Life In The Fast Lane
Tuna Green Bean Casserole

My husband has lost over 55 pounds following a low carb diet.  I am SO proud of him and I am supporting him by making low carb meals every night for dinner.  One thing I really miss is a good casserole.  My husband stumbled upon a website that takes your old favorites and makes them into low carb masterpieces!  Her blog is awesome and it makes me excited to make dinner again.  You can find her blog at http://peaceloveandlowcarb.blogspot.com/.  I decided to post this recipe because after a low carb facebook status, I found out that a lot of my friends wanted the recipe.  We had company last night too and she also enjoyed this! It’s a delightful combination of green bean casserole and tuna casserole.  Delicious!

Tuna Green Bean Casserole

1 large head of Cauliflower (I used a bag of frozen)

1/2 can Cream of Mushroom soup

1/2 can Cream of Chicken soup

1 cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

2 ribs of celery, chopped (I omitted this)

2 cans tuna

3/4 can green beans (I used the whole can since I omitted celery)

4 Tbs. French Fried Onions

1 Tbs. minced garlic (I used one clove)

Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Steam the cauliflower in one inch of water in a covered pot.  Steam until fork tender or about 15 minutes. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soups, garlic, salt and pepper.  Fold in the celery, green beans and tuna. 

Drain your cauliflower when it’s done and return it to the hot pot.  This removes excess water and will ensure that you don’t end up with cauliflower soup!  (Great tip!)

Mash the cauliflower in the bottom of a glass baking dish. I used a 9”x 9” size. Spread your soup mixture evenly over the top.  Jab the cauliflower in a couple places so that you get everything tasting good and blended.  

Bake this for 20 minutes.

Add the cheese on top and bake for another 10 minutes.

Add the French Fried Onions and bake for another 10 minutes. 

Eat up!

It only has 8.5 net carbs if you make it into 6 servings. We estimated it at 10.5 net carbs if made into 4 servings. 

If you want to see her post and go by her recipe, here’s a link!  http://peaceloveandlowcarb.blogspot.com/2012/02/tuna-green-bean-casserole.html#.UHbJl5W9GUk.  (You’ll have to copy and paste because Tumblr isn’t letting me link it up today.  Sorry).  I hope you try this and enjoy it!  I know we did! 

Orange Dreamsicle Cake!

I was wasting some time on Pinterest the other day, as I normally do and I stumbled upon this easy cake.  The baby was taking a nap, I had some free time and I had the ingredients on hand, for once!   I owe my neighbors a dessert for making crab salad for us, so I thought I would give it a whirl. The name caught me because I used to love those Orange Dreamsicle Popsicles that you used to get as a kid.  I also love the Orange Dreamsicle drink that you get at the bar! 

I am pleased to tell you that this cake is well worth the minimal effort!  When you read how simple this is to make, you will make it your go-to dessert.  I got the recipe off Pinterest, so you can find it in my ‘Blog Recipes' folder or click here and find the gal who invented it! 

You only need three ingredients:

Orange Dreamsicle Cake

1 box of white cake mix

1 cup orange juice

1 container (6 oz) of plain greek yogurt

Mix everything together and pour it into a 9x9 inch pan.  (If you really feel ambitious, you can add some orange zest, in other words-orange peel, to the batter too.) Then pop that bad boy into a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.  When it’s out and cool, cut it into 9 pieces and sprinkle it with powdered sugar!  That’s it!

I tasted a piece and it was pure heaven.  I think my neighbors will like it, don’t you?  ;)

If you happen to try this or any other recipe that I post, please let me know!

Fajita Chili Con Carne

My mother-in-law bought some of the new Knorr Rice Sides Menu Flavors for us and they were just sitting in my pantry for quite some time.  My friend and I usually take a trip to BJ’s every week or so just to look around and the other week, they were actually sampling the sides.  I saw a recipe card on the sample cart and decided to make it for dinner.  Now, I can’t have my husband vouch for this because he is following a low carb diet but I made this for myself and I enjoyed every bit of it!  It was easy, filling, and pretty good for you, I would guess.  Try it and let me know what you think!

Fajita Chili Con Carne

1 lb. ground beef or turkey

1 medium onion

1 pkg. Knorr Rice Sides-Steak Fajita

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 1/2 cups water

1 can (16oz) red kidney beans

Brown the ground beef with the onion in a 4 qt. pot.  Drain.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered; stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes or until the rice is tender.  If you want, you can garnish it with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, etc.  Although it is just as good when left plain.  Enjoy!

