Monday, June 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - Low Carb Style

So the new week has started and with it my "new" way of planning our meals. Okay, so it isn't really new since I've planned our menus for years but with a low budget and trying to focus on lower carb eating, this just wasn't easy.

Sunday's dinner was beef tips and gravy over Japonica Black rice with spinach and green beans. The carb count for what I ate was about 20 grams but it sure was good. I ate a small amount of the rice and plenty of the spinach and green beans so I didn't feel deprived. If someone could create a low carb, great tasting wild rice, I'd be eternally grateful. ;) But since it hasn't happened I'll just eat very little of the stuff. I'm taking some of the leftovers to work with me and I'll eat those during my lunch break.

Tonight we'll have roast beef and mozzarella cheese roll ups made with Joseph's Lavash bread, salad, and sugar free jello. The carb count is approximately 8 grams and that's assuming I eat two roll ups, which may very well not happen. The last time I ate that quantity of the lavash bread my blood sugar spiked and although I'm not sure the bread caused it I suspect it might have. So I'll probably eat just one roll up and plenty of salad. I might even have a low carb ice cream instead of jello.

The rest of the week's dishes are as follows, in no particular order:

Puffy Chile Relleno Casserole, faux chips made from lavash (ohh, they're so good!), pico de gallo, and guacamole. The carb count for this meal is about 8 grams.

Eggs fried in a little olive oil, broiled turkey sausage, and toasted Ezekiel bread. The carb count for this meal is 11 grams and most of it is in the bread.

Beef and Cheese Pitas, tossed salad, and sugar free pudding. The carb count for this meal is about 15 grams.

Alfredo Chicken with tossed salad and green beans. The carb count for this meal is about 7 grams.

Pizza made with lavash, homemade red sauce, turkey pastrami, mushrooms, green onion and several cheeses. The carb count for this meal is 5 grams per personal pizza.

Puffy Chile Relleno Casserole

3 7 ounce cans whole green chiles
5 tortillas, cut into 1 inch strips (I use Mission low carb tortillas or Joseph's pita)
1 pound grated cheese
1/2 teaspoon each ground black pepper, ground cumin, garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups egg substitute
3/4 cup nonfat milk (I use half and half or cream)
1 teaspoon paprika

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Remove seeds from chiles. Lay half the chiles in the pan. Top with half the tortilla strips and then half of the cheese. Sprinkle with half of the seasonings except the paprika.

Repeat another layer using remaining chiles, tortilla strips, and cheese. Sprinkle the remaining half of the seasonings except the paprika.

Beat eggs with milk, pour over casserole and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until puffy and set in the center.

Let sit 10 minutes before serving. Serve with salsa, guacamole, etc.

For more menu planning inspiration, check out guest host Laura's Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My sister's down and dirty, quick and tasty low carb dip recipes

My sister shared a couple of quick and easy dip recipes with me and I really like them both. They make for a nice change of pace. The first one is great for dipping vegetables in and the second is good to top hot dogs, with no bun of course!

For the first dip, all you need is mayo, a few chopped artichoke hearts, and seasonings. The quantities vary depending on preference but I use 3 artichokes for approximately 1/2 cup of mayo. Mix the artichoke and mayo, add chopped garlic or garlic powder or whatever you have on hand, some pepper (I prefer freshly ground), a little salt and onion powder, and whatever else suits your fancy. Connie puts jalapeno in hers but I use crushed red pepper. Mix it all well and let it chill in the refrigerator. By the way, this dip is excellent as a topping for a lavash bread, veggie and meat dish. I take it to work and eat it with carrot sticks and sliced mushrooms during break/lunch and it's so good.

The second dip is even easier. Just mix mustard and salsa to taste. Yep, that's it, mustard and salsa! I like mustard but am not crazy about it so I wasn't sure about this one but it was actually very good on turkey franks and gave them an interesting zing. You can use any kind of mustard you want but I use just plain ol' yellow mustard, not even a name brand mustard! Additions like garlic and onion could certainly be used, also. Play with this and make it your own.

I'm going to experiment with both of these dips to see what other interesting culinary delights I can create with them.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

More low carb meals in my future! H-E-L-P!

Well, lately my blood sugar has become a real issue. It's either way too high or way too low and its really starting to chap my buns! So, in an effort to get better control of it, I'm eating a much lower carb diet. This isn't fun, folks! But if it has to be, it has to be. I don't want to lose limbs or eyesight (much less my life) and I'd like to live to see the grandchildren I hope to have someday so if low carb, more exercise, and more or different medications are what it's going to take, so be it.

One thing I really dislike about low carb eating is the cost of it. It ain't cheap to eat lean meats, fish, and good vegetables. The cheaper foods like rice, potatoes, and pasta are going to be rare treats for me.

