Thursday, May 23, 2019

Cheeseburger Mini Muffins

I understand the world does not revolve around the keto diet, so I try very hard to serve things that work for my way of eating but are equally compatible with TheHub's standard American diet. Most of the time it is something as simple as making zoodles for me and cooking pasta for him, or changing out cauliflower for his potatoes. It is truly not a big deal, except for those nights when everything in the day has gone wrong and I have nothing remotely ready to cook.

About a week ago we had one of those days, it was raining so grilling was off the table and all I had produce-wise  was salad type stuff and I had a pound of ground sirloin thawed.  Limited options! This is not really a recipe, but it more of a how to.

Preheat the oven to 350
I grabbed the ground beef (This was an 85/15 mix, though how they figure that accurately I will never know.) and mixed it with a heaping  teaspoon of steak seasoning.  I use Angelo's because I think it is the best I have ever had, but honestly any steak seasoning would do.  Spray a mini muffin pan with Pam. I used a 24 muffin pan and had enough beef for 20 mini muffins. Divide the meat in half. Put about 1 tablespoon in the bottom of each muffin well. Flatten it somewhat. I have a dough tamper and used it, but a spoon or clean fingers would work also. Cut an 8 ounce block of very sharp cheddar cheese in half, then cut one half into 24 small cubes of cheese. Put a cube on top of the beef  in each of the muffin cups, then top with the remaining meat mixture. Press it to cover the cheese completely.  Put the muffin pan on a jelly roll pan or sided cookie sheet and pop it in the oven until it is done. (Takes about 15 minutes) Let them sit for about 2 minutes then remove from the muffin pan with a fork. Do not try to turn the pan over to remove them or you will have a huge mess. Even using the very low fat content sirloin still created a lot of drippings. (Just letting you learn from my mistake know what could possibly happen if you are not thinking clearly)

I julienned a vidalia onion (any sweet onion will work) then topped it with shredded lettuce, added the meat muffins, then surrounded them with pickles, sliced tomatoes and banana peppers. TheHub used mayo, mustard and ketchup on his. I stuck to the mustard and mayo. This tasted like a cheese burger salad and was really delicious and quick (about a 20-25 minute process from start to finish) meal. I am not sure what, if anything, I would do to improve it except to maybe add finely minced onions to the beef mix before cooking.

Anyway if you are short of time and need a meal in hurry this might be just the thing to try. I am going to try something similar with ground chicken, greek spices,  and feta cheese on a spinach salad soon. It might or might not work but it is worth a try.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Where There's a Menu, There Is a Possibility of Following It.

At the beginning of each week, I decide what our meals will be for the week. During the middle of the week (or sometimes even on Monday) I decide I did not want to cook/eat what I had planned or we decide t say to heck with it all and do something totally different . (Can you say take out?) I might count this as a failure on my part, but I am only claiming it is life, or at least my life, where things rarely go as planned.

This is what I originally planned for the week:

1. Crack chicken over rice or cauli rice, coleslaw
2. Keto burger fat bombs, lettuce, pickles and tomatoes, cauliflower potato salad
3. White bbq chicken , green beans, cauli mash or regular mashed potatoes
4. Fathead Pizza (TheHub has a business dinner and this is easy)
5. Mandarin class (take out)
6. Cauliflower bread ham sandwich, coleslaw
7. Ground beef and zucchini, tossed salad

And this is what really happened:*

Monday: Crack chicken over rice or cauli rice, tossed salad
Tuesday: Cheese stuffed mini burgers on lettuce with pickles and tomatoes
Wednesday: Pizza on frozen grilled pizza crust (or keto flatbread)
Thursday: Out to eat after Mandarin class
Friday: Leftover BBQ , cucumbers, leftover baked beans (or not)
Saturday: Takeout spinach pie (TheHub)  or chicken kubidah (me) tossed salad
Sunday: Pork tenderloin in dragon sauce, Tyrion's mushrooms. Night's Watch bitter salad. Yes this was our Game of Thrones meal.

And now I am planning for this week,** which as usual may or may not (probably not) happen.

