tomato

Jen’s Loaded Nachos

I These started out as a great alternative to traditional recipes of tacos, enchiladas, Doritos casserole. They make a great meal, snack, or game day favorite too.I wash mine in the dishwasher and reuse at parties, on special occasions and if it breaks it was disposable to begin with.

Ingredients

2 lbs minced beef or chuck
1 medium yellow onion diced
1/2 medium bell pepper chopped
2 Roma tomatoes diced
Sour cream (we like Daisy in squeezeable application)
Chucky salsa (we like taco bell mild)
1 – 16oz fiesta blend shredded cheese
Guacamole if desired
1 lg bag Tostitos Scoops (you can use any kind of totilla chip you prefer these just make handy cups)
2 pkg McCormick Taco seaoningChopped jalapeno, black olives, melted cheese sauce, are optional.
You can make to many variations to list, including chicken, steak, salsa verde, lime, and anything else you can dream up.  I make mine like our family taco night.Farberware 22001 Buena Cocina Deep Nonstick Frying Pan / Fry Pan / Skillet with Lid and Helper Handle - 12 Inch, Black  by Farberware  Farberware 22001 Buena Cocina Deep Nonstick Frying Pan / Fry Pan / Skillet with Lid and Helper Handle – 12 Inch, Black.    by Farberware

Directions

  • In medium pan, brown ground meat.
  • Drain excess fat
  • Add 1/2 cup water and taco seasoning stirring well to coat meat.
  • Continue over medium heat until water has evaporated.
  • Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • Chop or dice vegetables as needed. I found a few great shortcuts if there is no one around to help.  You can get shredded iceberg lettuce like the restaurants use in the produce section at your local Walmart. If I don’t have the time the also have pico de gallo instead of dicing onions and tomatoes yourself. They add cilantro and typically Serano peppers. 
  • Spread chips or cups on big tray. 
  • Evenly sprinkle with cooked, seasoned meat, vegetables, cheese and toppings as desired. 
  • Feeding a diverse crew?  Set everything up and let them add their choices as they like them.  This concept also works well for parties and game days too.


Try with a virgin or real margarita and maybe Tres Leche cake for dessert.

Family Tacos Night

Ingredients


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/4 medium onion diced
  • 1/4 medium green bell pepper diced
  • 1 – 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce chopped
  • 1 pkg  flour tortillas
  • 1 pint sour cream 1 8oz jar of your favorite salsa.
  • Cheddar or Mexican blend shredded chesse
Tostitos Chunky Salsa - Mild, 15.5 Ounce  by Tostitos  Tostitos Chunky Salsa – Mild, 15.5 Ounce

Directions

  1. Brown fround beef over medium heat. Add pkg taco season and 1/4 c water. Cook another 5-7 minutes allowing water to evaporate.
  2. Cut all vegetable toppings and place in separate bowls.
  3. Open pkg of tortillas and warm for 1 minutes microwave.
  4. Leave spoons in each ingredient to add to tortillas.In our home each person layers the ingredients on the tortilla as they like it. (I like mine full of equal parts veggies and meat. Topped generously with salsa and sour cream. If available I enjoy a bit of guacamole as well.)
  5. If you fill tortilla to full, you will need a fork and plenty of napkins.
  6. Roll tortilla tucking ends as you go.  They are less likely to break or tear if warmed. 
  7. Enjoy.  We eat holding bottom firmly in place.  Be cautious when setting down or they can unroll.
  8. Juices may leak from seams so keep a napkin close by.
Mission Carb Balance Soft Taco Whole Wheat Tortillas | Low Carb, Keto, Whole Grains | High Fiber, No Sugar | Small Size | 8 Count  by Mission Foods  Mission Carb Balance Soft Taco Whole Wheat Tortillas | Low Carb, Keto, Whole Grains | High Fiber, No Sugar | Small Size | 8 Count
by Mission Foods

These are an easy substitute to go low carb or keto. 

There are so many options you can use with this basic idea. Substitute chicken, fish or steak, for ground beef.  Avocado, refried beans, black beans, corn salsa, rice, cabbage.  Any kind of cheese you like.  Or use tortilla chips, top and warn for ultimate loaded nachos.  Skip the tortillas entirely and add more lettuce for a great salad option.  These make a great party food as well.  Try some until you find your favorite.  Try a new variation for Cinco de Mayo, or make it a game day treat.  It’s really fun to try them all.

Roasted Vegetables

This easy side dish not only looks great but tastes so good even the kids eat all these vegetables.

Ingredients

You can substitute vegetables according to likes and diet needs. These are what have used for both a regular or holiday meal.
1 Eggplant
1 bag brussel sprout halves ( fresh produce)
2 bell peppers assorted colors
1 pint grape tomatoes (I cut mine in half)
1 purple medium onion in wide strips
Broccoli florets
Cauliflower florets
Baby or chopped carrots
You can add potatoes if you choose

Directions

  1. Chop vegetables. Cut harder things like carrots in smaller pieces to make for more uniform cutting.
  2. Put all cut vegetables except tomatoes in large bowl.  Add 2 Tbsp Olive oil, salt, pepper, 3 Tbsp lemon juice and garlic powder if desired.
  3. Mix well to coat in both oil and seasoning.
  4. Spread evenly,  on a baking sheet.
  5. Place in pre-heated 350° oven for 30 to 45/minutes.


I also add different seasoning depending who and how I’m serving them.  I add Rosemary when serving with Christmas dinner. These also save a ton of time and you can skip the oil.


Fall into Happiness

September is here! I love fall, & not just because pumpkin-spice everything is back on menu’s. (I’m a Cinnamon dolce latte girl.) After the high temperatures of summer in Florida I look forward to cooler breezes blowing through the northwest Florida climate. While our fall runs a much shorter period of time here there are several really good reasons to look ahead.

Take a family camping trip.
Easy fast tent set up
Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup | Cabin Tent for Camping Sets Up in 60 Seconds

by Coleman

Cooler temperatures here means less likely to get a hurricane. That said I know the tropics have just started their fireworks for places along any coastline. While our hearts and minds go out to family, friends, and even strangers as we watch Dorian, we are breathing a small sigh of relief it’s not coming here. I’m a native Florida girl do I have grown up with it just like Californian’s grew up with earthquakes, and others grew up with tornados. Between you and me i’ll take my hurricanes over the others. (We at least get about a weeks warning to get out if it’s going to be really bad.)
Hurricanes – What You Need to Know

Actloe  Actloe Women Cowl Neck Plaid Long Sleeve Pullover Tops Casual Tunic Sweatshirt
Actloe Women Cowl Neck Plaid Long Sleeve Pullover Tops Casual Tunic Sweatshirt

If you never learn anything about how this works, that’s okay. Cool weather means high pressure systems. They repel hurricanes, for the most part. While there can be late season surprises we only need to be hyper vigilant through November. The cooler temps let me unpack my favorite sweaters and even wear a pair of jeans outside without melting. I get to show off my cute boots, make out my birthday wish list, and make cozy comfort food like my easy chili that everyone loves.

Jens easy chili recipe
Jen’s Easy Chili Recipe

With the holiday season not far away I’ve started thinking about the joys of the season, the gifting, I love doing and the way things seem to sparkle under the moon with frost on the ground.

With the hustle if everyday life going full speed ahead I like to remind myself of the simple things that brighten someones day. Seeing others smile pleases me. Especially when I get no credit for it. The season of Thanksgiving is coming but, I like to spread some joy when it’s not expected. A kind word, a cup of hot tea, a child’s excitement, or just the neighbor helping neighbor we see in communities impacted by foul weather. Each of us have the power to make each day a wonderful experience to remember. So jump in the pile of leaves with the kids, dress up for Halloween, volunteer, and brighten the day.

Greek Turkey Burgers

Our family loves these! We even perfected a make ahead version for the freezer. You can easily swap out the breadcrumbs and buns to low carb or keto without sacrificing the flavor. If you go low carb skip the tomato slices and add swiss cheese. Swiss goes really well on all versions. We often swich to muti or whole grain sandwich thins for less carb count.

1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 1/2 heaping teaspoons minced garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dried dill
1 medium red onion
4 oz Spinach (we like fresh vs. frozen)
2 Roma tomatoes
1 lg egg
1/3 c breadcrumbs
1/2 cup crumpled  Feta cheese
1 medium cucumber
7 oz plain Greek yogurt
6 hamburger buns or alternative

Family favorite, great for grilling,Tazziki sauce,

  1. Prepare Tazziki or yogurt sauce.  Combine yogurt, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, dill, lemon juice, minced cucumber, salt, and pepper. Stir well, cover and place in refrigeration while preparing the rest.  This will allow the flavors to blend.
  2. Chop fresh Spinach into 1/4″ or      smaller also dice 1/2 roma tomato and 1/4 of red onion also minced.
  3. In lg bowl combine ground turkey, with chopped spinach, diced tomato, red onion, 1/2 c Feta cheese crumbles, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 egg, 1/3 c breadcrumbs, salt & pepper.
  4. Mix until evenly combined.  Shape into 6 patties.  (You can freeze these ahead of time.  Either freeze individually on cookie sheet and separate with with wax paper. They are easier to cook from frozen.)
  5. Cook in a nonstick skillet, countertop grill, or open flame.
  6. Spread Tazziki(yogurt sauce) on both sides if bun.  Add warm burger. Top with thin sliced cucumber, and red onion. Tomatoes are optional as is swiss cheese.
  7. Enjoy…goes great with sweet potato fries and green salad, for a full meal.  Makes a great alternatives to regular burgers for grilling too.

George Foreman grill
George Foreman 5-Serving Removable Plate Grill and Panini Press, Platinum, GRP472P

by George Foreman

Jen’s Easy Shepherd’s Pie

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.

by Meri Reffetto (Author)

$10.99

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.

by HOMWE

$14.97

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)

Price:$49.99

My mom just got one and she loves it!

Directions

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp Olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add Beef, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Brown beef, about 5 min.
  3. If not using cast iron or oven safe pan, turn into cassarole dish.
  4. Mix 2 pkg brown gravy mix with 1/3 cup water. Mix well and pour over beef and vegetable mix. Stir well.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F
  6. Make topping with mashed potatoes or cauliflower.
  7. 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.)
  8. Spread potatoes or cauliflower over filling. Cover completely.
  9. Bake uncovered at 350°F about 20 minutes.
  10. Top with sharp cheddar cheese.
  11. Put under broiler in oven for 5 minutes. Watch to make sure top is not over done. Serve hot.

$19.99

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

by Pyrex

Price:$20.64

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Cucumber, Tomato Salad

2 medium cucumbers, chopped into1/4 in pieces

2 c grape tomatoes (I like the sweeter taste of grape over slight tart flavor of cherry tomatoes).

1/2 c minced radishes

5 oz fresh Basil leaves

2 Tbsp minced red onion

3 tsp Extra Virgin Olive oil

2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp minced garlic

  1. Mince radishes and onion.
  2. Wash cucumbers and dice into about 1/4 inch bite size pieces. I find it easiest to slice into 1/8″ slices and cut into quarters or eighths.
  3. Slice grape tomatoes in half.
  4. Combine cucumbers,tomatoes, radishes, and chopped basil in large salad bowl.
  5. Mix Olive oil and vinegar, and garlic.
  6. Drizzle liquid over salad and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Mix well to coat and enjoy.

Serves 9-10 easily.

Artland 82001A Simplicity Cylinder Salad Bowl, Clear

by ARTLAND
$29.95

Ofargo Stainless Steel Salad Tongs Kitchen Tongs with Silicone Tips for Cooking, Non-Stick, 9″+12″, 2-Pack, Black

by Ofargo
$13.99

We paired this with hamburgers and fries. Kids and adults loved it. It was a great low-carb side dish for my husbands birthday party.

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