2021 Meal Planning… Menu 7

It has been a full day for healthy meals straight from our kitchen. We started off with some good, old fashioned egg salad sandwiches. Truth be told, they weren’t quite ‘old-fashioned’ but they were super healthy while still being very tasty.

Start with your bread… Manna from Heaven low carb bread. I followed “The Blood Sugar Diet” recipe, but needed to make a quick substitution due to the lack of psyllium husk powder in the grocery store. Due to a quick Google search, I opted for 2 tbsp ground chia seeds which I already had on hand. Check out my video making the bread, which I guarantee we will have again…

Next up, the Greek Yogurt Egg Salad from Damn Delicious. Instead of a crispy, warm baguette, I served a deconstructed sandwich with a small wedge of Manna from Heaven bread, a large lettuce leaf and 1/2 an avocado sliced alongside 2 scoops of egg salad.

And it’s now time for dinner…. man, we are eating well today!

Are you craving spaghetti? How about a low-carb, no sugar compromise with zucchini noodles and turkey meatballs?

Garlic Butter Zoodles with Turkey Meatballs

Course: Main Course
Keyword: butter, garlic, noodles, turkey, zoodles, zucchini

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 c grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbsp caramelized garlic olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb zucchini noodles (zoodles)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Turkey Meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix ground turkey, egg, parmesan, oil, parsley and spices to a large bowl using a wooden spoon until well incorporated.
  • Using a medium sized scooper, portion out the meatballs on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes.

Garlic Butter Zoodles

  • Melt butter in a large skillet; add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add zucchini noodles and toss in the garlic butter; squeeze the lemon for the juice.
  • Cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
  • Top with the meatballs and sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese.

The only thing that would make this day better for food would be a hot, fresh chocoalte chip cookie straight from the oven…. A girl can dream, can’t she? 😉

Blessings,
Tina

Copyright © 2021 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.


2021 Meal Planning… Menu 6

The best part of this meal plan is I’m trying new recipes and adding in foods I rarely cook. I am learning something new every day and there has yet to be a bad meal, which is certainly keeping us far more motivated. How can you beat Cornish Game Hens on a Monday night, not to mention a full set of leftovers for a second day?!

The recipe I selected is from KetoDietApp.com. Aside from adding mushrooms and not opting for the orange sauce, I did a great job following the actual recipe. The riced cauliflower stuffing was so moist, the hens so incredibly flavorful, a true win for the meal plan. You gotta try this one – whether for guests or just an ordinary day needing an extraordinary dinner.

Check out my video below walking you through the recipe…

Because of the veggie heavy riced cauliflower stuffing, I recommend serving with a side salad. However, I went ahead and roasted a side vegetable as well. I had three rutabagas in the fridge, peeled and chopped them. After tossing with caramelized garlic olive oil, salt and pepper, I roasted on a sheet pan for 40-45 min at 400°. It’s been years since I’ve had rutabagas and they were awesome! Think of them a bit like a buttered sweet potato, somewhat similar to a Yukon Gold potato – but healthier. Run, don’t walk to your grocery store and get some today…

And be sure to let us know how your Cornish game hens turn out!

Blessings,
Tina

Copyright © 2021 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.


2021 Meal Planning… Menu 5

We got to go out to dinner, like a date! I was so excited. I will admit, we cheated just a bit, but it felt so good to take a night off and enjoy one meal at one of our favorite restaurants.

For meal 5, we coupled some leftovers with a new recipe for Beet and Goat Cheese Salad. This selection was inspired by a similar salad we had shared the night before, although a little less elegant than the amazing, professional Italian chef we like so much. In addition to the recipe below, please check out my inaugural cooking video featuring this very same salad.

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Keyword: beet, goat cheese, spiralizer

Ingredients

  • 1 lb raw, spiralized beets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup roasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach, minced
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • If you are using whole beets, wash and peel and them make them into noodles using a spiralizier. If you don't have one, you can dice them. Alternatively, you may be able to purchase pre-spiralized beets in the produce section at your local grocery store.
  • Toss the beets with 2 tbls olive oil and seasoning.
  • Place on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper, spread evenly.
  • Bake for 10 minutes and then, let cool.
  • Toss with spinach, and 2 tbls olive oil and vinegar.
  • Add your goat cheese and lightly toss before adding the pecans.
  • Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Notes

*Recipe adapted from https://mylifecookbook.com. 

An extra tip… we didn’t finish this the first night and it was actually two days later before we did. While the goat cheese was a little pink, the salad was just as good the second time around which is pretty rare for vegetables tossed with vinegar and oil. The beets hold their structure well on their own. I really like the unique texture and tang to the dish. It is fun to try something new!

