Easy Grilled Asparagus (THM FP)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission off of purchases made using these links. If you’re interested in fitness, the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, or just living a more healthy life, please consider using one or more of the links below. The money made helps me feed my growing family and keeps this blog running with free recipes. Thank you!

I love no-fuss sides that add a fresh complement to any meal – this easy grilled asparagus is definitely one of them.

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Asparagus on the grill can be a little frustrating. You don’t want the thicker bottoms to be too raw, and if you cook them longer the tops may burn – UGH. Well, this method will give you perfectly tender, slightly smoky asparagus every time. The best part? You only need 3 ingredients!

Let’s start with the star of this side – the asparagus. When you buy fresh asparagus at the store, make sure you use it within about 2-3 days of purchase. The easiest way to cut off the fibrous stumps is to leave the bottom rubber band on, and cut the whole bunch at once right above that band (about 1-1 1/2 in. from the bottom).

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Next, you’re going to quickly blanch the asparagus. Don’t be scared – all blanching means is that you’re going to cook it for a short amount of time, and then shock it really fast to stop the cooking. This ensures that your asparagus will be perfectly al dente all the way through.

You’ll get a pot going with a few inches of water and a big pinch of salt. Doesn’t have to be a lot of water, just enough to submerge the asparagus. Also, make sure that your pot is wide enough to fit the asparagus laying horizontally. While the water comes to a boil, get your shock bowl ready with ice water.

When it boils, drop the asparagus and cook it for 3 minutes (time it!). If you have some asparagus that’s on the thicker side, cook it for 4 minutes.

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At the end of 3 minutes, use a wire spider to remove the asparagus from the boiling water, and place it immediately into the prepared ice bath. Let it hang out there for about a minute.

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This method keeps your asparagus vibrant green, while also getting it cooked.

Next, heat up a cast iron grill with a spritz of coconut oil spray. Remove the asparagus to a paper towel to dry off the excess water, then place it onto the hot grill.

It doesn’t need much cooking, just until it has some grill marks on each side (you don’t want it looking like a limp noodle though).

Take it off the grill, place it onto a plate, and lightly season with salt and pepper.

Lightly zest a lemon. I like using this easy grip zester because it gives the long, pretty curls of zest. If all you have is a regular microplane or zester, that’s fine too.

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Throw some of that zest right over the warm asparagus, and finish with a light sprinkle of Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese. Of course, if you’re paleo or dairy free, just leave the cheese off.

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This is a light, zesty, fresh (and fast!) vegetable side that can literally go with anything. My husband’s favorite side is asparagus, and he raved about how perfectly cooked this was. He even ate the asparagus bottoms, whereas he’s normally a strict upper-half-only guy.

Easy Grilled Asparagus (THM FP)

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • light sprinkle of Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, optional
  • salt and pepper
  • coconut oil spray

Directions

  1. Bring a pot with salted water up to a boil. Also prepare a large bowl with ice water off to the side.
  2. Boil the asparagus for exactly 3 minutes, remove with a wire spider, and place directly into a prepared ice bath. Leave the asparagus in the ice bath for about 1 minute. Remove and pat dry.
  3. Heat a grill pan with a spritz of coconut oil. Place the asparagus onto the hot grill and grill it for about 2 minutes.
  4. Place the grilled asparagus onto a plate. Season lightly with salt and pepper, lemon zest, and a sprinkle of cheese.

Roasted Garlic Baba Ganoush (THM S)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission off of purchases made using these links. If you’re interested in fitness, the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, or just living a more healthy life, please consider using one or more of the links below. The money made helps me feed my growing family and keeps this blog running with free recipes. Thank you!

This was my first time making Baba Ganoush, and let me tell you just how EASY and flavorful this dish is.

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Bana Ganoush is a Levantine dish that’s based on cooked eggplant, tahini, olive oil, and spices.

Eggplant can be notoriously bitter, however I roasted it along with a whole head of garlic to bring out its sweetness. Roasting caramelizes the sugars in the vegetables, making them slightly smoky and a little sweet.

Don’t be intimated by roasting vegetables! Just follow my straight-forward method, and you won’t have any issues.

Let’s start with the base of our Baba Ganoush – the garlic and eggplant.

Start by preheating your oven to 400, then slice your eggplant. Don’t over-complicate it – I cut the stem off of it, then cut it into 4 big wedges. That’s it! The skin will come off later, so don’t worry about peeling or anything.

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Next prep the garlic by cutting off the top of your whole garlic bulb. Again, don’t worry about anything else – leave the skin on, leave the bottom stem on (that’s how it stays together). 20170315005437_IMG_2706

Spray it with a little coconut oil, then wrap the bulb in a small piece of aluminum foil.

I wrap it taller than I do small because that makes it easy to peek on the bulb (without burning yourself) while it cooks. Place it and the eggplant on a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Give the eggplant a light spray of coconut oil as well.

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Pop it into your oven, and roast away! The garlic will roast the longest, for about 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of your bulb). The eggplant, on the other hand, will only roast for about 20-25 minutes, and it’s easy to take that garlic bulb right off the sheet and leave it on the oven grates to finish roasting. Once the eggplant has some deep color, place it into a heat-safe bowl and cover with aluminum foil (you can totally recycle that piece you used on the baking sheet!) or plastic wrap. This helps finish cooking the eggplant, while also lifting the skin away from the flesh of the eggplant making it easier to peel.

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With the garlic, I primarily go by smell to know when its done. When you start smelling the roasted garlic, check on it about every 10 minutes until you see a deep, golden color.

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Look at that! Golden, a little crispy on the edges, and soft. Roasted garlic almost makes a paste because it’s so soft, and I’ll show you my easy-peasy way to get all those roasted cloves out of your bulb in just a minute.

Back to the eggplant! Once its cool enough to handle, take a sharp pairing knife to begin peeling the flesh away from the skin of the eggplant. I started on the skinny, pointy end of the wedge and made a small cut right between the skin and flesh. Then run your knife close to the skin, allowing the flesh to gently peel away. It’s OK if it doesn’t come off all in one piece, you’re pureeing this anyway – no one has to know!

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Peel away all that soft eggplant flesh, and place it right into your food processor.

Next is the garlic. Take the whole roasted bulb into your palm and angle it over the food processor. Squeeze the bulb from the bottom, and all the cloves begin to release from their skins out through the top.

Easy, right?!

Now, it’s time for the rest of your ingredients.

Squeeze of half a lemon – hold it cut-side up so that the seeds stay with the lemon, instead of going into your processor.

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Then the tahini – if you’re unfamiliar with tahini, it’s just sesame seed butter. I found it very easily in the bulk section at my local Sprouts. It’s nothing but sesame seeds!

I spiced this really simply with a little bit of smoky ground cumin, a few leaves of fresh parsley, salt, and pepper. [I know, super complicated, right?]

Place it all into your food processor, and get ready to whirl!

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Start it whirling, then stream in about 1/3 c of olive oil (EVOO, in my world).

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The Baba Ganoush is ready when it reaches this loose paste-like consistency. Think, a loose hummus.

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Gorgeous! Transfer it to your serving bowl, sprinkle with a tiny bit of smoked paprika, more fresh chopped parsley, and a quick drizzle of EVOO.

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Seriously, how beautiful is that? AND…it’s ALL veggies! No dairy, no beans, no problem.

You can serve this with cut veggies (cucumbers, mini sweet peppers, grape tomatoes, fresh zucchini, cauliflower, I could go on…) even some baked low carb pita triangles or parmesan cheese whisps would work. Any way you serve it, it’s equally delicious.

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This dip has a smokiness from the roasted eggplant and cumin, then you get a little sweetness from the roasted garlic and tahini, and it has a fruity quality with the raw EVOO. Simply divine!

Make this Baba Ganoush for your next party, and your guest will be begging for your recipe.

Roasted Garlic Baba Ganoush

  • Servings: Multiple, Makes about 12oz of dip
  • Time: about 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Cut the eggplant into 4 wedges, leaving the skin on. Cut the top off the bulb of garlic, leaving the bottom stem intact. Spray both with coconut oil. Wrap the garlic in a small piece of foil, and place the eggplant onto a foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Roast the eggplant for about 20-25 minutes, and the garlic for about 30-40 minutes. Place the eggplant into a bowl and cover with foil or plastic to continue the cooking process.
  4. Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle, separate the flesh from the skin with a nice, sharp pairing knife. Place it into a food processor fitted with its blade.
  5. Hold the garlic bulb over the processor, and gently squeeze from the bottom to release the cloves of roasted garlic.
  6. Add the cumin, parsley, tahini, salt and pepper to the food processor and begin a constant blend.
  7. Stream in the EVOO until a paste-like consistency happens. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
  8. Place into a serving bowl and garnish with smoked paprika, parsley, and a drizzle of EVOO.
  9. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.


 

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Salmon Niçoise Salad (THM Deep S)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission off of purchases made using these links. If you’re interested in fitness, the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, or just living a more healthy life, please consider using one or more of the links below. The money made helps me feed my growing family and keeps this blog running with free recipes. Thank you!

Here is a quick and easy rollover dinner or lunch for that fabulous leftover roasted salmon from my Salmon en Papillote.

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Niçoise salad is usually characterized by tuna, green beans, potatoes, olives, and boiled eggs.

I swapped tuna for my gorgeous leftover salmon. In order to keep this light, and THM approved, I removed the potatoes entirely. However, if you would like some light carb action, you can top it with up to 1/4 cup white beans. I would choose a great northern variety or cannelini, but it’s up to you. I also swapped the olives for capers, which I think go better with salmon (it almost reminds me of lox and bagels!).

Since you’re using leftovers for this salad, the only thing you need to cook is a couple of boiled eggs. And I have an awesome tip for you on how to get perfectly yellow boiled eggs every time!

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I was watching “Brunch at Bobby’s” on Food Network the other day, and he was making boiled eggs using a tip I had never heard before.

Lay the eggs into a pot of cold water, and set it over high heat uncovered on the stovetop. When the water is almost boiling (not rumbling, but almost there), turn the heat completely OFF, put a lid on, and leave the pot on the hot eye for 14 minutes.

After 14 minutes, drain the hot water and turn it into an ice bath by adding a few handfuls of ice cubes and running cold water over the top. Let them sit for about 8-10 minutes, then peel away! You’ll have perfectly yellow yolks in your boiled eggs every time.

After the eggs are cooked, simply combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and dress with your favorite vinaigrette. I used a simple vinaigrette of 1/2 lemon, juiced, about 1 1/2 Tbsp EVOO, salt and pepper. Easy, fast, and fresh!

Balsamic vinaigrette would also be a good alternative to use here.

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That is one beautiful, fresh, and flavorful lunch or dinner! This meal would pack well for on-the-go, or as a make-ahead. It’s the perfect protein-packed lunch or dinner.

Salmon Niçoise Salad (THM Deep S)

  • Servings: Single
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients

  • 1 leftover salmon filet from Salmon en Papillote
  • Mixed salad greens
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • cucumbers, diced
  • frozen green beans, thawed
  • 1 Tbsp capers or chopped pitted olives
  • 1 small radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 boiled egg, sliced
  • 1/4 c white beans, any variety, optional
  • For the Dressing:
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 Tbsp EVOO
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients for the salad in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss to combine. Serve immediately or store the dressing for later.

Low Carb Salmon en Papillote (THM S)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission off of purchases made using these links. If you’re interested in fitness, the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, or just living a more healthy life, please consider using one or more of the links below. The money made helps me feed my growing family and keeps this blog running with free recipes. Thank you!

This is one of those meals that sounds (and looks) super fancy, but takes minimal effort (win!).

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“En Papillote” is a French dish that simply means “in parchment.” Wrapping each portion of fish in parchment paper is so smart because 1) each packet makes its own little lemon butter sauce which coats the fish and veggies and 2) the only clean up is throwing away paper (easy, right?!).

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Let’s start by talking about the fish. You do not want to go cheap on the salmon here – you want fresh, vibrant flavors and it’s hard to get that from frozen filets. I always get this large plank of fresh salmon from Costco. They take great care in butchering the fish by removing all the pin bones (I’ve never gotten one bone from Costco fish) AND the skin. I’m not partial to fish skin, so I appreciate that they take care of that part for me. At the end of the day, where you get your salmon is entirely up to you, just make sure it’s good because you’ll need about 2lbs of it. (I’m going to show you a fantastic lunch or dinner rollover meal later!).

Slice the lemons, squash, and mushrooms, then filet the plank of salmon into individual portions (I got 7 portions from mine). To filet the fish, use a sharp, long knife to make deep, long cuts. That way your filets won’t look like you’ve been sawing away at the fish.

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Cut 1 10-12in piece of parchment paper for each portion of fish, and pile them all up to make your assembly easy.

I made a shortcut by using frozen green beans for the bottom. I didn’t thaw them out or cook them before putting them into the parchment packets, and they were perfectly cooked after roasting.

Assemble the packets by taking a piece of parchment paper, piling a portion of green beans on the bottom. Stack on the sliced squash and place the mushrooms around the sides. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Carefully lay the fish filet on top, season it with salt and pepper, tear off a few pieces of fresh dill, lay the sliced lemons over the fish, then top with a pat of soft butter.

Next, you’ll get to wrapping the fish, nice and snug. Take the longest ends of the paper up together, make about 1-inch fold and keep folding and creasing down to the surface of the fish. Grab one of the small ends, pinch and crease it then tuck it under the fish – same goes for the other end.

That’s it! keep wrapping and rolling until all of your portions are wrapped. This can be done up to 1 day ahead of cooking. You don’t want the fish sitting too long with the lemon, because it will start to cure.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375, and place the packets onto a large baking sheet. They won’t leak (so long as there aren’t any holes in your packets), so you shouldn’t need extra foil or anything. Pop them into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes.

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The best part is that this is a complete meal in a packet. You can transfer the packets straight from the baking sheet to a plate, then tear open the tops to reveal your beautifully roasted salmon and vegetables.

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Just look how gorgeous that is! I topped it with a touch of fresh chopped parsley and called it a day. The lemons roast down and become a little sweet, so squeeze those babies over the top of your fish. The butter and lemon drip down to the veggies, making them perfectly seasoned and buttery. The salmon is flaky, soft, and just a little crispy on the outside.

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My kids enjoyed this meal as is (they LOVE salmon), and I had a side green salad with mine. It was a beautifully light S meal!

Salmon en Papillote (THM S)

  • Servings: 6-7
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients

  • roughly 2lbs fresh salmon, cut into individual portions
  • 1lb frozen whole green beans
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 lemons, thinly sliced (3 pieces of lemon per fish filet)
  • 6-7 tsp soft unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley for garnish, optional
  • parchment paper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Prepare the parchment packets by tearing one 10-12inch piece of parchment per fish filet. Stack them up and begin assembling.
  3. Green beans on the bottom, followed by sliced squash and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Gently lay one fish filet over the top, and season with salt and pepper. Tear off a few fronds of fresh dill, and lay them over the fish. Fan the lemons over the top, then top with a pat of butter.
  4. Wrap the fish into snug packets, and lay onto a large baking sheet.
  5. Roast the packets at 375 for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Place the packet directly onto a plate, cut or (gently) tear open near the top, and garnish with fresh parsley.

Thin Mint Mini Cheesecakes (THM S)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission off of purchases made using these links. If you’re interested in fitness, the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, or just living a more healthy life, please consider using one or more of the links below. The money made helps me feed my growing family and keeps this blog running with free recipes. Thank you!

I wanted to think of a fun, green dessert to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, but was having trouble with inspiration. Then my husband suggested his favorite – mint chocolate. My mind got to churning, then I settled on mini mint chocolate cheesecakes, and I could not be happier!

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Cheesecake is one of those desserts that’s pretty straight forward and easy to prepare.  However, not everyone has a spring form pan laying around their house – what to do? Mini cheesecakes in a muffin pan! Honestly, I think that’s almost better than one big cheesecake. You have better portion control, no slicing, and it’s easier to store. Of course, if you REALLY wanted to, you can make this exact recipe in a 10-inch springform pan instead of a muffin pan.

Start by combining the ingredients for your crust in a small bowl: almond flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, Pyure or THM Gentle Sweet, and salt. Whisk to combine.

Then pour in the unsalted butter and combine it with your hands. The mixture isn’t terribly wet, but you do want it sticking together slightly. Think of damp dirt – that’s what you’re going for here.

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Line your muffin pan with paper or silicone liners. Begin pressing the crust mixture into the bottom of your liners. You want to firmly press it down so that the crust stays together once the liners are off, and it gets a little crispy. You definitely don’t want to skip the liners here, because then the crust will not crisp or stay together, and you’ll have a hard time getting the cheesecakes out of the pan.

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Next, prepare your green, minty cheesecake filling.

Combine the softened cream cheese, vanilla extract, eggs, Pyure or THM Gentle Sweet, and peppermint extract until thick and creamy. Begin adding your green food coloring about 8-10 drops at a time, until you’ve achieved your desired hue.

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Use an ice cream scoop to scoop even portions of the filling onto your crusts.

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Pop them into a 350 degree oven to bake for 25-30 minutes. They won’t get too golden (if they do they’re over-baked!), so look for a little color towards the centers and they should feel firm (with a tiny giggle) in the middle.

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Let them cool at room temperature for about 10-12 minutes, then pop them into the fridge for 2-3 hours to cool and set.

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After they’ve had a chance to firm, make the ganache topping. Start by heating the cream over low heat in a small sauce pan. Chop the 85% dark chocolate or Lily’s chocolate chips and add it to a heat-safe bowl. When the cream is hot, and bubbling a little, pour it over the chocolate and whisk until smooth and creamy.

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Begin spooning the warm ganache over the tops of your cheesecakes. You want enough for each one, so don’t get too happy about it in the beginning. Spread one generous tablespoon of ganache over the top of each cheesecake. If you have leftovers at the end, then you can go back and fill as needed.

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Once they’re all covered, pop them back into the fridge for another 45 minutes, or until serving. The ganache will be firmly set, but still soft to a fork (or mouth ^_~).

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These mini cheesecakes are the perfect, impressive yet low-maintenance dessert. They look so pretty, and don’t take a ton of effort.

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The filling is luscious and creamy with just a hint of mint, while the crust is coarse and chocolatey. Then you have the rich ganache on top that’s smooth and soft.

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The perfect treat to celebrate a holiday, or any day!

Thin Mint Mini Cheesecakes (THM S)

  • Servings: Makes 22-24
  • Time: 1 hour plus cooling time
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the crust ingredients except for the butter in a small bowl. Pour in the melted butter and combine with your hands.
  3. Press the crust firmly into the bottom of your lined cupcake pan.
  4. For the filling, combine the eggs, cream cheese, vanilla, and Pyure until creamy. Add the peppermint extract and combine. Begin adding the green food coloring, 8-10 drops at a time, until your desired hue is achieved.
  5. Add the filling by using an ice cream scoop to portion out the filling into each crust.
  6. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until firm to the touch (not too browned).
  7. Cool for 10-12 minutes at room temperature, then remove to the fridge for 2-3 hours to finish cooling and setting.
  8. Make the ganache by heating the cream over low heat in a small sauce pan. When it’s hot and bubbling a little, pour it over the chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. Whisk until smooth and slightly thickened.
  9. Spoon the ganache over the tops of the cheesecakes and spread to the edges. Cool the cheesecakes in the fridge about another 45 minutes for the ganache to set.
  10. Store in the fridge until serving.

Teriyaki Chicken and Shiitake Lettuce Wraps (THM FP)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission off of purchases made using these links. If you’re interested in fitness, the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, or just living a more healthy life, please consider using one or more of the links below. The money made helps me feed my growing family and keeps this blog running with free recipes. Thank you!

This will probably make me sound weird, but I don’t care – I love lettuce. All of it: leafy, crunchy, green, grassy lettuce. [Maybe I’m half rabbit?] It’s so versatile and refreshing, plus it’s AWESOME for you.

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I used ground chicken as the protein for these wraps, but you could also use ground turkey or pork, if that’s your thing. I find chicken to be a “blank canvas” that you can make into pretty much anything. I sautéed  it with onions, garlic, shredded carrots, and shiitake mushrooms, then seasoned it with mild curry powder and ground coriander. At the end, I added a few chopped water chestnuts for more crunch factor.

I tossed it all in one batch of my paleo Teriyaki Sauce for a flavorful, slightly sweet and mildly spicy finish.

Lettuce is the crispy, crunchy vehicle for the savory, flavorful chicken and mushroom stuffing. And don’t be fooled – if you choose a lettuce with large enough leaves, you can really pack it in there. I had some leftover iceberg that I used for these, which worked perfectly because the leaves are big, sturdy, and foldable. But, really, the sky’s the limit on what you could use – green leaf, butter lettuce, red leaf, romaine, you could even use cabbage leaves!

This was also an awesome make-ahead meal for lunch or dinner. All I had to do was gently heat up the chicken mixture, put it into my lettuce leaves and top it – SO EASY. Same thing can be done for lunch – just keep the chicken mixture and lettuce/topping separate so that nothing gets soggy or wilted. Toss it together at the last minute, and enjoy!

Since this is a THM FP, it’s low in both carbs and fat so you can make it what you want. Pair it with some fluffy brown rice and veggies for an E meal. Have an extra wrap for a light S. Pair is with some peanut satay zoodles for a Deep S.

Chicken & Shiitake Lettuce Wraps (THM FP)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 3 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, diced
  • 1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 1/4 c chopped water chestnuts
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 batch of Paleo Teriyaki Sauce
  • Lettuce of choice (I used iceberg leaves)
  • Toppings of choice: fresh sliced radishes, bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, cilantro, chili sauce, scallions, etc.

Directions

  1. Heat a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat with a spritz of coconut oil spray. Brown the chicken, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula, and season with curry powder, coriander, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the mushrooms, onions, garlic, and carrots and continue cooking until onions are soft.
  3. Turn off the heat, add the chopped water chestnuts, and toss everything in the Teriyaki Sauce.
  4. Cool the mixture slightly before filling your lettuce cups with it to prevent wilting. Enjoy!

One Pot New Orleans-Style Gumbo (THM S/E)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission off of purchases made using these links. If you’re interested in fitness, the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, or just living a more healthy life, please consider using one or more of the links below. The money made helps me feed my growing family and keeps this blog running with free recipes. Thank you!

I’m a spicy gal and although I wasn’t born in Louisiana, creole cuisine of New Orleans speaks to me on a spiritual level.

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Gumbo is one of my favorite, warming meals because it’s spicy, hearty, and still packs a veggie punch. Also, this is one of those meals that you can cook (a bunch of) one night, and when you’re eating its leftovers a few nights later the flavor is even deeper – it only gets better with time! However, my favorite part of this meal is definitely that it only takes one (big) pot. Because I still hate doing dishes ^_^.

Start by heating a large Dutch oven over medium low heat, and add the sliced smoked sausage. I used andouille, which is a creole spicy sausage. If you’re not into the spice, any smoked sausage will do. Since it’s already cooked, you just want to sauté it enough to get some color and crispness on the outside.

