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Oven Roasted Broccoli

By Polly Conner

This simple side dish will turn your broccoli-hater into a broccoli-lover! Our 3 ingredients Oven Roasted Broccoli is DELISH!

Friends, take me seriously when I tell you that cooking broccoli this way will convert your family into broccoli eaters. Want proof?

  • My husband who has turned his nose up at broccoli his entire life now scoops a generous portion of this onto his plate.
  • My two-year-old repeated the phrase, “Mo brockwy” at least five times when we served this at dinner for the first time.
  • When we went to a tailgate a few days later, the same two-year-old passed up the chips and other junk food for a handful of raw broccoli (thinking it would taste the way I made it.) She wasn’t too happy when she took a bite to find out it didn’t have the flavor of the oven-roasted goodness.

I don’t think I’ll ever go back to steaming broccoli. We are oven roasted converts.

The Three Simple Ingredients in Oven Roasted Broccoli

This side dish is incredibly easy. To be honest, I don’t even measure the ingredients any more. Once you get the feel for it, you will be able to make it intuitively as well. The ingredients you’ll need are:

  • Broccoli – using fresh is far better than roasting it from frozen. BUT from frozen will work in a pinch.
  • Olive oil – another great option is avocado oil.
  • Sea salt – I have for sure used table salt, kosher salt, and even garlic salt and they all work.

Raw broccoli on a baking sheet

How Long do I Roast the Broccoli?

This really depends how crispy you want your broccoli to be. Anywhere from 13-18 minutes will have it done. I like mine pretty charred so I error on the longer side. If it’s not browning up like you want it to, you can always broil it for a minute or two at the end!

Overhead shot of oven roasted broccoli

How to Store and Reheat Roasted Broccoli

Like most leftovers, you’ll want to store your roasted broccoli in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

To reheat, I highly recommend using a toaster oven or your oven. If not, the reheated broccoli will be pretty soggy and sad.

What to Serve with Roasted Broccoli

Roasted broccoli would be a great side dish for SO many meals. Here are a few ideas:

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Oven Roasted Broccoli

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Vegetables
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Oven roasted broccoli is the perfect side dish for your next meal. It is perfectly crispy, does not get soft, and has fantastic flavor because of the olive oil and sea salt.


Ingredients

  • 23 heads of broccoli, cut up
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Cut the florets off of your broccoli and put them all in a ziplock bag
  2. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and a pinch of salt
  3. Shake it up until broccoli is coated with oil
  4. Spread broccoli out on greased baking sheet
  5. Cook at 450 for about 13 minutes.

If you like roasted vegetables, you might also like:

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Vegetable Hash

Sweet and Savory Carrots

My Favorite Cobb Salad

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This salad is hands-down my favorite Cobb salad ever. With a variety of vegetables, perfectly cooked proteins, and Gorgonzola cheese, this colorful salad is complex in flavor and texture. The savory dressing is to die for, too!

cobb salad on a white plate with yellow napkin and dressing on the side

Ingredients in Cobb Salad

Most Cobb Salads have fairly similar ingredients, so what makes this one so great? Let me tell ya.

ingredients for Cobb Salad on a cutting board

Lettuce – Start by selecting the best-looking lettuce you can find. I like using either a container of fresh mixed greens or using Green Leaf or Romaine lettuce, but choose what looks freshest in your store or at the farmers market.

Bacon – How you cook the bacon and the brand of bacon you buy makes a big difference. I’ve found that baking your bacon using this recipe reduces the mess and turns out perfectly every time. We are also big fans Burgers’ Smokehouse bacon (in our area) and uncured bacon from ButcherBox (delivery service we use).

Chicken – You choose how to cook your chicken using our instructions below, but the best advice I can give is don’t overcook it. It’s done when it registers 165°F internally.

Cheese – You can use whatever cheese you like the best, but, for my money, I think Gorgonzola provides the biggest impact. It tastes like a mix of feta and blue cheeses, but it’s tamer than traditional blue cheese for sure.

Hard-Boiled Eggs – How you cook your eggs is really important here. If you have an Instant Pot, try this no-fail method. The shells fall right off.

Cherry tomatoes, shredded carrot, avocado – Be sure to pick the freshest looking and ripe produce you can. This salad is amazing when you use garden tomatoes, especially!

The Dressing – The savory vinaigrette is really what turns this salad into something you won’t easily forget. Oh my, the complexity of ingredients like Dijon, Worcestershire, garlic, lemon juice, and more are simply amazing.

cob salad on a round white plate with dressing on the side

How to Make Cobb Salad

Watch our quick 1 minute tutorial see how easily this salad comes together…

Tip for Making the Chopping Easier

This isn’t a difficult salad to make, but it does involve a fair amount of chopping. I got a new chef’s knife for Christmas that I’ve been waiting my whole life for (I didn’t know I was, but I was). It makes chopping vegetable after vegetable a delightful task as it quickly slices and dices anything in its way.

chef knife

America’s Test Kitchen, my go-to source for unbiased ratings and reviews of cookware and kitchen equipment, highly recommends this particular knife. The best news is that it’s very affordable on Amazon! I tell everyone to get it.

Other Salads You’ll Love

If you like this Cobb Salad, you may want to try a few of other favorites…

Fiesta Chopped Salad

chopped salad in a white bowl with serving spoons

Autumn Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Strawberry Avocado Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

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cobb salad on a white plate with yellow napkin

My Favorite Cobb Salad Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No cook
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Cobb salad is colorful, complex in flavor and texture, and a crowd-pleaser. Enjoy this easy and healthy recipe!


Ingredients

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (Gluten-free option: look for gluten-free brand of this!)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad Ingredients:

  • 8 cups (4 ounce container) mixed greens (or chopped Romaine or Green Leaf lettuce)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped 
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 2 cups diced, cooked chicken (Shortcut: Use rotisserie chicken from the store. Or, see chicken cooking methods in notes below.)
  • 1/2 pound cooked thick-cut bacon, crumbled 
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (sub: feta or shredded cheddar cheese)
  • 1 cup croutons (optional; omit if making this gluten-free)

Instructions

  1. Make the Dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar with lid. Seal and shake. Refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.
  2. Make the Salad: In a large bowl toss the greens with 2/3 of the dressing. Put the dressed greens onto a large serving dish. Scatter the rest of the ingredients on top in a colorful array. Drizzle with the remaining dressing on top and serve.

COOKING NOTES:

How to Know If Chicken Is Done: Chicken is done when it reaches 165°F internal temperature. (A digital meat thermometer is a must to help cook chicken perfectly.)

How to Cook Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:

  • Bake in Oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until done.
  • Slow Cooker: Place chicken and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Really! That’s all it takes to get it done, otherwise you’ll overcook and dry it out.
  • Instant Pot: Place chicken and marinade in Instant Pot. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and use a quick release of the pressure when the cook time is up. (Note: It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time starts.)
  • Grill: Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even cooking. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness, until done.

NOTES

We get our meat from ButcherBox. The chicken is organic and curated from trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, wild salmon, and grass-fed beef–and have used it for years ourselves.

cobb salad on a white plate with yellow napkin
 

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

By Polly Conner

Crispy Smashed Potatoes are an easy side dish sure to please even the pickiest eater. They are easy to customize and will make you feel like a pro in the kitchen (even though they require very little cooking skills.)

Crispy Smashed Potato on a baking sheet

What Potatoes Should I Use for Crispy Smashed Potatoes?

You’ll want to use a small variety of potato for this recipe. I used Yukon Gold potatoes. They have the smoothest texture and squish (that’s a technical cooking term) very easily!

How Do I Make Them Crispy?

Here’s how you’ll get that glorious contrast of “moist in the middle and crispy on the outside” texture. In short, you’ll boil or pressure cook the potatoes, give them a squish, and then roast them.

First, you’ll need to cook your potatoes until tender. Here are some ways to do that:

  • You could easily boil them using this method.
  • Use the Instant Pot! I cooked mine for 12 minutes at high pressure with a quick release in the Instant Pot. Here’s a cooking times chart for reference on other types of meals.
  • You could steam them on the stove top. Add about 1 cup of chicken stock or water and the potatoes to a pot. Cover the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and steam for 10-15 minutes.

Once you’ve cooked your potatoes, lay them out on a greased baking sheet and SQUISH THEM! This is a fun part for kids to do. I’ve found that using the bottom of a glass is an easy way to do this.

Using mason jar to smash yukon potatoes

After you’ve smashed your potatoes down, you’ll want to season them up. You can also have fun with this.

Drizzle olive oil over the tops of them to help them get crispy in the oven. Your pan will get messy. Fret not. This is quite normal.

Now, add seasonings that make you happiest in life. Some ideas:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Fresh chopped thyme leaves
  • Fresh minced rosemary
  • Salt (lots of salt in my opinion!)
  • Pepper
Smashed yukon potatoes seasoned and ready for the oven

Next, you’re going to roast those puppies!

Beware. They smell SO good.

Fully cooked smashed potatoes

What to Serve with Crispy Smashed Potatoes

These make a great side dish for a lot of different types of main dishes. Here are some ideas:

Crispy smashed potatoes on a plate with salad and steak
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Crispy Smashed Potatoes

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Steamed
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Delicate Yukon gold potatoes are cooked, seasoned and roasted in the oven. Quite likely to become your next favorite side dish.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds baby potatoes (recommended: Yukon gold)
  • 34 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional: fresh thyme, rosemary. Top with chives and parmesan after cooked!

Instructions

  1. Boil potatoes using this quick stovetop method. Or, cook them in the Instant Pot: Add 1 cup of water to the bottom, place potatoes on the trivet, lock and seal the lid, cook at high pressure for 12 minutes, and use a quick release of pressure. Drain and pat dry the cooked potatoes. 
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
  3. Place cooked potatoes on a foil-lined, greased baking sheet
  4. Use the bottom of a mason jar or glass to partially flatten the cooked potatoes.
  5. Drizzle olive oil generously over the potatoes and evenly sprinkle the seasonings over the potatoes.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden and crispy. Serve immediately!

Notes

Potatoes can be prepped in advance through Step 5 and sit out a few hours before baking.

Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes

By Rachel Tiemeyer

These salmon and sweet potato cakes are packed with nutrition and flavor! Enjoy them as a sandwich or a la carte. Freezing instructions included!

salmon cakes on a plate with lettuce and tartar sauce

I love cooking shows. And, there’s one Food Network star who will always have a special place in my heart. Can you guess who?

Rach, of course! I watched 30 Minute Meals pretty consistently for over 10 years. Honestly, a large majority of what I know in the kitchen, from tips to ingredients to technique, I learned directly from her.

I saw Rachael Ray make a similar version of these Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes on her show and knew I had to try them. Over the years, I’ve made these few times and tweaked the recipe to make it a little more user-friendly.

Why I Love These Salmon Cakes

I love them because they are super nutritious, my kids will actually eat them(!), and they freeze nicely so I can make a big batch for later. Don’t worry, there’s no fishy-ness in these cakes. All the different flavors and textures make them absolutely great, in my opinion.

How to Make Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes

Check out how easily this recipe comes together!

What Ingredients are in Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes?

This delicious recipe uses two of the best super foods on the planet!

Wild Salmon Filets – The big gun ingredient is the Omega 3-rich wild salmon which the American diet is sorely lacking in. The salmon provides heart-healthy fat and lots of protein.

Note: Be sure to buy WILD salmon, NOT farm-raised salmon. That’s because many studies have shown there are 10 times as many PCBs in farmed fish. Dr. Sanjay Gupta in an article here says,

Basically, that’s a reflection of how much pesticides, antibiotics, other contaminants are used in raising these farmed fish. There’s higher pesticide levels in the farmed fish….They actually raise these farmed fish (with large numbers in pens) … You actually have to give them antibiotics. And a lot of the PCBs and toxins are all part of the farming process that are used to try and keep these fish free of disease….sometimes even inject fish like salmon with red dye or pink dye to make them look more pink, more like their wild counterparts.

– Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Wild Salmon is readily available and affordable in most grocery stores now, but the tastiest Wild salmon I’ve had is from ButcherBox. It’s where I get all of my meat, because they offer affordable, healthy (and delicious!) meat from small farmers that is delivered to my doorstep on my schedule. (Cancel any time.)

Sweet Potato Puree – One of the top super foods in the world, packed with plenty of minerals, fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients that help both your body and mind.  The sweet potato helps as a binder (instead of mayo!) and lends a slightly sweet taste.

You can find sweet potato puree in a can or you can easily make your own. Simply poke some holes in a few sweet potatoes using a knife. Place them in the microwave and cook in 2 minute increments. Turn the potatoes between increments and cook until soft and tender all the way through. Use a knife to check. Mine usually take about 5 minutes.

Other Ingredients:

  • Seafood seasoning – Recommended: Old Bay Seasoning.
  • Whole wheat crackers – Panko breadcrumbs would work instead.
  • Egg – Helps to bind the mixture.
  • Fresh thyme leaves and fresh parsley – These fresh herbs add depth of flavor.
  • Scallions or green onions – Adds a little pungent flavor
  • Hot sauce – Optional, but lends a touch of heat.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – Another heart-healthy oil that you’ll use to grease the pan.

How to Serve Salmon Cakes

First of all, I’d highly recommend making our Avocado Aioli sauce to top these cakes. The creaminess and beautiful color of the sauce contrasts well with the warm, crispy salmon patties. You can also use an all-natural Tartar Sauce for serving, if you want.

My kids liked them on mini buns with a slice of cheese on top, like a burger. I ate these Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes a la carte with some of the Avocado Aioli sauce on top. Delicious!

With these salmon cakes as the center piece of your meal, all you need are a few simple, healthy sides. Here are a few ideas:

How to Freeze Salmon Cakes

It’s easy to freeze salmon cakes. They turn out tasting just like you made them fresh, if you freeze them this way:

Freeze For Later: Put the salmon cakes together, but do not cook them. Freeze in a freezer bag or container in a single layer. If stacking patties, divide single layers with parchment paper.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw completely in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Then cook according to the directions.

More Salmon Recipes:

Here are few more salmon recipes from our collection you might enjoy…

Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes Recipe

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Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 24 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 mins
  • Total Time: 26 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Skillet
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Description

These salmon and sweet potato cakes are packed with nutrition and flavor! Enjoy them as a sandwich or a la carte. With a small amount of effort, you’ll make a meal your family is sure to love.


Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed* (about 1 cup)
  • 3 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth (sub: water)
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat crackers, crushed into crumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 scallions or green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Bring the broth to a boil in a large skillet or pot over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. 
  2. Season salmon fillets lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Carefully lower them down into the liquid, making sure they are submerged. (Note: If the broth doesn’t cover the top of the filets, add just enough water to make sure they are covered.) Poach until the salmon is opaque, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the salmon to a mixing bowl and flake the fish with a fork. Add in the mashed sweet potatoes, seafood seasoning, half of the cracker crumbs, the egg, thyme, hot sauce, scallions, and parsley. Using your hands or a fork, combine until the mixture is firm enough to mold into cakes. (If it’s too wet, add a few more cracker crumbs.)
  4. Add the remaining cracker crumbs to a plate. Form the salmon mixture into four (4-inch) patties or eight (2-inch) patties and coat in the cracker crumbs on both sides. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  5. Discard the liquid from the skillet and wipe it clean. In that same skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmery.
  6. Cook the fish cakes until light golden, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  7. Serving suggestion: Serve with tartar sauce for dipping or serve on buns with cheese on top, like a burger.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-4. Freeze in a freezer bag or container in a single layer. If stacking patties, divide single layers with parchment paper.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw completely. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Follow Steps 5-7.


Notes

*To cook and mash the sweet potato: Wash and dry it. Poke several holes around it using a knife, so steam can release while it cooks. Microwave it for 2 minutes. Flip it over and microwave another 2-3 minutes, until soft all the way through. Test doneness by inserting a knife into the middle. It should give easily.

Grilled Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs

By Polly Conner

This 5 ingredient chicken kabob marinade is sweet, savory and incredibly easy! With just a few simple pantry ingredients, you can take your kabob game to the next level.

