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Cold & Flu Season Dinner Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips Soup

Roasted Mushroom Broth

October 13, 2017

Use this warm, earthy, and savory roasted mushroom broth for your favorite mushroom soups, stews, risottos, and pilafs!

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?” I received a copy of Broth & Stock for review purposes in compensation for this post. Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family. 

Healing, comforting, warming broth

Years ago it was one of the first things I learned how to cook. I was 23 and barely knew my way around the kitchen. That’s how most in my convenience food generation grew up, after all. But a health crisis in my early 20’s catapulted this kitchen novice into figuring out how to cook food that wasn’t from a box, and it changed my life forever.

Everything I was reading about healing using “real food” pointed toward broth. I tend to be one of those “jump in with both feet” kind of people, and within a week I purchased my first stock pot and began teaching myself how to cook.

Broth is so much more than food

What I ended up learning during those years of teaching myself how to cook was that cooking was so much more than just making food. Something about it made my heart more full. It didn’t just satisfy my stomach, it satisfied my soul.

Deep? Maybe. But I allowed the art of cooking engross me, and I fell in love with making myself food that had love and thought put into it. At the age of 23, I was learning where my food actually came from and that connection to the food we eat is so powerful.

Broth & Stock

I share my story because simple broth making was what made me fall in love with cooking. It opened my eyes to the importance of feeding myself well, and knowing where my food came from – something that I literally did not know, or give any thought to until I was 23.

And that is why I’m not sure that I have been more excited to share a cookbook with you than Broth & Stock by Jenny McGruther from the Nourished Kitchen! I know what learning how to make beautiful stocks and broths did for me, and it is literally the driving force behind the passion and purpose of this blog.

A whole cookbook about…broth?!

Yessss! Because broth is so much more than you think! In only the way Jenny does best, you will learn the differences between various broths and stocks, and how to use them best to make their flavors shine. From a variety of land and sea animal stocks and broths, to different vegetable broths, Broth & Stock has opened my horizons from using the same broth for every recipe I make.

Broth & Stock is also so much more than learning how to make beautiful, healing broth – the recipes in the second half of the book using those healing broths have been such a joy to bring to my kitchen. Being the novice, untrained cook that I am, I have learned so much from Jenny over the years how to bring out depths of flavor in meals using various herbs, spices, broths, wines, and seasonings. Or just leaving simplicity alone, and savoring the true flavor of something by not complicating it. The recipe for pho in the book is the best I have ever made, and the family favorite so far has been the Cream of Chicken Soup with Parsley & Chives. Everyone around the table had 2nd and 3rd bowl-fulls!

Roasted Mushroom Broth

I’ve been adding certain healing mushrooms to my bone broth making for extra medicinal benefits for the last few years, but I had never thought to make a broth with mushrooms alone – and boy have I been missing out! The earthy, savory flavor from the roasted mushroom infused broth is like nothing I have ever tasted before.

Here is an excerpt from Broth & Stock about the Roasted Mushroom Broth:

Roasting strengthens the flavor of mushrooms, amplifying the savory and almost meaty base notes that can give soups a unique foundational richness. Those savory flavors serve as a good match for meat and whole grains. Use this broth as a base for mushroom soups and stews or in risottos and pilafs. Using a wide variety of mushrooms will improve this broth’s flavor and complexity. I often use the stems and trimmings of wild mushrooms left over from foraging, as they give the broth a remarkable depth of flavor; however, using the button or cremini mushrooms easily available year-round in most grocery stores also yields a lovely broth, as roasting improves their flavor. You don’t need to take the peel off the onion, as it produces a lovely color, just split the onion in half and drop it in the pot. –“Broth and Stock”

Reprinted with permission from Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen, written and photographed by Jennifer McGruther, 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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5 from 16 votes

Roasted Mushroom Broth

Use this warm, earthy, and savory roasted mushroom broth for your favorite mushroom soups, stews, risottos, and pilafs!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make mushroom broth, mushroom broth recipe, roasted mushroom broth
Servings: 2 quarts
Author: From the book "Broth & Stock" by Jenny McGruther from the Nourished Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3 ⁄4 pound mixed mushrooms or mushroom stems chopped into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion skin on and halved crosswise
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 quarts cold water or Chicken Bone Broth
  • 1 ⁄4 cup dry white wine
  • 6 sprigs thyme

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Arrange the mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet. Nestle the onion halves into the mushrooms, sprinkle the smashed garlic over, and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes in the heated oven.
  • Remove the sheet from the oven and drop the roasted mushrooms and onions into a heavy stockpot. Pour in the broth and wine. Slip the sprigs of thyme into the pot and then bring it all to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue simmering, covered, for about 30 minutes.
  • Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve, then use a wide-mouthed funnel to pour it into two 1-quart jars, sealing the lids tightly. Cook with the broth right away or store it in the refrigerator for no more than 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the broth for upto 6 months, making sure to allow plenty of headspace if you're using glass jars.

Dinner Ideas Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

20 Minute Ginger Almond Crispy Chicken Stir Fry With Bone Broth Rice :: Nut Free Options and Rice Alternatives Included!

August 18, 2017

Bone broth packed rice, and crispy chicken in a veggie packed stir fry with a kid friendly flavor! All in 20 minutes!

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.

It doesn’t seem to matter what time of year it is…

…I think pretty much everyone would admit that most of the week, most families need under 30 minutes of meal prep for dinner time. I thought as my babies got older (read, less needy!), that I would have more time for all sorts of things. As it turns out, these older kids are pretty fun to do stuff with!

We’ve had the most freedom-filled summer I’ve had in years without babies in diapers, or nursing, nap schedules, and fussy teethers! I’ve been nailing down some of my less than 30 minute dinner ideas for you all, and I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me this summer.

Fast prep but power packed

Busy families need filling meals that actually count. Not just fillers. My kids are growing like crazy right now, and meals with balanced macros make all the difference not only in their mood, but their sleep and stamina.

This dinner is packed with mineral rich vegetables (that actually taste good!), and energy packed carbohydrates to fuel busy kids. The protein is sourced not only from the chicken, but by infusing the rice with amino acid rich bone broth. This packs a big nutrient dense punch to this meal. Don’t skip out on adding a pat or 2 of butter or ghee to the rice servings – the extra fat will satiate growing appetites, as well as nourish their ever growing brains.

My secret to fast, crispy chicken!

It looks so fancy doesn’t it?! I’m telling you, dear momma, cooking a whole chicken or two every week and keeping the meat for quick meals like this is my best kept (or not so best kept!) secret.

I use my Instant Pot to cook one or two chickens most weeks (if you have a slow cooker, that works just as good and is how I did my chickens for years and years!). Slice up the meat, and stash it away for quick salads, wraps…and meals like this! It just needs a quick dusting of seasoning and starch and it will crisp up in a pan of friendly fat and have the taste and feel of crispy chicken from a restaurant.

Rice swap ideas

If you don’t tolerate rice, here are some other ideas to serve your stir fry over:

  • Cauli-Rice (I hear some health food stores carry cauli-rice now so look for that if you have one to save time!)
  • Zoodles (spirilized zucchini!)
  • Peeled carrot “linguine” (use a Y-peeler like this and get fun, wide “noodles”)

Veggie options!

Definitely get creative and swap out the veggies for what is in season and budget friendly near you. That is one way that you can keep this kind of dinner on your menu rotation every other week and still keep it interesting! Swap the broccoli and peppers for sugar peas, zucchini, cauliflower, or carrots. You can also add a huge handful of spinach or kale at the end to wilt in for extra veggie power! I do this more often than not and it’s a good way to get a load of green into your family.

Tips for busy families to make this kind of meal happen

While this meal literally does just take me 20 minutes to make, I wanted to leave a few tips that will help you make things run super smooth (because dinner prep time of the day can be crazy, right?!), and shave off even more time. I know some of you have busier schedules than I do, or maybe are a new momma and can’t even imagine taking 20 minutes to do anything but nurse right now 🙂 I get it!

  • Have a prep day. If you have even an hour or 2 each week that you can devote to getting food prepped for the week, you can side step quite a few instructions on any recipe. Your prep day can include making the rice ahead of time – and maybe doubling or tripling it so you have servings of rice for other meals. Chopping vegetables and portioning them off into containers for certain meals. The sauce for this stir fry can even be made up ahead of time so you just have to dump it in. Just whisk it all up and pop it in the fridge til you are ready to use it. And of course, cooking off a chicken or 2 for your meals during the week will help meals go faster.
  • Have the kids help. Good lawd does it feel like prep goes slower with those little guys around – at first! But let me tell you, when I can had my 4 year old the veggies to wash up, and my 8 year old is doing the chopping, that leaves my hands free to get the other stuff ready. It’s worth the training – put ’em to work dear momma!
  • Double up. You can easily double this recipe to feed your family twice in one week. The recipe on it’s own feeds my family of 5 for one dinner, so doubling up will give you a night off cooking if you need it for those days where cooking just isn’t going to happen.

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5 from 9 votes

20 Minute Ginger Almond Crispy Chicken Stir Fry With Bone Broth Rice :: Nut Free Options and Rice Alternatives Included!

Bone broth packed rice, and crispy chicken in a veggie-packed stir fry with a kid-friendly flavor! All in 20 minutes!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: ginger almond chicken stir fry, ginger almond chicken stir fry recipe, gluten-free crispy chicken stir fry
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

FOR THE BONE BROTH RICE ::

FOR THE CHICKEN ::

  • ¼ cup potato starch or arrowroot, or tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger divided
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 3-4 cups cooked chicken sliced into strips or cubes (You could use raw chicken – the cook time will be a bit longer however. I used leftover chicken from my Instant Potted chicken from the weekend – slow cooker chicken works too!)
  • 3 tbsp friendly fat to cook in divided (Avocado oil, ghee, butter, tallow, lard, or coconut oil are good choices)

FOR THE SAUCE ::

  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 4 large cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp almond butter Or cashew butter. If you are nut free use sunflower seed butter. If you can’t have seeds or nuts, I would use a tablespoon or so of ghee for the nutty richness
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • ½ - 1 tsp ground ginger

FOR THE STIR FRY ::

  • ½ large onion sliced into strips
  • 8 oz mushrooms sliced
  • 1 small red pepper sliced into strips
  • 1 lb frozen broccoli Or 1 head of fresh broccoli florets. I get the big bag of frozen organic broccoli at Costco
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Green onions to garnish optional

Instructions

GET THE RICE GOING ::

  • Put the bone broth, rice, and ghee in a pot with the lid on. Bring to a low simmer for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the meal. When the rice has simmered for 15 minutes and all the bone broth is absorbed, turn the heat off, keep the lid on, and let it rest about 5 minutes, or until you are ready to serve your meal.

PREPARE THE CHICKEN ::

  • Put the potato starch, ginger, and salt in a dish and whisk to combine. Toss the chicken in the starch mixture to coat. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat, melt the ghee, and toss the chicken in. Cook the chicken until golden brown and crispy, stirring occasionally – about 5 minutes. You can prepare the sauce while the chicken cooks. When the chicken is done cooking, set it aside until the stir fry is done.

PREPARE THE SAUCE ::

  • While the chicken crisps up, put the sauce ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside until it is time to pour into the stir fry.

MAKE THE STIR FRY ::

  • Melt the ghee in the large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss all the veggies into the pan with a big pinch of sea salt and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and the veggies are tender/crisp. Add the crispy chicken and the sauce, stir to combine, and cook about 3 minutes until the sauce thickens (the starch on the chicken will thicken the sauce!). Sea salt and pepper the stir fry to your taste, and serve the stir fry over the bone broth rice. Garnish with green onions if you wish!

Notes

See above in blog post for Cauli Rice or veggie noodle options if you are grain free!

 More real food recipes you might like ::

Batch Up Meals Cold & Flu Season Instant Pot Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips Soup

Instant Pot Bone Broth

February 3, 2016

Learn how to use *any* bones to make fast, nourishing bone broth with your Instant Pot!

Instant Pot Bone Broth :: Learn how to use *any* bones to make fast, nourishing bone broth with your Instant Pot!

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.

This has been a game changer friends!

Honestly I have spent years without thought simmering my bone broth stovetop or through the night in a slow cooker. It has become such second nature that when I started hearing about people using their pressure cookers to make bone broth in just a couple hours I sort of skimmed right past. I had my “routine”. My method.

And with a house full of kids, autopilot is crucial to my daily flow!

I wasn’t convinced I would switch making my bone broth to my Instant Pot when I received it last fall. Because it is smaller than what I typically make bone broth in, I couldn’t see myself making bone broth more frequently to equal the amount I was making once a month in my slow cooker, huge stockpot, or oven roaster.

And then this year happened! Busier school and homework schedules, an added preschool schedule to the elementary routine, a book deal & daily blog work, and a feisty toddler have really dwindled my kitchen hours down.

I have to be smart about my kitchen time.

Instant Pot Bone Broth :: Learn how to use *any* bones to make fast, nourishing bone broth with your Instant Pot!

And the Instant Pot helps me do that. Bone broth can be made so hands free and fast. There is no planning out to remember to turn off the slow cooker – or planning to be home while the stockpot on the stove simmers for hours and hours. And the gel! Oh that glorious, nourishing gel is still there as well as all the maintained properties of properly prepared bone broth!

Instant Pot Bone Broth :: Learn how to use *any* bones to make fast, nourishing bone broth with your Instant Pot!

If you are new to bone broth, this recipe is for you! You can’t find a more nourishing, power packed food – period! If you have never read “Broth Is Beautiful”, I highly recommend it so you can fully understand what amazing food you are making!

If you are a seasoned bone broth foodie, this recipe is for you too! If your little heart pitter patters every time you get to use your stock pot to make something amazing…don’t worry. You don’t have to retire your beloved pot! Use your Instant Pot to your advantage when your time is short. Leverage your kitchen time – you will have more bone broth on hand to make those amazing slow cooked soups at the stove 😉

Instant Pot Bone Broth :: Learn how to use *any* bones to make fast, nourishing bone broth with your Instant Pot!

A quick note on the bones!

Rich, flavorful broth comes from bones that have been cooked, so if you happen to pick up bones from your farmer at the market (sometimes called beef soup bones, or marrow bones), or you have a load of bones from ordering a half or whole cow or pig, or from that big deer hunt, just give those raw bones a quick roast before using them for broth. I typically just toss them on a sheet pan and roast them at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. If you are making a beef roast or whole chicken in the Instant Pot, you can just toss the bones right back into the IP after you strip the meat for your broth making! So easy!

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4.88 from 24 votes

Instant Pot Bone Broth

Learn how to use *any* bones to make fast, nourishing bone broth with your Instant Pot!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make bone broth in the Instant Pot, Instant Pot bone broth
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • Cooked bones/carcass of chicken learn how to do a whole chicken in your IP HERE!, cow, deer, turkey, pig etc depending on what you have (I like about half of the pot to be bones/carcass. You can freeze whatever bones don't fit for another time.)
  • 1-2 chicken feet optional depending on if you have access - it gives really good gel to the broth. Ask your chicken farmer for them!
  • 1-2 large carrots coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 stalks of celery coarsely chopped
  • 1 head of garlic smashed
  • 1-2 TB apple cider vinegar
  • Water enough to cover the bones

Instructions

  • Put the bones into the pot first followed by the veggies, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Fill the pot with water to cover the bones - be sure you don't go over the "Max" line on the pot.
  • Let the pot sit for about 30 minutes without any heat to let the apple cider vinegar pull the minerals from the bones.
  • Put the Instant Pot lid on and turn the vent valve to closed. Push "Soup" and use the manual button to bring the time up to 120 minutes.
  • The pot will turn "On" automatically and will take about 20 minutes to come to pressure before the 120 minutes starts counting down.
  • After the 120 minutes of pressure cooking is done, turn the Instant Pot off and leave it be to naturally release about 15 minutes before opening the vent valve and straining your broth.

