School is back in session and you may be in need of some easy weeknight meals. I’ve got one to please the whole family. This recipe is similar to the popular “taco soup” recipe that we’ve all made. But instead of a ranch and taco seasoning packet, we’ll just add in a few spices to give it some chili flavor. Keeping it simple here, folks. Just sauté a few veggies, along with some meat, and then add in the spices, several cans of beans, tomatoes, and broth and you are good to go!
Black eyed peas are one of my favorite comfort foods. They are inexpensive, healthy, and easy to prepare. My husband loves them too. We make them every year in January for good luck. You can cook them on the stove but I love using the crockpot to make it even easier.
We love omelettes and I recently learned how to make them perfectly. Unfortunately, when you are making them for the whole family it takes a while because you can only make one at a time, unless you use multiple pans. I decided to try out baking an omelette in the oven so everyone’s portion is done at the same time. It turned out great, like a cross between crustless quiche and your traditional omelette. We all really enjoyed it and it’s such an easy recipe to customize.
We love quinoa and make a big batch of it every week. It’s so easy to make; even my husband knows how to make it. We eat it in salads, alone, in stir-fry, or with sautéed veggies. I can’t get enough of this whole grain! It can be made using water or broth. Both chicken and vegetable broth work well and just enhance the flavor. My favorite way to eat quinoa is with a little bit of butter, Parmesan cheese, steamed broccoli, and toasted nuts. I promise you, it’s SO good!
One of my goals for the new year was to try cooking some new foods throughout the year. Though I’ve had Bok Choy in dishes at restaurants, I’ve never cooked with it at home. Since it’s a great food for a stir-fry I figured I’d start there. I added in some broccoli because that’s my favorite ingredient to add to a stir-fry and I thought chicken would be the perfect protein to complement the other ingredients. It turned out delicious and my two boys even gave it a thumbs up. We ate ours served over brown rice and it was the perfect meal – a protein, veggies, and a whole grain. I bet it would be great over some quinoa as well.
It’s crazy how long it has been since I shared a new blog post! We have been really busy and I started some new things recently that have occupied a lot of space in my brain. I’m one of those people that can only handle so much floating up there at one time. Can anyone else relate?
I love pasta dishes and I especially love it when I can incorporate enough vegetables to feel like I don’t need to cook an extra vegetable side dish. In this recipe I add an entire (small) bunch of kale and mushrooms (I know, these are technically not veggies) and I feel like that’s the perfect healthy balance to the sausage, pasta, and other ingredients. I ended up just making this a one dish meal. I didn’t serve any other sides and everyone was full after a serving or two.
Homemade hummus is very simple to make. Once you get the ingredients together it takes just about five minutes to mix it all up. It makes a great dip or it can be used as a spread in pita sandwiches. I love to serve it with crackers, homemade pita chips, and veggies. My favorites are carrots and peppers.
I try to cook healthy homemade meals most days of the week, but the truth is I just can’t do it all. Like everyone else, I use some convenience (processed) foods on a regular basis. These are things that decrease stress and are useful when life just gets too busy. I’d rather use some of these at home than eat out multiple meals a week. It’s cheaper and healthier to consume most of your meals at home, where you know what’s going into them.
When it comes to processed foods I do try to pick the best choice that my budget allows. I try to choose cereals without excessive amounts of sugar and artificial colors/ingredients, whole wheat pasta over refined pasta, crackers and breads with at least some whole grains, etc. With that said, here are five of my favorite convenience foods that I buy on a regular basis:
I always keep a box or two of crackers in my pantry. My kids like these Back to Nature crackers. I prefer the Crunchmaster multi-grain crackers that I wrote about here. I use crackers for peanut butter/almond butter cracker sandwiches in the boys’ lunches. I also use them to make homemade lunchables. I pack a little nitrate free ham or turkey, cheese, and crackers and the kids can build their own “lunchable”. I try to stock up on both types of crackers when they go on sale because they can be expensive otherwise.
I have a new dressing recipe to share with you today. This avocado cilantro lime dressing is the perfect mix of creamy avocado goodness plus the amazing flavor of cilantro. It’s the perfect dressing for a taco salad or any other type of southwestern salad or dish. I love it because it adds so much flavor at only about 15 calories per tablespoon. That’s not bad for dressing! Not only is it low calorie but it’s a nutrition powerhouse. The three main ingredients (avocado, cilantro, and Greek yogurt) provide calcium, healthy fats, fiber, and lots of vitamins and minerals.