Looking for the perfect summer burger? Look no further, honey! This burger is sweet, savory, packed with protein, and has tons of umami flavor.
Looking for the perfect summer burger? Look no further, honey! This burger is sweet, savory, packed with protein, and has tons of umami flavor.
This quick and easy main dish packs in all the flavor of bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers without a ton of the work. I’ve even included in a more kid-friendly option, so the whole family can enjoy it.
Jalapeño poppers are one of my favorite things. I mean, cheese, spicy peppers, and bacon?! How can you go wrong?
I roasted my jalapeños under the broiler for a few minutes to soften them. Turn on your broiler to “normal,” halve the peppers lengthwise and spritz with coconut oil spray. Roast on both sides for about 5-7 minutes or until the skin begins to blister.
Place the peppers into a heat-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap then cool. This helps steam the pepper and release the skin from the flesh of the pepper. When they’re cool enough to handle, peel the skin away and roughly chop.
If you prefer them raw, just finely mince them instead of chopping so that there aren’t any huge pieces of raw pepper.
Next, grill 2lbs of thinly cut chicken breasts. My shortcut is to use the scallopini cut breasts from the store, but you can also slice them thinner yourself. Season simply with salt and pepper, and throw them onto the grill.
Mix the jalapeño with softened cream cheese, salt and pepper, then top each breast with a few tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture and top with shredded sharp cheddar. [For the kiddos, I did not add jalapeño to their cream cheese. My daughter enjoys spicy food, but my son not so much.]
Bake the chicken for about 10 minutes at 350, or until the cheeses are melted and bubbling.
Top with chopped cooked bacon, and enjoy!
My kiddos are bacon lovers, and they devoured this main dish. The best part for me was how easy it was to make. I prepped the bacon and roasted peppers ahead of time, then the rest (with sides) came together in about 15 minutes. Perfect for those busy weeknights!
This will probably make me sound weird, but I don’t care – I love lettuce. All of it: leafy, crunchy, green, grassy lettuce. [Maybe I’m half rabbit?] It’s so versatile and refreshing, plus it’s AWESOME for you.
I used ground chicken as the protein for these wraps, but you could also use ground turkey or pork, if that’s your thing. I find chicken to be a “blank canvas” that you can make into pretty much anything. I sautéed it with onions, garlic, shredded carrots, and shiitake mushrooms, then seasoned it with mild curry powder and ground coriander. At the end, I added a few chopped water chestnuts for more crunch factor.
I tossed it all in one batch of my paleo Teriyaki Sauce for a flavorful, slightly sweet and mildly spicy finish.
Lettuce is the crispy, crunchy vehicle for the savory, flavorful chicken and mushroom stuffing. And don’t be fooled – if you choose a lettuce with large enough leaves, you can really pack it in there. I had some leftover iceberg that I used for these, which worked perfectly because the leaves are big, sturdy, and foldable. But, really, the sky’s the limit on what you could use – green leaf, butter lettuce, red leaf, romaine, you could even use cabbage leaves!
This was also an awesome make-ahead meal for lunch or dinner. All I had to do was gently heat up the chicken mixture, put it into my lettuce leaves and top it – SO EASY. Same thing can be done for lunch – just keep the chicken mixture and lettuce/topping separate so that nothing gets soggy or wilted. Toss it together at the last minute, and enjoy!
Since this is a THM FP, it’s low in both carbs and fat so you can make it what you want. Pair it with some fluffy brown rice and veggies for an E meal. Have an extra wrap for a light S. Pair is with some peanut satay zoodles for a Deep S.
I’m a spicy gal and although I wasn’t born in Louisiana, creole cuisine of New Orleans speaks to me on a spiritual level.
Gumbo is one of my favorite, warming meals because it’s spicy, hearty, and still packs a veggie punch. Also, this is one of those meals that you can cook (a bunch of) one night, and when you’re eating its leftovers a few nights later the flavor is even deeper – it only gets better with time! However, my favorite part of this meal is definitely that it only takes one (big) pot. Because I still hate doing dishes ^_^.
Start by heating a large Dutch oven over medium low heat, and add the sliced smoked sausage. I used andouille, which is a creole spicy sausage. If you’re not into the spice, any smoked sausage will do. Since it’s already cooked, you just want to sauté it enough to get some color and crispness on the outside.
Take the sausage out, add some coconut oil if needed, and begin sautéing the cubed chicken. It doesn’t have to cook all the way through since it will simmer in the gumbo later. Just make sure it has some good color on it, and season with salt and pepper or a touch of Cajun seasoning.
