Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

16 Ideas for Quick Weeknight Dinners

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

16 Ideas for Quick Weeknight Dinners

The school year is upon us and along with that comes the chaos of planning what to make for dinner each night so I’m sharing 16 easy weeknight dinners that are perfect to share with your family around the dinner table. These can be made very quickly or can be thrown in your slow cooker for those busy nights full of activities after the school day has ended. I’m also including ideas for side dishes that are just as easy. They happen to be our family favorites and I know that they can be your family’s favorite too!

Don’t forget that you can use our free printable meal planner or use the menu planner in our Home Management Binder to get your dinners organized! 

1. Grilled Ground Beef Gyros 

Skip heading out to your local gyro joint and enjoy a gyro at home with this handy recipe. The toppings and sauce can be prepared the night before and keep a package of store-bought pitas in your freezer just for this easy weeknight meal. This one is ready in about twenty minutes. Serve this delicious dinner treat with baby carrots.

2. Rosemary Chicken

Rosemary Chicken is my go-to dish that can be made with a couple of ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry. If you do not have fresh rosemary on hand, you can substitute with dried rosemary instead. This quick chicken dish makes for fantastic leftovers that you can put in tortilla wraps to send to school with your children or can make a fantastic addition to a delicious salad. Serve this easy and elegant chicken dish with a side of pesto rice and microwave lemon broccoli for a quick dinner that the whole family will love.

3. Salmon Patties

Even if you have never been a fan of salmon patties before, I believe this recipe can convert anyone over to this easy and frugal weeknight dish. These patties are filled with a little lemon zest within the patty and a baked potato to stretch the salmon The breadcrumb coating made with Italian breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan makes these taste like something served at a fancy seafood restaurant and a little squirt of fresh lemon juice turns boring cans of salmon into something spectacular!  Serve these wallet-friendly wonders with my easy perfect baked potato and lemon roasted green beans.

4. Perfectly Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled Pork Sandwiches not only make the perfect slow cooker dish for busy weeknight activities, but they just so happen to make the world’s greatest leftover sandwiches for other nights too. This pulled pork can be simmering away in its root beer bath while you tackle all of the rest of the day’s activities. Serve these sandwiches on whole wheat buns with corn on the cob or a bag of frozen corn.

5. Chicken Italiano

Fewer dishes are loved more by me than this simple dish that can be created out of frozen chicken when you (whoops) forget to thaw your chicken for the evening’s meal or that can be popped in the slow cooker when your family feels swamped with activities. I love to serve this dish over spaghetti noodles or baked brown rice with a simple salad.

6. Baked Ziti With Turkey Meatballs

Entertaining your child’s entire football team? Have company coming on a school night? This is your dish because it is made with store-bought meatballs, can easily be doubled, and can be prepared the night before so it is ready to go. This isn’t your typical dried out ziti thanks to the addition of chicken broth to the sauce, which really coats the noodles well and adds a depth of flavor to the dish. Serve this with some easy Portuguese White Bread (made in your bread machine, of course) and a spinach salad.

7. Braised Balsamic Chicken

This braised balsamic chicken comes together in a mere twenty minutes, but tastes like it has been cooking all day long. The balsamic vinegar compliments the diced tomatoes perfectly and the addition of these spices makes this dish a true winner in our home.  Serve this braised balsamic chicken over angel hair pasta and with your favorite side salad.

8.  Skillet Penne & Sausage Supper

You want simple, easy, and less dishes? Skillet suppers are the way to go and this one is packed with veggies and flavor. This dish has all the ease of Hamburger Helper, but without the sodium and preservatives that you really don’t want your kids to be eating. Serve this simple supper with bowls of applesauce on the side and prop those feet up thanks to a night free from a kitchen full of dishes.

