Category Archives: Side Dishes

You know when you buy way too many veggies for the week?

You don’t? Oh, maybe it’s just me. I get all ambitious and think I’m going to be making glorious meals for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. Nutritionally balanced, culinary delights.

And then some nights we end up driving through McDonalds because I got home late and Jacob has baseball practice and Benjamin has turned into the Benjamonster because he’s super hungry and his tummy controls everything … and the veggies sit in the refrigerator.

So, I thought it would be brilliant to season the parchment paper so the bottom of my chicken didn’t miss out on any seasoning. It sounded good, but in reality, I don’t know if it made much difference. 🙂

I mixed some panko bread crumbs, dried basil, garlic powder, season salt, and black pepper. I added an egg and then patted the mixture onto thin-cut chicken breasts. The thin-cut breasts are a bit more expensive, but if you’re paranoid about meat like I am, it actually saves me money. When I buy regular chicken breasts, I never think they’re done, so I cook them until they’re inedible. See? Saving money! Oh, so I baked the chicken breasts at 400 for way longer than I needed to (half an hour? longer?) but because of the panko crumb topping, they didn’t dry out. Woo hoo!

I had garlic, carrots, kale, and more just begging to be used.

I started with some water in a pot. Easy, right? There was really no reason to add this photo. You know how to add water to a pot. It’s just that I think photos with water look cool.

I chopped up some red pepper, garlic, and onion and started sauteeing it in a drizzle of olive oil.

I had some super huge green onions… Sometimes I wander through the produce section at Meijer and try to find new veggies. This wasn’t one of those times, though. They were just completely out of regular green onions (bizarre, right?).

Once the red pepper, onion, and garlic mixture was a softened up, I added the entire bag of kale, covered it, and let it start to wilt.

I dumped the bag of carrots into the pot with water. I diced the super huge green onions and put them on top. And, because I was pretty sure my kids and husband wouldn’t touch the carrots (they only eat them when they’re cooked in butter and brown sugar), I added some sesame oil for a bit of flavor. Yum!

Washed and trimmed some asparagus.

Cooked the asparagus with some more red pepper. (Are you starting to understand how loaded my refrigerator was?)

And here’s what dinner looked like. Not to shabby, huh? My 7-year-old ate probably 3 helpings of the chicken and grimaced as he ate a teeny tiny bite of kale, a teeny tiny bite of asparagus, and then said he was full. I’m not sure if my 3-year-old ate anything. My husband ate the chicken and asparagus/red pepper mixture… and that was it.

So, I had a lot leftover. I put some of the leftover kale mixture in the bottom of an 8×8 casserole dish.

I added some whole grain noodles with tomato sauce (alright… I used pizza sauce… don’t judge!).

I diced some of the leftover chicken and added it on top.

And then… Oh, well, um, I added some shredded cheese. A lot of shredded cheese. You should be a better person and skip this step. 🙂

The next night I baked it at 350 for about half an hour, and it was splendid. (The kids ate around the kale, of course…)

And the remaining kale? Yes, there was a lot of it!!! I divided into single-serving bowls, added an egg cooked in olive oil, and had my lunches prepped for the week!

The Easiest Snack Ever!

Okay, it might not be the easiest, because I suppose you could say grabbing a granola bar is pretty easy. I guess I mean the easiest if you’re actually making something… Or maybe you’d argue that whipping up some Greek yogurt and fresh fruit would technically be making something, and that would also be easier than this. Fine, *darn* it! This isn’t easy! It takes a bit of time! But, it’s so worth your 10-15 minutes. 🙂

Start with some soft taco shells (the whole wheat ones would be better, but I figure this is still a step up from fried tortilla chips and this brand is sooooo delicious), some salsa, and an avocado or two.

Slice your tortillas with a pizza cutter.

Toast those babies in the oven… I did them at 400 for about 10 minutes and then broiled them for a minute.

Mash up some avocado.

Pour on some salsa.

Mix it up. It might not be beautiful, but haven’t you learned not to judge by appearances? This ugly little dish is heaven in your mouth!

This is attempt #20 at a photo of guacamole on a baked chip. They all came out blurry. 😦

Anyway, I love eating this. The avocado has some heart-healthy fat in it, it’s relatively guilt-free (in moderation, of course). My 7-year-old LOVED the tortilla chips just plain. I have made them in the past by misting them with olive oil and sprinkling on seasoning… but I like the plain ones quite a bit, too!

Carrot/Lentil/Spinach Bowls for Lunch

It has been rough, diet-wise, lately. Cakes, nachos, etc. at work? Yeah, that’s hard to resist! So… I’m trying to at least have a healthy breakfast and lunch each day!

My lunch for the week? Carrot/Lentil/Spinach Bowls!

Start with some grated carrot:

Then add some lentils… I went for the whole bag.

