This is a savory meal that will make you forget you’re dieting. I make mine low-carb for our diabetic friendly family. I make it with more meat and veggies. We skip the regular mashed potatoes. For a low carb or keto version, you can do parmesan and cheddar cheeses with mashed cauliflower now available in most stores.
Another trick is to use red or yellow potatoes instead. The texture is slightly different, but the carb count is lower and they are low on the glycemic index. What’s that? It’s a chart of how easily your body can convert things to sugar.
This is a great way to stay on target. It gives regular shoppers alternatives to high sugar and simple carb foods. We’ve been using this method for over 10 years. Best of all lots of items can be substituted into Keto and Paleo diets.
We started using this in conjunction with low carb dieting to keep type 2 diabetes in check. We happily report it has taken us back to pre-diabetic status. We have both lost weight and feel better even when we don’t stay as strictly to diet as we should. Hey, sometimes I just need chocolate ok.
Jen’s Easy Shepard’s Pie
1 1/2 lb ground chuck or round
1 package Steam and mash Ore-Ida potatoes Frozen (or low carb substitutions. Parmesan cauliflower is really good).
1 pkg frozen mixed vegetables (California mix is better for carb counts)
4 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp Italian Seasoning (dried)
1 cup chopped onion
2 pkg Brown gravy mix
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt (I skip this there is enough in gravy mix.)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3c water (if it’s too wet it’s a big mess)
- Heat 2 Tbsp Olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add Beef, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Brown beef, about 5 min.
- If not using cast iron or oven safe pan, turn into cassarole dish.
- Mix 2 pkg brown gravy mix with 1/3 cup water. Mix well and pour over beef and vegetable mix. Stir well.
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Make topping with mashed potatoes or cauliflower.
- For topping add 4 Tbsp butter, 1/2 c milk, and dash of salt and pepper to potatoes. (If using cauliflower add parmesan and cheddar cheeses, salt and pepper.)
- Spread potatoes or cauliflower over filling. Cover completely.
- Bake uncovered at 350°F about 20 minutes.
- Top with sharp cheddar cheese.
- Put under broiler in oven for 5 minutes. Watch to make sure top is not over done. Serve hot.
These are great to freeze to. We put them in those aluminum pie pans or sealing dish. Freeze until needed. Simply defrost and warm. Those pans go easily from freezer to oven and table. If it seems flimsy simply place on on a baking sheet for ease of carrying
1 16 oz pkg Bacon
1/3 c red onion
1/2 c dried cranberries, Craisins
2 heads fresh broccoli florets
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c sunflower kernels
1/4 c Blue Cheese dressing
1/8 c Avocado oil Mayonnaise
1/8 c heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tsp or packets sugar or substitute
- Mince onion, chop broccoli
- Cook bacon well. I like mine so I can simply crumble it.
- Add bacon, broccoli, Craisins, cheddar cheese, in lg bowl
- Toss to mix well
- Assemble dressing and pour over salad.
- Mix well to coat.
- Chill 30 minutes or until serving
- Add sunflower kernels right before serving. Mix well and enjoy.
1 pie crust (I get mine premade in the refrigerated dough section. You can also make your favorite recipe for this. Cauliflower crust is really good)
1 small eggplant about 1 lb.
6 tbsp butter
1/2 c finely chopped onions
1 clove of garlic crushed (I like mine. minced so I use about a tsp minced).
1 lb ground chuck
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1/8 c chopped celery tops
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
Dash of black pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- Roll out pie crust to 11 inch circle. Fit into 9 inch pie plate. Crimp the edges, refrigerate till ready to use.
- Cut unpeeled eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes. Measure 2 cups.
- Add 4 Tbsp butter to medium sauce pan. Cook eggplant, covered 5 minutes then drain.
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Melt rest of butter in lg skillet. Saute onions and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.
- Add ground chuck and rest of ingredients. Mix well. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add eggplant to meat mixture. Turn into pie shell. Bake 45 – 60 minutes until crust is golden brown.
- I add shredded sharp cheddar to mine. I learned this one from my mom. The cheese gives it a little kick.
This is a great way to get extra veggies into your diet. While eggplant does have a mild flavor, when mixed like this my husband thought it was Shepherd’s pie for the longest time. That was actually my fault.
He told me he hates eggplant before I made it the first time. So I made it and didn’t tell him the eggplant was inside. (This works with kids to.) When he asked I just said it was Shepherd’s pie. He has loved it for more than our 15 years of our marriage. Yes, I did come clean and tell him it really was eggplant but he still loves it!
You can easily substitute the crust with a gluten free or keto option. I’ve done it with parmesan cheese or simply increase the chuck and forget the crust all together. Makes an incredible casserole too.
French bread, or something called Everything bread, salami, provolone, sharp cheddar, Turkey, ham, roast beef, fresh spinach leaves or lettuce, tomatoes, onion, green bell peppers, homemade tazziki and a little mustard gives you the masterpiece you see here.
Best of all they are customized to taste. Pepperoni, corned beef, chicken, tuna, change the meats, cheese, bread and veggies. Make it your own and I bet it tastes better fresh than from a sandwich shop. We cut it three ways and made two meals so dinner and lunch tomorrow. These were so good! I admit it freely, it tasted better than most sandwich shops.
It’s summer, and this time of year we all like to spend time in the great outdoors. With the sun shining high, we vibrate with anticipation to get outdoors. Be it camping, hiking, backyard bbq, the pool or the beach, please remember, with the warmer temperatures, to drink plenty of water, use protection from the harmful effects of the sun, and avoid the possibly deadly consequences of heat and/or sun stroke.
- The daily recommended amount of water is 8 – 16 oz glasses a day. That increases dramatically the longer you play in the sun. As you sweat, that fluid must be replaced. Sodas, alcoholic drinks, and energy drinks won’t do the job. In fact, some can do more harm than good. They provide sugary, empty calories without the electrolytes that fuel your boby. Cocktails and beer deplete your fluids, making you even more dehydrated. Pure waters, sparkling waters, and sports drinks, help to replace the electrolytes your bodies needs. Make sure you drink at least half again as much as you normally would while having your fun in the sun. Get a great recipe here.
- Wear protective clothing. That sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? With the heat of the summer most of are thinking about how little we can wear to stay cool. Things like sunglasses that block uv rays protect your eyes. A large brim hat protects the top of your head from sunburn. It also provides shade to your face, neck and sometimes shoulders.
- Adequate sunscreen will help block the damaging effects of the sun. Children especially need to wear sunblock. I’m a redhead, so I learned about the damaging effects of the sun at a young age. I don’t tan. I go from extremely pale to lobster red in a very short amount of time. Like babies, I have to use a sunscreen with spf 40 or higher. I blister easily and you can easily see where I did damage in my younger days trying to keep up with my friends who tan. Take it from me, the worst places to sunburn are under your hair, and the backs of your knees.
- Avoid the most dangerous times of the day. The suns rays are the most dangerous for anyone between the hours of 10am and 3pm. If you’re heading for some fun in the sun, you’re get less direct sun before 10am or after 3pm. It’s best to avoid doing yard work or gardening during these peak sun times. If you must perform these activities during these times take care to protect yourself and know the warning signs of things like heatstroke.
- Don’t be deceived by shade. I would give my mother the excuse of our pool being in the shade, to get out of wearing sunscreen. Trust me when I tell you, shade from a tree or other porous material will not protect you from the sun. You still need sunscreen!
- Water reflects the suns rays. We’ve all seen people in movies who use those reflective panels to direct the rays. Like most, I thought, hey, I’m under the water, it will help protect me from the suns rays. While water does help diffuse the suns rays, it also reflects it back. So, if you wear the hat in the water, it’s directing those rays right back onto your shaded face and shoulders. Same rules here, make sure you wear the sunscreen. That tan is great when you’re young, but, as you age, that damaged skin begins to look like leather. The potential of developing skin cancer from those areas is also very high. The bandages and/or scars after having cancers removed from a place like your face are not attractive later. Indeed, if not caught, it can become something much worse than skin cancer.
- Back to the fun. You celebrate family and holidays with a backyard bbq. Again, heavy hydration, will keep you healthier and cooler. Take frequent breaks from the heat and sun, on a patio, a porch, a pavillion, or in the house. Not only does taking such a break provide a temporary resbite, from the sun and heat, but keeps you from the overheating, that leads to sun stroke or heat stroke.
Stay safe and enjoy the summer fun and make memories you’ll cherish for years to come. I would love to hear how you spend your summer time. Drop us a comment letting us know. Don’t forget to like and share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pintrest.
1 cucumber, sliced
1 lemon sliced
1 lime sliced
1/4 c chia seeds (optional)
Optional herbs I use mint with citrus or basil with berries. Just press to help release the oils contained in the leaves before adding to your favorite. Lavender lemonade is really good as well.
4 liters tonic or sparkling water
I like this as it fits in the refrigerator door.
Mix all ingredients together in large gallon pitcher. Stir let sit several hours to infuse flavors. Add more tonic or sparkling water if needed. Serve over ice for a crisp, refreshing, and long hydrating summer cooler. The cucumber gives a fresh crisp flavor to citrus infused flavors. The optional chia seeds will soak up and release fluids as they digest. You can vary this recipe by adding different fruits. I like kiwifruit and honeydew melon as well as the cucumber. Intresting fact cucumber is already 70% water so adding some slices as editable garnish is a great way to add to the hydration in your glass.
Bonus tip: If you forgot to chill the wine or taking it onto the patio, keep some grapes in the freezer. Green or red can then be added to your glass to keep it cool, without watering it down like regular ice.
These are a great lunch or dinner. They are easy on carbs and will have you begging for more. Best of all they are easy and not to pricy for a family meal. I made 13 and they fed 8 people and we had leftovers.
Turkey Bacon Wrap
16 oz Spinach Artichoke dip
1 small red bell pepper (cut into small strips)
1 small bag tri-color slaw mix (I got my stuff at Walmart so we just had to pick it up).
1 pkg bacon
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1 pkg fresh chives (I minced mine)
1 16 oz pkg extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 32oz pkg lean turkey breast sliced
1 10 CT pkg tortillas (we had 3 leftover from an open pkg that o used first)
Place about 1 1/2 Tbsp spinach Artichoke dip and smooth over totilla. We discovered they are easier to roll if you plce ingredients to one side. Next sprinkle with 1/8 cup shredded tricolor mix. Add 3 to 4 slices of turkey (o use deli thin slices). 3 or 4 slices of red bell pepper, add cream cheese. (I used 1/8th thick slices from the boxed pkg). Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives. Add handful of extra sharp shredded cheese then place single cooked slice of bacon. Roll tortilla like a taco tucking in the ends. They are even better if made a little ahead and allowed to sit in refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour. The flavors meld making them taste even better. We served our with fresh veggie platter with leftover Spinach dip. We added fries for the kids involved but you can just as easily add veggie tots instead. We feed a mixed dietary family. These are a great easy meal. Easy and cool on the taste buds as the thermometer outside continues to climb.
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