Butternut Chickpea Curry

When the Mr. and I met, he had never tried Indian food. Needless to say, our second date was at our local Indian restaurant. At that time I hadn't taken the leap to prepare Indian style dishes at home. 

I've since made lots of different recipes that are Indian style in search of a replica restaurant butter chicken. This one came around not in that searching but just as something new to try. We liked it but decided that it needed a bit less curry so it's not quite as hot.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 3 cups (425g) butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 can (13.5oz) lite coconut milk
  • ½ cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1½ cups garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ tablespoons curry powder (Use a little less if you don't like heat.)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated (or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pinch stevia (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups prepared brown rice or quinoa
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup roasted cashews, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large pan. Add shallots and cook for 4 minutes. Add squash and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add coconut milk, broth, garbanzo beans, curry powder, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, stevia and salt and pepper. Stir well, then simmer until sauce is reduced by half and squash is fork-tender (about 10-12 minutes).
  3. Stir in spinach until just wilted (about 1 minute). Divide rice into ½-cup servings, then pour curry dish on top. Sprinkle cilantro and cashews on top just before serving.
  4. *In place of rice, you can serve over cauliflower rice or zoodles.

BBQ Sloppy Turkey Joes

20180111124134 As you might have read before, my Mr. loves BBQ. I even called him the next day when we had the leftovers from this for lunch because my car smelled like BBQ to share the love a little bit more. These can be served on your bread of choice. The next time I make these, they will be served over a sweet potato to switch things up and incorporate a healthier less refined carb.

This is another very quick meal for a weeknight dinner. I chopped the veggies and made the sauce before our workout for the day and then threw this together after the workout.

To make this a full meal, add some veggies on the side. If you decide to use the sweet potato option, you'd still need to add veggies on the side since the sweet potato is a carbohydrate.

Ingredients 

For the BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 - 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs molasses
  • 2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke   

For the Turkey Joes

 
  • 1 lb ground turkey (93% lean)
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup red onion, chopped
  • salt & pepper, to season
  • 8 whole wheat buns, Sandwich Thins or 1/2 pitas (not included in calorie or container counts as they will be different depending on what you choose to use)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients, set aside.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium heat, then add the peppers, onions and ground turkey. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Break up the ground turkey and continue to cook until turkey is cooked through. Stir in the sauce and heat through, check seasoning and add a little salt and/or pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with sandwich thins, buns, bread or 1/2 pitas, whatever floats your boat!
 
 
Notes
  • Container Equivalents: 1 RED, 1/2 Green 1 ORANGE, 1/2 tsp sweetener

Ranch Chicken and Veg Skillet

20180111114019 Dinner time around house is after workout. Ideally workout would be done by 5:30 but needless to say that's not always the case. This meas that by the time dinner is ready, we are hungry bears. To help in this effort, I try to find quick meals for the week nights.

Recently, I've been trying to prep any veggies, sauces or spice mixtures while I'm waiting on my Mr. to get home. This has helped tremendously! This recipe lends very well to that method of a little prep and then cook later

I chopped the veggies and chicken and made the ranch seasoning before workout and then all I had to do was basically throw it in the pan, let it cook for 10-15 mins and then eat. So easy.

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If you serve this hot and mix it up the cheese melts into gooey yumminess.

Ingredients

Ranch Seasoning

  • 1 tsp Dill
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried minced onions
  • 1 T parsley
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Skillet

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 pound thin sliced chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  •  1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed (uncooked)
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil on medium high. Add chicken, onions and ranch seasoning blend. Saute and stir often for 2 minutes. Chicken should not be fully cooked.
  1. Stir in bell peppers, zucchini, beans, tomatoes, rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then cover. Simmer on low for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center and quinoa is cooked.
  1. Divide among 4 bowls. Sprinkle cheese evenly over. Top with Cilantro and serve!

Cheeseburger in a Bowl

I first saw a version of this recipe in a copy of Cooking Light, I've made it countless times since that first encounter. My Mr. is burger, pizza, and wings eating machine. When we have date night, the popular question is "Where do you want to go?" and the answer I anticipate is usually a burger joint, pizza, or wings. I don't mind going to those places since it is his one night of the week to eat anything he wants. I've also learned how to adapt the menu to what I need to eat to meet my goals.

