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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!
https://amzn.to/2QxHwdY
Print Recipe
5 from 10 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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Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

September 15, 2019

Sunday dinner comfort using sweet butternut squash layered in a flavorful lasagna casserole!

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

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.

Season changes and fresh menu plans!

Those fall schedules do something to you, don’t they? The warm air hangs on for a while around here, but we catch glimpses of cool, crisp mornings, and with new school routines speckled into our weekly rhythm, I’ve been feeling the itch to turn the oven on for slow cooked, comforting dinners on the weekends.

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

Lasagna cravings!

Oh yes, it is absolutely a thing! And when you don’t have those special noodles in the pantry, you figure out a way to still get those flavors in the oven. One week, I thought about making lasagna soup instead, but I had squash on the counter and other various veggies that I did not want to go to waste, so we did this lasagna in a veggie casserole style, and I’m telling you, it is definitely a keeper! And listen, I love traditional lasagna – there is absolutely nothing wrong with it! This was just a fun dinner change up – and I think you will find that the kids will love this new squash prep! It is so fun!

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

The method :: Squash

While the different components look intimidating at first, I promise you that this prep rolls fast. Especially because there are no noodles to fuss with! Use a very sharp knife to slice thin rounds of squash for the “noodle” layer in your lasagna casserole. You’ll want between 20 and 30 rounds. If you make your squash rounds any thicker than what I’m showing here, you’ll just want to adjust your cook time longer.

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

The method :: The meat sauce

Here’s where you’ll want to spend some time. I promise that caramelizing the onions, peppers, and mushrooms is worth the 10 or so minute wait. Melt some butter into your large skillet and let the heat do some work on those veggies. Everyone will be “ooo-ing” and “ahh-ing” over the meat sauce flavor! You could make the meat sauce on your prep day if you want to pull it out easy from the fridge as you assemble your lasagna.

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole
Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

The method :: The bechemel cream sauce

It’s easier than it sounds! This cream sauce is just a seasoned, thickened milk mixture. This creamy addition feels so decadent swirled into the lasagna – like an indulgent, cheesy dream in the middle of the casserole. And the added bonus of only taking a few minutes to prep doesn’t give you any reason to leave it out!

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

The casserole assembly

You’ll first cover the bottom of your casserole pan with that flavorful meat sauce and then start layering those squash rounds. Just like with any lasagna, imperfection is all a part of being homemade. There is no reason to make the squash fit perfectly – overlap the ends and cover every inch! You’ll spread that creamy bechemel sauce layer and then add more meat sauce – this heavenly mixture of savory meat sauce with that creamy mixture is what makes this casserole feel so comforting. You’ll do another layer or so, and then bake the casserole for a half our before topping with…cheese of course!

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

Prep Tips

While this amazing dinner is more weekend prep in nature, I do think that with a few prep ahead tips, you could make this on a weekday.

  • Make the meat sauce and cream sauce on your prep day. You could do one or both on a Saturday or Sunday prep day, and just store it in an air tight container in the fridge until you need it.
  • Slice the squash ahead of time. I promise this does go fast once you get the hang of it! If you decide to peel and cut ahead of time, just store the rounds in an air tight container so they don’t dry out.
  • Assemble the entire casserole ahead of time and store it in the fridge covered. You can pull it out on the night you need it and just pop it in the oven. This would also be a great way to prep for a friend in need (new momma, an ill friend, or just because!) – what an easy to digest meal for just about everyone!
Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole
Print Recipe
5 from 14 votes

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

Ingredients

FOR THE MEAT SAUCE

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms sliced
  • 2-3 cups chopped kale
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ cups of your favorite marinara sauce

FOR THE BECHEMEL CREAM SAUCE

FOR THE REST OF THE SQUASH LASAGNA

  • 1 small to medium butternut squash peeled and sliced into thin cross-section slices
  • Your favorite cheese to top the lasagna – anywhere from 1-3 cups per your preference.

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

MAKE THE MEAT SAUCE

  • Melt the butter into a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the onion, pepper, mushrooms, kale, and a big pinch of sea salt. Cook over medium high heat for about 10 minutes until the veggies are soft, fragrant, and slightly caramelized.
  • Add the garlic and cook for a minute, and then add the ground beef, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Break the beef up and mix it into the cooked veggies, browning the beef.
  • Add the marainara sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.

MAKE THE BECHEMEL SAUCE

  • Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, and then whisk the flour in to make a paste.
  • Slowing pour the milk into the sauce pan, whisking along the way so that the roux incorporates into the milk to thicken it. Whisk the salt in pepper in as well.
  • Simmer until the cream sauce thickens about a minute or so.

ASSEMBLE AND BAKE THE SQUASH LASAGNA

  • Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce along the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Line up one layer of the squash rounds, overlapping them some, and then spread ½ of the cream sauce over the top of the layer of squash.
  • Spread another 1/3 of the meat sauce over the top of the cream sauce, and then add another layer of butternut squash rounds, overlapping them making sure to fit squash in every spot – you can cut the rounds a little if you wish so that they fit.
  • Spread the last 1/3 of the meat sauce over the top of the squash and bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Pull the lasagna out of the oven, top with shredded cheese, and bake another 5-10 minutes until bubbly and melted.
Gluten Free Butternut Squash Lasagna Casserole

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5 Summer Platters For Cool and Easy Lunch or Dinner!

July 11, 2019

Keep playing and turn the stove off! Enjoy these 5 summer platters filled with nourishing bites for a cool and easy summer lunch or 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.

Summer fun and summer FOOD!

I feel like we have hardly been home this summer! This is my first summer without a napper in the house in a DECADE! What?! You know what that means? It means that instead of hanging out at the beach for the morning, then scurrying home with tired crabby kids that need lunch and a nap, I have kids that can seriously hang, spending all day at the beach, park, splash pad, zoo…you name it! THAT my friends is a game changer – and so stinkin’ much fun! But it also means I need to have some meals up my sleeve that are fast to prepare, and summer friendly (read – no cook because it really does get hot in Michigan – promise!).

5 Summer Platters For Cool and Easy Lunch or Dinner!
5 Summer Platters For Easy Hot Weather Lunch or Dinner!

3 birds, 1 stone!

We started making summer lunch platters a couple summers ago, and these quick meals really hit both of those needs. They are both summer friendly/no-cook, as well as fast to prepare! And a bonus third point…they are so FUN! I know at least for my kids, having a presentation change up from the same lunchboxes all year, as well as some new summer foods, make coming to the lunch table even more enjoyable.

5 Summer Platters For Easy Hot Weather Lunch or Dinner!

So what is a summer lunch platter?

If you want get super fancy, this is basically like eating charcuterie board style! A bit on a smaller scale and, at least in my case, with less fancy/expensive food because we like to make these at least twice a week. Grab a big plate or even just your big wooden cutting board, and load it up with small bites that everyone can share. Community eating always goes over well with little ones, so don’t shy away from trying this with your toddlers. Eating should always be a fun experience, and they will love this. Fill the plate up with a variety of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, healthy fat), in ratios that your family enjoys eating.

https://www.raisinggenerationnourished.com/2014/04/diy-salad-dressings-5-recipes-whole-family-will-love/

What do I do if my kid will only pick one thing off the plate?

  1. Be pro-active. If you have never served a platter meal before, start with some ground rules before the eating even begins. If you have toddlers through age 5, be very specific. For example, let them know that they need to take at least 2 pieces of protein, 1 piece of green veggie, 1 piece of other color veggie, 1 fruit, and that fat has to be somewhere on their plate whether that be as a dip or somewhere else (This was an example only! Use whatever ratios work for your family!) The choosing is still up to them, but you are helping them learn the importance of variety and portioning. As your children get older, you should be able to be a bit more general – they need to have veggie, fruit, fat, protein, for example. My girls have been eating this way for years, and I rarely need to say anything anymore. They will actually check their plates for variety like they are on auto pilot without my cue! I will even hear them remind each other to make sure they take a green veg and another color. They are doing my mom job quite nicely! Ha!
  2. Put the ball in their court. If the children do not cooperate with creating a healthy variety on their plate, then in my house, they haven’t shown that they are independent to enjoy a fun lunch like this, and mom will have to go back to making their own plate for them. YES, I have had to have this conversation with my toddlers! You’re in charge, dear momma! Once they have demonstrated independence with following the instructions, then they are free to create their own plate! There is still a ton of wiggle room within setting those parameters of having all of the macro-nutrients on their plates. My girls’ plates always look vastly different from each other! I have one that is always packed with all the protein – but she still gets her veggies and fruit in. I have one that loads up the veggies and I still have to remind her about getting a bite of protein on her plate every once and a while. Every child has different needs, and you can help them learn the importance of the macro-nutrient variety while listening to their body’s needs for more of a certain food.
https://www.raisinggenerationnourished.com/2014/04/diy-salad-dressings-5-recipes-whole-family-will-love/

The possibilities are endless

They truly are, and while I’m planning on showcasing 5 platter meal examples in this post, within each platter there are so many different ways that you can change things up. Use whatever veggies and fruit are in season or on sale near you for that week, and rotate your protein and fat sources! Not only does that keep the routine from getting boring, more importantly, you are changing up the nutrients that your family is getting for more variety.

https://www.raisinggenerationnourished.com/2014/04/diy-salad-dressings-5-recipes-whole-family-will-love/

On to the platter ideas!

Again, these are only to spur your inspiration. Pull from each platter what YOUR family loves and make your own! These are examples from actual lunch platters the girls have enjoyed throughout this summer so far!

https://www.raisinggenerationnourished.com/2014/04/diy-salad-dressings-5-recipes-whole-family-will-love/

Platter #1 :: Scoop City!

Kids love to scoop and dip, and the scooping and dipping options are endless here! Use lettuce leaves, crackers, bell pepper “boats”, carrot sticks to scoop and dip. The dipping is where the meal magic is – you can really load up the brain building fat, and sustaining proteins here. Top to bottom this platter is:

5 Summer Platters For Easy Hot Weather Lunch or Dinner!

Platter #2 :: Real Food “Lunchable!”

Think crackers, cheese, and meat where you can make little cracker sandwiches! Kids are always all over these kind of meals. (I am too!) Top to bottom, this platter is ::

5 Summer Platters For Easy Hot Weather Lunch or Dinner!

Platter #3 :: Stuff Your Own Pita Platter!

Spread the inside with some hummus, and then stuff with with a pretty rainbow of veggies and salty cheese! Top to bottom this platter is ::

  • Grapes
  • GF Pita Bread (We get the Sami’s Bakery GF Pitas at our local health food store)
  • Hummus (I absolutely have a quality store bought here, but you can certainly make your own hummus! I get the Lilly’s Hummus which is made with olive oil versus soy/corn/canola/sunflower oils, in the big tubs at our health food store.)
  • Rainbow carrots
  • Baby bell peppers
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Cheese (Pictured is the Kerrygold Dubliner from Costco)
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomato slices
  • “Ants on a log” (Celery sticks with any nut or seed butter, and topped with raisins)
5 Summer Platters For Easy Hot Weather Lunch or Dinner!

Platter #4 :: Lunchtime Fiesta!

Mexican flavors are always a hit with kids! In this platter I made Instant Pot Refried Beans – basically my refried bean recipe made in the IP versus the stove. You could use leftover taco meat too. And while the chips are fun too, give those cabbage leaves a try as a “soft taco shell” for the beans, guac, and salsa – it is so good! Top to bottom this platter is ::

  • Apples
  • Tortilla chips (we get these organic from Costco)
  • Refried beans (this recipe makes a lot and it freezes great for an easy pull out lunch!)
  • Cabbage leaves
  • Salsa (I get organic salsa from our grocery store)
  • Carrot sticks
  • Bell pepper “boats” (these also work great as a vehicle for the beans and guac!)
  • Guacamole (You could buy a quality store bought version too!)
5 Summer Platters For Easy Hot Weather Lunch or Dinner!

Platter #5 :: A European Vacation!

That’s right, my friends. Momma’s pretending like we are blissfully sitting in an Italian Cafe dipping bread in gorgeous European olive dipping oils… Ahem…back to reality! This is truly one of the girls’ favorite platter concepts and every drop of that oil is gone by the end of lunch – talk about a brain boost! Top to bottom, this platter is ::

  • Cherries (truly just do whatever fruit is in season – it happens to be cherry season right now!)
  • Tomato slices with sea salt and pepper
  • Grassfed Kielbasa (we get this from Costco)
  • Goat Cheese
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Baby bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrot sticks
  • Olive oil dipping oil (see the recipe below!)
  • Strips of pita bread for oil dipping (You could use whatever bread or crackers your family enjoys!)
  • Broccoli
  • Applegate pepperoni (I get this from our local health food store)
5 Summer Platters For Easy Hot Weather Lunch or Dinner!

Seasoned Olive Oil for Bread Dipping

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Whisk everything in a shallow bowl good for dipping bread!

Notes

Olive oil sourcing does matter. If you are in the USA, look for the COOC label to ensure your olive oil isn’t cut with other cheap oils. We like the Bari Organic Olive Oil which is available at most grocers now. Recently, California Olive Ranch Olive Oil, which I have used up until a few months ago, lost their seal and I cannot trust their process right now. I have recommended them in the past and do not at this time. 

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

May 16, 2019

This kid friendly, week night easy mango marinade and sauce is perfect for fish, chicken, veggies and more!

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

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.

Frog hunts, sunshine, and fresh, fast dinners!

That pretty much sums up the last few weekends in our house, enjoying some steadier spring temperatures, and the scheduling fun that comes with the month of May and three kids in school! What is it about May?! All the trips! All the concerts! All the after school fun! And you know what? My girls love it ALL. May is so fun. But just because we are busy doesn’t mean I can set meal planning on coast…in fact just the opposite.

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

Brain fuel for busy kids

When things get busy, it can be easy to pull out easier meals, and we absolutely do healthier hot dog dinners, and grilled burgers in the warm months of the year when we want to be outside versus in the kitchen all day. But with just a few minutes of prep, you can have just as quick of a dinner, that tastes just as fun for the kids, and packs some big time brain fuel for growing kids. While this mango marinade and sauce will work for chicken, and tastes amazing with mineral rich veggies that we all need too, I like to use it with wild caught fatty fish – brain fuel!

