Honey Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Honey Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Have you ever been eating shrimp and thought… wow…. I just ate half of what I cooked?!?! This Honey Cilantro Lime Shrimp will quickly vanish into thin air just like shrimp always does! This is a super simple recipe with a nice balance of sweet, acidic, and salty flavors. It is great for parties, game days, or a nice dinner with the hubby and kids. The sauce is customizable so if you aren’t feeling the balance, add some additional acid/sweetness to make it your own. You really just can’t go wrong with a beautiful pile of shrimp and a few fresh ingredients for the sauce!

Honey Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Welcome to the paragraph on this post about my life in the current moment. I don’t have a ton to write today, other then the fact that I’ve been pondering how Mom’s ever stop looking at all the pretty little things for baby girls!?!

WHEN. DOES. IT. END.

You guys, if you haven’t been following I have 4 boys. For 11 years I’ve walked by the baby girl section longing to buy it all. Like every single cute headband and bow and delicious little onsie with the cupcake and sprinkles all over it. For a really long time I completely shut out that side of the clothing store because I had come to the realization that I was a boy Mom and that meant green and brown striped onesies covered in dump trucks. I didn’t even want to peek at what may be on the other side of the store because I had nobody to purchase the cuteness for.

Until I did! 🙂

Don’t get me wrong, boys clothing has come a long way since my first was born. PRAISE JESUS. However, for me it still just doesn’t even compare to the bows and leopard print and leggings and dresses. It is, in the end, just clothing that will be shat upon and peed in and thrown up on. But the baby girl waiting game has been getting the best of my lately and my internet browsers are filled with all the cuteness that is out there and able to be purchased. Lord help my bank account and self control! Who has a favorite place to shop for little girl’s clothing?

Honey Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Honey Cilantro Lime Shrimp Recipe Tips

  1. As mentioned above, if you need to balance out your sauce, go ahead and add more lime/honey to your liking.
  2. I LIGHTLY sprinkled the shrimp with adobo seasoning, and went even lighter with the cumin. These flavors really bring the dish together though, so don’t skip out on them! If you aren’t familiar with adobo seasoning, I use Goya brand and it has never failed me.
  3. If you don’t want to stand and peel two pounds a shrimp like I did, look for the pre-peeled shrimp! Generally I always buy frozen shrimp because… Hello… Mom of 4, soon to be 5 over here doesn’t have a million dollars to spend on seafood each week, so frozen it is! I was not able to find wild caught shrimp that was pre-peeled.
  4. The fresh cilantro kicks this recipe up about a million notches so don’t skip out on it unless you are the 10% who thinks that cilantro tastes like soap. 🙂
  5. I served this shrimp over rice with avocado slices on the side. It made for a fantastic dinner!

Honey Cilantro Lime Shrimp

honey cilantro lime shrimp #shrimprecipes, #honeylimeshrimp, #cilantrolimeshrimp, #shrimpdinners, #seafoodrecipes

 




Honey Barbecue Bacon Meatballs

Honey Barbecue Bacon Meatballs

The Super Bowl is right around the corner, and these Honey Barbecue Bacon Meatballs are a crowd-pleasing appetizer worthy of bringing to the big game!

Truth: I don’t care about the Super Bowl. I don’t follow football, my husband doesn’t follow football, and well… we just aren’t a sporty family. I GUESS I’m rooting for the Eagles because my Mom is a super fan and I’m close to Philadelphia. 🙂 We usually go to a family friendly party, and I’m strictly there for the food so don’t ask me about the game or even the commercials because I could care less!

My ALL TIME favorite Super Bowl appetizer is Buffalo Chicken Dip. It is addicting, delicious, and expected to be at every party. Wings are also right up there on the list of must haves, but you will always need a few other items to fill in for the folks who aren’t into spicy foods. Shrimp, meatballs, guacamole, pizza… you know all the good stuff!

Honey Barbecue Bacon Meatballs

For these Honey Barbecue Bacon Meatballs, I did make my meatballs from scratch because it is super simple to do! HOWEVER…. if you happen to pick up frozen meatballs to make this recipe, no judgement here! That is what I love about this recipe, it is customizable and can be made in even less time if you are in a hurry. Getting all of my family ready and out the door for a Super Bowl party is stressful enough, so I totally get it. If you are running low on time or just don’t care…. GET THE FROZEN MEATBALLS. 🙂

Homemade Honey Barbecue Sauce over meatballs. Smoky sweet meatballs.

Honey Barbecue Bacon Meatballs Recipe Tips

  1. Again, this recipe is totally customizable. Don’t have time to make meatballs from scratch? Buy frozen! Want your sauce a bit sweeter? Add more honey! Really love ranch dressing? Drizzle some on there like I did!
  2. If you are making meatballs from scratch, the meatball recipe is a basic tried and true recipe. There isn’t anything particularly different about it, because the sauce and the bacon are really making these meatballs.
  3. The sauce is WAY better the next day. I would suggest maybe making it the day before, and letting all of the flavors come together overnight in the refrigerator. Here is the thing about homemade sauces like this…. they need time. Just like the sauce you buy in the grocery store has been sitting for a period of time, it is also good to let your homemade sauce sit and mingle together.
  4. If you’d like to make these as a meal, they are great with a simple side like buttered egg noodles or jasmine rice. We have eaten them as a meal with rice and they were fantastic.
  5. If your party is large, I would suggest making a double batch. If you’d like to stick with a single batch, you can always make them mini-meatballs to stretch them farther.
  6. For the meat… I prefer to use a meatball/meatloaf mix of meats. It includes beef, pork, and veal. I know, I know. But listen, the meat matters! My local grocery stores do sell this already pre-mixed specifically for meatballs and meatloaf. If you can’t find a meatball mix at your grocery store, I would ask the butcher there to make you a mix, or just purchase 1 pound of each and make a large batch and freeze the extras.

Honey Barbecue Bacon Meatballs #meatballs, #meatballsrecipes, #barbecue, #honeybarbecue, #gamedayrecipes, #superbowlrecipes

 




Sticky Sesame Apricot Chicken

 

Apricot Chicken Recipe

This may not seem very interesting to most people, but something really epic happened to me today. I FINALLY found maternity jeans that I don’t hate. AND… I got new shoes. 3 pairs! AND… a new bra. AND… a few other nice shirts to get me through the rest of my pregnancy. Life is good. I look like a normal human being again. It feels good!

If anyone ever tells you a new pair of jeans that fit right isn’t life changing, please have them reference this. IT IS. This baby bump and Mama are so happy!

When I arrived home from my epic shopping adventure, food was necessary. Walking around the mall is exhausting when it feels like there is a bowling ball, that may or may not pop out at any time, between your legs. So I put together this Sticky Sesame Apricot Chicken and sat down!

Apricot Chicken Recipe

What I really love about this Sticky Sesame Apricot Chicken recipe is it combines so many flavors. The apricot preserves I used are a bit tart. Mix that with the sweetness of brown sugar, and the saltiness of soy sauce….and you have the perfect combination! I’ve mentioned my Jasmine Rice cravings, and this recipe did not  disappoint! It goes great over a giant heap of perfectly cooked Jasmine Rice, and some additional soy sauce on top. 🙂

Sticky Sesame Apricot Chicken

Recipe Tips

  1. I mentioned this in my Honey Mustard Garlic Chicken recipe as well, but when coating chicken it really helps to get everything in place before you start so you don’t have to continually wash your hands and then reach for the forgotten items. I’ve only done this a million times before I started telling myself over and over again to get everything in place before starting!
  2. Use one hand to dip in the egg, and then the other to coat in cornstarch. If you try to use the same hand you will have a hot mess! After working in restaurants and coating about a million pieces of chicken, sometimes this still isn’t second nature to me. The temptation to dip with the same hand is still there! haha
  3. This is a base recipe. If you like more salty, add more soy sauce! If you like more sweet, add more brown sugar!

