February 21, 2017

Savoury Breakfast Muffins or Cookies


As some of you may know I eat my breakfast on the train due to my work commute. I am always on the look out for on-the-go breakfasts that actually taste good!

I have found quite a few sweet options but never a good savoury one. I am more of a savoury breakfast kind of girl. I am not a fan of cold or reheated eggs so mufflets were not at the top of my to-try list. 

Well, my on-the-go savoury breakfast wishes have come true! I came up with this recipe by tweaking another recipe I found online. 





Recipe

Savoury Breakfast Cookies/Muffins - THM S & Low Carb. 

Makes 12 cookies or muffins. 

Store the finished cookies/muffins in the refrigerator or freezer for a great grab and go breakfast! I reheat mine for 20 seconds as I'm running out the door, but they also taste awesome cold. Make sure you let them fully cool on a cooling rack before packing them away. No-one likes a soggy breakfast! 

Ingredients: 
* 100g of pork sausage or the sausage meat from inside a 10 pack of breakfast sausages. I used the Hellers brand because they seem to have the cleanest ingredients list at my supermarket. 
* 6 pieces of streaky bacon (or similar) chopped
* ½ cup onion, diced 
* 1 cup of capsicum/peppers, diced (about 2 large). 
* ½ teaspoon salt
* ½ teaspoon pepper
* ½ teaspoon garlic powder
* 1-2 teaspoons of your favourite dried herbs (to taste). 
* 1 cup almond flour
* 1/2 cup protein isolate powder (or more almond flour)
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 6 eggs
* 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (optional another 1/2 cup for sprinkling over top)



Method: 
1. Preheat oven to 190 C or 375 F. 
2. Remove the sausage meat from the casings and break it up to resemble ground meat. 
3. Sauté the sausage meat, bacon, onions and capsicums/peppers until the meat is browned and the vegetables are soft. Take off heat and let cool.
4. In the meantime, to a large bowl, add almond flour, protein powder, salt, pepper, seasonings and baking powder and mix. Move mixture to the side of the bowl. 
5. In the other side of the bowl add in and beat the eggs, then add the cup of cheese and mix into the eggs. 
6. Mix the eggs and cheese in with the flour mixture. Then add the cooled sausage mixture and mix to combine.
7. Place big spoonfuls of the mixture on a cookie sheet/tray lined with greased baking paper, as you would to make cookies. I use an ice cream scoop for this step. Alternatively, you can scoop the batter into a greased and lined muffin pan (or use silicone). 
8. My batter was quite runny, for this recipe that's normal. Sprinkle with cheese (optional) and bake for 8-10 minutes. 

It's important that you cool these on a rack, so if you made muffins remove them from the pan as soon as they are cool enough to handle. If you leave them too long they will go soggy. Once they have fully cooled, store them in an air-tight container in your fridge or freezer. 

For more THM recipes check out my social media: 


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To find out more about THM go here: http://www.trimhealthymama.com/



February 17, 2017

5 Minute Sugar-Free Microwave Caramel Sauce - THM S


Oh wow this stuff is good! 

I came up with this recipe one day when I needed some caramel sauce for a recipe, but my stovetop was covered in trays of cooling baked goods (what a wonderful problem to have!).

The end product is rich, sweet and super tasty!

I add extra salt sometimes to make a salted caramel sauce. YUM! 



Recipe


5 Minute Sugar-Free Microwave Caramel Sauce - THM SIngredients: 

1/4 cup of butter salted or unsalted
1/4 cup of powdered gentle sweet (or equivalent) 
1/2 tsp of black strap molasses
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
Salt to taste

Instructions:


  1. Melt your butter in a microwave-safe bowl or jug.
  2. Add in the sweetener, molasses and cream. Stir well. 
  3. Microwave on high for 2 mins. 
  4. Stir and microwave on high for another 2 mins. It will be bubbly and be a caramel colour. 
  5. Stir in the vanilla and salt. 
As it cools it will thicken.