1. White bbq chicken, cauliflower "potato" salad. something green (asparagus, green beans, broccoli?)
2. Grilled burgers and burger fixings, coleslaw, chips or not
3. Cauliflower bread ham and cheese sandwich
4. Keto sloppy Joe's, tater tots or radish "hash browns",  broccoli
5. Spanish pulled pork, sautéed cabbage, dinner roll or keto roll
6. Kraut and sausage,  cooked carrots, cucumber slices
7. Cauliflower au gratin,  green beans, apple carrot and raisin salad
8. Grilled steak, cauli mash or mashed potatoes, green salad

* Stuff happened all week, but I forgot to note it and I am not inclined to try and remember details right now. I promise to do better next week
** Since this is Memorial Day week I am extending the meal possibilities through Monday. Weather cooperating we are headed to the lake for a long weekend.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Where Buffalo Chicken Dip Roams

TheHub, Son2, and DIL2 were here Sunday night for dinner.  We watched NBA playoffs and had no time between games and our planned nighttime viewing schedule.We had decided we wanted to be through eating before we watched episode 5 of Game of Thrones, but we also wanted to watch the NCAA softball play-off selection show which aired at the same time. Obviously we set the DVR to record GOT and decided to watch the selections as they happened. We needed something that would function as a meal but would be quick and easy to eat at the same time. Enter the snack supper. I had cream cheese, mozzarella, and cooked chicken on hand so it was a pretty easy leap from those ingredients to Buffalo chicken dip.  It was also easy to throw together and would pretty much cook itself with no tending. All I had to do was cut some celery sticks, put some Triscuts in a bowl  and toss some baby spinach with a vinaigrette . Snack dinner was served and we did get to watch the selection show before we were glued to the TV for GOT.  (I hope they resolve everything in the final episode. I thought this one was seriously lacking.)

 Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 cups cooked shredded chicken
2 8 ounce packs softened cream cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 small red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Franks Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/2 cup Blue Cheese dressing
Pickled Jalapenos for the top

Combine everything but the jalapenos in a large bowl and stir to mix well. (Or do like I did and just half ass it. It is going to cook anyway and will all cook together mostly)

Bake at 350 degrees until it is heated through and through and everything is all melted. (15-20 minutes) Top with jalapeno rings and serve piping hot with veggies and crackers or bread of your choosing.

This is really good and is keto compliant. Yes I know it has a lot of fat in it, but keto is a high fat, mid protein, uber low carb diet which is working well for me. Fortunately the people I love most and all those who hang out with me know I am doing this and do nothing to sabotage my efforts. It probably helps that I only make foods that taste good. So far the only complaints I have heard are about a couple of recipes that were seriously not good, and even I bitched griped about them. If you want a quick tasty dinner, this really did fit the bill.

Next week is the final episode forever. (Or will they end on a cliff hanger and come out with a movie in a few years? Who knows?) I have invested years watching this as well as reading all the books that are written thus far so we are going out with a bang.

I plan on having a GOT feast prior to the show. The other day Kindle unlimited had a GOT cookbook as part of its library and I did snag it. I have 4 days to find the odd ingredients or at least decide what would be a good substitution. The only thing I really need now are some heavy golden goblets, a crown or two and an iron throne made of swords. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Behind and Ahead

I have been trying to plan and follow a weekly menu, and honestly most of the time I have a few things I plan and a lot more random meals that just happen as the chinks appear in my week. This was what I had planned for last week.

1. Pork tenderloin, Thai chili noodles or cauliflower mash, tossed salad, green beans
2  Reuben roll-ups , baked potatoes (or not) cucumber slices
3. Smoked sausage, with grilled peppers, onions and tomatoes
4. Smoked pork butt, corn on the cob (or not), coleslaw
5. Spaghetti sauce over noodles or zoodles, garlic bread, tossed salad
6. Grilled tuna steaks, mashed potatoes (or cauli mash), tomato slices, spinach salad
7. White bbq chicken, potato salad or caulitato salad,  baked beans, cuke tomato and onion salad

Vs. what really happened

Monday: I had a relatively quiet day with little mama drama so I actually got to take something out of the freezer in the morning and could mostly follow my plan.
 Pork tenderloin in a Thai chili glaze, Thai chili noodles (or cauli mash) green beans