*Again, I picked up this recipe card from BJ’s.  It came from Unilever and they created the recipe, not me. The picture featured below also belongs to them.*

Here is a link to the recipe with a printable option!

Chicken Fried Rice

This is one of my favorite recipes because it’s quick, easy and extremely delicious!  If you want to order chinese food, make this instead.  You’ll save money and you can control the sodium!  I found this recipe in the June 2009 edition of Parents magazine.  Theirs was a vegetarian version. I added the chicken to it.  You could add any meat really:  pork, shrimp, even tofu!  Plus, Kmart has grilled Oscar Mayer pre-grilled chicken strips on the meal deal this week.  You can throw the chicken into the recipe (that’s how I came up with it in the first place) and you’ll still get free pasta and sauce to use for another meal!  So, for $2.99, you’ll have two meals.  Look at that.  Here goes:

Chicken Fried Rice

1 pkg. pre-grilled chicken strips

1 8.8 oz. pkg. cooked brown rice (I used Minute Rice.  The Uncle Ben’s ones work too)

1 16oz. pkg. mixed frozen vegetables

1 cup frozen peppers and onion stir-fry vegetables (if you have it.  This could be omitted)

4 tsp. canola oil, divided

3 eggs

3 Tbsp. stir-fry sauce (this will be a godsend when making a stir-fry if you haven’t already tried it)

Heat 2 tsp. of the oil in a large skillet (I used a wok!) on medium.  Whisk eggs and add to skillet.  Cook, stirring occasionally to break up the eggs, until they set.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Add the remaining oil to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high.  Stir in all the frozen vegetables and cook about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken and stir-fry sauce.  Stir in the rice and heat it through.  Then add your cooked eggs.  Enjoy!  Serves 4.

Cheap and Easy to Make!

Have you ever tried making your own liquid hand soap?  I haven’t until recently. I found the recipe on pinterest so I went and bought all the ingredients. For months now, I’ve been trying to set aside some time to make this soap. I was under the assumption that it would take a ton of time to make not to mention be hard to do and annoying.  I was very wrong!  Let me take you on a journey to liquid soap-making.  Hop on board and try it!  You will be VERY surprised!  This recipe came from http://www.thefarmersnest.com.  She used Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day soap.  I decided to use a fancy bar of soap that I found on sale at Marshall’s.  It worked fine. 

Homemade Liquid Hand Soap


Cheese grater (use the one in your kitchen!  Mine washed up just fine)

A clean, empty milk jug
2 Tablespoons of Liquid Glycerin (I got mine at Walmart. It was in the first aid area.  Walmart was the ONLY place in my area that had it.)
1 - 8 oz bar of soap
1 gallon of water

First, you want to grate the entire bar of soap into a bowl, using the cheese grater. 

After that’s done, pour the gallon of water into a large pot.  Add the soap shavings and the liquid glycerine. Heat on medium-high heat.  Keep stirring the pot until ALL of the shavings dissolve.  It will just look like soapy water when it’s done.  (the picture still has shavings in it)

When the shavings dissolve, put the pot on the back burner and leave it alone.  You want to let it sit, untouched, for 10-12 hours.  I made mine at night so it would be ready when I woke up. 

When it’s ready, it will be the consistency of snot (that is the best description since it’s true and everyone knows what I mean).  If it’s too jelly-like, you can beat it with a hand mixer and add a TINY bit of water until it’s snot-like. I had to use the mixer on mine.  I only added a baby-bottle cap full of water. 

It turned out great and it smells fantastic!  I put it in the empty milk jug and labeled it.  It won’t keep for months and months (since it doesn’t have preservatives in it) so I suggest you share some with friends and/or family.  It makes a great gift!  Also, it only costs about $4-5 to make! Think of how much you spend on soap and soap refills!  This is a bargain!  

Try this and let me know how it turns out.  I have a ton of other recipes on my pinterest account for homemade things and saving money.  Follow me (ducktapegurl) to see when I pin something new.  Good luck with your homemade hand soap! 

Taco-Roni!