9. Skillet Ziti with Chicken & Broccoli

This is another night for embracing your vegetables and not embracing dishes. This Skillet Ziti with Chicken & Broccoli can easily be personalized with fresh diced tomatoes on top for the tomato lover’s in the family. To make this dish vegetarian, just omit the chicken and up the veggie quotient. With the sprinkle of tomatoes or a handful of sundried tomatoes and spinach, it could make this a veggie packed dish worth repeating. Serve this fun dish with your favorite fruit and slices of whole grain bread with butter.

10. Panko Crusted Tilapia Nuggets

While breading fish can be a bit labor intensive, this dish can easily be done in stages for quick assembly in the evening and is truly a dish that the whole family will love. These tilapia nuggets can replace your kid’s adoration for those fried chicken nuggets and offer a fun & healthy choice in their place. Serve the nuggets with lemon rice pilaf and steamed edamame. I love to make these sides in my rice cooker, for a fun meal that is ready in under thirty minutes.

11. Bow Ties With Tomatoes, Sausage, & Cream

This delicious dish is the one that I go to whenever we have unexpected company or when I am looking to make a dish that I can serve as an elegant lunch the next day. This dish restaurant-worthy and can easily be doubled when running a meal to someone else.   Once you try this one, I promise that it will go into your regular rotation forever. Serve this dish with lemon roasted green beans.

12. Pot Roast Italiano

My Pot Roast Italiano is guaranteed to knock your socks off and will change any feelings you previously had about roast forever.  This roast simmers away in the slow cooker all day and at the end of the cooking,  a can of tomato paste is whisked in to finish off the delicious gravy. I served the roast over cheesy orzo pasta and with a simple side salad. Leftover meat can be placed into slider rolls for Italian beef sliders the next night served with tortilla chips and carrot sticks.

13. To Die For Pot Roast Sandwiches

You will notice that few of our recipes have convenience foods or mixes in them, but this roast is my one exception to the rule since it relies upon three packaged mixes to create.   Do your best to look for low-sodium mixes though and avoid adding any salt to this recipe. These three little mixes and some water make the most flavorful roast. Not a hint of dryness in this roast and the leftovers heat up perfectly for a special lunch. Serve these easy sandwiches on whole wheat buns (homemade or store-bought) with fresh apple slices and glasses of milk.

14. Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenders

Made from ingredients that are likely already in your refrigerator and pantry right now, these simple ingredients are exceptionally delicious and create a flavorful & juicy chicken tender that you will absolutely love. This recipe yields a pound’s worth of tenders. I triple the batch for salad topping and grilled chicken wraps that make easy weekday lunches or a busy weeknight dinner for another night in our house. Serve these with baked brown rice and baby peas.

15. Presto Pesto Pasta Con Pollo

This dish replicates the flavors from my favorite meal at a local Italian restaurant. With the simple addition of sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and sun dried tomatoes, it takes this easy dish to an elegant level with minimal effort. Of course, no dish is complete without my signature addition of lemon zest and a squirt of lemon juice to freshen and lighten the flavors. The best part about this dish, in my opinion, is that it incorporates items that I already have in the pantry and can easily be pulled together with leftovers in the fridge. Leftover chicken, vegetables, and any type of pasta can be pulled together for a dinner that is worthy of an evening gathered with friends and family around the dinner table. Serve this elegant dish with my easy pumpkin cornbread muffins.

16. Italian Turkey Sliders

Sliders are a new addition to our family’s meal rotation and I guarantee if you try these that they will go into your rotation too! These Italian Turkey Sliders not only are quick to prepare and easy to bake, but thanks to their tiny size, these pint-sized sliders are ready in only fifteen short minutes. Sliders are not only highly fashionable for entertaining, but they also are super fun for little ones who will appreciate your small burger efforts as a way to make the dinner hour more fun. Serve these with homemade oven fries for a fun dinner at home.

What meal always makes it into rotation at your house? Have you tried a meal from this list?

Note: Originally published in 2011, this remains one of our site’s most-searched articles so I’ve updated it with a Pinterest-friendly header to go along with our M Challenge Focus on Meal Planning. These dinner ideas are perfect for busy school nights!

 

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How to Make a DIY Salad Bar for Your Fridge

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Originally published in 2012 as a summer salad option, we’ve found having DIY salad bar ingredients in our fridge is great for quick, healthy dinners and lunches all year long, making it a perfect addition to our August M Challenge Focus on Meal Planning. I hope you are inspired by this idea to eat healthy any time of the year!

DIY Salad Bar- a healthy dinner ready to go in the fridge

Healthy eating should always be a priority, but making it a priority has gotten to be more challenging because we seem to always be eating on the go, no matter what the season. Enter an easy DIY salad bar that you can quickly prepare on your grocery day to enjoy all week long! This DIY salad bar can be kept on hand in your fridge so that it’s always easy to put together healthy salads for lunches, picnics, and quick dinners.

All of the supplies can be found at basic stores- you will need a fridge/freezer storage basket, three plastic 5 cup lidded containers, and 1 larger 12.5 cups container. Chop up your favorite salad ingredients and organize them in your containers like shown. The largest container does not sit firmly flat, but it still wedges in there nicely so that you can place all of these neatly in this wire organizer.

I love having such fresh ingredients on hand to choose form and creating a salad bar couldn’t be easier with the fantastic selection we have of fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m showcasing just a few of the basics we love in our salads. You could definitely fill your produce drawer up with a few other great salad add-ins!

Ingredient Ideas for a Great Salad Bar

Lettuce
Spinach
Kale
Egg
Tomato
Cucumber
Bell pepper
Sunflower Seeds
Croutons
Cheese
Mushrooms
Carrots
Corn Kernels
Onions (none for me please!)
Beans
Artichoke Hearts
Apples
Avocado
Broccoli
Shrimp
Steak
Homemade Dressings

One ingredient I always have on hand in the summer for quick summer salads and wraps is roasted chicken. I don’t keep a lot of fresh chicken around and prefer to buy the frozen chicken breasts instead. There is money to be saved in buying and preparing whole chickens, but my family only likes white meat  so for convenience sake (and to get them to eat it), we stick to the chicken breasts.

I buy the 3 pound bag of chicken  cook and slice all of the chicken for the week. The chicken is then ready to go to be made into wrap sandwiches, fast paninis, a protein addition to my salads for lunch, and it helps me save a step for our dinners for the week. Here is how I batch-cook our chicken:

Roasted Chicken Breasts for Bulk Cooking

Preheat the oven for 375 degrees. Spread the frozen chicken breasts out over one or two cookie sheets. Drizzle a little olive oil over the chicken breasts and then sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest ten to fifteen minutes (to allow the juices to redistribute within the meat). Dice, slice, or shred for your recipes for the week.

Here is my beautiful salad bar on full display! Isn’t she pretty? It makes me really happy to have all of our fruit and vegetables chopped and ready to go for our week, making it easier to eat healthy.

Since we are a family on the go, I wanted to show you a fun way to enjoy your salads while you are out and about:

I picked up a collapsible basket and packed it with our outdoor blanket, salads (and fun bowls with forks included), fresh cut fruit, and homemade iced tea for an afternoon picnic to encourage healthy eating wherever we might be!

 

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Shrimp Boil Recipe

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Shrimp Boil Recipe from MomAdvice.com.

I love a good summer dinner outside and one without a lot of dishes, is always a winner. We started a new dinner tradition this summer doing a weekly shrimp boil. Have you ever done a shrimp boil? Call it a shrimp boil or call it a Lowcountry Boil, this is a dish that is easy to entertain with, thanks to its one-pot wonder status and the simplicity of serving this dish right on a pile of newspapers in the center of your picnic table.

