Crockpot Taco Chili

Crockpot Taco Chili Healthy, easy and gluten-free

Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the McCormick Gluten-Free Recipe Mixes Launch as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I received free samples of McCormick Gluten-Free Recipe Mixes from McCormick mentioned in this post. I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own.

Creamy crockpot taco chili is the perfect, easy, weeknight dinner. Warm and comforting while still healthy and gluten-free. So good you’ll be fighting over the leftovers…if there are any!

Crockpot Taco Chili Healthy, easy and gluten-free

So…I have to go back to work today. And I’m totally whiney about it, which makes me feel like a total tool because in what other job do you get a week off for fall break when you’re a grown up? But ugghhhh, I just don’t wanna. And things are about to get so busy. Two shows in October and one at the beginning of November. Although, once that’s all over, it should be smooth sailing for the rest of the semester.

Crockpot Taco Chili Healthy, easy and gluten-free

As life gets busier, cooking dinner every night becomes more challenging, and my love for my crockpot grows into more of a deep dependence, can’t-live-without-ya kinda thing. In fact, if I could make every single meal in the crockpot for the rest of my life, I probably wouldn’t be even a little bit sad. I mostly only like cooking because I like eating, and I really like eating.

Crockpot Taco Chili Healthy, easy and gluten-free

Especially this chili. I really, really, really like eating this taco chili. Like, I was fighting Steve over the leftovers. I almost always make enough food to have leftovers for 2-3 lunch / dinners, and sometimes I make entirely too much and end up trying to guilt Steve into finishing it because I just am soooooo sick of it by the 4th time I’ve eaten it. But not this chili. I was hoarding, calling dibs, hiding it in the back of the fridge, and pulling out every trick I had up my sleeve to keep it allllll to myself.

Crockpot Taco Chili Healthy, easy and gluten-free

This is the second part of my series with McCormick. You may remember from my Crockpot Taco Dip that McCormick now has an entire line of seasonings that are certified by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Their gluten-free line includes Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning, Gluten-Free Chili Seasoning, Gluten-Free Brown Gravy and Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy. The best part is, ya know how normally as soon as something is labeled gluten-free the price magically shoots up? Not here! They’re the same price as all of their other seasonings, and they contain no MSG or artificial colors /flavors. I stocked up on the taco seasoning! It’s something I use all the time anyway, and I was so in love with the way these recipes turned out. It’s going to become a staple in my kitchen.

Crockpot Taco Chili Healthy, easy and gluten-free

This chili is bold and flavorful, rich and creamy, healthy and loaded with fresh veggies. It’s the kind of weeknight dinner you never get tired of, and something you will feel excited to come home to!

Crockpot Taco Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Crockpot Taco Chili

Creamy crockpot taco chili is the perfect, easy, weeknight dinner. Warm and comforting while still healthy and gluten-free. So good you'll be fighting over the leftovers...if there are any!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef (93% or higher)
  • 2 x 15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 x 15 ounce cans black beans, not drained
  • 1 x 15 ounce can corn, drained
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (I prefer red or orange)
  • 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature in 1" cubes
  • 1 packet McCormick Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning
  • For topping:
  • freshly shredded cheese
  • fresh cilantro
  • nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sautee garlic and onion until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Add cooked beef mixture, tomatoes, beans, corn, bell peppers, cream cheese, and taco seasoning to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours, stirring once in between if possible. Once chili is finished, stir together to ensure cream cheese melts fully and combines. Serve topped with shredded cheese, cilantro and Greek yogurt if desired. Leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.
http://arismenu.com/crockpot-taco-chili/

Other gluten-free seasoning options include Gluten-Free Chili Seasoning, Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy, and Gluten-Free Brown Gravy. For more from McCormick,  you can follow them on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs: Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered with roasted jalapeno & garlic bacon guacamole + cotija cheese

Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered in roasted jalapeno and garlic bacon guacamole and topped with cotija cheese. These hot dogs take typical grilling to the next level with their spicy, bold flavors and perfectly contrasting textures.

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs: Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered with roasted jalapeno & garlic bacon guacamole + cotija cheese

It’s not like you need a reason to make fancy, delicious, to-die-for guacamole. In fact hunger is reason enough for me, and a fork is a totally acceptable vehicle. However, a spicy sausage may be an even more delicious vehicle.

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs: Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered with roasted jalapeno & garlic bacon guacamole + cotija cheese

For a while I was on the fence about hot dogs. Somewhere along the line they became one of those gross foods in my mind that you don’t eat past the age of 7. Ummm, that was a big mistake because for years I missed out on the amazingness that is hot dogs and sausages.

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs: Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered with roasted jalapeno & garlic bacon guacamole + cotija cheese

I also believe that all things are better with guacamole. Even the most delicious things can become instantly more delicious when you add guacamole. Juicy burger? Add guac! Simple grilled chicken? Totally different when smothered with avocado-y goodness. A spoon the size of your face? I think you know the answer. ;)

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs: Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered with roasted jalapeno & garlic bacon guacamole + cotija cheese

My friends from Fork in the Road happened to send me some of their products to try, and after absolutely loving them at BTP, I knew I was in for a treat! I ended up using the hot links which are perfect for this flavor combination, but you can  use any hot dog or sausage you like!

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 hotdog/sausage

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs

Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered in roasted jalapeno and garlic bacon guacamole and topped with cotija cheese. These hot dogs take typical grilling to the next level with their spicy, bold flavors and perfectly contrasting textures.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Grill hotdogs/sausages to desired doneness, about 5 minutes. Toast buns if desired. Place hotdogs/sausages in buns or on a plate, smother with guacamole, and top with a generous pinch of cheese. Serve immediately.

Notes

Buns are totally optional. They look prettier, but I ate these bunless and they were absolutely delicious!

http://arismenu.com/spicy-bacon-guacamole-dogs/

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was supplied with free sausages from Fork in the Road, but was not in any other way compensated for this post. Recipe and opinions are my own.

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Dipping Sauce: Healthy, delicious & gluten-free

All the delicious flavor of pad Thai in fun, healthy and delicious meatballs! These Thai turkey meatballs are so good, they stand alone without pasta, and are even more fantastic dipped in the creamy peanut sauce.

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Dipping Sauce: Healthy, delicious & gluten-free

I have so much to tell you! I just got back from the most incredible weekend at Blend (incredible hosted by Lindsay, Janetha & Lauren)! I’ve been dying to go after reading about the last two years, and I was pee-my-pants-excited to meet some of my favorite people from the internet. That makes me sound like a total nerd, but it’s cool. I am a total nerd.

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Dipping Sauce: Healthy, delicious & gluten-free

I shared a room with Nicole & Katie (because…duh) and I was so stoked that Ashley ended up in our room too. It was the perfect energy and we stayed up both nights chatting and laughing until I literally fell asleep mid sentence. I wish that was every night. Although, Steve might be a little annoyed.

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Dipping Sauce: Healthy, delicious & gluten-free

I was so excited to finally meet Lindsay and Brittany. I feel like I’ve known them for years, and they are two of the kindest, most supportive people I have ever met. In fact, for a long time I felt like I was blogging to no one, and I don’t even remember who found who, but I can say that both of them have given me a huge sense of community, and it was even better to get to play in real life!

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Dipping Sauce: Healthy, delicious & gluten-free

Gahhhh, I feel like I could go on for YEARS about every cool person I met, but how about we get talk about some meatballs, and I’ll make you a lovely little list at the end of new blogs you absolutely must check out because the humans behind them are incredible. Sound good?

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Dipping Sauce: Healthy, delicious & gluten-free

Okay, so….these meatballs. They are seriously so so easy. And they involve mixing with your hands, which is always my favorite.  Whisk together a little peanut sauce, then mixing and rolling your meatballs will only take you a matter of minutes. While they cook, you catch up on Netflix…or if you’re a better person than me, you get ahead on cleaning. I’m not sure I can say I’ve ever gotten ahead on cleaning…

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Dipping Sauce: Healthy, delicious & gluten-free

I use the “cooling rack inside the baking sheet” method (very technical term) + a little olive oil to ensure even cooking and a perfectly textured meatball. Ya know, when it has the browned outside, but still super tender and juicy on the inside? The.best. Not to mention, these meatballs are super healthy–lean, packed with protein, and with some veggies inside for good measure! It will only take a few of them to fill you up, and the sweet and spicy peanut sauce makes you feel like you’re going to town on your favorite Thai take out. Literally the best of every world, and a dinner you will want to make over and over again!

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: approximately 20 meatballs

Serving Size: 4 meatballs

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Peanut Dipping Sauce

All the delicious flavor of pad Thai in fun, healthy and delicious meatballs! These Thai turkey meatballs are so good, they stand alone without pasta, and are even more fantastic dipped in the creamy peanut sauce.

Ingredients

    For the meatballs:
  • 20 ounces lean ground turkey (I suggest 93-96%)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (use gf if necessary)*
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped bean sprouts
  • generous pinch salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons peanut sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional
  • For the peanut sauce:
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos (or gf soy sauce, or regular soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce (or Sriracha)
  • water, as needed for thinning
  • Optional for serving:
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh lime
  • Sriracha

Instructions

  1. To make the peanut sauce, whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, coconut aminos, honey and chili. Add warm water 1 tablespoon at a time until sauce has reached desired consistency.
  2. To make the meatballs, preheat oven to 400. Place a cooling rack inside of a large baking sheet** and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside. Combine all ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl until incorporated. Roll into approximately 2 inch (about 1 ounce) balls and place onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil if desired***.
  3. Bake until browned and cooked throughout, about 25 minutes. Serve with prepared peanut sauce**** a squeeze of fresh lime, a pinch of cilantro and a drizzle of Sriracha if desired. Leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Store peanut sauce separately.

Notes

*If you only have slow cooking oats on hand, simple throw them in the food processor for about 30 seconds, or even chop by hand. **Using the cooling rack inside the baking sheet helps the meatballs to bake evenly on the bottom and for any extra fat to cook off. It is not 100% necessary, but recommended. ***The extra olive oil helps the meatballs brown and get a a nice outer texture. This is also optional, but recommended. ****If peanut sauce becomes too thick, simply whisk in more water 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches desired consistency.

http://arismenu.com/thai-turkey-meatballs-peanut-dipping-sauce/

And because I love them, please check out some of my amazing friends that I hung out with this weekend. Tons of health tips, motivation & inspiration!

Lindsay | Janetha | Lauren | Nicole | Katie | Ashley | Lindsay | Brittany | Ashley | Mollie | Alex | Candice | Erika | Laura | Nicole | Janae and sooooo many more.

Thai Chicken Tacos

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

The bold flavors of chicken pad Thai in a simple, easy, healthy and gluten-free weeknight meal that comes together in minutes.

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

Have I ever told you about the taco shop? I mean, I guess I should call it by it’s name now that taco shops are becoming a thing, and there’s a bunch of them popping up all over the place, but I still always call it the taco shop.

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

Anyway, they have tons of creative tacos and everything is served a la carte, so you can get a couple different tacos, all the same, tacos with Mexican street corn (OMG…), or even try out their many varieties of salsa. It is basically a dream come true for this Mexican-food-aholic.

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

I actually can’t believe I have never posted tacos on here before. I mean, I guess it’s because I never actually make them. I make this all the time, and this needs to happen again because it was freaking awesome, but never just regular tacos, and ummm, that needs to change because I think this dinner took me all of 10 minutes, and it was awesome.

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

In addition to Mexican food, I am also obsessed with Thai food. Okay, I’m actually obsessed with peanut sauce. I mean, there are many Thai dishes that I absolutely love, but it always comes back to that peanut sauce for me. Peanut butter + spicy + just slightly sweet? How can that be bad??

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

Well, actually one time I made the mistake of using someone else’s pad Thai recipe that I found on the internet. It was loaded with soy sauce, and even using the lower salt soy sauce, the peanut sauce just tasted like a mouthful of salt. And I LOVE salt. One day in the middle of a long run I came back home to refill my water and ground some sea salt onto a plate and ate it. By itself. Perhaps I should add that to things I should be embarrassed to admit on the internet…

Thai Chicken Tacos -- A healthy, bold and flavorful weeknight meal that comes together in minutes!

Anyway, my peanut sauce does not taste like pure salt. It’s the spicy, peanutty, slightly sweet goodness I mentioned before. And for these tacos, all you do is throw some shredded chicken and chopped veggies onto some corn tortillas, drizzle your new favorite peanut sauce on top, and then if you want to get fancy (or if you just want the best possible flavor combo) squeeze on some lime, throw in some of my favorite food (cilantro), add some crushed peanuts, and a drizzle of sriracha. You’ll find yourself looking at a dinner that seems so complicated and wondering how you made it happen in just a few minutes. Then when you taste it, you’ll want to recreate it every night forever (and ever).

Thai Chicken Tacos

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 8 tacos

Serving Size: 2 tacos

Thai Chicken Tacos

The bold flavors of chicken pad Thai in a simple, easy, healthy and gluten-free weeknight meal that comes together in minutes.

Ingredients

    For the peanut sauce:
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp sriracha + more for drizzling
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Water, as needed
  • For the tacos:
  • 8 small corn tortillas, warmed
  • 2 (8 oz) chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
  • Handful cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp crushed peanuts

Instructions

  1. To make the peanut sauce, whisk together peanut butter, coconut aminos, lime juice, sriracha and honey with 2 tbsp water until well combined. Continue to add water 1 tablespoon at a time until sauce has reached desired consistency.
  2. To assemble tacos add chicken, red pepper, scallions, cilantro and peanuts to each warmed tortilla. Top with peanut sauce and drizzle with sriracha if desired. Serve immediately.
http://arismenu.com/thai-chicken-tacos/

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup #glutenfree #vegetarian

Thick and creamy roasted cauliflower is the perfect, comforting, vegetarian fall dinner. Ridiculously easy, and so rich you’d never guess it was packed with veggies!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup #glutenfree #vegetarian

I never thought I liked cauliflower. I mean I didn’t hate it, and it’s not like eggplant which I avoid at all cost (ew, weird, gross veggie–stay far, far away!), but I certainly didn’t go out of my way to seek it out. Then I had this ridiculously good fried cauliflower at Pita Jungle. Oooooomg, it’s like the stuff dreams are made of. But then I tried that cauliflower pizza crust that the entire internet seems to be in love with? Gag worthy. Seriously, just…no.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup #glutenfree #vegetarian

I was ready to give up on it again, but then I made this soup. I was craving broccoli cheese soup, and for some reason this seemed like a good alternative? Anyway, I was about to break up with cauliflower forever after that pizza crust, but (s)he? is back on my bff list because this soup? It’s totally dreamy–rich and creamy with not a single ounce of cream. It’s healthy, filling, and totally satisfying.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup #glutenfree #vegetarian

This is a simple, no fuss recipe that’s basically fool proof. Heat, stir, blend, serve, and voila! Oh, and don’t even get me started on the leftovers. Even THICKER, and the flavor develops more as the soup sits. This is a HUGE batch, so you will have delicious leftovers to keep your warm all week long. And I pinky promise–the veggie haters in your life will never know it’s cauliflower. I fooled a lot of people in my family with this one. ;)

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Thick and creamy roasted cauliflower is the perfect, comforting, vegetarian fall dinner. Ridiculously easy, and so rich you'd never guess it was packed with veggies!

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 shallots, finely minced
  • 1 extra large onion, finely chopped
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • 5 yukon gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1 tbsp honey dijon mustard
  • 3-4 dashes of your favorite hot sauce (I use Chalulah)
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated fontina cheese (or cheese of choice)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Add cauliflower and garlic to a very large baking dish. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Bake until browned and softened, about 30 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and shallot, and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until tender and fragrant, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add broth and potatoes. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add cooked cauliflower and garlic scraping baking dish well into the pot. Add mustard and hot sauce.
  5. Puree using an immersion blender, high quality stand blender (will likely need to do in batches), or food processor (will also likely require multiple batches. Return to heat and stir in cheese. Add extra salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one week

Notes

You could also make this in your crockpot--just add cooked cauliflower and garlic in addition to all remaining ingredients (except the cheese) to your crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Blend, then stir in cheese.

http://arismenu.com/roasted-cauliflower-soup/

Crockpot Chili

Crockpot Chili #glutenfree #dairyfree

Super easy, thick, chunky and bold man-style chili in your slow-cooker.

Crockpot Chili #glutenfree #dairyfree

When I was gone this summer, my husband ate a total of 3 things: Chipotle, this chicken, and this chili. No, I’m serious. He would make a huge batch of this chili and eat it for 2 weeks straight.

Crockpot Chili #glutenfree #dairyfree

When I came home (and after the weather cooled down, and I could actually think about eating chili again!), he couldn’t wait to make it for me. I love chili, but I guess I just never found a tried and true recipe, so it’s not something I make unless it includes sweet potatoes, but that’s a whole other story. ;)

Crockpot Chili #glutenfree #dairyfree

It was love at first bite. I loved it so so so much that I asked him if I could share it with you guys. Steve is all about the thick, chunky chili. He likes almost no water in it, and I have to say, I loved how hearty that made it. We’ve had it twice in the last month (and with a batch this size, that really is saying something!), and I’ve tried switching the beans around, and playing around with types of meat, and there is really no way to mess it up. Like I said, it makes a HUGE batch. Feel free to halve it, but the leftovers are so dang good–I would just make the whole thing.

Crockpot Chili #glutenfree #dairyfree

It’s especially good with some fresh cornbread crumbled on top. Ummm, that my friends, was like heaven.

Crockpot Chili

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 16-20 servings

Serving Size: approx 1 cup

Crockpot Chili

Simple, easy, thick and chunky man-style chili that comes together in your slow cooker.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey (93% or higher)
  • 2 lbs kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 lbs pinto beans (or black beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 large can (approx 30 oz) chili beans
  • 2 lbs crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lb fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 1 1/2 oz chili seasoning (if gf, make sure your seasonings are)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • approx 1 cup beef broth or water

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Add bell pepper and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. Over medium heat, brown the ground beef.
  2. Meanwhile, add beans, tomatoes and jalapenos to slow cooker. Add browned beef, chili seasoning, and cumin.
  3. Slowly, add beef broth or water until desired consistency. Lightly toss ingredients together. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Notes

This is a very forgiving recipe. Feel free to change up the beans, meat, seasonings, etc. to your taste.

http://arismenu.com/crockpot-chili/

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

All the flavor and comfort of hearty lasagna in a healthy, gluten-free spaghetti squash dish that will have everyone asking for seconds! Looking for more spaghetti squash recipes? I have lots!

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

Today Mean Green and I had our first fight. We’ll call it the new stop sign’s fault, but Steve stopped short, I ran into his bike and flew off mine. Luckily I didn’t slide so I just walked away with some bruises, and Mean Green is a tough cookie–she barely got scraped! It was scary, but it had to happen sometime, and I’m glad it happened when the street wasn’t busy (ummm I ended up in the middle of it laying on the ground–traffic could have been a very bad thing), and when my husband was there to pick me back up.

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

In other exciting and much happier news, I attended and spoke at Blended Conference this weekend! It was a total blast, and I learned a TON! Maureen gave a great presentation on the business of blogging. Christine gave an incredible presentation (literally so.much.information) on Pinterest. Kimberley gave an awesome presentation on building an Instagram community. Nicole and I spoke again on video blogging (to a truly incredible response!), then there were break out discussions, and the day ended with a panel led by Wendy, Nicole, Christine and me on food photography/how to get exposure on sights such as Foodgawker and Tastespotting. I also finally got to meet Stephanie who I’ve known through our blogs and her gooooorgeous food for quite a while now. It was a whirlwind, but I had a really amazing time! Wendy & Wendy did an incredible job putting everything together!

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

So that was my eventful weekend. After all of that, I just kind of feel like doing absolutely nothing except for lounging on the couch watching Orange is the New Black (just started it, and I, like, REALLY love it!), and eating comfort food. Fall and winter are all about comfort foods for me, and comfort food always includes cheese. Duh.

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

I always thought lasagna was super intimidating, but my bestie and college roommate Heather taught me how to make it, and I used a lightened up version of her recipe for years. It’s simple, easy, great to freeze in bulk and always a hit. I wanted to change it up a little bit, and I was looking for a new way to use my beloved spaghetti squash, so I stuffed it with lasagna filling. Seriously people, I don’t know why I ever bothered with real noodles.

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

Between the spicy turkey sausage, the bold meat sauce, creamy ricotta cheese, and brown and bubbly (yes, it went back in the oven for extra love half way through the shoot) mozzarella cheese, I promise you don’t miss the noodles at all. In fact, I prefer the spaghetti squash texture, and I love getting a huge serving of veggies without having to cook them up as a side dish. You guys will love this new twist on lasagna–all the bold flavors you love while eating comfort food you can feel good about eating!

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 squash half

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Hearty, comforting lasagna in a light, satisfying and veggie-packed dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 20 oz 99% lean ground turkey breast (you can also use the 93-94% or 96% lean ground beef)
  • 1/4 lb chicken or turkey sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried or finely chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • 2 teaspoons dried or finely chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Slice spaghetti squash length wise and scrape out the seeds. Rub 1/4 tbsp olive oil into each squash half and season with salt and pepper. Place each spaghetti squash half face down in a large baking dish and bake for 40-60 min. When squash is done, middle will be tender and pull apart easily.
  2. In a large pan, sautee onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until fragrant. Add ground turkey. Season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until browned. Add sausage, crushed tomato and 1 teaspoon each basil and oregano. When sauce starts to bubble, reduce heat to a simmer until thickened (about 3-4 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, combine ricotta and cottage cheese in a medium bowl. Season with 1 teaspoon each basil and oregano. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper. Lightly mix until combined.
  4. When spaghetti squash is fully cooked, flip in the baking dish so that it is now skin side down. Evenly divide ricotta mixture between each squash half. Repeat with meat sauce. Top each half with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.
  5. Turn oven to broil, and cook for an other 2 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbling. This happens very quickly–make sure to watch closely, otherwise it can burn easily. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

The sauce is very forgiving. Add/subtract whatever spices you like to get your desired flavor. I used a spicy (pre-cooked) chicken sausage, but you can use whatever flavor you like.

http://arismenu.com/lasagna-stuffed-spaghetti-squash/

Cornbread Waffle Tacos {gluten-free}

Cornbread Waffle Tacos #glutenfree

Cornbread Waffle Taco #glutenfree

Yes. The waffle is the shell, get it? Then there’s guac, taco meat, goat cheese, pretty much heaven.

Cornbread Waffle Taco #glutenfree

Some of my favorite recipes on this blog weren’t even my idea in the first place. It was Nicole that suggested I make a chicken enchilada dip. And the jalapeno popper hot dogs were way more Heather’s idea than mine. And this taco? It’s a spin off what I remember Heather telling me about something she ordered at a food truck. It’s wayyyy too cool for me to actually come up with the idea on my own.

Cornbread Waffle Taco #glutenfree2

But, I do have to say I feel pretty awesome for making something that sounded ridiculously indulgent at least masquerade as a healthy meal. Oh, and for making literally this bomb gluten-free waffle. I’m still figuring out gluten-free things in the kitchen (the husband found out he was intolerant a few months ago), but these babies were a total win on the first try!

Cornbread Waffle Taco #glutenfree

As we were eating, Steve looked at me and admitted that he real skeptical when I told him what we were having for dinner, but had his mind changed 100%. It’s one of those things that some people hear and think “that sounds weird”, but I hear and think”THAT SOUNDS DELICIOUS!” There are several components, but honestly it’s really easy to make, and I think the entire thing took me about half an hour. I probably spent longer photographing it than I did eating it (#foodbloggerproblems). You can make the guacamole ahead of time (I just make it right at the beginning), prepare it while your meat cooks, or just buy some if that’s easier. You start the meat while the waffle batter rests (so important!!), and then cook the waffles as your meat soaks up the seasoning, and voila! Everything comes together around the same time. I love it when that happens!

Cornbread Waffle Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Cornbread Waffle Tacos

These cornbread waffle tacos are a unique and delicious play on sweet, savory and spicy flavors all coming together.

Ingredients

    For the guacamole:
  • 2 extra large avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1 lime, zest & juice
  • small handful fresh cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped (remove stems and heat for less heat)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • generous pinch each salt and pepper
  • For the waffles:
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • For the taco meat:
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 20 oz ground turkey breast (or 93% lean ground turkey, or 96% lean ground beef)
  • 3 tbsp taco seasoning (preferably homemade, or at least reduced sodium variety)
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water
  • For serving:
  • Freshly crumbled goat cheese (or any cheese you'd like)
  • Chopped green onions
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Instructions

  1. To make the guacamole, combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Blend using an immersion blender until smooth. I prefer a smooth guacamole for this recipe, but you may use a fork/spoon and mix together a chunkier one.
  2. To make the waffles, whisk together corn flour, cornmeal, almond meal and baking soda in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, coconut oil and honey. Very gently, fold wet ingredients into dry until just combined. A few small lumps may remain. Do not over mix. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. While your waffle batter rests, heat onion, garlic and bell pepper in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until turkey is fully browned. Add taco seasoning and cinnamon. Slowly add water until the meat has reached your desired level of liquid (some will cook out, so add a little more than you'd think). Increase heat to bring liquid to a light boil, then reduce to simmer.
  4. While meat simmers, cook your waffles by adding approx 1/4 cup batter to your waffle maker at a time (more if you have a large waffle maker--eyeball it). Cook until waffles are golden and cooked throughout, about 5 minutes (mine has a light that goes on when they're finished).
  5. Spread cooked waffles with guacamole, then add taco meat and additional toppings. Serve immediately. Leftover waffles, taco meat and guacamole should be stored separately and refrigerated in an airtight container. Guacamole will last about 3 days. Waffles and taco meat will last 5-7 days.

Notes

There are a million things you could also add on top such as plain Greek yogurt, salsa, tomatoes, cilantro, corn, beans, etc.

http://arismenu.com/cornbread-waffle-tacos/

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

Hi friends! Did you guys have a good 3 day weekend? I had to work a little bit this evening, but I had most of the day off, and we had a great time on Sunday having friends and family over, grilling, eating tons of food, and later on playing Cards Against Humanity. It was my first time ever playing, and now I’m pretty much in love with the game. Everyone had a great time, and I got lots of compliments on the 5 new recipes I created for our get together.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

But now I have to go back to real life, and it’s almost Tuesday, and Tuesday after a 3 day weekend is even worse than a regular Monday. But at least it’s a short week. And I do actually really enjoy my job, but I also really enjoy lounging around the house getting caught up on How I Met Your Mother.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

So, let’s talk about this salad. Whenever people ask me what my tips are for staying healthy, one thing I always say is to make lunch over the weekend that you can take to work 4 out of the 5 days of your work week. Pick a day and go out to lunch because it’s fun, and it will help you from getting sick of eating the same thing, but I find that just making a lunch for the week keeps me on track–I know exactly what I’m going to eat, and I create something healthy and delicious that I’m excited to eat multiple days in a row.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

That could not be more true about this salad. Sweet and spicy slow-cooked bbq chicken with plenty of veggies, creamy Greek yogurt, and bold cilantro make this salad absolutely irresistible. In fact, I found myself trying to eat it for lunch, dinner, and once even breakfast! It’s got tons of lean protein and healthy, whole grain carbs, with a good amount of veggies thrown in there too (and you can always add even more veggies!). You won’t even want to go rogue and hit up Subway if you have this stuff around!

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Total Time: 5 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients

    For the bbq chicken:
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 lb low sugar bbq sauce
  • For the salad:
  • 2 cups dry whole grain penne (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, etc.)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 red or orange bell peppers, chopped
  • handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Place chicken and bbq sauce in a slow cooker. Cook over low heat for 5 hours.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse.
  3. Remove chicken from slow cooker and use to forks to shred. It will come apart very easily.
  4. Place shredded chicken, cooked pasta and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. If desired, spoon in a little extra bbq sauce from your slow cooker. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

You may use rotisserie chicken or any cooked chicken breast and approx 1/3 cup bbq sauce if you don't want to use a slow cooker.

http://arismenu.com/bbq-chicken-pasta-salad/

Spicy BBQ Chicken Marinade

Spicy BBQ Chicken Marinade

Spicy BBQ Chicken Marinade

Hello from Oregon! I know, I know, I just got back from Oregon like 3 weeks ago, but I can’t stay away. I actually contemplated staying the 3 weeks in between for a hot minute, but I came right back to starting a new job and there was no way I could just take the first 3 weeks off, so I sucked it up, spent the last 3 weeks hating everything about Phoenix in the summer, and bought a plane ticket back to my favorite place.

Spicy BBQ Chicken Marinade

I’ve actually been pretty quiet about the fact that I am running Hood to Coast. Mostly because I had no idea how my training would go. I started running again in May beginning with literally 1 mile at a time. Actually, that’s a lie. I was allowed to run (shuffle) for 10 minutes, and I was so out of running shape that I believe my first time I only got to .87. It’s been a very slow build up in mileage from there with plenty of obstacles along the way, but it is happening. This weekend I will run/walk/crawl my total of *gulp* 20 miles over 3 legs from the top of Mount Hood to the gorgeous Oregon coast. I can’t think of a more beautiful location to run. Not to mention I get to be with an amazing group of people.

Spicy BBQ Chicken Marinade

Okay, so let’s talk about chicken. We eat a lot of chicken in my house. My husband is definitely a “meat guy”. When I try to tell him a portobello mushroom can be a burger, he raises an eyebrow in judgement. He likes his dinners to be meat with a side of meat, and since chicken is an easy, healthy option, we eat a lot of it.

Spicy BBQ Chicken Marinade

I actually, can’t even really take credit for this recipe. While I was gone in Oregon the last time, I’m pretty sure Steve lived off grilled chicken, pork chops and Chipotle. When he came up to visit at the end of my time in Portland, we were grilling with friends, and he couldn’t wait to share his latest marinade secret.

Spicy BBQ Chicken Marinade

Ummm, it was AWESOME. Way to show up my cooking skills. Thanks, Steve. But really, it was. It’s so simple with only 3 ingredients, but it just works, and it creates the most flavorful, juicy chicken you will ever taste. We didn’t do a thing with the chicken in these photos other than grill and marinate, and they were absolute perfection. Dinner doesn’t get much easier than tossing some chicken on the grill and cooking up some veggies to go along side. You will love how this simple marinade transforms chicken from a boring dinner to something you will want to make again and again!

Spicy BBQ Chicken Marinade

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Serving Size: 1 6-8oz chicken breast

Spicy BBQ Chicken Marinade

Ingredients

  • 2 6-8 oz chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups low sugar barbecue sauce
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (use less if you don't like a lot of spice)

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a gallon freezer bag. Seal and lightly shake to coat.Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 1 day.
  2. Grill chicken over medium heat until cooked throughout, about 3-4 minutes per side.
http://arismenu.com/spicy-bbq-chicken-marinade/

Pesto Pizza {with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn}

Pesto Pizza with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn

Pesto Pizza with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn

If I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life and cilantro didn’t count, I would probably choose pizza. Goat cheese is right up there too, but I would just put the goat cheese ON the pizza. In fact, I kind of can’t believe I didn’t put it on this pizza. You could though. It would be delicious.

Pesto Pizza with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn

I mean, you really can’t go wrong with carbs and cheese. My two favorite food groups. Add in some homemade ricotta pesto, and you’ve got yourself a ridiculously easy and impressive homemade pizza for any day of the week!

Pesto Pizza with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn

The pesto and the corn are without a doubt my favorite part. I loved the pesto on it’s own, and on a pizza it got EVEN BETTER. Plus, I looooove roasted corn, especially in the summer. I seek it out on menus when I go out to eat, and put it in almost everything I make at home. Sweet and crisp–it takes almost any dish to the next level!

Pesto Pizza with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn

Pesto Pizza {with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

Pesto Pizza {with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn}

Ingredients

  • 1 lb whole wheat pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's brand), at room temperature
  • 1-2 tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 batch ricotta pesto
  • 6-8oz freshly shredded part skim mozzarella
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
  • kernels from 1 ear roasted corn
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
  • heavy pinch oregano
  • pinch pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450. If using a pizza stone, leave it in the oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle cornmeal over a sheet of parchment paper. Place dough on parchment paper and roll into desired shape. Alternately, use your hands to stretch it out into desired shape, then place on parchment paper.Transfer to pizza stone or baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven and evenly spread pesto over the pizza. Top with cheese, corn and sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle oregano and pepper on top.
  3. Bake until crust is cooked throughout and cheese is bubbling, about an other 15-20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.
http://arismenu.com/pesto-pizza/

Thai Chicken Kabobs

Thai Chicken Kabobs

Thai Chicken Kabobs

Is there anything more fun than food on a stick? I mean, sure, eating it can be tricky and you run the risk of stabbing your husband while playing swords with your food (because that’s a totally normal and acceptable thing to do, yes?), but really, how many foods can you make into a sword anyway?

Thai Chicken Kabobs

I’ve actually never made kabobs before this one, and let me tell you, I am in love. I loved having my chicken on my veggies all on one stick. I loved how fun they were to eat and dip in the peanut sauce, and I also loved how food on a stick meant there were next to no dishes to clean up. Seriously, I hate cleaning almost as much as I love cooking.

Thai Chicken Kabobs

The chicken marinates in the peanut sauce to soak up all that delicious Thai peanut flavor, then gets grilled up with your veggies and dunked in lots more peanut-y deliciousness as you eat. You end up eating a lot less of the calorie-dense peanut sauce than if you were to eat traditional Pad Thai. Not to mention getting rid of the noodles and adding a bunch of veggies gives you all the flavors of classic Pad Thai with a fraction of the calories, and sticking it all on kabob skewers to grill up gives them an awesome summery touch!

Thai Chicken Kabobs

They are topped off with fresh cilantro (my favorite food–I don’t care if you say it’s an “herb”, it’s still my favorite) and drizzles with sriracha for an extra spicy kick. Of course, those are option if you’re one of those weirdos who doesn’t like spicy food, or worse, you have that genetic “mutation” where you don’t like cilantro. Have you heard about that? Apparently it’s a genetic thing where to some people it tastes like soap. So glad I pulled the long straw on that one. ;)

Thai Chicken Kabobs

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 9 kabobs

Serving Size: 3 kabobs

Thai Chicken Kabobs

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sriracha + extra for drizzling
  • approx 1/2 cup water, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1" chunks
  • approx 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into 1" chunks
  • fresh cilantro, optional

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter, lime juice, coconut aminos, sriracha and 1/4 cup water. Remove half the mixture (eyeball it), cover and set aside.
  2. Add 1/4 cup water to remaining mixture. Whisk to combine. Continue to slowly add water until it has reached the consistency of a marinade. I used about 1/4-1/3 cup. Place chicken and marinade in a large freezer bag or medium tupperware and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour (alternately, feel free to do this step up to 24 hours ahead of time).
  3. If using wooden skewers, soak skewers for 30 minutes before cooking (if you use metal, this is not necessary). Alternately place chicken, bell pepper, onion, and snap peas onto your skewers (you will most likely have room for about 2 of each) close together, but not crowding.
  4. Grill on medium-high heat until chicken is cooked throughout, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and drizzle with srirach. Serve immediately with remaining peanut dipping sauce.

Notes

You may wish to heat the peanut sauce before serving. It can get quite thick while it sits, so microwaving for about 15 seconds and adding a tablespoon of water should get it back to your ideal consistency.

http://arismenu.com/thai-chicken-kabobs/