Mixed Pork Gravy (Low Carb & Healthy Options)

 

If you’ve been following my Grocery Fast, you know that I have been trying for eight weeks to not spend much money at the grocery store but instead use up my many food stores in my pantries, cupboards, freezers, and refrigerators. (And then I’m hoping to learn to shop and cook for two of us—wish me luck!) I found a few bags of “pork” (mostly turkey products) in my freezer that I couldn’t see using as main entrees since there were bits and pieces. But with my quest to really use up all of these “bits and pieces,” my mind went crazy trying to figure out how to make a meal (another benchmark is that I am making MEALS out of what I have, not just side dishes or “add ons” to meals) out of this combination. I had been so hungry for biscuits and gravy, but with our OMAD (One Meal a Day)/Daily Intermittent Fasting), I can’t fit all the meals in that I am hungry for. (IF problems!) So I set out to make “Mixed ‘Pork’ Gravy” with these little bags of frozen meats.

 

I will give you the verdict before the instructions. I liked it a lot. Satisfied my “biscuits and gravy” craving (even though I had it over low carb toast), and I even enjoyed leftovers as a snack to open my eating window throughout the next week. (It takes soooo long to use up food with only one meal a day and two people!) However, my husband didn’t like it very well. He has been getting pickier (again, probably the OMAD thing!) as he gets older because he used to like anything and everything. I also wanted to say, “There’s no reason not to like that….you order all of those meats on pizza and love it!” But I didn’t.

 

Below are links to the ingredients I use in this recipe. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

 

So here are some tips before I loosely give you the “recipe” for the gravy.

(I didn’t measure anything….I never do with any kind of gravy, so those recipes are hard to share on a blog!):

 

1)  I like a lot of meat in my gravy. However, this can be made with very little amounts of “bits and pieces” if you don’t mind being “lean” on the meats. Mine was loaded with meats as you can see in the skillet before I added the almond milk and cream.

 

Here are my “bits and pieces” of “pork”—bacon bits, thick ham slice, turkey sausage links, and turkey sausage rounds.

 

2) Any milks or creams will do (as long as they are not sweet). The more “creamy” your milks (i.e. whipping cream rather than milk, etc.), the more fattening your dish will be—but it will probably be yummier too! ? You will also need less thickener if you use cream.

 

3)  I use bases extensively to cook with. I know they’re not considered “health foods,” but they add so much flavor without added calories, fat, or carbs. I even stir fry meats and vegetables in a little base and water, red wine, aminos (or soy sauce), and seasonings. However, all bases (chicken, beef, ham/pork/smoke house, and vegetable) are salty. Therefore, do not add salt until you are ready to taste at the end. (I also “enrich” the flavors of broth and bone broth with added base.)

 

4) All of my meats were precooked. If you are using any of these meats in their raw state, you could keep some of the grease in your pan, make a roux with sprouted white flour, and add even more flavor (and not have to thicken as much at the end).

 

Since my meats were already cooked, I just defrosted them, added them to my skillet, and heated them before adding my liquids and seasoning.

 

 

5) I thickened my gravy with xantham gum and stirred into some of the liquid from the pan because I didn’t have any corn starch, and I wanted to do a little more “gravy and soup thickening test” with xantham gum for another article I recently wrote. Next time I would use corn starch mixed in cold water. (See next tip.)

 

6) As for “healthier” or low carb thickeners, I recently wrote an article about seventeen of them. Check it out here. I use xantham gum in stews and soups and even in my Very Low Carb Flour Mix to help bind things, but gravies are tricky to get the right consistency without changing the flavor. I would use corn starch and cold water for gravy personally. (The article gives the carb count and how many carbs per serving you would add to a dish if using corn starch to thicken.) Here are my thoughts for this recipe:

a. Adding cream cheese would add a boatload of calories and fat to the gravy before it got it to gravy consistency. If you are truly keto/LCHF and not concerned about fat and calories, you could start with some loose cream cheese then move on to something stronger.

b. Xantham gum did not give it the texture of gravy. It helped thicken it some, but it definitely wasn’t “normal” sausage gravy thick. Go slowly on the xantham gum, following the instructions in my Thickening article.

c. Corn starch has the next to the strongest thickening power out there (next to arrowroot). It simply doesn’t take very much to do the job—and would not add very many carbs per serving. I believe it makes the best gravy.

 

I used what I had on hand for liquids—a little whipping cream and unflavored, unsweetened almond milk.

 

 

7) I served mine over low carb toast. (Anybody else use their Air Fryer for toast? One less appliance that I have to have out on the counter!) You could also make my delicious low carb biscuits to go with these. (And then make my amazing crock pot apple butter to have on a biscuit for dessert!)

 

The finished product wasn’t overly thick—I would use cornstarch and water next time. (See Tips before recipe.)

