Sunday, March 29, 2015

Filet Mignon w/ Creamy Dijon Mushrooms & Costco Find!

This weekend was a "working weekend"; we worked on projects around the house most of the weekend, I worked on taxes a good bit of yesterday and finally got that done. This afternoon we went to Costco and did some grocery shopping. Youngest son came for dinner last night and we went out for Mexican. I had Roasted Poblanos Stuffed with Monterey Jack Cheese, Topped w/ Grilled Skirt Steak. It was great. Youngest son is the one that does not care for and rarely eats beef. Since oldest son was the only one that came for dinner this evening, I was able to make something with beef which happened to work out perfectly. Costco had unusually beautiful filet mignon steaks today and they just happened to have a package with 3 of them so I picked them up. I also picked up some beautiful fresh haricot verts (thin green beans) to make to go with the steaks (I steamed them and tossed with butter and toasted slivered almonds). The guys had baked potatoes with their meal. I made mushrooms with creamy dijon sauce to put on top of our steaks (except for hubby's...he's a mushroom hater). I absolutely LOVE that sauce and son really loved it too. He actually skipped putting steak sauce on his steak for the first time. The steaks took about 16 to 18 minutes to grill. I snapped a couple photos below. Enjoy!



Costco has almond butter again! Picked up this 27-oz jar
for $10.79 and the only ingredient is roasted almonds!

Friday, March 27, 2015

THREE-CHEESE Burgers (Not "Three Cheeseburgers") & Cherry Blossoms

Last night we took our hands in our lives and decided to grill again (after the grilling fiasco earlier in the week). I had a pound of ground beef in the fridge and decided to make "gourmet burgers". I considered making my Stuffed Babybel Burgers but decided I wanted to make them a little different this time. I decided to make "Three-cheese" Burgers (note I'm not talking about 3 cheeseburgers, we are talking cheddar, Parmesan and Babybel cheese as in THREE different kinds of cheese)!

They were SO delicious I am making them again for tonight's dinner and I also had a leftover burger for lunch today as well! The burger itself has cheddar and Parmesan mixed into the meat mixture and then a beautiful little wheel of mini Babybel cheese inserted deep into the center of the burger so that when you cut it open, the melted cheese just oozes out. These burgers are simple to make and don't require any special ingredients that can't be found locally at your supermarket....but believe me, the ingredients may not be special but these burgers most definitely ARE!

If you don't have a grill or you simply want to make them inside, you can cook these in a skillet or grill pan on top of your stove, too. Even though I had some of my Sesame Seed Buns available to place the burger on, I didn't want ANYTHING to detract from the flavor of these "three cheese" burgers! Instead, I sauteed onions, red bell peppers and half of a jalapeno and served the burger on a bed of the sauteed veggies and then scattered some quartered fresh grape tomatoes on top. Check out a few photos below as well as the easy peasy recipe. Under the recipe, I also tossed in a few photos I took this afternoon of a beautiful cherry blossom tree that sits outside of my office...it is absolutely gorgeous. I stood underneath this huge tree and shot some photos looking up into today's beautiful blue sky through the soft pink blossoms that were being tossed around by the huge wind gusts this afternoon. The tree reminds me of "home" as in Washington DC, where growing up we used to go to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival around the Tidal Basin. I had a painting of the cherry blossom trees in bloom surrounding the basin that hung in my bedroom while I was growing up. Enjoy!





Three-Cheese Burgers

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef
2 to 3 tablespoons ketchup (no HFCS)
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning, or to taste
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used sharp)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 Mini Babybel Cheese wheels, unwrapped

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix ground beef, ketchup, mustard and steak seasoning together; add cheddar and Parmesan cheese and mix just until combined. Divide equally into 3 portions. Roll each portion into a ball; press a mini Babybel cheese wheel into the center and form into a patty shape around the wheel, keeping it centered. Grill or pan fry over medium-high heat to desired doneness, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. 

*Note: You don't need to exactly measure out the ketchup or mustard and dirty up a measuring spoon. A few guesstimated squirts will get you where you need to go!