Sesame Apricot Chicken

 

 

 

 




Sundried Tomato Feta Baked Salmon

Sundried Tomato Feta Baked Sallmon

Friends… this one is no joke. This Sundried Tomato Feta Baked Salmon is the best salmon I have ever made! Not only does it taste absolutely amazing, it is SO EASY to make. I repeat SO EASY.

I have mentioned, I am about to pop. About to pop as in numerous strangers have asked me if I am having twins. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Stranger: “Oh my, when are you due?”

Me: “March.”

Stranger: “Wow, I thought you were going to say next week! Are you sure there is only one in there?”

Me: “Yes, I’ve carried all of my kids like this.”

Stranger: “Your belly is really low! Thank goodness you are all belly! This must be your first child!”

Me: “No, I actually have 4 boys already.”

Stranger: *Now completely stunned. “My word you have your hands full.”

Me: “No shit.”

Ok so maybe I just smile and walk away, but seriously folks if one more person tells me I have my hands full. It is just a statement that has no answer. It is awkward. It is annoying. Find a more encouraging statement!

**Pregnant rant over. Just leave the preggo ladies alone from now on.

Moving on to this Sundried Tomato Feta Baked Salmon. It is really all of my pregnant dreams come true. PLUS it is healthy and provides little unnamed babe with lots of healthy fats and proteins. I can’t say my diet has been entirely healthy throughout my entire pregnancy, but this is a meal that I can feel good about. It doesn’t even hurt my back or the rest of my body to make because it literally takes minutes to throw all the ingredients on the salmon, wrap it up in the foil, and bake! Instant pregnancy cravings gratification!

Sundried Tomato Feta Baked Salmon

Recipe Tips

  1. There isn’t much to say about this recipe because it is super simple. The main tip I would suggest is making sure you generously season your salmon before baking. I used coarse kosher salt.
  2. I always look for sundried tomatoes that don’t contain sulfur dioxide. Mine came in a jar in oil and seasonings and were perfect because they weren’t super dry after being baked. I found the jarred ones in the healthy-ish section of the grocery store. The sulfur dioxide commonly added to the bagged ones is only there for color retention.
  3. If you are feeling adventurous, a squirt of lemon over this salmon would probably be a delicious addition!

Sundried tomato baked salmon

Sundried Tomato Baked Salmon




Chocolate Ganache Brownies

Chocolate Ganache Brownies

Hands up if you like a big old chocolate explosion of a brownie? These Chocolate Ganache Brownies are just that… Rich, decadent brownies topped with a delightfully creamy ganache. Basically Little Debbie on steroids. 🙂

Truth: In high school I worked at a buffet. We used to make boxed brownies and slather them with canned frosting. We didn’t even cover them up at night and I would still eat them, all dried out 3 days later, especially if the soft served ice cream they also had was involved. Brownies + Frosting = Heart Eyed Emoji.

Fast forward to when I went to Pastry Arts school. I realized there was a much, much better way to achieve this type of frosted brownie. GANACHE. The epitome of chocolate awesomeness. So versatile, so deliciously smooth and pretty. You can put it on cakes, pour it over desserts, and yes… you can also frost brownies with ganache.

Chocolate Ganache Brownies

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you may want to show someone some love by whipping up a batch of these brownies as dessert. If your Valentine is into a super fudgy, semi-sweet chocolate brownie, then this recipe is perfect!

Valentine’s Day to me this year means my baby is almost full term. When I saw the Valentine’s Day stuff popping up at all the store’s my mind just kept telling me… you are one day closer. Keep going. It is almost over! 🙂 Being a mom of 4 boys already and being pregnant has been… well… hard. Everything hurts, I’m out of breath, my body is just tired of being pregnant. But alas, one day closer… one day closer.

Chocolate Ganche Brownies

Recipe Tips

This recipe is super easy, yet super easy to totally bomb. Take it from me, I’ve done it before!

  1. Please, for the love of all things… line your 8×8 inch brownie pan with parchment paper. It will change your brownie life forever. More importantly, it will give you a nice little slab of perfect brownies that you can easily pull right out of the pan and top with your ganache.
  2. If you are wondering who on earth bakes brownies in such a small pan, you are not alone my friend! Generally I scoff at all of the recipes that suggest a dinky little 8×8 pan. I have 4 and a half kids and a husband. I’m not here to waste my time making 9 brownies. HOWEVER…. these brownies are extremely decadent and one brownie will suffice. This is the ONLY brownies you will see coming out of my kitchen in an 8×8 pan. If you happen to be feeding your own little army and feel you might need more, go ahead and double the recipe and use a larger pan.
  3. Ganache is super easy to make, but does require some cooling time. When you first mix your ganache, the consistency will not be right to put on the brownies immediately. You will need to put your ganache in the refrigerator until the consistency becomes thick and spreadable.
  4. When cutting your beautiful Chocolate Ganache Brownies, there is a method to the madness. First, using a large chef knife is the best way to get a perfectly cut brownie. Second, running the knife under hot water and wiping it off before each cut will ensure you don’t mess up your ganache. I know, I know… tedious… however… aren’t they beautiful?!?! What I’m really saying is don’t take a butter knife and run it through your ganache topped brownies and expect it to look the way mine do. THEY WILL BE A HOT MESS.

Chocolate Ganche Brownies

*Brownie recipe borrowed from this here wee little website. 🙂 I have attempted several times to make this recipe “my own” by switching things out. What I learned is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The original recipe is perfect.

Chocolate Ganache Brownies

 




Sticky Honey Mustard Garlic Chicken

Hello! Welcome to my first post in 2018, and my first post under a brand spankin’ new name! This Sticky Honey Mustard Garlic Chicken is the perfect way to start off the new year, but first….

What gives on the name change!?!?!

I’m ready to drop a few truth bombs right now, and it may not be pretty but it is genuine and it is me. I was struggling with the name 3boysunprocessed. Struggling for a very long time. In 2018 one of my goals was to make this blog a more comprehensive look at my life. To do that I desperately needed to change the name and break out of the box of unprocessed eating.

Four years ago, my life was completely different! When I started this blog, I was so passionate about cooking with the least processed ingredients. What you saw was what I was feeding my family. It was fun to me then, it was my own little project that I loved and babied. It grew my love for photography, it gave me a reason to talk about my children and document my life, and it was great. I was stunned when people actually cared. But then….

Life happened. My husband started a new career that took him on the road and away from home 5 days a week, we had another baby (and have another on the way now), I started a photography business, and my wee little babes who would eat anything suddenly didn’t want my whole wheat macaroni and honey sweetened delicious treats anymore. Things were different, my family was growing and changing, and my blog needed to reflect that.

Life can be extremely busy at times. Every time I thought to myself that I’d like to post a new recipe, I realized that it may not fit into the unprocessed box I had put myself into. I want to share my love for food here, and ultimately I have to be true and honest that this is not how I cook anymore. Of course, I am still cooking fresh, homemade meals for my family. However I’ve stopped stressing over certain ingredients such as white pasta and cane sugar. My sanity needed a break from hyper obsessing over my kids going to a birthday party and eating a hotdog bun. So I let go a little, and it feels great!

Looking into 2018, I’m really ready to share more stories about life, my family, my cooking, my Lipsense business, my love for photography, and so much more! I absolutely love looking back at all of my posts from when my boys were all super tiny, and I want to keep sharing the special little details without the stress of being in any kind of box. Cheers to 2018!

Sticky Honey Mustard Garlic Chicken

Now that the cat is out of the bag, shall we move on to this Sticky Honey Mustard Garlic Chicken? It is oozing with delicious Asian inspired flavors, simple ingredients, and my latest pregnancy craving… Jasmine Rice and soy sauce! It combines a few simple ingredients to check off every box on the BEST CHICKEN EVER list… sweet, salty, perfectly crunchy, and smothered in a delicious and easy to make sauce.

THIS IS CHICKEN HEAVEN.

Sticky Honey Mustard Garlic Chicken

The Recipe

One of my favorite way to make takeout inspired chicken is to dip it in egg, coat it with cornstarch, and then cook it on the stovetop. It gives a deep fried texture without actually deep frying or ordering takeout from a place that may or may not be using trans fats to fry their food. I love me some Panda Express, but I hate the way I feel after eating mystery ingredients. This is the perfect way to make it at home and know exactly what you are eating.

The most important step when cooking this Sticky Honey Mustard Garlic Chicken is to make sure your meat is properly seasoned. Don’t forget to season your chicken before you bread it. I always use coarse Kosher salt to season meats, it has never let me down! A sprinkle over all of your chicken chunks will work wonders.

Coating the chicken is easy, but can be messy! One thing I learned while working in restaurants and coating millions of pieces of chicken is to get everything where you need it before you start, and use one hand to dip and the other to coat. No matter how bad you want to just go right from the egg to the cornstarch with the same hand… DON’T DO IT or your hands will be a hot mess.

The sauce is super easy to put together! Cook the garlic, then add the rest of the ingredients and viola! It is super versatile, so if you like it a little more sweet, add more honey. If you like it a little more salty, add more soy sauce! If you don’t have whole grain mustard, use dijon! The sky is the limit here, this is really just a base recipe.

Also, apparently is is really easy to burn Jasmine rice. That is all I’m going to say about that. HAHA




Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken & Guac

 

Grab your tortilla chips and get prepared for some fresh guacamole and perfectly grilled chicken! This Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken & Guac does not disappoint in the flavor department and takes only a few minutes to prepare. Weeknight grilling for the win!

Truth: I’m trying to fit more fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and lean protein into my diet. All winter I wasn’t taking into consideration what I was eating, and I found myself mostly snacking on carbs all day. In my Balsamic Glazed Grilled Chicken recipe, I discussed prepping meals ahead of time to try to balance my diet a bit more. So far it is working great, except when my husband comes home and eats all of the portions I made in advance. Meal prep fail! His job is super labor intensive, so I guess he gets a pass to go on this one. 🙂

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

Cilantro is super popular, but I feel it is so underrated! Every time I purchase a bunch of cilantro at the grocery store I:

  1. Immediately smell it 1,000 times
  2. Make a gorgeous salad with a cilantro lime dressing
  3. Make fresh guac, of course
  4. Start putting it on everything until it goes bad

But for real, this Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken & Guac is one of my favorite uses for it. You just can’t beat a perfectly grilled piece of chicken, seasoned to perfection, bursting with bold flavors, and perfect for leftovers! I mentioned meal prepping earlier and this chicken made awesome salads the rest of the week for me. I tossed it with some dark leafy greens, a few tortilla chips as croutons, fresh avocado, cherry tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and my favorite ranch dressing. Yum!

Grilling Tips

I have a few grilling tips I’ve repeated here about 1,000 times but here goes again! I suggest generously seasoning your meat with coarse kosher salt and black pepper beforehand. This is an important part of this recipe because bland chicken is no good! Next, I would suggest using thin cut chicken breasts, or filleting and pounding your chicken breasts flat with a meat tenderizer. This also makes a huge difference in how your chicken grills, and eliminates that super fat part that contributes to uneven grilling and a bland end product.

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken & Guac

 




Classic Beef Macaroni Soup

Snow day food alert! This Classic Beef Macaroni Soup was the perfect pot of delicious last week when we had a snow storm in the middle of March. I was not ready for snow in March, but a big pot of soup can fix any problem, right?

This is such a standard, simple recipe. Sometimes I wonder, do people even want to see recipes THIS EASY. I always find myself saying, yes! Of course they do! Not every recipe has to be elaborate, or out of the box. Simple, classic comfort food is a thing because it is one of the best ways to eat. I’ve been making this soup for my kids for a number of years now, and I thought it was time to share it!

Not only does this Classic Beef Macaroni soup taste delicious, it is so quick to make. From start to finish I want to call it a 30 minute meal, but with the boiling time it may be a few more minutes. With the short cook time, I can make this any day of the week, then have the perfect leftovers for the rest of the week.

Classic Beef Macaroni Soup Recipe Tips

  • The most important thing to remember with this recipe is to stir the pot while your noodles are boiling. The macaroni noodles have a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot, so I would not suggest just pouring in the macaroni and walking away.
  • After my soup was boiling I realized I had some excess grease pooling on the top of the pot. I just took my large metal spoon and removed it.
  • I topped my soup with a little bit of extra sharp cheddar cheese. This is optional but highly recommended by someone who thinks cheese is basically life.
  • This soup gets better and better in the refrigerator! After all of the flavors come together over night, you may notice you love it even more!
  • The tomato product I use are just plain strained tomatoes. I’ve been using this product for years, and it is one of my most loved pantry staples! You can use it in just about anything. This is a no salt added product so you don’t have to worry about your soup being super salty in the end. The product size is 24 ounces, so you will be using the whole jar.


Beef Macaroni Soup

Beef Macaroni Soup

 

 




Meal Prep: Balsamic Glazed Grilled Chicken

Happy first day of Spring! My heart is happy!

What better way to welcome the first day of spring then to do some healthy meal prep with this Balsamic Glazed Grilled Chicken! This is an easy, simple, and delicious way to not complicate eating healthy. With just a few ingredients you can have meals for the week, which means plenty of time to get outside and enjoy the Spring weather!

 

Meal Prep Balsamic Chicken

Truth: Everyone can meal prep. EVERYONE. You don’t need to be a super healthy, fitness guru to meal prep. You can be a Mommy like me who is tired of eating your children’s leftovers for lunch. You could also be a working 20-something who is sick and tired of spending so much money on eating out. Or a middle aged man who takes lunch to the office. There are a million scenarios here, and the bottom line is everyone can meal prep to make their lives easier.

For me personally, I need structure to my eating habits to maintain my healthy eating goals. If I have an open-ended day with no plan, sure enough I find myself snacking on everything in sight. I’m not “dieting,” rather I’m just trying to find a nice balance between foods I really love, and foods I should be eating more of.

Should be eating more of = greens, lean protein, fruits

Foods I love = Mac n cheese, cheese fries, cheeseburgers, anything with sugar

See how this could turn into a serious problem!?! Creating a balance for me is just making plans, like this Balsamic Glazed Grilled Chicken. It took me less than 45 minutes from start to finish. 45 minutes! Now I have lunch for the rest of the week. That means no reaching snacks to fill me up. I am armed and ready with a plan of filling half of my plate with these beautiful greens and fruit, and the other with a protein.

Meal Prep Chicken

LunchBots for Storing Meals

I mentioned on my Planetbox vs. LunchBots review that I love these little boxes! What I love the most is that they are not plastic. Secondly, they are super easy to load your food in, and stack up in the refrigerator to store without taking up a ton of space. For this meal I would suggest using the uno or duo. I used both and they worked like a charm! Amazon has a nice variety of their products, so here is the link to the uno that I used. For a larger portion, they also have their Bento line, which is fabulous too!

The Recipe

The best part of this recipe by far is the balsamic glaze! It is simply just balsamic vinegar and a bit of sugar reduced to a thick glaze. This takes about 15 minutes and will make your entire house smell like vinegar (warning). It is so good though, I didn’t even care!

When the chicken was just about done grilling, I brushed each piece with the glaze, then removed from the heat. The glaze will run off of the chicken when it is piping hot, but after it cooled a bit, I re-brushed with glaze to make sure it was nice and glaze-y.

Each container contains:

  • 1 grilled chicken breast
  • 2 cups dark leafy greens
  • 1/2-1 cup strawberries/grapes
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • additional balsamic glaze for drizzling

If I were packing this to-go, I would use a LunchBots dips container for dressing or additional glaze.