 


Mixed Pork Gravy (Low Carb & Healthy Options)
Author: 
Serves: Serves several
 
Nutritional Count Based on Your Amounts (almond milk & cream are extremely low carb as are meats)
Ingredients
  • Mixed meats (sausage links, kielbasa, ground sausage, bacon, ham)
  • Milks of your choice (choose your favorite—almond milk, milk, half & half, cream, etc.)
  • Pork/Ham/Smokehouse Base
  • Seasoning of your choice—preferably salt free (I use my Favorite Seasoning Mix)
  • Corn starch or other thickener
Instructions
  1. Cook meats if they are not precooked.
  2. Cut meats into tiny pieces. (I used kitchen shears for this.)
  3. If desired, use some grease from the meat to make a flour and grease roux before adding liquid.
  4. If not making roux, be sure meat is hot and add it to the pan.
  5. Pour in milks of your choice and heat thoroughly. I also add some base mixed in a little bit of the liquid, seasonings, etc.
  6. Heat all til boiling and thicken with corn starch and cold water whisked together or xantham gum (or other thickening choice).
  7. Serve over toast or biscuits.

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Crock Pot Sausage, “Potatoes,” and Beans (With Family Friendly and Low Carb Options!)

 

Easy peasy crock pot meal today!!! With low carb and family-friendly options! I have this thing about crock pot meals (besides loving how easy they are!). I first look at every crock pot recipe and see how much “precooking” I will need to do. For example, I don’t mind tossing some potatoes (or turnips!) and carrots in the micro or Instant Pot to precook them before adding to the crock pot, but when a meat needs precooked (like ground beef for chili or pasta casseroles), I think “there has to be an easier way than all that precooking before I ever assemble the actual dish!” I think this goes back to the days of precooking 20 pounds of ground beef for freezer entrees when we still had all seven kids at home. (That much precooking will do it to you!)

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Fall Roasting Vegetables

As we head into fall, I am saddened that I won’t be able to just walk out the back door and get Ray Baby’s veggies everyday! I am still heading out there often and getting a tomato here and a green pepper there–I haven’t given up completely. However, very soon that obscure tomato or tiny pepper will not even be there to pick. Sadness…

On the other hand, it is time to turn my attention to buying (and even harvesting in my “fall garden”) and preparing fall vegetables.

Fall Roasting Vegetables

Roasting precooked meats (shrimp and kielbasa) and veggies—toss with olive oil and seasonings. Don’t even think about them for an hour or so! The modern-day, healthier “casserole”!

Here is a list of what I will be looking for to use in cooking low carb this fall:

 

1. Beets—very low carb, deep purple means very nutritious

 

2. Broccoli–very low carb and my sons like this veggie steamed with cheese, so that is a win-win

 

3. Cauliflower–low carb–plus I will use it for cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower rice–and I will stir fry it along with broccoli and zucchini for oriental dishes as well as just for sides

 

4. Eggplant–I have never cooked with eggplant, but it is relatively low carb, deep purple for all of that nutrition–and I have some recipes pinned to try it out!

 

5. Garlic–I didn’t even know this was a fall vegetable, and I definitely use it year round. I know everybody loves fresh everything, but I couldn’t live without my jar of minced garlic in oil that I can dip into and get those aromatics going (along with onions and peppers) as the beginning of tons and tons of low carb veggies and stir fries.

 

6. Green beans–I have my fifteen year old watching his favorite show on Netflix this afternoon and snapping tons of green beans! I can use them so many way–I love putting them in the crock pot with potatoes and ham or sausage for my kids–then pulling out a heaping serving of just the green beans for Ray Baby!

 

7. Kale–I have some winter kale seeds that I am planting this weekend! Anxious to see if they really grow in the cold weather that the package says they will grow in. Ray enjoyed the kale chips I made him for a snack a few weeks ago–but kale is pricey, so if I can get this winter kale to grow, I will be excited!

 

8. Zucchini—I have been harvesting and cooking zucchini all summer! I froze it three weeks: a. shredded for breads, muffins, etc. (anxious to try out my new almond flour and swerve sweetener!); b. cubed with yellow squash for casseroles and stir fries; c. sliced (also bagged with sliced yellow squash part of the time and sometimes by itself) also for stir fries, but Ray Baby likes the sliced zucchini just to steam in a little broth and season it (though he’s not the best seasoner! lol).

 

 

Fall Roasting Veggies

Simple Crock Pot Entrée!
Turnips, green beans, a little ham broth, all purpose seasoning blend (below), bay leaves, onions, and garlic on high until turnips are done (green beans got overcooked, so I would add them when turnips are halfway done next time). Add turkey kielbasa rounds the last hour or two.

