Category: Dinner

Dinner Tonight: Individual Barbecue Meatloaves

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I have got another dinner idea for you that is both easy and filling – Individual Barbecue Meatloaf. It cooks more quickly than the traditionally sized meatloaf and it is also cuter. Yes, I do think meatloaf can be cute. Almost anything is, when it’s personal-pan sized. And on that note, almost any sized item can be personal-pan, if you try hard enough. I was able to put this meal together in about 30 minutes, from start to finish.

Individual Barbecue Meatloaves

1 lb ground chicken

1 egg, beaten

1 packet of dried mushroom gravy mix (try to find GF if needed)

1/2 C breadcrumbs (I used a mix of 4C GF breadcrumbs and crushed Corn Flakes)

Pepper

BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Cola-Q that one of my besties left at my house after a cookout – thank you!)

Preheat your oven to 400F. Prepare a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with Pam. Mix together the mushroom gravy packet, breadcrumbs, and pepper. In a large bowl, mix ground chicken, beaten egg, and breadcrumb mixture. Form into 1/3 lb. loaves. Place on your prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. brush BBQ sauce on the loaves and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

I served it with brown rice (which I boiled with chicken stock) and a summer fruit salad.

Enjoy!

Kristin

Dinner Tonight: Gluten Free Taco Pie

I’ve got another dinner idea for you to try this week – Taco Pie!

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My family loves tacos. We eat them…um, too much (for my taste). Mexican food easily offers great gluten free options. I think that’s why it’s so often. I like to mix it up, however, because my taste buds will not allow the same meals all the time. I need options.

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This taco pie was both filling and delicious, and very easy to make. I served it with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and lettuce, and plain Greek yogurt, and charred corn (and iced hibiscus tea!) on the side.

Gluten Free Taco Pie

Recipe adapted from: Betty Crocker

1 lb. ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 packet gluten free Taco seasoning

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 eggs

1 C milk (I used unsweetened coconut milk)

1/2 C Bisquick Gluten Free mix

Sliced tomato

3/4 C cheese (I used dairy free cheese)

Toppings (I used tomatoes, lettuce, cukes, red onion, and plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream)

Heat oven to 400F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat, until beef is browned. Drain. Stir in seasoning mix. Spoon into pie plate. Top with drained and rinsed black beans.

In small bowl, stir eggs, milk and Bisquick Gluten Free mix until blended. Pour over beans.

Bake for about 25 minutes. Top with cheese and tomato. Bake 2 to 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Serve with additional toppings.

Enjoy!

Kristin

Dinner Tonight: Italian Chicken Meatballs

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If you are anything like me (may God help you every step of the way, if you are), then you have no idea what you’re making tonight for dinner. You may even have something thawing on the counter. Lucky for you.

Welp. If you need a meal idea to get you through the week, try this one. It was terribly easy and very delicious.

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This was a take on Chicken Parmesan. I had to make it both gluten and dairy free (my husband got the meatballs without cheese…how sad). The meatballs were tender and juicy, and the broiled cheesy top really took them next level. The only reason I didn’t call them “Chicken Parmesan Meatballs” is because I didn’t use parmesan in the recipe. Feel free to call them that, if it soothes your soul.

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Italian Chicken Meatballs

1 – 1 1/2 lb. ground chicken

1/2 C breadcrumbs (I used Corn Flake crumbs, which are gluten free)

1 T onion powder

1/4 C chopped fresh parsley, plus more for plating

Fresh garlic (I used about a tablespoon of the jarred minced garlic)

1 egg, beaten

S&P

1 jar marinara sauce (or use homemade)

Olive oil

Cheese (I used shredded Italian blend)

Pasta, cooked according to directions

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Preheat your oven to 400F. Mix all the ingredients (except for marinara sauce and olive oil) together in a bowl. Form into meatballs. Place on a prepared baking sheet (I placed tin foil on a pan and sprayed it with Pam). In a small bowl, mix together a few tablespoons of the marinara sauce with a few teaspoons of olive oil. Spoon a bit of that mixture over each meatball (see picture above). Bake for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle a little bit of cheese on each meatball and switch oven to Broil. Place pan back in and broil until the cheese is bubbly and brown. Serve with your favorite pasta and the rest of the jarred sauce. I used gluten free quinoa and brown rice rotini noodles.

**Alternatively, you can mix some parmesan cheese into the meatball to give it even more of that traditional Chicken Parmesan flavor.**

Enjoy!

Kristin

Breakfast Rice Bowls with Sausage and Fried Eggs

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It was 5:35pm, and I knew my husband and oldest son would be getting home from karate just after 6:00pm. I had mild Italian sausage (no casing), thawed on the counter. Like usual, I had no idea what to make. And like usual, I made something up on the fly. Unlike usual, it worked. It was a quick and super delicious meal. I decided to make rice bowls, with sausage patties and fried eggs. This was delicious at dinner, but would be incredible for breakfast, as well.

