Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Winter Pumpkin Stew with Sausage - THM

THM - Sausage and Pumpkin Winter Stew

This delicious winter stew has a combination of flavors that work so well together that you'll wonder why you didn't grow up with this for dinner every Thursday night during the winter. The second time you make this (and there will be!! ) you might want to double the batch and freeze some for a quick dinner night.

Don't be afraid of the unusual, they may turn out to be your favorites. I bought a bag of radishes on the advice of a friend and was timid about making them for my family. We always ate them cold and raw growing up, but this recipe, like several other new ones I've tried, cooks them until tender and gently flavored, like a potato. Really!! My children now love them, and come back for more. Toss some in your next pot roast and you'll see what I mean. Low in carbs, and satisfyingly delicious.

Your choice of 1 (12 ounce) roll pork or turkey sausage (try Italian or breakfast or maple flavored sausage) OR

1 pound of venison or other lean bulk sausage (turkey, chicken, wild game meat) of your choice

1 diced onion2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. basil leaf, dried1 tsp. sage or poultry seasoning
2 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped2 cups zucchini or yellow summer squash, small diced OR
2 cups of diced pink radishes

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin OR
1-3/4 cups of winter squash or pumpkin puree **

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream or thick coconut milk
1/2 cup water if necessary1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Brown sausage, drain, then add the onion, garlic, basil, mushrooms, zucchini, and and sauté until tender. Try the radishes at this point -- see, yummy and not bitter at all!!
Add pumpkin to this mixture and mix well.
Then stir in the broth and mix well. If necessary add 1/2 cup of water to thin to the consistency you prefer. Add more water as necessary.
Simmer 20-30 minutes. Right before serving, add the nutmeg, then stir in 1/2 cup of cream of your choice. Top with a splash of hot sauce in the servings of those who crave the heat.

Makes 6 hearty servings of delicious winter superfood.
** (Bake a squash or pumpkin, scoop out the flesh, puree until smooth with a stick blender or in a blender container, then measure 1-3/4 cups). Use the rest to make pumpkin pie smoothies or puddings or muffins.

Trim Healthy Mama would count this as S for satisfying. 

www.trimhealthymama.com sells the book that inspired me and my weight loss. As mothers of large families, they knew how to keep a real budget and feed the family as well as inspire them all to be healthy.

Luscious Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Spaghetti Squash Luscious Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Or Trim Healthy Mama -ified 

Mormon Funeral Potatoes.

I grew up with a mother who cooked for our big family and in a church with a warm-hearted tradition of providing a family meal for funerals. Often this hash brown casserole known as Mormon Funeral Potatoes (or just Funeral Potatoes) was served alongside ham, green beans, and homemade rolls -- food to soothe grieving hearts. Families gathered at round tables in the cultural hall and reminisced of happier days when they were together. This dish holds warm memories for so many, that I had to try this version to keep it on our recipe list while trimming our waistlines in a most delicious way.  . Cracker Barrel makes a good one, too, but mine is more slimming, when paired with a low carbohydrate dinner. Try it, even if it is your first attempt at spaghetti squash.

Almost... Funeral Potatoes

2 medium spaghetti squashes or 1 really big one

1/4 butter or coconut oil
1 large sweet onion, shredded on a grater
1 teaspoon dried  thyme leaves
1 cup sour cream or 0% Greek Yogurt
1cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese for the dish
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese for topping

First cut squash in half. Use a big knife, stab through the middle and wedge it down toward the outside. Then take out the knife and repeat on the other side working outwards. (It’s easier that way than trying to cut through the whole thing at once). 

Now remove the seeds. Place in a covered dish with a ¼ inch of water and microwave for 10 -12 m
inutes, per each medium squash. Repeat for the second one, and check at 12 minutes on the large one, to see if it's tender enough for the strands of the squash to separate with a fork.

Or if you prefer, put all your cut squashes on a baking sheet with sides, cut side up in a 350* oven and bake until tender, approximately 45 minutes for all of them. They will look a little bit dried out, and a fork should be able to easily shred the flesh into spaghetti strands, when it's done. You can cook these ahead in the day, and then assemble the squash dish later on, if that's more convenient. Just start with warm or room temperature squash strands.