I am also looking forward to using three “fall” herbs:

1. Basil
2. Rosemary
3. Thyme

Though my sons would have me using four of them–and they would have to sing it: “Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme”–they love to follow me through the kitchen when I am cooking, carrying those four spices in their hands and waving them in my face while singing “Scarborough Fair”! Kids–never a dull moment!

 

 

Fall Roasting Vegetables

Snacking on Roasted Parmesan Green Beans while I work. Yum!

 

 

Below are links to products I use and love. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!


 

My Four Favorite Ways to Prepare Veggies:

 

In addition to those “fall vegetables” and those “fall seasonings,” I am also looking forward to experimenting more with my four favorite ways of preparing vegetables lately.

 

1. Slow cooker—always love putting meat, potatoes, carrots, and green beans in the crock pot all day! Also love just putting in big loads of green beans with ham or bacon. I also like to “bake potatoes” in my crock pot with no foil, no watching, and no oven!

 

2. Roasting in oven—I have been all about roasting vegetables. My favorite so far this fall was a roasted jelly roll pan full of colorful vegetables. But I do individual veggies like this—tossed with olive oil and sprinkled with a little grated parmesan. Or I make a mixture of olive oil, enriched broth, soy sauce, ginger, etc., and toss them in this before roasting (not too wet). I’ve been eating roasted Parmesan Green Beans like French fries for weeks now!

 

3. Instant Pot—I am still experimenting with these last two ways of cooking vegetables. So far the Instant Pot has yielded softer green beans, turnips, and carrots (or potatoes)—more like a crock pot meal, which is nice for winter types of foods. I have also been doing a lot of “precooking” of veggies in the Instant Pot as it cooks them so fast—then transferring to my electric skillet to get that stir fried taste.

 

4. Air Fryer—The Air Fryer makes “fried” turnips, radishes, and potatoes just as if I had put them down in the ol’ Fry Daddy from days gone by—with no oil whatsoever! I need a bigger one to get my Parmesan Green Beans crisped the way I like them. But I have been using this little gadget most every day for something—grilled cheese, croutons, chicken tenders, French fries, green beans…..watch the blog for updates on this newest (and amazing!) countertop appliance!

 

PIN THIS FOR LATER!

P.S. What are your favorite fall vegetables? How are you cooking them nowadays?

Grandma Maggie’s Old Fashioned Macaroni & Cheese

Grandma Maggie's Old Fashioned Mac & Cheese

Recently on a visit to my sister’s in North Carolina (from Indiana), my sister made her mother-in-law’s old fashioned mac and cheese. I used to make homemade macaroni and cheese a lot, but since I cook primarily low carb (and I am tired of making sauces, etc. that are so time consuming), I was especially interested in her recipe.

First of all, this could be easily made ahead. That is always my first criteria (it seems) in cooking since I have been a freezer and mix cook for twenty-five years. Secondly, it didn’t require a white sauce or a cheese sauce that you cook on top of the stove (really, one pan to boil the noodles and one dish to layer the casserole are the only “pans” needed). Third, it had a few other “lower carb” ingredients (half and half or cream, eggs, butter, and cheese), so I could envision immediately some low carb options that I am anxious to try out and share with you.


This recipe, as it is written, goes under “Holiday Recipes” or “Home Cooking” since two cups of uncooked elbow macaroni contains 140 to 160 carbs (depending on brand). For those desiring a low carb mac and cheese, see the Low Carb notes below about broccoli, cauliflower, and strips of Low Carb Crepes.

Grandma Maggie's Old Fashioned Mac & Cheese

Here is a version of this macaroni and cheese made with my homemade, healthy (low carb!) crepes rather than noodles

For those desiring a healthier dish than regular elbow mac and cheese, be sure to see the Family-Friendly and Trim Healthy Mama notes below about using Dreamfields pasta in this recipe. I know most low carbers do not use Dreamfields pasta, and, with the lawsuit they recently suffered (requiring new labeling—I don’t think they can continue to call it five net grams per serving {or whatever it was}), I understand why.

However, my nurse son ran an “independent-small study” test on me (LOL), and here is what we found:

1. Meal one—

Baked potato, butter, and meat that should have totaled fifty carbs or so—blood sugar before 98; thirty minutes after 140.

2. Meal two—

Same amount of food—in terms of calories (and same amount of fat—important to make a comparison)—Dreamfields pasta, red sauce, meat (without the carb-resistant factor of Dreamfields considered, this also should have totaled fifty carbs or so—blood sugar before 96; thirty minutes after 108.

