Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

If you follow Meatless Mondays, this cauliflower crust pizza will seem quite decadent and delightful this evening.

Watch how Ree makes a simple recipe for a Margherita style pizza with cheese, tomato sauce and fresh basil.

If you're not following Meatless Mondays, use some leftover turkey sausage from when you made the spaghetti squash lasagna.

How to Make This Successfully

Every cauliflower or potato crust recipe I've read has one thing in common. You need to get all the water out of it. I usually round end this by buying the Trader Joe's version that's in the refrigerated case, not the freezer case. It's naturally dried out a bit.

I don't have a food processor. If I make some money from this blog, then I'll be able to buy one and try it out. Until then, I just cut by hand or buy the prepared stuff.

Make It A Meal

This is already a low carb dish. If you wanted to make it Paleo, then you could buy a vegan cheese or make your own out of nuts. The cashew cheese is surprisingly good.

Now, there are some who feel that unless you're lactose or casein intolerant, cheese is just fine. The best cheese is from raw milk, but full fat is fine as well. Cheese is good for you because it's fermented.

So you may want to add in a salad for more veggies and a different texture.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Oven Fried Chicken

Oven Fried Chicken

Sundays were the days of long cooking roasts or fried chicken. Thankfully, there are quite a few methods out there for making oven fried chicken that is moist and tender yet gives you that great crunchy bite that we love.

One version:

And another version:

How to Make It Successfully

When you fry properly, the temperature is high enough such that the water in the meat is pushing out so no oil can actually get in. That leaves you with a crisp piece of chicken.

It's not always easy to fry properly. The difficulty lies in the inability to maintain a consistent temperature. When you put in the meat, the temperature drops.  Then you have to monitor it for when it gets close to 375 so you can turn it down. It's a lot of work.

It is easier to use the consistent temperature of the oven. The difficulty is in getting a good crust.

So here's some quick tips on oven frying chicken to make it better:

  1. Bake similar pieces together. Unlike a pan where you can pull a piece out when it's done, you can't be constantly checking the oven. So make it easier on yourself and cook similar pieces together.
  2. Use a double coating and season well.  Season the meat, dip it in flour, dip it in egg and then dip it again in flour. Then let it rest for at least fifteen minutes before baking.
  3. If you have the time, brine the chicken first. I'll often leave it overnight in a seasoned buttermilk bath to tenderize it instead.
  4. After baking, let the chicken cool on a rack. I use a cookie rack in a sheet pan to capture any drips. It allows the crust to stay crispy all around

Make It A Meal

Myself, I love coleslaw and corn on the cob with my fried chicken. I used to always make potato salad, but have cut that back a bit. It's also great with ranch beans or baked beans (watch the sugar if you buy a can…or make them yourself) and greens like chard or collard.

What do you like with your fried chicken?

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Kale and Mushroom Frittata

Kale and Mushroom Frittata

Kale and mushroom frittata is a great way to use up some leftovers. And it's a very cost effective meal. Plus you can make this as intricate as you like.

What Would I Change

Honestly I'd probably add in more eggs to make it fluffier and I'd be serving two people. You'll need a very small pan if you follow the recipe exactly. It's meant to serve one.

And you know I'd ditch the kale. Although, I was in the cooking class at Sur La Table on Flavors of Tuscany. We put kale into the soup and it worked. So maybe I won't be so anti-kale in the future.

But what do I usually have in my fridge? Spinach and chard. So that would go in.

I'd also have fun with the cheese.  You could do Swiss or smoked Gouda.  I also almost always have shredded Mexican blend since I love my tacos.

You could also add in artichoke hearts and asparagus for a spring flavor. And broccoli if you have any leftover. Remember, if you make too much during the week, save it and do a catch all dinner or lunch once a week.

Zucchini and tomatoes will be in season before you know it. They're great in a frittata as well.

I'd also look into some fresh herbs like thyme, chives, tarragon, marjoram and oregano.

Make It A Meal

You don't need to add anything as this has it all with protein from the eggs and cheese and fiber from the vegetables. But if you're like me, you'll want to add in a crisp salad with a lemon and white wine vinaigrette dressing. Arugula (or Rocket if you're British) adds a lovely peppery flavor to everything.

Resources

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

 

Sheet Pan Salmon Fajitas

Sheet Pan Salmon Fajitas

Sheet pan salmon fajitas hits two of my favorite topics. It's a single pan dinner for easy clean up. And it's healthy yet satisfying.

What Would I Change

This dish is easy to prepare.  And I do confess to using McCormick seasonings. My daughter loves when I use the chicken fajita seasonings with shrimp. But it is just as easy to make your own.

But a simple fajita spice recipe is:

  1. ¼ cup Chili Powder.
  2. 2 tablespoons Sea Salt.
  3. 2 tablespoons Paprika.
  4. 1 tablespoon Onion Powder.
  5. 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder.
  6. 1 teaspoon Cayenne Powder (optional)
  7. 1 tablespoon Cumin Powder.

