Tutorial: Meal Prep with Protein Bowls!

We don’t eat a lot of meat. Partially because our fridge/freezer is still broken, and it’s getting really expensive. So we’ve been eating more non-meat proteins lately.

This tutorial is more like a choose your own adventure. Depending on your dietary restrictions, food likes and dislikes, and what you have in your pantry and refrigerator will greatly influence how your protein bowls turn out.

The base of your bowl is going to be a grain. We used red and white quinoa, but you can use brown rice, bulgur, Right Rice (which isn’t actually rice), you could use high protein pasta like the kind made with lentils, or if you don’t like any of those you could just use regular pasta, noodles, or white rice. It won’t be as high in protein. We prepared 8-ish cups of quinoa cooked per package directions with vegetable broth.

Your next step is to prep your vegetables. The vegetables will take up the bulk of this dish. Because we get a variety of veggies each week with our Yasukochi Farms CSA box, it was easy to select our veggies. We used onions, carrots, celery, peppers (bell peppers), zucchini, mushrooms, and bok choy. We added cherry tomatoes uncooked directly to the bowls while packing. 

Cut your veggies into bite-size pieces (you want to end up with about 8-10 cups of veggies, and sauté them in about a tablespoon of oil (I love avocado oil, but it’s up to you).

Because you will be re-heating these veggies before serving, cook them until they are al dente, or still slightly crisp. Otherwise, they can get mushy.

I started with the onions, cooking them until translucent, then adding the mushrooms, and cooking the moisture out. After that, add the remaining veggies and cook for 5-10 minutes.

While your veggies are cooking, in a separate pan you’re going to heat 2 tablespoons of oil, your choice. This is where we’re going to cook our protein and sauce. We cooked salmon. The salmon was cut into bite-size pieces and then lightly sautéed in oil until it was about 3/4 of the way cooked.

Then we added a jar of Private Selection tikka masala curry sauce (it’s available at Kroger brand stores). I’m usually not a big fan of premade sauces, but in the case of Indian food, the sauces are so much more financially savvy. I believe the sauce was three dollars or less for the jar, and it tastes delicious. Like restaurant quality mild tikka masala sauce. If you wanna add heat, you can add some chili oil or red pepper flakes. But I don’t recommend doing it while you’re cooking, because it will just infuse it with so much heat.

We cooked the sauce with the salmon pieces for about 10 minutes added bok choy and allow that to cook down for another five minutes.

And now the assembly!

We set out eight of the Rubbermaid storage containers (these are the ones that we use).

 

 

Each container contains:

  • one cup of cooked red and white quinoa
  • one and a half cups of vegetables
  • 2 6-oz ladles full of salmon and sauce

Once the containers had cooled to room temperature lids were put on, and they were stored in the refrigerator. When it is time to eat, we will then to the lids and reheat them in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Here are some other options if Salmon Tikka Masala isn’t your bag:

Meat/non-meats (you need 1- 1 1/2 lbs of meat/non-meats for this recipe)

  • ground beef/chicken/turkey
  • lamb chops
  • boneless chicken breasts/boneless thighs
  • beef (cut of your choice)
  • veggie crumbles/other faux meat
  • pollack/tilapia/fish of your choice

Sauce- All of these sauces are pre-made. Feel free to use your own recipe for your favorite sauce.

Kevin’s Sauces has a wide variety of sauces that would be GREAT!

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about your protein bowls- What combination of sauce and veggies would you use?

 

Exclusive Avocados from Mexico- Recipes, Savings and More!

Growing up in California, everyone knew someone who grew avocados. Creamy, rich, delicious… Avocados are one of my favorite toppings for toast, salads, omelets, enchiladas.

