Weekly Meal Inspiration

Winter may not be here quite yet on the calendar but it officially arrived here in WI with frigid temperatures and high winds on Tuesday. Mondays high where I live was 61…..and then it was over!!!!! Time to dig out all the winter gear, time for my hair to freeze rock solid when I walk out of the gym a bit sweaty, time for my lips to crack every time I smile, and by looking below at our week of meals, it’s time for soup.

Here is what we enjoyed this:

Saturday: BBQ chicken pizza

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Sunday: no boil lasagna and side salads

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Monday: pork and banana peppers on rolls with provolone cheese, sweet potato rounds and a side of cranberry sauce…I just had to make one more batch before cranberries are scarce once again.

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Tuesday: cowboy caviar filled wonton wrappers and leek soup

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Wednesday: out with my brother

Thursday: crock pot beef, barley, and veggie soup

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Friday: out

This weekend I plan to wrap gifts, continue working on the Christmas menu, and attend yoga class for some me time. Enjoy your weekend and I will be back with one last week of postings before I take a bit of a Christmas break. Can you believe the holiday is so close….where does time go?

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Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

I have been trying to find time to make my own meatless chili for some time now but knowing that neither my son or husband would eat this for a meal was always a deal breaker. However, it’s not necessarily the fact that it has no meat in it that makes it a deal breaker. Neither of them really like chili…my son is not a bean fan and my husband just plainly don’t like chili. So one afternoon I finally decided to just make a small batch and eat it one evening for dinner myself and for lunches the rest of the week. This actually turned out wonderfully and I really enjoyed this meal.

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Here is what I did. (Keep in mind I needed to keep it quite mild to be able to share it with the daycare children also.So feel free to add more spice if you wish)

Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

2 TBSP olive oil

1 15 oz can black bean-drained

1 can of Campbell’s tomato soup

1/2 cup quinoa

2 small sweet potato-peeled and diced

2 celery stalks-diced

1/4 medium onion-diced

1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes

2 tsp chicken/veg bouillon

2 garlic cloves-finely chopped

2 15 oz cans of water(use your bean can for measurement)

2 TBSP chili powder

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp cumin

salt to taste

 

Begin by adding your olive oil to the pot and saute your onion, celery, and potatoes for about 10 minutes.

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Next, add your tomato soup, diced tomatoes, garlic, spices, bouillon, and water. Mix this together, bring it to a boil, and then simmer this for another 10 minutes.

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Next, add your quinoa. Mix it together, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes approx or until your quinoa is tender.

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At this point, add your drained and rinsed black beans. Take it off the heat and leave it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. The chili will thicken up and make a tasty hearty meal. I served mine with tortilla scoops. Other tasty additions would be shredded cheese, sour cream, plain greek yogurt or avocado.

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Enjoy.

 

Weekly Meal Plan-Experimenting With Food And Feelings

This week for me has been an experiment of how what I eat affects my body. I have not shared much about what I have been struggling with this past month but part of what I am trying to do to deal with it all is eat less inflammatory foods. You know, things like extra sugar, flour, processed food, potatoes, fried food, white rice, etc. And after looking at this weeks meals and seeing if what I have been avoiding this past month is helping my situation, I can assure myself I am on the right track.

First, I did not regulate my meals this week. I simply made what was easy and fast and we even threw in an extra night out(Monday) which is totally unusual for us. And then we did Chinese besides which is one of the worst cuisines to go out for ever.  Add in too many potatoes, too much pasta, and all this left me with all over pain and agony by Wednesday. However, I am happy to know that eating whole grains like farro instead of rice for instance is working for my body. Next week I plan to get back on track even though I fully intended to go off track this week to see what would happen. I also wanted to see how long it would take for my body to get rid of all this inflammatory food after eating it for a week. It was a good experiment and I am happy I did it. Just knowing that what I am doing by putting a bit more effort into what I prepare every week for our health and well being is so worth the pain I suffered through this week. So with that being said I will leave you with a look at what our meal plan was this past week.

Saturday: nachos

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Sunday: chicken and sundried tomato casserole

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Monday: grilled chicken brats, roasted carrots and potatoes

we went out for Chinese instead….because its Monday,because it was a bad day for both my hubby and son, because…..well, just because!

Tuesday: lemon shrimp with capers and spinach over pasta

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Wednesday: meatloaf burgers, corn and mashed potatoes (I had mine on farro since my pain level was enough by this time of the week)

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Thursday: leek, bacon, and eggs skillet (recipe coming soon)

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Friday: out

I am not by any means “cheffy” so to say, but I do pride myself on feeding my body only what it needs and likes. There is not much I eat without knowledge of what it can do for my insides. Food is medicine and for many of us its life, so why not feed our bodies the best we can.

 

 

A Hearty Soup Recipe To Warm Your Soul

I love soup! I love an easy soup recipe even more and this is what I plan to share with you all today.

Soups at our house usually end up being anything I can find when the moment strikes to make soup. However, this one I have made numerous times now and finally wrote it down to share with all of you. Numerous friends and family have tried it and have asked for the recipe so here it is.

The star of this soup is Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix. One cup of this mixture added to some extra veggies and no one will even miss the meat that is not in this dish. I promise.

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Ingredients:

1 cup  vegi soup mixture (as pictured above)

2 tbsp olive oil

5 tsp chicken bouillon

5-6 cups of water

1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 tsp of oregano

1/4 head cabbage- chopped

3 carrots- diced

2 celery stalks-diced

1/2 medium onion-diced

1 box of kale-roughly chopped

1 sweet potato- peeled and diced

1 small zucchini- diced

2 garlic cloves-finely chopped

salt to taste

1/2-3/4 cup half and half cream(optional)

Cooking time may vary I suppose, but if your like me, I made mine in a cast iron dutch oven and cooking time took about and hour total. I know there seems to be a lot of veggies in this soup, but if you clean, peel, and pre chop everything prior to starting the soup it all comes together pretty quickly.

To prepare:

Preheat your dutch oven and add the olive oil.

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When your oil is hot, add the carrots,sweet potato, celery, and onion. Cook these for about 7 minutes over medium heat.

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Next, add the dry soup mix, can of tomatoes, bouillon, oregano, garlic, and water. Mix well and cover to leave this cook for 7-10 minutes.

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After 10 minutes, add the cabbage and zucchini. Again, give this a good stir and cover and leave this cook for at least 30 minutes stirring occasionally. You may need to add a bit of extra water so keep an eye on it.

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After this cooking time give it a test and see if the dry peas, lentils, and such are softened to your liking. If not, cover again and leave it cook for longer and continue to test it until you are happy with the results. If so, add the chopped kale and stir.This will wilt down quickly.

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Now, remove it from the heat and slowly add in the half and half cream, mixing this in completely.

***This step is optional but I will tell you it does add so much to the soup itself that you may want to give it a try.

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This is one very hearty soup with tons of healthy additives in both the soup mix and what I have added as well. Children seem to love it, meat lovers don’t seem to miss the meat(my husbands approves of this soup) and I simply cannot get enough myself. Give it a try with your family and see if you get the same results.

Enjoy….

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Thanksgiving Week Meal Plan

With Thanksgiving falling during this week my meal planning was a bit lighter than usual. Add that to a shortened work week for all of us and where no leftovers were needed for lunches meant a small break for me come dinner time. Although, I did still come up with some pretty yummy meals for the nights I did have to cook.

Here are the dinners we enjoyed this week.

Saturday: butternut squash with bacon and egg centers (My new favorite meal)

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Sunday: General Tso’s chicken and broccoli over rice (take out made at home)

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Monday: veggie marinara over cheese tortellini (meatless)

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Tuesday: Korean BBQ pork over farrow with homemade creamy coleslaw

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Wednesday: quinoa sweet potato chili (meatless) (recipe coming soon)

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Thursday: Thanksgiving dinner

Friday: left overs-stuffed squash with turkey,stuffing, and sprouts then covered with melted parmesan cheese.

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That sums up this past week in meals. As for the upcoming weeks ahead, I am excited to begin planning my Christmas menus. I am thinking about trying a goat cheese log with apricot preserves drizzled on top with some crusty bread or crackers on the side. I am also trying to come up with a yummy appetizer that is made using wonton wrappers since these have become a new family favorite.

Do you do traditional ham for Christmas?

What are your family traditions….if you care to share them?

 

 

What Happens When The Meal Plan Is Made, Groceries Are Bought And Then Your Husband Says I Will Be Traveling For The Week

Planning is my specialty and I love to do it but when all is said and done and a wrench is thrown into the plan after the preparations are made I get a bit miffed! This is exactly what happened this week. First, he is traveling for work, then he is not traveling for work, then once again he is traveling for work. And in between all this back and forth, I went grocery shopping and bought a weeks worth of food for all three people home at dinner time. Now, I find myself adjusting the meal plan for just my son and I with no need for lunch leftovers or another mouth at dinner time.  Typically, when my husband travels we will have some meals that he dislikes….like curry or pesto dishes. Although, this time I did not have enough time to replan and had already bought what I did so I adjusted on the fly.

Here is what our meals ended up being:

Saturday: traveling…our annual shopping bus trip was today to Illinois.

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Sunday: Asian chicken and veggie lettuce wraps

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Monday: stuffed poblano peppers

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Tuesday: sloppy joe noodle casserole and corn

Wednesday: chili and biscuits

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Thursday: quesadilla pizza melts (some meatless)

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Friday: out

Not bad considering the circumstances. Now, with Thanksgiving next week, I am excited that cooking will be a bit minimal but at the same time, making my first big holiday meal with no artificial sweeteners at all may be a bit challenging…..time will tell. Believe it or not, I am most nervous about making homemade whipped cream to go on pumpkin pie. I have never made it and you simply can’t have pumpkin pie without it. Right???

Wonton Pizza Cups

A great alternative to making an entire pizza is to make mini pizzas in wonton wrappers. These also make a great fast and easy appetizer for birthdays, holidays or just for snacking on during a sports game or movies at home. For us, I happened to have some leftover wrappers from another recipe I had made and thought why not fill them with pizza toppings and have a fast and easy dinner with a side salad. I quickly threw them together and a few minutes later everyone agreed…..I must make these again. So easy yet so good.

Here is what I did:

Wonton Pizza Cups

non stick cooking spray

wonton wrappers

cooked chicken, diced pepperonis, or cooked italian sausage…although, you could also go meatless if you wish

diced peppers

canned mushrooms, drained and chopped fine (squeeze as much liquid as possible from them)

diced black olives

pizza sauce with extra saved for dipping

mozzarella cheese

NOTE: depending on how many cups you plan to make, ingredient amounts could differ which is why I did not put specific amounts of anything.

Take your nonstick muffin pan and spray each cup with non stick cooking spray. Each cup will need two wonton wrappers. First, place the first wrapper in the cup and just put a few shreds of cheese to “glue” the top wonton wrapper to the bottom. Then lay the next wrapper opposite corners on top the first. Press them down so you have a nice area to fill with your preferred pizza toppings. Above is what we used but feel free to use what you like on pizza. Each wonton wrapper gets toppings, then about 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce and cheese on top.

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Bake these in a 375 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes.

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Remove them from the pan immediately and serve them with additional dipping pizza sauce if you wish.

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