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 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.


Fish Tacos

With a little inspiration from Spend with Pennies, I put my own spin on some baked fish tacos made with a Rockfish from Alaska. No need to worry about left overs because there won’t be any!

Fish Tacos

Course: Main Course
Keyword: avocado, fish, flour tortillas, tacos
Servings: 4
Author: Tina Cusker

Ingredients

Rub

  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano

Avocado Salsa

  • 1/4 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 lg tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 4 Romaine lettuce leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Taco Sauce

  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 avocado, smashed
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

Tacos

  • 1- 1 1/2 lb rockfish, cod or other white fish
  • 1 tbsp roasted shallot olive oil
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • prepared (Black Bean & Corn or Mango Habanero salsa, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub into fish fillet(s). Place fish on a parchment lined pan and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes until flaky.
  • Meanwhile, combine taco sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together until smooth and set aside.
  • Combine salsa ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  • Warm tortillas on griddle or in the microwave covered with a damp paper towel.
  • Assemble the fish tacos; tortilla, fish, avocado salsa, and fish sauce. Optional: Top with a black bean & corn salsa or mango habanero salsa and serve with tortilla chips.

Blessings,
Tina

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


Chicken & Egg Salad Sandwich

Chicken & Egg Salad

Servings: 6
Author: Tina Cusker

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked rotisserie chicken, chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 20 grapes, halved
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/8 cup pecan peices

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Serve equal portions on bread of your choosing. Add a pickle or baby cucumber as a garnish.

Easter Sunday Dinner… memories and treats to share

When you are 14 years old and incredibly self-conscious, even a 6am Easter Sunday Sunrise Service warrants a finished hair-do and makeup. It was practically the only day of the week I could sleep until 7am, so I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea. I grew up attending Sunday School and church every single Sunday, in a family church dating back to our family’s German immigrants, so it wasn’t like I was protesting attending church on one of the busiest Sundays of the year – it was all about the hour! And watching the sunrise at the same time was not exactly what I would consider necessary, or even all that special. The sun rises every day! Interestingly, this year, we actually considered attending a sunrise service, which made me chuckle just a bit thinking back to those least favorite Easter memories.

For me, Easter is about family. It is a day to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. It is a season of rebirth, spring, sunshine and white shoes. I was raised on the family farm and every Easter Sunday started with an extra special gift my father would bring home from my Grandmother. After feeding the cattle, he would stop into my grandparents home to say ‘good morning’ and chat for a few minutes, and on this particular day, she would carefully cover and hand over the basket painstakingly decorated and filled with chocolate marshmallow rabbits and eggs, solid chocolate eggs, and pastel colored m&m’s. My sister and I could hardly wait for the basket to arrive on this one day each year, diving into it as soon as it landed on the kitchen counter. When my children were growing up, I took great pleasure in filling their baskets with chocolate treats, a new outfit, a toy, video or in later years, gift cards for their favorite stores.

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