Do with that whatever you wish, but with all of the information out there right now about making starches more carb-resistant (through eating at room temp; eating bananas green; etc.), it makes sense that somebody out there would figure out how to make comfort foods (i.e. potatoes, rice, and pasta) with at least some of those carb-resistant properties. While Dreamfields isn’t the same as eating a four carb piece of low carb bread or serving of green beans, I think they are on to something. So in my household of three or four “adult” guys, we use it once a week, and I have a small serving. No problems so far! 🙂

But back to this as a Holiday Recipe or Home Cooked Recipe, this is an old fashioned style of making macaroni—one in which parts are creamy and cheesy and parts are a little chewier and even a tiny bit crispy. I like that aspect of it, and I think it makes a perfect pot luck dish!

Don’t forget to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page for this recipe’s helpful Recipe Keys!

Below are links to the ingredients I use in the recipe above. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

Grandma Maggie's Old Fashioned Macaroni & Cheese
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups dry macaroni (I like using Dreamfield's pasta)
  • 12 ounces of shredded cheddar (my sister says you have to shred your own!)
  • 1⅔ cup evaporated milk, half and half, cream, or whole milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons All Purpose Seasoning Mix (or Mrs. Dash or seasonings of choice)
  • Note: I double this recipe for a deep 9 x 13 (large, white Corelle casseroles)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook macaroni al dente (especially do not overcook if using Dreamfields pasta).
  3. Drain macaroni and stir melted butter and seasonings into it.
  4. Layer half of macaroni and half of shredded cheese in a 9 x 13 baking dish or oval deep casserole dish. Repeat.
  5. Whisk together eggs and milk/liquid.
  6. Pour whisked mixture over all (may have some left; just discard since it has raw eggs in it).
  7. Bake uncovered for forty minutes (regular) or 30 minutes (convection) at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and bubbly. (I place mine on a jelly roll pan, which is what I do with all soupy/potentially boiling over dishes like lasagna, enchiladas, etc.).

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Grandma Maggie's Old Fashioned Mac & Cheese

“Macaroni” and cheese with low carb crepes rather than pasta!

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Recipe Keys

Low Carb (LC): This recipe is not low carb as it is! You can use the basic recipe and concept to create a layered broccoli or cauliflower dish that would be low carb. You could also use this with strips of Low Carb Crepes to make a low carb mac and cheese that tastes real! 🙂 (See family-friendly low carb note below also.) Note: Two cups of uncooked elbows will yield approximately four cups of cooked, so use four cups or so of sliced crepes or four cups of low carb veggies in this recipe.

Family-Friendly Low Carb (FFLC): This is obviously comfort food! There are ways to reduce the carbs, increase the vitamins, etc.: (1) Use the low carb crepes as described in the LC notes above; (2) Use healthy vegetables rather than pasta—even a combination of “kid friendly” veggies like carrot rounds and green beans would make a yummy vegetable side dish; (3) Use half the pasta called for and use the other “two cups” of meat—like crumbed ground sausage or kielbasa rounds or ham chunks (this would make a quick main dish too!); (4) Use a healthier pasta that your family enjoys such as whole grain or “green pasta”—keeping in mind that the carbohydrate count in those is still very high (if you are trying to reduce your family’s consumption of carbs); (5) Use the Dreamfields pasta described below in the THM notes.

Store-Bought-Stella (SBS): While this is definitely not boxed mac and cheese, it really is a simpler homemade macaroni and cheese dish as you simply cook pasta, layer, and bake. No complicated sauces to make, etc.

Homemade Hannah (HH): Comfort food at its best. It is, after all, Grandma Maggie’s recipe! 😉

Freezer Cooking (FC): I am going to be freezing some of these for the holidays, but I haven’t frozen any yet. I can’t wait to try it. If you try it before I update this, please drop me a note. When I first began freezer cooking twenty-five years ago, everything said that potatoes and pasta got grainy, so do not freeze them (other than uncooked lasagna). Then the sources branched out to include pastas and potatoes that were in sauces (as opposed to in broth). I freeze all kinds of potatoes and all kinds of pasta now, so the original thinking was definitely not correct. However, I do prefer to freeze both in sauces (marinara, soups, gravies, Alfredo, cheese and cream, etc.) as opposed to in broth—where they do sometimes become grainy or mushy.

Oldie Goldie Family Recipes (OG): This is an oldie goldie for my sister! It is consistent with my oldie goldie history though—something you can make ahead, stick in the fridge, and bake when needed. (I have already done that twice with this!)

Trim Healthy Mama-Friendly (THM) (www.trimhealthymama.com): With the LC notes above and/or the Dreamfield’s corkscrew pasta (or the penne), this would fall in an S setting. Another thought is to the do the veggie idea with it and have it as a creamy vegetable dish alongside a FP meat, like salmon or chicken breasts. Regardless of what you pair it with, that meal becomes an S meal due to the high fat in this entrée.

Cycle Cooking (CYC): Getting ready to add this in! I’m going to experiment a little more since you are not supposed to cool and reheat the Dreamfields (for maximum carb-protecting value…I really want to use the pasta uncooked. I will keep you posted on that experiment too!

Sugar Free (SF): No sugar added.

Gluten Free (GF): Simple dish to make gluten-free—any of the LC and FFLC options yield a gluten-free side dish. Of course, with the availability of gluten-free products (pasta, breads, chips, etc.), this dish is easily made gluten-free and just as tasty as the original recipe!

Low Carb Mixes (LCM): No mix involved in this—though I did sprinkle my All Purpose Seasoning Mix on each layer. I just love that stuff!

Italian Dressing Mix

Italian Dressing Mix

I have been building up my repertoire of mixes lately. (Check out my Very Low Carb Flour Mix, All Purpose Seasoning Mix, and BBQ Base mixes!)

 

If you are low carbing, you will want to be careful of seasoning mixes and packets. Many have thickening agents (i.e. arrowroot or cornstarch); others have anti-clumping properties, which can add carbohydrates to the total. Of course, many of us home cooks have been doing many homemade things for years and years—including sauces, seasoning mixes, and more—in an effort to either save money or be able to put into our foods exactly what we want (and know what that is!).

 

Below are links to the ingredients I use in this recipe. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

 

Italian Seasoning Mix Recipe

Regardless of your reason for using homemade mixes and seasonings, I think you will agree that every home cook needs an Italian Dressing Mix in her cupboards!

 

 

I “developed” this recipe by combining some ingredients from the “Make a Mix Cookery” cookbook (though it doesn’t have the seasoning mix itself), a knock off “Good Season” dressing mix, and a couple of other from Pinterest. I knew it needed some red pepper flakes for some kick—and I can never use too much basil in my cooking! Also, some do not have any sweetener in them at all, which I think is a mistake in such a “spicy” dressing and mix.

 

 

Italian Seasoning Mix Recipe

If you want to become a “make-a-mix” cook, then this is the the book for you! You can see how worn out mine is—and this is my third copy! See that little sticky note? That is from a dozen years ago! It makes me smile…

 

 

Of course, this mix can be used to make salad dressing (Olive Garden knock off recipe here!). But there are so many other uses for this!

 

 

Italian Seasoning Mix Recipe

Homemade croutons!

Just like my all purpose and BBQ sauce base, I constantly use it as a seasoning mix blend (another step or two I can eliminate when cooking—not having to get out ten spices at one time). Oh, and of course, for marinades. I love to marinate—or even marinate and then stick the entire bag in the freezer for a quick freezer entrée later.
I will be posting many recipes with this mix—including Philly Cheesesteak Casserole, Homemade Croutons (oh my word!), Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenderloins, steak salad, kielbasa stir fry, and Creamy Crock Pot Chicken Breasts. And some marinades. So stay tuned!

Italian Seasoning Mix Recipe

Roasted vegetables are simple: mix olive oil, broth, and one of my seasoning mixes. Drizzle over veggies on a large roasting pan and roast! Try this Italian Dressing Mix or All Purpose Seasoning Mix or BBQ Base Mix!!!

 

 

Oh, for those just sticking their toes into the whole mix cookery, I have the half measurements in parentheses following each ingredient. You will wish you had doubled or tripled it—not halved it. But baby steps, right? 🙂

 

 

Italian Seasoning Mix Recipe

Mixes make dinners for family and friends a cinch to put together!

 

 

Let me know what you think—or if you tweak it, please share your tweaks with me and why you like it better. I’m always into learning!

 

 

Don’t forget to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page for this recipe’s helpful Recipe Keys!

Italian Dressing Mix
Author: 
Serves: 1 cup
 
Half recipe amounts in parentheses.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine all thoroughly.
  2. Store in airtight container.
  3. Use liberally!
Notes
Amounts for half a recipe are listed after each ingredient.
Also, for uses in recipes that call for Italian Salad Dressing packets, 2 TBSP of this recipe is equivalent to one store-bought packet.

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*Any sugar-free bulk sweetener (granulated) that measures cup-for-cup like sugar will work this recipe. These include (but are not limited to) Swerve, Splenda, Erythritol, and Xylitol. You will have to convert the measurements if you use a Trim Healthy Mama sweetener, Pyure, Truvia, or granulated stevia. For more information about sweeteners, see this post.

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Recipe Keys

 

 

Low Carb (LC): This is a very low carb recipe with no added carbs—assuming you use a zero net carb bulk sweetener like erythritol, xylitol, Truvia, Pyure, Splenda, etc.

 

Family-Friendly Low Carb (FFLC): The sweetener in this is minute, and nobody can tell this is a “low carb food”—for those trying to persuade their family to enjoy foods with few carbohydrates/lower on glycemic index.