I am interested in trying this. It does seem like a long time to marinate the salmon. Usually you only marinate fish and seafood for fifteen minutes. Perhaps because this uses thick salmon steaks it can handle the longer time. Usually when you have seafood in lime juice for that long it turns into ceviche.

For the blog's sake, I'll give it a shot.  And I have a lot of oranges waiting to be squeezed. I don't have any limes but I do have Myer lemons.

What I like is you can adjust it based on portions. So if you only needed one or two salmon pieces, it's easy to scale.

Also, I always only use red, orange and yellow bell peppers. Green peppers aren't ripe yet, and I know it can cause digestion issues with some people. I used to eat green peppers all the time, but my husband had issues. Once I switched to red, the problems went away.

Make It A Meal

If you want to be low carb, you'll want to look into using lettuce leaves instead of tortillas. If you're going Paleo, you'll have to leave off the sour cream and cheese.

You will want beans and rice. You can make Spanish rice using cauliflower. I know some people prefer black beans thinking they're healthier. I'm no expert. But there are so many varieties of heirloom beans out there that you should try them all.  I love eye of the goat and mayocoba.

So see what you think. And let me know in the comments.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Lighten Up Tuna Noodle Casserole

Lighten Up Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna noodle casserole is one of those things you either love or hate. And if you love it, you think you can't have it because it's too fattening. Am I right? Yes, I love it too but rarely eat it. I found this video on how to make it lighter!

Watch and see –

I love Ellie Krieger and her philosophies of adding in more vegetables to lighten it up. She uses mushrooms to provide a meatier texture.

What Would I Change

You could substitute in spaghetti squash and broccoli slaw in place of the fettuccine noodles. You could also use cauliflower rice instead of pasta (or “pasta”) altogether.

There's also the shiratake noodles made from the konjac yam. It will absorb the flavors well and blend right in. They are very low carb and low calorie.

I may add in snow peas and some diced carrots for color and texture.

This isn't a dish that lends itself well to being Paleo. But sometimes you need a comfort food.

Make It A Meal

Because of the peas and mushrooms, this is a meal in itself. But sometimes you want a counterpoint. So I'd make a salad because it's cool and you could use a nice vinaigrette dressing which balances out the creaminess of the tuna noodle casserole.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Resources

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Spinach

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Spinach

I'm loving all these new bake in recipes like spaghetti squash lasagna with spinach.

Watch how easy it is:

 

You still need to cook the spaghetti squash beforehand. And then you assemble the layers before baking.

Time Saving Tips

If you want better results more easily, prepare the spinach filling and meat filling the night before and put it in the fridge. The flavors will develop and it will be a lot tastier.

Then before you leave, put the spaghetti squash into a slow cooker. It needs 4 to 6 hours on low. So if you're going to be gone all day, you may want to use a timer. 

If you have a pressure cooker, it will be done in less than 30 minutes.

You can also prepare the spaghetti squash the night before as well. Then the strands will be hanging out with the spinach filling and absorbing more delicious flavors. Just remember to save the shells to bake them the next day.

Also, Jimmy Dean has pre-cooked turkey sausage crumbles that are tasty. You can use them in place of cooking turkey to save time.

Other Ideas

I've seen other recipes for taco spaghetti squash. It also uses ground turkey.  So if you have any turkey or squash leftover, this is a good second meal to use with similar ingredients.

 

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Chicken Saltimbocca

Chicken Saltimbocca

This chicken saltimbocca is already been healthified by Giada.
Watch the video to see how quick and easy it is.

If you don't have thin chicken breasts, put one chicken breast between two pieces of waxed or parchment paper, and then go to town with a mallet.  You could use plastic wrap if that's what you have. You could even put the breast in a plastic zip top bag.

And yes there are special kitchen mallets for this. They tend to be broad and flat. The heads are usually at 2 inches by one inch. So if you don't have one, don't panic. You can take your aggression out using

  • Rolling Pin
  • Saucepan
  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Soup Can
  • Mortar
  • Water Bottle

The key is to flatten out the meat. You may end up needing fewer chicken breasts than you thought since they'll be so much larger.

You can read the full recipe at the Food Network.

Make It A Meal

This is a great dish to make with asparagus as it goes well with the lemon and Parmesan cheese flavors. If you're low carb or paleo, add in a salad so you get enough food to feel full.

You could also have some crusty bread with this if you are eating bread. Just watch the portions.

This would be a great dish to serve with pasta with a simple herb and butter sauce. If you're going primal, make some zucchini squash noodles or have some spaghetti squash.  You could make an alfredo sauce as well.  You won't need much sauce to feel satisfied. And a little bit of fat works well with helping you feel full and satisfied. Plus we need some fat to absorb all the nutrients in vegetables.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Easy Scrambled Egg Hash Brown Cups

Easy Scrambled Egg Hash Brown Cups

Since we've done egg muffins and sandwiches, it was time for an easy scrambled egg dish that makes a fast and healthy breakfast.

Watch how easy it is to make a few morning's worth of breakfast:

How to Change It Up

If you use frozen hash browns, it helps to thaw them out first. Then press all the water out and blot the potatoes. You could use fresh shredded potatoes as well. Again, try to get the ,moisture out.

