Holiday Favorites, Weeknight Dinners

Chicken Enchilada Melt Subs

Happy Fall! It’s October 1st and we couldn’t be more excited about this month’s upcoming festivities; orchards, pumpkins, lattes, leaf piles, leaf peeping, camp fires, parties and trick-or-treat! Halloween is one of our favorite holidays to celebrate.

20180930_105410

As the kids get older, and our time to make meals becomes less and less due to their involvement at school + activities, my blog posts containing elaborate meals is diminishing by the day! I’m peeking back at prior posts thinking, “how the heck did I have TIME to make all that food?!” And the reality is, I didn’t.

Opportunity Cost {A benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else}

This is the biggest take away from my studies as an MBA student, and the time that I was spending making fancy meals was time away from things I could be doing with the kids. I’ve really tried to curb my food prep time in order to maximize human contact time. Why else are we here? Not to live in a cave alone.

The kids have had an awesome time pouring through new food recipe material with me. between activities or in the car on the go. We have two books open right now. One is called “Eat at Home Tonight” and the other is the latest Food Network Magazine. The cookbook was given to me by my brother, THANK YOU JOEY! And is organized by TIME. What a concept. The Mom who wrote this is a genious. The first chapter is “I only have 15 minutes to cook dinner” —Let me tell you, WE LOVE THIS BOOK. And she doesn’t use nuts, yet, so it’s easy converstions for us, like finding the right, safe breads to use.

Here is what we made last night. Kids gave it kind of a thumbs up, but they cleared their plates. I thought it was good!!!

IMG_20180930_181605

Chicken Enchilada Melt Subs

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (rotisserie works great, Metcalfes is the best)
  • 1 (4oz) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt + pepper
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 sub rolls – Pretzilla is your go-to nut free option! And so tasty!
  1. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine chicken, chiles, tomato, and garlic powder. Season with S+P. Microwave 2 min. Add some cheese to the mixture and microwave for 30 seconds until melted.
  2. Split your sub rolls. We use Pretzilla since they are PN + TN free. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spay with Pam non-stick. Put your rolls face side up and load up your subs. Sprinkle with cheesse.
  3. Put them under the broiler until cheese is melted.

We made a green vegetable and had some apple slices to get all food groups in! This was ready in 15 mintues. To save even more time, prep that shredded chicken on the weekend, that way you hvae it ready for your week night meals!

Have a great week everyone. And remember, the point of a meal together is just that, being together. So save some time in the kitchen and focus up on the people that you’re surrounded with, engage in some good conversation and enjoy being in the moment.

Nut Free Cookies Below….Metcalfes carries Lofthouse Bakery cookies – perfect for your Halloween Parties at school or home πŸ™‚

20180930_163701

 

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.

scenic view of beach
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

vegetarian juice on table
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

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 πŸ™‚

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
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com
  • 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 πŸ™‚

20180605_171520

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!

20180516_180207

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.

20180516_181700

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. Β 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!

20180516_170049

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!

20180507_172003.jpg

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!

20180428_182647.jpg

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. Β 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!

20180428_162000.jpg

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

Have a great weekend!

xo