Surf N' Turf Veggie Fajitas

Surf N' Turf Veggie Fajitas

Meal prep dinner #2 coming at you. This bad boy goes from the bag into a hot skillet and is done so quick. It took me a few extra minutes since I made some Homemade Quinoa Tortillas to go along with it, but you could just as easily make some cauliflower rice or quinoa to go along with it...or just enjoy as is. I don't know who said healthy eating doesn't taste good, because it totally can. This meal is great for anyone following the Paleo or Keto diet, and even simply leaving out the meat and shrimp makes it vegan. So, it's versatile and yummy too. 

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Chicken & Shrimp Lime Soup

Chicken & Shrimp Lime Soup

Big black storm clouds rumbled in last night bringing a heavy down pour of rain. The 100+ degree temperature of this last month of summer seemed to leave the ground sizzling as the big rain drops splashed down - like cool water in a hot skillet. The effect released all the aromas of sage and earth. It was delicious! (Although the littler kids didn't appreciate the "growly" thunder.)

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Oriental Chicken Salad & Sesame Dressing

Oriental Chicken Salad & Sesame Dressing

I saw a picture once with the caption, "gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free, and vegan"....it was a sad looking piece of lettuce with a tomato slice on top. I had to laugh! (1. because it was clever, and 2. because it was so wrong!)

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Crock Pot Enchilada Chicken

Crock Pot Enchilada Chicken

 

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Grilled Chicken Sweet Potato with Mango Vinaigrette

Grilled Chicken Sweet Potato with Mango Vinaigrette

 Sundays after church when the sun is shining and you just feel good inside, you sometimes find yourself in the kitchen (hungry) and wanting something to eat that's as beautiful and satisfying.All the kids were helping themselves to hard boiled eggs, carrots, tomatoes, slices of turkey, apples, and whatever leftovers were hanging around. I was about to settle for a similar plateful until I saw the sweet potatoes. I piled chicken on the baked sweet potato along with some steamed broccoli and a yummy spicy mango dressing. Just add some pureed mango to an old favorite vinaigrette recipe and you've got a loaded sweet potato that's bursting with flavor and oh so satisfying and healthy!

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Barbecue Chicken Chili {clean eating & gluten free}

Barbecue Chicken Chili {clean eating & gluten free}

The weather has been a little bipolar lately. Warm and spring-like, followed by a fluke snowstorm, and now rain for three days straight. It's the perfect weather for chili! I have this chili recipe I've made forever - whenever we've stayed at our family cabin or on a rainy day at home, but it calls for things like prepared barbecue sauce, ketchup, and brown sugar. Hello? Can we say sugar overload. I love the smokey, spicy, sweet flavors of barbecue sauce, but I don't so much love high fructose corn syrup or the artificial colors and flavors. Even ketchup has a bunch of corn syrup in it.Now that we eat clean, gluten free, mostly dairy free, and refined sugar is pretty much non-existent in our home, I needed a new chili recipe.This made from scratch Barbecue Chicken Chili is a great one pot or Crock Pot meal. And it has bacon. Who doesn't love bacon?!FYI when shopping for ingredients:*It's important to use SMOKED paprika to get the right flavor. You won't get the same taste with regular, sweet, or spicy paprika.*Uncured bacon is actually cured but done so without the use of nitrates or nitrites. It's usually cured with celery powder and/or sea salt which makes it much better for you. 

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Southwestern Caprese Chicken

Southwestern Caprese Chicken

I sometimes get asked how I make meals that are gluten free, dairy free, and still appeal to kids. Well, the truth is...I don't try to make the meals appeal to my kids, I try to help my kids appeal to the meal. In other words, I've just gotten good at tricking them into eating whatever's for dinner.

