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Food

Trim Healthy Table from Trim Healthy Mama

Several weeks ago, I bought a copy of Trim Healthy Table. I bought it based on the stellar reviews on Amazon. I can’t recall if Amazon recommended the cookbook or how I found out about it. Regardless, the cookbook arrived and after looking at it, I discovered it was part of a plan that separates meals based on the energy “fuels” used. Interesting, huh?

Trim Healthy Mama

Trim Healthy Mama

Have you heard of Trim Healthy Mama? Their plan’s based on healthy foods, especially those on the lower end of the glycemic scale, and eliminating sugar and white flour. Those seeking weight loss also avoid white potatoes.

I am still a newbie at this, but basically, THM meals fall into three categories. Each meals contains protein, but S (satisfying) meals focus on fats for fuels, E (energizing) meals focus on carbs for fuel, and FP (fuel pull) meals have lean protein and are low in carbs and fat.

After reading the condensed version of the plan that’s included in the Trim Healthy Table book and trying out a few recipes (see below), I started on the plan November 1st. It’s a little challenging getting the hang of the plan. But, I’m learning as I go along and I like how you can restart and get back on the plan in 3 hours.

No condemnation or judgment, but plenty of grace is present in this plan. And, there’s plenty of support on Facebook (look for THM groups) and on their website.

So Really, How Is The Food?

I bet you’re wondering how the recipes are? Well, they are really good! So far, I’ve made meatballs and used them in the Meatball Casserole. On Halloween, I made Pumpkin Bam Cake and wasn’t even tempted by all the Halloween candy! I also made Mama Mia Meatloaf and Creamy Verde Chicken Chili. Everything has been really good, and you’d never guess that these meals promote weight-loss.

Healthy
Meatball Casserole

 

Healthy
Mama Mia Meatloaf

 

And, You Can Have Bread!!

Imagine my surprise when I found out that you can have bread, low-carb tortillas, and flatbreads. I just love the La Tortilla low-carb tortillas. I can use low-fat, refried black beans with baby spinach for an E meal. Or, use them with carne asada, bell peppers, and sour cream for a S meal. Using an on plan bread, you can have a turkey breast sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and mustard for an E lunch.

There are “better” on-plan breads than this one, but I found this brand pretty easily.

Healthy

 

I’ll be sharing my progress on THM. After a week, I have more energy and feel very clear-headed. I didn’t have much of a detox because I didn’t; consume much sugar before THM. Oh, and I decided that I am going on how I feel for the first month and avoiding the scale.

In my next post, I’ll share about the THM branded substitutions and some of the supplements they recommend that I’ve been using.

If you want to see what THM is about without getting any of their books, check out their website https://trimhealthymama.com or google it. They have quite a following.

Canning on a Fall Saturday

My daughters and I canned last Saturday. It was our first family canning experience. We’ve been saying for years that we were going to do this, and we finally did!

Initially, we were going to make spaghetti sauce with meat and pressure can it. But, when I got out the pressure canner, it was missing parts. So, we went to plan b and made it without meat.

Let’s Get Canning
Canning
We cored and cut 30 pounds of tomatoes!

 

We started with the Ball’s Home Canning recipe for Spaghetti Sauce with Meat. This called for coring and cutting the tomatoes, then putting them through a food mill. We did our first 15 pounds of tomatoes like that, so when we switched recipes we continued with that process for the next 15 lbs.

Canning
Cooking down the tomatoes

 

 

The sauce needed to simmer for at least 2 hours. Once the sauce was ready, we added it to the jars and put them in the canner to process. Then we celebrated on the back patio while the first batch was processing.

 

 

 

We used pint jars and processed them for 35 minutes.

 

All total, we made 18 pint jars of spaghetti sauce. Since my canner holds 6 jars at a time, we processed three batches.

 

Not bad for a Saturday’s work and we had a lot of fun doing it!

Here are a few of my recipes that you can use this spaghetti sauce in:

http://thefeatherednester.com/index.php/2017/08/18/italian-meatball-casserole-dinner/

http://thefeatherednester.com/index.php/2017/07/19/lasagne/

 

New Recipes! Perfect for Fall

Although the weather is still really mild here, it’s still fall!! That calls for delicious, fall comfort foods.