Grilled honey garlic chicken kabobs

Grilling season is my jam.

I really feel like I eat healthier when a grilled recipe is on the menu plan. Having a simple marinade recipe for chicken kabobs like this one makes it even easier. And when I say simple, I really mean it!

What’s in the chicken kabob marinade?

Here’s what you’ll need to make your chicken & veggie kabobs delish...

  • Oil – I prefer avocado oil or olive oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Ground black pepper
  • Minced Garlic

Seriously. So simple, right? After whipping up the marinade, you’ll just need some chicken and veggies. Try to chop them up in similar sizes.

chopped up veggies to go with chicken kabobs

A short video of how the kabobs come together

How long do I marinate the chicken and veggies?

Place the marinade, chicken, and chopped veggies into a container and let them sit for at least 2 hours. As with most marinades, the longer it sits, the better and more flavorful the food will be.

Once they’ve done their fair share of marinading, it’s time to get those puppies on skewers! Your hands will get down and dirty during this process so just embrace it and wash up well after.

Can you freeze Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs?

raw chicken and vegetables on skewers

Great question! If you want to make this a freezer meal, we recommend just freezing the uncooked chicken in the marinade without the veggies. Because of the high water content in the bell peppers and onions, they won’t hold up well on a skewer after being frozen and thawed.

To prepare, simply thaw the chicken using one of our safe thawing methods and then add them to the skeweres with fresh veggies.

Grilled honey garlic chicken kabobs

What to serve with Grilled Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs

While the chicken and veggies are enough for a meal on their own, here are some ideas to beef up your meal:

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Grilled Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This 5 ingredient chicken kabob marinade is sweet, savory and incredibly easy!


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (Gluten-free option: Use coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari soy sauce.)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 23 bell peppers, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces (any color)
  • 1 red onion, cut into bite-sized chunks

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, soy sauce, honey, black pepper, and garlic.
  2. Add the chicken and veggies to the marinade, cover, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
  3. Preheat grill to medium heat (around 350-400 degrees).
  4. Thread the veggies and chicken on skewers and discard the remaining marinade.
  5. Grill for 12-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (at least 165°F or no longer pink inside). Do not overcook the chicken.

Freeze For Later: To a gallon-sized freezer bag or container, add all the ingredients except the peppers and onions. Seal and toss gently to combine. Freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need the chopped peppers and onions on hand to complete this meal. Thaw completely using one of these three safe methods. Add the fresh chopped peppers and onions to the bag and toss in the marinade. Follow Steps 3-5.


Notes

We get our meat from ButcherBox*. The chicken is organic, curated from small, trusted farms, and absolutely delicious. We highly recommend this service to source all your healthy meat, from grass-fed beef to uncured bacon, and have used it for years ourselves. *Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox.

Grilled honey garlic chicken kabobs on a white plate

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

By Polly Conner

Do you have a green bean hater? I dare you to try this bacon-wrapped green bean recipe. I dare you.

Bacon wrapped green beans on a white plate

I took the dare and I now have a transformed husband who looks forward to his green beans. Not to mention my kiddos who eat them up as fast as all the other food on their plates. I also love this recipe because it looks super fancy when in reality it takes very little skill to assemble.

Want to take the dare?

How to Make Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Par-cooked Bacon on foil

Cook 6-8 pieces of bacon about half way done. You don’t want them cooked all the way because they are going to go into the oven. You don’t want them too undercooked because they won’t get finished in the oven. Half way. Trust me on this one. I cooked my bacon for about 6 minutes but it really depends on the type of bacon you use.

Meanwhile, wash and snap off the ends of about 1 pound of green beans. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and toss green beans into boiling water. Let boil for only 3-4 minutes. They should turn bright green and be softened a tad.

Fresh green beans in a strainer

Now, gather about 6-8 green beans and wrap them up in either 1/2 piece of bacon or a whole piece. It kind of depends on how healthy you want to be OR how much of a green bean hater you have at your dinner table.

Green bean hater=full piece of bacon.

Once you’ve wrapped up your green bean bundle, stick it all the way through with a toothpick. This holds the bacon in place, thus holding your green beans in place.

Sprinkle the tops of your bundles with a little salt, pepper, and brown sugar.

Bacon-wrapped green beans on a foil lined pan

Bake your green bean bundles in the oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes.

Bacon-wrapped green beans on a white plate

More Great Side Dish Ideas

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Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Vegetables
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Do you have a green bean hater in your house? Try this simple, no-fail bacon and green bean recipe. You’ll convert everyone who tries them!


Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 pound bacon (here is where we get our favorite bacon)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Toothpicks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Bake the bacon on a sheet pan for about 10 minutes, until cooked but not crispy at all. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Boil green beans for about 2 minutes, until still crisp and only partially cooked through. Drain in a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process.
  4. Wrap 6-8 green beans with 1/2 piece of bacon. Secure with a toothpick.
  5. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and brown sugar on top of bean bundles.
  6. Cook 15-20 minutes at 400°F until the bacon is done to your preference.

What goes well with bacon wrapped green beans?

Here are some ideas that bacon wrapped green beans would go great with!

How to Cook Corn on the Cob in the Microwave

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Thank you to my mother-in-law for this quick trick on how to cook corn on the cob in the microwave! Did you know that cooking corn on the cob doesn’t require dirtying up a pot, heating up the kitchen, or waiting for a gallon of water to boil? I sure didn’t.

Microwaved corn on a gray plate with butter

Get this. You can cook your corn on the cob to perfection in the microwave. It’s especially helpful when you only need to cook a few ears at a time.

Video Tutorial: How to Cook Corn on the Cob in the Microwave

Directions to Microwave Corn on the Cob (Without Husk)

Here’s the foolproof and ridiculously easy trick that I like to call the 3-Minute No Boil Corn on the Cob Method:

1 – Take your shucked ear of corn and wrap it in a moist paper towel so that it is entirely wrapped.

Raw corn wrapped in a damp paper towel

2 – Place it in your microwave and nuke for 3-4 minutes. 3 minutes works for my microwave, but yours may take a smidgen longer. Note: I usually do two ears at the same time and they turn out fine.

Corn in the microwave

3 – Using a potholder or towel, remove the hot ears of corn. They will continue to cook a bit if you leave it in the paper towel after you remove it.

Corn on the cob after being cooked in the microwave

4 – Butter and salt and enjoy some perfectly done corn on the cob!

How Long Do You Microwave Corn on the Cob Without a Husk?

Bottom line: Wrap each shucked ear of corn on the cob in a damp paper towel and microwave for 3-4 minutes, depending on your microwave oven.

I sure hope you enjoy this simple method for cooking corn!

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How to Cook Corn in the Microwave

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 minutes
  • Yield: 4 ears 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Microwave
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Don’t have time to wait for water to boil? Not enough daylight left to turn on your grill? Then try this 3-minute, no boil microwave method for corn on the cob. It’s a winner!


Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn, shucked
  • paper towels
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Take your shucked ear of corn and wrap it in a moist paper towel so that it is entirely wrapped.
  2. Place it in your microwave and nuke for 3-4 minutes. *3 minutes works for my microwave, but yours may take a smidgen longer. Note: I usually do two ears at the same time and they turn out fine.
  3. Using a pot holder or towel, remove the hot ears of corn. They will continue to cook a bit if you leave it in the paper towel after you remove it.
  4. Butter and salt and enjoy some perfectly done corn on the cob!
Microwaved corn on the cob with butter

If you do have time to grill, make sure to check out our Simple Trick on How to Grill Corn on the Cob.

You also might like our 30+ Real Food Grilling Recipes!

collage image of grilling recipes.

Sweet and Savory Roasted Carrots

By Polly Conner
Sweet and savory carrots. A delectable, easy side dish that gives the baby carrot a boost of flavor.

Little fun factoid of the day:

In the book, Salt Sugar Fat, I learned that the man responsible for popularizing baby carrots was a top executive for Coca-Cola. After years of using his genius marketing strategies towards promoting a sugary beverage, he realized he was a major contributor to the health crisis in western countries. In an effort to rectify the harm he had done, he set out to use the same marketing strategies to promote something healthy–the baby carrot. In short, he marketed baby carrots as a junk food (not as an antidote to junk food). Very quickly, baby carrots became a regular item in homes, vending machines and other food venues.

