Tag Archives: easy

Crispy Baked Pork Chops {Clean Eating}

11 Oct

Crispy Baked Pork Chops 1
So, I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in a few months due to a certain little girl. A little girl that is going to be one next week! She should totally be sleeping all night, am I right? Well, she did last night and I have to tell you, I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I’m actually a pleasant person today. Have I told you me without sleep is not a pretty picture? For reals.
Crispy Baked Pork Chops 3
Getting enough sleep means I still have energy by the end of the day to cook a decent meal. And this meal totally screams fall to me. Hearty, pork chops covered in homemade whole grain breadcrumbs with a huge helping of broccoli mashed potatoes on the side.
Crispy Baked Pork Chops 4
And did I mention this deliciously filling meal is healthy and clean? You’re welcome.
Crispy Baked Pork Chops 5
Crispy Baked Pork Chops
recipe adapted from Sugar and Spice by Celeste

4 boneless center-cut pork chops, 6 to 8 ounces each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
4 slices whole grain bread bread, torn into 1 inch pieces
3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tbsp)
2 tbsp. olive oil
Ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, place bread into a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and garlic. Mix until well combined. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool to room temperature. Bump oven temperature up to 425 degrees F.
2. Once crumbs are cool, mix in parmesan cheese, thyme and parsley. Next, set up an assembly line of ingredients. Place flour in a pie plate, mix eggs and mustard in another pie plate then breadcrumbs in another. Roll pork chops in flour, eggs then breadcrumbs and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 17-25 minutes or until cooked through (mine took 20 minutes).

Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up and Clean}

7 Aug

Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 5
Noah is starting preschool in less than a week. Seriously people, how did this happen? It seems like just yesterday he was my sweet little baby and now he’s four and uses words like ridiculous and spectacular. I’ve been looking forward to this all summer but now that it’s upon us I’m kind of freaking out. It will be nice to have some time to devote purely to Hannah and to just have one crazy child to handle but I’m going to miss his hilarious antics. Like the fact that he now says por favor and gracias instead of please and thank you. Or his one man band routine (he was playing four instruments at once, that’s talent). Or the fact that as I type this he should be napping but instead he’s singing “Timber” at the top of his lungs. It’s hard to be mad at the kid. But seriously, go to sleep kid or you will be a pill later….
Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 4
So with the school year upon us, I’ve been on the hunt for healthy and easy meals to throw together on busy nights. I received a ton of new cookbooks and magazines for my birthday so I went right to them to solve my problem. This recipe originally called for ricotta and roasted red peppers as the filling but I decided to alter it a bit to make a chicken cordon bleu-esque dinner that was still clean and healthy.
Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 3
This chicken dish looks fancy and complex but really is simple and quick to get on the table. And as you all know Joel hasn’t exactly been thrilled with my recent clean eating adventures but he really loved this meal. I made it last week and he has already mentioned a few times that he would love to have it on the menu again soon.

To keep it light but filling, I served this alongside some roasted cauliflower and grilled zucchini.
Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 1
Chicken Roll-Ups
recipe adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

4 4-ounce chicken breasts,each cut crosswise into 2 thin pieces
1/2 cup ricotta
1 tsp. dried basil
8 thinly sliced low sodium and nitrate free ham
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. white whole-wheat flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line up chicken on a cutting board and lay a slice of ham on each. Combine the ricotta and basil then spread evenly over the ham. Roll up and secure each piece with a toothpick. Season with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish and dredge chicken through it, shaking off excess.

2.Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes per side (until browned). Transfer chicken to a baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Carefully remove toothpicks and slice into rounds.

Shredded Beef {For Tacos, Burritos and Such}

7 Jan

Shredded Beef
Growing up, I always thought my mom made the best tacos ever…and guess what? I still do. They are one of my favorite things she makes. This is THE shredded beef that makes those tacos so glorious. I never order tacos at a Mexican restaurant because they just never compare to hers and I am always left disappointed (same goes for lasagna, hers is bomb). Whenever she goes home to visit, this is the number one meal request for her to make.
Shredded Beef
And this shredded beef is so so easy to make. Basically sweat down some onions and garlic, sear a chuck roast, throw it all in a crock pot and cook it all day. Doesn’t get much simpler than that. I love this recipe for busy days and I make them often on gymnastics night. That way, we can come home and dinner is waiting for us.
Shredded Beef
Don’t think that this is just for tacos either. Whip up some burritos or enchiladas with it or go traditional with beef and noodles. All delicious. Trust me.