The other day, I was watching Cook’s Country and saw the most delicious barbecue beans recipe. They called it backyard barbecue beans. I knew I had to make it. So when my husband asked me what I wanted for my family birthday dinner, I told him smoked pork and ribs so I’d have a reason to make them!

Backyard Baked Beans
Fall
Photo Credit: Cook’s Country

Don’t they look totally delicious? My family loved it, especially my meat-loving husband. There’s bratwurst in there!

The recipe makes a lot of beans, so unless your have a crowd, you’ll probably want to freeze half. Here is a link to the recipe: Backyard Baked Beans. If you are unable to access this recipe from the link (Cooks Country is a subscription website), shoot me an email and I’ll help you out.

 

Wedge Salad

To go along with the smoked pork and ribs and those yummy baked beans, I made wedge salad. I prefer my wedge with blue cheese dressing and chunks of blue cheese, but we have family members who don’t like blue cheese. So, I subbed in ranch dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup of ranch of blue cheese dressing
  • 1/2 cup of blue cheese,, crumbled (optional)
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup of crisp bacon bits

Directions:

Cut the head of lettuce in half to rinse it. Then, cut into wedges, taking care to keep the wedges together (I swear there must be an easy way to do this). Then either place wedges on a long serving plate like shown above, or on individual salad plates. Cover with dressing, blue cheese crumbles, bacon bits, and cherry tomatoes.

Cheesy Chili Soup
Photo Credit: A Taste of Home

 

This recipe is one of the ultimate comfort soups. I rarely keep Velveeta on hand, but this recipe looked too delicious not to get some. You will probably feel the same!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 10 oz. can of Rotel diced tomatoes, undrained (I use no-salt added)
  • 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained (I use no-salt added)
  • 4 oz. can of green chilies, chopped
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 lb of Velveeta Cheese (I used 2% reduced fat version)
  • Directions
  1. In a medium dutch oven or large saucepan, cook the beef, onions, and garlic; drain once browned. Add tomatoes, chilies, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir in cheese and allow to melt. Garnish with crushed corn chips, cheese, or even bacon bits.
  3. Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Share your favorite fall foods below!

 

 

 

Happy Six-Month Anniversary!

So excited! We are celebrating an anniversary! The Feathered Nester blog is officially six-months old today. First Post! I have had more fun with the blog than I ever imagined.

The Beginning

I started the blog on the heels of our spring break trip to Florida and the Caribbean. Oh gosh, what a trip it was! On our 7-day cruise, we had the Penthouse Suite of our ship. Not only did we have this lavish suite, but we had a hot tub on our balcony!

Blog

The suite was an amazing deal and I will have to share my story of how we scored it in a future travel post.

Anniversary
Living Room
Dining Room

Bumps Along the Way

A few months into the blog, I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease. I haven’t posted an update on my condition lately, but I am happy to report that my condition is stable and manageable with diet and medication. It’s been months since I had a severe vertigo attack.

Through trial and error, I’ve been able to resume my morning cup of caffeinated coffee and have a glass of wine or two with dinner. Sodium does not seem to increase any of my symptoms, though I feel better when I avoid sugar and high-carbohydrate foods.

Plans for the Future

I would like to share more decor stories on the blog. It frustrates me to no end that I don’t have the time to tackle decorating projects around the house right now. But, I am almost done with school. The New Year will be bringing great changes around my house and blog.

Upcoming project! An Outdoor Kitchen – this photo is just an example…not a plan 🙂

 

Menu plans or weekly recipes? I’m still not sure where to go with them. Personally, I like the ability to print off recipes and I haven’t mastered that on the blog yet. So, the recipes are a work in progress. I may take on a “Top 5” recipes weekly format. Or I might start posting recipes every other week. Given me feedback on this!!

So Happy Anniversary and Thank You!

So, thank you for your readership. Let me know what you’d like to see going forward.