The history of the Lowcountry Boil is a pretty interesting one. Coastal Living Magazine shares, in this article, that this dish was once called Frogmore Stew and was created by a National Guardsman when he needed to cook a meal for 100 soldiers. Richard Gay, who learned the recipe from his family, had everyone remembering his stew. The dish was later named Frogmore, where Richard was from, by the guards who teased him about home. The postal service eliminated the name Frogmore, which changed this popular dish name to Lowcountry boil.

If you can feed a hundred soldiers, you can feed a few extra friends around your dinner table with this fun dish, which is why I wanted to share it with you today.

Shrimp Boil Recipe from MomAdvice.com.

You see, I have been on a mission this summer to transform my attitudes about entertaining. This summer I decided to challenge myself and open our home up once a week to family and friends for dinners.

You know people that are natural born entertainers? The kind of people that just love entertaining?

I am just not one of them.

I want to be one of those people, but I often find the stress of preparation and wanting things to be perfect gets in the way of the relaxed kind of hostess I desire to be. By putting myself on a weekly dinner schedule with friends & family though, it has begun to feel more natural to have weekly guests in our home. Not only has it held me accountable to keeping up a bit around the house, it also has created so many beautiful memories with people we love around our dinner table.

My standards of what a perfect meal are also starting to relax a bit. My housekeeping has relaxed a bit in the process too. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s an honest thing.

I began to notice that real friends don’t care what kind of condition your home is in if you share a meal with them.

They just love being with you.

I have also found a little sangria also helps to relax your guest’s standards too. Ahem.

Shrimp Boil Recipe from MomAdvice.com.

My children have come to really love this dish too. There is just something so fun about grabbing a fork, dipping, and spicing to your heart’s delight. When the humidity gets to be too much, I just nestle this feast on a cookie sheet lined with newspaper on our kitchen table. We also love to throw on a really good record that fits the mood of the evening (this was last night’s selection)!

Since we live in the Midwest, our seafood is pretty limited to frozen offerings. You can certainly build upon this dish depending upon your location and grocery budget.

I hope this dish inspires you to open up your table to others and try something new. As a reluctant hostess, I have found the experience of opening up our table weekly to be really incredible for our entire family!

Shrimp Boil Recipe
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Call it a Shrimp Boil call it a Lowcountry Boil...whatever its name you decide upon, bask in the glory of this easy one-pot wonder! This recipe can easily be doubled for a large crowd!
Ingredients
  • 2 lemons, halved, plus wedges for serving
  • ½ cup Old Bay Seasoning
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes
  • 4 ears corn, husked and snapped in half
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, (cleaned & shells removed)
  • 13 ounces kielbasa (we use a turkey kielbasa in this), cut into slices
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Hot sauce, for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot with 4 quarts of water. Squeeze the lemon juice into the water and add the squeezed lemon halves. Add the Old Bay, garlic and onion. Tie the thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine and add to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes to the pot and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the corn and cook 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp & kielbasa the pot, cover and cook until the shrimp curl and are just opaque, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the shrimp and vegetables with a slotted spoon or skimmer to a large bowl. Add the butter and about 1 cup broth to the bowl and toss until the butter is melted. Transfer the shrimp and vegetables to a pile of newspapers. Serve with the remaining broth, lemon wedges and hot sauce, if desired.

 Have you ever done a shrimp boil? What makes your dish special? I would love to hear!!

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Pizza Quinoa Mushrooms

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Pizza Quinoa Mushrooms from MomAdvice.com *This post is sponsored by Wild Oats.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

There is not much that I miss since going gluten-free except the convenience of eating anywhere where I want without worry.

In fact, there is only one food that I really and truly miss…

Pizza.

Pizza Quinoa Mushrooms

I have blogged about our weekly pizza night together that has been a family tradition for many years. I can admit it,  I miss the days of sitting down and sharing a pizza with my kids. For awhile, our pizza nights lapsed- making pizza for everyone else and me eating a cardboard version of it just wasn’t in the cards at first. The only way that I can explain it is that it was a time of mourning for me. Others echo me when they say that they were blue to find out that they needed to make diet switches. It is like a little part of your life has changed and won’t be the same again.

