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Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet is a 20 minute gluten-free dinner recipe that’s simple and satisfying. Made with just 5 ingredients and in 1 skillet!

I’m about to blow your dang mind with the recipe for Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet!

By the way, I’d really hoped the pesto in this recipe would give the overall dish a festive green hue, thus making it extremely suitable for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities, but it didn’t. The end. Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, I was reminiscing about my SPDs of yesteryear, when my girlfriends and I would convene in Chicago for a day of things crazy 25 year olds do on holidays that Chicago specializes in, and good grief they were fun! Now I’m old, use phrases like good grief, and the thought of hanging out in a bar with a green beer and bagpipes blasting in my ears at 10am on a Saturday morning make me want to, well, not.

Anyway, let’s talk 20 minute, 1 skillet gluten-free dinner recipes that you are going to INHALE. As I mentioned at the end of this post, recipes are not going ANYWHERE, rather, I’m excited to start working lifestyle posts into the mix here on IGE. Anyway, I could never in good conscience keep delectable dishes like this one away from you!

This dish could not be simpler and oh.my.word. it is such a keeper. Packaged gnocchi is sizzled in a mixture of olive oil and bacon drippings until tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, then tossed with fresh pesto, cooked bacon, and chicken. 5 ingredients, easy as that, and yes, just as good as it sounds!

You may have seen crispy gnocchi recipes that require you to boil gnocchi before pan-frying, but it’s completely unnecessary. True, it will feel all kinds of wrong pouring dry, slightly hard gnocchi into a skillet but I promise that in 5-6 minutes the gnocchi will totally transform. Honestly I could forgo the bacon, chicken, and pesto portion of this recipe and eat an entire pan of crispy gnocchi with a little salt all on its own. Maybe a fried egg on top? HOLD ME. That is to say, once you try pan-fried crispy gnocchi, you will never go back.

Feel free to add vegetables to this skillet dinner if you please – halved cherry tomatoes added at the end to warm through would be tasty, while Ben thought chopped, blanched asparagus would be nice too – though we both agreed this dish was 5 stars all on its own. Serve with a side salad (or that egg!) and you’re set.

Start by adding 4 slices bacon that have been chopped to a cold, 12″ nonstick skillet then place the skillet over medium heat and cook until browned. Scoop the bacon into a bowl, reserving the fat in the skillet.

Tip: I prefer nonstick vs cast iron for this recipe so the gnocchi won’t stick.

Turn the heat up slightly then add 2 chicken breasts that have been cut into hunks and seasoned with homemade seasoned salt and pepper then saute until cooked through. Scoop into another bowl then set aside.

Add enough extra virgin olive oil into the skillet to equal 2 Tablespoons fat total, then add a 12oz package gluten-free gnocchi and arrange into an even layer in the bottom. At this point you will be CERTAIN that I am nuts and there’s no way these dry, hard gnocchi will morph into yummy, crispy, perfectly cooked gnocchi – but just you wait!

Let the gnocchi sizzle until the bottoms are golden brown, 2-3 minutes, then stir and continue to saute until the gnocchi are tender and golden brown all over, 2-3 more minutes. Use a fork to pierce a gnocchi to test for doneness. You’re going to be SHOCKED!

Just a note, I have only tested this recipe using Delallo Gluten-Free Gnocchi (found in HyVee’s Health Market.) That said, I’ve made crispy gnocchi skillets in the past before going gluten-free with several different brands that all worked fine.

Last step is to add 1/4 cup prepared pesto, plus the cooked chicken and bacon, then stir until everything is heated through.

Note: I’m including a small batch basil pesto recipe in the recipe card below, which makes about 1/3 cup pesto (use the extra Tablespoon to stir into soups, salad dressings, etc) or you can use your favorite jarred pesto. I tested this recipe once using Classico pesto and much preferred homemade. Use what’s best and most convenient for you though.

Scoop the Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet into bowls then dig in! Like I said, you could add any kind of sauteed or roasted vegetable into the mix, but this dish is 100% devourable all on its own. Enjoy, enjoy!

Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet

Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet is a 20 minute gluten-free dinner recipe that's simple and satisfying. Made with just 5 ingredients and in 1 skillet, too!


serves 3-4

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into hunks
  • seasoned salt and pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 12oz uncooked gluten-free gnocchi (I used Delallo)
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto (store-bought or homemade recipe below)
  • For the Small Batch Pesto (make 1/3 cup):
    • 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves, torn
    • 1 Tablespoon walnuts
    • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
    • big pinch salt
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • squeeze fresh lemon juice
  1. If making homemade Small Batch Pesto: Add basil, walnuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt to a food processor then pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped. Very slowly stream in extra virgin olive oil while the food processor is running until pesto is smooth. Add a little bit of lemon juice at a time until desired taste is reached - the pesto shouldn't taste lemony, just fresh. Set aside.
  2. Add bacon to a cold, 12" nonstick skillet then place over medium heat. Cook until bacon is browned then scoop into a bowl and set aside, reserving bacon fat in skillet. Turn heat up slightly.
  3. Season chicken with seasoned salt and pepper then add to the skillet and cook until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Scoop into a bowl then set aside.
  4. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to the skillet to equal 2 Tablespoons fat total then add gnocchi and arrange into a single layer. Saute until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, 2-3 minutes, then stir and continue to saute until the gnocchi are tender and golden brown all over, 2-3 additional minutes.
  5. Turn heat down to medium-low then add pesto, chicken, and bacon into the skillet. Stir to combine and heat ingredients through then scoop into bowls and serve.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

The post Crispy Chicken, Bacon and Pesto Gnocchi Skillet + Small Batch Pesto Recipe appeared first on Iowa Girl Eats.

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Our schedules are busier then ever but finding even a few minutes a day to devote to self care can make us better parents, partners, and people in general. Try one of these 50 self care ideas today!

Want to know what I did this past weekend? 10 loads of laundry. Around the same number of dishes. Picked up the kids’ toys about 400 times – and yet, Ben proclaimed it the best weekend we’ve had in years. Uhh…why?

Because I read a book.

Lilac Girls in case you’re wondering – soo good! Ok, we also visited the butterfly house at Reimen Gardens, ordered nachos from Club Car, and made homemade ravioli, which were all pretty great, but truly the reason why my husband was so excited about this weekend was because I relaxed for a couple of hours and read on the couch. If that doesn’t tell you something about the usual state of affairs at my house, I’m not sure what will!

That is to say, I stink at sitting still. If I’m not doing something productive with a visually rewarding outcome then I feel lazy and honestly a bit overwhelmed. How crazy is that? Maybe some of you don’t understand this concept, though I’m guessing more then a few of you can relate.

thoughts on self careI’m constantly filling any extra time I have with things I feel I should be doing vs things I actually want to do. 