Take the chicken out, then start on the shrimp. I bought easy-peel shrimp from my fish counter at Sprouts, which are already deveined. You can keep the tails, or whole shell, on if you wish. I find it easier to remove the whole shell, tail included, prior to cooking. Add more coconut oil to the pan, if needed before adding the shrimp. Again, season with salt and pepper and sauté away. Cook them about 1 minute on each side, just to get good color. They won’t be fully cooked yet, but once you add them back to the gumbo they’ll finish cooking without becoming overcooked.
Remove the shrimp. Next comes the vegetables! Don’t worry about the brown bits on the bottom of your Dutch oven – that’s flavor, and the stock we add later will pick it all up.
Chop some mirepoix – celery (leafy green parts included!), onion, green bell pepper, and garlic.
Add a touch more coconut oil, turn the heat down just a touch and add the vegetables. Sauté until onions just start to caramelize, about 5-7 minutes.
And, I’ll go ahead and tell you, I’m a bad Southerner – I greatly dislike okra. Unless it’s pureed, in a cookie, or otherwise hidden beyond recognition I cannot stomach it. HOWEVER. You are welcome to add okra to this lovely gumbo if it is your thing. If you do add it, go ahead and do so at this step.
De-glaze the pan with one 15-oz can of fire roasted tomatoes. I like the smoky flavor of fire roasted tomatoes, but you’re welcome to use any kind you prefer. Mine also were seasoned with garlic and onion. Add in the chicken (or vegetable/seafood) stock, a bay leaf, sausage, chicken, Worcestershire sauce, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Place the lid on your pot and let it simmer for about 10-12 minutes.
Once it’s finished simmering, turn off the heat, add the shrimp back to the pot, cover again and let stand for about 5-7 minutes. This will allow the shrimp to continue cooking through slowly.
Serve the gumbo as is or over a big pile of cauliflower rice. For my cauliflower rice, I pulsed half a large head of cauliflower in a food processor until it was in small pearls. Then I served it raw underneath the hot gumbo – easy peasy! I liked it raw because it didn’t become mushy from cooking and retained a nice textural contrast like rice.
As is, the gumbo is a great S. However, if you want to have the rice and make it an E – that’s completely achievable. You can either choose a smoked turkey/chicken sausage with less fat, or leave it out completely and make this a chicken and shrimp gumbo – your call. Just make sure any time you’re adding coconut oil that you do so with a spray to keep the fat in check.
Either way you make it, this gumbo is a spicy, hearty, and delicious shake-up to your weekly routine. The leftovers just get better with time – this is a meal you can make on Monday and still enjoy on Friday.
Pizza night is always my kids’ favorite night. To be honest, it’s my favorite night too! When you can get a quality pizza thrown together and baked in about half an hour, how could you not love it?
White pizza is a fun change-up from regular pizza, and helps keep the carbs down since there’s no sauce involved.
The crust of the pizza is fathead pizza dough, which is mozzarella cheese (the bagged kind is usually best), cream cheese, egg, and fine almond flour. In my pre-THM days, I used to make my own pizza crust, and I am SO GLAD there’s an easier method that’s actually better for you. No waiting around for the dough to rise, and it comes together in about 5 minutes.
Start the dough by combining the mozzarella and cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl, and heat for about 1 minute at a time until the cheese is fully melted.
Stir it together, it should be hot and stringy. Add the fine almond flour, and stir again. Adding the flour before the egg allows the mixture to cool slightly so that the egg won’t cook as you add it to the dough.
Add the egg, and stir until it’s fully incorporated. It takes some muscle work, just so you know. When it’s fully mixed, the dough should like like the photo on the right, below.
Next, place your dough onto a 10-12-in round pizza pan lined with parchment, and with slightly damp hands begin to press it out.
Dab the surface with a fork to keep it from puffing up too much while baking.
Next, combine the butter, dried parsley, granulated garlic, a pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter), and some pepper. Use a silicone brush and brush the crust (not the edges yet) with the seasoned butter.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. This helps ensure that you have a cooked, crispy crust at the end.
Next, pile on the toppings: diced chicken, shallots, garlic, cheese, spinach, and crumbled bacon.
Now brush that buttery garlic mixture onto the outer crust, and dust the whole thing with some grated parmesan cheese.
Now bake that baby for another 10-12 minutes, until hot and bubbly Flavortown (Any Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives fans out there?!) deliciousness.
THAT is a thing of beauty.
Crispy and slightly salty on the edges from that parmesan. Cheesy, flavorful, fresh, and meaty toppings – delivery ain’t got nothin’ on this, baby!