           

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Brownie Bites - LCHF (Low Carb High Fudgy)

Today my new dessert recipe debuts on Honeyville's site. It's for Brownie Bites! I've been wanting to make Brownie Bites ever since I received a Brownie Bite Pan from one of my sons for Christmas. No worries if you don't own a special brownie bite pan because these can easily be baked in a mini muffin pan as well. But, I must admit the cube shaped brownie bites are pretty cool.

These brownie bites are made with my favorite Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour, which in my personal opinion, is the best almond flour to use for grain-free baked goods (which many of you know from your own personal baking experiences). I used deep dark Varlhona cocoa powder, but most any cocoa powder would also work as well. I also used Kerrygold butter and Swerve confectioners sweetener to make these amazing little bites the best. You could use granular sweetener, too, but I prefer the confectioners style because it is less gritty (sometimes erythritol can be that way). If you don't have confectioners, simply grind the granular version and powder it.

These brownie bites would be great frosted or glazed. I made mini "brownie shortcakes" by topping them with whipped cream and fresh berries...YUMMY!  I've been enjoying them all week long and I got three thumbs up from my hubby and sons (who are not grain free like I am). They also thought they were great and said you could not tell they were grain free (YAY!). Check out a few pics below. You can get to the recipe for them by clicking here: Brownie Bites. Enjoy!






              

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Steak Topped w/ Mushrooms in Creamy Dijon Sauce, Asparagus & Easy Cole Slaw

This evening it was a gorgeous evening. It was in the low 70s, breezy and beautiful. So beautiful that I stopped at the store on my way home to pick up a couple of porterhouse steaks to grill for dinner. I was looking forward to a relaxing evening with a delicious meal. Well, we ended up with a delicious meal but it was anything but relaxing!

When I got home I made my Easy Coleslaw which is so simple and delicious. I popped it in the fridge to chill and let the flavors blend a bit while I prepped the fresh asparagus to roast (I tossed it with avocado oil, sea salt and black pepper and spread it out on a parchment lined baking sheet). I sliced a few cups of fresh mushrooms and sauteed them in a tablespoon of Kerrygold Garlic & Herb Butter until all the juices cooked off and then I added another tablespoon of garlic herb butter, about 1/4 cup of heavy cream, a couple tablespoons of dijon mustard (I used Grey Poupon smooth style) and stirred it around with the mushrooms until it became thick and creamy and then added a pinch of salt. I tasted it and added another splash of cream to get the perfect consistency. While hubby was out starting the grill, I seasoned our steaks with a light dusting of chipotle/roasted garlic seasoning. Sounds like a pretty blissful scene so far....right? NOT!!!

When I stepped out onto the patio to put the steaks on the grill, I was enveloped with thick billowing black smoke and it looked like our back yard was on fire. I ran over to the grill and opened it up and big huge flames were shooting up and it appeared to be on fire (yes, our less than a year old Weber Genesis Grill had become an inferno). Mind you it backs up to our wood fence. Hubby ran out and opened up the cabinet doors underneath where the gas tank sits. You could see flames underneath too. We shut it off and he pulled out the tank so we didn't have an explosion. It took a bit for the flames to finally extinguish. It appears that the metal tray underneath must have had grease in it that caught fire? I have no idea what happened to be honest because I have never seen anything like that before and we have been grilling for decades.

We let the grill cool off and then hubby pulled the tray out and cleaned the charred "whatever" out of it and we started it back up again. I placed the steaks on the grill and within 2 minutes, guess what...NO GAS!!! Yup, now we had run out of propane! I'm beginning to think this was some sort of sign that we weren't supposed to be grilling tonight. Hubby ran to the store and got a new propane tank and we were finally able to finish grilling the steaks. All I can say is holy moley cannoli...this evening was anything but relaxing! LOL Believe it or not, dinner actually turned out delicious but I only ate about half of mine because somewhere in the chaos my appetite sort of disappeared. I wrapped it up and will enjoy the other half for lunch tomorrow. I will say though, that if you like mushrooms, these mushrooms in creamy dijon sauce were amazing and my favorite part of the entire meal. They were great on the steak as well as all by themselves. I snapped a couple photos of the "meal that almost wasn't" below. Enjoy!