For more Instant Pot recipes, you can follow my Instant Pot Recipes board on Pinterest!

More real food recipes you might like:
Instant Pot Whole Chicken

How To Make An Instant Pot Whole Chicken for FAST Healthy Meals From Soups, Wraps, Salads, & Stir Frys!
Instant Pot Italian Sausage Stew

Instant Pot Italian Sausage Stew
15 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup

15 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup PLUS! How To Make Chips Out Of Any Tortilla & A Kid Friendly {Mild} Guacamole!
French Onion Soup

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Dinner Ideas Holiday Recipes Nourishing Staples Real Food 101 Real Food Tips

5 Minute Bone Broth Gravy :: Gluten & Grain Free Options!

November 2, 2015

You are no more than 5 minutes away from a delicious, velvety gravy made with nourishing bone broth for everything from meatball night to that Thanksgiving turkey!

5 Minute Bone Broth Gravy :: Gluten & Grain Free Options!This my friends is the icing on the cake….well, the gravy on the turkey (or chicken, or meatballs!). There is just something about the gravy that makes the meal feel complete!

5 Minute Bone Broth Gravy :: Gluten & Grain Free Options!It doesn’t have to be rocket science either. Making gravy for meatball night on a busy weekday, or that big Thanksgiving day turkey won’t take you more than 5 minutes.

5 Minute Bone Broth Gravy :: Gluten & Grain Free Options!I like to make my gravy while my roasted chicken or turkey is resting right out of the oven. You can use bone broth from the freezer or the meat stock from the pan. The beauty of this recipe is that even if you wanting to make it for meatballs and gravy night, you don’t need pan drippings. Any jar of bone broth in your freezer can become a sauce pan of gravy! And bonus! The gravy freezes very well so anything leftover won’t go to waste!

5 Minute Bone Broth Gravy :: Gluten & Grain Free Options!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.

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5 from 5 votes

5 Minute Bone Broth Gravy

You are no more than 5 minutes away from a delicious, velvety gravy made with nourishing bone broth for everything from meatball night to that Thanksgiving turkey!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bone broth gravy, how to make bone broth gravy, turkey bone broth
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • 2 TB butter
  • 2-3 TB white rice flour OR if you are grain free use tapioca flour the amount is dependent on how thick you like your gravy - you can start out low and always add more in the end if you want it thicker. If the gravy turns out thicker than you want you can always thin it out with more broth or even water
  • 1 pint bone broth OR juices from the pan Called meat stock. You can use a combo of both if you wish.
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste I don't season my bone broth so I pretty heavily season the salt here

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a sauce pan, add the flour, and stir with a whisk to combine.
  • Add the bone broth and thyme and bring to a simmer stirring with your whisk occasionally until it thickens.
  • Season salt and pepper to taste and serve. This will refrigerate and reheat stovetop well (up to 4 days in advance), or you can freeze it for months.

For more real food dinner ideas, you can check out my Dinner Ideas board on Pintrest!

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Homemade Gluten Free Stuffing
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How Make A Simple Beef Roast

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Nourishing Beef Bone Broth

February 9, 2014

Nourishing Beef Bone Broth

I showed you how to make chicken bone broth work into busy, “real mama schedules” in THIS post.

Now let’s talk beef bone broth. Why? Both broths have the same nourishing attributes, but sometimes you need a richer, beefier flavor than chicken broth for certain meals like stew or french onion soup!

Nourishing Beef Bone Broth

Also, beef bones (sometimes labeled as soup bones at your butcher) are super cheap. This is such an affordable way to get vital minerals, nutrients, and protein into your family. I can’t afford more than about 1 whole chicken per week or so, and I use the bones up as good as I can for making chicken bone broth. But I can buy soup bones at a very good price – the farm we get them from sells 3lb bags of just the bones. If you are a family that likes to purchase a side of beef (whether ¼, ½, or whole cow) every year, you certainly have a good supply of bones to use as well. Use them up! I can get 3-4 gallons of beef bone broth out of one 3lb bag of beef bones!

Nourishing Beef Bone Broth

If you are unsure of where to purchase bones from, ask around at your local farmer’s markets. Check out THIS site for farmers in your area that provide raw milk – many of them also sell beef products from what I have found. Find a local WAPF chapter near you and ask the leader – they will be *more* than happy to point you in the right direction!

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5 from 4 votes

Nourishing Beef Bone Broth

Sometimes you need a richer, beefier flavor than chicken broth for certain meals like stew or french onion soup! Try your hand at beef bone broth.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 d
Total Time1 d 30 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef bone broth, beef bone broth recipe, how to make beef bone broth
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds grassfed beef soup bones
  • 1 onion coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 large carrot coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar ACV (Since it is heated up I don’t worry about it being raw but I do opt for organic.)
  • Filtered cold water

Instructions

  • Roast the raw bones in a 400 degree oven for an hour.
  • Put the roasted bones, veggies, and ACV into your crockpot or oven roaster and fill with water to cover the bones by an inch-ish.
  • Let the mixture sit for 30-60 minutes. DO NOT TURN THE HEAT ON YET. This allows the vinegar to extract minerals from the bones.
  • Turn the crockpot on low or oven roaster at 200-225 degrees for 24-36 hours.
  • Strain the broth. Store in the fridge up to 7 days, in the freezer 3-6 months, or deep freezer up to a year. Let the broth come to room temp before putting in the freezer. Leave the top off for 24 hours to freeze if you are storing in glass jars in the freezer to allow for expanding (or you will be very sad to see your cracked jar in a few days!).

Tips:

  • I roast my bones on a large jelly roll pan – I get quite a bit of fat (tallow) run off and this is fantastic for frying/sautéing in!
  • After you roast the bones, scoop out the marrow from the round bones and serve it to the littles (or yourself!). The marrow is a superfood in itself! My big girls eat it right off the spoon but you can also spread it on crackers, stir it into a soup or stew, or smash it into some baby food (I mix a little into chicken or beef purees with the bone broth for baby. Once baby is taking thicker textures I get them used to it right off the spoon!)
  • I use my roasting oven and do 2 “rounds” of bone broth with these huge beef bones. I get 8 quarts (about 2 gallons!) of bone broth from one batch and then put them back in for another round and get another 4ish quarts. Doing it this way I usually only need to make beef bone broth every other month!
  • Beef bone broth does have a richer flavor than chicken stock – I don’t usually drink it straight out of the mug – although you can! I prefer using beef bone broth for soups like French Onion or Beef Stew. I don’t season my broth while making it that way I can season it to whatever recipe I am using.
  • All 3 of my girls will drink beef bone broth straight out of a cup (well my 5 month old off a spoon or syringe for now!)! Don’t forget those babies! Creating a healthy taste palate for menu items like this is so nourishing and is so beneficial to your meal making plans!
  • If you have an older crockpot, the seal on the lid may not be very good and you may find the liquid evaporates – I used to put a big pot on the top of my lid to hold it down for a better seal! It works great. OR! Get one of these crockpots with a snap down lid on your wishlist for your birthday or Christmas! I am currently using my oven roaster for my broth making and I don’t have any evaporating issues with it.

Nourishing Beef Bone Broth

Let me know how the bone broth making goes – and what you use it for!

Feeding Babies Soup

Feeding Nourished Babies Series :: Bone Broth

February 8, 2014

Feeding Nourished Babies Series :: Bone Broth

If you haven’t read FAQ’s and Things To Keep In Mind about Feeding Babies yet, that would be a great place to start first!

One of the most satisfying things to feed my babies (besides mama’s milk!) has been bone broth. If you have never read Broth is Beautiful before – take a peek! You will be so proud of yourself for getting bone broth into not only your kids – but YOURSELF!

Bone broth made from healthy pastured cows and chickens is extremely nourishingfull of vital minerals, and protein rich, digestive assisting, gelatin that you just can’t get anywhere else.

Feeding Nourished Babies Series :: Bone Broth

I have found that creating a taste palate for bone broth in my kids has helped immensely down the road for having healthy eaters of beautiful veggie soups, and broth straight out of the sippy cup when they feel under the weather. My big girls (age 4 and 2) drink it right out of the pot with a sprinkle of sea salt. I can’t tell you how many times I have relied on just a cup of broth as a lunchtime staple – especially during the busy toddler years when they just don’t want to sit and eat – they want to play!

So right around 5 months I start with little tastes of bone broth with a sprinkle of sea salt. It gets messier than I want to deal with on a spoon right at first, so I use a little dropper or syringe! I usually have one lying around left over from little herbal bottles of chamomile. You can also go to your local pharmacy and ask them for a medicine syringe – ours gives them out for free. Just a tablespoon or so right in the beginning. Within a few times of trying it, all 3 of my girls now have been so in love with it they literally grab for the syringe to put it in their mouth!

Feeding Nourished Babies Series :: Bone Broth

I don’t always have jars of bone broth in the fridge to pour from – it usually goes right from the pot into making soup, or into the deep freezer until I need it. So while I’m straining out my broth, I usually freeze up an ice cube tray or two with broth so I can pop out cubes for baby as I need. DO NOT warm up the broth in the microwave – it will kill all the good stuff! Use the stove top, OR I like to just put it in a little container in my bottle warmer!
Feeding Nourished Babies Series :: Bone Broth

From there the possibilities are endless! I use bone broth as the base for pureeing all of my meats and veggies for baby. Veggie soup purees are a meal staple in our house, not only because they are so easy to make, but because it is a great way to get bone broth in my family. I start baby tasting simple pea soups, squash soups, etc at some point between 6-8 months. It is such a nice meal staple to get baby’s taste palate used to so that they can continue to eat these great soups into toddlerhood and beyond.

So HERE is my method for bone broth making! Give it a try and let me know how it goes! Remember – it can take up to 15 attempts of a new food for baby to accept the new food! This is the same for all first foods! If baby makes a funny face at first, don’t give up! They are getting used to new tastes, textures, and feelings in their mouth! Give them a chance to learn how this feels, how to use their tongue, etc! Watch baby for a week during those first introductions. If you see any weird diaper action going on, redness around the mouth, or rashes on the skin, you will want to stop. Try the broth again in a month and see what happens.

Feeding Nourished Babies Series :: Bone Broth

Batch Up Meals Real Food 101 Soup

Nourishing Chicken Bone Broth

January 17, 2014

Bone broth has been very key in my own physical healing. I can’t wait to show you how the simple practice of making your own bone broth can impact your family!

Nourishing Chicken Bone Broth

If you frequent many “real food” blogs you are sure to come by the term “bone broth” peppered here and there in recipe posts. So what’s the big deal? Why are we so obsessed?!

When you properly make broth from the bones of healthy, pastured chickens, you are pulling nutrients, minerals, and beautiful gelatin right from the source! Before you make the decision to make your own broth, I encourage you to read “Broth Is Beautiful” – it was mind changing for me, and it will explain in much better words that I ever could how bone broth can help your family!

My bone broth method is most likely no different than what you have seen elsewhere. My hope in this post is to encourage YOU that you can make this happen in *any* season of life. From the full time working mama, to the SAHM’s (or daddys! or grammas! or aunts!) this is so do-able. The method is always the same but there are many different options of how to get it done for what works for YOUR family!

Here are the basics, and please see the Tips section below for different options for making it work in your house:

Chicken bone broth in containers for freezing
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Nourishing Chicken Bone Broth

Bone broth has been very key in my own physical healing. I can’t wait to show you how the simple practice of making your own bone broth can impact your family!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 d
Total Time1 d 30 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken bone broth, chicken bone broth recipe, how to make chicken bone broth
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • 1-3 carcasses/bones from cooking your pastured chicken s (See Tips section on how to *easily* crockpot your chicken!)
  • Leftover carrots celery, onion pieces from cooking your chicken or from scraps throughout the week (you can use fresh too)
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar ACV (Since it is heated I don’t worry about it being raw, but I do opt for organic)

Instructions

  • Put everything into your crockpot or oven roaster and fill with water to cover the bones by an inch-ish.
  • Let the mixture sit for 30-60 minutes. DO NOT TURN THE HEAT ON YET. This allows the vinegar to extract minerals from the bones.
  • Turn the crockpot on low or oven roaster at 200 degrees for 24-36 hours.
  • Strain the broth. Store in the fridge up to 7 days, in the freezer 3-6 months, or deep freezer up to a year. Let the broth come to room temp before putting in the freezer. Leave the top off for 24 hours to freeze if you are storing in glass jars in the freezer to allow for expanding (or you will be very sad to see your cracked jar in a few days!).

Tips:

  • HERE is how to EASILY crockpot your chicken(s) and have leftover meat for the week or freezer!
  •  Ok so here are some options for making this work. You pick what works in YOUR house! OPTION 1: Crockpot a chicken once a week (or every couple weeks), and when the chicken is done cooking, toss the bones right back into the crock with cold water and ACV, let it sit and make your broth. OPTION 2: Oven roaster 2 chickens once a week (or every couple weeks), and when the chickens are done cooking toss the bones right back into the roaster with cold water and ACV, let it sit, and make your broth. OPTION 3: Crockpot or oven roaster your chicken(s) and toss the bones in a freezer bag and into the freezer. Once a month or so do a large batch of broth from your bones in the freezer in a couple crockpots or large oven roaster and make enough broth for a month.
  • I do NOT add seasoning to my broth while I am simmering it. I use the broth for so many different things so I want to season it as I go! So when you use your broth for soup making, etc you will need to add plenty of sea salt to flavor it. When you are following recipes be sure to keep this in mind.
  • Use your broth for soup making and drinking straight from the mug. You can also cook your rice or pasta in broth to make them more nourishing!
  • Don’t forget the babes! Bone broth is extremely nourishing and for babies over 4-5 months old and kids of all ages! I make my veggie purees for baby with bone broth and give it to them with a pinch of sea salt right off the spoon. When they are old enough for a sippy they take bone broth in a sippy with pinches of sea salt. It is a fantastically healing and nourishing drink to have around when they are feeling under the weather. And I find that the sooner the taste is introduced, the taste palate is created for it and they willingly drink it! I of course prepare soups as well with the broth in it and that is a great way to get it in the kids too.
  • When I was first starting out, (and working a LOT), I had “chicken day” on Monday. It was so nice to never have to think about what was for dinner on crazy Mondays! I would put the chicken in the crockpot before work and it was done when I got home. Then I would make my stock, and have meat for meals the rest of the week.
  • If you have an older crockpot, the seal on the lid may not be very good and you may find the liquid evaporates – I used to put a big pot on the top of my lid to hold it down for a better seal! It works great. OR! Get one of these crockpots with a snap down lid on your wishlist for your birthday or Christmas! I am currently using my oven roaster for my broth making and I don’t have any evaporating issues with it.
  • I have been storing my bone broth in these freezer containers – I just don’t have enough jars to spare lately. The big ones are a half gallon size (like 2 quart jars), and most of soup recipes call for a good 2 quarts of broth or so. AND! They are cheaper 😉

So talk to me! Do you already make bone broth? What is your method? Please share in the comments – I am by NO means an expert and I know there have got to be some options for making it that I have not thought of! If you have never made bone broth before, keep us posted how your first time goes!

