companion blog to the e-book the 24/7 Low Carb Diner

Companion blog to the e-book
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Sun Dried Tomato Crusted Fish

Most of the people in my family are not big fish eaters. My hubby will tolerate a meal of fish, as long as it is mild, and I serve another favorite recipe at another meal of the day. This one, however, is not your average fish recipe. It is utterly delicious, even for a less than enthusiastic fish eater.

The Diner News for June will feature Mediterranean food. This is definitely in that category. So many provocative flavors, yet so good for your health. In addition to the intense tomato flavor, we get the tartness of lemon and capers, the salty and earthy olives, and the crunch of almonds. Such a winning combination!

Sun Dried Tomato Crusted Fish

1 cup whole olives: a blend of black, green and Kalamata, any ratio you prefer
 ½ cup sun dried tomatoes, drained and  chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp slivered almonds
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp capers, drained
4  frozen fish filets (4 to 5 oz each)
 Salt and pepper, to taste

 Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the olives, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, almonds, lemon juice, garlic, and Italian seasoning in the bowl of a food processor. Process until ground but not completely smooth.  Place the fish filets in a baking dish sprayed or brushed with olive oil and season them with a small amount of salt and pepper. Spoon the olive and sun dried tomato spread on top of each piece of fish, spreading it out over the surface. Divide the capers among fillets.  Bake until fish is cooked through, about 30 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the filet. (Reduce baking time by half if using fresh or thawed fish.)
Serves 4: 330 calories  5 net g carb (7 total carb)

All those classic Mediterranean flavors. Yum. If you need to sub some ingredients, go ahead. But stick with the sun dried tomatoes! Capers would be optional.

You can use any fish, I think. I used a white fish for mildness. But you can get more Omega 3 fatty acids if you choose salmon or tuna. I am personally not a huge fan of some of the other healthier fish--mackerel, herring, trout and you be the judge.

Speaking of judging. Everytime I post a fish recipe I seem to get a battle going between farm raised and wild caught. Please just eat what your conscience tells you, and be happy. Frankly, there are so many opposing views on so many health issues, it is no wonder the average Joe just eats burgers and fries day in and day out. Not that I don't love a good burger.

School is out, but I am still doing grading and clean up. Next week I travel to a teacher conference for Oklahoma History. I do love my history classes the most. I will be dining in my old college dorm cafeteria. I am sure they will not have the good eating I get today with this fish! It will be fun anyway.

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Korean Kalbi BBQ Sausage Skillet

Never too busy to cook, right? I have been a little overly busy lately. I was a bit behind schedule getting the Diner News out. Saturday was my kitchen day. Then it rained and was so gloomy all day. No photo ops at all. Since I had three grocery stores to visit on Friday, just a little bit of cooking got done then.

So it all fell on Sunday. Let me say, goodbye to my regular prep routine. It was all sausages, all day. Sausages, you say? Why sausages? Well, that happens to be the Diner News theme this month. I really am a fan of sausages. There are so many more healthy options that we had a few years ago. Many are just 1 or 2 carbs these days. And the flavors available now...Wow. I love all the fresh sausage at Sprouts. Good value and 2 carbs per really generous link. Trader Joe's have some fabulous options too. (I do think their sausages tend to shrink more in the cooking though.) I also love the Italian Turkey sausages at Aldi. Warehouse stores have some interesting finds too.

Many sausages are pre-cooked. What time savers those are. Often, I just cut one up into a salad and lunch is prepped and ready to go. The are great for dinners when you just don't want to think about anything else too. Or hot weather, when you don't want to heat up the oven.

If you want the low down on all my finds, you just have to have this month's Diner News. Remember, it is just $6 for 12 months and almost every recipe is new. That is why I am so busy and tired. I cook and experiment a lot for each edition. With no new cookbooks out, this is one of my main income streams. I promise these newsletters are worth the price. (I hear they are worth more)

Here is an interesting dish I created yesterday from an unusual sausage I found at Trader Joe's. Spicy Chicken Sausage: A Korean Inspired Kalbi BBQ Recipe. These are fully cooked, so they are super speedy for a quick stir fry. Especially when you take advantage of TJ's frozen peppers and onions. I also adore snow peas, and those are especially good here! And gorgeous to boot. I used Shirataki Rice for my filler. That did get some conversation at the school lunch table today. I am not so sure anyone else is a fan. I happen to like the rice much more than the noodles. Considering the calorie count, it is a win for me. Try this recipe. It is really yummy.