Probably like you, baby carrots are very much a staple in our home. My kids love them and they seem to be a go-to veggie when nothing else sounds good or I don’t have time to make something. While I do like a fresh baby carrot, it’s fun to tinker with recipes that give them a new flavor.

Sweet and Savory Baby Carrots

I’m pretty much a sucker for any sweet-savory combination so it is no surprise that I liked this recipe. I was inspired by this recipe but made tweaks with what ingredients I had on hand.

It’s super simple to make. Simply mix together all of the ingredients, minus the carrots.

Sweet and savory carrots. A delectable, easy side dish that gives the baby carrot a boost of flavor.

Now stir in the carrots, making sure they are all coated with the glazed goodness. Place them in a baking dish or on a baking sheet and cook them for 30-40 minutes. I like mine a tad on the firm side so I cooked mine for 30. If you like a little more mush to your cooked carrot, let them cook for around 40.

Sweet and savory carrots. A delectable, easy side dish that gives the baby carrot a boost of flavor.

Behold. You have now created a super flavorful baby carrot.

Sweet and savory carrots. A delectable, easy side dish that gives the baby carrot a boost of flavor.

I think these would be a great side dish to any of these dinners:

Balsamic Shredded Beef

Mini Meatloaf Muffins

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Homemade Chicken Nuggets - They are AWESOME!
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Sweet and Savory Roasted Carrots

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pound 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Try this sweet-savory twist on carrots. These make a great side dish to almost any dinner.


Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/8 tsp ground thyme)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound baby carrots

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the carrots. Mix well.
  2. Add carrots into the mix until they are all covered in the glaze.
  3. Place carrots into a baking dish and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes (depending on how done you like them.)

 

Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner
Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

Disclaimer: This recipe was created in partnership with Frigidaire Gallery®. But the opinions are all ours! 

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

My kids are totally on a quesadilla kick. No matter what we put in it, if we put something between two tortillas and call it a quesadilla, it’s a win. 

In light of the kids’ quesadilla obsession and my continual hunt for easy, healthy, freezable breakfast ideas, a breakfast quesadilla recipe was born.

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

Here’s the great thing about breakfast quesadillas: they are totally customizable. Each person can pick what they want on them which makes fickle, power-hungry children happy. Kids also love to help with the assembly so this is a great way to get them involved in the meal making process.

On this particular morning, we assembled Farm Fresh Quesadillas. The ingredients were simple and things that you mostly likely have on hand:

  • eggs
  • ham
  • bacon
  • cheddar cheese
  • spinach
Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

Three secrets you need to know about making breakfast quesadillas:

  1. Assemble them on top of parchment paper or foil. This makes transferring them to the skillet or freezer bag a lot easier.
  2. Start and end with cheese. The cheese serves as a binding that holds the quesadilla and its contents together after cooking. It needs to be in contact with the tortilla to do this.
  3. If you plan to freeze these bad boys, undercook your eggs a tad. They will likely cook a little in the reheating stage so you don’t want overcooked eggs.

Assemble Your Breakfast Quesadilla

Starting with cheese, add your preferred ingredients to make your Farm Fresh Quesadilla. Here’s what mine looked like.

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

After it’s assembled, warm a large skillet to medium heat and melt a little butter in the pan. Slide the quesadilla off of the parchment paper and onto the pan. Top the quesadilla with a bit more melted butter. (The butter on the tortilla helps give it a little bit of a crisp when cooked). Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side or until the tortilla starts to brown.

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

Want to make a bunch and freeze them? Here’s how:

There are two ways to go about freezing breakfast quesadillas.

Freezing Method One: Assemble the quesadillas and freeze just before cooking. To prepare them, simply let them thaw out and cook them as normal.

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

Freezing Method Two: Cook quesadillas as normal, let cool and then freeze. To prepare, either wrap frozen quesadilla in a moist paper towel and microwave for 30-60 seconds OR let them thaw and warm them up in the oven at 350 for 5 minutes. (I prefer the oven method.)

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

Feel free to branch out with the ingredients! Some other ideas to get your creative juices stirring: grilled onions and peppers, breakfast sausage, ham & pineapple, fresh herbs, pepper jack cheese, etc.

Eat up!

Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!
Freezer Friendly, Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas. A simple, kid-friendly, healthy breakfast idea that anyone can make. Kids love that they can be customized and love to help assemble them. Make lots and freeze them for later!

What to Do with Leftover Tortillas

P.S. If you have leftover tortillas, did you know you can freeze them? Here is the best way to freeze tortillas for later.

tortillas in a freezer bag
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Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadillas {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican-American

Description

Farm fresh quesadillas are your family’s next must-try! Every family member can choose his/her favorite toppings in order to create the perfect, healthy masterpiece.


Ingredients

  • 12 whole wheat tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 eggs, scrambled
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 pound ham, diced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 23 tablespoons butter

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Lay out parchment paper or foil for assembly.
  2. On a tortilla, assemble by evenly distributing ingredients in this order: 1/4 cup shredded cheddar, about 1/3 cup scrambled eggs, 1/3 cup spinach, sprinkle of bacon, sprinkle of ham, and end with another 1/4 cup shredded cheddar. Top with another tortilla.
  3. Warm skillet to medium and melt a little butter in the pan.
  4. Using the parchment paper as help, slide assembled quesadilla carefully into hot pan and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes or until tortilla begins to brown and cheese is melted.
  5. Slice it up like a pizza and serve!

Freeze For Later: Method 1: Assemble the quesadillas and freeze, just before cooking, in a freezer bag between layers of parchment paper. Lay flat in the freezer. Method 2: Cook quesadillas according to instructions but do not cut into pieces. Let cool completely and then freeze in freezer bag or container, separating layers with parchment paper. Prepare From Frozen: Method 1: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and cook according to instructions. Method 2: Either wrap frozen quesadilla in a moist paper towel and microwave for 30-60 seconds OR let thaw in refrigerator and warm up on sheet pan in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes.

Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly. Since I was in charge of bringing some type of broccoli casserole to Thanksgiving this year, I searched high and low for a recipe that could be made in advance (since we had to drive 2 hours that day) and that most people would like.

I came across Pioneer Woman’s Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole recipe. I mean, a Pioneer Woman recipe has never served me wrong so I thought it was a no brainer. Well, I’m glad I gave it a trial run before making it for Thanksgiving because, well, I didn’t like it. (Please note-the pictures in this post are from when I made it the FIRST time. I have since tweaked it so if you make it, it may look a bit different).

I made quite a few changes to the recipe. First of all, the original recipe was WAY too much rice. I also felt like it needed more broccoli and veggies so I upped the amount of broccoli and added in some cauliflower.  With a few other tweaks, I got the recipe to be where I wanted it. I thought it was pretty dang good! I felt confident about the dish I was bringing (and that felt somewhat representative of my cooking abilities to my in-laws). Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Well, pride comes before the fall, my friends. I probably should have known that at a large Thanksgiving, people have LOTS of options and little space on their plate. When a broccoli and rice casserole is competing with cheesy twice baked potatoes, buttery rolls, three different types of turkey and so on, it pretty much doesn’t stand a chance. It just wasn’t fair to put the broccoli casserole to caramelized sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. Or maybe I’m making excuses. I don’t know. For one reason or not, the broccoli casserole was not a hit. Just being real here.

Despite the majority of the crowds turning their nose at it, I stand by my recipe. I liked it and think it is worth sharing. It was full of flavor, filled with seasoned veggies, and made a great side dish. If you’re a broccoli and rice lover like me, you’ll probably like it too.

Ready or not, here is how to make Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Preheat oven to 375.

Time to get that wild rice cooking. Combine rice with 4-5 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until rice begins to break open. Mine took about 35-40 minutes, but follow the instructions on the package. As I mentioned above, the pictures I have are not necessarily representative of what it should look like. I used half of the rice in the picture below AND this rice should have cooked a bit more. 

Once the rice is cooked, set it aside or go ahead and spread it out in a 9×13 casserole dish.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Meanwhile, get to chopping up all of those veggies. Cut the broccoli into small florets. Finely chop the other veggies up. This recipe does have a lot of chopping to do so use a food chopper if you have one! Otherwise, give your forearms a pep talk because they are about to get a workout.

