Archive for Main Dishes
Do you like how I cleaned up the crusty baked-on edges of the pie plate before snapping the shot?
Oh my bad. I was thinking of another picture I didn’t take.
Sometimes, I just don’t feel the need to have grains or carbs with every meal. I’ve been learning to listen more to my body and to give it what it needs – or to not give it what it doesn’t need.
I have especially become more aware of my body’s nutritional needs since I began working out regularly. There are times I find my body screaming for protein. Other times, I can tell that if I don’t get some carbs in me, I am not going to feel well. Later, I might be craving a huge salad or an orange.
I’m not sure how to explain away yesterday’s chocolate chip cookie. Cookies. Plural. Did my body need them? Yes I think so. But of course, not really.
One day recently, while making pizza for my family, I found that I was not hungry for the crust. That day, I was just in it for the meat and veggies. Therefore, I cooked up some hamburger meat with mushrooms, sweet peppers and onions, stirred in some sauce, spread it in a pie plate, and topped it with cheese. I put it into the oven with the regular pizzas I had made, just long enough to melt the cheese the way I wanted it.
In case you ever find yourself short on time and not able to make a crust, or if you simply don’t want a pizza crust on your pizza – I highly recommend the Crustless Pizza. So incredibly tasty.
Ever tried this before?
This is one of the easiest recipes in the world. Forgot to thaw the chicken? No problem. Have some random tidbits of lettuce or beans in your fridge you need to use up? Perfect. Planning to be out of the house all afternoon and need something ready to eat when you get home…but you only have five minutes before you need to rush out the door, you forgot to make a dinner plan, your daughter can’t find her left shoe, the delivery man knocks on the door, and your toddler is running toward the toilet with your cell phone?
Chicken Tacos to the rescue.
This idea came from my friend Emily. She’s an awesome mom of two little ones. I admire how she is always working to put healthy meals on the table, while trying to save time in the process. Hmmm, kind of sounds like the majority of us, huh? We need easy, fast, tasty…and we want it to nourish our families too. That’s why I thought you’d like hearing this recipe idea.
You simply put chicken breasts into your slow cooker, dump on a jar of salsa, and walk away. (I hate to discourage you or add to your work load, but you do have to plug in the machine and turn a knob. Try not to break a nail.)
My family loves these because they can build their tacos however they like. I love this recipe because it’s adaptable based on what I have in my fridge and pantry. If I don’t have whole wheat tortillas made, but I do have some organic corn chips on hand? That’s how we eat it. And last week, I decided to fry some corn tortillas in palm shortening and have Chicken Tostadas with this recipe instead. Incredibly delicious.
Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups salsa
Place chicken (frozen, thawed, upside down, whatever) into your slow cooker. Pour salsa over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours. Shred chicken mixture. Serve with any of your favorite taco fixin’s.
What is your favorite way to top a taco? Last week when we had these, I asked Asa (or 15 year old) to make his famous Spicy Avocado Dip. It was so good with this chicken!
Apparently, it’s pizza week around here. :)
It’s great to have homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crusts in the freezer. But if you don’t, or if you’re wanting just a little something different…might I recommend Pizza Boats?
(Warning to children: These Pizza Boats don’t float. Do not take these into the bathtub.)
I have been ordering Alvarado Sprouted Sourdough French Bread from my health food co-op, Azure Standard. In a pinch, I grab one out, slice it and quickly put together two big Pizza Boats. These are perfect for an easy lunch, or for a quick supper before we run out to soccer games.
You’ll need 2 cups (16 ounces) of pizza sauce. Simply slice the french bread in half the long way.
Top any way you wish.
Bake in a 375° oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
I’m telling you. Healthy eating does not have to be difficult or take a lot of time. And it can be a lot of fun. Who wouldn’t want a Pizza Boat for dinner?
But don’t take them into the bathtub.
Why yes. I have been raising boy children for 15 years.
I have officially worked myself out of a job. Elias, our 10 year old, has now been declared our Chief Pizza Maker.
Why? Because I’ve figured out how to make quick and easy pizza crust – and I’ve figured out that this pizza crust freezes really, really well. Therefore, I make a double batch of pizza dough, shape it, and bake it into personal sized crusts - and then I freeze them. On “pizza day”, Elias gets out the crusts and toppings, and puts together “made to order” pizzas for everyone. He then bakes them in our toaster oven, all while I am sitting with my feet up in an easy chair, sipping lemonade, and flipping through a magazine.
Just kidding. I’m typically working right beside him on another kitchen chore. But it sure is nice to have a my big guys around who help so much. And it’s so very nice to have such an easy recipe to work with so that making pizzas is crazy easy.
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (originally posted when I shared my Whole Wheat Calzone recipe)
5 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground flour from hard white wheat)
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 2 pouches)
2 cups warm water (The water should feel warm, but not hot.)
Mix all ingredients together, knead for 3-4 minutes, then allow the dough to “rest” for about 10 minutes (give or take). This dough makes 2 large pizzas, or 18 mini pizzas. Shape dough into desired pizza sizes and place on baking sheets. Bake in a 375° oven for 5-7 minutes. Remove crusts from oven, allow them to cool, then freeze in freezer bags. Or, top hot pizza crusts with desired pizza toppings. When you’re ready, bake the pizzas at 375° for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.
FYI – I find that 2 cups (16 ounces) of pizza sauce is typically needed to go with this pizza crust recipe.
I found little mini turkey pepperonis at the store. Our boys love them. :)
I love how easy this dough is to work with. I simply pinch off a little dough, and quickly roll out crusts and bake them.
Once they have baked and cooled, I put them into freezer bags. I don’t even get them out in time to thaw before we top them and bake them. So convenient!
If you’d like to borrow my ten year old sometime, I’m sure he’d be happy to come build you some pizzas. Then, you too can put your feet up in an easy chair, sip lemonade, and flip through a magazine. :)
Ever tried freezing pizza crusts? If not, I highly recommend it. It makes homemade pizza so very easy!
I couldn’t very well make homemade pita bread last week without making Chicken Salad, now could I?
Matt happened to be out of town for two days last week on a soccer trip. The poor guy. All I talked about when he came home was how good the new pita bread recipe ended up and how I’d made chicken salad to go in it and served it all with fresh tomatoes from our garden. And how all four boys scarfed it up and came back for more.
And then I had to tell him that all of it was gone – that we’d saved none at all for him.
Yeah. Welcome home, Dad. ;)
Not to worry. I’ll make him more soon. Have you tried the Whole Wheat Pita Bread recipe yet?
Easy Chicken Salad
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Hain Safflower)
2 Tablespoons pickle relish (I use either homemade pickle relish or an organic variety from Amazon or Vitacost)
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and serve on crackers, on bread, or in pita pockets. Shucks, get out a fork and eat it plain if you want. It’s good stuff. :)
I’m not a fan of hard boiled eggs in my meat salads. You? And you know, if you all leave a comment answering that question, this will make for one of the most exciting blog conversations – ever. :)
This recipe packs a punch when it comes to protein. In my household of men, this is much appreciated. Oh, who am I kidding? I may be the only girl in my household, but give me a bowl of beans, beef, and bacon, and I’m a happy camper. I love me a high protein meal! If all the boys in the house enjoy it too, well now, that’s just a huge perk. :)
Add some chopped sweet green peppers, or even a few chunks of spicy peppers to this recipe if your family enjoys a little “kick”.
8 ounces turkey bacon, cut into one-inch pieces
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion (or 4 Tablespoons minced onion)
1/4 cup sucanat
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
2 – 15 ounce cans baked beans (I use Eden Organics, full of healthy ingredients)
1 – 15 ounce can kidney beans
3/4 cup ketchup (I recommend homemade ketchup or an organic variety that does not contain high fructose corn syrup)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon vinegar (I use either red wine or balsamic)
In a skillet, brown bacon, ground beef, and onions together. Drain and dump into a crock pot. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until mixed. Cover and cook on low for six hours or on high for three hours. Or, skip the crock pot and bake this in a covered casserole dish at 350° for an hour.
I know everyone is different when it comes to craving meat and high protien meals. Are you like me and feel like you could eat a half a cow sometimes? Or are you content with a small bowl of beans and the occasional peanut?
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