This is a go to when I feel like a cheeseburger but don't want to pay someone else to make it for me or intake unnecessary calories. Another bonus, it's a quick meal for a work night dinner!

In our house, I make enough at dinner to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. It makes it easy meal planning wise and helps keep my stress levels lower since I don't have to spend a few of my hours on Sunday meal prepping all the meals for the week.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1.5 lbs ground beef or turkey (make sure you're getting the most humanely raised that you can afford)

1 10 oz bag of lettuce ( I love butter lettuce mix.)

1 cup chopped tomato

4 no salt pickle spears (chopped)

1 small/med mered onion (peeled and chopped)

1 cup shredded cheese (We like cheddar.)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Garlic powder (to taste)

Onion powder (to taste)

1/3 cup mayo

1/4 cup unsalted ketchup

2 tbs water

Directions

  1. In a small bowl whisk together mayo, ketchup and water. Set aside.
  2. Brown meat until almost fully cooked. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder as you like. Add chopped onion to pan and cook until softened.
  3. Divide lettuce, tomatoes, and pickle evenly among 4 bowls. Top with burger mixture and cheese.
  4. Drizzle each with dressing. Grab a fork and enjoy.

Portabella Burger with "Fries" & Aioli

20180102115945.jpg Let's be real, making the transition to eating fully plant based is hard! This meal is 90% vegan if conventional ingredients are used. The only ingredient non vegan is mayonnaise. A vegan mayo can be purchased or made from scratch. I'm phasing out animal products from my fridge currently so what you see pictured is using conventional mayo. I've had a few jars of vegannaise in my fridge and when I use it, I can't tell the difference!

The fries in this dish are made with celery root. The first time I made this, celery root was brand new to me. Before cooking it has the smell of celery, but after I can't even tell its related to celery. I found this locally at Fresh Market. Since they were on the smaller side, I use 4 bulbs for 4 servings.  If you've never seen it in the store, here's what to look for:

IMG_20171216_144846.jpgTo clean celery root, cut the tops off, peel with a vegetable peeler and cut into strips.

If I close my eyes while I eat the portabella with the sauce, I'd almost swear I was eating a burger!

Ingredients

  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 oz. scallions
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 4 portabella mushrooms
  • 4¼ oz. butter or olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Fries

  • 1 lb celery root 
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 cups oil for frying or coconut oil
Chili Aioli

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 garlic cloves

Directions

  1. Mix together mayonnaise, chili powder and garlic. Place in the refrigerator while you are preparing the rest of the dish.
  2. Remove the stem and fry the mushrooms for 10 minutes on each side until soft and thoroughly cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Fry tomatoes, sliced scallions and chili in a separate pan. Keep vegetables and mushrooms hot while making the fries.
  4. Peel the root celery or rutabaga and slice into half-inch rods. Place in ice-cold water for ten minutes. Remove and dry off.
  5.  TRADITIONAL FRYING: Heat the oil to about 350°F (180°C). Keep your pot or deep fryer under constant supervision. Do not put all the fries in at once, or the oil will cool down.Deep fry until the fries turn golden. Put on paper towels and salt to taste.
  6. AIR FRYING: Place enough celery root into basket to cover bottom. Spray with coconut oil spray and toss to coat. Spray again if desired. Set Air Fryer to 400 and switch on for 12-15 mins. Check occasionally for doneness.

Sausage, Spinach & Feta Frittata

20180102115546.jpg Growing up, I didn't learn how to cook in cast iron. Since meeting my Mr. I've gained a set of 3 cast iron pans. I've used them a few times and I'm learning with every new recipe I try in them.

I've trialed this recipe 2 different ways. Twice using a the cast iron on the stove top and then into the oven and once using a pie plate and oven only. Maybe it's my lack of practice with the cast iron, but I preferred the end result of the pie pan and oven only. If you love your cast iron, go for it! If not try method two below. 

