Chipotle Chicken Bowls

20170516_174455

The end of the school year is quickly approaching and I feel like my organizational skills are in a downward spiral. Food menu planning is sporadic at best, our calendars are jammed full of activities, get-togethers, parties, volunteer activities, the list goes on. All fun stuff, just a lot all at once.

This week my body has been mad at me for having so much going on – and I could tell. I’ve had a dull headache for two days that turned into a full blown migraine late last night that kept me awake until 3am.  I haven’t been eating right, I’ve been working out too hard, too fast, and not re-fueling enough with the RIGHT FOOD.

There are no short cuts in life.

Today I took 6 hours to do nothing. Not a single thing. I couldn’t. If you’ve ever had a migraine you know how debilitating they are. Light sensitivity, nausea and throbbing neck and head kept me down for the count. Luckily, I have a very loving son with wonderful bedside manner helping me, and offering me little snacks and snuggles all day long. He is wonderful.

So this week, to get back on track, I made this amazing little meal that’s a total Chipotle knock-off. I found it from another blogger, Damn Delicious, and tweaked a bit to fit my family. Hope you love it too – we had 4 clean plates, and I’m pretty proud of that!

20170516_174600

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 tbsp for sauce
  • 1 pound boneless/skinless organic chicken, cubed small
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.25-ounces) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo or 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
  • 4 scallions to garnish each plate
  • Black olives (kids love em)

Chipotle Cream Sauce (for the grown-ups, it has a kick!)

  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions

  1. To make the chipotle cream sauce, blend together Greek yogurt, chipotle pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper, drizzle of olive oil, and lime juice; set aside. (I used my nutribullet or smoothie blender to get a nice puree)
  2. In a non-stick sauce pan, make the rice according to the directions on the package. I like jasmine rice, so I needed to account for the 15 minutes it takes to simmer.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan with high sides. Add chicken cubes and chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder and paprika; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Cook until chicken has browned, about 5 minutes. If starting to stick, add a 1/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock.
  5. Divide rice into plates and top with seasoned chicken, beans, corn and tomatoes. Drizzle with chipotle cream sauce, if desired.

Yield: 5

Comfort Food for a Full Moon

When you work in healthcare, you know that a full moon is like Friday the 13th. The crazy come out of the woodwork. So what better to have for dinner, after a super long day, than a comforting meal of homemade meatloaf, sauteed parmesan zucchini and creamy mashed potatoes?! Nothing. There is nothing better. This is the kind of heavy meal that fills in all the cracks and does not need dessert to follow. Everyone cleared their plates, Carter had 3rds, and there are zero left overs. I have meat and potatoes kinds of kids.

20170510_183709

Meatloaf

Ingredients:

  •  1 pound grass fed organic beef
  • 1 palm full of Penzeys powdered garlic
  • 1 palm full of Mrs.Dash Italian seasoning
  • 1 palm full of Penzeys powdered onion
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 shakes of worchestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 handful of shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325.
  2. Pam spray your loaf pan and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together, except beef.
  4. Once you have everything mixed up, add the beef and mix well with your hands.
  5. Once combined add it to the loaf pan and flatten out. Bake for 45 minutes, turn the oven up to 350 and cook for 15 more minutes, if you’d like a crunchy crust.
  6. Optional: Slice your loaf and lay in a 13 x 9 pan, drizzle ketchup over the slices and place under your boiler for 3 minutes. Who doesn’t love a crunchy crust on the edge of their meatloaf?

20170510_183727

Zucchini

Ingredients

  • three medium zucchini
  • evoo
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a large pan with high sides, add evoo and swirl to coat.
  2. Add the zucchini and sprinkle in remaining ingredients.
  3. Stir stir stir
  4. I like to keep the heat on medium-high
  5. keep stirring, about 10 minutes, zucchini should be soft
  6. Zucchini should start to stick to the pan, add the stock to deglaze the pan.
  7. Add more parmesan if desired

20170510_171241

20170510_171852

Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  2. Peel the two potatoes and quarter them
  3. Add the potatoes and boil for 10 minutes or until fork tender
  4. Drain the water from the pot
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and mash with hand masher until light and fluffy.

Have a great Mother’s Day, MOMS!

May the 4th Be With You!

20170504_135311 (1)

Star Wars day was awesome. My kids are really into Star Wars right now, as is the hubs, so when we we were menu planning on Sunday, the kids REALLY wanted to do something fun for May 4th.

(Side bar: I’m drinking Valentine Coffee right now with 1 tsp of Nestle Quick Bunny Chocolate powder, and it’s amaze. You should try it. Seriously. 20 calories, but it has vitamins and tastes like a skinny mocha from Starbucks. No lie.)

Star Wars Day is also my mother-in-laws birthday! So we celebrated big time! Here is the menu:

May the 4th Menu

  • Obe-Wan Kebabies: skewered watermelon balls, strawberries, blackberries and grapes
  • Darth Vader Taters: made Oreida tater tots
  • Han-Burgers: patted out eight burger patties using grass fed organic beef from Madison
  • BB-8 Cake: Betty Crocker cake mix with homemade butter cream frosting. Safe, nut-free, black icing can be found at Target, Wilton Brand. Be careful with Wilton brand. They make a lot of cake decor and MOST of it is made in a facility with nuts. I really lucked out this time. Usually, I cannot buy their stuff. For the shape of the cake, I just used one 9 inch spring form cake pan and one 4 inch spring form cake pan. With each of them, make sure they cool completely, and use a serrated knife to take off the “dome” layer and even it out. With the 4 inch cake, trim the top accordingly and then cut about 1/4 off the bottom of the cake.
  • Luke Sky Water: Just water. Nothing special.
  • At the last minute, we found some Star Wars dinner plates, cake plates and napkins at Target in the kids party section. Also found some cardboard masks with all the popular characters. Except Rey. Seriously? I have so many feels about this topic, but that’s not for this blog post.

Until next time, May the Force Be With You! Thanks for stopping by…

Red Pepper Couscous

Have you ever had your credit card number compromised? I’m too familiar with this process. By now, I’m mostly annoyed.

Last year our credit card number was stolen 4 times. This year, our bank has changed our number once already (last month) out of “an abundance of caution.”

I’m super annoyed.

Naturally, I make lists. However, I haven’t made a list, YET, for all of the vendors linked to automatic bill pay with this specific card.

Now I am.

The time it takes to re-enter all of my billing information for all of these companies blows my mind. Some websites are easier than others. But some are difficult to navigate and even after I make the changes online, I still get a nasty-gram in the mail stating my bill is overdue and my credit card is invalid. Ahhhem, DirecTV, I’m pointing my finger at you, and arching my right eye-brow. That’s a warning.

This website takes data and puts it in the garbage. Nowhere to be found. Everytime I enter it. Seriously? This is my 5th time in two years, I’m considered expert. Maybe you should talk with the amazing people at Nordstrom and find out how their website works perfectly every. single. time.

For a Monday though, I’ve been productive. Even picked up a few new items from Evereve and got some serious chores done around here. Also started my annual solicitation for items for this year’s Rhapsody in Bloom Gala at Olbrich Gardens. A great summer event. And tickets are on sale NOW, you should come. Seriously, It’s fun and gorgeous and this year’s theme is New York New York.

But back to Evereve, I like the store because I don’t feel like I need to say out loud, “Is this appropriate for my age?” because 9/10 times it is A-OK for a mid-30 or 40 something. Or maybe not. These graphic shirts…I’m not so sure about? Too edgy? I don’t know. When in doubt, ask the Nanny from the University.

My contacts are sticking to my eye like glue, so I’m going to make this part quick.

20170501_173540

The kids picked out the entire menu board this week. If you follow me on Insta you’ll see their fun-loving little May the 4th (STAR WARS DAY) items planned out – super fun and easy stuff. Tonight they wanted Angus Beef Organic Hot Dogs. Not sure how that is even a name, or physically possible, but whatever.

For the side, we made this new recipe tonight from Cooking Light Magazine (circa 2014). Yep, I save food magazines in my closet like old recipe books because I don’t have old recipe books.

Red Pepper Couscous

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (or one bell pepper)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion (or 1/2 red onion)
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1 + 1/4 cups water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, and chopped

Directions

  1. Saute bell pepper and onion in oil for 3 minutes.
  2. Add couscous
  3. Add water, salt and black pepper
  4. Bring to a boil
  5. Reduce heat to low and cover for 8-10 minutes
  6. Stir in lime juice, cilantro and jalapeno
  7. Enjoy, Yield 5-6

Kids Loved it. Lots of flavor, lime juice made it. The avocado shown in the photo above was just sliced and served on the side.

20170501_204458

For substitute, try these combos + add after preparing the couscous according to package.

  1. Parsley, 1/2 cup pecorino-romano cheese, 1 tsp grated lemon zest, salt and pepper
  2. 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup cucumber, 1/2 cup red onion, 1 tsp lemon juice, salt, pepper and crumbled feta cheese
  3. 3 tbsp fresh basil, 2 tbsp fresh orange juice, 1 medium nectarine

 

Recipe and photo credit: June 2014 issue of Cooking Light Magazine

 

Going Green Wraps

20170426_175801

I live in wild college town, super hippy and very liberal, Madison, WI, and now I’m a tree hugger.

It’s true. City girl turned into granola-hipster + Birkenstock lover.

Most of the time, when I’m cooking especially, I pretend I’m in SoCal feeling the warm sun beaming down, smelling fresh, ocean breezes, and eating uber healthy like it’s affordable and around every corner.