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Nourishing 2 Week Meal Plan {Fall Inspired Part 1}

September 7, 2021

A cozy, fall inspired menu plan with busy families, school schedules, and nourishing goals in mind!

Nourishing 2 Week Meal Plan {Fall Inspired Part 1}

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.

Getting back into the groove…

We are a couple weeks into school, and I feel like most of my readers are flowing back into fall school routines, so I’d say it’s safe to start talking about fall menus! Fall certainly has a different feel than going from spring to summer menu plans – does it feel like that to you? For the most part it felt like late spring and into summer, the meal planning goes a little more “fly by the seat of your pants” style, and then once September hits, everyone has no choice but to plan a little bit more, or dinner will never hit the table!

Before we get started!

If you have never seen one of my meal plans, I would invite you to start with the Winter Meal Plan Part 1 and the Winter Meal Plan Part 2. Even though we are not full swing into cold weather, the information at the beginning of each of those posts will help you understand my meal plan approach, how I like to handle macronutrients to balance meals, questions you might have about portions and family sizes, and even more. Make a pit stop there first, and then come back to get some fall inspired meals!

Nourishing 2 Week Meal Plan {Fall Inspired Part 1}

School staples, and some lunchbox shortcut favorites

With school starting back up, and the long, daunting thought of the lunchbox packing task that awaits us for the whole year, I thought I would put some lunchbox staple favorites all in one place. Some because I didn’t have a ton of room to always label and link veggie/cracker dips and dressings for salads. And also so that you can see some examples of some store bought snacks and favs that I keep in my pantry. I’ll break these up so that you can find them easily!

Nourishing 2 Week Meal Plan {Fall Inspired Part 1}
Build your own nachos lunchbox with store bought olives and chips (see below for links!)

Staple store bought lunchbox sides

For the most part, these are used sparingly and minimally – a hand full here, and a few there. But they are great to have on hand in the pantry, and especially help kids that are newer to “real food” make the transition to healthier lunchboxes without giving up some comfortable favorites. I also have a post with 11 Healthy Packaged School Snacks for Kids that I use for morning snacks at school here and there, but they also work well in lunchboxes.

Charcuterie Board style lunchbox using the Simple Mills crackers & a Bear Nibbles Yo-Yo Fruit/Veg Strip!

Staple dressings and dips

I’m going to go ahead and list all of our favorite dressings below, and you can put your kids’ favs into your meal plan as you go. I also wanted to mention that we get guacamole cups and hummus cups at Costco. If you don’t have access to Costco, you can find them at most grocery stores these days. You can also find Wholly Guacamole cups and Go Go Dippers Hummus cups online. There are also fantastic, simple recipes for guacamole and super simple hummus in the Lunchbox Staple Chapter of my cookbook, The Little Lunchbox Cookbook!

Fruity Poppy Seed Dressing in the Rainbow Chicken Salad from The Little Lunchbox Cookbook!

Veggie Soup Swaps

One of my goals each week in the cooler months of the year, is to get 1-2 bone broth based soups into the family by week’s end. Usually it is a veggie based soup, which the girls have devoured since infancy, and sometimes it is a heartier dinner soup with more protein and bulk. You’ll notice in the meal plan that usually my rhythm is to make the soup for the week on the weekend and that way it is easy to add to a thermos for school lunch later in the week. I know that not every kid will love every soup, and luckily for you, there are a myriad of soups to pick from both on the blog and in my cookbooks. If you have little guys at home, I would encourage you to start these young so that they develop a palate for these tasty soups that are such a great way to get nourishing bone broth and mineral rich veggies in! (Heartier, dinner type soups are linked in the dinner section below)

Copycat Alphabet Soup recipe from The Little Lunchbox Cookbook!

So let’s kick off this Fall Menu Plan!

Here is a PDF for you to download for the full 2 week fall meal plan with links to recipes included. {See below this section for a blank version if you want to fill in your own!}

Want to build your own meal plan?

Go for it! My way of doing meals is definitely not the only way! And my recipes are not the only recipes around! Here is a blank PDF for you to print and fill out your own.

Dinner swaps!

I know that not every dinner chosen on the meal plan below will fit with every family’s tastes. There are so many choices for how to fill this in, which is why I never posted meal plans before. I really want you to fill the meal plan in to your family preferences. The plan below is simply inspiration and a guide to show you how I flow certain meals into others, how I double up meals, and how I balance a day’s macronutrient needs for my family. Here are some fall inspired dinner swaps for anything on the menu that you might want to change. Most of this list is from right here on the blog. Any recipe links that have a page number are from my cookbooks. Those with page numbers in green are from The Little Lunchbox Cookbook, and those with page numbers in pink are from Nourished Beginnings.

Pot Pie Soup dinner!
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One Skillet Creamy Tomato Basil Spinach Pasta & Chicken

August 28, 2021

Get dinner done in one shot with this easy one skillet creamy tomato basil spinach pasta and chicken!

One Skillet Creamy Tomato Basil Spinach Pasta & Chicken

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.

Birthday girl dinner requests!

The youngest member of our crew turns 8 this week! EIGHT! I have no idea how this is even possible, but she is just the kindest little spunk you ever did meet. The most perfect blend of sweet and spice! She is my rainbow after the storm, and without getting to emotional on you, our household is truly complete with her. In honor of her birthday, I wanted to share her dinner request! In true third kid form, she is incredibly go-with-the-flow, and while I would have made her just about anything, I’m *super* pumped that she picked this easy, one skillet dinner considering her birthday is 2 days before the new school year starts!

One Skillet Creamy Tomato Basil Spinach Pasta & Chicken

One skillet mealtime perfection!

Is there really ever a time of year where a one pot meal doesn’t work? I think not! Whether its the on-the-go summer days, or busy school routine winter weeks, having a dinner that can be done in one skillet is really a game changer! You may even want to use a larger skillet, or 2 of them to double up so that there are leftovers for lunch the next day – this skillet is sure to disappear fast!

One Skillet Creamy Tomato Basil Spinach Pasta & Chicken

Veggie packed, and macro-nutrient balanced

Because we’re doing a whole dinner in one skillet, I usually try to get every meal component into the skillet. Side salads are nice, but a truly one skillet dinner has it all. This also makes it much easier to get a load of nutrient packed veggies into smaller children without the fuss of a salad. Once the spinach wilts down, the kids will never know its there – and there is a lot of it! Protein from the chicken, healthy fats all around, and some slow burning, fiber rich carbohydrates – a balanced one pot meal!

One Skillet Creamy Tomato Basil Spinach Pasta & Chicken

A note on the protein

You really can change this up to your family’s preferences. If your crew prefers chicken breasts, by all means change that up! If you only have beef in the house, that would taste amazing as well. I think the flavor that chicken thighs lend into the pan is life changing – if you have some around give it a try!

One Skillet Creamy Tomato Basil Spinach Pasta & Chicken

Let’s talk about the pasta!

There are so many gluten free pasta choices around these days! If you don’t need to be gluten free, you can use whatever pasta you like to use. I prefer a brown rice pasta for gluten free versions and you can find them both at the grocery stores, as well as online now. The pasta will cook right in the liquid of the skillet, so there is no need to get a pot of water boiling. The starches from the pasta will give the sauce a creaminess that is so comforting, and once again, everything is done all in one pan!

One Skillet Creamy Tomato Basil Spinach Pasta & Chicken

Veggie change ups, and leftovers!

There is a myriad of ways to get even more veggies into this skillet. One of my favorites is to add finely chopped cauliflower. They take on the color of the sauce, and don’t change the flavor at all. My crew also loves when I add mushrooms. You can add both of these into step 3 where you are sautéing the sundried tomatoes and garlic. And speaking of sundried tomatoes! Costco has a great jar of them packed in olive oil! You can find them just about anywhere, but really be careful to take note of what they are packed in – either a really good healthy oil, or just dried in a package is best. You can also leave them out if you don’t have access. Leftovers taste amazing warmed up with a splash of water or bone broth. You can pack it in a thermos for work or school too!

One Skillet Creamy Tomato Basil Spinach Pasta & Chicken

One Skillet Creamy Tomato Basil Spinach Pasta & Chicken

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Whisk the sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl and sprinkle over the chicken thighs, seasoning each side. I use my hands to get the rub onto both sides of the chicken.
  • Heat a large skillet over high heat, and melt the coconut oil. You will want the pan screaming hot so that it gives the chicken a good sear. Place the chicken into the oiled pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. You want a golden sear on both sides. Set the chicken aside to rest.
  • Turn the skillet temperature down to medium heat and add the red wine to deglaze the pan. Stir the wine around, and then add the garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and tomato paste. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until everything is fragrant.
  • Add the basil, tomato sauce, coconut milk, water, and dried pasta and stir to combine. Stir in half of the chopped baby spinach and cover the skillet with a lid.
  • Let the pasta simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes before stirring. Once you stir the pasta, add the chicken back into the skillet, along with the rest of the spinach, and put the lid back on. Cook on medium heat until the pasta is al dente – check your box of pasta to see how long it takes to cook and follow that.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, you can serve with grated cheese, fresh basil, or a dollop of coconut cream!

Notes

  • You can swap the wine for broth or water if you can’t have the wine – the flavor depth it brings is fantastic though so if you have it, use it! The alcohol cooks off so it is safe for children.
  • I get my sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil at Costco. If you don’t have access to a good sun dried tomato in safe packaging or oil, you can cook down some halved cherry tomatoes with the red wine and garlic at the beginning of the recipe, or leave them out completely.
  • If you can’t have the pasta,  you can leave out the extra water and serve your creamy tomato basil and spinach sauce and chicken over spaghetti squash, or a baked potato or sweet potato.
One Skillet Creamy Tomato Basil Spinach Pasta & Chicken

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One Skillet Copycat Hamburger Helper :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, & Veggie Loaded!

August 21, 2021

Hamburger Helper nostalgia with a nutrient loaded, healthy whole foods twist!

One Skillet Copycat Hamburger Helper :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, & Veggie Loaded!

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.

The slow transition from summer to fall routines…

I started noticing the sun a little lower in the sky during our after-dinner swims on the big lake a week or so ago. It’s always a little bittersweet to me. We had such a fun, carefree summer. We put school completely behind us. We played and hiked, read a zillion books, and swam (and swam some more!). But when the sun starts setting just a little earlier we are all at the point of being ready to get back to a little more routine. We’re certain to have another good month of beach days left, but I was ready to start thinking about fall meal plans! And I know you all have been asking for my “Hamburger Helper” copycat that I have posted a here and there to Instagram. Today is the day!

One Skillet Copycat Hamburger Helper :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, & Veggie Loaded!

An 80’s classic…and some curious foodie kids

It’s no secret this momma grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. Boxed dinners were totally the thing, and while I really don’t remember my mom ever using this particular one that often, we did have our fair share of convenience foods. Earlier this summer the girls asked if they could try Hamburger Helper – I still have no idea where they heard about it, but it doesn’t matter. Our kids don’t live in a bubble, and I want to help them learn how to work through this kind of situation because it will be hitting them from every angle for the rest of their lives!

One Skillet Copycat Hamburger Helper :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, & Veggie Loaded!

Kids that can use critical thinking…and creative solutions!

My approach to most of these kind of situations is to first show them them box ingredients and see what they think. No condemnation. It’s more of a “well before you decide to eat something, it’s probably a good idea to see what you will be putting into your body first.” When they were little, I’d read it for them and be more verbal in helping them draw conclusions (remember wayyyy back when Chloe, my oldest, was in preschool and the little boy wanted her to make him “mac n cheese” in the preschool play kitchen?!). They are old enough to see through the marketing now, but I still see the value in this exercise. We went to the store, found the Hamburger Helper, and it was a pretty quick peek before they asked “well, can we make it at home instead?!” I mean, saucy, cheesy, noodles and beef…what’s not to love?!

One Skillet Copycat Hamburger Helper :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, & Veggie Loaded!

Same fun meal, same fun taste…with an upgraded whole foods twist!

I’ve been fussing around with this “copycat” Hamburger Helper recipe, as gluten, dairy, egg, nut, and sugar free, and it’s pretty spectacular! You can see in the pictures how I’ve also managed to veggie load it, and that is because I truly want this to be a one skillet, no other side items needed kind of a dinner. That is the whole point of the hamburger helper anyway, right? Something that will be a no-fuss, weeknight friendly comfort food. School nights can be hectic, and I’m hoping to help you fill the kids up with real food in a fun way.

One Skillet Copycat Hamburger Helper :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, & Veggie Loaded!

But will my kids “taste” the veggies???

The flavor that comes from the aromatics and mushrooms is where the depth and amazing flavors build. If you think the kids will be funny about the pieces, just cut them smaller or buzz them up in the food processor. It does look like a lot to start, but it really, really cooks down. And the spinach? Well spinach is magical like that. Once it cooks in a dish like this, you never taste it, so you can get all the health benefits without the kids having to fuss over the taste!

One Skillet Copycat Hamburger Helper :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, & Veggie Loaded!

Back to school meal plans, and a little prep help

I really hope this Hamburger Helper skillet makes the perfect back to school dinner for your meal plan this fall! I think if you are one of those families that comes home from the day super late, having the veggies chopped before-hand would help. You have a couple choices. Either chop the veggies the night before, so that you can just dump them in the pan when you get home. Or, you could just buzz them up in the food processor to cut the chopping step down a little – it really doesn’t matter if the veggies are cut in a perfect dice.

One Skillet Copycat Hamburger Helper :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, & Veggie Loaded!

One Skillet Copycat Hamburger Helper :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, & Veggie Loaded!

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat your skillet to medium high heat, melt the coconut oil, and add in the onion, carrot, pepper, and mushrooms to cook for about 5 minutes with a big pinch of sea salt until everything is soft and sweet.
  • Add the spinach and garlic and cook for about a minute, stirring them into the cooked veggies.
  • Add the ground beef to the pan with another pinch of sea salt and pepper to season the beef, and break the beef up to brown up in the pan.
  • Once the beef is browned, stir in the nutritional yeast, potato starch, and paprika until everything is coated and incorporated. Then, add the pumpkin puree, tomato paste, coconut aminos, bone broth, and coconut milk, and stir to combine.
  • Add the pasta and bring everything to a simmer. Stir around after a minute and add a lid to the pan, bringing the heat down to medium-low to simmer until the pasta is al-dente. Take the lid off every few minutes to stir and make sure the pasta is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. If you need a little extra liquid you can add more broth or water. Once the pasta is cooked through, sea salt and pepper the skillet meal to your taste and serve!

