Nothing says summer like dinner prepared outdoors on the grill. I relish those al fresco dinners even more because of how easy it is to clean up afterwards! What mom wouldn’t enjoy fewer dishes to wash and making dinner in the fresh sunshine?
Grilling success was harder to come by for our family. The first year we began grilling outdoors was a year of trial and error. Over the years, we discovered that our key to success relies on a good meat thermometer, an arsenal of good marinades, a little bit of patience, and these tips and tricks that make grilling even easier.
I’m also sharing with your our family’s favorite grilled corn recipe – it’s so simple, yet SO good! (Amazon affiliate links are included where appropriate for your convenience.)
Tips for Grilling Success
1. If you don’t want your food to taste like last year’s burger, start with a clean grill. My biggest grill-cleaning hack is this: I take the simplest approach possible when cleaning my grill racks by using the self-cleaning function on my oven. Simply bring the grill racks indoors and place them in the oven, run the oven through the self-cleaning mode and you’ll end up with a clean oven and beautifully clean grill racks!
2. Maintain those shiny grates by oiling them before you grill. When you’re done grilling, use a wire grill brush to clean off the grates while the grill is still warm.
3. Plan your menus in advance. Prepare meat in bulk and store in freezer bags (I double-bag mine to prevent messes) or freezer-safe containers. I love to prep a few different marinades at a time. Most marinades have similar base ingredients (olive oil, vinegars, seasonings, Worcestershire sauce) and it’s so much easier to do it all at once. Chop meat for kabobs and jot down any cooking times or special instructions on the outside of the bags. Then just stick the containers, marinade and all, in the freezer!
4. Consider investing in a digital meat thermometer. This will ensure that your meat is always fully cooked and at its optimal flavor. Look for a thermometer with a probe that beeps when the internal food temperature is reached. The best part is that some now come with a separate receiver that you can take indoors with you, letting you prep the rest of the food without worrying about burning the meat.
5. To get the best flavors from your meats, always:
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (to prevent the meat from sticking).
Season both sides of meat generously with salt and pepper.
Apply sauces at the end of the cooking time to prevent charred meat.
Let meat rest ten minutes after removing from grill, to allow the juices to redistribute.
6. Grilled vegetables are the perfect side dish. Large veggies like eggplant, squash or onions can be cut into chunks and placed on the grill rack. Smaller vegetables like cherry tomatoes or sliced veggies work best in kabobs.
My favorite tricks are to throw veggies into a cast iron skillet right on the grill, to save on time threading kabobs, and grilling in a heavy duty foil. So easy and just enjoy the delicious taste of grilled flavor throughout!
Herb-Buttered Grilled Corn Recipe
Our favorite summertime food has always been grilled corn on the cob. Our new favorite is this herb-buttered version that you must try. This recipe is a great way to use up any herbs from your herb garden. The finished product is delicious, buttery and so fresh tasting!
I am the queen of adapting takeout food at home. From lo mein noodles to restaurant-worthy steaks to fish tacos, there is little that I haven’t been willing to try to save money. When I visited my friends in Colorado we enjoyed a delicious night of Indian takeout and I fell in love with Butter Chicken. Have you had it? It’s so rich and delicious, just as you would expect from its name. I knew when I got home that I wanted to attempt making the dish and I set out to find a recipe that would adapt to my small town supermarket.
One of the ingredients in this recipe is a spice combo called garam masala, that you will find is used in many Indian dishes. After standing in our spice aisle for a good half hour, I discovered our store did not have it (or apparently was out of it on the day I decided to be adventurous!). Since I had already visited three stores that day, I found this recipe for making your own garam masala spice combo out of spices you likely have lurking in your pantry. It was easy to know what I already had thanks to my newly organized spice cabinet and this saved me some money especially since I wasn’t sure if my family would love this dish as much as me. If your store doesn’t have this spice too, this diy recipe will do in a pinch or you can order the real stuff online.
With basmati rice in my rice cooker and my Ninja Cooker for my frying and then warming (The greatest gift of an appliance to busy moms. Amen. AND on sale. Ahem.), this was an easy dish to prepare and to double.
I also noticed that our ALDI has boneless skinless chicken thighs now and at around $4-5 for two pounds of meat, it is a very economical dish to make at home. You can basically make enough for your whole family instead of just indulging in one small takeout dish. For this frugal girl, that is a true bonus!
