Need an easy and delicious dinner idea? Here you go, Crockpot Chicken Puttanesca! You can make it low carb by skipping the pasta, potato, or polenta; and even without the starch, this dish is very filling and satisfying. The anchovies add a touch of Omega 3 fats, as well as calcium from their bones. This is the perfect dish for a dreary, cold, fall evening; and would be great to serve to family or friends. I used the leftovers to make an Italian version of shakshouka, which is what I have pictured here, along with baby kale.
1.75-2# Chicken Thighs or Breast (2-3 cans drained chickpeas or white beans to make it vegan)
2, 15oz cans diced tomatoes (only use 1 can to make a less 'saucy' version)
1/2 cup chopped green or black olives
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2-1 Tbs Italian Seasoning
6 anchovy fillets
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes (optional)
1+ Tbs capers (optional)
1. Brown the Chicken in the olive oil
2. Combine the chicken with the remaining ingredients in your slow cooker.
3. Cook on high 3hrs or low for 5+ hours. Or Instant Pot, high pressure or poultry setting for 15 minutes.
4. Serve over pasta, baked potato, polenta, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles.
Feel free to sprinkle with fresh parsley or parmesan cheese.
Having a baby is hard work, bringing one home and having your life turned upside down is even harder. Between feeding, diapering, cuddling, and frantic attempts at calming a screaming baby, there's not always time to cook. However, mom and dad need to be well fed to keep up their stamina for that constant care giving. (Even when that's just snuggling on the couch-See picture) Living on coffee and dry cereal just won't cut it. The same could be said for people going through any major life change such as moving, home renovation, divorce. Or other stressors such as the death of a loved one, a miscarriage, someone having major surgery that impacts their mobility, chemotherapy and other medical treatments.
If you know someone who could use several meals I highly recommend starting a meal train. My MOMs club members used this takethemameal.com to organize a meal train and brought us 2 meals a week for 3 weeks. The website has great ideas for meals specific to different diets, but I've also listed some yummy links and ideas below. It was so nice to not have to think about going to the store, let alone cook a meal. Our favorite meals where ones that required very little assembly and could be easily re-heated in the microwave or pot/skillet. Leftovers were also HIGHLY appreciated, so consider doubling the recipe. Something else to consider is if the family has kids or food allergies/sensitivities, or other dietary requirements such as being Kosher or Vegan. Example: After my grandparents died several people brought lasagna or spaghetti to my parents house where we were staying. My sister is very lactose intolerant and canned tomato products also give her digestive issues, so she couldn't partake from any of these offerings.
Crock Pot or Instant Pot:
Buffalo Chicken + tortillas +ranch or blue cheese + carrots & celery sticks
Indian Butter Chicken + sliced cucumbers + Rice/Cauliflower Rice
Beef Roast + Fresh Veggies
Pulled Pork + Buns + Slaw
Chicken Puttanesca (with vegan option)
Vegan White Bean Soup
Picadillo + Rice/Cauliflower Rice + Plantain Chips
Eggroll in a Bowl + Sriracha Mayo
Sloppy Joes or Maidrite + Buns or Baked potatoes + Cole Slaw
Curried Lentils + Rice/Quinoa/Naan + Cucumber Salad
Egg Bake + Fruit + Salad
Meatloaf + Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie
Salmon Cakes + Green Beans (frozen or fresh) + Winter Squash
Black Bean Enchilada Casserole
No Cook/Store Bought:
Rotisserie Chicken + Bag Salad/Dressing, Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
Gyro Meat + Pitas + Tzaziki & Hummus + Fresh Cut Veggies or big salad
Smoked Salmon Salad (just buy pre cooked/peeled hard boiled eggs)
Canned or Store-Made soup + Baguette + Really Good Cheese
Sushi + Seaweed Salad + Frozen Edemame
Tuna Salad from the deli + Crackers + Fresh Fruit
Brownies, black bean brownies, keto brownies, vegan brownies
Fruit + Dip
Canned Cold Brew Coffee
Bottle of Wine or 6pk Beer
As I prepare for maternity leave I couldn't help myself but to find a way to thank my co-workers for all of their support during my pregnancy. While it's been a fairly easy pregnancy; knowing that I get to go into an office twice a week with a team of people who have my health and safety and wellbeing in mind was so nice and reassuring. Everyone was always asking how I was doing and if I needed anything to be more comfortable. ( I almost always said no.) To thank them, I thought a light and fluffy desert before my departure would be highly welcomed. I found this yummy looking No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie recipe and decide to make just the filling and bring a few toppings for people to build their own 'parfait' with. I did make a few changes such as omitting the strawberry extract, and I used the Kite Hill Greek almond milk yogurt in place of the cows milk yogurt, and it turned out perfect! I made a second batch with whipped coconut milk and it too was super delicious. It was a bit more dense and rich since you don't get same lightness with coconut milk as with heavy cream.
If you don't like strawberries or are allergic, I'm sure you could try this with any freeze dried fruit such as blueberries or raspberries. I used 1 bag of the Trader Joes brand freeze dried strawberries.
While this is technically a desert, the protein and fat in it make it perfectly suitable for a kids afternoon snack or even a breakfast.
1.2-1.5oz freeze dried strawberries
1 cup plain greek yogurt (or plain almond/coconut milk yogurt)
1/4 - 1/2 cup swerve or coconut sugar (depending how sweet you want it)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks (or use canned coconut milk to make it 100% non-dairy)
1. Pulse the strawberries in a coffee grinder or blender until most of it turns into a powder. Let it sit a few minutes to let the powder settle.
2. Combine the strawberries and the next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.
3. Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the strawberry mixture.
4. Fold in the remaining whipped cream with the strawberry mixture.
5. Serve immediately or refridgerate.
To serve, top with: toasted coconut, shaved chocolate, cocoa nibs, granola, chopped nuts, fresh/frozen berries. Or use as a dip for fresh sliced fruit (apples, banana, pear, strawberries...)
As we enter the last month of pregnancy there are several things Ryan and I are doing to get ready for baby T's arrival. I know we won't be completely home bound, and thanks to Amazon Prime, almost anything can come to our home in 2 days. Many people and websites suggest stocking your freezer with quick meals before baby comes, so I've done a little of that. I also saved and froze a few servings of stews this past winter knowing we might want them come this time. When you have a big garden though, some of your stocking takes the form of freezing extra green beans, canning beets, and freezing raspberries. We also have another family member who needs taking care of, Samoa our cat. Chuck and Dons might be right down the road, but I'd rather not worry if we have enough cat food on hand when she is super hungry, and so is baby. Here is a list of things we are doing to get ourselves ready, hopefully it gives you some ideas too:
I'm writing a book! Actually it's already written and has been hanging out with my editor and the graphic artist since January. The inspiration started a couple years ago when I realized that most of my clients do not understand the importance of gut health and it's relation to their overall well being. Of course, if adults don't know this, then kids don't know it either. I did a little Google searching and Amazon searching and didn't find any kids books that addressed gut health or nutrition quite the way I wanted them too. As many of my fellow practitioners know, gut health is important for brain health, immune health, skin health, EVERYTHING health! What we eat as a kid affects our bodies not just then, but also as we grow older.
Mindy and the Good Gut Bugs is about a little mouse whose digestion is less than optimal thanks to her love of processed foods. Her good gut bugs (AKA: probiotics) are not healthy and she needs HELP! I'm hoping to have it published later this summer before Baby T. arrives.
If you know any dietitians, chiropractors, pediatricians, gastroenterologists, teachers, parents, anyone who might be interested, let them know Mindy and the Good Gut Bugs is coming!
It started early on in my first trimester, waking up in the middle of the night with a strange stomach pain that would only go away when I ate. It wasn't hunger, just pain.
Now as I enter my third trimester I've come to expect that no matter what I eat, or when I eat it, I will wake up at 2:30am, walk to the kitchen and get a snack. Most likely the first 3 months this night time eating was driven by the fact that I simply couldn't eat enough during the day due to food aversions, indigestion, and low appetite. Now that I can eat adequately during the day I've have had several nights where I didn't need a snack. But many nights I still do.
So what does one eat at 2:30am? I've settled on pumpkin or banana bread. Sometimes I'll have 1/2 banana with P.B., but most nights I have 1/2 of a midnight muffin with a little butter, nut butter, or cream cheese on it. My favorite recipe is the Chunky Monkey Muffins from Primal Cravings. I make a few changes that better suit my tastes and needs. I replace the coconut sugar with Swerve or erythritol to lower the carb/sugar content. For a while I swapped the mashed banana with canned pumpkin. I always leave out the chocolate chips and walnuts for myself since they can get stuck in my teeth, but I'll make 1/2 the batch with them since Ryan likes the chocolate chips.
Why this works for me:
1. I can use the light from the fridge to find the muffin container on the counter and spread whatever fat I want onto it.
2. I don't make so much noise that I wake up Ryan.
3. Unlike munching on nuts, crackers, or cereal, the muffins don't get stuck in my teeth, leaving me to pick it out with my tongue as crawl back in bed.
4. It's just the right amount of food so I fall back asleep quickly, and stay asleep.
5. It's fast and I don't really have to think about it.
"So...how are you feeling?" How many times have I been asked this over the past 6 months? Along with, "What are you craving?" For most newly pregnant women it's not about what they are craving, and more about what foods/smells don't make them nauseous. Even as a dietitian my diet was less than 'stellar' from weeks 6-12, and it wasn't until week 15 that I willingly cooked chicken. No one knows exactly why 'morning sickness' occurs, but theories abound from hormone changes, nutrient deficiencies, blood sugar swings, and genetic programming that makes us avoid foods that in the past, could have made us sick.
Here's the thing, unless you experience severe nausea/vomiting also know as hyperemesis gravidarum, your baby will be just fine if you don't eat a single vegetable for 6 weeks or more, or if all you can stomach is P.B. on toast and graham crackers. Now if you do have hyperemesis like Princess Kate or my friend Katie Vigessa, then you may need IV hydration and/or a prescription for anti-nausea medication to help you stay hydrated and keep your electrolytes balance.
Eventhough I never threw up, I came close one morning after drinking some green tea. For the most part the only foods I could look at before 11am included: yogurt, apples, bananas, cereal, toast, and P.B. or Almond Butter. Strangely enough, the two random foods that did sound good at times were pepper jack cheese and jalapeño turkey sticks from Ferndale Market. Even after 11am my appetite and food aversions would still get the better of me. Such was the night when dinner consisted of 2 egg-rolls from Big Bowl. I learned quickly that forcing myself to eat foods my body did not want (avocados, eggs, poultry, veggies) was a good way induce indigestion and just generally feeling even crummier.
For women concerned with growing a healthy baby and providing them with all the necessary nutrients, it's important to give yourself permission to not eat the "healthy stuff." As long as you went into your pregnancy well nourished, that little bundle of cells will get all the nutrients it needs to grow from your reserves. When your appetite increases, the nausea abates, and taco meat no longer smells like poop, you'll be able to eat a wider variety of foods and provide both of you with the all the important vitamins and minerals. In the mean time, as long as you can stomach them, continue taking a prenatal vitamin to help make up for what you are not eating.
Ryan and I love visiting Minnesota State Parks. Several years ago we spent a week car camping in Grand Marais, we've backpacked a couple others, and this past weekend we celebrated our 8yr anniversary by renting an AirB&B cabin on the Baptism River. Whenever we have a long car ride with a potential lunch stop over make us turkey/chicken salad sandwiches with a side of veggies and hummus. Keep it all packed in a cooler with some ice or we often use frozen water bottles. This isn't much of a recipe, but after several hours in a car and a very muddy 2 mile hike through Jay Cooke State Park it sure hit the spot. We can also testify that it's mighty delicious after the Split Rock Light House Tour while sitting on the rocks/beach of Lake Superior. This is a great way to use up leftover chicken or turkey any time of the year, but especially when leaving home for several days. If you don't have any cooked, feel free to use canned.
10oz cooked chicken/turkey, cut into small pieces.
1 Tbs mustard
3-4 Tbs Mayonnaise
1Tbs apple cider vinegar
Lots of Penzey's Now Curry Spice blend
1-2 stalks celery, diced
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Add more mayo or curry powder as desired.
Serve with a spoon, lettuce wrap, regular wrap, bun, or bread.
I ate mine with a spork and chunks of celery and red bell pepper. Ryan's was on a hollowed out bun (so you can put more stuff in it) with pickles and sriracha sauce. As you can see we do actually use plastic...GASP! When it comes to traveling it's lighter weight, and we don't have to worry about it breaking.
I'm a dietitian with a passion for good nutrition, bold flavors, playing in the dirt, and being with my family.