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chicken noodle

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Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup :: Grain Free Options

March 17, 2017

Give that bowl of classic chicken noodle soup a ginger and leek flavor upgrade!

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup :: Grain Free OptionsProduct links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

One last warm, wintry soup for the season, ok?!

I’m staring out the window at more snow falling. On March 17…

It’s pretty safe to say I’m over it, but for the moment I’ll embrace the last of winter hanging on…as long as I have a warm bowl of soup like this to cheer me up!

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup :: Grain Free OptionsA chicken noodle soup make-over

My kids rarely tire of classic chicken noodle soup – in fact 9 times out of 10 when one of my girls requests soup, chicken noodle is definitely her jam. She asked for it a few weeks back and I decided to change things up a little bit. We were getting over a bit of a cold and I had some ginger to use up from making our cold busting ginger tea. It made simply the most amazing noodle soup we’ve had in a long time!

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup :: Grain Free OptionsAn early taste of spring!

We needed a bit of cheering up after fighting our cold, and the brightly colored rainbow carrots and fresh green leeks seemed like just the ticket – and made the perfect swap for the typical carrot and onion. Since I wanted the ginger flavor to shine, the leeks were a lighter background onion flavor, and the pretty yellow carrots were a hit with the kids.

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle SoupWhether you have special diet needs or not, we’ve got a noodle for that!

Gluten Free Options ::

Grain Free Options (Use a spirilizer, Y Peeler, or Julienne Peeler to make these veggie noodles! Also, back off on the bone broth by a couple cups and make a tapioca starch or cassava flour slurry to make the broth smooth and have the starchy feeling of noodles) ::

  • Zucchini Noodles
  • Sweet Potato Noodles
  • Butternut Squash Noodles
  • Golden Beet Noodles
  • Parsnip Noodles
  • Carrot Noodles

If you are not on a special diet, and can handle the gluten, I recommend using a wheat based noodle using Einkorn flour for best digestion.

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup :: Grain Free OptionsDon’t forget to pack the leftovers for school!

And work too! My husband loves his travel crockpot to warm up soup right at his desk without ruining all of the nutrients in the bone broth in a microwave. He keeps the base at work and just brings the liner home to clean and fill back up. You can read more about the thermoses I like to use for the girls at school here – they keep the soup very warm all the way to lunchtime!

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup :: Grain Free OptionsHere’s to happy spring thoughts coming our way!

Gluten Free Ginger and Leek Chicken Noodle Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, tallow, coconut oil, or avocado oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (I like to use 1 orange carrot, and 1 yellow carrot for more color)
  • 1 large stalk of celery, diced
  • 2-4 inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 TB of grated ginger will leave a very mild ginger flavor and almost no heat. 2 TB of grated ginger will leave more flavorful heat to the soup - we like the heat!)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, leaves and roots removed, quartered lengthwise, then chopped (soak in a bowl of water and strain to get the sand out)
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped (save some of the green to garnish the top)
  • 2 quarts bone broth (You can use Instant Pot Broth, or here is my slow cooker method)
  • 1½ cups shredded cooked chicken (Use leftovers from your roasted chicken, slow cooker chicken, or Instant Pot chicken)
  • 6oz gluten free noodles
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat, and add the carrot and celery. Add a big pinch of sea salt and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes to get the carrots softening.
  2. Add the grated ginger, minced garlic, leeks, and green onion. Cook for another 3-5 minutes over medium heat until fragrant and soft.
  3. Add the bone broth and chicken, turn the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Add the noodles and cook over medium/high heat until the noodles are cooked to your liking. Sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste.

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Chicken Noodle Soup :: Gluten Free, Egg Free, Nut Free, Dairy Free, & Grain Free Option

August 11, 2014

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup
This one is sure to be a crowd pleaser!

There is nothing more comforting than a bowl of chicken noodle soup. If you grew up like I did with the little red can of chicken noodle soup – boy are you in for a treat.

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup
Run to your cupboard and flip over that little red can of chicken noodle soup. They don’t even cover up the fact that they put MSG (monosodium glutamate) in there! MSG is very linked to behavior issues in children as it crosses the blood brain barrier and is highly allergenic. Even “organic” or so-called healthier versions of canned or boxed chicken noodle soup have hidden MSG labeled as “yeast extract” or “natural flavors.”

Chicken Noodle Soup :: Gluten Free, Egg Free, Nut Free, Dairy Free, & Grain Free Option
Not only will you be able to skip out on the junk MSG additives and zero nutrient value, but oh! Homemade chicken noodle soup tastes SO good! And making it with simple slow cooker bone broth will bump up the nutrient value along with packing a punch of immune system boosting!

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup
I really feel like I have perfected the flavor, texture, and experience of eating a bowl of chicken noodle soup. The ingredients are so simple, but they come together and make one of our family’s favorites.

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup
This soup holds up in the freezer just fine. The re-heated soup over the stovetop tastes just as good if not better than when you made it fresh. I keep jars of chicken noodle soup in the freezer to pull out quick to pack in my husband’s travel CrockPot for work lunch, to have for lunch at home, and this fall to pack in my daughter’s school thermos for kindergarten!
5.0 from 2 reviews
Chicken Noodle Soup :: Gluten Free, Egg Free, Nut Free, Dairy Free, & Grain Free Option
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup friendly fat to cook in (butter, coconut oil, lard, tallow)
  • 2 large or 4-5 small onions, chopped
  • 5-6 medium carrots, chopped
  • 5-6 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 quarts chicken stock
  • 3 cups cooked pasture chicken, chopped
  • 1 TB organic all purpose season
  • ¼ tsp cayenne powder (optional but it really gives a great flavor to the soup – could go more if you want heat)
  • 1-16oz bag gluten free noodles (Watch the ingredients though! If you are grain free, you can use potatoes. If you can’t do potatoes you could just go without and bump up the veggie or chicken amounts.)
  • 3 TB tapioca flour shaken up in some water (This is optional but thickens the soup nicely to more of a saucy or “stew” consistency! Tapioca flour is grain free so grain free friends can still use this!)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large stock pot, sauté the onions, carrots, and celery in the friendly fat with a few big pinches of salt for about 10 minutes to bring out their juices and sweeten.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the stock, chicken, and seasoning and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the noodles and cook until the noodles are done.
  5. Add the tapioca flour/water mixture and simmer to thicken.
  6. Season sea salt/pepper to taste.

Tips:

  • This one is always a kid favorite – make enough to store away in the freezer or can so you can pack it in lunch thermos weekly. This batch makes enough for my whole family to have lunch and then 4 quarts left to freeze. Just be sure to freeze the soup for 24 hours WITHOUT the lids on so your jars don’t crack!
  • It is so worth making your own bone broth when soup making! The gelatinous protein and mineral rich nutrients will boost your little one’s immune system and fill them right up!
  • Use long grain white rice instead of the gluten free noodles to change it up! If you happen to be grain free you could use potatoes. The tapioca flour to thicken is grain free too!
  • Chop everything the night before or somehow ahead of time to save time. It’s the most time consuming part of the soup and you can just store it away in the fridge until you are ready to make the soup – it comes together super fast once everything is chopped.
  • Here is the tapioca flour I like to use. Where I live this is the most cost effective place to purchase it. It is grain free and makes for great soup thickening!
  • Here are the gluten free noodles I typically use. Our local grocer carries them at a good price so I purchase them there.

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday, and Real Food Wednesday!

Dinner Ideas Instant Pot Lunch Ideas Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Soup

Instant Pot Chipotle Chicken and Vegetable Soup :: Dairy Free and Gluten Free :: Stovetop Directions Included Too!

May 20, 2017

Flavorful smokey heat meets creamy chicken veggie soup, without the dairy or gluten, and in record time!

Instant Pot Chipotle Chicken and Vegetable Soup :: Dairy Free and Gluten Free :: Stovetop Directions Included Too!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

This picture has nothing to do with chipotle chicken and veggie soup…

…but I just had to show you that despite posting such a lovely, warming comfort soup today, spring really has sprung around here! My youngest has been enjoying our lilacs while she patiently waits for her sisters to be done with school for the summer!

Instant Pot Chipotle Chicken and Vegetable Soup :: Dairy Free and Gluten Free :: Stovetop Directions Included Too!So why the soup recipe when summer is around the corner?!

Because this isn’t just any old pot on the stove soup! This is an Instant Pot soup, and that, my friends, means extra time before dinner to play outside! Which is really where we all want to be this time of year, anyway!

I’m all about the faster prep dinners that don’t heat my house up in the warmer months of the year. I probably use my Instant Pot in the spring and summer more than any other time of the year!

Instant Pot Chipotle Chicken and Vegetable Soup :: Dairy Free and Gluten Free :: Stovetop Directions Included Too!Star players, and an amazing finish!

Smoky chipotle gives this soup my favorite heat – a flavorful heat. You can adjust the heat to your preference, and since the nature of chipotle is flavor versus “in-your-face” heat, it really is a kid friendly way to add a little heat to your meal. Coconut milk tames this heat and brings out more of the smoky flavor as well as adding creamy indulgence.

Instant Pot Chipotle Chicken and Vegetable Soup :: Dairy Free and Gluten Free :: Stovetop Directions Included Too!Noodle options…and swaps!

The recipe as is uses gluten free noodles. Here are some gluten free noodle options – these should all cook up about the same in the Instant Pot.

Gluten Free Options ::

If you are grain free, use veggie noodles! Take the broth down by a cup or so since the broth gets cooked into the regular noodles and you don’t need that extra amount for veggie noodles. You can also get away with 1-2 minutes versus 3 minutes for the cook time. In fact, if using zucchini noodles, I would leave the zucchini out while you pressure cook the soup/broth and then add the zucchini noodles in at the end with the kale to just wilt in. It doesn’t need much cook time.

Grain Free Options (Use a spirilizer, Y Peeler, or Julienne Peeler to make these veggie noodles! Also, back off on the bone broth by a couple cups and make a tapioca starch or cassava flour slurry to make the broth smooth and have the starchy feeling of noodles) ::

  • Zucchini Noodles
  • Sweet Potato Noodles
  • Butternut Squash Noodles
  • Golden Beet Noodles
  • Parsnip Noodles
  • Carrot Noodles

If you are not on a special diet, and can handle the gluten, I recommend using a wheat based noodle using Einkorn flour for best digestion. I have not used an Einkorn noodle in the Instant Pot, so I am unsure of if the time will need to be adjusted for that. If you give it a try, leave us some notes in the comments so others may know what to do!

Instant Pot Chipotle Chicken and Vegetable Soup :: Dairy Free and Gluten Free :: Stovetop Directions Included Too!Tips for stovetop prep!

I didn’t forget about you, dear stove top friends! This soup was actually born on the stovetop this past winter, and I only recently converted it to the IP.

Simply sauté the veggies over medium heat in a large soup pot, following steps 1 and 2. When you get to step 3,  add the ingredients listed, except the noodles, and turn the heat up to high in order to bring the soup to a simmer. Once the soup is simmering, add the noodles, and boil until the noodles are al dente. Then stir in the kale. It’s as simple as that!

Instant Pot Chipotle Chicken and Vegetable Soup :: Dairy Free and Gluten Free :: Stovetop Directions Included Too!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Instant Pot Chipotle Chicken and Vegetable Soup :: Dairy Free and Gluten Free :: Stovetop Directions Included Too!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp friendly fat to cook in such as butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, tallow, or lard
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium celery, diced
  • ½ medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp chipotle powder (This will leave the soup with a mild smoky, flavorful heat that is kid friendly in our house. If you prefer to half this for your kiddos, you can always add more to your bowl if you want more heat. I usually add more to mine from this amount as I like it pretty spicy.)
  • 1 ½ quarts bone broth (You can use Instant Pot Broth, or here is my slow cooker method)
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk (this is my favorite brand that doesn't have gums, fillers, or sweeteners added)
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken (Use leftovers from your roasted chicken, slow cooker chicken, or Instant Pot chicken)
  • 8oz gluten free noodles
  • ½ lb baby kale, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Set the Instant Pot to “Saute” and melt the friendly fat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper with a big pinch of sea salt. Saute about 5-7 minutes until the veggies soften and sweeten.
  2. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and chipotle powder, stir to combine, and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the bone broth, coconut milk, cooked chicken, and noodles. Turn the “Saute” off, and push “Soup,” then bring the time down to 3 minutes using the (+/-) button. (Make sure the valve is closed so it can come to pressure! The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure and then will count down the 3 minutes.)
  4. When the Instant Pot is done counting down the 3 minutes, turn the Instant Pot off, and release the valve (use a towel so you don’t burn your hand with steam!). Take the Instant Pot lid off, and stir the baby kale in to wilt. Sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste and serve.

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Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles

March 3, 2017

Quick prep, delicious meatballs, and amazing noodle texture in vegetable form that the whole family will love!

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

That thing when one of your most used kitchen tools breaks…

Oh I was just devastated when the handle on my spiralizer broke a few weeks back! I use that bad boy all the time…hence the worn out handle!

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles Patience…and innovation!

Of course I would have loved to hit that little Prime button that day and have my new spiralizer on my doorstep in 2 days flat, but until that money tree grows in the backyard, we have to save and budget for this kind of stuff!

So I made use of what I did have…a hand peeler!

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles The perfect, curly ribbon noodles!

Oh friends! This is pretty much becoming my favorite way to do the veggie noodle thing! Sure it takes a little elbow grease to get a squash completely peeled – honestly it didn’t really take that long, and with a really good, sharp Y-Peeler, it was very easy! I’ve even been doing carrots quicker (which don’t do real well in a spirilizer anyway because they are so thin!)

By the way! Y Peelers are fantastic for little guys who want to help you peel things! My little ones from as young as 2 years old helped peel easy things like carrots and potatoes using this peeler!

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles Weeknight dinner quick for the whole family

If you have a half hour, you can have this on the table for dinner! Just 10 minutes to prep everything for the oven, and everything roasts in the oven together for 20 minutes! My kids loved the big thick “noodles” and my toddler approved the mild, simple flavor.

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash NoodlesWhat’s in season? Use it!

I roasted these lovely brussel sprouts to fill our bowls because that’s what is around here are decent prices right now. Brussel sprouts get sweet and their leaves get crispy and salty when roasted – they are so good! You could swap the sprouts for asparagus in the spring, broccoli or a mix of summer veg in the summer, and greens or cabbage in the fall.

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles So…will I buy another spiralizer?

Ummm yes! I do love my peeler, and still plan to use it for ribbon noodles, but have you seen the spiralizers with the downward handles?! They have taken the amazing spiralizer and made it even better! Gravity is on your side with these making veggie noodle making even easier. I’ll come back and let you know how I like it as soon as I am able to buy one! (If you like to use Instagram – hop over there and follow because I’ll probably do a video InstaStory once I get it to show you!)

For now, enjoy my creative efforts in using a hand peeler for a bowl full of irresistible veggie noodles!

Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash Noodles

 

5.0 from 4 reviews
Paleo Herb Roasted Grassfed Meatballs and Cabbage with Butternut Squash Noodles
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 large handful baby kale or spinach, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1½ tsp onion powder
  • 1¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1½ pounds brussel sprouts, halved or quartered depending on their size (or, enough to feed your crew for one meal - I like to fill a full baking sheet for my family of 5)
  • 1 medium/large butternut squash, peeled with a Y-Peeler into "ribbon noodles", or spiralized into spaghetti or ribbon noodles
  • 1 large handful baby kale or spinach, chopped finely to mix with the butternut noodles (optional if your kids might be funny about the extra green - it really just looks like herbs and doesn't have a taste though!)
  • 8 TB roasting fat of choice for the veggies (butter, coconut oil, avocado oil are good choices)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Mix the beef, kale, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Roll in to 2 inch balls and place on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  3. Toss the brussel sprouts with 4 TB of melted butter, and sea salt/pepper to your taste on a baking sheet.
  4. Toss the butternut squash noodles with 4 TB of melted butter, chopped kale, and sea salt/pepper to taste on a separate baking sheet. I also like to add a bit of onion and garlic powder to the noodles - of course optional but we like it!
  5. Roast the meatballs, brussel sprouts, and butternut noodles at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring the noodles and brussel sprouts 2 times during the roasting. This will leave the noodles a bit "al dente" - if you prefer them much softer, you can cook another 5-10 minutes. (I use all 3 racks in my oven, one sheet pan on each rack. If you are making a half recipe for a smaller crew, you could fit all the veggies on one tray)
  6. Serve the meatballs and brussel sprouts over bowls of the butternut noodles. You can add homemade sauces or pestos if you wish too!

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5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad

August 25, 2016

Mexican chicken salad is abundant with bright, bold flavor, and just 5 minutes of prep time!

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Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Sometimes it is simplicity that everyone craves.

A few weeks ago I casually posted a “last minute” dinner I made to my Instagram and Facebook page. It was a simple Mexican chicken salad with some crackers and guacamole. It was a super hot, muggy day, and I had zero cooking desire.

5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad :: Mexican chicken salad is abundant with bright, bold flavor, and just 5 minutes of prep time!

I posted the picture, and I remember being surprised at how much reaction this simple dinner received.

Because honestly and truly, we all crave simplicity I think. I had never thought to post a recipe like this chicken salad that I make so often because it is embarrassingly simple in ingredients! What I learned that day is that you all are just like me. You made me feel human! We all have days we just. can’t. do. one. more. thing.

5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad :: Mexican chicken salad is abundant with bright, bold flavor, and just 5 minutes of prep time!

We all have days where we need a simple, easy prep dinner that tastes amazing.

Is that so much to ask?! It really isn’t! I think you will really enjoy putting this Mexican chicken salad into your meal rotation for lunch or dinner!

5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad :: Mexican chicken salad is abundant with bright, bold flavor, and just 5 minutes of prep time!

Here are some ideas for how you can serve your Mexican chicken salad!

  • Scooped into avocado halves (our favorite!)
  • Rolled up into a wrap or a lettuce leaf wrap
  • Scooped into bell pepper halves
  • Used as a dip for veggie sticks or crackers
  • On a sandwich with lots of veggies
  • Mixed into a green salad
  • Toddlers can eat it right off the spoon – and little ones love to dip! Try some crackers or veggie sticks!

5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad :: Mexican chicken salad is abundant with bright, bold flavor, and just 5 minutes of prep time!

5.0 from 1 reviews
5 Minute Mexican Chicken Salad
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 1 cup chopped green onion (Red or Spanish onions work well too)
  • ½ small/medium tomato, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ - ½ cup mayonnaise (I like to use my 5 minute, egg free mayonnaise , but an egg based homemade mayo works well too, or a quality store avocado or olive oil based mayo would be fine!)
  • 2-4 tsp taco seasoning (I use my quick, DIY taco seasoning- if using store bought just watch those ingredients for hidden MSG or other preservatives/starches. Start out with the 2 tsp especially if little kids will be eating it - you can always add more if you need but you can't take it away! My DIY spice blend is on the mild side since I have little kids in the house. My husband likes to add some cayenne, chipotle, or hot sauce to his to kick it up a bit.)
Instructions
  1. Everything into your food processor and pulse to combine to a texture you like. You can puree it all the way through for those that might have texture issues with chunks or who might not like seeing "pieces" in their food.
  2. Serve Mexican chicken salad on avocado halves, bell pepper halves, as a dip for veggie sticks or crackers, in a wrap or as a sandwich, or mixed into a green salad! Store in the fridge up to 5 days in an airtight container.

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15 Minute Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

March 5, 2016

Weeknight dinner has never been so quick! This flavor packed ginger chicken stir fry is sure to become a family favorite!

15 Minute Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

Over the last few months I’ve been Instagramming some of our family weeknight dinners just to give my followers over there a bit of real food blogger reality on how the whole meal thing gets done.

Because my friends…I am right here in the trenches with you!

I have 3 kids 6 years old and under, one in elementary, one in preschool with a completely different schedule than the elementary, and….a toddler (need I say more?!). My husband works out of town every weekday and isn’t home until after dinner, so there isn’t an extra set of hands to help at dinner time. Despite what some may think I don’t spend all day in my kitchen, and while I truly do love to cook, most weekdays I really have just 15 to 30 minutes to get supper on the table.

15 Minute Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

I’ve been asked on these quick and nourishing dinner ideas on Instagram to post some recipes, and now that our Northern daylight hours are improving I’m hoping to grab some shots of some of my favorite weeknight dinner ideas for you!

Ginger is a winter time cold and flu powerhouse with anti-inflammatory properties, and it really gives a meal an amazing flavor. While some may shy away from giving such a different flavor to little ones, I have found that introducing these flavors early to train their taste palates for different meals rewards you with big kids that will gladly ask for seconds.

15 Minute Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

My quick prep tips to keep this meal at 15 minutes!

  • Get the rice going while you start chopping for the stir fry – by the time you are done making the stir fry the rice will be finished!
  • While the chicken is crisping up, chop the cabbage, ginger, and green onions – you really can make this flow into 15 minutes when you do something while other things are cooking!
  • You can leave the carrots to peel last while the other veggies are cooking down for a few minutes – once you add those in you are about done!
  • Another quick prep trick is to do the chopping the night before – put them in a sealed container and the next day you can just dump it all in.

15 Minute Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

So 15 minutes!

You can set that baby down for 15 minutes (or pop them in the baby carrier while you cook!). The kids can read a book or get homework started for 15 minutes. Better yet…the kiddos can help. Put that 4 year old to work with a carrot peeler (mine love doing the ginger too – use a peeler or even just the edge of a spoon works to peel in those cracks and corners!). Put that 6 year old in charge of stirring the chicken. And if you have even older kids they can practically make this themselves!

Happy weeknight dinner to you!

5.0 from 1 reviews
15 Minute Ginger Chicken Stir Fry
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup (divided) friendly fat to cook in such as butter, pastured lard or tallow, avocado oil, or coconut oil
  • 2-3 cups leftover cooked chicken, cubed (use leftovers from your whole crockpotted chicken, whole roasted chicken, or whole Instant Pot chicken, !)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ head cabbage, sliced thin
  • 3-4 cups sugar peas (sliced broccoli works well too)
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2-3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 large carrots sliced with a julienne peeler or just sliced thin
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos (this replaces soy sauce - it tastes just like it without soy! You can find it at most health food stores however I find it is cheaper through Amazon)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ⅓ cup bone broth (or water)
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste
  • Extra sliced green onion and/or chopped nuts for garish if you wish
  • 3 cups cooked long grain white rice for serving
Instructions
  1. Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a large skillet and add the cubed chicken along with the sea salt and pepper. Cook the chicken over medium/high heat for a few minutes to brown and crisp up the outside and then set the chicken aside to add later.
  2. Melt another 3-4 tablespoons of butter in the skillet and add in the cabbage, sugar peas, green onions, ginger, and garlic along with a big pinch of sea salt and cook 5 minutes over medium/medium-high heat stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the cooked chicken, carrots, coconut aminos, turmeric and bone broth, stir to combine and low simmer over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Serve over white rice and garnish with green onions and chopped nuts.

For more real food dinner ideas you can follow my Dinner Ideas board on Pinterest!

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Simple & Quick Sweet & Sour Sauce

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15 Minute Asian Noodles :: Lo Mein Copycat!

January 18, 2016

This copycat lo mein makes the most delicious Asian noodle bowls for the perfect quick lunch or dinner!

15 Minute Asian Noodles :: Lo Mein Copycat!Links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product or service I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Oh weekends…why must you be so jam packed?!

This season of life right now finds my weekdays filled with balancing school taxi driver, toddler playmate, naptime blogger, and evening chef/maid/boo-boo kisser…so when my husband is home on the weekends…it’s catch up time!

15 Minute Asian Noodles :: Lo Mein Copycat!

Since about August, my weekends have become my full-time writing job as I took on writing my first book, spending most of my mornings at the library so I can write kid-free (and get a little mommy sanity break…ahem…)

15 Minute Asian Noodles :: Lo Mein Copycat!

I didn’t want to skip out on nourishing meals for my family during this time, and my husband really grabbed the reins during the weekends taking over dinners – he makes the most amazing garlic brined pork chops and meatloaf! We usually tag-team breakfast on the weekends so that leaves lunch in my hands, and after a full morning of writing I really need a re-fuel that is both nourishing and quick.

15 Minute Asian Noodles :: Lo Mein Copycat!

These quick Asian noodles remind me of the Lo Mein we used to get for take-out when my husband and I were dating!

The sauce is super (super!) quick to whisk up and everything can be made up in 15 minutes – including the veggie prep. And of course those magical spirilizers and julienne peelers make those veggies feel just like noodles!

15 Minute Asian Noodles :: Lo Mein Copycat!
I usually add some hard boiled eggs to my plate to give it a quick protein – you can add any leftover chicken or beef, or even some chopped nuts are so good!

15 Minute Asian Noodles :: Lo Mein Copycat!

5.0 from 1 reviews
15 Minute Asian Noodles :: Lo Mein Copycat!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Coconut Aminos
  • 2 tsp raw honey (organic pure cane sugar would be fine too)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼-1/2 tsp siracha to taste (this leaves it with a mild, kid friendly heat - add more if you like more heat!)
  • ¼ cup sesame oil(divided) or other friendly fat to cook in such as butter, tallow, lard, or coconut oil
  • 5-6 medium zucchinis, spirilized or peeled with a julienne peeler
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ lb broccoli florets sliced thin
  • 2 large carrots, peeled with a julienne peeler
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra green onion to garnish the top. Other garnish options we like are chopped nuts and/or hard boiled eggs
Instructions
  1. Wisk the coconut aminos, honey, sesame oil, ginger, and siracha in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Warm a tablespoon of sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the spirilized zucchini with a small pinch of sea salt, and cook for 2 minutes (Don't overcook! They will get really soggy!). Put the cooked zucchini noodles in a strainer to drain the extra liquid while you cook the rest of the veggies.
  3. While the zucchini noodles drain, warm the rest of the sesame oil in your skillet over medium heat, and add the mushrooms and garlic with a small pinch of sea salt. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes.
  4. Add the broccoli, carrot, green onions, and the prepared sauce and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. This leaves the veggies with a little "bite" to them - if you prefer them softer you can go longer.
  5. Add the cooked zucchini noodles (I usually give them a gentle squeeze in the strainer to be sure the extra liquid is out) to the skillet with the rest of the veggies and stir to combine. Warm through and sea salt/pepper to your taste. Garnish as you wish!

For more real food lunch ideas, you can follow my Lunch Ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
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Simple & Quick Thai Peanut Sauce

16437315761_ab331bb883_z
DIY Coconut Milk

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3 Kid Friendly Stir Frys

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!

Batch Up Meals Dinner Ideas Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Soup

Chicken Zoodle Soup

July 25, 2015

All the comforting taste and aroma of Grandma’s chicken noodle soup with a new twist! Packed with more mineral rich veggies and still the amazing chicken noodle soup flavor!

Chicken Zoodle SoupProduct links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

There is just something about it, isn’t there?

Chicken Zoodle SoupChicken noodle soup is so comforting and makes such a satisfying lunch.

When you cook those simple veggies down in butter and use real bone broth and chicken it makes for a soupy broth that is so full of flavor and is amazingly comforting.

Chicken Zoodle SoupWe make classic chicken noodle soup quite often, and it is a kid favorite around this house for sure. It’s nice to change things up every once and a while though, and in the summer when zucchinis are abundant, we swap gluten free noodles for “zoodles”!

Chicken Zoodle SoupIf you haven’t hopped on the spirilizer train yet, I think this recipe just might do it for you! It is so nice to fill the kids’ bowls with a soup of mostly veggies and have them happily slurp up every last drop! Spirilized zucchini cooks up super fast in this soup to make a perfect “noodle” texture.

Chicken Zoodle SoupChicken zoodle soup makes a great lunch packed up in a soup thermos for schoolalong with a simple blender biscuit or crackers! I usually pack along some raw cheese (or you can grate some into the soup!), and a piece of fruit and lunch is served!

Chicken Zoodle SoupDouble up when zucchini is super cheap (or overflowing in your garden!) and you can freeze it up for quick pull out lunches come this fall!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chicken Zoodle Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup or so of friendly fat to cook in (butter, pastured tallow or lard, coconut oil, leftover pastured bacon grease)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 6 medium carrots, chopped
  • 6 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 quarts bone broth (homemade preferable for more nutrients but use what you have)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (I crockpot or oven roaster a couple whole chickens at a time and keep the meat chopped or shredded in the freezer to quickly pull out)
  • 1 tsp all purpose seasoning
  • ¼-1/2 tsp cayenne (if you want more heat you can add more! You can leave it out if you wish but the slight heat is so good in the soup!)
  • 6 medium zucchinis, spirilized
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste (generously season with sea salt if your bone broth was unseasoned)
Instructions
  1. Melt the friendly fat in your stockpot over medium heat, add the onion, carrot, and celery with a big pinch of sea salt and cook over medium heat slowly over about 10-15 minutes to bring out their juices and sweeten them. This is where that broth is going to get all of it's amazing flavor!
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the bone broth, chicken, and seasoning and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the spirilized zucchini and cook for about 3-5 minutes. It will seem like you need more liquid - do NOT add more! The zucchini will let off a lot of liquid once it cooks and the salt hits it. You can always add more broth if you want a brothier soup - but wait the few minutes to see how much liquid comes off the zucchini first!

 For more great lunch ideas, you can follow my Lunch Ideas board on Pintrest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Fresh Tomato Soup

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Quick Gluten Free Crackers

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Broccoli Soup

14556745098_db4730a7c6_z
The Best Way to Spirilize & Cook Sweet Potatoes

The Best Way To Spirilize & Cook Sweet Potatoes!

Dinner Ideas Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

Simple Slow Roasted Pastured Chicken

December 7, 2014

Simple Slow Roasted Pastured Chicken
One of the simplest pleasures I enjoy during the fall and winter months is pulling a slow roasted chicken out of the oven for dinner.

