Staying healthy during such a busy time can be tricky. One of my suggestions is to eat more veggies. That can sometimes be tricky though, especially with kids. Here are five ways we get in more veggies that are easy, and won’t make you feel like a cow grazing on grass all day. These fit […]
Tag Archives | dinner
But here’s the thing you have to understand. Spaghetti squash is delicious because it’s spaghetti squash, not because it has the taste and texture of thick, gluten-filled spaghetti noodles you can buy in a pack and boil. You can’t slurp a spaghetti squash “noodle” to romantic music and have it end in a kisss (even if you are a cartoon dog). You can’t twirl spaghetti squash around a fork and you don’t throw spaghetti squash at a wall to check if it’s done. It’s not a replacement. This is something I hear from clients all the time. “It doesn’t feel like spaghetti. It tastes different from spaghetti.” Well… it’s a vegetable. It’s not spaghetti.
I totally understand how people would make this assumption, since so many recipes claim, “It tastes just like spaghetti!” And, “Eat healthy without giving up your favorite foods.” It’s jut not true. Spaghetti squash is delicious and helps me get all my “spaghetti fixes” in because it’s a great way to deliver so many of the flavors we’re used to associating with pasta in a much healthier way, but it is its own food.
Eating healthy does require change, including a change in our taste buds. My dark chocolate doesn’t taste like a maple-glazed donut; but it’s a much healthier way to get a sweet fix in. The point is (yes my rambling does have a point), if you decide to change the way you eat, expect to… change the way you eat. The flavors, textures and ingredients will be very different. That doesn’t mean they won’t be delicous. This is a chance to discover new foods and develop new tastes.
That said, I miss pizza. I know if I eat gluten and cheese my skin will break out for a month, my tummy will rumble (that’s the G-rated version) and my joints will hurt. It’s not worth it. But I love pizza! So I decided to make a new kind of pizza using my beloved spaghetti squash.
The whole family was happy. And since this is a dish you layer in each individual bowl, everyone had what they wanted. My husband and daughter had cheese, and I had olives. We all had different veggies and we were all satisfied.
Start with a bowl of spaghetti squash. To find out how to best cook spaghetti squash, check out my spaghetti squash blog post.
Then top it with ground pork seasoned with classic pizza seasonings. If you’re not a fan of pork, feel free to use chicken, beef or even just diced ham or pepperoni. We are making pizza after all.
After this, everyone can add their favorite pizza ingredients. I added roasted veggies to mine because I LOVE veggies on pizza. This is a part you can totally customize. I used broccoli, bell pepper, and onion. I LOVE broccoli on pizza. This was an option at Mod Pizza and I was hooked. If that’s not your jam, use a different veggie or leave it out.
Then come the olives, the warmed sauce and the optional cheese. I left the cheese off and was still very satisfied.
So enjoy your “pizza.” It won’t taste exactly like pizza. It won’t feel exactly like pizza. But it will be a delicious, healthy dinner that even picky kids will enjoy.
I love spaghetti squash. It’s definitely earned its place as my favorite vegetable. I generally plan a spaghetti squash dish once a week, and always bake two so I can have some for lunch leftovers. Of course, I now have to fight my 8-year-old daughter for the leftovers, so I may have to start making three. Luckily, spaghetti squash is extremely easy to make.
First: Cut it in half
For years I cut it length-wise. Basically my fingers were in great danger everytime I made spaghetti squash. Then one morning I was listening to the Balanced Bites Podcast, and they suggested cutting it around the middle. Life. Changing. It’s SO much easier and cooks just as well.
Second: Clean it out
Just scrape it out with a spoon just like you do a pumpkin. But a spaghetti squash is smaller and much easier to clean out than a pumpkin.
Third: Season it
I drizzle each half with a bit of avocado oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. That’s it!
Fourth: Bake it
Turn each half of your squash cut-side down on a pan lined with parchment paper and bake it at 400 degrees F for 45- mintues to an hour. You know it’s done when the tops are brown and it’s soft to the touch.
Fifth: Scrape out the “spaghetti”
I always let it cool a bit before I scrape it. To get the “spaghetti” out, just use a fork on the sides of the squash.
That’s it! Easy, nutritious and yummy. Spaghetti squash is also high in fiber and vitamin C so those are added bonuses.
Now what do you do with this delicious vegetable? I’ve listed some of my favorite ways to eat spaghetti squash.
My top pick: Pesto!!
I love pesto! I just make some of my Dairy-Free Pesto (click here for recipe) and mix it in. We serve this as our veggie side dish regularly. Sometimes I’ll add in some chicken and tomatoes for a full meal, but the pesto alone is an amazing dish!
If you love spaghetti but can’t do the pasta, this is a great alternative. We just brown some ground beef with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Then we top it with whatever no-sugar, organic marinara sauce we have on hand or my homemade marinara sauce (click here for recipe). We sometimes stir in a bit of full-fat coconut milk to make it even creamier. If you haven’t tried that, you’re missing out.
Shredded Meat, Tomatoes and Spinach
Something about tomatoes and spaghetti squash go so well together. I add whatever leftover roast I have on hand and a handful of spinach and small tomatoes. Then I warm the whole thing up in the microwave. So fast and easy!
Sausage, Spinach and BBQ Sauce
This is a great dish because it comes together with things I always have on hand. I always keep a jar of my No-Sugar BBQ Sauce (click here for recipe) on hand for meat, dressings, soups, etc. We also keep True Story brand sausages on hand for quick meals. To put this dish together, I add the leftover spaghetti squash, some spinach leaves, a sliced sausage and a bit of BBQ sauce to a skillet and heat it all up together.
Steak, Broccoli and Your Favorite Dressing
Since spaghetti sauce is a veggie, you can almost treat it like a salad, topping it with your favorite salad dresssing. Add in a bit of steamed broccoli and a seared steak and it’s a full meal! My favorite sauce for this is my Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Hummus (Click here for recipe). I love this stuff with broccoli so this combination is perfect for me. I cook the broccoli in a skillet, then add in the sliced steak when the broccoli is almost done. Then I add in the leftover squash and dressing just to heat everything through.
Ultimate Leftover Plate
I LOVE to combine all my leftovers on a plate. This day I used leftover squash, chicken, roasted veggies and pesto. Really all you need is a meat, some more optional veggies and a sauce. YUM!!
Some of my favorite recipes from others to make with spaghetti squash are:
- Paleo BBQ Chicken Casserole from Real Food With Jessica
- Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein from Little Bits of Real Food, Real Talk
- Spaghetti Squash with Prosciutto and Spinach from The Cookin’ Canuck
- Paleo Spaghetti Squash Chicken Alfredo from Unbound Wellness
What’s your favorite way to eat spaghetti squash?
I’m a big fan of gardening. Now before you start to picture me Joanna Gaines style, know this: I’ve killed way more than I’ve grown. I’ve planted a garden faithfully every summer for eight years. It’s only been in the last two that we feel like things are really going well. That said, I still kill things. Though since we had a 5-month-old puppy last summer who thought the garden was his personal sandbox, I’m not taking all the blame. Now that he’s older, I have a lot of hope for this summer.
One thing I’ve always struggled with is basil. I love basil! Everyone says it’s easy to grow, yet basil and I… we have a strained relationship. But there are many aphids who thank me for my willingness to keep trying. Last summer I planted our basil right next to the tomatoes. It worked! We had so much basil! I was overjoyed.
My very favorite thing to do with basil is make pesto. I used to think pesto was fancy and that only Food Network stars should make it and use it as a fancy schmear on plates of perfectly braised meat. The truth is, pesto is extremely easy and fast to make.
That’s good news, because I can’t find a high-quality, diary-free pesto that fits in my budget. I love pesto with dairy but sadly, my gut and skin do not. Because I want to make those two things happy, I steer clear of dairy.
This means I have to make my own pesto and I’m happy to say, the cheese does not make the pesto. It’s still AMAZING without the cheese. My cheese-loving, pesto-fanatic husband doesn’t even notice the difference.
This pesto is a part of my weekly meal prep. I always have some on hand. It comes together with just six ingredients (one of which is salt) and only dirties one dish; the food processor. So you don’t even have to chop anything. I love the 21st century.
So hopefully I’ve sold you on this pesto. Now what do you do with it? Everything! My favorite way is to coat my spaghetti squash in it. YUM! We also use it over chicken and steak, and as a salad dressing.