My favorite pizza finisher is a pinch of red pepper flakes for an extra kick. Serve this bad boy with a big, green salad (with homemade ranch, perhaps?) and call it a wonderful night.
Chipotle is a staple in our house. My favorite date night with my kids it to take them to our neighborhood Chipotle, and then next door for cupcakes.
Chipotle is an excellent on-the-go choice, or just for those nights when you can’t cook ANOTHER meal, because they use clean, sustainable ingredients. You know when you’re eating there, that it’s good quality and you can pack in the veggies.
The meat base of these bowls is boneless skinless chicken breast, because it’s versatile for FP, S, or E meals. I put together my own spice blend using cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, chipotle chile powder, salt, and pepper. I seasoned my chicken liberally with the seasoning, and rubbed it all together.
I then grilled it using my cast iron grill.
Next we have the pairings! I’ll start with Fuel Pull options. Go simple with some grilled onions and peppers (which I did in a dry cast iron skillet with a touch of salt and pepper), lettuce, copycat Chipotle verde salsa, and maybe a dollop of fat free sour cream with a squeeze of lime juice.
E Options: Use the FP base, add some copycat Chipotle cilantro lime rice to the mix with 1/4 c drained and rinsed black beans and some diced fresh tomatoes.
S Options: Use the FP base with 1/4 c of black beans and some copycat Chipotle guacamole, maybe some shredded queso or Monterrey jack cheese, and diced tomatoes.
Really, it’s that easy! I was able to throw together a Chipotle-style lunch for my family in about 30 minutes, as I had most of it prepped and ready to go.
Meals don’t have to be complicated to taste great. Sometimes all you need are some flavorful, fresh ingredients and a little prep time.
Who’s ready for another one-pot wonder?!
If I haven’t said it enough already, I really love my cast iron Dutch oven. It’s perfect for my chili, stews, everything. This lady in red has been making dinner a lot easier lately.
If you haven’t had Coq Au Vin before, it’s a French country chicken stew. Most often, I see it with mushrooms and onions. However, you can add a wider array of vegetables if you like – celery, shallots, carrots, or parsnips would also be good here.
All those beautiful veggies and chicken pieces get cooked down in some dry red wine. I used Côtes du Rhône because the Barefoot Contessa tells me that’s a good red wine, and I’m not about argue. ^_^
I started by rendering the fat from a few slices of chopped bacon.
Once the bacon starts to crisp, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and set to the side.
Season your chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides. I used chicken thighs and breasts.
Crisp the chicken on both sides, in one layer of your pan. Brown the pieces in multiple batches if needed, then remove to a plate. The chicken does not need to be fully cooked yet, as it will cook through later.
Add the mushrooms, carrots, red onion, and garlic to the pan with an extra pat of butter (or coconut oil) if the pan is looking dry. Saute about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms start to have a little color. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the xanthan gum.
De-glaze the pan with the red wine, picking up any bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon.
Add the pearl onions, chicken pieces, bacon, and whole thyme sprigs. Top off with a little chicken stock if it looks like you still need more liquid. Cover, bring to boil, and reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove the lid after 20 minutes, and continue simmering another 10-15 minutes until some of the liquid reduces.
Shred the chicken roughly, if you like (it will be falling apart anyway). Turn off the heat, and add a handful of fresh chopped parsley. Don’t forget to remove the woody thyme stems – the leaves come off in the stew.
YUM. Tender, delicious chicken in a rich red wine sauce with hearty vegetables. How can you go wrong?
I served this stew as-is for me. For my young creatures, I poured it over some cooked brown rice.
Tis the season for chili.
Chili is one of my favorite meals to make during the cold months, because it all happens in one dish. I am all about using as few dishes as possible when cooking.
Generally, when you think “chili” you think beef. But I tell ya, there’s a warm place in my heart for some hearty chicken chili. It’s every bit as flavorful as beef, minus a lot of the fat.
I started by roasting the tomatillos and jalapeño.
I put those on parchment paper. Paper burns. Even though my broiler isn’t gas, it will still burn.
Yeah, don’t be like me. Put them on foil or just straight on the pan. Anything but parchment. [I have no clue what I was thinking.]
Anywho! Back to the task at hand. When roasting foods under the broiler, it will happen fairly quickly. You want the skin to be blistered and charred on all sides. Once that happens, remove them from the broiler, place into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and let steam until cool enough to handle.
After steaming, the skin of the pepper and tomatillos will pull away from the flesh, making it easier to peel.