Top 5 Fall Recipes for the Week

Let’s hear it for fall! I’m sharing five of my favorite fall meals this week. Now that the weather is cooling off, I love comfort meals. What is more comforting than soup and dumplings? I’ve shared them below:

Chicken Dumplings

For this recipe, I use a rotisserie chicken. I like using the pre-packaged sliced rotisserie chicken that Costco sells, but you can buy one large or two small rotisserie chickens to use instead.

fall

Chicken Stew

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

2 small or 1 large onion

1 ½ cup frozen peas

2 lbs. of chopped or diced chicken

8 cups of reduced sodium chicken stock

4 cups water

2 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. black pepper

Dumplings

2 cups all-purpose flour

⅓ cup cornmeal

1 Tbsp. baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

2 Tbsp. minced fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, chives)

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup buttermilk

*minced herbs for garnish

Using an 8 quart or larger heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven, add butter and vegetables and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add chicken, stock, and water and bring to a boil. While chicken is cooking, prepare the dumplings.

To prepare the dumplings: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and herbs. Stir in the butter and the buttermilk. Stir until just combined, don’t over-mix. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the dumpling mixture and place on top of the stew, leaving a little space between the dumplings (they will expand). You’ll get about 24 dumplings. Cover and cook over low heat for about 15 mins. The dumplings cook in the steam, so don’t lift the lid. Stir the dumplings, recover and cook for another 15 minutes.

Roasted Tomato Soup

fall

3 lbs. Roma Tomatoes

Olive Oil

Kosher Salt

5-7 carrots, roughly chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 tsp each of dried thyme and tarragon

28 oz. diced tomatoes, drained. I prefer to use a carton of Pomi tomatoes

1 carton of low-sodium chicken bone broth

pinch of nutmeg and pepper

1 cup of heavy cream

4 oz. parmesan cheese, grated

4 oz. gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice tomatoes into thick slices, lengthwise, about 4-5 slices per tomato. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil, place tomatoes in a single layer on baking sheet, brush or drizzle oil generously over tomatoes and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in oven for about 90 minutes, until blackened in spots and softened. Let cool.

 

Sauté carrots and onions with herbs in 6-quart heavy pot on medium heat until onions are translucent. Add 2 cups of bone broth, cover pot, and turn heat down to low heat for 15-20 minutes to allow carrots to soften. Then add the diced tomatoes (Pomi or canned) and rest of bone broth. Once they’ve cooled, chop and add the roasted tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes.

fall

Using an emersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully blend in a blender ensuring you allow the heat to vent. Add heavy cream and cheese, stir on low heat until cheese melts. I garnished with crispy bacon bits and additional shaved parmesan cheese before serving.

Chicken Piccata

meal plans

4 boneless, thinly sliced chicken breasts

1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. diced onion

1 tsp minced garlic

juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup no-salt added chicken broth

1 Tbsp., capers

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter.

Sauté chicken breasts in olive oil on medium-high heat for 4 minutes on each side. While cooking, rinse and dry capers to remove excess sodium. Add onion and garlic and cook 1 minute. Add lemon juice and chicken broth. Simmer until bubbly. Remove from heat and add butter and capers.  Select your own recipe for mashed potatoes, add no-salt added canned or fresh green beans, and your meal is ready.

Pork Tenderloin

 When we were researching our new kitchen appliances, the pork tenderloin made in the Thermador steam oven sold me on getting one. Steam creates such a tender and moist tenderloin. To create a more tender and moist tenderloin, use a pre-marinated one from the store.

2 pounds boneless pork loin roast, pre-marinated

½ cup of white wine

Place pork loin into oven, turning and basting with pan liquids. Cook until the pork is no longer pink in the center, about 1 hour. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 145 degrees F (63 degrees C). Remove roast to a platter. Heat the wine in the pan and stir to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. Serve with pan juices.

German Apple Cake
Photo Credit: http://www.fuelingwithflavour.com

My German son-in-law loves this cake, so I think it must taste pretty authentic. Using a food processor to slice the apples shortens the prep time. For some interesting information, and a little background on German Apple Cake, check out this website: Apfelkuchen (Apple Cake). My recipe is different, but I liked how they share the history about the cake.

½ cup butter, softened

1 1/3 cup sugar, divided

2 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. vanilla

4 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 tsp cinnamon

½ cup of confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter, 1 cup of sugar, and eggs on low-speed for 2 minutes. Add flour, baking powder, and vanilla and mix for 1 more minute. Pour into a 9” greased, parchment paper-lined, spring form pan.

