May 24, 2019

Memorial Day Food to Stay on Track

Are you searching for recipes to make this Memorial Day weekend that won't completely blow up your meal plan or take forever to prep? Check out this healthier take on an All American cookout menu I created for you to serve your family, choose a single dish to take to a party, or can be scaled if you're hosting a party!

Here are a few of my thoughts when it comes to eating healthy, cookouts/barbecues - whichever you call them, and recipes. Balance, portions, and moderation are always #1, no matter what you're eating. I believe in the loaded cheeseburger with the bun, cheese, and bacon when that is what you have planned for and a treat that fits within a meal plan that supports your health goals. But I want to teach you how to prepare a meal that can be scaled up or down in the treat department and how not every time you grill must be a treat. You can serve up a delicious and nutritious meal that is 100% on plan.

Here is an All American Hamburger & Hot Dog Cookout menu for Memorial Day or pretty much any time this summer when you (or your mister) fire up the grill. I loved creating this menu for you, because it is simple, is balanced, and can be easily scaled based on the number of people you're serving.

A {Healthier} All American Hamburger & Hot Dog Cookout
Let's be honest, sometimes you want the bun and all the burger fixins - I so get that! This menu is for all you mamas that are short on time, want to put together a quick yet cleaned up cookout that doesn't take all the time in the world. Because let's be honest, we have piles of laundry - not piles of minutes laying around.

Hamburgers served on Quality Buns
Checkout this guide on how to grill the best burgers. Choose your toppings wisely and remember, sometimes less is more when it comes to flavor! Choose whole grain or sprouted buns with no to little sugar added. If you're going to eat bread, choose wisely. Based on how much time you have to prep, number of guests, and even flavor cravings, you can add any burger garnish you choose - different cheeses, bacon, avocado for a healthy fat, mushrooms, or keep it super simple with sugar free ketchup, mustard, and homemade or vegan mayo.  Have a bowl of fresh spring mix on the table for those that choose the Baby Red Potato Salad (below) instead of the bun!

Uncured Bratwurst, Veggie, Fruit Skewers
This is an easy way to keep that all American touch with a cleaned up hot dog and adding a few veggies to everyone's plate! Uncured and nitrate free are such a big deal for sausages and hot dogs. I get not every hot dog you and your kiddos eat in life may be uncured but think about it like this - When you get to choose, choose uncured, higher quality sausages. This means less processing, less fake ingredients, typically less sodium, and better for the inside parts of your body that come under stress over time due to processed foods.

Baby Red Potato Salad
Because potatoes. Do I even need to explain why I added a potato salad to the menu?! Here is a way to clean it up, balance the meal with a starch, and packed with flavor without being THAT person that doesn't have potato salad at your cookout.

Mini Fruit Pizzas
I chose this dessert for three reasons: 1) fruit factor to continue balancing the menu, 2) because kids love it when you serve anything pizza, and 3) this recipe allows someone to control their portion with single cookie (no shame!) or choose to have fruit only for dessert. If you are food allergy mama like me or know someone with food allergies will be attending your party, serve a vegan cream spread like Violife which is my current favorite!

So, let me know if you what you think. Was this helpful? Did you make any of these for your holiday cookout? I love to hear from you!





How to Create the Most Refreshing Flavored Water Bar

If you're wondering what beverages to serve at your next party, set up a flavor infused water bar. Here's how to create a refreshing station that will serve your guests well and add a pop of color and flavor.

A flavor infused water bar or station is such a simple way to keep your guests hydrated while adding extra flair, color, and even personality to your party. I love flavored water because let’s be honest – it makes me feel fancy. Other benefits are for your guests that choose to abstain from cocktails, a girlfriend that can’t have a cocktail while pregnant, and even your kids will want to drink more water when they see the fruit and colors. It gives your guests a flavor packed beverage.

You can elevate the bev station to be as over the top as you please or keep it low key. It really depends on the type of party or gathering that you’re hosting. For a Memorial Day cookout with family and friends, blueberries, strawberries, pitchers, and plastic cups will complete the set-up! For a baby shower brunch, serve in beautiful stemmed wine glasses and lots of garnishes.

Here are the basic steps to create your flavored water bar.
Step 1 - Recipes: Choose 2-3 recipes that provide variety in flavors. For example: 1) Strawberry-Blueberry-Mint, 2) Cucumber, 2) Pineapple. Checkout The Food Network’s Best Flavored Water recipes.

Step 2 - Serving Pieces: I like using different types and size pitchers and vessels for this. I love clear glass wine and champagne bottles also! Choose pitchers or beverage dispensers based on the number of people you are serving.

Step 3 - Prep: Plan when you will prep your recipes. The fruit needs to be in the water at least 2 hours before serving so the flavors will infuse. Ideally, the fruit and especially herbs do not remain in the water more than 6 hours. You can prepare the water the night before, remove the fruit and herbs, and then serve fresh fruit and herbs on your station as garnish.

Step 4 - Set Up: Make sure you have plenty of space to place your pitches/dispensers, glassware/cups, fruit and herbs for garnish, beverage napkins, and anything else you choose to include for décor.

Share your ideas and pictures from your flavored water bar! I would love to see what you do. 

May 11, 2019

Pizza Quesadillas (Pizzadillas) - The best of both cravings!

I love tacos. I love pizza. You too, right?
Any time these two collide with a dash of cleaned up ingredients, my heart is full. Not even exaggerating! So, this isn’t technically a taco, but I believe the cousin quesadilla counts! And by now means is this considered a healthy meal, but it is certainly a lighter way of satisfying your pizza craving - which is a real thing! I totally get it! Your kiddos are going to love this as much as mama!
Feel free to add any of your favorite pizza toppings to the quesadilla filling!

INSTRUCTIONS
Dipping Sauce:
1 (14.5-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes
2 tsp avocado oil or olive oil
1⁄3 cup chopped onion (approx. 1⁄2 medium) 
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
2 Tbsp dry white wine (like pinot grigio) 
1⁄4 tsp sea salt (or Himalayan salt) 
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped 

Quesadilla:
4 (8-inch) white or whole wheat tortillas
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces pepperoni, diced

INSTRUCTIONS
Dipping Sauce:
1. Place tomatoes in a medium bowl; crush by hand (or pulse in a food processor or blender) to achieve slightly chunky consistency. Set aside. 
2. Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is 
translucent. 
4. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. 
5. Add wine; cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. 
6. Add tomatoes and salt. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low; gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat. 
7. Add basil; mix well. Cool to room temperature before serving. Set aside. 

Quesadillas:
1. Assemble quesadillas by putting two tortillas on a cutting board. Sprinkle each tortilla with 3 ounces of shredded mozzarella, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, and 2 ounces of diced pepperoni. Lay the remaining tortillas on top.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Transfer an assembled quesadilla onto the skillet. Cook for a couple of minutes, occasionally lifting edge of quesadilla to check color of underside, until tortilla begins to turn golden and cheese starts to melt. Carefully flip quesadilla over and cook for another couple of minutes or until cheese is fully melted. Remove hot quesadilla to a plate and repeat with second quesadilla. Alternatively, you may cook both quesadillas at the same time on a flat griddle.
3. Slice each quesadilla into 6 wedges and serve immediately with warm dipping sauce.

Cleaned Up Bang Bang Shrimp!


INGREDIENTS
Bang Bang Sauce
1/3 cup mayonnaise (Primal Kitchen, Vegan, or homemade)
2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce (recipe below)
2 Tbsp Sriracha

Sweet Chili Sauce
3.5 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1.5 Tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/8 tsp cayenne
Pinch of salt

Tacos
1lb shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 Tbsp tapioca flour
Avocado oil spray
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup minced cilantro
2 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 Tbsp honey
Pinch of salt
Tortillas or Greens

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Make the sweet chili sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until thickened. Let cool then mix with the mayonnaise and Sriracha
2. Make the bang bang sauce: Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir until blended
3. Make the slaw: In a large bowl combine the shredded cabbage, shredded red cabbage, minced cilantro, and green onions. Toss with the 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon honey and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
4. Cook the Shrimp: Heat a large skillet over high heat and spray with avocado oil or olive oil. Toss shrimp with tapioca until covered and place in skillet. Saute, stirring and turning for 4-6 minutes until golden. Toss with Bang Bang sauce.
5. Serve with your favorite flour or gluten free tortillas or greens for a salad to lighten it up!
  1. To assemble place slaw in tortilla and top with shrimp and a drizzle of Sriracha if desired

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Chicken and Veggies - One and Done!

I love nothing more than one pan/dish meals that are tasty and easy. How about you?
The type of recipes make life and prep easier. This sheet pan meal will not disappoint! 

INGREDIENTS
3 large red-skinned potatoes, chopped into bite-size chunks
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-size chunks
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into chunky wedges
4 chicken breasts - You can leave whole, slice, or cut in 2" squares
3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Medium head of broccoli, broken into florets
20 asparagus spears
Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Arrange the potatoes, carrots, onion, and chicken breasts on a large sheet pan.
3. Mix together the honey, mustard, and brown sugar. Brush this mixture on the chicken breasts. Drizzle two tablespoons of the oil over the chicken and vegetables, then sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
4. Take the sheet pan out of the oven. Use a spatula to turn the vegetables over, then add the broccoli and asparagus.
5. Drizzle on the remaining oil and sprinkle on another pinch of salt and pepper. Place back in the oven to cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
6. Sprinkle with parsley and serve!

BBQ Meatloaf Muffins with Sweet Potato Frosting!

Cupcakes make everything better, right? Here is a fun way to serve meatloaf for your littles and maybe even trick your mind into satisfying that tiny cake craving you may have! Of course, you can substitute the sweet potatoes for a white potato, but there are so many more nutrients in sweet potatoes. Also, the sweetness of sweet potatoes is such a great compliment to meatloaf. Clearly, I’m Team Sweet Potato on this recipe!

INGREDIENTS
Meatloaf:
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
2 tsp. avocado oil or olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup Whole30-compliant barbecue sauce
1 tsp. dried thym
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Topping:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 Tbsp. coconut oil (or butter)
1/4 tsp. salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place ground beef in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften.
  4. Add garlic, cook 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  5. Add onion-garlic mixture to ground beef. Add barbecue sauce, sea salt, pepper and dried thyme. Using your hands or a spoon, mix well to combine.
  6. Divide meat mixture evenly among 12 wells of a muffin pan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until meat is no longer pink in the center.
  8. While meatloaves are baking, steam sweet potatoes until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain and puree sweet potatoes and coconut oil or butter in a food processor, or mash well with a fork.
  9. Scoop topping onto meatloaves or fill a plastic zip-top with topping, trim the corner of the bag with a scissors and pipe topping onto meatloaves. Or use a spoon to top.
  10. Drizzle with additional barbecue sauce, if desired.

Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole - Veggie Game On!


You can serve this recipe as an entree during the week for a prep-ahead/re-heat meal or as a dip at your next tailgate party. Seven ingredients, vegetable based, and brings the flavor to please your man! And honestly, there aren’t that many casseroles that pass the clean test! 

INGREDIENTS
1 whole Spaghetti Squash, 3.25 lbs
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
Black Pepper
1 pound Chicken Breast
1/2 cup Hot Sauce
6 tablespoons Paleo-friendly Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Green Onion, sliced plus additional for topping
1 Egg White

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Line line a baking sheet with foil. Spray a casserole dish with avocado or olive oil.
2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Rub the inside with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Bake, cut-side down, until fork tender, about 30-40 minutes. Set aside to cool.
4. Boil the chicken breast for about 15-20 minutes, until no longer pink inside. Drain and cool.
5. Scrape the strands out of the cooled spaghetti squash and spread them out in one even layer on a piece of paper towel. Use another layer of paper towel to press out as much moisture as you can. Then, repeat with another paper towel.* Do not skip this part or your dish will be soggy!
6. You should have approx 3 cups, lightly packed spaghetti squash. Place into a large bowl.
7. Shred the chicken breasts (I use my stand mixer to make this step faster!) and add it into the bowl with the squash.
8. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir until well until combined.
9. Transfer the combined ingredients into the prepared casserole dish. Pressing it out flat.
10. Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes, uncovered, until the edges are golden brown, and the top feels set.
11. Lastly, broil on high for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes to cool.
12. Garnish with extra chopped green onions and ENJOY!

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