When I make this for my family, it always bring me back. I love that food can do that.

Shredded Beef for Tacos {Crock Pot}

3 lb. boneless chuck roast
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

1. Heat a saute pan that is large enough to hold the roast over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Once hot, add onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened and carmalization begins. Dump mixture into a crock pot.

2. Bump up heat of pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil to pan. Sear chuck roast on each side until golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side. Place roast on top of onions and garlic in the crock pot. Add 1/3 cup hot water to the saute pan and scrape it to get all the browned bits off the bottom. Add water and browned goodness to the crock pot.

3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. Remove fat and shred.

Penne Gorgonzola

6 Dec

Penne Gorgonzola
This past weekend, we took Noah to see his first movie in the theater. We saw Frozen and it was the cutest animated movie we have seen in a really long time (besides Despicable Me, I love those dang minions). It might seem silly but I found myself tearing up during the movie, watching him snuggle daddy and stick his hand in the giant tub of popcorn. It was a special little date for the three of us and I really enjoyed it. He is growing up way too fast and I don’t like it. Not one bit. Mmmkay?
Penne Gorgonzola
I don’t have a good transition to the recipe so I apologize for that but I just had to share about our movie date.

Whenever we go out to an Italian restaurant, if Penne Gorgonzola is on the menu I almost always order it. I’m a sucker for a creamy, cheese drenched pasta and it was never something I thought about making myself. Well, until now.
Penne Gorgonzola
I reduced the amount of gorgonzola because I only had a 5 ounce container but it ended up being a good thing. I think any more would have been too strong for us…it was the perfect amount of strong, stinky cheese for this household.
Penne Gorgonzola
This recipe is simple and can be made in less than 30 minutes but is still fancy enough to serve to company. Or you husband and three year old. Then said three year old will find the big jar of sprinkles when you have your back turned and add a nice helping to his plate. Then luckily you will turn around before he gets to the rest of the plates. I always thought sprinkles made everything better but penne gorgonzola…not so much.
Penne Gorgonzola
I hope you try this recipe out soon. Sprinkles optional.

Penne Gorgonzola
recipe from Taste of Home

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup chicken broth
5 oz. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
6 to 8 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in oil on all sides. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add wine, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan.

2. Add cream and broth; cook until sauce is slightly thickened and chicken is no longer pink. Stir in the Gorgonzola cheese, sage, salt and pepper; cook just until cheese is melted.

3. Drain pasta; toss with sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and parsley

Breakfast Potatoes

13 Nov

Breakfast Potatoes
I have to say, this is one of our favorite recipes that we’ve tried in quite awhile. It seems kind of silly that something so easy can be a new favorite but they are just so good.

I have made them at least 4 times in the past couple months which is really saying something around here. A lot of times, we try a new recipe and then don’t have it again for months and months because I am always trying new recipes….but not this one. I seem to keep coming up with reasons to make breakfast for dinner (because fancy breakfasts don’t happen around here right now) just so we can have these potatoes.
Breakfast Potatoes
These potatoes are super simple to throw together and easily customizable to suit your own taste. I like to keep them simple with garlic, paprika, salt and pepper but you could spice them up to accompany any flavor profile. Wouldn’t chili powder and cumin spiced potatoes be good with a southwestern omelet? Or dill potatoes with a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel? Just think of all the possibilities!
Breakfast Potatoes
Breakfast Potatoes
recipe from Our Best Bites

4 medium baking potatoes
1 small white or yellow onion, minced
2 Tbsp. salted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
About 10-20 shakes of Louisiana Hot Sauce

1. Bring a medium or large bot of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, cut potatoes into 1/4″-1/2″ cubes. Add to the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are slightly softened but not fully cooked. Drain and rinse in cool water.

2. Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil and heat until melted and bubbly. Add the diced onion and cook for about 1 minute or until the onions are softened. Add the potatoes in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes (don’t even touch them) and then sprinkle with paprika, garlic powder, 10 dashes of Tabasco, salt and pepper. Using a spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan and flip as many potatoes as you can at once. You just want to handle the potatoes as little as possible so that you can get them super crispy.

3. When the potatoes have cooked for another 3-4 minutes, test them for doneness and seasoning; add more Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until desired doneness is reached, flipping them the same way as before. It’s hard to overcook these potatoes, they should be a little crispy on the outside, but not burned. Serves 4-6.

Individual Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups

4 Nov

Individual Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups
Today is my first day on my own with the kiddos. I would be a liar if I said I was completely confident and not scared. I know I can do it, but getting into the swing of things will be interesting I’m sure. Wish me luck.
Individual Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups
So, in honor of needing quick and easy meals for the long foreseeable future, I’m bringing you all a yummy breakfast that can be whipped up in a flash. And it can easily be made gluten and lactose free for those with food restrictions. I love to make these when my nieces are visiting because they are really fun for kids to eat since they are mini. Who doesn’t love a mini version of something? It always makes thing better in my opinion!
Individual Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups
Lastly, these are relatively healthy so you don’t have to feel so bad when you sneak a few too many pieces of candy from the Halloween stash.

Individual Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups
recipe from Emily Bites

3 cups old-fashioned oats, gluten free
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 egg
1 ¼ cups skim milk, or almond milk to make lactose free
¾ c mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ c semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray 18 muffin cups with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix together the egg whites, egg, milk, bananas and vanilla extract. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Divide evenly between the 18 muffin cups. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and they are lightly browned.

Penne with Chicken Thighs

30 Oct

Penne with Chicken Thighs
A few weeks ago I received an email from a good friend telling me that Ree Drummond was coming to Omaha in November for a book signing and asking if I would be interested in going. My response: absolutely. I am so excited! I love her blog, Food Network show and cookbook. As soon as I found out about the signing, I jumped on Amazon and pre-ordered her new cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays.
Penne with Chicken Thighs
Every one of her recipes I have tried has been a huge, delicious success. I love the ease of her recipes and her hilarious way of presenting them. This penne with chicken thighs was easy to throw together and really yummy. I usually like to make homemade spaghetti sauce but to make this recipe simple, jarred sauce is used but onion, garlic and fresh basil are added to make taste fresh and almost homemade.
Penne with Chicken Thighs
With the addition of Hannah to our family, this will certainly become a new favorite and go to for hectic nights (which I’m sure will be every night for the foreseeable future).
Penne with Chicken Thighs
Penne with Chicken Thighs
recipe from The Pioneer Woman

8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 whole large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jars (24 ounces each) marinara sauce
Fresh basil, to taste
Parmesan cheese
16 ounces penne or rigatoni

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear chicken thighs quickly on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from skillet.

3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add onions and garlic to pan and cook, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add marinara sauce and stir to heat. Place chicken thighs back into the skillet. Cover and put pan in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

4. During the last few minutes of cooking, boil the pasta according to package instructions. Spoon out pasta then top with 1 chicken thigh and marinara sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

Cilantro Lime Rice and Seasoned Black Beans with Chicken

11 Sep

Cilantro Lime Rice and Seasoned Black Beans with Chicken 3
This is officially my new favorite dinner. I could literally eat it every week. That’s saying something since I usually make a new recipe then don’t make it again for months because I keep trying new things to share with you guys. But this…
Cilantro Lime Rice and Seasoned Black Beans with Chicken 2
This happens a lot around here. It’s easy, healthy and fills you up!

I have to admit that I have never been a huge fan of cilantro but it has slowly been growing on me and this recipe is one of the reasons. I still don’t love a ton of it as I find it overpowering but a little really brightens up any dish it is in.
Cilantro Lime Rice and Seasoned Black Beans with Chicken 4
And just an FYI, this is really yummy with steak too! It’s like making your own rice bowls at home but way cheaper and healthier!