Stir sliced apples with 1/3 cup of sugar and cinnamon. Arrange slices on top of cake, pressing them lightly into the batter.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Let cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Enjoy the lovely fall weather and be sure to check back on Thursday for a celebratory blog post!

Lifestyle Icons and Decorating

In my eyes, the original lifestyle icon was Martha Stewart. It’s hard to believe that she started this huge trend back in the 90s. I still have several of her books on decorating, cooking, and homekeeping. I credit her with my early success as a homemaker.

Thanks to Martha, I learned how to fold fitted sheets neatly, the best way to remove stains from clothes, how to cook and carve a whole chicken, and decorating for the holiday season.

Decorating

Of course, this was long before Instagram and Pinterest. I believe that technology has been both a blessing and curse. It’s enabled us to share our decor adventures with others and to enrich our homes because of it. On the other hand, it has also created unrealistic expectations for us to live up to.

I for one, though, love seeing decorating ideas on IG and Pinterest. They really inspire me! I can’t wait to finish school so I can work on some of the things around my house, like painting and decorating.

Keeping it Real

I enjoy blogs where the authors are real. One of my most favorite, must watch IG accounts is “The Home Edit.” Their IG stories are so funny and real (unfiltered?). If you haven’t seen their IG Instastories, do yourself a favor and check them out.

I enjoy writing and sharing information. That’s why I created my blog. I never want to put myself out there as any type of role model or expert on anything. But, if something I know can help someone else, I am happy to share.

Blog Ideas and Decorating

Cooking has always been one of my passions, and it’s one of the things I post most about. Mostly because as a full-time college student, wife, mother, and grandmother, my time is limited.  Cooking is something I do almost daily, so it’s easy to share with you readers.

meal plans

 

Going forward though, I have so many plans for our home! And, I’ll be sharing them. They include decorating our living room, repainting rooms, learning how to chalk paint, putting in an outdoor kitchen, and much more.

It’s time for me to get cooking. Today, I am making this:

Photo Credit: A Taste of Home

It will be one of next week’s menu items. Check back over the weekend!

This Week’s Menu with a Hawaiian Tropical Twist

Hi readers! In honor of my Maui vacation, I’m sharing a few local favorites that we’ve enjoyed dining on, along with their recipes. I enjoy Hawaiian food, especially their pork and fish dishes.

There are several different types of fish living off the waters of the Hawaiian Islands. Opah (moonfish), Kumu (goatfish), Monchong, Opakapaka (pink snapper), Ahi Tuna, Uhu, and Hawaiian butterfish can be found in local restaurants. This article explores how to prepare these types of fish: HERE.

We purchased fresh Monchong for dinner last week. The resort we are in has a Grill Chef that comes in twice a week to grill for the guests. So, we decided to have it grilled by him.

Hawaiian
Monchong

It was lightly broiled on the outside and flakey inside, exactly how I like my fish.

Grilled Shrimp with Fresh Herbs

Along with the fresh Monchong, we bought fresh shrimp from Costco. The shrimp were straight from the ocean and still had their heads attached! Readying them for cooking was an experience, but well worth the effort. Along with the fish, we had the Grill Chef cook the shrimp. He used butter and fresh herbs from their herb garden to cook them.

Hawaiian

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.  Heat the grill and brush well with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Grill the shrimp for only 1-2 minutes on each side, until pink. Remove from grill immediately when done. Serve over rice.

During our stay, we have eaten at a number of local restaurants in Ka’anapali and Lahaina Here are two of their most popular entrée recipes for this week’s menu:

Duke’s Macadamia Nut Herb-Crusted Fish

I found this recipe online at Hawaiian Electric’s website. They have a “find a recipe feature” that has recipes with a Hawaiian twist. This one is from the chef Duke’s restaurant in Oahu.

Hawaiian
Duke’s Macadamia Nut Fish

Ingredients:

4 (6 oz. size) Opah (Moonfish) fillets
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1 cup panko (Japanese flour meal)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted macadamia nuts
3 Tbsp. finely chopped basil leaves
2 Tbsp. finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp. finely chopped thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

Season fillets with salt and pepper. Combine remaining ingredients except olive oil; coat fillets with mixture. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté fillets until golden brown, about 4 minutes on both sides. Serve with Lemon-Butter Wine Sauce with Capers. 

