Find recipes that are wholesome, affordable and most importantly a recipe blog with healthy, easy recipes that anyone can make and everyone will love! Also find mostly healthy, use minimally processed ingredients, and focus on incorporating seasonal produce, healthy fats, and whole grains.
This Crock Pot Chicken and Rice is the minivan of healthy slow cooker recipes. It’s not flashy. It’s not exotic. Strangers will not stop to take photos standing in front of it. On a Monday night (actually on just about any night), however, you can forget the Ferrari. Give me the reliable. Give me the practical. Give me the Crock Pot Chicken and Rice!
If you are looking for more easy crock pot meals to navigate you through a busy week, this Crock Pot Chicken and Rice will be your ride.
A creamy, cheesy blend of juicy chicken, whole grains, and fresh veggies, this healthy chicken and rice crock pot recipe has a seat for everyone.
It’s mild enough for picky eaters but flavorful enough for more adventurous palates.
It yields a large batch and is rich in fiber and protein, so it’s hearty enough for hungry households.
It’s freezer friendly and tastes great leftover, so if you are into meal prepping or part of a smaller household that only needs slow cooker chicken and rice for two, it’s easy to save and reheat later on. (more…)
BREAKING NEWS. Baked Fries that are actually crispy! After slicing, baking, and salting more potatoes than I care to count, I have for you a foolproof method for how to make French fries crispy in the oven. No more compromising texture for the sake of making baked French fries healthy. Pull out the spuds and get your dip ready, because it’s Fry-Day!
While I’m no stranger to oven fries, up until now I hadn’t found a recipe that I considered a legitimate alternative to the real-deal, deep-fried French fries you’d find at a restaurant.
Most baked fries I made at home became soggy quickly after emerging from the oven, a problem I assumed was unavoidable…and that I easily mitigated by smothering the fries in all manners of cheesy deliciousness (reference: Mexican Chicken Enchilada Fries; Chicken Bacon Ranch Fries).
Or, if the oven baked fries were crispy on the outside, the tradeoff was that the insides would be dry and caky. No thank you.
Still other methods for homemade oven fries, while effective, were too fussy. I’ve read all about the cornstarch trick (an extra step in which the cut potatoes are carefully tossed in cornstarch prior to baking), but after trying it once, I decided that it was too much of a hassle and too messy to be worth it.
I wanted crispy baked fries that were golden on the outside and tender on the inside, all for a minimum amount of effort. Goldilocks much?
So, HOW DO YOU MAKE FRENCH FRIES CRISPY IN THE OVEN?
Without spending hours tossing and rinsing and boiling and drying. Without excess oil. Without wishing you’d hit up a diner or drive through instead?
I decided to find out.
After extensive experimentation with different varieties of potatoes, baking times and temps, and seasonings, today’s Crispy Baked Fries are the answer!
Let’s get the bad news out of the way right this second: You do have to get the potatoes wet and dry them off. There is no way around this. Embrace reality, and trust me that it will be worth it.
Placing in the sliced potatoes in a bowl with very hot water cooks them just enough to ensure the insides become nice and tender, while the outsides crisp but do not burn.
If you’ve ever had double-fried French fries (HEAVEN. It’s how the Pioneer Woman does hers. Could there be a better endorsement?), the concept is the same. Cooking the fries once at a lower temperature than again at a higher temperature creates the ultimate inner and outer texture, whether the fries are deep fried or oven baked.
The second critical component to perfect baked fries is seasoning.
White potatoes are quite bland on their own (a reason I’d usually opt for Grilled Sweet Potato Fries instead) BUT, that also makes them an ideal vehicle for new flavors.
I headed to my spice cabinet for baked fry inspiration and, after being appalled by how out of control the scene had gotten (more on that momentarily), found a lone container of McCormick Dill Weed begging to be put to use.
Maybe it’s because I spent my entire life dipping my fries in ranch dressing, but the moment I saw the dill weed, I knew I wanted to make ranch-seasoned fries. The dill weed, combined with garlic powder, onion powder, and salt gave the fries a zesty, herby flavor that makes them impossibly addictive.
Since I’m turning over the secrets to the best-ever crispy baked fries today, I’m going to show you a little something else…my spice cabinet. Up until last week, I had to stand on a stool to see most of them. As I was digging for the dill weed, I realized just how old some of them were too. It was time for a little spring cleaning.
This is the before and after:
I moved some of my most-used spices onto this inexpensive countertop rack (you could also put the rack in your pantry if your cabinets are larger than mine) to make them more accessible, and spent time discarding spices that have gone bad so that they wouldn’t impart an off (or bland) flavor to my dishes.
It felt SO GOOD to whip my spices into shape that I’m planning to tackle our guest bedroom closet this weekend. Wish me luck!
If you are planning to do a little spring spice cabinet cleaning yourself, here are a few key tips that I learned from McCormick, an ultimate spice authority:
Sight: Check that the colors of your spices and herbs are bright and vibrant. If the color has faded, so has the flavor.
Aroma: Rub or crush the spice or herb in your hand. If the aroma is weak, it is time to replace it.
Taste: Give the herb or spice a taste test. If it lacks flavor, it is past its prime.
“Best By” Date: Ground spices last 2-3 years, whole spices 3-4, herbs 1-3, and seasoning blends 1-2. <—I was amazed (and a little embarrassed) to find a number of mine that were pushing beyond this.
How to Make Fries Crispy Again:
In the unlikely event of leftovers, you can reheat the baked fries by preheating your oven to 400 degrees and placing an empty baking sheet in the oven while the oven preheats.
Spread the leftover fries in a single layer on the hot pan, then pop the pan into the preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes. Watch the fries carefully the last few minutes to make sure they do not burn.
If you’ve ever reheated French fries from a restaurant, you know nothing replaces the just-cooked taste (the fries will dry out a bit), but they did at least perk up somewhat.
A Few Final Baked Fries Recipe Notes:
I tested the recipe with both russet and Yukon gold potatoes, and while both do work, I preferred the final texture of the baked fries made with Yukon golds. While both potato varieties crisped nicely on the outsides, I found the insides of the russets to be drier, while the oven fries made with the Yukon golds were more tender and creamy.
As the recipe is written, these are vegan baked fries, but if you worried about keeping them dairy free, a delicious recipe option is to toss the finished baked fries with a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese just before serving.
If you are looking for baked steak fries, I’d suggest the fries from this Baked Fish and Chips recipe, as the method and cooking time/temps below are more suitable for thinner, matchstick-style fries.
Happy Friday/Fry-Day! If you try this recipe for ranch-inspired Crispy Baked Fries, I’d love to hear what you think. Your comments mean so much to me!
Watch How to Make Crispy Baked Fries with Ranch Seasoning:
How to make Crispy Oven Baked Fries! Easy recipe that makes the most perfect, healthy homemade baked French fries every time. Includes tips for how to reheat French fries to make them crispy again.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold or similar golden yellow potatoes (about 4)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
1 teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Dill Weed
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon McCormick ground black pepper
Optional toppings: chopped fresh chives, fresh parsley, freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast to keep the Baked Fries vegan)
Place a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Drizzle a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, brushing it as needed so that it nicely coats the pan.
Scrub the potatoes and peel if desired (I leave the peels on). Slice into 1/4-inch-wide sticks. Place the potatoes in a large bowl, then pour very hot tap water over the top so that it covers the potatoes by at least 1 inch. Let sit 10 minutes.
Drain the potatoes, then transfer them to a clean towel and dry as completely as you can, changing the towel as needed. Rinse and wipe out the bowl you soaked the potatoes in, then return the potatoes to the bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, dill weed, onion powder, and pepper. Toss to coat, making sure the spices and oil are well distributed. Spread the potatoes into a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Roast in the lower third of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until turning golden underneath. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, with a large, firm spatula, carefully loosen the fries from the bottom of the pan. Flip them in large sections as best as you can so that the potatoes rotate and brown evenly on all sides (no need to painstakingly flip every single one). With your fingers (be careful—the pan is hot!) return the potatoes to a single layer. Place the pan back in the oven and continue baking until the fries are as golden and crisp as you like, about 5 to 10 additional minutes (30 minutes total was ideal timing for this crispy-fry lover). While the fries are hot, sprinkle with any desired toppings and a bit more salt to taste. DEVOUR.