Blessings,
Tina

Copyright © 2021 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.


2021 Meal Planning… Menu 4

Have I told you before I eat primarily beef? I am even happy to go bunless on a burger or wrap in lettuce to reduce the calories and carbs, as long as it is beef. Since the rules haven’t changed and beef is still off limits, I am compromising for a turkey burger. I started this menu using some inspiration from https://oursaltykitchen.com/paleo-turkey-burgers/, but chose to simplify life a bit by purchasing the Butterball all-natural turkey burger patties at the grocery store and therefore created my own version of keto, low-carb turkey burgers.

Served alongside the burger are zucchini fries and string beans. I’m not going to share my recipe for zucchini fries because, let’s just say, they weren’t very good. To be honest, the flavor was fine, but they look weird and the texture was odd, I believe because the almond flour was simply not fine enough. I would have rather cut the zucchini fries – just like fries – and roasted them in the oven, or even pan fried in a bit of avocado or olive oil. They would have been just as good – maybe better. The breading of an egg, almond flour and seasoning was to trick the mind and make us think we were eating french fries, but it is time to just be honest… they are either french fries or they aren’t. Tricking the mind into thinking we are eating something we are not only lasts so long. Eventually you just desperately want a stupid french fry – who cares how much fat, starch and calories are in it!? I am not encouraging any of us to go on a french fry binge, but honestly, I would rather have 2-3 really high quality french fries once a month than outcast them for life. Moderation, people, moderation.

In the meantime, I will do the best I can to eat what I should and how I should to get my body as healthy as possible. Just don’t tell me I’ll never again taste a grain of sugar, a bite of the best tenderloin steak ever, or in this case, a hot, glorious oil laden french fry.

Turkey Burgers

Course: Main Course
Keyword: keto, low-carb, turkey
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sliced portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 med sliced onion
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 4 tbsp olive or avocado oil divided
  • 4 turkey burger patties Paleo or Keto version
  • 4 slices Vegan provolone cheese
  • 4 fried eggs cooked in ghee butter
  • 1-2 smashed avocado(s) (season with salt & pepper, add a tbls lime juice)
  • 4 lg lettuce leaves
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  • Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add two tbls oil and heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy about 10 minutes.
  • Add the peppers and onions to the skillet. Continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, until the peppers and onions soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the vegetables from heat and set aside.
  • Add the remaining oil to the skillet and cook the turkey burgers over medium heat. Season with salt & pepper. Cook until browned on each side, about 5 minuter per, or until a meat thermometer reads 165°.
  • Top each patty with a slice of provolone cheese and melt.
  • Build your burger. Place lettuce leaves on a plate, then add an equal portion of smashed avocado, add the burger with melted cheese, top with vegetables and a fried egg.

I know what you’re thinking… She’s about ready to crack. It’s barely been one week and the woman is going to lose it. Listen to her talk about french fries! Truly, I am just trying to be real. I can do this because I want the benefits on the other side of it, and honestly, I am enjoying alot of these meals. I am cooking things I rarely do, or maybe have never even tried, and they are really good. However, I will be the first to say, in many cases it is taking more time and is more work to get all these vegetables prepped, cooked and everything on the table at the right time.

Overall, I would say we can adopt many of these low-carb principles forever. We could stand to eat far less rice and potatoes, we can easily remove buns from our burgers, add two-to-three times as many vegetables, and eat much smaller portions. We will be healthier, stronger, and more than likely, thinner. Here we go, quickly moving into week 2 and looking forward to it!

Are you interested in checking out the weekly meal planner? Download your copy today… (this file will keep updating as we move throughout the 6-week program)

And remember, please let us know how you are doing on your 2021 healthy eating goals!

Blessings,
Tina

Copyright © 2021 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.


2021 Meal Planning… Menu 3

Most of us have experienced days that take on their own identity, their own schedule. That was Day 3 of our new meal plan, so leftover fish was the only option for dinner, pushing the promised Chicken Fajitas to day 4, but menu 3.

I think its safe to say, it was worth waiting for!

Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled, mixed with chunky chicken sausage, sautéed spinach, mushrooms and onions. Add some chopped avocado on the side and you will be full for hours! This can be cooked as a scramble or an omelet, your choice.
Decaf Tea

Lunch: Left over salmon and roasted cauliflower

The cravings were pretty strong today. I should win a gold medal for passing right by the Christmas caramels in the pantry! I tried to keep the urges at bay with extra water and some cashews for snacking. I have to admit, the touch of salty seemed to do the trick for an hour or two until I was again wishing for a little sweet treat. There is something about being told you can’t have something and therefore that’s all the mind wants.