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Citrus-Basil Coconut Chicken

Citrus-Basil Coconut Chicken

I love meals that involve one or two utensils and a skillet. They are so versatile and can be easily adjusted for however many seats are filled at the table - this is one of those meals. It's not just any old skillet chicken dinner though. This meal is Paleo worthy, gluten free, dairy free, and oh my goodness, so tasty! Tropical flavors come together in a unique way that makes this a dinner kids and adults will love! It's only 10 ingredients too (8 if you don't count the salt and pepper. Does S&P count as an ingredient or just a given in a dish like this? Your thoughts?).  Another bonus is that this dinner is ready in under 30 minutes, which is great for entertaining dinner guests or just entertaining your kids (gotta love that on a busy weekday). Serve with rice or quinoa and some veggies and you're done!

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Spiced Apple Cider Chicken

Spiced Apple Cider Chicken

"So long as you have food in your mouth you have solved all questions for the time being."  - Franz KafkaAmen, Franz. Amen.It's so easy to be swept up in the extraordinarily mundane or struggle for composure during the turbulent times of life. But both routine and stress melt away for just a moment when you're enjoying a homemade meal. For me, the preparation is part of my release. I've learned to love the process.Sure it's nice to throw everything into a crock pot once in a while, but more often than not I truly unwind when I spend a half hour and just cook. I savor the smells, often sniffing as I go until it's just right. I kind of get in a zone where I don't mind the little 1 year old at my feet pulling every pot and pan out of the cupboard and filling them with plastic cups from the other cupboard, or the kitchen table covered in homework, artwork, and puzzles.I sometimes turn on my favorite Pandora station and let myself get carried away. You know the rat on Ratatouille? I must look just like that when I cook.Tonight I lost myself in the smells and tastes of this Spiced Apple Cider Chicken. It's savory with a hint of sweet that my whole family devoured. And while our mouths were full all the questions were solved...if just for that moment.

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Chicken Tikki Masala & Coconut Mint Yogurt Sauce

Chicken Tikki Masala & Coconut Mint Yogurt Sauce

There's a little restaurant tucked away in the middle of town called the Bombay Cafe. The hubby and I enjoyed some delicious coconut curry and tikki masala, along with some very friendly service. A week later and I'm craving Indian food again. Some people shy away from ethnic food when they're preparing a meal for their kids. Not me. I figure the more flavors I expose them to now, the more willingly they'll enjoy a variety of cultural cuisines all throughout their life. Now I just need to come up with a gluten free naan bread recipe...mmmm. Anyway, there are some fantastic health benefits to curry spices.

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Seared Balsamic Chicken (Paleo)

Seared Balsamic Chicken (Paleo)

 

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Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

Maybe it has something to do with sensory development or something, but seriously what is it about  finger foods and kids? I'm not complaining, I'm just wondering why my children opt to use their hands to eat instead of their forks (and I'm not just talking about my 1 year old). Most of the time I demand table manners and the use of modern eating utensils, but to curb whatever primal need they have to use their hands to eat, I make finger food. Over the last several years we've come a long way in teaching our children how to make good, healthy food choices. (Here is our family's 5 Philosophies for Raising Healthy Eaters). No more mystery meat chicken nuggets or bleached wheat flour pizza dripping with cheese. Now-a-days I make made-from-scratch, gluten free finger food that tastes good and is good for you too! Having fun eating it is a bonus ;) 

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Cajun Chicken Kabobs

Cajun Chicken Kabobs

The deep South is known for it's great barbecues and after my visit to the south recently, I got inspired to make some Cajun-style kabobs! This dinner was light, flavorful, fun (cause my kids love finger food), and yummy. Plus, this dinner just has summer written all over it! 

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GF Chicken Tacos with Garlic Lime Black Beans & Guacamole

GF Chicken Tacos with Garlic Lime Black Beans & Guacamole

   Do you know what I've discovered over the last few years? It's that happily ever after is a pretty relative term. Happiness in its simplest form is being at peace despite the circumstances of your present situation. It's being okay with the imperfections, the mess, the not-so-happy predicaments we find ourselves in, but finding joy in the midst of it all anyway. Not in spite of it, but in it. Not a roll your eyes, grit your teeth, and pretend you're fine superficial happiness, but a sincere inner peace. That's why I make dinner from scratch and use a slow cooker. So I don't have to waist my time standing in the kitchen preparing food all day when I have my happily ever after to enjoy.

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Bottle Your Own Chicken Broth

Bottle Your Own Chicken Broth

All right, for those who really know me you know that I'm kind of a rookie when it comes to canning. In fact, I recently found a jar of mystery mush that I think may have been an ill-fated attempt at apple butter from a few years ago. There were air bubbles in it, it looked like a science experiment, and...oh yeah, it wasn't even sealed! I've come a long way since then, as far as canning goes (and in other areas I hope) and have found that I actually really like canning. And not just because I know exactly what's in the food I'm preparing, that it's 100% gluten free, or even that it's way healthier, but because it's WAY cheaper! I made the equivalent of 10 pints of broth for...(drum roll, please)...$0.

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Marinated "Rockstar" Drumsticks (gluten free)

Marinated "Rockstar" Drumsticks (gluten free)

  Is chicken part of your weekly diet? Ours too.  I like to change it up and have chicken one night, pork, fish, or beef another (organic, free of hormones and antibiotics if you can)- except 1-3 days a week when I prepare a meatless meal. This saves money (because meat can be $$$), plus it's healthy to give it a rest and just eat veggies, beans, rice, or other gluten free grains once in a while.

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Avocado Chicken Salad

Avocado Chicken Salad
 

Lunch is so hard for me. Oh, don't get me wrong I'm always hungry for lunch, but I usually end up alternating between staring into the fridge and pantry for a while trying to decide on what to have. The situation becomes even more frustrating if I'm out of the house running errands during lunch time. Having a child with a special diet means that we just don't eat out, order out, or pick up a pizza when we're in a rush and need sustenance. So this has become one of our go to quick lunch or dinner options. This recipe will feed 2-4 hungry people.

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Chicken Pad Thai

Chicken Pad Thai

I had my first taste of Pad Thai years ago and ever since, every now and then I get this NEED to have some!  This remake of the Pad Thai favorite is made with a sauce inspired by a traditional Pad Thai recipe , but that is so simple without all the specific Asian foods that I just don't have hanging around my house all the time. Make this meal gluten free by using gluten free rice noodles. Prepare noodles according to package directions. 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast or tenders 2 tbsp. sesame seed oil couple pinches red pepper flakes 3 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 tsp. grated ginger 1 leek, rinsed and chopped Cut up chicken into bit sized chunks.  Heat oil in large wok or skillet along with the red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger.  Cook chicken until cooked through and beginning to brown on the outside. Remove from pan, set aside and add leek.  Saute for a few minutes while you prepare sauce, stirring occasionally. In a bowl whisk together: 1/2 cup chicken broth 3 tbsp. rice vinegar 1 tbsp. lime juice 2-3 tbsp. honey 2 tbsp. gluten free soy sauce Pour sauce over leeks and cook for another few minutes, until leeks are tender.  Add chicken and noodles back into the skillet and toss together.  Remove noodles to serving bowls and top with: grated carrots raw unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped chopped green onions (opt.)

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Dijon Chicken & Rice with Italian Crookneck Squash

Dijon Chicken & Rice with Italian Crookneck Squash

Having my brother's family over for dinner is always eventful, especially when I have to consider food allergies and picky eaters.  So I came up with a dinner that took care of everyone.  This Dijon Chicken & Rice doesn't require a whole lot of fuss and won't cause much fuss even from the pickiest eaters.  Then my mom suggested some Italian Crookneck Squash to round things off.  I think it was a success :)

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Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Here's to the winding down of a busy school year, spring cleaning and other to-do's that interfere with dinner time. This is a simple, yet healthy and tasty crockpot recipe that you don't even have to dirty a utensil to eat!  This is paleo or keto diet goodness at it's best and easiest.

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Melissa Cornwall has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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