Balsamic Chicken Meal Prep

 




Pepperoni Pizza Panko Chicken

Pepperoni Pizza Panko Chicken

Pepperoni Pizza Panko Chicken. Say that a few times really fast! This is an easy, kid friendly recipe that screams weeknight meal to me! It combines panko and parmesan crusted chicken, pizza sauce,  Applegate Pepperoni, and melty mozzarella cheese to make a delicious main dish.

Truth…I am not a huge pepperoni person, and never have been. Growing up I was just an extra cheese kind of girl. I have ventured out a bit since those days, but my ideal slice of pizza is still extra cheese. Cheese = Life.

My children, on the other hand, love pepperoni. They have been known to completely abandon a slice of pizza after eating just the pepperoni off of the top.

WHO. DOES. THAT.

Despite not being a super duper pepperoni lover, I saw this Applegate Naturals pepperoni at the grocery store and thought it looked brilliant. It was huge. It was massive. It deserved to sit atop a chicken breast with melty mozzerella cheese and fresh basil on top. I needed this pepperoni in my life to show my children that I, in fact, can be a pepperoni person too.

Here is my husband pretending to be tall, dark, handsome, and mysterious while showing off this wonderful Applegate Naturals Pepperoni! He attempted to give me several pointers on how to get this shot. I didn’t listen to any of them! 

Pepperoni Pizza Panko Chicken

Ingredients and Tips

I have been mentioning this a lot here lately, and here I go again. Target is really killing it with their organic, non-GMO, and better ingredient oriented grocery selection lately! I am so impressed with their organic selection, sometimes I forget I’m even at Target. As I browsed the isles, or ran through them with a screaming baby, I picked up a jar of their Simply Balanced organic pizza sauce for $1.29!

$1.29!!!! I thought it was a steal. 🙂

I also used  Kikkoman panko bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and thin cut chicken breasts. If your chicken breasts are thicker, I highly suggest filleting them first (cutting them in half length-wise), and pounding them thin with a meat tenderizer.

When I sauté chicken, temperature and enough olive oil is key to getting those perfectly crisp panko crumbs on the outside. I had my burner on a steady medium-low the whole time. I knew I did not want to crank it up too high, as to not burn the olive oil or the panko bread crumbs. I think the crucial part to getting perfectly crisp and browned breadcrumbs is 100% the amount of oil in your pan. So before you put each piece of chicken in your skillet, make sure there is a generous dash of oil waiting for those breadcrumbs!

Pepperoni Pizza Panko Chicken

Pepperoni Pizza Chicken

 




Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie

This Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie post has been a long time coming! I haven’t mentioned too many times on the blog that I am from a small town in Central Pennsylvania. I grew up about 45 minutes north of Harrisburg. I’m no world traveler, however I do know a lot of people think of chicken pot pie as a literal pie with chicken and vegetables in it. I always thought of Chicken Pot Pie as the Pennsylvania Dutch version. I like to call it the “soup kind.” 🙂

Truth be told, growing up we really didn’t have any family recipes. My parents weren’t the kind to make dinner and have the family sit around the table. I have no idea why, but I do cherish these moments with my own family now. I wish I could say this was a generational type of recipe, passed down from my Grandmother, but it really isn’t! My grandmother is Polish. What I remember her making were traditional Polish dishes. Very few times have a seen her cook anything else, mostly because we see her at large family gatherings where family members expect the good Polish stuff!

So the cat is out of the bag. This was not passed down to me by anyone. This is my own recipe that I created as an adult who wanted to eat traditional PA Dutch pot pie. I grew up eating it in the elementary school cafeteria, and it was awesome! This is a quicker version of some traditional recipes because I am not making my own noodles and stock.

Around here most grocery stores carry these noodles, however I have no idea if grocery stores elsewhere carry them. You can purchase them on Amazon here.

Recipe Tips

If you have ever made a homemade soup, you will be very well prepared to make this because the recipe is pretty much identical to a soup recipe. I do cook the noodles in the broth, which helps all of the flavors come together, and thickens up the broth a bit.

For the chicken, I just roasted my chicken in the oven prior to making the pot pie. I have in the past, boiled my chicken and made a homemade stock, then prepared the pot pie from the stock. I’ll just be honest and say I like this version better. It is easier and tastes the same, if not better to me. Slow cooking broth all day is a great thing to do if you have the time, but lately I haven’t. I wanted to share a chicken pot pie recipe that tastes great, but doesn’t take hours upon hours to make! To make this even quicker, you could pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and cut out the roasting step. Your family will never know!




Grilled Greek Chicken

Confession: It took me approximately 22 years to try feta cheese. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember my parents ever purchasing feta cheese, and I never even heard of it until the first time I tried it. Living under a big ol’ food rock, no?

The first time I tried it, I actually just tried a hunk of it plain. Like why?!?! Why didn’t I understand it needed to be paired with other delicious foods of either the salty or sweet caliber to live up to it’s full feta potential? Not a great first impression but thankfully it wasn’t my last.

Fast forward a bit, I started working at a Greek restaurant and quickly realized I needed to give feta cheese another chance. I have not looked back since! This Grilled Greek Chicken is a fabulous recipe that pairs feta with other savory, salty food to bring out how awesome it is! You take the salty feta, the perfectly seasoned chicken, and the crisp tomato to tone it down a bit and you have the perfect bite!

Speaking of crisp tomatoes, this Grilled Greek Chicken is such a versatile recipe in terms of how you can mix it up and make it your own! The first day I made the chicken I ate it with a ton of tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, salt, and feta cheese. The weather here has been super warm here, so getting out and grilling and eating a light and refreshing side made me dream of the summer nights that are just around the corner. The next day I used the same chicken in a Greek salad. It was the perfect protein to throw onto a bed of greens, add a few croutons, tomatoes, and dressing and have a quick and easy lunch.

Meal preppers.. This is a great one for you!

Grilling The Chicken

I know this sounds so much like a cooking 101 class but the first step to this recipe is preparing the chicken the right way. I’ve given everyone this run down over and over again, however I know I get new traffic from Pinterest every single day. So hello new readers and listen up… preparing your chicken correctly is the key to every chicken recipe! 🙂

I’ve talked extensively about this on my Fiesta Grilled Chicken recipe but here I go again because I’m super passionate about helping people understand how to cook delicious food at home! If your chicken breasts are super thick, you will want to filet them (cut them lengthwise in half). Your knife skills do not have to be perfect to do this and rest assured, some of my chicken breasts look very butchered up when I do it too! Just keep practicing!

After you filet your breasts you will want to pound flat any super thick parts with a meat tenderizer. This ensures that every bite will be seasoned correctly and your chicken will grill evenly! There is nothing I hate more then biting into thick chicken that tastes bland. This will solve that problem! Simply place a piece of plastic over your chicken breast and pound. I like to this it is stress therapy and cooking all in one! haha

The next step. Course. Kosher. Salt. I’ve also talked about this ingredient extensively, but again, it is important so I’m saying it again. When seasoning meat I always use course kosher salt. You certainly don’t have to go overboard because it is strong and totally possible to over season but it can take a piece of chicken from zero to hero in just a pinch!

I have a $100 grill from Amazon.So by all means it is nothing fancy but it gets the job done. I put one side on medium, and one size on low. I start each piece on the hotter side, get nice grill marks by moving each piece after a few minutes, then I flip the chicken breast to the lower side to finish it.




Grilled Surf & Turf Tacos

Tacos are a family favorite here, and these Grilled Surf & Turf Tacos did not disappoint! They are so quick to put together, and a perfect meal for any night of the week.

One quick thing to point out about life in general. Target now has organic flour tortillas and that means my life is basically complete. For years (I’m not kidding) I’ve been looking for a store bought flour tortilla that did not contain hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats. I was able to find ONE product at Giant that did not. ONE. They are good, but I like options!