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

Two minutes to fresh mango marinade!

If you have a blender, you can make this marinade in 2 minutes flat! Just dump it all in and puree! It’s so fast, that you can prep it in the morning before everyone heads out the door for the busy day, or do it before you go to bed the night before. It only needs about 30 minutes to marinade your fish, but up to a day is even better. Then all you have to do when you get home is a quick pan sear of your fish or chicken!

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

Double up!

Because this mango marinade also makes an amazing sauce for your sides of veggies, rice, or as a dip for your fish or chicken! If mangos are on sale or in season near you, double up for a meal, and then freeze some for another time as well.

Fresh Mango Marinade and Sauce :: Perfect For Fish, Chicken, Veggies and More!
Fresh Mango Marinade and Sauce :: Perfect For Fish, Chicken, Veggies and More!
Print Recipe
5 from 36 votes

Mango Marinade & Sauce

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Everything into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.

Ok, I’ve got my marinade! Now how do I make dinner???

Simply pour the mango marinade over the top of your favorite wild caught fish or chicken, and let the meat marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to a day. You can marinade veggies in this for kabobs too. See the recipe below for very basic dinner – change things up based on what you have in house and what is in season near you.

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

Quick sides?

Because whats a quick dinner idea if the side dishes are fussy and long to prep? Here are some great side dish ideas for your mango fish!

Fresh Mango Marinade and Sauce :: Perfect For Fish, Chicken, Veggies and More!
Fresh Mango Marinade and Sauce :: Perfect For Fish, Chicken, Veggies and More!
Print Recipe
5 from 36 votes

Mango White Fish with Roasted Veggies

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe of the above Mango Marinade you can double the sauce recipe if you want extra for mixing into the veggies or rice, or for dipping the fish
  • 1 lb wild caught white fish such as Mahi Mahi or Cod
  • 3 tbsp ghee butter, or olive oil to cook the fish in (I like to use ghee)
  • 1 lb brussel sprouts halved or quartered depending on the size (broccoli and asparagus will work here too – use what is in season)
  • 1 lb carrots cut on the bias
  • 3 tbsp butter for the veggies
  • Sea salt and pepper for the veggies to taste

Instructions

  • Marinate your fish anywhere from 30 minutes to a day in advance. Pour 1 recipe of the mango marinade over the fish in a bowl or freezer bag. I like to cut the fish into the size portions that my girls eat. Seal the bowl or bag and set the fish in the refrigerator to marinade until you are ready to cook it.
  • When the fish is done marinating, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and toss the veggies on a sheet pan with the butter, sea salt, and pepper. Roast the veggies at 400 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes depending on how big the veggies are cut.
  • To cook the fish, heat up a large skillet and the cooking fat over medium high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the fish directly from the marinade. Don’t scrape off the marinade – in fact I dip it in and scoop some of it out onto the fish while it cooks. Cook the fish 2-3 minutes on each side. Cook time will depend on the size and thickness of your fish. If your fish is larger/thicker than what is pictured here, you will need more like 5 minutes each side.
  • Plate your cooked fish over long grain white rice, or with a side of sweet potato or baked potato, and the roasted veggies. You can toss the roasted veggies and/or the rice with another batch of mango sauce.
Fresh Mango Marinade and Sauce :: Perfect For Fish, Chicken, Veggies and More!

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Wild Caught Salmon Meatballs with Simple Pesto

April 28, 2019

Turn wild caught fish into your kids’ favorite dinner with salmon meatballs and simple pesto for dipping!

Quick dinners and warm weather herbs

We are all about extra beach time during the warm months of the year. We are just at the tip of beach season in Michigan, and on those gorgeous spring days that feel like summer is knocking at our door, I swap our favorite slow roasted dinners for fresh spring and summer meals.

Salmon…meatballs?!

I’m telling you…make anything into a meatball and kids will be all over it. Needing to get more greens in? Try a meatball! Need to add some nourishing liver to your diet? Yup – those same kale stuffed meatballs have liver too! My girls truly adore wild caught salmon – as evidenced by so many salmon recipes on the blog, but if you have kids tentative about fish, I invite you to give this a try! Salmon is a summer staple because it is so quick to fix, and these meatballs are no exception.

Simple ingredients & no fuss!

I learned a couple years back that the *best* salmon burger is made by hand chopping the meat instead of pulverizing or blending it, and NOT using eggs for any binding. The salmon is first chopped into bits about the size of ground beef, and mixed with some simple seasoning. A splash of olive oil to add some fatty moisture and some tapioca for a soft texture and to hold in some of the moisture and that’s it. It will take you no longer than the time it takes the oven to pre-heat to roll up the salmon meatballs and then dinner is done in 15 minutes!

Dips for all the days!

Because if there is anything I know about kids, it’s that they *big puffy heart* love to…dip! So if they are going to dip these delicious, nourishing salmon meatballs, let’s give them something equally as mouthwatering and bump the nutrition past the same ‘ol ketchup stand-by. Something like pesto! I would totally even serve the meatballs on toothpicks for dipping in the pesto – what fun for the kids!

{And as a side-note, if those kiddos of yours will only eat the salmon meatballs with a side of ketchup, by all means roll with that – I would rather them get that brain nourishing fatty fish into their growing bodies than none at all. If you do the polite bite thing in your house, I would definitely give that a go with the pesto first (don’t even put the ketchup out as an option), but pick your battles, momma!}

But back to the dreamy pesto…

I truly can’t think of anything we use our garden herbs for more in the summertime than pesto. It makes such a great, nourishing, budget friendly lunch with a side of bread or crackers and veggie sticks. And big time bonus…my older girls can make it without mom’s help! *All the moms in the house cheer!* Basil itself is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, but the kids don’t necessarily care about those details – make them a part of *planting* and tending to that garden basil, or picking the basil out at the farmer’s market this summer, and ownership will take over as the star of the show. Basil is one of the first seeds my oldest has asked for to plant the last couple of spring seasons, and it is solely for the purpose of her beloved pesto! Using pesto as a side dish dip or scoop-able dressing is also a great way to get olive oil into the kids’ diets. A proven brain booster, this power-packed mono-unsaturated fat is super tasty and mild – perfect for kids.

Time saving tips

  • The pesto can be make super quick while the salmon meatballs are baking in the oven.
  • The oven temp is perfect for cooking other veggie sides along with the salmon meatballs, so make your oven do double time. The timing of the meatballs cooking is the perfect timing for spring asparagus, or summer zucchini or broccoli.
  • Or, skip the oven baked veggies, and just make some quick side salads such as Paleo Coleslaw, Olive Garden Copycat Salads, or kid favorite Ranch dressing drenched salads (use this Paleo version, or this classic version using dairy!)
  • The salmon meatball mixture can be made up the night before and sit in the fridge until everyone is home from work and school – that way all you have to do is roll them up and bake them off.
  • The salmon meatball mixture freezes well! Roll up the salmon meatballs and freeze them on a sheet tray. Then pop the uncooked frozen salmon meatballs into a freezer bag.
Print Recipe
5 from 12 votes

Wild Caught Salmon Meatballs with Simple Pesto

Ingredients

FOR THE SALMON MEATBALLS ::

  • 3-4 wild caught salmon fillets skinned (about 1 – 1 ¼ lbs of salmon)
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley if you have fresh parsley, use 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill if you have fresh dill, use 2 tsp chopped leaves of the fresh dill
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

FOR THE PESTO ::

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • Heaping 1/3 cup walnuts If you have access to pine nuts use 1/3 cup of that. Pine nuts would be the more traditional way of making pesto – I don’t have access to quality pine nuts, so I usually use organic walnuts
  • ½ cup raw cheese or goat cheese shredded
  • ¼ tsp sea salt start here and you can always add more to taste depending on the saltiness of the cheese you are using.
  • Pinch of pepper to taste
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic (If you are a garlic fanatic do the 3 – you won’t regret it! It does add a slight spicy bite since raw garlic has some heat to it – it is my favorite way to eat pesto. If you have kids eating the pesto, use 1 clove of garlic. Two of my girls love the garlic packed version, while my youngest still feels like it is a bit spicy for her and will gobble it down with just 1 clove. If you are new to pesto, start out with 1 clove – you can always add more if you want more garlic flavor.)
  • ½ cup olive oil

Instructions

FOR THE SALMON MEATBALLS ::

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper
  • Skin and cube up your salmon. Then run a chopping knife through the cubed salmon until the bits are small but not to a puree. The texture should resemble that of ground beef.
  • Combine the chopped salmon and the rest of the salmon meatball ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Roll the meatball mixture into balls and place them onto the Silpat lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the salmon meatballs at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your meatballs. 

FOR THE PESTO ::

  • Put the basil leaves and walnuts into your food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
  • Add the cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic, and pulse several times to chop through until everything is very small and combined well.
  • With the food processor running, use the oil drip top on your food processor to slowly add in the olive oil. This will allow the oil to emulsify, thickening the pesto, and keeping everything sticking together so the oil doesn’t separate. If you prefer the oil to be more separate from the herbs (I like it this way too!) you can just do a quick blend through or even just stir in the oil.

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Probiotic Rich Fermented Red Onions & 10 Minute Sheet Pan Fish Tacos!

April 10, 2019

Sheet pan fish tacos topped with tangy, probiotic rich fermented red onions are a match made in heaven!

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Beach days, rock hunting, & fish tacos…

We made it. Our feet were grounded on the Lake Michigan shoreline all weekend, and we couldn’t be more full of joy! While we spend most of our spring and summer days with our feet in the soft, powdery sand of our hometown shoreline, we do love to beach hop to some special places along Lake Michigan with a more rocky landscape so that my rock hunters can find special treasures! My oldest has become quite the geologist in the last few years, with such a love for collecting different rocks and fossils. And my oldest also couldn’t think of a better way to re-fuel after our first spring beach day than fish tacos!

The obsession began a few summers ago…

We were enjoying a rare to us night out at a restaurant after a long, hot beach day, and my oldest, who was about 6 at the time, ordered fish tacos. They were just about the biggest hit you could ever dream of for her, and she still talks about them to this day. They had the avocado crema, mango salsa, and those pretty little pickled red onions sprinkled on top – the works! She was obsessed, and I just knew I had to duplicate them for our menu rotation after that!

The real deal “pickled” red onions

Quick little refrigerate pickled red onions are great, and truly is nothing wrong with them, but what if there was a way to make them the “real deal” way? Instead of pickling them in vinegar for the sour punch, letting nature do it’s work with a little sea salt and water, and allowing the natural, good bacteria in the vegetable ferment the onions to tangy perfection – the way your ancestors would have preserved and “pickled” onions! And let me tell you…the tangy, sweet, salty, crunchy red onions make *the* best fish taco topping!

A quick fermentation 101

It’s as simple as making a little salt water brine to suspend your onions, a clean, air tight space to allow the science to happen, and a little time. When you add the salt water brine to vegetables, the good bacteria in the vegetables starts eating away at the natural sugars in the veggie. The lactic acid left behind from this veggie sugar metabolizing gives the vegetable a tart, tangy taste, and is also just so amazingly good for our bodies! It is a great way to keep beneficial bacteria in our gut flora (probiotics), and it balances stomach acid.

Ok, so what do I need to get started fermenting my onions?

While you can definitely get your ferments going today with just glass jar and a plastic lid (metal lids will corrode over time so plastic is recommended), as you get going you may want to take a look at fermenting tools that make the process even easier and stress free.

Vegetable ferments do best in an anaerobic environment (that is, “no oxygen” using an air tight seal). Plastic lids work fine, though some air does get through, and as the gasses build up in the ferment you need to “release” them by opening the lid here and there. The air that gets through also makes it easier for stray airborne microbes and molds to get in which can make the whole jar go bad.

There are a couple of sealing options you can choose from, and I really have found these to give the best fermenting results. The one that I use is the first recommendation, the Pickle Pipe.

  • The Pickle Pipes & Pebbles :: I am convinced a busy, “every day” mom invented this fermenting tool! Talk about zero fuss, *easy to clean,* and affordable! The Pickle Pipe creates a seal with a simple (easy to wash!) silicone disk, and the metal ring your jar comes with. The “pipe” part of the silicone disk has a special opening that only pressures open when the gasses build up in the jar and need to be released. So basically…set it and forget it! You don’t have to check for pressure everyday at all. I also am in love with their Pickle Pebbles which weight down the ferment at the top so you don’t have to worry about molding or the tips of the veggies going bad from being out of the brine. Invaluable! I have never had a ferment go bad or mold using my Pickle Pipes and Pebbles.
  • Fido Jar :: Fido jars create an incredible anaerobic sealed environment and are super easy to clean and take care of. No crazy parts to clean, and they are beautiful lined up in the kitchen to ferment! You will need to “burp” these every day or so to let the gasses out but they work very well! They are pricier than mason jars (especially if you already have a lot of mason jars at home, and can just get some Pickle Pipes to top them off), but they will last forever and, again, they are beautiful!
  • Traditional Fermentation Crock :: I have to be honest…I love these! I really do! They are on my foodie dream list and when I can afford a really beautiful new fermenting crock I really, really want one for my kitchen! They are gorgeous, easy to clean and work fantastic. They come with a weight to keep the veggies down to prevent molding and they create a perfect anaerobic environment.
  • Air-Lock Lids :: These are a really great, inexpensive option – especially if you already have a lot of mason jars at home. I think the Pickle Pipes are easier to clean and use, but if you have some of these lying around don’t let them go to waste – they work great!

Do the kids like them?

Well, 2 out of my 3 give these little onions 2 thumbs up. My youngest is still warming up to them, but onions are strong in the first place, and probably aren’t a great fermented food to start out with for really little guys. My suggestion for littles and fermented foods is to start out with fermented carrots and sauerkraut. Sour pickles and fermented asparagus are fantastic options that are kid friendly too. I also loved this recipe for Ranch Dressing made with Kefir (a style of fermented milk) to dip your veggies in! The littles will love it, and you can feel good about what their gut being nourished. All in all, be inspired to give even the smallest of children in the house a try of fermented foods. My girls were eating small shreds of sauerkraut and shredded fermented carrots by the age of 9 months old, and developing that taste palate is priceless.

