Cranberry Sauce (No Refined Sugar)

Cranberry sauce is my favorite and this Thanksgiving I wanted to make one without refined sugar. This recipe uses pure maple syrup, orange juice and cranberries so the sugars are all natural and the taste is still great! I found that in my low carb journey, eating foods that were naturally sweetened instead of sweetened with granulated and brown sugars, I was able to not have as much inflammation. When you process naturally sweetened foods, your body responds differently than when it’s processing refined sugars. This goes the same for my diabetic friends!

Hope you enjoy this recipe and can make this for your Thanksgiving day meal!

Rinse and drain cranberries in a colander, picking out the shriveled up or smushed ones, then add to a saucepan on stovetop.
Set heat on stovetop to medium-high.
Add in maple syrup.
I juiced 2 small/medium oranges which made a little over 1/2 cup of juice. Also, shave some zest into the pan.
Add in water and cinnamon and stir. Bring to a boil.
After it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally.
Cranberries will pop and break down, continue to cook and stir.
Once done, stir and pour into a glass dish to cool down. Cool down to room temp prior to putting a lid on it and refrigerating.

Cheesy Ranch Chicken Bake

Cranking up the oven this fall because it’s been cold! This savory casserole dish not only fills your tummy with yumminess, it also warms up your home with tasty smells. The bacon adds texture to the dish and cooking the chicken up in the bacon grease is delicious. You might find a similar recipe to this one online, but trust me, this one is the best! I go through recipes online and see what sounds good and then I modify almost every single thing. The major things are: measurements of ingredients to see what makes sense, what can be added/taken away, cook times and actual REAL prep times. Any recipe I see where it says prep time is low but the dish looks complicated, I just trash that part and I put actual prep time it takes me (sometimes with interruptions from real life situations you would encounter by making the dish).

As far as substitutions or changes to this dish, if you’d like to make this KETO or Low Carb, you would need to omit the pasta and decrease the amount of cheese mixture to add to your chicken and onion mix. Or, you could add in 2-3 cups cooked/steamed broccoli or cauliflower to the large bowl when mixing to add more texture to the dish (without missing the pasta too much). If you’d like to use cream of chicken soup instead of mushroom, you can do that as well. When adding milk and heavy cream to the skillet, make sure they are warmed prior to whisking them in. Even if you can just microwave them for 30 seconds, it helps with the incorporation. And don’t skip the BACON! 🥓 If you would like more info on how to make this a different way, you can always comment down below or send me a message at the link so I can answer you promptly. Bon appetit y’all!

Brown bacon in skillet, remove and set aside. Drain out bacon grease, save about 2-3 Tbsp in skillet.
I would use either Tyson fully cooked chicken breast strips or diced rotisserie chicken for this recipe. They cook up so fast!
Brown and season chicken in skillet, remove and add to a large size bowl.
Cook elbow macaroni in a separate pot until Al dente, drain and set aside.
Sauté chopped onion for about 3 mins then add in minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 sec more. Remove from skillet and add to chicken in bowl.
Melt butter in skillet, add in flour 1 Tbsp at a time and stir to thicken into a paste.
Whisk in heavy cream after flour is mixed in well.
Whisk in milk.
Sprinkle in ranch seasoning mix and whisk some more!
Add in cream of mushroom or chicken condensed soup by whisking to thicken it up.
Add in shredded cheese one cup at a time by whisking it in.
I chopped the chicken strips into smaller pieces and stirred together with the sautéed onion.
Add cheesy mixture to large bowl with chicken and onion, stirring constantly.
Add cooked elbow macaroni to the bowl and add more cheesy mixture, stirring to coat evenly.
Add mixture into 13×9 baking dish, mixing around to make sure the dish is evenly mixed. Add bacon to the top with a little more shredded cheese and Panko bread crumbs. Bake in your preheated oven until cheese is melted.
Cheese is melted and this is ready to serve!
Served up with a fresh side salad. Enjoy!

Crockpot Apple Butter

Every fall, I absolutely have to make at least one batch of apple butter. I love to spread this on top of fresh waffles, pancakes, and toast, dollop on top of ice cream, and sometimes even eat it out of the jar! If you’re unsure what apple butter is, it is like a thicker version of apple sauce and has a sweeter taste, and this recipe doesn’t have any butter in it. If you’re looking for an apple butter recipe that has a lot of flavor, this is it. Not to mention, it also fills your home with it’s wonderful smell while cooking in your crockpot or slow cooker.

The best apples to use for apple butter are sweeter varieties like honey crisp, Fuji, gala, or pink lady. For my recipe, I use honey crisp and they smell delicious. I also use apple pie spice but if you don’t have that available, you can use 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp ground allspice. For sweetening the apples, I use maple syrup instead of refined sugar. If you prefer no sugar added, just omit the maple syrup from the recipe. Make sure to let me know if you make this! Enjoy!

5 honey crisp apples washed and ready to be peeled.
Peeled and saved the peels for my chickens to have as a snack.
Chopped up the apples into about 1/2” chunks, making sure to cut around the core. Chickens can’t eat the apples’ cores because the seeds are toxic to them, so into the compost!
Put the apple chunks into my 4 quart crockpot and added in apple pie spice, maple syrup, salt and vanilla extract and stirred. Cook on high for 3 – 3 1/2 hours.
Apple pie spice blend I use.
Apples are nice and soft, mixture is hot! Scooped into our blender, put the lid on and pulsed until smooth.
All puréed and will go back into the crockpot to thicken up. Set on low and stir, cook for about 30 mins to 1 hour to thicken with the lid off.
Perfect consistency! Time to put in my jar and refrigerate. This apple butter tastes best the day after it’s been made and refrigerated.

Cheddar Broccoli Potato Soup

It’s time to share one of my favorite recipes with y’all! It’s a mashup between a loaded potato and a broccoli cheddar soup and it’s delicious. I make it on my stovetop and it’s ready in about 45 mins including prep time. My recipe is 4 servings which is perfect because you aren’t making a giant pot of potatoes if you just want to feed your family for dinner. I serve the soup up in homemade bread bowls too and it adds to the yumminess. My husband made a version of this years ago for me before we were married, and let’s just say this is one of the reasons we got hitched!

If you want to make this vegetarian, instead of cooking up the bacon in the pot, just add in about 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil to cook up the chopped onion. But I LOVE the bacon and it adds flavor so I cook this up with bacon! I don’t have a vegan version of this recipe, but if you try to make it vegan let me know how it goes and what substitutions you use.

Cook up bacon in Dutch oven or pot to your desired crispness and remove and set aside. Don’t drain the grease, you are cooking the onion up in it!
Add in chopped onion, stir and cook for about 3 mins.
Add in minced garlic and cook for 30 secs.
Add in flour and stir to thicken into a roux for about 1 min.
Add in water and diced bouillon cube and stir.
Add in salt and pepper and stir.
Add in warmed milk and potatoes and stir.
Don’t forget the Cajun seasoning!
Simmer for about 10 mins or until potatoes are fork tender.
Add in chopped broccoli and stir. Simmer for about 5-10 more mins.
Turn off heat and add in shredded cheese, I used Colby Jack cheese this time. Stir until melted and well mixed in.
Soup is thick and beautiful and ready to be devoured!
Cheddar broccoli potato soup served up in a homemade bread bowl with an extra sprinkle of cheese on top and bacon crumbles. Delicious!

Creamy Sausage Pasta

With cooler temps coming our way, it’s time to start cooking up some savory sausage dishes to get us nice and warm! And an added bonus is that this dish only takes about 30 mins from start to finish on your stovetop. I’ve seen recipes online where you add the pasta/noodles to the same skillet with the meat, but I don’t like to make it that way. I feel that the meat loses a lot of its flavor when it’s water logged while cooking the pasta. I don’t mind washing an extra pot at the end to make sure the meat and sauce retains its flavor and the pasta is cooked well. So this is not a 1 pan/pot meal, but it tastes very good and you’ll thank me for not making it in the same pan! 😂

I use jalapeño cheddar sausage links, but you can also use plain sausage links, Cajun style andouille, or any style you’d like for this recipe including turkey ones too! I like the Johnsonville brand the best and I use 4 links. As always, season your sausage while browning it with salt, pepper, chili powder and paprika. If you’d like to serve this low carb, just omit the pasta and serve it on top of a bed of spaghetti squash noodles or zucchini noodles. I’ve tried it with zoodles and it tasted great that way too!

Brown the sliced links in skillet in about 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder and paprika.
Remove once browned and set aside.
Add a little more oil if needed and cook up chopped onion.
Add in minced garlic cloves and stir and cook for 1 more min.
I use the canned diced tomatoes that have green peppers, celery and onion for added flavor.
Pour the whole can in with juices and stir.
Add in heavy cream and stir.
Add links back in and stir. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 10 mins.
Remove from heat and let sauce thicken prior to serving for about 2-3 mins.
Served on top of a bed of elbow macaroni and with a side salad!

Homemade Potato Salad

If you’re looking for an easy and tasty potato salad, here’s my newest recipe! It makes 6 servings and is full of flavor 😋 it seemed like every potato salad recipe I had tried finding online was for a huge crowd and I just wanted to make enough for a dinner for 4 with some leftovers. Per the usual, I taste test the measurement of ingredients and my recipe below is the most perfect flavor mashup for a classic potato salad.

We paired our potato salad with smoked pork tenderloin and it was a delicious side. If you’d like to make this vegan friendly, I would change the mayonnaise to vegan mayonnaise and just omit the eggs. Sorry guys this is not keto friendly with the potatoes as the main ingredient! If you end up making this recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments ☺️

Peel and chop potatoes into bite size pieces. Put into a pot of salted boiling water filled up to 1” above potatoes. Cook potatoes until soft and drain.
Put potatoes in a large bowl to cool.
Whisk together seasonings, mayonnaise, mustard, apple cider vinegar and relish.
Add seasoning mix to bowl and stir.
Chop up celery and add to bowl.
Chop up green onion and add to bowl and stir gently.
Chop up eggs and add to bowl and stir gently once more.
Add slices of eggs to the top of the salad for garnish. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and serve chilled. Stir before serving. Enjoy!

Hungarian Chicken Soup (Csirkeleves)

Having a great (and simple) recipe for comfort food is a must have in our kitchen. As a child, my grandparents would make Csirkeleves on cold days and it would warm us right up! My grandparents still make this soup and after making this, it made me miss seeing them even more. My husband loved this soup, went back for seconds and he asked me to make it again real soon!

For this recipe, I use bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs. You can also use chicken backs, wings or any dark meat part of the chicken. I don’t recommend chicken breasts because it will dry out more. The skin is left on the chicken because it adds flavor. I serve the soup with the whole thigh but you can also take them out prior to serving to cut up and put back in the pot if you choose. Angel hair pasta is also made separately and then added to the soup once you serve it so it doesn’t get soggy. You can serve this with also egg noodles or dumpling. This recipe makes 4 servings! Enjoy some with your friends and family!

Take chicken thighs and put them in a Dutch oven or stock pot and cover them with water to about 1” above them. Turn heat on high to boil.
After boiling, foam will appear on top. Remove foam by scooping it out.
Ready for the other ingredients!
Add in chopped celery.
Add in sliced carrots.
Add in quartered onion and stir.
Turn the heat down to a simmer. Add in salt, peppercorns, and paprika.
Simmer on low heat for about 30 mins.
Take the greens from the top of celery stalks and chop some up to add to the soup.
The chopped up celery greens can be large or small pieces. Add to the pot and stir.
I love the color it has added! Cook for 15-20 more mins or until chicken is falling off the bone.
Prior to serving, chop up parsley and add to pot & stir.
Love this parsley in there too!
Cook angel hair pasta according to package directions and drain.
Strained and ready to be added when we serve.
First serve noodles, then ladle out the whole chicken thigh, veggies and broth. Perfect Csirkeleves!

Instant Pot Mexican Style Lentils

I love using our Instant Pot for making anything with lentils. The Instant Pot cooks them up quickly and they always taste soft and perfect. I had a craving for tacos and wanted to make a new lentil dish, so I created a lentil taco “meat” and scooped it up and put it in fried shells for dinner. My husband ate the lentils like a chili and scooped them up with tortilla chips, he loved it. He even said he didn’t miss the ground beef he would normally have for tacos!

The recipe makes about 6 servings of bowl of lentils, or if you serve them up in fried shells, you’ll have enough for about 4 shells per person. You can use either chicken or vegetable broth for this recipe, if you use vegetable it will be vegan friendly. You can also use more or less broth in your recipe depending on how thick you’d like it. I wouldn’t use less than 2 1/2 cups of broth though, so that way your lentils have enough liquid to absorb and expand while cooking.

If you’d like to use your stovetop instead of the instant pot, you can definitely make it on there. It will take a little longer to cook, but you would cover your pot on your stove and cook for about 30-45 mins after sautéing the onion and garlic , when adding the ingredients together prior to the pressure cooking step. You would check occasionally by stirring and cooking the lentils until desired tenderness. Happy cooking y’all!

Sauté diced onion in olive oil in Instant Pot on Sauté mode.
Rinse and drain lentils, set aside.
After sautéing for a few mins, add in minced garlic cloves and cook for 1 more minute.
Slice open chipotles and remove some of the seeds. Chop up the chipotles into smaller pieces.
Add in the rest of the ingredients, including chopped chipotles.
Add in broth and stir. Set valve on lid to sealing. Pressure cook on High for 10 mins.
Let pressure release naturally after pressure cooking, for about 15 mins. Release pressure prior to opening lid, then stir and serve!
Strained about 1/4 cup of the lentils and served inside fried taco shells. Yum!

Low Carb Broccoli Salad

On a hot summer day, I love a great (and chilled) side dish like broccoli salad. For this recipe, you can use fresh broccoli or frozen and it’s a great side dish for your next barbecue, or with some yummy steaks! For my recipe, I show the instructions using frozen broccoli which was easier for me since I had a bag of broccoli in my freezer. This is a low carb recipe because I use Swerve powdered sugar for the sweetener instead of regular sugar. If you’d like to use regular sugar, you would need to adjust the sweetness based on your preference and not necessarily use my Swerve measurement for your substitution.

If you’d like to make this vegetarian, leave out the bacon pieces. If you’d like to make this vegan, substitute the mayonnaise with vegan mayonnaise. Let me know if you make either changes and how the recipe turns out! This is a pretty awesome side dish and it was my first time making it too ☺️

Whisk together mayo, Swerve, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Stir in chopped red onion.
Stir in bite size broccoli pieces.
Stir in small cheese chunks.
Put a lid on it and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
After cooking bacon, drain on a paper towel to cool. Chop into small pieces.
Added in bacon bits, now serving!
Add chopped pecans on top of the broccoli salad when you serve it up, yum!

Low Carb Street Tacos

Best thing to do when making street tacos is to make your own marinade! That way you know exactly what is in it and how tasty it’s going to be. For this recipe, I used carne picada meat, almost 2lbs. It’s nice because it’s already in small pieces and the marinade coats all of it really well. I have another recipe on my blog about street tacos, this is the most updated recipe and marinade we like to make.

We use limequats in place of limes in our recipe and it makes the marinade even more delicious. In my last post about my homemade guacamole, I talk more about limequats. For the recipe, I put the amount of regular size limes so it’s not confusing for the marinade. Limequats are smaller than key limes and I used more in the marinade than you would regular limes.

We sauté our carne picada on our stove top, but if you’d like to marinate carne asada meat with the same marinade, you can grill them up or sauté. I don’t recommend grilling the carne picada meat because it is in small pieces already when you buy it at the store. See my pic below for reference! Check out the steps and recipe at the bottom too ❤️

Mixed all seasonings together in a small bowl.
Juiced oranges and limequats with our electric juicer. Added more orange juice and soy sauce to the mix as well.
Added meat to a gallon size bag with seasonings, liquids and cilantro leaves. Marinate for at least 4 hours up to overnight.