We have fully entered the season of busy. Easy weeknight meals are one of the things you guys ask for most, and this is also the struggle I see with many of my nutrition clients, simple, approchable meals for the busy work week. So, today I am sharing one of my favorite, simple slow cooker recipes, that comes with 3 different variations, so you won’t get bored. You could literally make this dish every single week as part of your meal planning and mix it up a million different ways.
My favorite thing about each of these recipes are the many varying ways to serve it up:
- lettuce wrapped
- on a salad
- over cauliflower rice (or traditional grains, like quinoa or millet)
- over zucchini noodles
- in any kind of veggie bowl
- filling for tacos, fajitas, burritos or enchiladas with your favorite tortillas
- filling an omelette
- add to soups or stews
- stirred into a scramble or frittata
- add to fried rice or fried cauliflower rice
- over ramen noodles
- just spooned straight into your face!
This Super Quick Coconut Red Curry Soup is ready in just about 15 minutes and it’s highly adaptable. Add chicken or shrimp, drop in whatever veggies are in season and you have on hand, add noodles, or don’t. It’s creamy, rich and a breeze to make.
In continuing with the simple weeknight meal ideas, I bring you one of my go-to, super quick meals. I make and share this often on my Instagram stories and I am constantly receiving messages for the recipe. It hardly seems like a recipe to me, given what a breeze it is and how I rarely even measure, but here we go.
This skillet meal is ready in just about 15 minutes and it’s loaded with quality protein, fibrous leafy greens and if you top it with avocado, you’ll get some bonus healthy fats. A perfect, low-carb, one pan meal to please all!
I have been loving a good one pan meal these days. Despite the, I am sure, blanket assumptions that when you don’t have kids, you have all the time in the world for meal planning, it can actually be quite hard, even still, in a child-free home. Without the forced structure and routines that comes with having little ones, we can often flail and have to make do.
I am not that great at planning ahead some weeks and I am often not that methodical with our meal planning, so there are always staples that we have around, so there are always those staple-inspired meals. You know the ones – they aren’t all that glamorous and they are more about the function than the fashion.
Ready in a flash, at 20 minutes or less, this one-pan Lemon Garlic Black Pepper Shrimp is garlicky, buttery, with a fresh, bright flavor from the lemon and just a little heat from the black peppercorns. Pair with zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice or cauliflower mash for an easy-to-make meal, perfect for a busy weeknight, but elegant enough to serve up to guests.
Since I have launched the Meal Plans Service and especially as I have continued to work one-on-one with nutrition clients, I have found myself very drawn toward creating simple, yet still fairly epic weeknight meals. Meals that ‘WOW’ without a ton of fuss. This is what I am loving creating more than nearly anything else right now. Recipes that people will actually make! Most specifically I have been loving those of the one-pan, ready-in-under-30-minutes variety. It’s been so rewarding getting the instagram notifications, on the very same day a recipe posts here on the website, that you guys are already making them. That says something and it’s the ultimate compliment.
Cast Iron Charred Lemon Garlic Asparagus, a simple, 10 minutes side dish, celebrating the best that Spring has to offer and one of my favorite cooking tools, my cast iron skillet!
If you couldn’t tell by now, I am more than a little bit obsessed with my cast iron skillet. That baby is ALWAYS on the stove, often with a nice layer of bacon fat, but always seasoned and ready to go.
Besides being super convenient, easy to clean and just a solid, dependable kitchen tool cast iron is also a healthier option. Choosing cast-iron pans is a great source of iron in your diet. Iron deficiency is a fairly common place issue worldwide, especially among women, some research shows 10% of American women are iron-deficient.
A study published in the July 1986 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that cooking in cast iron skillets added significant amounts of iron to 20 foods tested. For example, the researchers reported that the iron content of three ounces of applesauce increased from 0.35 mg to 7.3 mg and scrambled eggs increased from 1.49 mg to 4.76 mg of iron.1https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/healthy-home/cooking-with-cast-iron/
References [ + ]
1. ↑ https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/healthy-home/cooking-with-cast-iron/
Whether you are starting the year off with the Whole30 or a 21 Day Sugar Detox, maybe you are going paleo or gluten-free for the first time or perhaps you are simply just getting back to your usual mindful-eating ways – we could all use our regular, pre-holiday routines and definitely some healthier eats. I want to make these first weeks of 2017 a breeze for all of you, so I have meal plans set for every week this month. All of the meals featured in the weekly meal plans, throughout this month, will be gluten-free and paleo, all of the recipes are free from grains, dairy, legumes and sugar (or have very simple options to make them as such).
New Year Reset Meal Plan // Week 3
Monday: Grab a rotisserie chicken or make your own roast chicken in the slow cooker and use the leftovers to whip up this Pot Pie Soup with Grain-free Drop Biscuits (can be made with chicken or turkey). Drop in your favorite veggies and leave off the grain-free, nut-free biscuits, if you prefer.
Tuesday: A seasonally-inspired meal, this Slow Roasted Citrus Fennel King Salmon with Crispy Fried Lentils (leave off the lentils if avoiding legumes) features winter citrus and beautiful, aromatic fennel for any easy but luscious weeknight meal. Serve with your favorite green veggie on the side!
In an effort to ‘Keep it Simple, Stupid’, today I am bringing you an effortless, one-pan recipe, perfect for the busy weeknights ahead. Without the overly-styled (not-so-realistic) plates of food and the fussy settings, I want to illustrate just how uncomplicated, yet still super tasty and nourishing, weeknight eating can be.
I have been loving the wide array of creative one pan and one pot meals that flood the internet this time of year. This is precisely the inspiration we all need more of, when life feels so hectic that take out seems the only way. Easy weeknight meals only have to be as complicated as we make them, I find one-pan, one-pot, under 30-minute real food meals to be way to go. Always.
I know for many of you with families and busy schedules, though the summer is supposed to be about relaxing and chilling, somehow before you know it, the schedule fills up and you are going non-stop. Dinners are eaten on the run and you are quite literally setting up your digestion for a rough go. While it’s far easier said then done, to slow down, I think much of this action can take place with meal planning and preparing meals that can me made start to finish in under 30 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »
Despite the fact that we are well into spring now, Southern California has had it a bit twisted. Since I arrived back home from my travels to NY last week, it’s been mostly grey, rainy and cool. While I would have loved this weather in December and January, I will take it now. It’s a really nice change of pace. A great reason to pull out some sweaters and it’s also a great excuse to enjoy some real comforting foods.
Of all things I was craving a casserole. I know. What is it 1985? There is just something so comforting and cozy about a meal you can dump into a pan, bake and enjoy. It’s childhood for those of us in our 30s. I was also dreaming of a good creamy spring risotto, one of my favorite foods. While rice isn’t off limits for me, I do try to be mindful of how many grains I consume. I just feel better when my belly isn’t bloated from the carbs. Hence why I am OBSESSED with cauliflower rice. It’s so crazy versatile, so super easy to make and it’s incredible how delicious it is. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, the Organic Frozen Cauliflower Rice is an amazing quick option for when you don’t want to lug out the food processor. I have used it in this recipe before and it’s perfect!
Meal planning for busy weeks can be at times be a challenge, to say the least. Even for someone like me, which is kinda insane considering I like I think about food well over 3/4 of the day. It takes a lot to keep things fun, fresh and interesting, while being healthy, easy and swift. This is all especially important during the mid-week craziness.
If you are a regular reader of Tasty Yummies, you are always seeing the many, fun and unique ways that I prepare my vegetables, it is something I take great pride in, they truly inspire me. Since we eat meat sparingly around here, it’s not an every night thing, so I am always seeking simple ways to prepare different proteins that wow me, the way veggies can.
Truth be told, I never really understood the obsession with boneless skinless chicken breasts. So flavorless, so boring. Blah! Get yourself some (well-raised) chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in and my friends, that’s where all the flavor is at. You get some crispy skin and now we’re talking about succulent goodness. Let’s start a chicken revolution.
Sometimes, less really is more. I feel like there can be a lot of pressure in the recipe developing world, to go further, to come up with super crazy flavor combinations, to mix unsuspecting ingredients together or to be the first to come up with the next big food idea. Those big ideas and crazy creations often spread like wild fires amongst other bloggers, some ideas may become infamous on Pinterest, but ultimately I find for me it can all just be a thankless rat race. When I am cooking for myself or others, I always come back to the idea that less is more, don’t over-think it, K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid). The most simple recipes here on Tasty Yummies are typically the most popular. I like to be able to cook recipes with ingredients that I already have on hand, on a week day, I don’t want to run to 45 stores to get all the ingredients for one dinner. I like easy, smart and quick.
Life has been busy this month, one of the busiest I can remember in a long time. There have been countless trips, more hotel rooms than I can count, flights, visits with family, conferences, events and so much more. When I come home and I look at my to-do list and the next round of travels, I feel overwhelmed, so the last thing I can imagine doing is developing some epic creation in the kitchen. If I feel that way, I have to imagine that many of you do, as well. The last few weeks have been about easy meals, bone broth and homemade soup, crock pot meals, grilled local grass-fed meats, ALL the veggies and lots and lots of salads.
As life has me spinning and the message to “Honor Yourself” has continuously presented itself to me over the past few weeks, I have been trying very hard to give myself the space to do this. This isn’t an easy feat when life is feeling wildly out of control. I found myself fighting a cold last week, likely from all of the going and not properly taking care of myself and I am sure being on planes and in hotels with lots of germs, didn’t help either. Since I didn’t have the space to fully allow my body to heal, earlier this week I felt myself fighting off a sinus infection. I realized no matter how hard it would, I had to stop. Breathe. Give myself space to ground in. I found time to meditate, I sat with my feet in the sand at the ocean, I took a walk with my hubby and our pooch.
It isn’t easy to stop going when life is crazy and it doesn’t always feel good to say no to the bigger and “better” things in life, but ultimately when we can nourish ourselves, we are in a much better place to then nourish those around us, in our family and in our community. A fact I was reminded of recently by a friend.
OK, so it is fair to say my pasta addiction is probably very obvious by now. It has always been one of my favorites and it is definitely both my go-to quick dinner option and my favorite comfort food. When I learned of my gluten intolerance, the loss of pasta in my life is what scared me most, then I discovered Tinkyada’s rice pastas. They are so amazing!! They are light and tasty. I much prefer them to regular pasta, any day, though I really don’t have much choice. Mark actually really loves rice pasta and always mentions how much lighter it is in your ‘gut’.
We got home late from work last night and we were both very tired from a long day of printing and other projects, so while I was contemplating dinner, Mark pulled a Wegman’s pizza out of the freezer for himself. I had pulled this recipe from a recent issue of Cooking Light and had all of the ingredients for it on hand, since it seemed so easy and quick, I decided to make it. In the time it took the oven to preheat and for the frozen pizza to cook and cool, I had made this pasta dish, served it, photographed it and I was finishing up eating, just about the time Mark was sitting down to eat his pizza. Granted, I produced WAY more of a mess and tons more dishes, but I would say cooking from scratch and eating fresh foods wins again!!
The pesto had an amazing flavor to it from the pistachios and the arugula had that lovely peppery crisp that just added to the creaminess from the beans. I was a bit unsure on the beans, but I thought they were really nice and was glad I decided not to omit them. Admittedly, I don’t usually buy romano cheese, as I tend to go for parmigiano-reggiano every time, but the romano had a stronger taste that went perfectly with these flavors, a bit saltier and sharper. I will definitely be buying more of it for pasta dishes.
Penne with Pistachio Pesto, White Beans and Arugula
adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, July 2010
8 ounces uncooked organic brown rice penne pasta (any pasta will do)
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup roasted shelled pistachios
6 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped seeded tomato
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (15-ounce) can organic great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups arugula
1/4 cup shredded fresh pecorino Romano cheese
Cook pasta according to package direction. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain.
Combine basil, nuts and garlic in a food process; process until finely chopped.
Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add basil mixture, cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in pasta, tomato, and next 3 ingredients (through beans); cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, tossing to combine. Remove from heat. Add arugula to pan, and toss slightly to wilt.
Place about 1 1/4 cups pasta mixture in each of 4 bowls and top each serving with 1 tablespoon of cheese.