Notes

  • The nutritional yeast gives a cheesy flavor to the skillet without the dairy. If you tolerate dairy and want to use cheese, just add the cheese in to melt at the end.
  • The potato starch helps thicken the sauce. You could also use tapioca starch or arrowroot.
One Skillet Copycat Hamburger Helper :: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, & Veggie Loaded!

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Kid Friendly Veggie Loaded Tacos

April 14, 2021

Learn how to get veggies into taco night with this kid friendly method of veggie loading taco meat!

Kid Friendly Veggie Loaded Tacos

Taco night and our first spring dip in the lake!

Lake Michigan is 37 degrees, and that, my friends, means I’m barefoot in the beach sand trying to soak in some early spring sun rays while these little Michigan born and bread kiddos of mine are in the water and happy as little larks! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I can help you with those main staples that are on everyone’s meal plan list, by amping up the nutrient level while still keeping them kid favorites.

Kid Friendly Veggie Loaded Tacos

Taco Tuesday…Amplified!

I would venture to say that most households have a staple taco night. It is an easy kid favorite, familiar, and obviously so delicious too! Sometimes I over look the obvious staples to blog because I figure everyone knows how to make a taco right? But do you know how to make a taco that isn’t just meat a cheese? Something that will get some mineral rich veggies and fiber into the kids without the kids complaining? Without having to add the taco meat to a salad? Not that there is anything wrong with a salad, but I’ve been in those little kid years, dear momma! I know salads are not always first pick. And toddlers don’t always digest or chew salads very easily. They also will be full after one or 2 taco shells with taco filling…so let’s get more in every bite!

Kid Friendly Veggie Loaded Tacos

Making every bite count…taco style!

Little kids have little bellies. And while I have been the witness to bottomless pit kid appetites, when my girls were very little I found out very quickly that 1 or 2 tacos was about all their bellies could hold, so I had to make those bites count. The secret to veggie loading tacos is all about mixing the meat with veggies that have been cooked with the right technique….a slow, flavorful sauté. Sure, this does add about 10 minutes to your cook-time, but it will be so worth it. And one of the best parts about taco meat is that it can be done in advance on a prep-day, and even frozen for easier weeknights!

Kid Friendly Veggie Loaded Tacos

Older kid & teen benefits

Veggie loading tacos isn’t just beneficial for filling up little bellies. Those growing teenagers can seriously put the food away! Filling them up on protein is important, but fiber rich veggies will help fill up those appetites and help them feel fuller longer. Another benefit to veggie loading the meat is that the added extra veggie mineral nutrients is so vital to the function of all of their organs – hello teenage hormones! Hormones need these mineral nutrients from veggies to function properly, and this is a great way to get those in. And even better if your teen likes a big taco salad – double the veg!

Kid Friendly Veggie Loaded Tacos

Two Birds, One Stone…Veggie Loading & Budgets!

While my main focus in veggie loading these tacos is to get more veggies into your kids, I want to also help you see that this method of making taco meat really stretches that pound or 2 of ground beef for your hungry crew. My family of 5 can pound out a pound of taco meat and then some. But when I veggie load taco meat, not only does the volume of taco meat almost double, giving us more to fill into those taco shells, it is also getting fiber rich veggies into hungry bellies to fill them up.

Kid Friendly Veggie Loaded Tacos

A note about taco seasoning

You can swap the DIY taco seasoning for 1-2 packets of taco seasoning – just be real careful on those ingredient lists – staying organic usually helps with avoiding MSG, GMO’s, and other fillers. Also keep in mind that packets (even many organic ones) add starches, so you will need more bone broth or water because those starches thicken things up. I keep a jar of my DIY taco seasoning doubled or tripled up in my cupboard so it is easy to pull out on taco night.

Kid Friendly Veggie Loaded Tacos

Tips for families with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers

Dear momma, if you have an older baby or toddler, I would invite you to take my “jump in with both feet” method of feeding littles, and just add the veggies in without taking too much care to dice them up super fine. Obviously make it small enough for them to handle in their mouths, but I truly believe that my girls never batted an eye at any meal, from spaghetti to tacos, being “veggie loaded” in their lives because we started them out that way. Babies and toddlers have ZERO frame of reference for what a “taco” should look like. <—Read that again! If this is all they have ever known, it is exactly what they will grow up being used to! In fact when I veggie load these tacos, I typically double the spinach in this recipe – feel free to add more if you wish.

Kid Friendly Veggie Loaded Tacos

Tips for families with older kids and teens

If you have older kids used to “normal” tacos I have a few tips for you to ease them into this idea!

  • First of all, don’t make it a big deal – you make it a big deal and they will feed off that. I would actually just try the taco meat with the chopped veggies, and if they ask what it is, simply tell them! Don’t try to hide it – that really creates some trust issues. Just treat them like normal human beings, and be honest with them.
  • If you know for sure this is going to be a battle, try starting out with half of the veggies recommended here and work up to the full amount. As I said in the section above, this is actually toned down from my usual amount of veggies, but you can bring it down a couple of notches to work up to the full amount.
  • Try using a food processor to really finely chop the veggies so they are truly barely noticeable. Once the taco season is in the mixture, there is zero veggie taste – promise. But I know that some kids have texture issues, so perhaps making the veg super small will help ease those kids into this. In all actuality, the sauté and simmer cooking times really make the veggies very soft and manageable, but I do know that some children can be veggie detectives 🙂
Kid Friendly Veggie Loaded Tacos
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Kid Friendly Veggie Loaded Tacos

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp friendly fat for cooking in butter, olive oil, avocado oil, tallow, etc
  • 1 small onion diced
  • ½ small red bell pepper diced
  • ½ small head of cabbage sliced thin or shredded
  • 1 large carrot shredded
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 4 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 cup bone broth or water
  • Sea salt/pepper if needed to taste

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, melt the fat over medium heat. Add the onion, pepper, cabbage, and carrot with a big pinch of sea salt, and cook over medium high heat until the veggies are soft and sweet. This will take about 5-10 minutes depending on how small you chopped the veggies (smaller chopped veggies will cook faster).
  • Add the spinach, garlic, ground beef, taco season, and broth to the pan. Break up the beef, and cook the veggies, beef, and broth together for over medium high heat, until the broth comes to a simmer. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, stirring occasionally until the beef is cooked through, and the broth is reduced all the way down so that the taco mixture isn't runny. This takes about 10 minutes.
  • Serve your veggie loaded taco meat with traditional taco shells (we love these blue corn shells or yellow corn shells) or soft shell tortillas with toppings, or over a big salad to make a taco salad (use this French dressing or Fiesta Dressing for the salad!)

Notes

  • Instead of chopping, you could put all of the veggies in a food processor to chop up super small. This is a good technique for kids that don’t like “pieces” in their food, or have aversions to veggies. They will cook down and get so small you’ll never see them this way.
  • You can swap the DIY taco seasoning for 1-2 packets of taco seasoning – just be real careful on those ingredient lists – staying organic usually helps. Also keep in mind that packets add starches, so you will need more bone broth or water because those starches thicken things up.
  • When my kids were little, they always struggled with managing a taco and it’s fillings! I got these little taco holders and they are game changers! 
Kid Friendly Veggie Loaded Tacos

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Nourishing 2 Week Meal Plan {Spring Inspired Part 1}

April 10, 2021

Use this fresh, spring inspired meal plan for your growing family!

Nourishing 2 Week Meal Plan {Spring Inspired Part 1}

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.

Signs of spring

Where we’re from, when those last ice caps melt on the lake, snow boots are swapped for muddy rain boots, frog friends are found just about everywhere, and there is just a bit more daylight left at the end of the day, we know warmer weather is coming! As the seasons change from cold and dark, to warmer and brighter, I wanted to share with you how I transition our meal plans from winter inspired meals to more spring inspired.

Nourishing 2 Week Meal Plan {Spring Inspired Part 1}

Before we get started!

If you haven’t taken a peek at the first 2 meal plans I created this year, there is some helpful information in both of those. Even if you don’t need winter inspired meals, you’ll want to check out the information on how to balance macro-nutrients for your kids, meal planning baby steps, food availability, (all of these points are in the Winter Meal Plan 1 post), and also how my husband fits into the meal plan as a commuter (in Winter Meal Plan 2).

Fresh Mango Marinade and Sauce :: Perfect For Fish, Chicken, Veggies and More!

How are the meals really changing here?

For some parts of the world, spring feels a bit warmer, but here spring really takes its time. Springtime in Michigan can bounce between a 40 degree cool rain, to 65 degrees and sunny in just a matter of 24 hours! So you’ll still see some cold weather foods, like soups and warming dinners, but with a fresh twist using in season, spring veggies. The biggest change will just be that we’re transitioning into spring produce. This is exactly how we were meant to eat by the way! Eating with the seasons gives our bodies a variety of nutrients, gives our guts a break from the same foods over and over all year long, and allows our bodies to follow the natural rhythm of the seasons of the year.

Nourishing 2 Week Meal Plan {Spring Inspired Part 1}

“Spring cleaning” isn’t just for your house!

Certain times of the year are better for cleansing than others. All of those great spring greens help clear out our livers and digestion from the winter. You’ll notice that some of the heavier winter foods with longer cook times to keep our homes warm, will be replaced with quick sheet pan veggies and lots of raw salads. If your body is not in a place to handle raw salads, please listen to your body. If you are on a healing journey, you may need to stick to lightly steamed or roasted veg until your digestion can handle raw.

Rainbow Broccoli Salad

The school routine home stretch!

And alllll the tired lunch packing momma’s said “amen!” By the end of Spring Break I am capitol D.O.N.E. with school routine, but there is a couple months left, and it really does matter what the kids are eating before school for breakfast, and while at school in their lunchboxes. In fact, as the weather warms and activities pick up, the fuel these kids are taking in matters all the more. Their busy bodies and burning metabolisms need real fuel, not just fillers. “Make every bite count” is what I always keep in mind while planning meals for my growing kids, and that doesn’t have to mean elaborate fancy food at every meal. Keep it simple, but meaningful.

Nourishing 2 Week Meal Plan {Spring Inspired Part 1}

A note about age groups and portions

As I have mentioned in both the Winter Meal Plan 1 and Winter Meal Plan 2, one of my hesitancies in posting meal plans is how every kid’s food intake needs vary – even within the same age group. Please adjust portions to your kiddos – my meal plan is not set in stone or the only way. It is meant to be inspiration. One difference I have noticed as my kids have gotten older, is that I used to be able to get away with way more smoothie breakfasts when they were little. Now, smoothie breakfasts are still a great warmer weather breakfast, but my older kids need some sides even if the smoothie is packed out with great fat and protein. That is just one example, so definitely adjust each meal of the day to how your kids eat.

Nourishing 2 Week Meal Plan {Spring Inspired Part 1}

Let’s do this!

Here is a free PDF of my Part 1 Spring Inspired Meal Plan! Right below the image will be a blank version, in case you want to fill in your own!

Want to build your own meal plan?

I’m all about that! here is a free blank PDF of the meal plan so you can sit down with the family and create your own plan of attack!

Spring Inspired Dinners to Swap in the Dinner Section

Whether the dinner ideas in the dinner section aren’t your jam, or you have already been through the spring meal plan once and are itching for something different, here are some other meal ideas to swap in! Most of this list is from right here on the blog. Any recipe links that have a page number are from my cookbooks. Those with page numbers in green are from The Little Lunchbox Cookbook, and those with page numbers in pink are from Nourished Beginnings.

So let’s talk meal plans!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below how the meal plans have been helping so far this year! How can we make them more user friendly? Are you finding them useful? I would like to continue another Spring Meal Plan later this month, so I do take this feedback seriously! If I’m going to put the time into them, I want them to be relevant to you.

Nourishing 2 Week Meal Plan {Spring Inspired Part 1}
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Creamy Cabbage Soup

March 15, 2021

Creamy and velvety cabbage soup, packed with nutrients and full of flavor!

Creamy Cabbage Soup

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.

It’s been over 15 years.

About 20 years ago I got the diagnosis that would change everything for me. Hashimoto’s – an autoimmune thyroid disorder. I’ll spare you the details of the 3-4 years after that diagnosis of trying to actually figure out what that meant, and how to feel even an ounce of better. After a few years of trying everything mainstream medical and not feeling any different, I saw more of a natural, functional medicine practitioner. Answers and more of a “root issue” approach helped me quite literally peel back layers and layers of healing that my body needed. I learned how to listen to my body. I learned what worked for me, what the red flags and warning systems looked like, sounded like, and felt like….and I have felt what “good” really and truly feels like.

Back to the basics

And because certain things like stress (hello 2020), infections, inflammatory foods, and toxins can trigger an autoimmune “flare,” I’ve learned how to nail down those triggers so they don’t spiral out of control. I’m feeling one of those “flares” in the season I’m in right now, and after about 6 months of ignoring the red flag symptoms (because we have all been in survival mode in 2020, amiright?!), it’s time to get back to what I know I need to be doing for my body. And for me, that always means getting back to less inflammatory foods even if they are considered “healthy” for most, and hello to more cooked veggie minerals at every meal. It has, and probably always will be a game changer for me. It is one of the biggest reasons there are so many veggie soup recipes on the blog, and in my cookbooks, and why you’ll always hear me talking about “breakfast soups.”

Creamy Cabbage Soup

Breakfast Soup

And lunch an dinner soup. Cooked veggies just digest easier, and it is so much easier to get a variety and abundance in when you roast or “soup” your veggies. Souping your veg doesn’t have to be boring either. There are so many ways to change things up, and give your body the mineral variety it needs! If you are new to veggies at breakfast, soup might sound so strange, but hear me out. A little mug of steamy soup, a muffin, and some sausage or egg? It is perfectly dreamy to be honest. Sure, a veggie hash or a smoothie with greens works for breakfast too, but there is something about souping breakfast that has been the ticket to feeling amazing for me for years.

Cabbage…nutrient packed and anti-inflammatory

And did I mention a big time budget saver? Because let’s face it – that part matters too! Cabbage is about as cheap as it gets, but it is also loaded with micronutrients and minerals. Cruciferous veggies like cabbage can also be anti-inflammatory. For some, cruciferous veggies can be a problem digestively, especially in the raw state, but cooking can help with digestion. It also helps to eat these veggies with a healthy fat, so cooking the veg in a nutritious fat that works for you such as butter or olive oil is perfect. If you are someone that tolerates cabbage well, you are going to love this soup!

But how does it taste, and will my kids eat it too?!

The last thing I want you to be doing is making a bunch of meals that the rest of the family won’t eat, dear momma. Even though I have seasons of needing to eat a little differently than a growing, metabolism burning kid, it doesn’t mean that they can’t also be eating many of the same foods! The girls love just about every soup blend that has come out of my kitchen for their lunchbox thermoses. When they were babies I served them soups for breakfast often right along with myself. It is perfect for those seasons of sleepy babyhood for everyone to eat the same. These days it looks a little more like the kids having a muffin with eggs and a packed out smoothie, and mom having the same muffin, but with some meat, and a mug of soup. This works for our metabolisms where they are right now in the season we are in at the moment. The cabbage for this soup cooks down and and gets sweet with sautéing and really is a blank slate for whatever flavors you want to add in. I use some nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy flavor without the dairy, as well as some of my sausage seasoning blend to give the soup the warmth of cooking with sausage.