     

Monday, March 23, 2015

Greek Style Spinach Feta Pie (Modified Crustless Version #2)

This evening I was in the mood for my Greek Style Spinach Feta Pie. One of my favorite versions is the version I make with a crust, but that takes a little bit longer to make and since it's a weeknight, I decided to make my version that's more like the old Bisquick Impossible Pies...with sort of a built in crust. I also have a totally crustless version that doesn't contain any almond flour. The version I made this evening is one I refer to as my "modified crustless version" because although it doesn't have a crust, it's got some almond flour mixed in that helps it form a slight crust as it bakes. It's quick to put together and gives you time to get other things done (or simply relax) while it bakes for 35-40 minutes or so. The best part though, is that I now have a quick and easy lunch made for the rest of the week! I just pop a leftover wedge into the microwave oven for a minute or two and "lunch is served."

I snapped a couple photos for you to see this evening's spinach pie. It was delicious! The recipe for it can be found by clicking here: Greek Style Spinach Feta Pie (Modified Crustless Version #2). Enjoy!



  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Superfood Salad for Me & Chicken Cheese Quesadillas for Them

Today was chilly, dark and dreary here and it never got out of the 50's. It rained on and off throughout the day and it's still raining here this evening. I finished up a recipe project this afternoon and then made a quick run to the store to pick up a few things for dinner. Both boys came for dinner. I decided to make Chicken Quesadillas. I sauteed red bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and diced jalapeno peppers and then placed grain free tortillas in a hot skillet and then layered with shredded cheddar and pepper-jack cheese, diced cooked chicken, and the cooked veggies and heated it until everything was melty and the tortilla was nice and toasty and then folded it over in half like an omelet, pressed it down and slid it off onto a platter to cool before cutting into wedges. By the time I got around to making mine (last)...I wasn't in the mood for one any more, so I just sliced some chicken and filled a big bowl with my favorite 7 Superfood Salad Blend and had a salad. If you want to take a peek at the Chicken Quesadillas I make using my grain-free tortillas, here's the link: Chicken Cheese Quesadillas. My salad is pictured below. Enjoy!


Here's a pic of the kind of chicken quesadillas I made the rest of my family

      

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Night Chinese Take-Out

This evening we decided to stay in and just get Chinese take-out so I could take the night off from cooking and we could just relax. It's especially nice since we found out that our local Chinese restaurant could make me anything I wanted, simply steamed without any sauce or seasoning added. They actually offer a couple of steamed choices on their menu but will also make anything you want. Tonight I decided to order one of their steamed meals, Steamed Gourmet Garden (jumbo shrimp, chicken and beef with mixed vegetables). I simply add my own gluten-free Tamari sauce at home. It was amazing. It was filled with beef, chicken and shrimp as well as broccoli, snow peas, celery, carrots, mushrooms, bok choy, and a few water chestnuts. I had them add a few peanuts on top. We're going to watch movies at home tonight and just relax a bit. It's a dark and drizzly evening and a perfect fuzzy socks and p.j.'s sort of night! I snapped some photos of my delicious steamed meal below. I actually served it on a plate this evening so you could see how nice a simple steamed meal can be. A little sprinkle of Tamari made it perfect. Enjoy!  :-)





         

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Corned Beef Brussels Sprouts Hash Topped w/ Perfectly Poached Eggs

This evening I made a quick, delicious and easy meal using some of the leftover corned beef brisket from last night's meal to make Corned Beef Brussels Sprouts Hash topped with perfectly poached eggs. It was so easy to make. I diced up about 1 cup of the leftover beef and trimmed and sliced about 1 pound of fresh brussels sprouts. I also diced about 1/4 of a medium onion.

I began by sauteing and caramelizing the onion in a tablespoon of coconut oil in my nonstick wok. When it became translucent and began turning golden, I tossed in the diced corned beef and lightly browned that a bit and then added in the sliced brussels sprouts. I tossed them around until they began to wilt and soften and then added in 1 to 2 tablespoons of Kerrygold butter and continued sauteing them until they were tender-crisp.