In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add the butter or coconut oil, onions, thyme and cook until the onions soften but don't yet take on any color. Salt and pepper to taste. Start with a 1/2 tsp. of real salt, as this has to flavor the whole dish, not just the onions. You can add some minced garlic if your family likes it, here too, some ham or turkey chunks, or leftover roast beef to make it a main dish casserole.

Add the sour cream and 1 cup of shredded cheese, and stir to warm and melt together. Taste for sufficient salt, and don't forget the black pepper. If you like spicy food, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Reserve the last cup of cheese for the top.

Using a fork, scrape the insides of the squash and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Pour the warm sour cream & cheesey onion mixture over the fork-shredded squash strands. Gently fold the sauce in, without smashing up the squash. Transfer the mixture to a buttered 13x9 baking dish and top with remaining cheese. If you prefer you can also toss 1/2 cup of low carbohydrate bread crumbs with 2 T of melted butter and top the dish to make a more crunchy topping.
Place into a 375º for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top. If it browns too quickly, cover with a tent of aluminum foil to allow it to heat more evenly all the way through.

This is a delicious dish, as S for satisfying fats, on the Trim Healthy Mama plan. If you use 2% cheese and 0% Greek Yogurt, it would be an E for energizing.

To find out more about the book, Trim, Healthy Mama, please see the authors' website at 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama - Asian Lettuce Cups

Quick Asian Lettuce Cups - Trim Healthy Mama

This can be put together quickly with ground meat, store bought shredded carrots, prepackaged coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage), or your food processor. A quick toss of raw peeled cubes of butter nut squash into the food processor will have this ready in no time! Then a quick stir fry, and you're ready to eat. Fabulous flavor, fiber, and figure friendly fun!

1 pound ground meat --use lean ground pork, chicken breast, turkey, grass fed beef, venison or other lean meat

1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion or scallion
2 small cloves garlic, pressed or minced
3 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. truvia sweetner, or sprinkles of pure stevia extract

1 T coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil for sauteeing
2 cups cabbage, shredded (1/2 small head or use pkg'ed preshredded)
1 Tbsp. of water
2 cups shredded peeled butternut squash or other raw winter squash or carrots (3 large raw) - not low carb

Iceberg lettuce, Romain Lettuce, or Other lettuce to make cups or wraps. Butter lettuce makes easy little cups too.


Combine the ground meat, green onions, water, soy sauce,  sweetener, pepper, garlic, and water.  Marinate for 1/2 hour or add 1/4 tsp. meat tenderizer (unseasoned) and wait 5 minutes. 

Add oil to pan, heat.  Stir in meat mixture. Cook until meat loses its pinkness, but not quite done.  Remove from pan. 

Sauté vegetables in a small amount of oil for 2 minutes, then add the water, and cover and cook for 2 more minutes. Taste a shred of squash to see that it's crisp-tender (al dente).   Add meat and heat through to finish cooking.  
Cayenne pepper, hot curry powder mix or red chili peppers may be added to make it spicy for the adventurous eater. Serve piled into crisp lettuce cups, or serve with crisp leaves of lettuce for diners to roll up their own like a soft taco. Quinoa or brown rice cooked in broth is nice served alongside.  This is excellent with a Quick cucumber salad. Recipe included below.

Quick Cucumber Salad.

Peel a large cucumber or leave zucchini unpeeled, slice into matchsticks or rectangles, and set aside. In small bowl, stir 2T truvia into 2 T. of vinegar of your choice. Add 1 tsp. real salt or celtic salt. Stir until crystals all dissolve, add 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger, and pinch of turmeric. Stir well, and toss with match stick cucumbers. Match cut Radishes may be added if desired.  If desired a sprinkle of cayenne powder may be added to the dressing. This can be eaten right away.
The book that inspires me is by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett. Trim Healthy Mama: No More Fads!: A Common Sense Guide to Satisfy Your Cravings and Energize Your Life (Kindle Locations 8923-8938). Above Rubies.  www.trimhealthymama.com

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Trim, Healthy, Mama Harvest Treats - Pumpkin Cheesecakes

 Pumpkin Cheesecake Tarts - Trim, Healthy Mama  S 
Harvest Treats

CRUST for the tarts
3/4 cup almond meal, almond flour, or home ground almonds

1.5 T melted butter or coconut oil
1.5 T  Truvia sweetener
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice


  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) Greek yogurt style cream cheese or Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup  canned 100% Pure Pumpkin or cooked butternut, or other winter squash from your garden
  • 1/2 cup granulated Truvia plus a few sprinkles of pure stevia extract powder (I use Trader Joe's) -- to taste1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or use  1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/8 tsp. allspice, pinch of nutmeg)
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, plain, unsweetened, mixed with 1 tsp. Truvia
  • 1/4 cup Sugar Free Hershey's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, melted with 1 tsp. coconut oil or butter

PREHEAT oven to 325*. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper or aluminum foil liners.

 almond meal, spices, sweetener and butter in small bowl. Press scant tablespoon onto bottom of each of prepared muffin cups. Bake for 5 minutes.

BEAT cream cheese, pumpkin, sweetener, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until blended. Add eggs; beat well. Pour into muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.

BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove tarts from pan; refrigerate. Right before serving garnish the tarts with sweetened yogurt, and a drizzle of melted sugar free chocolate chips.

 Place morsels in small, heavy-duty plastic bag. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 20 seconds; knead. Microwave at additional 10-second intervals, kneading until smooth. Cut tiny corner from bag; squeeze to drizzle over tarts.

 The following recipe was adjusted to make it low carb and Trim, Healthy, Mama -- friendly. You can learn more or order the book for your family at www.trimhealthymama.com or see their page on Facebook.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama - Kolz Garden Pizza Casserole

Kolz Garden Pizza Casserole (made with Venison or Grassfed Beef)

I used the inspiration from www.trimhealthymama.com 's "Pizza Casserole" which is an "S" in their diet plan. S for satisfying, yet trimming.

Brown 2 lbs. of venison or grass fed beef (which should be lean and have nothing to drain off, if not, then drain please). Add some garlic salt to taste, and a good pinch of celtic or REAL salt with minerals. Spread 1/2 of this meat as a layer of ground, cooked meat in the bottom of a large casserole dish (13x9 works for me).  Top with a thin layer of no-added-sugar Pizza or Pasta sauce that you prefer. You can even use alfredo sauce here, if you like, and add a little extra garlic -- that's my favorite.

Now sprinkle the whole lot of it with dried basil, oregano, and some garlic powder.

In the same skillet saute 2 onions***, a finely diced green pepper, a zucchini (shred or finely dice), until onions are clear, softened and veggies are nearly tender. It will cook more in the oven. You may add mushrooms if your family likes them too!

Sprinkle the cooked veggies on top of the sauce. Now add chopped olives if you like, sprinkle lightly with shredded mozzarella or farmer cheese. Top with turkey pepperoni now.

Use the rest of the ground meat for the next layer, and add a thin layer of your sauce again. Top the sauce with a thin layer of mozzarella cheese again, and sprinkle with more pepperoni scattered on top. Or diced bacon. It's your call. Bake at 400*  for 20-30 minutes, to heat all the way through, which should crisp your topping and warm up all the cooked veggies.

If you find your oven on the fritz, you can cook on the stove top, and then assemble into your crockpot, and leave it on low until you're ready to eat, which will melt the cheese!

You may include a layer of cooked spaghetti squash on top of the hamburger, to make this recipe even more hearty and filling. Just leave out the zucchini in that variation. I think your family will really like it.

****For speedy prep, just put a de-seeded bell pepper, 2 peeled onion, and zucchini into the food processor and bzzt until it's shredded up, and fry them in olive oil until tender, and you're almost done with this recipe.

Consider some of these combos:  Chicken and onions and peppers and alfredo sauce with spaghetti squash; beef and sausage and peppers and onions with marinara sauce and zucchini; beef and garlic and green chiles and cumin and green salsa instead of pasta sauce, topped with chorizo instead of pepperoni.

The book that inspires me is by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett. Trim Healthy Mama: No More Fads!: A Common Sense Guide to Satisfy Your Cravings and Energize Your Life (Kindle Locations 8923-8938). Above Rubies.  www.trimhealthymama.com