Tuesday: My Beloved Sister and I came to a major agreement about an unresolved Mother issue. We have hired a lovely young woman to be a caregiver/companion Monday through Friday until 2 in the afternoon. She needs more help but we are taking baby steps right now, and it is mostly working out. Except__she was calling me every morning to run pick up something from the store, usually for their lunch. WTH?  That dog will no longer hunt and we made Mom go with "T" to the store and buy her own groceries. Mom accused us of turning against her and it was a pretty unpleasant day with some unpleasant conversations between Mom and me. I was occupied with her drama and  took nothing out of the freezer that morning. I did a frustration cleaning of the fridge (It was either clean furiously or do something immoral if not illegal)   and found a boatload of eggs I needed to prepare.
Frittata, coleslaw, toast or keto toast

Wednesday:  Except for running by the pharmacy to pick up Mom's meds, I very selfishly took the entire day to do what I wanted, including buying tuna steaks that were on sale. I had already seen the ad and knew they were going to be priced at an acceptable to me cost.
Tuna Steaks, mashed potatoes or cauli mash, asparagus 

Thursday:  Son3 came home for a long weekend to go to his best friends wedding. He and Laura have been great pals since the 6th grade and even though they went off to colleges in different states and have vastly different lives and careers, she has been a constant friend and the only one he stays in touch with all the time. I knew TheHub and I had Mandarin class that evening and I know Son3 loves my spaghetti. Since I could and did make the sauce a couple of days early our meal was ready shortly after I got home.
Meat sauce over spaghetti (or zoodles)  tossed salad

Friday: The day came and went with Son3 and me visiting Mom before he left for the rehearsal dinner. TheHub and I opted for a simple dinner,
Sautéed sausage with peppers, onions, and tomatoes, green salad

Saturday: Take out for lunch was the big meal. when someone lives in Manhattan and heads south, the rules say at least one meal has to be all about the BBQ. Yes I could have made it, but in Alabama you don't have to go more than a half a mile in just about any direction to find a barbecue joint. I am a lot of things, but stupid is not one of them.
BBQ pork, with baked beans, potato salad, chips,  (or if you are keto just tossed salad)

Sunday: Since it was Mother's Day and a crappy weather day, TheHub and I went out to eat very early after church. In fact we were there so early, we had to sit int he car until it opened. Glad we were early because the bit about Mother's day being the biggest day for dining out proved to be true. We were the third group in the restaurant and before we had even ordered all tables were filled and the crowd was lined out the door. Personally I would have left and picked up a hamburger before I would have waited, but that is just me. There are only a couple of restaurants in town that are worth that kind of wait, but they are both by reservation and you never have to wait long at all.
At dinner we were not terribly hungry, plus we had to eat around a basketball game, The NCAA softball selection show and of course Game of Thrones. I made a quick snacky meal. We never eat in front of the TV, but exceptions can be made if it is something I really want/need to see (like GOT)
Buffalo chicken dip on crackers and/or celery sticks, spinach salad

And now this is on the what's next or at least what's possible plan, in no particular order.

Crack chicken over rice or cauli rice, coleslaw
Keto burger fat bombs, lettuce, pickles and tomatoes, cauliflower potato salad
White bbq chicken , green beans, cauli mash or regular mashed potatoes
Fathead Pizza (TheHub has a business dinner and this is easy)
Mandarin class (take out)
Cauliflower bread ham sandwich, coleslaw
Ground beef and zucchini, tossed salad

If I were betting I would guess maybe 3 out of 7 night might actually hit!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Late to the Mother's Day Party

I know I have been talking some about the issues Mom has, but thought I should introduce you to the woman who once occupied her  body and mind.

Mom with me on my first Easter. I would have been 7 months old at the time and Mom was 24. She made my Easter outfit, including the bonnet and still has them in her cedar chest. Occasionally she gets it out for me to look at but I have to admit I have absolutely no sentimental attachment to it.
In this one I think she was probably a little under fifty. Judging from the water and sand they were probably in Seagrove Beach. Until a few years ago the beach was her happy place.

This is the last really good picture of her. Pip was a new baby, dad was still alive and Mom was mostly happy.  It was a time when she was still clear headed and had not yet become so tiny. I miss a mother who could carry on a conversation and who smiled instead of being confused most of the time. I hope one day I will be able to remember her as she was in these photos.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

What Happens When I Clean the Fridge

Recently Aldi had a super sale on eggs and I bought 4 dozen, but we don't eat breakfast and I don't bake much anymore. I am not sure what I was thinking when I bought that many. I was going to make something from my menu plan but when cleaning the fridge I found a half jar of chunky salad, eggs, part of an onion, and about 1/2 pound chorizo (more or less) I make my own from this recipe,, and just about always have some either in the fridge or cooked  and frozen. The stuff in the fridge needed to be cooked and used that day, so my dinner  mostly planned itself.

