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
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar.
- 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!
- 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.
- Cover and cook on HIGH 3-4 hours.
- 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.
- Assemble tacos/burritos/fajitas however you want!
Clean eating | Gluten-free | Dairy-free | Soy-free
If you’re looking for a tasty new breakfast recipe for this holiday weekend–or want something to eat by the handful, because that’s what I’m doing right this second–look no further. My husband and I are currently obsessed with this granola. I now want a double oven, not just for big holidays, but so that I can make double batches of this stuff all the time.
We’re big cereal eaters, and we try to stick to the healthier stuff. In fact, we were on vacation last month and I let the girls buy a certain marshmallow-containing cereal branded with a certain popular Disney movie, just because it was vacation (and they’d been begging for it for awhile), and they didn’t like it! I was feeling all proud of myself until I read this article from 100 Days of Real Food about how bad boxed cereals really are for you. Besides being easy and eat-four-meals-a-day delicious, the greatest thing about this granola is that we know everything that’s in it, and it’s all good, healthy stuff.
My finicky middle child is still coming around to it (she doesn’t like coconut much, which could explain it), but my grade-schooler loves it on yogurt and my toddler eats it by the fistful. I’m going to need to find more tasty granola recipes to expand my repertoire!
Adapted from here
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (certified gluten-free if necessary)
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 2/3 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut (if you can only find larger shreds, increase amount to 3/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 3 fl oz (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp.) maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup raisins
- Preheat your oven to 250 and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. (I just learned that foil works in a pinch, but parchment is lots easier.)
- In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, coconut, and sugar.
- In a liquid measuring cup, combine syrup, oil, and salt.
- Slowly pour liquid into oat mixture and mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon until oat mixture is well coated.
- Pour half onto each prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer.
- Bake 70 minutes or until golden, rotating baking sheets halfway through.
- Let cool, then break up chunks slightly and pour half of the raisins on top of each sheet. Use the parchment to pick up each batch and pour into a resealable storage container. I then give it a little shake to mix the raisins in further.
- Enjoy as a breakfast cereal with milk of choice, over yogurt, or by the handful!
Clean Eating | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free
Happy New Year! Anyone else feeling a little sluggish after all of the treats and traveling and lack of schedule? I’m beyond ready to get back on track and back in control of normal, healthy life.
This easy crock pot meal is a staple in our home, especially on Thursdays when we have swimming until 5pm. I love being able to come home to this delicious smell and serve up a warm, comforting, healthy meal to my wet-haired, often shivering–yes, even in Florida–young ones. I make the rice before we leave and it’s still warm when we get home to eat. The chicken practically shreds itself when you stir in the final ingredients, and the sweet potatoes soften to make the texture rich and creamy.
Crock Pot Chicken-Chickpea Curry
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 8-oz can tomato sauce OR 1/2 can diced tomatoes in juice
- 2 Tbsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- optional: up to 1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 med. onion, thinly sliced
- 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- cooked brown (for clean eating) or Basmati rice
- In the bottom of your slow cooker, whisk together first 6 ingredients until incorporated.
- Add chicken, onions, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes; use tongs to toss until coated with curry mixture.
- Cook on low 8 hours or high 3.5-4 hours.
- 5 minutes before serving, stir in peas and lemon juice, shredding chicken with the tongs.
- Serve over warm rice.
Dairy-free option | Soy-free | Clean eating | Nut-free
Today I succumbed to the cold that my 3 girls have been passing around, and the last thing I want to hear when I’m feeling crummy is complaints about dinner. So I went to the grocery store for some soup for myself and my husband made pancakes for the girls. And it was quick and easy, thanks to the tub of whole-wheat, clean pancake mix I had mixed up a few weeks ago and kept in the pantry! I had taped on a Post-It with the list of “wet” ingredients to add, so no need to look up recipes. As easy as Bisquick, with whole foods instead of additives!
Whole-Wheat Pancake Mix (makes approx. 6 small batches)
- 6 cups white whole-wheat flour
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 2 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 Tbsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. salt
- Combine all ingredients in a large, airtight container, making sure to break up any clumps of coconut sugar. Store in your pantry until needed.
To make pancakes: (I usually double this to feed our hungry family)
- 1 cup pancake mix
- 1 egg
- 1 cup buttermilk*
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil
- Whisk ingredients together until just combined.
- Heat your griddle on medium and spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Ladle 1/4-cupfuls onto the griddle, wait until bubbles form and edges look set, then flip and cook until done.
- Repeat for remaining batter.
- Serve warm with pure maple syrup and maybe some peanut butter spread on top.
*Make your own buttermilk–you can even do nondairy! Add 1 Tbsp. white vinegar to a measuring cup, then fill the rest of the way to the 1-cup mark with regular milk. Even almond milk curdles this way! Give it a try!
Original recipe here
Paleo | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Clean Eating | Gluten-free | Nut-free
Lesson one: No amount of processing can save a poorly lit photo. (Thanks for nothing, Standard Time.)
Lesson two: However it may look, this stew tastes incredible. And it’s easy. And clean, paleo, low-glycemic, dairy-free, soy-free, and kid-approved!
Browning the beef beforehand sounds like an extra step, but it is SO important to the full flavor of this dish. And it’s a quick way to get your kitchen already smelling delicious before you even turn on the crock pot! Put this one on your list for the cold, busy weeknights ahead. (Please send some of that cold down here to Florida!)
Paleo Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Original recipe here
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs stew beef (cubed)
- 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into large dice
- 8 carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
- 1 onion, cut into large chunks
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh, chopped)
- optional, to thicken broth: 1/4 cup tapioca starch
- Heat the oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the beef chunks, season with a little salt and pepper, and sear on all sides. Dump into your slow cooker and cover with the remaining ingredients, except tapioca starch.
- Cook on high 5-6 hours, or on low 8-9.
- Optional: if you want to thicken the broth, 30 minutes before the end of cooking time, whisk the tapioca starch with 2 Tbsp water. Pour the mixture into the stew, stirring gently, until distributed throughout, and allow it to resume cooking.
- Remove bay leaves and enjoy! In the unlikely event that there are leftovers, they reheat beautifully.
Meatless | Clean | Vegetarian option | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free
Have you read the children’s book Strega Nona, by Tomie de Paola? The main character is a grandmother witch who has a magic pasta pot. She sings a song to it, and it magically fills with fresh, hot pasta:
Bubble, bubble, pasta pot–
Boil me some pasta, nice and hot.
I’m hungry and it’s time to sup;
Boil enough pasta to fill me up.
Her bungling assistant, Big Anthony, thinks he knows her secret, but he forgets one crucial step and soon the whole town is swimming in pasta!
We love that book. And we love pasta! When I first introduced my girls to this recipe, I called it “Strega Nona pasta,” because it’s magic, just like hers! This pasta won’t magically appear in your pot, but it takes so few steps that it might as well. And at least you don’t have to worry about it overflowing and filling your house!
I love that I can dump all these fresh, delicious ingredients into a pot, turn on the burner, and when the timer goes off, I have a magical pot full of fragrant, hot pasta, ready to eat–I don’t even need to drain it!
“Strega Nona” Pasta
Original recipe here
- 12 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti (I throw in a couple handfuls of short pasta, like whole-wheat rotini, for my little ones as well)
- 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
- 2 cups (1 pint) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 sprigs fresh basil, chiffonade (cut into ribbons)
- up to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I use 1/4 tsp)
- up to 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups chicken (or “no-chicken” or vegetable) broth
- optional: fresh grated parmesan
- Dump all ingredients into a large pot with tall sides. If your pot isn’t wide enough for your spaghetti to lie flat, break the spaghetti in half.
- Bring to a boil over high heat; boil 10-12 minutes or until pasta is cooked and much of the liquid is absorbed.
- Serve immediately, topped with parmesan if desired.