Lemon-Butter Wine Sauce with Capers:
In a saucepan, heat 1/4 cup dry wine, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons chopped chives, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Cook until liquid reduces to half. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream; simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 1/2 cups softened unsalted butter, a little at a time. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup capers, and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice. Makes about 1 cup sauce. 

At Kimo’s restaurant in Lahaina, I had some delicious ribs. The glazed sauce was soooo good. I was able to find a similar recipe at Hawaiian Electric’s website.

Pork Ribs with Mango Barbecue Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 to 5 lbs. pork back ribs (20 ribs)
5 bay leaves
2 tsp. cracked peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water

Sauce:

1 cup catsup
2 cups mango puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
2 tsp. sweet chili sauce
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cumin

Directions:

Place ribs in a roasting pan. Combine bay leaves, peppercorns, 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke, salt, and water; pour over ribs. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in electric oven at 375°F for 45 minutes. Combine the remaining ingredients to make the mango barbecue sauce. Remove ribs from roasting pan; place on rack of broiler pan. Basting frequently with the sauce, broil ribs in oven 6 inches from broiler unit until browned on both sides.

Dinner would not be complete without a dessert! For desert, pies are really popular here. It seems like each restaurant has a special pie they are known for. One of them is Hula Pie served at Duke’s and Kimo’s restaurants.


From www.tsrestaurants.com
Hula Pie is made with Kimo’s favorite macadamia nut ice cream piled high on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and more macadamia nuts. Here is the recipe for it from www.hawaiimagazine.com.
Hula Pie

Ingredients:

1 9-inch chocolate cookie pie crust
1 half-gallon macadamia nut ice cream (Seems like a lot of ice cream, but you’ll be piling it high.)
4 ounces chocolate fudge topping
1 shot of espresso or strong coffee
6 ounces macadamia nuts
Whipped cream

1. Bring fudge topping to room temperature.

2. Scoop ice cream into prepared pie shell, smoothing it into a rough dome, or bombe, as high as you’d like.

3. Warm espresso or coffee and mix into chocolate.  Use a warmed knife to spread topping even over ice cream bombe.

4. Freeze until ready to serve.

5. Cover top of pie with a layer of whipped cream and chopped macadamia nuts before serving.

Can’t find macadamia nut ice cream in your local store? Just substitute good vanilla ice cream—soften it just a little and mix in chopped mac nuts. We actually prefer this option to store-bought mac nut ice cream, as the flavor is more balanced and the texture of the nuts will remain firm, not soggy.

If you’d prefer to make your own pie crust, too, simply mix chocolate wafer crumbs (about a cup and a half) with a little sugar and about ¼ cup melted butter. Press the mixture into a pie pan.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had any room for Hula Pie after dinner because I’ve been way too full. I will, though, before we leave on Wednesday. 
Bring a little Hawaiian into your life this week and make one of these recipes. I hope you’ll share your experiences below! See you again soon.

This Week’s Meals. All of My Favorites!

This week, I’m sharing some of my favorite meals with you. These recipes are guaranteed to be a hit! Best of all, they are simple and easy to make.

What’s On The Menu

Ordinarily I would have saved the whole roasted chicken recipe for a weekend meal, but there is a reason it’s high on this week’s menu. I’ll shred the leftover chicken from this dinner for the chicken enchiladas.

Fettucine with Grilled Shrimp

Fettucine takes sinfully delicious, so it must be hard to make, right? Wrong! Fettucine is easier than you think, and adding grilled shrimp takes it to a whole new level. This recipe makes 4 servings.

meals
PC:www.aroundmyfamilytable.com
Ingredients:
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 oz. fettuccine (I am using egg fettuccine)
  • Olive oil
  • 3/4 pounds raw jumbo shrimp
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp. grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (the best you can find, it makes a difference)
Instructions:

Pat dry the shrimp and arrange on a paper towel until ready to use.Cook the fettuccine to al dente, according to the package. Strain and toss with a splash of olive oil.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 Tbsp of the butter. Increase the temperature to med-high, and add the shrimp at once. Without moving them, let them cook for about 2 minutes, until they are pink, then flip them and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove shrimp to a plate to rest.