Mexicanish frittata

8 eggs beaten
1/2 pound  browned chorizo
1/2 jar leftover chunky salsa, drained
1/2 onion chopped
1 can chopped green chilis, drained
1 cup monterey or pepper jack cheese, grated
1 cup pork skins crushed*

Spray the bottom of a deep dish pie plate with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the pork skins over the cooking spray.*

Mix the rest of the ingredients together and make sure everything is incorporated well. Pour it on top of the pork skin "crust", pop it in a 350 degree oven and cook until the eggs are set and there is no jiggling when the center is touched. (About 30 minutes) Let set for about 5 minutes before serving.

Since TheHub , DIl2, and Son 2 can eat bread they had toast, frittata and coleslaw. I just had the egg pie, grilled keto "bread" and slaw. (I may or may not have pouted since the toasted sour dough bread smelled fantastic.)

This was a truly delicious way to use random ingredients, and something I will make with intention next time, instead of simply trying to have no wasted food.  Try it, you might like it!

* If you are not doing keto and grains are not your sworn enemy, just sprinkle some bread crumbs over the non stick spray in the bottom of the pan. Because I am doing keto, pig powder is something I use on a regular basis. Ask me about fried catfish coated in pork skin crumbs!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Our Seriously Bad Meal Plan

This past week I had planned the following for our meals. Trust me when I say it mostly just did not happen. I think I only really cooked 2 nights out of the week . Both TheHub and I were totally uninterested in much of anything and opted to either make do or do the takeout thing.

1. Bookclub night so I am going out to eat Thai. TheHub will fend for himself
2. Dominican roast chicken with garlic sauce, potato salad or caulitato salad, green salad
3. Tacos or taco salad with all the fixings.
4. BLT salad, rolls or keto rolls
5. Pasta or zoodles with alfredo sauce, spinach salad
6. Something grilled (fish or chicken) grilled onions and mushrooms, broccoli, tossed salad

And this is what really happened in our very real, real life.

Tuesday: Went out to eat with my book club gal pals at a local Thai place. TheHub picked up some sushi

Wednesday I did serve alfredo sauce (jarred) over spaghetti noodles because I had no fettuccine and was not about to stop at the store just for noodles.
Alfredo sauce over noodles, tossed salad

Thursday: TheHub and I had Mandarin lessons. We were going to have a BLT salad but neither of us wanted it, so we stopped on the way home and grabbed some ___ 
Chinese takeout.

Friday: I know we ate because we eat every day. I just have no memory of what it was.
Something forgettable and most likely not delicious

Saturday: We headed to the lake to spend the night. On the way down we stopped at the grocery store and picked up some prepared food that only needed to be baked. I keep pasta salad stuff at the lake so the side dish was easy enough.
Baked asparagus stuffed chicken, pasta salad

Sunday: Cinco de mayo! Celebration? Not even remotely but we did manage to scarf down some Mexicanish food between watching Portland play basketball and episode 4 of The Game of Thrones.
Tacos with all the fixings, chili chocolate chip cupcakes with chocolate chili icing (and those were delicious. If not for hopping back on the keto train this morning I would be eating one of those right now!)

And now on to this week filled with promise and a plan to do better, maybe

In no particular order;
1. Pork tenderloin, Thai chili noodles or cauliflower mash, tossed salad, green beans
2  Reuben roll-ups , baked potatoes (or not) cucumber slices
3. Smoked sausage, with grilled peppers, onions and tomatoes
4. Smoked pork butt, corn on the cob (or not), coleslaw
5. Spaghetti sauce over noodles or zoodles, garlic bread, tossed salad
6. Grilled tuna steaks, mashed potatoes (or cauli mash), tomato slices, spinach salad
7. White bbq chicken, potato salad or caulitato salad,  baked beans, cuke tomato and onion salad

Son 3 is coming into town for one of his best friend's wedding. I figure we will have some bbq since he cannot get the good stuff in Manhattan, but that could change if the afternoon wedding rolls late into the night. There is also the possibility we will just do take out for bbq. Who knows?