Tag Archives: dinner ideas

Recipe: Chicken, mushroom, zucchini skillet (with bacon!)

This dinner came about through delicious happenstance. I was interested in making a sausage and veggie gratin, but that felt a little too heavy for the warm(ish) weather we’ve been having lately. I decided to lighten it up with chicken and zucchini. The bacon and mushrooms add amazing flavor, and the leftovers taste even better than right out of the oven.

Look at all that melty cheese!
Look at all that melty cheese!

1 Tablespoon oil
1 onion, diced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
4 small- to medium-sized zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
2+ chicken thighs, cooked and chopped*
4-6 ounces bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
4 ounces cheese, grated (optional)**
salt
pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and saute the onions with a pinch of salt until translucent. Stir in mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown and let off some of their water. Add zucchini and another small pinch of salt (small being key. The bacon is pretty salty on its own, and you don’t want to over do it!). Give it a good stir and let it cook until the zucchini starts to soften just a bit.

Stir the chicken and bacon into the veggies, taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Top with the cheese if you’re using it. Pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melty and just starting to brown. Serve with a side salad if you feel you want an extra serving of veggies!

Recipe notes:
* I find that 2 chicken thighs is perfect for me and Andy. The bacon and all the veggies make this a complete meal without a huge amount of meat. If you’re serving more people, increase the chicken thighs by 1 per extra person.
** I don’t specify which type of cheese, because really melty cheese is melty cheese. I’ve made this with a hard English cheddar and it was just as good as when I used pepper jack. Check your fridge and use what you have on hand.

Recipe: Cabbage skillet casserole

Growing up my family made up names for certain foods. On Thanksgiving and Christmas my youngest brother and I would fight over the “pink stuff” (to all you mid-westerners out there, I believe you call it Jello salad) a fluffy concoction of raspberry gelatin, Cool-Whip, canned pineapple, and cottage cheese. Totally gross. Totally delicious.

My brothers’ favorite meal was Yummy Boulet (rhymes with “Goulet”, as in Robert). To the best of my recollection Yummy Boulet consisted of ground beef, tomato sauce, and elbow macaroni. It wasn’t on my top 10 list, but the name stuck.

All this being said, I’ve carried on the tradition with my own cooking, and I want to share with you what Andy and I lovingly refer to as “cabbage meat thing”. It started out by trying a recipe for deconstructed cabbage roll casserole (for the life of me I can’t find the original recipe). Basically you chop and saute cabbage with traditional stuffed cabbage ingredients and bake it like a casserole. The second inspiration for this dish was the Garbage Stir fry from Nom Nom Paleo. At first glance neither the casserole nor the Garbage Stir fry seem like much, but they were so good! I found myself making them every other week or so.

This got me thinking, if Cabbage + Meat + Onion + Sauce was such a winning combination, maybe I could branch out into other flavors to shake things up. And that’s how cabbage meat thing was born. The flavor possibilities are limitless, it’s typically less than 5 ingredients (outside of the oil, salt, and pepper), and it can be made and baked in a single skillet. All of these add up to a winning weeknight meal for us.

Here are the basic components followed by some ideas for changing up the flavors. Enjoy!

1-2 Tablespoons oil
1 onion diced
1 pound ground meat (see below for recommendations)
1 medium head of green cabbage, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2-3 teaspoons seasoning (see below for recommendations)
1 -2 cups of crushed tomatoes or sauce of your choice (See below for recommendations)
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook till translucent. Add the meat with another pinch of salt and stir, breaking it apart, until brown and cooked through. Stir in your seasoning, and tomatoes or sauce if using.

In batches, add a handful or 2 of the chopped cabbage at a time, tossing everything carefully together. The cabbage will add a lot of “heft” to the dish initially, but it’ll cook down. Continue to add the cabbage and toss with the saucy meat until everything is incorporated.

Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cabbage starts to look a little “crispy”. I like a little char. You may not. If you prefer your cabbage to be silky not crispy, start checking it at the 15 minute mark.

Recipe notes: Here are a few of our favorite flavor combinations. Use these as a jumping off point, and share if you come up with something brilliant!

– Italian: 1 pound bulk Italian sausage + dried oregano + 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
– Mexican: 1 pound ground beef (or turkey) + cumin + 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
– BBQ chorizo: 1 pound chorizo + 1 cup BBQ sauce (I typically use homemade so it’s not overly sweet. If you use bottled, you may want to cut it with some crushed tomatoes.)
– Enchilada: 1 pound cooked shredded chicken (or ground beef/turkey) + cumin + 14 ounces enchilada sauce (bought or homemade).

 

 

May 8th: Weekly meal plan

This weekend officially kicks off our crazy season. Between now and Father’s Day we’ve got a steady stream of family events on the calendar. As such, I wanted a pretty easy dinner week–with one exception. I’ve had a hankering for chicken mole lately, and am going to try my hand at it. It’s not hard, just somewhat time consuming and it contains small amounts of a lot of different ingredients as you can tell by the bulk section of our grocery list. Oddly enough, I had all the spices in my pantry already! Oh, and you’ll notice I only have 6 meals planned for the week, Because of a Mother’s Day/Birthday family event combo, I get a night off.

Have a great week!

– Brussels sprouts gratin (recipe coming soon!)
– Biryani cauli-rice bowl (carry over from last week)- Chicken mole cauli- rice bowl
– Broccoli + Egg casserole
– Stuffed cabbage casserole (recipe + variations coming soon!)
– Hodge Podge!

 

Recipe: Chorizo (breakfast burrito) cauli-rice bowl

One of our favorite dinners is this chorizo rice bowl. I always get an air fist “alright” from Andy when I tell him that’s what we’re having for dinner. It’s easy, super spicy, can be dressed up or down, and has the perfect combination of protein and veggies.

When I started looking for weekend breakfast ideas, this is where my mind turned. The only real change I made to my original recipe was to top the bowl off with a few scrambled eggs. When I make this for dinner, I skip this step.

The chorizo I buy is super spicy. Like, clear out your sinuses for hours spicy. It’s right at the threshold of what I can handle. I’m a wimp, but it’s still hot. If you’re not into the idea of a spicy breakfast, swap the chorizo for a nice breakfast sausage and you’re good to go! One more note on chorizo–if you can, try to find a good natural source. The prepackaged stuff in the refrigerated section of your grocery store often has questionable “animal parts” ground up and that’s just icky. If you’re adventurous, you can also make your own.

For the rice:
1 cauliflower head
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 pound chorizo
Salt*
Pepper

Toppings:
Scrambled eggs (or fried, or poached …)
2 tomatoes chopped
1-2 avocados, sliced (or make guacamole, yum!)
Sour cream**
Shredded cheese**
Pickled jalapeños (our favorite!)
Salsa
Sriracha (Andy loves this, but it burns too much for my tastebuds)

Run the cauliflower through a food processor using the shredding blade, or grate it with a box grater. Set aside.

In a large skillet (I use my 10″ cast iron), heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions with a small pinch of salt and saute until onions start to get a little color. (I like a little char, I think it goes nicely with the spice.) Add the chorizo, stirring to break it apart, until browned and cooked through, 7-10 minutes.

Once the chorizo is cooked, carefully stir in the cauliflower so the chorizo is evenly distributed. My skillet has a hard time holding everything (and it’s a good-size skillet) so stir with care. Cook until the cauliflower is tender and the chorizo flavor is all soaked in. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary. We’re really into pepper right now so we’ve been adding it to everything.

Top with your favorite “fixins” and enjoy for breakfast or dinner!

Recipe notes:
* I try to use a light hand with salt. Just a pinch to get the onions going and maybe a little more at the very end after I’ve tasted the dish. Depending on who makes the chorizo, the dish could be salty enough, and you don’t want to over do it.
** If you can’t do dairy, the sour cream and cheese aren’t necessary. We usually don’t use them, but it is an option and the sour cream especially helps cool the spice of the chorizo.

Recipe: Texy Mexy skillet

After Andy’s Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis, we had to relearn how to eat. No longer could Friday nights involve 2 large pizzas (1 for each of us! Don’t judge. There were leftovers. Sometimes.), and we couldn’t pop into the 24 hour donut place down the street at midnight on Saturdays just because “we felt like it”.

At first we struggled. Veggies just didn’t hit the spot the way a blueberry cake donut did. But we adjusted out of necessity, and then out of actually wanting to adjust. We realized that as our lifestyle changes took effect, we felt better than we ever did before. Not to mention the weight loss and blood sugar numbers coming down.

I read a lot of food blogs and there’s a lot of food out there that Andy and I can’t eat. I’ve learned how to take the idea of a recipe and update it with ingredients that Andy and I love. This recipe–based on this recipe from The Kitchn–is a testament to how our eating habits have evolved. The original recipe includes rice, corn, and beans–a classic Tex Mex combination–all things that Andy and I avoid, or at least try to keep to a bare minimum. I knew that I could add extra peppers, onions, and swap the rice for cauil-rice and have a great meal. And indeed it is!

You’ll notice the lack of protein in this dish–Andy and I typically eat this with fried eggs and salsa on top.

1 head cauliflower
1-2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil (I use avocado)
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, chopped
1-2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained of as much juice as possible
4-6 ounces grated cheese (optional)
salt
pepper
sliced avocado
salsa

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Run the cauliflower through your food processor with the shredding blade attached. Alternatively, grate the cauliflower until it is the size of rice. Set aside.

In an oven-proof skillet saute the onions and both peppers with a healthy pinch of salt until onions are translucent. Add the spices, stir to combine, and let cook for a minute or two until everything smells “toasty”. Add the tomatoes and stir again.

Stir in the cauliflower with another large pinch of salt and a few grinds of the peppermill. Make sure all the onions and peppers are distributed and the cauliflower is fully coated with the spices. If you’re adding cheese stir it in now and pop the entire skillet into the oven for 20-25 minutes until brown and the cheese has melted thoroughly. I like ours with little charred bits of cauliflower on top. If you’re not of that persuasion, keep an eye on it around the 15 minute mark.

Serve with eggs (fried or scrambled), sliced avocado, and copious amounts of your favorite salsa or hot sauce.

If you’re curious about the name “Texy Mexy”, it’s an inside family joke. Ask me about it in person sometime and I’ll tell you.

April 24th: Weekly meal plan

Even though we don’t have anything special planned this week, I didn’t want to mess around with dinners that were too complicated. After working out in the yard all day, sometimes all I want is easy peasy! This happens to be a week where Andy makes his chili, which is one of the reasons the grocery list is a bit hefty this week.

Have a great one!

Brussels sprouts, apple, caramelized onion salad with fried eggs
– Cobb salad
– Broccoli and anchovy cauli-rice with fried eggs (recipe coming soon)
– Cabbage roll casserole
– Tuna stuffed tomatoes
– Zucchini, mushroom, chicken skillet
– Hodge Podge!

 

 

April 10th: Weekly meal plan

Thanks to an abundant Easter brunch (we hosted Andy’s family and I made a little extra) we actually ate leftovers for dinner three times this week! That means I get to carry over a couple of last week’s meals into this week. You’ll notice the grocery list is a wee bit shorter, and that’s because we’ve got the ingredients for the pho and the chorizo rice bowl in the fridge waiting to be consumed.

Have a great week!

– Chorizo rice bowl
– Enchilada cabbage casserole
– Chicken pho
– Chicken ragu over herbed cauli-rice
– Broccoli egg casserole with salad
– Flat bread pizza with salad
– Hodge podge!

April 3rd: Weekly meal plan

With Easter this weekend (we’re hosting Andy’s entire family–all 20 of them!), I wanted to keep our meal plan pretty simple. You’ll see quite a few repeats from last week.

He has risen indeed!

– Brussels sprouts gratin
– “Texy Mexy” skillet
– Beef enchilada cabbage casserole
– Chorizo rice bowl
– Chicken pho (with zoodles!)
– Fried eggs with roasted veggies and salad
– Hodge Podge!

March 13th: Weekly meal plan

I don’t know if it’s the combination of warm sun and drizzly gray days (we’ve had both this week), but I’m feeling like I’ve got some ants in my pants. As such, I’m trying two new dinners this week. Normally, I try to limit myself to one new meal a week, but I’m feeling a little adventurous–if two new-to-us meals can be called adventurous–so here we go!

Chicken ragu over herbed cauli-rice
Braised cabbage with fried eggs (new!)
Mushroom masala over Indian-spiced cauli-rice (new!)
– Broccoli, cheese, and egg casserole (from the Wheat Belly 30-Minute (or Less) cookbook)
– Brussels sprouts gratin with fried eggs (from the Wheat Belly 30-Minute (or Less) cookbook)
– Chorizo chile (Probably one of the easiest meals I make. Recipe to come!)
– Hodge Podge (Let’s clean that fridge!)

 

February 13th: Weekly meal plan

Well, here goes. Our first official meal plan. I’ll add recipes later, but for now this is just a list of what we’re having for dinner this week.

- Cozy winter soup from Yummy Supper (leftover freezer meal)
– Garbage stirfry with curried cabbage from nom nom paleo
– Curried pumpkin soup (leftover freezer meal)
– Roasted pork tenderloin with roasted cabbage and turnips and homemade applesauce
– Turkey burgers with avocado, caramelized onion and spicy mayo
– Carnitas with flat bread/tortillas, Mexican green cauli-rice, and “fixins”
– HodgePodge (Basically your standard clean out the fridge meal. Usually, whatever we’ve got left plus a few eggs.)