when warmed, even a syrup.  Add to plain Greek yogurt, into ricotta,  a protein shake, over my Oatmeal cottage Cheese Pancakes, or rolled in my Crepes with a a little cream cheese schmear…spooned over a low-sugar cheesecake…you get the drift.

The recipe makes quite a bit, but freeze and keep for when that I-need-some-blueberry-sauce-now emergency strikes.  

What?

 It happens.

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5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup Whey Low Granular (regular sugar, if you prefer)

1/2 cup Splenda Granular (OR use all Splenda or all WL)

Zest and juice of one large lemon OR medium orange

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons cold butter

In a  large sauce pan – over medium heat – combine the berries, WL, Splenda, lemon, and salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Continue to boil for 20 minutes, or until reduced by about a third.  Add vanilla, and stir in the butter until melted. (The butter gives the sauce a beautiful glossy shine as well as another layer of flavor.  SO good!)

Remove from heat and let cool completely. Pour into 1/2 cup freezer containers and freeze.  Lasts in the fridge for a month or in freezer for one year.

Makes approx 3 cups sauce depending on how far it’s reduced, or about 48 servings, two-tablespoons each.

If you used all Splenda the calorie count and carbs would be even less.

Per Serving: Calories 12; Protein 0 g; Fat .3 g; NET Carb 4 g; (Fiber 0 g); Sugar 4; Sodium 7 mg

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Just lovely!

 

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LEMON RICOTTA PANCAKES

So gorgeous, light, fluffy, and softly scented with sunny lemon…pure joy on a lazy morning!

I used plain syrup, but lemon curd or raspberry syrup would be wonderful, too.

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Printable Recipe

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup ricotta cheese

2 eggs, separated

1/3 cup milk

2 tablespoon Splenda granular

2 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds – optional

Combine flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside. Whip egg whites to soft peeks and set aside.  Whisk together ricotta, egg yolks, milk, Splenda granular, lemon juice, zest, and poppy seeds.  Stir into flour mixture just til moistened. Gently fold in egg whites. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls  onto griddle sprayed with butter flavor spray (or regular). Cook until golden, turning once.

These keep great in fridge or frozen, stacked on each other wrapped in plastic. Makes 6 servings. Per Serving: 160 Cal; 10 g Protein; 8 g Tot Fat; 12 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 2 g Sugar; 59 mg Sodium

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Love them from your oven…

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OATMEAL-PRO BREAKFAST BARS

I remade a classic Oatmeal Cookie recipe into a protein breakfast bar that is full of fiber and other tasty things, just right to keep you going til lunch.  Yes, it’s high in carbs, but they are the stick-to-your-ribs type and should give you a slow burn to keep you from crashing mid-morning.  Kids will love these, too.  They freeze great – wrap individually – throw one at them as they rush out the door.  These are not low calorie, but definitely better than a Pop-Tart or Toaster Strudel…and your house will smell like Heaven for a few hours.  Never a bad thing. 

The add-ins are endless, too.  Any and all chopped nuts, no sugar added dried fruit, coconut, or if you’re feeling extra sweet go with some mini chocolate chips or toffee bits.  Yes, I went there…maybe.  Yes, yes I did.

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Printable Recipe

 

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3/4 cup butter, softened (1 1/2 cubes)

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup Whey Low Gold, packed (see note*)

3/4 cup Whey Low Granular (see note*)

2 eggs

3 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups flour

2 scoops vanilla protein powder (approx 1/3 of a cup is standard scoop size)

3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup chopped nuts (peanuts, pecans, walnuts…whatever)

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Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray an 11 x 15 baking pan with vegetable cooking spray and, if you have it, line with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a large bowl (or mixer bowl) cream together the butter, peanut butter, Gold, and Granular until well mixed.  Whip in the eggs, water, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until fluffy.  Stir in the flour and protein powder JUST until moistened.  Stir in the oatmeal and nuts until mixed through.

Spread (wet fingers worked best for me) evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.  COVER LOOSELY WITH FOIL (the Whey Low gets dark faster than regular sugar) and bake for another 15 minutes, or until fairly set.  (They will still “give” a little bit…not be firm like a cake.)  Run a knife around the edges and allow  to cool completely.  Remove from pan, if you’ve used paper, and cut into desired size bars.  Makes 20-25 bars.

20 bars
Per Serving: Calories 241; Protein 11 g; Fat 15 g; Carbs 30 g; Fiber 4 g; (NET CARBS 26 g); Sugar 15 g; Sodium 141 mg

25 bars
Per Serving: Calores 193; Protein 9 g; Fat 12 g; Carbs 24 g; Fiber 3 g; (NET CARBS 21 g); Sugar 12 g; Sodium 113 mg

*NOTE: I use Whey Low since it is slower to digest and doesn’t spike my blood sugar.  I’ve had gastric bypass and this doesn’t make me ill.  REGULAR brown and granulated sugar would work beautifully, also, but would change the stats, slightly.

(I use Accu-Chef to figure my stats.)

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