Food blog and weekly menu planning

Month: October 2017

Balsamic Chicken Thighs

Balsamic Chicken Thighs

These balsamic chicken thighs stay juicy and tender. They are topped with a simple yet flavorful balsamic glaze. Serve with steamed vegetables for a healthy weeknight meal.

Italian Sausage, Kale, and White Bean Soup

Italian Sausage, Kale, and White Bean Soup

Here’s the story of this tasty White Bean Soup. I had other plans for dinner last night.  Yep. I was going to make these amazing balsamic chicken thighs and photograph them for the blog. What is that saying though…best laid plans often go awry? I […]

Soy-Maple-Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

Soy-Maple-Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

Soy-maple-glazed chicken drumsticks are sticky, caramelized, and delicious. If you make these, I’m going to have to insist that you lick the delicious-ness from your fingers when done. No wet wipes allowed! They are definitely messy to eat, but in a really, really good way.

The sauce on these drumsticks is excellent. You’ll be trying to use it on all of your chicken dishes in the future. That’s okay – you really could. I like a sauce that is versatile. This could work with chicken thighs, wings, or even on chicken breasts. You could probably use it on pork chops too. I love that it’s one sauce with two uses. First a marinade, then you’ll thicken it up for a final glaze. Bonus: the sauce only has 4 ingredients.

This is a great recipe to use if you need to serve a lot of people. It’s so easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of prep. These legs would the hit of a tailgate or dinner party. However, you can also serve them for a weeknight dinner along with some veggies, roasted potatoes or a nice salad.

Even though we’re health focused here on the blog, I do recommend buying and using skin-on legs. I bake my chicken legs with the skin on for 2 reasons:

  • The skin hold the marinade well – it coats the skin and makes them crispy
  • Cooking with the skin on protects the meat underneath. It helps keep them juicy!

For me, it’s a game-time decision if I’m going to eat the skin or remove it once they are on my plate. It really does help having it on during the cooking process.  I also don’t think eating some skin every now and then is bad for you. It can be some of the best bites of a meal like this. I never skip the skin with this recipe and neither should you! All in moderation. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

The Best No Bake Energy Bites

The Best No Bake Energy Bites

This no bake energy bites recipe is amazing. I’m sure by now you’ve seen energy bites, energy balls, or some other form on social media. Trust me, there’s a reason! Energy Bites are: easy to make filled with healthy ingredients perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up […]

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

Make this easy and wholesome vegetable frittata to use up leftover vegetables for a great weeknight meal. It’s also perfect for a Saturday brunch dish that everyone will love.

Baked Italian Chicken Roll-Ups

Baked Italian Chicken Roll-Ups

Chicken Roll-Ups make a great family dinner.  They are a delicious, low carb, and easy way to make chicken a little more interesting. Chicken get’s a bit boring when you’re making it the same way each week, ya know? With these, you roll the chicken up around a tasty filling and bake them. They are pretty quick to make for an easy weeknight meal.  In this recipe, I make the Italian chicken roll-ups by filling them with a cheesy mixture and topping them with sauce. So good! 

chicken roll-ups

My first chicken roll-ups or “rollatini” recipe came from skinnytaste.com (Gina has some great recipes to share!) I put my own spin on this recipe by adding pesto to the filling. The flavor is awesome! Of course, I always mix in a big helping of spinach to up the healthiness factor.

Lately, I’ve been making and eating a lot more vegetarian meals. It’s something I want to incorporate more into our lifestyle. It’s been going well and I’m discovering SO many new, healthy recipes. When I whipped these up recently, my husband was pretty happy about it. I think he’s been missing the meat factor in our lives a bit more than me. 

One tip when making these: you want your chicken to be THIN. Using thing slices of chicken allows for quick, even cooking, so pound out the cutlets so they are really really  thin. I try to get four cutlets out of one 2 large chicken breasts. Some are wider than others, and you’ll end up with a few different sizes, but that is okay! You might want a smaller roll-up with a big salad, while others might prefer a larger one. Consequently, these would also be really great when serving a crowd. Each individual roll-up is a meal in itself. Just pair them up with a big salad and dinner is served!

Easy Homemade Granola

Easy Homemade Granola

This homemade granola recipe is easy to follow and easy to adapt. You’ll have crunchy, sweet, salty and delicious granola made from scratch!

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Asian turkey lettuce wraps are a delicious, low-carb dinner option for a busy weeknight meal. This is easy to prepare in your crockpot to cook while you’re away.

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

This vegetarian  pumpkin chili sets the bar pretty high for a meatless dish, or any chili for that matter. It’s hearty, full of vegetables, beans, and legumes. Bonus: It comes together pretty quickly. The flavor of the soup is really great. It has a little heat that balances out the sweetness from the pumpkin, but depth of flavor due to the addition of soy sauce. I know, this might seem strange to you, but trust me. I once read that soy sauce, along with a few other ingredients, like anchovies can really add depth to a dish. Since then, I always have soy sauce on hand, I use it in this way often. I don’t have anchovies or anchovy paste just laying around, but if you do – that would also probably work.

Let’s talk veggies for a second. I added carrots to this dish the first time. They were good, but I really think that sweet potatoes also work well. You can’t go wrong with either, but the sweet potatoes just pair so well with black beans and pumpkin that I use them more often than carrots. Do whatever feels right to you, or use whatever you have on hand.

I’ve always loved fall foods and chili is especially high on my list of favorite fall and winter meals. But I just recently started getting more creative with pumpkin. I don’t know why it took so long, but am happy I’ve come around.  I guess I always associated it with sweet, dessert-like recipes.  Maybe it’s all the hype pumpkin gets in August (I’m looking at you, pumpkin spice latte). Well, I’m willing to admit that I had it all wrong! Pumpkin is so versatile and good for you! I’ve been putting it in muffins, smoothies, and now chili. The pumpkin puree really adds a nice thickness to the chili and it’s savory, not sweet.

I hope you enjoy this and start getting creative with your use of pumpkin. Feel free to share the ways you use pumpkin below, I’d love to know! You really should add this vegetarian pumpkin chili to your repertoire for a meatless Monday. Even the meat-loving husbands, won’t complain. It’s hearty and delicious!

Don’t forget to tag us @straightandfarro if you make this or any of our recipes. We love to see what you’re making!

 

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Try making delicious homemade enchilada sauce with this simple recipe. It comes together in under ten minutes and tastes better than anything you can buy in a can.

Garlic and Ginger Vegetable Stir Fry

Garlic and Ginger Vegetable Stir Fry

A healthy and flavorful vegetable stir fry recipe for an easy weeknight meal.

Simple Chimichurri Sauce Recipe

Simple Chimichurri Sauce Recipe

This bright, tangy, and versatile chimichurri sauce will take your meal to the next level! This Argentinian sauce is a great accompaniment for grilled meat. First, let’s talk about the color. It’s bright, earthy green color makes it so appealing to the eye even before tasting it. The flavor though. It really speaks for itself. A little chimichurri sauce goes a long way, but it’s tangy and delicious. I serve this a lot with flank steak, or steak tacos and often make it when we have guests for dinner. It’s kind of exotic, so not everyone is familiar with it, but I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t enjoyed it. In my opinion, serving it makes the meal feel fancier and don’t we always want easy ways to accomplish that goal?

 

Steak Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce

Steak Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce

These Steak Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce are AMAZING. You should probably stop reading now. Just skip on down to the recipe, because these need to be on your dinner table this week! If you’re still with me despite my urgent plea, then let me paint […]

Slow Cooker Thai Butternut Squash Soup

Slow Cooker Thai Butternut Squash Soup

You’ll love this creamy and delicious slow cooker Thai butternut squash soup. It comes together so easily.  It’s vegan, healthy and bursting with flavor!

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash Boats

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash Boats

Cheesy? Yup!

Buffalo Sauce? Yes Please!

Low in calories? Where do I sign up?

This is pretty much what went through my head when making these Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash Boats. I was happy to find a way to satisfy my craving for buffalo chicken dip in a respectable meal.

I love using spaghetti squash for a low-carb dinner option – it has lots of possibilities and makes a great base for a meal. You don’t sacrifice flavor, but take in less calories than with a similar pasta or rice dish. That being said, I don’t spaghetti squash paired with marinara sauce. For me, when I try to use this way – it falls short. I started experimenting with other ways to make it and happily discovered the buffalo chicken spaghetti squash boats. These Turkey Enchilada Spaghetti Squash boats are another delicious example.

If you love buffalo chicken dip or anything buffalo flavored for that matter, you’ll enjoy these. I lightened up the ingredients by using greek yogurt rather than cream cheese and it turned out to be a great substitution. Feel free to use any of your favorite toppings. I often use avocado, red onion or scallion.

The prep time is longer for this recipe because you have to bake the squash first. I’ve also read that you can microwave it, to speed up the time, but haven’t tried it that way yet. I don’t mind popping it into the oven and walking away to get other things done while it roasts. You could also make the squash the night before and just finish putting it together when you’re ready to eat. I’ve also assumed you’ll be using leftover chicken. This is one great way to meal prep for the week. Make your chicken on sunday and just shred it up to toss in with all of the other ingredients.

 

 

Pulled Pork Quesadillas

Pulled Pork Quesadillas

Try this mouth watering leftover pulled pork quesadilla recipe for a quick and easy meal that doesn’t feel at all like leftovers.

Slow cooker Pulled Pork

Slow cooker Pulled Pork

This recipe for slow cooker pulled pork is so simple and delicious. Make a batch of this tender and flavorful meat to enjoy all week long.

Avocado Lime Dressing

Avocado Lime Dressing

This avocado lime dressing is something special. I love avocados and use them all the time. I throw them on top of everything. But, have you ever used them in a salad dressing? Avocados give dressing a smooth and creamy texture that you would expect from a ranch dressing, but is a much healthier option. I use lime and cilantro to compliment the avocado.  Then pour it on EV-ER-Y-THING I can for about 3 days. Give it a try on this California Cobb Salad or drizzle it these Chicken Enchiladas. Or just dip some veggies in it for a delicious snack. Whichever way you decide to use it, you cannot go wrong! 

One Pan Dijon Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

One Pan Dijon Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

This One Pan Dijon Chicken with Roasted Vegetables is a game changer. That’s right, I just put the pressure on, but I’m feeling pretty good about it. It’s a game changer for 2 reasons: 1) It’s a one pan meal 2) It’s super easy to […]

Deconstructed Italian Stuffed Pepper Quinoa Skillet

Deconstructed Italian Stuffed Pepper Quinoa Skillet

This Italian stuffed pepper recipe comes together in one pan. It’s protein packed, healthy, and delicious. I’ve written it to include sweet Italian sausage, but it’s equally delicious as a vegetarian option. Just omit the sausage. You could also get creative and add in additional vegetables here – like broccoli.

Turkey Taco Bowl

Turkey Taco Bowl

Taco Tuesday is always right around the corner and I know you’re excited. But maybe you’d be interested in trying something a little out of the ordinary? Maybe even something a little bit lighter without sacrificing flavor? These Turkey Taco Bowls deliver. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a girl who could eat regular tacos everyday of the week. Although sometimes I do try to cut back on refined carbs like wraps and bread. I only do this when I know I won’t be sacrificing flavor. Some of you may think it’s sinful to substitute a Taco Bowl for an authentic taco, but I have to say, this meal is so satisfying that you won’t miss that wrap or shell! If I were you, I’d save my wraps for these chimichurri steak tacos instead. Now these tacos do call for pulling out all the stops.

I flavor for these taco bowls comes from my homemade taco seasoning and some staples like onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Homemade taco seasoning is so easy to make ahead and really allows you to cut back on the sodium content often found in the pre-packaged stuff. Make a big batch and store it in an airtight container with your spices. Then I pile the delicious mixture onto steamed or sauteed cauliflower rice. Have you tried this yet? I made mine at home once, but I have to admit – it got a little messy. Now I buy mine frozen in the grocery store. Just look for Cauliflower Rice with other frozen vegetables. I’ve steamed it in the microwave and also sauteed it in a pan. It’s great both ways. You could opt for brown rice too if cauliflower rice doesn’t appeal to you.

Don’t forget to top this taco bowl with all of your favorite taco add-ons. Avocado, salsa, Greek yogurt, shredded cheese and cilantro all taste great. This meal comes together in one pan if you opt for the frozen cauliflower. You’re welcome. I really hope you give this meal a try next week when Taco Tuesday arrives. You won’t be sorry.

California Chicken Cobb Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing

California Chicken Cobb Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing

This Cobb Salad with Avocado-Lime dressing is a great weeknight option for a healthy and delicious meal. It’s topped with a bright and flavorful avocado-lime dressing for even more flavor.

Roasted Vegetable Baked Ziti

Roasted Vegetable Baked Ziti

This vegetable baked ziti is a great vegetarian option that is also freezer friendly. Loaded with your favorite roasted vegetables, it’s a great comfort meal that everyone will love.

Sesame Cauliflower Bites

Sesame Cauliflower Bites

Sesame Cauliflower Bites are a perfect alternative to your usual Chinese Take-Out. This Sesame Sauce. Let me just say that I could put it on everything. It’s sweet, sticky and packs some seeeeerious flavor, with only 4 ingredients! I made cauliflower bites here, but you could also make some chicken and chow down on it that way too. You won’t be disappointed, I promise. This recipe not only makes a satisfying substitution for take-out Chinese, but it’s an excellent vegetarian appetizer or party snack.

Let’s talk cauliflower:

I read a lot of recipes before attempting this and some called for a batter while others didn’t. Usually, I opt for the healthiest version of recipes. I really wanted to see if the batter actually made a difference, so, I made half with plain cauliflower and half with battered cauliflower. Other than using a batter, they were made exactly the same way. My husband and I ate them side by side in a little taste test. We agreed that we preferred the battered cauliflower bites, hands down.

The main reason we preferred the battered version is that it took a better texture and could almost pass for a meat substitute. If you’re having these in lieu of a Chinese craving, this version really works. The plain cauliflower tasted more like a vegetable with sauce. The battered version satisfied the desire for Sesame Chicken from a Chinese take-out restaurant. If you really don’t want to use a batter, or can’t because of health or dietary reasons, the version without the batter is good, just not what we were envisioning with this recipe.

I baked mine on large baking sheet, topped with a cooling rack to ensure that the bites were cooked evenly on both sides. If you don’t have a cooling rack, you’ll want to gently toss the bites about half-way through. The only downside about making Sesame Cauliflower Bites is that you won’t get the fun take-out containers, but you will enjoy every bit of this meal without any guilt.

Don’t forget to snap a pic and tag us @straightandfarro if you make these!

Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

These healthy pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are guilt-free and delicious! They are light, fluffy and make a great midday snack or breakfast on the go. The dark chocolate chips to make them even more irresistible!

Pan Seared Asian Salmon

Pan Seared Asian Salmon

We’ve spent the last year trying to incorporate more salmon into our diet. I read so much about the health benefits, and want to eat more fish in general. Sadly, fish isn’t something my husband enjoys…let’s be honest – he just flat out doesn’t like […]

Freezer Friendly Chicken Enchiladas

Freezer Friendly Chicken Enchiladas

We all have comfort foods we adore. They usually remind us of childhood. One of my favorite comfort foods are Chicken Enchiladas. Oddly enough, I never ate them as a child, but as an adult have come to love them and eat them all the time. This freezer friendly chicken enchiladas recipe is one of the first meals that I mastered as an adult and was able to cook without a recipes. Maybe that’s where the “comfort” part comes from? I started to feel more at home in the kitchen and would toss in ingredients by feel, rather than by measurement. Truthfully, it made it hard when I had to go back and write it all down, but it’s so delicious that I wanted to be able to share it with you!

This freezer friendly chicken enchiladas recipe is one of my favorite meals to make for a crowd. Enchiladas are easy to make, difficult to ruin, and they freeze so well! What more do you need from a meal?? I make them with a more mild sauce, but feel free to crank up the heat if that’s what you’re into. Usually I make a double batch and put them in the freezer for a bonus meal.

Traditional enchilada recipes doesn’t usually contain many veggies, but I sneak some bell peppers into these.  I prefer them this way, but you can omit them if you’re not into it. I’d say maybe try it and see what you think before changing up the ingredients. You might even find that you want to add MORE veggies – which would be awesome!

I like to make enchiladas when I already have pre-cooked chicken on hand. I’ll make a big batch of chicken on Sunday while prepping for the week. If you make the chicken ahead of time, these come together fast!

Thai Coconut Chicken Tenders

Thai Coconut Chicken Tenders

Lightly breaded and full of flavor, these juicy chicken tenderloins are a fun and easy weeknight meal that the whole family will love.