Another thing I dislike is that I get bored with it and fairly quickly. I can eat only so much baked chicken and fish! I'm going to get back to scouring the Internet looking for low carb recipes so if you have a favorite or two or ten, please share with me.

The next menu I post will be a little different, I'm sure. We'll still have rice and other higher carb foods but even though I prepare them, I won't eat much, if any, of them.

So, here's to lower blood sugar and better health in general!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Not a lot going on today

I work a 5 hour shift today and am about to head out to tend to the laundry before I go to work. After work I'm headed to Tyler for the evening and I'll head back to Longview in the morning. With the price of gas as it is I don't do a lot of driving but now and then I have to tend to business so that's what I'm doing!

Tonight's dinner will be scrambled eggs, homemade turkey sausage, and toast. It's quick and easy and very tasty.

I'm off tomorrow and I think we'll have spicy red beans and chicken with hot water cornbread and salad. We haven't had hot water cornbread in a long while so that will be a real treat.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Menu Plan Monday & another recipe

I've changed this weeks's menu from the one I posted yesterday because I got a new convection oven and want to use it! Yes, a new toy to play with just wreaks havoc in our home. ;)

We didn't eat the chicken legs last night because I was working and although they were ready for his culinary delight, DH forgot about them. So, when I got home I prepared turkey ham and cheese in the new oven. I just cut two thick slices from the turkey ham and put them in the oven on "broil" mode and when they were almost ready, I added a slice of white American to each one. We ate the turkey ham and cheese with a handful of kettle-cooked chips and it was a very easy and tasty meal. The chips added too many carbs but neither of us went overboard on those.

So now I have the meat from 8 chicken legs to use this week and here are the meals we'll have in no particular order except for the first one which we'll have tonight:

Chicken and vegetable pitas with salad

Scrambled eggs, homemade turkey sausage and toast

Quick Chicken Alfredo with fresh green beans and salad

Meatless slow cooked enchilada casserole with spinach and green beans

Spicy red beans and chicken with hot water cornbread and salad

Leftovers - whatever needs to go!

I love Chicken Alfredo and although I generally make it from scratch, now and then I make this quick version which uses store bought Alfredo sauce. My favorite is Bertolli brand but use whatever suits you.

Cook pasta al dente, drain and set aside. Into a skillet, put about 1 tsp olive oil and get that hot but not smoking. When it's hot turn down the heat to medium-low and add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cooked chopped chicken, 1/2 cup of freshly steamed chopped carrot, a few sliced raw mushrooms, and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Cook about five minutes, stirring now and then. Add Alfredo Sauce and mix well. Pour over prepared pasta making sure all the pasta is coated and top with grated fresh Parmesan cheese. At this point, I generally pour it all into an oven safe dish and pop the dish into the preheated oven and bake at 325 for about 15 minutes. I like the way the sauce sets on the pasta when I do this but the dish is good without this, too.

For more menu planning ideas, check out Laura's Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

AWOL again but hey, here's my menu & a recipe!

Between work and other life things I haven't been online much. However, I'm rededicating myself to this blog..again! I know, I'm a horrible blogger but darn it, life just keeps getting in the way!

Alright, here's the menu for June 22nd through June 28th.

Sunday night's dinner will be slow cooked chicken legs, green beans and salad. I'll cook the chicken legs before I go to work and will debone some of them and put the meat in the freezer for use later in the week. DH will more than likely have his chicken with barbecue sauce and I'll probably eat mine with lemon pepper and garlic.

Here are our dinners for the rest of the week, in no particular order.

Limas (from the freezer) with salad

Beef and vegetable pitas with salad (we had this without the meat for lunch today and it was terrific! recipe below)

Scrambled eggs, homemade turkey sausage and toast

Chicken jambalaya with salad (made with already cooked chicken from the freezer)

Meatless enchilada slow cooked casserole with spinach and green beans

Leftovers - whatever needs to go!

Beef and Vegetable Pitas

Brown ground beef and drain. Into the skillet, put a little olive oil. Let that get hot and add chopped raw zucchini, carrots, onions, a little fresh broccoli, whatever vegetables you enjoy. Cook until the vegetables are to your liking, add garlic pepper seasoning salt, and ground black and red pepper or whatever seasoning you prefer. Stuff into hot pitas (we use Joseph's) or roll in lavash bread (again, we use Joseph's) and top with lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc. Eaten with a salad, this is very filling.

It's superb! Low in carbs, high in vitamins and very tasty. Thrifty too if you purchase the ingredients on sale. ;)

By the way, if you're looking for a healthy alternative to bread, try Joseph's pita and lavash breads. They're both excellent, low in carbs, and so versatile. Either one makes great pizza crust. Bake and break up for crackers. Smear with cream cheese, splenda and cinnamon and roll up for a low carb treat! I get them at Wal-Mart but they're available online, also.