Fermented onions first, then onto the tacos!

So grab a mason jar and get some fermented red onions going! Then plan a fish taco night into your menu plan this month and just wait until you see how fun fish taco night is! Here is the recipe for the fermented onions, and the tacos will follow.

Print Recipe
5 from 32 votes

Probiotic Rich Fermented Red Onions :: The Perfect Topping for Fish Tacos, Salads, Wraps, and More!

Ingredients

  • 1 pint warm water
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large red onion sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar optional

Instructions

  • Dissolve the sea salt in the warm water.
  • Put the sliced red onions and sugar into a mason jar, packing them in tightly.
  • Pour the salt water brine over the onions leaving a half inch to inch of headspace at the top.
  • Add your fermenting weight over the onions in the brine to be sure the onions stay submerged. If you do not have a weight, just be sure the onions are completely submerged in the brine or you will get molding.
  • Put your fermenting lid on the jar (I use pickle pipes) and leave in a warm space in your kitchen on the counter or in a cupboard for 1-3 weeks. You can taste the onions along the way to get your preference of tartness. If your house is warmer, it will ferment faster, and if your house is cooler, it will take longer. Everyone has a different taste for fermented foods. Your fermented onions should smell oniony and taste pleasantly tangy/sour. The longer you ferment the more beneficial bacteria will be present. I ferment my onions around 3-4 weeks if it is winter time and cooler in my house, and it takes more like 2 weeks in the very warm summer months.

But getting back to those fish tacos!

A couple months back, I had dinner with some friends at a local restaurant. It was all about conversations that didn’t revolve around slime, school work, or Hatchimals; glasses of wine, and great food – it is such a necessity of mom life to do this! One of my friends and I ordered the fish tacos, and, after we quite literally devoured them, I had a renewed desire to get a fun, family friendly fish taco recipe to the blog!

Sheet pan prep for busy families

…Because fish tacos on a Wednesday night is just the bees knees, and I promise it will be *the* thing that gets you through the rest of the week. Just a quick slice through some wild caught white fish, a toss through some taco season of your liking, and 10 minutes at the most in the oven. That is weeknight dinner at it’s best.

What kind of fish?

Any wild caught white fish will do, though we have certainly enjoyed fish tacos with wild caught salmon! Use whatever your family likes to eat. We pick up wild caught mahi-mahi, cod, and salmon at Costco. We also have a local fish monger that has the fish here and there. Check around where you live, and ask! Fish mongers are always happy to tell you about where their fish comes from!

Fish Taco Bar topping ideas!

  • Shredded cabbage or lettuce
  • Coleslaw
  • Fermented Red Onions (Recipe is below!)
  • Raw cheese or goat cheese
  • Guacamole
  • Shredded carrots (or ease your littles into the fermented topping idea by using shredded fermented carrots – my youngest eats them this way)
  • Salsa
Print Recipe
5 from 32 votes

10 Minute Sheet Pan Fish Tacos

Ingredients

FOR THE FISH

  • 4 fillets of white wild caught fish such as cod or mahi mahi Cut into strips, or bit sized chunks if you have little ones at home.
  • 3-4 tsp taco seasoning I use my own taco season mix.

FISH TACO TOPPING OPTIONS

  • Shredded cabbage or lettuce
  • Coleslaw
  • Fermented Red Onions (See above recipe)
  • Raw cheese or goat cheese
  • Gauacamole
  • Shredded carrots
  • Salsa

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line your baking sheet with Silpat, or spray with avocado oil spray, or lightly grease with butter or coconut oil.
  • Toss the cut up fish with the taco season and spread the pieces of coated fish onto the sheet pan. Bake for 10 minutes. If you made smaller pieces for little kids, you will have a shorter cook time.
  • Serve on your favorite tortillas with toppings of your choice!
My sweet tween, happily inhaling said fish tacos after the photoshoot 😉

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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 17 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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Sheet Pan Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets :: Egg Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Grain Free & EASY Prep (NO Breading or Dredging!)

March 21, 2019

Fuss free, fast prep, freeze-able, and {oh so!} kid friendly in taste sheet pan gluten free chicken nuggets!

Glimpses of spring…

We can almost taste it! It really is melting! We are seeing consistent SUN, and sweet friends, spring is so close we can hardly stand it. Our beautiful frozen Lake Michigan beach is thawing out, and we can hardly wait to get our feet into it’s powdery sand.

Spring BUSY

As we started coming out of winter hibernation mode, and spring activities started blooming (<– see what I did there! 🙂 ), I had a panic moment looking at the rest of March, April, and May and had to take a minute! While those toddler and baby years were…a LOT…it really has nothing on tween years with a couple of school aged kids on the side. I know I’m totally in for it when they are all in their teens, but I’m loving that I get to ease into that one kid at a time!

Prep ahead goals

I will be the first one to admit that I literally live for standing stove side to cook. I know that isn’t everyone. It is therapy for me. I do make a point to get my “therapy” cooking into my schedule at least once a week, but a little #RealLife for you…I can’t do that every day. I decided to play around with a little idea I had for nuggets that I could make ahead for the freezer for busier school activity evenings, and make it as fuss free as possible. Bonus if they were simple enough to batch up and throw into lunchboxes too!

Fuss free kitchen time

The first day that I had planned to make these nuggets my day completely fell apart. It happens right?! I originally was going to do the typical “breading” for these nuggets, “dredging” them in something grain free, and decided to scrap that whole step all together because I was short on time. Big time bonus – they turned out even better with out that time consuming step, so this prep truly is fuss free.

No skimping on nourishment here!

Even though my goal was to make something that could be easily prepped for the freezer, for dinner, or lunchbox add-ins, I didn’t want to create something with empty calories. These busier months before summer break at school require big time fuel for growing and active kids. They need real food that packs a punch. I bulked up these chicken nuggets with a load of sweet potato for slow burning energy to fuel those growing kids. It also helps the meat budget when you can pack in some veggies and make the meat stretch.

The perfect texture!

Oh that texture you guys! It was one of the first things the girls mentioned when I started trying this recipe out – and I don’t have “picky” eaters. Nugget texture matters – these are not dry, have the perfect chew, and the flavor is out of this world. There is a slight sweetness from the sweet potato without adding any sugar or even honey, and they don’t taste like sweet potato. The secret is adding a bit of fat (coconut oil) to make up for the leaner chicken or turkey, and soaking up the moisture from the sweet potatoes with a little coconut flour. The result is a great chicken nugget texture that even the pickiest toddler nugget connoisseur will enjoy.

Freezer Tips

There are 2 ways you could freeze the chicken nuggets – choose which works best for you!

  • Your first option is mixing the meat mixture, form it into nuggets, and freeze flat on a baking sheet. When the nuggets are frozen, pop them into a freezer bag to store in the freezer. You can bake them off from the frozen state for dinner adding an extra 5-10 minutes.
  • OR you can mix and bake the nuggets fully, and then freeze them already baked off. I can see myself doing this for easy lunchbox add-ins. They are already cooked and you can toss them in to lunchboxes frozen – they will thaw by lunchtime.
Print Recipe
5 from 18 votes

Sheet Pan Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets :: Egg Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Grain Free & EASY Prep (NO Breading or Dredging!)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey or chicken I pick up organic ground turkey at Costco
  • 2 tbsp room temp coconut oil
  • 2 cups finely shredded sweet potato I just use my box grater. This ends up being 1-2 sweet potatoes depending on the size
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Everything into a medium mixing bowl and combine well.
  • Scoop small portions of the meat mixture (size of ping pong ball), roll into a ball, and then flatten onto a Silpat lined or parchment paper lined baking sheet. You can make the nuggets any size (and shape) you want. The nuggets do not spread out or puff up, so make them the size/shape/thickness you want.
  • Bake the nuggets for 12-13 minutes, flip them over using tongs, and then bake another 11-13 minutes depending on the size of your nuggets. Let them cool a few minutes before serving.

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Instant Pot Spring Leek & Asparagus Soup :: Gluten and Dairy Free!

March 7, 2019

Instant Pot leek & asparagus soup pulls the best flavors of spring with a quick pressure cook prep time!

Snow Day number 7,458…

Another lake effect snow storm, polar vortex, whatever you want it call it…is in the books! In March. It’s Michigan…I get that. By March I’m definitely over it, and I’m so ready to bring you some bright, fresh spring recipes! Since it is so cold here, we’ll start with spring produce in soup form to keep us warm, m’kay?!

Whatever state is sending us spring produce…THANK YOU!

We adore you. No really we do. Because we won’t see fresh Michigan asparagus until almost May, and I just can’t go that long without some spring in my life! When I saw the first asparagus sale from at the store a couple weeks ago, I snagged what I could and to the girls’ complete delight we had roasted asparagus with dinner that night – something other than winter veggies! They were in heaven! Leeks and lemons are such a bright and fun spring addition to this smooth and creamy soup too – it’s like spring in a bowl!

Flavors that will blow you away

It is just so good. This soup – you will want cup after cup after cupful. The mild leeky onion allows the rest of the veggies to really shine through, and that tangy bright lemon and yogurt put it over the top. Once you try the little hit of lemon in your asparagus soup, you’ll never go back. This soup would be a great appetizer or soup course item for Easter brunch or dinner. Your guests will be wondering what it is that is making the flavor so amazing, and it is really that combination of the perfect balance of sweet veggies, tangy finishes, and delicious herbs. It will vanish before their eyes!

Instant Pot quick!

I cannot wait to make this soup all spring long! If you happen to snag a great in season deal on asparagus this spring, you can really stock up your freezer with asparagus soup. Shopping veggies in season is defintely how to keep your real food budget in check. And since we can make the soup easily in our Instant Pot, the though of making it all season long doesn’t sound daunting! If you have the 8 quart, I bet you could double this recipe!

The perfect, kid friendly (and not so veggie loving person friendly) soup!

I made this soup on the “soup-ier” side so I could drink it from a mug easily, and so my younger girls could easily use a straw for their school lunch thermos. When my girls were older baby and toddler ages, they really loved eating soups like this with a straw. Between the pressuring cooking time and the blending of the soup, I promise there are no asparagus “strings” left and it is super kid friendly in texture. While I absolutely believe in making sure kids are exposed to every food texture, I understand how those bigger asparagus spears can be kind of stringy. The texture of this soup is soup smooth and creamy – perfect for kids and adults alike!

Freezer Friendly!

Absolutely fill your freezer with at least a couple quarts of leftover soup when you make it! When late fall and middle of winter hit your home, it is SO nice to pull out a jar of spring flavors to change up your menu! To freeze the soup, I like to cool it to room temp, and then fill BPA free freezer quart containers. If you freeze in glass jars, just be sure to leave the lid off for 24 hours in the freezer so it has room to expand and not break your jar. You can put the lid on once it freezes completely.

Print Recipe
5 from 21 votes

Spring Leek & Asparagus Soup :: Gluten & Dairy Free!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tbsp friendly fat to cook in I prefer the flavor of a combo of butter and olive oil. Ghee is lovely too.
  • 2 large leeks ends and green tips removed, sliced into rounds and rinsed of sand (Use the white and light green part. If you don’t have leeks 1 medium onion or a couple shallots would work well.)
  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled (no need to chop – it will all get blended up in the end)
  • 2 bunches of asparagus woody ends removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small/medium yellow potato cubed
  • 1 ½ quarts bone broth
  • 1 tsp dried dill if you have access fresh use about 2-3 tbsp
  • ¼ cup full fat coconut yogurt regular yogurt, crème fraiche, or sour cream (you can use raw milk or coconut milk if you don’t have these, but the tang of the fermented creams is lovely)
  • Juice of ½ lemon use about 1 tbsp
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Turn the Instant Pot to “Saute,” and melt the butter/oil. Add the leeks and saute for 5 minutes until fragrant, soft, and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, and then turn the Instant Pot “Off.”
  • Add the asparagus, potato, bone broth, and dill, stir to combine, and put the lid on the Instant Pot. Be sure the valve is closed, and turn your Instant Pot on to “Soup.” Bring the time down to 10 minutes. (The IP will start automatically from here. It will take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure depending on how cold your broth was, and then will start counting down the 10 minute pressure cooking time.)
  • When the 10 minutes of pressure cooking is done, release the valve and take the lid off. Blend up the soup using your immersion blender or regular blender until it is smooth.
  • Stir in the yogurt and lemon juice, and then taste for salt and pepper. You can sea salt and pepper the soup to your taste, and serve.

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Creamy Garlic Butter Salmon :: Dairy Free Option Included!

February 7, 2019

Gorgeous wild caught salmon drenched in an elegant, smooth, and creamy garlic butter sauce!

A winter for the books!

Six consecutive days snowed in from school, and 3 days of ice in a row cancelling school the following week. YOU GUYS…we are so accustomed to snow (and a lot of it!) here on the Lake Michigan shoreline, and typically we can trudge through to school in just about any winter weather, but the last couple of weeks have truly made this a winter we will never forget!

A cozy winter dinner

By that second ice day, there had been an accumulation of almost 2 weeks of fun school activities and dates canceled, and we were ready for some warm comfort food! My kids truly needed a brain boost to lift their spirits, and wild caught salmon always makes them smile.

Easy weeknight prep for any occasion!

Whether you are snowed in, celebrating Valentine’s Day at home, or just have a house full of kids that need an omega 3 fatty fish boost in an amazing cream sauce, this salmon dinner is for you. The prep truly is weeknight fast for any busy work and school day, taking only 20 minutes to make! The elegant cream sauce would make any special dinner night at home perfect with pretty asparagus spears and glasses of white wine too.

How to make perfectly pan seared salmon

The magic lies in a super hot skillet, and I’m convinced ghee makes the best crust and flavor. Start by getting your ghee or other cooking fat super hot in the skillet and put the salmon that has been pat dry and seasoned with salt and pepper right in. After it has crisped up and sealed in the flavor on both sides, set the salmon aside to make the cream sauce. There is nothing like the flavor that comes from pan searing salmon, and all those bits from searing will cook right into the dreamy sauce.

Creamy, dreamy sauce without the dairy!

