Category: Gluten Free

Pesto Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

It pains me to admit that I so rarely fiddle around with new recipes in the kitchen. When you’ve got a handful of quick recipes that make everyone happy it’s very easy to fall into a routine of just making the same things over and over again. I was feeling creative last night and with only six ingredients – ingredients that I always have on hand, but have never combined this way – I made a fabulous, healthy, and gorgeous dinner in 30 minutes. Seriously.

Pesto Pepper 2

Now I’m not going to lie to you. I have never had “traditional” stuffed peppers. I love peppers, don’t get me wrong, but I just never found the concept of mushy peppers stuffed with ground beef and rice all that appealing. Sounds pretty bland if you ask me.  This recipe is far from bland and packed with flavor! I also don’t cook the peppers to mush – I like them to have a little texture left to them. But if you like your stuffed peppers that way …

 Pesto Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

  • 2 bell peppers, sliced it in half
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts , diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked
  •  2 tablespoons of good quality, store bought pesto (if you have homemade, even better!)
  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the peppers, open side up,  and place in the oven. Let cook for about 10 ten minutes.

While the peppers are cooking, cook the chicken breasts in a nonstick skillet sprayed with a little nonstick spray over medium high heat until cooked through – about 7 minutes. Add the spinach and cover with a lid to wilt. Add the cooked quinoa and pesto to the pan. Stir well to combine.

Remove the peppers from the oven and carefully spoon the chicken and quinoa mixture into each pepper cavity. Top each pepper with 1/4 cup the mozzarella. Return to the oven and let cook ten minutes more until the cheese is melted and begins to brown.

Let cool about 5 minutes before serving!

Pesto Chicken & Quinoa Stuffed Pepper

 

 

Chocolate for Breakfast, Please & Thank You

Well hello there!!

What’s it been? 7 months? Yikes!

The hiatus was definitely necessary. Not because I DON’T enjoy blogging.
But because I DO enjoy being a Mom!!
Time has gone by so, insanely fast it’s hard for me to believe!

mom and em

At 10 months old, my sweet little Emma Bear has finally almost fallen into a routine!

HUZZAH!

This means a few things:

  1. With naps a part of the every day I have more me time – for things like exercise and blogging;
  2. Without being latched onto me 24/7, I am finally starting to have the time to experiment with new recipes instead of just making the same old all the time;
  3. Sleeping through the night may not be a thing yet, but we’re getting close! A well rested Mom and Baby are a much happier pair!

There are soooooo many different directions I feel like I could take this post. I could talk about the attempted face-lift I’m giving the blog. (It’s still a work in progress – so please forgive the ever changing layouts as of late. I’ll find something I like soon, I’m sure. You’ll also notice a name change! Twenty-Something & Starving has become Mommy Runs for Food! I’ll explain that later, too!) I could discuss with you adventures in breastfeeding and un-planned bed-sharing. I could talk about my latest workout routine, PiYo, and my conversion to being a team beachbody believer. But for today, I think I will stick with the classic quick and easy recipe!

In a perfect world I would eat chocolate every single day without consequence. (The same goes for peanut butter – but I’ll save that for another day.) There may have even been a time not too long ago when I did, in fact, eat chocolate every day. Ooopsies! Now that I’m really back on board the health train, I limit my chocolate intake to a few days a week and mostly have it in the form of protein, Shakeology, and dark chocolate on occasion. So having chocolate for breakfast is kind of my jam!

Now that it’s finally not freezing outside, overnight oats are a staple breakfast for me. At night, once I put Em down to bed, I usually have some decaf tea and get my hubby’s lunch together for the following day. While my water is coming to a boil, it’s soooo easy to just throw some ingredients into a jar and have breakfast ready and waiting for me in the morning. I’ve been experimenting with a few different recipes for overnight oats – but these ones may be my new favorite. Packed with protein and tons of chocolate flavor for a sweet addict like me – waking up has never tasted so good so fast.

Toasted Almond Chocolate Overnight Oats

In a mason jar or container with a lid, mix the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup oats (I used steel cut, but rolled would be great, too!)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Set in the refrigerator and breakfast is waiting for you in the morning!

Serve topped with 1/2 of a sliced banana, a few chocolate chips, and some toasted slivered almonds!

 

toasted almond chocolate overnight oats

 

Real Food Recipe Roundup # 4 – Apple Flax Muffins

Good morning, all!!  I hope you’ve had a great week so far!! Happy First Day of Spring!!!

Does anyone have any exciting plans for the weekend??

We’re finally painting the nurseryyyyyyyyy!!!!!!! Eeeeeee!!!!!!!

Seriously, this pregnancy is going by so fast. Today I am officially in my third trimester!! WTF?!  (I’ll be posting a bUmPdate tomorrow for anyone interested.)  Little miss Emma is going to be here before I know it and I genuinely cannot put into words how excited I am to meet my little yogi! 😀 😀 😀

Today I’m pleased to share with you a super delicious muffin recipe I came up with this week that tastes just like the fall…right in time for spring!! Ha. Oh well. It was so rainy and chilly at the beginning of the week that I felt like the warm spices would do me some good…and I was right…because these muffins rock. They’re dense and chewy from the oats with a tiny bit of sweetness from the apples and brown sugar. You’ll notice that there is no butter or oil or added fat at all in these muffins either! That’s because flax seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids (which, as a momma-to-be, are essential to my diet!)! I promise these muffins are still perfectly moist without any additional fat. I guess, technically, these are more like little baked oatmeals than muffins but tomato-tomatoe. I’ve also included some alternative ingredients to keep these both gluten free and vegan if you so desire. Please note, though, that the nutrition facts I’ve included at the bottom are for the recipe as it is written below.

Apple Flax Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    (you can use oat or almond flour to keep this recipe g-free)
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 large apples, grated
    (skin and all)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
    (I added these strictly to add some more protein to these muffins. If you’re vegan go ahead and leave these out and these muffins will still turn out great!)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
    (optional, but I love walnuts in my apple muffins!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, flax meal, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, spices, and walnuts (if using). Whisk well to combine and set aside.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the grated apple, almond milk, vanilla extract, almond extract, and egg whites (if using).

Add the apple mixture  to the oat mixture and stir until just combined.

Scoop mixture into a muffin tin prepared with a bit of nonstick spray.

Bake muffins at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and set.

Let cool ten minutes before removing to a cooling rack and serving!

Nutrition (calculated on myfitnesspal.com) Per Muffin:
Calories: 156
Total Fat: 7 grams
Carbohydrates: 20 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Sugars: 8 grams

apple flax muffins

These muffins freeze really well, too! Just pop it in the microwave to thaw and heat through and you’ve got breakfast in no time!! I’ve been serving mine up this week with some cinnamon cream cheese wedges from the laughing cow. I’m obsessed. They’re 35 calories of delicious, cheesy, noms!!!

Also, you may be wondering why on earth I’d photograph my breakfast on a Pampered Chef catalog? Silly me. That’s because I’ve started my own Pampered Chef business!!! I was a consultant a few years back and I loooved it, but I had a hard time keeping in touch with my recruiter who was based out of Baltimore. Not convenient. I just kind of decided on a whim that now is as good of a time as any to start throwing parties for people and earning them free and discounted products…because come on now…who doesn’t love free stuff?! Especially free KITCHEN stuff. OOoooooo man I’m just too excited. I know that I’ve already picked out at least a dozen products that I can’t wait to earn for myself…and I’m looking forward to helping other folks do the same!! (My mother-in-law is dying for the executive cookware set!) If you’re in Central PA and you’d be interested in hosting a show – please feel free to contact me!!! If you’re not in Central PA and you’d like to host a catalog show – go ahead and contact me, too!!

Last, but certainly not least,  don’t forget to grab a badge and link up with your favorite real food recipe, today!!

Twenty-Something & Starving

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Real Food Recipe Roundup #3 – Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Pesto Meatballs with Baked Spaghetti Squash

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!!

Lolz.

I know it’s not St. Patty’s yet – but I figured it’s close enough that I could greet you all like an enthusiastic leprechaun without too much judgement.

Anywho – I’m going to keep this short and sweet today because I’ve got not one but TWO recipes (ya know…that are particularly delicious when served together) and they’re kind of lengthy. I made these for the fam last weekend and everyone loveeeeedddddd it!!! Even the men were happy with the spaghetti squash, which really made me happy!!

If you’ve got a real food recipe that you’d like to share, don’t forget to grab a badge and link up at the bottom of the post!!!

Twenty-Something & Starving

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Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Pesto Meatballs with Baked Spaghetti Squash

For the Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Pesto Meatballs (makes about 30 meatballs)

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
    (or about 1.5 lbs lean ground chicken)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto + More to taste
    (you can make your own or use store bought! I use Wegmans brand when I’m in a pinch. It’s delicious AND check out the ingredients)
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 lb of part skim mozzarella cheese, cut into little cubes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add the bell pepper, garlic, and basil to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it forms a paste. Add about half of the chicken breasts and pulse until ground. Remove the chicken mixture and place in a large bowl. Set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Once all of the chicken is ground and in the bowl, add the pesto, Parmesan, panko, salt, pepper, and eggs. Mix well until thoroughly combined.

To prepare the meatballs, grab a small handful (about the size of a golf ball) of the chicken mixture and flatten it in the palm of your hand. Add a mozzeralla cube to the center and form the meatball around it, being careful not to expose the cheese.  Repeat until all of the meatballs are formed.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add meatballs to the pan (fill it up, but make sure they aren’t touching) and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until brown. Remove meatballs from the skillet as they are done and place them on a large baking sheet, adding more meatballs to the skillet as you go, until all of the meatballs are brown.

Place the cookie sheet in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Remove, and brush the meatballs with some more prepared pesto. Return the pan to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes more or until the meatballs are cooked through to a safe 165 degrees.

Serve on top of Baked Spaghetti Squash!

For the Baked Spaghetti Squash

  • 2 spaghetti squash, roasted, cooled, and spaghettified
    (Yup, that’s the technical term. Directions for spaghettifying here!)
  • 1 can of no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded part skim mozarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except mozzarella cheese.

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray and add the spaghetti squash mixture. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and brown and the squash is warm through.

Serve topped with Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Pesto Meatballs!

chicken pesto meatballs with baked spaghetti squash

Real Food Recipe Roundup #1 – Tilapia Tacos & Southwest Slaw

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here!!!

Thursday is finally here!!

I’m soooooooooooooo excited to share my very first Real Food Recipe for my Real Food Recipe Roundup. Today I’m sharing a recipe that is tried and true in my home. I hope you love this recipe as much as Johnny and I do (though he’d prefer more tacos and less slaw)! I make this over and over again because it’s so quick and easy to throw together, lite and healthy after a workout, and freaking delicious. If you plan to link up below, and I sure hope you do, be sure to grab my button and pop it into your post so folks know where they can find other Real Food Recipes, too!!

Twenty-Something & Starving

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tilapia tacos with southwest slaw

Tilapia Tacos & Southwest Slaw

serves 2 

For the Southwest Slaw

  • 1 bag of preshredded coleslaw mix
  • 1 cup of cilantro, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup of Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Yogurt Southwest Ranch Salad Dressing (You need to take some shortcuts somewhere, folks. Check out the ingredients! I’m never guilty when I use this dressing!)

Combine all of the ingredients in a big bowl!! Toss well with dressing to coat!

For the Tilapia Tacos

  • 3 (4 oz) pieces of tilapia
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • The juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons H2O
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • Avocado for garnish

Spray a medium skillet with some nonstick spray and place over medium high heat. Season the tilapia fillets with the spices and add to the skillet. Let the fillets cook for about 5 minutes before you try and flip them (It’s okay if they break apart a little, because you’ll flake the fish apart before serving! Am I smart or what?!) Once you’ve flipped the fish, add half of the lime juice, all of the lime zest, and the water and cover with a lid. Let cook about 3 minutes more or until the fish is cooked through. Remove from heat and flake the fish apart with a fork.

Warm your tortillas wrapped in a damp paper towel for about 30 seconds.

To server, portion out the flaked fish in the warm tortillas. Top with avocado and remaining lime juice.

Serve with salad on the side OR you can get really fancy and put some of it INSIDE of the tacos, too!! Crazy!!

southwest slaw and tilapia tacos

Now don’t be shy!! Heck, even if your post isn’t brand new and you’ve got a real food recipe to share let’s see it!! Happy cooking and eating to all!!

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