Korean Kalbi Style BBQ Skillet

2 Trader Joe’s spicy Chicken Korean Kalbi BBQ Sausages
1 tbsp refined coconut oil
1 cup snow peas
1 cup frozen peppers and onion blend
1 tsp minced garlic
7 oz bag shirataki rice*

Slice sausages and set aside. Heat oil in a skillet. Sauté snow peas, peppers and onions. When vegetables are soft, add sliced sausages and garlic. When hot,  stir in Sambal Oelek to taste.   Divide among plates and serve with tamari.  283 CAL 7 NET G CARB

· Substitute caulirice for an extra 2 net g carbs per serving

If you prefer to use riced cauliflower, Trader Joe's is a great place to buy it. Fresh or frozen. Couldn't be easier.

Now check out these other fabulous recipes featured this month:
Beer Braised Brats

Joe's Vino Lover's Bake

The Italian Birdie Bake

Bacon, Brats and Greens

Feta Chicken Sausage Skillet

French Apple Sausage Roast

Garlic Parmesan Sheet Pan Medley

Bangers and Mash

Sausage Alfredo

Man Pleaser Spaghetti Squash

Pressure Cooker Sausage Stack

Beer Brat Cheese Chowder

Don't forget to order the Diner News. Just $6 a year.

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Love the recipes I share on this blog? My ebook helps you plan and prep to stay healthy 24/7.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Man Pleaser Spaghetti Squash and Sausage

"Bacon Bits are like the Fairy Dust of the Food Community."  Jim Gaffigan.

So True. Everything may actually be better with bacon. Some even call it "Meat Candy."  I don't know about that one, but I do know that some bacon will make my hubby eat things he would otherwise turn his nose up to. Like Spaghetti squash. Butter won't do the trick. Neither will cheese. But add bacon and brats? You have a hubby pleaser!

The bacon flavor comes double--even triple-- in this recipe. First and foremost, is the wonderful flavor of the Johnsonville Brats--the Cheddar and Bacon Brat. Not a bad carb option at 2 carbs per link. Gluten free too. These are super tasty.

The next layer of bacon flavor comes in your choice of options. I used Hormel Bacon Sprinkles. Tiny bits of real bacon that adds just a touch of bacony goodness to so many foods. And no prep for me. I can just shake them out of a bottle. You can also use J & D Bacon Salt. If you want to spend some extra time in the kitchen, I am certain some home fried bacon crumbles would be amazing too. But I am lazy. Sometimes. Like today. The 3rd bacon flavor wave comes from the Bacon Ranch dressing. That is my hubster's favorite.

Another lazy thing I do is to cook my spaghetti squash in the pressure cooker. So easy to handle. I like the texture too. I cut mine in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, then pressure steam (with a cup of water in the base)  for 12 minutes. This is slightly undercooked--perfect because we will be baking again once we have that yummy sausage filling.

Man Pleaser Spaghetti Squash and Sausage

1 spaghetti squash
4 Johnsonville Cheddar and Bacon Brats
1/2 onion
4 tbsp bacon ranch dressing
1/2 tsp Bacon Salt  or 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp  Hormel Bacon Sprinkles
1 cup white cheddar cheese

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds. (They cut easier if microwaved 5 minutes and cooled) Cook squash  in an oven or pressure cooker until the skin pierces easily with a knife.

While squash is cooking, brown the brats in a skillet for 5 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup water and braise the brats in a lidded skillet over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add sliced onion. Sauté until onion is golden. Remove sausages and slice into rounds.

Cut squash halves half again, leaving you with 4 wedges. Lightly beak up squash with the tines of a fork, but leave the outer shell intact. Distribute  1 tbsp Ranch dressing into the squash strands of each wedge. Sprinkle  Bacon salt or Bacon Sprinkles and salt over strands. Top with 2 tbsp of cheese on each wedge. Divide the sausage and onion mixture among the wedges. Top with remaining cheese. Place into a 425 degree oven until cheese is melted and  just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Drizzle with a touch more Bacon Ranch Dressing and Bacon Sprinkles for garnish.