Both versions are tasty, but since this is crust less, it forms a "crust" of its own with the cast iron that I didn't particularly care for. I'm still going to practice using those skillets anytime a recipe calls for one but this will be made in the oven only from now on for us.

Ingredients

  • 1tbs avocado oil
  • 1 lb pork
  • 1 small red onion, sliced think
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4 oz feta cheese crumbles

Directions

Method #1

Heat a cast-iron, or large skillet over medium. Add avocado oil and pork and brown for 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon.

Add onion to same pan and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent. Toss in spinach and stir until wilted (about 1 minute).

Whisk eggs, milk, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Add pork back to skillet and spread everything evenly on bottom. Pour eggs on top and let cook without stirring for 5 minutes, or until nearly set.

Sprinkle with green onion and feta cheese.

Set oven to broil. Add pan to oven on a medium rack and broil for about 4 minutes, or until top is set and cheese becomes golden. Slice into 6 portions, and serve, or cool, then leave leftovers in fridge.

Method #2

Heat a large skillet over medium. Add avocado oil and pork and brown for 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon.

Add onion to same pan and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent. Toss in spinach and stir until wilted (about 1 minute).

Whisk eggs, milk, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Spray pie plate with coconut oil spray.

Add pork, onion, and spinach to bottom of pie plate and spread everything evenly on bottom. Pour egg mixture on top. Sprinkle with green onion and feta cheese. Bake in oven for 30-40 mins. or until top is set and cheese becomes golden. Slice into 6 portions, and serve, or cool, then leave leftovers in fridge.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

20180102113434 Isn't Pizza one of those foods that just makes you smile? At one point I could put away an entire medium all by myself. Since I've become more conscious of food quality and quantity, I have had to exercise the word NO in regards to pizza more times than I can count. Since the density of nutrients in this recipe are high, it's much more filling than a take-n-bake or delivery pizza.  If you find it's not enough, pair it with a side salad full of your favorite fresh veggies.

The MR. and I have enjoyed this twice in the past 2 weeks. Since I'm on a path to healing my gut, finding foods that make my body happy, and living without inflammation, this recipe has been helpful in keeping pizza cravings away. This makes 8 servings. We each had 2 slices at a meal so, we had it for dinner and then again for lunch the next day.

This version uses all ingredients that you can pronounce and isn't overly labor intensive. I whip up the crust, bake it, and pull apart a rotisserie chicken and make the sauce while the crust bakes.  Not only does it call for a homemade crust with almond flour as the main ingredient, it also calls for a homemade BBQ sauce. I was surprised by how tasty the BBQ sauce is! The sauce will make enough to create 2 pizzas. Any leftover sauce should be kept in the fridge and used within a week or so.

IMG_20171227_200248.jpg

My second batch. I liked this one much better than the first one.

BBQ Sauce:

Ingredients

  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup granulated ͞brown sugar͟ zero-calorie sweetener*
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke

Directions

  1. Add everything to a small pot over low-medium. Whisk to combine. Once butter is melted, bring to a low boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until thickened. The yield is about 1 pint, however, if you prefer a thinner BBQ sauce, simply add more water.

You should have enough for 2 pizzas.

Serving Size: 2 TBS

  • Calories:24
  • Protein:.75g
  • Fat:1g
  • Carbs:2.5g
  • Fiber:0g
  • Net Carbs: 2.5g

Crust:

Ingredients

  • 2¼ cups (252g) almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil (or place 1tsp minced garlic in the oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Nonstick coconut oil cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Add ingredients to a large bowl and stir until a dough is formed. If it seems like it needs to firm up, place in freezer for 10 minutes.
  3. Coat two pieces of wax paper with cooking spray. Lay dough in center of one and cover with the other. Roll into a circle the size of a large dinner plate with a rolling pin.
  4. Flip onto a parchment-lined (or use a silpat) baking sheet. Poke a few holes in the top.
  5. Bake for 17 minutes, or until cooked through with the edges starting to turn very light brown.