Using the same pan over medium heat, add 6 Tbsp. of butter and scrape the pan well, as the butter melts. Stir in the heavy cream and nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Lower temperature to low and whisk in the parmesan cheese. Add shrimp and pasta to pan and toss well. Serve immediately.

 

Whole Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

The key to a juicy, delicious chicken is brining. Just like with a turkey. Creating a brine is simple. It’s just salt, sugar, water, and spices.

Menu

Brine:
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1cup kosher salt (reduce to 1/4 cup if using regular table salt.)
  • 2cup light brown sugar

Stir until the salt and sugar are invisible. I usually add spices to the brine, one of my favorites is Herbs de Provence and I might add some grated lemon zest.

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil or melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp seasoning of your choice, I prefer Herbs de Provence
Baking the chicken:

Remove whole chicken from package and rinse well. Find a big bowl or special brining bag that will hold the chicken and the gallon of broth. The chicken must be fully immersed in the brine. Brine for at least 1 hour, but not longer than 8 hours. Before baking, remove the chicken from the brine and rinse well, especially the inner cavities of the chicken. Dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush chicken with oil or butter. Truss up the chicken and place in a V-rack or elevated roasting pan breast side up. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the temperature of the breast is 120 degrees and thighs are 135 degrees. Turn off the oven and leave the chicken in for another 25-35 minutes or until the breast if 160 degrees and thighs are 175 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest, uncovered on a carving board for 20 minutes. Carve and serve.

I add mashed potatoes and green beans to round this dinner out.

Ribeye Steaks with Baked Potato and Broccoli Salad

I just love a perfectly cooked steak! And this is something my husband has perfected over the years. We use rib eye because they make excellent steaks, but buy whatever steaks you prefer.

  • Steaks
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasoning, my favorite is Montreal Steak

Meals

The night before, remove your steaks from the package, and dry them off with paper towels. Add enough olive oil to lightly cover the steaks. Liberally apply your favorite steak seasoning evenly over the steaks, or spread it with your hands to ensure that it’s evenly applied. My seasoning of choice is Montreal Steak Seasoning. Cover the seasoned steaks with plastic wrap and return them to the fridge.

Grilling:

Remove steaks from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking (but no more than an hour). This allows your steaks to cook more evenly. Preheat your grill to high heat. Set up a two-zone fire.

Place ribeye steaks on the grill and cook over direct heat for 4-5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Do you wonder why you need a two-zone setup? If your steaks are close to being done, you can move them over to the cold side of the grill to finish them off. Use a meat thermometer to determine if you’ve cooked steaks the way you like them. Here are the temperatures you should keep in mind: 120° F = Rare, 130° F = Medium rare, 140° F = Medium, 160° F = Well done

Remove steaks from grill and let them rest for five minutes. The juices will redistribute throughout the meat, producing a tender, juicy result.

I’m serving the steaks with a broccoli salad and baked potatoes. I purchase pre-cut and washed broccoli. For two servings (double for 4): Roughly chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces, add 1/4 cup of raisins or dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds. Drizzle with Poppy Seed Dressing. I have to tell you that I don’t even like broccoli but I love this salad, lol.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

There are so many ways to make enchiladas. Fair warning, this is not one of the lower calorie versions. I’ll include a link below to one like that, if you are so inclined.

I discovered this recipe several years ago and have modified it over time. This is one of those meals that wow people. I made them for my daughter’s bridal shower and they were a hit.

Ingredients:
  • 8 flour tortillas (I’m using white flour for my husband and LaTortilla Factory low-carb for myself)
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 3/4 chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 (4 oz) cans diced mild green chilies

meals

 

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×9 pan
  2. Mix chicken, 1 cup cheese, and 1 can of chilies. Warm your tortillas slightly in the microwave, either in the package or wrapped in paper towels. 30 seconds should do it. Roll up in tortillas and place in pan.
  3. In a sauce pan, on medium heat, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat until thick and bubbly.
  4. Turn down heat to low or simmer. Stir in sour cream and the second can of chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don’t want curdled sour cream.
  5. Pour the sauce over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake 20 min and then under high broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.

