Mom Things, Weeknight Dinners

2 Week Summer Slimdown Challenge

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know how much I love Cara Clark Nutrition’s healthy eating plans. Occasionally, I get into a cooking / healthy eating rut. Lazy, I don’t want to plan my own menu or search for new recipes. I also need a gentle reminder to keep my body moving every single day.

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Cara Clark’s plan fits my lifestyle so well. There are no games, counting, or crazy diets to follow. This is all real food – stuff you normally get at your local grocery store with some guided work outs and easy to make healthy snacks. The part that I love the most is the team of people I get to work with to help me stay on track with eating well and staying active ala Facebook groups and Instagram.

This summer, I’m full time with my two kids (and their friends, of course!) and they won’t necessarily keep me thinking about quinoa for dinner and smoothies for breakfast, this is why I joined the Summer Slimdown with Cara.

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For me, this plan is 100% worth it. I see results each time, and every time I do a challenge with her (this is my 3rd one), I take away something new + gain a ton of new recipes. Summer Slimdown 2018 includes :

  1. meals-at-a-glance menu
  2. daily menu plans
  3. extra smoothie recipes
  4. weekly recipes
  5. complete pre-printed grocery lists.
  6. workout options (no gym needed)
  7. step-by-step guidance

It takes effort though, MEAL PREP! If you don’t meal prep, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and “behind” in your healthy life stlye. No pressure 🙂

I can already tell you my favorite items coming up that I WILL be blogging about since I’ll need to make some nut free substitutions.

bowl of vegetable salad and fruits
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  • Cherry Rhubarb overnight oats
  • Summer Lovin Crunch Salad with jicama
  • Blackbean Tahini Dip with Sunbutter

I’m so pumped about this challenge!!! The recipes are amazing, she also includes healthy adult beverage options, and antioxidant flavored fruit water recipes (perfect for a day outside with friends + kiddos).

If you think this sounds cool – and want to join me, you still have time! The two-week summer slimdown starts on June 11. That’s next Monday. So click on over to her website and join with me. Sometimes her instagram has discount codes so check that first, caraclarknutrition.

Have a great day, and enjoy my peonies 🙂

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Travel, Weeknight Dinners

Perfect Corn on the Cob

A few days ago, the kids really wanted some corn on the cob. It is not corn season, but who am I to say “no” to kids wanting to eat healthy food?! So corn it is!

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Since I’m not a griller, I needed to find a quick, weeknight friendly recipe to whip up this corn on the cob.

Simple Genius had the perfect recipe. Typically we grill corn on the cob, but roasting it in the oven provided to be even tastier and juicier than usual.

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Ingredients:

  • Aluminum foil
  • rimmed baking sheet
  • 4 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
  • butter
  • sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450*
  2.  Prepare corn by taking off the husks, rinse them and dry them off.
  3. Tear off a sheet of foil that will allow you to wrap the corn into a cute little house. Put 1 tbsp of butter and sprinkle of salt into the foil wrap and crimp shut.
  4. Repeat this for all of your corn cobs
  5. Put the onto the lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

This is our new favorite way to make corn! Just in time for the long holiday weekend. Enjoy your time with family and friends. If you’re out and about + need a sweet treat, don’t forget that Dairy Queen will try very hard to accommodate your nut allergies. Our local DQ takes proper precautions when Chloe orders her ice ceam cone “and I also have nut allergies” and we’re good to go each time. Cheers!

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Weeknight Dinners

Organic Black Bean Spaghetti with Heirloom Tomatoes

I’ve had some serious writers block lately, but I felt the need to share this meal with you since it was super flavorful and easy. It’s perfect for weeknight cooking and a healthy alternative to some of the carb filled pasta we normally eat.

Black bean pasta is relatively new and trendy. This brand cooks up like a typical pasta would in boiling water for about 6 minutes. Be careful how you boil/simmer. It’s actually more of a simmer now that I think about it. The pasta boils and gets very frothy, easy to spill out of your pan (which happened to me twice while I was making this).