Now there are two! So I can now go to Target, get a latte from Starbucks, buy diapers, groceries, and  tortillas all in one place. Yeeessss. 🙂

Not only did I find flour tortillas that checked out in the ingredient department, I also found a huge bin of Avocados From Mexico right next to the tortilla section. In the bin I found the perfectly ripened avocado. Not too mushy, not too firm, but right in between. It sliced so perfectly for these Grilled Surf & Turf Tacos. The best part… I wasn’t even there for tortillas or avocados!! haha In fact, I don’t even know what I was there for!

Only. At. Target.

In my Fiesta Grilled Chicken recipe I shared a spice mix that I use for grilled meats for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc. This recipe is exactly like that one, in that I just use a few spices and I’m done! No packets for seasoning, or out of the ordinary ingredients. I love these simple recipes and my family does too!

Speaking of packets… a friend was just over at my house the other day and mentioned that she has always wanted to make her own taco seasoning mix but she just didn’t know what to use. I got mine off of the back of a can of beans one day. I have honestly not picked up a packet since then. It is so simple! You can totally play around with ratios of course,and add in other ingredients as you taste test and figure out what you like the best. Per pound of ground beef I use:

  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons adobo seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

The adobo seasoning does contain sodium, so I do go light on the salt. This recipe is similar, I’m just using steak instead of ground beef. Those 3 spices are the best together and are a great foundation for making your own taco seasoning. I’m sure I’ll be posting a ton of other recipes using them since my kids love this stuff and so do I!




Coconut, Strawberry, Chocolate Chip Scones

I’m so very much still in the Valentine’s Day spirit over here with these Coconut, Strawberry, Chocolate Chip scones! Or maybe, just maybe.. I had some strawberries and chocolate left over from my Salted Chocolate Covered Strawberries so I decided to put them to good use! <3 <3

Speaking of the Valentine’s Day spirit, I blogged about our Shrimp and Parmesan Strip Steak yesterday. It was our family Valentine’s Day meal and it was delicious! Valentine’s Day is always a great reason for me to go above and beyond in the kitchen and we had a great day. My husband also ate about 4 of these scones, so I’d say they were a hit!

Speaking of the scones, strawberry and chocolate are always a winning combo! I remember one of the first weeks in pastry arts school our chef asked us to think of some flavors that we’d like to put together in some cream puffs. I have no idea why but I was so nervous about it! I thought all day about what I wanted to make and at the end of the day all I could think of was strawberry pastry cream in the middle and chocolate on top. I was almost embarrassed to tell the chef that this is what I thought up. It just seemed to be too obvious of a choice.

And the chef was super happy about it and was like absolutely a great combination!

Never. Doubt. Yourself. 🙂

Sometimes it is totally fine to go with something safe!

 

Coconut Milk

So I feel like canned coconut milk is one of the best kept baking secrets! I have used it in everything from cookies to cupcakes to these scones and LOVE IT. I use it as a substitution in so many recipes and I have yet to have anything totally fail on me. If you are substituting coconut milk into a recipe have no fear, your final product will NOT take on an extremely coconut-ty flavor, and you may not even notice any coconut at all.

I also used the coconut milk in the glaze, which I felt was a bit more coconut then the scones themselves. If you are not a fan of coconut I would just omit it all together and use sour scream in the recipe, and regular milk in the glaze.

I know everyone thinks of the non-dairy coconut milk when you mention those two words, however the canned stuff is so much better in terms of ingredients. Yes, it is a fat source (I use the light version). However there are only 3 ingredients in the Native Forest Canned Coconut Milk that I used! 3 ingredients! They are organic coconut, water, and organic guar gum. If you have ever checked out the ingredient list on a carton of coconut milk they are quite lengthy.




Shrimp & Parmesan Strip Steak

Last minute Valentine’s Day dinner alert! This Shrimp & Parmesan Strip Steak is restaurant quality food at home and so easy. Pair it with some simple mashed potatoes and wine and you will never miss the hustle and bustle of going out to eat!

So my Valentine and I (my husband!!) don’t get to go out to eat all too often because we have 4 kids and it is just too much of a hassle. I would much rather have a special dinner at home with the kids and save the stress of getting a babysitter, having our youngest cry the ENTIRE time the sitter is here, and waiting for an hour for a table at a crowded restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, time away is wonderful, refreshing, and a must for parents. However today I want to show my whole family I love them instead of just my husband. So we are staying home. 🙂 Welcome this Shrimp & Parmesan Strip Steak!

Seasoning the Steak

This recipe starts with a standard grilled strip steak. You can totally substitute any cut of steak you’d like! My only recommendation would be to stay away from any thin cuts. I used strip steaks because while on the phone at the grocery store and not really paying attention I just put something that looked decent in the cart. When I got home my husband immediately asked:

“What kind of steak is that?” Such a man question!

Hell if I know. Seriously. haha

So it was actually strip steak and it was perfect for this recipe!

When grilling steak I always use the same combo of spices and there is one key ingredient. COURSE kosher salt. When seasoning any cut of meat, this is what I use to really bump up the flavor. Along with the course kosher salt I used a really nice mix of granulated garlic, onion salt, and cracked black pepper. No need to get crazy when seasoning a steak!

Grilling the Steak

To be honest, this seems so simple. Yet both my husband and I have at different times totally messed it up! Depending on who you ask about the best way to grill a steak, you may get different answers!

My answer would be (what works for me) is to put the grill on low to moderate heat on one side, and put the other side of the grill a bit hotter. Once I get nice grill marks and a bit of golden char around the outside, I flip it to the not as hot side and be patient. I like my steak at home to be medium well. It does take a bit of time to get that nice and golden brown, crispy around the edges steak. One time I Googled “tips for grilling steak” and what I found were a ton of pictures of rare steaks and suggestions that 3 minutes per side is about the time you’ll need.

So wrong for me!

Indeed I found that I needed quite a bit more time per side. I have never actually timed it. Once I start seeing char around the edges, I flip. I guess for me it is more of feeling and looking, than timing. After I have flipped my steak I go based upon feel to know when the steak is done. If you push on it and it is still springy, its not medium well. If you push on it and it is firm, its done. Don’t go too far though! Look and feel, look and feel. 🙂

Since I’m so bad at this whole giving directions to grill a steak… here… go check out what Bon Appetite says! haha

The shrimp part of the recipe is super easy. Put butter, salt, and white wine on top of pre-cooked shrimp and you are done! 🙂

I used frozen shrimp so I defrosted the shrimp in water first. Then I drained the water and added the butter, white wine, and salt.

To finish the dish, I simply put the shrimp on top of the grilled sirloin, and added my shaved parmesan/asiago blend that I bought pre-shaved at the grocery store. Next, I put it under the broiler for just long enough that the cheese was melted and starting to brown.




Salted Chocolate Covered Strawberries

You guys. These Salted Chocolate Covered Strawberries!

Just in time for Valentine’s Day because let me tell you… your Valentine does not want one of those heart shaped things that contains crappy chocolate that not only tastes like poo but also has poo ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, artificial food dyes, and hydrogenated oils. Those hearts are the WORST.

Indeed one or two years in a row I received one of those heart shaped chocolate poo boxes from my husband and ummm… well… thanks for thinking of me I guess. Nothing says I love you like a bunch of fake tasting chocolates. Orange cream anyone? 🙂

I know, I know. Because I entered Giant yesterday and there was a huge arch of red and white balloons. There were bears, and flowers, and poo chocolates. They were so cute and tempting. Right? For a second I caught myself going “awwww” and then I remembered how gross those chocolates were, and how the companies who produce those chocolates continue to take something really simple and make it one big disastrous mess of ingredients that cover the entire back of the package.

Those companies don’t love us. Let’s not love them with our money!

