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You know, the genesis for the entire #FoodForLife cookbook project started with breakfast.
Friend Ericka posted a picture to Facebook. Giant, swirling cinnamon bun on one plate, browned up bison burger on the second, a caption that read: "Their breakfast vs. my breakfast. I have had to cut out eggs (and nuts). They were causing a lot of inflammation in my gut and all over. Since cutting them out just this week I have noticed a huge difference in how I feel. I'm still trying to figure out breakfast since eggs were life 😫. For now it's, no dairy, no eggs, no legumes, no nightshades, no nuts, no sugar, no gluten, no grains..."
And you know me. I love me the pure food diet conjuring.
Took one read of that caption and sent Ericka an email, begging to get in on her bison-puck breakfast.
Except, actually. Not quite that.
I actually messaged her and made her promise to let me join her in her Elimination Eating (so I could actually start fitting back into my jeans after too many lazy days of beer and pasta eating), so long as I could create all new, gorgeous-pants recipes that she'd actually want to eat.
Aka: no more big, brown bison burgers for breakfast. That's just sad.
You know the rest of the story. One week later, we were in my kitchen, churning out an entire cookbook of real food, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, stupid-free recipes.
And this deliciously simple little skillet is one of them.
Zucchini. Chicken sausage. Basil and flake salt and nothing but pure, simple beauty for your bellygut.
Toss the waffles, sweet ones. This simple paleo-friendly, keto-lovin' skillet will fill your soul. And keep you from aching craving all morning long.
But, who cares about the benefits? Because, at the end of the day, this skillet is so good, you'll just want to eat it for the yum.
Sausage & Squash Skillet
Learn more about this recipe on Instagram @cheekykitchen
Makes 2 skillets | 15 minutes
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 summer squash, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 6 links nitrate-free grassfed chicken or turkey sausage
- Fresh chopped basil for garnish (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet, melt coconut oil over medium-high heat. Toss in garlic, cooking until aromatics, about 30-60 seconds. Add squash, zucchini and sausage, cook until sizzling. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with basil, if desired.
Try These Twists:
- Add Bacon
- Try Ground Beef
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I love healthy food. But I don't always love eating healthy. Mostly, I crave chocolate and Trader Joe's Scandinavian Swimmers. But that is a secret I don't divulge online.
So this morning, in a fit of breakfast rage, I realized I didn't want to eat an egg or banana or smoothie. I wanted to eat chocolate.
So I made breakfast chocolate. In the blender. It's high protein, just a smidge of sugar. And it's freaking delicious. But don't take my word for it. Make chocolate. Eat breakfast. You deserve.
5-Ingredient High Protein Breakfast Chocolate
Read more behind-the-scenes story of this recipe on Instagram @cheekykitchen
4 servings | 10 minutes
- 3/4 cup creamy maple almond butter (vanilla or chocolate works, as well)
- 1 scoop plant-based chocolate protein powder
- 2 Tbsp raw cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- stevia (optional)
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. (If mixture isn't soft enough to form a thick, doughy ball, add melted coconut oil 1 tsp at a time until the right consistency). Form into a 1" high rectangle. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. Slice into 8 squares. Enjoy with coffee.
FLAVOR BOOSTERS: This simple recipes benefits from all sorts of easy add-ins. Try one of these:
- Mocha Chocolate. Add 1 Tbsp coffee grounds
- Vanilla. Add 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
- Double Chocolate. Fold in 2 Tbsp mini Enjoy Life! chocolate chips
- Plant-based Protein. Add 1-2 Tbsp hemp hearts to the blender.
- Crunchy Coco. Add 2 Tbsp cacao nibs to the blender.
- Sea Salt & Chocolate. Add a generous pinch of Maldon salt flakes to the blender.
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I made this recipe a few weeks ago, and it was one of those dinners that found four kids standing over my shoulder.
“Mom! When’s it gonna be done?!”
“Mom! That smells so good!”
“Mom! What is it? That looks amazing!”
Let me here now confirm to you that this never happens in my home. Despite the fact that I am a certified foodie for everyone from Disney to Good Cook, YourTango to Yuri Elkaim, I was still gifted with the sort of children that believe Kraft Mac & Cheese is an ideal breakfast, and ramen is an ideal dinner.
So, when me standing at the stove actually draws the children forward rather than repulses them, I know I’m onto something special.
And this quick dish really is delish. It’s one of those crazy-simple recipes. From start to finish, I bet it took me 7 minutes flat. That’s not even enough time to get four children to set the dinner table. But then again, getting children to set the dinner table prolly takes more time than I ever have.
We served this dish alongside a pan of Dragon Noodles. Pulled out chopsticks. Sipped sake from tiny cups.
That part was just me.
Then, I shouted at the kids to clean up the dinner table they hadn’t set in the first place. To which they responded with the same timely manner in which they do all cleaning. Let’s just say cleanup wasn’t as fast as the cooking… ;)
As you’re whipping up this quick dish, you’re going to love the flavors. But you can rejoice that it’s gluten-free and fabulous. Cutting white-flour carbs has been a key part of me healing myself from adrenal fatigue. It’s also meant evenings without bloating and gas.
And, lord almighty, while I know popping the term “gas” on a food blog is like breaking wind during yoga, I haveta drop it because. Guys. Girls. If you hit the end of the day, and your body is bloaty…your body is begging for help. I can’t count of the number of nights (for years on end) when my post-dinner gut led to all-evening fumadoring. And not in the sexy smoking jacket kind of way. I was just plum stanky. And I couldn’t figure it out.
Until I started dropping gluten. Cutting noodles. Quitting cupcakes. I always thought food allergies were for those crazy overbearing mothers who pull peanuts out of the hands of little children, and read romance novels while wearing sweatpants. I didn’t have rashes or itches. I wasn’t dealing with debilitating pain or stomachaching. But, obsessed with diets as I am, I decided to try the paleo approach, and started noticing a huge difference.
No more bloating (unless I sneak eat).
No more gas (unless I cheat).
Flat, happy belly (unless I cupcake).
Of course, changing our daily recipe repertoire hasn’t always been easy. The kids want spaghetti and pizza and ramen and kraftmac. Those foods are simple to prepare, and cheap as all get out. But, we’re finding our way around foods we all like to eat. You’ll keep seeing more and more of those here. Triple Threat Eats, as I like to call them: quick, cheap, healthy.
And in the meantime, consider this today’s PSA. If you’re dealing with the food blues at night, it’s probably not your body–it’s your food. Cut the flour, beans & rice stuffs for a week, eat good stuff (like this Cheater Chow Mein), and see if you don’t feel a change.
Then come on back here and tell us about it. Going grain-free was never on my list of life plans, but I’m feeling quite glad about it all these days.
So is my bellygut.
CHEATER CHOW MEIN
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon garlic-ginger puree
1 chicken breast, cut into very thin strips
2 cups bean sprouts
3 green onion (scallions) stalks, cut into 2” pieces
3 tablespoons tamari (or Braggs aminos)
1. Grab a wok
2. Melt coconut oil in wok, over medium-high heat.
3. Add garlic-ginger puree and chicken breast to the woke.
4. Cook until no longer pink.
5. Toss in bean sprouts and green onions.
6. Sautee until softened, about 1-2 minutes
7. Sprinkle tamari, stir.
8. Serve and enjoy!
Makes 2 servings.
In my eternal search for Easy, Healthy Dinners You’ll Actually Make & Eat, I happened across this precious little peach. Bacon-wrapped anything is divine, but bacon-wrapping ingredients everyone already loves is even better.
Plus, aren’t you always hunting down new and improved ways to cook yet-another-chicken-breast? Me too. After all, the meat is cheap, low-cal, and accessible. And yet. I buy a package of chicken from the grocery store and feel utterly stumped with what to do with it.
There’s always the slathering of barbecue sauce. There’s sauteeing. And the stirfrying. And, oftimes, I’ll think to skewer the chicken for a Thai Peanut somethingorother. Because the idea of skewering is always fun until it’s not. And it’s not fun being elbows up to nasty in chicken goo, while you thread tender niblets onto a wooden peg.
I don’t have any answers to making chicken-skewering less slobbery. But, I do have this quick-simple-tasty yum yum recipe that’s so good, it’s worth breaking out the bamboo and sticking it up.
While you prep the chicken, you microwave potatoes until tender. Then thread everything together, winding the bacon around your skewer and tucking it between the morsels.
If you’re looking for an easy make-ahead dindin tonight, this recipe has gotchya covered.
And, if you have a secret that keeps chicken-skewering from become the gooey-gross activity it tends to be, chime in below! I’d love to hear how you prep shishkabobs while keeping your kitchen (and hands) goo free!