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Explore Cuisine black bean spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 package crimini mushrooms, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 small container cherry / small tomatoes, rinsed and quartered
  • 3-4 basil leaves, torn
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup cotija cheese, crumbled (I really like this brand – it’s found almost everywhere, too)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a small non-stick skillet, melt the tbsp of butter over medium hi heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic powder and let them cook for about 5-6 minutes until they are soft and smell good.
  2. In a large pot, boil your pasta water. Add pasta and cook for about 6 minutes.
  3. Drain and add the pasta back to your hot pot and add the olive oil to prevent sticking + add flavor.
  4. Add salt and pepper to pasta.
  5. Stir the mushrooms in the pan and turn the heat off if they are done.
  6. Serve the pasta in individual bowls and top with
    1. tomatoes
    2. basil
    3. cotija cheese
    4. mushrooms
    5. lime
    6. chives
  7. Yield is 6

This dish is VERY filling. I served a “normal” pasta size serving to each of us, and none of us finished. Black bean pasta is more filling than just regular pasta, so start small. The mushrooms were great – they added a “meatiness” that the dish needed. And the cotija cheese MADE this dish flavorful.

If you don’t have time for anything else, pop open a can of salsa and dump is over the pasta, sprinkle the cotija cheese and BOOM you have dinner.

Kids approved. Loved it. When eating it tho, it’s a bit of a mind game. You’re literally eating flavors that taste like Mexican burrito bowl, but you see pasta and think YUM SPAGHETTI AND CARBS = COMFORT + FAT PANTS.

This was perfect for a case of the Mondays!

Enjoy your week!

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Weeknight Dinners

Creamy Chicken-Tomato Skillet

Costco had a ton of those cute little cherry tomatoes on sale today – so we have to use them up. This recipe is from the May 2018 Cooking Light Magazine and is 20 minutes to make + super comforting. If you’re looking to spice up your weeknight meal plan, this is it!

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1# skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (about 30 grinds on your pepper mill)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced white onion
  • 1 grated garlic clove
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 package brown rice
  • 3 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium hi heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper. Add chicken to hot skillet. cook until chicken browns about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes (chop tomatoes if you have small kids), onion, garlic and rosemary. Cook + stir occasionally, about 3 minutes.
  2. Whisk together chicken stock and flour in a bowl. add to chicken mixture in pan. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan.
  3. Bring the pan to a boil. Cook + stir often until sauce is thick = 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Heat your rice up according to the package (if you’re not using instant rice, brown rice takes about 45 min. so plan this ahead then).
  5. Place hot rice in a bowl. Add spinach, lemon zest, sprinkle of salt and pepper, toss to coat.
  6. Divide the rice mix over 4 plates. Top evenly with chicken mixture.

Enjoy!

Yield is 4. This is on our menu for the week. Everything else will be “winging it” since May is probably our craziest month yet!

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We made time to enjoy this weather! Our recent auction win provided us with some bubbles! What a fun time 🙂 Kids loved it.

Have a great weekend!

xo

Weeknight Dinners

Jets Pizza – Middleton, WI – Review

Some nights you just want to dial up some pizza and have a relaxing evening without dishes or a messy kitchen. Jets Pizza is conveniently located in Middleton, on our way home from Tennis Lessons and this week, we decided to stop inside and talk about food allergies with them.

 

Jets is wonderful when it comes to food sensitivities. They have Gluten Free (GF) menu offerings. In addition, they do not have any nuts in their restaurants and make all of their own dough. We felt super confident that we could eat Jets pizza without cross contact issues, unlike some other pizza places that have nuts on some of their pizzas. When this happens, we have to make sure our pizza is prepared carefully on a clean pizza screen and cut with a new pizza cutter. Even then, Chloe isn’t always totally sold. If her anxiety over her food has the best of her, she’ll definitely skip out of the meal to avoid chancing an epi-pen use. Which I am totally fine with.

Jets has a huge menu – and we LOVE the fact that we can just order from our phone 🙂 So easy + makes pick up super easy too.

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What did we have?! We ordered a large, thin crust, pepperoni with special romano cheese crust. I LOVE their specialty crust options. This was perfect for our family. The kids DEVOURED it.  We’re looking forward to trying the poppy seed crust. It looked amazing!

Jets is unique from other pizza places since you can choose from cajun, poppy seed, sesame seed, parmesan, butter, garlic, romano, and turbo to enhance your crust.  What a great way to enjoy your crust even more! It’s like a seasoned bread stick at the end. Carbs + Carbs = YUM!

If you’re a first time customer, I highly recommend the “Build Your Own Pizza” option. Then branch out and try other things.

Jet’s also sells sides: breadstix, cinnamon sticks, wings, salads and subs. If you’re in a hurry, their website shows pizza by the slice, too. Perfect for lunch if you like the thicker crust.

Next time you’re in a pinch or “WHATS FOR DINNER, MOM?!” Just check out Jets. You’ll be glad you did 🙂