Simple Beef and Barley Crock Pot Soup for Two

We are having a real cold snap here in Michigan this past week.  It has been in the teens (Fahrenheit) outside.  COLD!    It was really time to have some comfort foot.

Since we are on a diet, it is hard to have comfort food and still fit into your calorie budget, but this seemed to work.   The trick is that you have to trim off all the fat from the chuck roast and go lightly on the barley.   Someone like me who doesn’t get very many calories can only have about a cup of it, so you must have a salad with it.  My husband gets to eat more than I do, so altogether this fed two of us with a little bit left over for his lunch.

Today I whipped up a batch of crock pot soup.  Prep time was about 15 minutes, mostly trimming fat and cutting vegetables.   5 hours later, I had myself a rich, tasty, warming soup fit for a freezing day. Continue reading

Beef, Mushrooms and Gravy

Today, I had a chuck roast out of the freezer, defrosted, and waiting for dinner.  Unfortunately, the weather started turning bad, so I was not able to make shish-la-bob and grill it. I had to whip up something “indoors”.

I used to make this all the time, but we stopped eating it when we started eating healthier.    BUT…. when I put this into the recipe maker on myfitnesspal, it did not come out to be all that evil.  At 211 calories (for about 5 oz), there is still room for having some rice and veggies with it and stay under my calorie, fat, sugar and sodium goals for the day. Continue reading

Weeknight “Diet” Meal – Torta Bread Sloppy Joes with Side Salad

One of our new favorite weeknight meals is really just a recipe basic, which has been given some new life by swapping out white bread hamburger buns with Costco torta breads.   This bread is much denser than white hamburger buns and makes a stable “base” for the juicy meat sauce. (Note: We are not on a low-carb diet, just reduced calorie).

I added  a couple of new ingredients to the meat sauce to add more depth to the flavor.   Some of the spices are not entirely necessary if you are looking to simplify or just don’t have something on-hand –I doubt you would miss them too much — but they do add layers of complexity to the overall flavor.  It seems like a “grown up” version of sloppy joes.

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Good Enough for Two Lasagne “two-fer”

I am Italian-American.   So please don’t tell anybody that I am cheating at Lasagne.  Seriously, it would be an unforgivable offense.  🙂
I know how to make a proper lasagne.  I know how to make proper spaghetti sauce.   BUT.. I don’t always have time or freezer space to make all this.  Let’s face it, it’s a lot of work, best saved for when it really matters (like when relatives are visiting for Christmas).  For just my husband and I, on just an ordinary non-holiday day, it’s not worth the trouble.
We have tried some of the frozen lasagne’s at Costco, Sams, and the grocery store, but are always disappointed.  They can be anything from bland and mushy to dried out and too spicy.  NO JOY!
What follows is a recipe for making “good enough” Lasagne.  It is not nearly as good as the real thing, but it is worlds better than the grocery store brand.  (Although my husband would argue that he likes it just as much as the real thing… I know the difference!)

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