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Pakistani Kima

Full disclosure:  I have no idea if this recipe is truly Pakistani, nor do I know what “kima” is.

But I *do* know that it’s delicious, filling, healthy, and easy.  That’s a dinner grand slam in my books.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

My sister has been making this for her family for quite a while, and she made it for us while I was visiting my parents a couple years ago.  I fell in love with the incredible aroma and flavors of the spice combination.  It’s truly what makes this dish special.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

But it has a lot more going for it.  It’s chock-full of veggies, across the color spectrum (something that I’m usually desperately needing).  It’s also super satiating, with a one-two-three punch of the fat in the butter (don’t skimp on this), the lean ground beef, and the fiber-full vegetables.

It clocks in at around 320 calories per serving (if you make 6 servings out of the batch), which is great if you’re trying to keep your calories down but not feel hungry all the time.

30-minute Pakistani Kima, full of veggies, protein, and aromatic spices, and comes together for a healthy & easy dinner

And best of all, this recipe is super easy to make, a one-pot standby.  It only takes about a half-hour total, and only requires you to do some vegetable chopping and throw everything into a pot.  I made two desserts while putting this together a couple weeks ago, because I didn’t have to spare any brainpower for it.  So I’m kind of in love. [Read more…]

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Lemon Shallot Chicken

I literally don’t know what to call this chicken.

lemon-shallot-chicken

Sure, it has lemon juice.  And chopped shallots.  And garlic.  And paprika.  And brown sugar.  And chopped rosemary.

lemon-shallot-chicken-rosemary

It’s…complex.

lemon-shallot-chicken-shallots-chopped

And ugly.  Sorry, this dish won’t photograph well no matter how hard I try.  But it is really easy, unique, flavorful, and makes great leftovers.  So despite its ugly appearance, that’s a win in my book. [Read more…]

Chicken with Creamy Feta Sauce

I just realized that it’s been MONTHS since I brought you a main dish recipe, which is crazy!  So making up for that now with an insanely easy and super delish entree that is great for dinner as well as to pack in your lunch for work all week.

Chicken with Creamy Feta Sauce

(Confession: I made this recipe Sunday evening so I could have awesome, healthy lunches all week long.  And then I ordered Chinese takeout for dinner that night, because I was going to be healthy all week.  Does anyone else do that?)

chicken with creamy feta sauce chives chopped

Don’t be scared by the idea of a feta cheese sauce—it doesn’t taste overwhelmingly of feta specifically, but rather contributes a super creamy, slightly salty, weirdly comforting flavor without owning it.  I’m not the biggest fan of feta, but I am a BIG fan of this sauce. [Read more…]

One-Pot Kale & Quinoa Pilaf (…and why I’ve been MIA)

Wow, I didn’t realize how long it had been since I posted a recipe! January was gone in the blink of an eye. I was traveling the first half…first, a quick little trip down to Cancun to try and get some sun and relaxation for a few days, then Dallas to visit my bestie, and then NYC for a quick work trip. All within two weeks. Add insanely long hours at work, and my blogging and cooking hours have been few and far between.

This recipe isn’t pretty to look at, so instead here are my food adventures from Mexico. Hit and miss, to be honest, because Cancun is (as my mom pointed out) the Branson of Mexico. But we tried really hard to find more authentic local places, and stayed far away from Senor Frog’s.

I drank ALL THE PINA COLADAS and tried Mayan-style chicken and vegetables. Honestly, it was inoffensive but wasn’t a fan.

jess pina colada

We toured Chichen Itza, one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Then we chowed down on fish tacos.

jess mom chichen itza

I soaked up every ray of sunshine available on the only sunny day we had. Vitamin D, come to me! And of course, I had a pina colada and a Coke, which is my go-to beach beverage.

jess cancun beach

I took Argentinean food out for a trial run, with my first trip to Argentina coming up in just over a month! It was delicious and an OBSCENE amount of food (you can’t see the insanely huge chunk of beef staring me in the face…). Sarai and I are going to have our work cut out for us.

jess argentinean food

So, that’s all to say sorry for dropping off the face of the earth. Things have been crazy and tiring, and I haven’t been eating anything but nachos since I’ve been home, but I do have a major backlog of awesome recipes from late December that I owe you. But first, we get our kale on…

This recipe isn’t pretty to look at, but it IS fast, easy, healthy, and yummy. I’ll be honest and say that quinoa isn’t really my thing. It’s fine, but the texture is kind of weird and it’s a little bland. So for me, this recipe is good. If you love quinoa, it’s great. The flavors are fresh, tangy, and satisfying.

One Pot Kale & Qunioa Pilaf kale One Pot Kale & Qunioa Pilaf kale closeup2 [Read more…]

Healthy Lemon Almond Chicken Salad

So, I had this post all written and ready to publish, then it mysteriously disappeared. Like, hit save and *poof*—everything was gone. So you’ll have to take my word that it was probably the most interesting, witty piece of food writing known to man.