Luckily, substitutions can be made with gluten-free crusts, but they often lack the flavor of that soft, doughy variety. I still make them on occasion, but I wouldn’t say gluten-free pizza is my favorite thing.

Portobello mushrooms, hollowed and inverted, can make a delicious substitute for an expensive gluten-free crust (and they also double as a mean burger!).  I love the meaty taste of these and I love how they can stand up to baking and grilling in the summer season.  When baked, a little drizzle of olive oil and a dusting of salt & pepper, creates a delicious fun base to your pizza. I would say that these trump a gluten-free crust any day and they are made with whole foods that you can be proud of!

Pizza Quinoa Mushrooms

This girl is no stranger to quinoa and we have talked about easy ways to prepare it on the Wild Oats blog. Of course, quinoa plain over and over again can be a little boring so to bring the pizza flavor into this dish, we incorporate Wild Oats Basil and add tomato flavor into the quinoa. When mixed in, it tastes like a protein-packed pizza sauce.

If you are vegan or dairy-free, the quinoa can be cooked in veggie broth and the cheese can be switched with a vegan cheese.

These are all the flavors I love about pizza without the belly ache. It’s a pizza that you can really feel good about for your whole family.

No need to be sad about that pizza night anymore- I’ve got you covered! You can snag all these fun products from Wild Oats (an affordable organic option) from Walmart!

Pizza Quinoa Mushrooms

Pizza Quinoa Mushrooms
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
All the pizza flavor you love without the guilt! This gluten-free pizza is a fun way to get in your veggies and protein with a delicious pizza sauce.
Ingredients
  • 4 extra-large portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¾ c. uncooked Wild Oats quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon Wild Oats dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon Wild Oats dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Wild Oats onion powder
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh Italian Parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Drizzle olive oil on the tops and bottoms of your portobello mushrooms . Season well with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. While the mushrooms are baking, cook the quinoa according to package directions.After the quinoa is prepared, stir in the tomato sauce, garlic, basil, oregano, and onion powder. Season to taste.
  4. After 10 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip the mushrooms over. Make sure to remove any liquid inside that may have cooked out to help prevent having a soggy pizza.
  5. Divide the quinoa mixture into the mushrooms, then top each one with cheese. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more.
  6. Finish with a sprinkling of fresh Italian parsley.

 

Get to know Wild Oats!

Check out Wild Oats on their blog,  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, &Pinterest.

 * This post is sponsored by Wild Oats. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

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Easy Rice Cooker Quinoa

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

Easy Rice Cooker Quinoa from MomAdvice.com

A couple of years ago, quinoa wasn’t even on my radar as a food that I would want to eat. Once I went gluten-free though, it became necessary to really explore foods that I hadn’t considered before and the absence of so many of my go-to carbs made this option seem rather appealing.

In all honesty, since changing my diet to gluten-free, it has become my favorite pantry staple that I have used to create delicious, protein-packed dishes that my whole family loves.  In the summer months, in particular, quinoa is perfect for your summer salads because it can be eaten hot, cold, or room temperature.

Wild Oats thankfully offers a variety of delicious quinoa options that you can find on your local Walmart shelves. Today I want to share a little bit about what quinoa is and some tips for preparing it!

Head on over to the Wild Oats blog to get the scoop on how to make quinoa in your rice cooker today!

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Baked Pecan Chicken Tenders

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Pecan-Chicken-Tenders.Header

Looking for a fresh new idea for topping those summer salads? Today I am sharing an easy recipe for Baked Pecan Chicken Tenders that you can even make-ahead and freeze for your busy week over at the Wild Oats blog!