A hop, skip, and a jump away from that big balloon arch sat the Strawberries. Right next to them were the chocolate “dips” for making chocolate covered strawberries. Again, a product that pops up every Valentine’s Day that is filled with poo ingredients. Of course, a product I just don’t understand in general. Why exactly does the chocolate you dip strawberries in have to have trans fats in it? And why is it necessary to buy a product that YOU STILL HAVE TO MELT YOURSELF just like regular chocolate that doesn’t contain a list of bad ingredients?

A long time ago I realized one thing about chocolate. Any product marketed as “melts” or “dips” has hydrogenated oils in it. I haven’t found one that hasn’t! It seems so senseless to me because after all, it is really just marketing. There is nothing different about how you would use the product, just the ingredients. So skip right over those products and move along to the baking isle filled with bags of chocolate chips and baking bars. We are simply going to take away the trans fats and add in a little coconut oil to get the same end result. It is that simple. Those companies could do the same thing, however they choose not to so I will not support them nor will I purchase their products when they start loosing money and change their ingredients like so many companies have done recently.

Tips for Choosing the Right Chocolate for your Salted Chocolate Covered Strawberries

So I’m just going to give it to you straight. I’ve tried multiple types of chocolate. I’ve tried the expensive chocolate in the organic isle and I’ve also tried the Hershey’s chocolate chips. Either one will do as both are 1,000 times better then anything we discussed previously. I used organic semi-sweet chocolate chips from Wegman’s because they were affordable and the ingredients checked out. Don’t beat yourself up about exactly what brand you are using or if they are organic or not. Just read the ingredient label and make sure there aren’t artificial flavors and hydrogenated oils in the product and you should be good.

Tips for Dipping the Strawberries

Some folks use the microwave to melt their chocolate/coconut oil combo and that is totally fine. I prefer to use the stove top over the microwave because I can keep my chocolate at a low, consistent temperature which is ideal for dipping. If your chocolate isn’t melted quite enough you will end up with chunky looking chocolate and wonder to yourself why the strawberries on my images look better then what you ended up with.

It is all about temperature!

I used a small sauté pan and put my chocolate and coconut oil right on the burner. Some folks use a double boiler and that works too but I like to keep things really simple. If you crank up the heat on your chocolate it will seize up and you will be left with a burnt mess. So put your chocolate on the lowest setting possible and use a spatula to continuously move the chocolate around while it is melting. Yes, it is a bit tedious but your Valentine will love you for it! <3 <3

After my chocolate was melted I turned my burner off but left the sauté pan on the burner so my chocolate stayed nice and smooth. I simply rolled each strawberry through the chocolate, using the side of the pan to wipe off the excess, and then placing the side I wiped off down onto my parchment paper.

Right after I placed each dipped strawberry onto my parchment paper I took a Pink Himalayan Salt Grinder and did one little twist and shake right over the strawberry. I also used clear India Tree sprinkles on my strawberries too which made them look really professional and nice! Then I ate like 10….. haha!




Sunrise Protein Smoothie

Hello and welcome back! I’m posting this Sunrise Protein Smoothie today to let everyone know I’m actually alive and well and still creating delicious recipes for my family. 🙂

So where have I been? You know, to sum it up I’ve been super busy with my family. We have four little boys to take care of and since the baby was born last September I feel like I’m in survival mode everyday. I also have a relatively new photography business that is taking up quite a bit of my time. If you are in the Central Pennsylvania area go ahead and check me out!  www.danacarvellphotography.com 

My business is specializing in newborn and family photography and things have taken off to the point where I feel like I’m ignoring my first baby, my 3boys blog! I got a swift kick in the rear when I realized that I still get thousands of hits a day and I’m so missing my foodie community. It almost was like a big wake up call:

“Hello Dana! There are thousands of people reading your recipes everyday! You are killing in in stats, where are you!?!?”

It kind of just dropped on my lap, honestly. So here I am! I not only love doing this, it is like a breath of fresh air!

So i’ve decided to try to dedicate a little time each week to still posting and doing something that I ultimately love to do. I’ve had such a positive experience here and I love it! And of course, by the way, since upgrading my camera, and getting A TON of experience in taking pictures of people I’ve also grown so much in my food photography. Gone are the days of super over exposed images. 🙂 I also really love taking pictures of food because hello! Food does not move! Most of the time I’m chasing around toddlers. Don’t get me wrong, I love a challenge, but a subject that is motionless once in a while is so fun!

As I mentioned since our 4th boy was born last year I’ve been in survival mode. Little by little we are getting back to our own “normal” but it has taken quite some time. Just because our baby is 16 months old doesn’t mean things have gotten a whole lot easier, just different. More of chasing mom around the house begging to be carried around all day so that mom can literally do nothing, including cook for the rest of the family! haha In order to get healthy, whole foods into my own body I have resorted to a lot of smoothie recipes because… again…survival mode ya’ll!

I hesitated to post this Sunrise Protein Smoothie recipe because it seems so simple. At the same time I thought, why not!?!? This is real, this is what I’m eating, and I should share it. It doesn’t have to be super elaborate for readers to find it helpful. So here it is! 🙂

How to Choose the Best Protein Powder

This is one thing that made me hesitate to post this Sunrise Smoothie Recipe because I don’t want folks to pick a protein powder that contains a ton of unhealthy ingredients. In the back of my mind I’m saying:

“I’ve seen some really bad ones. Will someone choose that?”

So here. I’m telling you straight. Read the ingredient list. Look in the “naturals” section, and choose wisely. Choose organic if you can, try to find the shortest list of ingredients, and stay away from soy. I’ve actually seen partially hydrogenated oils in GNC’s protein powders, as well as a bunch of others. Like really GNC!?!?! How dare you throw horrible ingredients into a powder that is marketed to people trying to be healthy. These are the things that just simply anger me because it is necessary and dangerous. I love Food Babe and she has a list here that will help you choose. While mine is not on her list, I would still highly suggest all Vega products as they taste great and have worked very well for me!

I use Vega protein powders that are the best I’ve found. Yes, they are vegan. No I’m not following a Vegan diet. However their ingredients check out and I will be eating non-vegan foods the rest of the day so it is a nice change.




The Best White Bread

*This white bread recipe is simply The Best White Bread I have ever had! I have shared this recipe time and time again with friends who rave that it “Tastes just like the bread their Grandfather used to make!” My tried and true recipe that will leave you wondering why grocery stores even bother selling shelf stable white bread. No comparison here!

The Best White Bread || Easy to follow recipe. Hands down the best white bread I have ever baked! Perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches, french toast, and everything in between.  Nothing on the grocery store shelves can compare! || www.3boysunprocessed.com

 

The smell of fresh bread baking. Just close your eyes and imagine where that smell takes you. Maybe it is nostalgic, or maybe it takes you back to a job that you loved, or that guy you went on the horrible blind date with that one time, or Grandma’s house growing up. It is a beautiful, wonderful, amazing smell, isn’t it? I love the smell of fresh bread baking and this white bread does not disappoint in the amazing aroma department!

Hello beautiful, wonderful, amazing smells that are about to swirl through my home! 🙂

A fresh bread baking situation going on in my house means this Momma is so on point that given day. On point like doing a weeks worth of crap all in one day and possibly running around like a mad woman trying to understand why I all of a sudden have a million ounces of energy running through my body to do everything I’ve been procrastinating for weeks. You have those days too, right? Or did someone just spike my coffee?

Spiked coffee or not I usually bake this bread on the same day I make a pot of creamy tomato soup. Do you see where I’m going here? Yes, grilled cheese sandwiches. Who doesn’t love a grilled cheese sandwich on The Best White Bread you have EVER had dipped in creamy, cheesy, delicious homemade tomato soup? My goodness, if that isn’t food heaven I don’t know what is!

The Best White Bread || www.3boysunprocessed.com

 

The Best White Bread || Easy to follow recipe. Hands down the best white bread I have ever baked! Perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches, french toast, and everything in between.  Nothing on the grocery store shelves can compare! || www.3boysunprocessed.com

Baking Tips for The Best White Bread

  • Take extra precaution with the temperature of your milk. Too hot will kill the yeast, and too cold will not activate it! A nice lukewarm is where you want to be.
  • Room temperatures do cause breads to rise at different speeds. In the summer I may get a really quick and puffy rise, while in the winter my dough may not be as quick to rise. If you feel like you aren’t getting the rise you should be, preheat your oven to the lowest temperature option, then turn your oven off. Leave some of the heat out, then place your dough bowl in the oven to rise. This works like a charm every time!
  • Make sure you cover your dough while it is rising or a hard crust will form on the outside of the dough. I always use a warm, wet paper towel and that works perfectly. DO NOT however leave it on there for hours on end to go run a million errands because you will likely come back to a big ol’ dough ball covered in paper towel that you cannot get off. Can you tell I’ve experienced this first hand?
  • I always use bread flour when baking breads. Give it a try, you will not be disappointed with the results!

This recipe first appeared here on NYT Cooking. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

The Best White Bread || Easy to follow recipe. Hands down the best white bread I have ever baked! Perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches, french toast, and everything in between.  Nothing on the grocery store shelves can compare! || www.3boysunprocessed.com




Fiesta Grilled Chicken

*This Fiesta Grilled Chicken is the perfect grill recipe for all of my Tex-Mex people! You will love everything about this grilled chicken that is rubbed with a ton of spices and grilled to perfection. The best part? Topping it with fresh cilantro, cheese, avocado, and sour cream! You may grill this so much eventually your family will hate you, just like I did! 🙂
Fiesta Grilled Chicken || Grilled chicken rubbed with a ton of spices and flavor, then topped with fresh cilantro, cheese and sour cream. Need I say more? || www.3boysunprocessed.com

There are a few recipes I’ve made so many times my wonderful husband just flat out hates now. Shouldn’t he just be happy that he has a wife that is cooking for him? I think so, I really really do!

*Side note: Mac n cheese is the other recipe he could do without me ever making again. Honestly I’m wondering what is wrong with that man. HA! I’m on a quest to produce the perfect mac n cheese, so he better suck it up and continue to taste test!

It occurred to me the other day that my family totally over-did this recipe at the beginning of the summer. We had just purchased a grill (holla at that cheapo $100 grill from Amazon!!) and we were grilling EVERY-SINGLE-DAY. Now, you have to realize, there is a very good reason for us to be over grilling. At our previous residence we couldn’t have a grill. It killed me a little bit inside every time we drove by someone’s house that smelled like sweet delicious summer time grilling. I hated the place we were living at a little more every time I had to smell that smell knowing that the grill master in me needed an outlet.  I had in my mind that when we finally got a grill we had somehow “made it.” Yes, it was like my Benz. Only it was a grill, and I needed it in my life.

Newsflash: WE MADE IT. 🙂

Fiesta Grilled Chicken || www.3boysunprocessed.com

Now that that really emotional and sentimental news has been broadcast all over the internet I think we shall move on.

One thing about grilling chicken that is a MUST for me is making sure your chicken isn’t too thick in any spots. I never grill chicken without pounding it first because there is nothing I hate more then when grilled chicken has a really fat side that takes forever and a day to cook through. If you have ever been at a restaurant and wondered why their grilled chicken that is seemingly so simple was 1,000 times better then your at home grilled chicken it is probably that their chicken was nice and even, with no super thick parts to take away from the yummy seasoning. My point: Flat chicken rocks!

The way I pound chicken (that may be obvious to some and totally new to others) is very simple:

  • Mise en place: Translation… Get everything out before you start because once you have raw chicken on your hands you don’t want to have to go back to get your stuff out!
  • Things you will need: Meat tenderizer aka keep my hubby in line hammer (totally just kidding don’t send me hate mail), cutting board, piece of plastic wrap or press n seal, chef knife, large bowl.
  • I always filet my chicken first by cutting it in half length wise. This isn’t rocket science and yes, sometimes I end up with a few pieces that are extra thin and that’s totally fine with me!
  • Place chicken on cutting board, put piece of plastic over chicken to ensure you don’t splatter everything you own with raw chicken bacteria.
  • Using the meat tenderizer lightly pound chicken as flat as desired. Don’t be shy, yet don’t go ape shit on it. Unless of course you are looking to get some aggression out. 🙂

Fiesta Grilled Chicken || www.3boysunprocessed.com

Serving Suggestions

  • With flour tortillas (check those for trans fats! partially hydrogenated oil always seems to be lurking in these products) wrapped up with all the yummy toppings.
  • With grilled peppers and onions.
  • With a side of cilantro lime brown rice.
  • And of course with as much cheese on top as humanly possible. Oh and sour cream, because you can’t have one without the other!

Fiesta Grilled Chicken || www.3boysunprocessed.com

Fiesta Grilled Chicken || www.3boysunprocessed.com

Fiesta Grilled Chicken || Perfectly grilled chicken coated in a ton of yummy spices and topped with cheese, fresh cilantro, and avocado. Summer time grilling at its finest!

 




Slow Cooker Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

*This Slow Cooker Turkey Sweet Potato Chili is a fall favorite that is packed with nutrition and so delicious! With fall right around the corner you need this in your life! Throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker, and have a fantastic dinner waiting for you at the end of the day. P.S. It’s also a great way to hide extra nutrition in chili for kids who are skeptical of sweet potatoes! 
Slow Cooker Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

I’m just going to come right out and say this….. I put sweet potatoes in chili way before it was cool on Pinterest. Like, years ago! I didn’t do it on purpose the first time, it went down like this:

I bought the expensive pre-cubed butternut squash at the grocery store and I never used it. My husband nagged me about it until one day I was like FINE I’LL PUT IT IN THE CHILI now shut up about me buying random stuff at the grocery store and let’s move on (the man has a point here though I must admit).  So I threw the squash in my regular chili recipe and it was fantastic! How exciting it was when he arrived home after work and I had a new creation to share that made me look like a culinary genius. 🙂 Sweet and spicy for the win!

After the squash I gave sweet potatoes a go because we always have them on hand for making the kids sweet potato fries. I actually loved sweet potatoes even more, and the rest was history! That is until the Pinterest Pinnies were all like:

“Sweet potatoes in everything, all day everyday!”

“Sweet potatoes on fleek!” (still have no idea what that one means)

“Sweet potatoes all up in my chili!”

“Put sweet potatoes in your chili because it is cool now!”

You get the point. Everyone else figured out it was a rockin’ combo and then all of a sudden I was just a  regular person again.  *sigh*

Slow Cooker Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

Back before my culinary genius bubble burst I was actually using a stovetop chili recipe, however for my birthday last year my I received a brand new slow cooker from my mom! If you have followed other slow cooker recipes here, you might remember I had an ancient slow cooker that my mom was gifted for her bridal shower in the 80’s. No clue who bought that for her or why they thought she would ever use it (girl doesn’t cook) but it got me through a few babies and my first apartment. Shout out to the random relative who made that purchase and RIP awful baby poop colored slow cooker! With my shiny new slow cooker I realized how much tastier chili was in the slow cooker vs. on the stove top and I don’t think I will be looking back anytime soon! Shiny new slow cooker for another win!