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Take the sausage out, add some coconut oil if needed, and begin sautéing the cubed chicken. It doesn’t have to cook all the way through since it will simmer in the gumbo later. Just make sure it has some good color on it, and season with salt and pepper or a touch of Cajun seasoning.

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Take the chicken out, then start on the shrimp. I bought easy-peel shrimp from my fish counter at Sprouts, which are already deveined. You can keep the tails, or whole shell, on if you wish. I find it easier to remove the whole shell, tail included, prior to cooking. Add more coconut oil to the pan, if needed before adding the shrimp. Again, season with salt and pepper and sauté away. Cook them about 1 minute on each side, just to get good color. They won’t be fully cooked yet, but once you add them back to the gumbo they’ll finish cooking without becoming overcooked.

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Remove the shrimp. Next comes the vegetables! Don’t worry about the brown bits on the bottom of your Dutch oven – that’s flavor, and the stock we add later will pick it all up.

Chop some mirepoix – celery (leafy green parts included!), onion, green bell pepper, and garlic.

Add a touch more coconut oil, turn the heat down just a touch and add the vegetables. Sauté until onions just start to caramelize, about 5-7 minutes.

And, I’ll go ahead and tell you, I’m a bad Southerner – I greatly dislike okra. Unless it’s pureed, in a cookie, or otherwise hidden beyond recognition I cannot stomach it. HOWEVER. You are welcome to add okra to this lovely gumbo if it is your thing. If you do add it, go ahead and do so at this step.

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De-glaze the pan with one 15-oz can of fire roasted tomatoes. I like the smoky flavor of fire roasted tomatoes, but you’re welcome to use any kind you prefer. Mine also were seasoned with garlic and onion. Add in the chicken (or vegetable/seafood) stock, a bay leaf, sausage, chicken, Worcestershire sauce, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Place the lid on your pot and let it simmer for about 10-12 minutes.

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Once it’s finished simmering, turn off the heat, add the shrimp back to the pot, cover again and let stand for about 5-7 minutes. This will allow the shrimp to continue cooking through slowly.

Serve the gumbo as is or over a big pile of cauliflower rice. For my cauliflower rice, I pulsed half a large head of cauliflower in a food processor until it was in small pearls. Then I served it raw underneath the hot gumbo – easy peasy! I liked it raw because it didn’t become mushy from cooking and retained a nice textural contrast like rice.

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As is, the gumbo is a great S. However, if you want to have the rice and make it an E – that’s completely achievable. You can either choose a smoked turkey/chicken sausage with less fat, or leave it out completely and make this a chicken and shrimp gumbo – your call. Just make sure any time you’re adding coconut oil that you do so with a spray to keep the fat in check.

Either way you make it, this gumbo is a spicy, hearty, and delicious shake-up to your weekly routine. The leftovers just get better with time – this is a meal you can make on Monday and still enjoy on Friday.

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New Orleans Style Gumbo (THM S/E)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients

  • 1-lb andouille sausage, sliced (or any smoked sausage – For E choose a chicken or turkey sawusage, or omit)
  • 1/2 lb chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 stalks celery, leafy greens included, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1-2 c cut okra (optional)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 15-oz can fire roasted tomatoes seasoned with garlic and onion
  • 1 1/2 c chicken/vegetable/seafood stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Cajun seasoning to taste
  • 1 tsp gluten free Worcestershire sauce
  • 6-10 dashes hot sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • cauliflower rice (for S) or cooked brown rice (for E), for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat and sauté the sliced sausage until browned and crispy. Remove to a plate.
  2. Add coconut oil, if needed, toss the chicken with a touch of Cajun seasoning and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate (with the sausage is fine).
  3. Toss the shrimp with salt and pepper, then brown for about 1 minute on each side. Remove to a plate with the chicken and sausage.
  4. Add more coconut oil, if needed, then begin sautéing the onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and okra (if using). Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the onions begin to caramelize.
  5. Add the tomatoes, stock, Worcestershire, bay leaf, hot sauce, chicken, and sausage back to the pot. Cover and simmer on medium-low for about 10-12 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat, add the shrimp back to the pot, cover, and let stand for about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Serve over cauliflower rice, brown rice (for an E), or as is.

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Low Carb Chicken and Spinach White Pizza (THM S)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission off of purchases made using these links. If you’re interested in fitness, the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, or just living a more healthy life, please consider using one or more of the links below. The money made helps me feed my growing family and keeps this blog running with free recipes. Thank you!

Pizza night is always my kids’ favorite night. To be honest, it’s my favorite night too! When you can get a quality pizza thrown together and baked in about half an hour, how could you not love it?

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White pizza is a fun change-up from regular pizza, and helps keep the carbs down since there’s no sauce involved.

The crust of the pizza is fathead pizza dough, which is mozzarella cheese (the bagged kind is usually best), cream cheese, egg, and fine almond flour. In my pre-THM days, I used to make my own pizza crust, and I am SO GLAD there’s an easier method that’s actually better for you. No waiting around for the dough to rise, and it comes together in about 5 minutes.

Start the dough by combining the mozzarella and cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl, and heat for about 1 minute at a time until the cheese is fully melted.

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Stir it together, it should be hot and stringy. Add the fine almond flour, and stir again. Adding the flour before the egg allows the mixture to cool slightly so that the egg won’t cook as you add it to the dough.

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Add the egg, and stir until it’s fully incorporated. It takes some muscle work, just so you know. When it’s fully mixed, the dough should like like the photo on the right, below.

Next, place your dough onto a 10-12-in round pizza pan lined with parchment, and with slightly damp hands begin to press it out.

Dab the surface with a fork to keep it from puffing up too much while baking.

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Next, combine the butter, dried parsley, granulated garlic, a pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter), and some pepper. Use a silicone brush and brush the crust (not the edges yet) with the seasoned butter.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. This helps ensure that you have a cooked, crispy crust at the end.

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Next, pile on the toppings: diced chicken, shallots, garlic, cheese, spinach, and crumbled bacon.

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Now brush that buttery garlic mixture onto the outer crust, and dust the whole thing with some grated parmesan cheese.

Now bake that baby for another 10-12 minutes, until hot and bubbly Flavortown (Any Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives fans out there?!) deliciousness.

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THAT is a thing of beauty.

Crispy and slightly salty on the edges from that parmesan. Cheesy, flavorful, fresh, and meaty toppings – delivery ain’t got nothin’ on this, baby!

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My favorite pizza finisher is a pinch of red pepper flakes for an extra kick. Serve this bad boy with a big, green salad (with homemade ranch, perhaps?) and call it a wonderful night.

Chicken & Spinach White Pizza (THM S)

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients

    For the dough:
  • 1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c fine almond flour
  • pinch of salt
  • Toppings:
  • 1 heaping cup cooked diced chicken
  • 2 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • about 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and ringed of its water
  • additional 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. For the dough, combine the mozzarella and cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute at a time until cheeses are fully melted, hot, and stringy.
  3. Add the almond flour and salt.
  4. Add the egg.
  5. Press the dough into a 10-inch round pizza pan, lined with parchment, and perforate with a fork.
  6. Melt the butter and stir in the parsley, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper. Brush the crust (not the outer edge yet) with the butter, and bake for 10 minutes at 375.
  7. Remove the crust, and spread the rest (reserving the parmesan for the end) of the toppings all over the top of the pizza.
  8. Brush the outer crust with the butter mixture, then dust the whole pie with grated parmesan cheese.
  9. Bake at 375 for another 10-12 minutes, or until browned, hot, and bubbly.
  10. Cut and serve!

Chipotle Burrito Bowls at Home (THM S/E/FP)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission off of purchases made using these links. If you’re interested in fitness, the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, or just living a more healthy life, please consider using one or more of the links below. The money made helps me feed my growing family and keeps this blog running with free recipes. Thank you!

Chipotle is a staple in our house. My favorite date night with my kids it to take them to our neighborhood Chipotle, and then next door for cupcakes.

Chipotle is an excellent on-the-go choice, or just for those nights when you can’t cook ANOTHER meal, because they use clean, sustainable ingredients. You know when you’re eating there, that it’s good quality and you can pack in the veggies.

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The meat base of these bowls is boneless skinless chicken breast, because it’s versatile for FP, S, or E meals. I put together my own spice blend using cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, chipotle chile powder, salt, and pepper. I seasoned my chicken liberally with the seasoning, and rubbed it all together.

I then grilled it using my cast iron grill.

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Next we have the pairings! I’ll start with Fuel Pull options. Go simple with some grilled onions and peppers (which I did in a dry cast iron skillet with a touch of salt and pepper), lettuce, copycat Chipotle verde salsa, and maybe a dollop of fat free sour cream with a squeeze of lime juice.

E Options: Use the FP base, add some copycat Chipotle cilantro lime rice to the mix with 1/4 c drained and rinsed black beans and some diced fresh tomatoes.

S Options: Use the FP base with 1/4 c of black beans and some copycat Chipotle guacamole, maybe some shredded queso or Monterrey jack cheese, and diced tomatoes.

Really, it’s that easy! I was able to throw together a Chipotle-style lunch for my family in about 30 minutes, as I had most of it prepped and ready to go.

