Veggie Enchiladas

It’s Monday… which means the start of another week and the need for some easy weeknight meals. A fun fact.. I used to be a vegetarian.. for about 2 years… for health reasons. It was a huge adjustment for us as we were newlyweds and I was trying to figure out how to cook yummy meals for my new husband each night. My husband who loves meat. Loves it. And so I began the quest to find yummy vegetarian meals that would satisfy us both – even the toughest meat-eating critics. Here is one of our favorites that I recreated again tonight.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) low-sodium organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) low-sodium organic corn, rinsed and drained
  • fresh cilantro 
  • 6 low carb multi-grain tortillas (8 inches)
  • 1 can enchilada sauce (or homemade)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
 

Directions

  • In a large skillet, saute the onion and green pepper in oil until crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the beans, corn, cumin and cilantro; cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
  • Spoon 1/2 cup bean mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Top with enchilada sauce and cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25 minutes or until heated through. 
  • Yield: About 8 enchiladas.
 Original recipe available here.

Whole30 Burgers with Sweet Potato Buns

IMG_9889We are nearing the end of our Whole30. I’ll give a full update on how the last 30 days have been after Tuesday of next week. Tonight we tried another recipe from The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom book we’ve been using. We had burgers with sweet potato buns and homemade ketchup. This recipe was quick, easy and delicious. Perfect dinner idea for a weeknight and a healthy alternative to no bun. The ketchup was also incredible- so good that my husband already threw our Heinz bottle in the trash. Another tasty hit!

Sweet Potato Buns

Ingredients:

  • 1 thick round sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp cooking fat
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Peel the sweet potato and cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds.
  • Heat the cooking fat over medium heat in a large skillet, swirling to cast the bottom of the pan.
  • When the fat is hot, add the largest slices from the middle of the potato, laying them out in a single layer in the pan. Cook until fork-tender and browned, 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Let cook, then stack a burger and fillings between two slices of sweet potato and serve.

Whole30 Ketchup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • .5 cup apple cider*
  • .5 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • .5 tsp salt

*Make sure you follow the Whole30 rules when buying apple cider. No sugar added or in the ingredient list.

Directions:

  • Heat a medium saucepan ove medium heat. Add the tomato paste, apple cider, and vinegar. Stir completely and let it come to a simmer, do not allow to boil.
  • Add the garlic powder and salt and cook, stirring frequently to prevent scorching – you may need to turn the heat down to low or simmer here.
  • Simmer until the ketchup has thickened enough to evenly coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Serve when cool. Will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

 

Whole30 Chili

We are officially halfway through the Whole30. We are both doing well and feeling great! I’ve lost 7 lb already and Kyle has lost 10 lb. He has more energy but I haven’t really experienced or noticed any change in my energy levels. We are both really aware now of how much we used to snack, especially when it came to nibbling little bits here and there as we fed our son. Being on the Whole30 has made a huge difference as we are paying more attention to what we eat and how often.

For dinners we usually grill some meat or fish and steam some veggies but we have made a couple recipes from the Whole30 book. This one is probably our favorite so far- its yummy and easy and since you can cook it in a crock pot its the perfect weekday winter meal. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground meat (we used beff)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth

Directions:

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook until the meat is fully browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, mustard powder, and salt to the pan. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until onions are translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.

Transfer all contents to the slow cooker. Add bell peppers, tomatoes, and broth and set to low heat, cooking for 6 to 8 hours.

Easy Shredded Chicken

With the holidays in full swing there is lots to do and lots to get ready for. And with my husband out of town this week I need quick and easy dinner meals to get us through those busy nights after school and before bedtime.

One of my favorite recipes for a quick and easy dinner are these Creamy Chicken Taquitos. The only downside is they call for shredded chicken which always seemed like a hassle to come by. Usually I’d buy a rotisserie chicken but even that takes a lot of time to prep. So finally I came across this recipe which results in tasty shredded chicken ready in no time. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTSIMG_1275

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup water or low-sodium chicken broth

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot and rippling. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the chicken top-side down in the hot skillet and let the chicken cook for 5 minutes until golden brown on top. Flip the chicken, add the water or chicken broth, cover the skillet and let the chicken simmer gently over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (it will register 160 degrees on a thermometer). Don’t overcook or it might be dry. While the chicken is simmering, add additional water 1/4 cup at a time if the liquid evaporates too quickly. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Let it cool slightly before shredding.

 

Original recipe available here.

Spicy Chili

IMG_1061So my husband has been spending the last couple of weeks perfecting this recipe he found for a Chili Cook-Off Competition at his work. The original recipe is insanely spicy. So hot I could barely get it down with a glass of milk.. so Kyle has spent the last 2 tries working on perfecting the recipe so it kept the flavor but cuts down the spice. Check out this hearty recipe you’ll definitely want to try this winter!

Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 medium shallot, diced
7 cloves of garlic, minced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 lb. ground chuck
1 lb. chorizo sausage
1 packet of low sodium taco seasoning
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon of cumin
1 dash of cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 can beef broth
2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chipolte peppers in adobo sauce
1 bottle of SweetWater Festive Ale (or other dark lager)
2 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes in juice/puree
1 small can tomatoes and green chilies (Rotel)
1 small can tomato paste
10-15 oz. frozen corn

Directions:

Brown the ground chuck and chorizo together, drain, and set aside.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add your onion, green pepper, shallot and garlic…sauté until tender.  Add in the meat mixture and all the spices and stir well.  Add in the beef broth and cook for another 5 minutes.

Chop up the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  Add in the chopped peppers, including the seeds and extra sauce on the cutting board, stir well. Add in everything else except the tomato paste and corn. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Turn down the heat and simmer for another 60 minutes.  Add in the tomato paste and corn, cook for 5 minutes and serve when ready.

Baked Ziti

Another great dish brought by another great neighbor as we are learning how to be parents of 3 under 2 years old! It’s easy for larger groups or for weeknight dinners. If you don’t like a lot of sauce check out the original recipe linked at the bottom of this post. If you’re like me and like a some sauce with your pasta then check out my adapted version written below. Thanks Jenn!

IMG_1140Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried ziti pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet and or spicy Italian sausages, casing removed and crumbled
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • One jar tomato/spaghetti sauce
  • Fresh basil (about 3-4 sprigs)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, half sliced and half cubed
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan, divided
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and boil the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain. (Meanwhile start sauce).
  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes more.
  • Add the basil and tomato sauce (about 1/2-3/4 jar depending on how saucy you want it)  and bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • Season with salt and paper
  • Toss the cooked pasta with the tomato and sausage sauce, half the mozzarella cubed, and h1 Parmesan cheese.
  • Transfer the pasta to an oiled 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
  • Cover the top of the pasta with the sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.
  • Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Original recipe available here.

Baked Spaghetti

I wish I had taken a picture of this so I could show you how truly awesome and tasty this meal really is. In the last week, since the birth of our newborn daughters, we have been blessed by so many friends and neighbors stopping by and bringing us meals. Food really is one of the best gifts for people post delivery. It really just helps tackle one of those necessary items on your never-ending to-do list that you need to do but don’t have a lot of time to really spend on. If it wasn’t for these amazing gifts of food we would probably eat cereal at every meal until we get past the newborn phase!

Here is a recipe for Baked Spaghetti brought to us by our neighbor Jenny. It really is wonderful! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (26 ounce) jar marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large
skillet, cook beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the marinara  sauce and seasoned salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, Parmesan cheese and butter. Drain
spaghetti; add to egg mixture and toss to coat. Place half of the spaghetti mixture in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Top with half of the cottage cheese, meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Uncover; bake 20 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Weeknight Shrimp and Grits

I’ve been doing pretty well sticking to our meal plan for the week. We’ve moved around some of the meals but no emergency pizza calls or cereal nights so that’s a plus! Tonight we tried this recipe for shrimp and grits.. It was so simple to make but has a flavorful and simple taste. It’s the perfect weeknight meal after a busy week when you want something different but don’t want to make an extravagant meal. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients:IMG_5669

  • 3/4 cup instant grits
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  • Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, covered.
  • Uncover and slowly whisk in the grits, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter.
  • Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, season the shrimp with salt and pepper.
  • Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shrimp, garlic and cayenne and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons water, the lemon juice and parsley, stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  • Divide the grits among shallow bowls and top with the shrimp and sauce. Serve.

Original recipe available here.

Weeknight Dinners 1

So I’ve really been slacking on making dinner lately. Thankfully my husband is amazing and has been saving us and our tummies these past few weeks and taking care of making meals for us. In an effort to try and get on top of things again here is my meal plan for the week for easy weeknight dinners… week 1. Here’s to hoping I can come up with an easy month of meals to make future planning a little easier.

  • Sunday: Food Trucks after church
  • Monday: Filet steaks on the grill and roasted Brussel sprouts
  • Tuesday: Fish tacos with salmon and Mexican corn.  (I’ll have to write a post with the recipe for both of these that night)
  • Wednesday: Ranch chicken club roll-ups
  • Thursday: Homemade pizza
  • Friday: Date night- Dinner out!
  • Saturday: Shrimp and grits

So full recipes and results on how well we stuck with this plan to come!

Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Peppers

Last night I made dinner for one of our friends and neighbors who recently had their fourth child. It’s crazy to think we moved into our new home and neighborhood just two years ago, right around the time they had their third child. Man, how time flies!

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 8.12.13 PMMy typical go-to meal when bringing dinner to another family is Sicilian Meatloaf, however I’m pretty sure that’s what we gave them after baby #3 so I had to change it up a bit this time around. This recipe takes a little longer than my usual weeknight meal but the results are well worth it! And it makes a ton! So not only did we send a dinner (plus enough for leftovers) to our sweet friends but we had enough for 2-3 meals ourselves. That’s a lot of peppers (and yes, this recipe can definitely be halved if you don’t want this much).

Ingredients

  • 6-7 red, yellow, orange, or green bell peppers or a mixture of all
  • Olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chili powder (if desired-I don’t love spicy food so I often leave this out)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 16 oz ground turkey
  • 1 (16 oz) jar chunky salsa, mild or hot
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice*
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 large avocados, peeled and pit removed, sliced
  • 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil

*Quinoa or couscous can be subbed instead of brown rice.

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, slicing from the stem to the bottoms. Remove the white pithy ribs near stem and down length of inside. Remove the ribs and seeds and discard. Place the peppers in a shallow 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Drizzle the peppers with oil. Cover the dish with foil, and bake the peppers 15 to 20 minutes, until they start to soften.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, chili powder, and cumin; cook until the vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey to the skillet. Cook, breaking it up with a slotted spoon or potato masher, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the salsa and the spinach, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cooked brown rice.

Carefully fill the pepper halves with the turkey mixture. Cover the dish with foil, and bake until the filling is hot and the peppers are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove foil, and sprinkle the cheese over the top of the peppers. Return to oven; bake, uncovered, until cheese has melted, about 7 to 10 minutes.

When ready to serve, top the peppers with a heaping tablespoon of the greek yogurt.  Place slices of the avocado on top of each pepper.  Sprinkle with the basil.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Original recipe available here.