Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Happy Wednesday! First, I want to thank everyone who texted me, commented on the blog or my Instagram post, or reached out in any other way about my blog post last week. I was nervous to post it but also felt so relieved to share all that and get it all out there. I want my blog to be a positive space and I look forward to sharing much more about intuitive eating and body love in the future. I also want to post more about personal life stuff since I used to do that a lot more! Life isn’t JUST about food, right?!

Yet here I am with a recipe ūüėČ I know it’s summertime and all you want is cool, refreshing foods, but this is a great comfort meal for any time of the year! It was so easy and has a lot of flavor. It also made a ton so it’s a great freezer meal for busy days when you don’t have time to cook. The original recipe also gives a vegetarian¬†option of using all chickpeas instead of chicken – I might have to try that next time!

Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Adapted from: fANNEtastic food

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen spinach
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3¬†tbsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 15-oz can of coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • Brown rice or naan, yogurt to top (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a crock pot and stir. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  2. Serve over brown rice or with naan. Top with plain yogurt and extra spice if desired!

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Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

It’s winter and that means COMFORT FOOD. All day every day. I love mac and cheese and I love buffalo, so…ta da! Buffalo chicken mac and cheese it is. I found this¬†recipe which was “lightened-up” but I tweaked it a bit based on my tastes and¬†what I had in the kitchen. It¬†turned out to be delicious, easy, and made about 8¬†servings, so¬†I could eat plenty!

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Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Adapted from: Prevention RD

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups dry whole wheat¬†pasta
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1¬†cup Frank‚Äôs¬†Hot Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp¬†ranch dressing (or ranch dip mix)
  • Garlic powder and dried dill, to taste
  • 1 cup Mexican blend¬†cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ‚ÖĒ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 lb cooked chicken, cooked and shredded
  • ¬ľ cup panko

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet (I used a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Once hot, add flour and stir, then add milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, stir in hot sauce, ranch, garlic and dill, and shredded cheeses. Mix until cheese melts; remove from heat and stir in the yogurt, mixing well. Mix in cooked pasta and shredded chicken.
  3. Transfer pasta to a greased baking dish and top with panko [I ended up needing an 13 x 9 AND a 9 x 9 pan because it made a lot!] Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until panko is browned.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Welcome to the enchilada casserole – the perfect busy girl’s Mexican comfort meal. By turning the enchiladas into a casserole, you save tons of time that you would have spent rolling each enchilada individually and can better use that time to do homework, do your hair, vacuum the living room….all those things I wish I had¬†more time to do. Basically you take all the ingredients, layer them in a baking dish, and throw it in the oven. So easy and relatively mess-free. This is also a great vegetarian meal; since it’s so hearty and filling, you won’t even miss the meat! But don’t worry, there’s plenty of cheese. You always need cheese.¬†ūüôā

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Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 20¬†oz enchilada sauce
  • 18 small corn tortillas
  • 1 1/4 lbs butternut squash, peeled and sliced into small cubes
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can green chilis, diced (not drained)
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Salsa, hot sauce, and sour cream for toppings, if desired

Directions:

1.)¬†Heat oven to 375 F. Spread 1 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and top with 6 tortillas, evenly spaced (might overlap). Top with one more cup of the sauce, a third of the squash, a third of the beans, and 1 cup of the cheese, spreading all evenly. Repeat this layering two more times, saving the final cup of cheese. The baking dish might be full but that’s ok!

2.) Cover with foil and bake for one hour or until squash is tender. Then uncover, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, and broil for about 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Let stand for about 15 minutes before serving, then top with desired toppings.

Cheesy Spinach and Bacon Breakfast Strata

I love a good hearty breakfast, especially for mornings when I go into work early and have a long wait until lunch. I also love when I can make a big batch of something and eat it all week, since I like when I only have to cook once! This breakfast strata is perfect for that. It makes enough servings to last all week, so you can grab it and heat it at work. It has the perfect combination of carbs, fat, and protein to keep you full until lunchtime rolls around. You can switch up the cheese, veggies, and type of bread to really make this your own. I think this recipe will be on repeat for me a lot this winter!

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Cheesy Spinach and Bacon Breakfast Strata

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 slices bread, toasted, cut into 1-in. cubes (I used whole wheat)
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used soy)
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.) Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Transfer bacon to a towel-lined plate and chop into small pieces. Add onion and garlic to drippings in skillet and cook until browned and soft. Add spinach and tomatoes and cook until soft.

2.) Spray an 8-inch square glass baking dish with cooking spray. Add bread cubes, bacon, veggie mixture, and cheese to the dish evenly. In a bowl combine milk, yogurt, eggs, egg whites, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together.  Pour over the bread mixture, cover, and chill for 8 hours or overnight.

3.) Preheat oven to 350 F. Uncover dish and let strata sit at room temperature while oven heats. Bake until top of strata is browned and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Broccoli Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese

I just realized that my last three recipes were all full-blown comfort meals…I don’t mind it at all! This time of year certainly calls for warm meals that make you want to stay inside and forget about the cold New England weather outside. This mac and cheese was the perfect winter recipe – it¬†has plenty of cheese¬†while sneaking in a bunch of veggies! Then the addition of crumbled bacon is the perfect topping. Enjoy and stay warm!

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Broccoli Bacon Mac 'n Cheese

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (or more if desired)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk (I used soy)
  • 1 10-oz package frozen butternut squash puree, thawed
  • 10 oz uncooked pasta
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.) Heat a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook bacon until crisp and remove from pan onto a paper towel-lined plate.

2.) Add onion and garlic to bacon drippings and saute until soft. Add stock, milk, and squash and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

3.) Add pasta, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add in broccoli. Cook until pasta is done and sauce is thickened.

4.) Add 1 cup of cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle bacon and the rest of the cheese on top.

Hearty Veggie Chili

I’m finally on winter break from grad school, which means I have time to catch up on blogging! I always say I’ll find time to blog during the semester and then all the homework and work and life gets in the way. So now is my catch up time! I made this chili¬†when it first started getting cold this fall. It is very filling and the addition of grains give it a richer, heartier taste. You’ll forget there is no meat in it! It’s the perfect recipe for Meatless Monday¬†or just for those who love veggies!

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Hearty Veggie Chili

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups mirepoix mix (chopped celery, carrots, and onion)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 10 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 3/4 cup uncooked freekeh (or another grain, like wheat berries or quinoa)
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained

Directions:

1.) Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the green pepper, mirepoix mix, jalapeno, mushrooms, and garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to brown.

2.) Add the tomato paste and spices (through paprika), cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the diced tomatoes, corn, and beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

2.) Cook freekeh (or other grain) according to package instructions. Add the cooked freekeh, beer, soy sauce, and beans to the chili and cook for 20 minutes. Serve topped with your favorite ingredients.

Cheesy Apple Beer Soup

This recipe is perfect for cold fall/winter days, preferably in some cozy sweatpants by a fire. I rarely get a chance to hang around in my sweatpants by a fire, but I certainly have had plenty of cold occasions to enjoy some soup! This soup was really easy to make and is very hearty. It’s got lots of cheese (which is always a good thing), the slight sweetness from the apples, and the rich flavor that comes from the beer. It’s the perfect comfort food! I served it with a roll and a side salad with blue cheese, apples, and walnuts. Delicious and filling!

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Cheesy Apple Beer Soup

Adapted from: Half Baked Harvest

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1¬†yellow onion,¬†chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2/3 cup apple cider
  • 1 large apple, chopped (I used Granny Smith)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 12 oz. beer (I used Sam Adams)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk (I used soy)
  • 12 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz brie cheese, rind removed and cubed

Directions:

1.) Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of brown sugar. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Then add the bacon and cook for about another minute.

2.) Slowly add in the apple cider, let it cook into the onions, add some more and continue to cook. Do this until the onions are caramelized.

3.) Add the apple and thyme to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened. Add in any remaining apple cider, the beer, chicken broth and red pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes or until the apples are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

4.) Meanwhile, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Set aside. Once the apples are soft, bring the soup to a low bowl. Whisk in the milk mixture and boil until the soup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

5.) Stir in the cheddar cheddar cheese and brie until melted and smooth. Simmer the soup 5 minutes or until ready to serve. Top with a little extra cheese and serve!