Adding a few spoonfuls to an Italian soup is also incredible like I do in my Italian Sausage Soup (click here for recipe). You can also toss this with some cucumbers and cherry tomatoes for a yummy side dish.
So if you have a garden, go out and plant some basil and give me all your gardening tips!
I meal plan. It’s kind of an obsession/ritual. I also try to keep my meals simple. I don’t want a huge pile of dishes to do after I’m done, plus I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. I generally spend 30 minutes cooking dinner and limit myself to 1-2 dishes that have to […]
Do you have foods that are so reminiscent of childhood they almost make you cry? I totally do. Like chocolate cake with vanilla icing, cherry pie, Belgium waffles, chicken legs and beef stew. Those were staples in our house. While I no longer eat chocolate cake regularly (but I do still have it because… balance), beef stew is a staple in our house. There is just something about the tender meat, creamy tomato sauce and soft potatoes and carrots that just make me happy. It’s one of my all-time favorites.
This recipe is a fun twist on traditional beef stew. I came up with it because I think my family was getting sick of traditional beef stew. Maybe it’s because we were having it once a week and consuming the leftovers throughout the week. Who knows? I personally was totally fine with that. Either way, I knew I needed to come up with something new.
This recipe was it! When my daughter said “What’s for dinner?” I said “BBQ beef stew.” She groaned “not again!” but when I explained it was completely different, she was willing to have another bowl of beef stew. She loved it! What really sold her was the rice. She’ll eat just about anything as long as it’s on a bed of rice.
I love rice, but when I’m trying to watch my carbs, I just swap out the rice for a bed of leafy greens. This is one of my favorite ways to get in more veggies and keep my blood sugar regulated.
This stew is grain-free and uses spices like turmeric, cinnamon and ginger so it’s also anti-inflammatory and gives you extra help to regulate blood sugar. Plus it tastes awesome. That’s my #1 priority when it comes to food. Why would I waste time chewing something that doesn’t bring me joy? That seems ridiculous.
My husband travels a lot for work. While I miss him a lot, there are some things I take advantage of. I watch movies like “Pride and Prejudice.” I don’t have to worry about us waking each other up at night. But my favorite part is the food. I can make food he refuses to eat. And I do. Last week he was out of town and I made this delicious cauliflower fried rice. My husband thinks cauliflower is a horrible addition to any meal, so I usually save it for snacks and lunch, or serve it on the side.
This dish did not disappoint. It was full of both flavor and nutrients. While I’d still rather have him home, this definitely softened the blow.
The key to this dish is to dice all the veggies small and cook it in stages. Start with the heartier veggies and work your way up to the softer ones so everything cooks evenly.
And can I talk about this sauce. It’s so amazing. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on a candida cleanse and can’t have anything fermented. That means no coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce. That has been really hard but this sauce is a great substitute. You can definitely use 1/4 C coconut aminos instead of the water to up the flavor, but it was still incredible with the water.
This is also versatile based on what you have/like. We used leftover pork chops for the protein but this would be great with chicken, ham, steak or any ground meat. We just always got ham fried rice growing up, so fried rice and pork seem to be the perfect combination to me.
Sadly, my husband has a few more trips coming up before summer. The good news is, this dish will get to make more appearances as I plan to have it every time he leaves town.
This is my 36th winter living in a cold, snowy place. You’d think after 36 winters, I’d be used to it. I’m not. After a childhood in Wyoming, college in Idaho and adult years in Utah and Colorado, I still vow every winter will be my last in a cold place. Last week it was -17 degrees F. That’ not okay. But since my husband has decided he loves Colorado and won’t live anywhere else, I’ll probably spend many more winters here since I do actually like my husband. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Colorado. We have a ton of sunshine, beautiful mountains, hiking trails and lakes. But it’s hard to remember that when I’m in the school parking lot turned ice rink trying to drop the kids off in the morning.
That said, one thing that saves me every winter is soup (and many mugs of hot chocolate). We have soup at least once a week in the winter. Last week we were getting to the end of our meat supply from our local rancher. Toward the end we always have a ton of beef steaks, beef liver and a strange cut I put in the back of my freezer for the year; the pork hock. I actually had to watch a few YouTube videos to see what this sucker was. Basically it’s a pig leg. Yep. And as far as I can tell, It’s different from a ham hock in that the ham hock is smoked while the pork hock is raw.