Avocados from Mexico wants everyone to enjoy this amazing veggie! More than just a yummy ingredient in guacamole, check out these important ‘Cado facts:

 

  • Avocados From Mexico contain good fats and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals making them part of a balanced lifestyle.
  • When you eat a meal with avocado, the fruit acts as a nutrient booster to help your body absorb the fat-soluble nutrients found in the other foods.
  • Avocados are a good source of fiber, which slows down digestion helping to leave you satisfied.
  • Fresh avocados are a heart-healthy fruit. They provide naturally good fats, are low in saturated fat, and are cholesterol, sugar and sodium free.
  • Eating dietary fat helps the body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. Avocados contain mainly naturally good fats with 5g of monounsaturated fats per serving (1/3 of a medium avocado).

Now that you know all of that, aren’t you longing for creamy avocados from Mexico? Join new Avocados from Mexico – The Avosauce newsletter and get your customized scoop on avocado recipes, health tips and much more.

Looking for a few tasty Avocado Recipes?

Cross Country Cafe: Pumpkin Pie Hot Cocoa Recipe!

Yesterday, Cross Country Cafe shared a simply fabu fall recipe! And I know how many of you dig on the fall pumpkin spice drinks.

This is the best pumpkin pie hot cocoa with two ingredients and a Keurig® brewer! You can too with these simple directions.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Brew your hot cocoa K-Cup® pod in a large mug using the lowest water setting on your brewer.
  2. Now, brew your Pumpkin Spice K-Cup® pod directly into the same mug. Again, the lowest water setting is optimal.
  3. Top with tons of whipped cream and mini marshmallows, and if you are feeling extra festive, a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

If this isn’t your jam, Cross Country Cafe has an entire page dedicated to fun, easy recipes here. 

10/19/2021 Weekly Meal Plan & Life Update

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgWe are starting week FOUR with no full-size fridge and no freezer. Still living that #coolerlife.

We are still waiting for our fridge to get fixed. They’ll be out with the parts on 10/30/2021. So that means 6 weeks without a fridge and freezer. Never buy anything from Sears or American Freight (formerly Sears Outlet). Seriously, this has been a nightmare.

The CSA Box came yesterday and I did some light meal prep. I’ll post pics on Insta later today with info about our fun meal prep for lunches this week.

Veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal.

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I have made my own and you can find them for sale here on my Etsy Store.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. The Ancient Grain bagels from Einstein Bros. are the current family favorite. I pick them up on Mondays when a dozen is only $7. I slice them and freeze them to keep them from going bad too quickly.

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year, but so far, there is nothing on the menu that appeals to the kids.

Dinner: Until this fridge debacle is over, I won’t be doing any meal prep beyond the stuff in the CSA box. We’re trying to eat up as much of the produce as possible. We’re eating a lot of salads early week, and more hardy stuff (roasted potatoes and baked apples with grilled cheese and soup) towards the end of the week, with our usual Friday night takeout. I want a new fridge- I miss bacon!

  • Monday: Mac n cheese, strawberries
  • Tuesday: Roasted veggies, salad (avocado ranch)
  • Wednesday: Roasted chicken, baked potatoes, veggies
  • Thursday: Chicken noodle soup, biscuits
  • Friday: take out
  • Saturday: leftovers
  • Sunday: breakfast for dinner (pancakes, eggs, fruit salad)

Please stay safe you guys!

Family Recipe: Frito Surprise!

It’s not a surprise. And I can’t believe I’ve never posted this recipe before. My grandma invented it one summer, driving across the country in a Winnebago full of kids, my grandfather cruising the highways and byways of America.

It’s similar to Frito Pie, but it’s a little beefier. Ya know, when you have seven growing kids, you gotta add a bit more.

My friend Kara asked for the recipe yesterday, and I thought I’d share it.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (you could use ground turkey, but honestly this recipe is not anywhere near healthy)
  • One can of Hormel chili with beans (It has to have beans)
  • One bag Fritos
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • one canned sliced black olives, rinsed and drained
  • Two tomatoes diced
  • One avocado, pitted and sliced
  • sour cream
  • salsa

Directions

I like cooking Fritos Surprise in an electric skillet, but you can cook it on the stovetop in a regular skillet.

  1. Crumble and fry the ground meat (drain as needed).
  2. Add the chili and cook until heated through.
  3. Top with Fritos and cheese.
  4. Cook on low until cheese is melted.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Add tomatoes, olives, and avocados.
  7. Dish out portions and top with sour cream and salsa as desired.

It serves about 6-9, depending on how much you eat. And it’s really good. In true grandma fashion, serve it with fruit salad and bread and butter.

10/11/2021 Weekly Meal Plan & Life Update

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgWe are starting week three with no full-size fridge and no freezer. Still living that #coolerlife.  We did buy a mini-fridge last week, so we are able to keep some fresh food in the house. Milk and creamer and drinks live in the cooler in the kitchen. I’m hoping the warranty company makes up their mind this week and we can get our new fridge. Life without condiments is rough, y’all.

We’ve been eating a lot of shelf-stable stuff (beans and rice, crockpot chili), and I’ve been hitting the store solo to pick up salad kits, and bananas, and apples. Last week we ended up having the share a lot of our CSA box as I wouldn’t store some of the items in the cooler without freezing/damaging the more delicate items.

The CSA box will be here today while I’m at work. I’ll do the prep work this afternoon/evening.

Veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal.

I’m super stoked that I’ll be getting flowers this week too as my add-on. Look over at my Instagram and Facebook for pics later today.

And I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I have made my own and you can find them for sale here on my Etsy Store.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. The Ancient Grain bagels from Einstein Bros. are the current family favorite. I pick them up on Mondays when a dozen is only $7. I slice them and freeze them to keep them from going bad too quickly.

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year, but so far, there is nothing on the menu that appeals to the kids.

Dinner: Until this fridge debacle is over, I won’t be doing any meal prep beyond the stuff in the CSA box. We’re trying to eat up as much of the produce as possible. We’re eating a lot of salads early week, and more hardy stuff (roasted potatoes and baked apples with grilled cheese and soup) towards the end of the week, with our usual Friday night takeout. I want a new fridge- I miss bacon!

  • Sunday: We had bowls from El Pollo Loco, and the kids had leftover pizza.
  • Monday: Roasted Veggies, Salad, Quesadillas- Produce is delivered today and I roast up a pan of veg as soon as I can!
  • Tuesday: unknown
  • Wednesday: unknown
  • Thursday:  unknown
  • Friday:  Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftovers (if we have any)

Please stay safe you guys!

New Recipe: Italian Pot Roast

I got a roast the other day because I really wanted something beefy and comforting, but I didn’t want to make Moosie’s Pot Roast, because while it’s so good, it’s a tad heavy.

I wanted to make something beefy, flavorful, and rich, but not heavy. I pulled out a few cookbooks, looked through the cupboard and the cooler where the veggies are chilling (pun intended), and came up with this. It’s like Oso Bucco, Bolognese sauce, and beef stew had a complicated tryst. All of the fresh vegetables came from our Yasukochi CSA Box.

 

 

 

 

Italian Pot Roast

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 Chuck Roast (2-3 lbs)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, sliced (I used Red, but use whatever you’ve got)
  • 2 Carrots, Peeled and diced
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 6-8 fresh tomatoes, chopped (You can substitute 2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes if you don’t have fresh)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T. Italian Seasoning

Directions:

  1. Salt and pepper the roast and set aside. I recommend allowing the roast to warm up to room temp before searing it.
  2. In a large pan, heat 2 T. olive oil, and saute onions, peppers for about 10-15 minutes, until soft and browned.
  3. Add in carrots and garlic, and allow them to cook for about 5 minutes. Garlic will be slightly browned and fragrant.
  4. While veggies are cooking, chop up tomatoes and add to slow cooker.
  5. Add tomato paste to slow cooker.
  6. Add cooked veggies, bay leaf, and Italian Seasoning to the slow cooker.
  7. Add remaining 2 T. olive oil to the previously used large pan, and allow to warm.
  8. Sear the roast on all sides.
  9. Add roast to slow cooker.
  10. Pour wine into the large pan and turn heat to medium-high. Scrape all browned meat and veggie bits with a wooden spoon. One wine comes to a brief boil and all browned bits are scraped off the pan, pour liquid into the slow cooker.
  11. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  12. Put roast beef from the slow cooker, and shred with forks. Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir. Cook for an additional hour.