To make sure your broccoli gets cooked, you’re going to need to give it a head start. This means cooking it in boiling water for a minute or two then blanching it (removing it from the boiling water and plunging it into icy water to stop the cooking process). After this step, spread it out evenly over your wild rice.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Now it’s time to make the good stuff. In a large pot, melt about 6 tablespoons of butter and then toss all the rest of your diced veggies in with it. Stir frequently for about 8 minutes until they are softening and turning a bit darker.

Sprinkle the flour on the vegetables and stir to incorporate it, then cook for about a minute. Pour in the remaining 5 cups of broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow it to thicken, about 3 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, stirring to combine. Let the mixture cook until it thickens. Season with the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Using a ladle, scoop out the vegetable/broth mixture and spoon it evenly all over the top. Continue with the rest of the sauce, totally covering the surface with vegetables.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine in separate bowl with the panko breadcrumbs. Toss the mixture together to coat the breadcrumbs in butter, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Cover with foil and bake your casserole for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes more until the breadcrumbs brown a bit.

Enjoy!Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy ingredients and freezer friendly.

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Broccoli and Wild Rice Casserole

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Broccoli and wild rice casserole. Full of flavor, packed with healthy, fresh ingredients and freezer friendly. Take this to your next family gathering!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked Wild Rice
  • 10 cups Low-sodium Chicken Broth, more If needed for thinning
  • 1/2 cup (1 Stick) Butter
  • 4 heads broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 package (8oz) white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cup cauliflower, finely chopped
  • 1 whole medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Start cooking your wild rice. Combine 4-5 cups chicken broth with wild rice. Bring to a boil (follow the cooking instructions that are on the wild rice package or cook the rice until it has just started to break open and is slightly tender). Mine took about 35 to 40 minutes. Drain and set it aside.
  2. Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli by throwing the florets into boiling water for 1½ to 2 minutes. Immediately drain and plunge it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove it from the ice water and set it aside.
  3. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, then melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. Add all of your vegetables and cook them, stirring frequently for about 7-8 minutes. When they start to soften and turn a bit brown, they are done.
  4. Sprinkle the flour on the vegetables and stir to incorporate. Then cook for about a minute. Pour in the remaining 5 cups of broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow it to thicken, about 3 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, stirring to combine. Let the mixture cook until it thickens. Season with the salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  5. Add the cooked rice to the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, then layer on the broccoli. Using a ladle, scoop out the vegetable/broth mixture and spoon it evenly all over the top. Continue with the rest of the sauce, totally covering the surface with vegetables.
  6. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine in separate bowl with the panko breadcrumbs. Toss the mixture together to coat the breadcrumbs in butter, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top.
  7. Cover with foil and bake the casserole at 375 for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Optional: sprinkle on the parsley after you remove it from the oven.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Follow steps 1-6. Freeze before cooking.

To Prepare:
When ready to cook, let thaw completely and follow step 7.

Healthy Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Skip the canned junk and make this delicious and nutritious pasta dish for your family instead. So much sneaky nutrition in this one-pot wonder!

Healthy Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta: Skip the canned junk and make this delicious and nutritious pasta dish for your family instead.

Quick vote: What was your canned Chef Boyardee pasta of choice as a kid?

a. Spaghetti and Meatballs

b. Beefaroni

c. Beef or Cheese Ravioli

Me? I was a Beef Ravioli kid all the way. But, alas, I know too much these days about what goes into a canned product like that to enjoy it, much to my husband’s chagrin sometimes.

If you want to know more about what’s in this kid favorite, you might check out this post. Or take my word for it and make something that tastes far better and is full of good-for-you, recognizable ingredients. This Healthy Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta has the same saucy deliciousness and comforting pasta that we grew up on, but it knocks the socks off the canned junk.

With the use of the blender, you’ll remove any noticeable vegetable chunks for keen little eyes and also easily whip up this flavor-rich pasta sauce. You can certainly add in some browned ground beef after blending the sauce, if your family prefers a meaty sauce. But, I loved the texture as is. The end result is somewhere between a plate of pasta and a bowl of tomato soup with pasta in it.

Voila! I give you Healthy Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta.

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Healthy Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta: Skip the canned junk and make this delicious and nutritious pasta dish for your family instead.

Homemade Chef Boyardee Pasta

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Skip the canned junk and make this delicious and nutritious pasta dish for your family instead. So much sneaky nutrition in this one-pot wonder!


Ingredients

  • 8 cups (or 2 cartons) organic chicken broth
  • 1 (28 ounce) can organic tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces of whole wheat pasta, like rotini, elbows or broken up lasagna noodles
  • Optional: shredded Parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Stir together all ingredients EXCEPT the pasta in a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes, or until carrots and onions are softened and sauce has reduced some. Remove the bay leaf.
  2. Using an immersion blender or carefully spooning mixture into blender, blend sauce until smooth. Note: Be sure to fit lid tightly and hold down with a kitchen towel, if using an upright blender.) Return sauce to the pot. Taste and season and add more salt and pepper, as needed.
  3. Bring sauce up to a simmer again. Stir in the pasta. Simmer and stir occasionally until pasta is tender, usually about 8-10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning again.
  4. Serve warm in a bowl with shredded Parmesan or mozzarella on top.

Hearty Vegetable Soup {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Use any combination of vegetables in your fridge, freezer, and pantry to make this hearty, delicious vegetable soup. Whip up a big batch and your family will eat on this all week long.

Use any combination of vegetables in your fridge and pantry to make this hearty, delicious vegetable soup.

I call this soup my “post holiday cleanse” soup. It’s pretty much all I desire after a few weeks of overly indulgent foods. Every few weeks in the winter (especially right after the holidays), I like to whip up a huge pot of this filling, nutritious, and warming Hearty Vegetable Soup. Then, we eat on it all week long.

You can really add whatever veggies you have on hand to this recipe. I also like to add in black beans or lentils, as well. It’s a great one for cleaning out the fridge (and the digestive system..ha, ha!). Plus, it takes no time at all.

Now, if you really want to make this a homemade comfort meal, try your hand at my favorite Easy Homemade Sandwich Bread. I break it down step-by-step so that anyone can do this. A slice of this warm homemade bread would perfectly compliment a steaming bowl of Hearty Vegetable Soup.

homemade wheat sandwich bread
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hearty vegetable soup recipe

Hearty Vegetable Soup {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: about 12 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Use any combination of vegetables in your fridge and pantry to make this hearty, delicious vegetable soup. Whip up a big batch and your family will eat on this all week long.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 medium or large onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 12 cups chicken broth (three 32 oz boxes of broth)
  • 1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes, juice and all
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 34 medium Yukon gold potatoes, diced (do not peel)
  • 12 cups fresh or frozen green beans, trimmed and chopped
  • 12 cups frozen corn
  • 12 cups frozen peas
  • Optional: chopped kale or spinach

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until it’s shimmery. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add garlic and tomato paste and sauté for another minute. Add broth, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in the potatoes, green beans, and corn. (Don’t add the peas yet.) Reduce to a simmer (a low bubble). Season with a bit more salt and pepper, but don’t go overboard since you can adjust the seasoning at the end. Cook and stir occasionally for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are tender (check by piercing with a fork).
  3. Stir in the frozen peas (and stir in the optional kale/spinach), until they are warmed through. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  4. Serving suggestion: Top with fresh Parmesan cheese and serve with a good loaf of crusty bread.

Freeze For Later: Prepare soup as directed. If you do not plan on eating any of it on the day you prepare it, do not add the frozen peas. Let soup cool completely. Place in freezer safe bags or containers. Store for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Let soup thaw using one of these safe thawing methods. Warm on low on stovetop or in a slow cooker. You may need to add a little more water or broth as the vegetables tend to soak up the liquid once it sits.

Veggie Sandwich on Whole Grain Bagel: Another Quick and Healthy Lunch

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Pile some spinach, tomoato, avocado, and hummus on a bagel to create the perfect veggie sandwich! You will transform your boring lunch in to something extraordinary!

