main dish

Make Warm Memories

On January 7th you can remember the warm, cuddle ups from yesterday. Today you can add even more of those warm memories.  January is National Soup Month, National Slow Cooker Month, and National Sunday Supper Month.

You can enjoy soups, stews and many other great dishes by doing some meal prep and slow cooker days. Nothing is better at the end of a long day in the cold than coming home to comfort foods like Beef Stew, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Everyday Beef Stew, Beef Pepper steak, Minestrone, White Chicken Chili, and even regular Chili. Did I mention lots of these are good for game days as well.

Best of all you can do the prep ahead of time and put it in your Crockpot. Imagine a warm hearty comfort food hot and ready to eat after a long day.

Reynolds Metals Slow Cooker Liners 13"X21" - 3 Pack (12 Liners Total)

by Reynolds Wrap
Reynolds Metals Slow Cooker Liners 13″X21″ – 3 Pack (12 Liners Total)

by Reynolds Wrap


Freezer meals and a crockpot should be among some of your best friends. Any of these family-friendly meals will definitely make National Sunday Supper something to look forward to. These are some of the favorites at our house….

Shepherd’s Pie
Greek Turkey Burgers
Greek Turkey Burgers
Mom’s Pork Roast Dinner


Starting a new semester?  Save big on the textbooks you need.
Starting a new semester?  Save big on the textbooks you need.

NATIONAL KETO DAY

On January 5th kick off your New Year’s resolution with The Keto Diet. The easiest change, and best thing you can do for you and your family.

Okay we’ve all made those resolutions about diet an exercise, now what? I know there are a lot of choices out there. Me I’m staying with what works the best and easiest for me. I lost over 150 lbs after back surgery. My Dr loves this diet now, as I have not only lost weight it keeps my diabetes under control. My husband also a diabetic for years has shown the clinical proof to his Dr as well.

Introducing Prime Pantry - Everyday Essentials Delivered to You
Introducing Prime Pantry – Everyday Essentials Delivered to You

While we are usually, more low carb than strict Keto but so many of the products and recipes work for both. According to the blood work it keeps our overall cholesterol down, bad cholesterol even more and good cholesterol goes up. Blood sugar numbers drop significantly and stay down. In my case it has reversed my type 2 diabetes. Not forgetting the weight loss. One quick note there is a big difference between types if diabetics so please be aware of what type you are, and consult you dr. What works for type 2 could produce bad situations for type 1.

DIRTY, LAZY, KETO: Getting Started: How I Lost 140 Pounds Paperback – September 4, 2018

by Stephanie Laska  (Author), William Laska (Editor)
DIRTY, LAZY, KETO: Getting Started: How I Lost 140 Pounds Paperback – September 4, 2018

by Stephanie Laska  (Author), William Laska (Editor)
Kodiak Cakes On The Go Cups -Variety Pack 12 Different Cups - Try Them All - Plus Unique Magnet

by Kodiak Cakes
Kodiak Cakes On The Go Cups -Variety Pack 12 Different Cups – Try Them All – Plus Unique Magnet

by Kodiak Cakes


So here’s the good news.  You can have things like chicken, steak, eggs and cheeses, some types of vegetables,  even dairy and things like Dark chocolate.  The bad news is just say “no”, to most breads, pasta, sugar, cake and cookies.  There is a small selection of convenience foods out there.  Here in the south one of the biggest complaints is no macaroni and cheese.

With recipes like Garlic Butter Steak bites, and tons more, chances are they won’t be missed as much as you thought. Even Lasagna can be converted to low carb and Keto Friendly. Veggies like cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, spinach, take over for potatoes and pasta. Be sure to check My Recipes Page often for new culinary creations.

As we do a none strict version we have learned to change out certain ingredients to make them more friendly. Buy Yukon gold or red potatoes instead of Idaho russets, whole wheat pasta for spaghetti, and with store like Amazon Fresh Groceries we are no longer limited to only what’s on your local shelves.

My best secret is join some groups who share their tips and recipes. Choose the version of Keto that works best for you. Your family will join the bandwagon without major tribulations. Most children only notice the absence of sugary sodas and snacks. Best of all these changes will set them on a path to a much healthier, happier life. Try one of our family favorites and start changing your health. Check out some of the great foods now stocked at Walmart.  Zoodles, Whisps, Veggie Tots by Green Giant, Sweet Potato Fries, Kodiak Frozen Waffles and Pancakes, Crepini Egg Thins Cauliflower, Caulipower Frozen Pizza.

