Weeknight Dinners

Slow Cooker Chili

Chili is one of the best winter comfort foods – and it’s super easy to make and very flavorful. We also love how verstaile chili is, and if you have some nice tupperware, it’s very freezer friedly. So go ahead and make a double batch. For those busy winter nights after school, you’ll thank yourself for an easy meal.

My kids are spice sensitive. Many kiddos don’t like spicy foods, so this recipe is amazingly family friendly. It’s a very flavorful recipe without a ton of heat. If you want extra heat, you can always add more seasoning to your individual portion. Or cool it down with some sour cream.

Easy Slow Cooker Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red onoin – diced
  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used ketchup since we didn’t have paste)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper* -optional, we did not use, but feel free to add this and green chiles to spice up your individual serving if you like it HOT!
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (8oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients into a crock pot and turn on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. Enjoy! Yield is about 8
  3. Mix it up with toppings
    1. Avocado
    2. Sour Cream
    3. Bacon
    4. Pour it over potato wedges / baked potato
    5. Chives
    6. Frito Lay chips
    7. Raw onion
    8. Cheddar cheese
    9. Pour it over a hot dog!
    10. Add 50% chili with 50% melted cheese to make a chili cheese dip for your next football party!
Weeknight Dinners

10 Minute Baked Potato

What?! Did you even know this was such a thing?

We were in a hurry the other day, yet we were all craving a good, hearty meal. We had potatoes, steak, mushrooms and a bunch of herbs and shallots in the fridge.

With less that 20 minutes to get dinner on the table, we googled this potato recipe, and now it’s a game change for us.

All you need is a baked potato or 4. Rinse well, poke with a fork all over. Pop into your microwave for 5 minutes. Check on it, flip it, put it back in for 5 more minutes.

I’ve made potatoes this way 2 times this week because I am in such awe! The potato turns out PERFECT. Fluffy and hot, cooked all the way through. Top with your favorite things

  • bacon
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • scallions
  • sour cream
  • salt + pepper
  • chili

We had these giant “petite” filets from Metcalfes. After speaking with the butcher this week, he said there are no nuts in the meat prep area, and if there were, it would be on a marinated item, which he could not even think of a possible cross contact scneario. Of course he gave the disclaimer that they could not 100% guarantee, but speaking with him gave me peace of mind. Now for the steak….

potatoes beside stainless steel cooking pot
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Ingredients

  • 2 (6 or 8oz) petite filets
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • fry pan
  • baking sheet lined with foil
  • meat thermometer

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 and place your lined baking sheet inside.
  2. Let your meat come to room temperature over 30 minutes; just hanging out on the kitchen counter. If you don’t have time to do this, 10 minutes will be fine.
  3. Salt and pepper the ends of your steak to you liking, set aside on a plate.
  4. Melt the butter in the frying pan over high heat, about 2 minutes.
  5. Once your pan is super hot, sear the ends of the steak in the frying pan, about 2 minuets on each side.
  6. Then quickly place your steaks in the oven on the baking sheet.
  7. Baking time will vary depending on the thickness of your steak. Our steaks were huge. So it took about 12 minutes to get the internal temperature to 130, mediuim.
lunch meal steak meat
Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

Enjoy!

We also did some sauteed mushrooms with rosemary, thyme and shallots. Just a large frying pan with 2 tbsp butter, and the herbs and mushrooms on medium heat for 15 minutes or so. It was so , so good!

food wood kitchen cutting board
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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.

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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!!!

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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 🙂

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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
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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.

vegetarian juice on table
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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
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 🙂

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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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