 

Store-Bought-Stella (SBS): While there are many seasoning combinations out there for SBS’s, be sure that if you are concerned about carbs (and you don’t’ choose to make this one!) that you read the labels carefully. If you want to use the packets of Italian Dressing mix for the convenience, you may use it in all recipes on my blog that call for Italian Seasoning Mix!

 

Homemade Hannah (HH): This is very homemade! You can make this completely whole-foods as written above—or make it even more homemade by using your own dried herbs.

 

Trim Healthy Mama-Friendly (THM) (www.trimhealthymama.com): These could be used in an S setting or an E setting—no real carbs and no fat as it is given (the mix)! Use it on all of that protein in both meal types! If you use it as part of a rub or as part of a marinade without fat, you may have an E or a FP. If you use it as it is traditionally used (with olive oil), it is an S.

 

Sugar Free (SF): Sugar-free and healthy option!

 

Gluten Free (GF): No fillers so no concern about hidden gluten.

 

Low Carb Mixes (LCM): This is one of over two dozen of my low carb mixes that I will be bringing to the blog this summer (after eighteen months of testing them!). While the mixes say low carb, they have family-friendly options, gluten-free options, and just “regular” options. Mixes fit all cooking styles—I’ve been using mixes for twenty-five years this month!

 

 

 

Beef and Pork Roasts in the Crock Pot [With Low Carb and Family Friendly Tips]

Beef and Pork Roasts in the Crock Pot [With Low Carb and Family Friendly Tips]

If you follow our Crock Pot posts, you have read about the many soups and stews that I do for our lunch on the days that we teach classes. Our oldest son is soup-crazy, so I started the tradition for him as he comes to teach with me each week.

Classes are over for the summer, but I do want to continue the crock pot tradition because so many of the entrees in the crock pot are so simple–and one dish!

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Healthy Chicken Salad (THM-Friendly, Low Carb Options)

Chicken Salad

 

I don’t eat prepared salads. There. I said it.

 

I don’t like mayonnaise, salad dressing, mustard, sauces, oil and vinegar, sour cream, yogurt, or anything else that is dressing in nature. (Yes, this makes it hard to share salad recipes—and make salads for my family.)

 

Because of this, I am known to do more of a mini “salad bar” than I am to actually assemble salads. (My family really likes these salad “bars”!)

 

So when I put a salad at the blog, it has been tested and re-tested by my family. I can’t taste it, after all, to see if it is yummy. So I make the salads over and over until I’m brave enough to share with others.

 Healthy Chicken Salad with low carb and THM options

 

This one is ready. Hubby gave it two thumbs up. I feel confident enough to take it to a funeral dinner tomorrow. It really is ready.

 

I still question the dressing-ingredient ratio. I still question the “wetness.” Those things have always eluded me in salads as there might be one coleslaw, for instance, that looks barely dressed while another looks like it is swimming in milk. Seriously. How does that happen?

 

Thus, I give the option to add more liquid, if desired. You can see in the picture that this salad is neither overly wet nor “lacking dressing dry.” Hopefully, you will think it is….just right!

 

Chicken Salad

 

Below are links to the ingredients I use in this recipe. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

 

Healthy Chicken Salad (THM-Friendly, Low Carb Options)
Author: 
 
Net Carbs: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 pound cooked chicken, cut into ½-inch cubes (approximately two cups)
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup red grapes, halved
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup healthy mayo (or less than one cup and some cream and/or almond milk or a combination of sour cream, mayo, yogurt, and cream/almond milk)
  • 1 ½ tsp All-Purpose Seasoning Mix (or 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and a little garlic and onion powders)
  • Bulk sugar-free granulated sweetener to taste (1 tsp to 1 TBSP) (Pyureor other)
Instructions
  1. Combine mayo, seasonings, and sweetener in small bowl. Whisk until thoroughly incorporated. Taste and adjust according to preferences (i.e. sweeter, thinner, creamier, saltier, etc.).
  2. Half grapes (or quarter if large) and dice celery finely. Toss all non-dressing ingredients in large bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over ingredients in larger bowl. Toss until fully coated.
  4. Taste and adjust if more liquid is needed.
  5. Makes 10 heaping servings for large buns and/or two full bread slices sandwiches
Nutrition Information
Calories: 220 Fat: 22 Carbohydrates: 2 Protein: 13

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Note: I love to have precooked meats (shredded roast beef and chicken in some of their broths and prefried/drained ground meats) in quart bags in my freezer.  For the chicken salad, I can just pull out the bag, defrost, drain, and use.  I also often cook a few breasts in the crock pot or Instant Pot for recipes needing cubed or shredded chicken.  See my post about Shredded Chicken here!

