Sunday, December 27, 2015

Come Back Sauce

Do you have any family members who could be classified as "dippers?" We have several generations of them. No matter what they're eating, it's got to have a condiment added to it. My grand-daughter has even eaten a honey bun with ranch dressing. While you are absorbing that combination, she gets it honest. She inherited the ranch and/or ketchup on anything to be consumed gene from her Daddy.

Back a few months ago, Andy noticed we ran out of JD white sauce for his grilled chicken. I told him it kind of reminded me of something I'd eaten in Mississippi at Hal and Mal's many moons ago and had read about in one of the many Sweet Potato Queens books I owned (where I found out about Death Corn Five). Needless to say, I couldn' put my hand on my book so I Googled it and found this verion from Southern Bite which was perfect!

I didn't change a thing from the recipe and now I have to keep a batch on hand at all times. It's good on just about anything. Andy eats it on chicken, shrimp, crab cakes, crackers, etc. Go ahead and pick up a condiment bottle with a cap on it...or two or three. It's that good. I mix a double batch every time I can. For some reason, chili sauce is hard to find in our small town. I buy several bottles any time I see it so we don't run out.

3/4 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
1/3 cup Heinz Chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspooon onion powder.

Whisk all the ingredients until well blended. Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for a few hours before using.

Sun-Drop Punch

What is it about the holidays that make you want to break out the punch bowl and mix up a concoction that is safe for the kiddos to drink and just as good for the adults to add a little somethin', somethin' to?

This recipe is one I've had scratched out on a note from either a bridal or baby shower I helped give from way back when. In the South, we love our Sun-Drop. There's no other drink like it. I've had to limit myself over the years as it is quite addictive. Many years ago I switched over to the Diet version and when they came out with an unleaded option that was almost as good as the real thing, all I can say is I've gone there and won't go back. Some of my friends just shake their heads and say "bless her heart." Every so often, for old times sake, I'll grab a returnable bottle with the real cap and I can almost see the pulp floating in it. That citrus pulp is what makes the flavor so unique.

If you're making a batch for a bridal shower put pretty lemon slices on top. For a small family get-together I cut the recipe in half and using my smallest ice cream scoop, float balls of orange sherbert. My serving container will hold around two and a half gallons so I can go either way. However, since I am limiting sugars, I sure don't need that much hanging around.

(Chill everything before mixing)
3 - two liter Sun-Drops (Diet, caffiene-free is a good option)
2 - 46 oz. cans of pineapple juice
2 - 12 oz. cans frozen lemonade

Pour all ingredients in a punch bowl and mix well. Garnish with one of the two options below.

Option 1: 3-4 lemons (sliced to float)
Option 2: Orange sherbert

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Loaded Cauliflower Salad

My Mother makes the best potato salad hands down. Granted, I was old before I accidentally found out how she made it and now mine is almost as good as hers. Along the way, I experimented with numerous ways to fix potato salad. Running in close competition to Momma's is my baked potato salad. To say I could hurt myself eating it is an understatement.

Since my husband and I have made adjustments regarding what we eat; a substitute was in order. Back several months ago, Angie and I were discussing all the different ways you could substitute potatoes with cauliflower and this was one of the recipes that came up. Is it a 100% replacement for real deal potatoes? No, it's not. Is it a great substitute when you are cutting back on your carbs? Absolutely!

Cauliflower head, cut up, steamed and drained well
Green onions, chopped
Bacon bits
Shredded cheddar cheese
Hellman's mayonnaise
Sour cream
Ranch dressing
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional, chopped chives

This is one I'm not including the exact amounts of each item as it will depend on how much cauliflower you yield. I add mayo and a small amount of sour cream to the cauliflower (let it cool a little) and chopped onions until it's a creamy consistency. Then I add a few squirts of the ranch dressing, salt and pepper to taste. Once that is mixed in, I add the cheese. Blend it in and top with additional green onion tops and bacon bits. Serve chilled.

Left Over Roast Beef Hash

Does it seem like when you fix a roast or pork loin in the crock pot you have just enough meat left over that you don't know what to do with it? Times when you end up with no carrots and potatoes so you're stuck with making sandwiches (which you're sick of doing)? Here's an alternative way to use leftover roast for breakfast or brunch on the weekends. Be sure to save some of the broth when you remove the meat from the crock pot. Whether it's beef, pork or even goat (especially around the 4th of July), Andy likes to fix a hash that he can serve over biscuits the next morning. We've eliminated regular biscuits from our diet and substituted with low-carb English muffins and that has worked out great.

When I think of hash, I normally think of a thick consistency. Andy, on the other hand, likes to add extra broth so we end up with what I call a "meat gravy." If you're like me, just back off how much broth you add or cook long enough to reduce the liquid. Adjust the amount of onion and potatoes to suit yourself. Again, as we have monitored our carb intake going on five months now, we have found there are many foods we have been able to add back in our diet in moderation or great substitutes.

As a side note, the flavorful Mississippi roast might be a little too spicy for breakfast fare. I'm referring to a traditional roast with onions, potatoes and carrots that our Mommas and Grandmas have fixed on Sundays for years.

Leftover roast beef, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
In a large skillet saute onions in a little butter--Cook long enough to just get them broken up well. 
Add meat and about 1/2 cup of broth and mix well. 
As the onions start to cook through, stir in enough beef broth to cook the potatoes in. Bring to a boil.
Add a little salt and a lot of black pepper.
Add the diced potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender. Add additional broth as needed.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cauli and Cheese

If I had to pick one thing I miss the most about our food-style change, it would have to be pasta. Dreamfield's pasta has been a pretty decent substitute but you can't eat it as frequently as I did growing up. And what about a big dish of macaroni and cheese? When the boys were young, I probably fixed it a little more frequently compared to what I would do with just Andy and myself since I consider it kid food. If grand kids are coming over, it's definitely going to be on the menu. There are some dishes that call out for that cheesy dish on the meatloaf, green beans and mashed potatoes. Since mashed potatoes have been replaced with mashed cauliflower, I thought I'd combine the best of both worlds. This is simple and if you close your eyes really, really tight, you might think you're eating macaroni and cheese. Fool your kids? Maybe...if they're really hungry!
Cut up one head of cabbage into small pieces.
Steam the cauliflower until it is very, very tender.
You could melt Velveeta cheese and milk or, take the easy way out and add a pack of cheese sauce. 
Lightly salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Andy's Easy Red Chili

It's barely above freezing this morning so I'm thinking about how good a pot of chili would be on a night like this. 
 Andy makes a simple red chili we love to eat. It's not spicy, but you can add as much heat to it as  you want. We love to eat it with my homemade pimiento cheese scooped up in a Frito Scoops chip with a jalapeno on top. The combination of the hot chili, cold, tangy cheese, salty Frito and hot jalapeno is to die for!!

When we compared chili recipes, he thought mine was just not chili in his opinion...kind of like how he thinks white chili is not chili. Thankfully we are an agree to disagree type of couple and normally agree the majority of the time. Both of ours are very similar so since half of you might have the same taste I do, I've included my additions and substitutions.


1 lb. hamburger 
1 medium/large chopped onion*
1 can pinto beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1-2 12 oz. cans tomato juice 
Tomato paste
Chili powder, salt & pepper to taste

In a skillet or the pot you planning on cooking the chili in, brown hamburger and chopped onion*
Salt & pepper the meat and onions and cook. Drain fat when meat is cooked through and onions are tender.

Add one can drained pinto beans (you don't have to rinse, just drain the extra liquid off), diced tomatoes (or diced Mexican tomatoes if you like more flavor**), tomato juice (More flavor substitute with V-8)***. Start with one can and add another if you like your chili soupier.. Andy wants the spoon to stand up in the pot and if it doesn't, he adds a can of tomato paste to thicken 

Add chili powder to taste.****  Serve with pimiento cheese, jalapeƱo and Fritos. Or, top on a hot dog with cole slaw!

Denise's Additional/Substituted Chili Ingredients
*Add green peppers to the meat and onions. 
**Mexican tomatoes
***V-8 juice
***For heat add cayenne pepper or hot sauce.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mississippi Roast with Potatoes and Carrots

We received an invitation for dinner and checking out my son and daughter-in-law's new house last month. Amanda treated us to a delicious Mississippi Roast and several other mouth-watering dishes. The pictures with the pepperoncinis slow cooking caught my attention, but I had never taken the time to fix this.Big mistake. Once you prepare a roast this way, all the other options pale in comparison. My son Andrew was eating with us that night and he said, "get plenty of the broth." Seriously, I could have used a straw!!! I went to and found their recipe matched up to what Amanda used and I added my own twist.
I made a layer of carrots slices, tiny yellow potatoes cut in half and one sliced sweet onion under the beef roast. On top of the roast, I sprinkled some black pepper and one pack each of Ranch dressing mix and au jus gravy mix. I laid a stick of butter and six pepperoncinis on top of the seasonings. Because I had veggies cooking in the bottom, I added about 1/2 cup of water down the sides. Setting the temperature to high, I let this slow cook for four and a half hours. I turned the heat down to low and let it cook all night (an additional eight hours). The bone was removing itself from the meat when I raised the lid. Tender, tender, tender!!
After an hour or so, the stick of butter had dissolved. I can't wait for Momma to come over tonight and enjoy this!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

KEEPER ALERT! Go ahead and print this out, bookmark or whatever you need to do so that you have it close at hand.  I was lucky to get a couple of spoonfuls of this dish on my plate. My kids and husband just about wiped it out before I served myself.

I saw this in Courtney Luper's Facebook feed and I shared it to my Man, That Stuff is Good wall so I could try it out later and I'm so glad I did. It's already on the menu for this week. Spaghetti squash is one of our regulars in the garden. The plants started out gang busters and I thought I would have a lot to fix. Sadly the insane rain we received early in the planting season gave way to extreme drought and I was lucky to get two squash to fix. We love spaghetti squash no matter how it's fixed. Stuffed or as a pasta substitute, you can't go wrong.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a skillet saute one medium onion in three tablespoons of butter. Season with salt, pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. The original recipe called for 1 teaspoon. I backed off and it still had a little bite of heat.
 Cook one medium spaghetti squash (or two small).
 Use a fork to remove the spaghetti squash.
 In a mixing bowl combine spaghetti squash and cooked onions.
 Blend in 3/4 cup of sour cream and one half cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. 
Spread in a small casserole dish and top with additional cheese. 
I sprinkled a little shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup) on top before putting in the oven.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

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Sugar Free Cheesecake Pie Filling in a Low Carb Nutty Crust

So now that I've posted several healthy food recipes in a row, I didn't want you to think I've forgotten my husband's sweet tooth. Since we got his stellar 90-day follow-up results, I'm going to start expanding my not bad for you dessert collection.

You all have heard me going on about my newest recipe book, "Taking Out The Carbage," by DJ Foodie which arrived last week. While flipping through the beautiful glossy pages I saw a recipe for a pie crust that is a low carb substitute for a graham cracker crust. Well you know I had to fix it that night. We always  have a bag of low sodium almonds around for a snack so I was covered there. Since this was a spur of the moment decision, I filled it with the "fuller" version of Sugar Free Cheesecake instant pudding and pie filling recipe. The filling takes a good three hours to set so you can't rush this option. We dug in a little sooner than that, but there were no complaints in the Grisham household.

It was so good Andy has since been trying to convince me to cut the pie into six pieces instead of eight. I have not lost that battle. Yet. This Wednesday I'll be springing a Low Carb Egg Custard Pie on Andy and Momma which will hopefully be an acceptable substitute for the Buttermilk Pies he loves. I'll report back on how it goes.
 Using my Pampered Chef chopper, I finely chopped 1-1/2 cups* roasted almonds. Next time I will use my food processor as it took a lot of chopping. Dump the crushed nuts into a medium bowl.
 Add 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of melted butter and one tablespoon of honey and mix well.
 Mash the mixture on the bottom and sides to line a pie dish.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes. Let cool before adding your filling.
 Fill with your favorite pie filling.

*There are approximately 7.4 ounces of roasted almonds in this pie crust. 
So plan on using a little over 1/2 of a 14 oz. bag of almonds.

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Mashed Cauliflower Is A Great Potato Substitute

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas...Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans...Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy...Shepherd's pie...the list could go on forever. If there's one thing I love to eat, it's real mashed potatoes. I have tried the fake ones a few times many, many moons ago but no matter how I "doctored" them up, I never was convinced they were a suitable substitute.

Now that we have a different relationship with the food we eat; I'm not saying I'll never fixed mashed potatoes again. I'm saying I'll just fix a normal amount so that we will only consume regular portions as opposed to vats of creamy goodness. In between that rare occasion, I will gladly substitute in its place equally delicious mashed cauliflower.  Is it exact? No. Could you fool your kids? Possibly. Will my Momma eat it? Oh yes! We have fixed this numerous times and absolutely love it.
 Cut up a head of cauliflower into pieces. Boil or steam (my preference) until tender.
 Drain the water from the cauliflower. Be sure to shake and turn to get as much of the water out as possible.
 With your potato masher, smash the cauliflower until it is smooth with minimal chunks. *I have used an electric hand mixer, but I prefer using a masher.
Add a few tablespoons of butter, sour cream, salt and pepper. Mash in and blend well.
Dig in with a fork and taste. Add additional seasoning to suit your taste.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Healthier Zucchini Lasagne

Raise your hand if you have some weird shaped zucchini growing in your garden that might be just a tad too big. Me! Me! Here's your solution.

When we discussed how we were going to cut down the sugar in our diet you know pasta was at the top of the list and I wanted to cry. I. love. pasta. But, thankfully for Andy, I love him more. My favorite pasta dish is lasagne. I haven't fixed a pan of it in forever. That's because I only know how to fix it one way...way too much! When Andy brought in a couple of odd ball zucchini, I knew I was going to attempt to make a healthier version of lasagne. I left out the ricotta cheese I normally use and backed off to one pound of meat. They'll go back in the next time. This turned out delicious and the zucchini was firm and almost gave you the sensation of eating pasta.

In a large skillet brown 1 pound of Italian sausage (upgrade to 2 lbs. next time--1 each sausage and hamburger) and 1 onion. Spread a little spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish and then pour the rest in the skillet with the meat and onions.
After looking at a zillion cans and jars, DelMonte Four Cheese sauce had the least carbs. I make great spaghetti sauce but I don't think I can shrink the carbs in my sauce that much.
Carefully using a mandolin slicer, slice up your zucchini. I posted the memo after the fact as I did get a nice slice on my thumb. That "food holder" is really useful! Use it!
 Make a layer of zucchini.
 Spoon around 1/3 of the meat sauce mixture over the zucchini and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Keep making layers of zucchini, meat mixture and cheese. Top with remaining mozzarella and shredded Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle a little Italian seasoning on top to add a little more flavor. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for around 50 minutes. Remove the foil the last 10 minutes or so. Lasagne should be bubbly. Now don't even think about the garlic bread!!!!

Easy Low Carb Broccoli Salad

90-day update coming your way!!! Allow me a few seconds of your time to update you on our little healthy eating journey. Andy got his A1C results back from his doctor this week. All weekend we were wondering if we had made enough changes to get those numbers down. We were able to breathe a sigh of relief after his phone call. 7.4 (166 blood sugar) down to 5.4 (102 blood sugar). You can't cheat on an A1C test. Those really tell the tale. Doc said to keep doing what you're doing. Over the past three months we have been eating well and are continually finding great recipes to enjoy and share. This adventure proves once again, change begins with you. 

Back to the good stuff. My boss Angie was telling me about the broccoli salad recipe she put together and you know I had to try it. I thought I'd wait until Momma came over last night to fix it. Andy grilled pork chops and I steamed carrots to go with this and the combination was awesome. The most time you'll spend to make this is when you're chopping up the broccoli and green onions. I made mine pretty small because that's what I like. This is definitely a reduced sugar version compared to the broccoli salad I normally fix...and we love so well.

I used...
2 small bundles of raw broccoli
1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
4 packets of Sweet n Low
1 bundle of green onions, chopped
1/2 to 1 cup real bacon bits ( I eye-balled this)
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack) 

In a large bowl mix mayo and Sweet n Low. Stir in chopped broccoli and green onions until well coated. Add bacon and cheese and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Andrew, Momma and I thought this was perfect, Andy wished I had added just a little more mayo. Since he has done so well, I will be happy to fix it to suit him.