I’m so excited to be joining as a contributor at the Wild Oats blog this year to share fresh & fun dishes for busy families. I’m not sure if you have heard of the product line before, but it is the new organic line available at your local Walmart store. I agreed to the partnership because I know that organic food is important to many of you, but I also understand how difficult it can be to eat organic on a budget. It is the two things that our family struggles with too. When Wild Oats presented at a meeting that I attended for Walmart, their enthusiasm for their products and the pride they took in them was, frankly, contagious. When they reached out to me, I knew it would be a great partnership to encourage healthy eating.  I also think you will be pleased with the price point on these products when you browse the grocery aisles and I want to show you ways to use these affordable pantry staples in a new way you might not have thought of before!

I will be sharing an idea on their blog once a month and one idea on my blog! I hope you will love these recipe creations as much as I do. The bonus is that each of these dishes will also be gluten-free! Yay!

Now that you have heard why I am so excited about this, be sure to head over this delicious Baked Pecan Chicken Tenders recipe!

 

 

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Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi from MomAdvice.com *This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site! 

Last month I shared with you that I have been on a quest to replicate some of our favorite restaurant dishes in our kitchen to help cut down on our dining out budget. Shrimp Scampi is one of those dishes that I absolutely love when I go out for seafood, but I don’t always love the price tag that comes with it. Today I wanted to share with you an easy Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi that is a delicious dish you could share during this Lent season for a Friday night feast that the whole family will love.

Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi from MomAdvice.com

The shrimp can be dredged in a gluten-free flour to add a little bit of coating to the shrimp or they can just be quickly sauteed in the delicious wine and butter sauce, then tossed with fresh Italian parsley. I love to put the shrimp scampi on top of some gluten-free pasta and serve it all with a side of roasted green beans. Thanks to the garlic in the scampi, it coats and adds flavor to your pasta beautifully.

In case you have been on the hunt for the gluten-free products at Walmart, I actually have found the section at the end of the candy aisle. They have a section dedicated specifically to gluten-free eating that includes a lot of my favorite snacks, pastas, cake mixes, and even loaves of gluten-free bread. I have found the prices really do beat out the ones at other supermarkets and specialty shops so I stock up when I go.

Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi from MomAdvice.com

Slice up a few lemons and dress the plates with a sprig of flat-leaf Italian parsley to really make it feel like restaurant dining. This isn’t the only dish that we have here that would be perfect for a meat-free evening or to be enjoyed on your Fridays during the Lent season.  In fact, I have quite a gathering on the site.

30 Fish & Meat Free Meal Ideas from MomAdvice.com.

If you are on the hunt for more delicious dishes, be sure to check out this link for 30 Fish & Meat-Free Meal Ideas! I have tried to include a big variety so that you are never bored for your evening meals. I hope these dishes inspire you and that you can give this easy shrimp scampi a spin for a quick weeknight meal!

Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi from MomAdvice.com.

Gluten-Free Shrimp Scampi
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (2½ oz./75 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour (found the gluten-free section of the store), can omit if you prefer to not have a crispy exterior to your shrimp
  • ½ tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1½ lb. (750 g) jumbo or extra-large shrimp, peeled and
  • deveined, tails intact
  • 12 Tbs. (1½ sticks) (6 oz./185 g) unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) dry white wine
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Lemon wedges for serving
Instructions
  1. In a shallow bowl, stir together the flour, the ½ tsp. salt and the ¼ tsp. pepper.
  2. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil.
  3. Toss half of the shrimp in the flour mixture to coat evenly, shaking off the excess. Add to the pan and cook, turning occasionally, until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining shrimp, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add 2 Tbs. of the butter and the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic softens and is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the wine, lemon zest and lemon juice, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to very low. Whisk in the remaining 10 Tbs. butter, 1 Tbs. at a time, letting each addition soften into a creamy emulsion before adding more. It will become very creamy, like a sauce.
  6. Return the shrimp to the sauce and mix gently to coat well. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and gluten-free pasta.