Recipe Tips

  • I cut my sweet potatoes in small cubes (pictured below), however when the chili was done they were pretty well cooked. So much so that they disappeared into the chili a bit. I found this really awesome, however if you are looking for a chunkier finish I would cut them a tad bigger then what is pictured below.
  • I added 2 jalapeños and it was bit spicy for us. The spiciness was muted in the leftovers though and that is when it was just right! If you are not into spiciness at all, of course just omit the jalapeño all together.
  • As mentioned above, this chili gets better and better everyday in leftovers! It is a great meal to make at the beginning of the week to have a healthy lunch for the next few days.
  • I tend to keep chili simple because a speech professor once told me the acronym K.I.S.S. or keep it simple stupid! This sticks to me with chili because when folks are looking for good chili recipes they don’t want to have to go to the grocery store and buy ingredients that they will use 1 tablespoon of and never see again because it is so far back in the pantry.
  • I have found (thanks to the back of a Goya bean can) that 2 Tablespoons of cumin, 2 Tablespoons of chili powder, and 2 teaspoons of adobo seasoning are the PERFECT spice combo for chili. This is my go-to amount of spices and it has never failed me. You can certainly play around with it but that combo will give you just enough flavor without being overpowering.

Slow Cooker Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

Then we have this close up shot that is so detailed you can literally see that I cut the avocado with a butter knife. Sheesh that expensive macro lens was worth it!

Turkey Sweet Potato Chili

And then there was this cutie…. 🙂 Hi Sammy!

Sammy eats Turkey Chili

Slow Cooker Turkey Sweet Potato Chili || www.3boysunprocessed.com




Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Chopped Salad

Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Chopped Salad || www.3boysunprocessed.com

Just incase anyone is still following their “New Year, New You” 2016 resolution, I bring you this delicious and healthy Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Chopped Salad! This salad is loaded with flavor and perfect, perfect, perfect to throw in your lunch bag and take right along to work with you. This is EXACTLY what everyone needs to stay on the healthy eating bandwagon so that in 2017 we won’t need to make resolutions about being healthy, eating better, eating brighter.. yada, yada, yada. We will already have it down!

This is my new go-to salad because it is simple, easy, and with a little prep you can throw it together in a short amount of time (<5 minutes). Although I eat my lunch at home, I don’t always have a ton of time to put together food for myself, because hello! A new baby and 2 (sometimes 3) other children who cannot cook need Momma to feed them. All while making sure little bellies are full sometimes I forget about myself. In talking to my other Momma friends about food I’ve realized we are all kind of in the same boat here! We want to eat healthy and take care of our own bodies but we have wee little beings to take care of who take priority over our elaborate healthy food prep, cooking, and planning. And seriously, don’t even get me started on grocery shopping with kids because then I’d have to tell you about that time last week that I ABANDONED A CART at the grocery store because my 2 year old was having an epic meltdown! Talk about being totally horrified in public!

So to off-set my zero time and lack of ability to 1) grocery shop in general and 2) prepare elaborate meals, I have been prepping salad ingredients ahead of time (brown rice, chicken) so that I can throw them together quickly at lunch and enjoy something equally healthy and delicious. Enter this Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Chopped Salad!

Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Chopped Salad || www.3boysunprocessed.com

If you’ve ever wondered why salads at the mall/restaurants taste better it is because they generally will mix everything together, including the dressing. It makes a world of difference to do this! I love to chop my romaine super thin, then throw all of my other ingredients in and mix it up into one beautiful dish of nutrition. Also, super serious studies (my own) have shown that people use less dressing when they do this which is a great way to make sure you are not pouring hundreds of calories worth of dressing onto your healthy salad. Making this simple mistake could potentially ruin your diet all together so dressing is something I ALWAYS measure, even when I use my own homemade dressings.

Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Chopped Salad || www.3boysunprocessed.com

Speaking of dressings, on this particular day I did use a store bought dressing (GASP!!!) because as I mentioned I am super low on time and found a pretty decent organic Greek dressing at the grocery store. When I was there checking out the dressings in the organic section I realized maybe I had been holding myself to such a standard that I was actually preventing myself from reaching my weight loss goals because of things such as using store bought items. So I let go a little bit and purchased the dressing and guess what? I’ve lived to tell about it and it was delicious! 🙂 #confessions

I do still LOVE my own Greek Dressing recipe so here is my homemade version:

Greek Dressing

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1-2 tsp dijon mustard

1-2 tsp honey

salt & pepper to taste

Instructions: Place all ingredients into food processor or high powered blender and blend. (I use my Ninja Master Prep!)

Sun Dried Tomato and Feta Chopped Salad || www.3boysunprocessed.com

 




Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie

Ohhhh Heyyy There!!!

Being that this is my first post back after a few month hiatus from blogging to.. Oh I don’t know, HAVE A BABY I thought it was only fitting to talk postpartum weight loss and how horrifying, I mean awesome of an experience it can be!

If you haven’t been here before let me quickly bring you up to date. I’m 28, I have 4 boys, and my husband works a job that takes him away from home about 80% of time. I have a 9 year old who is currently in need of a ton of homework help, a 4 year old who is the easiest of the bunch, a strong willed 2 year old who is ever so cute/a raging emotional mess/potty training, and a breastfeeding baby who basically loves and needs Mommy almost 24/7. Needless to say I change a lot of diapers, deal with about 100 boogers a day, and by the end of the day I don’t even know my name anymore (give me about an hour after bedtime to remember it :)). Finding time to do things like exercise and meal plan is super challenging right now but I am feeling ready to think about what I’m eating and where I can make better choices (hello organic sourdough bread and butter, I’m staring at you).

Oh…and one more small detail.. I am going to a BEACH WEDDING in FOUR short months..Mic drop.

Yes. Beach Wedding. Me. In a bathing suit. On a beach. Not only am I attending the wedding, I am in the wedding (my sister is tying the knot). IN THE WEDDING. 80+ people looking at me walking down an isle (ok, I’m not the bride so let’s face it, nobody gives two hoots about me) however I’d prefer to be feeling a tad bit better about my body at that time. And… dun dun dun… I have a dress that doesn’t fit me. Ok, ok in all fairness I can get the dress on but I would need about 5 layers of Spanx to tame all the lumps and bumps under the dress. Me + 5 layers of Spanx under a dress in Mexico = Not happening! So I have a ton of motivation right now to make it happen.

On a really serious note before we dive into the recipe, I’ve always taken postpartum weight loss very lightly. I’m not very hard on myself about it, and I don’t feel super down about the way that I look. Sure, I’d love to take a selfie without that extra chin (wait a minute, I don’t selfie) but you know, I have a beautiful baby to care for everyday and that is good enough for me. I’ve always gained weight while pregnant and it has always taken me 6-9 months to shed the extra weight. I know my body did something incredible just 3 short months ago and I remind myself of that every time I feel “fat.” I will never compare myself to any other person or celebrity because all of us are working with a different deck of cards. Plus, now I have an excuse to buy a bunch of leggings and ponchos from Grace & Lace and basically never take them off. 🙂

VeganBananaSmoothie1 (1 of 1)

I picked up this Vega Protein Smoothie pouch at Wegmans after eyeing it up for a couple of weeks in a row. I’ll admit, I made a few really gross concoctions with it at first. I mean gag-worthy. Then I realized if I just kept it simple the results were awesome! Vega has a few different flavors but I settled on the vanilla and I really like the taste. My main goal in trying to eat healthier/think about what I’m eating/feed myself quickly is just to try to keep things realatively simple. I’m not following any type of meal plan, I’m just keeping myself in check with a food diary app, sticking to unprocessed foods, and incorporating more fruits and veggies into my daily routine. I know what works for me is routine, routine, routine. So instead of walking into the kitchen and ravaging through a loaf of sourdough bread I’m going to think about it first. Then maybe dig into some carrots and hummus, or make a delicious Vegan Protein Smoothie with my Vega protein. See where I am going with this?

Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

I should also mention that my handy-dandy Ninja Master Prep is still going strong! I LOVE THIS THING! It isn’t the most high quality blender, but baby it gets the job done darn good. I’ve had mine for about a year and a half now and it is still blending like a champ. I use it almost every day. Yay for the Ninja Master Prep!

VeganBananaSmoothie5 (1 of 1)

Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie