Buffalo Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Fries

Buffalo Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Fries

For our Sunday recipe, I wanted to incorporate a vegetarian meal. My husband and I have been trying vegetarian for 2 weeks. He and his co-workers made a pact to try it and determine later if it impacted their overall health. I’ve been wanting to hop on board with more meatless meals and nutrient-dense foods.

So far we’ve both noticeably lost weight and feel more alert and energetic. I’ve had such a difficult time staying away from dairy. I had a small amount of cheese on a veggie burger and my stomach did not like it! I miss dairy the most, but I’m on a mission to continue feeling well. Vegetarian can’t be boring if I’m going to be serious about it, though.

For lunch, I wanted to make a yummy plant-based lunch that our boys would actually eat. I’ve been eyeing buffalo cauliflower, but needed a side to go along with it. So I sliced up a few sweet potatoes as fries.

This was a good snack/finger food lunch! These would be perfect for a party of health conscious guests!

Buffalo cauliflower

Sweet potato fries took simple prep, 20 minutes to prep, and we’re very similar to regular fries.

I followed a recipe from tasty.com (link below). One package of cauliflower served our family of 5 for a light lunch. I would consider 1 package of cauliflower per 2-3 adults though.

Basically, you create a breading with spices, bake on 450° for 20 minutes, coat with hot sauce, and bake another 20 minutes. It would be amazing in an air fryer!

We served our with ranch, but Bleu cheese dressing would be delish too!

Sweet potato fries

This is much like the regular fries recipe that is up on Momma Bird Blog. These are nice to make with the buffalo cauliflower because your oven will already be up to temp. All you have to do is pop them in on another baking rack.

Just peel about 3-4 sweet potatoes (I chose longer skinnier ones about the same size for consistency). Then slice in the size you want, keeping the same width for each.

In a big mixing bowl, mix olive oil and garlic salt and toss in sweet potatoes. Make sure they’re covered in the mixture.

Spread sweet potato fries on a baking sheet (with foil or parchment paper). Bake on 450° for 20 minutes.

These were served on a sharing platter with BBQ and we couldn’t stop eating them! The best part was that the boys knew they were sweet potatoes. So, in the future they’ll know that sweet potatoes are something worth trying.

Like I tell my family, you won’t know you don’t like something until you try it prepared different ways. Cauliflower, for instance, seems to be a little less popular. However, you can have it in soups, roasted, steamed, or in broccoli cauliflower salad. Same with sweet potatoes. I’m normally not a fan (sshh don’t tell my kids), but in fry form they were yummy!

What’s your favorite vegetarian meal?Please share a link in the comments below!

Here’s the link to the recipe above.

Healthy Alternative to Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Healthy Alternative to Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

I notice so many of you are thinking of getting fit before Summer, so I thought I’d share one of my favorite healthy snacks. And by healthy, I mean it’s an alternative to a real Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake. So healthy! And best of all, it’s only 3 ingredients!

This is my go-to sweet craving snack because it offers a little sugar, but more protein which satisfies the need to binge eat junk. But, it’s not totally fool-proof. If you want to kick sugar cravings you’ll need to stop your sugar intake all together. No worries though! Just opt. to not add the third ingredient if you’d like.

Ready for it?

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup smooth and creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 TBS chocolate syrup or Nutella

Recipe:

  1. Mix the peanut butter and Greek yogurt until smooth
  2. Freeze for ice cream consistency if desired
  3. Top with chocolate syrup or Nutella!
  4. Serve with graham crackers or apple slices! Or eat with a spoon!
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Mouth-watering Mac and Cheese (with hidden veggies)

Mouth-watering Mac and Cheese (with hidden veggies)

I’m so excited about this recipe! You may remember a recipe I shared with you all a couple years back. It contained remnants of the “yucky” dinner that my kids couldn’t even stomach. Sneakily, I added the baked butternut squash and a few other ingredients, resulting in some “magic chocolate muffins.” They had no clue they were eating butternut squash.

Magic chocolate muffin recipe here!

I still may tweak the above recipe, since I’m not a professional chef, and rather a lover of baking and making food.

For this recipe, I combined leftover mac and cheese and a few other ingredients to make a mouth-watering combo! In a saucepan I made a homemade Alfredo sauce, using real Parmesan cheese, then I pureed the baked butternut squash. Lastly, I drizzled the new sauce over the leftover mac and cheese.

Do you see any bits of butternut squash in the mac and cheese? I don’t. And my kids clearly didn’t! #momwin

Ingredients:

  • boxed mac and cheese, pre-made/8 oz. elbow mac, cooked
  • 1 cup baked butternut squash (baked only with oil and salt)
  • about 2 oz. grated from wedge of Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBS. butter
  • 4 TBS. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Recipe:

  1. Prepare your mac and cheese or butternut squash.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk cheese and flour until it becomes pasty. Next, whisk the milk in. Season to taste.
  3. Once sauce thickens, add the baked butternut squash right to the saucepan. Puree using an immersion blender.
  4. Pour over (warmed) elbow mac or mac and cheese. Stir in well.
  5. Depending on your crowd, you may want to pop this into a casserole dish and warm on 300 degree for about 10 minutes (covered). Or for a quick heat, pop in the microwave for 3-4 minutes on high.

I’m almost certain that the Parmesan cheese played a big role! Up until now I hadn’t played much with it because of cost, but now I see how often I’ve been able to use it in other dishes. Goodbye to cans of Parmesan (for now)!

When I took my first bite of this magical creation, I’m pretty sure I fell in love. It has such a creamy, rich taste, none of which tastes like hidden vegetables. It will literally make your mouth water!

Feel free to add other various cheeses to your cheese sauce! And Enjoy!

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Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup (Made With Stock)

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup (Made With Stock)

Here in Ohio, the overcast and rain has my family craving chicken noodle soup. (I told you I’ve got soup on the mind lately.) Chicken noodle soup is one of most nostalgic comfort-foods! For me, this bowlful of warm goodness is reminiscent of my Grandma’s recipe! (Stock is key!)

If you want to make a crowd-pleaser that’ll also make scrumptious leftovers the next day, then this one for you! I promise, the leftovers will go quickly!

I make this also over the stove, but you can also easily add the ingredients to a crock-pot for a quick and easy weeknight dinner! It takes about 15 minutes of prep and about 1 hour of simmering.

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Onion, minced
  • 1/2 Cup Celery stalk with leaves, minced
  • 3 TSP. Minced Garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 3 TBS. Butter
  • (2) 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 1 LB. Boneless chicken, raw
  • 2 Large Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 oz. Wide Egg Noodles

( P.S. I’ve been adding lemon zest to my chicken soups since I was a kid. Believe me, it adds a whole new level of freshness that you won’t want to leave out! )

Recipe:

  1. In a large soup pot, add olive oil. Saute minced; onion, celery, and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
  2. Add in butter, chicken stock, and chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  3. Once chicken is cooked, cube it up and add it back to soup pot.
  4. In a separate, smaller pot, boil water for the noodles. (This ensures that your broth doesn’t become starchy.) Cook the noodles for 4-5 minutes so they don’t swell too much, once added to the soup.
  5. Add chopped carrots until tender, about 12 minutes.
  6. SERVE!
Don’t you just want to dive right into this bowl with a big spoon?
Serve with a rustic bread, muffin, or crackers!

What’s your favorite soup?

Drop a link in the comments if you have a soup recipe of your own!

Beef and Vegetable Soup (With Secret Ingredient)

Beef and Vegetable Soup (With Secret Ingredient)

Boy, it’s been a while since I posted a recipe! I am I the only one who tends to make whatever is easier for my family on a weeknight? After everyone gets home from work and school, who wants to spend 2 hours cooking a gourmet meal? And then clean up that mess?

I’m still a huge fan of nutritional food. I even let my boys raid the produce aisle in order to encourage them to eat healthy. (Read 10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy.) Healthy to me is focusing on whole foods, definitely using more produce, and less; fat, starch and salt. I was thinking of making more soups, different salads to try, and maybe even some meatless meals just to change things up. But dinner still has to be pretty easy to make and still delicious!

Last summer I made a large pot of vegetable soup that my three boys absolutely loved. It was delicious mostly because it had a lot of fresh garden veggies in it; tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, onion, sweet corn, green beans… So I wanted to try a couple more soups!

First and foremost, the key to a good soup is the broth. I have a couple favorite methods. You can use up saved meat drippings from roasts and things. Stock works brilliantly also! I think those work the best because they use a real meat based flavor with a little bit of animal fat. Bouillon cubes are my least favorite because the broth tastes artificial and too salty. Recently I found another favorite broth alternative- onion soup mix! This can be bought in a box with 2 packets used to make french onion dip or soup. But using it as a broth base is incredible!

Prep and Cooking Time:

20 minutes of prep, about 1 hour of total cooking time

The thing I love about soup is you just add the ingredients, set at a medium to low heat, and can walk away. You could also make this the night before, store in a crock pot in the fridge, and set for a low heat before heading to work!

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 TBS Olive oil to fry with
  • 1 LBS of diced red meat (I used venison here)
  • Salt to season meat
  • 2 Packets (2 oz. each) onion soup mix
  • 8 Cups of water
  • 2 Cups of diced potatoes
  • 1 Cup of diced carrots
  • 1 Red bell pepper (optional)
  • ground pepper to taste
  • a couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce!

Recipe:

  1. Heat olive oil in big soup pot till warm. Add diced red meat, season with salt, and brown.
  2. Add both packets of onion mix and water to pot. Let simmer.
  3. Add veggies, pepper, and Worcestershire. Cook till veggies are tender.
  4. And serve!

The secret ingredient definitely adds a depth of flavor with the onion mix! Rarely have I used onion mix to cook with before, but I will be doing it more now!

We typically have these ingredients on hand, but I also like how easy this is to make for dinner. Plus my family devoured this particular beef and vegetable soup! What’s your favorite soup?

Delicious Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

Delicious Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

Those days when you just don’t feel like cooking a big meal can still be really simple, healthy, and frugal. And it’s something your whole family will love! And eggs can be very versatile, too! Just grab yourself a couple dozen eggs next time you’re at the store!

Is there even a right way to cook scrambled eggs?

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Better Than Chicken Nuggets

Better Than Chicken Nuggets

Frugal and healthy meals often don’t go hand-in-hand. Sometimes it’s cheaper to cook some hot dogs and mac and cheese. But those boring foods aren’t packed with flavor or nutrition.

But here’s a healthy version of chicken nuggets that are better for you, more affordable, more filling, and taste 1,000x better! An average bag of 2 lb. chicken nuggets cost about $4-5. For the same amount of food, these cost you some leftover chicken or about $2 to make!

Continue reading “Better Than Chicken Nuggets”