Dinner: Chicken Fajitas with a sprouted corn tortilla shell
Smashed avocados, lettuce & vegan shredded Mozarella cheese

chicken fajitas
Low Carb Chicken Fajitas, Keto Approved
I made some tweaks to the fajita recipe, simply to keep them more mild for my personal preferences. I did not include any chili powder and maybe only a 1/4 tsp of cumin. Due to the fact we aren’t supposed to have any condiments right now, I elected for the ground mustard rather than the Dijon, and instead of chicken thighs I used breast meat. The meat was incredibly tender and flavorful – pretty much perfect with the adjustments. No cilantro – it’s one of the herbs this family does not eat at all, and only 1 pepper, 1/2 red and 1/2 orange. Gosh, I guess I made more changes than I thought… I also never use red onion because my husband doesn’t care for them, and my preference is vidalia sweet onions, but it was less than half. As a result of all these edits, I’ve provided my altered recipe below…

The fajita is layered with cheese on the bottom, topped with a dollop of smashed avocados (mixed with a bit of lime juice, salt & pepper), lettuce, chicken mixed with peppers and onions and topped with a tablespoon more cheese for color.

Low Carb Chicken Fajitas

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: fajitas, keto, low-carb, mexican
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Fajita Seasoning

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Fajitas

  • 2 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee butter, divided
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breast, chopped (for stir fry)
  • 1/2 med bell pepper, red
  • 1/2 med bell pepper, yellow or orange
  • 1/2 med Vidalia sweet onion

For serving…

  • 1 1/2 small avocados, smashed
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Vegan (non-dairy) mozarella, shredded

Instructions

  • Combine all the ingredients for the fajitas seasoning.
  • In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, lime juice, mustard and fajita seasonings. Toss in chicken chunks until well coated. Let chicken marinate while you prepare the vegetables.
  • Slice the onions and peppers.
  • Heat 1 tbls. butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook another 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Melt the remaining 1 tbls. butter in the same skillet and brown the chicken. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until heated through. Return the onion and pepper to the pan to heat.
  • Compile the fajitas in the corn tortillas; avocado, lettuce, cheese, chicken, onions and peppers.

I can honestly say the meals are really superb – flavorful and filling – which is so important to keep me focused and on-target. I hope you’re finding the same success if you’re following along with us. We would love to hear how you’re doing!

Blessings,
Tina

Copyright © 2020 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.


2021 Meal Planning… Day 2

In case you missed it, we’re on a diet. Oh, I hate that word! So, we are on a new “meal plan” to try and reset my leptin resistance and finally lose some excess pounds. The plan was prescribed by my naturopath and I figure we’ve got nothing to lose except a little fat…

It has been another successful day. I’m feeling great, and keeping the faith that I can do this! The cravings are certainly there at times, but diligence and perseverance are winning! The best part is I’m really not hungry throughout the day. Starting off with a high protein breakfast really makes a huge difference in my world. There might also be something to sharing this journey with you. After all, studies show that when we openly share our goals and state them out loud, we are more likely to achieve them. I know I do better when others are counting on me; I am far more accountable to you than to myself. I can make excuses to myself but you will certainly see right through that!

Tuesday’s Menu…

Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled, mixed with chunky chicken sausage, chopped avocado and a small handful of steamed spinach
Decaf Tea

Lunch: 1 hard boiled egg
10 cashews + 4 almonds
3 Mary’s Gone Crackers crackers topped with goat cheese

Dinner: Honey Garlic Sockeye Salmon
Roasted Cauliflower, tossed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper
Side salad (spinach, romaine, mushrooms, zucchini, cucumber & pecans tossed with balsamic vinegar and avocado oil

I was able to find the Harmless Hunny sugar free honey at Rosauer’s Grocery. It does have a bit of an aftertaste but once it was cooked with the soy sauce, garlic and lemon juice, and glazed over the salmon, I didn’t notice it at all. Normally, I will not use any sugar substitutes, but of course for this recipe it was worth a try.

Again, this salmon came from Peelers Alaska Seafood food truck that sells in front of SIMMS in Four Corners. Check out his Facebook page or website, https://www.peelerswildalaskaseafood.com/ for more information on his schedule and offerings. They can be found frequently in central and western Montana and are well worth the trip.

I’m actually looking forward to tomorrow’s menu (teaser… chicken fajitas), and I can honestly say when I have tried a diet (meal plan) before, that’s rarely the case. I am not feeling deprived, haven’t had any acid reflux this week, and haven’t had any afternoon sleepiness. Let’s just hope the scale at the end of the week agrees with me!

Blessings,
Tina

Copyright © 2020 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.