Serves 4:  approx.  483 calories   12 net g carb (2 fiber)

So that is my culinary artistry for this week. I needed easy since I made a few dozen cake balls for last night's prom. The theme was a night in the Big Apple, so I made them in the colors of Tiffany's of New York. Not sure the students picked up on that one. So my cakepop maker got a work out, but not a low carb one this time! My cake pops are on the right side of the photo--almost cropped out. Funny how I don't get good shots for foods I don't make for the blog! It was a fun event, though tiring too!

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Hot Cuppa Inspiration - Roastaroma

Some mornings you just need your coffee. It is your friend. Sometimes you crave it at night, but just don't no what to do with all that energy at 2 a.m. Enter Roastaroma. It's not coffee. Now don't get me wrong. It doesn't even taste like coffee. When I first got it, excited by the reviews of all the folks who replace coffee cravings with this caffeine free herbal tea, is was quite underwhelmed. Sure, it was interesting. I didn't have that herbal tea undertone that all caffeine free teas seem to have to me. (Is it just me or do so many seem to taste alike regardless of flavor?) And it was kinda weak for my dark coffee loving palette. It was interesting. There is chicory, roasted barley and a touch cocoa in there. I like it, but I knew I was never going to crave it. It reminded me too much of all the coffee substitute concoctions our family tested out while we studied the Civil War. In the spirit of adventure, and willing to face hardships like the army boys did, we tried everything from chicory to toasted corn to peanuts brews. They were disgusting for the most part, but we tried. Yep, we were that family. But it was fun...and memorable.

So with its lackluster appearance in the Marshall home, this blend has been sitting ignored since the holidays. Today, I was totally out of coffee. Terrible, since I have a guest this week. I decided to brew this up really strong and add some other ingredients to amp the texture and flavor. I think I really found a winner. Look at the froth on top. The taste is much richer than my first taste test with a few additions. Granted it will still not be my morning eye opener, but the Roastaroma will combine nicely with my add ins to  make a fun coffee house kind of drink. For the Diner News, I recently made a coffee as a meal recipe that is very similar. I took the same ingredients, minimized them a bit, and made a frothy, sweet hot beverage you can enjoy any time of day with healthy ingredients and not too many calories. Up for the adventure?

Frothy Roastaroma

1 mug strongly brewed Roastaroma herbal tea from Celestial Seasonings
1 tsp coconut oil (I use refined with no coconut taste)
1 tsp collagen peptides or unflavored gelatin
1 tsp whey protein powder
1/8 tsp sunflower lecithin
pinch salt
sweetener to taste

Brew the tea for 5 minutes. Pour into a blender. (I used my bullet blender) Add coconut oil, collagen, whey protein, lecithin, salt and sweetener. If using a bullet blender, shake and open cap to release pressure before blending. Process 10-15 seconds. Pour into a mug and enjoy the creamy, frothy topping.

Serves 1: 50 calories  1 g carb

I love my flavored teas. I am kind of a collector, you  might say. This particular one is a little hard to find, but you can order it online at Vitacost, and it is on sale right now. No, I don't get paid anything for recommending the tea or the store. Just something I tried and decided to share with you. Feel free to share any of your finds here. I would love to feature them.

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Firecracker Shrimp

Some like it hot! These little shrimp bites are something to tell about. A little fire and a little sweet. That tender chewiness of shrimp and savory enough to keep you coming back for more. And that's okay, because these little devils are super low calorie too.  In fitting with this month's theme for the Diner News, they have a slimming secret or two. Full of flavor, but no added fat. Sweet but no sugar. Spicy to make you happy and rev up your metabolism.

I like to add easy too. I start with cleaned, pre-cooked shrimp. No fail and no hunting for little veins. The tails are attached. I happen to love that. It makes me slow down to eat them and really consciously enjoy my meal. That is a slimming secret too. I have so many of them, you really think I would have become so skinny that I could just blow away. Alas, no. I will always need to be ever mindful in my eating. If you are the same, then this issue is for you!