I suggest these groups on social media. Some of my favorites on Facebook: Keto for Beginners, Keto for Women Only, Keto Recipes for beginners, and lots more just search for them on your favorite platform.

Find these and other great meals on my Recipe page. They are not all Keto diet but if you just have to cheat or treat yourself you can find a great one here too.

Mushroom Swiss Chicken
Mushroom Swiss Chicken
Garlic Butter Steak bites
Garlic Butter Steak Bites
Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs
Jen's Easy Chili
Jen’s Easy Chili

Information provided by National Day Calendar. Check out this and other great holidays throughout the year.

Two of the most significant perks seen with the keto diet are weight loss and healthy blood sugar support. In fact, studies have shown improved glycemic control for those with type 2 diabetes while adhering to a ketogenic diet.

Other health benefits of a keto diet may include healthy cholesterol and blood pressure support. It may also be beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

National Day Calendar
Benefits

Two of the most significant perks seen with the keto diet are weight loss and healthy blood sugar support. In fact, studies have shown improved glycemic control for those with type 2 diabetes while adhering to a ketogenic diet.

Keto Plan

How does the diet work? By eliminating carbohydrates, your body will use up its store of glycogen first. Then it will move into ketosis and begin burning fat.

Primarily, a keto diet consists of healthy fats, like eggs, avocado, olive oil, and sustainably-raised meat. Nuts, seeds, dairy, and low-carbohydrate vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, and green peppers are also easy to incorporate. Coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and ghee add fat and flavor to a keto diet. Occasionally, small servings of berries are added to the menu.

Eliminate these foods if you are considering a keto diet:

  • sweets, sugar, sodas, baked goods
  • grains, whole grains, and starches
  • fruits, starchy vegetables
  • hydrogenated oils, vegetable oil
  • diet foods, including low sugar, sugar-free, low-fat foods

My Blue Cheese, Spinach stuffed Beef Wellingtons

While these do take a bit of work, you will be rewarded with each bite of these delicious Wellingtons. I usually do these as a labor of love on special occasions like New Year’s Eve or an Anniversary. They also work well for a special dinner for 2. Just add candlelight, and a salad. A great pairing is my Winter Arugula Pear Salad. It makes for a really good dinning experience. Add a decadent desert and anyone dinning will be very impressed. See Loaded Brownie recipe.

Components

Puff Pastry

  • 3 packages frozen puff pastry, Pepperidge Farm brand
  • Flour for rolling
  • 2 eggs Whisked with 2 Tbsp water

Mushroom Filling

  • 1 – 8oz pkg Baby Bellas chopped
  • 6 Tbs. olive oil; more for cooking
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. Rosemary
  • Salt and Black pepper to taste

Carmelized Onions

  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 medium onions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • Salt and Black pepper

Spinach and Blue Cheese

  • 2 – 10oz pkg fresh spinach blanched
  • Pinch Black pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Crumbled Blue cheese about 6 oz

For the Steaks

  • 4 – 7oz Ribeye or Eye of Round steaks
  • Salt and Black pepper
  • About 4 Tbsp butter, more as needed
Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick Bakeware Cookie Baking Sheets Set, 2-Piece

by Wilton
Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick Bakeware Cookie Baking Sheets Set, 2-Piece

