Category Archives: Main Meal

Gluten-Free Main Meal Poultry

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken

Hi friends! Anyone else glad that it’s Wednesday already? Me, me, me! This week is cruising along and I am not complaining. Travis and I have fun weekend plans on the horizon, so I am itching to get there.

I’ve got an AWESOME weeknight recipe for you guys today. This Spicy Basil Chicken is definitely going to be on regular rotation for me. I’ve made a lot of stir fry recipes and this is easily one of the best.

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken with Brown Rice l It's healthy, gluten-free, and easy to make on a weeknight! The whole family will love this dish. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com // Healthy Stirfry Recipe, Healthy Stir Fry, Easy Chicken Recipe, Healthy Chicken Stir Fry, Basil Chicken Recipe, Asian Chicken Recipe, Chicken and Broccoli

Reasons why I love this recipe:

  1. It’s freaking delicious. Duh.
  2. You can make it under 30 minutes. (Because who has more time than that on a weeknight?)
  3. The veggies are completely customizable, so you can just use up what you already have.
  4. Many of the ingredients should be pantry staples – especially if you like to cook Asian food.
  5. Leftovers are REALLY good.

Shall I go on?

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken with Brown Rice l It's healthy, gluten-free, and easy to make on a weeknight! The whole family will love this dish. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com // Healthy Stirfry Recipe, Healthy Stir Fry, Easy Chicken Recipe, Healthy Chicken Stir Fry, Basil Chicken Recipe, Asian Chicken Recipe, Chicken and Broccoli

I think this recipe would also be delicious with shrimp, but for a vegetarian alternative, I’d bet tofu would be great, too!

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken with Brown Rice l It's healthy, gluten-free, and easy to make on a weeknight! The whole family will love this dish. // www.littlechefbigappetite.com // Healthy Stirfry Recipe, Healthy Stir Fry, Easy Chicken Recipe, Healthy Chicken Stir Fry, Basil Chicken Recipe, Asian Chicken Recipe, Chicken and Broccoli

 

Spicy Basil Chicken Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Chicken + Vegetables
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2-3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup shallots, minced
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped into 1 inch pieces.
  • 2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • brown rice for serving
Spicy Basil Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey
  • 4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2.5 teaspoons sriracha or other asian chili paste
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Whisk 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch together in a medium bowl. Add the chicken cubes and coat the chicken in the soy sauce mixture. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine all of the Spicy Basil Sauce ingredients. Whisk together to incorporate the cornstarch. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of canola oil and once hot, add the shallots. Saute for 1 minute, until they begin to soften. Add half the chicken to the pan, browning on all sides for 2 minutes. Do not cook fully. Remove the chicken from the pan and place into a bowl. Add the second batch of chicken and repeat. Add the browned chicken to the bowl.
  4. Add an additional Tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the bell pepper and onion and saute for 2 minutes. Next add the broccoli and saute for an additional minute. Add the garlic to the pan, adding additional oil as needed to ensure nothing burns. Saute until the vegetables are soft and cooked.
  5. Add the chicken back into the pan. Then add the Spicy Basil Sauce and mix thoroughly to coat the chicken and vegetables. Remove from heat and stir in the sliced basil.
  6. Serve immediately with brown rice.
 

 

 

 

Insanely Delicious Spicy Basil Chicken with Brown Rice l It's healthy, gluten-free, and easy enough to make on a weeknight! The whole family will love this dish. l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Main Meal Travel

Photos from Paso Robles + This Week’s Meal Plan

Hi guys! I hope you had a great holiday week! I took a good old detox from blogging and much of social media, and it felt SO GOOD to just be in the moment.

We took a short trip to Paso Robles, CA to do a bit of wine tasting from Tuesday to Thursday last week. Neither of us had ever been, but we’d heard such great things about the area! Here are a few photos from our trip.

We saw a beautiful rainbow on our drive up. Such a rare sighting around here…because it never rains!

Paso Robles Trip

Wine tasting at Halter Ranch.

Paso Robles Trip - Halter Ranch Winery

Gorgeous sunset to end our first day.

Paso Robles Trip - Sunset

Starting Day 2 bright and early with…more wine!

Paso Robles Trip

Barrel rooms at Sextant Wines.

Paso Robles Trip

We stopped into Summerwood Winery, which happened to be dog friendly. We met two adorable Boxer pups, who belonged to a family also wine tasting there. We ended up staying and chatting with the family for over an hour because we had so much in common!

Paso Robles Trip - Sommerwood Winery

It was chilly the whole time we were in Paso Robles, so I lived in this blanket scarf my mom bought for me over Thanksgiving. I took this picture to send to her, but didn’t have cell reception at the time – so there you go, Mom! 😉

Paso Robles Trip

Perfect wine tasting eats to fill up our bellies. Delicious burger from Firestone.

Paso Robles Trip - Firestone Brewery

Before heading back to LA, we made one final stop at Barrelhouse Brewing. It was only fair that Travis get to taste some beers after all that wine!

Paso Robles Trip - Barrelstone Brewery

After a week filled with indulgences (ahem, wine on wine on wine), Travis and I are both looking forward to some healthy meals. We did a HUGE grocery shopping run at the Whole Foods in Venice on Saturday morning. The entire time we were taking bets on how high the bill was going to be…but it’s all good because we seriously had no food in the house and we were way overdo for a restock!

 

Here’s this week’s dinner plan:

Sunday (last night): Apricot-Glazed Chicken with Whole Wheat Couscous and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Monday: Dinner out with Travis’s sister, Justine

Tuesday: Barramundi with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes + Roasted Broccoli

Wednesday: Turkey Chili

Thursday (New Year’s Eve!): Party at our friend’s house

Friday (New Year’s Day): TBD

 

Hope you guys have a great week!

Gluten-Free Main Meal Poultry

Perfect Roast Chicken with Grapes and Red Wine Pan Gravy

Hi friends!

Are you ready for a crazy delicious recipe this morning? This Roast Chicken recipe is PERFECT. Hearty, delicious and healthy.

For me, a roast chicken is the epitome of fall comfort food. I love throwing a whole bird into the oven on a Sunday evening when I have a bit more time to cook. Since there are only two of us, there are always leftovers, but Travis and I always enjoy them in salads or soups the next day.

Perfect Roast Chicken with Grapes and Onions

I know for many, cooking a whole chicken can be intimidating, but don’t let that stop you from making this! I’ve made this recipe many, many times, making small tweaks here and there to ensure a perfectly juicy bird on the inside and crispy skin on the outside.

There are no tricky steps. I promise you can master this, and in the end you’ll be so happy that you did.

Perfect Roast Chicken with Grapes and Onions

Adding grapes to a roast chicken recipe might sound a bit unusual, but I guarantee it’s a delicious contrast against this savory protein.

The red wine gravy, made in the last step, is an essential component – don’t skip this!

Perfect Roast Chicken with Grapes and Onions

Enjoy this roast chicken, grapes, and vegetables with a warm grain salad, such as whole wheat couscous or barley for a well-rounded, delicious meal.

Bon Appetit!

 

Perfect Roast Chicken with Grapes and Red Wine Pan Gravy
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 5 lb. whole chicken
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Remove the giblets from the chicken. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Place the chopped onions and carrots in the middle of a large cast-iron skillet. Carefully put the chicken on top of the carrots and onions, using the vegetables to prop the chicken off the bottom of the pan. Drizzle with chicken with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then sprinkle with salt and pepper all over. Stick one stalk of fresh rosemary in the cavity of the chicken. Sprinkle additional chopped rosemary on top of the chicken.
  3. Place the chicken in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste the chicken with the juices. Add the the grapes and garlic to the pan around the chicken. Cook, basting every 15 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked, about 45 minutes. If the skin starts to brown too quickly, place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top of the chicken.
  4. The chicken is done when it registers to 165 degrees with a meat thermometer. When fully cooked, remove the chicken, grapes, and vegetables from the cast iron and place them on a large serving platter. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  5. Set the cast iron on the stovetop. Turn heat to medium, and add the red wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom to incorporate any browned bits. Reduce until the liquid starts to look like a sauce, about five minutes. Remove from the heat.
  6. Serve the chicken with the roasted grapes, onions, carrots, and red wine pan gravy.
 

Perfect Roast Chicken with Grapes and Red Wine Pan Gravy ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Main Meal Poultry Sandwich

Mediterranean Chicken Pita Sandwiches

With school and work starting up again after summer vacations, many of us are in need of new lunch options to throw into the mix. Personally, I always try to bring my lunch to work because it is cheaper, healthier, and I love knowing what I am eating. While I’ll always love sandwich classics like PB&J and turkey & cheese, I also get excited when I pack a new combination.

Mediterranean Chicken Pita Sandwiches Recipe

If you love Greek salads, this chicken pita sandwich is for you. It has all the delicious flavors of a true mediterranean meal, packed into a healthy and hearty whole wheat pita. I used my homemade avocado hummus for this sandwich, but any tasty packaged hummus will also work.

Mediterranean Chicken Pita Sandwiches Recipe

I love the crunch from the cucumbers and the tangy bite from the feta and olives. Feel free to leave out the chicken for an equally satisfying vegetarian lunch option. I hope you love this as much as I do!

Mediterranean Chicken Pita Sandwiches Recipe

 

Mediterranean Chicken Pita Sandwiches
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4-5 oz. cooked rotisserie chicken
  • ⅛ cup diced cucumber
  • 2 Tablespoons crumbled feta
  • 2 Tablespoons roasted red pepper, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons kalamata olives, chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons minced red onion
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • Salt and Pepper
  • ⅛ cup hummus (try my avocado hummus)
  • 2 whole wheat pitas rounds, sliced in half
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl mix the chicken, cucumber, feta, red pepper, olives, red onion, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Spread the hummus inside each pita half. Divide the chicken mixture between the four pita halves and serve with additional hummus and cucumber slices.
 

Grilling Main Meal Poultry

Tandoori Chicken

I have a new delicious chicken recipe for you! The past few weeks in LA have been particularly warm, so Travis and I decided it was a great excuse to use the grill last Saturday night.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

We made this delicious Tandoori Chicken that I adapted from an old Food and Wine issue. Recently, I’ve been making mostly slow cooker meals and stir frys with chicken, but for this meal I was craving that special charred flavor that only comes from the grill.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

A heck of a lot of spices go onto this chicken, so make sure your spice cabinet is well-stocked.  Spices are one of my biggest tips to new cooks. I’ve spoken to lots of friends who decide not to make a dish just because they don’t have the spices OR they make the dish, leave the spices out, and then complain that it was nothing special. Well…..duh! A key component was missing!

Invest in a wide variety of spices, my friends! First of all, they last forever, so it is money well spent AND they make such a difference in the flavors of the dish. When I’m in my creative moods in the kitchen, I love opening up our spice cabinet, pulling out lots of different jars and sprinkling a little bit of this and that into my dish. It’s so fun and I love the way it makes my kitchen smell.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

I chose to marinate the chicken for a few hours before we threw it on the grill just to ensure it was nice and juicy, but if you’re short on time this is optional.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

I loved how crispy the skin got on the grill. The level of spice suited my taste buds, but if you prefer extra heat, try adding additional cayenne pepper.

I decided to make a mild side dish because I didn’t want anything to overpower the chicken. I made a less-sweet version of these glazed carrots by cutting the honey in half and adding some freshly grated ginger to pair with the ginger in the chicken.

 

Tandoori Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • ⅓ cup fat-free greek yogurt
  • 1.5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 6 large chicken legs or 12 chicken drumsticks (about 4 lbs)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro, chopped (for serving)
Instructions
  1. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the seven spices (garam masala through cayenne) until they are fragrant, 3 minutes. Transfer the spices to a medium bowl to cool. Stir in the greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger and canola oil.
  2. Using a serrated knife, make 3 slashes in each chicken leg (or drumstick). Place the chicken legs in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Then add the spiced yogurt mixture and rub it all over each chicken leg. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours (optional, but this ensures more flavorful and moister chicken).
  3. Cooking on a charcoal grill: Heat a charcoal grill to medium heat. Cook the chicken over indirect heat for 20-25 minutes, flipping once halfway.
  4. Cooking in the oven: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and set a rack on a large baking sheet ( the rack ensures that the bottom of the chicken gets crispy as well). Arrange the chicken legs on the rack and roast for 30-35 minutes until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. For even crispier chicken, after it is cooked through, set the broiler to HIGH and place the chicken on the top tack. Roast for an additional 4 minutes until the skin is nicely crisp.
 

Beef and Lamb Main Meal

Pita Pizza with Ground Sirloin and Hummus

I decided to take a break from my slow cooker this week. Don’t get me wrong, it took serious effort to pull myself away. I am just so in love with the concept of prepping everything ahead of time and coming home from work and not having to do a darn thing!

Travis and I have made these pita pizzas twice now. The first time we followed a recipe from Cooking Light, but this time we adapted it to make our own, changing the flavors and cooking technique slightly.

IMG_1587

We used Whole Wheat pita, lean ground sirloin, avocado hummus and fresh cilantro.

Pita Pizza with Ground Sirloin and Hummus

The flavors are amazing, but the mix of textures on this pizza is really what does it for me. We used a very doughy pita, so when you combine that with smooth hummus and good quality sirloin, it all just melts in your mouth.

Pita Pizza with Ground Sirloin and Hummus

This pizza comes together in under 30 minutes, so I think it is perfect for a weeknight meal.

I brought leftovers for work the next day. I just packed the pita, hummus, and sirloin mixture all separately and then ate it all as a sandwich instead – also a delicious way to do it!

 

Pita Pizza with Ground Sirloin and Hummus
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1lb ground sirloin
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium tomato (chopped) OR ½ cup jarred tomato sauce
  • 4 Whole Wheat Pita Rounds
  • Hummus (any kind will do - I used Avocado Hummus)
  • Fresh Cilantro
Instructions
  1. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium high. Add the ground sirloin to the pan, cook for 3 minutes until browned, stirring often to crumble the meat. Remove the sirloin from the pan.
  2. Add the olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and bell pepper, and saute for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon, oregano and salt. Saute for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato or tomato sauce. Cook for an additional 3 minutes or until the tomatoes soften. Stir in the cooked sirloin.
  3. Preheat broiler to high. Place pita rounds on a baking sheet and broil for 1-2 minutes on each side until crisp. Be sure to watch them as to not let them burn.
  4. Spread about 2 Tablespoons of hummus on each pita. Top each pita with about ½ cup of the sirloin mixture. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
 

 

Breakfast Gluten-Free Main Meal

My Favorite Protein Pancakes

I am a MAJOR breakfast advocate.

If you’re my friend (or my mom!) and you’ve told me that you tend to skip breakfast, I have most likely given you a “YOU NEED TO EAT BREAKFAST” speech. They’re not kidding when they say it is the most important meal of the day, people. Besides, if you eat a healthy breakfast, you are more likely to start your day on a healthy track and less likely to binge on unhealthy junk for lunch and dinner. It’s science. It’s proven. Believe me.

People often ask me what I often eat for breakfast. The answer is: it changes. But whatever it is, I always make sure it has a big dose of protein and fiber / whole grains to get me going. My weekday morning routine is quite hectic – I like to get to the gym by 5:30AM so that I can be out the door for work by no later than 7:30AM. So weekday breakfasts are most often  protein smoothies (my favorite recipe to come!) because I can make them at home in two minutes, but drink it in the car on my way to work:

photo (14)

If I have more time in the morning (i.e. the weekends) my go-to breakfast is making these protein pancakes. You may have seen various protein pancake recipes floating around the internet. Most often protein powder is in the mix, but the protein in these pancakes comes from eggs, egg whites, and rolled oats (Gluten-Free).

Protein Pancakes Recipe

I love these pancakes so much that on the weekends I typically jump right out of bed just so I can make them immediately. I eat mine with Almond Butter on top for an added dose of protein and healthy fats. (Dear lord, I really eat a lot of nut butter, don’t I?)

Protein Pancakes Recipe

As someone who must eat every 3 hours, I PROMISE you that these will keep you full for even longer than that.

I also love them so much that on certain weeknights when I don’t have time to make a “real” dinner I have breakfast for dinner and make these instead. It certainly pleases my taste buds!

My Favorite Protein Pancakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 whole egg*
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a few good shakes of cinnamon (about ½ teaspoon)
  • ⅓ cup old fashioned rolled oats (quick cooking oats give a chewier consistency and steel cut won't work here)
  • ½ banana sliced into ⅛" slices
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Almond Butter for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat a large non-stick skillet to medium heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the egg, egg whites, vanilla and cinnamon. Add the oats and banana slices and stir well to combine. The mixture’s consistency won’t look like it will form into pancakes, but I promise it will!
  3. Pour the mixture onto the skillet to form two separate pancakes. Cook the pancakes for 2-3 minutes on one side and then flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve with Almond Butter.
Notes
*Alternatively you can sub the 1 egg for 2 egg whites (making it 4 egg whites total)
 

 

Beef and Lamb Main Meal

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas

Friends often ask me how I dedicate so much time to cooking “elaborate” dinners every night. I’m 22, young, new in my career, and in their minds it just doesn’t make sense that I devote an hour + every night to making dinner.

I always explain that it is my “thing.” It is what I enjoy doing after a long day. Some people want to vedge on the couch in front of the TV or with a good book and are totally happy with take-out. But me, I just really want to cook.

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas

But, confession time…it’s not like this happens every night. Sometimes, I get so busy that I don’t want to bother trying a new recipe. I get home and I am so hungry (and I mean ready-to-bite-my-hand-off hungry) that I eat the easiest and fastest thing I can. I am talking scrambled eggs, PB&J, take-out, basically anything in sight.

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas

But when I have the time, my absolute favorite thing to do is search through my bookmarked recipes (I must bookmark at least 5 recipes a day) and try something new.

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas

This dish is a take on a Korean Bibimbap. It is something I have wanted to make ever since I tried an amazing little Korean restaurant near my college campus last year.

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas

This dish is honestly pretty simple to make.

The flavors in the steak marinade are outstanding and the whole dish really comes together with a final touch – a fried egg on top. The idea is that you mix the hot egg into the steaming hot rice bowl and the mixture sort of becomes like fried rice.

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas

I can’t wait to make this again. Next time, I am going to try chicken instead. I am sure vegetarians could make this with tofu, too. If you do, let me know how it is!

Korean Rice Bowl with Steak and Snap Peas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1.5 lbs skirt steak, punded thin
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Asian sesame oil, divided
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dry sherry (or sake)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb baby snap peas
  • vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • Brown Rice for serving
  • Gochujang (or Sriracha) for serving
Instructions
  1. Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until golden brown, stirring often (about 3-4 minutes). Transfer the sesame seeds to a small bowl and allow to cool. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the sesame seeds, salt, and chile powder (I used the back of a spoon and small bowl because I don’t have a mortar and pestle).
  2. Place the steak in the freezer for 1 hour (this helps you slice it more easily). Cut the steak crosswise into ⅛ inch thick slices. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons of the sesame oil, green onions, sugar, dry sherry, and garlic. Toss the steak in the mixture and let marinate at room temperate for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil. Saute the snap peas until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with the salt mixture. Tent with foil to keep warm.
  4. Heat a griddle or grill pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, grill the steak until just browned, about 1 minute per side (or desired doneness). Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
  5. Heat a teaspoon of vegetable oil in the skillet over medium heat. Crack the eggs on the hot skillet and cook until the white are set, but the yolk is still runny, about 2 minutes.
  6. Divide the brown rice among bowls. Top with the snap peas and steak and finish with a fried egg atop each bowl. Mix the egg into the mixture while still hot. Finish with more of the salt mixture, gochujang and/or sriracha if you desire.
 

 

 

Beef and Lamb Main Meal Pasta

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lamb and Sweet Potatoes

Big News!

A third roommate moved into our apartment this weekend.

It was kind of last minute, but I think it was a great decision.

He is really quiet, doesn’t take up a lot of space, and he really likes to just chill.

Meet Killian!

He is my new pal. I am fostering him for the holiday season until he finds a home.

How did I end up with this cute little fluff ball on my couch, you ask?

I volunteer for an incredible organization in LA that helps rescue dogs from the streets and shelters and bring them into loving homes. There is no organization headquarters, so all dogs are fostered in homes of various volunteers until they become adopted. I had been thinking about fostering for awhile, but I wanted to wait until I was more settled in after my move. Well, I finally decided to take one of these cuties in for the holiday season.

Killian is a poodle-terrier mix. He is playful, snuggly, loving and all around perfect.

I’m wondering if I’ll be able to give him back…

I’ve noticed that one of Killian’s favorite things to do is watch me in the kitchen.  This weekend there was a lot going on- my roommate’s birthday, a holiday party with friends, a potluck for work, etc. etc….and I cooked for each event. Needless to say, I was BUSY.

Killie (obvious nickname choice) just sits attentively and watches as onions are chopped, pots are stirred, and trays go in and out of the oven. He never gets in the way. I’m telling you…he’s PERFECT.

Killie was REALLY licking his chops on Sunday night when I made whole-wheat pasta with lamb and sweet potatoes.

(Which is kind of funny because we think he looks like a little Lamb….don’t you think?)

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lamb and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

This dish was delicious and unusual for me. I love lamb, but I usually only ever have it in chop or shank form. Buying ground lamb was a great alternative to ground beef or ground turkey. Your can find it at your local Whole Foods.

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lamb and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

The flavors are fabulous. This is a perfect, warm meal for a fall night — even a weeknight; it is more simple than you’d think!

Now excuse me, but I have a cute puppy I have to go spoil…

 

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lamb and Sweet Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into ¾inch pieces
  • 2.5 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1lb ground lamb
  • 2.5 cups chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/.5 cups canned crushed tomatoes (from a 28oz can)
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 12oz package whole-wheat spaghetti, cooked al dente
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes with 1.5 Tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then lay the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet in single row. Roast in the oven until edges begin to brown, flipping with a spatula every so often, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and the onions. Saute until the lamb browns on all sides and the onion softens, about 8 minutes. Break up the larger chunks of lamb as you saute. Next, add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne, stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the sweet potatoes. Season with pepper to taste.
  3. Serve in large bowls with whole-wheat spaghetti on bottom, topped with the lamb and sweet potato mixture, and then a sprinkle of cilantro and parmesan.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
 

 

Main Meal Salads

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Travis and I tried a new (to us) restaurant, The Misfit in Santa Monica recently. We had been there for drinks but never for dinner and after hearing rave reviews from numerous friends we finally decided to tough out the hour-long wait and try it out.

Most items on the menu were served tapas style, so we ordered a bunch of things to share (my favorite kind of meal). The item on the menu we were most impressed by was their shredded kale and quinoa salad. It was OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD. We spent a good 20 minutes (you think I’m exaggerating) trying to figure out every ingredient in the salad so that we could try to recreate it at home.

And that’s precisely what we did.

I read somewhere that it can be good to soak kale in water mixed with some sea salt for a few hours. (If you have never tried it, kale is a very tough green, so it can sometimes be hard for your body to break down…the salt water mixture helps with that).

In the end, I think we did a good job detecting all the flavors in the salad. Our version may not have tasted EXACTLY like The Misfit’s, but I’d say it’s pretty darn close.

I’ve made this three times in the last two weeks, so yeah, it’s THAT good.

Look at me being all vegetarian and whatnot!

P.S. Travis ate this with some grilled chicken on top. I think it is totally filling on its own – up to you!

 

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Salad
  • 3 large bunches kale, soaked in salt water for a few hours and drained, then chopped or shredded
  • ⅓ cup cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • ⅛ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 1 cup red grapes, sliced in half
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Lemon Vinaigrette
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 Tablespoon shallot, minced
  • 1.5 teaspoons dijon
  • ½ teaspoon agave
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix all salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with the lemon vinaigrette to taste.
 

 

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