Servings: 8

  • Calories:227
  • Protein:8g
  • Fat:20g
  • Carbs:7g
  • Fiber:3g
  • Net Carbs: 4g

Toppings & Steps

  • 12oz pre-cooked or rotisserie chicken breast pulled apart
  • ½ cup Low Carb BBQ sauce, divided
  • ½ small red onion (40g), sliced thin
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 3/4 - 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

While crust is baking, make sauce and let cook to thicken. Pull apart chicken and remove skin. Using a scale, weigh out 12oz. This works best while chicken is still a little bit warm.  The leftover could be reused in a soup or salad.

Set aside 3tbs of  1/2c BBQ Sauce. Toss chicken with sauced coat well.

Slice onion and clean cilantro (if using.)

Once crust is lightly brown, remove from oven. Turn up oven temp to 400°F. Top with 2-3tbs of BBQ Sauce, use the back of a spoon to spread evenly. Place saucy chicken on top of sauce. Pizza will be packed with chicken. Sprinkle cheese over chicken. Place Slices of onion on top of cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly brown. Top with cilantro and red pepper if desired. Serve.

 

 

No Bake Choco PB Bars

20170925010801

Reese's are one of my all time favorite candy bars. This recipe is as close to one as I've gotten without actually making peanut butter cups or just eating a whole bag of miniatures. 

Simple, no bake, and even with the added bonus of whole grain oatmeal packed with fiber.

Makes 1 8x8 pan, 16 squares

Ingredients

Base

1 cup unsalted, natural peanut butter

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp honey

1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup old fashioned (rolled) oats 

Topping

1/2 cup vegan semi sweet chocolate chips (you can use regular too of course)

1/4 cup caramel chips (these might be hard to find so you can also sub 1/4 cup peanut butter)

Directions

  1. Line 8x8 baking pan with parchment or wax paper.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, measure out peanut butter and honey. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring between, until fragrant and slightly bubbly. 
  3. Stir oatmeal into peanut butter and honey mixture until all combined.
  4. Press peanut butter and oat mixture into pan using a piece of wax paper.
  5. Using the double boiler method, melt chips (or pb and chips) until smooth.
  6. Pour topping over oat mixture in pan and evenly distribute.
  7. Place into fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
  8. Cut into 16 squares, remove from pan, and devour. 

 

 

Vegan Taco Lasagna

20170925011058.jpg

I often have the urge to head out the door to my favorite Mexican restaurant, but unfortunately my Mr. isn't a big fan. Not sure why because he's quick to eat anything Mexican inspired that I cook. So I often make up for lack of restaurant access by cooking tex-mex dishes for our lunches and dinners.  In the past, I've made lots of slow cooker type recipes that are delicious. You can even find many of them here on the website. 

This time around, I threw together a plant based taco lasagna. As per my norm, I was tasting as I cooked to make sure it would have the right flavors and the right amount. It started out a little bland so I doctored it up right away and came out with a dish that is pretty tasty. 

Ingredients

1 14oz can black beans, drained

7 cloves of garlic, minced

2 bell peppers, I used one red and 1 green

8oz cherry or grape tomatoes

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp tomato paste

Herbs of choice (think Italian seasoning, paprika, chili power, cumin, coriander)

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 medium onion, chopped

7oz Tempeh, cumbled

1 cup raw cashews

1 cup organic vegetable broth

1 Tbsp tahini sesame paste

12 whole wheat tortillas

Directions

1. Boil 1 1/2 cup of water in microwave. Add cashews and let sit for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the items.

2. Preheat oven to 390°F.

3a. Wash peppers and tomatoes. Add to foil lined baking sheet. Roast peppers and tomatoes for 45 minutes.

3b. If you have an air fryer, you can speed this process up by placing peppers and tomatoes in the basket, turning air fryer to 390, and roasting for 10 -15 minutes. Be sure to check in on them after a few minutes.

4. Open and drain black beans. Mix together with chopped garlic. Set aside.

5. Heat a pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil.  Once oil is hot, add chopped onion and crumbled tempeh. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until tempeh is slightly brown.

6. Once vegetable are cooked, remove from oven or air fryer and let cool for 5-10 minutes (until you can handle them). Remove the skins and innards from the peppers. Add along with tomatoes to a blender or food processor.

7. To the blender add 1 tbsp olive oil, salt & pepper, tomato paste, and seasonings of choice. I used the following:

3/4 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1  tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

You could also add some Cayenne pepper but we don't like a lot of heat.

8. Mix sauce with onion and tempeh mixture in pan. Allow to cook on low until you finish making the cheese sauce.

9. Cheese sauce: Drain soaking cashews, add to blender with tahini paste and vegetable stock. Taste for flavor and add salt, pepper, or other seasonings as needed.

10. Assemble the lasagna starting with a thin layer of cheese sauce, then tortilla, tempeh mixture, beans and then cheese sauce again. Finish with a later of tortillas topped with cheese sauce.

11. Bake at 360°F for 25-30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

Quinoa Pizza Bites

20170925103543 I spend a good chunk of my Sunday in the kitchen running a cooking marathon. These little guys were the result of the most recent success. 

I received an Air Fryer as a gift from my Mr. a few months back and put it to the test as often as I can. The original recipe I found called to make these in the oven but using the air fryer cut the cooking time down significantly and allowed me to use the oven for several batches of apple chips. 

After cooling, I packed 6 of these in a small container for our lunches this week. The recipe made enough for 6 servings ( 2 servings on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.) 

I can also imagine making these for a pitch-in or party. Simple ingredients, plant based, and flavorful. 

 

Makes 6 servings, Serving Size: 6 bites

Ingredients

1 cup cooked and cooled Quinoa (make sure to rinse it well before you cook it)

2 cups of cooked cauliflower, pureed in a blender

1 flax egg (or you can use a regular egg)

1/4 cup rice flour (I used brown rice flour)

2 Tbsp coconut flour

2 Tbsp pizza sauce

2 tsp onion powder

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Pizza Sauce for dipping

Directions

1.  If using the oven, preheat to 400° F. If using Air Fryer, make sure your basket is clean and preheat if you'd like. It's not necessary.

2. Mix all ingredients other than dipping sauce in a medium sized bowl using a wooden spoon. If you're up to some fun, use your hands. (But make sure to remove any rings and wash up!)

3. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop onto plate or parchment lined baking tray (if baking in oven).

4. Smooth out balls between your hands gently.

5. If baking, bake for 30 minutes. If air frying, gently place into basket, turn temp to 400 and allow to cook for 10-12 minutes. 

6. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with a side of pizza sauce for dunking. 

 

Egg Crust Pizza

We are often on the look out for low carb options especially when it tastes like our favorite foods! This pizza was easy to make and was highly approved by both the Mr. and I. Pizza is a food that I use to eat by the box full and seems to be ever present at social gatherings. While I love it as much as anyone can, I have had to say no on more occasions than I'd like because I have goals to meet. If you're pushing towards those goals, those extra calories from refined carbohydrates aren't helping you get there. This eggy pizza crust is easy to make and can be topped with your sauce, veggies, meats, and cheese of choice.

This is by far a treat due to the eggs and cheese content.

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

8 Eggs

3/4 lb shredded cheese, preferably mozzarella or Italian blend

Italian Seasoning *Optional

Garlic Powder *Optional

Tomato Paste or Sauce of choice

Your favorite pizza toppings

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Crack eggs into blender, add in 6 oz of cheese. Blend until well mixed. * You can also add couple shakes of Italian seasoning and a bit of garlic powder for more flavor*
  3. Pour into lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven.
  5. Increase oven temp to 450°F.
  6. Top with sauce, toppings of choice and cheese.
  7. Return to oven for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and slightly golden  brown.
  8. Cut into serving sizes and eat!

 

Curried Meatballs

Makes 24 Meatballs, 4 servings 

Adapted from: http://everydaypaleo.com/curried-meatballs/

Ingredients

1 lbs ground turkey (you can also use lean ground beef)

1/3 cup finely diced red onion

1/3 cup apple finely diced

1/3 (about 5 teaspoons) egg

2 tsp tablespoons curry powder

1sp sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, place all of the meatball ingredients and mix well using your hands.  

3. Form into meatballs just a little bit bigger than a golf ball and place onto baking sheet. I use a cookie scoop to make meatballs uniform. 