Pay attention here, because this is really mind-blowing. I am about to share with you my super easy, and awesome, method for seeding jalapeños with minimal handling.
Cut the stem off the pepper, then cut in half lengthwise. Take a grapefruit spoon, placing the serrated end in the smaller end of the pepper.
Press down firmly, then drag the spoon down the length of the pepper taking the ribs and seeds in the spoon. See how easy that was? And with barely any handling.
Spray a large Dutch oven lightly with coconut oil. Sauté the onions, bell pepper, and garlic for about 5 minutes, until slightly softened.
Add the green chiles, chopped jalapeño, tomatillos (don’t worry about chopping. Once roasted they get soft and squishy, no sense in chopping.), lime zest, ground coriander, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, 4 cups of the chicken broth, and add the chicken pieces down in the liquid.
Cover and bring to a rapid simmer for 12-14 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
Remove the chicken from the broth, shred, then add back into the pot.
Puree one cup of the white beans with about 1 cup of the chicken broth until smooth.
Turn the heat down to low, add the bean puree to the pot along with the rest of the whole white beans, cilantro, and lime juice. Add more chicken broth as needed, and adjust for salt and pepper.
Delicious, hearty, and warming – just what a big pot of chili should be.
Chicken cacciatore is one of my husband’s favorite meals, and it occurred to me recently that I almost never make this dish. Besides this time, I think I’ve made it one other time in the 10 years we’ve been together. Madness! I know.
If you haven’t had chicken cacciatore before, it’s basically a rustic Italian chicken stew with vegetables and tomatoes. This stew came together in about an hour. The chicken was perfectly tender, the sauce was rich and flavorful, and the veggies were wonderfully stewed.
I just picked up a new dutch oven yesterday, and I have no idea how I survived without one. Seriously! This big, heavy pot holds your meal, cooks it perfectly, and the clean up couldn’t be easier. With it being enameled cast iron, I know the temperature will hold and stay fairly constant throughout the cooking process.
Let’s start with the chicken. I used 1 pound each of chicken breasts and thighs for this meal. I know, thighs are typically a no-no for an E meal. However, the 1 pound of thighs only contains about 16g of fat and this recipe feeds about 8 people (maybe more), so you’re well within the limits of fat for an E.
For vegetables, I used onions, garlic, red bell peppers, diced tomatoes, and capers. If capers are unfamiliar to you, they are delicious little olive-like, briny pearls. They have a taste and texture similar to olives, but they don’t have any fat.
I seasoned the stew using dried oregano, white wine (something dry, like this pinot grigio), chicken stock, fresh parsley, and basil. The stewed tomatoes I used were also seasoned with basil, garlic, and oregano, for a deep, herbal base.
At the end, I tossed in the capers and a handful of fresh parsley, then served with a few leaves of fresh basil.
You have a couple of E-friendly choices for serving up this stew: over brown rice, plan-approved pasta, or cooked quinoa. Or you can skip all those and serve it as is, with some crusty sourdough for dipping ^_~. I chose to serve it over rice, which my kids love, and it helps stretch the meal a little further. My husband enjoyed it as a stew without the rice, and BOY did he love it. He ate some the first night I made it, and then the following afternoon for lunch. He made sure to tell me each time he ate it that this recipe was a definite keeper. [SCORE!]
The beauty about cooking with dutch ovens is you can take this straight from the oven/burner right over to the table for serving. Tada!
Get. In. My. Belly.
Serve this up as a quick weeknight meal with leftovers for lunch, or as an impressive, crowd-pleasing holiday dinner.
Question: How do you get your family to willingly eat quinoa, spinach, and tons of other veggies? Answer: You feed them soup.
Generally, my kids are good eaters. They’ll try most anything I put in front of them. But sometimes, SOMETIMES my 4-year-old is the vegetable police. Even when I dice it up really fine, she still will sit at the table and pick out any trace of the offending veg.
However, there’s something about soup that makes kids ignore all the greenery. Maybe it’s that the colors look really pretty. Maybe it’s that soup is fun for them. Maybe it’s that it just tastes THAT good. All of the above, perhaps?
I originally envisioned this as more of a Tuscan vegetable soup, but I think it transitioned more into a late Summer-early Fall tasty vegetable collaboration.
Also, I know many THMers have trouble getting enough protein and feeling full in their E meals, so this soup pulls heavy duty. It’s packed with lean chicken, beans, and quinoa for protein and has loads of vegetables.
Believe me, you will not be disappointed with this recipe! The taste is light and fresh, yet very hearty. You can feed a few (with TONS of freezer leftovers!) or an army with this recipe, and everyone will leave satisfied.