Serve with mashed potatoes or pasta/noodles of your choice.

October Sprouts Farmers Market Monthly Freebies!

Sprouts is hooking us up and helping us stay healthy! Every month on the Sprouts app in the Digital Coupon section, there are between 4-6 free items (they are marked “SAMPLING PROGRAM”).

Quantities are limited on the app, so if you are interested in any of these, I recommend that you add these coupons (by opening the Sprouts app, click on digital coupons, and click on each coupon in the lower corner where the little green circle is) to your app ASAP.

Not all Sprouts locations will have these freebies, so I suggest trying larger Sprouts location in your area.

These are full-sized freebies- not small sample sized products. they are located in the store with the other products of the same type.

Not all accounts will receive all the same products.

This month the following items are available:

  • Zack’s Mighty Organic Tortilla Chips
  • Toby’s Dressing and Dip Products
  • Free Vital Farms Pasture-Raised Butter with Avocado Oil
  • Wicked Foods Meal Pot

 

Food Distributions are Back at Faith Chapel!

I got this info in my email last night and I had to share ASAP.

Faith Chapel will be having distributions every 1st & 3rd Wednesdays of the month henceforth starting at 10am!

The Address is:

Faith Chapel
9400 Campo Rd.
Spring Valley, CA 91977

This is a drive-thru style event, so you don’t have to leave your vehicles. Tell your family and friends!

Don’t forget, Faith Chapel also has a boutique open to be shopped at during these distribution times. Everything in our boutique is FREE and available to any guests that come through. You can find everything from clothes to household furnishings, kitchenware, toys etc.

Get Cookin with Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto (Review and Giveaway)!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links. For more information about the use of affiliate links and partnerships, visit my disclosure page. 

Yesterday we had an amazing dinner! We’re still without a full-size fridge, so we’re without meat or a lot of our usual ingredients, thankfully Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto to the rescue! I paired the pesto with farfalle (bowtie pasta), and roasted veggies. It was tasting, filling, and a great way to get veggies into your kiddos.

I wrote down the recipe to share with you. The Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto sauce is so rich and creamy and pairs really well with the veggies I chose.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Veggies and Farfalle with Creamy Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 1 6.2 oz jar of Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto
  • 1 box of pasta (I used Barilla Farfalle)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1/2 sweet onion, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded, and cut into slices
  • 1 zucchini, cut into coins
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan to taste

Directions:

  1. Roast Veggies (complete directions can be found here)
  2. While veggies are roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil.
  3. Cook pasta per box directions.
  4. Reserve 3 T. of pasta water when draining cooked pasta.
  5. Mix a jar of Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto into the cooked pasta.
  6. Add roasted veggies to the pasta/sauce mixture. Stir to combine.
  7. Serve with a little extra parmesan cheese, as needed.

This is a great, easy dish that’s perfect for meat-free nights. This Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto is so versitile. In addition to using on pasta, it makes a great veggie dip (I might be guilty of dipping some of the raw veggies into the jar while I was cooking), a sandwich spread (in place of mayo or mustard), or for marinating meat. Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto does not need to be heated prior to eating, and it’s shelf-stable prior to opening. You can find it in the store near the jarred pasta sauces. I found it at Target, but you can also find it on Amazon.

Giveaway: I want to share Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto with you! I’ve got 2 coupons each for one free jar (up to $3.99) of Barilla Pesto (expiration 12/31/2021). I will choose 2 winners on 10/8/2021 and notify them via email. 

Entering is easy: Leave a comment on this blog post with how you would use Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto!