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 🙂

 

 

Weeknight Dinners

Zoodles & Marinara Sauce

Healthy pasta is my kind of pasta. Zoodles. Zucchini Noodles. Have you heard about these vegetarian noodles made from green herbs and vegetables?

Well Ronzoni noodles are not exactly fresh Zoodles because that would require me to use an attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer that I do not have (or have time to do tonight); however, these noodles are very similar and have zucchini in them.

Actually, it’s a great combo of spinach, zucchini, broccoli, parsley and kale. This product is 100% nut free. And not made in a facility with other nuts.

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At first, we were not sure about green pasta. I mean, green is my favorite color, but for pasta?! Certainly this pasta looks and sounds healthy AND for sure then they would taste bad. Right?!

Wrong. The good news is that this pasta tastes 100% like regular pasta, only you’re getting some sweet nutrients along with it.  Three servings of vegetables to be exact. That’s A LOT!

And, if your kiddos are picky eaters when it comes to fruits and vegetables, this is a great way to substitute some key nutrients while still eating something familiar, pasta!

We paired this with classic Campbell’s Prego Marinara sauce and some Parmesan with watermelon balls and strawberries on the side. It was a quick night tonight since we had double pick up from school, scholastic book order sorting and dance rehearsal.

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Not a pretty picture, but we did have clean bowl club all around! Kids loved it for sure. We’ll be buying this brand again.

If you check out the Ronzoni website, they have a TON of great recipes for how to use these noodles with cold salads, too. Perfect for summer time picnics and parties 🙂

 

Snacking, Weeknight Dinners

Meal Inspo 4/16/18

Looking for some quick meal inspiration? We’ve had a ton of extra activities at school, and outside of school, that has required us to think super ninja fast for meal times.

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Actually, now that I think of it, making meals at home is REALLY hard. It requires some serious dedication to plan, purchase, cook, serve, and clean up!

Our grocery bill this week was only $98 since we’re trying really hard to eat leftovers, only buy what we eat, and make the most out of what we have. Week after week, I throw away so much away because we just do not eat them or have the time to make all the glorious things I dream up each week.

Today, my list was super small. What is great is that the meal we made today will last us all week. Planning to eat the leftovers is my new goal. If we run low on something, guess what?! Just pick something up – there are grocery stores all over the place. Trying not to over purchase at the grocery store is hard. Super hard. The displays get me EVERY time. Especially if there is a healthy element to it. Hard to resist.

Tonight’s meal is my favorite staple, pulled pork! It’s not fancy, everyone loves it and best of all, I DON’T HAVE TO COOK. My slow cooker does all the work and makes the house smell good. Clean up is a breeze, put the cover on the slow cooker pot and put it back in the fridge. I’ve posted on here before about a few different versions of pulled pork, so pick whichever floats your boat:

  1. Lighter Pulled Pork with McCormick pre-mix
  2. Campbell’s Soup Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork Mix

Our grocery store had a huge sale on Pretzilla Pretzel rolls today, 2 for $5, so we purchased one hamburger size and one hot dog size. We used the hamburger size tonight to make our BBQ Pork Sandwiches. The hot dog size are for later in the week when we use applegate organic nitrate free hot dogs from Whole Foods. Most grocery stores carry Pretzilla – they have a dedicated nut-free facility that we LOVE. And they taste AMAZING!

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When in doubt, just whip up some avocado toast + sesame seeds. Eat to survive. Not the other way around.

Enjoy your week! It is finally nice enough to be outside without winter coats on!!!

Mom Things, Travel, Weeknight Dinners

Menu Planner

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If you’re trying to minimize your trips to the grocery store, perhaps a menu planning list is for you.

Most families do not have a chalkboard refrigerator like we do. And even if you do, you’re not always around the fridge to write down what you’re thinking about for dinner / snacks.

Most of the time, families are on the go.

I’ve been asked several times by friends if there is a paper method for planning meals that I prefer. Actually, Cara Clark Nutrition has a wonderful meal planner included in her food challenges if you want one from a real nutritionist. However, when I was shopping around at World Market the other day, I found this one. For $6.99, you get a small note pad with 60 sheets, enough for a year, and then some if you mess up or your kid spills something on it. The latter is most likely.

This notepad is also available on Amazon in case you find this Wisconsin Winter Weather (WWW for short, a.k.a. January 96th) extremely depressing and want to stay at home and do nothing. Like I want to do. And eat carbs. YUM. Carbs. If you do the Amazon route, you get to choose from an ARRAY of colors. I wish I would have known this because my favorite color is green. Although if I went with pink, I’m sure Chloe would have written all the menu plans for me then 🙂

This paper pad is a good substitute for “on the go” menu planning. We can tear out one of these sheets and binder clip it to my weekly “to-do” notebook or insert it into m y weekly paper planner. Either way, it’s a food list to help organize meals and snacks for a well-balanced lifestyle….or so we like to think 🙂

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