I remember years ago thinking that cooking a whole chicken was surely the hardest thing I could possibly do in the kitchen, but as it turns out I actually crave roasted chicken dinner night because it is so very simple. And while there usually ends up being a fight of sorts over dividing up the insanely delicious crispy skin, it really is a family favorite dinner, comforting and nourishing.

Simple Slow Roasted Pastured Chicken
I usually get a load of root veggies like carrots and potatoes right into the pan with the chicken and it really turns into a one pot meal requiring very little hands on time!

Simple Slow Roasted Pastured Chicken
I have found slow roasting to work particularly well with cooking a pastured chicken as they tend to be leaner. They can come out quite dry if you don’t cook them right. You won’t be disappointed with this method of slow roasting – the meat literally falls off the bone!

Simple Slow Roasted Pastured Chicken
It is so worth finding a trustworthy farmer that pastures their chickens to supply you with delicious, nourishing meat throughout the year. If you are unsure of where to start, head out to your farmer’s markets or your local WAPF chapter and ask around! The nutritional profile of animals that have been on pasture is far superior to that of conventional meat.
4.8 from 6 reviews
Simple Slow Roasted Pastured Chicken
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 whole pastured chicken (mine are usually around 6 pounds)
  • 2-3 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups white wine, bone broth, or water
  • Butter or coconut oil for the outside of the chicken
  • Sea salt, pepper, and thyme to sprinkle the outside of the chicken
Instructions
  1. Wash out the chicken, pat dry, and tie up the legs with cooking twine.
  2. Put the veggies in the bottom of your roasting pan along with the wine (or bone broth or water).
  3. Put the chicken BREAST DOWN in the roasting pan and roast at 250 degrees with the lid ON for 3 hours.
  4. After 3 hours, flip the chicken to BREAST UP, butter the skin, sprinkle with seasonings.
  5. Roast another 45 minutes with HEAT UP to 350, and with lid OFF.
  6. Let your chicken rest for a few minutes outside of the oven before cutting.

Tips:

  • I usually serve our chicken with whatever veggies are in season along with the carrots from the roasting pan. In the fall we have a lot of roasted squash and creamed or buttered greens alongside – I just put the squash in the oven right along with the chicken for the last hour or so. In the winter I put quartered potatoes down into the pan with the carrots and use up my freezer stash of garden veggies. In the spring time we love having side salads or roasted asparagus!
  • Pour out the juices from the bottom of the pan into a sauce pan, bring to a simmer, and whisk in some white rice flour to make a gravy if you wish! Add sea salt and pepper to taste – it is so good!
  • I have 2 roasting pans of different sizes that I use depending on what I am putting in the pan. If I am just doing the chicken with the basic veggies from above I use my smaller roasting pan. If I am getting potatoes down into the pan I use my larger roasting pan.
  • Use any leftover chicken for any chicken dishes you love, salads, or wraps! I love using it in soup like chicken noodle or chicken stew, or in casseroles to make the meat stretch another dinner or 2.
  • Change up the seasonings to your families taste! All purpose season, rosemary, or even just simple salt and pepper all work great!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, & Allergy Free Wednesday!

Batch Up Meals Dinner Ideas Feeding Babies Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches Soup

Classic Vegetable Soup

February 17, 2017

The classic nostalgia of that red can of vegetable soup, loaded with mineral rich bone broth and packed with nourishing vegetables, all in about 20 minutes!

Classic Vegetable Soup :: Bone Broth Packed & Tastes Just Like Campbell's Canned!

A trip back in time!

A couple weeks ago I showed a quick Instagram Story about my prep day, and I just happened to be making a simple, quick, and frugal vegetable soup. One that I make quite often with varying vegetables depending on what I have in house.

I had mentioned that the flavor is very similar to those little red cans of veggie soup in the soup isle at the grocery store, and you all were very excited about learning how to make it! Even though the nutrition in those little red cans is not stellar, it really brings back a lot of memories for people, I think, and you really can make it taste amazing with real food so your kids can have the same memories!

Classic Vegetable Soup :: Bone Broth Packed & Tastes Just Like Campbell's Canned!It’s all in the flavorful base…

That same sweet, tomato-y broth that the those store bought cans of veggie soup have is very easy to duplicate using real food! Something magical happens when you get that veg down in some butter and let a little time do some work on it. It sweetens the tomato paste as it cooks, and makes for a really delicious broth!

Classic Vegetable Soup :: Bone Broth Packed & Tastes Just Like Campbell's Canned!If it’s in season, it will work!

The beauty of this soup is that it really can be tailored to the veggies your family likes, and what is in season. You can pack it out with as much veg as I do, or add more broth if you want it a brothier soup.

I like keeping the veggies pretty simple – similar to that in the red can, with a few favorite add-ins like mushrooms, and, because I’m always looking for a way to get green in, a couple handfuls of spinach always wilt in so easily adding more nutrient punch to this simple soup.

Classic Vegetable Soup :: Bone Broth Packed & Tastes Just Like Campbell's Canned!

Easy peasy lunch packing!

Because this simple vegetable soup freezes up so nice, it makes a great lunchbox addition. I shoot for a veggie at every meal, so for my kids, soup fills that veg gap a lot of the time. I like to freeze in quart containers for my crew so it is easy to pull out one container that will feed all 3 girls and myself for one meal. You can freeze in smaller portions if you need.

I can also send a quart container with my husband to work for the week that he can have here and there, warming it up in his travel Crockpot.

Toddler tips!

Sometimes those little guys have issues with “pieces” – I know I have one of those right now and there’s no rhyme or reason to it other than…she’s 3! She waivers between not caring about the pieces and caring very deeply about it, so I have a couple tips to save your sanity!

  • Blend it up! Most little ones are more apt to eating smooth, texture free soup so just buzz it up. I have gone from complete refusal to more than willing to eat the soup with just this approach. Choose your battle and just get it into them that way, I say!
  • Let them pick out what veggies are going in. If they get a say in it, they are more likely to eat it. You can set it all out in front of them and ask them to pick 2-3 vegetables they want (in addition to the onion, garlic, tomato paste etc). On that same note you can let them help you cook it too!
  • Make sure it is a good temperature. I don’t talk about this often enough, but most kids are really sensitive to extreme temperatures of food. In fact what is warm or sip-able to you, is most likely scalding hot to them. Same goes cold food. My toddlers always preferred lukewarm to room temp soup, and when it came to stuff right out of the fridge, I usually let it warm up on the counter for a bit.

Classic Vegetable Soup :: Bone Broth Packed & Tastes Just Like Campbell's Canned!Soup and crackers go hand in hand!

Here are some ideas for you to keep in the pantry for easy additions to the lunchbox packing!

Classic Vegetable Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 TB friendly fat to cook in, such as butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, tallow, or lard
  • 1 small/medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 cups frozen organic green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces (fresh works too if it is in season!)
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • 6oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes, drained (if tomatoes are season, use fresh!)
  • 2 quarts bone broth (You can use Instant Pot Broth, or here is my slow cooker method)
  • 2 big handfuls of baby spinach or baby kale
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pot, melt the friendly fat, and add the onion, carrot, green beans, potato, mushrooms, and corn with a big pinch of sea salt. Cook over medium/medium-high heat for about 7 minutes until the veggies soften.
  2. Add the garlic and tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook for a couple minutes.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and bone broth, and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat off and wilt in the baby spinach, and then sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste.

More real food recipes you might like:

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6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly!

September 17, 2016

Change up your lunchbox routine with these healthy, easy to prep school lunches!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

So here we are a couple weeks into the school year…who is needing a little lunchbox inspiration?!

I am pretty sure we all start the year off motivated to pack fun, healthy lunches for our kids…but I will be the first to admit that a month or 2 into the daily packing, unpacking, and washing of trays I start losing a little steam! Guess what? That’s ok! None of us are perfect, we are all human, and school lunch making totally gets mundane after a while!

Which is why it is so easy to fall into the PBJ rut. It’s easy, fast, and a no brainer!

You’ll probably even see it in my daily #rgnschoollunch posts on my Instagram right around April…when I have had enough already with the school lunch packing! Go ahead and browse that hashtag over there to take a look – I can guarantee the sandwich ratio during that last month or 2 of school sky rockets!

So, what’s the big deal then? What’s wrong with PBJ every day?

Nothing! Absolutely nothing if that is how you want to roll with your lunch packing! I am definitely not in your shoes, and I don’t run your house! But, I’m willing to bet because you clicked over to read this post, you are searching for some inspiration. Some ideas to break up the week a little. If you browse my school lunches on Instagram you will notice even I do PBJ once a week. Do it up momma! (PS – if you are in a nut free school zone, coconut butter or sunflower seed butter works as a great companion to jam for those quick sandwiches!)

I am also willing to bet that your clicking over to this post means you have some healthier eating goals in your house. Awesome! Because variety is key in creating healthy, broad taste palates in kids! It makes for less pickiness when it comes to food, and makes those kids well rounded not only in the nourishment hitting their system, but also well rounded in their acceptance of new food.

We pack PBJ *all* the time…where do I begin???

My advice to you if you are a PBJ packer most of the week is to take some small baby steps. If you overhaul lunch in one shot you are sure to get resistance from older kids. Pick *one* day a week to try something new with your kids. I think you would be surprised at how excited they would be to have something different for a change! Show them this list, as well as my other 6 non PBJ school lunch lists, and see what their eyes light up about!

A note on packing time

Because I know what you are thinking…I’m going to be in the kitchen all night packing these kind of lunches! Please note the prepping tips in each lunch idea. I guarantee I don’t spend more than 5-10 minutes packing lunches every evening – promise. I just can’t! I don’t have the time for it. What I do have the time for is making dinners that stretch into lunch and spending an hour in the kitchen over the weekend making things that will stretch into the week.

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

I hope to see some of these over on Instagram in the coming weeks – give me a tag so I can see your creations!


The Pizza Day Lunch!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

Whether it’s the cafeteria pizza day, or a just the end of the week that needs to be celebrated in a fun way, using leftover pizza is the perfect way to enjoy a fun pizza day lunch! Simply plan to make pizza night dinner one night, and double it up so there is sure to be leftovers! I always serve a big salad and some fruit with our pizza nights at home so that everyone fills up on the other stuff too which helps with having some leftovers!

Lunchbox Contents:


The Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup Lunch!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

There is simply nothing like a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cool fall day, or those chilly winter afternoons! Warm those kiddo’s bellies up with comforting chicken noodle soup from home! Plan a big pot for dinner one night and pack up the leftovers right into the thermos! Easy peasy! A fatty, satiating side like avocado rounds out the meal and cinnamon apples are just fun! The cinnamon keeps the apples from browning too!

Lunchbox Contents:

  • Homemade GF Chicken Noodle Soup (pictured is this thermos – I love the wide mouth for these kind of soups – just like a bowl! You can read more about how to keep food warm in thermoses in this post.)
  • Avocado (wrap the flesh up in plastic wrap or rub it with lemon juice to keep it from browning!)
  • Apples with cinnamon (or other seasonal fruit you have on hand!)

The Hummus Dipper Lunch!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

I don’t think I’ve met a kid that doesn’t love to *dip*! Hummus is a pretty typical kid friendly dipping side and gives a little variety to lunchtime! Whether you like to use crackers, tortilla chips, or crisped up rice tortillas like I have pictured here, it is perfect for little hands rounded out with fresh veggies and fruit, as well as a hard boiled egg for protein and brain nourishing fat. (Hard boiled egg prep tip! I hard boil 1 dozen eggs every Sunday to keep in the fridge for quick lunchbox addtions!)

I’m even giving you a little permission to cut your time in half and use some store bought hummus if you don’t have time to make it. I love to make hummus, but I rely our Costco organic hummus a lot. Just be very sure to check the ingredient list to avoid junky oils or additives.

Lunchbox Contents:

  • Rice tortilla “chips” with hummus (crackers, tortilla chips, etc would work too!)
  • Sugar peas and tomatoes (or whatever fresh veggies you have on hand!)
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Oranges (or whatever fresh fruit you have on hand!)

The Classic Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Lunch!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

It doesn’t get any better than this! We all grew up on this classic lunchtime staple and I love packing these memories for my kids! The fresh tomato soup is such an easy recipe – you can make it to enjoy over the weekend and pack the rest away in the thermos for a school day during the week! My kids will eat the grilled cheese cold and I think if you get that bread done up right with a generous helping of butter and cheese, just about any kid would happily gobble it up! It takes just minutes to cook in the pan the night before or that morning too. Fresh veggies and dip with a sweet potassium rich date on the side too!

Lunchbox Contents:


The Loaded Salad Lunch!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

Think of your favorite cobb salad or salad bar pile-ons! Sure fresh chopped veggies are nice too, but add in some chopped nuts, eggs, seeds, and raisins too! A kid friendly dressing like homemade Ranch, Thousand Island, or French is not only loaded with brain nourishing fat, it makes it taste even better! Make some breakfast cookies, granola bars, or energy bars on the weekend in a doubled up fashion so you can keep them in the freezer for quick lunch additions too! This lunch truly takes just minutes to make!

Lunchbox Contents:


The Fiesta Lunch!

6 {More!} School Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly! :: Change up your lunchbox routine with these nourishing, easy to prep school lunches!

Who doesn’t love a good Taco Tuesday?! In my house any day of the week is good enough for a fiesta, so this is a popular lunchbox with my kids! Have a taco night and make a load of guacamole so there is enough to pack up in the condiment containers for the next day! Pictured here I crisped up some rice tortillas to make chips for the guac, but you could use tortilla chips or crackers too! Guacamole is a great brain nourishing fat as is the olives!  15 minute Chicken Tortilla soup goes well with this lunch (really any soup for that matter is fine!).

And again, there are some great store bought guacs out there if you just don’t have the time for making it. Avocados are extremely expensive at times where I live, so I do rely on certain guacamoles at Costco here and there – take a look around and please be sure you are checking ingredient labels – some of those brands get sneaky with their preservatives, junky oils, or other additions!

Lunchbox Contents:

  • Rice “tortilla chips” with guacamole (crackers or tortilla chips work too! Just watch the ingredient labels!)
  • Olives
  • 15 minute chicken tortilla soup (picture here is this thermos)
  • Pear (or other seasonal fresh fruit!)

More school lunch posts you might like:

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Tips For Keeping Kids Healthy All School Year

August 5, 2016

Simple, natural tips for keeping kids healthy and giving them the advantage in fighting the every day school germs!

Tips For Keeping Kids Healthy All School Year
Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Every momma’s goal come the start of the school year…

Escape the back to school bugs!

I admit, it creeps in the back of my head as well. Within those first few weeks of school the emails start rolling out warnings of this bug and that being passed around the classroom, and it’s enough to make you want to send your kid to school in a bubble!

Of course our kids do not live in bubbles, and in fact, an occasional cold bug is a great thing to let their bodies “clean house” and build immunity.

There are definitely some things we can do however, to give our kids the “upper hand.” We can help their bodies fight off bugs more efficiently so that the bugs either don’t even show up as a full on cold, or so that they don’t last as long.