While the sprouts were cooking, I brought some water almost to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan and then added in a splash of white vinegar and stirred it in. As the water was swirling in a circular fashion, I added in a couple of cracked eggs one at a time, pouring them in from custard cups so I could control how quickly they slipped into the swirling hot water. I cooked them at barely a simmer for about 4-1/2 to 5 minutes and then removed them with a slotted spoon and placed them on a paper towel lined plate. I placed a bed of the hash in a shallow bowl and then topped it with a poached egg and a pat of Kerrygold butter (notice in the 2nd photo how beautiful, bright and yellow the Kerrygold butter is; the yellow in that photo isn't the yolk, it's the butter). The meal turned out delicious. I snapped a couple of photos below. Enjoy!



       

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Corned Beef & Cabbage - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! We had corned beef and cabbage for dinner this evening. I actually placed my corned beef brisket in my crock pot last night around 6:00 p.m. and cooked it until 6:00 a.m. this morning. I removed the brisket to a platter so it could cool off and removed the vegetables (carrots and red potatoes) to a separate bowl to cool and then kept the broth separate (I cooked the cabbage separately). Corned beef slices so beautifully when cold and then you can either reheat it lightly in a little water or some of the cooking juices.

When I started cooking it yesterday, I cut up 3 carrots and 4 small red potatoes (the potatoes were for hubby) and placed them in the bottom of my crock pot and then placed the brisket on top and sprinkled on the seasoning and added about 2 cups of water and covered it and let it cook on high for the first couple of hours and then on low for about 10 more hours overnight. I cooked the cabbage separately this evening and simply quartered a small head of savoy cabbage and cooked it in about an inch or so of water for about 15 minutes so it didn't become water logged. Generally speaking, I am not a big corned beef fan; I can take it or leave it, but I used to make it regularly when my kids were younger every year for St. Patrick's Day. Hubby likes it, so I decided to make one this year. I bought one that was too big though so I will probably freeze some or use it for other things. I tend to frequently still cook as if I have a full house sometimes. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!





      

Monday, March 16, 2015

Grilled Chicken and Roasted Pepperoni & Red Pepper Sprouts

It was an unseasonably warm (hot) day here today. It made it to 83 degrees in my part of town and as high as 86 in some nearby areas. They said we were 17 degrees over our normal temps for this time of year. That means our pollen count will begin to explode for sure! Since it was nice and warm out, we decided to grill for dinner. I made quick Grilled Chipotle Seasoned Chicken Thighs, one of my favorite quick grilled meals (boneless skinless thighs spritzed with olive oil and seasoned with McCormick's Chipotle & Roasted Garlic Seasoning and a dash of smoked paprika). Since I had a bag of baby brussels sprouts in the fridge that I got from Sprouts a few days ago, I decided to make Roasted Pepperoni & Red Pepper Sprouts to go along with the chicken.

I trimmed and halved the sprouts and tossed them with a couple tablespoons of avocado oil and seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I diced up some pepperoni (about 10 slices) and tossed that in with the sprouts before roasting. I roasted them in the oven at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes and then added a few tablespoons of diced red bell pepper and tossed them a bit and roasted them for an additional 10 minutes. The pepperoni added a nice flavor and the red bell pepper added a tiny bit of sweetness which was a nice combination. It was simple and delicious. I also prepped my corned beef and placed it in the crock pot to cook overnight for tomorrow's St. Patrick's Day dinner. I snapped a few photos of this evening's easy weeknight low carb meal below. Enjoy!



Ready to be roasted for the 1st 10 minutes
Diced red pepper added half way through and then roasted another 10 minutes...VOILA!
     