by Wilton


Preparation

  • Roll out and cut the pastry—Roll out each pastry sheets to about 3/16-inch thick, with a sharp knife, cut out a 9-inch round. From the scraps, cut out leaves or other shapes to use as decoration. Layer the pastry rounds (and the decorations) between pieces of waxed paper or parchment, lay on baking sheet and store in freezer until ready to assemble.
  • Cook the mushrooms—In a bowl, toss the chopped Baby Bellas with olive oil, garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours overnight is better. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add a thin film of oil, and sear mushrooms until they’ve softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer them to paper towels. When cool, set aside till ready to use.
  • Caramelize the onions— Melt butter, add the onions, cooking over medium heat, slowly, stirring occasionally, until well browned, and soft, about 20 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the pan is dry. Set aside to cool. Put the cooled onions in a bowl; cover and refrigerate.
  • Prepare the spinach and cheese
  • Wash spinach well and remove any stems. Prepare an ice-water bath. Put half of the spinach in a large sauté pan with a touch of water, and 1 Tbs. of the butter. Cook over medium-high heat, until justbwilted and immediately put it in the water bath to shock the color and stop the cooking. Scoop it from the ice water and put it in a colander to drain. Squeeze the spinach, in a clean kitchen towel, as much as you can and set it aside on paper towels to continue draining. Repeat with the remaining spinach. Cover with plastic and refrigerate. Stir in blue cheese, salt and Black pepper.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
  • Sear Steaks—Season each portion of meat with salt and pepper. Rub the seasoning into the meat to keep it in place. Add butter and dash of olive oil to a heavy sauté pan. Sear the steaks over high heat for 2 minutes on each side until brown and crisp on the outside. Be sure your pan is very hot for searing the meat. Do not overcook it, or crowd the pan. It will cause the meat to steam instead of sear. (Check the sides to be sure the filets are still red in the middle.) Work in batches if needed. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 24 hours.
    Searing the steaks makes for a nice crust but a still-red center—once wrapped in pastry and baked, they’ll cook to medium rare.
AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mat Sheet, Set of 2  by AmazonBasics
AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mat Sheet, Set of 2

by AmazonBasics

Some Assembly Required

  • Arrange your mushrooms, onions, spinach, and steaks within easy reach. Divide mushrooms, onions into four portions. Spinach into 8 portions.
  • Make sure the caramelized onions are well drained (they tend to collect liquid as they sit).
  • Cover a large rimmed baking sheet (that fits in your freezer) with kitchen parchment or silicon baking mat.
  • Have a ruler, a small sharp knife, a pastry brush, and the egg wash on hand. Lightly flour one area to lay pastry, (the cooler the area the better).
  • Pull a pastry round from the freezer and lay on the floured surface. Working quickly lightly score a 4×3-inch rectangle in the center of the round; don’t cut through the pastry. Extend the lines of the rectangle and cut out the corners of the round created by the line extensions, leaving a cross of pastry with a 4×3-inch center.
    Cut a cross shape out of the pastry round. Save the scraps to cut out decorations.
  • Spread Spinach in thin layer on the rectangle of pastry. Follow with a layer of onions, the steak, a layer of mushrooms and second layer of spinach. Spread each layer as evenly as possible. Brush a light coating of the egg wash on each of the four panels of dough.
  • Check to be sure that the pastry is now pliable enough to fold without breaking (wait a minute or two if necessary). Fold up the longer sides first and then the end Fold each side panel onto the top, stretching the dough a bit if necessary to make the ends meet, or slightly overlapping if necessary. Follow suit with the top and bottom panels. Seal the panels together by pressing in the top panel where it meets the bottom panel and by pinching each of the four sides together where the panels meet. It’s important that pastry iswell sealed so the juices don’t leak out.
  • Hold upright in your hands, securing all the seals and smoothing any rough spots to make the package into a neat, rounded block. Set it seam side down and gently press the top and sides to make them as even all the way around as possible. Brush the top and all sides with egg wash. If desired puut decorations on top and brush with egg wash. Set the Wellingtons on the lined baking sheet. Set in freezer to set and chill the pastry. Repeat with the 5 remaining Wellingtons, adding each to the pan in the freezer as you go. Allow 1 hour in freezer.

Cook the Wellingtons:

  • Heat the oven to 400°F. Make another egg wash. Remove the Wellingtons from the freezer (do not thaw) and brush them with a fresh coat of egg wash. Cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and cook another 35 to 40 minutes. Set them aside to rest for no longer than 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Outlander returns for Season 5 February 16, 2020
Outlander fans rejoice! Season 5 starts February 16, 2020

Garlic Butte Steak Bites

The options to this one are many depending on diet and health needs.  Along with the steak you can have Zoodles as featured below (I get mine ready to go from Walmart produce).  You can also use a regular or pasta of your choice.  Potatoes are also great.  If you need another vegetable try a fresh leafy salad or steamed Asparagus.  All options are simply delicious.