Walmart Mom Disclaimer

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Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Carnitas

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Carnitas

When you go gluten-free, there are only a handful of fast food restaurants that you can eat at and really enjoy without feeling rotten. Chipotle is one of my favorite places  and has been our go-to spot for a quick to-go dinner on busy weeknights for delicious gluten-free dishes. As I went to plug in our usual order this week though, I discovered there was a supplier issue of our family favorite…carnita meat isn’t at our location.

To be honest, I had a sneaking suspicion that this was eating away at our budget (thanks to its delicious convenience & a handsome Chipotle runner at my disposal) so I had been thinking of recreating this dish at home to save our family some money.

Necessity birthed creativity as I went on the hunt for a yummy replacement.

It seems fitting since our focus is money management this month for the m challenge that I could break a fast food habit with this yummy homemade alternative. Money. In. The. Bank.

gluten-free-slow-cooker-carnitas

This meat couldn’t be easier to create and the best part is that once you rub in the spices, this is a completely hands-off recipe. What isn’t easier is how freaking good it smells in your slow cooker all day which drove us absolutely crazy until dinnertime. The combination of spices is delicious, complex, and comprised mostly of ingredients I already had in my pantry. Garlic, red chili pepper, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, orange juice, lime juice, and beer.

slow-cooker-carnitas-4

I love the burrito bowl and making it couldn’t be easier. I just did a layer of brown rice made in my rice cooker (world’s best invention- here is the one I use for less than $25), a layer of black beans (canned or slow cooker homemade Mexican Black Beans), carnita meat, mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes, and I do a mean scoop of plain greek yogurt with a dash of salt, and a squeeze of lime. Serve this giant bowl up with tortilla chips for scooping and you are done.

Since this makes such a large amount of meat, I divided and freezed it for our month. No more Chipotle runs (averaging $22 per pop) and leftovers for a week of meals? Um. WINNING.

What was even better was that everyone in our family thought these were better than Chipotle. I was hoping to just have a nice substitution on days where we need to save a little, but now carnitas at home are better than the ones we bought out and we save a lot of money in the process.

I hope you can give these a try too!

slow-cooker-carnitas-3

Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Carnitas
Author: 
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
Carnitas just like Chipotle for a fraction of the price. Serve as a burrito or bowl and enjoy the savings!
Ingredients
  • 4-5 lbs. pork shoulder
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce (optional- we left it out because we are wimps)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 12 ounces gluten-free beer
  • ½ cup salsa (I used a garlic salsa from ALDI- feel free to experiment with your flavors)
Instructions
  1. Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker. Roughly chop the garlic and rub it all over the pork (top and bottom)
  2. Sprinkle the meat with salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne. Rub seasonings onto the pork until they are well incorporated.
  3. Add lime juice, orange juice, beer, and salsa. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Shred meat with two forks directly in the slow cooker (or take out, shred, and replace in sauce). It should fall apart easily.
  5. Remove the meat and put into a serving bowl, pouring some of the drippings over the top to moisten the meat.
  6. Serve with tortillas, tortilla chips, or as a rice bowl (instructions above)

Slightly Adapted from Pinch of Yum

 

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Healthy Fridge Makeover {& No-Bake Energy Bites}

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

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As I shared with you, when I attended college I lived on junk & convenience food and I had the inevitable “Freshman 15,” to prove it from my bad eating habits throughout the year. I only wish I knew how great I would have felt and how much better I would have performed if I had stocked my fridge with healthy options.

Now I know that there are healthy ideas for stocking your refrigerator – whether it’s a dorm sized mini-fridge, your first apartment fridge, or the huge family-sized fridge many of us graduate to – and I’m making sure that my kids do know that the foods that are good for your body are easy to keep on hand, too. In this healthy fridge makeover, I’m sharing easy ways to keep good-for-you foods within reach along with a recipe for a quick to make no-bake energy bite that you can mix up in a bowl for easy snacks on-the-go that both kids and adults love.

