Dinner · freezer · Low Carb · main dish · Main entree

A Healthier Pizza Recipe

pizza 5

If you included weight loss in any of your New Year Goals, you will be really happy to try this recipe!  This Deconstructed Pizza Casserole is low carb but highly delicious! If you’re hungry for pizza, but don’t want all the calories and carbohydrates, this will come in a close second to the real thing!  I added a green salad and it was a perfect Saturday night supper that almost felt like, “Pizza Night!”

Here’s the easy recipe and my tweaks:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (do not use petite dice)
  • 5 links (19.5 oz.) uncooked turkey Italian sausage
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • 8-12 oz. fresh mushrooms, washed and cut into thick slices (I used brown Cremini mushrooms.) To wash, wet a paper towel and wipe the mushrooms.  Don’t rinse under water!
  • 1/2 Red onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese (I used part-skim mozzarella)
  • Pepperoni slices (I used Turkey Pepperoni, but you can use regular, if you prefer.)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray an 8 inch x 11 inch glass casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.
  2. Pour the diced tomatoes into a colander placed in the sink and rinse with cold water. Let tomatoes drain a minute or two, then spread them out on paper towels to dry (or blot dry with another paper towel on top.)
  3. Remove the sausage out of the casing, and cook over medium-high heat until it’s nicely browned, breaking it apart as it cooks.
  4. While sausage cooks, clean mushrooms and slice into thick slices.
  5. When the sausage is done make a layer of sausage in the bottom of the casserole dish and top with the drained tomatoes and red onions, spreading  out over the top of the sausage. Season with dried oregano, salt, and fresh-ground black pepper.
  6. Rinse out the pan if needed, then heat 2 tsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the mushrooms and cook, stirring a few times, until all the liquid is released and the mushrooms are starting to brown. Layer the mushrooms over the sausage-tomato mixture.

    Pizza cass 2
    I divided the mixture between two dishes, since it was just the two of us!  One went into the freezer for another day.
  7. Sprinkle the grated Mozzarella over the top of the casserole and lay the pepperoni pieces on top of the cheese, spacing them evenly so the whole top is covered with pepperoni.
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  8. Bake about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve hot.

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With yummy dishes like this, you could cut carbs and not feel like you’re missing your favorite pizza!

Hope you’ll give this a try!!  It’s super-good!

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breakfast · Main entree

Kid Friendly/Adult loved French Toast Sticks

Happy New Year Friends!  I missed posting and interacting with you last week, but it was nice to have a little vacation with my family over the holidays!  I hope your Christmas and New Year were memorable and special! More about that later this week, but let’s get on with a new recipe, shall we?

One favorite theme at the holidays is the food, right?  Maybe you’re limiting yourself from certain food groups now that the celebrations are over, but if you have children in your life, I have to share a new French Toast Stick recipe that I made for my grandsons and we ALL loved!

French Toast sticks that you buy frozen are usually tough, but these are soft and easy for little ones to hold and chew.  Take a look!

French Toast sticks

This came from another Gooseberry Cookbook, which are some of my favorites!

French Toast Sticks

4-5 Slices bread
3 C Rice crispy cereal, crushed
1 T Sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 C Milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 C butter, Melted

Cut each slice of bread into 4 strips.  Combine crushed cereal, sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside.

Mix together eggs, milk, vanilla and salt in another bowl.  Dip each bread stick into egg mixture and then (quickly) remove and dip into sugar coating.  Place sticks on an ungreased 13 x 9 baking pan, pour melted butter over top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.  Makes 16 – 20 sticks.

French toast sticks 2

I served these with warm syrup.  Yum!  They were scrumptious!

Prep the ingredients the night before for a quick breakfast in the morning.  Then when you’re ready to bake, do the dipping into the egg and cereal mixtures and place in the oven.

Now, don’t you wish it was time for breakfast???!!!!

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Beef · Cooking · Main dish. · Main entree

An Old Favorite Main Dish

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Recently I went to the kitchen to fix supper and I suddenly thought about an old favorite recipe, and the craving for it caused me to immediately change my menu for the night! It’s one of those comfort-food kind-of-dishes that is delicious, easy and filling, yet so simple that I had everything for it on hand already! It’s also ready in under 30 minutes!!

What did I make?  Salisbury steak.!  If you’re thinking about the frozen dinner variety, think again.  This is meaty, plump and bursting with flavor as well as plenty of gravy to cover the meat and/or any potato you might eat with it.

My recipe came from the Betty Crocker American Country Cooking Cookbook.  It has some fantastic recipes in it but the Salisbury Steak is probably my favorite!  If you’re wondering what to have for supper this week, this could be your next family favorite!

Salisbury steak 1

Salisbury Steak

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs (any flavor)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
2 tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Mix beef, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and egg. Shape into 4 oval patties, each about 3/4 inch thick.
  • Cook patties in 10-inch skillet over medium heat about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown; drain. Add onion, broth and mushrooms. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until beef is done.
  • Remove patties; keep warm. Heat onion mixture to boiling. Mix water and cornstarch; stir into onion mixture. Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve over patties.

     

    salisbury steak 2a

What dish do you sometimes crave?

With love from my country kitchen,

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Cooking · Family life · main dish · Main entree · Meal planning · Traveling

Meal Planning for Family Vacation

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For a fantastic ending to a great summer, we enjoyed our first Family Vacation!  We were blessed to have our daughters, sons-in-law, and grandsons all join us for a two and half day get-away!  Let me just start by sharing a few of the highlights:

  • Coming up with our hashtag for the time away!  We wanted pics to remember this event by, so we needed a hashtag for Instagram!  We settled on #hamfamvacay2017.  Some of the other running options were – #picvacay2017 #hammingitup2017
  • Having time to just be together. When you have babies in the group, it’s just easier not to be running all over, and we were happy with that!  We gladly opted to just stay near the condo and only go out one time.  We truly just wanted to be able to visit and be together.
  • Having time in the Word as a family. My husband gathered everyone together on the patio and we opened God’s Word to read a chapter and share our “Ah ha” verses.  How thankful I am that we could all contribute and share from the riches of the Bible.  I do not take for granted having a family filled with believers!
  • Meal time!  What’s better than home-cooked food, enjoyed at “home” with those you love?

It can be a little tricky feeding lots of people, but we came up with a plan that made it doable. Today I’m linking up with my daughter, Whitney to share how we managed six meals for six people, adding in the complications of two who were dieting, one who had a birthday, and one (kind of) picky eater!

Because we were staying at a Wyndham resort, we had cooking capabilities and decided we would eat all our meals “at home” rather than eating out.  Aside from being a money saver, it’s also so much easier to visit in the quiet of the resort, than at a restaurant.  But how do you bring enough food and give what everyone likes when there are six adults eating six meals?   Here’s what we did:

  1. I offered to make supper for both nights, knowing that they would be the more costly meals.
  2. I suggested that the girls either:
    ~each take a day and make both breakfast and lunch on their day,
    ~one take lunches for both days and the other the breakfasts for both days.  They chose the latter.

Another component in cooking for a crowd is dietary restrictions, or even likes/dislikes.  One of the couples was on a diet that restricted grains, dairy, sugar, and several other things.  One in our group isn’t too adventurous with foods.  We decided that we would do our best to provide a main meat that everyone could have, and then let them fill the gaps with what they could/would eat.  It can be nearly impossible to please everyone – right?  This way, the options was theirs to eat what the cook provided, or add their own items to the meal.

We were glad to be able to cook, but no one wanted to be spending lots of time preparing the food.  For my supper meals, I opted to do a grilled meat one night and an oven-prepared meal the next night.  Here were my supper menus:

Night One:

Grilled Steaks
(Adding only grill seasoning and no marinade, due to the dieters)
Baked potatoes (done in the oven)
Corn on the cob
French Bread
Cupcakes

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Excuse the poor picture, but the picture taking was low on the list at the moment! =)

For that first supper, everyone ate the steaks and potatoes, but the dieters didn’t have corn, bread or cupcakes.  We were celebrating a birthday that night, so I got creative with what I had and made a slice of a diet friendly birthday “cake” which also fell on the day of  the eclipse!

hamfamvacay17 2
My Eclipse “Cake!”

Night Two:

Oven-Baked Chicken Fajitas –
(Everyone could add or leave off what they didn’t like)
Spanish Rice – (The dieters fixed Sweet Potato fries)
Refried Beans
Fresh Fruit

hamfamvacay175

After everyone else left, my husband and I had the blessing of finishing out the week at the resort, so we needed breakfast and lunch meals for those days as well.  To keep things easy, I tried to get double use out of items I brought.  For example:

  • Bacon – Used for breakfast or BLT’s for lunch
  • Bread – Toasted  for Steak night, Toast and jelly for breakfast
  • Leftover fajitas for lunch
  • Fresh tomatoes and fruit – salad, dessert and snacks!

Mealtimes were a huge success!  There was no flurry of wondering where we would go or what we were going to eat.  It was laid out simply and everyone had plenty of good food!

You can go here and check out Whitney’s post to see what she and her sister fixed for the other meals!

What does your  family do to make mealtime happen on vacation?

With love from my country kitchen,

 

Cooking · Dinner · Main entree · Make-Ahead · Pasta · salad · Side dish

Summertime Pasta Salad

pasta salad

I tried a new recipe this week that I loved for several reasons:

  1. I love a cold pasta salad in the summertime.
  2. I served it alongside a BLT and it was a great side dish.
  3. This would also be a great main dish by adding grilled chicken strips, or even shrimp or crab meat!
  4. It’s also a great do-ahead dish.  I made it the night before and it was so great to have it all ready to pull out and add to a simple summer meal like BLT’s!

BLT

Tortellini Caesar Pasta Salad

This recipe was found in a Community Table magazine.  

INGREDIENTS

2 (9-oz) packages cheese tortellini

1 head broccoli, cut into small florets

3 ears corn – I used frozen corn kernels – You could use any fresh vegetable – cucumbers, zucchini or squash would all be delicious in this!

1 cup creamy Caesar salad dressing

Juice of 1 lemon

2 carrots, thinly

4 tomatoes, diced

Kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and cool.

Steam broccoli until tender, about 6 minutes; cool.

Cook corn in boiling water, 5 minutes; cool, then slice kernels off cob. I simply ran the frozen kernels under cold water and added it to the salad.

Toss tortellini, broccoli, and corn with dressing, lemon juice, carrots, tomatoes; salt to taste.

If you love pasta, you’ll love this recipe!  I hope you’ll add it to your menu, either as a side or a main dish, and do it this summer!!

With love from my country kitchen,

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baking · Cooking · dessert · Family life · grilling · home · Home making · main dish · Main entree

Individual Berry Cobblers & What We Really Eat

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Happy Monday!  First let me start with sharing a new recipe that I made as a special treat for my cobbler-loving husband!  If you need a treat for Fourth of July these would be perfect.  You can make one, or you can multiply the recipe to make as many as you need.  These are Berry Cobblers,  served in individual ramekins, making them a perfect size and also easy to serve!

I found the recipe here on this site. They were so easy to pull together, and with no sugar added to the fruit, I think they’re a really healthy little dessert, well, maybe the ice cream added some fat and calories, but you can’t eat cobbler without ice cream!

Individual Berry Cobblers
Ingredients
  • NOTE: These directions are per each serving so multiply it by how many servings you plan to make.
  • ½ cup berries or fruit of choice
  • 2 tbsp oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar, slightly packed
  • 1½ tbsp softened butter
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of baking soda
  • a couple drops of vanilla

Instructions –
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place berries/fruit In a ramekin or other small baking dish
In a separate bowl, Mix all other ingredients….oatmeal, flour, sugar, butter, salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Use your hand or a fork to make sure all ingredients are incorporated well.
Sprinkle oatmeal mixture evenly over berries/fruit.
Place ramekin on a baking dish (just in case it boils over a little bit) and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until topping is beginning to brown.

berry cobbler 2.jpg

Do you ever look at people’s You Tube videos of their food and wonder if they really eat? I mean, sometimes it’s more about the tableware and presentation than the food.  To me, the most important part of mealtime is the food!  We really enjoy our food over here and I want it to be delicious and pretty – not just pretty!

So, I’m going to close today by giving you a little look at my plates from this past week so you can see what we really ate.
Here’s a real look at our meals:

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Grilled Marinated Steaks, Twice Baked Potatoes, Berry Green Salad
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Perfect Pork Tostadas, Spanish Rice, Fresh Fruit
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Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce, Corn on the cob, Oven Garlic Fries
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Chicken Fajitas, Refried Beans, Lime tortilla chips, Cantaloupe
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Turkey Breast, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus and Berry Green Salad

I don’t just take pictures of pretty food – we eat real meals every day at home.  Presentation is part of that, but also good food, prepared and cooked at home to nourish body and soul! Also the time at the table, sitting and talking as we eat, sip on glasses of tea, or nibble on sweet treats like this berry cobbler!  Meal time is a huge part of family time.  Let’s make dinner delicious, nourishing, pretty and memorable!

What have you made this week that your family loved?

From my country kitchen,

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Cooking · Dinner · main dish · Main entree

Perfect Pork Tostadas

I love to take the leftovers from a great entree and turn them into something completely different – you know hide the fact that we’re eating leftovers!

I found a great way to use pork tenderloin this week that was so delicious and so different from the way it was originally served, that there’s almost no way someone would have know that Sunday dinner was being revisited (isn’t that better than saying, “leftovers?!”).

Enter the Pork Tostada!  I ask you – does this look like boring leftovers?

pork tostadas.jpg

Grilled Pork Tostadas

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 Cups Chopped Pork Tenderloin, cooked
1 cup peppers, multi-colored, chopped
1/2 Cup Red onion, chopped
Tortillas
1 1/2 Cup Mexican cheese
Toppings – lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, lime wedges, avocado

Combine oil, cumin and salt.  Pour half of mixture over vegetables to coat.  Pour  the other half over the meat, stir to coat.
Cook vegetables in small amount of oil until tender.  Add meat, cook until meat is warmed.
Brush tortillas with olive oil and place on baking sheet. Toast tortillas in 400 degree oven until crisp.  Top with vegetables, meat, cheese and return to oven and allow cheese to melt.

Serve immediately.  Serve with added toppings.

I served this with Spanish rice and fresh fruit and it was sooo good!!

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Roast a tenderloin and grab the remains so you can make these!

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