5 Ways to Eat Kale – or what to do with the rest of the bag of kale in the fridge

5 Ways to Eat Kale

 

Weird news:  4 out of 6 of the people in my house have decided that they really like kale.

That’s not something I would have seen coming.  But my youngest two kids actually ask for me to buy kale.  Odd, but true.

Since I’ve been buying it more often, sometimes I end up with part of a bag leftover.  What to do with extra kale?

Here are a few ideas:   [Read more…]

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Basic Chicken Skillet – The Foundation for Lots of Meal Possibilities

Basic Chicken Skillet. Start here to create many meals.

 

You know how you can create a lot of outfits if you start with a few basic pieces and add in accessories?

You can do the same thing with food.

If you start with a skillet of chicken, onions, garlic and green pepper you can create all kinds of fantastic meals.

Accessorize with tomatoes, basil, oregano and parmesan and have Italian chicken over pasta.

Embellish with Greek seasoning and serve it in a pita.

Accent with white wine, cream cheese, chicken broth and serve it over steamed spinach.

The possibilities are endless!  I’ve got several recipes ready to share that start with this skillet.  This is going to be a series of sorts, but I’m not going to tie it to one day of the week or give it a specific ending date.

I love the idea of starting with a few simple ingredients and creating meals from there.  And I’d love to hear your ideas too!  This is the kind of thing that you can start with the basics and add what you find in your kitchen.  No recipe needed.

Here’s what you’ll need for the Basic Chicken Skillet:   [Read more…]

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Using a Pressure Cooker

pressurecooker

Several months ago I bought a pressure cooker (here’s the link to the Cuisnart Pressure Cooker I bought).  I purchased it because I was curious.  People had left comments on the blog and Facebook mentioning that they were using one or asking questions.  So in the name of blog research, I hit the “buy now” button on Amazon.

I’m still learning to make full use of it, but I’ve discovered a few things that I really do like it for.   [Read more…]

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How to Choose a Slow Cooker

how to choose a slow cookerOne of the questions I get asked most often is, “What is the best kind of slow cooker to buy?”

I don’t know that there is one best model of slow cooker.  You certainly don’t need the latest and greatest to make delicious meals for your family.  But there are a few things to consider before buying.   [Read more…]

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George Foreman Grill Cooking

I don’t use my George Foreman grill very often, but it is handy for certain things.  I especially like using it for fish (more on that below).

The biggest advantage of this small appliance is that it cooks fast!

Tips for Cooking on a George Foreman Grill

First, watch the cooking times closely.  The speedy cooking can lead to dry meat if you aren’t careful.  I use the info that came with the grill to guide how long to cook foods.  I also set the timer on my stove so that I don’t get busy and overcook the food.

The other big tip I have is to add sauces at the end of the cooking time.  Brushing meat with barbecue sauce before cooking causes the sauce to burn.  Not the taste I want.  Instead, I cook the meat and then add the sauce after taking it from the grill.

What to Cook on a George Foreman Grill   [Read more…]

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What to Do with Costco Rotisserie Chicken – 13 Possible Recipes

We recently got a new Costco in our town. It wasn’t long before I discovered the Costco rotisserie chicken.  Have you ever wondered what to do with a Costco rotisserie chicken?  If so, I’ve got you covered!

3 Costco Rotisserie Chickens yield 5-6 meals. 13 possible recipes

Costco rotisserie chickens cost just $5 in our store. And they are huge! I can’t buy a raw whole chicken of that size for $5, so getting one already cooked is a great deal.

After buying several of these and realizing that I can feed my family of 6 twice from one chicken, I decided to try using them to stock my freezer.

Your mileage may vary, but for my family there’s enough meat for me to make 5-6 meals out of 3 chickens. The last time I went to Costco, I bought three chickens. We brought them home and took all the meat off the bones. The meat yielded enough for 5 different recipes.

I froze the meat in plastic freezer bags in about 2 cup quantities. It’s so nice to have chicken already cooked and frozen, ready to go. There are lots and lots of recipes that use cooked chicken on this site alone. I’ve pulled 13 of my favorite recipes to share with you here.

Of course, if you don’t have a Costco, or you’d just rather cook your own chicken to freeze, that works too. Try this Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker.

Weekly Meal Plans

If you like these types of recipes, you’ll love our Weekly Meal Plans!  The plans include grocery lists, printable recipes and even a slow cooker freezer meal plan each month.  Click here to learn more.

And here are the 13 recipes to use Costco rotisserie chicken in:   [Read more…]

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Menu for Second Half of Whole 30

Whole 30 Menu 16-30

 

How is your Whole 30 going?  At the beginning of the month I published a menu for the first 15 days.  This is what my family has been eating from.  Our dinners have been great!  I struggle a bit with lunch and snacks, but dinner is good.

I hope this list of meals and sides will help you finish out the month if you’ve been doing Whole 30 too.  Some of the recipes are new ideas that I plan to try.  If they work out, I’ll be sharing the recipes on the blog.  If not, I’ll spare you!

16.  Pineapple Chili, salad

17. Dijon Tarragon Tilapia, broccoli, baked sweet potatoes (either leave out the dijon or find one with acceptable ingredients)

18.  Italian Chicken and Tomatoes in the Slow Cooker, green beans, spaghetti squash

19.  Mediterranean Chicken in the Slow Cooker, acorn squash, salad

20.  Pork Chops Topped with Green Pepper, Pineapple and Onion, butternut squash skillet (recipe coming soon!), broccoli

21.  Rosemary and thyme round steak with parsnips, carrots; cauliflower

22.  Hamburger Veggie Soup, salad

23.  Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore, spaghetti squash, salad

24.  Virus Killing Soup

25.  Tilapia with Veggies Baked in Foil, broccoli, butternut squash skillet

26.  Chicken Curry in the Slow Cooker, baked sweet potatoes, broccoli (this is a repeat from the first half of the month, but we love it!)

27.  African Pulled Beef, acorn squash, skillet greens

28.  Beef Stew

29.  Lemon and parsley roasted chicken, butternut squash skillet, broccoli

30.  Hamburgers with Onions in a Skillet, Sweet Potato Fries, cucumber and tomato salad

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Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas

easy healthy lunches

Whether you’re joining me for the Whole 30 plan or you’ve decided to alter your usual eating patterns in another way, you may find that lunch is a challenge.

I do fine at breakfast, mostly because I eat the same thing every day.  It’s easy and good.  And it doesn’t bother me to repeat the same breakfast each day.

But lunch is different.  It comes at a busy part of day.  Breakfast happens before the day’s activities start and dinner is carved out as a bit of a slow down time for us, usually anyway.  But lunch comes smack dab in the middle of trying to do homeschool and work and laundry and kitchen cleaning and….

I want to just grab something quickly and be done with it.  But the Whole 30 doesn’t allow for my favorite lunch of PB&J and chocolate milk.  Or a grilled cheese. Or sandwich with bread or so many other things that I’m used to having for lunch.

So, what have I been eating the last few days?  Here are a few things I’ve had and some more that I’m making plans for.   [Read more…]

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Menu for first half of Whole 30

Happy New Year!

Are you joining me for the Whole 30?   Yesterday I posted 31 Family Recipes that will work for Whole 30.  Today, I’ve got a meal plan for the first 15 days.

Next week, I’ll share some lunch ideas and my breakfast (along with a giveaway!).

I promise it’s not going to be all Whole 30 all the time on the blog.  I’ve got another new series that I’ll be sharing tomorrow. We’re going to spend the month focusing on meaningful meals.  More on that later.

And, of course we still have Slow Cooker Soup Fridays.  And more recipes will be coming your way, although I admit to not doing a lot of recipe creation over the holidays, so I need to get busy with that!

Whole 30 menu for first half of month

whole 30 menu first half

Most of these recipes are already on my blog.  Those that aren’t linked are either simple ideas or recipes that I’ll be creating.  Hopefully, they’ll turn out well and I’ll be sharing them with you soon.

1.  Chicken with Summer Vegetables in the Slow Cooker

2.  Beef Shwarma with cucumbers and baked sweet potatoes

3.  Italian Sausage with peppers and onions over baked acorn squash.

4.  Garlic Chicken with More Garlic in the Slow Cooker, cauliflower, salad

5.  Garlic Lime Tilapia, broccoli and baked sweet potato

6.  Hamburgers in skillet with mustard sauce, sweet potato fries, tomato and cucumber salad

7.  Dijon Pork Chops and Apples in the Slow Cooker, butternut squash skillet

8.  Chicken Curry in the Slow Cooker, baked sweet potatoes, broccoli

9.  Slow Cooker Meatballs (made with almond meal), spaghetti squash, salad

10.  Slow cooker garlic and rosemary chicken with acorn squash, broccoli or skillet greens

11.  Asian Salmon (subbing beef broth for soy sauce), Roasted Broccoli and Red Peppers, baked sweet potatoes

12.  Zesty Crockpot Chicken, cauliflower, butternut squash skillet

13.  Pan fried chicken topped with tomato and basil, skillet greens, roasted parsnips

14.  Italian Seasoned Salt Pork Roast, mashed sweet potatoes, broccoli

15.  Lemon Chicken on a Bed of Sauerkraut in the Slow Cooker, roasted carrots, broccoli or greens.

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31 Family Recipes for Whole 30

31 Family Recipes Whole 30

Before I start listing recipes, I feel the need for a few disclaimers.  First, I’m no expert on the Whole 30 or on a paleo diet.  In fact, I don’t know what the real difference is between paleo and Whole 30, only that one is stricter than the other and only lasts 30 days.

Second, from what I can tell, these recipes are “allowed” on the Whole 30 plan as long as you use the modifications stated with the recipes.  But again, I’m not an expert at all.  I’ve read through the book, It Starts with Food and that’s where my info comes from.  However, it’s a lot of info to digest, so I may be mistaken about a few things.  Feel free to educate me kindly if I’ve gotten something wrong.

And finally, my plan is to do my best during my Whole 30 (starting Jan. 2).  If somehow, soy sneaks in, or dairy disguises itself and I miss that ingredient on a product, or I forget myself and grab something I shouldn’t have, I am not going to worry about it.  I have no intentions of cheating.  But I do have the intention of being kind to myself and realizing that making big changes like this in the midst of busy family life is a challenge.  It’s okay for it not to be perfect.

Be sure to read labels when you’re shopping.  Soy sneaks into everything! I even found it in a tea I wanted to buy.

And a note on the meats: The Whole30 book suggests you buy grain fed, free range, high quality meats. I’ll probably be using a mix of meats that I buy in the grocery and some better quality.  I’m not feeling like I need to do perfect on this point.

Pineapple Chili

Pineapple Chili

No adaptation needed.

African Pulled Beef

No pita or yogurt sauce with this one, but you can easily have those available for your family.  Serve it with baked sweet potatoes.

Beef Stew

Substitute parsnips instead of white potatoes.  I think tapioca is okay for Whole 30. For me, it’s close enough. I don’t plan on downing a bunch of tapioca as a thickener, but it works so well in this stew that I’ll probably still use it.  It’s such a small amount (1/4 cup maybe) for the whole batch of stew. (update: The instant tapioca has soy lecithin in it.  I’m still going to eat this dish though. I’m not planning to have beef stew more than once or twice the whole month. You may feel differently about having that soy though.)

Chicken Veggie Soup

This is a recipe I created in preparation for Whole 30.  I’ll add more meat next time I make it though.

Chicken with Summer Vegetables in the Slow Cooker

Leave out the wine in this wine and you’re good to go.

Beef Shwarma in the Slow Cooker, Chicken Shwarma, Chicken Gyros

Again, no pita or yogurt sauce. Serve it with cucumbers, baked sweet potatoes and other veggies.

Chicken Salad

You can either make your own mayo or search for one without soy in it.  I think there are some good ones available if you’re willing to do the label reading.

Garlic Chicken with More Garlic in the Slow Cooker

This is such a flavorful recipe.  Serve it with squash or sweet potatoes or other veggies.

gazpacho-ingr

Gazpacho

You’ll have to leave out the sugar in this.  Try a bit of apple juice instead.  And serve it with roasted chicken.

Chicken Curry in the Slow Cooker

I love this recipe!  Just skip serving it over rice.  It’s really good with baked sweet potatoes.

Garlic Lime Tilapia

Use clarified butter and you’re good to go for this one!

Honey Dijon Pork Chops and Apples in the Slow Cooker

Leave out the honey.  Use a little unsweetened apple sauce or apple juice instead, or just skip the honey/substitute altogether.

Asian Salmon (on the grill or in the oven)

You’ll have to substitute good quality beef broth for the soy sauce in this.

Dijon Tarragon Tilapia

Use clarified butter.

Tony’s Tilapia

Use clarified butter and read the labels on the seasoning to double check.

Tilapia with Veggies Baked in Foil

Read the labels on the lemon pepper or your seasoning of choice.

Whole Chicken in the Crockpot

Use this for the meat and the broth.

Italian Chicken and Tomatoes in the Slow Cooker

Leave out the cheese.

Zesty Crockpot Chicken

Serve it with something other than couscous.  Try lots of veggies and a salad.

Italian Seasoned Salt Pork Roast and Italian Seasoned Salt Chicken

Skip the wine. If you use the slow cooker, you won’t need it anyway.  If you use the oven for the pork, try a bit of water or apple juice.

Crockpot Lemon Chicken baked on a bed of Sauerkraut

Lemon Chicken Baked on a Bed of Sauerkraut in the Slow Cooker

This one if just fine to fix! No adjustments needed.

Mediterranean Chicken in the Slow Cooker

Another recipe that’s good as written.

Pork Chops Topped with Onion, Green Pepper and Pineapple

No adjustments needed.

Salsa Verde Steak in the Slow Cooker

Have all the fixings for your family, but have yours on a plate or in a lettuce wrap.  Serve with lots of guacamole (keep the chips at the other end of the table!).

skillet chicken, peppers and tomatoes

Skillet Chicken, Peppers and Tomatoes

No alterations needed.

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Leave out the wine.  Serve it with pasta for the family and spaghetti squash for you.

Turkey Breast in the Slow Cooker

Another good one to make meat and broth.

Virus Killing Soup

Watch the labels on the broth or use your own.  Leave out the wine.

Whole 30 Menu for First 15 Days

I’ve put together a dinner menu with main dishes and sides for the first 15 days of Whole 30.  You can find it here.

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