Mexi-cauli Bowl

If you’ve never known two things about me, you’re going to find them out now.

1. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Mexican food. Did I mention I love Mexican food? [insert non-existent, but desperately needed taco emoji here]
2. As a mom (and a self-taught, maybe aspiring, home cook), I always try to make healthier versions of meals my family loves.

So, whenever an opportunity comes to combine the above two points, I jump at it!

This is where the Mexi-cauli Bowl comes in. Since my hip injury and restrictive physical limits, I’ve been leaning towards gluten-free meals to help me keep my nutrition in check as well work on some digestive and allergen issues that are trying to creep up with the little one.

Doesn’t this dish look amazing?!?!

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Here’s what you need to get and do to make this awesome dish!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower (or about 1 lb. cauliflower florets)
  • 1 lb. fresh spinach, washed
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 ear fresh sweet corn
  • 1 – 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • Taco seasoning mix, 21 Day Fix Taco Seasoning, or the following spices: garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt
  • 1-2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado
  • Oil (I use either coconut or EVOO)
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Snip off florets from cauliflower head. Place in a food processor, and pulse gently until the cauliflower resembles rice.
  2. Warm a skillet on low heat. Place 1-2 tbsp. of oil in skillet to coat the bottom. Transfer the cauliflower from  the food processor into the skillet, and turn the heat to medium. Add 2-3 tbsp. of water, and let the cauliflower simmer while stirring frequently. Once the water is absorbed, add the can of tomato sauce, then the heat back to low, and simmer. You can cover if you like, but stir occasionally.                     (Now you can either wait on the “rice” to cook, or grab another skillet to cook the remainder of the meal while the cauliflower cooks. I abhor doing dishes, so I stick to the one-skillet method.)
  3. Once the tomato sauce is thickened and coating the cauliflower, transfer to a bowl and keep warm. Re-coat the skillet with another 1-2 tbsp. of oil. Add in diced onions and saute until translucent. Add ground turkey and crumble while mixing in the onions.
  4. Season with 2-3 tbsp of taco seasoning or if using separate seasonings use the following approximate measurements:
    • Garlic powder, 2 tsp
    • Cumin, 1 tbsp
    • Chili powder, 1-2 tsp (or to taste)
    • Salt, a pinch or two to taste
  5. Add 2 tbsp of water or more to soak up seasonings a bit and allow turkey mixture to simmer in the seasonings. While it starts to simmer, take your ear of sweet corn and cut off the kernels. Toss into the seasoned turkey mixture. Continue to simmer until thickened while stirring occasionally.
  6. While everything is finishing, prep your toppings. Dice your Roma tomatoes and avocado.
  7. When the turkey mixture has thickened, add in the “rice”. Stir together until fully mixed.
  8. Place a handful of spinach leaves in the bottom of a bowl. (If you are on the 21 Day or Portion Fix plans, use one full green container of spinach.) Spoon a 1/2 cup of the turkey and rice mixture onto the spinach (1/2 a green container). Top with tomatoes and avocado. ENJOY!

Optional topping ideas:

  • Shredded cheese
  • Salsa
  • Green onions
  • Fresh jalapenos
  • GF tortilla strips

I really hope you enjoy this. My boys LOVED this meal and there were NO leftovers for once. They didn’t even have a clue about the cauliflower “rice” either. I should get this in the meal plan again soon. I’m now hungry for it again! This is also a great prep ahead, eat later meal as well!

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Monday Meals: Pepper Steak Stir Fry

I love stir fry. Seriously, it’s simple, quick, and versatile. This is one I whipped up last week.

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Pepper Steak Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 1 – medium-sized skirt or flank steak
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Ginger (ground or fresh, I used fresh)
  • Coarse ground black pepper
  • Garlic (1 clove fresh or garlic powder, I used fresh garlic)
  • Olive oil or coconut oil (I used olive oil, about 1 tbsp.)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Low-sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 2 bags frozen stir fry vegetables

I like to marinade my meat before I start the stir fry to let the flavor really soak in.

  1. 1 hour before cook time; place steak into airtight container, season with minced garlic clove, grated ginger, and black pepper. Pour 2-4 tablespoons teriyaki sauce over seasoned steak, and seal with lid. Place in refrigerator for about an hour.
  2. At cook time: remove steak from refrigerator, place in a warm skillet pour marinade mixture over steak, and sear on each side for about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and place on cutting board to rest.
  3. Drizzle olive oil in pan. (One circle around the pan should do it.) Pour vegetables into skillet, add water, and let steam for 2 minutes.
  4. Add soy sauce, teriyaki sauce and more ginger. (I swirled the soy sauce bottle around the pan once as well as the teriyaki sauce.)
  5. Stir vegetables to coat with seasonings.
  6. While the vegetables are steaming for about 3 more minutes, slice the steak into thin strips. The meat should be at a medium-rare to medium. Cross cut the steak strips to make “cubes”. Toss into pan with vegetables.
  7. Stir steak and vegetables together until steak is browned on all sides.
  8. Serve immediately.

Options: Serve over brown rice (as shown in picture), over rice noodles, quinoa pasta or over mashed sweet potatoes. It’s pretty awesome by itself too!

Please let me know if you try this quick and easy meal, what you think of it, and if you made any changes to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Meals: Crockpot Bonanza

This is pretty much a reblog. Earlier this month, I took $100 and bought everything and then some to make all of the meals in this post from Danny J. at Sweaty Betties. Not all were the healthiest, but it saved money, and ALL the meals are healthier than eating out.

Basically, in 3 hours, we made 9 crockpot freezable recipes for 5-6 servings. In actuality, it became 12 dinners plus leftovers for lunches.