Firecracker Shrimp

12 oz frozen cooked shrimp
3 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp Sambal Oelek
1 tsp tamari  or soy sauce
1 tbsp erythritol/ stevia blend sweetener
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Pinch cayenne
2 Green onion tops or chives

Thaw and drain shrimp. In medium bowl, combine lime juice, vinegar and Sambal Oelek. Drizzle the juice and vinegar over the shrimp in a lidded container. Stir to coat.  In small bowl, combine sweetener, garlic powder and cayenne. Sprinkle this mixture over the surface of each shrimp. Marinate several hours as the shrimp thaws, stirring from time to time. To cook, simply warm everything in a nonstick skillet.  Garnish with diced green onion or chives.

Serves 3:  119 calories  2 net g carb

Note, that this serves three. Perfect for a meal for two and a leftover lunch. I do adore leftovers. I must admit that I have the most interesting lunches at school.  This shrimp would also be great to serve for a party. Just find some friends who love the heat as much as we do! I will admit to adding an extra sprinkle of crushed red pepper. That is up to you.

Get a nice serving of protein for just 119 calories. That leaves you plenty of room for veggies and even some caulirice or shirataki rice. Think how many veggies you can add and still have a super low calorie, low carb meal! In this month's Diner News, I share several recipes that use all the little secrets in my arsenal for a slimmer life. This one is both low carb and low fat. That adds up to low calories. Not that I am counting, but we must practice moderation, right?

Check out some of the other yummy foods in this issue that will keep you light. Order the 24/7 Low Carb Diner News here.

Prep Ahead Taco Cobb Salad Bowls

Sassy Cajun Skillet Dinner

Light Layered Lasagna in a Jar

Jicama Pickles

Green Monster Moonshine from THM

Asian Egg Muffins

Albuquerque Dirty Rice

Cranberry Slushie

Taco Train Soup ( adapted from THM's Woman's Day Article)

Arnold's Oolong

Green Chile Egg Cups

Golden Girl Salad Dressing

Peach Fizz
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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Golden Girl Salad Dressing

I have been trying to cut back lately. Adding some meals that are not only low carb, but low calorie too. I know, many of you don't need to do that. And, believe me, I am not counting or doing anything too drastic. But it seems smart to me to lower the amount of calories I normally take in as I age. I recall some dear friends of ours saying that they began to be filled up on much less food as they aged. Now that I officially qualify for many senior menus, I am awaiting that change in my hunger level.. My husband seems to be eating less, but not me. I stay as hungry as ever. Granted, he does have several years on me. My menu plan now calls for a few meals that range more in the 300 calorie range. Still low carb, but low fat too.  I still get my good-for-you fats at other times during the week.

So as spring has arrived and more salads are on the menu, I wanted a new low calorie dressing. I generally like the Skinny Girl dressings, but they do all seem to taste the same to me. This home made dressing is so different. I love cumin and this dressing tastes exotic and so substantial. Plus it is just around 11 calories per serving with just 1 carb. So move over Skinny Girl, I am more about Golden Girl these days. Even though I do still refuse AARP!

Golden Girl Salad Dressing

3/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sunflower lecithin
1/4 tsp glucomannan
(optional: 1 drop lemon oil)

Combine  ingredients in a bullet blender. Process until smooth. Let rest 5 minutes. Check thickness. Add more glucomannan if necessary and blend again.

Serves 6:  11 calories   1 g carb

This dressing is tart, but earthy. The sunflower lecithin helps as a thickener, but you could add a bit more glucomannan or xanthan gum instead. The strength of that product can really vary. I am experimenting with lecithin these days as I try to get the most nutrition out of everything I put in  my mouth. It helps with mouth feel and is good for my brain and nervous system as well.

I am doing this month's Diner News on the theme of  'Slimming Secrets". I have quite a few ideas to keep you--or get you--a little lighter. You won't want to miss it. In the mean time, this sweet puppy is my other way of keeping my energy up. Puppies make you feel young! My Trooper. Isn't he adorable?

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

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Love the recipes I share on this blog? My ebook helps you plan and prep to stay healthy 24/7.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Copycat Monterey Melt Burger

I love it when restaurants low carb regular menu items for me without making an act of congress out of it. I always get a smile when we eat out at Whataburger. I have my order memorized. "Monterey Melt, not the meal, no bread. Please put all the other fixings on and put the Jalapeno Ranch in a cup. I would like a side of shredded lettuce to replace the bun. I know, it doesn't usually come with lettuce, so could you please add that for me?" I always get what I want. Sometimes the dressing is in a styrofoam cup, sometimes a ready made container. It is always delicious, and no order taker has ever been annoyed. Granted, it takes some longer than others to get that side of lettuce added. If you don't have Whataburger in your area of the world, then I am truly sorry. But then, you can make this copycat version of mine. Win!

I had a hankering for one of these burgers the other day. Yes, I can say "hankering" because I am from Oklahoma. Translated, it means craving or desire. But it was my only day during the week that I didn't need to leave the house. Woohoo, a no make up day for me. I had the choice of letting the world see my dark circles and age spots, or try to make it myself. You can tell which won. A couple of my students still talk about the day I didn't come to school with my makeup on. No, I don't wear a lot of make up, but my eyes definitely benefit from a good dose of mascara and eyeliner. That's another subject. Lunch is more important now.

So...lately I have been experimenting with sheet pan recipes. Now that we are just two, once sheetpan can easily cook our entire meal. I could never have done that with three teenage boys at home. The thing about the peppers on the Monterey Melt burger at Whataburger, is the texture. The are soft and lightly browned. Done like they were not in a hurry with a hot griddle. (Guess who usually hurries that step) They definitely benefit from a good dose of fat. So I thought the idea of peppers and onions baking on a sheet pan with the burger patties would work. Wow. It was awesome. And so easy. I even started with frozen patties.

Copycat Monterey Melt Burgers

4 - 1/4lb  80/20 ground beef patties
1 green bell pepper
1/2 onion
smoked sea salt to taste (or regular salt)
1/4 cup prepared Ranch dressing
1/4 tsp Chili Dawgs Jalapeno Seasoning
2 slices Monterey Jack Cheese 
2 slices American Cheese

Prehat oven to 350 degrees. Place beef patties on a rimmed cookie sheet. Slice pepper and onions into thin strips. Place vegetables around burgers. Bake for about 30 minutes. Toss veggies in the rendered beef fat and turn burgers at the 15 minute mark.

While the beef is baking, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, combine Ranch Dressing and Jalapeno spice. Flavor will intensify as it sits.

When burgers are cooked through, plate the patties. Top with cheese slices and surround with peppers. Drizzle dressing over all.

Serves 1 or 2: each patty with fixings: 332 calories   4 net g carb

This is the seasoning mix I used to get a dressing that tastes exactly like the one at Whataburger. (it has more than just jalapeno in it) See the Chili Dawgs site for more info. No, I am not getting paid or product for this one. I just like it.

You might want to pick up the green chile version too for a recipe in the  April Diner News. Hint. Hint.

Now one little thing about the cheese. The burgers have one slice of each, but they use a thinner patty than I did here at home. You could go half and half on each burger. My hubster eats two, so it is easy to give him both. I think they would be cute half and half--I would break on the diagonal. Of course, you can use any cheese you like. Mine was actually Cheddar in the photo.

Now I get it. Some of you are going to balk at the idea of baking a burger in the oven. I promise, this works. As long as you have a good quality beef and don't overcook, it is going to be moist. No tough sear necessary. The peppers and onions are soft and flavored superbly with the beef fat. Just adjust your salt and pepper and use as much or little of the dressing as you like. Afterall, I have mine on the side.

So there, no super fancy meal here. No winning the Pinterest superstar meal. Just a yummy way to satisfy a specialty burger craving. I am trying to enjoy spring break without too much work. Progress reports are due. The weather has been chilly after weeks of sun and warm weather. Grr. That is not going to help the kids settle in after break. This is the time of year we teachers burn out and kids get extra squirrely. Still, I will be so proud at graduation. I hope you are doing things that make you proud too.

Get more great recipes at the Low Carbing Among Friends Facebook Page:     

Order our books at: 

Love the recipes I share on this blog? My ebook helps you plan and prep to stay healthy 24/7.