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Recipe Keys

 

 

Trim Healthy Mama-Friendly (THM): This can be made into an S or an E carb and fat-wise. If you are a purist who doesn’t ever use grapes in an S setting or sprinkling of almonds in an E setting, then you might not be able to adjust this recipe for either. For non-purists, this can be an S by omitting the grapes or using a tiny bit (cut in tinier pieces to spread throughout salad more). This can be an E by using a combination of light mayo, plain yogurt, and almond milk for the dressing—and by omitting the slivered almonds or just sprinkling in a few to add crunch. Serve in low carb pitas or lettuce boats for S or sprouted bread/buns for E meals.

 

 

Family-Friendly (FF): Generally speaking, mixed salads are not considered family-friendly. However, if you start your kids out at young ages eating a variety of foods, including those mixed together in unique ways (grapes and chicken!), they will like far more foods growing up. I wish I had done this!

 

 

Very Low Carb (VLC): This can be a very low carb dish by following the THM-friendly instructions for an S dish. Some low carbers never use grapes, even in small amounts. Others might use ten or twenty carbs of grapes in an entire dish, knowing that those carbs are spread out among ten servings or more. You can omit the grapes entirely for a pretty low carb salad that makes you feel like you are eating more than “meat and eggs.”

 

 

Store-Bought-Stella (SBS): Fairly straight forward recipe. Store-Bought Stellas, this is a great opportunity to cook a lot of chicken breasts and/or thighs and make this dish and others! (See my Shredded Chicken instructions here.) It is so little work for such large rewards!

 

 

Homemade Hannah (HH): Making homemade mayo would make this a more homemade recipe. However, many people consider chicken salad to be a homemade stand by, so many HH’s will love this recipe!

 

 

Freezer Cooking (FC): This recipe would not freeze well with the mayo and grapes. I like to get a jump on these types of recipes with my freezer meats though. Check out my Freezer Shredded Chicken post as mentioned above!

 

 

Sugar Free (SF): Yes!

 

 

Gluten Free (GF): Yes! (Again, assuming that you have the condiments and ingredients this recipe calls for in gluten-free.)

 

 

Low Carb Mixes (LCM): This recipe uses my All Purpose Seasoning Mix. Obviously, you can substitute Mrs. Dash or other favorite seasoning blends.

All Purpose Seasoning Mix

All Purpose Seasoning Mix

 

I have been trying to develop a seasoning mix that can be used in meats, fish, vegetables, and salad. I think I am finally there!

 

If you are low carbing, you will want to be careful of seasoning mixes and packets. Many have thickening agents (i.e. arrowroot or cornstarch); others have anti-clumping properties, which can add carbohydrates to the total. Of course, many of us home cooks have been doing many homemade things for years and years—including sauces, seasoning mixes, and more—in an effort to either save money or be able to put into our foods exactly what we want (and know what that is!).

 


Regardless of your reason for using homemade mixes and seasonings, I think you will like this All-Purpose Seasoning Mix. I have been sprinkling it on frying meats, stir it into crock pot concoctions, and adding it to soups and salads.  I love to sprinkle it over the olive oil and beef broth mixture that I just sprinkled over vegetables for roasting! (The small amount of moisture from the olive oil/broth combination helps the seasoning to stick to even slick vegetables like zucchini better!)

 

I just tweaked a cole slaw recipe using this seasoning—even though it contains seasonings that we do not traditionally think of with cole slaw, my guys loved it! (Click here for cole slaw recipe!)

 

Let me know what you think—or if you tweak it, please share your tweaks with me and why you like it better. I’m always into learning!

Don’t forget to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page for this recipe’s helpful Recipe Keys!

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
All Purpose Seasoning Mix
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp pepper (black or white; I like black because with the paprika, this seasoning mix is pretty!)
  • ¾ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp ground bay leaves
  • ½ tsp basil
  • Optional: 1 tsp red pepper powder or 1 tsp chili powder!
Instructions
  1. Combine all thoroughly.
  2. Store in airtight container.
  3. Use liberally!
  4. If you don’t want the pepper powder or chili powder in it all the time, you can omit it (like I did), and when a dish seems like it would benefit from it, just add a pinch of it with each teaspoon of All Purpose Seasoning Mix!
Notes
Note: To use this mix in recipes that call for other seasonings, if you are one to experiment (!), just add the total number of teaspoons of the seasonings your recipe calls for that are similar to the ones listed here and use that amount of All Purpose Seasoning Mix (while still adding in other seasonings that your recipe might call for, such as celery seed, ground mustard, etc.).

 

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All Purpose Seasoning Mix

 

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Recipe Keys

 

Low Carb (LC): This is a very low carb recipe with no added carbs.

 

Family-Friendly Low Carb (FFLC): Great in many of my FFLC recipes!

 

Store-Bought-Stella (SBS): While there are many seasoning combinations out there for SBS’s, be sure that if you are concerned about carbs (and you don’t’ choose to make this one!) that  you read the labels carefully.