Unless you can tolerate dairy that is, of course! Because you can make it either way. Dairy free friends, I promise you won’t taste the coconut milk – there is so much amazing garlic goodness paired with ghee or olive oil, wine, and sweetly sautéed veg, that all you will taste is amazing flavor. We thicken the sauce with tapioca which makes the velvety sauce so elegant and special – and trust me, I’ve had my fair share of gummy tapioca sauces – this is NOT one of them! It is so silky and amazing.

Optional change ups

  • If we hadn’t gotten iced in, I would have picked up some mushrooms to saute in with the onion and garlic – it is my favorite way to make this dish. You will love it!
  • You can add some Parmesan cheese to the finished dish if you tolerate dairy ok!
  • I have used sun-dried tomatoes versus fresh before, and it is SO good. And a great way to make this dish in the winter when fresh tomatoes can be pricey or not have that summer sweetness.
  • You can add steamed broccoli to the finished dish for more veggie boost.
  • Asparagus is my favorite veggie add in. During those first days of spring when the air is still cool and crisp, but the first of that spring asparagus is coming in, this warm salmon meal with asparagus is so comforting.
Print Recipe
5 from 15 votes

Creamy Garlic Butter Salmon with Dairy Free Option Included!

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp ghee or butter, olive oil, or pastured lard/tallow
  • 4 large wild caught salmon fillets cut in half if you have little ones at home
  • Sea salt and pepper for the salmon
  • 3 tbsp butter or more ghee
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • 7 cloves of garlic minced
  • ½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup white wine bone broth would be fine here, though the flavor of the wine in here is fantastic if you can do it
  • 1 ½ cups coconut milk or raw cream/milk
  • Heaping handful of baby spinach or baby kale
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch or arrowroot starch mixed in a couple tbsp water for the slurry to thicken
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Get your large skillet nice and hot and melt your ghee in the pan. While the skillet is warming up, pat dry your salmon fillets and sprinkle both sides with sea salt and pepper.
  • Put the salmon in the hot ghee, skin side down for 2-3 minutes until crispy, then flip the salmon over to the flesh side. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until the flesh has a golden brown crust. Take the salmon out of the pan and set aside on a plate while you make the sauce. If your salmon is larger cut or thicker, you will want to bump up your cook time to more like 5 minutes each side.
  • Melt the butter in your skillet over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Mushrooms are a nice touch here too that we enjoy. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter for a few minutes until fragrant and starting to get golden brown.
  • Add the wine and tomatoes and bring to a simmer for 4-5 minutes to blister the tomatoes a bit, and cook off the alcohol in the wine. Be sure to scrape up any bits at the bottom of the pan – flavor!
  • Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add the baby spinach or kale, along with the tapioca starch slurry to thicken the sauce more. Stir frequently until everything thickens – you can add more wine or water if you want to thin the sauce out any.
  • Sea salt and pepper the sauce to your taste, and add the salmon fillets back into the pan to warm back up. Serve your salmon over white rice or rice noodles, over a baked sweet or white potato, or over a bed of steamed or roasted broccoli or cauliflower.

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Instant Pot Poblano Potato Soup

January 15, 2019

Poblano potato soup is winter comfort food…with a Mexican twist and in a fraction of the time with your Instant Pot!

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 fresh week, a delicious soup, and a brand new cookbook…

For this real food blogger, it really doesn’t get any better than that – specifically that last part. A sparkling new cookbook filled with so many amazing possibilities! My dear blogging friend for so many years, Emily, from Recipes to Nourish sent her second cookbook, “Amazing Mexican Favorites with Your Instant Pot” to me this weekend, and authentic Mexican food makes this momma so happy!

Fun Mexican favorites…and some new ideas!

I’ll be the first one to admit that my Mexican food comfort zone revolves around the basics…tacos, fajitas, and maybe a little tortilla soup, so I was really happy to step out of my comfort zone and learn a few new food ideas from this beautiful cookbook. There are so many great taco, burrito, and fajita ideas that I can’t wait to learn how to make in my Instant Pot, but there are also a handful of recipes that I have never heard before…and that my friends, is where the magic lies…

Giving your kids the gift of a broad taste palate…

Here’s the deal dear momma! When your goal is creating broad taste palates for your kids, it goes so much further beyond just eating their broccoli at dinner. I honestly didn’t know how the girls were going to like this soup, but what I DID know, was that they were going to happily come to the dinner table that night, even if there was new food in their bowl. Mealtime has been, and always will be positive, and they have been exposed to a variety of flavors from early on. The flavors in this book are super authentic, and this soup is bold and SO amazing…and all 3 of them liked it – my oldest in this picture ate 2 bowls (she adored it!).

That spark in her eye…

She asked to look through the book more and I love that it sparked an interest for a different culture of food. We talked about where Rudy, Emily’s husband, has family roots, and while she knew where Mexico was on the map, it was really cool to see her eyes light up learning about the food culture there. THIS is where it’s at dear momma. Don’t be afraid to put different cultures of food, bold and bright as they may be, in front of your kids. They will grow into adults that appreciate the variety in culture that surrounds us, and have a deep appreciation for food!

Winter comfort food…with a Mexican twist!

SO, let’s talk about this amazing Poblano Potato Soup! I have definitely had my fair share of potato soups – we LOVE creamy and comforting potato soups in the winter – but THIS! This potato soup has the most delicious Mexican twist to it. The smoky paprika flavor, and the mild, sweet heat from the poblanos was so surprising to me. It really was so different…and we adore this soup!

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Since I made the Poblano Potato Soup for the first time at the beginning of the day, I ended up eating the bowl of soup for my breakfast with a side of eggs and figs – it was so satisfying, not to mention FAST using my Instant Pot! The fiber and slow burning carbohydrates in potatoes along with the cooking fat and my side dish protein made for a really balanced meal. My girls ate theirs with fish sticks for dinner – it was a real hit!

A quick note on the heat for your littles

All 3 of my girls loved the taste of this soup at first. Like I said earlier, my oldest ate 2 bowls and really enjoyed every single bite. My younger 2 girls, who are still a bit sensitive to heat, started heating up after about 3 bites. They both said they wanted to keep eating it but their mouth felt too spicy. I asked Emily personally where the heat was coming from – was it the poblanos or was it the smoked paprika? She is thinking it is more the peppers, so I am planning on making this soup again and cutting back on the poblano peppers by 1 or even 2. My poblanos were…HUGE – as you can see in the photo above! It could have just been that too! I LOVE that each recipe in the cookbook has a spicy heat level attached – mild, medium, and hot. This soup recipe is labeled as “medium,” and so it makes sense that my littles found it to have more heat than they are used to. I felt like most of the recipes in the book were labeled as mild, and the ones that are labeled hot or medium, are easily adjusted for heat if you have little guys not used to it.

Notes for my dairy free friends

Since we don’t tolerate dairy, I did swap the cream for a mix of coconut yogurt and coconut milk – I think all coconut milk would be fine too. I did not taste the coconut. I also left the cheese out. I think it would taste even more amazing with the cheese, so if you can tolerate the dairy – enjoy that!

Print Recipe
5 from 13 votes

Poblano Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 3 tbsp 42 g butter, ghee or avocado oil
  • 1 leek white and pale green parts only, sliced
  • 5 fresh garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp dried dill
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 russet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups 1 L chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup 230 g sour cream or 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • ½ cup 55 g shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ lb 225 g pan fried Spanish style chorizo, sliced into small pieces

Optional Toppings

  • Sour cream
  • Freshly chopped cilantro

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to broil with a rack in the highest position.
  • Place the poblano peppers on a baking sheet and broil until they start to blacken, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, carefully peel the blackened skin off. Remove the stems and discard. Coarsely chop the peppers, then set them aside.
  • Add the healthy fat of your choice to the Instant Pot and press “Sauté.” When the fat has melted, add the leek, sautéing for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the garlic, salt, dill, paprika, cumin and black pepper and continue to sauté for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button. Add the potatoes, roasted peppers and broth.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the steam-release valve is sealed. Press the “Manual” button and set for 9 minutes. When the Instant Pot is done and beeps, press “Keep Warm/Cancel.” Using an oven mitt, “quick release”/open the steam-release valve. When the steam venting stops and the silver dial drops, carefully open the lid.
  • In batches, ladle the soup into a blender, taking care to fill only about half of the blender (hot liquids will expand, so please use caution). Blend on a low setting just until puréed and combined. Add the puréed soup back to the Instant Pot and press “Sauté,” bring to a boil and give it a few stirs. Add the sour cream and cheese and stir until fully combined. Turn off the Instant Pot by pressing “Keep Warm/Cancel.”
  • Serve immediately garnished with browned chorizo and the toppings of your choice.

Notes

Notes: For a vegetarian version, omit the chorizo and use vegetable stock instead of the chicken broth.

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Sheet Pan Spatchcock Maple Mustard Chicken and Roasted Veggies

January 10, 2019

Sheet pan spatchcock maple mustard chicken is one healthy meal all on a couple sheet pans!

January thaw…

I live for them. Well technically, I live for the opposite 5 months out of the year where we get to be at the beach every week, but in the winter months, a January thaw somewhere in the midst of our frozen tundra is pretty predictable, and it’s something I totally look forward to. We enjoyed just that this past weekend with over 40 degree temperatures! A few long hikes was exactly what our holiday dazed bodies needed, and we enjoyed watching a calmer side of Lake Michigan, trails that weren’t icy or frozen, and even a few glimpses of some sun.

A winter sheet pan dinner

While 40 degrees is quite the heatwave for Michigan in the winter, we were still chilled to the bone when we came home, and flipping the oven on to roast some dinner for an hour was just what we longed for. I live for sheet pan dinners – a whole meal on a couple of sheet pans? Sign me up. This meal is low fussy and absolutely delicious. Warm, winter comfort food that can make an appearance on your weekly dinner menu throughout the cooler months of the year!

Spatchcock, butterflied, split…

Whatever you want to call it, we just love a juicy butterflied chicken! Splitting the chicken spatchcock style is easier than it looks to do, and it cuts the cook time down by about 1/4 of the time! Instead of a whole afternoon to slow cook, in around an hour, you can have super crispy, delicious skin with juicy and flavorful meat on the inside. All you have to do is use kitchen shears to snip down the backbone of the chicken, and you’re set!

The key to super juicy meat….

That butter! You can use olive oil or ghee of course, but if you tolerate butter, you are going to want to slide that right under the skin and let it baste the meat while it cooks. You’ll be so glad you did!

The maple mustard sauce!

Of course we’ve all heard of honey mustard, but have you ever tried maple mustard?! It is just amazing, and I can almost guarantee your kids are going to be completely in love. Slightly sweet and sticky, the outside of the chicken gets basted in this super kid friendly glaze that will have everyone asking for seconds. And with just TWO ingredients to whisk up in less than a minute, this easy peasy change up to a spatchcock chicken will be something you can actually put on the dinner menu rotation that you have time to make.

Make it a whole meal on a tray momma!

I’m telling you, once you go sheet pan dinner, you’ll never look back! I use sheet pan dinners more often than my Instant Pot or slow cooker – combined! *GASP*. Yep. Toss it all on the tray and hands free? Yes please! You can change up the veggies to what you have on hand – here are some ideas!

  • Cubed butternut squash and brussel sprouts (pictured in this post)
  • Cubed sweet potatoes and broccoli
  • Carrot or rainbow carrot “coins,” cubed potatoes, and chopped kale (add the kale at the end – last 10 or so minutes since it doesn’t need as long to cook)
  • Root veggie mix up! Just toss all those glorious winter roots on the tray – parsnips, rutabaga, carrot, beet! The possibilities are endless and changing it up not only keeps the meal interesting, it gets a variety of nutrients into your family!

Alllll that veggie prep…how do I do it on a busy schedule?!

I’ve got you covered, dear momma! I certainly don’t have time to be in the kitchen all day, but it is worth taking at least some time to get some real food on the table. If you really want to make it happen, it can be done! Here are some tips!

  • Prep the veggies the night before. I timed myself prepping the squash and brussel sprouts for this recipe, and it took me under 10 minutes. That is do-able before bedtime – and you can have the kids help you! I picked veggies for this meal that wouldn’t go bad getting cut up the night before – just pop them in a container with a lid and all you have to do when you get home from school or work is dump it on the tray.
  • Train the kiddos! Yes, dear momma! Get those little sous chefs in there to help you out. Put it on the big kids’ chore list to peel the squash when they get home from school, and have the littles scoop the seeds out. Whatever works. And let this be a message to my mommas with littles that are reading this…train them NOW, so that when life gets even busier when they start school (YES you heard that right – it gets BUSIER when school starts!), you have some trained helpers to get the meal on the table.
  • You can also buy veggies like this that have been pre-cut – if that makes your life easier, it fits in your budget, and it lands this recipe on your dinner menu instead of take-out, go for it my friend!

Treat yourself to some sheet pans for your new sheet pan dinner menu!

I use sheet pans more than almost anything else in my kitchen. Having 3 or 4 large sheet pans is a must in my kitchen, and you’ll see at the bottom of this post there are SO many different ways to make a sheet pan dinner – lots of variety! ALSO! You will want to roast your veggies on just the baking sheet – do not use a Silpat mat or parchment paper. They will steam this way and not roast, and you want that roasted flavor. You can roast the chicken on a silpat for easier clean up. The Silpat mats are also great for baking on your sheet pans.

Print Recipe
5 from 18 votes

Sheet Pan Spatchcock Maple Mustard Chicken and Roasted Veggies

Ingredients

FOR THE MAPLE MUSTARD SAUCE:

  • 3 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 small onion, sliced into 4 rounds
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 recipe of the Maple Mustard Sauce from above You may make more separately for dipping later if you wish

FOR THE SHEET PAN VEGGIES:

  • 1 medium/large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb brussel sprouts, stems cut off and quartered (broccoli would work nice here too)
  • ½ purple onion, sliced into thick strips
  • ¼ cup melted butter or ghee
  • Sea salt/pepper to your taste

Instructions

  • Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees and make sure you have your 3 oven racks in the middle of the oven.
  • Whisk the Maple Mustard Sauce ingredients together and set aside.
  • Split your chicken by cutting down each side of the spine to remove the backbone. (You can see how this looks in the picture above). Put the chicken breast side UP on a baking sheet, press the chest down flat, and place an onion round under each breast and leg. Put 1 cup of water on the baking sheet as well.
  • Loosen the skin of the breast using your fingers, and put about 2-3 tbsp of butter under the skin (see the above image). Brush a thin layer of the maple mustard sauce on the chicken (use about ¼ of what you made), and place in the 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  • While the chicken is cooking, you can get your veggies ready. Toss the veggies with the butter/salt/pepper on a large sheet pan, and then split the veggies between 2 sheet pans. If you leave them super piled up and crowded they won’t cook as fast and won’t get the yummy roasted flavor. Use 2 sheet pans. If you have a smaller crowd to feed, you can use less veggies and cover 1 sheet pan.
  • When the chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, take it out, brush on more of the maple mustard sauce, leaving about ¼ of it behind for one more coat at the end. Put the chicken back in the oven along with the veggie sheet pans, and roast everything for 30 minutes.
  • Take the chicken out, brush on the last of the Maple Mustard Sauce, give the veggies a quick stir, and roast everything for another 5 minutes.
  • Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before cutting – you can leave the veggies in the oven to stay warm.

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Instant Pot Cauliflower and Kale Soup :: Stovetop Directions Included! :: Gluten and Dairy Free!

January 4, 2019

Make super smooth and creamy cauliflower and kale soup in a fraction of the time with your Instant Pot!

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, and warm bowls…

At this point in the year, my little Michigander children expect snow…and lots of it! Every once and a while we experience a “barely white” Christmas, and this year was one of them. With the last 2 weeks off from school, they’ve been less than impressed with the lack of fresh powder, but thankfully that leaves roads clear enough to visit some of our favorite hiking places to move around. We warmed up with warm bowls of this super smooth and creamy cauliflower and baby kale soup after a hike this weekend, and the rest will be saved for school lunchbox thermoses, and momma’s breakfast.

A mind-blowing breakfast revelation….

Those of you that follow my Instagram much in the last few years know that soup is on my breakfast plate most days of the week – especially in the cooler months of fall, winter, and early spring. Years ago a nutritional therapist that I was working with opened my eyes to just how many more vegetable minerals and vegetable fiber our bodies need on a daily basis, and one of the ways I have figured out to get veggies into this not-so-smoothie-loving girl’s plate is to use soup.

A new breakfast favorite!

Ever grab a head of cauliflower at the market only to forget about and find it a few days later with the beginnings of those little brown spots on it? Just me?! Well, it happened to me a couple months back in the thick of the beginning of the holiday season, and I decided to use the whole head up in one shot so it didn’t go to waste. I used what I had in-house, and this delicious soup was the result – and became my breakfast for the rest of the week! It has been a nice change up from my typical breakfast soups, which also means veggie nutrient variety for my body, and that is always a win.

What I eat with my soup for breakfast

When I eat soup for breakfast, I like to have it with sides of just about anything! That keeps things interesting, so you don’t get bored. Fried eggs or sausage, a healthy muffin or breakfast cookie…even dinner leftovers will work. Leftover soup warms up quickly, and can go with you in a to-go mug too.

Ok, breakfast soup for mom, but will the kids eat it?!

Well devour it is more like it in my house, but yes, this soup is super kid friendly. If your kids aren’t big soup for breakfast eaters, pack it along in their school lunchbox thermos, or serve it with dinner. It’s a great way to get in more veggie variety with an easy to eat, flavorful soup. The texture is super smooth which most kids prefer, and the flavors are pure and delicious versus super complex. Your toddlers/babies can use a straw if they want to do it themselves. Veggie soup purees were some of my girls’ very favorite first foods, and because we started out young, they crave these mineral rich soups!

Kale? But why?!

The baby kale (or baby spinach if that is what you have) just adds more nutrients to the soup without changing the flavor. Baby kale/spinach is super mild and wilts right into hot soup – I add it to many of my soups because it is an easy way to get those dark green leafies in! It obviously changes the color, but its nice to add more nutrients without any fuss to the flavor. You can certainly leave this ingredient out if you don’t have it around, or if the kids are going to complain about the soup being “green” 🙂

The key to amazing flavor from the Instant Pot

Get those veggie basics down into some flavorful fat on the “saute” feature first. You’ll be so glad you did because the difference in flavor is very different than if you were to just toss everything in and go. Pulling the sweetness out of the carrot and onion builds the flavor in the soup which is why it is so tasty without a bunch of complex seasonings.

Chop and GO!

One of my favorite parts about soup purees, is that the veggie prep is really carefree. You don’t need a fine, perfect dice on your veggies. It all ends up getting pureed in the end, so just a quick, coarse chop will do.

Some for now, and some for later

This cauliflower and kale soup freezes great. This batch was eaten for lunch after our hike, I packed a serving away to have for my breakfast the next day, and I packed a quart away into the freezer for another time. That is probably the only true meal planning tip you’ll ever hear from my end! Whenever I make veggie soups, I always pack a quart away into the freezer for another time. I pack thermoses for the girls twice a week, and having soup in the freezer helps with that!

Print Recipe
5 from 17 votes

Instant Pot Cauliflower & Kale Soup

Ingredients

Instructions

INSTANT POT METHOD:

  • Turn the Instant Pot on, and press “Saute.”. Put the ghee into the pot to melt, and add the onion and carrot with a big pinch of sea salt. Cook the onion and carrot on the “Saute” function for 5-7 minutes until they are soft and sweet. Add the garlic, stir in, and then turn the “Saute” feature “Off.”
  • Once you turn the “Saute” feature off, add the cauliflower and bone broth, and put the Instant Pot lid on. Turn the valve to closed, and press the “Soup” button. Bring the time down to 10 minutes. The Instant Pot will automatically turn on, taking about 10 minutes to come to pressure before counting down the 10 minutes of pressure cooking time.
  • When the Instant Pot is done pressure cooking, release the valve to let the pressure out, and take the lid off the Instant Pot. Add the coconut milk and baby kale, and use your immersion blender to puree the soup until it is smooth. Add sea salt and pepper to your taste after you puree the soup.

STOVETOP METHOD:

  • Melt the ghee in a large soup pot, and add the onion and carrot with a big pinch of sea salt. Saute the veg until it is soft and sweet.
  • Add the cauliflower and bone broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes until the cauliflower is soft, and then turn the heat off.
  • Add the coconut milk and baby kale, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it is smooth. Add sea salt and pepper to your taste after you puree the soup.

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20 Minute Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas

December 29, 2018

Just 2 sheet pans and a super easy recipe for 20 minute sheet pan steak fajitas!

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.

Fresh, new year menu!

True to my typical “Happy New Year” blogging style, we’re keeping things kid/family friendly, super delicious, and do-able for “real families in the real world.” I’ve got some great meal ideas for you to plug into your meal plan for the winter that will keep real food on the table, and everyone in the family happy.

A healthy menu that will STICK in the new year

Because really, if your new year healthy eating goals aren’t sustainable, they will be thrown out the window by January 27th – right?! Easy does it, and baby steps are always (always!) the way to go. Jumping onto the latest diet, or food trend bandwagon sometimes gets you a great kickstart. Go ahead and do a Whole30 if you need to break the sugar habit, or get some food elimination for a period of time on GAPS or Paleo if you need to do some gut healing. But BIG PICTURE, friends. It’s really just all about real food…

Real food that works for YOUR body

That is going to look different for everyone, but the main point here is…would your great-grandparents (or for some of us great-great-grandparents) have eaten it? If they did great. If they didn’t, I’m out for the most part. Simple real ingredients? YES! Mile long list of fake food-like ingredients? I’m out. It really can be that simple. Simple, real food eaten in a balanced way without over-doing one food group, item, or nutrient is always the way our ancestors would have eaten.

So let’s talk about fajitas!

And more specifically lets talk about SHEET PAN fajitas, because boy, oh boy will this blow your mind! We sure do love our Instant Pot for quick, healthy meals on busy days (you will be seeing a lot of those around the internet in the next few weeks!), but truth be told…sheet pan dinners are STILL my go-to on busy weeknights. You can’t beat oven roasted flavor (sorry Instant Pot!), and it doesn’t get much easier than throwing it all on a sheet pan.

The season blend…

The fajita season blend here is super easy to make, and very kid friendly in taste. On purpose! I love me some fajita heat, but if I made them as hot as my husband and I like it, the girls would be a no-go. So this blend is mild on the heat without skipping that amazing fajita flavor, and you can add more heat to your liking (or a squirt or 2 of sriracha to your personal fajita to spice it up!).

The key to juicy, tender grass-fed round steak…

It’s all in the marinade and the cook method. The marinade breaks that tissue down a little bit (you could also tenderize your meat if you want), not only adding a load of flavor, but also making it more tender to chew. And then a super quick, hot broil is the perfect way to lock the steak’s juices in without making it tough.

Serving options (and some wrap/tortilla ideas!)

Here are some of our favorite tortillas/wraps to rotate around!

But don’t just limit yourself to wraps. Sometimes I don’t have them in house, or we just want a change up, and the fajita steak and pepper filling tastes so good on top of a baked potato or sweet potato – in fact the sweet potato is on of my girls’ favorite serving methods.

Topping ideas!

  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Raw cow or goat cheese
  • Fresh chopped cilantro/parsley
  • Sour cream
  • Sriracha
  • Lime juice
Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

20 Minute Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas

Ingredients

FAJITA SEASON BLEND

FOR THE STEAK/MARINADE

  • 1 lb grass-fed round steak or flank steak
  • 2 tbsp Fajita Season Blend from above
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime

FOR THE VEGGIES

  • 4 medium bell peppers, cored, de-ribbed, and cut into strips
  • 1/4 large head of cabbage, cut into strips
  • 1 medium/large purple onion, halved and cut into strips
  • 3 tbsp ghee, melted
  • The rest of the 1-ish tbsp Fajita Season Blend from above

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the Fajita Season Blend, and set aside.
  • Put the Steak/Marinade ingredients into a glass container with a lid (or a freezer bag), stir to combine, and set in the refrigerator to marinate at least 30 minutes, or up to a day. If you have a busy day, get the steak marinating before you leave for the morning, so it is ready to cook when you get home.
  • When you are ready to make the fajitas, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toss the Veggie ingredients together on a large sheet pan, and then divide the veggies onto 2 large sheet pans so they are spread out well for roasting. Roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Take the veggies out of the oven, and combine the veggies onto ONE sheet tray, scooting them over to cover just half of the sheet tray. Put the marinated steak onto the other half of the sheet tray, and broil on HI for 4 minutes until the steak is cooked to your liking (this leaves just a slight pink in the middle. If you make thinner strips of steak than what is shown above, you will want to cut the broil time down by a minute or 2.)

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Pot Pie Soup :: Use Chicken Or Turkey! Gluten and Dairy Free Friendly Too!

November 25, 2018

Use chicken or turkey to make the comforting flavors of pot pie in an easy to make pot pie soup!

Savoring the season

It really just keeps getting better and better. I have moments of missing my babies as babies, but this is such a cool season of mommahood. Sure, those squishy cheeks and snuggles are missed, but OH…the holidays have become this amazing time of making precious memories with these little people that can communicate such intelligent discussions, have such glorious fun…and HELP so much in the kitchen!

Invite them in…

Because that is truly what it is all about. We slowed Thanksgiving down, and purposely pushed the time of the dinner being served so that my girls could help the whole time. We started making dishes days in advance, and they truly had their hands in every dish we made! So when my oldest asked if she could help turn the leftovers into a delicious meal for dinner on Saturday, we chose something to make together.

All of the chicken pot pie amazing-ness without the fuss!

Because I really wanted her to be able to do it on her own, and I didn’t want it to take up the whole day. I’m pretty sure I’ve made pot pie soup versus traditional pot pie more often than not – and most certainly the soup versus the pie on the weekend after Thanksgiving. I think we are all ready for a more fuss free meal after making Thanksgiving dinner!

The secret to amazing broth…

…is making your own. Whether you are making your soup from Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, or your Sunday roasted chicken, take the time to make your bone broth from scratch. You will be so glad you did. You can either make the broth easily in your slow cooker or your Instant Pot. Fill the broth pot with your favorite herbs, garlic, onion, and carrot/celery and let it all infuse. This broth gets rich and creamy from a just a little bit of flour and milk – it is silky and smooth and just brothy enough to still feel like soup. You can, of course, add more flour if you wish for your soup to feel more like a stew.

What about the crust?!

Don’t worry, I am totally a soup dunker, so I promise I won’t leave you hanging on that part! You have a few options here. We did play around with using my pumpkin pie crust (cut in half) to make little pie crust rounds to dunk or crumble in the soup, and the girls thought that was the coolest thing. I think I am more inclined to want a soft and buttery biscuit, but it truly just depends on what you prefer. Here are some options:

  • GF Pumpkin Biscuits (This has a 5 minute blender dough and they are so soft and fluffy!)
  • Grain Free Butter Herb Biscuits (This also has a 5 minute blender dough and they are soft and fluffy too!)
  • Use your favorite pie crust to make little crust toppers or crumbles for your soup! Just make the crust and chill it while you get the soup going. Then roll the dough out, and use a mason jar or circle cutter to make rounds. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes depending on how thick you made the rounds. (You can find the pie crust recipe that I used in this pumpkin pie post – I halved it and it was plenty for a dinner meal)

Veggie options

I like to stick to the traditional “pot pie” veggie fillings (carrots, peas, and corn) and I also think the little bit of potato adds some starch to the broth to help with the creaminess. But you can absolutely switch things up to what you have on hand. Sweet potatoes work really well in place of the potatoes, as do parsnips for the carrots. If you don’t tolerate peas, add something else green in there that you enjoy. Even just wilting chopped kale or spinach adds some pretty color.

How to roast chicken or turkey for your soup

Plan a pastured chicken or turkey into your Sunday dinner plan, and then use the leftover meat for this quick and simple soup on a busy weeknight. You can see how to slow roast a simple chicken in this post, and my method for dry brined pastured turkey is in my cookbook, Nourished Beginnings. We make our yearly Thanksgiving turkey that way each year and it is so delicious. You can use the carcass of your chicken or turkey to make bone broth and then make your soup.