Tips For Keeping Kids Healthy All School YearHere are our household secrets in keeping our houseful of kiddos healthy *all* school year long!


Tips For Keeping Kids Healthy All School YearFirst and foremost, it is important to remember that school aged kids are kids. Not adults. School days are long at every school age. In addition to school schedule, packing in a bunch of extra activities at the end of the day can really drain their bodies. If activities after school are a “must”, then it really ought to be made up for on the weekend with naps and early bedtimes. Period.

Growing kids need downtime and play to recoup. Taxed adrenals from lack of sleep and stimulating days don’t allow the immune system to do its job effectively. Plan in what is absolutely necessary, and literally schedule in bedtimes and playtime if after school activities are a part of their week.


Tips For Keeping Kids Healthy All School YearBack to school bugs are pretty much a given to be passed around within the first few weeks of school. We have escaped the throws of those first few weeks of the back to school cold being passed around by boosting our systems a good month before school starts and continuing through the fall.

Get the kids outside for fresh air after school and open the windows at home to air everything out! YES in the middle of winter too! The kids breathe stale, inside shared air all day at school and need to play outside and breathe some fresh air. You would be surprised at what even the winter sunshine can do for their demeanor and health – outside light and fresh air is important!

Keep in mind that bugs are going to happen!

It’s inevitable and sometimes a good thing for their body to do some housecleaning with a bug. If the illness is a recurrent thing, it’s time to stop and take a look at what might be a root cause keeping their body run down, but a few bugs in the course of a school year isn’t the end of the world.

So here is our immune system booster line-up!


DAILY


1. Cod Liver Oil

Well sourced cod liver oil is a fantastic source of the right ratios of vitamins A and D which nourish the immune system. High doses of vitamin D by itself is not recommended as it is balanced best in the presence of vitamin A. This is why cod liver oil is a great source of getting your vitamin D during the cold, dark fall and winter months.

Cod liver oil is also a good source of omega 3. Omega 3’s fight inflammation in the body from stress and stressors (like being sick!) and help the body heal. I have doubled up on cod liver oil during the first day or 2 of the onset of a cold and really felt like it helped knock the virus and inflammation out faster.

How we take cod liver oil in our house

You can find our favorite quality sourced cod liver oil here (Use the code GENERATION 10 checkout and get my RGN reader 10% discount!). We follow the WAPF dosage recommendations. 1/2 – 1 teaspoon 3 months old to 12 years old, and 1-2 tsp 12 years old and up. I do double up the cod liver oil for a day or 2 during illness.

2. Whole Food Sourced Vitamin C

Vitamin C can do some pretty amazing things to aide our immune systems in fighting bugs. It reduces inflammation and boosts the fighting power of our immune system to make the bugs have a shorter duration.

The sourcing on the C truly does matter, and if the back of your bottle says that the C is “ascorbic acid” as its source, you will want to take a peek at this article about why a whole food sourced C works better and is safer.

How we take vitamin C in our house

My favorite source for a whole food based vitamin C is this brand. I also use THIS whole food vitamin C spray for my toddler who can’t swallow capsules yet, and I LOVE the convenience of it! My girls take 250-500mg of vitamin C every day, though keep in mind every child is different and has different needs. Start out small and be sure they are doing well on it. I do double their C during illness.

3. Quality, Whole Food Sourced Multivitamin

Since our soils are so depleted of minerals and vitamins, which in turn make our food supply less than robust, a multivitamin is a good idea. A quality whole food sourced multi-vitamin is hard to come by though! I don’t want the synthetics, and a bunch of other junk like dyes added either! Kids need a chewable or powder until they can swallow capsules, and I have used THIS brand for years. We follow the dosing directions on the back of the box. (Don’t forget you can use your RGN reader code at check-out for 10% off! GENERATION10)

4. Quality Probiotic Rotation & Fermented Foods

By now I think everyone has heard the phrase “all disease begins in the gut,” and it couldn’t be more true. The beneficial bacteria in our guts are the immune system’s first line of defense. Probiotics keep the intestinal lining strong and secure, providing a barrier to fight against pathogen attacks. Keeping the flora in the gut balanced means having more good bacteria present than bad.

We love probiotic rich fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, and pickles in our house. Sometimes they just aren’t at every meal we are eating, however! I have found it best to keep up on our gut flora by using quality supplements which also present our guts with different varieties of bacteria to keep everything happy.

How we use probiotics in our home

My girls take 1 dose (depending on the brand we are rotating) of probiotics every day, and I rotate the brand to give them a variety of bacteria strains. We use Just Thrive, PrescriptAssist, and Garden of Life for Kids. (Don’t forget if you click through those links and purchase through Perfect Supplements to use my code GENERATION10 at check-out to get your RGN reader 10% discount!).

A quick baby and toddler note! When I had babies in the house, I just poured the powder in the cap right on my baby’s or toddler’s tongue. You can stir the powder into food like yogurt, smoothies, or even a spoonful of cod liver oil if you wish!


AT ONSET OF ILLNESS OR IF THERE IS SOMETHING “GOING AROUND” THE CLASSROOM


1. Elderberry Syrup

Elderberries are powerful virus killers and immune system boosters! When I get teacher email warnings of flu spreading, hand foot and mouth outbreaks, or other viruses, you better believe that elderberry syrup is coming out! You can bottle up elderberry goodness in elderberry syrup or tincture form and it is super easy to take because it tastes really good!

How we take elderberry syrup in our home

2 weeks before school starts I like to give the girls 1 tsp of elderberry syrup per day through the first week or two of school starting. If I get warning emails of flu or other viruses, I will do the 1 tsp per day for a good week or 2. When my kids are coming down with something or are home ill, we do 1 tsp of elderberry syrup every waking hour until they perk back up.

2. Boosted Vitamin C

You can pop up to the Vitamin C section in the preventatives section of this post to read about why the Vitamin C is so crucial in fighting illness, but just wanted to review here that during the onset of illness or illness, I double their vitamin C dose until they perk up from being sick.

3. Chiropractic

Years ago, I had a chiropractor friend where we were living at the time explain the benefits of having kids adjusted at the onset of illness to help them recover faster, and I have been amazed at how true this is. I have gone through a couple colds with the girls where we haven’t gotten to the chiropractor, and they just seem to linger longer.

I asked our family chiropractor if he could explain why chiropractic is good for the immune system, and his response made so much sense I asked if I could quote him!

Proper alignment enhances circulation and drainage of fluids. It also optimizes nerve function to help calm the body’s stress response (sympathetic nervous system), and enhance the body’s healing response (parasympathetic nervous system). This has been shown to not only reduce illness, but help children recover from illness quicker.
Dr. Levi Pulver, DC

I also want to mention that I have noticed regular, “well visit” adjustments seem to keep my kids on top of things especially during the school year. I take them for an adjustment monthly whether they are sick or not. It is a simple, non invasive step to keep the connections at the spine firing where they should be to keep every organ system operating well. (If you are looking for a chiropractor in your area that works with kids well, I love using this site to search.)

4. Germ Targeted Essential Oils

Essential oils were fairly new to me when my daughter started school a number of years ago, but I have come to realize just how effective they are! I have been without them during illness and really could feel how much faster my kids got better when germ targeted oils were diffusing during illness.

How we use germ targeted essential oils in our home

We do not diffuse germ targeted essential oils all year every day. That is not how they were intended to use. I diffuse germ targeted essential oils during the first week or 2 of school starting, during school bug outbreaks, and when my kids are ill. I have found them super effective especially diffusing them in their room overnight – when they wake up acting like a whole fresh new kid you know something is working! I love that!

Our favorite germ targeted essential oil blend is THIS kid safe blend. I am a huge fan of using oils that are safe for kids – many germ targeted blends are great for adults but not intended safe for kids. This Kid Safe blend was created to be safe for kids and it really works!


nourishing mealsI decided not to put the nourishing menu in the “preventatives” section, even though that is exactly what it is, because I didn’t want it to get skipped by. Children’s fuel makes a difference in their body operating correctly, including the immune system…period.

But wait! Before you write this section off because your kiddo might not be the best eater, hear me out!

Eating well for their immune system doesn’t have to mean boring veggies they might turn their nose up to. I think the biggest thing we can do is get the sugar and processed food out, and get the nutrient dense items in.

Ensuring they are getting adequate amounts of friendly fats will help their hormones and sugars stabilize, which will keep their immune system functioning.

  • Lots of pastured butter, lard/tallow, coconut oil, used in your cooking and serving of food.
  • Bone broth is a daily goal of mine to get into my kids during the school year. Whether in a tea cup with butter at breakfast, or in their school thermos in the form of a kid friendly soup like tomato soup, broccoli soup, chicken noodle soup, or butternut squash soup, daily bone broth replaces missing minerals in the diet, nourishes the gut lining with collagen, and is an overall comforting addition to their day.
  • Nettle Infusions are another great way to replace missing minerals in children’s diets which will help organs and systems in their bodies operate more efficiently. The infusions are also hydrating and kid friendly in taste. It packs up in the water bottle for school to drink easily. It is a great mineral rich boost at lunchtime!
  • You can use immune booster smoothies once or twice a week for breakfast. If your kids really love smoothies you can try these green smoothies for kids as well to change things up.
  • You can browse the meals in the Recipes tab at the top of the blog, and you can also get a collection of my family’s favorite staple meals in my new book Nourished Beginnings . The recipes in the book are meals my girls have grown up on, and are on our table weekly!Tips For Keeping Kids Healthy All School Year

More cold & flu season posts you might like:

Post Tummy Bug Recovery Smoothie

Naturally Healing Ear Infections In Kids

Natural Tummy Bug Remedies For Kids

Vitamin C Gummies

Elderberry Syrup

Lunch Ideas school lunches

How I Am Packing My Kindergartener’s Lunch This Year :: Gear, Packing Tips, & Lunch Ideas

August 25, 2014

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

How I Am Packing My Kindergartener's Lunch This Year :: Gear, Packing Tips, & Lunch Ideas
I am super (super!) excited to start talking about school lunches!

Anyone that knows me personally knows I am not just saying that. One of the biggest reasons I started Raising Generation Nourished was to show parents that it is do-able to feed kids in a fun, nourished, real food way. And that these kids are worth feeding nutrient dense, real food that will fuel them for their busy day of learning.

I think we would all agree at this point that what goes into our kids’ bodies for meal time affects how well they can concentrate at school.

I hope to show you that lunch packing can compete with the otherwise junk your kids might see around the lunch table at school. When you pack just as yummy lunches in super cool lunch gear, they will be on board. LET THEM HELP YOU. It doesn’t matter how old they are. If they are old enough to be in school, they are old enough to help pick out a piece of fruit for their lunch, wash up a thermos, pick what they want out of the cut up veggie bag, grab a frozen soup out of the freezer to thaw. You get the idea. Make them a part of it.

So this is what I am planning on for lunch gear and packing routine for my kindergartener this year. There are so many great lunch gear options out there – this is what fits for my family and how we do lunch. If you follow my #toddlerlunch #preschoollunch series on Instagram or Facebook at all, you know that about half the week the girls get some sort of soup and/or dinner leftovers, and the other half of the week they will get odds and ends of what some might call a “cold lunch”.

LUNCH GEAR:
For our style of lunches I needed a couple “hot container” options for soups and leftover dinners – that were also leakproof! I also needed containers that could neatly hold random cold lunch items and also be leak proof (ie – yogurt). I wanted stainless steel and durable – I don’t want to be buying new lunch equipment every year.

And, most importantly, my daughter needs to be able to manipulate all of the lunch gear herself!

    • Kid Basix Safe Sporter Stainless Steel Water Bottle :: My main seller on this one was easy to clean. No little parts to take off and wash separate. Easy to use spout, leak proof, and fun colors to choose from. We have actually been using these for travel water for a while and I really like them. I let Chloe pick out a couple new colors so I make sure we have enough to go around since the baby is starting to use them too.

How I Am Packing My Kindergartener's Lunch This Year :: Gear, Packing Tips, & Lunch Ideas

    • Steeltainer Stainless Steel Leakproof Deep Container :: This container is big enough to fit quite a few “odds and ends” together but not so big that it doesn’t fit in her lunch bag. She will eat a salad well and it is spacious enough for that topped with chicken and enough room left for her to mix in her dressing without spilling. I got 2 of these because I can see it being used daily and coming home messy and me not getting to the dishes always right away! Leak proof tested by me! And my 5 year old can manipulate the top herself.

How I Am Packing My Kindergartener's Lunch This Year :: Gear, Packing Tips, & Lunch Ideas

    • Steeltainer Stainless Steel Snack Container Set (3) :: This is a set of 3 containers that will be used for yogurt or yogurt and granola, or for smaller “odds and ends” that might go with her soup like a piece of cheese and some dried fruit, or a muffin and butter. Leak proof tested by me, and my 5 year old can manipulate the top herself.

How I Am Packing My Kindergartener's Lunch This Year :: Gear, Packing Tips, & Lunch Ideas

    • Thermos Brand Stainless Steel Funtainer Thermos (12oz) :: This is the container I plan on for soup or smaller warm portion like homemade mac and cheese or refried beans. It holds about a cup with some room to spare the spilling. Leak proof tested by me and kept a cup of soup warm for about a day! Fun colors and some popular charector images too! My 5 year old can manipulate the top on this one too.

How I Am Packing My Kindergartener's Lunch This Year :: Gear, Packing Tips, & Lunch Ideas

    • Thermos Brand Stainless Steel Food Container (16oz) :: This is a bigger food thermos for dinner leftovers like a stir fry with rice, or veggie rice bowls, spaghetti, meatballs and gravy, etc. There will probably be a piece of fruit to go with the dinner leftovers so the bigger container helps hold a bigger portion since that is pretty much the whole lunch. It holds a cup and a half of food with enough room to spare to stir. Leak proof tested by me and kept my dinner warm for about a day! There are a few fun colors to pick from too! My 5 year old can manipulate the top on this one too.

How I Am Packing My Kindergartener's Lunch This Year :: Gear, Packing Tips, & Lunch Ideas

    • Stainless Steel Condiment Set (3) :: This will be for dips like peanut butter, guacamole, sour cream, or dressings like Ranch for veggie dipping, or Ceasar for a salad. I will probably be packing some plain chicken here and there and will send along some BBQ sauce, mustard, or ketchup with that. Leakproof tested by me and my 5 year old can manipulate the top.

How I Am Packing My Kindergartener's Lunch This Year :: Gear, Packing Tips, & Lunch Ideas

  • LAND’S END LUNCH BAG :: I really wanted a lunch bag that didn’t overwhelm my daughter’s whole backpack, but also one big enough to hold both her morning snack and her lunch. I was pretty impressed with how much I could fit in the bag comfortably including room for her water bottle.

How I Am Packing My Kindergartener's Lunch This Year :: Gear, Packing Tips, & Lunch Ideas

PACKING TIPS:
Here’s the deal. I am *not* a morning person. It is bad enough that I have to have her (and her sisters!) in the car by 8:00 (eek!). I don’t want to be packing lunches in the morning.