 

Homemade Hannah (HH): This is very homemade! You can make this completely whole-foods as written above—or make it even more homemade by using your own dried herbs.

 

Trim Healthy Mama-Friendly (THM) (www.trimhealthymama.com): These could be used in an S setting or an E setting—no real carbs and no fat! Use it on all of that protein in both meal types!

 

Sugar Free (SF): Sugar-free and healthy option!

 

Gluten Free (GF): No fillers so no concern about hidden gluten.

 

Low Carb Mixes (LCM): This is one of over two dozen of my low carb mixes that I will be bringing to the blog this summer (after fifteen months of testing them!). While the mixes say low carb, they have family-friendly options, gluten-free options, and just “regular” options. Mixes fit all cooking styles—I’ve been using mixes for twenty-five years this month!

Low Carb Cole Slaw

A KFC Cole Slaw Knock Off

Low Carb Cole Slaw

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Low Carb Cole Slaw—just in time for grilling season. We had this last night with grilled pork chops and strawberries and dip. My hubby loved it!

 

Cabbage is one of those foods that I never dreamed I would be buying almost weekly! I use it chopped and sprinkled in layers that would potentially have had pasta. I use it for Egg Roll Skillet (recipe coming soon), also known as egg roll in a bowl in many circles, and I use it without the meat at all in stir fried cabbage (sort of Egg Roll Skillet with no sausage). Gone are the days of smelly boiled cabbage that nobody would eat. Cabbage is now cool!

 

 

And so today, I bring you Low Carb Cole Slaw. This recipe actually began as a sugar-laden, high-carb KFC Cole Slaw knock off. I can’t attest to its tasting like KFC cole slaw now because we haven’t had much KFC, but I do know that my guys liked it a lot—and with the All Purpose Seasoning Mix, it is super easy!

 

There are options to not make it as low carb (but why not, right?). Oh, this is not a creamy slaw (though I guess it could be with more mayo or liquid). It is more of a crispy, barely-coated slaw, which my family likes better. (It is also good to put on sausage tacos, also made low carb—sort of like the Won Ton Tacos that they make at Applebees, which my guys crave!)

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Low Carb Cole Slaw
Author: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup creamy, milk-like liquid (see Note below)
  • 1 ½ TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup bulk sugar-free sweetener (Swerve, erythritol, xylitol, a blend, or Splenda)
  • ½ to ¾ tsp All Purpose Seasoning Mix (may just use salt & pepper here, but this is so much more flavorful!)
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • 16 ounce bag shredded cole slaw mix
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients together. Refrigerate.
Notes
Note: The original recipe called for buttermilk. I would say that you can use any “milk” that your family is used to. I used half and half. (See Recipe Keys below for more info.)
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 142 Fat: 14 Carbohydrates: 5 Sugar: 2

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Below are links to the ingredients I use in the recipe above. I am an affiliate for Amazon.com. If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

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Recipe Keys

 

Low Carb (LC): This is a very low carb recipe if made with the no-carb bulk sweeteners suggested and by using your normal low carb “milk” subs. I used half and half. Very low carb folks might want to use cream. Others might want to use almond milk or other non-dairy milk substitute in order to keep the carbs low.

 

Family-Friendly Low Carb (FFLC): With half and half, regular mayo, and sugar-free bulk sweetener (I used Splenda), my family loved this. If you don’t mind adding a few carbs, you could use whole milk and low fat mayo. This version would probably not be low enough for an under-forty grams low carb diet, depending on how much you eat, but would definitely work for FFLC.

 

Store-Bought-Stella (SBS): If you want to save money, you could use Splenda rather than one of the other more expensive bulk sweeteners suggested. I’m all about simplicity where possible (while still cooking and baking low carb and homemade), so I used the bagged slaw mix—a great SBS tip in general for veggies if your budget allows them.

 

Homemade Hannah (HH): Of course, this could be made more homemade if you do your own mayo and buy cabbage and carrots whole and shred them.

 

Freezer Cooking (FC): Don’t freeze this—or fresh salads in general (except for some fruit salads).

 

Trim Healthy Mama-Friendly (THM) (www.trimhealthymama.com): This can definitely work in an S setting very well with grilled meats and more! I would think you would be a little challenged to get it low enough in fat to use in an E setting—maybe use fat free mayo (is that allowed?) and almond milk or skim milk (?). Just some thoughts.

 

Sugar Free (SF): Sugar-free and healthy sweetener options! See ideas for sugar-free sweeteners here!

 

Gluten Free (GF): No reason to add gluten to this. Use my All Purpose Seasoning Mix, and you’ll be covered!

 

Low Carb Mixes (LCM): This recipe uses my All Purpose Seasoning Mix, a combination of amazing spices that is a great seasoning for meats, veggies, fish, salads, and more!

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