These baked fries are best enjoyed the day they are made. If you do have leftovers, place a rimmed baking sheet in your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Once it is preheated, carefully remove the pan and spread the leftover fries right onto it. Return the hot pan to the oven and let the fries crisp for a few minutes, just until warmed through (I find about 5 to 7 is plenty). Watch carefully the last few minutes so that the fries do not burn.
You can swap russet (standard baking) potatoes for the Yukon golds (no changes to the recipe needed), but I found that the Yukon golds gave me the best oven fry texture overall. The insides were creamier, while the outsides became nice and crisp.
One of my absolute favorite days of the year can’t be marked on a calendar or planned in advance. It’s the first moment in March when I walk into the store and see a big, beautiful display of well-priced asparagus. My favorite spring veggie has returned at last! Let’s celebrate with vibrant bowls of this luscious Cream of Asparagus Soup.
Asparagus season is preciously short. Every year, I spend the last several weeks of winter impatiently awaiting its arrival.
I’m still holding out for locally grown asparagus (Wisconsin produce runs a month or more behind the warmer zones of the country), but if you think that the gorgeous green stalks of $1.99/pound asparagus that are gracing our store’s shelves hasn’t lured me into a spring tizzy, well…you clearly have never watched me take down a bowl of fresh asparagus soup (or an asparagus tart or pretty much any one of these asparagus recipes).
I’m not alone in my asparagus fervor either.
Last night, my mother-in-law dropped four pounds of fresh asparagus off at our house because she was overzealous in her purchasing and wouldn’t be able to finish it all before leaving town.
Guess which lucky gal is having more Cream of Asparagus Soup this week! (more…)
This easy (and I mean easy) Flourless Chocolate Tortes recipe and I are long and faithful friends. Its silky-smooth texture, sinfully chocolaty flavor, and ability to be easily adapted to different tastes, toppings, and flavors makes it the perfect guest at any gathering. If you’re unsure of your ability to make an impressive dessert, are looking for a dessert you can make ahead (and even freeze!), or if chocolate is the love language of your soul, this easy chocolate torte recipe is sure to be a devoted companion of yours too.
Chocolate Torte – The Go-To Dessert Recipe
Because Flourless Chocolate Torte is so dangerously easy to make (we are talking one bowl and less than 15 minutes of prep here, friends!), it’s one of my go-tos for dinner parties or potlucks when I need a fast dessert that’s guaranteed to please. I’ve tried a few different recipes over the years, but today’s is unquestionably the best flourless chocolate torte I’ve ever baked.
This recipe is thicker and richer than any other chocolate torte cake you’ll, and it has a subtle almond flavor that makes it positively addictive.
This ridiculously simple, dead-on delicious Peanut Chicken and Veggies was created for that moment when you open the refrigerator and the only thing that seems less appealing than everything inside of it is the thought of actually having to cook. This easy peanut chicken sauce turns everything it touches into scrape-your-plate recipe gold, and the recipe requires little effort beyond some basic chopping and stirring, the latter of which I am especially adept at accomplishing with a wooden spoon in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.
As much as I love to to cook, on most weeknights, I feel fairly zapped creatively. I want to eat something interesting and nourishing and that I know Ben will enjoy too.
After 5 p.m., however, it’s as if my brain’s culinary juices have been absorbed by a combination of remembering the lyrics to every ‘90s boyband hit (why is so much of my brain space wasted on this??) and whatever I last saw on Top Chef, neither of which is particularly useful when you are trying to pull together a healthy dinner. (more…)
Your impossibly chic BFF (the one with all the good shoes) and your crazy, party-all-night cousin (the one who never fails to get you in trouble in the best possible way) teamed up to make a cocktail, and it’s this St. Germain Margarita.
A light and bright margarita recipe made with the St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur, this easy twist on a classic margarita is lightly floral and fabulously refreshing.
And, as you will realize after your second round, (hear me now—there is no stopping at just one of these dreamy drinks), they are deceptively strong too. (more…)
One of Ben’s and my goals for the year is to take more personal trips together. While I often travel on my own for work, it’s rarer that we take a vacation with just the two of us. When I asked Ben where he wanted to go first, he shot me a slow, skeptical eyebrow raise that clearly implied, Do you even need to ask?
As it turns out, I created a slope monster. He is obsessed. The moment we arrived back home from that first trip, he bought his own pair of ski boots. Our first trip of 2018 would be to break them in.
We considered a few different ski resorts, but after more research, we ended right back where we started: Deer Valley. It has everything we are after in a ski vacation. The runs are beautiful and well maintained, the ski school is excellent, and, because it’s only a 45-minute shuttle ride from a major airport (Salt Lake City) and the resort provides guests with on-site transportation, we don’t even need to rent a car when we visit.
Oh, and, of course, the majormust-have on any vacation we take: the food is exceptional.
So exceptional, in fact, that we managed to have a great time, even though this is what Ben looked like… (more…)
I’m not usually one to play matchmaker, but I was so firmly convinced that two of my longest-running, most-treasured breakfast besties—overnight oats and steel cut oatmeal—would hit it off that I couldn’t resist the urge to combine the two into a single bowl of Overnight Steel Cut Oats. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a match made for a 1990s rom-com classic! Ever since I stirred together my first batch of make-ahead steel cut oats, it’s been a ride-off-into-the-sunset breakfast love story.
This recipe is sponsored by Sleep Number.
Now, if you are reading this and thinking to yourself, Isn’t the fact that you can use steel cut oats for overnight oats incredibly obvious?,please consider the great fictional romances of our time.
Wasn’t it also obvious that Harry would end up with Sally? That Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were meant to be (twice)? That Ross would finally win over Rachel? Why, yes. But that doesn’t make the evolution of the love story any less satisfying.
The same is true of Overnight Steel Cut Oats.
If you are reading up to this point and wondering, What are overnight oats?, let me give you a brief rundown: overnight oats are dry oats that are stirred together with milk, a bit of sweetener such as honey or maple syrup, and whatever other deliciousness you like.
You can make overnight oats with chia seeds, peanut butter, fresh or dried fruit, and any other mix-ins. The limit is only your imagination (or perhaps your pantry). This Sugar Cookie Protein Oatmeal, for example, includes a scoop of protein powder.
You leave the oatmeal in the refrigerator overnight and then wake in the morning to a bit of breakfast magic. (more…)
Oh hey there, March! Our snow melted, which has somehow convinced me that I can leave the house wearing sandals like these, even though it’s still below 40 degrees. I just can’t look at my boots anymore.
Solution: socks with sandals? Don’t answer that.
The adorable little nugget in that photo with me above is my sweet niece Caroline, born in mid-January. My sister did me the great honor of asking me to be Caroline’s godmother, so two weeks ago, I flew down to Kansas City for a long weekend. I spent a lovely weekend with my sisters, and we celebrated Caroline’s baptism. Friends, I am IN LOVE. Caroline is a tiny little bundle of love, and my sister is such a great mom.
After my visit to Kansas City, I headed out to California, where I spent three days at Google’s headquarters for a conference. While my secret wish to run freely through the campus and determine if the rumors that some of the conference rooms have tire swings is true didn’t come to fruition (what can I say—Google security is serious), it was still a valuable few days. A few of the sessions were informative, and I treasured every minute spent reconnecting with close blogging friends.
On my plane flight home, I compiled a quick list of my latest favorites for you! Here’s what I’m loving lately and a look ahead at what’s on the blog.
Happy Monday! I have a fresh, healthy recipe for Moroccan Chickpea Salad for you. It takes everyday ingredient favorites like quinoa, carrots, and feta to new and faraway places. Spices that once seemed standard—chili powder, cinnamon—taste exotic and unexpected. It’s light, lovely, and makes me feel centered and goddess-y in that way I so crave at the start of a new week.
If you’ve been looking for a new salad to liven up your weekly lunch routine, I hope you try this Moroccan-spiced chickpea salad. In addition to being filling and a refreshing change of pace from my standard lunch fare, it gives me a super satisfying healthy meal afterglow.
Healthy Meal Afterglow:The affirming feeling of complete adult life domination that follows eating a meal that is both ridiculously delicious and ridiculously good for you.
Polish off the plate, then give yourself a high five! (more…)