Cilantro Lime Rice and Seasoned Black Beans with Chicken

For the Cilantro Lime Rice:
recipe from Sarah’s Cucina Bella

1 cup uncooked rice (I used brown rice)
1 lime, zested
1/3 cup cilantro, finely minced

For the Seasoned Black Beans:
recipe from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or use cooked dried beans)
2 teaspoons oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 chicken breasts
4 Tbsp. Mexican Spice Rub
1 Tbsp. olive oil

salsa/pico for garnish

1. Cook rice according to package directions. Preheat grill to medium high heat.

2. Meanwhile, in a pan cook onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add oregano and cumin, cooking over low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add black beans and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, to allow flavors to blend. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and 1 Tbsp. lime juice right before serving.

3. While beans are cooking, rub chicken with olive oil and Mexican spice rub. Grill until juices run clear. Once rice has cooked, stir in lime zest and 1/3 cup cilantro.

4. To serve, spoon rice on plate then top with seasoned black beans. Top with a few slices of chicken and enjoy!
Cilantro Lime Rice and Seasoned Black Beans with Chicken 1

Black Peppercorn Marinade

15 Jul

Black Pepper Marinade 2
I kind of have a thing for marinades. Not only do they impart amazing flavor on whatever soaks in it but it usually means dinner is going to be really easy. Total win. I especially love marinades when grilling season is in full swing. All I have to do is mix up a few ingredients then toss in whatever protein then make a simple side salad or veggie and dinner is served.

There is a black peppercorn marinade packet that my parents have always bought and I just love it. I literally put pepper on everything and a lot of it. I was thinking about this marinade recently and decided that I would try to make a homemade version. I grabbed a bunch of ingredients to wing it and see how it came together. It didn’t taste just like the packet but it was really delicious! A little zing from the vinegar, a tang from the Dijon and a spicy kick from all that pepper! It’s my new official summer marinade.
Black Pepper Marinade 3
I used this on chicken but I imagine it would be equally to die for on a steak. I marinated my chicken for 4 hours then grilled it and served it alongside some roasted sweet potatoes. It would be so delicious atop a salad too for a quick, easy and healthy lunch.

Black Peppercorn Marinade

1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. peppercorns
2 Tbsp. coarse freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced

Place all ingredients in a mason jar or other container with a tight fitting lid and shake until thoroughly mixed. Marinate chicken, steak or pork for t 1 -4 hours.

Yogurt Lime Black Pepper Chicken

29 May

Yogurt Lime Black Pepper Chicken 2
Sometimes there are days, even as a food blogger, that I just don’t want to cook. Days when I really just want to throw a stupid frozen pizza in the oven and call it good (if only I kept them in the house…). And I used to do that and still occasionally do, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I try my hardest to provide home cooked meals every night to my family. Yep, the only time we go out to eat is for lunch on Sundays after church. So you can understand how cooking could get old every once and awhile.

This recipe is for those nights when you have no motivation but need to get something easy and healthy on the table. The chicken in marinated in a combination of Greek yogurt, lime juice and zest, black pepper, cumin and a few other pantry staples for a quick weeknight dinner. It can soak up the goodness for as little as a half hour or you could put it together the night before. Then all you have to do is throw it on the grill. I kept with the lazy theme here and served it alongside some of those frozen broccoli and cauliflower in the steamer bags from the freezer section. They aren’t quite as delicious as fresh but they are super easy and just as good for you.
Yogurt Lime Black Pepper Chicken 2
So, keep this one in mind when the “I don’t feel like cooking” mood strikes. It’s healthy, flavorful (the cumin and lime really shine through) and really simple.

Yogurt Lime Black Pepper Chicken
recipe adapted from Food.com

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
zest of one lime
1 Tbsp. canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Combine all ingredients, except the chicken, in a medium mixing bowl. Place chicken in a ziplock bag and pour marinade over. Let out any excess air and seal the bag. Marinate for 30 minutes or up to overnight. Grill over medium-high heat (about 6 minutes per side at 400 degrees F) or until juices run clear.

*You could use this marinade for any kind of poultry or meat so don’t feel limited to just chicken

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