Recipes

Hearty Beef and Veggie Chili

This chili is an all-time favorite at our house for two reasons: It’s incredibly easy to make and it’s delicious.

Oh, and it contains a huge helping of veggies in it, which makes my little nutrient-density-loving heart happy.

My kids love it topped with cheese and I love it served over brown rice or a sweet potato. We even eat it with Frito-style chips sometimes. It is also something that is super easy to freeze and thaw, so I almost always make a double or triple batch of it. This let’s us have a super fast meal on a weeknight if needed, that’s still super healthy.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of high quality ground beef or bison
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 2 cans of pinto beans
  • 1 8oz can of diced green chilis (optional)
  • 16 oz of diced root veggies of your choice (for this, I love using the Healthy 8 veggie blend from Trader Joe’s. Here’s a copycat recipe in case you don’t have TJ nearby or need ideas)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP chili seasoning
  • 16 oz organic beef bone broth

Instructions

Open all of the cans of beans, chilis, and tomatoes. Drain the water from the beans, but do NOT drain the tomatoes or chili.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and brown the ground meat, until it is cooked through. Add in the diced onion and stir occasionally until the onion softens and releases its water. Then add in the chili seasoning and stir until everything is evenly coated.

Add in the 16oz of chopped root veggies. Cover and cook until the veggies are softening (but not cooked through). If the veggies or meat is sticking to the bottom of the pan, you can add a few oz of the beef stock in this step to prevent that.

Once the veggies have begun to soften, add in the diced chilis if you are using them. Mix thoroughly. Next, add in the diced tomatoes and all of the beans. Stir the mixture to evenly distribute.

Finally add in the remaining bone broth and bring the chili to a simmer. You can simmer in as little as 10 minutes, or wait up to two hours to serve if you keep it over very low heat. You can also add the chili to a crock pot at this point and cook on low heat for up to 6 hours.

If you made a double batch, separate half of the chili out to freeze once is it cooked. Wait until it is cooled to room temperature before placing in a freezer bag and freeze it flat for easiest storage and thawing.

Health & Wellness, Time Management, Uncategorized

The UnFancy Recipes

This is the second post in my Home Cooked with Takeout Effort series and it is going to focus on what I call Un-Fancy recipes. Too often, when we look for recipes online we find something that sounds too complicated, has too many ingredients, and takes too long to make. We don’t have an hour and 10 minutes on a weeknight to juillene carrots or chop up 10 different vegetables. We don’t have the time to brown the roast on all sides in ghee before cooking it for 20 minutes per pound. Then on “good days” where we actually do make a recipe we found online, we end up with too many dishes to wash, portions that were too small, and specialty ingredients that we don’t know how to finish before they go bad. So we feel like we wasted our time and money. All this often has a detrimental effect on our confidence in the kitchen “I’ll never be able to do that” or “I definitely don’t have that kind of time” or “Its ultimately a waste overall”

Here’s the secret though: most of us who cook regularly do not make things that are listed on a foodie blog. We cook in an Un-Fancy manner. We cook in a way that doesn’t seem worthy of posting online because the ingredients and steps are so simple. We use a standard “formula” to answer the “what’s for dinner?” question and go from there. It’s all very unglamorous. But it’s also very easy to learn, to implement, and to keep doing regularly.

This is my standard formula for a meal: make one protein, one starch/grain, and one veggie. I try to make sure the veggies are double the weight of whatever protein I am making. Thats it. The table below lists out examples of what falls into each of these categories.

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Now that we understand the formula, how do we keep it from getting “boring”? The secret here is keeping a few staple ingredients on hand and having several go-to spice blends. A huge hang up with recipes in general is that they cal for 1/2 teaspoon of 4 different spices, 1 teaspoon of 2 additional spices, and a tablespoon of 3 different sauces. Measuring out all of that (and even having all of it on hand) is a huge PITA (pain in the @#$) and time consuming. Having staple spice blends on hand eliminates this problem, while keeping your food super flavorful and delicious (and healthy to boot!). Here’s what I keep on hand in our kitchen:

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In addition to the spice blends, you want to have a few staple cooking ingredients on hand. These are a way to flavor your food without a lot of hassle. Keeping this list short helps you to use everything regularly. Using these regularly also has the added benefit of helping you learn how to use them efficiently and effectively to add flavor to meals. Here is a list of our family’s staple ingredients: olive oil, avocado oil, jar of minced garlic, apple cider vinegar (ACV), basalmic vinegar, lemon juice (get a glass bottle for way less hassle and many more uses than squeezing lemons), lime juice (optional, lemon works in most cases), amminos (healthy substitute for soy sauce), and avocado oil mayonnaise.

Ok, now how do we make this all work out to be easy meals that take you less time to make than takeout or delivery? Well, if you have a convection oven at home, you’ve hit the JACKPOT of easy home cooked dinners. In a convection oven, you can cook items on every rack in the oven at the same time. I will often place whichever baked chicken thighs we are having on the top rack, a pan of veggies on the middle rack, and a pan of carrots or potatoes (for the starch) on the bottom. The whole meal takes 35 minutes to be done once its in the oven, but it takes YOU only the 5-10 minutes of prep time to be actively “cooking” in the kitchen.

If you don’t have a convection oven, never fear! You can either roast your chicken and veggies side by side on the same rack and use an “instant starch,” OR you can use a steamed/sautéed veggie option. And if all else fails, a bag of salad is a great go-to option for the veggie choice (just be careful with the dressing, since they are often loaded with excess sugar).

Here are a few pictures showing how we usually combine items from the Un-Fancy Recipes. I encourage you to try this out ONE TIME this week. Swap out ONE take out or fast food run with one of these. When you do it, let me know how it worked!

Recipes

White Bean Chicken Chili

Chili is always a favorite in our house, especially in the winter. I love it because it’s simple to make and I can hide extra veggies in it for the kids. The kids and hubby love it because it’s delicious. This is a twist on a traditional chili recipe that is mild but flavorful. It’s also relatively easy to make in a double or triple batch. If you do this, you can freeze a portion so that you’ll have an “instant” home cooked meal on a hectic weeknight down the road.

The recipe below makes a mild chili (not spicy at all). If you want more kick and flavor, you can double the amount of spices and add another can of green chilis to the pot. My husband and I prefer the recipe with the spices and chilis doubled, but the girls like the mild version better. Either way, I hope you love this one as much as we do!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 parsnips, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 15oz cans of white beans, drained and rinsed (we like one can of white kidney beans and one of great northern beans)
  • 1 4oz can of roasted green chilis*
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups of chicken bone broth (if you like a thicker chili, use 1 1/2 cups. You can use chicken stock if you don’t have bone broth available)
  • 3 TBSP of lime juice
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin*
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper*
  • 1/2 tsp salt*
  • 1/2 tsp paprika*

*double these ingredients if you like your chili flavor to be stronger

Instructions

Add the olive oil, garlic, spices, and chopped onion to a large pot and place over HIGH heat. Cover the pot for 1 to 2 minutes and then stir the onion and spice mixture frequently, until the onions are soft and well coated.

Add the shredded chicken to the mixture and continue to sauté with the onions until the chicken is coated with the spice mixture (about 2 minutes). Next, add the broth, the green chilis, and the parsnips to the pot. Reduce the heat to a MEDIUM level, cover and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Finally, add the lime juice and the remaining ingredients to the pot. Stir the mixture until evenly mixed. Cover the pot until the chili is boiling, then reduce the heat to LOW. Stir the chili and scrape the bottom of the pot with the spoon to make sure no portions of the chili are stuck to the bottom. Recover the pot and allow the chili to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

That’s it! This chili can continue to simmer on the stove top on LOW heat for up to an hour, as long as you stir it occasionally.


You can serve this alone, with some shredded cheese or a dollop of sour cream, or over rice or baked potatoes. It is also great if you garnish it with a bit of chopped cilantro. How do you love to eat this?

Recipes

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

This is a favorite in our house for a couple of reasons. First, it’s really easy to make AND it’s easy to make double/triple batches of it. It freezes well so you can easily cook once and stock up on your freezer ready meals. It hides a ton of delicious veggies and our kids LOVE it (who doesn’t love a meal where kids eat broccoli without complaint?) and finally, it’s a “one pan meal” so cleanup is super easy.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as we do!

Ingredients

  • 2 C of rice (we like to use 1 1/3 C of brown rice and 2/3 C wild rice in ours)
  • 4 C of chicken stock
  • 3 C of shredded chicken
  • 2 Bags of Frozen Broccoli Floretts (about 32 oz)
  • 2-3 C of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1/2 TBSP of Fox Point Seasoning*
  • 1 TBSP of Shallot Pepper Seasoning*

*if you don’t have these, you can substitute salt, pepper and onion powder to taste


Instructions (non-freezer meal)

Preheat the oven to 350F

Add the rice and the chicken stock to a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the moisture is absorbed and the rice is cooked. (Or, cook this in a rice cooker.)  When the rice is finished, add the olive oil and fluff the rice until it is thoroughly coated.

While the rice is cooking, chop the broccoli florets into small pieces. This can be done while the broccoli is still frozen.

In a large bowl, combine the oil coated rice, the broccoli, and the shredded chicken. Mix these together until they are evenly distributed. Add in the seasoning and stir again until it evenly coats the mixture.


Place about 1/3 of the mixture as a layer in the bottom of an oven safe dish (we like pyrex for these). Sprinkle a layer of cheese over the casserole. Repeat layering the mixture and cheese in the dish until it is used up (about 3 layers).

Bake in the oven uncovered for about 20 minutes, until warmed through and the cheese is melted.

Enjoy!


Freezer Meal Instructions

To make this into a freezer meal, follow the instructions above but layer the casserole in a freezer AND oven safe dish (we still like pyrex for this or you can use an aluminum pan). Then seal the pan and freeze until you are ready to eat.

To prepare after freezing: heat the oven to 400F. Cover the casserole tightly with foil and place in the oven. Cook for 50-60 minutes. For the last 10 minutes of cooking, remove the foil.

Recipes

Perfect Chicken Tacos

These tacos have become a new staple in our house. They are soooo good and easy to make. What’s even better is they use sprouted corn tortillas, so they are nutrient dense and heartier than the stuff you get from a restaurant. Both my one year old and three year old inhale them as well!

We love to pair these with a huge chopped salad like this Tropical Slaw Salad or a premixed bag of Cruciferous Crunch or Super Greens. These are great, nutritionally packed taco toppers (move over iceberg) that help the family to get their veggies in on Taco Tuesdays. Top everything with some sliced avocado and you have perfection.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound shredded chicken (precooked, about 3 cups)
  • 12 sprouted corn tortillas (you can substitute crunchy shells if desired)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 8oz can of diced green chilis
  • 2 TBSP avocado oil
  • 2 TBSP taco seasoning

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the shredded chicken. Sauté for about a minute to warm the chicken. Open the diced chilis (do not drain them) and add the can to the chicken. Add in the taco seasoning and continue to sauté the mix until the chilis and seasoning are evenly coating the chicken. Remove the skillet from the heat.

If you have soft tortillas: place a small frying pan over medium heat (stainless steel works best, but a non stick pan is fine too). Place one of the tortillas in the pan and sprinkle some shredded cheese on the tortilla. When the cheese begins to melt, add some of the chicken mixture to the tortilla by placing the chicken in a line down the middle of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half using a spatula and remove from the heat. The warming and the cheese will help to prevent the tortilla from cracking/tearing when you are eating your taco. Repeat these steps for the remaining tortillas.

If you are using crunchy shells: spoon some of the chicken mixture into each shell. Top the chicken with shredded cheese immediately so the heat from the meat can melt the cheese.

Top the tacos with a greens or slaw mixture of your choice and serve!