My plan is to pack her lunch when I’m doing my husband’s meal packing for the next day. Usually right after dinner (or sometimes this happens after the girls go to bed – can we say baby witching hours?!), I pack leftovers for my husband’s work meals (breakfast, lunch, & dinner) for the next day in his travel CrockPot that he can warm at work himself. I have double of most of the containers mentioned above for my daughter, so I can just pull clean ones out and pack Chloe’s lunch right there, and she can help along the way. That way if I haven’t gotten to cleaning her lunch gear from that day, we don’t have to do that extra step if the evening is busy. Anything that needs to be warmed up for a thermos will get a quick warm through in a pot on the stove while I’m getting breakfast ready the next morning. The thermoses keep stuff hot for almost an entire day!

Frozen muffins, energy bars, dried fruit and crispy nuts will be thawed easily by lunchtime. Other “odds & ends” can just be packed up right there while I’m cleaning up dinner – and she can help with those too.

LUNCH IDEAS:
If you aren’t already following, hop on my Instagram or my Facebook page and you will literally see the plates my girls are eating almost daily. Hashtag #raisinggenerationnourished and there are so many ideas there. I will be snapping pictures of Chloe’s lunches in the evening when I pack her stuff up and will most likely be starting a new school lunch packing series with that.

This most definitely isn’t all inclusive. And, unfortunately, for your viewing pleasure, I am not the mom that cuts everything into super cute shapes or designs everyday. I might use a pumpkin cutter on hallween or something but that’s even cutting it close for me! If you like to do that – go for it though! And if this isn’t your style lunch, that’s ok! Find what fits for your family!

    • Dinner Leftovers :: Ok, so if you are going to go through the steps of making a real dinner, why not just double it while you have the kitchen a mess already, and then pack leftovers for lunch the next day. Zero thought! It takes a little mind switcheroo to make more at first, but you will get the hang of it fast.
    • Crockpot Chickens :: Takes a few minutes to get a couple whole chickens in the crockpot and the meat can be shredded and frozen to quickly pull out for sandwiches, salads, wraps, soups etc. Make chicken nuggets for dinner one night and pack the rest for lunch with some BBQ sauce– to dip at school the next day!
    • Salads :: Get some hard boiled eggs in there, raw cheeses, the shredded chicken from above…and most importantly YUMMY DRESSINGS! This post has 5 popular dressings most kids will absolutely devour, and this post has an amazing Caesar dressing that both of my big girls eat right off the spoon.
    • Leftovers from pizza night!
    • Soup :: So many options here, and most of these soups are so fast to make – you can make a double batch on the weekend and freeze or can the rest.
      1. Fresh Tomato Soup
      2. Kid Friend Creamy Veggie Soup
      3. Veggie Beef Soup
      4. Spinach Lasagna Soup
      5. Chicken Noodle Soup
      6. Broccoli Soup
      7. Fiesta Soup
    • “Odds & Ends” ::
        1. Fruit. I usually get a piece of fruit into my girls lunches everyday – between the soups or salads or dinner leftovers they get plenty of veg. I am planning on packing any variety of fruit and just keeping that a pretty simple, no prep sort of thing. Throw an apple or banana in, thaw out some applesauce we make, take out some dried fruit from our summer picking.
        2. Sandwiches or wraps. Just watch the ingredients. Since we are a gluten free house and GF bread is not in our budget, I use pancakes for “bread” a LOT and use natural peanut or almond butter and jam, cream cheese and jam, or honey and sunbutter.
        3. Whole, plain yogurt or raw cheese – if you are dairy free you can do coconut milk yogurt.
        4. Trail mixes with crispy nuts and dried fruit
        5. Cut up veg sticks with Ranch dip or hummus.
        6. Hard boiled eggs
        7. Guacamole with either safe store bought chips or take a rice tortilla and quick cook it in butter – just like chips!
        8. Refried beans and sour cream
        9. Energy bars, Lara Bars or homemade Lara Bars, KIND bars or similar homemade ones
        10. Banana bread
        11. Sweet potato muffins

I can’t wait for you to experience how worth it this is.

To know your kids are nourished and fueled for a jam packed rest of the day of learning.

To know you are teaching them the importance of it all…

Because you know…they are watching. They are learning. Teaching them that it matters what they put in their bodies is invaluable.

Talk to me! Tell me your school lunch packing plans! I am obviously in a season of little ones – those of you seasoned real food parents with older kids tell us how the lunch packing routine goes for you!

How I Am Packing My Kindergartener's Lunch This Year :: Gear, Packing Tips, & Lunch Ideas
 

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday!

Recipes

December 19, 2013

BREAKFAST:
Soaked Oat Pancakes
Sweet Potato and Greens Breakfast Saute
Ulimate Breakfast Cookie (GF, DF, EF, Refined sugar free)
Banana Bread (GF, DF, EF, NF)
Soaked Oatmeal Basics – Plus 6 Different Recipes!
Spinach & Sausage Egg Muffins
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Versatile Sausage Season Blend
Strawberry Baked Oatmeal (GF, DF, EF, NF option)
Strawberry & Cream Muffins (GF, EF, NF, DF option)
Blueberry Muffins (GF, NF, EF/DF options)
Cinnamon Raisin Zucchini Muffins (GF, NF, EF/DF options)
Apple Harvest Breakfast Bars
Sour Apple Breakfast Bread
Simple & Quick Gluten Free Pancakes
Immune Booster Smoothie
Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
Breakfast Porridge For Baby (Gluten, Nut, Legume, and Refined Sugar Free)
Morning Glory Muffins (Gluten & Refined Sugar Free)
Gluten Free Breakfast Biscuits
Simple Cinnamon Granola
Simple Homemade Coconut Yogurt
Blueberry Breakfast Bars :: Gluten, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free
Grain Free Apple Cinnamon Granola :: Nut Free Option
Honey Rhubarb Granola (Can sub green apples for the rhubarb if it isn’t in season!)
Strawberry Quinoa Granola
Blueberry Buckwheat Muffins
Lemon Breakfast Cookies
Strawberry Quinoa Granola
Our School Morning Breakfast Menu With Free Printable
Cranberry Orange Granola
Gluten Free Savory Spinach & Cheese Breakfast Biscuits
Practical Tips For Re-Thinking Breakfast
Protein Packed Molasses Breakfast Cookies
Nutrient Dense Green Smoothies for Kids

LUNCH:
Roasted Garlic Soup
Creamy Vegetable Soup
Sprouted Refried Beans
Guacamole
Chicken Salad Pepper Cups
Radish and Leek Soup
Savory Sweet Potato Biscuits
Fresh Tomato Soup
Broccoli Soup
Summer Vegetable Soup
Cauliflower Chowder
School Lunch Packing
Simple Soaked Granola Bars (GF, EF, DF, & Refined Sugar Free w/ NF Option)
Pizza Muffins (GF/NF w/ DF/EF options)
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
French Onion Soup
GF Chicken Noodle Soup
Simple Baked Applesauce
Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
Creamy Potato & Spinach Soup
Potato Chips
Gluten Free Soup Biscuits
Real Food Mac N Cheese
Potato & Leek Soup
Asparagus Soup
Tuna Salad For All Ages!
Simple & Quick Homemade Crackers :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Option
Sweet Potato Noodles
6 Packable Lunches Besides Peanut Butter & Jelly!
Italian Daikon Radish Salad
Spring Coleslaw
Simple & Quick Thin Crust Tortilla Pizza
Spring Dandelion Salad w/ Garlic Oil Dressing
Pita Bread :: Gluten Free quick and easy!
Molasses Protein Bars
Cream of Zucchini Soup
Chicken “Zoodle” Soup
Gluten Free Pita Bread
School Lunch Resource Guide
Egg Salad Pinwheels

DINNER:
Crockpot or Oven Roasted Chicken for Fast Weekday Meals
Nourishing Chicken Bone Broth
Nourishing Beef Bone Broth
Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls
Spring in a Bowl – A Spring Veggie Stir Fry
Vegetable Beef Soup
Slow Cooker Fiesta Soup
Potato Salad
Sprouted Baked Beans
Chicken Nuggets :: Grain, Dairy, Egg Free
Pizza :: Gluten, Egg, Dairy, Nut Free
Classic Coleslaw
Pasta Salad (Grain Free)
Spinach Lasagna Soup
Italian Chicken Meatball Soup
Classic Chicken & Broccoli Casserole
Beef Roast
Slow Cooker Sprouted Chili
Gluten Free Cornbread
Autumn Harvest Chicken Stew
Slow Roasted Pastured Chicken
Sprouted Black Eyed Pea Soup
Real Food Sloppy Joes
Gluten Free Dinner Biscuits
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
Thai Peanut Sauce (For Stir Frys or Dipping)
Sweet & Sour Sauce Stir Fry
Slow Cooker Irish Stew
Irish Soda Bread Biscuits
Parmesan Baked Zucchini Spears
Parmesan Baked Veggie Quinoa
Sweet Potato Noodles
Gluten Free Lasagna
Simple & Quick Thin Crust Tortilla Pizzas
Spatchcock BBQ Roasted Chicken
Light & Crispy Kale Chips
Parmesan Roasted Italian Potatoes
3 Kid Friendly Stir Frys!
Beef & Kale Soup
Quick Gluten Free Blender Squash Drop Biscuits
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Quick & Delicious Gluten Free Pizza
7 Minute BBQ Shredded Beef From Leftover Beef Roast
20 Minute Spring Stir Fry with Garlic Butter Sauce
Golden Beet Slaw
Vegetable Beef Curry Soup
Kale & Herb Stuffed Meatballs
15 Minute Ginger Chicken Stir Fry
Instant Pot Bone Broth
Instant Pot Whole Chicken
15 Minute Asian Noodles – Lo Mein Copycat
Nutrient Dense Meatloaf
15 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup and Kid Friendly Guacamole
Instant Pot Italian Sausage Stew
Bone Broth Gravy
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Homemade Thanksgiving Stuffing
Stuffed Pumpkin

SNACKS:
Crispy Salted Almonds
Energy Bars
5 Nourishing Summertime Popsicles
Simple Soaked Granola Bars
Potato Chips
Simple & Quick Homemade Crackers :: Gluten Free with Grain Free Option
Antioxidant Rich Berry Gummies
Light & Crispy Kale Chips
Electrolyte Popsicles
Molasses Protein Bars
Crispy Plantain Crackers
Chocolate Banana Mineral Power Smoothie
Vitamin C Gummies
Chocolate Chip Fruit & Nut Bar (Compare To Larabar)
9 Packable Nutrient Dense School Snacks

DRINKS:
Momma’s Honey Lemon Tea
Simple & Quick Holiday Eggnog
Winter Wassail
DIY Electrolyte Drink
DIY Coconut Milk
Fermented Lemonade
Fermented Strawberry Soda
Fermented Cherry Almond Soda
Nettle Infusions for Kids

CONDIMENTS:
DIY Salad Dressings : 5 Recipes!
Barbeque Sauce
Blueberry Jam
Caesar Dressing
Mayonnaise (Egg Free)
Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Just like the canned – for casseroles or adding creaminess to stir frys and soups)
DIY Taco Season Mix
Thai Peanut Sauce
Sweet & Sour Sauce
Asian Salad Dressing
DIY Olive Garden Salad Dressing
How To Render Tallow
Spanish Chorizo Season Blend
10 Minute Enchilada Sauce

HERBAL REMEDIES:
Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry Popsicles
Rehydrating Electrolyte Popsicles
Post Tummy Bug Recovery Smoothie
How to Make a Post Partum Recovery Package

OCCASIONAL TREATS:
Chocolate Birthday Cake
Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
Strawberry Birthday Cake
Cherry Vanilla Sorbet : DF option
Cherry Pie :: GF, EF, NF
The Perfect 1st Birthday Cupcake (Grain, Egg, Nut, Dairy, Refined Sugar Free)
Maple Vanilla Ice Cream (Refined Sugar Free with Dairy Free Option
Apple Pie
Simple & Quick Gluten Free Pie Crust (Sweet or Savory friendly!)
Simple & Quick Whipped Cream
Simple & Quick Holiday Eggnog
Winter Wassail
Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies
Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies
Tahini Molasses Cookies (Grain, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free)
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream :: Dairy Free Option
Tropical Blender Sorbet
GF Blueberry Birthday Cupcakes
Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream
Carrot Cake :: Gluten, Egg, Nut, & Dye Free!
Cream Cheese Ice Cream
Strawberry Rhubarb Creamsicles
Real Food Fudgsicles
Simple & Rich Chocolate Ice Cream
Caramel Swirl Ice Cream
Real Food Grapesicle
Peach Coffee Cake
Gluten Free Blueberry Peach Crisp
Gluten Free Vanilla Bean Cake
Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Blender Cookies
Gluten Free Apple Crisp
Homemade Honey Sweetened Caramel Corn
Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs and Decorating Ideas
Gluten Free Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies with Naturally Dyed Frosting

 

Condiments Dinner Ideas Healthy Kids and Teens Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!

June 2, 2017

Sweet and sticky, this balsamic reduction sauce is the perfect, kid friendly compliment to any meal!

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!

Ladies and gentlemen, we made it to the beach last weekend!

I’m not real sure what is going on with the cooler late spring temps around here, but we just couldn’t help it! Because I have 3 big time water bugs, I decided to go with the bathing suits despite the 60 degree weather, and 54 degree water temps (!!), because inevitably they are like a moth to a flame when it comes to the big lake.

I bundled them up in sweatshirts on top of their suits and off we went…my oldest and youngest flung their sweatshirts off the second their feet hit the sand…and yes my dear friends they did the polar plunge and totally swam in the icy water!

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!Three extremely busy kiddos, means 3 extremely hungry kiddos!

Summer time beach days sometimes call for light, snacky suppers, but more often than not, that doesn’t fly with my kids! They burn through everything so fast – they really need meals that count when they are so active. And I’ve got a super quick one for you today that will still give you enough time to spend the whole day at the beach if you want!

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!One sauce, multiple possibilities!

I am not sure that balsamic reductions are the first sauce that comes to mind when it comes to kid friendly meals, but I’m telling you – my kids ask for this over ketchup any day of the week! Sweet and sticky, it makes any dinner meal that I drizzle it over completely disappear.

Balsamic reduction sauces are so versatile, tasting amazing over everything from chicken and fish, to steak or even salads and roasted veggies. It’s a great sauce to keep in your back pocket when you want to dress something up a little bit and need a little change up.

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!So here’s the balsamic reduction sauce recipe!

Use your sauce however you like! If you are stuck on a whole meal idea, keep scrolling for the sheet pan dinner idea to use your sauce with!

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!

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How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Put everything into a small sauce pan and bring to a low boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium/medium-low and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half, stirring occasionally along the way. This will take about 15 minutes. It will be viscous and sticky when finished. You can fix the rest of your meal or bake/roast a sheet pan meal while the balsamic sauce is simmering.

So what about that “quick” meal you were talking about?!

I promise I’m not going to leave you hanging. This sauce sounds amazing, but how do we make it work into a meal idea that is not only kid friendly, but do-able on a time crunch?

I’m so glad you asked!

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!Sheet pan dinners to the rescue!

I’m all about these hands free cook methods, dear friends! Pile up that sheet pan with whatever veggies are in season and let the oven do the rest. While your veggies and meat are roasting, you can simmer your balsamic sauce up on the stovetop (recipe above!). Start to finish the sauce just takes 15ish minutes so it is perfect timing for a sheet pan meal!

How To Make Balsamic Reduction Sauce :: Plus! A 30 Minute Sheet Pan Dinner!

Balsamic Glazed Salmon & Roasted Veggies:

Ingredients:

  • ½ large onion, sliced
  • 2-3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends trimmed off
  • 3 medium red potatoes, cubed
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil (or other friendly fat to roast with)
  • 1 tsp sea salt (to taste)
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 3-4 salmon filets (If you have little ones like I do, you can cut the filets in half for smaller portions – I use 3 filets and half them to make 6 total servings.)
  • Avocado oil to brush over the salmon
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste to sprinkle over the salmon
  • 1 recipe of the balsamic reduction sauce from above

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss all of the veggies with the avocado oil, sea salt, pepper, parsley, and dill on a large sheet pan. Spread them out evenly and roast for 10 minutes while you get the balsamic sauce going and prepare the salmon.
  3. While the veggies are roasting you can get your balsamic sauce simmering on the stove (see recipe above). You can also brush each salmon filet with avocado oil and sprinkle sea salt and pepper to your taste on both sides of each filet.
  4. After the veggies have roasted 10 minutes, take them out and stir the veggies around. Place the salmon fillets on top of the veggies and roast another 20 minutes until the veggies are bite tender and the salmon is cooked through to your liking. If you like your veggies softer, you can cook them longer than that first 10 minutes. The salmon will only need the last 20 minutes of cook time.
  5. Spoon the balsamic reduction sauce over each salmon filet and drizzle over the veggies as well before serving.

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10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!

January 20, 2017

Classic garlic filled creaminess and everyone’s favorite pasta sauce! Velvety homemade Alfredo is real food at its best!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Winter comfort…

January seems to be flying by! That is definitely not something I am used to saying as this beach bum really {really!} enjoys her barefoot summer days.

It’s been a mild winter so far however (in Michigan standards!), and we are finding ourselves enjoying the winter fun that surrounds us, especially now that I don’t have really small babies in tow anymore. My kids are true winter lovers!

15803678_248299058937998_3462896345373736960_n(1)And I have to admit, winter comfort food definitely makes the cold more tolerable!

Creamy Alfredo meals are a cold weather favorite in our house. I used to think that Alfredo had to mean really heavy, unhealthy food. As it turns out, when you make it yourself it can truly be a nutrient dense, nourishing meal that tastes so good!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!The simplest of ingredients seriously make the most amazing food!

Amazingly enough, you really don’t need that mile long list of ingredients that the store bought Alfredo sauce has! Next time you are at the store, take a look! You will be floored! A little butter and garlic, something to thicken up the milk a bit and you are in Alfredo heaven.

Traditional Alfredo sauce is made with milk or cream, butter, and garlic. We tolerate raw dairy in our house well, however I find myself making Alfredo sauce with coconut milk more than our raw milk. Our raw milk share is lower during the winter months when the cows don’t make as much milk. We don’t have as much on hand, and I like to save the raw milk for drinking instead of cooking off all of the raw properties. If you have access to a lot of quality milk and cream in the winter, or it is spring and summer for you and the milk is abundantly flowing, definitely give the milk a try! It is simply amazing!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!A note for hesitant coconut flavor friends

I am not a huge fan of the taste of coconut. {I know it. Send in the real food police, right!?} I am just not. I didn’t grow up with a lot of coconut flavored anything, and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get used to it. I can’t drink it on it’s own, and I rarely cook with coconut oil other than baking because I don’t like the finished taste!

I promise the coconut flavor is completely masked by *all* that butter and garlic. When you get that garlic super fragrant and use amazing butter, the alfredo sauce simply tastes like…creamy, garlicy, amazing alfredo sauce!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!Coconut milk options

I do tend to use homemade coconut milk more than buy it to save money. Especially in the winter when our raw milk share is low, I am in the habit of making it every weekend anyway, so I just double it if I know we’ll be having alfredo. It is so easy to make, and you can avoid the cans and fillers from the canned coconut milk.

If making it isn’t an option, you are in a pinch, or you are just in a season of life where you just can’t make one more thing (yes, I have been there dear momma with that newborn on your hip!), there are a couple of brand options for you. You may find these in your health food store to price compare here!

  • Aroy-D Coconut Milk: This is a gum free coconut milk – just 100% coconut milk for those who can’t tolerate the guar gum added to many coconut milks.
  • Native Forest Coconut Milk: This is a good, inexpensive coconut milk. It does have guar gum added for thickening which does not bother us, but for those with sensitive tummies it might be something to avoid.

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!Noodle options

We definitely enjoy a good rice pasta on occasion! (We like this brand of rice noodles) There is nothing wrong with that if you tolerate it ok! Sometimes I don’t have it on hand, or we have already had pasta that week, so changing it up is always a great idea. If you have hesitant veggie noodle eaters, mix in some veggie noodles with regular noodles for a while to get them used to the idea 😉

Veggie “Noodle” Ideas:

Healthier Pasta Ideas:

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!Meal ideas for your alfredo sauce! {Psst! It can be more than just pasta!}

Alfredo sauce makes a kid friendly vehicle to get a load of veggies in. Steam a mix of vegetables to pile up on your pasta and drown it all in alfredo! The meal pictured in this post literally took about 20 minutes to make. I pressure cooked frozen organic broccoli in 2 minutes in my Instant Pot while I made the alfredo, and the chicken was leftover from our roasted chicken the night before. It doesn’t get much faster than that! (If you don’t have an Instant Pot, simply steam that broccoli – it doesn’t take long at all!)

We also like alfredo poured over baked potatoes. It feels a lot like drippy cheese for loaded baked potatoes! You can do veggie sides or salads in that case to get the veggies in and even crumble bacon over your loaded baked potato.

This alfredo sauce is also great with just a simple stir fry. If you have to be grain free while you are healing your gut, this is a great option for you to dress up your daily healing veggies!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!

10 Minute Homemade Alfredo Sauce :: Dairy and Dairy Free Options!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 TB flour of choice to thicken (I like to use white rice flour. Tapioca or Cassava works if you are grain free)
  • 1 quart coconut milk (Or raw milk. For safe store bought coconut milk options, see the notes in the post above.)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan (optional - I don't have access to quality parm all the time, so it is left out frequently and it is still very good - a little extra sea salt takes care of adding the salty bite.)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the minced garlic. Saute the garlic on medium heat for few minutes until fragrant.
  2. Whisk in the flour well, and then add the coconut milk.
  3. Bring the sauce to a simmer whisking occasionally, until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the Parmesan if you are using it and then sea salt and pepper to taste.

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How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!

December 30, 2016

Learn how to cook spaghetti squash in your Instant Pot or oven for easy, vegetable noodles for the whole family!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

He always picks out the biggest one!

I have to admit, I am a pretty lucky girl. My husband does the majority our grocery shopping – I make the list and he shops. It is pretty much amazing, and it is part of this teamwork thing we try to make work in our house!

It never fails though – there are certain produce items that just always come home “the biggest and the best”! I am most certain he picks through the produce stand every week looking for the biggest squash, the head of garlic with the most cloves on it, and onions as big as my head!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!Spaghetti squash for days….

So one particular week when he brought home a spaghetti squash the size of a medium sized pumpkin, I decided I’d create 2 meals out of it and take pictures along the way for you all! It was like having 2 full dinners for a family of 5, all in one squash! And I have to admit…my Instant Pot has made making squash on a busy school night SO much faster!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!The squash with a blank canvas!

Spaghetti squash is quite literally a clean slate. It doesn’t have a ton of flavor, which actually is a great thing when it comes to feeding kids! There’s no veggie flavor masking here – you can truly make it taste however you wish.

So here is a complete tutorial on how to cook your spaghetti squash, as well as 2 family friendly dinner ideas for using it up!

how-to-cook-spaghetti-squashCooking Spaghetti Squash – Instant Pot Method

So my Instant Pot has quite literally taken over how I cook spaghetti squash in the last year! It is super fast and easy – you will love it! (If you haven’t taken the Instant Pot plunge yet, have no fear! Keep scrolling for the oven methods below!)

  1. If your squash is too large to fit in the Instant Pot , cut your spaghetti squash in half horizontally (so it can sit up on it’s end). If your squash is as big as mine in the picture, you will only be able to cook half at a time – which is enough to feed my family of 5 for dinner. If you have a smaller squash, simply cut enough of one of the ends off to scoop out the seeds and put the whole thing in!
  2. Scoop out the seeds, and set the squash on the trivet. Put 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot.
  3. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and close the valve. Press manual and bring the time down to 12 minutes. It will turn on automatically. The timer will start counting down the 12 minutes once it reaches pressure. When the 12 minutes is done, you can turn the Instant Pot off and release the pressure from the valve. Take the lid off and your squash should be done. (Please note that squashes do come in quite different sizes and cook times might need some adjusting. If it doesn’t seem cooked through, simply do another 3 to 5 minutes (I had to do that with the one pictured above by the way – it was massive!).

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!Cooking Spaghetti Squash – Oven Method

The oven method for cooking spaghetti squash is just as convenient since there is no prepping! It takes bit longer to cook but you can always cook it up ahead of time on the weekends and keep it in the fridge for a weeknight meal if you don’t have the hour to bake it.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place your un-cut spaghetti squash in a baking dish and bake at 425 degrees for 1 hour. If your squash is quite large, you may need an extra 15 minutes or so.
  3. Cut your spaghetti squash in half horizontally (so it can sit up on it’s end). Scoop out the seeds, and serve.
    So from here your squash “noodles” are a blank slate to color in however you wish!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!The possibilities are endless from here!

Spaghetti squash noodles work well bound together with eggs for morning hashbrowns, or drowning in butter and garlic with veggies as a quick lunch, or as you will see here in the next 2 recipes, as a delicious, healthy dinner meal for the whole family!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!A quick tip for older kids who are new to spaghetti squash

I highly suggest not making a big deal out of the meal 😉 They feel your nervousness in serving something new and feed off it! Serve and be done! Know you are a good mom, be confident in your meal, and don’t beat yourself up if they turn their noses up at first. If you wish, you could “ease” them in by mixing the spaghetti squash “noodles” with some “regular” noodles. I would also recommend doing this for kids that might need the extra carbohydrates – I do this on occasion for my littler guys that need it.

spaghetti-and-meatballs-banner

I’m all about quick and easy here. While there is definitely a time and place to make your own spaghetti sauce, most busy school nights I’m all about just “doctoring up” some good jarred spaghetti sauce. If you make or can your own go for it!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!You can also make the sauce a meat sauce instead of making the meatballs if you are shorter on time. The meatballs do freeze up great, so if you have some time on the weekend, you can roll up a few pounds of meatballs for the freezer making them super easy to grab for a quick school night dinner. Just freeze the meatballs on a tray and then pop the frozen meatballs into a freezer bag.

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!Ingredients (This makes enough to serve over 1/2 large or 1 whole small spaghetti squash):

  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB flour of choice (I usually use white rice flour, but tapioca flour works if you are grain free)
  • 1 TB Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2-3 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, coconut oil, lard, or avocado oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 6-8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jar organic spaghetti sauce

Directions:

  1. Cook your spaghetti squash according to one of the methods above while you make the meatballs and sauce.
  2. Make the meatballs while your oven pre-heats to 375 (If you are baking your squash, you can cook the meat balls at the 425 degrees along with the squash just back off the cooking time on the meatballs to 10-15 minutes.). Mix the beef, egg, flour, onion/garlic powder, sea salt/pepper in a small mixing bowl. Roll into small balls and place on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  3. While the meatballs are baking, you can make the sauce. Melt the friendly fat in a pot and add the veggies with a big pinch of sea salt. Cook on medium to medium heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally until the veggies soften.
    Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the spaghetti sauce and simmer until the meatballs are ready to be mixed in. Sea salt and pepper your sauce to your taste.
  5. Stir the cooked meatballs into your sauce and serve over the cooked spaghetti squash noodles. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you wish.

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!

veggie-spaghetti-bannerBright, fun colors and loaded with mineral rich veggies! Use whatever vegetables are in season or on hand – it doesn’t make any difference when you are drowning it all in garlic butter sauce!

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!I didn’t leave the guys out of this recipe either – I know my husband wouldn’t be real thrilled with a veggie only dinner so there is pastured sausage in this meal (you could use grassfed beef or even cooked chicken if you wish!). If you don’t mind the all veggie meal, just leave the meat out.

How To Cook Spaghetti Squash in the Instant Pot or Oven PLUS 2 Different Family Friendly Dinners To Use It In!Ingredients (This makes enough to serve over 1/2 large or 1 whole small spaghetti squash):

  • 1/2 lb pastured ground sausage or grassfed ground beef (you could use a full pound if your crew likes things meatier)
  • 4 TB friendly fat to cook in such as butter, tallow, lard, avocado oil, or coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 8oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 small cabbage, sliced thin
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp chipotle powder or cayenne if you don’t like it smoky (optional but the flavorful mild heat goes really well!)
  • 1/3 cup white wine or bone broth
  • 1 heaping handful baby spinach
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook your spaghetti squash according to one of the methods above while you make the garlic buttered veggies to go on top.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add all of the veggies except the garlic and tomatoes. Put a large pinch of sea salt into the pan, stir, and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally until the veggies are soft and sweet.
  3. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the wine (or broth) and simmer about 7 minutes until the liquid absorbs a bit and the tomatoes soften and burst.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach to wilt and then sea salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve over the cooked spaghetti squash with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese if you wish.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Pasta With Sage and Thyme Meatballs

October 5, 2016

Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It’s time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season!

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season! Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Autumn has really allowed us to ease into cooler weather this year with unseasonably warm temperatures (for Michigan!), and I think I am ready for a little fall!

I won’t spend a much time taunting you with explaining much about this drool worthy dinner, but I did want to give you a few swaps and examples for how to use the roasted garlic pumpkin cream sauce, as well as some swaps for the pasta if you are a home that can’t do that! I want everyone to be able to enjoy this dish!

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season! Roasted pumpkin and garlic sauce

This sauce….oh the creaminess and flavor! You can’t get the depth of roasted flavor from canned pumpkin or a powdered garlic…I promise you will be blown away if you just use the good stuff!

It will quickly become a family favorite which is why I want to offer a few swaps for those that need it! First, if you are a dairy free home, I have made this with all coconut milk and it is so amazing. I am not a huge fan of things tasting like coconut, and I think the roasted pumpkin and garlic take over the flavor of the dish very well. I also have done half coconut milk and half water and it is still really amazing.

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season!

Pumpkin Pasta!