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You won’t be disappointed, if you try this.

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Breakfast Rice Bowls with Sausage and Fried Eggs

1 lb mild Italian sausage, without the casing (if it is in the casing, just squeeze it out)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 C bread crumbs (I used gluten free)

S&P

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Jasmine rice, cooked as directed

Eggs

Scallions

Red pepper flakes

*any other spices you want can be added in*

*this would be good with almost any vegetable mixed in, or any type of ground meat*

Mix all the above ingredients together. Form into patties and pan fry (I used a mixture of peanut and olive oil). Once seared on both sides, add some water to your pan and cover. This will cook the inside of the sausage patties.

While those are cooking, make your rice. Lastly, make your egg. You can cook it however you want, but for me, a fried egg is magical. The way that the yolk coats everything…incredible.

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I hope that you enjoy this as much as we did!

Kristin

Annnnd, one more gratuitous yolk picture…

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Homemade Vegetable Tomato Sauce

Today has not been an easy day, y’all. It’s been what many of you refer to as, “one of those” days. You know the type. Where one kid throws a heavy shoe at you while you’re driving (um, child, please, I don’t know where you learned that! and why is your shoe so heavy?), where your other child gives you the attitude of a teenager, and where you don’t know what on earth to make for dinner… and it’s dinner time.

Despite all of that, I actually put together a meal that everyone ate tonight. While there were no quiet moments where everyone was peacefully eating, at least they all ate. And my five year old said it was the best spaghetti he’d ever eaten and that he wanted it for lunch tomorrow and then again the next day. High praise from a picky eater.

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I never thought I’d be the parent that hid vegetables in food that I serve my children. And for my youngest, I am that parent. But for my oldest, I have to be more inconspicuous. He’ll spot a “green thing” from a mile away. And, then, it’s tainted. Unedible. “Gross”.

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So here’s my great recipe with lots of hidden vegetables for your eagle-eyed children to enjoy…

Homemade Vegetable Tomato Sauce

Serves: 4 people, with second helpings and leftovers

2 large bell peppers (I used one red and one green), cut into large pieces

1/4 large white onion, cut into large pieces

handful of cherry tomatoes (I used about 7)

1 6oz can of tomato paste

12oz tomato sauce (I use Flora Organic Strained Tomatoes)

Fresh garlic

S&P to taste

Ground meat (I used chicken. Turkey, beef, or sausage would be delicious.)

Pasta (I used 1lb of Trader Joe’s brown rice GF spaghetti noodles)

In a food processor, whiz together the bell peppers, onion, and cherry tomatoes. Meanwhile, brown your meat in a frying pan. Once cooked all the way through (and drained, if needed), add your liquified vegetable mixture. Pour in the tomato sauce and tomato paste. You might need to whisk it a bit to make sure the paste breaks down. Add the garlic and S&P. Let it simmer while your noodles are cooking. Once your noodles are done, drain and return to pot. Add the meat and tomato sauce.

Buon appetito!

Kristin

Chicken & Sausage Paella with Turmeric Rice

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“Dinner.” “What the bleep do I make?” “Those people are going to be hungry.” “I should let them fend for themselves, but I’m sure I’d regret that.” “It doesn’t matter what I make, they’re going to complain about it anyways.” “Arguments will occur. Feelings [mine] will be hurt.” “Maybe I’m just too sensitive.” “Yes, that’s right, sensitive, but with the palate of a world-renowned food taster. Those little sh*ts don’t know what they’re missing.”

Do those thoughts run through your head, too? It can’t just be me.

I’ve started meal planning [attempted to, if we’re honest] as a way to eliminate some of those inner thoughts. The complaining, however, often still occurs. That I can’t seem to help. So here is a meal to add to your plan, complaining not withheld.

Chicken & Sausage Paella with Turmeric Rice

Recipe adapted from: Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook, 75th Anniversary Edition

Serves: 8 (maybe more)

3 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

4-5 links of turkey sausage (I used mild Italian turkey sausage)

1 large onion, sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced (or garlic powder, or garlic from the tube)

1 T fresh or dried thyme (the original recipe called for more, but I’m not overly fond of thyme)

S&P

14 oz chicken stock

saffron or turmeric

Cooking white wine

2 C chopped tomatoes

2 medium or 4 small bell peppers, chopped

frozen peas

rice

Place your chicken (mine was partially frozen) in the crock pot. Place your sausage (also partially frozen) on top of the chicken. Place the sliced onion, thyme, S&P, and chicken stock on top of the meat. Set on HIGH for 4-6 hours or LOW for 8 ish hours. At the very end, while you are cooking your rice, add your chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, and frozen peas (we also added corn and jalapeno).