8 crockpot meals in the freezer

8 massive crock pot meals in the freezer

Here’s a list of the meals made:

  • Pizza Soup
  • Chicken Curry
  • Savory Chicken
  • BBQ Pineapple Pulled Pork
  • Lemon Garlic Chicken
  • Chicken and Spinach
  • Taco Soup
  • San Francisco Pork Chops
  • Lazy Day Stew

All meals were kid friendly, and kid-complaint free!!!

I hope you can use these meals as well to help you save time, money, and the “what’s for dinner?” headache!

Monday Meals: Spaghetti

One of the biggest questions I get about food is “How can I make my family favorites more healthy?” I love these questions because it gives me the opportunity to share healthy substitutions and show how easy it is to swap and add foods to fit your nutrition goals.

One of our family favorites is spaghetti, and we eat it at least once every 10 days, if not more frequently.

Turkey Spaghetti ... a healthier version

Turkey Spaghetti … a healthier version

Here are ways to make spaghetti healthy and still keep the family happy:

  • Substitute whole grain wheat noodles instead of the regular “enriched” noodles, or if you’re gluten-free, rice or quinoa noodles work great as well.
  • Use ground turkey or chicken instead of hamburger. The fat content goes down, and with seasonings, tastes just the same.
  • Add finely diced/chopped veggies to the sauce: red onion, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, bell peppers, squash are just a few ideas.
  • Make your own sauce (make it ahead of time and freeze for those of you short on time in the evenings). A fresh batch of tomatoes, roasted and simmered with onion, garlic, parsley, basil, and oregano makes a great sauce.
  • Don’t want to make your own sauce? Go for all-natural brands such as Newman’s Own or Marinelli’s. Your local grocery store may also have a good organic brand. I know Kroger has the Simple Truth Organic line, which is all organic and all clean, including the oil, which is EVOO and not soybean.

Let me know what you think of the healthier spaghetti and how your family likes it.  Do you have any other recipes you would like to see a healthier version?  Comment on this post or email me at jockinaskirt@gmail.com

Paleo Bird In A Nest

I’m not sure if this is the actual name of the recipe, but I’ve seen it floating around Facebook and different Paleo sites, so I decided to give it a shot.

Paleo Bird in a Nest with Black Beans

Paleo Bird in a Nest with Black Beans

It’s a really easy recipe. Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 large egg
  • Black or cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Tabasco (optional)
  • 1 cup black beans, cooked
  • 1 tbsp plain greek yogurt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180° (I actually did 225°)
  2. Slice avocado into two. Remove pit. With a spoon, hull out more avocado where the pit was.
  3. Crack egg into hole.
  4. Sprinkle your choice of pepper and Kosher salt over the top of the egg and avo. Sprinkle cheese as well.
  5. Bake for at least 20 minutes or until egg is at desired cooked stage. Heat black beans while the bird in the nest is cooking.
  6. Place on plate. Serve black beans on the side. Add greek yogurt on top of beans. Sprinkle Tabasco over everything.
  7. Serve while everything is still warm.

I hope you give this a try! Enjoy it!! I found it very filling, yet light as well. 😀

Black Bean Quinoa Burger

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I’ve searched high and low for good black bean burger recipes. I came across one at Vegetarian Times that I’ve tried a couple of times, but with some additions and alterations, I think I’ve found my favorite way to make this recipe. I hope you enjoy as much as my family and I have!

  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped (1 cup) Texas Vidalas are the best in here.
  • 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped (¼ cup) I used regular tomatoes, diced that soaked in 1 Tbsp of EVOO
  • 1½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided I always cook mine in the crock pot for at least 24 hours.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.) I usually use 3-4 cloves
  • 2 tsp. dried steak seasoning I have found that 1 tsp. of liquid smoke instead adds major flavor!
  • 8 whole-grain hamburger buns

Additions:

  • 2 cups of finely chopped mini sweet peppers (the yellow, orange, and red ones)
  • 2 Anaheim peppers, finely chopped

Both of these add major flavor naturally with hardly ANY calories. The nutrients are a bonus.

Directions:

1. Stir together quinoa and 1½ cups water in small saucepan, and season with salt, if desired. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. (You should have 1½ cups cooked quinoa.)

2. Meanwhile, place onion and sun-dried tomatoes (or oil-soaked regular tomatoes) in medium nonstick skillet, and cook over medium heat. (The oil left on the tomatoes should be enough to sauté the onion.) Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in ¾ cup black beans, garlic, chopped peppers, steak seasoning (or liquid smoke), and 1½ cups water. Simmer 9 to 11 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

3. Transfer bean-onion mixture to food processor, add ¾ cup cooked quinoa, and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl, and stir in remaining ¾ cup quinoa and remaining ¾ cup black beans. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and cool.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F, and generously coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape bean mixture into 8 patties (½ cup each), and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, or until patties are crisp on top. Flip patties with spatula, and bake 10 minutes more, or until both sides are crisp and brown. Serve on buns.

  • Baking times may vary with your oven

These are amazing topped with yogurt dressings or Emeril’s New York Deli Style Mustard, and served with sweet potato fries, homemade fries and a side salad!

Yogurt Dressings

Yogurt dressings are perfect ways to substitute for mayonnaise or ranch or something not so healthy you may put on your sandwiches, burgers, etc. Try these flavorful toppings instead!

Yogurt Chipotle

  • 3 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning
  • Mix together until seasoning is all throughout the yogurt. Adjust for taste. Spread on bread, buns, bagels, crackers, etc.

Yogurt Honey Dijon Mustard

  • 3 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard (My favorite is Emeril’s New York Deli Style Mustard.)
  • Mix together until seasoning is all throughout the yogurt. Adjust for taste. Spread on bread, buns, bagels, crackers, etc.