4. Bake for 25 minutes.  Makes 24 meatballs.  While the meatballs are cooking prepare the sauce!

Curry Sauce Ingredients

1 tablespoons coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic

2 tsp raw organic honey (optional)

1 tsp  curry powder

1 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup chicken broth

Directions

1. In a large skillet saute the garlic in the coconut oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the honey, curry powder, and tomato paste and whisk together.  

3. Add the chicken broth and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth.  

4. Bring to a simmer.  After the meatballs come out of the oven, add them to the sauce in the skillet and coat well.  Cover and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.  Serves 2-3

Double Chocolate No-Bake Energy Balls

Energy balls are my jam! I'm a little bit obsessed about them. I've made 4 types in the past 4 weeks and I'm sure I'll be making more varieties in the following weeks. These are just as amazing as the others I've made recently. 20170511090124

Makes 12 Balls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C. Quick Oats
  • 1/2 C. Old-fashioned Oats
  • 1/4 C. + 2 TBS Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 3 TBS Honey
  • 2 TBS Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 C. Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla

Directions

  1. Measure out all ingredients into a big bowl.
  2. Stir like crazy to combine.
  3. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out 12 portions onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  4. Using wet hands, compact and smooth out balls.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm. 
  6. Enjoy!

We usually pack 2 in our lunches as an afternoon snack. With the meal planning I do, this lasts us for 3 days.

BBQ Chicken Spaghetti Squash Skillet

Low carb and bbq? Yes, please. I also love the versatility of spaghetti squash. If you haven't worked with spaghetti squash before, see my post about cooking it. There are many ways, but this is my favorite.

It might not be much to look at, but this was one of the most flavorful dishes I've made in a while. We both agreed that this absolutely must be made again in the very near future. The portions are big enough for a growing boy, wait I mean man. We devoured it in a matter of minutes after it cooled enough to eat.

20170510093327

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2.5 Cups Roasted spaghetti squash (about 1/2 a medium sized squash)
  • 2 Cups Shredded chicken breast about 1 medium sized breast
  • 1/2 Red onion thinly diced
  • 1/4 Cup Green oniondiced
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro diced
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes, use 1/4 if you like some heat
  • 3/4 Cup Grated Reduced fat cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 Cup BBQ sauce of choice (We like Sweet Baby Ray's)
  • 6 Tbsp Fat free plain greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp panko 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Gather ingredients and cooked squash. (See my post for more info on cooking spaghetti squash.)
  3. Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil and boil your chicken until cooked through (20-25 mins.) Let cool.
  4. While your chicken and squash are cooking, dice the red onion and throw it into a grill pan on High heat, until it is has nice grill marks. (about 5 mins.) Set aside.
  5. Dice the green onion and cilantro and grate the cheddar cheese (If not purchased shredded) and set everything aside.
  6. Spray a casserole dish or cast-iron skillet with cooking spray.
  7. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken into small pieces and throw into a large bowl.
  8. Add in the spaghetti squash, grilled red onion, green onion, cilantro, salt, pepper, chile powder, cumin, garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, reserving the rest for later

  9. In a medium sized bowl, combine the BBQ sauce and Greek yogurt
  10. Pour the yogurt mixture over the squash mixture and mix until well combined.

  11. Pour into the casserole dish and top with panko and remaining cheddar cheese.
  12. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Then turn your oven to HIGH broil and broil for around 5 minutes, until the topping is brown and bubbly.
  13. Devour!

My end result:

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Roasted Spaghetti Squash

I've cooked up this squash more times than I can count since focusing on low carb options for pasta replacement. Our favorite is simple with marinara and meatballs.

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Items Needed

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Baking Sheet lined with foil
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Rinse outside of squash if you see any dirt.
  3. On a large cutting board, slice the squash length wise.

4. Scoop out seeds and guts until the inside cavity is smooth.

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5. Brush inside with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

201705100936516. Place inside down on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast in oven for 55-60 minutes

7. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes.

8. Use a fork to scrape "noodles" towards inside of skin. It should be very easy to get the skin clean.

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9. Top with your favorite sauce or use in recipe.