This Veggie Sandwich on Whole Grain Bagel rivals for first place in my heart when it comes to favorite lunch meals. The other contestants are the Protein Lunch Bowl, Creamy Avocado Dip with carrots and tortilla chips, and the Small Bites Board, if you’re wondering.

When you stay at home with kids and/or work from home, like I do most days, I long for anything but another PB&J or leftovers. And, if you work away from home, I’d wager this beats out most deli sandwiches you could get at a restaurant. The Veggie Sandwich on Whole Grain Bagel fits the bill as an easy, filling, yet healthy lunch.

The first secret to this sandwich in my opinion is a really good bagel. If you have a Panera Bread near you (or a local bakery with whole grain bagels), stock up when their sprouted whole grain bagels or whole wheat bagels are on sale. At our Panera, you can get a baker’s dozen for half price on Tuesdays. So, I buy a bunch then and freeze them in freezer bags. They last for weeks this way. (ht: My friend, Erin A., for this idea!)

Then, simply pile on your favorite veggies (I love spinach, tomatoes, and avocado…but be creative), your favorite cream cheese, and some hummus and you’ve got yourself a delightful sandwich that’s full of texture and flavor.

P.S. You won’t miss the meat!

Pile some spinach, tomoato, avocado, and hummus on a bagel to create the perfect veggie sandwich! You will transform your boring lunch in to something extraordinary!

Here’s how I make my Veggie Sandwich on Whole Grain Bagel…

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Veggie Sandwich on Whole Grain Bagel

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 large sandwich (cut in half for two smaller portions) 1x
  • Category: Sandwich
  • Method: Make
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Pile some spinach, tomato, avocado, and hummus on a bagel to create the perfect veggie sandwich! You will transform your boring lunch in to something extraordinary!


Ingredients

  • 1 whole grain bagel, sliced lengthwise (preferably from a bakery)
  • 2 tablespoons plain cream cheese (or your favorite kind)
  • 56 baby spinach leaves
  • 2 thick slices of tomato
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons hummus ([here’s/https://thrivinghomeblog.com/2012/08/simple-blender-hummus-other-real-food-snacks-kitchen-stewardship/] how to make your own)

Instructions

  1. Starting on the bottom portion of the bagel, spread cream cheese.
  2. Top with baby spinach. Add tomato slices and then avocado. Spread hummus on inside of the top of the bagel.
  3. Put the sandwich together and enjoy!

Crowd Pleaser Green Beans

By Polly Conner
Green beans in a blue baking dish

For some reason I have always preferred canned green beans versus fresh. Maybe it’s just what I grew up on, but I have never been able to LOVE fresh green beans.

However, when I saw the Pioneer Woman make this recipe on her show, I knew I had to give them a try. I have yet to find a recipe of hers that I don’t like, so I was hoping these green beans wouldn’t be the exception.

I was right! Even my husband who claims he doesn’t like green beans at all went back for seconds. It probably doesn’t hurt that they have a little bacon grease in them. If bacon is in any recipe I make, my husband has an open mind.

They are worth a try for your green bean haters.

Green beans on the stove
Green beans
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Crowd Pleaser Green Beans

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 56 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Skillet
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Have a picky eater in your house? Try these crowd-pleasing green beans. A touch of bacon grease and a combo of fresh veggies makes a delicious side dish!


Ingredients

  • 1 pound green beans
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease (can substitute 2 tablespoons butter)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt (can substitute regular tablesalt, use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Snap the stem ends of the green beans
  2. Melt the bacon grease (or butter) in a skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the garlic and onions and cook for about a minute.
  4. Add the green beans. Toss and cook for about 1-2 minutes
  5. Add the chicken broth, chopped red pepper, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Turn the heat to low and cover the skillet with a lid, leaving the lid cracked to allow steam to escape.
  7. Cook until the liquid evaporates and the beans are fairly soft, yet still a bit crisp. Usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes depending on cooking temperature.
  8. You can add more chicken broth during the cooking process, but don’t be afraid to let it all cook away so the onions and peppers can start to caramelize.

Notes

Recipe adapted from The Food Network

Creamy Avocado Dip: For One or For a Crowd

By Rachel Tiemeyer

creamy avocado dip recipe

As afternoon snacks go, dark chocolate chips and peanuts rank #1 in my book. But, Creamy Avocado Dip might come in at #2. This healthy and filling dip is a great love of mine for lunch or for snacking.

You can also whip up this Creamy Avocado Dip for an appetizer for a crowd. Pinky swear that it doesn’t taste “healthy”–just creamy and delicious! Serve with tortilla chips, carrots sticks, and any other fresh veggies you like.

I must note that my absolute favorite salsa in this recipe is the Double Roasted Salsa from Trader Joes. We always stock up on it when we’re in the city. As you may know, I heart TJs.

Check out more of our healthy snacks here and appetizers here. I hope you can enjoy some of this green goodness soon!

creamy avocado dip

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Creamy Avocado Dip

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 (single serving) or 8 (crowd directions) 1x
  • Category: Dip
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: American

Description

You can whip up this Creamy Avocado Dip for an appetizer or for a crowd. It is creamy and delicious! Serve with tortilla chips, carrots sticks, and any other fresh veggies you like.


Ingredients

  • For One:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
  • 12 tablespoons of salsa (I love Double Smoked Salsa at Trader Joe’s in mine!)
  • 12 tablespoons of plain Greek Yogurt (fat-free works fine)
  • For a Crowd (serves 8-10):
  • 8 avocados
  • 8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of 23 lemons)
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt (fat-free works fine)

Instructions

  1. Remove the avocado flesh with a spoon and place in a bowl. Add lemon juice and smash with a potato masher or back of a fork until smooth.
  2. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Stir to combine.
  3. Add in salsa and Greek yogurt and stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Serve with fresh veggies (carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers) and/or chips.

Protein Lunch Bowl (Gluten-Free)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This protein bowl is FULL of flavor. You'll find yourself eating it again and again.

Looking for a quick and healthy lunch option? As moms, our lunch doesn’t have to consist of leftover sandwich triangles from our kids’ plates and a rogue baby carrot or two we find left in the vegetable drawer. With a few simple ingredients in the pantry and fridge, you can whip up a Protein Lunch Bowl that will keep you full and give you energy for the afternoon ahead (and maybe even help you fend off the mid-afternoon snack craving!).

I eat some version of this Protein Bowl about five days a week…no joke. I can’t get enough of it. It’s lemony fresh, simple, and so filling and good for you! Plus, if you are trying to reduce your gluten intake, this Protein Bowl is entirely gluten-free. Two other similar dishes you might like are Tabbouleh and Greek Garden Salad.

This bowl of goodness is clean eating at it’s best!

This protein bowl is FULL of flavor. You'll find yourself eating it again and again.

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Protein Bowl: Quick and Healthy Lunch (GF)

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 lunch bowl (about 1 1/2 cups) 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This protein bowl is FULL of flavor. You’ll find yourself eating it again and again. It lends itself to some creativity – allowing you to use up what you have on hand.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine black beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, avocado, and feta cheese in a dinner-sized bowl. Squeeze lemon over the top and sprinkle on salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Stir, taste, and season as needed.
  2. Eat cold or warm up for about 30-45 seconds in the microwave and stir.
  3. Optional: I often add a bit of quinoa or brown rice, too.

Garden Greek Salad Recipe

By Rachel Tiemeyer
You can make this simple salad almost any way you like it. The simple dressing highlights the yummy, fresh produce.

It’s not often I get addicted to a salad and can’t stop eating it. But, I did with this Garden Greek Salad. (Oh, and this one, too.) Who doesn’t want to be addicted to veggies?!?

You can make this simple salad almost any way you like it. The simple dressing highlights the yummy, fresh produce.

The simplicity of the dressing highlights the freshness of the produce this time of year and lends some sweetness, as well. So, load up on the Garden Greek Salad and pat yourself on the back when you binge on this dish!