A couple weeks ago, Chef Boyardee was on sale at CVS for 88 cents per can.  I decided to stock up on the Beefaroni for this recipe.  We love Chef Boyardee at my house so I thought this recipe might be a natural fit.  I was indeed right.  Not only was this recipe delicious, it was incredibly easy and cheap to make!  I made one substitute for a spice but I think it worked out very well!  Try this tonight!  It’s one of those recipes where you might even have everything in your pantry already. 

Taco-Roni

2 cans (15oz) Chef Boyardee Beefaroni

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen whole kernel corn

1 teaspoon ground cumin (I used taco seasoning, same amount)

1/4 cup shredded, reduced fat, Mexican Cheese blend (I used this kind for ALL the cheese it called for)

1/2 cup broken tortilla chips

1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (like I said, I used 1 1/4 cup of the Mexican)

Place Beefaroni, tomatoes, beans corn and cumin in large saucepan.  Stir to combine.


Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.  I let mine simmer a little longer and I also added a tiny bit of cornstarch just to make it thicker. I wanted it like a stew, not a soup! 

Sprinkle with cheese and chips right before serving!  Enjoy! 

As always, if you try a recipe, please let me know what you thought about it! 

Mexican Pork Chops!

The other night, I found a great recipe to try out involving the boneless pork chops we found on sale. They were easy to make and I was impressed at how good my Mexican rice turned out.  Try for yourself and see.  As usual, I jazzed up the recipe but this time I think I made it better!  The original recipe came from Kraft Foods (www.kraftfoods.com). 

Mexican Pork Chops and Rice (serves 4)

4 Bone-in pork chops (I used 1.5 pounds of the boneless chops)

2 teaspoons taco seasoning (it calls for a bunch of other spices but I like the taste of this stuff.  Plus I buy it by the canister!) 

1 teaspoon canola oil

3/4 cup white rice, uncooked

1 3/4 cup water

1/2 cup salsa (divided)

1/4 pound (4 ounces) Velveeta Cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes (divided)

Season the tops of the chops while you’re heating the oil in a medium-high frying pan.  Add chops, season side down.  Cook about 5 minutes each side or until done. Put the chops on a plate and cover them so they stay warm.

Add rice to the skillet.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer on medium-low for about 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  Stir in half of the salsa and half of the cheese.  Top with the chops and let it simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. 

Microwave the remaining salsa and cheese in a bowl for 30 sec intervals, stirring until blended and cheese melts. 

Serve the chops over the rice and top with the cheese sauce!  Enjoy!

One of my favorite recipes!

The other night, I made one of my favorite recipes ever!  It’s so easy and quick that you won’t believe it can be that good.  Everyone I’ve served this to has liked it, even my meat-eater father that swears he can ‘always tell the difference!’  Put this into your regular rotation one week and see how it goes over:


Quick and Easy Shepard’s Pie

1 bag Morningstar Farms Veggie Crumbles

1 can mushroom gravy

1 small can peas and carrots

salt, pepper, parsley and garlic powder to taste

1 bag Idahoan Instant mashed potatoes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the veggie crumbles, mushroom gravy, peas and carrots together in a bowl. Add a little of each spice to keep it interesting!

Put the instant potatoes in another bowl and follow the microwavable directions. 

Pour the veggie crumble mixture into a pie plate.  Top with the cooked mashed potatoes.  Sprinkle some parsley on top to make it look like you spent all afternoon in the kitchen!

Pop that baby in the oven for 30-40 minutes.  Enjoy!

Don’t Burn the Sprouts!

I bought this big bag of brussel sprouts the other day from BJ’s.  (Is it ‘brussel’ or brussels?’ I have no idea!)  They were a great price and we haven’t had them in awhile.  I also saw an interesting recipe on www.thefrugalette.com for ‘Robust Roasted Brussels Spouts.’  I was intrigued and hopeful. 

Last night was the night to try this.  I walk around our neighborhood every night with my husband’s co-worker so I usually leave some instructions for my husband, for our dinner.  Our oven has been acting weird lately and I should’ve known better than to use the full amount of time for the sprouts. But I didn’t, so when I came home, they were a tad burned.  So much so that I decided not to take a picture. To top it all off, my kitchen’s exhaust fan broke too. It’s now duct-taped.  (Don’t even ask.)  Problems aside, we did eat the brussel sprouts and enjoy them!  I also added some garlic to the recipe since my family can’t live without it.  I want to try this again and have them turn out properly. Try these for yourself and I hope everyone enjoys them.  ;)

Robust Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1.5 pounds sprouts

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil (there was a coupon this week in the paper!)