If you plan to use it straight away, you are done. I have found though, if I plan to keep it in the fridge and use it later, it needs some xanthan gum to stop it from separating. After step 6 sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of XG from a salt shaker and whisk the sauce like crazy until it is dissolved. This will stop it from separating later in the fridge. When you are ready to use it just warm it for 10 seconds in the microwave to reach a pourable consistency. 

We love this on top of THM friendly ice cream or on top of cookies. This is also good stirred into yogurt. For a cross-over snack you could dip apples into it!

For more THM recipes check out my social media: 


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Comment below and let me now how you use this yummy sauce. 

Love and blessings, Brooke. 

January 31, 2017

How I made 52 THM friendly 'TV dinners' for $150-ish NZD

Hi there! Welcome to my first Trim Healthy Mama (THM) related post. I have been eating this way for about 4 months now and feel amazing! 


The Back Story: 

With any new way of eating comes some learning curves. On some days meant more time in the kitchen than I would like. I work outside the home and often don't get home until around 6:00pm. Often, despite having meal-planned, I needed to give myself a pep-talk to get in the kitchen to make what I had planned. THM recipes/meals don't have to be hard or time-consuming. To be honest, you can fry a pork chop, steam some veges, add some butter and you're done. Though I'm not that kind of cook, I like to try new recipes and experiment. Thank goodness Mr D will pretty much eat whatever comes out of our kitchen, even on the fail days! 

I must have been doing something right though because I feel great! I'm down 13kgs (30lbs) and have so much more energy!!!  Everyone is on their own journey to better health, if you would like more info on THM I suggest you check out this website: http://www.trimhealthymama.com/



Anyway, back to my meal prep! Ok so 4 months in I felt I knew what THM friendly meals we were liking and I wanted to try fill my freezer with single serve meals so we could grab them out for dinners and work lunches. Mr D is often home late so this works well for us! I don't have to wait for him to get home before I eat at night, and he doesn't have to think about what to take to work for lunch the next day if there are no left-overs. 


HOW I DID IT: 


These are the meals that are now in my freezer (in varying amounts with 52 meals in total). 

I will continue to add our review's in red next to each one as we try them from the freezer. 


  • Mexican pork with cauliflower rice and cheese (S) - Yummy! Garnished with chopped coriander and sour cream. 
  • BBQ pork with non-startchies and loaded mashed cauliflower (S) - The meat was so tender! That sauce is fantastic! The CF mash can let off a bit of liquid, I generally just tip it out of the corner of the container
  • Pork roast and gravy with non-startchies and loaded mashed cauliflower (S) 
  • Creamy cheese & herb pork with non-startchies and loaded mashed cauliflower (S) - Yummy, the flavours work and the meat is really tender. 
  • Beef korma curry with cauliflower rice (S) - 10/10! My favourite! Garnished with a little coriander. Yummo!
  • Beef roast with mushroom gravy, non-startchies and loaded mashed cauliflower (S)
  • Mexican beef with cauliflower rice and cheese (S)
  • Pesto chicken with roasted non-startchies and steamed broccoli (S) 
  • Ranch chicken with roasted non-startchies and steamed broccoli (S)
  • Lemon pepper chicken with roasted non-startchies and steamed broccoli (S)
  • Tandoori chicken with cauliflower rice (S)
  • BBQ chicken with cauliflower rice and broccoli (FP) 
  • Mexican chicken with black beans and cauliflower rice (E) - Really yummy! I stirred it all up once heated. Topped with a dollop of low-fat yoghurt (as a sour cream sub) and coriander. 



I made mostly S meals because we prefer our E meals at breakfast or as snacks. 

Before I begin, some disclaimers: 



To the purists: I am not a purist and one thing I learnt early in my research was that a good freezer meal you need sauce or gravy so that it doesn't reheat dried out. I wanted a variety of flavours in my freezer to keep us coming back for more, so half my sauces were store-bought personal choice sauces and half were home made. This kept the prep time a little shorter while providing variety! By all means, make all your own sauces/gravies if you wish. 