Freezer friendly?

If you are overloaded with Thanksgiving turkey, or batch cooking whole chickens, you can definitely stock up on this soup for the freezer, for a pregnant or new momma that needs a meal, or someone who is ill. A comforting meal makes such a great gift to a brand new momma. To freeze the soup, cool it completely and store in freezer safe containers.

Print Recipe
5 from 17 votes

Pot Pie Soup :: Use Chicken Or Turkey!

Use chicken or turkey to make the comforting flavors of pot pie in an easy to make pot pie soup!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy-free pot pie soup, gluten-free pot pie soup, pot pie soup recipe
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp of friendly fat to cook in butter, ghee, olive oil, tallow/lard etc
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 small yellow potatoes cubed
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp Namaste GF Flour Blend rice flour, or even cassava flour will work. If you want the soup thicker, or more like a stew, add 3 tbsp – the 2 tbsp leaves the soup smooth and creamy
  • 3 cups bone broth
  • 1 cup whole milk or coconut milk
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste per your family’s heat preference (Optional - if you are preparing this for little guys, leave it out, and you can always add it to your bowl if you enjoy the heat)
  • 1-2 cups leftover chicken or turkey cubed or shredded
  • 1 cup frozen organic peas
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in your soup pot over medium/high heat, add the onion, carrot, and potato and stir in a big pinch of sea salt. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes so the veggies soften and sweeten.
  • Add the garlic and flour and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the broth, coconut milk, parsley, thyme, red pepper flakes, and chicken, and bring to a simmer until the broth thickens from the flour. This takes a few minutes.
  • Add the peas and corn and simmer a few minutes until they thaw. Add sea salt and pepper to your taste.
  • Garnish with more parsley, and pie crust biscuits or regular biscuits if you choose. See the above notes on biscuit options for more details.

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Biscuits :: Easy, 5 Minute Blender Batter!

November 15, 2018

Bring a basket of dinner rolls to the table every week with these fast prep, 5 minute blender batter gluten free pumpkin biscuits!

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.

What an amazing fall!

We couldn’t have asked for anything better – well, other than asking for more weeks of perfect hiking weather?! Thankfully we have been able to hit all of our favorite trails to see the leaves change during the last couple months, and boy has the season definitely taken a change in the last week or so. We warmed up after a cooler than usual hike last weekend with hot bowls of autumn chicken stew and these fluffy and comforting pumpkin biscuits – I just had to share them with you!

Blender batter and a can of pumpkin?!…*gasp!*

Those of you who have been around here long enough know that I am not a baker – I don’t love the fuss of it all. I’m all about a simple blender batter that will yield me delicious biscuits to go with any dinner or any cup of soup for lunch. These biscuits have been so fun to play around with that we have even enjoyed them with a plate of eggs and sausage for breakfast! If a biscuit dough is fussy and hard to work with, I’m just not going to make them. This dough comes together super fast – and yes, dear momma, go ahead and use that can of pumpkin if you don’t have any leftover squash around. These days, I rarely ever have “leftover” squash to use for recipes since my crew is getting older and like to make it their life goal eat all the things. Organic canned pumpkin works great.

My biscuit must have list…

Gluten free baking can be tough. We aren’t gluten free because it is trendy, or because we are following the crowd. I literally just don’t tolerate it, so we just keep the whole house gluten free for the sake of my health. And let me tell you…I’ve had my fair share of brick hard gluten free biscuits. Crumbly and brittle gluten free biscuits. And chalky tasteless gluten free biscuits. These biscuits are lightly crispy on the outside, and soft and fluffy inside which, if you ask me, is the perfect biscuit combination! Super easy and fast prep checked off the list as well, and we have a winner.

Ingredient notes

  • Butternut squash or freshly baked pumpkin purees would work fine in this recipe if you have that on hand.
  • Most GF Flour blends should work if you don’t have access to Namaste GF Flour Blend. I have not tried grain free swaps such as coconut flour etc, so you will have to play around with the ingredients if you need to go that route.
  • There is only 1 egg in this recipe, so if you are egg free, I do think a flax egg will work for the bind. They might not puff up as much because the eggs do help with that, but they will bind and still taste great.
  • If you are nut free I think you could take the almond flour out and use more Namaste – you won’t need the same amount though. The almond flour does help with that lightly crispy crust out the outside of the biscuit which is why I like using it.

Freezer friendly

Prep ahead, and always have biscuits ready to go! You can either freeze the dough, or freeze the baked off biscuits.

  • To freeze the dough, blend up the dough, portion the biscuits out on a tray and freeze. Once the biscuit portions are frozen, pop them into a freezer bag. When you want to bake the biscuits, take them out to thaw, and bake according to the instructions below.
  • To freeze already baked biscuits, let the baked biscuits cool to room temperature, and then put them into a freezer bag. If you plan to freeze longer than a couple months, I recommend individually wrapping the biscuits in plastic wrap or beeswax wrap to prevent freezer burn.

Soups to go with your biscuits!

The pumpkin biscuits will go with just about any dinner meal, from your roasted pastured chicken, beef roast, or chili, but I also wanted to leave you with some soup recipes. My favorite real food in the real world life hack is making a big pot of soup for dinner, and then packing the leftover soup and biscuits in to lunchboxes for school the next day. Cook once, and eat twice!

Print Recipe
5 from 11 votes

Gluten Free Pumpkin Biscuits

Bring a basket of dinner rolls to the table every week with these fast prep, 5-minute blender batter gluten-free pumpkin biscuits!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time17 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten-free biscuit recipe, gluten-free pumpkin biscuits, pumpkin biscuit recipe
Servings: 12 biscuits
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper
  • Put the flours and cold butter into your food processor, and pulse until the butter is pea sized bits in the flour.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, and blend to combine.
  • Scoop the biscuit batter onto your baking sheet into the sized biscuits you want, and bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of your biscuits (smaller biscuits will not need as long – the ones pictured in this post took 15 minutes). Let them cool for a few minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack.

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Mashed Acorn Squash and Parsnips :: Oven Roasted or Instant Pot Method

November 14, 2018

Mashed acorn squash and parsnips is a sweet, rustic, healthy change up to your dinner side dish menu plan!

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.

Simple & Sweet

Sometimes the best things come in the simplest of packages. One of the things I love the most about this space I am so blessed to get to write in every week, is opening messages from…you. This week I got the sweetest message from a new momma, that was not unlike so many other messages I get on a daily basis. That whole…“how in the world do I get this thing done?!” question. I felt an urge to hop on my IG Stories and chat about baby season, and it was really nostalgic to look back on those blur of a days that infant season brought to my life. One of my answers to the “how do you get it done” question is…keep it simple and sweet dear momma. 

Back to the basics…

Because sometimes as a blogger, I get caught up in needing to post the next fun dessert, or fancy food prep that will draw eyes to the blog, when really what I know you all need is real life. That is why I am here in the first place – when I was a brand new momma I didn’t have very many places to turn for real life recipes. I didn’t want another momma to have to figure this thing out on her own, and that is one of the drives behind this writing space. So here I sit, writing to you about simple split pea soup, the basics for how to roast a whole chicken, and then make a simple chicken stew out of the leftovers…and how to take budget friendly in season veggies and turn them into a nourishing side dish that the whole family will love.

Team Oven Roast or Team Instant Pot???

Believe it or not, when my babies were babies, I didn’t own an Instant Pot! I didn’t have one until I was well out of the baby years – it’s only been about 3 years since my Instant Pot became a staple on my counter. While the Instant Pot has revolutionized my kitchen routine, the oven does tend to draw me in during these cold winter months. There is just something about the flavor that embeds into those veggies when you roast them in an oven. Don’t get me wrong – I still totally make this side dish in the Instant Pot if I’m making it on a whim and haven’t the time for the oven roasting, but this sweet and earthy veggie mash has it’s roots in my babyhood season of life…and during those years, it was all done in the oven.

Sooo…what does it taste like?

I think both parsnips and acorn squash are overlooked a lot during the fall and winter, getting passed up for the more popular butternut squashes and carrots or sweet potatoes. But let me tell you about these great veggies! Not only are both acorn squash and parsnips loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and an array of other nutrients, they have really mild kid friendly flavors. Acorn squash is sweet and buttery, and when you cook parsnips they become like a sweet carrot. The added roasted onion and hint of that little clove of garlic really take the mashed veggies to another level.

What do I serve mashed acorn squash and parsnips with?

My babies ate it as is! It makes a great first foods start (you can leave the onion and garlic out if your baby is just starting food but my babies over 7-8 months old were eating all of this). But really your mashed acorn squash and parsnips will go alongside just about any dinner. Here are some meal ideas to serve it along with:

Print Recipe
5 from 13 votes

Roasted Acorn Squash and Parsnip Mash

Mashed acorn squash and parsnips is a sweet, rustic, healthy change up to your dinner side dish menu plan!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mashed parsnip, roasted acorn squash
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • 1 medium acorn squash or 2 small acorn squashes quartered and seeds scooped out
  • 2 medium parsnips peeled and quartered
  • ¼ medium/large sweet onion
  • 1 clove of garlic don’t peel it if you are doing the Roasting Method
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp butter
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

ROASTING METHOD ::

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Toss the squash, parsnips, onion, and garlic onto a baking sheet with the olive oil and a big pinch of sea salt. Bake the veggies at 425 degrees for 45 minutes until everything is soft.
  • Peel the garlic, and scoop the squash out of the shell, and then put all of the roasted veggies into your blender or food processor with the butter. Blend until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper and add that to your liking.

INSTANT POT METHOD ::

  • Fill your IP with 1 cup of water and place a steamer basket inside. Put the squash, parsnips, onion, and peeled garlic into the IP on top of the steamer basket.
  • Put the lid on, close the valve, and turn the IP on to “Manual.” Bring the time down to 15 minutes. The IP will start automatically. Once the IP comes to pressure, the 15 minutes will count down.
  • When the veggies are done pressure cooking, turn the IP off, release the pressure, and transfer the veggies to your food processor. Make sure to scoop the squash out of the shell. Add the butter to the food processor, and blend until smooth. Sea salt and pepper the veg to your taste.

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Healthy Instant Pot Split Pea Soup :: Stovetop Directions Included Too!

November 10, 2018

The humble, pantry staple split pea made into a delicious, healthy split pea soup using your Instant Pot OR stovetop!

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.

Purposely slowing it all down…

I woke up a week or so ago with the thought that we are almost through fall, and I didn’t even realize it! So we are slowing it down, taking more off the schedule, and making more time for spending with family outdoors before that cold snow hits!

A kid soup favorite

Part of me slowing down has been to ask the girls some of their favorite fall and winter foods that we want to be sure to include in our meal plans over the next few months. We all want those most looked forward too meals, and the girls were excited to collaborate on a few favorites. Of course indulgent lasagna, Thanksgiving meal staples, casserole, biscuits, and hot cocoa were all on the list. But want surprised me was some of the simpler foods that my kids looked at as “comfort foods” in their eyes – like this split pea soup. They’ve been eating this exact recipe for split pea soup since they were toddlers! It took me a bit to figure out the exact timing for making it in the Instant Pot, loosely following the IP instruction manual time table for different legumes, but I’ve got it how I like it now, and I’m so excited to share it with you!

A soup (and pantry!) staple

The humble split pea. It is almost always on my pantry shelf, for a myriad of reasons! I first learned about peas/dried peas in the very first real food cookbook that I bought, “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. So much of the traditional food preparation that I do even today stems from what I learned in this priceless book! At a dollar a pound, dried peas are really one of the most cost-effective ways to feed my family in balance with other nutrient dense food staples. Peas, along with many other legumes are also a great “perfect food” balance of slow burning carbohydrates for energy, and protein. While we are not an exclusively plant-based diet family, properly prepared legumes like peas help me balance meals – because most people don’t need to be eating meat for their only source of protein all day long. And one of the biggest reasons dried peas are almost always found in my pantry is because my kiddos adore them! I purchase split peas in the bulk section of our local health food store. Check around where you shop, or local food co-ops. You can also find them on Amazon.

Pea Powerhouse!

Peas are more than just their fiber – which is a fantastic nutrient benefit by the way! They are also packed with protein, three different B vitamins, and essential minerals that our organs depend on to function together the way they were meant to. We already talked about how the combination of slow burning carbohydrate energy and protein makes peas a great balanced food, so the added bonus of these nutrients is fantastic!

Split Pea Soup

Typically, split pea soup is flavored with a ham hock and/or chopped ham. It is really rare for me to have pastured ham around other than Easter, so over the years I have perfected that smoky pork flavor that infuses split pea soup with so much amazing taste with a couple secret ingredients. Using smoked paprika works so well, and it is a cost-effective staple that most people have in their pantry. If we happen to have a little bacon grease leftover from weekend breakfasts, a small spoonful of that into the cooking fat also adds smoky pork flavor. The flavor also comes from cooking the veggies the right way……

Instant Pot Pro Tip…SLOW DOWN…

Seems a contradiction, eh?! I know it, you bought the Instant Pot so you could make meals…instantly! But if there is one thing this stovetop soup lover has learned, it is that if I want that amazing flavor that so many veggies have to offer…I’ve gotta slow down and let that saute do it’s magic. Don’t skip that step. Get your veggie basics down in the pot with some flavorful fat – I promise it is worth the 10 minute wait. The flavor is a night and day difference.

To blend or not to blend?

That is all up to you! Pictured in this post is the more traditional way of serving split pea soup – un-blended. The little bits of peas and carrots are so fun and colorful. Truth be told, because I served this soup to my little ones as toddlers and tended to blend it up completely so it was easier for them to serve themselves with a straw, all 3 of my kids prefer the soup totally blended. It transforms into this super velvety bowl of soup – the texture is amazing.

Soaking/Sprouting Tips

Since split peas are technically a “legume,” we know that soaking will help reduce the phytic acid in the split peas, making them easier on digestion. You’ll notice around the 10 hour mark of soaking that the peas will have the start of a little sprouted “tail.” Sprouting these little “tails” in legumes allows the nutrients in the bean more readily available to absorb. Dried peas are very easy to sprout because they naturally “split” during the drying, but you can certainly just do the minimum 6 hour soak if that is what you have time for (I end up in this boat more often than not!). Soak for at least 6 hours and no more than 12. You can approach the soaking a couple different ways (it truly just depends on how your schedule works – there is no one right way!) ::

  • Get the peas soaking first thing in the morning when you wake up to make the soup around dinnertime.
  • Or soak them overnight to make the soup in the morning/early afternoon.