 

The last time I roasted one, I put it in the oven and headed outside to mow the grass. Came back inside and it was ready to come out of the oven. Multi tasking is amazing!

Bacon Cheeseburger Salad

We eat a lot, and by a lot I mean a ton, of salads. These are easy to make ahead the night before and they give us a big dose of vegetables. Our go to is usually a cobb like salad however, we wanted to mix things up to take the dull out of the routine. Also, who doesn't love a cheeseburger?

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Serves 4

Ingredients 

Salad

  • 1 lb Ground sirloin
  • 1/2 Onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper
  • 2 bags Romaine Lettuce Blend
  • 1 cup Tomatoes (chopped)
  • 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1/2 cup Pickles (diced)
  • 8 slices of center cut bacon, cooked, 2 slices per serving (I always make it in microwave so it's perfectly crispy.)

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Pickles (diced)
  • 2 tsp Mustard
  • 1 tsp White vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 packet stevia (or any sweetener of choice; adjust to taste)
Directions
  1. Cook onion and ground sirloin in a skillet over medium high heat. Season with sea salt and black pepper (I also added a little bit of beef seasoning for that extra burger goodness). Cook for  for about 7-10 minutes, breaking it up ( I'm thankful for the mix n' chop for this job),  until the beef is browned and moisture has evaporated.
  2. Meanwhile, blend all the dressing ingredients in a blender. If dressing is thicker than you like, thin out with water or oil and puree again. Adjust sweetener to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Combine the remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add the ground beef. Toss with dressing.

Since I pack this for lunch, I let the beef cool and then separated it into individual portions and put into the fridge until the next morning when I assembled the salads. I also pack the dressing in a small container so that the salad doesn't become soggy. If you'd like to see how I make bacon in the microwave, check out the post OVER HERE.

Microwave Bacon

My mom, who majored in home economics in college, taught me how to cook just about anything in a microwave. Yes, I've read some of the articles about it's danger and have decided that while it might cause harm, that the amount I've used it thus far in my life has probably done irreversible damage at this point.

I've taught several of my friends how to cook bacon this way and they've always sang the praises, especially when it comes to clean up. If you've done it right, it will be just the way you like it and you won't have the burn marks on your hands from popping grease! Win!

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Items Needed

  • Appropriate servings of Bacon for your bunch (2 slices of center cut per person is what I prefer) 
  • White paper towels (The ink on the printed ones scares me to cook with)
  • Microwave bacon tray or large plate

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My bacon tray, it's well loved in my house.

Directions

  1. Put 1 layer of paper towels on your bacon tray or plate. If using a plate, make sure it will fit in your microwave first. 
  2. Lay up to 4 slices of bacon on towel. This is the perfect amount for the towel, anymore and the grease can't be absorbed as well and you risk it being left behind in the microwave. If bacon hangs over the sides of the tray or plate a little bit, that's ok!
  3. Put another layer of paper towel on top. If cooking more, you can add your next layer of bacon. Make sure your top layer is always a paper towel. I recommend only cooking 8 slices at a time. I've done 12, it was a mess and it wasn't evenly cooked.
  4. On full power, cook bacon for 1 min per slice. My microwave is 900watts so this is perfect. If yours is higher wattage, subtract a minute from the total time and then check for doneness. Add time if needed.  (If cooking 8 slices in a 1100 watt oven, cook for 7 minutes to start.)
  5. If eating immediately, take tray out and let sit for a minute before you serve. This will allow for the bacon to crisp and cool a bit to handle. When I use bacon for salad, I take it out of the oven and allow to cool completely before bagging it up for storage. 

Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip

I'm always looking for dishes that focus around protein rather than carbs. I'm a big fan of this dip when attending parties, but I've never made it myself until now. Usually it's too spicy hot for my liking. After doing some research, I found ways to calm it down so that I can enjoy it more. This dip paired with celery is the perfect mix of spice and cool for me. Typically, my MR. isn't a fan of many sauces or condiments so this one was a surprise when he admitted that he liked it and would eat it again. He's the biggest help in the kitchen when it comes to using rotisserie chickens.  I can always seem to talk him into cleaning the chicken for me since that's my least favorite part.

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Serves 10

Ingredients

1 Rotisserie Chicken, meat removed from bones (from the deli section of your grocery)

1 pkg (8oz) reduced fat cream cheese

3/4 C. Your favorite buffalo wing sauce (I prefer mild of anything spicy.)

3/4 C. Ranch dressing (you can also substitute bleu cheese, if that's your thing)

2 Tbs butter (optional, helps cut spice)

1 C. shredded mozzarella

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Clean all the meat off of the rotisserie chicken once it's cool enough to handle. Shred as finely as possible in a big bowl with 2 forks.

2. In a medium saucepan on medium high heat, add in cream cheese and buffalo sauce. Stir until heated and combined. 

3. Add in ranch dressing and butter. You can leave out the butter if you like it more spicy. Stir until all combined. 

4. Add chicken to saucepan and stir until all chicken is coated.

5. Put mixture into 8x8 baking pan. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Serve with celery and enjoy warm.

Tip: I used these containers and portioned it out for the entire week so that it's super easy to grab for lunch in the morning before work. Also, I won't eat the entire pan in one sitting...

Monster Cookie No-Bake Balls

The standard gets an upgrade! I love refueling with these as an afternoon snack and let's be real, that's when the chocolate craving kicks in hard anyways. These were a little difficult to ball up because of the extra goodies thrown in but with patience, you'll get them in something that looks close to mine below.  My secret is to always use a cookie scoop and to use wet hands to smooth out the balls before putting into the fridge or freezer to solidify.

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Makes 14 balls

Ingredients

1/2 C. Quick Oats

1/2 C. Old-Fashioned Oats

1/2 C. Creamy Peanut Butter ( if you only have crunchy, omit peanuts from recipe)

1/4 C. Honey (More if mix seems super dry and won't hold together)

1/4 C. M&Ms ( I had to use regular size since the store I shopped at this week didn't have mini)

1/4 C. Dry Roasted Peanuts

1/4 C. Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1/4 C. Raisins

Dash of Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Vanilla

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a big bowl. I use a big metal spoon but you can use your hands if they are clean!
  2. Using a cookie scoop, scoop onto parchment lined cookie tray.
  3. With wet hands, pack and smooth out each scoop of mix.
  4. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or freezer for 30 mins.
  5. Eat and Enjoy! If you don't devour these, they can be kept in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. 

 

If these don't disappear, I'd be shocked!

Chicken Bacon Cabbage Skillet

Monday and Tuesday are low carb days in my current dietary life. Those evenings, I make sure to make a dinner that focuses on protein and veggies. This is a new addition that we tried this week. I'm new to cooking in cast iron so any excuse to practice is a win.

It smelled absolutely amazing while in the oven and killed us that it was for dinner the next night instead of eating it right that very minute.

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Serves 4

Ingredients

Spice Rub

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp black pepper

Other Ingredients

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 head of cabbage, sliced

5 slices of bacon (I prefer center cut.)

1 parsnip, peeled and sliced

1/2 medium onion,  chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced (to save time, I use the jarred type)

1/3 C. Chicken stock

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375º F. In a small bowl add all the spice rub ingredients and stir.
  2. Add raw chicken pieces to a large mixing bowl and add spice rub mix. Use tongs to toss chicken to coat in spices. Set chicken aside.
  3. Fry bacon in a large oven safe skillet. Once cooked remove bacon and set on plate with paper towels. Remove some excess bacon grease from pan, leaving some grease left for browning chicken. Chop bacon, and set aside.
  4. While the skillet is still on medium high add chicken to the skillet and brown and sear the chicken on both sides until browned.Once browned, remove chicken from skillet and set on a platter. Set chicken aside (this will be baked in the oven later).
  5. While skillet is still on medium high add cabbage to the skillet and stir. Add chicken broth and sliced parsnips and stir. Add chopped onion and minced garlic and stir. Add chopped bacon to the skillet and stir.
  6. Remove from heat, and place chicken pieces on top of  the cabbage mixture in the skillet.
  7. Place skillet in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until chicken is done. If you are going to have leftovers, remove a little early so that chicken isn't 100% cooked. Reheat to complete cooking.