Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Mat’s bananas were going bad, aaaand I had already made muffins the night before….so clearly the best solution was pancakes. He also made me go running that morning, so, extra need for pancakes. I was going to make a healthy version with whole wheat flour and no sugar, but…I went running. I earned these. And the banana makes it healthy, right?

This recipe comes from Crazy for Crust. I normally make some adaptations but I didn’t change a whole lot this time, and they were delicious.

ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 brownish bananas, mashed
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
instructions:
  • Whisk all non-liquid ingredients together (flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon) in a large bowl.
  • Add in the liquids (milk, egg, vanilla, mashed bananas, vegetable oil) and stir until combined.
  • Add in chocolate chips now, or put them on later to form a smiley face. Your choice.
  • Melt a 1/2 tbs of butter on hot griddle/skillet or spray with nonstick spray.
  • Pour desired amount of batter on skillet over medium heat. Flip when the edges begin to bubble.
  • Once the bottom side is a lovely golden brown, serve with syrup or nutella or more bananas. Yummmm. 🙂

Ground Turkey and Spinach Lasagna

Healthy lasagna? My dream come true? Absolutely. Mat was complaining about having lasagna for dinner (it’s not his favorite meal), buuuuut as soon as he took a bite, he freaked out. He said it was the best lasagna he’s ever had. Can it possibly beat Costco’s frozen lasagna? You’ll have to make it and find out 😉

This was my first time making lasagna from scratch and it wasn’t nearly as much work as I thought it would be. It took me less than 20 minutes to get everything in the oven. Yay for quick meals!

If you’re looking for a secret to make ground turkey taste just as good as ground beef, I always season my meat with Lawry’s Seasoning Salt. Mmm, such nice flavor.

I topped our lasagna with Parmesan cheese (because we always always have some in our house), but the recipe I saw on Skinny Mom recommends Mozzarella. I’m sure both are delicious.

ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 jar pasta sauce (23 oz) or use homemade
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 3 tbs Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 6 cups spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella or parmesan
  • fresh parsley to top
instructions:
  • Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Saute onions with ground turkey and minced garlic until turkey is browned. (I add seasoning salt here)
  • Add pasta sauce and Italian Seasoning. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Chop fresh spinach and mix in with ricotta cheese.
  • In baking dish, arrange 1/3 of your noodles. Top with 1/3 of the ricotta/spinach mixture, then 1/3 of the meat mixture. Top with 1/3 of mozzarella (or parmesan).
  • Repeat the above step twice, ending with the last of the mozzarella.
  • Bake for 30 minutes and top with fresh parsley.

Skinny Chicken Alfredo

I love easy meals that don’t make me feel lazy. This is one of those. I can proudly say I served homemade Alfredo sauce without having to reveal how easy it really was.

It’s made from ingredients most people tend to have on-hand, which is always a plus. And the best part? It takes about twenty minutes. So if you’re like me you’ll come home from church and by the time you change out of that uncomfortable skirt, your food is already done. Bam! Easy lunch.

I got this recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch, and let me tell you…that blog title is quite accurate. This stuff was yummy! I only made a few slight changes and it was an A+ on the Matthew Meter.

As with many of my recipes, don’t forget to sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top. 🙂

ingredients:
  • 3 cups uncooked bowtie pasta, whole wheat or regular
  • 1 chicken breast, diced
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cup skim milk (or 2% if you think skim milk is just water lying about being milk)
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup?)
instructions
  • Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat–and chicken chunks and brown on all sides.
  • Add in minced garlic and saute for about a minute.
  • Stir in chicken broth, milk, flour, onion powder, oregano, basil, and S&P.
  • Add uncooked pasta to the large skillet with all other ingredients–bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and cover–simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had extra pumpkin, so I had to make these! Don’t judge me. This recipe is a family favorite and it has never ever failed me. They’re so so yummy, Mat and I ate at least 10 each in two days….

My only tip really is to spray the pan before scooping these onto the sheet. Other than that, the recipe is honestly so simply and easy, I’m pretty sure even my sister Syd could figure it out hehe. (She’s not the best with cooking…but we love her).

Join me in eating Fall-themed foods in February. It’s the best.

ingredients:
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray your cookie sheets.
  • Mix together pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, and egg in a large bowl.
  • Add in the other ingredients, saving the chocolate chips to be stirred in last.
  • Scoop balls of dough onto cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
  • Transfer to a cooling rack and ENJOY!

Parmesan Zucchini Chips

These crunchy cheesy chips are a perfect low-fat side dish! We had some friends over on Saturday night for dinner and I realized I didn’t have enough veggies on the table…so I quickly tossed some zucchini slices in the oven and the results were delicious.

Not the best picture, I know…

The only cheese Mat really likes is Parmesan, so we always have a nice big supply. I had the breadcrumbs on hand as well as the olive oil. Super easy!

I saved some of my breadcrumb+parmesan mix to add to the other side after I flipped these cuties halfway through the baking process. They were yummy!

ingredients:
  • 2 large zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I use Panko)
  • salt and pepper
instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Thinly slice your zucchini and toss with the tablespoon of olive oil.
  • In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
  • Coat each zucchini slice with the bread crumb mixture, making sure to cover both sides.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the slices closely.
  • Bake for ten minutes, then remove from oven and flip slices to the other side. Top with remaining crumb mixture and bake another 10 minutes.

Recipe tips came from: Rasa Malaysia

Ham and White Bean Soup

Mmmmm…soup in the winter is a gift from God. And this soup couldn’t be any easier, because you throw it in the crock pot and it’s done by the time you get home from school/work/whatever.

The only somewhat time-consuming part of this recipe is chopping the veggies, and even that only takes ten minutes at most.

I made my soup with chicken broth, but you could use vegetable broth if you so desire. Also, the ham could be swapped out for sausage. I would even recommend stirring in some baby spinach leaves once the soup is done cooking.

ingredients:
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups ham, cubed
  • 2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs olive oil (for ham)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups baby spinach (optional)
instructions
  • In a large skillet heat 1 tbs olive oil. Add cubed ham, cooking on medium heat and stirring occasionally, until browned.
  • Dice your onion, celery, and carrots. Place in crock pot with ham, beans, oregano, garlic, and s&p.
  • Stir in chicken broth with 2 cups water
  • Cover and cook for 7 hours on low, or 4 hours on high. Stir in spinach until wilted.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins

I know, I know…pumpkin is a Fall thing. But Utah is cold and I wanted some muffins. The best part about these is that I can eat chocolate first thing in the morning without feeling guilty. Because they’re HEALTHY!

The second-best thing is how filling these muffins are. I’m the type of person who could eat 4 muffins in 4 minutes no problem, but these bran muffins actually left me feeling full after eating just one. That’s crazy.

Some of the items on this recipe can be swapped…for example, you can use oat bran instead of wheat bran, or maple syrup instead of honey. Either way, they’ll be delicious.

This batch made 12 full-sized muffins, which is perfect for just the two of us. (Yeah, we eat a lot). Feel free to double it or half it, whatever works.

(As you can see, I couldn’t wait long enough to snap a picture before taking a bite…)

ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup wheat bran
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbs coconut oil (or butter), melted
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (save some to press into top of muffins)
instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  • In a large bowl mix wheat bran, milk, vanilla, and pumpkin. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, mix whole wheat flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
  • Whisk egg white with melted coconut oil, stirring in molasses and syrup. Add to wheat bran mix.
  • Stir both mixes together, folding in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips.
  • Divide batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups, press remaining chocolate chips into the tops of muffins.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the muffin tops feel firm.

Meatball Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner

Yay for sheet pan dinners! This one is my go-to meal when I don’t have time to really cook something. I’ve tried making my own meatballs for this, but honestly that’s so much work…so today I stuck with good ole store bought turkey meatballs. (All twenty of them cost less than $3).

As for the veggies, I tend to have all of these on-hand. You can use any kind of potato, we’re just really diggin’ the red right now.

I would recommend spreading this over two pans, that way everything gets its fair share of roasting. I got the idea for this meal from Healthy Nibbles and Bits, but I had to make some major changes because apparently Mat and I eat waaaaay more than Lisa does. Haha so if you need to feed a small army, you’re in the right place.

As you can kinda tell, I made the mistake of not covering my pan with foil. Silly me, I sacrificed easy cleanup for the sake of better pictures. Please please don’t make my mistake!

Good news about this meal? Leftovers. Yesssss.

ingredients:
  • 1 lb. chicken or turkey meatballs (raw or cooked)
  • 4 small potatoes
  • 2 cups broccoli, fresh
  • 4 large carrots, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • Sauce for taste–optional (I brushed my meatballs with a bit of BBQ sauce)
instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees; line your sheet pans with foil or spray with non-stick spray
  • Cube your potatoes and mix with 2 tbs olive oil. Place in oven for about 15-20 minutes
  • Cut carrots into 3-4 inch slices, 1/4 inch thick (or just totally eyeball it); cut broccoli into florets
  • Mix carrots and broccoli with 2 tbs olive oil and salt & pepper
  • Pull potatoes out and stir around. Add carrots, broccoli, and meatballs to both sheet pans; cook another 15 mins
  • If using pre-cooked meatballs: only add meatballs with 8-10 minutes remaining
  • Brush meatballs with sauce if desired

Nutella Cheesecake Bars

Oh. My. Gosh. These are dangerous. Seriously, if you’re trying to stay healthy, don’t read this. But if you want joy in your life, please keep reading.

I brought these to Sunday dinner with the in-laws and Mat almost cried when he saw we didn’t have any leftovers. I guess I’ll just have to make more…..

The crust is super simple: crushed up graham crackers, sugar, and butter. Yummmm. The cheesecake topping is simply cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla.

And Nutella, of course! We all love Nutella. I put mine in the microwave in a separate bowl for a few seconds to make it easier to spread. Sadly my bars don’t look nearly as pretty as the ones from Sally’s Baking Addiction, but they sure tasted good!

The only bummer? You have to wait a loooong time for these to chill. Like, 3 whole hours. It’s agonizing. But so so worth it.

ingredients:

Crust:

  • 10 full-sheet graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tbs butter, melted

Filling:

  • 2 packages cream cheese (16 ounces), softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Nutella, warmed
instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line 8×8 pan with foil
  • For crust: crush graham crackers into small crumbs, mix with sugar and melted butter. Press into 8×8 pan and bake for 5 minutes
  • For filling: beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Spoon onto crust and spread. Drop large spoonfuls of Nutella on filling and swirl with a knife.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool for 30 minutes, then move to fridge to cool for at least 3 hours.
  • Lift foil from pan and slice your cheesecake bars. Try not to eat it all in one night.

Breakfast Quinoa Cups

These are SO YUMMY!! I’ve been wanting to try a recipe like this, but Mat doesn’t like eggs. That’s okay, more for me. 😉

My inspiration for this recipe comes from Iowa Girl Eats, who also has a picky husband. She made these in mini version, but I liked mine full-sized because they’re so dang good and I’m always so dang hungry in the mornings. I don’t know how people live without breakfast.

My biggest tip? Spray the pan. Actually, don’t just spray it…shower it. You don’t want to risk these beauties sticking to the edge.

The best thing about this recipe is that you can freeze them and save them for later. Make these on a lazy weekend and you’re good to go for the rest of the week.

ingredients:
  • 2 cups quinoa–cooked
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/4 chopped parley, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup diced ham (or bacon or sausage!)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesean
  • salt and pepper
instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and start cooking quinoa on the stove
  • Combine all ingredients, adding in quinoa when ready
  • Spray muffin tin (a lot) and bake for 25-30 minutes
  • To freeze: place in large zipblock bag. When ready to eat, microwave for 20-40 seconds.
  • For mini cups: bake 15-20 minutes.