Tips for making split pea soup stove top

You can definitely make this soup stovetop, and I did for years – literally the girls’ entire babyhood! I didn’t have an Instant Pot until my youngest was 2! The absolutely lovely part about making this recipe stovetop, is that you can totally double it up into a large stock pot. In fact, this recipe that I have been using in my kitchen for years is halved to fit into my Instant Pot. I made and froze batches of the large batch for years. Simply follow the same sautéing instructions in the recipe, and then when you get to the bone broth part, just pull your heat up to make the soup simmer until the split peas are cooked through. It will take about 45 minutes to simmer stove top.

Freezer Friendly

Cook once, eat multiple times, dear momma! This batch typically feeds my family of 5 for two to three lunches. It freezes up great. As mentioned in the above paragraph, you can double this into your stockpot and cook it stovetop if you want more leftovers. If you have a larger Instant Pot (I have the 6 quart IP), you may be able to get away with a double. I’m not sure if the IP pressure cooking time changes with it doubling into the 8 quart pot – if you do happen to try it, let us know!

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Healthy Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

The humble, pantry staple split pea made into a delicious, healthy split pea soup using your Instant Pot OR stovetop!
Prep Time6 hrs
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time6 hrs 30 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Instant Pot split pea soup, pressure cooker split pea soup, split pea soup recipe
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • 1 lb split peas this is about 1 ½ cups of dried split peas if you buy in bulk
  • 2 tbsp ghee or butter plus 1 tbsp leftover bacon grease for sauteing you can use all ghee or butter if you don’t have the bacon grease – the bacon grease gives a lovely flavor and hint of smoky pork
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2-3 medium carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 large or 2 small stalks of celery diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ quarts bone broth less if you want your soup very thick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Six to 12 hours before you want to make the soup, soak the split peas. Soaking helps reduces the phytic acid in the legume, making them easier on digestion. You’ll notice around the 10 hour mark that the peas will have the start of a little sprouted “tail.” Sprouting legumes allows the nutrients in the bean more readily available to absorb. Soak for at least 6 hours and no more than 12.
  • When you are ready to make the soup, turn your Instant Pot on to “Saute,” melt the cooking fat (ghee and bacon grease), and add the onion, carrots, and celery with a big pinch sea salt. Saute for about 10 minutes until the veggies are very soft and sweet. Slow down and don’t skip this step! This is flavor!
  • Add the garlic and smoked paprika and Saute for 1 minute, then turn the Instant Pot to “Off/Cancel.”
  • Drain and rinse your soaked split peas, add them into the Instant Pot along with the bone broth and bay leaf, and stir to combine.
  • Put the lid on your Instant Pot, turn the valve to closed, turn your Instant Pot on to “Soup,” and bring time down to 10 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure before counting down the 10 minutes. When the timer beeps that the 10 minutes of pressure cooking is done, turn the Instant Pot off, and leave the Instant Pot alone for 5 minutes. This naturally will let some of the pressure in the Instant Pot release and finishes the cooking process without overcooking the split peas. Release the rest of the pressure after 5 minutes, and take the lid off the Instant Pot. Remove the bay leaf.
  • Scoop out 2-3 cups of the soup to a small mixing bowl, and blend with an immersion blender (you could use a regular blender), and then return the blended portion of soup back into the pot with the rest of the soup (it makes the broth nice and creamy!). Stir to combine, and sea salt/pepper your soup to your taste. The split pea soup will thicken a bit more as the soup cools since the peas continue to absorb liquid. You could alternatively blend the entire soup – my toddlers enjoyed using a stainless steel straw to drink their soup this way!
  • Drizzle olive oil and/or splash raw cream or coconut cream into each bowl of split pea soup to garnish if you wish.

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Kid Friendly Roasted Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

October 3, 2018

Warm up this fall with this savory and sweet velvety roasted acorn squash and sweet potato 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.

I’m just going to cut right to chase today…

This soup doesn’t need much of an intro. It’s chilly in Michigan. Tank tops and flip flops have been traded for hoodies and baked oatmeal {notice I haven’t traded my flip flops yet? Yeah, that’s a Michigan thing 😉}, and I’m all about the warm veggie soups for just about any meal of the day.

Holding out on turning the heat on…

It’s a Midwest thing, just like those flip flops we refuse to give up until snow is tickling our toes, and the only way I can get away with it, is by keeping my oven running. This beach bum isn’t as hardcore Midwest as most who hold out on turning the heat on until November, but I can get away with getting through the first week or so of October. Especially when I can get my oven going for an hour to roast some yummy squash and sweet potatoes, and warm the house up at the same time!

Two birds, one stone

The oven not only kicks the warmth up in a chilly house for a while, it also makes the most amazing flavor come out of just about any vegetable. Just oil up the flesh of your squash and sweet potatoes and lay them flesh down – they will get a gorgeous caramel color and flavor that will add an amazing warmth to your soup. Add in a pinch of cayenne and a hint of maple syrup and everyone will be wondering just what all that great flavor is coming from!

Kid favorites packed with healing bone broth!

It’s no secret that squashes and sweet potatoes are some of the most kid friendly vegetables around. The sweet taste and smooth texture is pleasant for just about any kid, and when you fix those veggies into soup form, you can also pack a gut healing bone broth punch to your little guy’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Soup for breakfast?!

Yes, absolutely! If you have followed my Instagram for any length of time, you know that soup purees like this are in my breakfast bowl many days of the week. (Check out my hashtag #RGNMorningMommaFuel to see!) It is an easy way for me to get veggie minerals in, and it tastes amazing with an apple muffin and side of eggs. The girls most often take theirs along in a thermos for lunch at school, but as babies and toddlers they ate soup for breakfast many days of the week. It was an easy way for me to get food into myself and baby, and those little guys don’t know any better than soup might not be considered a “breakfast food!”

Freezer friendly

Absolutely grab onto those great fall farmer’s market and grocery store deals on your in season acorn squash and sweet potatoes and get your freezer stocked up! It is so nice to be able to pull out a quart of soup on a busy day where there isn’t time for cooking. The soup just needs to be cooled to room temp before you put them in freezer safe containers, and you can stash them away!

Babies, Toddlers, and Lunchbox Thermos Tips

Your babies and toddlers will adore this soup. Use a spoon, or try a short, wide smoothie straw for them to drink it right up. Straws were a favorite way for my littles to drink soup so they could do it all by themselves. Pack school aged kids yummy soup in a thermos along with an apple muffin with butter, a chicken wrap, or some crackers! It makes for a great lunchbox change up, and can be packed this way for daycare too.

Print Recipe
5 from 17 votes

Kid Friendly Roasted Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

Warm up this fall with this savory and sweet velvety roasted acorn squash and sweet potato soup!
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: acorn squash and sweet potato soup recipe, acorn squash soup, sweet potato soup
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • 2 medium acorn squashes halved and seeds scooped out
  • 4 small sweet potatoes halved lengthwise
  • 6 tbsp of olive oil or butter divided
  • 1 medium/large onion chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • Pinch of cayenne or to taste if you like heat
  • 1 1/2 - 2 quarts bone broth depending on how thick/thin you prefer your soup
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional garnish with coconut milk/yogurt or sour cream and a drizzle of olive oil

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spread olive oil over the flesh of your acorn squash halves and sweet potato halves, and then sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place the squash and sweet potatoes flesh side down on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, until the veggies are soft.
  • You can start the rest of the soup when take the squash and sweet potatoes out of the oven so they are cooling while you work – you’ll want the squash cooled so you can handle it to scoop the flesh out.
  • In a large soup pot, add 2-3 tbsp of butter and the onion with a pinch of sea salt. Cook the onion over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the thyme, broth, and roasted squash and sweet potatoes, and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, and blend the soup with an immersion blender, or pour it into a regular blender to puree. Garnish each bowl with a splash of coconut milk or dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Shepherd’s Pie Loaded Baked Potatoes :: PLUS! How To Make Baked Potatoes With The Crispiest Skin & Creamiest Inside!

September 12, 2018

Shepherd’s pie loaded baked potatoes take that classic comforting dinner we all love, and make it in to a family dinner made for a weeknight! 

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 and forth…

You just never know what you’re gonna get in September here in Michigan. One day, we’re enjoying the beach and 80 degrees, and the next day, we get a fall preview, waking up to 50 degrees, hoodies, and hot tea! I love that about Michigan though. It’s as if she knows you can’t just swap our blissful summer days for the chill that late fall brings. We ease into it around here. The chill does last for quite a while around these parts, after all.

Cooler weather menus

I’ve been sitting on this recipe since last spring! It happened to be one of those cooler spring days where I decided to use the oven to warm up the house and snap a few pictures while I was at it. The late day lighting suggested warmer weather was on the way with summer around the corner, and I just tucked this recipe away for the inevitable fall cool down, when you all would want to turn your ovens back on again. When the chill hits the air where you live, I hope you can give this recipe a try.

All the shepherd’s pie comfort with less fuss

Because, real life, ya know? It’s so fun to make a big pan of shepherd’s pie on the weekend, but if you’re craving that warm comfort on school night, this method of loading the creamy shepherd’s pie filling right on top of a perfectly baked potato is just the ticket.

The perfect baked potato

This is important! If you’ve never had a really well done baked potato with a creamy inside, and crispy skin on the outside, you are in for a treat! The method will seem so simple, but sometimes that’s the way to go – the less fuss the better. Avocado oil makes things super crispy, which is why I usually reach for that. And making sure the potato skin is coated in sea salt helps dry it out and crisp it up! I also have had nice crispy skin using olive oil. Seasoning the outside of the potato really well not only helps to crisp the skin, it also seasons the potato so you really don’t have much to do after cooking, other than pile on the shepherd’s pie filling!

Can I use sweet potato instead?

Absolutely! In fact 2 out of my 3 girls prefer their shepherd’s pie over a baked sweet potato versus the white potato. The prep method and cook time is about the same – sometimes if the sweet potato is a bit larger, it can take an hour to bake. Just prick the sweet potato with a fork around the 50 minute mark to see if it is soft on the inside.

Shepherd’s pie filling 101…

Savory, creamy, and hearty – that is what should come to mind for a shepherd’s pie filling. The gravy-like sauce is the perfect topping for your bake potato, and the taste will make any kid ask for seconds. I kept the veggies very “classic” shepherd’s pie with peas and carrots, but you really can use whatever you have on hand. If you are grain free, you can also leave out the corn. I love adding diced butternut squash to replace the corn in the fall. Again, pictured here in this post is the classic shepherd’s pie filling with the corn.

How to make the perfect “nest” for your shepherd’s pie filling

When your potatoes are done baking, use a knife to slice a lower case “t” along the top of the potato – one line down the length of the potato, and another across the width. Then pinch the ends of the potato until it “pops” open – the perfect little bowl to nestle all the shepherd’s pie bits and gravy into.

Weeknight prep tips

Both the potatoes and the shepherd’s pie filling can be prepared in advance. If you are a “prep day” kind of a person, you can make the filling on your prep day, and just stash it away in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to use it. The baked potatoes can be baked off as well, and just warmed through to crisp up in the oven prior to eating. Since the filling freezes so well, you really could double up, and save part of the batch for another time.

Print Recipe
5 from 19 votes

Shepherd's Pie Loaded Baked Potatoes

Shepherd’s pie loaded baked potatoes take that classic comforting dinner we all love, and make it into a family dinner made for a weeknight! 
Prep Time50 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked potato shepherd's pie, Shepherd's Pie, shepherd's pie stuffed potatoes
Servings: 5 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

FOR THE POTATOES:

FOR THE SHEPHERD’S PIE FILLING

  • 2 tbsp friendly fat to cook in butter, ghee, avocado oil, olive oil will work well. I like to use half of this as leftover bacon fat for flavor
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and sliced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp tapioca flour depending on how thick/saucy you like your filling
  • 2 tbsp organic tomato paste
  • ¾ cup bone broth or water
  • 3-4 tsp coconut aminos it is fine to leave this out if you don’t have it – it does really add to the flavor though! It mimics soy sauce in flavor.
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¾ cup frozen organic peas
  • ½ cup frozen organic corn omit if you are grain free/paleo. Butternut squash subs well - dice it and cook it through at the beginning
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste to finish

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Make sure the potatoes are dry. Poke a fork into each potato 2 times. Rub the oil all over each potato, and then rub the salt over each potato.
  • Set the potatoes in a baking dish and bake at 425 degrees for 50 minutes until fork tender.
  • While the potatoes are baking, you can make the filling. Melt your friendly fat in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots with a small pinch of sea salt, and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic to stir in.
  • Add the beef to the cooking veggies along with the sea salt and pepper and brown the beef.
  • When the beef is done browning, stir in the tapioca flour and tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the broth, coconut aminos, and thyme, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, bring the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 7 minutes.
  • Take the lid off, stir in the peas and corn, and return the lid, cooking for 5 more minutes.
  • Taste the filling for salt and pepper, and then top your baked potatoes with the beef/veggie shepherd’s pie filling.
  • **Filling can be made days in advance for quick, weekday dinners!

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Walnut Crusted Crispy Mahi Mahi :: Kid Friendly and Gluten Free!

September 5, 2018

Quick, kid friendly, and gluten free, walnut crusted crispy mahi mahi is perfect for dinner any night of the week!

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.

Simple.

That’s the way we’re keeping life around here these days. My girls are all back to school, and anyone that has ever had a brand new pre-K or Kinder kiddo in the house knows that after school melt downs can be a very real thing. Since this is my third time around this block, I was prepared long before my fresh new pre-K sweetheart set foot in that classroom last Monday, and I planned out our menu that week accordingly.

Yummy flavor, minimal work.

Because that sweet little wee one in the picture above has needed some downtime after her exciting days of pre-K! She *big puffy heart* loves fish of any kind, so I just knew I had to plan that into our first week back to school. This minimal ingredient, and minimal hands on time crispy fish is always a favorite. After she ate 2 helpings, she was a complete chatter box telling me about all her exciting school time adventures!

Crispy fish method

I don’t take that whole “minimal work” thing lightly. Just a few ingredients into a bowl to “bread” the fish and then crisp it up in a skillet. Finish the cooking in the oven and it’s done. The key to the crispy outside lies in a few things:

  1. The right flour. Walnuts are pretty oily when you blend them up, so adding another flour to the ground walnuts makes up for the oily walnuts and gets the outside of the fish really crispy. White rice flour is one of my favorites because it is cost effective and nice a dry – which makes a nice crispy outside. But if you are true Paleo/grain free or do not tolerate white rice flour, you can use coconut flour which works to crisp things up just as good.
  2. The right oil. I feel like avocado oil or animal fat such as pastured tallow or lard makes anything crisp up the best. Butter and olive oil tend to make things softer. Also, scalding olive oil in the kind of heat you need for a crispy fish, can make it taste bad. Coconut oil will work just fine as well, but you will have the coconut taste there (which is fine if that doesn’t bother you!).
  3. And a super hot skillet. Big time cast iron skillet fan here, but if you don’t have one, a regular skillet will work just fine. Just don’t crowd the pan! If your skillet is smaller like mine, do the crisping up in batches so the temperature of the skillet stays hot.

Fish sourcing

We started finding the wild caught Mahi Mahi at Costco a year or so ago – I’m so thankful they now carry it along with wild caught salmon and cod so we can keep some variety to our fish night menu rotation. We also have a couple of local fish mongers that carry wild caught fish. Look around where you live – even our local grocer now keeps a selection of wild caught fish. To read more about why wild caught fish is more superior to farmed, visit www.eatwild.com.

Can I use other fish?

Sure! Wild caught cod is more fragile, so just handle it carefully – it also cooks a bit faster so back off the time. Smaller pieces might work better in the pan so it doesn’t fall apart, since cod is very delicate. Salmon works fine too if you have access to wild caught.

Side dish ideas

This part can really throw off your plans for a “quick and minimal work” dinner! Just keep it simple. My older girls are big time salad lovers. While my youngest will tolerate them, I ended up roasting her some sweet potatoes and serving buttered peas with them. Again, super minimal hands on work, and the sweet potatoes can roast right alongside the cooking fish. Here are some other ideas:

  • Mashed sweet potatoes
  • Steamed mixed veggies
  • Salads (here is a great Olive Garden salad dressing, and Ranch too!)
  • Roasted potatoes (you can roast other veggies like broccoli right alongside these too)
  • Squash (my kids’ favorite side – Instant Pot or roast it and blend with butter – keep it simple)
  • Bone broth cooked rice with veggies. This is so simple to do with those frozen mixed veggies – just pop the veggies right in with the cooking rice and top it all with butter.

Well fed, *and* well nourished

Because it is in fact possible to be fed and still not feel well and energized. My biggest goal when thinking about feeding children is making every bite they take count. Man, those school days can be long and exhausting. It is so important to snuggle them close, and let them unload from the day, but it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on re-fueling them if time to cook is short. Replenishing their little bodies can be as easy as a simple fish dinner, bowl of soup, or omelet. It can be fast prep, and nutrient loaded for their ever growing bodies. Happy school year to you!

Print Recipe
5 from 19 votes

Walnut Crusted Crispy Mahi Mahi

Quick, kid-friendly, and gluten-free, walnut crusted crispy mahi-mahi is perfect for dinner any night of the week!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crispy mahi-mahi, gluten-free mahi-mahi
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts finely chopped (I buzz mine up in a food processor into a “meal”)
  • ½ cup white rice flour or coconut flour if you are grain free/Paleo
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika optional but lovely color and flavor
  • 1-2 eggs whisked
  • 4 wild caught Mahi Mahi fillets
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • ¼ -1/3 cup avocado oil for the skillet enough to completely cover your skillet generously
  • Lemons and parsley to garnish if you choose.

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Combine the walnut “meal,” rice flour, and paprika in a shallow dish or plate. Set up the whisked egg in a bowl next to the walnut mixture and a clean plate for your coated fish at the end.
  • Coat the Mahi Mahi in the whisked egg, and then the walnut/flour mixture on all sides. Place the coated fish on a clean plate while you finish coating the rest of the fish. Sprinkle the tops of the coated fish with sea salt and pepper to your taste.
  • Heat the avocado oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. When the oil is hot, place 2 of walnut crusted Mahi Mahi fillets in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes ON EACH SIDE until the outside of the fish is golden brown. The less you move the fish around the crispier they will get – I even set a timer for about 3 minutes so I am not tempted to peek! When those 2 fillets finish cooking, place them on a baking sheet while you cook the other 2 fillets. You can cook all 4 in the skillet if your skillet is large enough, but do not over crowd them. I think the fish gets crispier using a cast iron skillet, and mine is smaller so I just do 2 at a time.
  • Place the baking sheet with the crusted fish into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes to finish cooking the middle. Garnish with lemons and parsley if you choose.

 

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10 Minute Asian Almond Cucumber Noodle Bowls :: Paleo, Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free

August 4, 2018

Fresh and crisp cucumber noodle bowls tossed with a savory Asian almond dressing, all in just 10 minutes of time!

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

Sweet summer moments

I’m treasuring them! We are officially less than a month away from the school year, and I’m savoring all I can!

Same nourishing goals, less kitchen time

For myself, summer can be too easy to fall in to settling on the same lunches, or quicker, easier options for meal time. There is certainly nothing wrong with that – especially if you can still make it quick, easy, AND healthy. Summer presents a load of amazing produce to stock your kitchen with every week, so the possibilities are endless really.

Summer cucumber abundance

This is the time of year where you either have cucumbers coming out of your ears from your own home garden, or you are unloading the abundance of cucumbers coming out of your local farmer’s garden! It is such a money saver to your budget to buy produce in season, and when those summer veggies are in full swing, you can really take advantage of the abundance and save some money on your grocery bill.

Cucumber “noodles?!”

Honestly, I hesitate to even call them noodles, because this self proclaimed carb lover adores her some real pasta every now again! But when you spiralize cucumbers they look just like noodles (This is the spiralizer I have), and this noodle bowl is  so satisfying with the savory Asian dressing to go along with the crisp crunch of the veggies. The best cucumbers to spiralize are the long, skinny kind. They don’t have as many big seeds, and they are less watery. They are nice and firm, and hold up in the spiralizer well. Just cut the ends off, and then cut the cucumber in half, then spiralize away! I also spiralized the carrots in this recipe – if you can get your hands on some thick carrots, they spiralize really well. If your carrots are on the skinny side, just peel strips of the carrot instead.

10 minutes?!

YES! This means that not only could it make a great potential lunch, it also makes a very fast prep dinner side dish. Which is how I have been using it the majority of the time. This recipe as written feeds my family of 5 for one dinner as a veggie side dish. It is fast to prep while hamburgers or chicken are grilling.

Make ahead tips

If you want to bring this noodle bowl to lunch with you at work, or a park trip, you’ll want to pack the dressing on the side. The dressing draws the water out of the cucumber noodles after it sits for more than 15 minutes. Also, your dried goji berries will start to pick up some of the liquid from the cucumbers when it sits too long, so if I am taking this along with me, I keep the goji berries on the side to add in with the dressing. My girls actually like it when the goji berries re-hydrate and get super soft, so if that is your preference, go for it!

Other add-in options:

The recipe as written is bare bones minimum which we definitely love! If you want to change things up here are some other ideas to add in, or swap around!

  • Hardboiled eggs. One of my favorites, and a great way to make this a full lunch meal.
  • Other nuts and/or seeds. It’s always nice to change things up for different flavors, and for adding different nutrients to your diet. Try sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, or cashews!
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Thinly sliced bell peppers
  • Leftover roasted chicken or beef
  • Mushrooms

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Asian Almond Cucumber Noodle Bowls

Fresh and crisp cucumber noodle bowls tossed with a savory Asian almond dressing, all in just 10 minutes of time!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: Asian almond dressing, Asian zucchini noodle bowl, cucumber zoodles
Servings: 1 serving
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished@gmail.com

Ingredients

FOR THE NOODLE BOWL:

  • 2 cucumbers spiralized (the long, skinny kind work best.)
  • 2 large carrots spiralized (I don’t even peel mine since I buy organic, but you can if you wish. The nice wide ones will spiralize best)
  • 3-4 stalks of green onion sliced
  • ½ cup goji berries
  • 2 handfuls of walnuts crushed (I just take 2 handfuls of walnuts, and crush it in my hands. It’s about 1 ½ cups – you can chop through with a knife or in the food processor if you want them smaller pieces)

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 4 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste. You probably won’t need sea salt since the coconut aminos like soy sauce is salty. Taste the dressing before adding any salt.

Instructions

  • Toss all of the noodle bowl ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Put all of the dressing ingredients into a pint size mason jar and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. (Alternatively, you could add the dressing ingredients into a food processor except the oil. Then, while the food processor is blending, use the oil drip cup on the lid to drizzle the oil in slowly to emulsify into the dressing.)
  • Start with pouring 1/3 cup of dressing into your salad and then add more per your preference. You will not use all the dressing most likely, but it keeps in the fridge for weeks, so you can make this noodle bowl (or even a regular salad”) more often and quicker with the dressing already made!

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Thin & Crispy Oven Baked Paleo Zucchini Fritters PLUS, A Creamy Garlic Dipping Sauce! :: Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free!

July 27, 2018

These oven baked crispy bites are about to  less hands on time and the most amazing creamy garlic dipping 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.

Summer zucchini overload!

I just never tire of it! It is my favorite summer vegetable to play with during this season, and zucchini fritters have been on my mind since June!

Sooo many versions…

It really just depends on what kind of a person you are! Do you like soft pillowy zucchini fritters? Then most fritter recipes you find will give you that crispy outside with a soft pillowy inside. I don’t mind those, but last year I accidentally squished my fritters in the pan super thin, and realized just how much I LOVE a thin, crispy zucchini fritter! It is serious heaven!

Oven baked freedom!

But what about all that hands on time? I love a good pan seared zucchini fritter, but honestly I would probably make it twice a summer if I had to fuss with standing at the stove for 30 minutes for one side dish. You can only fit so many in one pan, and with my large crew to feed, well…it takes a while! I timed myself the last couple times I’ve made these oven-baked zucchini fritters, and from start to finish including making the batter, and flattening them onto a tray for the oven and it takes me 10-15 minutes (depending on kid interruptions!). From there, it’s as simple as popping the tray into the oven and then your hands are free to make the rest of dinner, or tend to kiddos.

Thin and crispy secrets to success!

There is definitely a method to the madness!

  • Get the water out of the zucchini. I know it seems like pain to drain the water from your zucchini before making your fritters, but this is really key. I like to speed the process up by adding the sea salt to the shredded zucchini. It draws the water out while I add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, and you can squeeze that water right out.
  • Skip the other water-logged veggies. While I’m all about extra veg in my food, adding onion and other veggies just adds more water to the mix. I use dried herbs and dried onion/garlic for these to avoid the extra water.
  • Baking sheet surface matters. I love my Silpat liners, but I have just found that things crisp up better without them. From roasted veggies to these zucchini fritters, I tend to fore-go the Silpat or parchement paper. I use this avocado oil spray to spray the pan down (you can spread butter or coconut oil if don’t have that), and the zucchini fritters crisp up and slide right off.
  • Squish ‘em down! The cassava flour and egg really help these fritters come together, so they aren’t super fragile. Form them into your hand, get them onto that greased baking sheet, and use your hand to lightly flatten them a bit more.

That sauce though!

This quick sauce just takes these zucchini fritters over the top! It is so special, you’ll quite possibly lick the bowl clean! The smooth and creamy garlic dipping sauce is dairy free and you’ll never miss it. In fact you may just want to let everyone have their own little dipping bowl of sauce because you’ll definitely want to double dip this one! Here are a couple notes on the sauce to tailor it to what you have around, or what you have to do for special diets:

  • I prefer whole plain coconut yogurt for the base. I get large 32oz tubs of plain So Delicious coconut yogurt at our grocery store.
  • Full fat coconut milk or cream would work as the base as well as would raw milk/cream if you tolerate dairy.
  • Sour cream or full fat dairy yogurt would work for the base if you tolerate dairy.
  • Finally, tailor the garlic amount to your taste. I tend to boost the garlic on just about any recipe I come across, so my palate for garlic is pretty in love. If you prefer your food lighter on the garlic, I’d halve the amount.

Print Recipe
5 from 20 votes

Thin and Crispy Paleo Zucchini Fritters PLUS, A Creamy Garlic Dipping Sauce!

These oven-baked crispy bites have a most amazing creamy garlic dipping sauce!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Paleo zucchini fritters, zucchini fritter recipe, zucchini fritters
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com

Ingredients

FOR THE ZUCCHINI FRITTERS:

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • ½ cup plain full fat coconut yogurt see above notes for other options here
  • ¼ cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 small avocado pitted
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place a thin kitchen towel over a colander, dump the grated zucchini in, and toss the zucchini with the sea salt. Let the zucchini/salt sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients into a bowl. The sea salt draws all the water out of the zucchini, so you can squeeze it out easily.
  • Put the eggs and seasonings into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together.
  • Pull up the sides of the kitchen towel that the zucchini is sitting in, twist, and squeeze out as much of the water from the shredded zucchini as you can.
  • Put the grated and drained zucchini into the bowl with the egg/seasoning mixture, add the cassava flour, and mix together.
  • Spray 2 baking sheets with avocado oil spray – this helps with sticking and also helps the fritters crisp and brown up. DO NOT line your baking sheet with parchment paper or with Silpat – the fritters will stick more with them (trust me) and they get much crispier on just the plain baking sheet. Make flat disks out of the zucchini batter, place them on the baking sheet, and then lightly flatten the disks on the tray using your hand a little more.
  • Bake the fritters in the 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Take the tray out, flip the zucchini fritters over, and bake for another 10 minutes until crispy, golden brown. Let the fritters cool before handling.
  • To make the dipping sauce, put all of the sauce ingredients into a pint mason jar, and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

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