Tag Archives: Dinner

My favorite pizza.

Nut-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free option | Clean eating option

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We’re big pizza lovers in this house. Back in my semi-homemade days I had several pizza posts, but they were all boring pepperoni (or pepperoni and green peppers) pizza. Then we lived in Switzerland and spent 10 days in Italy. They don’t do pepperoni. They do salami, but trust me, it is NOT the same. So I got a little more adventurous.

In the 4 weeks between when we were told we were moving to Switzerland for 6 months and when we actually moved, I binge-watched Rick Steeves’ Europe on PBS–only the countries we were actually thinking of going to (sorry Estonia)–and learned, among many other things, the reported origin of our beloved pizza. It came from Naples in the early 18th or 19th centuries. Legend has it that the archetypal pizza, Pizza Margherita, was commissioned in 1889 to honor the visiting Queen Margherita with the three colors of the Italian flag: red tomatoes, green basil, and white mozzarella.

I ate this pizza a lot in Italy. And Switzerland. And interestingly, everyone does it differently. The Swiss just do it with tomato sauce. The Romans did a little sauce AND tomatoes. We never made it to Naples, so I don’t know if this really is the real way, but by far my favorite way of eating Pizza Margherita is this: garlic-infused olive oil (LOTS of garlic), fresh Roma tomatoes, mozzarella, Parmesan for a little bite, and lots of basil.

Publix, our local amazing grocery chain, has amazing Italian-style pizza dough for just a couple bucks, so I get two: I make one pepperoni for the girls, and my husband and I share this. And I eat the leftovers for lunch the next day.

No, this is not clean. This is not healthy. You can use whole-grain or gluten-free crust, and the veggies and part-skim mozzarella make it less terrible for you than delivery (or diGiorno! Ha!), but let’s keep this in the “sometimes food” category. With the chocolate frozen custard. Yum!

Pizza Margherita

Original recipe here

  • Pizza dough of choice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 10 basil leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 or 425, depending on the instructions for your chosen pizza dough, with a pizza stone in the oven (optional but highly recommended).
  2. Pour olive oil into a medium bowl and add garlic and salt. Add sliced tomatoes; toss to coat, and marinate 10-15 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Roll out and toss your pizza dough to desired width and thickness on a large piece of parchment paper.
  4. Brush dough evenly with about a tablespoon of garlic oil marinade. Sprinkle evenly with 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella and all of the Parmesan.
  5. Top with tomato slices, spaced evenly, and sprinkle basil over the tomatoes.
  6. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella evenly over the top of the basil and season all over with salt and pepper.
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes, until crust is golden, and let stand 5 minutes before slicing.
  8. Enjoy!
  9. If there are leftovers, reheat in a 350-degree oven–not the microwave.

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Chicken Tikka Masala.

Gluten-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Clean-eating option

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So I’m realizing that we eat a lot of variations on chicken and rice in our house. We have several curry versions, the NYC street cart version, and a few comfort food versions from my semi-homemade days, just off the top of my head.

This is the I-used-to-live-near-an-awesome-Indian-restaurant-but-I-don’t-anymore-but-I-really-don’t-need-to-leave-the-house-anymore-for-delicious-Indian-takeout version. It’s one of my husband’s favorite meals ever. And my favorite part about it–besides how delicious it is–is that odds are good you have all of the ingredients in your spice cabinet! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to blog it!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Adapted from here

Marinade:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I use lowfat Greek yogurt)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • up to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • up to 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

Masala:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 cup cream

Rice:**

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  1. For the marinade, combine all ingredients except chicken in a medium bowl. Add chicken and toss until coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least a couple hours (I usually do overnight).
  2. Grill chicken (original way) or cook under a broiler on high on a broiler pan (my lazy easy way). Discard marinade.
  3. Meanwhile, for the masala, melt butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add jalapeno and garlic and saute one minute or until fragrant. Season with spices and salt and stir to toast spices.
  4. Add tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on medium-low until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Begin cooking rice (below). Add grilled (broiled) chicken and simmer 10 minutes.
  5. Rice: bring water to boil. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and reduce heat. Cook 15 minutes, fluff, and serve topped with tikka masala.

**A couple notes about the rice: first of all, yes, I know that Basmati rice is best suited. However, I find Jasmine more economical and versatile, if less authentic. If you want a clean eating version, use brown rice and cook 45 minutes instead of 15.

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Creative leftovers: Pressed Southwest Wraps.

Nut-free| Gluten-free option | Soy-free option | Clean-eating option

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Let’s talk leftovers.

My girls don’t like them. Nope, not one bit. Except for my toddler, whom I often hear grunting and “eeeee” (please)-ing as I’m trying to enjoy my leftover curry (or this one!) or chicken tikka masala for lunch in peace.

But who really wants to make a brand-new, from-scratch meal (that their kids are probably going to whine and complain about anyway) every single night?

So I’ve been trying to find ways to cut prep time while masking a few “reused” ingredients. Here are a few:

  • Always make extra. Extra rice, extra cooked and chopped chicken. And keep it in the fridge to use in a different recipe.
  • Always make extra (again). Extra enchilada sauce or enchiladas, extra filling for these wraps. And freeze it for another meal.
  • When I need a small amount of something, like tomato paste or green onions, I portion out the rest and freeze it.

These wraps do a great job of combining these odds and ends into something low-effort and really delicious. The best part is that you can add in whatever you and your family wants. I subbed in corn for the original recipe’s peppers and adjusted the spices a little bit so that my girls will enjoy it without complaining.

With the right tortillas and brown rice you can make this gluten-free and/or clean. Unfortunately, I don’t know if there’s a way to successfully make this dairy-free because the cheese and sour cream help hold the wrap together, but you could try it with vegan cheese and just really sticky rice. Let me know how it works!

Pressed Southwest Wraps

Adapted from here

  • 1 cup cooked warm rice
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced (or 1/2 Tbsp. chopped green onions- still frozen, even!)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dry cilantro
  • up to 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1-2 cups cooked chopped or shredded chicken
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted
  • shredded Mexican-blend cheese (I even used crumbled-up leftover cheddar slices once!)
  • sour cream
  • tortillas, gluten-free and/or soy-free if necessary
  • soy-free cooking spray
  1. Combine the rice, onions, spices, and lime juice in a medium bowl. Stir in chicken, beans, and corn.
  2. Dollop a spoonful of sour cream around the center of an open tortilla and sprinkle with cheese. Spoon a couple tablespoonfuls of the filling onto the tortilla, then roll like a burrito. Spray the cooking spray on the seam side and lay seam-side down on a plate.
  3. When all wraps are assembled, heat a nonstick griddle on medium to medium-high heat. Carefully lay a couple wraps at a time on the griddle, seam side down, and press down all over with a spatula. The cooking spray helps seal the seam shut. When browned, flip, press again, and remove to a warm plate until all wraps are finished.
  4. You can wrap each individually in foil to save and reheat in the oven later.

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Clean Sweet Potato Oven Wedge Fries.

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free | Nut-free | Clean eating | Paleo | Vegetarian | Vegan

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This is one of my favorite, easiest ways to make sweet potatoes. (I’ll post the other one soon; we eat LOTS of sweet potatoes around here.) I got the original recipe from a paleo blog while we were living in London and had very few kitchen tools to cook with, but then I guess the blog disappeared because I can’t access it anymore! So since I still make this all the time, I’m posting my version here so that hopefully it never gets lost again.

The beauty of it is there’s no wrong way. You can make them salty, spicy, sweet–or a combination of all 3. I even throw one Russett potato in there for the 2/5 of my family who don’t like sweet potatoes (gasp!). The trick to getting them crispier without burning them is using a very small amount of oil. They’re still not going to be as crisp as the ones you buy in the freezer section that are coated with stuff to enhance the texture, but they’re so delicious.

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Sweet Potato Oven Wedges

  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed well and well dried off
  • up to 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • spices of choice: I use about 1/2 tsp. salt, a sprinkle of pepper, and a touch of paprika. Try cinnamon and a little maple syrup; or salt, thyme, and cayenne; or any of your favorites! Please comment below with what you enjoy; I love trying new variations!
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Slice your sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1/2-inch wedges and place in a large bowl.
  3. Drizzle a very small amount of olive oil and toss with your hands until wedges are just coated. Sprinkle on about 1/2 tsp. salt (or your maple syrup–remember, small amounts), tossing as you go.
  4. Spread them in a single layer onto an ungreased nonstick baking sheet. Don’t use parchment paper or foil; it makes them harder to flip. Sprinkle remaining seasonings over the top.
  5. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then remove and flip all the wedges. Return to oven and bake another 11-15 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

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Skinny Chicken Broccoli Alfredo, turned green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Clean eating | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free option

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When we visited Rome last year, my friend told us about the original Alfredo’s, where lore has it that the owner created the original Fettucine Alfredo–to satisfy his wife’s pregnancy cravings.

So of course we had to visit. They brought out a huge platter of steaming fettucine piled high with three mounds of cheeses, and proceeded to mix it all together at astonishing speed. Then we ate at astonishing speed–until we felt sick. It sat like a rock in our stomachs. We were very glad that our apartment was only a 10-minute walk away.

This Alfredo-inspired sauce brings back those memories without weighing us down. Instead of 3 piles of cheeses, you get the creaminess with a bit of bite from the Greek yogurt and fresh-grated (or not fresh-grated) Parmesan. Today, for St. Patrick’s Day, I turned the sauce green, and the girls said they liked it even better than usual!

Skinny Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Original recipe here

  • 2 chicken breasts, seasoned, cooked, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8-10 oz. whole-wheat (or gluten-free) pasta, such as rotini
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 (I use 3) garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 2 Tbsp. whole-wheat pastry flour (or gluten-free flour of choice)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • optional: handful spinach
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use 2%)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup fresh-grated Parmesan
  1. Cook pasta as directed, adding frozen broccoli for last 2 minutes of cooking time. Reserve up to 1/2 cup pasta water before draining.
  2. If you’re turning your sauce green: add chicken broth and spinach to your blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Make the roux: Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add garlic and stir constantly 1 minute, until fragrant. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to cook for 1 more minute. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, then milk, until bubbling.
  4. Whisk in Greek yogurt, then season generously with salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer 2-3 minutes, until thickened. (If there is spinach in the sauce, it will take longer and will not thicken as much.)
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan until well incorporated, then stir in chicken.
  6. Combine sauce with pasta mixture; add small amounts of pasta water until sauce is your desired consistency.

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Making over Taco Night. Twice.

Clean eating | Dairy-free option | Soy-free option | Gluten-free option | Nut-free

My girls LOVE Taco Night. Something about being in charge of their own meal and what goes in it. Not to mention it’s messy, which makes it fun. But I’m going to be honest: it’s not always been my favorite. First, the taco seasoning packets. Gross, am I right? Have you seen those ingredient labels?! Well, Alton Brown’s taco seasoning takes care of that REALLY quick. And clean too! Make it once and keep it in a small jar or even a little Ziploc bag to use a couple tablespoons at a time.

Second, as a mom, I find that once I’ve assembled everyone’s burritos the way they want them, once I get mine assembled and sit down, the meat is cold. That’s where this new crock pot recipe comes in. It features the same taco seasoning as our usual ground turkey, but the meat stays warm as long as I need it to! Plus more veggies! It came from an unlikely source: one of those easy video recipes you see in your Facebook feed that are usually semi-homemade, from processed ingredients. But with this easy and clean taco seasoning, it’s a cinch to keep the artificial junk out.

Clean Taco Seasoning

Original recipe here

  • up to 2 Tbsp. chili powder, depending on how spicy you want it
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika (he uses hot smoked, I use Hungarian–both are delicious)
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • up to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you want it
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar.
  2. Store in an airtight container (jar or Ziploc bag) for up to 1 month.

Slow Cooker Easy Chicken Fajitas

Adapted from here

  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning (see above)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 10-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained (check the ingredient label on this one; sometimes spices and preservatives are added here)
  • For serving: tortillas (use whole-grain or gluten-free and check ingredient labels for hidden soy and other junk), cheese, sour cream, beans, avocado slices, or anything else that sounds tasty!
  1. Place half of the sliced peppers and onion in the bottom of your slow cooker. Lay the chicken on top, coating on all sides with taco seasoning. Top with garlic, drained tomatoes, lime juice, and remaining peppers and onion.
  2. Cover and cook on HIGH 3-4 hours.
  3. Remove chicken and cut or shred, then return it to the crock pot for 10 more minutes (on LOW) to absorb more of the juices, while you prep your toppings.
  4. Assemble tacos/burritos/fajitas however you want!

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Clean, Dairy-Free Chicken and Dumpling Soup.

Clean eating | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free

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Winter has finally reached Florida! We woke up to temperatures in the low 40s, and after spending most of December in the 80s–including a record high 86 degrees on Christmas, for crying out loud–it feels magnificent. Time to bring out the soup! This is what we had for dinner tonight.

This soup (albeit not the clean version) was a comfort-food lifesaver during the cold months we lived in Switzerland. It was nice to have something familiar when we were feeling homesick, and it was easy enough to make in our tiny blue rental kitchen with limited kitchen tools that it made frequent appearances on our little linoleum table.

I’ve adapted the original recipe to make it clean and dairy-free. Also, because we all know the dumplings are the best part, for our little family I usually cut the soup recipe in half but keep the dumpling recipe whole so there’s enough for everyone to enjoy.

Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Adapted from here

Soup:

  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3-4 large carrots, scrubbed well and chopped
  • 1 small to medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, raw or cooked (see variations in instructions below)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour + 1/2 cup cold water, to thicken broth
  • heaping 1/2 cup frozen peas

Dumplings:

  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • heaping 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 cup minus 1 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add vegetables and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chicken broth, water, and chicken (if using uncooked chicken). Bring to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, start the dumplings. Add vinegar to a measuring cup and fill to the 1-cup line with almond milk. Let sit several minutes until curdled. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add oil to almond milk and stir. Then gradually add wet ingredients to dry, stirring as you go, until a soft dough is formed. You will not need all of the liquid.
  3. Remove the chicken from the soup to a plate. Add salt, thyme, and pepper to the soup.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and cold water, then whisk into the hot broth. Stir in frozen peas, bringing it back to a simmer, then cutting up cooked chicken and adding it to the soup.
  5. Working quickly, drop teaspoonfuls (yes, teaspoon–they’ll expand right away) of dough all over the surface of the boiling soup. Cover the pot and simmer 12-15 minutes without lifting the lid to allow the dumplings to cook.
  6. When the dumplings are fully cooked, lift the lid and break dumplings apart with your serving spoon. Serve immediately.

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