Cook’s notes: My sweetheart made a huge batch of Mexican-style slow cooker stew with chicken, black beans, corn, red pepper, and cilantro. We had a 4-quart cooking pot full of delicious stew, but there are only two of us in the house. I turned the leftovers into a casserole for a potluck dinner with friends.
Heat oven to 350°F. Coat a 13×9-inch baking dish evenly with cooking spray, then scatter 1.5 cups of crushed tortilla chips evenly on the bottom.
Cook 1 bag frozen brown rice, and spread cooked rice over the tortilla chip pieces.
Spoon leftover chicken and sweet potato stew in a thick layer over the rice.
Sprinkle about 3/4 cup (6 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Adapted from My Favorite Mexican Casserole recipe | Epicurious.com
Cook’s notes: Another wonderful spiralized zucchini recipe inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod. We sauteed the cherry tomatoes with the zucchini.
2 Tablespoons (1 oz) olive oil
16 oz cherry tomatoes
3 to 4 zucchinis, ends trimmed and spiralized (or cut into thin strips)
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil pesto, to taste
Heat a large skillet over a medium-high burner. Add the oil and tomatoes, stirring frequently, until the tomato skins start to split and release their juices. Add the zucchini and gently cook until zucchini is tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Toss with pesto (about 1/4 cup, stir and add more if desired).
Cook’s notes: Adapted from several recipes to make a quick weeknight dinner. You could increase the vegetable content by adding baby spinach to the zucchini. Top with Feta cheese, if desired.
3 zucchinis, spiralized (or cut into thin strips)
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can (6 ounces) light tuna, packed in oil
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 large lemon (zest and juice [3 Tablespoons])
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Heat a large skillet over a medium-high burner. Gently cook the zucchini noodles until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked zucchini, tuna, chickpeas, parsley, lemon juice and zest, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Serve immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 days.
Not just for husbands
Cook’s notes: I was looking for an easy dinner that uses chicken breasts and a pan sauce. It’s way too hot to grill outside. This recipe fit the bill: the chicken breasts cooked perfectly at 6 minutes per side, and the sauce had a lot of flavor. Use a good-flavored beer, such as white ale, for this recipe.
Served with green beans and brown rice.
Source: Follow the recipe posted to myrecipes, with these changes: 1 Tablespoon dried shallots instead of 3 Tablespoons fresh, 2 teaspoons dried parsley, and omit the salt:
2 Tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon dried shallots
2 teaspoons dried parsley leaves
Cook’s notes: This simple sauce was wonderful on pasta. It’s a great way to add veggies to your main dish. It would be really good on squash noodles (or “zoodles”) made with a spiralizer.
- Whisk together 2 to 3 Tablespoons of flour into 3 cups of broth until flour is dissolved.
- Sauté 2 to 3 minced cloves of garlic in olive oil or butter in a skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes.
- Add fresh vegetables of choice (broccoli, green beans, mushrooms, onions, sliced red pepper, etc.) to the skillet with the garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until vegetables are tender, but not mushy.
- Pour the broth-flour mixture over the vegetables in the skillet. Stir over medium heat until sauce thickens.
Serve the veggie and broth sauce over pasta.
Source: Eryn Lynum (link)
Cook’s notes: Boneless skinless chicken thighs were on sale recently. The Kitchn (link) has an excellent article on how to cook these thighs in the oven. It was so easy, although it did take longer than 20 minutes in our oven to get the chicken to the right temperature.
The only change I made was a slight variation on the baking sauce:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon Italian Herb blend
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
Cook’s notes: This pizza was amazing, and everything was made from scratch: the crust, the sauce, and the toppings. The crust recipe uses Greek yogurt and had tastes amazing (not like yogurt at all). We ate leftover toppings with spaghetti sauce over pasta. Yes, it’s a little time consuming, but the flavor is totally worth it.
- Make the crust and stretch it to about 12 inches round onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Make the sauce
- Spread sauce on the crust, leaving about a one-inch border.
- Make the turkey and veggie topping mixture. Cook the turkey through, until well-done, 165ºF as measured by a meat thermometer.
- Cook the veggies until they are tender and spinach is wilted.
- Spread the topping mixture on the crust.
- Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake at 450F for 10 to 12 minutes until crust is browned and cheese is melted.
Vegetarian option: Omit the turkey and use only veggies in the topping.
Greek Yogurt Pizza Crust
1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Mix ingredients in a bowl until it starts to come together and then knead it on a well-floured surface for about 8-10 minutes. Add in a little bit of flour at a time if the dough is too sticky. Form it into the pizza shape you want. I used a rolling pin on a floured cutting board to shape the dough. Place crust on an ungreased cookie sheet.
One-Minute Pizza Sauce
Scaled this recipe to use a 6-oz. can tomato paste.
6 ounce can organic tomato paste
1.5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 garlic clove, crushed
1.5 teaspoons organic onion powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Mix all the ingredients for the homemade pizza sauce together in a small glass bowl. Add water to thin the texture as needed to make the sauce spreadable.
Turkey and Veggie Topping
Olive oil or cooking spray
1 package (16 to 20 oz.) ground turkey
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
8 oz. box sliced mushrooms
1 cup baby spinach
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
Coat a skillet with oil or cooking spray. Brown the ground turkey with onion and garlic. Add the red pepper and mushroom; cook until veggies soften. Add spinach and seasoning; stir until spinach is wilted.
- Crust adapted from the Impatient Foodie blog
- Sauce adapted from the Healthy Home Economist blog. See her original post for instructions on making English Muffin pizzas with this sauce.
- Topping mixture adapted from the Jennie O site
Cook’s notes: It’s really easy to make half a turkey breast (bone-in) in a slow cooker. I looked at several recipes on line, and they all agreed. This turned out well.
Note: The turkey breast must be thawed, not frozen.
- Rinse turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels.
- Rub olive oil over both sides of the turkey breast. Be careful of the bones on the cut side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Season with chicken dry rub.
- Place turkey breast meaty side up, in slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low 8 hours, or until the minimum internal temperature is 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
- Remove from slow cooker and let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
An amazing flavor combination, but not too spicy
Cook’s notes: This recipe is adapted from Alaska from Scratch, and it’s just terrific. The turkey mixture is enough for 6 servings. Leftovers are great for lunch. Note that the raw garlic in the dressing gets more pungent overnight. This salad has an excellent combination of flavors and textures, and the recipe is quite flexible.
Make the turkey mixture and the dressing, then assemble salads. You can also top them with a spoonful of guacamole.
1 lb. (16 oz.) package ground turkey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Arizona Dreaming chili spice blend (from Penzeys)
1 can (14.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15.25 oz.) organic corn kernels, drained
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Season the turkey with salt and taco seasoning and brown the meat, breaking it up with a spatula as you go. When cooked through, add the black beans and corn, heating through. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or taco seasoning, as needed, to taste.
Cilantro Ranch Dressing:
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 Tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice [half a lime]
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Process all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Assemble the salads (per person):
- 3 oz. mixed greens
- 1 oz. slightly crushed tortilla chips
- 1 cup turkey, bean, and corn mixture
- 1/2 tomato, diced
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons shredded cheddar
- 1/4 avocado, diced
- 1/2 scallion, chopped
- Cilantro Ranch dressing to taste
- Salsa, if desired
Cook’s notes: She originally called for 1 Tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce. The little bit of Tabasco was more than hot enough for me. I added red bell pepper and sweet potato and reduced the added sweetener. The roasted sweet potato was left over from another meal and was a nice addition. You could also steam a fresh sweet potato in the microwave if you don’t have leftovers.
- Easy and delicious, ready in about 20 minutes. Leftover curry heats up well for lunches.
- Likely gluten-free, definitely vegetarian/vegan
- Makes 6 servings
1 package frozen brown rice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Curry powder, any variety (we like the Penzeys brand)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable stock
1 can (13.5 ounce) coconut milk
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (more to taste)
1 can (15 ounce) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups diced cooked sweet potato
Cook the rice according to the package instructions.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and bell pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, until the onions are soft and starting to turn golden. Sprinkle in the curry powder and garlic and stir, cooking for another minute or so.
Pour in the vegetable stock and stir to scrape up all the brown bits in the pan. Add the coconut milk, sugar, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, add the chickpeas and sweet potato. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, sugar, or hot sauce.
Serve the curry over the rice.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s blog