Meals don’t have to be complicated to taste great. Sometimes all you need are some flavorful, fresh ingredients and a little prep time.

Spice Rubbed Grilled Chicken (FP)

  • Servings: About 4
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2lbs chicken breast
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Add the chicken to a bowl and sprinkle with the dry rub mixture. Toss the chicken together, coating every inch of it in the spices.
  3. Throw it onto a hot grill and cook through.

10 Reasons Why You Need Cast Iron in Your Life

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission off of purchases made using these links. If you’re interested in fitness, the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, or just living a more healthy life, please consider using one or more of the links below. The money made helps me feed my growing family and keeps this blog running with free recipes. Thank you!

What’s all the fuss about cast iron? Are they really that useful? Are they high maintenance? What exactly do you *do* with cast iron?

I’ll answer all these questions with tips on how to make it last 100 years.

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First off, cast iron is not a new thing. Grandmas in the South will tell you all about their cast iron that they received as wedding gifts 50 (or more) years ago. That’s the beauty of cast iron – when you take care of it (which is not hard, AT ALL) it will last forever.

These are my 10 Reasons Why You Need Cast Iron in Your Life:

  1. Cast Iron is non-stick. Season your cast iron with coconut oil, bacon fat, or store-bought lard and nothing will stick to those babies. Which also means you can use less oil when cooking.
  2. It’s easy to maintain. Most of the time, I can clean my cast iron by simply wiping it with a damp paper towel. Really, it’s that easy. However, for the occasions when there are some stuck-on bits from cooking, place some warm water over the affected area and wait a few minutes. Most of the time, water is enough to lift the tough bits, but if it isn’t just use a gentle plastic scrubber. Do not use soap with cast iron. I’ll say it again – DO NOT CLEAN CAST IRON WITH SOAP. Soap removes the seasoning, which removes the non-stick property. And, for the love, never EVER put it in the dishwasher. Just don’t.
  3. It holds temperature. Cast iron retains and distributes heat very evenly. That’s why it’s great for baking, frying, and searing.
  4. Iron is good for you. While cast iron doesn’t leach chemicals, like some other coated nonstick cookware, it does fortify your food with iron. Iron deficiency is fairly common worldwide, especially among women. Cooking food in cast iron will fortify your food with a small percentage of iron. Cooking something acidic, like tomato sauce, in cast iron will raise iron levels by nearly 20 times.
  5. You can grill year-round. I adore my combo cast iron grill/griddle. You can have the smoky, char-grilled  flavors of summer all year without having to step foot outside. Just like the skillets, the grill retains heat and you get the beautiful grill marks and flavor with less of the hassle.
  6. No more pancake accidents. I had non-stick electric griddles for YEARS. Then, one day I couldn’t get through a batch of pancakes because every. single. one. would stick to my griddle. I used oil, I tried different temperatures, and still would have at least half my batter in crumbles and pancake remnants. Then, I got my cast iron grill/griddle, and everything changed. No more burnt or sticking pancakes! I wish I had saved myself the headache years ago.
  7. Pass it on to your kids and grandkids. No joke, my cast iron pans will probably outlive me. Those suckers can take a beating! You can drop, bang, and even scorch them all you want and they’ll still come out looking perfect. It’s really hard to actually hurt or mess these things up.
  8. Cheap in price, but not in practice. You know those kitchen gizmos you get for cheap (as in very little money) knowing they won’t last? This isn’t one of those. Cast iron cookware is very affordable, and it will last forever (See also #7). If you’re the garage-saling type (which I am ^_~), I’m willing to bet you could find some cast iron pans for a couple bucks. People will toss perfectly good pans simply because they don’t know how to properly season them. Madness! (If you’re ever in need of re-seasoning your pans, check out this guide on how to do it.)
  9. It’s versatile. You can cook anything from bacon and eggs, to cornbread, steak, chili, stews, and skillet desserts. You can also use cast iron on any cooktop: ceramic, gas, electric, you name it. Also, how many pans do you know of that can go from the stovetop, to the oven, straight to the table? I mean, really I’m saving you from doing too many dishes, if nothing else.
  10. Iron builds muscle. OK, these cast iron tools are HEAVY. At the very least, you’ll build your biceps working with cast iron.

Now that we’ve established why you should have cast iron, you may be wondering, “What can I make with it?” I’m glad you asked. ^_^

Here are a few of my favorite cast iron grill/griddle recipes:

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And here are some for cast iron skillets/Dutch ovens:

Burgers:

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Baked Goods:

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Meats and Sides:

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Soups/Stews/Chili:

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Here are some bonus recipes from a few of my blogger friends:

Sweets:

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Lunch/Dinner:

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Do you have cast iron in your kitchen? What are some of your favorite  recipes using cast iron?