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garden greek salad

Garden Greek Salad Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 24 Servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: Greek

Description

This simple and sweet Greek Garden Salad highlights summer’s best produce!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered as needed
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 cucumber (or 1 bell pepper of a different color), cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 small ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • a handful of fresh herbs (I prefer basil and parsley)
  • 12 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Toss all ingredients together and serve.
  2. If it sits in the refrigerator for a little bit, the flavors get even better!

Roasted Purple Potatoes and Carrots

By Rachel Tiemeyer
Roasted Potatoes and Carrots Recipe

Have you ever had purple potatoes? My son picked them out at Natural Grocer a few weeks ago (that’s one of my keys to getting the kids to try new foods) and they were delightful. The bluish-purple hue popped against the carrots when I served them. And, since you eat with your eyes as well as your mouth, it made for a delicious and beautiful side dish. The rosemary and thyme lent some deeper character to them, as well.

But…get this. Purple potatoes are much better for you than white potatoes. Why? This Chicago Tribune article reports that their bluish-purple color is “due to the antioxidant powerhouse anthocyanin…This flavonoid has been shown in studies to possess anti-cancer and heart-protective effects, as well as benefits such as boosting the immune system and protecting against age-related memory loss. U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis of potato varieties reveals that their content of phenols (powerful plant antioxidants) rivals that of broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts.”

If I have choice in potatoes to roast, purple is my pick!

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Roasted Purple Potatoes and Carrots

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Have you ever cooked with purple potatoes? If not, check your local store for these beauties. They are full of anti-cancer ingredients and may help fight against memory loss.


Ingredients

  • 23 purple potatoes (they are fairly small), cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 23 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 12 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or a few good cranks)
  • 34 sprigs of thyme, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, stems removed and minced

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place all the cut vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Toss well. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a metal spatula. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! #realfood #freezermeal #superhealthy

I can’t wait to share this recipe with you. If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! It’s simply perfect for a summer day, especially when your fridge is overflowing with garden produce to use up.

Here’s a bowl full of veggies my green-thumb friend, Nicole, sent me home with last week. This palette was quite an inspiration. You know cooking is art, don’t you?

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup Recipe: If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! #realfood #freezermeal #superhealthy

Now, let’s talk lentils for a minute. Did I scare you off with a mention of those? If so, don’t shy away from these small round, lens shaped legumes. I hadn’t tried cooking with them until this recipe, and I tell you, I’m sold! Not only are they full of fiber and protein, but they made this soup hearty and rich-tasting. They really cook down in the broth, adding a buttery creaminess to the texture. The key, I learned, is using lots of seasoning to keep them from tasting bland in this soup.

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup: If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! #realfood #freezermeal #superhealthy

One more thing to share before we get to the recipe. Would you believe that my kids even tried and ate some of this soup? All three of them–the 2, 4, and 6 year olds. That’s because they helped me pick the produce and chop it for the soup. The push to get kids in the kitchen isn’t just a nice theory. It really works if you’re wanting your children to try new foods and take an interest in where their food comes from.

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup Recipe: If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! #realfood #freezermeal #superhealthy

My 6-year-old has become an expert chopper, as we’ve worked on his knife skills over the past year. My 4-year-old daughter isn’t too bad either. I usually give them a butter knife and it works fine, although I now trust my older son with a small sharp chopping knife. The 2-year-old picked herbs off the back porch for me and then proceeded to make his own “soup” while we cooked. What great fun in the kitchen (and quite a mess…yes…but worth it)!

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup Recipe: If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! #realfood #freezermeal #superhealthy

Keep in mind, you can use all kinds of veggies in this recipe. Just toss in what you have on hand in place of the ones I suggest, if you want. Happy summer soup making!

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup: If you’re looking for a low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup….this is it! #realfood #freezermeal #superhealthy

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Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup recipe

Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Dutch Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A low calorie, nutritionally-dense, and tasty soup that’s simply perfect for a summer day or a cold winter night.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • fresh thyme, bundle a few sprigs and tie together with kitchen twine or another sprig
  • 23 large carrots or 1 bag of baby carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups green beans, chopped
  • 1 small to medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • fresh herbs (i.e. parsley, basil, etc), chopped, to taste

Instructions

Note: Try to chop the vegetables about the same size and small enough to fit on a spoon bite.

  1. Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, bay leaf, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Saute until softened. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  3. Add lentils and thyme bundle and simmer about 10 minutes less than the lentil package directions call for.
  4. Add vegetables and simmer another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove bay leaf and thyme bundle. Top with freshly chopped herbs. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Serving suggestion: Top with fresh Parmesan cheese and serve with a good loaf of crusty bread.


Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Cook soup completely and let cool. Put soup in freezer-safe container or bag. Freezer for up to 3 months.
To Prepare:
Thaw soup in refrigerator overnight. You can also warm it from frozen on the stovetop.
*Note, you may need to add some more water or broth because the vegetables will absorb some of the liquid.

Fried Rice with Sweet Soy Sauce {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

 This fried rice with sweet soy sauce recipe is AMAZING. It's packed with nutritious ingredients and serves as a delicious side dish. It's also surprisingly freezer friendly!

I’d be stupid if I didn’t make this Fried Rice with Sweet Soy Sauce recipe fairly often for the fam. Want to know why? I’ll give you seven substantial reasons:

1. This fried rice is full of flavor and is filling even without meat. My husband and some of my kids (there’s always a picky one, right?) love it.

2. It’s packed full of fiber, good fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

3. I only get one pan dirty. Boo ya!

4. You can use up any vegetables in the fridge and freezer. Seriously, feel free to use whatever you’ve got for this one. In addition to the veggies listed in the recipe, I’ve used frozen peas, onions, green beans, bamboo shoots and cauliflower. The possibilities are endless.

5. The addition of the brown sugar makes this particular sauce kid-friendly. Who doesn’t like their veggies with a little sugar on them? 🙂

6. It takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.

7. Last but not least, this healthy main dish is CHEAP! I estimate that this dinner, even when using organic eggs, cost me about $6 to feed 4 people.

So, there is my two cents about why you might want to try this recipe on a weeknight. I’ll leave it in your hands now.

This fried rice with sweet soy sauce recipe is AMAZING. It's packed with nutritious ingredients and serves as a delicious side dish. It's also surprisingly freezer friendly!

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Fried Rice with Sweet Soy Sauce

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Description

This homemade fried rice is healthy, inexpensive, and better than some of your favorite Chinese takeout! Try this for your family’s next favorite weeknight meal.


Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (for the pan)
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 45 stalks asparagus, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas or frozen peas, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups of cooked brown rice
  • Sweet Soy Sauce (see recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped (optional)
  • For Sweet Soy Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat; swirl to coat.
  2. Pour eggs into pan; cook for 2 minutes or until set, stirring a few times. Remove eggs from pan.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pan. Add vegetables; stir-fry until softened (do not let garlic burn). Season with salt and pepper while it’s cooking.
  4. Add rice. Stir-fry for 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add cooked eggs, sweet soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Top with parsley. Toss to combine.
  5. For the Soy Sauce: Bring soy sauce, brown sugar, butter and minced onion to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer 2 minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Cook fully. Cool. Freeze in an air tight/freezer-safe container.
To Prepare:
When ready to eat, thaw, add a little water and/or more soy sauce (if needed for moisture), and warm in the microwave or over low heat in a pan on the stove.

This fried rice with sweet soy sauce recipe is AMAZING. It's packed with nutritious ingredients and serves as a delicious side dish. It's also surprisingly freezer friendly!

Tomato Bisque Recipe {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Tomato Bisque: A Panera Bread fake-out recipe. Freezer Friendly, healthy dinner idea!
Anyone a big fan of Panera’s Tomato Bisque? I may have found a recipe as good or better. That’s a bold claim, I know. It began with this recipe from Food & Wine. But, then I added a few healthy spins to it–ones that did not sacrifice taste in any way I assure you!

The result was a huge home run with my entire family and a few of our friends on New Year’s Eve. I’m talking picky little kids and foodie adults, people. There are few recipes in my repertoire that I can honestly say that about.

My kids affectionately called it “ketchup soup,” in honor of their favorite condiment (and side dish). My husband and I just call it a soup worthy of a special occasion or any night.

Here are a few things you may want to know before making this soup:

  • I wrote the recipe for a crowd or for your family to have enough to freeze for later. If you want just enough for one 4-person meal, just simply cut it in half.
  • Seasoning all along the way is key to deep flavor. Season with S & P when you saute the veggies, season again when you add the liquids, and finally season at the end after tasting. But, don’t get too heavy-handed at the get go!
  • We also loved the kicked-up addition of the hot sauce at the end. I just left it out of the kids’ bowls.

Add a gourmet grilled cheese alongside this soup, and you’ve got the perfect winter comfort food. Plus, you’ll have just fed your family a bowl full of vegetables!

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Tomato Bisque from "From Freezer to Table" Cookbook. Order at FromFreezerToTable.com today.

Tomato Bisque Recipe (Panera Bread Fake-Out)

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 23 minutes
  • Total Time: 28 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This comforting, hearty bisque is full of nutrition and rich flavor! It will win over kids and adults alike!


Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery rib, chopped
  • 46 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 8 cups (2 quarts) organic low-sodium chicken stock or broth (or vegetarian broth)
  • Two 28-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained (look for BPA-free cans)
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste (look for BPA-free cans)
  • 4 teaspoons sugar (I used unrefined raw sugar)
  • 1/23/4 cup half and half
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • 1 cup croutons, for garnish (optional)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large stockpot or dutch oven, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Then, season with salt, pepper, and red pepper. Stir occasionally until the vegetables are just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir for 1 minute, or until flour is fully incorporated.
  4. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar.
  5. Season lightly with more with salt and pepper, if you’d like.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer (over about medium heat) and cover partially.
  7. Stir occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  8. Transfer the soup in batches to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree until fairly smooth. (Note: Please be careful during this step! Don’t fill the blender full. Cover the lid with a towel and hold securely while blending so the lid doesn’t pop off.) Carefully, return the puree to the saucepan.
  9. Add the half and half and cook over medium-low until the soup is just heated through.
  10. Taste and then season the soup with salt, pepper, and hot sauce to your preference.
  11. Swirl in the 4 tablespoons of butter.
  12. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with croutons, fresh shredded Parmesan cheese, and serve.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze: Full cook and fully cool. Freeze in a freezer container or bag and seal well. Store up to three months in freezer.
To Prepare: Thaw in the refrigerator or using the defrost setting in the microwave. Warm over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe (Chicken Necks Can Actually Be Useful!)

By Polly Conner

A simple combination of chicken and veggies will help you create a healthy, delicious homemade chicken stock.

What would YOU do with 3 pounds of chicken necks?

A common household dilemma, right? (I hope you are picking up on my thick sarcasm)

A simple combination of chicken and veggies will help you create a healthy, delicious homemade chicken stock.

I’ve never had to ponder the fate of a bag of chicken necks until my parents generously shared a portion of Amish chickens that they had ordered. They sent us home with a cooler of whole and quartered freshly slaughtered, organic chickens but hidden within their generous gift to us was a bag of necks. We went though the other chickens fast but the bag of necks sat in our deep freeze for months. I was about to toss them out when my mom told me they packaged them up so you could make chicken stock out of them. Oooooh. So THAT’S what I should do with them.

I’ve never made chicken stock before so I set out to find a recipe.

What I found was that there are a gazillion different recipes and ways to make chicken stock. I finally landed on a version of this one from the food network.

So now that I had 9-10 cups of chicken stock, what did I do with it??

Well, I used our chicken noodle soup recipe and made a big ‘ol batch. This came in handy when both my  husband and I came down with some sort of flu bug. We still have quite a few servings of the soup in the freezer that I plan to use in the near future. Yum! I was pretty glad I didn’t chuck that bag of chicken necks out!

A simple combination of chicken and veggies will help you create a healthy, delicious homemade chicken stock.

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chicken stock recipe

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe (Chicken Necks Can Actually Be Useful!)

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 20 mins
  • Yield: 10 cups 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A simple combination of chicken and veggies will help you create a healthy, delicious homemade chicken stock. Freeze some to use in homemade soups!


Ingredients

  • 34 lbs of thawed chicken parts (in my case, necks)
  • 1 large onion quartered
  • 4 carrots peeled and cut in half
  • 4 stalks of celery, cut in half
  • A handful of fresh thyme
  • A handful of fresh basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic
  • about 910 cups water

Instructions

  1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large stock pot and then lower to a simmer, uncovered for about 2-3 hours.
  2. Strain out all ingredients leaving just the chicken stock.
  3. Note: Some recipes say to refrigerate overnight at this point, but I didn’t do this.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Let stock cool completely. Ladle in to freezer safe bags or containers and store for up to 3 months.
To Prepare:
Pull individual sizes of chicken stock from freezer and let thaw in refrigerator overnight. Use in soups, casseroles, or any meal that calls for chicken stock.

Mediterranean Layered Dip

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Here’s a healthy and super EASY lunch, appetizer, or snack idea for you. Try out this tasty Mediterranean Layered Dip and make it your way.

Try this Mediterranean twist on the classic 7-layer dip. You'll not only love the taste, but you'll be loaded up with protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

This Mediterranean Layered Dip is full of heart-healthy fats, protein, fiber and antioxidants from the hummus and veggies. The feta cheese provides a nice, tangy, salty bite to top it all off.  Serve it with some Pita chips and you’ve got yourself a killer real food meal or appetizer.

Try this Mediterranean twist on the classic 7-layer dip. You'll not only love the taste, but you'll be loaded up with protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

This versatile dip stays good in your fridge for a few days, so why not whip up a batch and feel good about snacking all week?

Below is how I made mine, but feel free to add in a layer of chopped tomatoes, olives, chopped artichokes, minced red onions, or roasted red peppers. Just do whatever floats your Mediterranean boat!

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Mediterranean Layered Dip Recipe

Mediterranean Layered Dip Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 68 appetizer servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Description

Try this Mediterranean twist on the classic 7-layer dip. You’ll not only love the taste, but you’ll be loaded up with protein, fiber, and antioxidants.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup hummus
  • 2 cups (loosely packed) chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Optional: chopped tomatoes, olives, chopped artichokes, minced red onions, or roasted red peppers

Instructions

  1. In a glass bowl, layer the ingredients in this order:
    • 1/2 cup hummus
    • 1 cup chopped spinach
    • 1/2 of the red pepper
    • 1/2 cup hummus
    • 1 cup chopped spinach.
  2. Squeeze lemon juice over the top of ingredients. Top with 1/2 cup feta cheese.
  3. Optional: Add in any of the optional ingredients as a layer. You may want to add more hummus and/or feta in between every two layers to keep the dip creamy.
  4. Serving Suggestion: Serve with pita chips, fresh vegetable sticks, or torn pieces of pita bread.

Balsamic Sweet Potatoes

By Polly Conner
The unique flavor from the glaze makes these sweet potatoes taste out of this world!

We get a little crazy with the sweet potato recipes around Thriving Home. Rachel has found amazing ways to sneak them into banana breadbiscuits, pancakes, and even french toast. If you poke around our Recipe Index you will have no problem finding lots of recipes that include them. Why are we so crazy about sweet potatoes? Because they are seriously good for you.

The unique flavor from the glaze makes these sweet potatoes taste out of this world!

While Rachel may be the queen of baking with sweet potatoes, I have stumbled upon a flavorful way to cook them that I can’t get enough of. This is an easy sweet potato recipe that only requires a few simple ingredients. The glaze adds such a unique flavor from the sweet potatoes that I’ve never tasted before. Ready for some serious YUM?

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easy sweet potato recipe

Balsamic Sweet Potatoes

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: American

Description

The unique flavor from the glaze makes these sweet potatoes taste out of this world! If you’re not a sweet potato fan, you will be after this recipe.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 23 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/4-inch pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper (for easy clean up).
  2. In large skillet over medium heat, bring balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer until vinegar thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add butter and salt and stir until butter melts.
  4. Add potato pieces to skillet; toss to coat. Season potatoes with freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Spread potatoes evenly on the rimmed baking sheet. Bake until potatoes are tender and golden, stirring occasionally, about 30-40 minutes.
  6. Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes to large platter or bowl and serve.