Over the years, long workouts, leisurely Saturday mornings, and yes, – reading! – have been replaced with organizing the laundry room, testing a recipe for the blog, calling the fence repairman (anyone know a guy?) and most importantly, being a present mom to my kids. Hey, that’s adulting, and I sure am happy to be in this season of life, but nowhere does “me time” fit into the current mix. I’m constantly filling any extra time I have with things I feel I should be doing vs things I actually want to do. 

All that said, let’s talk self care. Specifically making TIME for self care and not feeling GUILTY about making time for self care. When I spend time on myself it feels like I’m taking it away from people who need it more, aka my kids. The good (and bad) part is that I know this isn’t true. We’ve all heard it 1,000 times before but let me drill it into your – OUR – brains one more time: self care makes us better people which in turn makes us better partners, parents, friends, children, and co-workers. I can’t tell how how much more patient I am as a parent, and more understanding I am as a wife, when I’m also taking care of myself.

The key is actually doing it!

Usually my excuse is there’s no time. That said, a blogger who I’ve followed for years just had her 4th baby a couple months ago and is already back at the gym. Clearly there’s time – the key is prioritizing the 24 hours we have in each day. Ask yourself, what do you give time to in your everyday life that doesn’t fulfill you? I’m thinking more then a few of us will answer social media. When’s the last time you felt better and more enriched after scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? I’m personally going with never. Again, ask yourself what unfulfilling thing/person/activity can you give up in order to fit even 10 minutes of self care into your day? Maybe it’s pointless meetings that could be taken care of with an email or quick phone call, giving time to gossipy friends, or watching too much tv.

thoughts on self careClearly there’s time – the key is prioritizing the 24 hours we have in each day. Ask yourself, what do you give time to in your everyday life that doesn’t fulfill you? 

The other key, in my opinion, is accepting help. I gave a talk at a blogger’s conference last year about virtual assistants and when I dropped the knowledge bomb that nearly every blogger who seems to be “doing it all” had help, you could almost see the lightbulb go off in a few attendee’s minds. The people who appear to have it all/do it all don’t have extra hours in the day, they get help! For the non-business owner this means relying on spouses, partners, friends, parents, siblings, babysitters, house cleaners, lawn care companies, etc. Accepting help is crucial in order to make time for yourself. Something I rarely do, which is why Ben was so excited that I took him up on his suggestion to relax and read this weekend.

See, it’s really only been over the past month or so that I’ve made an effort to prioritize self care. The fact that our third is on the way is finally hitting me, along with the realization that whatever free time I currently have is about to be further reduced. It’s truly now or…another 3-4 years from now. That said, here’s what’s helped me make the mental shift:

  • Accepting the fact that Ben can do anything I can do. Not that I’ve ever doubted his parenting abilities for a second (I’m the one usually taking parenting notes from him) but realizing that I’m not my children’s entire world has been freeing. Our boys aren’t newborns anymore and don’t physically need me within 10 feet of them at all times.
  • Understanding that self care doesn’t have to mean spending lots of money. Manicures and massages are great but so is making time to go to the dentist, reading a book, or grabbing coffee with a friend. Simple things that make you feel like an actual person! I think this an important realization to come to in order to let go of guilt over taking time for self care.
  • PUTTING STUFF ON THE CALENDAR. Sorry to shout, but this has been the only thing that works for me in terms of actually following through with spending time on myself. If it’s not on the calendar I will find 101 reasons not to do it. See organizing the laundry room, working, doing chores, etc. above. Make “appointments”, put them on the calendar, and DO. NOT. BUDGE.
  • Realizing that self care doesn’t have to take hours, because honestly who has the freaking time – even after prioritizing! It’s amazing what getting out of the house for a quick drive with the music blasting can do for the soul. Live texting The Bachelor with a friend, or taking a quick walk around the block works great too!

thoughts on self careSelf care can simply be a habit or activity that you can’t wait to do.

I’m sure you don’t need any help coming up with ways to spend your newly found free time, but in case you do, here are 50 self care ideas to try out. This list actually started out as 20 but there are so many ways to treat yourself – I’m sure I could easily come up with 50 more!

50 Self Care Ideas
  1. Sit in the sunlight for 10 minutes
  2. Drink a lemonade
  3. Buy a pair of well-fitting jeans
  4. Choose an apple over a cookie
  5. Choose a cookie over an apple
  6. Organize a space or room that’s been bugging you
  7. Scrapbook
  8. Try a new skincare regimen
  9. Pray
  10. Meditate
  11. Workout
  12. Watch a trashy television show
  13. Take a solo walk, jog or bike ride
  14. Read a book
  15. Go to the movies
  16. Get a manicure/pedicure
  17. Get a message
  18. Get a haircut
  19. Get annual doctor appointments on the calendar
  20. Meet friends for a coffee or drink
  21. Talk out a problem with someone you trust
  22. Seek help for something you’ve been struggling with
  23. Donate your “skinny clothes”
  24. Make a green smoothie
  25. Go thrifting/antiquing
  26. Buy a fun new item at the grocery store that’s just for you
  27. Take a hike
  28. Inhale/diffuse calming essential oils
  29. Cook a new-to-you recipe
  30. Take a community ed class (I took a cake decorating class in my early 20s by myself and it was so much fun!)
  31. Listen to music
  32. Garden
  33. Put on a facemask
  34. Take a bubble bath
  35. Take a mental health day
  36. Take a new-to-you fitness class
  37. Watch the sunrise or sunset
  38. Curl your hair/try a new hairstyle
  39. Binge watch a TV show
  40. Make cookies just for the dough
  41. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers
  42. Give up a bad habit
  43. Take a nap
  44. Craft or DIY a project
  45. Organize/plan a trip
  46. Color in an adult coloring book (not the triple X kind, you guys!)
  47. Listen to an inspiring podcast
  48. Make a cup of tea or coffee
  49. Do a puzzle
  50. Stretch for 10 minutes

Self care looks different to everybody but to me it’s simply a habit or activity that I can’t wait to do. So what do you think – can you put your needs before other’s on a regular basis? What can you give up in order to free up even 10 minutes a day to devote to self care? What’s your favorite way to take a little time for yourself?

PS thank you for your honest thoughts on my last post. Sorry if I was unclear – recipes are going NOWHERE, and this is not becoming a Mommy blog! :)

The post Thoughts on Self Care + 50 Self Care Ideas appeared first on Iowa Girl Eats.

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Bruschetta Chicken Pasta is a light and fresh gluten-free dinner recipe that’s perfect for spring and summer nights. Prep ahead and dinner will be on the table in just 20 minutes!

Hello, hello – pardon my absence! Last weekend my Mom, Aunt and I visited my Grandma, who turned 99 last month, in Ohio. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, it always takes me double the amount of time I’m gone to get back into a routine. Maybe returning home with fresh eyes that see all the little projects that need to be completed before doing anything else, aka saying goodbye to the bottle of mustard that expired in 2012 which MADE THE MOVE with us to our new home in 2013, has something to do with it. Fridge (deep) clean out = complete!

Anyway, little projects coupled with a few recipe fails and pregnancy-induced tension headaches that just won’t quit (thoughts on diffusing peppermint oil directly into my nostrils? Kidding.) means it’s been a quiet week around here.

Let’s catch up:

  • Back to my Grandma – what a special visit. The last time I was in Ohio was because she had broken her neck so it was wonderful to be there for no other reason then to simply be together. We cooked, discussed The Bachelor (see you never, Arie) saw The Greatest Showman (do not wait another second to go see that movie – oh my word!!) and listened to stories about her growing up on a dairy farm. Like I said, it was a truly special weekend.
  • What do you guys think about me blogging more consistently about non-recipe topics? With our third child on the way this summer, I’ve been thinking rather obsessively about what IGE will look like down the road. That said, as much as I love writing about food and sharing recipes I of course have other interests, and conceptualizing, testing, shooting, editing, and writing recipe posts takes a TON of time. Simply put, lifestyle posts are easier to write – plus they really excite me. Thoughts?
  • Speaking of the aforementioned third child, she is officially a girl! I know the blood tests said so, but to have it confirmed via ultrasound this week made it really, really real, and I am officially really, really excited. As nervous as I am to raise a girl after having two boys, a reader said it best in my announcement post – a sister will make her brothers better men. Amen to that, and cheers to a well rounded family.

As much as I also want to tell you about the most awesome pair of maternity leggings I recently bought (maybe in a maternity must-haves post?) instead I’ll share a light and healthy recipe for Bruschetta Chicken Pasta with you today!

This recipe is actually from the IGE archives. We’re talking 2011, dark photos, no recipe – just an obnoxious collection of photos and words. Hey, I guess not much has changed! Har. Anyway, the dish deserves a repost not only because it is so, so simple but because it’s just what I crave around this time of year. The sun is staying out longer and longer each day and I find myself pushing aside heavier comfort food recipes for simple, toss together suppers that are easy on the waistline. Bruschetta Chicken Pasta is IT.

A homemade bruschetta mixture – chopped tomatoes plus their juices, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, and tons of minced garlic – is quickly simmered to create a light and silky sauce for cooked gluten-free spaghetti. Topped with a little parmesan cheese, balsamic reduction, and sauteed chicken cutlets, this is a 20 minute dish the whole family will eat without complaint. Well, minus Cameron whose hurled his spaghetti all over the kitchen. Good times!

Start by making the bruschetta mixture – it is incredible. In a bowl combine 6 Roma tomatoes that have been chopped, 1/4 cup packed fresh basil that’s been chopped, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 3 cloves garlic that’ve been microplaned or minced, tons of salt and pepper, plus a pinch of sugar. Set aside or refrigerate overnight.

Next add 10oz gluten-free spaghetti to a large pot of salted, boiling water, then cook until al dente. Drain then set aside. Around the time you drop the pasta into the water, place a large skillet over medium-high heat then mist or spray with extra virgin olive oil or nonstick spray. Add 2 chicken breasts that have sliced into cutlets (ie sliced in half lengthwise) then seasoned with garlic salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and saute for 2-3 minutes a side or until cooked through. Remove to a plate then set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium then remove the skillet from the heat to cool for a couple minutes, and then add the bruschetta mixture. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until the tomatoes are heated through and the sauce is slightly thickened.

Finally, add the cooked pasta into the skillet plus 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese then toss to combine. Taste then add salt if necessary.

Scoop the pasta into bowls then drizzle with a wee bit of balsamic reduction if you please (you can find this in bottles at the grocery store or make your own) and top with a sliced chicken cutlet. EASY, you guys!!! So, so easy, and even more delicious. I hope you love this light and yummy dish. Enjoy!

Bruschetta Chicken Pasta

Bruschetta Chicken Pasta is a light and fresh gluten-free dinner recipe that's perfect for spring and summer nights. Prep ahead and dinner will be on the table in just 15 minutes!


serves 4

  • 10oz gluten-free spaghetti
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into cutlets
  • Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • balsamic reduction, optional
  • For the bruschetta mixture:
    • 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped with juices (about 3 cups)
    • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil, chopped
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 3 cloves garlic, microplaned or minced
    • salt and pepper
    • pinch of sugar
  1. Stir together ingredients for bruschetta in a bowl then set aside. Can be made a day ahead of time.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil then salt heavily and add spaghetti. Cook until al dente then drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat then mist or spray with extra virgin olive oil or nonstick spray. Season chicken on both sides with Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and pepper then saute for 2-3 minutes a side or until cooked through. Remove to a plate then set aside. Turn heat down to medium then remove skillet from heat to cool slightly.
  4. Return skillet to heat then add bruschetta mixture and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until tomatoes are heated through and juices are slightly thickened. Add pasta and parmesan cheese then toss to combine. Taste then add salt if necessary. Scoop into bowls then top with more parmesan cheese, balsamic reduction if using, and chicken, then serve.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

The post Bruschetta Chicken Pasta appeared first on Iowa Girl Eats.

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After trying a ton of different gluten-free frozen foods over the past 4+ years, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite gluten-free frozen foods, including gluten-free bread.

At its heart, Iowa Girl Eats is about providing easy and approachable gluten-free recipes using everyday, in-season ingredients. Yes! Great, fantastic! But you know what? You also totally have my permission to forego the slow-cooking stew recipe (which we made this weekend – droooool,) for a box or bag of whatever you’ve got in the freezer.

That is to say, life is crazy and as much as we’d all like to cook a homemade dinner from scratch every night of the week, sometimes it’s just not in the cards. Rather, it’s in the freezer.

We’ve talked before about what to freeze and how – ie meat, casseroles, soups etc – but I’ve yet to talk about the specific foods and products I keep in my freezer to make our lives easier every single day. We’re going beyond the bags of frozen blueberries and shrimp to the frozen potstickers Ben and I pull out of the freezer any time we’re craving an Asian feast. The frozen pizza I pull out whenever…I’m craving frozen pizza! And yes, the ONLY gluten-free bread I stock my freezer to the very tippy top with.

Since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease over 4 years ago we’ve tried countless gluten-free frozen foods, and the 11 products below are considered my tried and true. At this point we’ve been buying and eating them for years, for please know that I 100% recommend every single one of them.

Before we get to the list, a few notes:

  • Gluten-free frozen foods are NOTORIOUS for being produced in facilities with contaminated lines so be sure to inspect frozen food labels (and all labels, really) for a “made in a facility that also processes wheat” disclaimer. These products are NOT gluten-free. The brand that comes to mind with this disclaimer on their gluten-free frozen foods is Amy’s.
  • At the time of this writing – March 2018 – all the products listed are gluten-free without the aforementioned factory disclaimer. Manufacturers do change though, so please always inspect labels yourself before purchasing.
  • Not all these gluten-free frozen foods products are healthy! Juuust putting that out there.

Ok my friends, clear some space in the freezer for my favorite gluten-free frozen foods!

My Favorite Gluten-Free Frozen Foods

Canyon Bakehouse Mountain White Bread

By far the question I get asked the most is in regards to gluten-free foods is, “What’s your favorite gluten-free bread?” My answer never changes – Canyon Bakehouse Mountain White Bread. Soft, squishy, and can be used in place of regular white bread in any situation – fresh bread crumbs, French Toast, grilled cheese, etc. Super Target usually has the best price and carries the bread in their bakery section, while the regular grocery store and Whole Foods stocks it in the specialty freezer section. I usually stock up on 4 or 5 loaves at a time to keep in the freezer – they last forever.

Feel Good Foods Chicken Potstickers

If I had to pick a favorite product on this list, Feel Good Foods Chicken Potstickers would definitely be it. Not just because I have a possible unhealthy obsession with potstickers, but also because they taste EXACTLY like the one I used to eat in Japan, and I recognize every single ingredient on the back of the box. We buy them at HyVee in the specialty foods freezer section.

Jones Dairy Farm Pork Breakfast Sausage Links

The term ‘freezer sausage’ used to give me the heebie jeebies. We’ve all had the rubbery patties or links filled with gristle, right? Jones Dairy Farm Pork Breakfast Sausage Links are phenomenal though. Made from a few real food ingredients and GRISTLE-FREE. You heard it here first, folks! I buy these at Costco and microwave a few links for me and the little boys almost every single morning.

So Delicious Dairy Free CocoWhip

The first time I used So Delicious Dairy Free CocoWhip was out of necessity – I needed whipped topping for a dessert I was making and Lincoln has a dairy allergy. CocoWhip to the rescue! The whipped topping stayed in our lives though because it’s so, so good and the ingredient list is light years better then regular whipped topping. Here are a few of my favorite recipes using this product:

Cappello’s Products

File Cappello’s products under “splurge” because they’re pretty pricey, but for good reason. Cappello’s offers high-quality, frozen pasta, pizza, and cookie dough products that are not only gluten-free, but grain-free too. Some are even Paleo-friendly. The cookie dough is outrageous (and egg-free so eat away!) and I have a special place in my heart, and freezer, for their gnocchi. I buy these products at Whole Foods.

Ore-Ida Frozen Potato Products

You definitely don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on gluten-free frozen foods – case in point, Ore-Ida Tater Tots found in the regular freezer aisle at the grocery store. Sure, the ingredient list isn’t all that clean, but they’re tater tots you guys! (And yes, I’ve tried the “healthy” tater tot brands and no, they don’t get nearly as crispy as Ore-Ida. If you’re going to eat a tot, eat the best tot available. YOLO!) Anyway, we always keep a bag of Ore-Ida Tater Tots on hand for Skillet Tater Tot Casserole and random tot cravings, plus their hash browns are the best of any frozen brand out there.

Halo Top Ice Cream

Monday night routine: set out a pint of Halo Top > put the baby to bed > dig in 20 minutes later. Perfection! I’m telling you, this lighter ice cream tastes anything but, and it’s my favorite gluten-free frozen treat. Note: not all Halo Top ice cream varieties are GF, so check labels carefully. I love the birthday cake and salted caramel flavors, especially.

Freschetta Gluten-Free Frozen Pizza

Maybe it’s the 90s teen in me but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for frozen pizza. I tried Freschetta gluten-free frozen pizza through a sponsored opportunity a few years ago and have been buying them regularly ever since. I won’t say we eat them weekly, or even monthly, but it’s so nice to have a few extra stashed in the freezer for pizza emergencies. I buy these at HyVee.

Cali’flour Foods Pizza Crust

My sister-in-law tipped me off to these Cali’flour Foods Pizza Crusts which are awesome if you’re looking for a cauliflower-based pizza crust but don’t want to go through the hassle of making them yourself. I haven’t seen this brand in stores – just online. I bought a 5 pack of the “plant based” crusts and use half a crust for Cameron every Friday for pizza night. SUCH a great way to get vegetables into little ones!

Nature Raised Farms Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets

I try to make Lincoln chicken nuggets only when we’re in a pinch, but do feel ok about these Nature Raised Farms Organic Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets, which I find in the regular grocery store’s specialty foods freezer section. The breading is super crisp and a little spicy from a heavy dash of black pepper. Definitely like to keep a box or bag of these in the freezer for crazy nights. Note: this brand offers both GF and regular products so be sure to double check labels when purchasing.

Nature’s Path Chia Plus Frozen Waffles

Breakfast is definitely a meal that I wish would just go away some days! I find myself in ruts with the boys because there’s rarely enough time to make anything more elaborate then toast, breakfast bars, yogurt, sausage, etc, so it’s nice to have quick and easy options including Nature Path Chia Plus Frozen Waffles on hand. Lincoln loves these waffles, which I top with peanut butter, and I love that they’re not packed with sugar. Plus each waffle has a healthy pinch of chia seeds. Note: this brand offers both GF and regular products so be sure to double check labels when purchasing.

More Freezer/Grocery Shopping Posts:

50 Freezer Friendly Recipes

What We Eat: A Virtual Grocery Shopping Trip

15 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

My Favorite Gluten-Free Products

The post My Favorite Gluten-Free Frozen Foods (Including GF Bread) appeared first on Iowa Girl Eats.

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Herb and Garlic Marinated Olives are an easy yet impressive, gluten-free appetizer recipe you can whip together several days ahead of a party or get together.

Whelp, I’ve officially become a pregnancy cliche. I don’t remember craving anything in particular with either of the boys, but this little girl has me wanting ALL THE LEMONS. All the salty/sour/tangy things, really, but especially lemon.

Although I can’t eat anything at Chick-fil-A, I’ve become a regular in the drive thru at least three times a week for their super sour lemonade. It is liiiiiiiife. By the way, did you know you can order ‘light ice’ at Chick-fil-A to get more bang for your lemonade buck? You’re welcome. This recent recipe was born out of a lemon craving – heck, I even found myself squeezing lemon juice into a bowl of chicken noodle soup the other day. I have no idea.

That said, the thought of marinating mixed olives and parmesan cheese in fresh herbs, garlic, red wine vinegar, and yes – lemon juice! – suddenly came to me last week, and the craving was so intense that I bought the ingredients to make them (translation: sent Ben to the store) a few hours later. Waiting 24 hours for them to marinate was utter torture, but this bright and briny gluten-free appetizer recipe was totally worth the wait!

Perusing the mixed olive bar at the grocery store was almost like going to the candy store before getting Celiac Disease. I say “almost” because let’s be real, nothing can compete with a wall of gummy worms. Anyway, now that “bars”, and “bulk” and “bins” for that matter, are no longer part of my culinary vocabulary, I simply make them at home!

Herb and Garlic Marinated Olives are a cinch to assemble (pour stuff in a bag y’all) plus they’re make-ahead so you won’t be scrambling the day of a party or get-together to come up with an appetizer. The flavors in the marinated olives just get better and better as they sit, too. Good after 24 hours but even better two or three days later. I made these to photograph last week but life got in the way (2 sick kids, work deadlines like woah, canceled school, yadda yadda yadda) and I wasn’t able to do so until three days after assembling. Totally serendipitous though because I’d been taste-testing them every day up to that point, and they truly got tastier every single day.

So that said, assemble these olives in the middle of the week if you anticipate weekend guests, or just keep them on hand in the fridge to snag anytime you need a savory snack. This might be the pregnancy talking, but the only thing that could possibly make Herb and Garlic Marinated Olives any better would be a handful of cornichons. We’ll never know unless we try!

Start with olives, of course! You can use whatever kind you like. I happen to LOVE these Mezzetta green olives so I used 2 cups of those (basically the entire jar) plus 1 cup kalamata olives.

Add the olives to a large Ziplock bag with 4oz parmesan cheese that’s been cut into 1/4” cubes, 3 cloves smashed garlic, 1/2 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns, 1 large sprig each fresh rosemary and thyme, 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar and the juice of 1/2 lemon. 

Seal the bag up then gently mix to combine and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving, rotating and flipping the bag anytime you think about it. If you choose to make the olives three or more days ahead of time, replace the herbs with new fresh ones anytime they start to look a little sad.

When it’s time to dine let the bag sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, which allows the olive oil to melt, then pour the mixture into a serving bowl with olive tongs, toothpicks, or appetizer forks and go to town. I hope you love this EASY, absolutely delicious gluten-free appetizer recipe! Enjoy!

Herb and Garlic Marinated Olives

Herb and Garlic Marinated Olives are an easy and impressive, gluten-free appetizer recipe to whip together several days ahead of a party or get together. Pour the olives into a bowl then watch your guests devour them!


serves a crowd

  • 2 cups pitted Italian green olives
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 4oz parmesan cheese cut into 1/4” cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 large sprig fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  1. Add all the ingredients into a large Ziplock bag then place inside a bowl (in case of leaks) and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating - flipping and rotating the bag any time you think about it. Let the bag sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to melt the oil then pour contents into a serving bowl and serve with toothpicks or tongs.

  • I use Mezzetta brand olives >
  • You can make these olives up to four or five days ahead of time. Replace the herbs with fresh ones anytime they look a little sad!

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

The post Herb and Garlic Marinated Olives appeared first on Iowa Girl Eats.

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Snickerdoodle Almond Butter is flavored with cinnamon sugar and a touch of vanilla. Spread onto toast, or enjoy with fruit as a healthy gluten-free snack! This post is sponsored by Fisher Nuts.

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you for your kind and supportive messages regarding our happy news – I had a permanent smile on my face and in my heart the entire weekend! As I said, it feels so good to finally share and has really made this experience feel all the more real. As if the expanding waistline and chin(s) wasn’t enough.

Rather then go out and celebrate, we spent the weekend hunkered down at home, trying our best not to touch each other. Lincoln came down with the world’s worst cold on Friday, followed quickly by Ben, so I spent the remainder of the weekend disinfecting the house and knocking on every wood surface available that Cam and I will stay healthy. As I keep asking, IS IT SPRING YET?!

Alas, the snow falling outside my window serves as a very visual reminder that nope, we got awhile, which is ok for now because I’ve got a little project for you! Snickerdoodle Almond Butter, my people! Make it > eat 10 spoonfuls > screw the lid on the jar > unscrew the lid > eat 7 more spoonfuls. This. Stuff. Is. GOLD.

The recipe for Snickerdoodle Almond Butter is sponsored by my long time partners at Fisher Nuts. Fisher Nuts contain zero preservatives and nine varieties of their nuts are verified by the American Heart Association as heart healthy (look for the little logo on the bag.) February is American Heart Month and eating healthy, plus getting a moderate amount of exercise, is one of the best ways to help prevent heart disease, America’s #1 killer. Almonds are full of fiber, protein, antioxidants, healthy fats and vitamins, which make them a wonderful food to include into your diet.

If for some reason you can’t find Fisher Nuts in your area, you can always order them on Amazon. I find them at Walmart in the baking aisle – NOT the snack nut aisle – as Ben furiously found out whilst picking up a few bags for me so I could make this Snickerdoodle Almond Butter last week. Sorry boo.

Snickerdoodle Almond Butter contains just 5 ingredients plus a pinch of salt and, after processing in a food processor until smooth and drippy, it tastes like a combination of a cinnamon-sugar-spiked snickerdoodle cookie and cinnamon sugar toast. Oh my word – it’s so good!

The first time I tested this recipe I asked Lincoln if he wanted a spoonful. Big fat no. Little man’s got very particular tastes when it comes to peanut/almond butter. “It tastes like coooo-kies!” I told him. “COOKIES?!” Immediately abandoned his Legos and came running into the kitchen. Needless to say, it was a total hit.

We’ve been devouring this homemade almond butter by the aforementioned spoonful, on toast, and as a healthy snack with sliced apples, pretzels, carrots and, ok fine, maybe a gluten-free graham cracker or two. Cookies on cookies? YOLO!

If you’re looking for a “cleaner” option to satisfy your nut butter loving needs – give this homemade almond butter a try. There’s just a touch of coconut sugar added to amp up the Snickerdoodle taste, and zero preservatives. That said, store the almond butter in a cool dark place for up to 2 weeks, or in the refrigerator if you find yourself enjoying at a slower pace.

Start by adding 2 cups Fisher Whole Natural Almonds to the bowl of a food processor then process until the almonds are ground, about 45 seconds.

Next add 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar, 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Continue to process the almonds, scraping down the bowl every so often, until they’re very smooth and drippy, about 15 minutes. The almonds will go through several stages during that time:

  1. First they’ll be crumbly, then become pasty.
  2. The paste will eventually come together into a ball before suddenly smoothing out.
  3. Keep processing the smooth paste until it becomes drippy. Again, this will take around 15 minutes. Be patient – it WILL work!

A few tips:

  • Keep the feed chute lid (the cylindrical part) off to allow steam to escape.
  • Once the almond butter is drippy, I like to let it sit in the food processor for 5 minutes then process for another minute or two. Repeat the resting/processing step one more time to ensure the almond butter is as smooth and buttery as possible.

That’s it! Pour the Snickerdoodle Almond Butter into a mason jar or jar with a tight fitting lid then enjoy with anything and EVERYTHING. I hope you love this yummy, gluten-free snack or breakfast idea! Enjoy!

Snickerdoodle Almond Butter

Snickerdoodle Almond Butter is drippy, homemade almond butter flavored with cinnamon sugar and a touch of vanilla. Spread onto bread, or enjoy with fruit as a healthy gluten-free snack!


makes 1-1/2 cups

  • 2 cups Fisher Whole Natural Almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar (could use brown sugar or pure maple syrup)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  1. Add almonds to the bowl of a food processor then process until mostly ground. Add the remaining ingredients then process for 12-15 minutes or until the almond butter is drippy, scraping down the sides of the bowl every so often.
  2. Your almonds will go through a few stages: first they'll be crumbly, and then pasty. Then the almonds will come together in a ball before smoothing out. Keep processing until the smooth almond paste becomes drippy. You now have almond butter!

  • Keep the feed chute lid (the cylindrical part) off to allow steam to escape.
  • Once the almond butter is drippy, I like to let it sit in the food processor for 5 minutes then process for another minute or two. Repeat the resting/processing step one more time to ensure the almond butter is as smooth and buttery as possible.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

The post Snickerdoodle Almond Butter appeared first on Iowa Girl Eats.

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Iowa Girl Eats by Kristin - 1M ago

Roses are red, violets are blue,
I’ve got something to share with you!

We’ve got two boys, they are our whole world,
which it’s about to expand by one little girl.

A party of 5 is what we’ll soon be,
and this little family is filled with glee!

Guys, there’s a very clear reason I haven’t written a poem since the 6th grade. Thank you Rhymer.com for help with…whatever that was…but yes, we are having another baby. I still almost can’t believe it!

As I mentioned in my post announcing our pregnancy with Cameron, I am very sensitive to the feelings of the women and men who are praying to God and pleading with the universe to bless them with a precious little one. Please know that I see your desires and struggles and wish nothing more then to be by your side with a supportive squeeze and listening ear. You got this.

But yes, a baby girl. Sugar, spice and everything nice! I am full of feels. ALL the feels, hahaha! Shock, excitment, nervousness – did I mention shock? I’ll admit I’ve raised a proverbial eyebrow in the past when people claim to know the gender of their baby before an anatomy scan, or having the baby of course, but the eyebrow is forever lowered because I knew from day one this child was a girl. My pregnancy with both boys was identical but since the day I got a positive test, everything’s been different. Crazy nausea, headaches 24/7, insanely vivid dreams. If that wasn’t enough, the moment she popped up on the screen during our first ultrasound at 11 weeks (I’m 17 weeks right now – due in late July) all I could see in my mind was a giant red heart. A girl…I just knew it.

Fast forward several weeks later and I got a call from our doctor’s office with the results of some blood tests that would also tell us gender. “Um, how accurate are these tests?” I asked the nurse on the phone. “Hmmm, let me check,” she said while rifling through some papers. “Oh, here it is. 99.9% accurate.” 

Ok then!!

Hey listen, I have two brothers, two little boys, and am the least girly girl on the planet to boot, so to be honest with you I had a minor panic attack when the news I’d felt in my bones since the beginning was confirmed on paper. Barbies, bows and nail polish are foreign territory, but I can handle it. Where my thoughts immediately went was mean girls. Peer pressure. Body image. BOYS!!!! Which is weird since I had a mostly normal and happy teenage existence. I just very quickly realized how big of a part I’ll play in raising a strong and independent, kind and responsible woman. No pressure! Luckily my sister-in-law wisely advised me to focus on the here and now – aka picking out an adorable, ruffly onesie for her to come home in.

Everyone asks how Ben is feeling about having a third, and a girl. Umm, Ben is probably the most excited! We both grew up with two siblings and have always felt like a full house was a fun house. Lincoln is so so pumped, and Cameron has no idea, poor thing. We’ll get him a doll in the next month or two so he can start practicing. He and little sis will be 21 months apart. Hold me.

Ok, parents of 3+ and/or 2 under 2, talk to me about:

  • Double strollers. Lightweight, jogging – let me have it.
  • SUV car seat configurations. I’m all for becoming a mad mom in a minivan but Ben is insisting on holding onto his cool card for as long as possible. Good luck with that.
  • Literally everything else. Give me all your good stories and advice. I feel WAY less nervous about having this baby then I did Cameron for about 100 different reasons, but being a mother to three precious children under five is still somewhat terrifying.

Thank you for allowing me share our wonderful news with you – oh my gosh, it feels so good to not hold it in anymore! I think this may help connect the dots as to why I’ve felt a bit preoccupied lately too. I’m finally past the “I’m so tired all I want to do is stare at the wall” phase, but being pregnant with two little boys and a business is no joke. So that said, thank you also for your understanding if things get a little willy nilly here for awhile. I am grateful to have the best, most loyal and supportive readers in the world. <3

The post Roses Are Red… appeared first on Iowa Girl Eats.

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No longer the least popular vegetable on the platter, here are 10 cauliflower recipes that you’ll actually want to eat!

Hey hey – how are you? We’re coming off what feels like weekend #157 in a row of doing nothing! Our social lives kind of stop during the season that shall not be named, when it’s freezing and there’s giant piles of snow everywhere, plus our pediatrician told us that due to the severity of this year’s flu season, if we don’t HAVE to take the boys out to public places right now then we shouldn’t. But, I’m also just a total wimp when it comes to the cold. Give me a warm spring or summer day though, and the opportunities are endless.

Speaking of endless opportunities, let’s talk about cauliflower. Muwahahaha! I wonder if cauliflower’s recent trendiness has backfired on the already LPVOTP (least popular vegetable on the platter,) similar to kale’s rise to the top over the past few years. Are you sick of hearing about it yet?

My eyes would roll more frequently if I hadn’t witnessed my husband and kids eating cauliflower both totally unnoticed AND with enthusiasm almost weekly over the past couple of years. What makes this somewhat bland and boring vegetable so great is the reason why it’s so often overlooked – it sort of tastes like nothing…yet morphs into anything!

  • Saute shredded cauliflower then serve in place of rice or hash browns.
  • Steam and blend then use instead of heavy cream in soups and sauces.
  • Swap for white potatoes in potato salad (TRY IT!)
  • Obviously roast it – there is nothing like roasted cauliflower!

Not only is cauliflower a gluten-free, low-calorie, nutrient-dense food with 2 grams of protein in every 1 cup serving, but it takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with.

Most often I cut white rice with cauliflower rice in stir fries, mince cauliflower in the food processor then saute with ground beef for taco night (this also works super well with minced mushrooms FYI,) or steam then blend cauliflower into soups to achieve a thick and luxurious texture without adding dairy, as Lincoln’s allergic.

If you’re looking for more ideas, today I’m sharing 10 cauliflower recipes you’ll actually want to eat! First let’s review the ways to prepare cauliflower, other then chopping it into florets:

  1. Use the grating attachment on your food processor to turn cauliflower florets into “rice”.
  2. Add cauliflower florets into the bowl of your food processor fitted with the s-blade then pulse to mince.
  3. Cut a cauliflower head into quarters then grate on the large side of a box grater.
  4. Buy pre-made cauliflower crumbles.

What’s your favorite way to transform cauliflower into something craveable?

Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers with Parmesan-Garlic Cauliflower Rice

Think you won’t like cauliflower rice? Saute it in garlic then bury it under a blanket of parmesan cheese. That should do the trick.  Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers with Parmesan-Garlic Cauliflower Rice is a quick and easy weeknight supper that swaps the crusty rolls sausage and peppers are normally stuffed into with flavorful cauliflower rice. (I promise you that is NOT an oxymoron!)

Click here for the recipe >

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Fried Rice is the recipe that started my cauliflower rice obsession. I’d been searching for a way to swap gluten-free grains for something plant-based and decided to give cauliflower a whirl. Spoiler alert – it worked!! Lincoln LOVES this dish, though I usually cut it with a bit of cooked white rice, otherwise it’s too much fiber for him.

Click here for the recipe >

Bacon-Cheddar Cauliflower Chowder (Low-Carb Alternative to Baked Potato Soup)

Bacon-Cheddar Cauliflower Chowder, a low-carb alternative to Baked Potato Soup, is still one of the most popular soup recipes on IGE six years after I posted it. Not only because it’s a lower-carb, lower-guilt way to enjoy the flavors of Baked Potato Soup, but because it’s insanely delicious too.

Click here for the recipe >

Cauliflower “Faux-tato” Salad

Cauliflower “Faux-tato” Salad is one of my favorite fake-out dishes to date. Simply swap cooked white potatoes with steamed cauliflower florets then toss with your favorite potato salad fixin’s. I love reading the reviews on this recipe from readers who have tried it.

Click here for the recipe >

Cilantro-Lime Chicken Meatball Bowls with Sweet Corn Pico de Gallo and Cauli-Rice

Cilantro-Lime Chicken Meatball Bowls with Sweet Corn Pico de Gallo and Cauli-Rice is a party in a bowl. Cauliflower takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with and in this recipe I drizzled sauteed cauliflower rice with plenty of lime and fresh cilantro. Super refreshing and healthy.

Click here for the recipe >

Cauliflower Gratin

Ok, ok – if you’re still not sold on cauliflower – smother it in cheese. Usually works for me! Cauliflower Gratin is a lower-carb alternative to mac and cheese and is wonderfully cheesy and decadent. A fabulous side dish for any weeknight or holiday dinner.

Click here for the recipe >

Low-Carb Cauliflower Cream Cheese Soup

Back in the DAY I ate Panera’s Potato Cream Cheese Soup like, 4 days a week. Wish I was kidding. Since it’s not gluten-free, nor on the menu anymore, I made a semi-copycat recipe, swapping shredded potatoes for shredded cauliflower. Did I mention Low-Carb Cauliflower Cream Cheese Soup is ready in just 30 minutes?

Click here for the recipe >

Very-Veggie Cauliflower Hash Brown Breakfast Bowl

There is no better way to start your day then with a Very-Veggie Cauliflower Hash Brown Breakfast Bowl. This vegetarian breakfast is PACKED with healthy vegetables and eggs – you won’t miss the bacon.

Click here for the recipe >

Creamy (No Cream!) Sweet Corn and Potato Chowder

Like I said, steamed then blended cauliflower is a DEAD RINGER for heavy cream, and it’s what makes my Creamy (No Cream!) Sweet Corn and Potato Chowder so thick and luxurious. You would never ever know this soup is made without dairy. It’s such a treat!

Click here for the recipe >

Sweet Chili Coconut-Lime Grilled Chicken with Coconut-Lime Cauliflower Rice

Sweet Chili Coconut-Lime Grilled Chicken with Coconut-Lime Cauliflower Rice is one of YOUR favorite cauliflower recipes. I think flavoring cauliflower rice with lime and coconut milk has something to do with it. Served with sweet chili coconut-lime chicken (either grilled or sauteed,) this is a healthy, feel-good meal that’s packed with flavor.

Click here for the recipe >

The post 10 Cauliflower Recipes You’ll Actually Want to Eat appeared first on Iowa Girl Eats.

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Meal Prep Greek Chickpea Salad is a fresh and filling lunch idea! Make a big batch then divy into mason jars with lettuce for easy, on-the-go gluten-free lunches all week.

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed but on most Fridays I try to share a recipe that’s weekend-friendly. Maybe its a fun baking projectlazy brunch recipe, or a long simmering stew. My favorite thing to do though, is provide a meal prep idea that you can assemble on either Saturday or Sunday then enjoy all week long.

Maple Cinnamon Breakfast Bars and Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars come to mind, plus any soup or chili, and meal-prep friendly recipes like Greek Chickpea Salad!

Not only is this meal prep recipe KILLLLLLLLLING it in the delicious department – oh my word it is so, so, so fresh and delicious – but you can divy the salad into mason jars or tupperware containers, top with lettuce and extra protein like chopped chicken, shrimp or steak, then stash in the fridge for easy, pre-made lunches during your busy work week. Pair with an apple, orange, or grapes and you’re set!

Meal Prep Greek Chickpea Salad is a riff on my Italian Chickpea Salad (which works equally as well as a meal prep idea) but this one has all the classic flavors of a Greek Salad, plus chickpeas and fresh dill. OBNOXIOUS AMOUNTS OF FRESH DILL because I am obsessed with it at the moment. It makes me think of pickles which in turn makes me think: gimme.

The rest of Greek salad cast is all there: fresh tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta cheese, and olives, tossed in a puckery Lemon-Oregano Dressing. Maybe it’s the 6″ of snow currently on the ground, with another 6″ on the way tonight, but I’m ALL about bright and sunny citrus at the moment. That said, I couldn’t stop adding fresh lemon juice to the dressing. THAT said, if you think it’s a little too tart in the jar, drizzle it in anyway because the flavors compliment the rest of the ingredients perfectly. I’m definitely classifying this dressing as spoon-drink-worthy!

Not only is Meal Prep Greek Chickpea Salad healthy and filling, but I love how all the ingredients are chopped the same size so each bite is perfectly balanced. Tart and tangy, fresh and crunchy. Prep for lunches as I’ve shown, or serve alongside any simple dinner to really liven things up!

Couldn’t be easier – in a large bowl combine a 15oz can chickpeas that’s been drained and rinsed, 1/2 chopped English cucumber, 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes that have been halved or quartered, 1/4 minced red onion, 1/2 cup olives that have been sliced (I used a combo of kalamata and green olives,) 1-1/2 Tablespoons chopped dill, plus 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (un-pictured.)

Next, in a mason jar or bowl, combine the ingredients for the Lemon-Oregano Dressing: 1/2 cup each extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons), 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and honey, 1 large garlic clove that’s been pressed or minced, plus salt and pepper. Shake or whisk to combine.

Pour HALF the dressing onto the salad then toss to combine.

Like I said, you can go the dinner route with this salad – it’d pair particularly well with chicken or roast shrimp…

Or spoon a couple Tablespoons of the extra dressing into mason jars, followed by a few scoops of salad, chopped protein, and as much lettuce as you can stuff into the jar. Screw on a lid and you’re set! I hope you love this colorful, fresh and healthy meal prep lunch idea! Enjoy!

Meal Prep Greek Chickpea Salad

Meal Prep Greek Chickpea Salad is a fresh and filling lunch idea! Make a big batch then divy into mason jars with lettuce for easy, on-the-go gluten-free lunches all week.


serves 6

  • 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 cup kalamata/green olives, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or more or less)
  • salt
  • For the Lemon-Oregano Dressing:
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or minced
    • salt and pepper
  1. For the Lemon-Oregano Dressing: Add all dressing ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid or bowl then shake or whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to a large bowl. Add HALF the dressing then stir gently to combine.
  3. If making mason jar salads: add a couple Tablespoons of the remaining dressing into mason jars then add a few scoops of salad followed by as much lettuce as you can pack into the jar. Optional: add chopped chicken, steak, or shrimp on top of the chickpea salad before the lettuce. Screw lids on tightly then store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Salad on its own will last for 5 days.

  • The Lemon-Oregano Dressing might taste too tart by itself but has great flavor once mixed in with the salad!

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

The post Meal Prep Greek Chickpea Salad appeared first on Iowa Girl Eats.

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Pan-Roasted Steak with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese is beyond decadent! Perfect for date night or anytime you want a special and indulgent dinner at home.

This post pays homage to my dear friend Karla! Karla is what you call a Renaissance woman because she does it ALL.

  • World traveler
  • Accomplished writer
  • Life of the party
  • Active in her community
  • Sequins wearer
  • Dance floor slayer
  • Certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor

Not only that, but Karla is a genuinely good person and friend. Always the one to reach out and check in, and truly interested in people. As an introvert I usually prefer to be the one asking questions and listening, versus answering and talking, but Karla never lets that happen. She is full of life, zest, energy, and every synonym in between. To know her is to love her, and I always leave our meetings feeling inspired to be a better person. We all need a friend like that, don’t you think?

As the city’s former restaurant reviewer, Karla also knows the best places to eat. She’s the one that introduced me to the Spicy Shrimp Soup restaurant! It was at a dinner date at Harbinger a few months ago though, that she gave me the idea for this ridiculous steak pairing that I had to share with you as a decadent and special Valentine’s Day dinner idea – Pan-Roasted Steak with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese!

Pan-Roasted Steak with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese - YouTube

As Karla and I chatted over dinner and drinks at the restaurant that night, we somehow got to talking about steak. I have no idea why, but as born and bred Midwesterners it’s really not that surprising. Anyway, I told her I was making mushroom and rosemary steaks for dinner later that week and Karla’s all – HOLD MY BEER (make that wine – did I mention she’s studying to become a level 2 sommelier?) and proceeded to tell me about the luscious combination of steak, caramelized onions, and chevre she served her parents a few weeks before.


If you’re a steak lover like Karla and me, do yourself a favor and get this combo on your dinner menu as soon as possible. Make for Valentine’s Day of COURSE, because the same dish would cost $30+ out at a restaurant, but truly today. Or tomorrow. Or the day after that. You get the idea!

Although the name sounds fancy, this is such an easy meal to make with just 4 main ingredients. Seasoned New York strip steaks are seared in butter for 2 minutes, flipped then roasted in the oven for 6, then topped with caramelized onions, softened goat cheese, and – my contribution to the recipe – a drizzle of browned butter from the skillet. Oh MAN, it totally transforms the meat. I may or may not scrape every bite of steak across the bottom of the buttery skillet every time I make this dish. Which has been about 3 times this past month!

Start by making the caramelized onions, which can be made a day ahead of time. To a large, oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron) heat 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium heat then add 2 sliced sweet onions and saute until golden brown and caramelized, 30-40 minutes.

Traditionally caramelized onions are cooked over low heat for up to several hours but we’re going for mix between seared and caramelized. That said, keep the heat at or a touch below medium, if the onions start burning, the whole time.

Scoop the onions into a bowl then set aside.

Steak time! You’ll need 2, 12oz (ish) new york strip steaks cut 1-1/4″ thick. The day I tok photos for this recipe all I could find were 16oz steaks – totally fine – use what you’ve got!

My best tip for cooking a special meal like this one is to splurge on good quality steaks with great marbling. These steaks didn’t have a ton of marbling but if you slice them very thinly and against the grain after cooking you’ll get a really tender bite of steak.

Turn the heat under the skillet up to just below high then, when the skillet is super hot, add 2 Tablespoons butter and allow to melt. The butter not only gives the steaks a gorgeous, golden-brown crust but it also acts as a sauce to drizzle over at the end. It is my FAVORITE part of this dish!

Season one side of the steaks generously with coarse salt and pepper OR your favorite steak rub (I love this homemade rub,) then add seasoned-side down into the hot butter. Season the tops then saute for 2 minutes, flip the steaks, then place the whole skillet into a 400 degree oven for 6 minutes for medium-doneness.

NOTE: adjust roasting time depending on how well done you like your steaks AND/OR how big and thickly cut they are. Again, these were 16oz steaks cut 1-1/4″ thick. I cooked them for 6 minutes to get the medium-rare doneness you see in the photos here.

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board to rest for 8-10 minutes then thinly slice against the grain, transfer to plates, and top with the caramelized onions, softened chevre (goat cheese,) and a big spoonful of the browned butter from the bottom of the skillet. PER.FEC.TION, my friends!! I hope you love this very special dish! Enjoy!

Pan-Roasted Steak with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese

Pan-Roasted Steak with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese is decadent beyond measure! Perfect for date night or anytime you want a delicious and indulgent dinner at home.


serves 2

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 2-12oz New York Strip steaks, cut 1-1/4” thick
  • coarse ground salt and pepper OR steak seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2oz chèvre, softened to room temperature
  1. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large, oven-proof skillet (cast iron is best) over medium heat. Add onions then sauté until caramelized and slightly seared, stirring occasionally, 30-40 minutes, turning heat down just slightly if onions begin to burn. We're looking to achieve between seared and caramelized onions. Scoop into a bowl then set aside. Onions can be made a day ahead of time.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim excess fat off steaks then season one side generously with seasoning. Turn heat under skillet to just below high then, once skillet is very hot, add butter and allow to melt. Add steaks seasoned-side down to skillet then season top sides of steaks.
  3. Sear steaks for 2 minutes, or until a golden brown crust as been formed on the bottom, then flip and transfer the entire skillet into the preheated oven for 6 minutes for medium doneness (roast for more or fewer minutes depending on how well done you like your steaks and/or if they were cut thinner or thicker then 1-1/4” thick.)
  4. Transfer steaks to a cutting board then let rest for 8-10 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain. Serve topped with butter from skillet, seared caramelized onions, and chevre.

  • Click here for my favorite homemade steak seasoning >
  • Tip: if your steaks are of a little lesser quality (not much marbling, etc) slice the steak as thin as possible when serving to achieve maximum tenderness.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

The post Pan-Roasted Steak with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese (Video) appeared first on Iowa Girl Eats.

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