You could also substitute in shredded butternut squash or sweet potatoes. Shredded parsnip would be sweeter. Shredded turnip would have a neutral flavor.

To get really low carb, used riced cauliflower. You may need to mix it with some coconut oil to make it more of a dough consistency.

You could make them like mini-quiches and not precook the eggs, but then you'd need to bake them for longer.

Have fun playing with different cheeses and seasonings. You could put in some chorizo (or soy chorizo) and then top the finished cup with cotijo cheese. There would be no need to bake it further.

You can find the original recipe at Taste of Home.

Breakfast Is Important

Studies have found that if you eat breakfast, you won't eat as many calories later on in the day. And you will be a lot happier. But like you, some mornings are just a disaster from the second the alarm goes off. Have a bunch of precooked items like this egg cup. You can add the extra cheese and toss it in the toaster oven while you go make coffee. Then take a minute or two to fully appreciate the smell. Mindful eating is truly one of the best ways to slim up. You won't overeat if you're focused entirely on what you're eating, and enjoying it.

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​

Slow-Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

Slow-Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

Slow-cooker shredded beef tacos are not only easy to make, but they're inexpensive as well. I recently had a poll on the Facebook page, and the two respondents wanted more slow cooker recipes and inexpensive cooking recipes. (There's still plenty of time to voice your opinion there or in the comments below.  I really want this to be a site that's useful to you.)

Since it's Tuesday, and everyone talks about Taco Tuesday, I found this great recipe that's easy. And there's still time to set it up. It only needs 4 hours on high in the slow cooker.

Get inspired by the video here:

What Would I Change

Beef chuck roasts are usually fairly inexpensive in my supermarket. If I go in around 930am-1030am, some of the meat has been marked down with additional dollar off stickers. I once got a sirloin roast $5 off.  It was inexpensive to begin with. I roasted it like a roast beef. Since there wasn't any fat on the roast, I used bacon.

Anyway, once you learn a bit about beef, you can find additional cuts that work out better. Also, the more work you do, the cheaper the meat will be. That is to say, most markets sell “stew meat.”  That's just usually chuck roast cut up…for a dollar a pound more.

If you want something authentic, look for short ribs. They cook well in a slow cooker. And you need to slice the meat thinly which is perfect for tacos.

Standard cuts like flank and skirt steak are also very tasty. Look for recipes for “carne asada” and you will find a lot of options for seasonings.

If you want to make this low carb, use corn tortillas.  If you want to make this Paleo or Primal, serve it salad style with no tortilla. It's not a taco, but it is delicious.

Additional Resources

The original recipe can be found at Eating Well.

Here's a tasty sounding Slow Cooker Carne Asada

I was watching some craftsy videos recently.  Mexican Street Food: Tacos & Salsas, with Deborah Schneider was really excellent. She recommended looking for fresh epazote in place of cilantro. I know a bunch of people who taste soap when they get near cilantro. So if you're one of them, order some epazote plants from Amazon and grow them in your windowsill.

Another great class is Cooking the Perfect Steak by Bruce Aidells.  And another cool one that I haven't bought yet but want to try is Flavors of Mexico by Rick Bayless.

 

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.

Chicken Mushroom Sage Casserole

Chicken Mushroom Sage Casserole

Chicken mushroom sage casserole is a great time saver.  I'm going to review how to make it healthier, and then lower carb. Finally, I'll make recommendations to make this in a slow cooker.

But first, watch this video to get inspired:

You can find the full recipe here at My Recipes.

What Would I Change

They use a lot of butter. Granted it does add to the flavor. And they're using it with flour to make the gravy.  What I'd recommend is not putting so much butter in and see how it turns out. You could probably cut it back by two tablespoons and not affect the flavor.

Also, I'd look for rice instead of a rice mix. It will save you money. And what would you do with the spice packet that's leftover anyway.

Wild rice would go great with the sage and mushroom flavors. So you may want to find a package of wild rice.  You may need to parboil it a bit before it goes into the oven since it usually takes about an hour. If you put it with the chicken, it would dry out the poor chicken thigh before it would be done.

So one way would be to put in the rice and other ingredients for thirty minutes. Then put the chicken on it and cook the rest of the way. You could substitute chicken breasts, but they cook faster so you'll need to keep an eye on it.

You could also substitute in turkey. My market sells turkey legs and turkey wings as well as the usual turkey breast.

Another option would be to take ground turkey or chicken and use that so it's more like a sausage rice instead.

How to Make In the Slow Cooker

I looked for similar recipes. Most called for cream of mushroom soup. My concern with that is the amount of sodium in the cans. Plus, I'm trying to advocate natural from scratch.  However, there are now some healthier cream of mushroom soups out there. And you can make it yourself.

Here's two good sounding recipes. They also call for rice mixes. If you substitute in real wild rice blends, you will need to increase the fluids:

Easiest Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice

Chicken and Wild Rice Slow Cooker Dinner

So this was my favorite sounding recipe.

Crockpot Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

 

Cook Yourself Thin is the resource hub for women 35-55 looking to lose stubborn pounds by cooking and eating the foods you love.​​​​​​​