You guys, I now have a new favorite cut of meat. Pork has always been my favorite but the pork hock… AMAZING! It’s tender, juicy and cooks so easily in soup. I was a little confused about how to cook it but decided to just throw it in the slow cooker and see what happened. Yep. I just stuck that big ole’ leg on top of my other ingredients and pressed start. It worked perfectly. This is the best soup I’ve had in a long time. I made double planning to freeze half but I ended up eating the rest over the next few days. I also hid the jar in the back of the fridge so no one else would find it. I do that sometimes.
So… I initially tried to remove the skin from the hock with it raw but quickly realized that would earn me a trip to the ER to get a finger sewn back on. Thankfully it didn’t work because cooking it with the skin and fat on kept the moisture in the meat. Plus, it was really simple to remove both the skin and the fat once it was cooked. No limbs were in danger.
I was so tempted to just start gnawing the meat right off the bone (I had the visual in my head of Prince Phillip’s Father in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty eating the turkey leg. Anyone else? Apparently even as a small child I was easily tempted by juicy meat).
I pureed this soup because I love creamy soups. It’s also a great way to get my kids to eat veggies. My daughter loves veggies raw or roasted but isn’t a huge fan of veggies in soup. Pureeing them solves this problem.
I guess I can handle Colorado winters if it means I get to keep having soup. And hot chocolate…. and long leggings with pockets and over-sized sweatshirts. Apparently there actually are things about winter I love.
Fall means pumpkin spice, sweaters, pretending leggings are actually pants and my favorite: SOUP! I love having soup for dinner. It’s warm and comforting, and so easy to make. It’s also a great way to get in some extra veggies.
This soup is on a whole new level of awesome. Roasting veggies is my favorite way to eat them. So roasting veggies and then turning them into a soup is pretty much the perfect combination. And adding curry is the perfect flavor. Even veggie haters will love this soup.
One thing that makes this recipe so easy is my Instant Pot. The Instant Pot is my favorite for soups. I love my slow cooker but something about pressure cooking soup makes it taste and feel like it’s been cooking for hours. I love it! And it only takes 5 minutes once it goes into the Instant Pot. You could even roast the veggies in advance and then add them to the Instant Pot when you get home in the evening. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can cook the soup in the slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours or boil it on the stove for about 20 minutes. The veggies are already fairly soft, but this makes them soft enough to puree and helps all the flavors blend together.
If you’re like me and eating dairy makes you feel completely awful, you may be missing out on creamy things. The solution: coconut milk. Any soup recipe that calls for heavy cream can be just as (if not more) delicious with coconut milk. It’s extra fitting in this soup as coconut and curry go well together; and not just because they both start with “c.”
You could easily add chicken or a ground meat to this soup to give it extra protein, but I love it plain. Now go put on some leggings and have some soup.
Tonight on the menu in our house was shepherd’s pie. I always try to make dinner as easy as possible, but sometimes even that’s more effort than I feel like giving after a day of being a mom.. The idea of using a pan to cook the meat, two more to cook potatoes (we have to make sweet and regular potatoes in our house because everyone likes something different), and two pans to bake the pies (again for different potatoes) made me want to order a pizza.
Then I thought, “what if I just put the meat on top of a baked potato? Wouldn’t that taste the same?” The answer: YES! It does. I made the potatoes on one foil-lined pan that didn’t need to be washed. I didn’t have to wash a potato masher, and I didn’t have to wash the pans I’d have to use to bake the pies. I ended up washing one skillet. SUCCESS!
I used a lot of vegetables in this dish because I’m always trying to cram in more vegetables. This dish is a perfect way to add vegetables because once it all simmers in the sauce, your kids won’t even notice all the veggies. Mine didn’t!
I had to take a picture of this because it’s so beautiful! When they say, “eat all the colors of the rainbow everyday,” this is a great start.
I topped my husband’s and daughter’s servings with some grass-fed, grated cheese. My daughter hasn’t eaten dinner that fast in a long time. We cook our sweet potatoes using this method from empowered sustenance (click here for link). I always add a russet potato to the pan for my husband and it comes out just as perfectly as the sweet potatoes.