Gluten-free | Dairy-free | Egg-free | Nut-free | Clean eating option | Soy-free option
This is a great, easy, adaptable weeknight option for getting lots of protein and colorful veggies with minimal effort! Just include whatever veggies your family likes (or at least will tolerate) and watch them scarf it down!
Colorful Chicken Veggie Stir-Fry
Original recipe here
- 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari sauce (or soy sauce)*
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (apple cider vinegar works great too)
- 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- up to 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (gluten-free)
- 2 tsp corn starch
- 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or other high-heat oil like canola), divided
- up to 6 cups assorted veggies (I used halved baby carrots, diced red pepper, frozen broccoli florets, frozen peas, and frozen corn–just use what you have on hand. Other suggestions: zucchini, squash, red onion, edamame, etc.)
- cooked rice, for serving (use brown rice for clean eating)
*For soy-free, try coconut aminos
- Combine tamari sauce, vinegar, sesame oil (if using), garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl, then add chicken and toss to coat.
- Marinate 10 minutes in the refrigerator, then drain, reserving marinade in a measuring cup. Add chicken broth, then whisk in corn starch until smooth.
- Heat 1 tsp oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Stir-fry until cooked through. Set aside.
- Increase heat to high and add remaining 2 tsp oil to wok. Add veggies in order of how long they take to cook: carrots obviously are first, then broccoli, then smaller veggies. Remember frozen veggies take less time to cook. Stir-fry until crisp-tender; do not overcook, as they’ll continue to soften when you add the sauce.
- Add chicken and sauce, then stir-fry until sauce has begun to thicken, 2-3 minutes.
- Serve over cooked rice.
Dairy-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free | Nut-free | Clean eating | Paleo | Vegetarian | Vegan
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.
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!
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Slice your sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1/2-inch wedges and place in a large bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then remove and flip all the wedges. Return to oven and bake another 11-15 minutes.
Now that Mini-Munchkin is nearly three months, I probably have to stop using the “I have a newborn” excuse & start posting a little more regularly.
With that, here’s the first of what will likely be many quick-prep meals for those nights when you have literally 5 minutes in the kitchen.
A friend of mine from my local chapter of the National MOMS Club brought this dish over after I had the Mini-Munchkin. This thick, hearty, almost-chili soup was an instant hit, so I asked her for the recipe. It was so easy she was actually embarrassed to give it to me! But I love easy, so I’m not embarrassed at all to share this with you.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 3/4 cup water*
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can condensed tomato soup
- 2 cans black beans, undrained
- 2 cans corn, drained
- tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, etc., for serving
*or however much your particular taco seasoning calls for
- Brown the ground beef. Drain.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Add taco seasoning & water. Stir.
- Add remaining ingredients. Stir.
- Cover; simmer until heated through or as long as you want.
That’s it! Yum!
Weelicious triumphs again!
To minimize mess, I generally buy & cook the short pastas, so when I told The Munchkin we were having “slurpy spaghetti” for dinner, she practically leaped for joy. The many different veggies in this dish are julienned just like the pasta, so she slurped them up just like the noodles. & get this: she was happy about it! She ate them on purpose! “Look, mommy, I’m slurping asparagus!” This, coming from the toddler who enjoys carrots, but will hardly touch zucchini or asparagus. The bowl was polished off. Success!
- 2 zucchini
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 6 asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (original recipe calls for only 1, but it needs more)
- 1 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti (or, if you don’t have a food processor to julienne your veggies & your knife skills are as atrocious as mine, linguine covers a multitude of sins)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1/3 cup Parmesan
- Julienne your vegetables with a knife or the shredding blade of a food processor.
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
- Saute garlic 1 minute.
- Add veggies & salt & saute an additional 3-4 minutes or until softened.
- Drain pasta, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water.
- Return pasta to pot or place in a large serving bowl. Add veggies, pasta water, butter, & Parmesan; toss to coat.
- Let your Munchkins pretend to be baby birds slurping up worms!
I do my grocery shopping on Wednesdays. It’s the day before the new circular comes out, so the store is always empty. (Honestly though, I didn’t learn that until we’d been going for several weeks out of necessity because it was the only day we didn’t have something else scheduled; it’s a nice perk.) So this means that Tuesday night after The Munchkin goes to sleep I’m up racking my brain about what to make for dinner that week. I’d been in a rut for weeks — maybe months.
