Pizza Beans

It’s the first Lenten Friday of 2018 and I’m marking it with – you guessed it! – a pizza dish.

For years, our Lenten Friday staples were spaghetti with tomato sauce and pizza. This blog series was born out of my desire to experiment with other options. Now in it’s fifth year, I’ve added so many more meatless meals to my repertoire – but pizza-inspired dishes still hold a place in my heart.

These beans are our pizza representation for the year. They’re not overly reminiscent of pizza, but the tomato sauce and cheese made it totally plausible to the kids – they happily ate it up! I loved that it was loaded with veggies, too.

Pizza Beans

Pizza Beans
(from Smitten Kitchen Every Day)
Serves 6-8

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup red wine
4 oz.  curly kale leaves, torn into bite sized pieces
2 1/4 cups crushed tomatoes
1 lb. giant white beans
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 lb. mozzarella, grated
1/3 cup  grated Parmesan

 

Soak the beans overnight. Drain, then transfer to an oven-safe dutch oven. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to low. Simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until beans are soft. Drain and transfer the beans to a bowl. Set aside.

Over medium-high heat, add the oil to the same dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits in the pan, then continue to cook until the wine disappears. Add the kale and cook for 1-2 minutes, until wilted in. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Stir in the beans and vegetable broth. Simmer for 10 minutes and adjust seasonings as needed.

Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan over the top and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Pizza Beans

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Sheet Pan Steak and Potatoes #ImprovCookingChallenge

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I just bought my first sheet pan this year. As in, 2018. I’ve always just made do with cookie sheets but I was super excited about the idea of sheet pan pancakes so I bit the bullet early last month and ordered one with my holiday gift cards.

And now I’m kind of obsessed with it. It’s so perfect for cooking up a family-sized batch of whatever and, in the case of the dinner, having one pan to clean as opposed to 3 is great.

This month’s Improv Cooking Challenge is steak and potatoes – perfect for Valentine’s day. And since Valentine’s day is on a Wednesday this year, you’re probably looking for something easy. This is a great option. It’s ready in about 35 minutes and it’s delicious!

You can find more steak and potato dishes from the #ImprovCookingChallenge bloggers in the link up below!

improvchallenge
The #ImprovCookingChallenge is a monthly blogging event where two ingredients are assigned to a month. Bloggers can make any recipe they like as long as it features the two ingredients. If you are a blogger and would like to join us, please visit our Facebook page.
You can also read more about the event on our home page.  If you’d like to see previous creations, check out our Pinterest board.
Sheet Pan Steak and Potatoes
Sheet Pan Steak and Potatoes
(adapted from Carrie’s Home Cooking)
Serves 6
2 lbs. London broil
2 lbs. baby red potatoes
2 heads broccoli, chopped into florets
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp. balsamic
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add the London broil to a large resalable bag and pour the marinade over. Seal up the bag, turn a few times to coat, then set aside for 20 minutes to marinate at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line your sheet pan with foil.
Place the potatoes in a bowl and add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat again then spread on the baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and push the potatoes to the side. Add the marinated steak to the middle of the pan.
Add the broccoli to the bowl you used for the potatoes, adding the remaining olive oil and tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss again.  Spread the broccoli out on the pan around the steak.
Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the steak reaches the desired doneness.  Let rest 10 minutes before slicing the steak.
Sheet Pan Steak & Potatoes

Lighter Chicken Pot Pie #ComfortFood

January. The month when I’m torn between all the comfort food and trying to eat health. (Because, New Year’s resolutions and all that.) This dish is pretty much the ultimate compromise. And right now I’m all about compromise.

I, like 90% of the population, dream big on New Year’s. I’m going to eat better! I’m going to exercise every day! I’m going to be organized! And wash the curtains regularly! And floss! And sleep more! And then mid-January rolls around and I’m like, resolutions? What resolutions?!

This year I’m trying to be more gently with myself. I’ve washed the curtains once, and I’ll put it out of my mind until the summer. I’m definitely not exercising every day, but I am wearing my fitbit to try to be more aware of how much I’m moving (or not). And I’m trying to plan some more healthy meals so when something less than great sneaks on to the menu, I’m not sweating it.

This tastes just like your traditional pot pie, but the secret ingredient is almond milk! The almond milk makes the filling rich and creamy for only a fraction of the calories. It also uses only a top crust, but you won’t miss the usually-soggy bottom crust here. And using a dairy-free pie crust will make the whole thing dairy free! Such a win.

And if you’re looking for more comfort food, I’m linking up with some other bloggers today to bring you some great options.

Enjoy these great #ComfortFood ideas from #FestiveFoodies!

 

TurkeyPotPie

Lighter Chicken Pot Pie
(adapted from Well Plated)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken or turkey breast
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen pearl onions
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 prepared pie crust
1 egg, lightly beaten, with 1 Tbsp. water for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9″ pie dish with nonstick spray.

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook 3-4 minutes, until carrots begin to soften.

Sprinkle the flour over and stir in, cook an additional 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the almond milk, scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Bring to a boil and cook 3-5 minutes, until it thickens. Stir in the chicken, peas, onions, and thyme. Spoon the mixture into the pie dish.

Roll the pie dough out so it will cover your dish. Brush the edges of the dish with egg wash, then lay the pie crust over. Gently press the dough into the sides of the dish so it sticks and trim as needed. Cut Egg wash the top of the pie crust. 3-4 slits in the top to vent.

Bake about 25 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Let rest a few minutes before serving.

Lighter Chicken Pot Pie

Freezer-Friendly Chicken Fried Rice

I love a good freezer recipe – and I love that this one isn’t your typical casserole or soup. Now, don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of casseroles and soups in my freezer – but this is a great choice for nights when you just want something different.

I generally make these in batches of 4-5 dinners. You can swap out the protein, too – pork, beef, and shrimp all work well here! It’s also a great one to get the kids to help with. Jake can help with the measuring and dumping; Julie helps shake all the ingredients up!

ChickenFriedRice

Freezer-Friendly Chicken Fried Rice
(A Kate’s Recipe Box Original)
Serves 4

5 cups cooked rice
1 ½ cups peas and carrots
½ cup diced onions
2 cups chicken– cooked and diced
2 Tbsp. fried rice seasoning

2 Tbsp. oil
4 eggs
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 dashes pepper

In a gallon zipper bag, toss together the rice, peas and carrots, onions, chicken, and seasoning. Shake well to combine. Seal, label, and freeze.

Thaw in refrigerator overnight.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet. Dump rice mixture into the skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat, breaking up any chunks of rice, until hot – about five minutes. Push rice mixture to the side of the skillet. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to the empty side of the skillet and add eggs. Cook and stir until eggs are thickened but still moist. Combine eggs with the rice mixture. Turn off the heat. Stir in soy sauce and pepper. Serve.

Fried Rice Seasoning

¼ cup garlic powder
4 tsp. ginger powder
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper

Whisk together and stir in an airtight container.

Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta

‘Tis the season for comfort food. I’m not sure if it’s holiday stress or the weather getting colder but I now want all of my food to be warm and cheesy. Which totally does not agree with losing the baby weight. And knowing that I’m going to totally blow any good eating at holiday parties, I’ve been trying to be a little more careful with family dinners.

Luckily, I have some awesome blogger friends to lean on! This lightened-up comfort food dish from Prevention RD‘s cookbook totally hit the spot. This was warm and cheesy and perfect – without the guilt.

SkilletBBQChickenPasta

Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta
(from Prevention RD’s Everyday Healthy Cooking)
Serves 4-6

1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 red onion, diced
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
12 oz. whole wheat penne
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/3 cup cheddar, shredded

Heat the oil in a large, non-stick skillet until shimmering. Add the chicken and onions and cook until chicken is cooking through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, at the water, chicken broth, penne and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer 12-15 minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed and pasta is tender. Stir in barbecue sauce and Greek yogurt. When well combined, stir in the cheeses and reserved chicken mixture. Cook until heated through. Serve immediately.

One-Pan Ranch Pork Chops and Vegetables

There was a running joke in college that I would only do the dishes if I had been drinking. I hate washing the dishes and apparently that was the only way it was tolerable. Now, I don’t have to do the dishes often because Mark and I have a deal worked out – if I cook, he’ll clean up.

The problem is that he’s been working late a lot lately so I’ve been having to do both. Solution? One pan (or pot) meals. And lots of them. This was one of the best I tried – super easy and super flavorful. Tiny and I loved them!

RanchPork

One-Pan Ranch Pork Chops and Vegetables
(adapted from Damn Delicious)
Serves 2

2 pork chops
2 large white potatoes, dices
8 oz. green beans
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.

Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Add the  pork chops, potatoes and green beans to the pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Ranch Seasoning and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss then shake into a single layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, until pork is cooked through and vegetables are soft. Serve immediately.

 

Balsamic Pork Chop Skillet

You know what I currently have a lot of? Cell phone videos of my kid gagging on green vegetables. Peas and green beans were both an epic fail, so when we got around to trying asparagus with him, I only made a few spears – I knew there would be lots of disgusted faces and spitting it out. To be fair, I don’t know if I’d be a huge fan of plain, steamed asparagus either.

The asparagus in this dish, though, was awesome. My husband said it was his new favorite way to eat it. And a one pot dish = less to clean up, so this was a win all around.

Another win this past week? Getting Jake to eat broccoli without gagging. I mixed it with sweet potatoes and he happily gobbled it up. Why didn’t I think of that before?!

BalsamicPorkSkillet

Balsamic Pork Chop Skillet
(adapted from Cooking Light)
Serves 2

2 boneless pork chops
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup  olive oil, divided
12 oz. red potatoes, cut into chunks
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. herbs de Provence
1 small red onion, chopped
8 oz. asparagus spears
2 Tbsp. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Preheat your oven to 425F degrees.

On the stovetop over high heat, heat a heavy, oven-safe skillet. Add 2 Tbsp. of the oil and heat until shimmering. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. .Add pork to pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and cover with foil. Reduce heat to medium-high and add the potatoes to pan and cook for 2 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove pan from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, vinegar, tomato paste and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Take 2 tbsp. of this mixture and toss with herbs de Provence, onion, and asparagus in a bowl. Add this mixture to the potatoes and stir to combine.

Bake for 25 minutes, stirring about halfway. Place the pork chops over vegetables and bake until the pork is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Top pork chops with additional balsamic mixture and Gorgonzola cheese before serving.

Oven Fajitas

One of the things that’s been difficult for me with October Unprocessed is that I tend to pick recipes that are more complicated and time-consuming. I’m not sure why they appeal to me so much, but they’re really just not ideal for busy nights when you’re also juggling a baby. I’ve had to made a conscious effort to find quick, easy dinners that don’t rely on processed ingredients.

This was one of the best dinners so far. I did the prep during nap time so when dinner time came, I just had to toss it with the seasoning and oil and stick it in the oven. I served them with lettuce leaves for wrapping to make it October Unprocessed friendly, but tortillas would be great too.

OvenFajitas

Oven Fajitas
(from Budget Bytes)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. corn starch
2 small onions
2 medium green bell peppers
1 medium red bell pepper
1 lb. chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium lime
Tortillas or lettuce leaves for wrapping

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. In a small bown, whisk together the first nine ingredients. Set aside.

Slice the onion, peppers and chicken into strips and place them into a 9×13″ baking dish. Sprinkle the seasoning over everything and then drizzle the oil over everything. Toss to coat evenly.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring halfway through. When done, squeeze juice from half of the lime over everything. Serve on tortillas or lettuce leaves with your favorite toppings.

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

Our pasta pot was passed down to us from Mark’s parents when we moved into our first apartment. It works – so we’ve yet to replace it – but, my goodness, does that pot take a lot time to come to a boil. And I sometimes avoid making pasta because I don’t want to deal with it. Sad, but true.

It’s one of the reasons I was so drawn to this recipe – one pot pasta that doesn’t need to be made in the pasta pot! This was as easy as it gets: dump, stir, cook – done. Simple, but delicious.

OnePotTomatoBasilPasta

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
(from Apron Strings)
Serves 4-5

12 oz. linguine pasta
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
2 t. dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 c. vegetable broth
2 T. extra virgin olive oil Parmesan cheese for garnish

Add pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil to a large stock pot. Add in vegetable broth and sprinkle the pepper flakes and oregano over the top. Drizzle with oil.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until the desired amount of liquid has evaporated .

Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring the pot several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.

Spicy Sausage Pasta

I’m very fortunate. Even though I love cooking, there are nights that I just don’t want to spend time in the kitchen. When that happens, Mark is always happy to step in and take care of things. He’s a great cook.

This is one of the dinners he cooked up recently. Its a one-pot meal – you don’t have to cook the pasta separately, just keep adding things to the pan and in the end you have a creamy, spicy pasta dish. It was awesome.

SpicySausagePasta

 

Spicy Sausage Pasta
(from A Bitchin’ Kitchen)
Serves 4

1 T. olive oil
1 14 oz. package smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 c. diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1/2 c. heavy cream
8 oz. uncooked whole wheat penne pasta (about 2 1/2 c.)
1/2 t. black pepper
1 1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Thinly sliced scallions
Salt, to taste

In a cast iron skillet, heat the oil until smoking.  Add the sausage and onion to the pan, and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Add the broth, tomatoes, heavy cream, uncooked pasta and pepper, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then cover the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice while cooking.

While the pasta cooks, preheat the oven broiler. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheese. Add salt to taste. Top with the scallions and remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.