Healthy Lemon Almond Chicken Salad

Or probably not. Guys, my brain is totally fried. Looooong hours, too much on my plate, getting ready for travel, not sleeping well. I know from experience that the way I’m living right now is a no-fail recipe for gaining weight (I have last fall to prove it). I’ve had absolutely no time or energy to cook, but I knew that if I didn’t make something I’d end up having a Farm Burger #4 chicken burger every day for lunch. Which…hello, 15 pounds.

Healthy Lemon Almond Chicken Salad done

So this caught my eye a few weeks ago. I’m a sucker for chicken salad. All of it. All the kinds. But I tend to be lazy about making it, because it takes a number of ingredients and then I eat it so fast. Plus, it’s not always the healthiest.

lemon almond chicken salad green onions lemon

lemon almond chicken salad lemon zest

The ingredients for this chicken salad were super simple. And more importantly, healthy. I didn’t even cook my own chicken breasts. Just saute up cooked chicken with some spices, zest the lemon, slice the scallions, and you’re rockin’ and rollin’. It’s light and fresh and perfect for August in Georgia (and a healthy work lunch). [Read more…]

Balsamic & Honey Grilled Chicken

You just can’t go wrong with a well-grilled marinated chicken breast. It is endlessly versatile—eat it fresh off the grill, re-heat with some veggies, throw it in a stir fry, make chicken salad.

Grilled Honey Balsamic Chicken

This marinade is one of perfect simplicity…the balsamic vinegar helps slightly break down the meat, allowing the spices and garlic to really soak in, and the honey to make it super moist. But none of it overwhelms.

Grilled Honey Balsamic Chicken cut

These suckers are so juicy and flavorful, but can go with just about anything! [Read more…]

Slow Cooker Caramelized Chicken

My takeaway from this recipe?  Sure ain’t pretty, and fairly sure mine didn’t “caramelize”, but it sure was delicious!

Slow Cooker Caramelized Chicken

The pictures of this recipe from Skinny Ms. (see link at the bottom) look beautiful, so not sure what I did wrong to keep it from caramelizing.  However, the flavors are so great that it was a keeper recipe anyway. It’s sweet and salty and layered, with a little kick from the cayenne.  (Well, “little” depending on how much you put in…I’m a baby.)

slow cooker caramelized chicken green onions

It also is super fast and easy. The only down side is that cleaning my crockpot was insanely difficult afterward—I have a really old crockpot and it doesn’t have a removable piece. I’ve never used liners but might have to see if they make one for mine, because cleaning that was ridiculous.  [Read more…]

Brussels Sprout & Kale Slaw with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

My thirst for brussels sprouts shall never be quenched!

Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

This salad is surprisingly hearty, with the crunchy and chewy sprouts and given a boost from the walnuts. I will say that I was a little nervous about this salad, since to me brussels sprouts are one of those things that always need cooked in order to be eaten. But overall it was delicious, filling, and super healthy! [Read more…]

Pasta with Creamy Butternut Leek Sauce

So, we basically got like two weeks of fall in Georgia before it got COOOOLLLLD! But those two weeks were really beautiful.

fall tree

This tree outside my window is absolutely glorious, like flame.

fall leaves stoplight

And these leaves form an awesome natural stoplight.

Butternut Squash Leek & Parmesan Pasta

The changing of the seasons has also meant that the grocery stores and my CSA box have been all-gourds-all-the-time. I got a couple beautiful butternut squashes and, since I finally learned how to peel and disassemble them last winter, I was actually excited to try out this recipe.

butternut squash leek & parmesan pasta sage

Also, sage. Because sage is always the answer.

Butternut Squash Leek & Parmesan Pasta done

This sauce is deceptively creamy and rich, but doesn’t have any cream or milk, or even cheese until the very end. The leeks form a super flavorful base, and the pureed butternut squash is like butter and cream and squash all in one. This was a super easy and healthy dinner.
[Read more…]

Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta with Crispy Kale

The CSA box I got a couple weeks ago was—much like the rest of us here in Georgia—stuck between summer and winter. There were some delightful strawberries and spring-y butter lettuce, but a couple of sweet potatoes as well. I don’t give sweet potatoes much thought, generally, but the timing seemed perfect since I’d just pinned this recipe.

Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta with Crispy Kale

I’ve been really trying to focus on cooking and eating healthy when I’m at home (minus a few Chinese food-palooza Satuday nights), particularly since I’ve had a rash of delicious but indulgent lunches and dinners for work.

This recipe seemed to balance my need for comfort food that (especially chilly) day, but the presence of whole wheat pasta and adding creamy sweet potato to the sauce upped the healthy quotient.

creamy sweet potato pasta with crispy kale shallot garlic

Shallots, amirite?!

Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta with Crispy Kale finished

The sauce also has deeeelicious sauteed garlic and shallots to make a super flavorful base. I had a little trouble with the crispy kale (left it in the oven too long…yikes!) but overall this was simple and awesome and totally satisfying. [Read more…]

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