I use the Tinkyada brand rice noodles pretty exclusively for pasta needs in our house, but use whatever you have on hand or like to use. If you are a grain free home, or pasta isn’t in the house, this cream sauce is good on….just about everything! You can make veggie noodles with your spirilizer such as sweet potato noodles or “zoodles” with zucchini. Or you can make a big veggie stir fry and mix the meatballs in along with the cream sauce. Whatever you can swing…try it! This sauce is just decadent!

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season! A note on the meatballs!

The egg in the meatballs is for binding, so if you are an egg free home simply use a gelatin or flax egg and you should be just fine. I think tapioca flour would be a good swap if you are grain free.

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta with Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::Grab the wool socks and put a log on the fireplace! It's time to cozy up to some cool weather comfort food like roasted pumpkin and garlic pasta and enjoy the season! Dear friends, this is how we welcome in fall around here! Happy autumn season to you!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Pasta With Sage and Thyme Meatballs
 
Ingredients
  • For The Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Pasta ::
  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 4 TB butter, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, leave them whole and unpeeled to roast
  • ¾ cup whole milk or coconut milk (you can adjust this depending on how thick or thin you want your sauce)
  • ¼ cup whole sour cream (or more coconut milk)
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ - ¾ lb cooked pasta of choice (I use the Tinkyada GF rice noodles)
  • For The Sage & Thyme Meatballs ::
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 3 TB white rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Start with roasting the pumpkin and garlic. Halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin halves flesh side up on a baking sheet, and spread 2 TB of butter over the flesh of the pumpkins, then sprinkle sea salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees for 45-50 minutes until the flesh is soft. Put the garlic cloves on the baking sheet for the last 15-20 minutes to roast as well.
  2. While the pumpkins are roasting, you can make the meatballs. Put all of the meatball ingredients in a small mixing bowl and combine. Roll the meatball mixture into small, 2 inch meatballs and place on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. You can bake the meatballs along with the pumpkin at 425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes (I like to put them in the same time as I put the garlic in).
  3. Once the pumpkins and garlic are done roasting and cool enough to touch, scoop the flesh of the pumpkin into a food processor or blender and squeeze the roasted garlic in. Blend the pumpkin and garlic until smooth.
  4. Put the pumpkin and garlic puree into a sauce pan along with 2 TB of butter and the milk and warm to a low simmer. Whisk until smooth (you can add more liquid here if you wish for a thinner sauce). Turn off the heat and whisk in the sour cream, and then sea salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Toss the cooked pasta with the roasted pumpkin and garlic cream sauce and top with your sage & thyme meatballs. Garnish with sage and parsley.

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Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein

September 10, 2016

All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

Our school year is off and running, and I feel like we did just that for the first week…Run!

Whew!

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

We are still getting our feet wet back into the groove of early mornings and school after a laid back summer break, so I have been perfecting some of my quicker weeknight meals.

While we don’t have a lot of extra-curricular activities after school yet with such little ones, I *do* have a brand new kindergartener getting used to full days of school (read – tired!), a toddler that has to get woken up on occasion from naps for school pick up (read – crabby!), and a 2nd grader that wants to get her project done *right now* (read – busy!). It just helps to have a dinner that doesn’t require a lot of hands on time.

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

I am coming up on my 1 year anniversary of having my Instant Pot and I feel like this summer we really got to know each other!

I had been using it mainly to make whole chickens and bone broth up until this summer, and boy I am really loving figuring out how to use it for more than just that. As much as I love cooking, there really are more days in the week that I need fast meals than ones that I don’t. If there is room on the birthday or Christmas list this year, an Instant Pot is definitely one I would try to fit in!

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

This quick Lo Mein has every flavor burst you love about Asian food in a “dump it all in” style of cooking!

I have even done the 5 minutes of veggie chopping the night before and set it in the fridge until dinner the next day so it literally can just be a “dump it all in” meal! Salty, sweet, and savory all in one bite, the kids will not only be in love with *all* the noodles, but it just plain tastes amazing! And you can feel good about getting the veggies in!

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

A quick note on how you can change it up and add variety!

While this is definitely a filling meal for how my family eats as it is, you can certainly add some chopped beef, chicken, or fish. I usually have leftovers topped with a fried egg the next morning and it is pretty much amazing (scrambling an egg into it would work fine too)! The veggies are pretty interchangeable as well – use whatever you have on hand. I have swapped the spinach for chopped kale if that is what I have, or used fresh broccoli instead of peas.

You can also add more bone broth and make it more of a Lo Mein soup. I have found a rich beef broth tastes so good! Also, don’t forget to pack the leftovers up in the school lunch thermos! Just add a splash of water or broth to warm it up in the morning and put it in a thermos to go! There are more details on how to temper your thermos and keep food warm for school in this post.

Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein :: All of the Asian flavors you love, in less than 10 minutes of time! This healthy Asian Lo Mein is weeknight fast and nourishing at the same time!

4.5 from 4 reviews
Fast Prep Instant Pot Vegetable Lo Mein
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups bone broth (a rich beef broth works best. You can do bone broth in the Instant Pot too !)
  • ¼ cup Coconut Aminos
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 inch knob ginger, peeled and grated (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (this leaves a kid friendly, mild heat - if you like more kick add more!)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced on a bias
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ lb gluten free pasta of choice (I used the Tinkyada brand of rice noodles that our local grocer carries)
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped finely
Instructions
  1. Everything *except the spinach* into the Instant Pot, stir to combine, and seal the lid. Be sure the valve is closed.
  2. Turn your IP on, press manual, and then use the (+/-) button to press the time down to 2 minutes. The Instant Pot will turn "ON" and come to pressure before it counts down the 2 minutes.
  3. When the 2 minutes is done, turn the Instant Pot "OFF", and set a timer for 4 minutes to let the pot naturally release some of the pressure and finish cooking the noodles through.
  4. After the 4 minutes, release the rest of the pressure, take the lid off, and stir in the fresh spinach to combine. There will be a little bit of liquid in the bottom that will continue to soak up into the noodles and the starch from the noodles will make it "saucy". Serve topped with sliced green onion or chopped nuts.

A note on Instant Pot cook times

This recipe gives the noodle a good, “al dente” texture in cook time for me. Not too mushy and not hard! It is just perfect! I have, however, found that sometimes when I have tried other people’s Instant Pot recipes that cook times for noodles, rice, even hard boiled eggs can vary. For instance the “6-6-6” method for hard boiled eggs leaves my eggs really overdone – I have to cook at 5 minutes on low pressure!  I’m actually not sure why this is (please chime in if you know!), but keep that in mind. If you open the lid and your noodles need a bit more cook time, simply turn the saute button on and let them cook a little longer. I will try to answer your IP questions as best as I can, but please remember I am fairly new to using it myself – thank you for understanding!

More quick “week-night fast” dinners you might like ::

Dinner Ideas Feeding Babies Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce

July 22, 2016

This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce! :: This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

“How do you get your kids to eat their veggies?”

I get that inbox question weekly, and some of my staple responses are…

Make it taste good!

Make it fun!

Make it familiar!

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce! :: This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

Before I expand on those responses, let me back up a minute and talk about the babies and toddlers.

If you fall in the category of having a baby between the ages of 6 months to 2 years old let me fill you in a little secret…baby taste palates are a blank slate! You absolutely can train those young palates to enjoy vegetables of every kind by introducing them before they hit those “NO” and testing 3 and 4 year old ages.

Make it fun and relaxed. Let them take bites off your plate. Don’t force it and keep it positive even if they don’t accept it right away. First foods is one of my very favorite things – enjoy introducing those fun veggies! (For more in depth first foods and feeding babies discussion, keep your eyes peeled this fall for my new book publishing titled Nourished Beginnings!)

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce! :: This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

Ok, so let’s talk about making vegetables enjoyable for big kids that are maybe newer to real food.

Taking an old staple that most kids love and enjoy like spaghetti and giving it a veggie make-over will be less intimidating then tossing a plate of new foreign vegetables in front of them. Keep it fun and tasting amazing. This veggie spaghetti sauce is rich, and sweet, and tomato-y just like kids like it. Kids also love noodles! Anything with noodles! And I say if it gets them eating a pile of mineral rich, power packed vegetables, a scoop of noodles it is then.

If you have a little one that is funny about texture or seeing “pieces” in their food, simply puree the sauce through and it will feel a lot like jarred spaghetti sauce – you can add a splash of bone broth or water and just blend it up. Sometimes all you need to do to mold a more adventurous eater in those big kids is give their bodies some time to adjust off the junk food. Their cravings will change, and their body will function better if you can just do what you gotta do to get their fuel more nourishing.

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce! :: This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

Serving options

We love using gluten free rice noodles in our house. Using spaghetti squash or veggie “noodles” such as zucchini or sweet potato noodles works so well too if you can’t tolerate grains, or if you have a baby in the house that can’t have grains yet. Our spirilizer for making veggie noodles was such a great investment for our kitchen.

We like to add grassfed beef or meatballs to our spaghetti too. Use your favorite meatball recipe – one of my favorites are these kale stuffed meatballs. Our staple spaghetti meatballs will be published in my Nourished Beginnings book publishing this fall!

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce! :: This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

Oh! And don’t forget the leftovers!

My kids LOVE spaghetti for lunch, and this packs up so well in a thermos for school. I like to add a splash of water while warming it up when using leftover noodles just to soften everything up. There are more instructions on how to keep food warm in thermoses for school in this post in the thermos section.

Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce! :: This kid friendly veggie spaghetti sauce is loaded with brilliant color, amazing taste, and is super fun to eat piled on top of your favorite noodles or veggie noodles!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Kid Friendly Veggie Spaghetti Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB butter
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, large dice
  • 1 yellow pepper, large dice
  • 1 medium eggplant, large dice (sliced mushrooms work here if eggplant isn't in season/available)
  • 1 medium zucchini, large dice
  • 1 medium summer squash, large dice
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 cups chopped baby spinach (baby kale works too)
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 TB organic tomato paste
  • ⅓ cup bone broth (or water)
  • ⅓ cup white wine (or more bone broth or water)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil to garnish the top, sliced in a chiffonade (roll the leaves up and slice thin)
Instructions
  1. Warm a large skillet to medium heat and melt the butter and olive oil.
  2. Add the onion, red and yellow peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and summer squash with a large pinch of sea salt, combine, and cook over medium/medium high heat stirring occasionally for about 7-10 minutes until the veggies soften and sweeten.
  3. Add the garlic, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, and tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook over medium/medium high heat about 5 minutes until the tomatoes soften and wilt and the spinach wilts.
  4. Pour in the bone broth and wine, and bring to a simmer about 5 minutes over medium heat until the liquid reduces a bit and everything softens.
  5. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to your taste and serve over noodles of choice, or serve over veggie noodles like spaghetti squash, zoodles, or sweet potato noodles. Garnish with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese if you wish.

Here are some more kid friendly vegetable ideas to try!

Dinner Ideas Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

20 Minute Spring Stir Fry With Garlic Butter Sauce

April 22, 2016

Weeknight dinner friendly, this 20 minute spring stir fry with a garlic butter sauce will satisfy on the busiest of spring evenings!

20 Minute Spring Stir Fry with Garlic Butter Sauce :: Weeknight dinner friendly, this 20 minute spring stir fry with a garlic butter sauce will satisfy on the busiest of spring evenings!

Spring rolls around these parts rather slow (in my impatient opinion it does anyways!).

We have a week of snow, then a week of summer-like weather, all swapping back and forth for about 2 months. It’s all just a great big tease sometimes! But I can always count on the last week of April and into the first part of May to really feel like spring around here.

20 Minute Spring Stir Fry with Garlic Butter Sauce :: Weeknight dinner friendly, this 20 minute spring stir fry with a garlic butter sauce will satisfy on the busiest of spring evenings!

We have a gorgeous hedge of forsythia that blooms right around then, and our magnolia tree buds start to wake up. Our local farmer’s markets start opening every Saturday with fresh Michigan asparagus and other greens and roots, and our raw milk share has more milk available to offer.

20 Minute Spring Stir Fry with Garlic Butter Sauce :: Weeknight dinner friendly, this 20 minute spring stir fry with a garlic butter sauce will satisfy on the busiest of spring evenings!

We can always count on Earth Day week being a fun time at my daughter’s school. Last week they cleaned up the gardens by their playground and planted flowers.

20 Minute Spring Stir Fry with Garlic Butter Sauce :: Weeknight dinner friendly, this 20 minute spring stir fry with a garlic butter sauce will satisfy on the busiest of spring evenings!

Our evenings are filled with so much more light and warmth and outside time which can take its toll on any kitchen time for making dinner. I love taking advantage of fresh spring veggies though, so my compromise is a handful of quick, nourishing dinners packed with seasonal produce that can be made in 20 minutes or less.

20 Minute Spring Stir Fry with Garlic Butter Sauce :: Weeknight dinner friendly, this 20 minute spring stir fry with a garlic butter sauce will satisfy on the busiest of spring evenings!

This fresh stir fry has a delicious garlic butter sauce that is light enough for spring but tastes amazing rich and decadent. You really could add anything you wish for the veggies. I love to use chopped radishes as well as golden beets – use whatever you have access to. You can also swap the noodles for rice or leave the grain out all together if you can’t tolerate grain. Sweet potatoes or other root veggies would make a nice starch for my grain free friends.

20 Minute Spring Stir Fry with Garlic Butter Sauce :: Weeknight dinner friendly, this 20 minute spring stir fry with a garlic butter sauce will satisfy on the busiest of spring evenings!

5.0 from 1 reviews
20 Minute Spring Stir Fry With Garlic Butter Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 TB avocado or olive oil
  • 4 TB butter, divided
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 lb asparagus sliced on the bias into 1 inch/bite sized pieces
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 medium tomato, seeds and juices scooped out and diced
  • 1-2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (I use leftovers from a roasted chicken dinner or Instant Pot chicken)
  • ⅓ cup white wine (or chicken bone broth)
  • Pinch of cayenne (optional but the slight heat is so good! If you prefer more heat you can add more - I tend to keep it pretty kid friendly for the little ones in my house but add a little more to my plate)
  • 8oz pasta of choice, cooked (I use the these gluten free rice noodles. You could use rice if you wish, or if you are grain free just leave this part out or possibly add some potatoes to the veggies cooking or other root veggie for a little starch)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional freshly grated parmesan to garnish
Instructions
  1. You can start boiling your water for your noodles when you start the stir fry and they should be done around the same time.
  2. Melt 2 TB avocado oil and 2 TB butter in a large skillet and add the onion and asparagus. Put a generous pinch of sea salt over the veggies and cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes until the veggies soften and sweeten and the asparagus is bright green.
  3. Add the garlic, peas, tomatoes, chicken, and cayenne, combine, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the white wine and the other 2 TB of butter, combine and cook about 5 minutes until the liquid cooks into the veggies and reduces down and the alcohol in the wine simmers off. You can add some splashes of the starchy pasta water or bone broth if you need more liquid.
  5. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the veggies and chicken, combine, and sea salt and pepper to your taste. You can garnish each dish with freshly grated parmesan if you wish.

For more real food dinner ideas you can follow my Dinner Ideas board on Pinterest!