3/4 teaspoon salt ( I did garlic salt)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash sprouts and cut off stems.  Remove any weird-looking leaves or gross spots.  Put the olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and throw in the sprouts.  Toss and coat.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet (sprayed with non-stick spray) and roast them for 30-40 minutes. You’ll want them to look crispy on the outside, not burned :)  Turn them once while roasting so that they cook evenly.  Eat!

This recipe was found here:  http://www.thefrugalette.com/2012/03/introducing-the-last-brussels-sprouts-recipe-youll-ever-need/

Best Served Hot! New Recipes.

This week, I tried recipes from pinterest and my friends that I already had the ingredients on hand.  I only spent $50 for groceries for an entire week this way.  And the recipes turned out to be the best yet!  These recipes can be found on my pinterest board, “Blog Recipes.”  My husband also suggested that I add more pictures of the dishes that I try so I’m doing that this week too.  Be sure to leave comments if you like this!

Day #1 I made Honey Sesame Chicken.  This tasted like something you would get at a chinese restaurant.  I was impressed and it really didn’t take that long to make.  Next time, I am going to try baking the chicken instead of frying though.  Do yourself a favor and try this dish!  I put ours over brown rice.

Day #2 was Tuna Noodle Casserole.  This recipe was so creamy and delicious.  It didn’t take long to make and we ate the leftovers all week. I doubled the recipe in order to do so.  I suggest not adding the potato chips if you plan on serving the leftovers.  Just put them on top at the last minute.  If not, they just get soggy in the fridge.  I’m adding this to my rotation.

Day #3 I made Taco Roll-ups.  Ours were more of a burrito than a roll-up.  I didn’t pulverize the taco meat mixture because I didn’t feel like making my blender dirty.  But they really worked out and again, I had leftovers that we ate for lunch the rest of the week.  It was a good recipe and I even added lettuce to ours for extra veggies. 

Day#4 I got ambitious and made mock Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets and a Super Light Blueberry Cream Pie.  Both were so tasty. The nuggets were a bit time consuming and it was my first attempt at deep frying anything.  I just used my dutch over with my splatter shield over top of it.  It was successful!  Next time, I would add a tad more powdered sugar in the recipe and I would fry the nuggets in peanut oil instead of canola.  The pie took five minutes to make and I even took it over to my husband’s office for them to try.  2 out of 3 women enjoyed it!  I used greek blueberry yogurt and it was really creamy.  If you want a sweeter pie, use regular yogurt though.  I liked the greek yogurt in it but I am used to eating and using greek yogurt in recipes. 

Day #5 I had a few doctor’s appointments and I needed something quick and easy.  I resorted to the crock pot and a bag of frozen meatballs for Crock Pot Meatballs.  My friend gave me the recipe for the one.  It only has three ingredients and I put it in the crock pot on low for 8 hours.  You could also do high for 2 or 3 hours too.  You just get a squeeze bottle of grape jelly and empty it on top of 2 bags of meatballs.  Then you fill the jelly bottle full of ketchup and add that to the mixture.  Stir and let cook.  That’s it.  The one I pinned on pinterest is a different recipe but it sounds really tasty.  I’m going to try that one next.  Again, I served them over brown rice.  My husband and I thought they were a little too sweet but I only had one bag of meatballs so I modified the recipe. Our meatballs were smaller too.  It’s really just a matter of trial and error.

Day #6 I bought a bag of spinach that was reduced because it was outdated.  I decided to use in a pesto instead of basil.  I added a bag of tortellini and Spinach Pesto Tortellini was born.  I’d never made my own pesto before and I never realized how easy it was.  I didn’t use pine nuts, which are traditionally found in a pesto but the recipe didn’t call for them either so it worked out.  I plan on making this again and even trying the basil. It turned out to be easy, very flavorful, and the spinach really kicked up the vitamins.  My husband and I both enjoyed it and we didn’t have any leftover.

This week, I’m going to try my hand (no pun intended) at making hand soap.  I bought a good bar of soap at Marshall’s and I’m getting everything else I need today.  My mom also had a request that I try making homemade lotion too so I might add some at-home spa type recipes along with the dinners that I try.  As usual, I appreciate any and all feedback and have a great week!