Creamy Cabbage Soup

Simple, easy soup making method

This is a one pot deal, and I think that is something just about everyone can handle these days! Just use the slow sauté approach to bring out the sweetness and flavor from the veggies, toss with some potato starch and then simmer them with your broth. The potato starch gives the soup a grain-free velvety, creamy texture that is to live for! You’ll use your immersion blender to puree the soup to a perfect creaminess once it is finished, but if you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a regular blender too.

Creamy Cabbage Soup

Other creamy soup purees that work well for any meal of the day!

My rhythm has most often been to make a soup for the week on the weekends or on Monday’s. If you don’t like to eat the same soup for days in a row, make a couple different kinds and start building your freezer stash. If you store a quart of soup into the freezer each week, you’ll soon have a lush soup stash to pull from so that, perhaps, on an extra busy week you don’t have to cook a soup. Or so that you can pull some variety throughout the week.

Creamy Cabbage Soup

Creamy Cabbage Soup

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp butter to cook in bacon fat, olive oil, or avocado oil work well here too
  • 2 small onions halved and sliced into strips
  • 1 carrot coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery coarsely chopped
  • 1 small/medium head of cabbage sliced into strips
  • 3 tbsp potato starch
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast optional but lends a cheesy flavor without the dairy!
  • 1 tsp of my sausage season blend optional, but gives the flavor of having meat/sausage in the soup
  • 1 quart bone broth
  • 1/2 – 1 cup full fat coconut milk or regular milk if you tolerate dairy
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium high heat, and saute the onion, carrot, and celery for a few minutes while you chop the cabbage. There is so much cabbage, so give the first few veggies a few minutes to get started first.
  • Add the sliced cabbage and saute over medium high heat until the cabbage reduces down about half, and gets really soft and sweet. This takes a good 10 minutes to achieve and the flavor is amazing. Stir throughout the cooking process.
  • Put the potato starch, nutritional yeast, and sausage seasoning blend into the pot, stirring to coat the veggies in the starch and seasonings.
  • Pour the broth in, stir, and bring the soup to a low simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the stove off, pour in the coconut milk, and blend the soup with your immersion blender or in a regular blender until smooth. Salt and pepper the soup to your taste once it is blended.
Creamy Cabbage Soup

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Sheet Pan Nachos with Slow Cooker Pulled Brisket or Beef Roast

January 13, 2021

The most perfect sheet pan nachos with easy slow cooker pulled beef for game day or fun Friday night!

Sheet Pan Nachos with Pulled Brisket or Beef Roast

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.

A story about the girls’ first nacho experience

A couple of summers ago my girls had their first experience with a big pile of loaded nachos! We live in a little beach town, and each summer we pick one weekend to play “tourist” – we ride the trolley, go to the touristy shops and attractions, play at the busier beach instead of the quieter beach, and also enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. That year, one of the girls asked what “nachos” were on the appetizer menu, so we decided to give them the experience! These nachos were no ordinary nachos, with plain corn chips and fake cheese. They were loaded with real pulled barbeque beef, green onions, peppers, crispy fried jalepenos, super yummy aoili and guacamole – the works!

Sheet Pan Nachos with Pulled Brisket or Beef Roast

A new fun weekend at-home nacho idea!

My kids just adored the family style way of getting to eat the nachos at that restaurant, and they talked about it for days! Every so often my middle one would reminisce about those nachos, and asked if we could try to make them at home. How could I say no to that?! We get a half grass-fed cow each year, and I just happened to have a brisket that I hadn’t decided what to do with yet. We slow cooked the brisket in my taco seasoning mix, let the girls dress up some nachos on a big sheet tray, and a new fun weekend dinner treat was born!

Sheet Pan Nachos with Pulled Brisket or Beef Roast

The Method :: Preparing the Beef and Sauce

The ingredients for the pulled beef is very simple. Your favorite taco seasoning mix and an easily whisked sauce – that’s it! The beef cut is really up to you on this one. Any cut of beef roast or brisket will do. (And really you could do a pan of ground beef taco meat if you don’t happen to have a roast around.). I keep a jar of my own taco season blend in my cupboard, so the prep for the beef goes really fast. Over the years, I have discovered that tripling that taco season mix into a jar works best for me, so feel free to do that and enjoy having taco seasoning already made up a lot longer!

Sheet Pan Nachos with Pulled Brisket or Beef Roast

The Method :: The Slow Cooked Pulled Beef

Once you season your beef roast with a generous amount of your favorite taco seasoning, take the time to sear the sides. The crust on the meat gives amazing flavor, and that extra 5-10 minutes of prep is so worth it. You get to tuck the seared beef into the slow cooker for the rest of the time anyway so take your time and get a nice flavorful sear on your beef! You’ll slow cook the beef roast for 8-10 hours on low, and boy oh boy will it just fall apart after that. Perfect for pulling apart with a couple of forks for your sheet pan nachos! Whisk some of the juices from the slow cooker with a starch of choice and you have a delicious sauce to mix in with your shredded beef for the nachos.

Sheet Pan Nachos with Pulled Brisket or Beef Roast

The Method :: The Sheet Pan Nachos

And now we get to do the fun part! If you want to get the kids involved, prepare a “topping bar” type set up so that they can sprinkle toppings onto the sheet pan nachos to their little heart’s desire! Such a fun way for kids to try new veggies like finely chopped peppers – they make the nachos so pretty and get super sweet once cooked! I like to get the cheese onto the chips first, and then let the girls do the rest. You can let them sprinkle a little extra cheese on top after they get the toppings on too.

Sheet Pan Nachos with Pulled Brisket or Beef Roast

A note on the chips and cheese brands

Because I know that there will be questions on chips and cheese brands! I do get the organic tortilla chips from Costco, but there are so many decent brands out there now! Get the best you can afford – this is an every once and a while fun dinner! I also use the manchego cheese from Costco, but any cheese that you love will work. My oldest and I do better on sheep’s milk cheeses so we use manchego which is also super melty!

Sheet Pan Nachos with Pulled Brisket or Beef Roast

Sheet Pan Nachos with Pulled Brisket or Beef Roast

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus 1 tbsp butter to sear the beef
  • 2-3 pounds grassfed beef brisket or roast I have found any beef roast cut works!
  • 3-4 tbsp of taco season mix divided (I use my own taco season blend. I keep a jar of a triple batch of the seasoning in my pantry, so it is easy to use!)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar honey, maple syrup, or sugar works here – it cuts the acid in the tomato paste.
  • ½ – 1 cup beef broth chicken broth or water would be fine if that is all you have – I also happen to think swapping some of the liquid for a good beer or red wine tastes amazing
  • 1 large onion sliced into strips
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Tortilla chips of choice
  • Cheese of choice if using
  • Nacho toppings of choice
  • 1 tsp starch of choice *you may not need this if you are using a taco seasoning mix that already has starch or flour in it – this is to thicken the sauce. You can use potato starch, GMO free corn starch, tapioca starch, or arrowroot.

Instructions

  • Warm a skillet over high heat with the olive oil and butter while you season the beef. Pat dry your beef roast and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of taco season ON EACH SIDE of the beef, rubbing it into the beef on each side. (Total of 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning on the beef roast – if your roast is on the bigger side, you might use a bit more than 2 tablespoons)
  • Put the seasoned beef roast in the hot oil to sear. LEAVE the beef in the skillet for a few minutes until a nice crust forms – if the beef is sticking when you pull it up that means it might need a bit longer. If it pulls away from the pan easily, you’ve made a nice crust on the beef! Turn the beef roast to the other side to sear for a few minutes.
  • While the beef roast is searing you can whisk the sauce. Put 1-2 tablespoons of taco seasoning into a medium mixing bowl. Add the tomato paste, coconut sugar, and broth and whisk to combine until smooth.
  • Put the whisked sauce, sliced onion, and minced garlic into the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the seared beef. I like to put the beef into the sauce, then turn it over so that it is coated on both sides. Put the lid on your slow cooker, and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  • Remove the cooked beef to a cutting board and shred with 2 forks. Strain out about a cup of the sauce from the slow cooker, and whisk a teaspoon of potato starch into the liquid – this will make a thicker sauce for the beef. Mix the shredded beef with the thickened sauce – you can use as much of the sauce as you want to your desired consistency, and you can make more if you want it saucier!
  • To make the sheet pan nachos, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line your sheet pan with tortilla chips. Sprinkle the cheese, then the shredded beef, and then the toppings of your choice. You can sprinkle extra cheese on the top if you want!
  • Bake the sheet pan tacos in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes. Garnish with green onion, fresh herbs, sour cream – whatever you like!
Sheet Pan Nachos with Pulled Brisket or Beef Roast

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Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

January 9, 2021

Add this easy, 20 minute skillet chicken and kale with garlic mushroom sauce dinner to your busy weekday menu!

Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

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.

Happy new year!

I took a look back at some of my new year recipe posts over the years this week, and I noticed a trend. They are all about getting back to the grind, eating well, but with kids in mind. Because those little guys don’t feed themselves, and they sure as the sun aren’t going to eat a boring kale salad everyday just because you have a few health goals 😉 {Go on ahead and call the real food police on that one – they already know I am not a fan of kale salads 🙂 }

Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

Get the kale in, but in a kid friendly way!

The kids need to eat dinner too – and you don’t want to be a short order cook, I’m guessing. Veggie variety is the key, dear momma. Those kids don’t need kale everyday – and quite honestly, neither do you. We have a variety of veggies, every color of the rainbow, available to us for a reason. Those colors equal different nutrients, so it is important to change it up. But on those days that you’re going to get those dark green leafy nutrients in, you might as well make them taste amazing…amiright?!

Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

All in one skillet dinner in 20 minutes?!

YES please! We all need yummy weeknight dinners that are easy to make, and don’t fill up the sink with a load of dishes. You’ll need a pot to boil your pasta in if you choose to serve with pasta, but the rest of the dinner is done in one skillet in about the time that it will take the boil the water and cook the pasta – and that is a recipe for the perfect weeknight dinner!

Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

The Method :: The Chicken

I have a secret place in my heart for the delicious flavor of seared chicken thighs, but if you are more of a chicken breast person, you can totally use that. Simply whisk the seasoning in a shallow dish, coat the chicken, and sear it off in a super hot skillet. The key to the flavor is allowing it to form a little golden crust!

Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce
Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

The Method :: The Flavorful Veggies

There is just something magic about a hot skillet, sliced mushrooms, and a little time. The golden color after cooking mushrooms is big flavor that will infuse the creamy sauce along with the garlic – don’t skip this part! It doesn’t take long! And one of the reasons I chose fast cooking veggies like kale and frozen green beans is so that you don’t have to spend extra time cooking that part. You’ll simply add the kale into the pan after the mushrooms turn golden and make the rest of the sauce. The green beans will cook while the sauce simmers. And bonus! All of these veggies have fat soluble vitamins – so eating them with the fatty cream sauce not only makes them easier to eat for kids, it makes the vitamins absorb better for their growing bodies!

Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce
Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce
Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

The Method :: The Dairy Free Cream Sauce

I know what you’re thinking…how can you get a cream sauce without dairy?! I also know what your first thought will be when you see coconut milk. Let me be the first one to tell you – I am not a fan of coconut…of any kind! So let that be the proof that the sauce doesn’t taste like coconut – it really takes on the flavors of the rest of the skillet, and just leaves a super creamy heaven for the chicken and veggies to soak in. {You can call the real food police on the coconut admission too…they already know it isn’t my fav!} And a quick note for those that tolerate dairy – cream or whole milk will work just fine here if you would rather use that.

Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

To pasta, or not to pasta?

If you have kiddos, and they can tolerate pasta of any kind, I’m thinking you’re going to find the dinner goes down even easier mixed with some fun pasta! Whether you like regular pasta, or gluten free, there are so many healthier choice varieties these days, and if you are off pasta for a bit, you can just serve your plate without the pasta. I think it tastes amazing over a baked potato or sweet potato.

Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

Skillet Chicken & Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 5-6 boneless chicken thighs
  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil ghee, or butter
  • 6 oz mushrooms sliced
  • 2-3 cups chopped kale
  • 5 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine broth would be fine here
  • 1 ¼ cups full fat coconut milk or cream/milk
  • 2 handfuls of frozen green beans
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked pasta of choice to serve over About 3 cups dry pasta. I use the Gluten Free Jovial or Tinkyada rice pastas

Instructions

  • Whisk the basil, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper in a large dish until combined. Pat dry the chicken thighs and toss them with the seasonings in the dish until the chicken is coated well. You can do this up to 24 hours in advance. If you season the chicken in advance, put plastic wrap around the dish and place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to make dinner.
  • Melt 4 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the seasoned chicken thighs to cook until both sides are golden brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Take the browned chicken thighs out of the skillet onto a plate and set aside while you cook the veggies and sauce. *Keep all the leftover oil and browned bits in the skillet to cook the rest of the veggies in – so much flavor!
  • Melt another 1 tbsp of ghee in the skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes until the mushrooms are fragrant and golden. Add the kale and garlic and cook for a minute or two.
  • Bring the heat up to medium high, and add the wine to deglaze the pan, simmering for a minute or 2. Add the coconut milk and green beans, stir, and bring to a simmer. Put the cooked chicken thighs in the skillet sauce, and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  • Serve the chicken with mushroom garlic sauce over cooked GF pasta of choice. If you are grain free, you can serve this over a baked potato or sweet potato!

Notes

  • If you have fresh green beans versus frozen, you’ll just have to cook them in the pan a bit longer but it does work.
  • You can use spinach instead of kale, but it does cook up faster, so just add it at the end to wilt in.
Skillet Chicken and Kale with Garlic Mushroom Sauce

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

October 7, 2020

Put a fall spin on your favorite Taco Tuesday enchiladas with an easy and delicious and pumpkin enchilada sauce!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

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.

Jackets, jeans, and fuzzy hats…

Yup, we pulled out the ‘ol fall bin of outside gear this past week, and it looks like it’s pretty much here to stay! It kinda feels like I just put all of this stuff away, but the reality is, our fall season is pretty amazing, and we’ll take all the chilly autumn hikes and pretty fall colors as we can!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

A new spin on a family favorite!

Enchiladas are always a very enthusiastic dinner night in our house! Maybe a once a month treat during warmer months, they become more like an every other week thing when the weather turns cold. Last fall, I played around with the idea of a pumpkin base for the enchilada sauce instead of my original tomato based enchilada sauce, because I didn’t have tomato sauce in my pantry. The result was a very rich, perfectly decadent pumpkin enchilada sauce with subtle hints of the fall season. My crew was in love!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

The Method :: The Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce

In under 10 minutes, your pumpkin enchilada sauce will be done, and I think you are going to be floored at the rich flavor! You can make your sauce ahead of time on a prep day too. Just cook the aromatics in some butter and then simmer with canned pumpkin, broth, and warm seasonings. You’ll then use an immersion blender to smooth it all out into a velvety sauce for the enchiladas.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

The Method :: The Pumpkin Enchilada Filling

You’ll have to restrain yourself from sneaking spoonful after spoonful of this enchilada filling before you stuff your tortillas! The veggies cook down super sweet, not only giving the filling amazing flavor, but also packing out the meal with mineral rich veggies for the family! You can use whatever protein you wish! We purchase a half of a grass-fed cow each year, so I usually use our ground beef, but chicken or beans work great here too. Once the filling cooks, you will stir in some of the pumpkin enchilada sauce and some cheese, making a seriously addicting enchilada filling!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

The search for the best gluten free tortillas

If your household has to be gluten free, it is SO worth the little bit of time it takes to make your own tortillas with my new tortilla recipe! Most gluten free wraps that you get from the store are fussy to work with, and they are so expensive! You can make a batch of these tortillas up to a day in advance, and they will roll right up for you with the greatest of ease. You could also make them on a prep day and just stash them away in the freezer so that you can use them when you are ready.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

Feed a crowd!

I think this fun spin on a classic would be perfect to serve on Halloween night before trick-or-treating, or at any fall parties! The recipe as written feeds my family of 2 adults and 3 older kids for one meal with some leftover for one or 2 people the next day. If you have a smaller family or younger children, this will definitely feed you for 2 meals. If you are feeding a crowd, perhaps roll the tortillas tighter with less filling, or cut the tortillas in half so that the enchiladas themselves are smaller, party sized portions.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas
Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

Ingredients

FOR THE PUMPKIN ENCHILADA SAUCE ::

FOR THE ENCHILADAS ::

  • 2 tbsp butter or olive oil for cooking in
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • ¼ head of cabbage sliced into strips
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn
  • 1 heaping handful of baby spinach chopped
  • 2 cups of cheese divided
  • 1 recipe of the above Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce
  • 8-10 tortillas of choice depending on the size of your tortillas (I use my own GF Tortillas, but store bought is fine too)

Instructions

Make the Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce:

  • Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium high heat and add the onion and pepper with 1 tsp of sea salt. Cook the veggies until soft and sweet, about 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon and stir to combine, cooking for 1 minute.
  • Add the pumpkin, green chilis, and water, stir to combine and bring to a simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off and use an immersion blender or regular blender to blend the sauce until smooth. Sea salt and pepper the sauce to your taste.

Make the Enchilada Filling:

  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat, and add the onion, pepper, and cabbage with a big pinch of sea salt. Cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes until the veggies are soft and sweet.
  • Add the ground beef and cook through until browned.
  • Add the corn and baby spinach and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat until the spinach wilts and the corn is soft.
  • Turn the heat off and stir in ½ cup or so of cheese, and 1 ½ cups of the Pumpkin Enchilada sauce.

Assemble and bake the Pumpkin Enchiladas:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spread 1 cup of the Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish or casserole pan.
  • Scoop the pumpkin enchilada filling into your tortilla shells (I use my own GF Tortillas but store bought is fine too), roll them up, and line them up in the casserole pan. The amount of filling in the shells will depend on what the size of your tortillas are.
  • Once you have all of your enchilada tortillas filled and lined up, pour the remaining pumpkin enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled up tortillas and sprinkle with 1 – 1 ½ cups of cheese.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until the sauce and cheese are bubbling. You can put the pan under the broiler for a few minutes if you would like a pretty browned top.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Enchiladas

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Skillet Stuffed Peppers :: An Easy, Healthy One Pan Dinner!

September 2, 2020

Skip the fussy prep and make skillet stuffed peppers with the most rich, delicious flavor, sure to make the whole family happy!

Skillet Stuffed Peppers :: An Easy, Healthy One Pan Dinner!

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.

Back to school and fall routines!

To say we were pumped for school to start this week is an understatement! This crew (and this momma!) thrive on routine, and while we absolutely enjoyed every ounce of our summer beach time over the last few months, the first day of school brought some of the biggest smiles I’ve seen in months! The promise of seeing favorite teachers and reuniting with friends was almost too much to handle!

Skillet Stuffed Peppers :: An Easy, Healthy One Pan Dinner!

Long school days call for easy, comforting skillet dinners!

Re-thinking stuffed peppers into an easy weeknight prep skillet was born on a particularly long remote schooling day this late spring. The kids were capital D.O.N.E. and this momma had literally forgotten every ounce of 5th grade math from her youth, so a comforting, easy dinner was in store for all! Instead of actually stuffing the peppers, this fast deconstructed version is weeknight friendly, and *oh so* satisfying!

Skillet Stuffed Peppers :: An Easy, Healthy One Pan Dinner!

One pan dinner – veggies included!

Because one pan was about all I had the time and energy for that day, I decided to stuff this stuffed pepper skillet with enough veggies to be able to say the whole thing was a full meal so that I didn’t have to make extra sides! Not only are the super sweet, kid friendly bell peppers scattered throughout, I also added a whole box of chopped baby spinach. The baby spinach wilts into the skillet meal, and the kids will never taste it. This is truly one of my secret weapons in getting greens into so many of my meals.

Skillet Stuffed Peppers :: An Easy, Healthy One Pan Dinner!

The method

The secret to the rich, savory sauce for this skillet dinner lies in getting a good caramelization of the onion and garlic, and then using the seasoning combination with the coconut aminos to flavor the beef. Once this important skillet work is done, all you have to do is dump in veggies, rice, marinara sauce, and broth, and sit back and let it cook until the rice is tender. Of course adding the cheese at the end and sliding the whole skillet under the broiler is what takes this dinner over the top!

Skillet Stuffed Peppers :: An Easy, Healthy One Pan Dinner!

Leftovers ideas

I’ve made these stuffed pepper skillets a hand-full of times during this summer, even though it screams fall and winter food! Every time I make it, the girls ask if I can put it in their thermoses for school lunches this fall. I’m a huge fan of “cook once eat twice,” so I’m all about that! The recipe as written makes a large skillet full, and my family of 5 usually has at least a couple of kid portions leftover for the next day. If you are a smaller family or have smaller kids, you’re sure to get 2 meals out of this!

Skillet Stuffed Peppers :: An Easy, Healthy One Pan Dinner!
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Skillet Stuffed Peppers :: An Easy, Healthy One Pan Dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ – 2 tbsp coconut aminos this is like a soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 – 5oz box baby spinach chopped
  • 1 ½ large or 2 small/medium bell peppers large dice
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 – 32 oz jar marinara sauce
  • 1 cup water or bone broth I do like to make about ¼ cup of this liquid a really dry red wine but that is completely optional. I think it makes the sauce even richer – totally up to you though!
  • 1 cup cheese of choice to top shredded

Instructions

  • Melt the butter and olive oil over medium high heat in a large, oven safe skillet (I use my 14-inch cast iron skillet. A dutch oven would work too). Add the onion and cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes until lightly golden and fragrant.
  • Add the garlic, cook for a minute, and then add the beef, Italian seasoning, coconut aminos, sea salt, cumin, and smoked paprika. Stir everything together, and cook until the beef is browned and cooked through.
  • Add the spinach and bell peppers, and stir to combine. Then add the rice, marinara, and water and stir until everything is combined well. Bring the skillet to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer with a lid on the pan until the rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  • Once the rice is cooked through, turn the heat off and give the skillet stuffed peppers a stir, tasting for salt to your taste.
  • Turn the broiler on in your oven to “HI.” Top your skillet stuffed peppers with shredded cheese and place the skillet under the broiler for 2-5 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden to your liking. Every oven broiler runs differently, so check the cheese around 2-3 minutes in case yours runs hot. Mine takes about 5 minutes.

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Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish

February 24, 2020

Just like Asian take-out without the soy and gluten, this light, crispy coated white fish with fresh veggies has a gooey Asian stir fry sauce the kids will love!

Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish

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.

A tween take-out inquiry (and some Michigan winter love!)

Ah, these tween years are interesting, eh?! My oldest asked what “chinese take-out” was the other day, as her friends were gushing over something they had for dinner the other night. Hormonal girls and savory, salty, sweet, indulgent take-out! Sounds about right, yes?! I’m all for that umami goodness too, and during our school’s mid-winter break, I decided to show my sweet tween just what her friends meant by those to-die-for flavors. We mimicked that take-out with flying colors! We headed out for a mid-winter break hike and came home to take-out…real food style!

Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish
Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish

Having our cake and eating it too…

I’ll take any excuse I can to get brain nourishing wild caught fish into my kids. Truth be told, because we started them eating it so young, they would be happy clams if we fed them plan skillet cooked fish on the daily! It’s fun to change things up though, and instead of using chicken or beef for this take-out copycat, I pulled out some omega 3 rich wild caught Mahi-Mahi. Super delicious take-out style dinner, and super healthy? Talk about having our cake and eating it too!

Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish

Method :: The Fish

You’ll start your stir fry by preparing the fish. You truly could use whatever protein you have on hand from chicken to any fish. I’d stick with a firm fish like Mahi or salmon – cod is really delicate and might fall apart with the batter and cooking. This fish batter is a wet batter, and it doesn’t get any simpler. Just mix it up in a medium bowl and toss with the cubed fish. You can set the fish aside while you prepare the sauce and the veggies for the rest of the meal – once those are done the rest of the meal comes together super fast!

Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish
Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish

Method :: The Sauce

I think one of the reasons I love Chinese cuisine so much is because their approach to sauces is so right up my alley – toss everything into a sauce pan, whisk it up, and done. No fuss or crazy extra steps! For this sauce, you’ll whisk the ingredients and simmer a few minutes to thicken it up. You can make it ahead of time on a prep day too!

Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish

Method :: How to Cook The Crispy Fish

Coconut oil is the name of the game here, but you can use any high heat oil you like. I love the sweetness that the coconut oil gives the crispy batter, though my favorite high heat cooking fat is a good grassfed tallow or lard. Ghee works fantastic as well and has such a good flavor. Butter is going to burn too easily, and while I love a stir fry done in a good olive oil, to crisp this fish up, that delicate olive oil is going to burn a bit and get a funky taste. To cook the fish, simply heat the oil super hot and cook the fish in a couple batches until crispy. Use a wire rack or paper towel after cooking so the crispy fish doesn’t get soggy.

Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish

Method :: The Stir Fry

Once these simple sauce and fish part of the meal is set (and it truly doesn’t take more that 15 minutes!), then you are ready to assemble the stir fry. This part goes fast! Just stir your chopped veggies into some cooking fat and cook until bite tender and then toss with the crispy fish and stir fry sauce.

Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish
Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish
Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish

Serving options

This part is up to you! You can go the traditional route with white or brown rice, or even some gluten free ramen (try cooking your rice or ramen in bone broth to soak in extra nutrients, and be sure to add a generous pat of real butter to the rice!). Or you can eat it straight from the bowl sans the rice.

Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish

Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish

Ingredients

FOR THE FISH BREADING BATTER:

FOR THE STIR FRY SAUCE:

  • ½ cup water or bone broth
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp raw honey you can bump this up if you need more on the sweet side
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • ½ inch knob of ginger minced (or about 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • ¼ – ½ tsp red pepper flakes more if you like more heat
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch

FOR THE STIR FRY:

  • 1-2 tbsp ghee for cooking in or butter, olive oil, coconut oil
  • ½ medium onion sliced into strips
  • 1 medium bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 3-4 oz mushrooms sliced
  • 4 cups frozen green beans thawed

Instructions

MAKE THE BATTER AND MARINATE THE FISH:

  • Mix the starch, flour, baking powder, coconut aminos, and olive oil in a small mixing bowl. Toss the cubed fish in the batter, coating each piece, and set aside while you prepare the sauce.

MAKE THE STIR FRY SAUCE:

  • Whisk all of the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan thoroughly until the starch dissolves. Put the sauce pan over high heat, and simmer until the sauce thickens, just a few minutes. Set the sauce aside until the stir fry is ready.

COOK THE FISH:

  • Heat your wok or large skillet over high heat, adding the coconut oil to get nice and hot. Cook the battered fish in 2 batches, flipping the fish to crisp each side until golden brown. This will take a couple minutes for each side. When you take the first batch out, set the crispy fish on a wire rack or paper towel so the fish doesn’t get soggy.

MAKE THE STIR FRY:

  • Heat your wok or large skillet over medium high heat and melt a tablespoon of ghee. Add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes until crisp tender. Add the thawed green beans, crispy fish, and the stir fry sauce, combine and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  • You can serve your crispy fish stir fry over white rice, GF ramen, or just eat it from the bowl!
Gluten Free Asian Stir Fry with Crispy Fish

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Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

February 11, 2020

Fast and easy prep white chicken chili with a smooth, creamy texture, and out of this world flavor!

Easy Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

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 hikes & (kid friendly!) warm chili

I’ve learned that if I just don’t get out in it, I become a big grump by February my friends. So we pull on the winter gear and trudge through the snow, no matter how deep it is. Every weekend. Some winters we can barely tolerate 20 minutes the cold is so bitter and the snow is so deep. Other winters, like this year, we are left wondering if this really is still Michigan or not with the mild(er) temps and small dusting of snow! No matter the winter, a warm bowl of chili is always a good idea during the darkest months of the year!

Easy Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

An old recipe made (so!) much easier!

White chicken chili has been one of my favorite slow cooker recipes for years. The creamy broth base is super kid friendly, and my version is not only packed with chicken, but boasts a load of veggie variety that contributes to it’s amazing flavor. With busy schedules that come with the territory of having older kids and not as much time at home, I was finding that I wasn’t making my favorite white chicken chili as much because it did feel a bit time consuming!

Easy Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Enter the Instant Pot, and an easy peasy secret to the creamy broth!

When I wrote that recipe, oh so many years ago, the Instant Pot was not even a thought! Since my trusty IP has become my go-to for our favorite regular chili, I decided it was time to give my favorite white chicken chili a face lift – Instant Pot style! And since I don’t always have time to make the cream of chicken soup for the creamy base, a little coconut milk and potato starch did the trick so well!

Easy Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Dump it all in!

Other than a quick little saute to pull some flavor and sweetness out of the veggies in the beginning, this recipe is a dump and go! *Cue the busy mom applause!* The beauty of the Instant Pot is quick cook times and flavorful, juicy meat outcomes, and this recipe does not disappoint. Simply put all of the ingredients into the IP after sauting the veggies, place the raw chicken breasts on top, and when the Instant Pot is done pressure cooking, you’ll have easy to shred chicken to stir into your chili!

Easy Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

A note on the heat (and to bean or not to bean!)

This recipe is mild in heat and very kid friendly. I left the jalapeno as optional in case your kids are sensitive to heat. I use just one jalapeno in mine, and while I’d love a bit more heat to my bowl, I want my kids to inhale the chili too! I tend to add a hit of cayenne or chili flakes to my bowl to heat it up. One of my tricks to “cooling down” a bowl of chili for little ones is to be sure you top the chili with sour cream. The cool, fatty dairy cuts the heat well. You can use coconut yogurt or coconut milk if you are dairy free. This recipe as written does not contain beans, but if you want to add some white beans, you may!

Easy Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Storage and school thermoses!

This white chicken chili freezes really well! I love that this hearty chili can be packed in school thermoses on a cold winter day! They play so hard outside at recess! You can pack a side of cheese or sour cream to add on top in the thermos too. To freeze the chili, cool the chili to room temperature, and store in freezer safe containers.

Easy Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Easy Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp ghee to cook in butter, coconut oil, olive oil, or tallow/lard work too
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1-2 small jalapenos optional if you like the heat
  • 5 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp potato starch Not potato flour. Tapioca or arrowroot would work here too
  • 2 tsp taco season I use my own DIY blend
  • 2 to matillos diced
  • 2 small zucchinis large dice
  • 1 – 4oz can green chilis
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 3 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts 1 lb
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Cilantro, lime wedges, and avocado slices per preference to garnish (optional shredded raw cheese or sour cream if you tolerate that)

Instructions

  • Turn the Instant Pot on to “saute” and melt the ghee. Saute the onion and bell peppers with a pinch of sea salt for about 5-7 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Turn the Instant Pot “off,” and stir in the taco season and potato starch until the veggies are coated. Stir in the tomatillos, zucchini, broth, and coconut milk, and then set the chicken breasts in the liquid.
  • Put the lid on the Instant Pot, and close the valve. Turn the IP on to “Soup,” and bring the time down to 20 minutes. The IP will take about 5 minutes to come to pressure before counting down the 15 minutes. When the 15 minute timer is up, turn the IP off and let it naturally release for 5-10 minutes before releasing the rest of the valve pressure.
  • Take the chicken breasts out of the IP, shred them with a fork, and then return the shredded chicken to the IP, stirring the chicken into the chili. Season the chili to your taste and garnish each bowl with cilantro, lime, and avocado slices per your preference.
Easy Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

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Mongolian Beef and Veggies :: Soy Free, Gluten Free, and Naturally Sweetened!

January 22, 2020

Enjoy Mongolian beef stir fry, loaded with veggies and without the soy, gluten, and processed sugar!

Mongolian Beef and Veggies :: Soy Free, Gluten Free, and Naturally Sweetened!

A little walk down memory lane…

So I was driving in Grand Rapids not to long ago, near a spot that I haven’t been by in a very long time. I noticed that a restaurant that my now husband and I used to go to as a very rare, broke college kid date night, and was so sad to see it gone! Mongolian Bar-B-Que…locals do you remember it?! I know, I know, it is probably the furthest thing from traditional or authentic Mongolian meals, but the all you can eat, make your own stir fry bowls to two starving college kids in love was seriously heaven. I remember thinking it was *the* best food in the world. Pretty much anything tastes amazing when you don’t know how to cook and are just starting out, eh?!

Mongolian Beef and Veggies :: Soy Free, Gluten Free, and Naturally Sweetened!

A little Mongolian re-make!

My girls were in the van as we drove by, and I told them about our memories there. I decided to try to re-make what I remembered being my favorite flavors there, and this Mongolian beef was born. I was probably so starved of nutrients back then, because I remember craving that beef stir fry like it was air!

Mongolian Beef and Veggies :: Soy Free, Gluten Free, and Naturally Sweetened!

The brown sugar dilemma

Most Mongolian beef recipes that you find use brown sugar as the main sweetener for the sauce. While I’m all about using (organic) sugar in moderation with baking and special times, I want to be able to have Mongolian beef on my menu rotation way more frequently than that! Did you know that brown sugar is just sugar and molasses mixed together?! Yep, whenever I need brown sugar for a cookie recipe, it’s just 1 cup of sugar to 1 tablespoon of molasses and you’ve got that warm sweetness in seconds! In the Mongolian beef sauce recipe here, I chose to use real honey and molasses, and the result is out of this world! You’ll never miss the processed sugar!

Mongolian Beef and Veggies :: Soy Free, Gluten Free, and Naturally Sweetened!
Mongolian Beef and Veggies :: Soy Free, Gluten Free, and Naturally Sweetened!
Mongolian Beef and Veggies :: Soy Free, Gluten Free, and Naturally Sweetened!

Let’s talk about the starches

I absolutely love using potato starch for anything that I want to get crispy. I use it to dredge the steak in this recipe because it works so well to give the texture you want in a Mongolian beef stir fry. Corn starch, tapioca, or arrowroot will work, but I just really love the result with potato starch. I use tapioca in the sauce recipe, because I prefer how that thickens sauces. The potato starch would work here as well, but again, I just prefer the texture result with the tapioca.

Mongolian Beef and Veggies :: Soy Free, Gluten Free, and Naturally Sweetened!

Heat preferences

If you have little ones at home, be sure to stick to more of the “pinch” of red pepper flakes versus going all out on the ½ tsp. While I love me some heat, some little kids aren’t quite there yet! I do have one that loves some heat, but because of one of my other girls, I tend to keep any heat to minimum. You can add a pinch or two of cayenne or red pepper flakes your individual plate if you would like some extra heat.

Mongolian Beef and Veggies :: Soy Free, Gluten Free, and Naturally Sweetened!

Serving ideas!

We are definitely team white rice here, but there are so many other options for serving your Mongolian beef! If you prefer brown rice go for it! If you are in a season of needing to avoid grains, I adore this sauce, beef, and veggie combo on top of a baked potato or sweet potato. It is fantastic just plain as well. You can beef up the veggies a bit more by adding shredded cabbage (my favorite), or more of the veggies already listed.

Mongolian Beef and Veggies :: Soy Free, Gluten Free, and Naturally Sweetened!

Mongolian Beef and Veggies :: Soy Free, Gluten Free, and Naturally Sweetened!

Author: Renee Kohley – Raising Generation Nourished

Ingredients

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • ½ cup coconut aminos
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 3 tsp molasses
  • 2 tsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch to ½ tsp red pepper flakes depending on your heat prefrence

FOR THE STIR FRY:

  • 4 tbsp ghee for cooking in, divided (butter, olive oil, tallow/lard, or avocado oil would work too)
  • 1 lb grassfed skirt/flank steak or round steak cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp potato starch
  • 1 small onion cut into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1 head of broccoli florets cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 handful sugar peas
  • 1 recipe of the above sauce

Instructions

  • Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a bowl, and set aside for later.
  • Put 2 tablespoons of ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. While your skillet warms up, pat dry your strips of steak and then toss them with 2 tablespoons of potato starch. Place the coated steak into the hot ghee and cook until browned and almost crispy. This takes about 5 minutes. Take the steak out of the pan and set aside for later.
  • In the same skillet, warm another 2 tablespoons of ghee over medium heat, and add the onion, peppers, broccoli, and sugar peas from above. Cook the veggies over medium heat for a few minutes, until bright in color and still bite tender.
  • Add the cooked beef and the sauce into the skillet with the veggies, and simmer until the sauce thickens and the veggies are cooked to your liking, about 5 minutes or so. The sauce is plenty seasoned, but you can season to your taste if you wish.

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January 11, 2020

Getting a nourishing breakfast in is easy with prep day sweet potatoes and these 4 simple sweet potato breakfast ideas!

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A post just for *you,* dear momma

Dear momma, I know what you have been seeing in your news feeds, social media, and email box for the last few weeks. Weight loss this, “new you” that, and everything in between. I get it. I’m a New Year, fresh start, “jump-in-with-both-feet” kind of a person to the core. But I am here to tell you that we don’t need to complicate this whole healthy lifestyle thing. In fact, I prefer to simply call it, taking care of ourselves.

No guilt. No shame. No fear.

When we have healthy relationships with our bodies and the food that fuels it, we know that over doing processed foods will make us feel crummy. So we can positively make the decision to treat ourselves like the temples that they are – with respect, and with food that will make us feel amazing. With simple food. Real food. It doesn’t need to be fancy or filled with a zillion steps or ingredients. A simple bowl of soup and boiled eggs makes one of my favorite breakfasts.

Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!

I remember the exact moment I made this mind shift.

I grew up on Cheerios and toast, so this was a huge shift. I had my second baby and I was….exhausted. In fact, exhausted doesn’t even begin to describe it. One morning the only thing I had time to eat before she cried again was leftover soup from dinner and my toddlers leftover boiled eggs. The energy I felt was almost instantaneous. My mind could think. I felt clearer…my body had some fuel. From that point on I knew I needed to feed myself so that I could be my best for my babies. Did it happen perfectly every day? Not even close. But as I practiced, I got better. A rhythm formed in my kitchen. A framework for how my meals flowed was formed. And I never turned back.

Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!

Do you know how good you were meant to feel, dear momma?

Your kids are watching you. They see how you care for yourself, and will imitate that. I certainly was. And my mom was only imitating what she saw growing up. Be the cycle breaker in your family. Put the oxygen mask to yourself first so you can care for those around you. When a firefighter runs into a burning building, he doesn’t neglect himself to save those inside. He puts the oxygen mask to himself first so that he has the stamina to save the rest. He is literally no good to those inside the burning building if he falls over from lack of oxygen. Your kids deserve having a mom at her best.

Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!

But I have a baby…this sounds impossible!

I so hear you, dear momma, although those endless nights and jam-packed days are even more reason to care for yourself. You need fuel if you are ever going to make it! Here are some practical tips that I found helpful during this season…and I promise that it is only a season!

  • Put baby in a sling or carrier while you warm up leftovers or fix your breakfast, so you have hands free movement with baby close to you.
  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting baby down on a soft blanket or bouncy seat near a window so she can look outside or at something interesting while you warm up your leftovers or make your breakfast for 5 or 10 minutes. Even just setting them down to watch you in the kitchen is eye catching for them. If they fuss for a few minutes they will still be ok – I promise! As they get older into their baby years, it is good for them to learn how to occupy themselves and play independently.
  • Utilize siblings if they are around! Even your toddlers make great entertainment while you prepare your food! They will feel so proud to be the one to show baby that book, or shake the rattle for their baby brother or sister!
  • Food prep when you have extra hands on the weekends. Let daddy or older siblings take a turn at holding the baby so that you can prep easy staples like muffins, soups, or these sweet potatoes so that during the week your meals are easier to grab. While I’m all for napping when the baby naps, sometimes prepping during naptime is helpful too. Listen to your body however, and don’t do this every day.
Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!
Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!
Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!

But I have a toddler…how do I make this work?

After the shift into toddlerhood, many parents find they wished their non-stop toddler was back to that infant that would just lay on a blanket for 5 minutes! In some ways toddlerhood is even tougher. Here are some tips for this season…and again it is truly just a season!

  • Establishing a routine is key. Toddlers adore a rhythm and expectations. If you tell them this is breakfast making time and give them expectations, they will catch on! Give them 2 choices – “While mommy fixes breakfast you can either color with these crayons on this paper, or play with the toys in this basket. You could also give the choice of standing on a stool to watch you prep (or help if there is something to help with). Before you know it, that certain time of day will just be associated with breakfast prep and you won’t need to remind them much at all what is expected of them during this time.
  • Keep a small drawer/cupboard of toys or safe kitchen tools (like wooden spoons and measuring cups) down low for them to reach so that they can play near you while you work in the kitchen. Many times these little ones just want to be near – unless they have a sibling they are following around, you are the center of their world and they are social beings! They can have their own drawer that they can reach themselves to play near you.
  • Pull up a stool, little helper stander, or a chair and make them a part of your meal making. Set them up with hard boiled eggs to peel, or at the sink with potatoes to wash. Even if you are just giving them a few cups in the sink to play with in a bowl full of water, they will be happily by your side.
  • Utilize older siblings to help if they are around! This is a great opportunity to show your older kids that you trust them with a task! Ask them to read your toddler a book, or play a game with them. You can put THEM in charge. My oldest loved creating a “schedule” for her little sisters when I needed kitchen prep time. And toddlers naturally follow older children’s whims and ideas (better than adults most of the time!).
Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!
Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!
Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!

But we have to be out the door for school SO early…how can we do this?

This is the season that I am in right now, and I’m sure I will have more to add to this as we go along, but for now, here are some tips that I am finding help!

  • Meal plan. This is NOT my favorite, nor do I even have an elaborate meal plan book – it isn’t even written out. Collective *gasp* from the real food crowd. I simply have a framework. I like to have some wiggle room – I don’t like to be nailed down to something if I’m feeling like having something else for breakfast. If you like a more rigid schedule, go for it! I have a certain flow that I like my week to look like and we do that. For instance, the girls have oatmeal on Mondays – I change it up with whatever fruit is in season or was on sale that week, and we throw add-in’s from the pantry. Or breakfast cookie Fridays! We pull from the freezer stash or make them fresh the night before.
  • Assign tasks for the kids for more help. Maybe your older children have a day of the week that they are responsible for the breakfast so everyone is helping. Maybe your younger children are helping you prep the egg cups or muffin batter the night before, or peeling the hard boiled eggs for you.
  • 10 minute prep the night before! This is a game changer for many. Just 10 minutes. You can do so much in the 10 minutes before you go to bed. Mix up muffin batter or get egg casserole or egg cups in the pan. You can take waffles or baked oatmeal out of the freezer to thaw. Lately, I have actually been baking in the evening so that I don’t have to do literally anything in the morning! It works for us right now and is pure bliss!
  • Breakfast bars! When you have all of the components all ready, such as breakfast cookies or muffins, and hard boiled eggs or yogurt, you can have the older kids set up a breakfast bar and everyone serves themselves! And if they are old enough to serve themselves, they are old enough to wash up their own dishes by the way dear momma!
Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!

SO, let’s prep some sweet potatoes!

Simple right?! My goal is to see you NOT over complicate eating well. I wanted to start with this concept because it is one of the first things that I was able to wiggle into my routine as a new mom. I had time to put sweet potatoes in the oven. I had time for simple sides like hard boiled eggs or sausage. And I had time to utilize leftovers.

Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!

How to prep ahead sweet potatoes

It doesn’t get any easier. Simply pre-heat the oven, poke your sweet potatoes, oil them up and bake them off. You are hands free while they bake and your sweet potatoes are ready for the week!

Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!

How To Roast Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 small to medium sweet potatoes of about the same size
  • 1 tbsp ghee, butter, or olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees, and poke a fork into each sweet potato 4-5 times.
  • Use your hands to smear the ghee, sea salt, and pepper over each sweet potato, and place them in a baking dish.
  • Roast the sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The sweet potatoes should be soft when you poke a fork in them. Store your sweet potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • To re-heat roasted sweet potatoes, place the sweet potato on a baking sheet and into a cold oven. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and once it is pre-heated you can turn the oven off and let it warm through to your liking. This doesn’t take any longer than 15 minutes.
Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!

Ok! So how do I serve my sweet potatoes?!

The possibilities are endless but here are some of my favorite combos that require very little prepping or time! These ideas are pretty low carb and no grain because I do best that way for my breakfast. There is absolutely nothing wrong with adding more carbs or some grain if you do better that way! If you have young children that you are serving these to, you may want to add some fruit or grain, or some raw honey on the sweet potato!

Prep Day Sweet Potatoes and 4 Simple Sweet Potato Breakfast Ideas!

Prepped ahead sweet potato, prepped ahead hard boiled eggs (or you could fry them!), and avocado slices.

Prepped ahead sweet potato with leftover caramelized peppers/onion/spinach from paninis we had for dinner, and sauerkraut (I LOVE kimchi here even better!), and coconut yogurt (or regular yogurt if you do dairy) with granola, bee pollen, collagen, and acai powder.

Prepped ahead sweet potato with leftover stir fry from dinner, bacon, and avo

Prepped head sweet potato with avocado, crushed walnuts, and raw honey, and bacon

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Creamy Dairy Free Acorn Squash Pasta (with gluten free pasta recommendations!)