More real food ideas you might like:
Golden Beet Slaw

Golden beets have a slightly sweeter taste than red beets and I find that the milder earthy flavor works really good for kids. Getting those veggies into a smaller, easier to chew form (shredded or spirilized) and tossed with a super yummy dressing helps too!
15 Minute Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

15 Minute Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

15 Minute Asian Lo Mein Copycat

15 Minute Asian Noodles :: Lo Mein Copycat!

Dinner Ideas Lunch Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips school lunches

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis…And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!

July 18, 2015

YES our kids are bombarded from every direction with marketing schemes from the processed food industry, but I think we can have a bigger influence with what is served at home – especially when it tastes this good!

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!So can we talk kids and veggies a little today?

*BOOO*

I know it. There is nothing more frustrating that a kid that throws a fit about eating something you know is good for them.

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!But listen. We have a major crisis today. Many kids literally have no idea what it means to eat well. Sure, most certainly aren’t “hungry,” but by “well” I mean eating food that will fuel their bodies so well that it functions and operates the way it is supposed to. We wonder why our kids are moody, tired, or hyper, and yet simply filling children with real minerals directly from the source (veggies!) is a huge start to helping these children balance. (I may also know a few adults who fall into this category as well…ahem…)

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!I walk the isles of the grocery store, watch the commercials on the TV, hear the children on the playground…and we can do better. These are *YOUR* kids the commercials are marketing to. These are *YOUR* kids being bombarded with every brightly colored fun box of cartoon characters riddled with every brain altering food dye and chemical you can think of.

And hear this! *I* was one of those kids. Yes, my friends, I am no spring chicken…which means this has been going on far too long. I made a promise to myself that I would do better for my kids than what is offered today. I made a promise that I would be the one to learn to cook and learn to like vegetables.

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!Did you hear that part?

Yes I had to learn to like veggies. I didn’t grow up on very many. Sure we had salads almost every night for dinner, but as far as variety goes, it just wasn’t there. I want you to hear that I have had zero formal cooking training – I didn’t even really help in the kitchen much growing up.

Why do I want you to hear that? Because I want you to know that you can do this. This isn’t rocket science (or The Iron Chef!). This is real food being cooked the right way to make it taste amazing.

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!Yes, I realize that especially for those kids who have already had a taste of processed food, I am majorly competing with flavor. I’m up for the challenge. And guess what? I’m thinking that once the processed food isn’t available as a choice, they’ll get used to a new way of eating. And while we can still have some fun food done in a real food way like real food Mac N Cheese, real potato chips, real food pizza, and real food sloppy joes, it is just really a good idea to have those palates used to veggies too.

So let’s ease into this thing. I’m not saying revamp your entire meal plan *right now*. Let’s start with one meal a day – say dinner. I’ve got 3 delicious, super kid friendly in taste stir fry meals with loads of veg variety that I think will do the trick!

Product links in this section are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!


Sweet & Sour Power!


This is an Asian inspired stir fry that will give those bland veggies a sweet makeover! Serve this over organic long grain white rice with butter.

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Sweet & Sour Stir Fry
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Make your sweet and sour sauce and set aside - I usually have it simmer while I'm chopping the veg.
  2. Whisk the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl, coat the chicken with olive oil, and then use the flour mixture to coat the chicken. Fry the breaded chicken in a pan with a good ¼ cup friendly fat (butter, leftover bacon grease, lard, coconut oil). Set the breaded chicken aside.
  3. Saute the onion in a few TB friendly fat and a big pinch of sea salt over medium heat for about 5-6 minutes stirring occasionally. The salt will bring out the juices in the onion and sweeten it up.
  4. Add the garlic and peas, combine, and cook about 5 minutes until the peas soften up a bit.
  5. Add the carrot shreds and cook until soft - should only take a few minutes.
  6. Add the sweet and sour sauce and cooked/breaded chicken and stir to combine. Add the green onion and serve over organic long grain white rice, jasmine rice, or plain. Leftovers pack well in a lunchbox thermos!

 


Garden Party!


 Take the kids for a visit to the farmer’s market if it is the season for it and let them pick out what is in season – the sky is the limit here! I included what is in season by me right now but you can definitely switch this up. I left some hints on how I shop for these veggies in the middle of winter too.

The key is to get some very palatable veggies mixed in with the more bland – things like tomatoes and carrots will sweeten things up a bit especially when they are cooked the right way. And while corn is considered a grain, if you find a GMO free source (I use Costco’s organic frozen corn), I think it makes a great addition to up the kid friendly anty.

To make this more of a complete meal you can add shredded chicken from your crockpotted chicken, or stir in some cooked quinoa!

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Garden Party Stir Fry
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter to cook in
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ small/medium head of cabbage, sliced thin (This was from our local grocer)
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped (We get fresh organic carrots in bulk at Costco)
  • 1 cup cut green beans (These were from our garden, but in the off season we use Costco's frozen organic)
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped (We get organic frozen broccoli at Costco)
  • 4 small red potatoes, cubed (Our grocer carries organic potatoes)
  • 1 cup organic corn (This was from a non-GMO farmer at our market but in the off season we use Costco's organic frozen corn)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (When we don't use our garden tomatoes, our grocer carries organic tomatoes)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TB fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme (I have potted herbs but dried works just fine!)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh chives to garish
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter over medium heat and put the onion, cabbage, carrots, green beans, broccoli, potatoes, and corn into the melted butter with a big pinch of sea salt and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until everything cooks down and softens. (The cabbage seems like a lot at first but I promise it cooks down a lot!)
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until they soften and let their juices out to make a sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped chives if you want - or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese!

Oodles of Italian Buttered Noodles!


A spirilizer can make a noodle out of just about any veggie, and I swear the texture and feel of a noodle just makes you want to eat more! My biggest issue with spirilizing veggies in my house is that there is never enough!

This is one of my staple dinners we have almost weekly and it never gets old – it comes together so fast too. You can add organic spaghetti sauce for more of a spaghetti night feel too!

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Italian Buttered Noodles
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup or so butter to cook in
  • 2 small/medium onions, chopped
  • ½ lb organic white mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 cup cooked chicken (You can use more if you wish. I use my crockpot or oven roaster to cook multiple whole chickens at one time so I always have cubed, cooked chicken in the freezer for quick meals!)
  • 2 medium zucchini, spirilized
  • 2 medium yellow/summer squash, spirilized
  • 1 TB dry basil or a handful of fresh chopped basil
  • ½ cup parmesan (or other raw cheese) plus more to garnish the top
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Saute the onion and mushroom in the butter over medium/high heat with a big pinch of sea salt to bring out their juices and sweeten for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and chicken and cook for a few minutes until the tomato juices start coming out and make a sauce. You can garnish with grated Parmesan.

For more nourishing meal ideas check out my Nourishing Staples board on Pintrest!

More real food recipes you might like:

Crockpot Or Oven Roaster Chicken For FAST Weekday Meals

Parmesan Baked Zucchini Spears

landscapeThe *Best* Way To Spirilize & Cook Sweet Potatoes

The Best Way To Spirilize & Cook Sweet Potatoes!Light & Crispy Kale Chips

Simple Tips For Light & Crispy Kale Chips Everytime!

 

 

Cold & Flu Season Herbal Recipes Real Food Tips

Tips To Keeping Kids Healthy During The Holidays

December 1, 2014

Tips To Keeping Kids Healthy During The Holidays
Happy December!

With the holidays in our midst, cold and flu bugs are just inevitable. We don’t live in bubbles, and our kids are sure to be exposed to whatever is floating around your area.

It sure does seem that the holidays have a tendency to bring on extra illness, but there are definitely some ways to give your kids the upper hand to fighting off the bugs and stay healthy so everyone can enjoy the celebrations to come.

(Just a quick note! I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be one. I am simply a momma sharing what she has found to work very effectively for her kiddos, in hopes to inspire you to take charge of your own kids’ health proactively! Any product links you see are affiliates that I actually use with my own family – there is no extra cost to you when you use the links, rather it helps run the free content of this blog for you!)

Tips To Keeping Kids Healthy During The Holidays

:: Keep up on the preventatives & immune system boosters ::

Don’t let your routine slip up if you are away from home or have some changes in the schedule. If you live in a northern area that doesn’t see a lot of sunshine it is so important to keep vitamin D boosted through the properly balanced vitamin D and A in quality sourced cod liver oil.  During illness we boost the cod liver oil. Pastured lard to cook in is another great source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is more and more in the forefront lately showing to be very effective against the flu in particular.

Since the majority of the immune system resides in the gut, it is important to keep the gut flora balanced with probiotics through fermented foods and/or quality supplemental probiotics. I like to rotate this brand and this brand, along with weekly consuming yogurt and fermented veggies.

During the holidays I like to give elderberry syrup or elderberry tincture a couple times per week. If the girls are run down or ill they get it daily until they recover which has never been more than a few days. Elderberries are effective virus killers and work well to boosting the immune system to fight virus off. I also supplement immune boosting vitamin C during this time to give their bodies an extra boost. I like to use a quality sourced whole food C such as THIS brand and THIS brand. You can read more about the importance of whole food vitamin C in this post.


:: Don’t make the holiday treats a month long event ::

Before you label me as the Scrooge of the century, please hear me out. Sugar has a huge impact on our immune system. As in it weakens it. (See THIS article and THIS article for very informative evidence regarding sugar and the immune system.) It just isn’t worth day after day of junk their bodies aren’t used to. Listen, I’m all about a little fun! Absolutely have some fun making Christmas cookies, or your favorite holiday traditional treats like hot cocoa and eggnog, but it doesn’t need to be a daily (or even weekly) event. Just don’t go overboard is all.

In case you are wanting more evidence, I do have an actual life story to relate to this as well. About 2 years ago I discovered a load of holiday “real food” treats that I wanted to try. I mean, come on! It’s “real food” right? It can’t hurt to have some real food treats every week through the holiday month, right? Wrong. Sugar is still sugar – no matter the form. So that year my 2 girls at the time had cold after cold and it never seemed like we could get better. I resolved never to do it again and I have not regretted that decision since – the last couple years the girls have had 1 (one!) cold during the entire winter, let alone just the holiday season. THAT is worth limiting the treats to just here and there.


 :: Ensure sure they are getting adequate rest ::

Please remember that these little ones are kids. Not adults. Party after party, event after event takes its toll on their bodies. In addition to school schedule, packing in a bunch of extra activities at the end of the day can really drain their bodies. If activities after school are a “must”, then it really ought to be made up for on the weekend with naps and early bedtimes. Period. Growing kids need downtime and rest time to recoup. Taxed adrenals from lack of sleep and stimulating parties doesn’t allow the immune system to do its job effectively. Plan in what is absolutely necessary, and really look at what might not be as crucial to have in the schedule.


:: Make the menu nourishing ::

I am a big fan of bone broth or bone broth based soups and gravies daily. Boil rice, noodles, or beans in it if they won’t do soup. Get those babies started early drinking it so they are used to it and won’t bat an eye when given a sippy of bone broth.

Ensure they are getting adequate amounts of friendly fats to help their hormones and sugars stabilize. Lots of pastured butter, lard/tallow, coconut oil, etc. Use immune booster smoothies once or twice a week for breakfast. Get some kid friendly soups in the school lunch thermoses. You can still have comfort food dinners in a nourishing way too!

Yes there will be the occasional outing to a restaurant or party during this month to celebrate the holiday, but the majority of their diet can still be nutrient dense and nourishing.

If the kids end up with a cold or flu, it isn’t the end of the world. All three girls had a pretty decent cold last week, and I look at it as cleaning out the system. It’s when they are getting cold after cold or a bug that just won’t go away after weeks that schedules, routine, and diet could be the culprit. You can still nourish your kids while they are ill and help them recover in a natural way so you can enjoy the rest of the month.

I wish you and your sweet babes and healthy and joyous holiday season!

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, & Allergy Free Wednesday!

Batch Up Meals Dinner Ideas Lunch Ideas Soup

Spinach Lasagna Soup

August 17, 2014

Everything you love about lasagna, only loaded with nourishing bone broth and in a packable soup form!

Spinach Lasagna Soup
Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site! Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.

I know I have been sharing a lot of soup with you the last week or so, but today I wanted to share with you one of my pride and joys 🙂

This is one of the very first soups I made up from scratch all by myself. It has become one of our family staples, and one that I share with so many.

Spinach Lasagna Soup
After I had my first baby I quickly realized how nice it would have been to have some meals prepared beforehand…and also just how much nourishment the body needs to recover after having a baby!

I struggled with my recovery, and months down the road I vowed that I would never again let any woman that I personally knew go without a meal in her freezer before she had her baby. It was around that time that I started learning to cook from the Nourishing Traditions book, and I really fell in love with bone broth.

Spinach Lasagna Soup
I created this soup for a someone having a baby, and it has become something that good friends of mine know I will be bringing whether it is a baby coming (or baby loss – did you know those mommas need just as much, if not more help?), an illness or injury having them laid up, or going through a busy season. Full of nourishing bone broth, iron replenishing grassfed beef and spinach, and it just plain tastes amazing!
5.0 from 3 reviews
Spinach Lasagna Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs grassfed ground beef
  • 3 medium onions chopped
  • 8 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 – 15oz cans organic diced tomatoes
  • 4 quarts beef broth (Chicken broth works too. Homemade preferable for the most nourishment – see the Tips section for super simple slow cooker method to make it!)
  • 2 TB Italian seasoning
  • 1 – 16oz bag gluten free pasta
  • 1 lb fresh organic spinach
  • ½ cup organic grated parmesan cheese to stir in (optional – if you are dairy free it is just as good without this.)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Brown the beef with the Italian seasoning in a little bit of friendly fat (butter, coconut oil, lard), in a big stock pot, and set aside – don’t drain the fat – that is major flavor!
  2. Add some friendly fat and the onions to the pot you just cooked the beef in. Saute them in the beef fat and butter with a pinch of salt to bring out their juices and sweeten. About 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the stock, beef, and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  5. Do not reduce to a simmer – add the noodles and boil in the stock until the pasta is cooked.
  6. Turn the heat down to low and add the spinach to wilt and cook through, and melt in the parmesan.
  7. Sea salt and pepper to taste.

Tips:

  • Here is how to make your own beef broth (or chicken broth!) – it is so worth the extra nourishment, and especially for a recovering new momma you just can’t beat it!
  • Double up and get it into the freezer for the school and work. This is my husband’s favorite soup, and he takes it along in his travel crockpot to warm up at his desk at work. You can see the thermoses we prefer for keeping soup warm for school lunchboxes here!
  • If you are prepping this for a friend you can either bring it over warmed for them to eat right away, or just freeze it up for them if you aren’t sure if they will need it soon. Most of the time nowadays I like to make and freeze a meal for a new momma to bring to her BEFORE she has her baby – that way she doesn’t need more people coming over while she is trying to get settled in with her new little one.
  • Here are the gluten free noodles I usually go for – they carry them at my local grocer for a great price, and the texture is fantastic – especially compared to many GF noodles. Shop around and see what you can find – just watch the ingredient list.

So talk to me! What is your go-to meal to bring to a new momma or someone in need?