Wholesome Beef-A-Roni for the Kid in All of Us!

I am ever in search of easy dinners.  I love meals with simple ingredients – the fewer the better…honestly.  I recently stumbled upon a pin that caught my eye as a great dinner option!  I made it tonight and tweaked it just slightly and the finished product was so reminiscent of my childhood “beef-a-roni” that I wanted to share it with you!  It is great to find a recipe that rustles up warm cozy feelings of childhood and yes, some of my warm cozy feelings are directly attributed to good ole’ Chef Boyardee.   Canned ravioli, spagettios or beef-a-roni were a staple in my household growing up.  I loved the nights my parents would go out on a date because it meant eating dinner from a can.  Now, my mom and dad have really changed their eating habits over the years and quite honestly, in the 80’s, very few people knew that this canned goodness was really not so.  However, I think back fondly on my dinners of ravioli, spagettios or beef-a-roni and I am thrilled to now be able to re-create it in a more wholesome way!  I also love this because it is a one pot meal.  Fry up the ground beef and onions in your dutch oven or stock pot and then throw in the remainder of the ingredients!  If you are using grassfed beef, don’t bother draining the fat from the ground beef because it is good for you!

  • 2 lbs grassfed ground beef
  • 1 large organic sweet onion; chopped
  • 3.5 – 4 cups water
  • 30oz can  crushed organic tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp organic soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 cups of macaroni noodles
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Curried Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt

The busyness of spring sports makes healthy dinners hard to come by.  Many nights are “eat and run,” and I admit I have fallen victim to Subway hoagies a couple of nights already.   Creating quick, portable meals that have some semblance of “healthy” is difficult.  Due to early practices, I often eat my dinner at the practice because I don’t want to eat dinner at 4:30 or wait until 7:30.  Also, I need to consider making a meal that doesn’t need to stay hot because my husband and my other son will eat later while I and my soccer player are at practice.  Not to mention it needs to be “light enough” that my soccer player can eat it before practice without feeling stuffed.  Phew!  A lot of criteria to consider!  I have relied on egg salad sandwiches and roast beef wraps in the past but wanted to expand my horizons on this front.  Due to the success of my egg salad made with Greek yogurt, I ventured onto chicken salad using Greek yogurt and I have to say….I think I like it even better than the egg salad!  The first time I made chicken salad, it was really plain – just chicken, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper.  My husband pointed this out to me (very lovingly, of course.)  I acknowledged the lack of excitement in the chicken salad and said I would do better next time.   So — here is better!

1 lb of chicken thighs*; boiled and shredded Continue reading

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Cucumber Tomato Onion Salad – The Taste of Summer

This has to be one of the easiest side salads ever!  I love this because it is so simple yet tastes so good.  The taste of this is pure summer.  I know we are still in spring, technically, but I don’t care.  I am making hamburgers for dinner tonight (from local grassfed ground beef) and this side salad is the perfect complement.  Did I mention how pretty it is?  The ingredients can vary in amounts based on personal preference and the oils / vinegars used can be swapped as well.  I have seen people make it with balsamic, apple cider, or just plain white vinegar.  I happened to have white balsamic vinegar that I like so I used it.

Ingredients:

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Dark Chocolatey Gluten-Free Mini Muffins

Chocolate.  I am pretty much obsessed with it.  If there is anyway that I can incorporate it into a healthy snack, I will.  I created these chocolate mini muffins to satisfy my desire for something bite-size (or two bites if you have restraint,) chocolate and rich.  These meet the requirements.  One added bonus is that these are gluten-free!  We are not a gluten-free family, but I have made great strides in reducing our gluten intake by purchasing sprouted bread and just consuming less grains overall.  Also, I know several people in my family and friends that prefer gluten-free foods so I thought this would be helpful!  These are very rich – a glass of raw milk is a must when consuming these. 🙂

Pre-heat the oven to 350° Continue reading

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Crunchy Granola Bars

I admit, I went through a “phase” where I pretty much lived on granola bars.  I loved granola bars.  There were quick, easy, and somewhat low in calories so when I was in the “calorie-counting” trap, a “less than 150 calorie snack” was mega-important.  If I was running out the door to go grocery shopping, pick up the kids, run to the office, I grabbed a granola bar.  Being a busy mom, I didn’t take time to eat a real meal.  I rarely sat the dining room table to eat lunch.  My husband constantly teased me for not taking time to eat a real meal at lunch time.  Food to me was merely a necessity (not a pleasure) and if I could get it in the form of a individually wrapped, organic granola bar – rock on!  However, in our transition to a whole foods based lifestyle, gone were the boxed, individually wrapped bars of convenience.  Even the organic granola bars had too much sugar and questionable ingredients.  I quickly learned that just because it said “organic” on the box, it didn’t get a free pass into my stomach.  I have learned to think ahead and plan quick meals, even on the go (I usually grab an apple when really pressed for time) and have weaned myself off of granola bars all together.  However, my husband misses them too.  He likes crunchy granola bars.  I like to make him happy so I made it a priority to find a recipe that would create healthy, low sugar granola bars the he can enjoy with his lunch or as a quick snack.  My mom sent me a recipe recently that I thought looked really promising.  Just a few tweaks and I knew I would have a winner.  I have made these twice.  The first time I baked them too long and they were really crunchy and falling apart so I reduced the baking time the second time around.  The second batch turned out better – less crumbly (but not perfect.)  I don’t mind a little crumbliness.  After cutting up the cooled bars, I scooped up the leftover crumbs, put them in little bowls and gave them to my sons to snack on.  If you are looking for granola bars sans crumbs, these may not be the right ones for you.  If you don’t want crumbs, look for a chewy granola bar recipe which would probably be a better fit.  As you can see in my picture below, I was able to get nice squares cut despite the crumbliness.

Ingredients: Continue reading

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Finally….Fantasticall-y Fudge-y Brownies!

Finally!  I have been on a search for yummy brownies for weeks now!  I have been unable to bake a from-scratch brownie, with healthy ingredients, without them tasting like cardboard.  Whole wheat flour just doesn’t work.  I tried.  It doesn’t.  Sure, I could make tasty brownies from scratch if I was willing to use lots of refined white flour and white sugar – I know because I have made these before.  Yes, they are super tasty but also really unhealthy so I refuse to make them again.  I was given a recipe from a friend that she had found in one of her Clean Eating magazines and it was a great springboard for my recipe.  I swapped a couple ingredients out to match my personal preferences and it worked wonderfully.  I think part of the problem is that my family and I are so trained to expect brownies to taste like Duncan Hines, that anything that doesn’t taste like it came out of a box is automatically bad.  This shouldn’t be the case.  We shouldn’t measure the quality of food against boxed junk.  What gives boxed brownies their “good” taste? Continue reading

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Healthified Caramel Popcorn Squares

In light of the recent news about organic popcorn and how healthy it is for us, I thought it would be a good idea to make a popcorn snack. Plain ole popcorn can be boring after a while so why not try something new?

I love caramel but I don’t love the way caramel is made with corn syrup or tons of brown sugar (which is very refined.) Rather, using grass-fed butter (I use KerryGold) and raw, unpasteurized honey, I created my own caramel-like sauce. Using equal parts honey and butter, I boiled it down for about 4-5 minutes and then tossed it in with organic (to avoid GMO’s) AIR-POPPED (stay away from microwave popcorn) popcorn. Continue reading

Posted in Desserts, Easy Kid Treats, Gluten-Free | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments