Slow-Cooker Hamburger Soup

There is something comforting about a nice, hot bowl of soup. Even better when it requires little prep time and can be ready & waiting for you at dinner. This hamburger soup is very hearty, and my version is pretty low carb (so my diabetic hubby can have a huge bowl – this is his favorite soup!) but feel free to add potatoes, corn, carrots, anything you like.

Crock Pot Hamburger Soup

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can use pre-cooked ground beef for a “hands off” meal, or you can add the hamburger raw, allowing it to cook in the broth, but you have to be available to stir and break up the beef as it cooks. You also need to use very lean ground beef for this method, or you will have greasy soup! I’ve made that mistake, so I’ve learned to start writing the fat content on my ground beef if I am freezing it raw. However, I prefer to cook large quantities of ground beef in the crock pot, then freeze in 2 pound portions so it’s ready for recipes like this.

Hamburger Soup

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I sometimes add carrots, but as stated earlier, feel free to add any veggies you like. It’s also good with rice. I usually have Cornbread Muffins or Copycat King’s Hawaiian Bread with it, because the kids and I still love our carbs! (This can also be made on the stove top, but it’s just so easy to let it simmer in the crock-pot all day!)
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) Little Miss DexterousThe Tumbleweed ContessaI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) Sew Crafty AngelThe Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap Crafts (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife, Life with Lorelai (Sunday) My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies

Meat Lover’s Pizza Dip

So, I heard there’s a big football game coming up pretty soon. And y’all know me, any excuse to make & eat party food. This pizza dip would be great for a Super Bowl party (or any party), for after school snacking, or you can go crazy and eat it for dinner (which is exactly what my husband did one night recently.) It can be a low-carb alternative to traditional pizza, depending on what you eat it with.

Meat Lovers Pizza Dip

You can also add whatever pizza toppings you like. I made this a ‘Meat Lover’s’ version, full of (turkey) pepperoni, seasoned ground beef, and bacon. Sausage and Canadian Bacon would have been good too.

Meatza Pizza Dip

This is a cheesy, creamy dip, that is good with tortilla chips, corn chips, pita chips, toasted French bread, bread sticks, and the list goes on. I wasn’t a big fan of the pretzels used in the above pic however. They turned a little soft & I didn’t like the texture. Of course, the dip is also good eaten with a spoon!

Pizza Dip

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Recipe adapted from Belle of the Kitchen and my Pizza Casserole

As you can see, the amounts and ingredients are very versatile. Anything you like on pizza will probably work well in this dip. Feel free to add more or less meat, cheese, and spices.

Will you be watching the Super Bowl? Thought about what food you will be serving? That is the most important part, right?
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) Little Miss DexterousThe Tumbleweed ContessaI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) Sew Crafty AngelThe Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap Crafts (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife (Sunday) My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

For those of you watching your carb intake, cauliflower can be used as a decent substitute for potatoes in some dishes. I say ‘decent’ because I don’t really like cauliflower but have been successful (and sometimes not so successful) in using it in the place of potatoes for a low carb side dish and my favorite way to eat it….as pizza crust!

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

For Thanksgiving, I knew my low-carbing, diabetic husband would have a lack of options for sides, since he would not be eating the awesome stuffing, or the potatoes. (I think we had rice too!) So I made this cauliflower casserole and included lots of cheese-y goodness, and bacon. Because we know bacon makes everything mo’betta.

Cauliflower Casserole

Did it taste like a loaded baked potato? No. It tasted like cooked cauliflower with cheese and bacon. However, it wasn’t bad for us non-cauliflower people and it was down right tasty to those who like it (aka my mom. The only one out of the 10 of us.) But, it gave my husband a low carb option, so my job was done.

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Thanksgiving plate

This. This is how you do Thanksgiving. And this (in conjunction with cookies, fudge and egg nog) is why I need to be at the gym right now.

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) Sew Crafty AngelThe Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap Crafts (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Low Carb Cheesecake (with optional Blueberry Topping)

For those of you following a low carb diet, or have ever tried following a low carb diet, you know how hard it can be to satisfy those cravings for something sweet. I have attempted to low carb it many times, each time failing miserably! My husband however, has been eating low carb for years now to help control his diabetes. This cheesecake is one of his favorite indulgences, minus the blueberry topping…he prefers his plain.

Low Carb Cheesecake

3 (8 ounce) packages Cream Cheese, softened (I usually use 2 ‘regular’ cream cheese and 1 reduced fat)
 
3 eggs, room temperature
 
3/4 cup Splenda (or artificial sweetener of choice. I’ve had good luck with xylitol, but haven’t used it for this yet.)
 
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Lightly spray pie plate with cooking spray.
  • Mix together cream cheese, Splenda, lemon juice and vanilla until well blended.
  • On low speed, add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just blended after each one.
  • Pour mixture into pie plate, bake 45 minutes or until center is almost set (but still slightly jiggly)
  • Cool, add fresh fruit or fruit topping if desired (see below for blueberry topping)
Recipe adapted from Kraft
Blueberry Topping
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 Tablespoon desired sweetener (less if berries are very sweet)
1 Tablespoon water
Heat on medium high heat until berries are bursting and sauce begins to thicken. Reduce heat and let simmer to desired thickness, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly and add to top of cheesecake.
This is a crustless cheesecake, but you could always add a low carb almond crust.
Anyone out there low carbing it? How’s it going? What’s your favorite low sugar treat?

Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

If you want to make a good meal better, add cream cheese. It makes baked spaghetti creamy and fabulous, turns regular crock-pot beef into something my family will actually eat, and it transformed chicken enchiladas from something my kids wouldn’t touch into a meal they want on a regular basis. I think this would be the perfect meal for Cinco de Mayo! Followed by Margarita Cake for dessert:-)

Unfortunately, my pics are terrible. We have the worst artificial lighting in our house and it was one of those super gray, dreary days when I made these. But, y’all know I’m no fancy pants food blogger. Just keepin’ it real. Hey, at least I didn’t use paper plates.

It’s been pretty well established here how picky my kids are. None of the three will eat enchiladas because of the red sauce. When a friend mentioned she was making chicken enchiladas with a white sauce, I thought ‘hmmm…that just might work’. The girls love Alfredo sauce, so I thought they might give this a try. They also love the white cheese dip you can get a Mexican restaurants. Once they tried these, they loved it and requested I make it on a regular basis. Super picky Mr. Three had a tortilla filled with cheese only, but he liked the sauce too.

Oh yeah, and no “cream of” anything. Just good ol’ fattening ingredients like cream cheese, butter and flour tortillas. I used low-carb tortillas, making these pretty low carb overall, which is good for the diabetic hubby.

Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

6-10 flour tortillas (depending on size you choose) I use low-carb
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded (crock-pot is great for this)

1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese; divided (reduced fat is ok)

2 cups Mexican Blend or preferred cheese, shredded; divided
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chillies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a mixing bowl, stir together your chicken, 3 ounces of the cream cheese (my package was marked, but if yours is not, just a little less than half the brick is fine), and one cup of cheese. Season with salt and pepper. *I recommend going light on the salt because broth is full of sodium and you may have salt in the butter as well.
  • Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas and roll them up. Place seam side down in prepared baking dish.
  • In a sauce pan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and cook one minute while stirring. Whisk in broth until smooth, and heat until mixture is thick and bubbly.
  • Add remaining cream cheese and stir until melted.
  • Stir in green chilies. Remove from heat and pour over chicken enchiladas.
  • Top with remaining cheese and bake for approx. 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbling around the sides. (If desired, place under broiler for a few minutes to brown the cheese…I skipped this part as we were hungry!)
  • Let cool for a few minutes for sauce to thicken.
Recipe adapted from Recipes, Food and Cooking

B-Up Bars – Product Review (#lowcarb #highprotein #cleantreat)

This is a sponsored post from Yup Brands and Blog Meets Brand. All opinions are my own (or that of my hubby).

This is a product that I was excited to review since my husband is diabetic and follows a low carb diet to help control his blood sugars. It is so hard to find tasty snack options that are not full of junk because let’s be honest, snacking on vegetables gets old. It’s nice to have some other low carb snack options that he can enjoy on the go and satisfy that sweet tooth. Not to mention, I like to have high protein/low sugar bars to keep in my gym bag for post-workout snacks. (Protein helps build lean muscle and the more muscle you have, the more your metabolism increases. Since my metabolism slowed down to a slugs pace after age 35, it’s important for me to incorporate weight lifting in with my cardio.) I also need to lay off the chips, but that’s a different post all together!

A huge issue I have with most low carb bars is the amount of sugar alcohols in them. Sugar alcohols are those sweeteners that come with a warning about causing GI distress if you consume to much. Uhmmm, no thank you. I also only like to use sweeteners from natural sources, like stevia and xylitol. I am really trying to limit our intake of aspartame and sucralose.

So, my “dream bar” would be high in protein, low in carbohydrates, low in sugar/sugar alcohols/artificial sweeteners…in other words – no junk! Well, guess what? B-UP Bars are a dream come true! They are all those things plus high in fiber, low in sodium and they taste good! (Not that weird “protein-y” funky taste, but actually taste good.) My husband, who is super picky (sorry honey, but it’s true!) really enjoyed the bars and tried to take them all for himself. The bars have a nougat type texture/consistency, and come in several flavors. (Peanut Butter, PB and J, Chocolate Mint, Sugar Cookie, Cinnamon Roll, and Vanilla Peanut)

 *As a matter of fact, you can sign up to receive a 6-pack trial of the bars here to give each flavor a try. ALSO, readers can save 12% on box orders by entering code yup29 at checkout.*

So, bottom line…B-UP Bars have 20 grams protein and 18-20 grams fiber, with only 2-3 grams of sugar and only 4-5 grams of net carbs. AND, they have no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives, are low in sodium and gluten free. If I had not tried them for myself, I would not even believe it! If you would like to learn more about the products above and this awesome company, check them out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I, for one, am very glad to have some healthier pre-packaged options for my diabetic hubs and for me too! I also love the company’s tag line…Be Healthy. Be Better. B-Up. (UP stands for Unlimited Potential!)

 
Anyone else lead a low carb lifestyle? What about that mid-life metabolism? Can anyone else relate or is it just me?!

Super Bowl Round-Up

If some of you are like me and just now digging out from the snow, you may be heading to the grocery store to stock up on supplies for the game tomorrow. I may not know who’s playing, but I have my Super Bowl menu pretty much figured out – priorities.

(Pictured, left to right)
and if you like any of those, you may also like:
Chicken BBQ in the Crockpot
-OR-
“Cheater” Chili (super quick and easy, 3 ingredients!)
and just a suggestion, but the best chips ever (IMO)
Let’s not forget the dessert!
Chicago Mix (for the sweet and salty lover – just sub out the candy corn for your favorite candy!)
Looking for something simple and low fat? The 2-Ingredient Angel Food Cake is the ticket.
Or, need something low carb?
These Cinnamon Crunchies will satisfy the low-carber’s sweet tooth!
You can also turn almost anything you have on hand into a delicious flatbread or pizza…just stock up on some Stonefire Flatbreads. They are delicious!
{Disclosure} I was sent samples to try, and there will definitely be more of these in my future. Expect some recipe posts soon!
You can also keep things neat and tidy by having Stonefire Pita Bread ready for filling at your Super Bowl gathering. That way, when people jump up and down, the contents won’t go flying everywhere 🙂 Yep, always thinking over here. ha!
Have a great weekend!

Creamy Sausage Dip {with skinny option}

Sausage is like crack. It rivals the beloved bacon. They each have their own special place in my meat-loving, nitrate infused world. In other words, I love sausage. I don’t eat it often, because let’s face it, it’s not a health food…BUT, let’s make an exception for this dip. It’s a great appie and should make any sausage loving person very happy. Oh, and it has cream cheese in it. And we know cream cheese makes errything a little mo’betta.

This dip goes by many names: sausage dip, cream cheese sausage dip, Rotel Sausage Dip, etc. Since I was out of Rotel when I made this, I’m just calling it Creamy Sausage Dip! I used salsa in the place of the Rotel, and it wasn’t as spicy as I like, but still delicious. I’ve been making this for years, and originally got the recipe from my cousin. There are variations all over the net, but this is my verison.

Creamy Sausage Dip

1 lb. sausage, cooked and crumbled (and drained if needed) *hot or mild
1 can Rotel Tomatoes or 1 1/2 cups salsa, drained
2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese (1 also works, will just be thicker, as pictured)
Mix cooked sausage and cream cheese in a pot over medium heat. Stir often until cream cheese has mostly melted. Add Rotel or salsa. Stir to combine and continue to heat until cream cheese is completely melted and mixture is warm throughout. Dip can be placed (or prepared) in a crock pot to keep warm while being served.
Serve with chips, crackers, pita crisps, etc.
Want your Creamy Sausage Dip to be a little more waistline friendly?