Then I read about one food blogger’s method for organizing recipes. Now, honestly, I’ve been looking everywhere & can’t find the post anymore, so I think it may have just been a Facebook post or something, otherwise I’d send you there in a millisecond. But the gist of it was that she has a Word document (or you could use an Excel spreadsheet) of all the dinner recipes she likes to use, with either the link (if it’s from a blog) or the title of the cookbook, so she can find it quickly. Keeping it on the computer makes it easy to add to & modify the list, & you could organize it by cuisine (Asian, Mexican, Italian, etc.) or food type (beef, chicken, vegetarian, etc.), & it’s so much quicker than my old method of printing off the recipe & sticking it in my overstuffed binder of recipes. So that’s my goal.
Another way to streamline weekly meal planning is to assign “theme nights.” I actually read in this month’s Parents magazine that theme nights can get kids excited about sitting down with the family for dinner & can help them assume a larger role in meal prep. But on the practical side, if I know that Thursday night is going to be Mexican night, I can go to my handy-dandy “Mexican” category & have fewer meals to have to choose from.
So why am I saying all this? Because I’m trying to expand my repertoire to include more international foods for said “theme nights.” For Asian night, meet Beef with Broccoli (original recipe here).
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp. water
- 1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 lb.+ stir-fry beef
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 2 large carrots, peeled & sliced on a diagonal
- 1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
- Sauce, below
- hot cooked rice
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl; stir until smooth. Set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, combine cornstarch, water, soy sauce, & garlic powder; stir until smooth. Toss beef in mixture until well coated.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in wok on medium-high heat. Stir-fry beef until done. Remove & keep warm.
- Stir-fry vegetables in remaining oil 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. (I like to cover the wok to allow the veggies to steam.)
- Return beef to wok & add sauce. Cook 2 minutes.
- Serve over rice.
My Husband The Breadwinner doesn’t cook much anymore: 1) he doesn’t need to with me around, except when it comes to pancakes, & 2) he doesn’t get home from work in time anyway. But this meal is evidence that he can find his way around the kitchen if the occasion calls for it. It’s his mom’s recipe, but he made it for me for my birthday a couple years ago & it was delicious & memorable enough to have me craving it this week.
In my own carnivorous opinion, the steak is really the star of this meal, but if you’d rather go the vegetarian route, it’d taste great with marinated portobellos, or even just by itself! It also heats up fabulously for leftovers.
- 1 lb. flank steak
- 1/2 cup of your favorite house Italian dressing
- 2 cloves garlic, divided
- 1 lb. pasta
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 med. zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup (or to taste) diced onion
- 2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
- salt, to taste
- parmesan, to taste
- chiffonade fresh basil, to taste
- Marinate the steak 6-8 hours or overnight in the dressing with one of the cloves of garlic, minced.
- Prepare the pasta as directed.
- Meanwhile, rub the pepper into both sides of the steak & cook it in a skillet on medium heat, 5-6 minutes a side or until desired doneness.
- Meanwhile meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium pot on medium heat & saute the other clove of garlic, minced, & the onion for a couple minutes.
- Add the zucchini, tomato sauce, & red pepper, then salt to taste. Cook another 2 minutes, then cover & let simmer on low another 2-3 minutes or until zucchini is tender.
- Toss pasta with sauce & zucchini, then place in serving bowls. Sprinkle with parmesan & basil, then spread sliced steak on top.
Picky (or at least skeptical) eater pleaser: Take out some of the pasta before tossing it with the sauce & place it in a section of one of those nifty partitioned plates & a little of the sauce & some zucchini slices in another. Cut the steak into small pieces & place them in a third. The Munchkin preferred to dip her pasta in the sauce rather than having it coated in it already, & even tried a slice of zucchini! As for the steak, it was gone before we knew it. I’d call that a success.
For the many of us who have resolved to treat our bodies a little better this year, here are some healthy recipes from the past year. (I can’t believe this blog is already almost a year old!)
More new recipes to come, promise!
I’m making these Chewy, Chunky (& Lowfat!) Oatmeal Bars for us to snack on as we walk around Disney World this weekend. They’re so hearty & delicious (we all love them), it’s hard to believe they’re so low in fat!
Start the day off right with yummy Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes. You just might want to skip the butter syrup.
Now, a couple vegetarian dinners: Pasta with Arugula & Tomatoes…
…& Skinny Veggie Ziti.
If your Munchkins are joining you in your resolution, help them get some more veggies with some Veggie Latkes. (I can’t believe how young The Munchkin looks in this picture!)
Then finish it off right with the almost entirely nonfat Skinny Banana Bread for dessert!
Best of luck keeping your resolutions — health & otherwise — this year!