Cheesy Chicken Florentine (Low Carb, THM- S Friendly)

Someone ask me the other day if I ever had bad days in the kitchen. I just laughed as they  ( my many bad days) all came flooding back to me.  So to answer, I tucked the most embarrassing ones back in the dark corners of my mind for another time and confessed some of the others.  Hey, I need to keep some mystery about me don’t I ? Of course!

Looking back several of those memories cause me to giggle but there are some that make me CRINGE when I think about look and taste of them. I won’t subject you guys to all of my recipe bloopers yet (maybe in the future) but to get a glimpse just imagine my waffle maker that took my husband  days okay a whole week to get clean! Yep, bless his heart he is my biggest supporter and he graciously tackles dish detail in our home. Trust me, taking on a food bloggers kitchen is no easy feat. Some weeks there is a bottomless sink of dishes at all times during the day! Poor guy, but he enjoys when I pay him with the finished treat.

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Thankfully, my latest botched trial for a recipe turned out to be a nice surprise instead of an embarrassing moment that I would like to forget. This creamy and rich casserole was meant to be something TOTALLY different but I got half way into making the dish and realized that I had somehow forgot to purchase some items to finish it. So that recipe just didn’t work out that night but “tada” a nice new family style meal that is so satisfying and super easy to make.

Oh this casserole isn’t going to win any trophies in the “oh so fancy” category but it does score major gold for the “no special ingredients” and “freezer meal” categories. I don’t know about you, but those two trump fancy with this busy girl any day of the week!

My Table of Three Recipe

Now, let me tell you more about why this casserole is a smart dinner option. Remember  earlier I said it was super easy, man did I tell the truth! You just add all the sauce ingredients into your food processor and blend until smooth. After you have blended and set aside your sauce you can then work on the “Florentine” component of the dish but don’t let that fancy word fool you for a second. In this recipe it just means that spinach is involved. I use 10 ounces of fresh cooked spinach that has been sauteed, drained very well and then added to the casserole mix. See, nothing fancy about spinach. I prefer cooking my own spinach from fresh because I think it has a milder taste.  You can absolutely use frozen if it is easier for you also. If you totally are against the spinach you can use kale or even leave it out if you want. In any case just make sure you squeeze all the excess water out of your greens before adding it to your mix or it could become a watery mess.

Oh and word to the wise if you cook your own instead of frozen, wait until it cools completely before squeezing the water out. OUCH! Yep, I am speaking from experience.  In my defense  I was in a hurry to get the casserole done to feed my hungry family and again my zonked brain was lacking energy at the time. It had been a long day but ended well.

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Once you have your spinach cooked and drained you can toss it in a big mixing bowl with your shredded chicken, 4 oz of your shredded cheese and half (1/3 cup) of Parmesan. Next pour your sauce mixture into the big bowl and add in the spices. Once it is all added just stir the mixture up until all ingredient are incorporated. Lastly, pour your mixture into your 13×9 baking dish and top with the remaining cheeses. Bake and serve!  You can find the full recipe and baking temperature below in the recipe section of this post.

If you are making this as a freezer meal you would add it to your pan and top with the remaining cheese. Cover it tightly and put it into the freezer. When you are ready for your meal just thaw it in the fridge the day before and bake it for dinner the next evening. You could bake it straight from frozen but that would add about an hour or more to the cook time, so I highly recommend thawing first. I also love using disposable pans for my freezer meals for faster cleanup later and my hubby thanks me for that each time I do, haha!  I hope you enjoy this casserole around your table as much as we do!

Side dish suggestions: I would suggest a small serving of a nice green salad or other green non-startchy veggies since the casserole has some carbs already from the spinach and sauce. I typically eat about a cup of this as a serving.  It is very filling and satisfying.


 Cheesy Chicken Florentine (Low Carb, THM-S Friendly)

Oven Temp: 350                                   Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz.  Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup  Daisy Cottage Cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Duke’s Real Mayo
  • 2/3 c  Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided equally
  • 8 oz.  Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided in half
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1  (14.5 oz) jar of Prego Artisan Three Cheese Sauce
  • 12 oz. Thawed Spinach (drained and squeezed dry)
  • 2 lb. shredded chicken
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
*Note: When buying your cream cheese, mayo and jarred sauce try to look for the brands that have 1-2 carbs per serving or LESS to avoid over doing it on carbs. The brand I suggest in the recipe are the lowest I have found.

Directions: In a food processor add in your cream cheese, Prego Sauce, cottage cheese, mayo and eggs. Blend all the ingredients in your food processor until it is smooth. In a large mixing bowl add in your shredded chicken, spices, thawed and drained spinach (remember to squeeze extra water out), 4 oz of the Mozzarella and 1/3 cup of the Parmesan. Pour your sauce mixture into the bowl with the the other ingredients and stir until it is all completely incorporated. Once your mixture is ready pour it into a 13×9 baking dish and top with the remaining cheeses. Bake the casserole in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes and serve with a lite salad or non-starchy veggies like green beans.

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Cashew Chicken Recipe Review (THM-S)

Chinese food is one of my favorite types of food and if you haven’t been around the blog enough to know that tidbit, you can hop over to my Chinese Pork and Broccoli and my Low Carb Chinese Fried Rice posts to get a glimpse into my love affair. In those posts you will find out that Chinese take out doesn’t love me as much as I love it. Those darn MSGs and processed carbs do a number on me and that has speared me forward on my search for easy and healthier DIY recipes for my favorite Chinese inspired dishes.

 

My Table of Three, Trim Healthy Mama Cashew Chicken, Recipe Review

Thankfully, for those times when I don’t feel like creating my own recipes there are dishes like this “Cashew Chicken” from the new Trim Healthy Mama cookbook out there that can easily satisfy my cravings. This tasty recipe can be found in the book’s “Family Skillet Meal” section on page 65. We love this recipe and I have made it several times now. With this recipe severing 6-8 people it is great for our small family of three with leftovers for our lunches the following day. There are a couple of ingredients that my family doesn’t like so I just leave them out. You might spot which ones are missing if you compare my pictures to the lovely photo in the book but I don’t always cook and tell.  The recipe page in my book has a permanent “dog ear” marking it for easy access.  Although, I have made it enough now to almost remember the recipe without the book, lol.

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This easy recipe is a great way to change up chicken when you are “stuck in a chicken rut”. Yep, there are those mad rhyming skills of mine again, lol! With the recipe falling into the “S” category you can use white or dark meat, making this an easy recipe to adjust to what you have on hand or what is on sale. I love recipes like that, don’t you?  I use boneless and skinless breast meat most often but strictly because I prefer it over the dark. I  have heard some rumbling from my husband about the lack of dark meat in my dishes lately so I plan on using some boneless and skinless thighs or combining the two varieties next time I cook this. I am really glad the ladies included this “S” meal in the cook book but with a few adjustments to the recipe I am thinking you could make it into an “E” dish if you wanted to have it with brown rice. I would suggest looking over the ingredient list carefully and adjusting the items with fat if you choose to convert it. Check the THM Plan Book for guidelines in the “E” fuels. One thing to remember is that in an “E” meal you need to keep your fat grams per meal at 5 or less.  I have not attempted to adapt this recipe myself because I really enjoy the flavor of the Sesame Oil in this dish.  I also save my energizing meals for my breakfast so I don’t see any such changes coming for us.

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There are a few steps to this recipe but they all are pretty simple, not to mention the recipe cooks up fairly quickly once you get all the components prepped. If I had to pick my least favorite part of making this recipe it would be the chopping of the meat and veggies but that isn’t hard for lazy mama to forgive when I taste the finished product. Yum!

I have learned to do some prep the night before while I am cooking dinner so when I go to cook it the next night it goes even faster, yay for faster meals! I have also made this as a freezer meal and it works nicely. I just cook my veggies until they slightly tender (you don’t want them to be mush when you reheat them).  Next, I cook my chicken thoroughly. Then I combine it all, except the sauce, and put it into a 9×13 disposable pan, cover with foil and freeze. When I am ready for the meal I put it in the fridge the night before and let it thaw until I am ready to reheat it for dinner time the next day. As you heat it through just throw the sauce together in the blender. Add the sauce to the “Cashew Chicken” and cook for 5 minutes or so. It tastes just as good pulling it out of the freezer. Win!!

Speaking of taste,this recipe is wonderful just as written but like I mentioned you can adjust the it if there are some ingredients that you or your family don’t like. I was even reluctant myself at first to try it due to the use of Gluccie as the sauce thickener. If you happen to have read my review on the Zapple Crumble then you might already know of my general feelings for Gluccie. The “slimy” feel that this thickening agent lends to my pallet is not one I wanted to taste again.  Yuck to Gluccie has been my motto for a while now.  Yes, I may be weird. I know this (I embrace it!) and I also know there are some of that say it isn’t slimy at all. So I was willing to try again. I am certainly glad I did because it is not overly detectable to me here which surprised and delighted me at the same time!

So if you are like me and you can admit that you are weird are not a fan of Gluccie take a chance on this one like I did. I don’t think you will be disappointed. However, if you don’t want to try Gluccie or if you don’t have any on hand I am confident that the dish would be just as tasty even without any thickeners. Your sauce may not coat your meat and veggies as much since it would be a looser consistency but not a deal breaker in my book.

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So if I wanted to express my feelings on this dish in Chinese I would say to you “它很美味” (Tā hěn měiwèi) and then I would thank Google for helping me look so smart, ha! But since I am just a little southern girl rambling in English I will just say “It is delicious”.

I am sure no matter if you eat it just as it is written in the book or if you make some adjustments to suit your family, you will agree that this is another great recipe from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook. Thanks for stopping by my table today for this recipe review. I hope it inspires you to get in your kitchen and get cooking!

If you have a recipe you would like me to try and review please leave me a comment below and I will see what I can do!

 

Peanut Butter Cheesecake (Low Carb, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, THM S)

I have been on a peanut better kick lately in my desserts and even in my morning protein shakes. I just love peanut butter and always have.  You might be a witness to this if you read my last post on my version of Peanut Butter Cookies.  I am so glad I am not alone in my love of this nutty butter and that so many of you enjoy it also. I mean how can somebody not like peanut butter, right? I have never met anyone that doesn’t. Have you and were these peanut butter haters trust worthy? Just kidding, I am sure there are good people out there that do not share my addiction love of peanut butter. Maybe.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake by My Table of Three Blog

I would have to say that the only other thing I love as much as my dear peanut butter would be cheesecake! Again, you might be aware of my affection for this confection from my Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake post.  Aww, look at that! I am a poet! Get it “affection for this confection”? Not impressed with my skill? Well thankfully this cheesecake should more than make up for my poetry talent or the lack of said talent.

It’s okay, I know you guys don’t just come by for my mad rhyming skills. Thank goodness that pressure if off! But now back to the reason you ARE here! The Peanut Butter Cheesecake! I baked this and most of my cheesecakes for that matter in my favorite 9″ tart pan but you could absolutely bake this cheesecake in a cake pan or casserole dish, say maybe a 11×9 or so. This amount of filling and crust fills up my tart pan perfectly but if you do it in a casserole dish or other dish don’t stress over getting it up the side too much. Just press the crust mixture into the bottom evenly so it is the same thickness (or as close as possible) with each piece. This will ensure the crust bakes evenly also.

No matter what style baking dish you use this cheesecake should serve about 6-8 people and put a smile on each of their faces. It sure hit the spot with my crew. Granted those smiles are dependent on how generous  you are in sharing. Oh and if sharing is not your thing when it comes to your healthy treats I have just this to say… hide it and hide it fast!

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Unlike my Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake there is no need for fancy swirls or different mixtures to add to the pan making this cheesecake super simply and a quick treat. I think from start to finish this simple and tasty cheesecake takes me about an hour to prepare. Yes, that includes mixing it up and baking. Great, right? Yes! Three cheers for simple and fast! Now I might be leading you astray a bit when I said it was so simple. Because if I am a true friend, and I aim to be…. I need to tell you that there is one complicated part of this cheesecake. Here it is….WAITING! Yes, waiting for this peanut butter piece of heaven to cool and chill for a couple of hours is no easy feat. Just ask my husband, whom I had to warn over and over “do not cut this cheesecake” before I left the house to run errands. Lol, I love him…and know him too well. Had I not warned him you guys would not have these pretty pictures to gaze upon while reading my ramblings…and sad poetry attempts. Your, welcome!

Thankfully he held out as hard as it was for him and when I returned it was chilled enough. So he was a happy man when I finally cut into it and served him up a slice or two. He says he is still a “growing boy” and needs his energy! Ha…well since I do love him so much I did reward him for his patience with a drizzle of sugar free chocolate and a squeeze of fresh whipped cream. He is still thanking me for this one a week later.

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Chocolate and Peanut Butter makes me think of…”tried and true friends”….”dreams come true”….”soul mates”….you get it right?  Well…throw them into a cheesecake form and you have a “till death do us part” kind of dessert! What? Over kill? Well…we have established before that I can be a bit of a dramatic type.  So why stop now, right? Glad we agree on that because after all these years of being me there is just no hope of changing.

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 Peanut Butter Cheesecake (Low Carb, Sugar Free, THM-S)

Oven Temp: 325                                        Servings: 8

Peanut Butter Filling:

  • 16 oz of softened cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup of Peanut Flour or natural peanut butter
  •  1/2 cup Truvia or Pyure
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp of pure vanilla
  • pinch of salt

**You can use this chart via THM if using other sweeteners. Note: I have only made this recipe with the sweetener s I mention so I am not sure how others will taste in comparison.

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cup of Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend (almond flour would work also)
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup Truvia or Pyure
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick plus 3 tsp of melted butter

Directions: In a food processor mix your dry ingredients for the crust until all incorporated then slowly drizzle in the melted butter while the processor is on. When your mixture is done it will look like moist crumbs. Pinch some between your fingers and if it holds together it is finished. Press the crust mixture into the pan you are using. I used a 9 inch Wilton tart pan but an 11×9 baking dish or cake pan will work also. Once you add your crust to the pan then press it down evenly over the dish and up the sides bit if possible. In the cake pan or baking dish don’t worry about the sides, only an even bottom crust. Blind bake the crust for about 8-10 minutes in your preheated 325 degree oven.

While your crust is blind baking toss all your filling ingredients into a clean food processor. Mix the filling ingredients well until they are very smooth and creamy. If the filling looks too thick you can add in another 1/4 cup of cream or half and half and mix again. Once your crust is out of the oven after it blind bakes pour your filling into the crust. Spread it around evenly.  Then bake your cheesecake for about 25 minutes in the 325 degree oven. You are looking for a cheesecake that does not wiggle. Pull the cheesecake out and let it cool completely. Once cooled, chill the cheesecake for a couple of hours or overnight before serving.  Optional: I like to serve mine with a little melted sugar free chocolate chips drizzled over the top and some whipped cream but it is just as delicious plain. I use Lily’s brand chocolate chips but if you are not a purist you can use SF Hershey’s chips.

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Cookies (Sugar Free, Low Carb, Gluten Free, THM S)

Cookies! I get as giddy as a young kid when I see or smell cookies baking. I know the holiday season is over and my pictures still show Christmas decor but believe me these Peanut Butter cookies are a great treat any time. Besides, I don’t think I have ever met a cookie I wouldn’t eat year around. I wanted to have this recipe out on the blog back before Christmas but with all the rush of season I simple didn’t get to it. But, I am sure you will enjoy them just as much now as you would have then. After all, they are cookies and who would ever be mad at cookies? Not this fluffy chic!