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dinner for Breakfast & Costco Finds

Happy Sunday! This morning I had the best "brunch" using my leftover dinner I brought home from last night that hubby, daughter and I had at Genghis Grill. After a long day of shopping yesterday, we met my daughter on our way home at the Mall of Georgia to eat at Chow Baby. I won't go into details other than to say it was totally disgusting...but we left after ordering and went to Genghis Grill nearby. I have eaten at Chow Baby in midtown Atlanta and enjoyed it but I would not allow my dog to eat at the Mall of Georgia location. For those of you that don't know or have never eaten at either of those places, you basically choose and fill your bowls (separate for meat and veggies) with a large variety of uncooked veggies, meats (beef, pork, chicken, seafood, etc.) and then add small containers of whatever sauce or seasonings you want them to put in your food. I did a mixed bowl of veggies with chicken and beef. Before you give it to them to cook, you choose your "starch" for them to mix in (a variety of rices, or shredded cabbage). I have mine put on shredded cooked cabbage instead of rice. I ate half of my dinner last night and brought the other half home. This morning, I reheated the leftovers in a skillet with a bit of coconut oil and after it was sizzling hot, I broke an egg into my stir-fry and stirred it, breaking it up and mixing it in as it cooked (kind of like you do when you make fried rice). I added a little bit of grated carrot I had leftover in the fridge and then "Voila"...I had a delicious brunch using last night's leftover dinner!

Yesterday hubby and I ran errands and shopped most of the day (9+ hours). We headed out to the Northeast Georgia Premium Outlets and spent quite a bit of time there. I did quite a bit of "damage" at Le Creuset and Williams Sonoma; but they were all good deals (or so I tell myself).  ;-)

On our way back home, we stopped at one of the newer Costco's in the Atlanta area (it's been open since last summer) and I believe the only one in the area that I haven't gone to yet. We left the outlets so late that this Costco was really the only one we could make it to before they closed. I am so happy we stopped there. We got our usual stuff...but the one item I have been looking for at every Atlanta area Costco for over 2 years now was avocado oil. Some of you that live in other parts of the country have told me your Costco's carry it, but the 4 or 5 other Atlanta area Costco's I've gone to have not had it. Until yesterday, that is! I was so excited to find it. I usually buy it at Sprouts in 16-oz bottles when it goes on sale for $12.99...but yesterday I picked up two 34-oz (1 liter) bottles of it from the Costco in Cummings for $9.99 each! While I have cooked with it before, it is my favorite oil to make vinaigrette salad dressings with. I snapped a few photos of my crazy breakfast/lunch/dinner meal that I had as brunch this morning as well as a few of my Costco finds including the avocado oil. Enjoy!

Breakfast/lunch made using last night's leftover dinner mixed with a chopped up egg

I try to use only BPA free plastic, but I'm going to try switching to glass instead
If you belong to Costco, you can get these for $14.99 or from Amazon (see below) for $25
$15.89 at Costco for 2 pounds of organic pistachios ($26.95 at Amazon)
This was my personal "FIND" of the day!
   

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday's Scrambled Omelet - Quick & Easy

This morning we slept in. It's dark, dreary and rainy today. I decided to make a quick and easy low carb breakfast before we head out to run errands. I considered making a couple of quick omelets but decided to go even more simple than that. I made "scrambled omelets"...LOL. I diced up the leftover spicy smoked beef sausage link and browned that in a small skillet and diced a bit of red bell pepper and sliced a green onion and tossed that in with the sausage. I beat my eggs in a bowl and poured them in along with some shredded cheddar cheese and..."Voila"...I had everything an omelet usually contains, but all mixed up in a quick and easy scramble. I split and oven toasted my Irish Soda Bread Rolls  I made earlier in the week and spread a little butter on top...and breakfast was made using one skillet!

Below is a quick photo of my breakfast. Now, off to support the retail world. Oh, did I mention we are going to the Northeast Georgia Premium Outlets, too? Yay! They have some of my favorite kitchen and home stores...Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Le Creuset...to name a few. Pray for my hubby. There will undoubtedly be quite a bit of eye rolling going on today!  ;-)  Enjoy!


          

Friday, March 13, 2015

Chocolate Coconut Pecan Bark - Super Easy Low Carb Treat

This evening we had Chinese take-out for dinner. I had steamed Chicken, Beef & Shrimp w/ Mixed Veggies. I simply added my own organic gluten-free Tamari sauce and "Voila"...l got Friday night off from cooking.