Here is a lower-calorie version using just green sauce: http://www.skinnytaste.com/enchiladas-verdes-green-enchiladas/

If you are short a few meals this week, or need other ideas, check out some of my other recipes: http://thefeatherednester.com/index.php/2017/05/12/best-ever-pizza-dough/

http://thefeatherednester.com/index.php/2017/06/19/pork-carnitas-recipe-new-favorite/

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This Coming Week’s Meals

Although we’re out-of-town this week, I haven’t forgotten about you.

This weekly meals series is a work-in-progress, and for this week I decided to simplify things. Rather than list day-by-day meals, I’m sharing four easy-peasy weeknight meals, and one special weekend dinner. In the comments below, share which format works best for you.

Easy Weeknight Meals
Turkey Meatloaf with Green Beans

 

I have a confession to make. I don’t make all of my meals from scratch. Around 10% of the time, I rely on certain pre-made, convenience foods I’ve found that are worth buying.

This Fra’Mani frozen turkey meatloaf from Costco is one of those.

mealsThe package contains two meatloaf trays. Each should feed two adults and two young kids, or three adults. I keep this on hand for “those days.” Freezer to plate in less than an hour. As a side dish, I add mashed potatoes for my husband and green beans (low-carb option) for myself.

If you’d prefer to make your own Turkey Meatloaf, here is a good recipe to try: Low-Carb Turkey Meatloaf

Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Rice and Caesar Salad

meals

Chicken breasts are low in fat and calories, but high in protein. It is so easy to get burned out on chicken, though. Luckily, there are hundreds of ways to chicken to provide a little variety. Here is a simple and delicious recipe for chicken breasts. Serve with rice and Caesar salad (low-carb option).

Ingredients

  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Let chicken stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat a large stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan, rounded side down; cook 5 minutes. Turn chicken over; reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes.

Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, onion, and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Next, add flour and sauté 30 seconds.  Stir in stock; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 3 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, butter, and sugar. Sprinkle with parsley.

Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa
PC: onceuponachef.com

These shrimp taste best grilled, but you can also use your broiler. Look for extra-large or 21-25 count shrimp. Here is the recipe: Shrimp Tacos Recipe

Weekend Splurge Meals

Dinner
Short Ribs with Red Wine Cream Sauce and Mushrooms

Short ribs are one of the ultimate comfort meals. They are one of the first foods that I make when the weather is turning to fall. I give full credit to The Pioneer Woman for introducing me to this wonderful dish.

Short Ribs Recipe

Dessert
Chocolate Lava Cake

This is one of my favorite desserts ever, and it is so easy to make. I have used jumbo sized cupcake pans for this recipe, as well as the custard cups.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray four custard cups with baking spray and place on a baking sheet.

Microwave the butter, bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate in a large bowl on high until the butter is melted, about 1 minute. Whisk until the chocolate is also melted. Stir in the sugar until well blended. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks, then add the vanilla. Stir in the flour. Divide the mixture among the custard cups.

Bake until the sides are firm and the centers are soft, about 13 minutes. Let stand 1 minute. Invert on individual plates while warm and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Leave me some comments on the new format. Which do you prefer?

Meal Plan for the Upcoming Week 8/28 to 9/3

First I want to everyone for their comments on The Feathered Nester’s FB page, and here on the blog. I really appreciate your feedback!

Recapping Last Week’s Meal Plan

We ate well here at our house last week and I hope you did, too! Did you make any of the meals at your house? If so, I hope you’ll share how they turned out. If you missed it, here is a link to last week’s meals (LINK).

As I was preparing the Halibut en papilotte on Thursday, I decided to use my steam oven instead of parchment paper. Here are some pictures of preparation and the finished product.

meal plan
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I bought this salad from Costco and it was delicious! And, it’s healthy to boot. I would definitely recommend it.

 

 

New For This Week

The higher carb foods in the meal plan are italicized. I’ve cut back on carbs like sugars, starches, and grains in my diet, but my husband hasn’t. I thought that would make it easier for those following a lower carb diet.

To keep the sodium content low, I do not add any salt while cooking to my foods. When preparing the ribs, my husband sets aside my portion for no-salt seasoning. And, since I’m not preparing the ribs, I asked my husband – who is an absolute boss at grilling and smoking meats – to share how he prepares them. I will be posting the whole ribs recipe as a separate post later this week.

Meal Plan for the Upcoming Week

Monday: Chicken Piccata with mashed potatoes and green beans.
meal plans

Chicken piccata (unbreaded) recipe: 4 boneless, thinly sliced chicken breasts, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 3 Tbsp. diced onion, 1 tsp minced garlic, juice of 1 lemon, 1/3 cup no-salt added chicken broth, 1 Tbsp, capers, 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter. Saute chicken breasts in olive oil on medium-high heat for 4 minutes on each side. While cooking, rinse and dry capers to remove excess sodium. Add onion and garlic and cook 1 minute. Add lemon juice and chicken broth. Simmer until bubbly. Remove from heat and add butter and capers.  Select your own recipe for mashed potatoes, add no-salt added canned or fresh green beans, and your meal is ready.

Tuesday: Taco Salad with guacamole and salsa

I love taco salad! It’s quick and easy to make and you can substitute ingredients to suit any diet plan. I usually use ground beef, but you can use any kind of meat or pinto or black beans. My husband likes both meat and beans in his.

For low-carb: After preparing ground beef, I generously layer torn or shredded leaf lettuce, the ground beef, grated cheese, diced tomatoes, onions, sliced or diced avocado, and top with salsa and sour cream. I don’t use any dressing, just the salsa and sour cream.

For my husband, I add tortilla chips and pinto or black beans. I use this seasoning for the ground beef: 1 Tbsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. of each: onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and a pinch of chili pepper. After cooking the ground beef, I add the juice of one lime for added flavor. Guacamole recipe is in last week’s meal plan.

Wednesday: Tomatillo and Garlic Shrimp with cilantro rice and green salad

 

The recipe: 1 pound of shrimp (I use frozen raw shrimp and buy the largest size I can find, usually 21-25 per pound), 1 pound of tomatillos, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 small onion, 1 minced jalapeño pepper, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (divided), 1/2 c. fresh cilantro, 1 Tbsp. lime juice. Rinse shrimp and remove outer shells/tails. Remove husks and stems from tomatillos, rinse well, and dice. Dice the onion and mince the jalapeño pepper. Use a skillet that has a fitted lid, as you’ll need the lid later in recipe. Saute the onions and jalapeños in 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomatillos, cover with lid and reduce heat to low. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 Tbsp. water, and shrimp. Increase heat to medium and cook shrimp turn they turn pink. For cilantro rice: cook rice as usual, adding the juice of one lime to water. When done, I add 1/4 c. minced cilantro and stir. I use bagged green salad.

Thursday: Stuffed Bell Peppers

This is my favorite recipe: Low-Carb Stuffed Bell Peppers

Friday:  Smoked/BBQ Ribs with coleslaw and garlic bread

My husband likes to use baby back ribs because they are more meaty and less fatty. How do you know how many ribs to make? Well, it’s based on a number of factors really. Are you having a lot of sides? Do you want leftovers? It also depends on how hearty everyone’s appetites are. My husband likes having leftovers, so he makes about 1/2 rack per person. If you don’t want leftovers then plan 3-4 ribs for less hearty appetites.

He says: “I’m no BBQ expert, but this is a method I have tried several times with great success.” Season the baby back ribs the day before you BBQ them. Rinse and dry the ribs. Remove the membrane on underside of the ribs. Apply a light coating of vegetable or olive oil. Then liberally apply the seasoning, wrap them in clear wrap and let them sit in fridge overnight. I use the 3-2-1 method. Three hours on grill/smoker, two hours wrapped in aluminum foil on grill or oven, then one hour back on grill. This is the short version. I’ll post the whole recipe later this week on Wednesday or Thursday, so check back.

Saturday: Roasted Pork Tenderloin with kale salad and Hawaiian sweet rolls

I buy a pre-marinated pork tenderloin, looking for those low in sodium. Before cooking, I rinse and dry the tenderloin to remove even more sodium. I’ll use the bagged kale salad from Costco, shown above. Before I cut back on the carbs, I was using the Hawaiian sweet rolls. Have you every tried them? They are low in sodium. If you’ve looked at the sodium content in breads you’ll know what a find they are.

Sunday: Dinner out.
This’s the menu for this week. Please share your experiences following along with my meal plans and give me your suggestions for future meals!