Put them in a big sauce pan together.

Mix it up with some diced onion, a bouillon cube, water, salt, and pepper.

Let it simmer for 30 minutes or so. Then throw in some spinach!

Let the spinach wilt a bit, and then season it to your own taste. I am on a major sesame kick, so I added a couple dashes of sesame oil, and mmm…. it was delicious!

I put it into 5 bowls and voila! Lunches for the week!

Easy Spinach Soup!

I always have leftovers after Chef Salad Night. So, we’ve now started omelet night on Thursdays. And to help even more, I decided to use some of the ingredients for an asian spinach soup. This was partly because carrots generally don’t work well in omelets but also because I love any excuse to use sesame oil.

Start with some green onions.

Add in some chopped carrots.

Take about 4 cups of water and add 1 chicken bouillon cube. Add your veggies and let it simmer until the carrots start to get tender (it will smell to tasty!).

Add some yummy fresh spinach… as much or as little as you like. I added as much as I could fit into the pan without taking up all of the broth, about 3 cups.

Cook for a few more minutes so the spinach leaves wilt a bit.

Add a little bit of salt and pepper and about 2 teaspoons of sesame oil.

It’s not the prettiest soup, but it’s so simple and delicious!

This makes 4 1-cup servings, although it’s safe to say I will usually eat 2 cups at once…

Asian Spinach Soup

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced green onion
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Nutrition Info (per 1-cup serving)

  • 52 calories
  • 2.25 g fat
  • 2 g fiber
  • 1.75 g protein

Gluten-free baked grape tomatoes with cornbread crumbs

Here’s a new blog to check out: Gluten-Free Goddess. Here she posts a recipe for Baked Grape Tomatoes with Cornbread Crumbs. YUM!!!

baked grape tomatoes with basil and gluten-free cornbread crumbs

Doesn’t that look delicious? Tangy tomato combined with the sticky-sweet deliciousness of cornbread? Sign me up!

Baked Grape Tomatoes Recipe with Basil and Cornbread Crumbs

Cherry and grape tomatoes are tasty year round. A big plus for those of us longing for the juicy robust tomatoes of summer. Consider this a sneak preview of some fabulous summer eating.


3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
30-40 yellow and red grape or cherry tomatoes (depending on size)
1 cup cornbread(or muffin) crumbs
2 teaspoons dried organic basil
Fine sea salt
Fresh black pepper
Fresh basil chiffonade and leaves, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Slice a garlic clove in half and rub the cut sides on the bottom of a 9-inch glass pie plate. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom.

Cut the tomatoes in half. I sliced the tomatoes both ways- lengthwise and widthwise- for variation.
In a food processor, process all the garlic till minced. Dump out onto a plate. Process the cornbread (or corn muffin) until you achieve an even crumb. Add in the dried basil, sea salt. Pulse to combine. Add in the minced garlic. Pulse. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into the crumbs and pulse briefly to distribute.
Place half of the grape tomato halves into the pie plate, split side up. Snuggle them in.
Sprinkle with the seasoned cornbread crumbs. Top with the remaining tomato halves, cut sides down, rounded side up. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the tomatoes.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until tender.

These beauties can be served hot from the oven, warm, or at room temperature. Garnish with fresh basil chiffonade. (Chiffonade is a fancy word for rolling up several basil leaves like a cigar and slicing crosswise.)

Serves 4.

Read more:

*Veggies* Braised Bok Choy

I like to wander through the produce section at Meijer and find veggies I’ve never tried before. I find that the produce section at Meijer has the biggest variety (compared with Kroger, Marsh, Super Target). Anyway, so have you tried bok choy? Here’s a tasty way to get your greens! Click HERE for the full post.

braised bok choy

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 15 min

I didn’t expect this dish to be much of a hit in my family, but they asked me to make it again soon. Even my veggie-averse 10 year old loved it!


1 cup 99% fat-free chicken broth
1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium clove garlic, minced
3/4 pound bok choy, trimmed and chopped (leaves only)- 6 to 8 cups
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


1. Bring broth and butter and garlic to a simmer in a deep, large skillet. Add bok choy and simmer (covered) until tender, about 5 minutes. Use tongs to transfer bok choy to a serving dish and cover to keep warm.

2. Boil broth mixture until reduced to 1/4 cup, then stir in sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Pour mixture over bok choy and serve immediately.


*If preparing this recipe as gluten free, just be sure that you’re using a brand of chicken broth that is known to be GF.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories per serving: 65
Fat per serving: 5g
Saturated Fat per serving: 3g
Sugar per serving: .1g
Fiber per serving: 0g
Protein per serving: 4g
Cholesterol per serving: 13mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 4g WW POINTS per serving:

Points Plus Program: 2 Old Points Program: 2

Source: (Adapted from Gourmet)