Although I intended to be flashy and show off my gluten-free naan to accompany this dish, I still need to work on tweaking the recipe.
Don’t worry, I haven’t given up yet (but maybe my poor mixer and dirty kitchen have).
If you haven’t had Butter Chicken before it is DIVINE and a great way to dip your toes into Indian cooking and eating. It’s a mildly spiced curry dish and you can do the majority of the preparations the night before which makes it an easy weeknight meal. The chicken is marinated in yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and a variety of spices (including that garam masala we talked about!) overnight. The next day, you simply cook the meat and add a creamy tomato sauce to finish it off.
I hope you can give this dish a spin in your house and I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!
Butter Chicken is an affordable dish you can make at home instead of relying on takeout. Be sure to read my notes about substitutions for small town markets! Oh, and double it! You'll thank me!
½ cup full-fat plain yogurt (do not substitute with Greek yogurt!)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp garam masala (see my notes above to make your own spice combo)
½ tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper powder (you can go lighter if your family prefers a less spicy dish)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup tomato passata or puree (I used crushed tomatoes because that is what our store offered. If you prefer a smoother consistency substitute with tomato sauce and use a little tomato paste to thicken)
1 tbsp sugar
1¼ tsp salt
½ cup- ¾ cup heavy cream (we went a little lighter with half-and-half)
Combine the marinade ingredient in a bowl. Dice your chicken thigh meat and place in a food storage bag. Pour the sauce over the chicken, seal, and shake bag to coat your chicken. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.
Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a large fry pan. Add the chicken coated in the Marinade and cook for around 3 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked on the outside. It has a yellow hue thanks to the tumeric!
Add the tomato passata (or crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce with the addition of a little tomato paste to thicken), sugar and salt. Turn down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Do a taste test to see if it needs more salt. Stir through the cream, then remove from heat.
Garnish with coriander/cilantro leaves if using. Serve with basmati rice.
Word must have spread how nuts our family is about these meals and the publishing house for the, Sheet Pan Suppers cookbook reached out to see if they could send me copy of the book to review. I had mentioned it had been on my radar, but my biggest struggles with cookbooks is that I don’t know how many gluten-free offerings are going to be in them and I have to stick to gluten-free meals in our house.
I was pleasantly surprised that the cookbook was well-balanced between gluten-filled offerings and gluten-free offerings. From appetizers to meats to vegetarian to brunch to dessert…this cookbook offers a little something for everyone. My biggest struggle was picking which recipe to start with. I figured the cover dish had to be a winner if it was showcased on the front of the book so we went with that. A delicious fish dish with fresh veggies tossed with a pistachio gremolata sounded like a winner for our house.
What is a Gremolata?
This was my first gremolata and I was intrigued by the pairing of pistachios with fish. If you haven’t heard of a gremolata before, you need not worry that this is out of your level of cooking expertise. This is a simple Italian condiment that is traditionally made with herbs, garlic, and lemon zest, and sometimes an accompaniment like pine nuts (or in this case, pistachios- YUM). You can use your food processor and pulse a few times (this is the one I have), but I prefer to avoid washing the food processor and opt for a quick hand chopper, which has been worth its weight in gold in my kitchen.
To save even more time, I purchased the pistachios already out of their shell at our supermarket. Although a bit pricier per pound, it saves a great deal of time on a busy weeknight or on a tired night with my vino in the evenings after a long day of running kids.
If you live somewhere where you have access to great fresh fish, the author utilizes Arctic Char in this recipe. In Indiana, salmon fillets are affordable and easy to come by in our frozen section of the store. Resting these on top of fresh asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and topped with lemons, this is a sheet pan guaranteed to satisfy all your taste buds. The gremolata adds the final touch on the cooked fish, adding that salty crunch that takes this from a basic meal to a restaurant-worthy one!
I really loved this cookbook and my family is already looking forward to us eating this again in our house! Thank you to the publishing house for sending us a copy of, Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert to give a spin in our kitchen! We are big fans!
Roasted Salmon and Asparagus With Pistachio Gremolata
Author: Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4 servings
An easy sheet pan meal with salmon and veggies topped with a quick pistachio gremolata for a fancy crunch to this beautiful dish. Company-worthy and easy? Winning!
1 bunch asparagus (roughly 1 pound total)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless fillets Arctic char, salmon or trout (5 to 6 ounces each)
½ medium red onion, sliced into ¼-inch-thick half-moons
½ lemon, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
½ cup roasted, salted, and shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
Heat the oven to 350 with a rack in the center position. Mist a sheet pan with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.
Gently bend one asparagus spear between your fingers and snap off the bottom where it breaks easily. Line up the rest of the bunch and slice off the bottoms at the same distance from the tips. Place the trimmed asparagus on the prepared pan, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Toss to coat, and spread the asparagus in an even layer.
Place the fish fillets on top of the asparagus, evenly spaced apart, and sprinkle with an extra pinch of salt and pepper. Scatter the onion, lemon slices and cherry tomatoes around and on top of the fish.
Bake until the asparagus is crisp-tender and the fish is almost opaque (20 to 30 minutes if using char, other types may vary). For my salmon, I cooked thawed fillet for just 12-15 minutes!!
While the fish cooks, mix together the lemon zest, garlic, parsley and pistachios in a small bowl- this is your gremolata.
Sprinkle the gremolata over the fish and asparagus before serving warm.
*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though!! xo
There are a few great gifts I give myself in the morning. The first, is to rise an hour earlier than necessary to get in an uninterrupted hour of reading (BLISS!). The second is to always program my coffeemaker the night before so I wake up to a fresh brew (HEAVEN!). The third? Packing my freezer with smoothie packets that make creating a morning smoothie filled with greens and fruits incredibly easy and practically effortless (WINNING AT LIFE).
I posted about my make-ahead smoothie packets on Instagram and got a lot of questions about it. Something I have come to think of as a weekly routine really sparked a lot of questions about my recipe, what the smoothie looked like, and what to do for fruit substitutions. I thought it deserved its own little post because it has become a very vital part of my morning routines and sets a good foundation for healthy eating the rest of the day.
Not only does this strategy save you time in the morning, but it also puts ripe fruit to work and is a great way to utilize spinach before it goes bad making the most of every grocery dollar. I never waste a banana in our house or any greens anymore because they always have a home. If I have run out of frozen berries, I just add the rest of these ingredients into a packet and get them ready for my next grocery day when I can get the frozen fruit to add to it. As someone trying to reduce their food waste, this has been an awesome use for those often tossed items.
Also, if you buy smoothies regularly, you know they are not cheap. A typical smoothie around these parts (said in my best Midwest accent) is around $4-6. Even if bought weekly, that can add up fast!
Here were a few of your questions for me!
Do you store these packets in the freezer and for how long?
Yup, I recommend freezing in quart-sized freezer storage bags and making sure to push out any air in the bags to keep these ingredients as fresh as possible. I would recommend using these in one month for optimum flavor.
How many smoothies do these packets make?
I drink an enormous smoothie in the morning (24 ounces) and my daughter has the size I am showing you in the cup below and this packet with my recipe I have listed makes enough for that. For “normal” people, maybe it might make three, but this is my breakfast, people, and I’m a big eater. I got one of these for me to help make toting these in the car a little easier since I drink these on the way to the gym in the morning. I also have this giant water bottle from the same company and it has improved how much water I intake as well as my healthy smoothie habit for breakfast. I have been happy how they have held up (over a year now!) compared to some other insulated cups I have tried.
Do you blend these with milk or use a milk substitution?
My stomach can’t process a lot of dairy so I use unsweetened almond milk in mine. I do use Greek yogurt though (either vanilla or unsweetened) and that doesn’t seem to bother me. You can definitely use milk, soy milk, or coconut milk if you would prefer. I’m a big fan of the flavor of the almond milk!
Can I make these without spinach? I don’t think my kids will drink these if they are green!
I just want to show you how very slightly these are tinged with green when you only add a cup or so of spinach to them. Additionally, if I am really concerned an extra handful of frozen blueberries cancels out all other colors so sometimes if I am really generous with the blueberries, these look more blue.
Are you using frozen spinach? Frozen berries? What does the spinach look like when it is frozen?
Here is a packet that has been frozen for three weeks and this is what it looks like. The spinach is fresh spinach (I don’t want to hassle with the frozen stuff- personal preference), the berries are frozen, and the bananas are fresh. I like to cut the bananas in half to help them break down a little easier in the blender. As you can see, the spinach looks almost the same as it did when I threw it in there.