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This version of my peanut butter cookies is low carb, sugar and gluten free as well as Trim Healthy Mama S friendly. These cookies are sure to satisfy any peanut butter lover but without the off plan ingredients like sugar.

Isn’t it great that we can eat cookies as part of our journey to healthy? I feel a bit sad for those that choose an eating plan that would limit cookies though. Can you imagine?  No cookies, now way! A bit of honesty here in my next statement so be prepared.  I can become a serious grump and may seem a bit dangerous like a hungry bear when denied cookies or any dessert for that matter. Am I alone there?  Don’t worry, my family is safe from my grumpiness because Mama Bear’s cookie jar will be full!

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This cookie recipe is one I have been working on for a while and thanks to some of my local taste testers (that follow low carb and/or Trim Healthy Mama) I think I am finally happy with them. These great ladies and my husband are always willing to be my taste testers and offer great feedback on my recipes. Thank you Katie, Audrey, Leslie, Michelle, Tami and Anthony for being my taste panel!! I love our local THM support group and the friendship and encouragement we find there!

Of course my drive for perfection (no of course it is not blogger/baker OCD) will keep me working on these beauties well after I post this on the blog but I will update the recipe if I find anything amazing that I feel will make these cookies more amazing. Although being as they are peanut butter and won’t add inches to my thighs I think they are pretty close to great just as they are. I hope you guys do too. ***Update: I have now made this recipe with the Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend for those that were asking about it. They turned out great with only a few miner adjustments to the recipe. I have added this option below to the recipe section.

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One thing I just though of to try is adding chocolate chips. Oh my word, why did I not think of that until now? Chocolate and peanut butter is a classic combo that makes all my wildest food dreams come true! Wait, did I just admit I dream of food? Well at least it is a sugar and gluten free dream right? I must say since I have been blogging, I have had some pretty weird dreams about food but  I will save that for another time and post.

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Just a few more pictures to drool over… I mean browse over…lol

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For more of my silliness or yummy treats like these be sure to follow the blog and I look forward to sharing more with you this year around my little table of three.

 



Peanut Butter Cookies (LC, SF, GF and THM S)

(Yields 2-3 dozen depending on size)

  •  2 sticks of soften butter
  • 1 cup Truvia or Pyure Sweetener (if using a different sweetener you may need to adjust the amount you use here)
  • 1 tsp Molasses (optional)
  • 3/4 cup of almond flour
  • 2/3 cup of Oat Fiber
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup of Natural Peanut Butter (I like crunchy)
  •  pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp of vanilla
  •  1 tsp baking soda

Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend Version

  •  2 sticks of soften butter
  • 1 cup Truvia or Pyure Sweetener (if using a different sweetener you may need to adjust the amount you use here)
  • 1 tsp Molasses (optional)
  • 1 cup THM Baking Blend
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of Natural Peanut Butter (I like crunchy)
  •  pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp of vanilla
  •  1 tsp baking soda

**Note: These cookies have a softer more cake like texture more than your full sugar and regular cookies. The Baking blend version does have a more cookie like texture.

Directions for both versions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream softened butter and sweetener in a mixing bowl until all smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time until they are all incorporated. Next add in the vanilla, Molasses, peanut butter and mix well. Lastly add in your dry ingredients to the mixer and mix until all the ingredients are mixed in evenly.  Let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before scooping the cookies out onto a sprayed cookie sheet.  Use a greased fork to press the cookies down a bit.  If you use the one inch cookie/ice cream scoop you will bake your cookies for about 12 minutes (14-16 minutes for the baking blend version, just watch closely after 14 so they don’t burn). Once you remove them from the oven, let them set on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before you move them to a cooling rack or plate.