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!

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.

Crock Pot Burrito Bowls

Nothing better than a burrito bowl! This is a super easy recipe too, since the chicken, corn, and bean mixture is made right in the crock pot. That way you can come home from work, make some quick-cooking rice, and build this bowl in less than 15 minutes. It’s also great for packing for lunches during the week! Customize it with whatever toppings you love and enjoy a quick and filling Mexican meal.

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Crock Pot Burrito Bowls

Adapted from: Skinnytaste Fast and Slow

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups medium chunky salsa
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 2 tbsp cilantro

Directions:

1.) Season the chicken with salt and add it to the crock pot. Top with the salsa, corn, black beans, garlic powder, cumin, and red pepper. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 8 hours.

2.) Once cooked, shred the chicken and add the cilantro. Pile into bowls on top of brown rice and top with any desired toppings.

Crockpot Beef Ragu over Polenta

It’s officially fall and the time for warm, easy crockpot meals is here! This recipe was so easy and the perfect comfort meal. I think next time I might add some more spices or veggies to amp up the flavor of the sauce.¬†I didn’t drain the tomatoes, and I felt the sauce wasn’t thick enough, so my advice would be to drain them.¬†But I¬†just like things extra sauce-y, so maybe it was just me. I topped with goat cheese and served over polenta. The¬†roast gets very tender and shreds apart – yummm!

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Crockpot Beef Ragu over Polenta

Adapted from: Pinch of Yum

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs beef round roast
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups dry polenta

Directions:

1.) Add beef to crock pot. Add rest of ingredients up until tomato pasta. Stir well and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until beef shreds easily.

2.) Cook polenta according to package instructions.

3.) Top a heaping scoop of polenta with beef mixture and sprinkle with goat cheese. Enjoy!

Avocado BLT Pizza

Anyone who knows me sees that I eat avocado pretty much every day (it might be an addiction). I also looooove bacon and goat cheese, which luckily doesn’t hurt my stomach at all.¬†So this recipe was right up my alley! You might be thinking “Avocado¬†instead of pizza sauce? What??” but I promise it’s just as glorious as it sounds. And so easy to make! This is a great recipe to whip up on a Friday night when you don’t want to cook. Just keep some pizza crusts in the freezer and you can have this pizza ready in less time than delivery!

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Avocado BLT Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 pizza crust (I usually buy the frozen ones)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of¬†cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 4 slices bacon, pan fried and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • Handful of arugula

Directions:

1.) Bake pizza crust according to instructions.

2.) Mash avocado in a small bowl with garlic, red pepper, and salt and pepper. Spread on baked pizza crust. Top with halved cherry tomatoes, bacon crumbles, and goat cheese. Bake for another 5-10 minutes or until cheese begins to melt.

3.) Top with arugula, cut into fours and enjoy!

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff (Dairy-Free!)

As I have mentioned before, beef stroganoff is my favorite meal, yet now that I am lactose intolerant I’m¬†aiming to be dairy-free at home. But when I found a dairy-free recipe for stroganoff, I was more than skeptical. How can it be stroganoff without the sour creamy sauce?! A dairy-free version would certainly be sub par. Maybe even inedible.¬†The secret creamy ingredient in this recipe is coconut milk. Insert more skepticism here. I LOVE coconut, but in stroganoff? Yet since the recipe got great reviews,¬†I decided to trust the recipe creator’s promise that the other flavors would mask any coconut taste. I also really wanted to try a crock pot version of this meal, since that makes my life wayyyy easier.

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And let me tell you, it was SO GOOD. I went in with about as much skepticism as possible and came out praising Amy at Wholesomelicious for creating this seemingly-unlikely-to-impress-my-stroganoff-taste-buds recipe. I want to find her and give her a hug. Oh, and I also may have licked the bowl clean. It was that good. Coming from a beef stroganoff connoisseur, that means it is awesome – trust me!

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I actually ended up adding more coconut milk to the crock pot after taking these pictures (and eating the first bowl). I found the taste to be even better after that, making me even more excited to eat the leftovers. I also found that it looked the exact same color as my sour cream version, which made me happier. But depending how creamy you like the sauce, you can experiment to your taste. You can also add more/less beef, mushrooms, add in other veggies…I will definitely be trying some other¬†variations! It made 5 servings for me, because I like a lot of sauce, but you could definitely get 6 servings out of this recipe.

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Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff (Dairy-Free)

Adapted from: Wholesomelicious

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs stew beef
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8¬†oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp onion flakes/powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. corn starch
  • Egg noodles

Directions:

1.) Add beef to 6 quart crock pot and top with onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Pour broth, soy sauce, and vinegar over the beef and veggies. Add garlic and onion powders and stir. Cook on low for at least 5 hours.

2.) At the last 30-60 minutes of cooking, add the coconut milk (shake well before adding) and the cornstarch. Stir in and continue cooking on low for 30-60 minutes, until sauce is thickened.

3.) Serve over egg noodles or another pasta, rice, veggies, etc.

Asian Peanut Chicken

So this recipe was sort of a last-minute experiment, but somehow those always end up tasting the best!¬†I wanted a protein/veggie combo for lunches this week, rather than my usual salad. So I decided on roasted sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and some sort of chicken. I had recently seen a Pinterest recipe for a peanut sauce on noodles, so I figured “why not try making that with chicken instead?” Let me just say it is SO YUMMY and tastes like something you would get for take out, but much healthier. The sauce is so peanutty, yet a little salty and spicy, with the perfect consistency – even reheated. You could switch up the protein, make it over rice, quinoa, zucchini noodles, veggies, or serve with veggies and potatoes like I did! I like meals that I can make quickly yet also customize – since I tend to crave different things every other minute ūüôā

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Asian Peanut Chicken

Adapted from: Kelley and Cricket

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp diced onion
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sweet chili sauce (or sriracha)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Directions:

1.) Over medium heat, melt butter in a skillet. Add onion and cook until translucent.

2.) Add olive oil and chicken cubes to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes. Turn heat to medium low and add peanut butter, vinegar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, maple syrup, and sweet chili sauce. Stir until chicken is fully cooked.

3.) Remove from¬†heat and add sesame oil. Stir again and add another tbsp soy sauce, if you’d like it to be a little more salty!

Chicken, Couscous, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers

So sometimes you have a meal that combines two delicious foods into one, leading you to believe¬†it will be awesome and even better than eating each item on its own. For instance, the bacon cheeseburger pizza or chili cheese fries. However, sometimes this is an epic fail, and you wish you just had one of each item rather than both of them combined into one item that kind of sucks. For instance, the chili cheeseburger (way too messy) and taco pizza (lettuce on pizza never works). This recipe right here was one of those fails. I love stuffed peppers, as well as goat cheese and chicken anything, but the combo just didn’t work for me in this dish. I didn’t think the filling tasted good with the pepper (maybe it’s just me). However, there is good news! The stuffing for the peppers was SO GOOD, so I ended up taking it out of the pepper and plopping it on an arugula salad with some dried cranberries, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. YUM! I also think it might be good in some corn tortillas for a fancy taco or in little filo dough cups as an appetizer. So while I may not make these stuffed peppers again, I would definitely make the stuffing again for salads or a party! However, I will post the recipe as I made it in case you want to try the peppers – maybe I just was having an off day ūüôā

PS: Don’t they look like little pumpkins? I love pumpkins. Sort of excited fall is on its way…but enjoying summer while I can!

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Chicken, Couscous, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Adapted from: Cooking Light magazine

Ingredients:

  • 4 large bell peppers (I used orange), tops cut off and set aside, seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous, cooked (about 5/8 cup dry)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 pound cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 2.5 oz goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:

1.) Cook couscous according to package. I used chicken broth instead of water to add some extra flavor. I also made extra couscous and froze it!

2.) Place oven rack in top third of oven. Preheat broiler to high. Line a clear baking dish or cookie sheet with foil. Set peppers on their sides on the foil and coat with cooking spray. Broil 8 minutes, turning after 4 minutes, until slightly charred. Remove peppers from the oven, keeping it on broil (high). Stand the peppers, cut sides up, in the baking dish.

3.) Combine couscous, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, spices, and chicken in a bowl. Stir in about 2 oz. goat cheese. Spoon the mixture evenly into the 4 peppers. Top peppers with the tops and broil for about 3 minutes. Remove from oven, take tops off, and sprinkle the extra goat cheese on top. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 313
Fat 9 g (3 g saturated)
Fiber 6 g
Carbs 34 g
Sodium 490 mg
Protein 22 g

Mongolian Beef Stir-Fry

I hope everyone has been enjoying the summer weather!¬†It’s been great to be able to swim, go for walks outside, grill, and just generally forget that snow exists. However, I’ve been a little lax with making¬†new recipes because it’s hot and I don’t always feel like cooking. So I’ve been defrosting a lot of meals or making quick kebabs on the grill. I made this recipe a little while back and want to share it! It was from the Skinnytaste Cookbook¬†and, like all the other recipes in there, it¬†was delicious! I added some stir fry veggies,¬†served it over rice, and it was so yummy¬†– tasted like take-out!

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Mongolian Beef Stir-Fry

Adapted from: Skinnytaste Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3/4 lb.¬†stew beef, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 tbsp cashews, chopped
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli florets (about 4 cups)
  • 1 bag frozen stir fry veggies (about 5 cups)
  • 1 tbsp¬†minced garlic
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 5 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked

Directions:

1.) In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, 1 tbsp soy sauce, the rice wine, and 1 tsp sesame oil. Add the beef, coat with marinade, and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. While that is marinating, dice the ginger and chop the cashews. Steam the frozen (or fresh if desired) veggies.

2.) Once beef is done marinating, heat a large skillet over high heat and add 3 tsp sesame oil and the beef with marinade. Cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate.

3.) In the same skillet, heat the last 2 tsp of sesame oil and add garlic, ginger, and cashews. Cook about 30 seconds, then add the veggies, brown sugar, and remaining soy sauce for about 1 minute. Then add the beef and stir to mix well. Serve 1/4 of the beef mixture over 1/2 cup brown rice.

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 400
Fat 12 g (3 g saturated)
Fiber 6 g
Carbs 45 g
Sodium 913 mg
Protein 27 g