To the busy Mums/Moms: First off, I know you work really really hard in your full-time job as a mum. I don't have kids and I did this prep in chunks over a 3-day long weekend (it was a holiday weekend here in NZ).  I know that you may not have the spare time to do this all in one go. I suggest you do it in bits, freezing portions as you go. 

To those on a budget: I suggest buying your meat cuts when you find them on sale and freezing them. Before you plan to cook them for meal prep, thaw them out safely over-night. Also, buy whichever vegetables are in season. I got mine from a local farmers market which is the best price where I live. The only 'special' ingredient I used was xanthan gum, which can be found in most supermarketsI'm from New Zealand and here in NZ groceries can be expensive. Bear in mind that my prices may not match your local currency or store prices. If you have the time, I suggest shopping around leading up to your meal prep day. 

Last disclaimer: This is just a guide as to how I went about this, you may not like all my recipe ideas. Make it your own. I only finished this all yesterday, so of course, I haven't actually tried reheating most of the meals yet, so I can't say they are 'tried and true'. They are however recipes I have made before and served straight from the oven. I did do my research before starting out, but I am sitting here thinking...'gosh I hope the cauliflower rice turns out ok once reheated!' I have had one of the pork meals with creamy cheese sauce and it reheated well and tasted yummy :) 

The Method

Phase 1: Shopping: 

1-2 hours depending on how you shop. 

I started out with a budget of about $100 for meat and vegetables. I then used about $50ish (I may be over estimating this number) of pantry items I already had on hand. Considering I ended up with 4 weeks of meals I am super happy with this final cost. At $2.80 a meal, I'm stoked! (That's a bit of kiwi slang for you). I worked out that I easily spend $100-$150 a week on dinner ingredients when cooking each night as I used to.  

Meat: 
I wanted to spend about $60 on meat. So I bought $20 worth of 3 different types of meat (one was from a previous week and frozen) that were on sale. At the time I had no idea how far it would go. I suggest you just buy whichever meat is on sale, most will work with these flavour options. 

I got: 
  • 1x Pork leg roast - 3.5kg bone in, $20 on sale. 
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast - 2kg for $20 
  • 2x small beef pot roasts I had bought a few weeks earlier on sale - $20
Vegetables:
I bought all non-starchy vegetables so as to ensure they could go with any meal (S, E or FP).

For $30 at my local market I bought: 
  • 8 zucchini 
  • 5 bunches of radishes 
  • 3 bags of beans 
  • 4 cauliflowers
  • 2 broccoli 
  • 3 bags of mushrooms 
I suggest you just buy whichever vegetables are on sale that can be roasted. 


The Sauces
As mentioned above, I decided to buy half my sauces already made (all fitting guidelines for being on plan as personal choice) and I made the other half. 

What I bought pre-made:
  • Salsa
  • Ranch dressing 
  • Tandoori curry spice mix with no added sugar which I added to yoghurt to make a tandoori marinade.
    Tandoori spiced chicken with CF Rice
  • Basil pesto (made with olive oil so I only made 2  meals with this due to the fact that we are told to avoid heating olive oil on THM, I realised that after I bought it, oops!) 
I then bought ingredients to make my own sauces. These are explained more below with recipes. 

Also, you will need freezer safe containers. I used a variety of kinds to see which I like best for next time. 


Phase 2 - The Vegetable Prep 
About 1 hour prep time.

I chopped all my vegetables (except the broccoli, 1 bag of mushrooms and 2 of the cauliflowers) and roasted them in my oven on 4 big trays. Before roasting, I sprayed with a little cooking spray and seasoned them with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. I used the fan-bake setting on my oven so I could cook them all at once. The prep time took about 30 mins and they cooked for about 20ish mins. I just kept an eye on them. If you have a smaller oven I suggest you do it in batches. 

I then steamed my broccoli in the microwave and riced the 2 raw cauliflowers in my food processor. Finally I seasoned the raw cauliflower rice with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and dried herbs. 

Before putting the cooled roasted veges in the fridge I separated out the roasted cauliflower and put it in my food processor. I then added cream, cheese, chives, cream cheese, bacon and butter and whizzed it up to make cauliflower mash. It tasted amazing! Obviously, it's an S with all that satisfying fat :) 

Phase 3 - The Meat
1-hour prep all up. 

Pork and Beef- Slow Cooker

I completed phase 1 and 2 in one afternoon. I then put the pork roast and beef roasts in slow cookers that evening just before bed so they would cook while we slept. I have 2 slow cookers. If you only have 1 I suggest you put one cut on to cook in the morning of day one before you do any other shopping or prep. Then at the end of the day take out the meat, break it up so it cools faster, keep 3-4 cups of the cooking liquid and then cook your other cut while you sleep. Be sure to store all cooked meat in the fridge once cooled. 

I wanted to be able to add different sauces and gravies to these meats once cooked, so I needed a basic seasoning blend to start off the flavours. Before cooking them I seasoned each one with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Then to the beef I added some dried herbs and the pork I added paprika and cinnamon. I then cooked them in some stock (beef stock for the beef and chicken stock for the pork). Each cut cooked for 12 hours on low. 

Chicken- Oven 

I made the tandoori chicken marinade by mixing an Indian spice blend with some yoghurt. I then cut some of the chicken into pieces about the size of tenders and marinated them in the fridge while I cooked the other chicken. 

I cut the rest of the chicken breasts up into strips and divided them 5 ways. I then seasoned them all and cooked them. It didn't take very long to season them as explained below. You just lay them on the tray and whack the stuff on there! Hehe. I used 1 tray for many different flavours. 

Seasonings I chose: 
Pesto Chicken!
  • Lemon pepper and butter: salt, lemon pepper, garlic powder, lemon pepper, dried herbs and then a brushing of melted butter.
  • Pesto: I spread pesto on top. It was easy. 
  • Ranch: I used a store bought ranch dressing and smothered it on the chicken. You could make your own ranch. I also added salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and dried herbs. 
  • Taco seasoning mix (in THM recipe book or store bought) 
  • BBQ seasoning: smoky paprika, salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and chilli powder (optional). 

Phase 4 - The Sauces 

I did some research and found out that the key to not having a dry dinner reheated after freezing, is to have a sauce of some kind. The sauces are what give variety of flavours in y meals. I used the same cut of roasted meat to make many different types of meals, as I'll explain below. 

My sauces:
1 hour prep/cook time. 

Store bought: 
  • Salsa - added to beef, pork and chicken pieces with taco seasoning to make Mexican flavoured meat.
  • Ranch dressing - used as explained above, plus I poured extra over the ranch chicken.
  • Basil pesto - used as explained above. 
Home-made sauces:

Before assembling your meals you need to make these sauces and let them cool. For the sauces I made I kind of just winged it, so please, add ingredients to taste. It took me about an hour to make all these sauces. 

  • Korma curry sauce: A korma spice mix (found in my supermarket, you could make your own) with yoghurt, cooked onions, coconut milk, sweetener and butter. Mix it all together and set aside. No need to heat it. 
  • BBQ sauce: I used this recipe and it's so good I could drink it! http://www.briana-thomas.com/perfect-barbecue-sauce-and-pulled-pork/
  • Mushroom gravy for the beef: In a pot bring 2-3 cups of the cooking liquid (left in the slow cooker, if there isn't that much then just use what you have) and 1 cup of water to a boil. Taste for seasoning. Mine didn't need any more salt. I added in dried herbs, garlic, butter (about 1tbsp) and a bag of chopped mushrooms. Simmer for about 5-10 mins. Put some xantham gum or gluccie in a salt shaker, shake some over the gravy and whisk like mad. Do this until you get a thin sauce. It will thicken as it cools. Set aside to cool. 
  • Pork gravy: I had 1 large onion chopped in my slow cooker pot before cooking the pork. I used a slotted spoon to remove the onion and added it to a pot with 2-3 cups of the cooking liquid and a cup of water. Bring to a boil. Add in some cream (about 2 tbsp), dried herbs, garlic and butter (about 1 tbsp). Simmer for 5-10 mins then add the xantham gum or gluccie the same way as described above in the for the mushroom gravy.
  • Creamy cheese herb sauce: Pour all the cooking juices from your basil pesto chicken, lemon pepper chicken and ranch chicken into a pot. Add about a cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Add about 2 Tbsp of cream and 1 Tbsp of butter. Mix. Simmer for 5-10 mins. Remove from heat and add 3/4 cup of grated cheese of choice. If it isn't very thick then thicken the same way you thicken the gravy. 



Phase 5 - Assembly

Make sure all your meal components have cooled. Once you have finished assembling one batch of a meal, put it in the freezer before starting a new one. 

THE PORK:

I pulled the pork into bite size pieces. I then added a serving size (what ever is enough for you) into containers until I ran out. 

I then counted them and considered how many different sauces/flavours I wanted to put the with the pork (5). This helped me work out how many of each meal I would make. I made equal amounts of each meal and assembled as described below: 

Mexican pork with cauliflower rice and cheese (S): Add cauliflower rice to half the container with the pork. On top of the pork put: taco seasoning blend, salsa and some cheese. 


BBQ pork with non-startchies and loaded mashed cauliflower (S): Put your veges in the container and then pour the BBQ sauce over the pulled pork. 

Pork roast and gravy with non-startchies and loaded mashed cauliflower (S): Add veges and mash to container and spoon the gravy over the meat. 

Creamy cheese & herb pork with non-startchies and loaded mashed cauliflower (S):
Add veges and mash to container and spoon creamy cheese herb sauce over the meat. 

THE BEEF:

I pulled the beef to pieces and did the same as I had with the pork, deviding it between my containers. I then made equal amounts of the meals below: 

Beef korma curry with cauliflower rice (S): Add cauliflower rice to other-half of the dish and then spoon the curry sauce over the beef. Sprinkle with chopped almonds (optional). 

Beef roast with mushroom gravy, non-startchies and loaded mashed cauliflower (S): add all to the container and spoon the mushroom gravy over the beef. 

Mexican beef with cauliflower rice and cheese (S): Assemble the same way as the Mexican pork. 


THE CHICKEN:

Pesto chicken with roasted non-startchies and steamed broccoli (S): Divide out the pesto chicken into serving sizes that suit you. Add the sides. 

Ranch chicken with roasted non-startchies and steamed broccoli (S): Divide out the chicken, add more ranch and also add your sides. 

Lemon pepper chicken with roasted non-startchies and steamed broccoli (S): The chicken didn't have a sauce with it so I added the cheese herb sauce over the divided out chicken pieces. Then added the sides. 



Tandoori chicken with cauliflower rice (S): Assemble as suggested. 

BBQ chicken with cauliflower rice and broccoli (FP): Add your BBQ seasoned chicken to containers and cover in BBQ sauce. Add sides. 

Mexican chicken with black beans and cauliflower rice (E): Layer bottom to top: - cauliflower rice, squeeze of lime (optional), beans, chicken, taco seasoning and salsa. Sprinkle with some chopped cilantro (optional)


Label and freeze as you go. 

The Future:


Reheating the meals: Defrost in the fridge overnight. Microwave for 1-2 minutes until hot. I like to stir mine half way through. ENJOY! 

Keeping the freezer stoked: I plan to cook 10 more meals (1 meal with 10 servings) once a week to add to the freezer. This way I should hopefully not run out of meals. This also means I will still be able to try new recipes! YAY! 


Have any recipe ideas for what I should prep next? Comment bellow :) 



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