While hubby went to pick up our dinner, I made a quick and easy Chocolate Coconut Pecan Bark for dessert by simply melting two 3-ounce chocolate bars (I used 88% cacao) and stirring in some toasted coconut chips and whole pecans. I didn't specifically measure the ingredients but guess that it was about 1 cup of pecan halves and probably 1/4 to 1/3 cup of coconut. After I mixed it together, I simply spread it out in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet and popped it into the fridge for about 30 minutes to set and harden and then I broke it into chunks. Voila...you have "gourmet chocolate bark" that took only minutes to make. To store it, I used one of our leftover Chinese food containers. This is a super quick treat idea that you can made in just minutes and mix in whatever you have available...dried fruit, seeds, nuts, coconut, grain-free granola, etc. I snapped a few photos below. Enjoy!




Thursday, March 12, 2015

Beefy Blue Cheese & Salami Burgers - Low Carb

This evening we had grilled Beefy Blue Cheese and Salami Burgers. Blue cheese is one of hubby's favorite cheeses. I am not a big blue cheese fan, but absolutely loved it in these burgers. Besides mixing in blue cheese, I also added diced uncured spicy salami. I preferred adding the salami to bacon because the salami is fully cooked and the fat that melted out as they grilled kept them moist and flavorful but also left the little crispy bacon-like textured salami bits inside the burgers. Salami didn't cause as much flaring of the flames that bacon would have caused on the grill either. I seasoned the ground beef with McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning and a couple squirts of ketchup and mustard.

These burgers were absolutely delicious alongside a nice fresh Superfood Salad. If you prefer your burgers on a bun, you could serve these burgers on one of my awesome Sesame Seed Sandwich Buns, too. Because I piggybacked grilling these burgers last night along with the chicken I grilled for last night's dinner, tonight's meal was super quick and easy to put on the table. The burgers only took a couple of minutes to reheat and I simply had to add the salad to our plates. I snapped a photo below and included the easy peasy recipe for the burgers. Enjoy!



Beefy Blue Cheese and Salami Burgers

Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds 85% to 90% lean ground beef (like sirloin, round, or chuck)
1/4 cup finely diced salami (preferably uncured)
1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
2 teaspoons McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 tablespoons ketchup (no HFCS)
2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix together using your hands, until evenly combined.  Divide mixture into 4 equal sized portions. Using wet hands, shape into patties, approximately 1-inch thick.

Grill burgers on a preheated grill for approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked to your liking. Serve topped with additional crumbled blue cheese, if desired.

            

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Chipotle Grilled Chicken & Roasted Asparagus w/ Fresh Lemon Zest

This evening I made a quick and easy meal. It was warm here again today and it had just finished raining not too long before we got home, so we were able to grill out tonight. I decided to go ahead and grill two nights worth of meals since we already had the grill on and I wasn't sure what tomorrow's weather would be.

For tonight's meal, we had Chipotle Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs. I sprayed them with olive oil and seasoned them with McCormick's Chipotle & Roasted Garlic Seasoning and a dusting of smoked paprika. It only takes these about 15-20 minutes or so to cook on the grill. They are so tender and flavorful and one of my favorite ways to prepare grilled chicken quickly on a weeknight. 

While grilling tonight's chicken, I also grilled the meat for tomorrow night's meal. I mixed together some really delicious burgers. They are awesome. How do I know they're awesome you wonder? Easy...I accidentally broke one of them when pulling them off the grill (oh snap) and that provided me with the perfect way to "sample" them. It was really hard to decide whether to have the chicken or the burgers tonight but I decided the burgers would reheat better than the chicken. Stay tuned tomorrow to find out what yummy things I put into these burgers. I served tonight's grilled chicken with roasted asparagus that I simply tossed with olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and black pepper, then roasted at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. As soon as I pulled them from the oven, I grated fresh lemon zest (with my favorite zester) over top of the piping hot asparagus spears. It was so good. Sometimes simple is best, don't you think? Check out the photos below. Enjoy!