Truth. Most of our produce here in the mid-west is very expensive and it’s hard to keep up with which grocery store’s produce is the best each week and cost friendly. In addition, our local restaurants are mostly pubs that serve big burgers (nothing wrong with a burger now and then!) cheese curds, and other very German-type, heavy ‘sconnie food!

It’s just not my thing.

Every time we dine out and eat a huge, greasy meal, I feel horrible. So naturally, when I came across this recipe, I was stoked.

20170426_175121

Here’s what we did tonight. Super fast, healthy and everyone loved it. Plus you can make extra and use them for lunch boxes the next day. This is the most unfancy meal I’ve made for dinner in a long time, but it was very satisfying and took 5 minutes to roll up. I have to say, the Boars Head  thinly sliced turkey MADE this meal. If we did not have this fantastic meat, it would NOT have been the same.

Going Green Wraps

Ingredients

  • vegetable green wraps
  • bibb lettuce or spinach
  • thinly sliced cheese
  • 1 tsp ranch dressing
  • 1 lb boars head peppered turkey breast
  • red grapes
  • baby cucumbers

Directions

  1. Layer the ranch dressing, cheese, bibb lettuce, and turkey on the green wrap.
  2. Roll up tightly
  3. Cut into individual rounds
  4. Serve with grapes and cucumbers
  5. Enjoy!

20170426_175806

 

Korean Beef Bowl

I decided to spice it up tonight for dinner – and it turned out to be a winner! My little guy has never eaten so fast, so I’m going to share what we made.

20170425_173113

Korean Beef Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 4 scallions
  • 1 inch of fresh, peeled ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 squirt of sriracha (the rooster, as my Dad calls it!) + extra for garnish
  • 1 pound grass fed organic beef
  • 4 eggs

Directions

  1. In a non-stick sauce pan, prepare the brown rice according to package. Set aside
  2. In a large kettle, place the eggs gently on the bottom and fill with water, 1 inch above eggs, bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Reduce to simmer, cook for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Combine the brown sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl, whisk together.
  4. In a large frying pan, swirl to coat a TBSP of evoo. Add your spinach and wilt with some garlic, about 3-5 minutes. When it’s done, remove from pan and set aside.
  5. In the same fry pan, add the remaining garlic, ginger and beef. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the scallions and the soy sauce mixture. Cook until absorbed.
  6. Drain the water from the eggs. Let the eggs cool. Slice when cooled.
  7. Each plate will have 1 scoop of brown rice, one scoop of sauteed spinach, one scoop of the meat mix, top with one hard boiled egg.

20170425_181011

I love this meal because of the flavor profile. It’s different and delicious. The meal is also very filling. We eat mainly fruits, vegetables, grains and very lean meats/proteins during the day, so having this “heavy” meal for dinner really felt great! And it was not too bad! The fact that the kids ate it up and the hubs said “make it again” made me feel good. This dinner was fast, kid friendly, and very little mess in the end. This recipe will be added to my summer cooking list + meal prep boxes for fast lunches.
Credit to the Damn Delicious WordPress blog for this inspiring recipe!

Perfect Pilaf

Rice is one of my favorite things to make. Now that I know how to make it. I used to suck at making rice. Then I tried a different brand and method, and it clicked for me. We don’t use instant rice – because I can’t make that kind. I always mess it up! We use jasmine rice. Typically, I buy it in bulk since we go through so much. The brand is Rice Select and we use both the Orzo and Jasmati Rice. They come in nice plastic, resealable containers. The kids use the containers for projects when they are finally empty. Good stuff. So here’s what we made tonight to go with our grilled chicken and grilled asparagus.
Perfect Rice Pilaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup jasmati rice
  • 1/4 cup of orzo
  • 2-3 swirls of evoo
  • 1 non-stick sauce pan with cover
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 and 3/4 cups chicken stock, reduced sodium

Directions:

  1. with your sauce pan over med/hi heat, swirl and coat the bottom of your non-stick pot.
  2. Add the jasmati and orzo
  3. stir on high heat until fragrant + slightly browning
  4. turn the heat to medium and add the liquid
  5. stir
  6. add the onion, garlic, thyme and salt and pepper
  7. bring to a boil
  8. reduce until the water is just under the rice
  9. this should look like the rice is bubbling, about 4-5 minutes of boil and stir
  10. reduce to low and cover with lid tight
  11. set timer for 15 minutes and DO NOT TOUCH
  12. fluff and serve
  13. yield 6

 

Quick Fixes:

*if your rice looks crunchy or stuck to the bottom, add more liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, and let sit for a few more minutes with the lid on, and the burner on low. Max 5 min. Check on it, stir and taste.

*if your rice looks watery, it did not reduce enough in the beginning. This is OK. Just cover tight and cook on low for 5 more minutes. continue to check on the rice until all liquid is absorbed.

 

Happy Sunday Night!