Healthy Fridge Makeover_2 Eggs- Eggs are the perfect food for starting your day out right or for a healthy late night snack. Did you know that you can prepare an egg easily in the microwave with no special equipment at all? Simply spray or grease a bowl to prepare it and crack two eggs in it with a tablespoon of milk and whisk well with a fork. Place your bowl of eggs in the microwave and cook for one minute. Give it another little scramble with your fork and then cook for thirty second intervals, until your eggs reach the desired consistency. That’s it! Don’t forget that you can add your own fun add-ins to this versatile food like chopped up veggies, cheeses, or meats.

Berries- Berries are a great item to keep on hand to eat as a side, to grab by the handful for a quick snack, mixed in with a cup of Greek yogurt, or as a topper to a bowl of instant oatmeal in the morning. Cut berries can also be added to a water bottle and then allowed to steep overnight to create a healthy & inexpensive infused water.

Veggies- Cut veggies are the perfect item to have on hand for a quick and healthy snack. Some of my favorites for snacking are peppers (in every color), carrot sticks, celery sticks, & cauliflower. Pair these veggies with your favorite dips like a nut butter with celery or dip them in hummus for an easy snack.

Nut Butters & Nuts- Nothing is quicker or easier than keeping a package of nuts on hand for snacking. Did you know that you can even freeze nuts? Grab an extra package and store it in your freezer, up to six months, to make sure they don’t go rancid. Try a new variety like almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, or cashews for a little variety. These can also be added to bowls of instant oatmeal in the morning or mixed into a salad for a crunch topping.

Nut butters are great for an accompaniment to celery or cut apples. My own favorite nighttime snack is peanut butter on a slice of whole grain toast with a glass of almond milk before I go to bed. It’s a satisfying and inexpensive snack!

Hummus- There are many different flavors and varities now of hummus and it is the perfect snack or spread to add to pitas or even smeared as a topping for your favorite sandwich. My favorite variety is the Red Pepper Hummus with sliced cucumbers or pita for an effortless snack.

String Cheese- String cheese is one of those grab-and-go snacks that I love to keep on hand in our fridge. Chop these up to add to your eggs to add a little cheesiness to your egg dishes without investing in bags of shredded cheese or wrap cheese with whole grain bread and a little deli meat into a “sushi” roll for a quick sandwich that can make lunches special.

No_Bake_Energy_Bites Energy Bites- No-bake energy bites are a fun snack to have on hand when you are craving a treat with a little sweetness. We all adore these at my house! The best part is that they don’t require an oven or mixer, making these an easy treat to make…and to eat! Did I mention it tastes an awful like cookie dough too? Yum!

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No-Bake Energy Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16 bites
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.
  2. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  3. Once chilled, simply roll into balls.
  4. Store these in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week.

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Slow Cooker Creamy Coconut Oatmeal

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

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It’s become an embarrassing pattern of mine to make a resolution every year to be better about eating breakfast. Each time, I start on the path towards healthy eating. However, as life becomes fuller and mornings more hectic, I find that eating a good breakfast often gets pushed to the side.

This year, I discovered how invaluable my slow cooker was in creating a beautiful, hot breakfast for my entire family that I could serve in the morning and enjoy for mornings to come. I could also serve it as a midday pick-me-up or as a healthy late- night snack. The discovery might seem a bit old-fashioned, but a batch of oatmeal is a great way to start the day. This isn’t just any old oatmeal though—this oatmeal is made from delicious steel cut oats.

Today I am sharing a trick to get the creamiest oats ever that will transform your mornings and your life. Did I mention that you don’t even have to clean the slow cooker after you make them? YOU MUST READ THIS!

Join me over on the Kenmore Blog as I share my tips & tricks for a delicious gluten-free and dairy-free slow cooker creamy coconut oatmeal bowl for your busy week!

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