The bananas may brown over time, but they will still taste the same. As rapidly as we go through these though, I have rarely even seen that happen.
By freezing these fruits and veggies, you eliminate the need for ice in your smoothie which creates a much creamier consistency and a smoothie that holds together longer. Sometimes I will make these in the morning and pop one in the fridge for my daughter for her afternoon snack. It always looks just like I had just made it. When I add water or ice, it tends to separate and grosses her out.
Should I flash freeze any of the ingredients?
If you aren’t familiar with flash freezing, I do this a lot with foods for our freezer. Typically, I fan whatever I am freezing out on an open parchment paper lined cookie sheet, freeze just until frozen, and then toss in a bag.
I experimented with this and here is what I will say about that. You can cut the bananas in half and flash freeze and they will stay separated, making it easier to pour into your blender and it is really great. It’s an extra step though. My lazy freezer routine is to cut them in half right in the bag, freeze (where they tend to fuse back together) and then smack the bag as hard as I can on the counter until they loosen from each other while I listen to the political crap insight on NPR. It’s kind of like a therapy session. You can do it whichever way fits your lifestyle best.
What kind of protein powder do you use? What can I use if I am vegan or dairy-free?
When I was dairy-free, I experimented with a lot of terrible protein powders so I can honestly tell you this is the only brand that I really liked that was plant-based. Now that I’m not dairy-free, I just purchase the store brand protein powder at our local grocery store in a vanilla flavor. Like I said, we had to try a few before we found the ones we liked best and I always try to keep my eyes peeled for a sale to maximize the savings. The goal is to keep this as a frugal routine for us.
What kind of blender do you have?
I have had the same blender for probably eight years or so and, unfortunately, they don’t make mine anymore. When mine bites the bullet, I will probably invest in this one because I have heard they last forever. In order to blend up these fruits, you really need to have a high powered blender though. If you have a $20 blender, it will burn out your motor. I say this because I did it. Twice. Invest in a good blender and it will more than pay for itself, I promise you!
I can’t eat bananas. Do you have any recommendations for substitutions for my smoothie?
Do your kids really like these? My kids are really picky!
They really do and so do I. My daughter was a terrible breakfast eater, like her mother, and I worried a lot that she wasn’t eating enough to be fueled for her day at school. This is what she “eats” and she stays full until lunchtime. If she is running late, it is something that can be finished while she waits for her bus. Fun straws are always a great addition to this morning treat especially when first pitching this idea to your kids. She says it tastes like a milkshake.
For me, it’s been an incredible way to get fueled before I workout. Working out on an empty stomach isn’t a good idea for someone with low blood sugar. Eating something too heavy made me feel like I was going to be sick. These smoothies are a great option to be fueled without a lot of heaviness in my stomach. Sometimes I drink half and pop it in the fridge until I get done exercising and finish the other half when I’m done.
I hope these tips are helpful and I hope you love these as much as our family does!
I heard from so many of you that you loved and have already created our Sheet Pan Ranch Chops and Veggies this week in your kitchens. It makes me so happy to hear that you are enjoying these recipes so I thought I would experiment with another sheet pan combination this week and it ended up being an even bigger hit than the last one! This Sheet Pan Lemon Paprika Chicken with Brussels Sprout & Potatoes tastes like a well-seasoned rotisserie chicken with oven roasted veggies that my daughter proclaimed was my best creation in the kitchen yet.
I wanted to take the flavors that I loved so much in that Lemon Paprika Chicken that was swimming in a beautiful white wine sauce, a beautiful Sunday meal, and translate those flavors in a basic weeknight meal that could be all slid onto a pan and ready for a family in 30 minutes. With a basic marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, thyme, and paprika this creates a flavorful skin on the kitchen and a beautiful color on it too.
The potatoes and brussels sprouts are diced and tossed in a simply with olive oil, salt, and pepper, but taste rich and heavenly thanks to that chicken fat that they swim in.
This weekend we hosted a family of six for the first time to share a meal with them. Serving ten people can sounds a little intimidating for a meal, but I didn’t want to revert to just ordering a pizza for the evening. I doubled this recipe and there was hardly a speck left. Not only did the parents love it, but I had six happy kiddos that loved it too! Thanks to the parchment paper lining underneath, it made for an easy clean-up so we could really enjoy our time with our friends.
Do make sure to finish the chicken with your broiler. Not only does it create that crispy skin, resembling fried chicken, but it also gives a little delicious charred taste to your veggies. Make sure you keep an eye on it and watch out for the sizzle, wearing protective oven mitts when pulling out. If you are entertaining and doing two pans, just rotate the pans under the broiler so they both have crispy skins. I also rotated them halfway through to make everything was heated evenly. It ended up being a gorgeous dish to share with friends that I can’t wait to share again with more people that share our table.
This is, TRULY, my new favorite dish and I’m so proud to share it with you today! I hope you love this delicious flavor combination as much as we did!
An easy sheet pan supper bursting with flavor. Lemon paprika chicken is nestled in a bed of potatoes and brussels sprouts for a decadent meal ready in 30 minutes. Easily double it with the tips in this post!
6-8 bone-in chicken thighs
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Zest & juice of one lemon
5 garlic cloves, divided
1 pound baby potatoes (I used golden potatoes)
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
Olive oil, salt, & pepper (to taste)
In a mixing bowl mix together olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, and two minced garlic cloves.
In a resealable bag, pour these ingredients into the bag with the chicken thighs, rubbing the mixture evenly over all the chicken. Refrigerate for two hours.
Preheat your oven for 450 degrees.
Dice and cut your veggies and toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper (to taste).
On a parchment lined sheet pan, spread the prepared vegetables out on the pan. Remove the chicken from the fridge and create holes in the veggies to nestle your chicken, doing your best to keep everything in a single layer for even cooking.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Switch your oven to BROIL and broil on high for 3-5 minutes, watching carefully to make sure the skin does not burn.
Allow your chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes to retain full flavor and juices.
This post may contain affiliate links! I only recommend what I love!
As our schedules become busier with activities, I have found that I have been gravitating more and more towards sheet pan meals to feed our family. The beauty of a sheet pan meal is that, when lined with foil or parchment paper, these meals of meats and veggies prepared on a cookie sheet not only hold the power to be prepared with minimal effort, but they also are prepared with minimum clean-up too. I am not the only one loving sheet pan meals though, as I noticed at our local library that this sheet pan suppers cookbook was out on the shelves this winter and I can’t wait to check it out and dive into some of those recipes in our own kitchen. Who knew sheet pan meals were so trendy this year?
Today’s sheet pan dish features Ranch Pork Chops with Vegetables and has already been eaten a record four times this month. I am a big fan of these pre-cut parchment paper squares for easy clean-up and I can find all of these ingredients for this meal at ALDI, which is a bonus since I hate shopping at multiple grocery stores. Although the ingredients couldn’t be more simple, this recipe is packed full of flavor thanks to the convenience of a ranch dressing packet. If you are avoiding those for any reason (like sodium), you can also make your own DIY Ranch Dressing Mix to cut down on the salt.
Although we loved this dish enough for it to be repeated four times, the main reason why I tested it so much was because I wanted to get the right level of doneness to both the potatoes and the meat. I found that by giving the potatoes a 10-12 minute head start, I got better consistency on the potatoes while not drying out the meat and green beans in the process. Throwing the potatoes in the oven first also gave me that ten minutes to prep the rest of the ingredients while they were cooking. Basically, as soon as that timer goes off, I’m ready to throw on the next layer. I rely on center cut pork chops, on the bone, for a flavorful chop that consistently is done within 30 minutes. Resting this chops on top help add moisture and flavor to the veggies nestled underneath.
A fresh sprinkle of parsley adds a beautiful fresh flavor to this dish and some affordable color to the top.
Not only is this a great weeknight winner, but it also reheats beautifully, saving us on money spent on lunches out. I try to package a couple of meals up for my husband and I when cleaning up.
Did I mention less dishes when cleaning up?
Now you REALLY know why we have already eaten this four times.
I hope you love this sheet pan meal as much as we do!
A practically effortless pork chop sheet pan meal that feeds six people!
6 (8-ounce) pork chops, bone-in, ¾-inch to 1-inch thick
1 pound yellow or red baby potatoes, quartered
1 pound green beans, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (1-ounce) package Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix
5 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Quarter potatoes and toss with one tablespoon of olive oil, ¼ of the Ranch dressing packet, and two minced cloves of garlic in a large bowl. Pour in an even layer on sheet pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile trim green beans and place in the bowl you used for tossing the potatoes. Toss the green beans with ¼ of the Ranch dressing packet, one tablespoon of the olive oil, and one clove of minced garlic.
Remove potatoes from the oven and pour prepared green beans on top. Add pork chops and drizzle lightly with olive oil and finish by sprinkling with the Ranch packet. Season with salt and pepper.
Place into oven and roast until the pork is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 140 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes. You can finish by broiling for two to three minutes, if you desire a more charred flavoring to your meal.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley.
Do you love sheet pan meals too? Let me know what your favorite sheet pan dishes are in your kitchen!
This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love- pinky promise!
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and for many years I have chosen to honor this occasion with a special dish for my man. Battling crowded restaurants is one of the least romantic ways to spend this holiday so instead we choose to eat a special dinner at home. In years past, I focused my efforts on mastering a restaurant-worthy filet, a skill I never thought I could nail. This year, I wanted to challenge myself to make a great risotto for our feast. Mastering risotto has been on my wish list of cooking skills because it is the dish I always order when dining out. Risotto is pricey for such a humble dish when dining out, but one bite has always made it worth it for me. Risotto is gluten-free comfort food at its finest and a beautiful dish to prepare for your favorite Valentine this year.
When you head to the grocery store, you are looking for Arborio Rice. This is the exact brand I used and it was perfection. Can I be honest and say it was sitting in my pantry for months because I lost my nerve to make risotto? That is the truth! Arborio rice is an Italian short-grain rice. It is named after the town of Arborio, in the Po Valley, where it is grown. When cooked, the rounded grains are firm, creamy, and chewy, due to their higher amylopectin starch content. It creates a deliciously starchy and creamy dish that compliments other flavors that are added to it and it is the rice that is most commonly used to create risotto.
Have you had risotto before? If you haven’t yet, you are in for a real treat! It has a reputation for being a fussy dish, but really this dish takes just thirty minutes or less. In fact, I remember watching risotto preparation for the first time on a Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meal show. What makes risotto so delicious is actually you stirring the dish throughout that thirty minutes to release those starches in the rice that helps to create that creamy comforting flavor. The privilege of being the stirrer is having another hand to do the wine sipping as the dish pulls together. It’s a great reason to volunteer for the job, in my opinion.
For a first risotto these simple flavors are so easy to pull together. The shrimp dressed simply in paprika adds a beautiful smoky flavor on top of these creamy bowls of risotto. I have found that the wine, parmesan cheese, and frozen shrimp are all very affordable at ALDI. That isn’t sponsored talk, I’m just a true store enthusiast!
For frugal girls like myself, I have even found that the risotto reheats well with the addition of a little stock to bring it back together on the stovetop. If you prefer though you can also transform the leftovers into risotto cakes, which I have found makes a delicious addition on top of a spinach salad!
Risotto is an elegantly comforting gluten-free dish that is perfect for a slowed down feast or to celebrate any of life's occasions. Be sure to read the tips for ideas on what to do with leftover risotto.
1 pound medium shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups arborio rice
½ cup white wine
1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup finely chopped Italian parsley, divided
Heat the oven to 400°F. Rinse the shrimp and pat them very dry. Toss them with olive oil and then the paprika and a generous quantity of salt and pepper. Spread them in a baking dish and return them to the refrigerator.
Warm the broth in a saucepan set over low heat.
In a separate Dutch oven or wide, deep sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until they are soft and beginning to brown around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir thoroughly to make sure it is coated with the butter and onions. Cook the rice for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stirring and scraping the pan until the wine has evaporated.
Begin incrementally adding the warm broth one ladle at a time, stirring frequently. Wait to add another ladle until the liquid has been almost completely absorbed by the rice. This gradual addition of liquid is key to getting the rice to release its starch and create its own delicious sauce. It is important to take your time with this to achieve the creamy texture you are after. If the broth is evaporating very quickly, or the rice is boiling hard, turn the heat down so you just see a gentle simmer. Expect this stage to take about 18 minutes, and to add most of the broth.
Begin tasting the rice after about 13 minutes to gauge how far it has cooked. The risotto is ready when the rice is still a bit chewy, and the dish has the consistency of thick porridge.
In the last 5 minutes of cooking the risotto, put the pan of prepared shrimp in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes or until the shrimp are pink.
When the risotto is ready, turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan and about ½ cup chopped parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve immediately, spreading risotto in pasta bowls and topping with shrimp and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.
I have tried and tried and tried to create a delicious gluten-free meatloaf, but have failed on countless occasions. We have had hard-as-a-rock meatloaves and runny meatloaves and gummy meatloaves and dense meatloaves, but nothing has ever been delicious…until now.
When all else fails (oatmeal, gluten-free breadcrumbs, no breadcrumbs at all, fresh gluten-free breadcrumbs, etc..), you just have to go to the experts. To me, there is no better resource than America’s Test Kitchen and The How Can It Be Gluten-Free cookbook had a meatloaf recipe in it that had a really unusual binding agent that yields a fluffy and delicious meatloaf without the gluten. You know what makes it even better? It is just a standard ingredient you would find at a standard grocery store that you might even have in your pantry. You mean, no fancy pants gluten-free ingredients that cost an arm and a leg? Well, heck, sign me up!
If you don’t have meatloaf pan like this, they offer an affordable alternative to create a loaf that isn’t swimming in grease. Simply place a standard cooling rack on top of your cookie sheet and then tear pieces of foil, roughly the size of a loaf pan) to lay on top of your cooling rack. Spray with cooking spray and then use a skewer to poke holes to drain the grease from the loaf. All the grease then goes to the cooking sheet, helping the loaf to hold its shape.
Once you have shaped your meatloaf, you can cover it in half the sauce you have made. This sauce is sweet and I have discovered my family prefers just a can of tomato sauce on top with a little shake of garlic salt for a more Italian flavoring. You can do either, but I definitely found that this sweet sauce hugged and set well on this meatloaf, even when reheated later for delicious meatloaf sandwiches.
This meatloaf is so light and who would ever have guessed that instant mashed potatoes is what keeps it so light and fluffy? It’s an incredible loaf that holds its shape and is full of flavor thanks to the delicious sauce that compliments this fluffy loaf perfectly. We served this dish with a big helping of oven roasted brussels sprouts, a side that has grown to be a family favorite!
I hope you will enjoy this recipe in your house as much as we had and now that I know what a great binder instant mashed potatoes are, this will be a pantry staple for our family! Thank you, America’s Test Kitchen, for making our family so darn happy!
A perfectly light meatloaf with the most surprising binding agent! Try substituting the sweet sauce with tomato sauce for an Italian kick!
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
2 large eggs
½ cup milk of choice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
⅓ cup potato flakes
⅓ cup minced fresh parsley
1 pound ground pork
1 pound (85 percent lean) ground beef
Adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Fold heavy-duty aluminum foil to form a 9x5-inch rectangle. Center foil on a wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Poke holes in the foil with a skewer (about ½ inch apart). Spray foil with vegetable oil spray.
Stir ketchup, sugar and vinegar together in a bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 5 minutes.
Whisk in eggs, milk, mustard, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Stir in potato flakes and parsley. Add pork and knead with hands until thoroughly combined. Add beef and continue to knead until uniform.
Transfer meat mixture to foil rectangle and shape into 9x5-inch loaf. Brush half of ketchup mixture over meatloaf. Bake meatloaf in preheated oven 40 minutes.
Brush meatloaf with remaining ketchup mixture and continue to bake until center of loaf registers 160°F, 30 to 35 minutes. Let meatloaf cool 15 minutes before slicing.
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I’m back!! The holiday break was so good for my family and my soul. I trust that you all had a wonderful holiday season too! It always surprises me how good a break is for getting my creative wheels turning again. I found myself back in the kitchen again over this break and enjoying a slowed down supper or two with my family. I found myself with piles of cookbooks from the library and a new desire to create in my kitchen again.
Our MomAdvice Hangout group has been a really great place to chat with you all about what you are looking for in the upcoming year especially when it comes to food. Two things really stood out to me. 1) You struggle with keeping the grocery budgets down and the eating out to a minimum (ME TOO!) and 2) You are hoping to be inspired to get in the kitchen with a better plan in place (ME TOO!)
With that in mind, today’s meal is for a lemon paprika chicken that our whole family absolutely loved thanks to its light and lively lemon sauce that will be making its way into our weekly rotation.
The reason I really loved it though was that ALDI had marked down their meat that day and I was able to purchase eight chicken thighs for about $4.19. That was enough to feed my family of 4 and have a couple of lunches for another day in our refrigerator. With the accompaniment of a simple potato side (coming soon!), we had the makings for a truly affordable meal.
I have always thought chicken breasts were best, but the chicken thigh meat has become our new family favorite after finally mastering the technique of getting a perfect thigh thanks to the inspiration from Damn Delicious in her Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken. Why is meat we haven’t worked with before so intimidating? With all the tools I have at my fingertips, I can admit that I was scared of chicken thighs until I tried her roasting technique and now we eat chicken thighs weekly.
Her technique of browning the meat in butter yields a crispy skin and then throwing it in the oven to roast creates a chicken that is bursting with flavor. While the chicken roasts, I typically add a rotation of other roasted veggies on a cookie sheet or add a quick steam bag of baby peas and a jar of applesauce for times when the cupboard is more lean. These have become my go-to when entertaining and are always a hit with dinner guests.
If you haven’t given the chicken thigh a chance before, you are missing out on the big M word (I will not say it, I won’t…you know that word.). White meat can be very dry and lacking in flavor, this is the opposite of that and I will let you think on that word that I am referencing now.
Once you master that technique the possibilities with a pan sauce are endless and I have made these so often now that it takes me just a few minutes to pull everything together and I have the kitchen cleaned by the time the chicken is done roasting. A one pan dish that is affordable and yields great leftovers? Sign me up!
My husband hates a heavy-handed lemon taste, but agreed that this was just the right amount of citrus in this recipe. The lemon not only adds depth to the flavoring, but it helps to tenderize the meat. The smoky paprika adds an additional layer of flavoring that perfectly compliments this sauce. I love that these humble ingredients can bring such a complex and balanced flavor to the chicken. Humble, affordable, and impressive…that’s a winner in our book.
I hope this dish inspires you to give that chicken thigh a try because it will save you a lot of money if you have been buying chicken breasts and I often find these marked down at our store. Bone-in is my personal preference for the word that shall not be said.
These reheat beautifully too so be sure to pack a few away in microwavable containers to keep the cost of lunches down!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own.
I don’t think any holiday meal is complete without a good stuffing. Being gluten-free can be a challenge around the holidays, trying to recreate those comforting holiday dishes, but without the gluten. Today I wanted to show you a delicious Bacon, Apple, & Cornbread Stuffing that you can make for the holidays with a few delicious ingredients at Walmart that you will never guess is gluten-free and so affordable to make too!
The star of today’s ingredient line-up is definitely this Wright® Bacon! I love that this thick bacon is naturally hickory smoked which adds a rich depth to your stuffing. This grocery staple can be found in the refrigerated section of Walmart.
Rounding out our ingredient list are sweet apples, savory celery, onions, Great Value Brand chicken broth, a gluten free-cornbread mix, fresh thyme, fresh sage, and just a pinch of cayenne pepper to add a kick to this dish. I love that these ingredients are all available at one store, even my gluten-free cornbread mix, leaving me more time for making those family holiday memories!
Confession time! I was really nervous about creating this dish for you. This was actually my first time baking any gluten-free bread so I was really nervous about the texture of this bread, but even more nervous that the bread wouldn’t stand up to cubing. I am so happy to say that it actually cubed up and toasted beautifully in my oven for this dish. I would recommend baking it the day before and cubing it the next day to help it keep its shape and prevent any crumbling. In 15-18 minutes you have your base for a beautiful bowl of stuffing.
Great stuffing is all about the layering of flavors and this one has them all. From the sweetness of the apples to the savory of the celery and onions to the deliciously salty and chewy bacon to the kick of spices from the cayenne, each bite is like a little holiday symphony in your mouth.
I would definitely say that this dish takes my holidays from good to great. You can find this and so many other great recipes over at the Joy to the Meal site to help inspire you in the kitchen. I hope you can experience a few #joy2themeal dishes at your table and I hope this recipe helps you to be brave and tackle your own gluten-free stuffing for the holidays!