September 22, 2019

This acorn squash pasta is all of the dreamy comfort that you love in a creamy pasta dish without the dairy!

Creamy Dairy Free Acorn Squash Pasta (with gluten free pasta recommendations!)

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.

Busy school days, and comforting meals…

This isn’t exactly the image I was imagining connecting with this warm, comforting meal that I can’t wait to share with you this week! But, as Michigan has a way of doing in early fall, our autumn hike this weekend landed us through the woods and dunes to the Lake Michigan shoreline, and the 80 degree, humid air begged my girls to the water! They are like moths to a flame, and we welcome all the sunshine and warm we can get before things start to turn! These kids work so hard in school all week and one of my greatest joy is having a comforting meal for them when they get home – and to spend the weekend relaxing and exploring!

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.

Weekday comfort in a weekend feeling meal

While pasta dishes may feel fancy, they are actually one of my go-to meals toward the end of the week, when we all need a little dish of comfort, and momma needs a simple prep. It doesn’t get any easier than using delicious aromatic veggies and a creamy fall squash to flavor that comforting pasta.

Creamy Dairy Free Acorn Squash Pasta (with gluten free pasta recommendations!)

Natural creaminess without the dairy

There is truly nothing wrong with a good, quality dairy if you can tolerate that. I have so many readers that cannot, however, or do not have access to quality, and so meals like this are truly a need for them. And even if you don’t avoid dairy, you’ll love the way you can get mineral rich acorn squash into your family using this creamy, dreamy sauce made almost entirely from this smooth and creamy fall vegetable.

Creamy Dairy Free Acorn Squash Pasta (with gluten free pasta recommendations!)

The method :: The sauce

You’ll start with either roasting or pressure cooking your acorn squash until is soft and ready to blend into a smooth, decadent sauce. If you are a meal planner, you can plan this into your prep day, cooking the squash days in advance so that it is ready when you need it. You could freeze portions of the blended squash or full sauce if you want as well. The sauce is simply blended with starchy pasta water, creamy coconut milk, and silky butter – if you are dairy free ghee tastes lovely or you can finish it with some olive oil. A little salt and pepper and this is one easy sauce!

Creamy Dairy Free Acorn Squash Pasta (with gluten free pasta recommendations!)

The Method :: The Veggies, Flavor, and Chicken

While the squash is cooking, you’ll draw all sorts of flavor magic out of your aromatics. The onion, mushroom, and garlic will marry with that creamy sauce and make for comforting experience that will make everyone around the table happy. Don’t skimp on the time in this step – this is the money step. This is where you’ll build flavor.

Creamy Dairy Free Acorn Squash Pasta (with gluten free pasta recommendations!)

Pasta Choices

There are so many options for healthy, quality, better choice pastas today. This list may even change as the years go by! If you truly cannot have any of these pastas, by all means use zoodles, squash noodles, parsnip noodles, carrot noodles, or sweet potato noodles by using your spirilizer.

Creamy Dairy Free Acorn Squash Pasta (with gluten free pasta recommendations!)

Veggie swaps

While I love the mild, buttery flavor and light texture of acorn squash, other fall and winter squashes should swap fine such as butternut or buttercup. If you have other veggies besides the broccoli and kale, you could swap those too. Use what you have. I would keep the mushroom, onion, garlic the same, as that flavor base is essential to the flavor of the dish, but adding carrots, peas, asparagus, or whatever you happen to have in the veggie bin will be fine!

Creamy Dairy Free Acorn Squash Pasta (with gluten free pasta recommendations!)

Prep ahead tips

  • This meal is the perfect next day meal after you have your weekly roasted chicken or Instant Pot chicken. The leftover chicken piles right into this pasta meal perfectly.
  • The squash can be made ahead of time as well on a prep day. Store in the fridge, or even make portions for the freezer.
  • You can chop the veggies the night before so that when you get home from school and/or work you can just dump in the pan and go!
  • Leftovers are great in thermoses for school, or travel crockpots to warm up at work!
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Print Recipe
5 from 14 votes

Creamy Dairy Free Acorn Squash Pasta (with gluten free pasta recommendations!)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 3 tbsp butter to cook in or ghee, olive oil, or avocado oil if you are dairy free
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 4 oz mushrooms sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 2-3 cups cooked chicken I use leftover chicken from our weekly roasted chicken or IP chicken – alternatively you could brown up some chicken before you start the veggies
  • 12 oz pasta of choice We like the Jovial Brown Rice Pasta Bow Ties for this dish
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk or regular raw milk
  • ½ – 1 cup of pasta water
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast optional if you don’t have it – it gives the sauce a cheesy flavor
  • 1 tbsp butter or ghee, olive oil, or avocado oil if you are dairy free
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • You’ll want to cook your squash while you make the rest of the meal. Slice your acorn squash in half and scoop the seeds out. If you have an Instant Pot, you can fill the bottom with 1 cup of water and pressure cook on HP for 15 minutes with QR. If you do not have an IP, you can roast the squash in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes until fork tender.
  • While the squash cooks, melt 3 tbsp of butter in a large skillet and add the onion and mushroom with a pinch of sea salt. Cook the onion and mushroom over medium heat for 10 minutes until caramelized and fragrant. You can get your pasta water going at this point too so that you can boil your pasta while you get the skillet ingredients cooked.
  • Add the garlic to the onion and mushroom, and cook for a minute. Add the broccoli, kale, and cooked chicken, stir to combine, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until the broccoli is fork tender.
  • To make the sauce, scoop the cooked flesh of the acorn squash into your food processor and add the coconut milk, pasta water, nutritional yeast, butter, and sea salt/pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and then add this sauce along with the cooked pasta to the skillet with the cooked veggies and chicken. You can add more pasta water, broth, milk or even water to thin the sauce out if you want. Stir to combine and taste for salt and pepper.
Creamy Dairy Free Acorn Squash Pasta (with gluten free pasta recommendations!)

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Spring Onion Soup

April 3, 2019

Spring onion soup made sweet and mild, perfect for sipping on a cool spring day!

It’s no secret that spring takes it’s good ‘ol time sprouting around here…

We bounce between winter coats and boots one weekend to hoodies and tennis shoes the next! While we await a more consistent warmer spring air around these parts, I’ll share one more warming soup for the spring season.

What are spring onions?

Spring onions (also called scallions) are just early onions, harvested before the onion bulb forms. You can find spring onions with a slightly larger bulb than what is pictured here if you can find them at farmer’s markets. This is more typical of what I can find organic in a grocery store around here, and either works great for this soup. Spring onions have more of a mild onion flavor, so we love eating them raw on salads in the summer, and it makes for a very sweet and mild onion soup – perfect for adults and kids alike.

The process…

This spring onion soup couldn’t get any simpler as far as ingredients go. A simple potato crisped to perfection for flavor in sweet butter. A gentle and flavor enhancing saute, and a quick simmer with some fresh baby spinach for color and nutrients. A blend through with an immersion blender or in your regular blender, and you have a super smooth, sip-able soup for your mug, or the kids’ tea cups that will warm your belly and nourish your body with spring at it’s best.

But will the kids like it?

If you have older kids that enjoy a French Onion soup, they will love this mild onion soup flavor. If you have little guys, say age 3 and under (even your 9 month old’s are in this category – perfectly safe to try if baby has started some bone broth and veggies just fine!), I say ladle some of this gentle soup into a little tea cup with a straw and let them have at it. Introducing my babies to veggie soup purees from very young is, I’m almost positive, why they accept just about any new veggie soup puree I put in front of them. Including this one, which was a new soup for them. “New” foods can be a struggle for ages 3-6, and my 5 year old was not an exception. She did ask what it was, but knew that she just had to take a couple of “polite bites” to try the new food, and if she wasn’t a fan she could be done. As it turns, out she slurped down 2 small bowl-fulls and asked for it in her thermos for school. My oldest asked if there was any left the next morning for breakfast…like her momma, she is becoming, I tell ya!

Breakfast soup?

This beautiful and delicious spring onion soup has been a favorite breakfast of mine over the last month while I’ve perfected my ingredient ratios for you. Super hot in a mug with a side of hard boiled eggs and a muffin to be exact! Bone broth rich soup is a wonderful way to start the day, and truth be told, as the weather turns warmer, I’ll be swapping my breakfast soups for smoothies more often, so I’m savoring all I can of this beautiful season.

Topping ideas

SO many possibilities here! Our favorite so far has been the sweet and salty bite of shaved Parmesan or your favorite cheese on top. If you don’t tolerate cheese, you can add some nutritional yeast flakes during blending to add the cheesy bite. We also loved a swirl of tangy coconut yogurt. You could do sour cream if you wish too. A sprinkle of sunflower seeds gives great crunch as well.

Freeze-able?

If you see an abundance of spring onions this season at your farmer’s market for those amazing in season prices, take advantage and double or triple this soup up. It freezes fantastic, and I even think the flavor enhances with time!

Print Recipe
5 from 15 votes

Spring Onion Soup

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tbsp butter, ghee, or olive oil to cook in
  • 1 russet potato cubed
  • 4 bunches of spring onion chopped, including whites and greens included)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 quart bone broth
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste
  • Garnish with cheese of your choice, or dollop of sour cream or coconut yogurt

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium high heat, and add the potatoes with a big pinch of sea salt. Cook until the potatoes start to slightly brown and crisp. This will take a good 5-10 minutes depending on how big you cubed your potatoes.
  • Add the spring onion and garlic, stir, and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant and the spring onion wilts and the whites soften.
  • Pour in the wine, scrape up any bits at the bottom of the soup pot, and lightly simmer for one minute.
  • Add the bone broth and spinach and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, blend the soup with your immersion blender or regular blender, and then sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste.
  • Top the soup with your choice of cheese or a dollop of sour cream.

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Spring Instant Pot White Bean Soup :: Stovetop Directions Included!

March 28, 2019

Light and refreshing spring flavors, creamy and comforting without being heavy, this Instant Pot White Bean Soup is your answer to cool spring days!

We had our feet in Lake Michigan this weekend!

Well, let me rephrase that…my Michigan born and bred kids had their feet in the “just starting to thaw” Lake Michigan waters that were registering in at an invigorating 32 degrees Fahrenheit 🙂 I enjoyed my thermos of coffee from ashore in my winter boots! They are like a moth to a flame to this beach, and I love watching them enjoy it in every season!

Cool spring days meals

Spring has a way of really messing with us here along the lakeshore. We see that sun finally peeking out, and most Michiganders trade snow boots for beach flip flops at a mere 40 degrees. The girls saw the slightest bit of water thawed at the lake, and their boots and socks were off faster than I could say “barley thawed.” The sun is deceiving with chilly air still hanging around, so warm meals with spring freshness has become a bit of an expertise of mine.

The key to warm spring meals…

Despite the cool air, our body clocks definitely still shift in the spring. So the key for me has been to invite those fresh spring flavors into light spring soups. We enjoy spring Nettles and garlic in this roasted asparagus and garlic stinging nettle soup. We make fresh skillets of spring veggies, and this spring I’ve been using my Instant Pot a bit more since, well…life, right?! I created this Instant Pot leek asparagus soup with fresh lemon that we have been literally guzzling by the mug full weekly – it is so addicting! And this week, we enjoyed this lighter version of bean soup.

More…soup?!

Ummm yes, because, at least where I live, March is notorious for spring colds, the last of the flu viruses, and various other bugs that kids like to pick up. Packing nourishing, healing bone broth based soups in our lunchboxes for school, or soup bowls for dinner is vital at this time of year. If you have never made bone broth before, please check out how easy it is to make with these recipes either in your Instant Pot OR slow cooker!

Creamy and comforting bean soup without the heaviness…just in time for spring!

Because I really do feel the shift from winter to spring – while we crave those heavier comfort foods during the cold winter months, our bodies shift in the spring to the desire of refreshing spring food. This brothy soup is light and airy, with a bit of creaminess to the broth for comforting and amazing texture. Kids tend to like soups with a creamier feel, and this one will not disappoint. The spring dill and bright lemon juice finish at the end is fantastic.

Instant Pot OR Stovetop!

Because I’m hearing from more of you on my last IP post that stovetop is still your main cooking jam, and I *big puffy heart* love that! You are my people! I love my stovetop cooking, and while my Instant Pot has made it’s way to a permanent spot on the counter, if I have the time, I will choose the stovetop every time. Please see the Stovetop directions below to adapt this recipe to how you cook!

Print Recipe
5 from 18 votes

Spring Instant Pot White Bean Soup :: Stovetop Directions Included!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry navy beans
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3-4 tbsp butter to cook in bacon grease, olive oil, ghee, or other cooking fat of your choice will be fine
  • ½ large onion diced
  • 1 large carrot or parsnip peeled and diced
  • 1 large celery stalk diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp dried dill
  • A pinch to 1/4 or more tsp of red pepper flakes depending on your heat preference this amount leaves the soup with a very mild kid friendly heat.
  • 1 ½ quarts bone broth
  • Juice of ½ lemon about 1-2 tbsp
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale de-ribbed and chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

INSTANT POT METHOD

  • Put the 2 cups of dry navy beans and sea salt in a medium bowl with warm water to cover by 2-3 inches. Let the beans soak for 8-10 hours, then rinse and strain and set them aside until they are ready to add to the IP.
  • Turn the Instant Pot on to “Saute,” add the butter to melt, and then add the onion, carrot, and celery with a pinch of sea salt. Saute for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and soft.
  • Add the garlic, paprika, dill, and red pepper flakes, stir and saute for 1 minute. Turn the IP to “Off.”
  • Pour the drained beans and bone broth into the IP, stir to combine, put the IP lid on, and turn the valve to closed.
  • Turn the Instant Pot on to “Soup,” and leave the time at 30 minutes. The Instant Pot will automatically turn on, and will take about 10ish minutes to come to pressure (depending on how cold your broth is) before counting down the 30 minutes. When the time beeps that the 30 minutes is done, turn the Instant Pot “Off,” and leave the valve closed and lid on to naturally let the pressure release. This gives the beans time to finish cooking and locks flavor in. After about 15 minutes, you can open the lid.
  • Ladle out about half the soup, puree it in a blender or with a hand-held immersion blender, and return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the lemon juice and kale to the soup and stir. The heat from the soup will wilt the kale, and you can season your soup with salt and pepper to your taste.

STOVETOP METHOD

  • Put the 2 cups of dry navy beans and sea salt in a medium bowl with warm water to cover by 2-3 inches. Let the beans soak for 8-10 hours, then rinse and strain and set them aside until they are ready to add to the soup.
  • Warm a soup pot over medium heat, add the butter to melt, and then add the onion, carrot, and celery with a pinch of sea salt. Saute for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and soft.
  • Add the garlic, paprika, dill, and red pepper flakes, stir and saute for 1 minute. 
  • Pour the drained beans and bone broth into the soup pot, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer until the beans are cooked and tender. This will take 45 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally and check the beans for done-ness.
  • Ladle out about half the soup, puree it in a blender or with a hand-held immersion blender, and return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the lemon juice and kale to the soup and stir. The heat from the soup will wilt the kale, and you can season your soup with salt and pepper to your taste.

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