Make your rice as directed. Add a few shakes of turmeric and a few splashes of cooking wine. I didn’t have any saffron and I like to use turmeric because it is good for digestion.

Serve crock mixture over the rice.

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Honey Garlic Chicken & Quinoa Fried “Rice”

You know what I love? British stuff. You probably already know that. I love how British people say “take away” instead of “take out”. I also love “take away”, as in the food that has been taken away (to my house). I made a fun Chinese Take Away for dinner tonight – Honey Garlic Chicken & Quinoa Fried “Rice”.

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Juicy, tender chicken, glazed with a sweet and tangy garlic sauce, and Asian spiced quinoa, filled with vegetables, scrambled egg, and black sesame seeds.

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It was so good and so easy!

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Honey Garlic Chicken & Quinoa Fried “Rice”

Serves 4 adults (or 2 adults, 2 kids, and leftovers)

For Chicken

3 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts

4 T tamari sauce (or soy sauce)

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1-2 fresh garlic cloves

1 t sesame oil

2 T vinegar (I used a mixture of rice wine and apple cider)

1 squirt lemon juice

2-3 T honey

1 shake of 5 spice powder

1 shake of wasabi powder

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients, except for chicken, together. Set aside. Sear your chicken in olive oil for about 3 minutes on each side. Place on a pan in your preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear.

Once the chicken is done baking and has rested for about 5-10 minutes, slice. Pour your sauce mixture into your pan, over medium heat. Allow it to come to a slow boil (it will reduce). Add your sliced chicken.

For Quinoa

2 1/2 C water

1 1/4 C quinoa

2 carrots, sliced

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 C frozen corn

1/2 C frozen peas

1 egg, beaten

S&P

sesame seeds (optional)

Cook your quinoa, as directed. While it is boiling, saute your carrots and onions. Add your peas and corn. Remove from heat. Scramble your egg. Add the vegetable mix and egg to the cooked quinoa, mix together, and turn your heat up. Add a swirl of olive oil and let your quinoa get brown. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

SERVE, EAT.

It’s so good! Try it (worth all the dishes)!!

Kristin

Shortcut Shortstacks for Shrove Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday. And it coincides with Pancake Day. I read, today, that people who would be giving up sugar, eggs, and/or milk for Lent would feast on pancakes the day before Ash Wednesday in an effort to rid their pantries of those ingredients so that they would not go bad. Is that as fascinating to you as it is to me? What are you giving up for Lent? I have decided to give up desserts (save for a few pieces of birthday cake for a few important birthdays). #amicrazy #yes

To keep with this newly found (to me) tradition, I made gluten and dairy free pancakes for dinner tonight, with a fresh strawberry sauce and creamed honey (from Trader Joe’s – one of the best purchases of my life).

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I used a shortcut King Arthur Flour GF pancake mix and made it even better.

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These were SO good. I am embarrassed to say that I allowed my Bigs to eat, um, eight of these. Smalls ate a few less and without strawberry sauce (he is on a no strawberry kick).

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Gluten & Dairy Free Shrove Shortcut Shortstacks

1 pkg King Arthur Flour GF pancake mix (15 oz.)

2 large eggs

4 T coconut oil (you can use other oils or 6 T melted butter)

2 C milk (I used 1 C cashew milk, 1 C coconut milk)

1 T vanilla bean paste

2 t almond extract

Whisk together the eggs, oil (or butter), and milk. Whisk in the mix. Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes.

Preheat your griddle pan to 350F. Scoop out the batter and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side (look for bubbles to pop).

Serve with fresh strawberry sauce.

Fresh Strawberry Sauce

2 C fresh or frozen strawberries (I used frozen)

Place in a saucepan on medium heat, until softened. Put into a food processor and whiz until fully processed. Strain to get the larger unprocessed chunks out. Place back in saucepan to thicken.

EAT.

Happy Lent!

Kristin

It’s the end of the week as we know it (and I feel fiiiine)

It’s in your head now. Right? You’re welcome. R.E.M. rocks! Do people say “rocks” anymore? Do young people say “rocks” anymore? I wouldn’t know.

So, the end of the week is here (yay). It’s been such a crazy week. I haven’t even had a second. But now I do. So, I’m taking my second to show you food.

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Bigs’ Wednesday lunch was a breakfast theme! I packed a pancake “sandwich”, made with two gluten and dairy free pancakes, peanut butter, and honey. I also packed one slice of turkey bacon, cut up, some assorted raisins (Trader Joe’s big bag of assorted raisins ROCKS [#cantstopwontstop #imold]), a colby jack cheese slice, an orange, and granola (Trader Joe’s again).