BACON-WRAPPED CHICKEN & POTATO SHISKABOBS
8 small red potatoes
4 chicken breasts, diced
8 slices bacon
8 bamboo skewers
3 tablespoons honey (optional)
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
salt and pepper
1. Microwave potatoes just until tender, about 9-12 minutes.
2. Cut potatoes into large chunks.
3. Thread potatoes and chicken onto skewers.
4. Wrap with bacon. Salt and pepper.
5. Brush with melted honey & chopped garlic. (optional)
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
6. Serve and enjoy!
The Boyfriend and I have gone bulletproof this month. We start our mornings with Bulletproof Coffee (I do decaf to keep adrenal fatigue at bay), and we’ve simplified our daily diet to approved basics. There are brussels & cukes on the approved list. Bok Choy, avocados, and berries. So far, the diet’s been groovy great. My hunger is low, my belly is flatter, food cravings are waning. (Will write & post more diet details later).
And, while I rarely want a cookie anymore, I’ve found myself plum crazy in love with our version of Chuleta–the wide & meaty Spanish steak, seared to quasi-raw perfection, as inspired by The Boyfriends’ trips to Bar Nestor in Basque Country, Spain. He jaunts there for work and always comes home raving about the food.
Bar Nestor is a tiny little hole in the wall restaurant. Serving up just four simple foods.
Salt topped Chuleta,
Plates of salted Peppers drowning in olive oil,
Salted wedge tomatoes,
A single egg-and-potato Tortilla (dished out just once nightly).
How can you not love that menu? It’s so simple. It’s so perfect.
The flavors all balanced. The preparation most basic. And the satisfaction…through the roof.
The Boyfriend says our version comes awful close to the original. It calls for the same simplicity as the original menu: a nice cut of steak (prepare to dole out $12+ per serving), olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper.
If you’re looking for the quickest, most perfect way to make steak ever, ever, EVAR, this is it. Seared with a crunchy Maldon salt crust (this week’s Thing of the Week), tender as butter, make this steak tonight. Serve it with a side of tomtatoes and peppers, and call dinner done.
THE BEST STEAK EVER
1 hella-good grassfed steak (ribeye, sirloin, filet)
1/2 cup amazing olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons Maldon Sea Salt
fresh ground pepper
1. Pat both sides of steak dry with a paper towel.
2. Sprinkle both sides generously with salt, pepper, and garlic.
3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over high heat.
4. When the olive oil is spitting hot, place the steak in the oil.
5. Cook until a dark crust begins to form around the edges (about 3-4 minutes).
6. Flip and cook on the other side. (About 2-3 minutes).
7. Transfer to a serving platter.
8. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
9. Super sprinkle the top of the steak with salt.
10. Slice, serve, enjoy.
Serve with a side of fresh-sliced, salted tomatoes.
Craving Chinese Food? You can make your take-out, and keep your skinny jeans, too. This totally gluten-free, paleo-friendly, good for you dish can be made in 15-minutes.
It’s so simple, calling for just five basic ingredients. It’s quick, needing just 15 minutes.
And it’s good. So good. Burn your face off good. Dragon breath good.
Paleo eaters can cut the Sriracha sauce by tossing in Korean Red Pepper Flakes, or stirring in premade Kimchi.
The rest of you cats? Stick to the Sriracha. It’ll give you a bit of sugar in your day, but you can counteract that by making a healthy dessert that doesn’t need a snit of the stuff.
Get yo’ spicy on. Then, come back for more Take-Out Eats. Simplified.
You’re gonna need your chopsticks.
2 (8 ounce) cans bamboo shoots, drained
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 cups French green beans
1 pound finely-sliced flank steak (or 1 package firm tofu, sliced)
½ cup sriracha (rooster) sauce (or Korean Red Pepper Powder)
1. Pat bamboo shoots dry between clean paper towels.
2. In a wok, heat oil over medium-high heat.
3. Toss in shoots and green beans.
4. Stir-fry until beans are tender, about 5 mins.
5. Toss in steak & sriracha.
6. Let the steak sear about 2-3 minutes
7. Garnish with cilantro or chopped peanuts, if desired.
MAKE IT VEGAN| Swap in tofu for the steak.
Guys. Girls. Gurus.
You’re life is about to change.
I don’t want to overtrump the power of a simple bowl of soup. But, this soup is so, so perfect.
Three ingredients. Slow cooker recipe. Four minutes of prep.
If you’d like to serve this baby for dinner, add a half-pound of roast to the slow cooker, then shred it just before you add the cheese.
Feed a crowd for less than $10, or save it all for yourself and enjoy it as leftovers.
Slurp. Eat. Enjoy.
HOT DAMN FRENCH ONION SOUP
1 large sweet onion
5 cups beef or veggie broth
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices gouda cheese
1. Chop up onion
2. Place onion and broth in a slow cooker.
3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours
4. Just before serving, ladel soup in bowls.
5. Top with cheese slices.
6. Place under your ovens preheated broiler.
7. When cheese is bubbly, spoon away.
Plain old poppers are a perfect party snack. Simple, crowd-pleasing. But fried and full of ish. You don’t need that crap in your bod.
So, I’ve gone and stripped the classic. Taken out all the nasty stuffs. Stuffed it, instead with sweet potato.
And turned it into 5-ingredient easy.
Make and bake them in about 30 minutes. Then serve as a snack, side, or party app.
These paleo poppers are perfect for:
- Party appetizers
- Mexican-inspired brnch
- Game-day eats
- Paleo potlucks
- Side dishes
- Midnight Snackage
NOTES FROM HOME
When I pulled these from the oven last night, my picky eater came sniffing around the countertop.
“What smells like enchiladas, and how soon can I eat one?”
She hovered over the dish, waiting for it to cool. I warned her about the whole jalapeno deal. “They’re spicy, chick.”
No matter, she said. Diving into the dish, she ate three. Then gave the recipe two thumbs up. The fresh jalapenos have kick, but it’s suprisingly mild once baked. The cheese masks the sweet potato thing. Which makes it easy for visual eaters to wanna try.
This version is good. Better than the original. Better for you, too.
Take that, naughty breaded-and-fried poppers. Take that.
PALEO JALAPEÑO POPPERS
1 large sweet potato
1/2 cup sharp cheddar
3 tablespoons bacon bits
4 jalapenos, seeded and halved
2 teaspoon cilantro
1. Microwave sweet potato until tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Cool, remove peel.
3. Mash with a fork in a large bowl.
4. Stir in cheddar and bacon bits.
5. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
6. Top with cilantro before serving.
Wanna trick everyone in your life to eat cabbage? You know it’s a latent life hope.
I once sat my whole fam down for an authentic cabbage roll recipe. It was a German family favorite. Or Greek. Or wherever they serve cabbage rolls stuffed with beef. It seemed like a pretty divine idea to me. The kids thought it seemed less like dinner and more like something to stab sullenly. I turned away from cabbage after that. Since coleslaw had long ago been declared inedible by the fam, cabbage rolls were our final option. I haven’t bought a head of cabbage since 1999.
Until I figured out this recipe here. Welcome to 2014. We’re all healthy up in here. (Do people even say that sentence anymore?)
This recipe is one of *those recipes* you wish for nightly. Fast. Fresh. Healthy. Fun. Yummy. Cheap.
It’s like getting gourmet take-out for dinner. Only, in minutes. Sans the post-meal bloat.
- Easy to feed a crowd
- Budget happy
- Ahead-prep possible
- Takes 7 minutes to make
- Fancy enough for guests
- Picky kid & teen approved
- Delicious enough
- No recipe deciphering required
- 5 Ingredients!
Here’s how it works: Cabbage becomes a no-carb taco-shell swap in. Filled with the easiest 3-ingredient beef tossed in Sriracha that my teen-tester called “I can’t stop standing here and smelling this, when can I eat it?”
Once we top it all with a quick cucumber-cilantro salsa, boi. That’s when.
Oh, and after I sneak a kiss because my dinner-prep stress is totally zero, and I actually have time to sit, eat, breathe, and enjoy family dinner without the 1950’s casserole runaround.
Smooch. Eat. Enjoy.
CRAZY EASY, DIY SPICY STREET TACOS
1 pound Thousand-Garlic Beef
2 tablespoons sriracha
1/4 cup each diced cucumnbers, green onions, cilantro
8 cabbage leaves
1. Toss beef into sriracha.
2. Toss cukes, onions, cilantro together.
3. Serve beef and veggies in cabbage leaves.
4. Smooch your clever self.
*paleo eaters can swap out the Sriracha and toss in some fresh jalapenos and tomatoes.