Amazon Home Services offers customers over a thousand different services from quality, hand-picked pros and backed by Amazon's Happiness Guarantee. Top services available for Customers to purchase include: *House Cleaning *TV Wall Mounting *Smart Home Device Installation *Equipment and Furniture Assembly *Plumbing and Electrical *Handyman *House PaintingAmazon Home Services offers customers over a thousand different services from quality, hand-picked pros and backed by Amazon’s Happiness Guarantee. Top services available for Customers to purchase include: *House Cleaning *TV Wall Mounting *Smart Home Device Installation *Equipment and Furniture Assembly *Plumbing and Electrical *Handyman *House Painting

Ingredients


6 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Tbsp Butter


Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 2-Piece Set (10-Inch and 12-Inch) Oven Safe Cookware - 2 Heat-Resistant Holders - Indoor and Outdoor Use - Grill, Stovetop, Induction Safe  by cuisinel  Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 2-Piece Set (10-Inch and 12-Inch) Oven Safe Cookware – 2 Heat-Resistant Holders – Indoor and Outdoor Use – Grill, Stovetop, Induction Safe

by cuisinel

Directions

Cut steak into 1 inch bite size pieces.
In saucepan heat butter and garlic.
Cook until butter is melted and garlic starts to brown.
In medium skillet or cast iron add olive oil.
Heat on high.
When oil is hot and shimmering add cut steak bites.
Cook 1 – 2 minutes letting them sear on all sides.  Should be golden in color.
Add 2/3 of butter mixture and toss to coat well. 
Stir well until fully cooked and coated evenly in sauce.
Microwave Zoodles as directed on package.
Add Zoodles to pan and remaining sauce.
Stir well together.
Serve warm.


Featured image provided by: https://chefshamy.com/recipes/garlic-butter-steak-bites-with-zucchini-noodles/

NATIONAL CLEAN OUT YOUR REFRIGERATOR DAY November 15th

National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day on November 15 encourages us to prepare for the upcoming holidays. Get together a soap and hot water filled bucket, disinfectant, a sponge and a garbage bag. Then you will be ready for the day!

With family gathering and a large turkey waiting to be roasted, cleaning out the refrigerator makes sense. Not only will we need room before the meals, but we also need space for all of the upcoming leftovers. Many dread this job. However, it is an important task none the less.

Due to our hectic and busy lifestyles, the cleaning of the refrigerator gets neglected. hence the creation of National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.  There may be a surprise or two found at the back of the shelves. Things are often pushed back as new food is put in the front and gets forgotten.

Replacing the refrigerator water filter
Replacing the water filter now puts the six months schedule both before your holiday season and before the summer. The times you are likely to use it the most.

Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International found that the meat and vegetable drawers were the dirtiest spots in our kitchens – well with regards to causing disease.

However, those who clean their fridges more often tend to waste more food. There’s plenty of advice available on the frequency of fridge cleaning. Understanding food labels and the meanings behind “sell by” and “best by” dates are also important. These labels don’t necessarily mean a product has gone bad, but that the quality is best by the date on the label. However, “use by” leaves some of us wondering.

Greenco GRC0250 Fridge Bins, Stackable Storage Organizer Containers with Handles for Refrigerator, Freezer, Pantry and Kitchen Cabinets, BPA, Standard, Clear

by Greenco
Greenco GRC0250 Fridge Bins, Stackable Storage Organizer Containers with Handles for Refrigerator, Freezer, Pantry and Kitchen Cabinets, BPA, Standard, Clear

by Greenco

HOW TO OBSERVE #CleanOutYourRefrigeratorDay

Some suggestions for your refrigeration cleaning are:

  • Empty each shelf.
  • Completely wipe down the inside of the refrigerator.
  • Wash drawers and underneath the drawers.
  • Throw away all expired food.
  • Throw away any moldy food.
  • Get rid of anything that you do not use.
  • Vacuum condenser coils.
  • Vacuum out under the refrigerator.
  • Restock shelves and drawers with good food.
  • Enjoy your nice, clean, organized refrigerator.

Use #CleanOutYourRefrigeratorDay to post on social media.

Arm & Hammer Fridge Fresh Refrigerator Air Filter (Pack of 4)

by Arm & Hammer
Arm & Hammer Fridge Fresh Refrigerator Air Filter (Pack of 4)

by Arm & Hammer

NATIONAL CLEAN OUT YOUR REFRIGERATOR DAY HISTORY

The home economists at Whirlpool Home Appliances created National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day in 1999 to encourage people to clean out their refrigerator in advance of the upcoming holidays.  At that time, the company even had a toll-free hotline that people could call into for cleaning tips.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

With the fall season change, we get cooler temperatures and football.  We also get cold and flu season.  At some point in your life, I’ll bet you’ve heard chicken soup is the popular choice when a cold or flu comes home with you. Turns out there are health benefits to this comfort food that can help you recover. Cozy plush warm robeI recommend making your own and stocking it in the freezer. As my husband is both diabetic and on a low salt diet, it’s easier to control the ingredients.  It’s great on a just a winter evening or battling a bug. So here is my favorite recipe.AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven, 6-Quart, Blue  by AmazonBasics  AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Covered Dutch Oven, 6-Quart, Blue

by AmazonBasics

Homemade Chicken Soup

2-3 lbs chicken breasts or thighs

2 tsp olive oil

3 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
3 tsp grated ginger
1 medium onion diced
1 cup diced fresh carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes if desired.
2 cups uncooked egg noodles (use low carb options here if prefer)

Optional ingredients are 1 cup mushrooms, 16 oz fresh spinach, 2 cleaned and chopped leeks, 2 tsp turmeric, and 16 oz white beans.  I only add some or all if making a more hearty main dish. Stick with less if using for cold and flu.

  1. Cut chicken into 1/2 inch cubes.  In a Dutch oven add 2 tsp olive oil and chopped chicken.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat until chicken is seared.  (I like mine golden color for flavor).
  3. Add onions, garlic, and ginger.  Reduce heat to medium.
  4. Add carrots, Italian seasoning, celery, and both black pepper and red pepper flakes if desired.
  5. Cook about 10 minutes stirring frequently.
  6. Add chicken broth.  Reduce heat to low and cover.
  7. Simmer on low heat for about 30 – 45 minutes until carrots are tender.
  8. Add cooked pasta. Cover. Let simmer 10 minutes.
If freezing put in yogurt cups or red solo cups on a sheet tray in the freezer. Once frozen remove cups and put in a gallon freezer bag. Now it’s perfectly portioned for single servings.Make extra soup, then ladle it into red Solo cups to freeze. Grab one or two cups' worth to defrost anytime you need a quick dinner.  Make extra soup, then ladle it into red Solo cups to freeze. Grab one or two cups’ worth to defrost anytime you need a quick dinner.

NATIONAL PIEROGI DAY – October 8

National Pierogi Day October 8

NATIONAL PIEROGI DAY

National Pierogi Day is observed annually on October 8. This is a day to enjoy this delicious side dish.

Pierogi is the plural form of the rarely used Polish word pierog. The word Pierogi can be found spelled several ways including perogi and pierogy. However you choose to spell it, pierogi are dumplings made up of unleavened dough that are first boiled then sometimes baked or fried in butter. Usually semicircular in shape, they are traditionally stuffed with a mashed potato filling, potato and cheese, potato and onion, cheese, cabbage, sauerkraut, ground meat, mushroom, spinach or fruit.

Pierogi love cookbook

Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food Hardcover – July 1, 2015

by Casey Barber  (Autho

Pierogi are often served with melted butter, sour cream, fried bacon crumbles, sauteed mushrooms and onions and/or green onion. The dessert variety, those filled with a fruit filling, can be enjoyed topped with applesauce, maple syrup, chocolate sauce and/or whipped cream.

There are other similar types of dumpling-like dishes in other ethnic cuisines. 

It was the Eastern European immigrants that popularized pierogi in the United States.  At first, pierogi were a family food among the immigrants and were also found in ethnic restaurants; Freshly cooked pierogi became a staple fundraiser for ethnic churches in the post-World War II era.  By the 1960s, pierogi were being marketed for the frozen food aisles of grocery stores in many parts of the United States.

While pierogi are eaten as a main dish in other countries, Americans typically consider them to be a side dish.

  • The Pittsburgh Pirates hold a pierogi race at every home game.  Six pierogi costume-wearing runners (Potato Pete, Jalapeño Hannah, Cheese Chester, Sauerkraut Saul, Oliver Onion, and Bacon Burt) race to the finish line between innings. 
  • Whiting, Indiana celebrates an annual Pierogi Fest each July.
  • Glendon, Alberta, Canada is home to a 6000-pound pierogi which stands 25 feet tall and is made of sturdy fiberglass and steel. Piercing the giant pierogi, which was build in 1991, is an equally giant fork.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Have some pierogi and use #NationalPierogiDay to post on social media.

There are over 1,500 national days. Don’t miss a single one. Celebrate Every Day with National Day Calendar!

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