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.

Mexican Corn

This month we are making four meals for four different friends who just had babies. Each meal we are bringing some form of Mexican food- one of our favorites! My go to side item for Mexican is often black beans so when I finally found this recipe (and loved it) I knew we had to write this one down. If you’re looking for a quick and easy side dish with ingredients you’ll most likely find in your pantry then you’ll love Mexican corn!

IngredientsIMG_2153
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups corn (about 4 ears), cut from the cob
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 glove garlic, grated
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 2 tablespoons cotija (or feta), crumbled
  • chili powder to taste
Directions
  1. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the corn, toss and let it sit cooking until charred, mix it up and let it char again, about 6-10 minutes.
  3. Add the jalapeno, saute for a minute and remove from heat.
  4. Mix everything and serve warm or at room temperature.

*This is one of those recipes that you don’t need to include all of the ingredients. We’ve often made it without the feta, jalapeños and even onion. It’s great with as many or as few ingredients as you want to include.

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.

Lactation Cookies

IMG_9627Lactation Cookies… sounds kinda weird right? I don’t know how I had never heard of these with our first but they seem to be all the rage this year… a healthy cookie that you are encouraged to eat (like I need encouragement to eat sweets!) and it boosts your milk supply. Yes please! As I’m still trying to build up enough supply to feed our twins I’ll take all the cookies I can get- and in the meantime I’m also trying the fenugreek pills and Mother’s Milk tea.. I’ll let you know what works after I give them a couple of days to “kick in.” Meanwhile here is one recipe I’ve tried for the lactation cookies. Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oatsIMG_9614
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons brewers yeast
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons organic unsalted butter (1.5 sticks)
  • 4 tablespoons unrefined organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

*I was able to find all ingredients at Publix except for the Brewers yeast which can be purchased at a health foods store like Whole Foods or I bought mine off Amazon.

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven the 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, yeast, flaxseed, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and coconut oil on medium speed until creamy.
  • Add in the sugar and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  • Add in the egg and egg yolk, beating until combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add in the vanilla extract and beat until combined again.
  • Gradually add in the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined and mixed.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula until they are evenly dispersed.

Scoop the dough into 1-inch rounds* and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the bottoms are just golden. Let cool completely before storing in a sealed container.

You can also easily freeze this dough – scoop the rounds on a baking sheet, place the sheet in the freezer for 2 hours, then place the dough rounds in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer. Bake at the same temp – they may or may not need an extra minute or 2 – your preference!

*Note: these cookies do not “expand” like regular cookies/cookie dough.. so the scoop size you use will yield the exact size of your cookies. I used a small cookie dough scoop and ended up with small cookies. Next time I’ll probably try using an ice cream scoop to get more “normal sized” cookies.

Original recipe available here.

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.

Peanut Butter Pie

IMG_6850This is another great recipe from our friend and neighbor Jenny. She made it as a welcome home treat for her husband after he returned from a long work trip and now I’ve decided to try it on our family.  The end of summer is almost here and so the entire family is coming over this weekend for a BBQ and pool party. A cold and tasty treat sounds just perfect for our weekend festivities and should satisfy even our pickiest eaters. This pie is so easy and yummy- perfect to make ahead of time so have one less thing to think about when entertaining guests. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

  • 25 Oreos (a little less than one package)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • One 8-ounce package Cool Whip, thawed

Directions:

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Crush the cookies until they’re fine crumbs. Pour the melted butter over the top and stir with a fork to combine. Press into a pie pan and bake until set, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

For the filling: Beat the peanut butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in the thawed Cool Whip and beat until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.

Pour the filling into the crust, evening out the top with a knife or spatula. Chill for at least an hour before serving (best if chilled overnight).

Original recipe available here.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I often visit my blog to recall past recipes and previous information- its the original reason I started blogging in the first place, to capture everything I want to remember and have it all in one place. So tonight I came to the blog looking for this recipe and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t posted it yet. This is one of my favorite recipes for traditional chocolate chip cookies that are anything but ordinary. Trust me….your taste buds will thank you! Served best warm with a tall glass of cold milk. 🙂 Enjoy!

IMG_6696

Ingredients: (see below before you start measuring! – this makes a TON- save this quantity for a bake sale or a neighborhood block party) 🙂

  • 1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4-5 cups semisweet chocolate chips (4 cups is 2 bags)
Ingredients: (1/3 the recipe = 3 dozen cookies)
  • 1 stick and 3 tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown super
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tbs baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add in eggs and vanilla, and cream on medium high speed.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly add to mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, but do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

3. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until starting to brown.

Original recipe available here.

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.