Skinny Creamy Sausage Dip

1 lb. turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled (buy it or make it)
1 can Rotel Tomatoes or 1 1/2 cups salsa, drained
1 or 2 (8 oz) package(s) fat free cream cheese
Prepare as above.
Serve with homemade tortilla chips, or store bought baked tortilla chips. It’s still not a health food, but a little more figure friendly! ‘Cuz everyone wants to eat party food…dieting or not!
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Designed Decor, Sowdering About in Seattle  Naptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxLove in the Kitchen, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday) The Newlyweds Pilgrimage, Fluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the CurtainGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva  (Thursday) Project Inspire ,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageThe Mandatory Mooch,   Lamberts LatelyCraftionary (Friday) Not Your Ordinary Recipes,  Simple Living and EatingJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog RecipesOne Creative Mommy, Michelle’s Tasty CreationsClose to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday)  Or So She Says…Six Sisters’ StuffIt’s OverflowingMade from Pinterest

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Are you ready for some football?! Yeah, whatever. Any excuse to make party food is reason enough for me to get excited! I like the Super Bowl for the commercials, half time performances, and as I said…the food. Buffalo Chicken Dip is probably going to make an appearance on many a table on game day. Because it’s AWESOME. It’s creamy, spicy, cheesy and I could (and sometimes do) make a meal of it!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Okay, so it’s not the prettiest thing in the world. Especially with my non-photography skillzzzz. But it’s super yummy all the same. Here, take a bite.
Buffalo Dip and Chip

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Recipe source: Just Us Four
If you are a buffalo chicken fan, you might also want to check out:
What will you be eating on Super Bowl Sunday? 

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksWatch Out, Martha!Huckleberry LoveThe Newlyweds PilgrimageSowdering About in SeattleCraft and Repeat (Tuesday) Naptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxLove in the Kitchen, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeSarah Lynn’s SweetsBeBetsy and VMG206Twinkling Trees , Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday) Fluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the CurtainGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeThe Real Thing with The Coake FamilyTessa the Domestic Diva  (Thursday) Project Inspire ,Joyful HomemakingDesigned DecorMiz Helen’s Country CottageThe Mandatory Mooch,   Lamberts Lately (Friday) Not Your Ordinary Recipes,  Simple Living and EatingJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,CraftionaryOne Artsy MamaThe Best Blog RecipesOne Creative Mommy, Michelle’s Tasty CreationsClose to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday)  Or So She Says…Six Sisters’ StuffIt’s OverflowingMade from Pinterest

Salmon Cakes

If you are looking to get more Omega-3’s into your diet, want a low-carb/high protein meal or just like salmon, then this Southern dish may be for you. I can remember my Grandma frying up salmon cakes and cornbread, and my mom makes them too. I’ve been carrying on the tradition and have made them a few times over the years.
They may not be the prettiest things, but they are quick and easy, and I am trying to get more fish into my family’s diet. It’s not easy when the only fish they usually want is in the form of fish sticks! I’ve cut back on the flour used in my mom’s recipe to make this very low carb (for my diabetic husband) and I’ve found that it’s not really necessary, as everything binds together well. Sometimes I add a small amount of seasoned breadcrumbs in place of the flour, and that gives them a little added flavor. Tiffany over at Eat at Home adds corn meal to hers, and I am definitely trying that next time. I almost always have cornbread as a side to salman cakes, so I don’t know why I’ve never thought of this!

Salmon Cakes

1 (15 ounce) can salmon, drained and flaked
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup diced onion (or more to taste)
1/8 cup seasoned bread crumbs or flour (or cornmeal!)
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (optional)
salt and pepper – to taste
1 T. olive oil for skillet
 
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, add salmon, removing any large bones.*
  • Add eggs, onion, bread crumbs (or flour), and Old Bay Seasoning.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Shape into patties and pan fry over medium heat in olive oil.
  • Cook patties until crispy and golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.

*If you have never opened a can of Salmon, beware…it’s kinda gross looking and has bones in it. Just pull out the large spine running down the center, and don’t worry about all the little ones. I know it sounds disgusting, but they just disintegrate when everything is mixed up and cooked.  Yeah….so I know everyone will be rushing to make these now! But I wanted to forewarn any newbies b/c I found it shocking the first time and had to call my mommy 🙂 

The patties can be served with cocktail or tartar sauce if desired. Or ketchup, if you are like my children! And as I said, I usually have cornbread with it…check here and here for a baked and fried version.

Have you ever made salmon cakes?