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Bigs’ Thursday lunch was another turkey lunch (this time with ham and cheese!). I used my Food Writers and a turkey cookie cutter to make him so cute (if I can say so myself). His hay bale is crusts. I also packed grapes and applesauce. Bigs told me he was “staaaaarving” after eating this, so I made sure to pack more tonight for Friday’s lunch.

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So. For Bigs’ lunch tomorrow (Friday), I was sure to pack more food. I went with a Fallish squirrel theme. I made a ham and cheese sandwich, shaped like a squirrel. I used my Food Writers for his eye detail and cut out a little piece of fruit leather in the shape of an acorn. I also packed pretzels, seasoned corn, grapes and pineapple, an organic yogurt squeezy thing, and Trader Joe’s ginger cookies for dessert.

He’s going to go nuts! Get it? I love a pun.

And for my Smalls’ lunch today, I packed a Mickey Mouse(ish) lunch. And to prove it, here’s a blurry picture:

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Three baby Mickey Mouse shaped PB&J’s, some organic Trader Joe’s PB crackers, grapes, and TJ’s school house letter cookies. He ate all the grapes this time!

I also made Thanksgiving this week! I don’t think you can have it enough. I made a meal for a friend and doubled so my family could enjoy it too!

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I can’t wait for the REAL Thanksgiving! It’s going to be the bomb! (Do they say “bomb” anymore? Or is that done-zo?) For us, I made gluten free Turkey and Sage Meatballs.

Turkey and Sage Meatballs

1 lb (ish) ground turkey

1/2 C gluten free breadcrumbs

1 egg

S&P

1 1/2 t of ground sage or poultry seasoning

Mix together, roll into balls, place on greased pan, bake for 30 – 45 minutes (depending on size of meatballs) at 350F.

I covered our meatballs with a homemade cranberry orange sauce.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 C fresh or frozen cranberries

1/4 C frozen orange concentrate

1/3 C water

1 T sugar

1 packet of plain (unflavored) gelatin

Place all ingredients, except for gelatin, in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Whisk in the gelatin and simmer until thick.

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Roasted turkey breast for my friend. I seasoned it with S&P, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, and olive oil. I roasted it according to directions.

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I made green bean casserole, all of which I could have eaten by myself. I love it.

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I made sweet potato casserole. I didn’t have marshmallows, but I DID have marshmallow fluff. And being the resourceful woman that I am, I swirled that ooey gooey fluffy goodness around in the sweet potatoes and it came out just fine.

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I made cheesy corn and cornbread casserole.

http://jareskepinterestrecipes.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/corn-casserole/

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I made my first ever pumpkin pie (weird that it’s my first!). I used a basic recipe. And I overdid it. But I love my friend, she didn’t even care.

And lastly, I made an old fashioned Cranberry Fluff Salad. I took a picture, but it looked awful. Like bad awful. But it was good. SO good. I am on the molded and gelatin based salad train. Doesn’t that sound like a gross train to be on? It’s not. It’s amazing. If you like that sort of stuff. Which I do. I DID have to change the recipe, due to my lack of marshmallows. Again, I used the fluff. I thought it might work since that IS one of the names in the recipe. And it DID work, maybe not as successfully as marshmallows would have, but it was still really good!

http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/cranberry-fluff/

Do it. That could be your Thanksgiving, right there.

Have a BLESSED end to your week! We are ending our week right with our church/school’s Fall Festival tomorrow night! It’s going to rock!!

Blessings,

Kristin

Thanksgiving Countdown (a “turkey lunch” and a link to Thanksgivings Past)!

I can’t wait for Thanksgiving. To me, it is equal with the joy and excitement of Christmas. I love the food, the fellowship, and the thankfulness of it all. I have been so nostalgic about my Thanksgivings growing up. I wrote a post about it last year and it captured my memories exactly. Also in that post, I shared some of my most favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

http://sprinklesinmylunchbox.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/thanksgiving-food-roundup/

Tomorrow starts the school Thanksgiving countdown for my Bigs (and Smalls). For the next two weeks, these sweet children will learn about the first Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving as a whole, and giving thanks. I love it. I can’t wait to hear what they have learned. To start the countdown, I made a turkey lunch for my big boy.

Not THAT kind of turkey. That would be sort of sad and weird – a turkey-shaped turkey sandwich. Sort of rubbing it in that poor turkey’s face that he’s being eaten.

You know?

No?

Just me?

Oh well.

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I made a PB&J and used my turkey-shaped cutter. I used my Food Writers to add details. I love that every time I make these (here and here and a few other times), they come out differently. Like real turkeys (or snowflakes if you want to get technical), they are all different. I kept the crusts and used them as sort of a hay bale (I might be the only one “getting” that). I packed seasoned corn, an orange, three little Trader Joe’s ginger cookies, and a few dried cranberries.

Have a BLESSED Tuesday!

Kristin