Easy Crowd Pleasers, Please…

SNACKS

Banana Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffins – Make a double batch – you’ll be glad you did. Don’t opt out on the organic coconut palm sugar topping. It just makes that outside bite a tad sweeter, and who doesn’t like that???

DINNERS

One Skillet Chicken Fajitas – If you’ve spent any time on this blog, you’ve seen this recipe before. It’s fast, easy, and delicious. The filling options are limitless – allow your stomach be your guide.

No Bean Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili – What makes this different from everyday chili is cumin. Cumin gives it an earthy, slightly spicy flavor that is distinctly yummy. The sweet potatoes are an added bonus that blend in with the southwestern feel. Finish it with a few organic chips and a dollop of organic Greek yogurt.

Creamy Squash Soup – This is my second go round with this recipe. I changed absolutely nothing from the last time. It’s a great creamy, fall soup. The buttermilk is an interesting twist. No worries, you don’t need to buy buttermilk. Make your own with regular milk and lemon or vinegar. Buttermilk recipe included!

Eggs, Avocados, & Olive Oil Drop Biscuits with Easy Oven Bacon – Another solid recipe on repeat. This “breakfast for dinner” is a frequent request at my house.

Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta – Bottom line…super duper easy crowd pleaser. Do things right and use a good quality cheese and olive oil to finish each plate.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Banana Blueberry Whole Wheat Muffins

Adapted from Bowl of Delicious

Wet Ingredients
½ c. coconut oil, softened
¼ c. local honey
2 organic eggs
2 very ripe bananas
½ c. organic Greek yogurt
1 t. organic vanilla extract

Wet Ingredients
¼ t. cinnamon
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
½ t. sea salt
1.5 c. whole white wheat flour
1 c. organic rolled oats

1-2 c. frozen organic blueberries (or other berry)
organic coconut palm sugar, optional muffin topping

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tins with olive oil (alternative: silicon muffin cups that require no greasing).  In a large bowl, mash the bananas.  Add the wet ingredients to the bananas and whisk to combine. Stir the dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined (ideally under stir it just a bit).  Stir in the frozen blueberries – maximum of three turns of the spatula.  The less you mix, the better when it comes to muffins. 

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle each muffin with some palm sugar. Bake for 20/25 minutes.


One Skillet Chicken Fajitas

 

Fajitas Ingredients
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 medium onion, sliced
2-3 large organic bell pepper, seeded/sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can organic fire roasted diced tomatoes OR (3-4 chopped medium, fresh tomatoes)
Note: if using fresh tomatoes, add ¼ c. of salsa
2 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
sea salt/pepper
whole wheat tortillas (idea: Ezekiel brand tortillas)

Optional Fajita Fillers
canned organic black beans, drained & rinsed
organic shredded cheese
organic Greek yogurt or sour cream
salsa
avocado, sliced

Directions: Warm a non-stick skillet to medium heat. Season all sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. To the skillet, add the olive oil and chicken. Cook until the chicken is browned on all slides (about 5-6 minutes). Add onions and green peers, cooking until the peppers are softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute). Immediately add all remaining ingredients. The tomatoes will sizzle in the skillet. Reduce heat to a simmer. Allow some liquid to cook out (about 10 minutes). Season with salt/pepper to taste.

Serve with whole wheat tortillas and your favorite fajita fillers.


No Bean Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili

Adapted from Skinny Taste

Ingredients
3-4 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. organic ground turkey
1 t. cumin
1/4 t. chili powder
1/4 t. paprika
sea salt, to taste
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 oz.) cans of organic fire roasted tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can of tomato sauce
14.5 oz. water (refill from empty can of tomatoes)
2-3 medium organic sweet potato, peeled and diced into bite size cubes
1 bay leaf
fresh cilantro, chopped optional garnish
Greek yogurt, optional garnish
Organic sweet potato chips, optional garnish

Directions: In stock pot, on medium-high heat, coat the bottom of pan with olive oil. Add the turkey, cumin, chili powder, paprika, & sea salt. While stirring, break apart the turkey into small bits. Cook about 4-5 min. or until the turkey is no longer pink. Stir in the onion and cook until softened (about 4-5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook until the it’s fragrant (about a minute). Add remaining ingredients (tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, sweet potatoes, and bay leaf). Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. If it too thick, add some water. Remove bay leaf.

Eat as is, or serve topped with chopped cilantro, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and a few crunched up sweet potato chips.


Creamy Squash Soup

Adapted from Super Healthy Kids

Ingredients
1 T. organic butter
3 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 organic yellow summer squash, cut into rounds (no need to peel or remove seeds)
1 small winter squash, peeled, deseeded, and cut into cubes (see squash peeling tip below)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cut into cubes (see squash peeling tip below)
¼ t. each sea salt/freshly ground black pepper
1 large organic potato, cut into cubes (alternative, several small potatoes)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 c. organic chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk (homemade buttermilk: 1/2 c. milk + good squeeze from a lemon)
Fresh herbs, finely chopped, for garnish (chives, rosemary, basil, etc.)
Organic Greek yogurt (alternative, organic sour cream), optional

Directions: Heat a large stock pot to medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil followed by the onions, squash, and salt/pepper. Give it a good stir and allow the veggies to cook until softened (about five minutes). In the meantime, microwave the cut potatoes for 3-4 minutes to soften them just a bit. Stir in the garlic to the stock pot and cook until the garlic is fragrant (about a minute). Add the potatoes to the stock pot, followed by the broth/stock. Bring it to a boil and then remove from the heat. Carefully pour the mixture into a blender to liquefy. If you have a superb quality blender, this will be your final step (other than to stir in the buttermilk right before serving). If your blender is so-so, you may need to pour the soup over a strainer to create a smooth, creamy texture. If the latter is your method, stir in the buttermilk, after straining. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Drop in a dollop of Greek yogurt and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

Tip: Microwave hearty winter squash for 1-2 minutes prior to peeling. Use a shark knife to easily remove the outer skin.


Eggs, Avocados, & Olive Oil Drop Biscuits with Easy Oven Bacon

Adapted from A La Graham
IMG_7094
This meal requires a bit of commentary to help ensure the steps are timed right.  The bacon is prepared for baking (line baking sheet with foil & lay out the individual bacon slices).  Similarly, the biscuits are prepared and ready to pop in the oven, when it’s time.  Once these both are in the oven (which does not happen simultaneously – keep reading below), the avocados and eggs are prepared.

This meal starts with a cold oven.  The bacon goes in the cold oven, and then it’s turned on and begins to heat.  When the oven reaches full temperature, the biscuits go in the oven.  When the biscuits are done, your bacon will most likely be done too. (An exception would be for those who desire exceptionally crispy bacon. In that case, the bacon may need to remain in the oven a few minutes longer than the biscuits).

Easy Oven Bacon            
6 slices, preservative free bacon

Directions: Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the bacon on the baking sheet in a single layer. Place the bacon in a cold oven (note: the oven is NOT preheated). Heat the 450 degrees. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on your preferred doneness. It’s soooo easy this way, and there is no mess!

Biscuits (this recipe can be doubled)
1 c. whole white wheat flour
1.5 t. baking powder
.5 t. sea salt
1 T. local honey (alternative: 6 drops of organic stevia), optional
¼ c. olive oil
½ c. milk

Directions: In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk and olive oil (add the sweetener now, if using it). Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined. Use large serving spoons or a large scooper to “drop” the biscuits on a baking sheet. Once the oven reaches 450 degrees, bake for  for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until slightly golden.

While the biscuits are baking, prepare the avocados and eggs.

Avocado Mixture
2 avocados, mashed
Lemon juice
Sea salt/pepper, not optional
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
Organic tomato, sliced (optional)

Eggs – prepped to your preference (I whisk eggs with a splash of milk and sea salt/pepper)

Directions: Half the avocados, remove the seeds, and scoop the goodness into a small bowl. With a fork, mash the avocado. Season with salt/pepper and add a squeeze of lemon (note: lemon keeps the avocado from browning). Stir once more.

Cook the eggs as desired.  I typically scramble the eggs for a week night meal.  However, sunny side up (AKA “dippy eggs” in my house) is also popular.  The warm, but still liquid yolk, adds richness to each bite!

Assembly

Start with an upside down biscuit (the flat surface is key). Next, is a healthy slathering of the avocado mixture. Finally, top with eggs, pressing the eggs into the avocado to help them “stick” to the biscuit. Finish with a dash or two of Tobasco style hot sauce, if you’re feeling daring.  It really adds a great layer of flavor.



Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta

Adapted from Menu Musings

 

Ingredients
4 organic, free range chicken breasts, pounded to ensure even cooking
Sea salt and black pepper
Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. 100% whole wheat pasta
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 c. chopped fresh tomatoes (alternative: 2 cans organic diced tomatoes, drained)
1 c. fresh organic basil, chopped (reserve a bit for garnish)
1-2 T. cold organic butter
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, garnish
Good quality olive oil, garnish

Directions: Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with sea salt/pepper and 21 Seasoning Salute. Warm a large skillet and the olive oil to near medium heat. (Yes, you need all 4 tablespoons of olive oil). This is an olive oil and fresh tomato sauce.

While the skillet heats, bring a stock pot filled with water to boiling. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, but do not rinse once cooked.

Add the chicken to the hot skillet. Flip the chicken once it has cooked halfway up the sides (approximately 4 minutes). After cooking an additional 4 minutes on the other side, add the tomatoes and garlic to the skillet. Give it a stir. Add the basil and the butter. (The butter is critical). It adds a certain silkiness that makes it oh so yummy. Stir everything one more time. Season with salt/pepper to taste.

Serve each plate with some fresh basil, cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Tip: Pasta is always best enjoyed with a glass of wine 😉

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