Between travel and work, the past couple weeks have been busy and action-packed. It’s a huge cliche, but there are not enough hours in the day. Since I’ve been strapped for time, I’ve also been eating out more and subsequently spending more money on food than necessary. To get back on track, I decided to make something super easy for lunches this week. I baked some chicken and veggies, and whipped up this Quick and Easy Quinoa with Avocado Dressing. It took less than 30 minutes to make and only had 5 ingredients, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the weekend.
A few weekends ago I drove about an hour and a half to go to an Apple Orchard outside of Chicago. Picking my own produce (apples, berries, and peppers) for the week was fun, and the low prices really made the long drive worth it. We walked away with well over 20 apples, two containers of berries and a few peppers for about 20 bucks. Now, I’m sitting on more apples that I know what to do with, so I decided to make a simple version of a Fall apple salad – Greek Yogurt Apple Salad.
I have been on a burger kick lately. They have always been one of my favorite foods, specifically bison burgers, but bison burgers can be expensive when ground bison is not on sale. To further fuel my burger kick, I bought a pound of ground beef at the grocery store last weekend and planned on making burgers all week. Typically, I’ll settle for ketchup and mustard on top of my burgers – just plain ketchup and yellow mustard. Sounds basic, but its a classic combination that just works. However, feeling inspired by a recent sauce I made – Easy Arugula Walnut Pesto, I decided to up my sauce game once again for these burgers and learn How to Make Aioli at Home.
I am a huge consumer of granola bars and granola. Mainly because I like to snack on the go, and granola bars are a simple solution to that need. I have had one pet peeve with granola bars for some time though, and that is that a vast majority of them are loaded with sugar. As I’m sure you’ve heard before, many of them are just “candy bars in disguise.” I decided to try to solve this problem and made some delicious, healthy and filling Low Sugar Granola Bars.
These Low Sugar Granola Bars have more protein than sugar per serving! Plus, they have a delicious maple and vanilla flavor that makes you forget their low in sugar. I made a small-batch recipe this time to last me through the week (I made eight 100 calorie bars), but feel free to double, triple or even quadruple the recipe below and freeze the bars to last much longer.
Fall is upon us, and so is pumpkin season – for better or worse. The list of products (and I said products, not food) containing pumpkin or pumpkin spice gets longer and longer each year. Some of the recent “highlights” include pumpkin deodorant, pumpkin spice toothpaste and pumpkin Pringles. It’s a weird list. To try to balance things out, I put together a list of The 5 Best Healthy Pumpkin Recipes I could find.
Pumpkin itself is a relatively healthy ingredient so putting together this list was fairly easy. From pasta to baked goods, pumpkin is a useful, seasonal ingredient that can be used in a lot of different recipes. I hope you enjoy some of the healthy recipes below that caught my eye.
Traveling is a great way to explore, relax and fun have. Traveling can also be a strain on wallet, though. Between the flight, hotel, and many other expenses, I often forget to factor in how much I will be spending on food.
Eating out on vacation is usually part of the whole experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be smart about it and save a couple bucks by selectively “eating in” for a few meals. One go-to strategy that works well is to pack breakfasts when you travel. Packing on-the-go breakfasts will cut the number of meals you need to eat out for by one third, and not take away from exploring new places for lunch and dinner.
I recently discovered how to bake eggs in the oven using ramekin dishes, and it’s an interesting and unique way to whip up your weekend eggs. I have been getting tired of regular scrambled eggs lately – they have been too bland for my super sophisticated palate. Baked ramekin eggs remind me of a cross between a poached and over-easy egg. They’re gooey in the middle but not completely runny. The best part about making ramekin eggs in the oven is that they come out like one of the molded eggs from a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich, except that it’s made fresh by you! Nice job.
These eggs can be made by themselves or topped with any combination of ingredients. I wouldn’t try to fit more than 3 or 4 extra ingredients in there though, if you do, it will get too crowded and it won’t cook evenly. I went with broccoli, cheddar cheese and turkey sausage this past weekend. It turned out egg-celent.
I recently discovered how versatile beer is for cooking. I typically fall back on IPAs, pale ales or anything with hops. Though, with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I decided to break out the Guinness and make these Braised Guinness Lamb Chops with Rosemary Sweet Potatoes. I have been cooking with beer frequently, and have been pleased with the results (check out this Slow Cooker Beer Chicken to see what I mean). This recipe did NOT disappoint either. The sauce was rich and tangy, and the lamb was tender. It was exactly what I was looking for in a St. Patrick’s Day recipe.
The recipe is easy to make too. It’s what I would call an “easy braise” – you will be done in about an hour. Plus, you’re idle for most of that hour so you can enjoy it hanging with friends or watching The Office like I did.
I ate pop tarts every single morning as a kid. Cold, never toasted, and with a glass of milk – it was my go-to. Feeling nostalgic, I decided to re-make my childhood favorite and created these Homemade Pop Tarts with Honey Blackberry Filling. They came together surprisingly easily, and tasted better than my go-to breakfasts of yore.
I took “homemade” very seriously in this recipe and scratch-made everything: the dough, the filling AND the frosting. The best part is that I only used 8 ingredients:
- cold water
- powdered sugar
To me, the extra work to scratch-make everything was worth it, and it was a fun weekend activity. Cooking and baking can be pretty relaxing sometimes. Though, if you are in a bind you could also just pick up some store-bought dough and jam (for the filling) and make this a lot easier on yourself.
Simple Garlic Green Beans are one of my go-to sides. I typically try to prepare some meals in bulk so I don’t always have to worry about cooking during the week, but this is one recipe I have no problem whipping up mid-week. It hits all the criteria for being healthy, simple and economical:
- Healthy: green beans are packed with antioxidants and vitamins
- Simple: this recipe only has 3 ingredients and it takes 10 minutes to make
- Economical: a serving cost less than $1
The best part about this simple recipe is that it does not taste simple. In my opinion, garlic is the best way to add flavor to any dish, and it does not dissapoint with these green beans. It’s a major step up from just popping a bag of frozen green beans into the microwave, and much healthier than the famous Thanksgiving side – green bean casserole.
The over medium egg is often over looked for more popular egg preparations. Scrambled, over easy and sunny side up eggs are all great in different applications, but for me not much beats an over medium egg. It’s on par with baked eggs, and here you will learn how to cook over medium eggs quickly and easily.
If you don’t know what an over medium egg is, the best way to describe it is as an over cooked, over easy egg. Instead of a super runny yolk, you’re left with a slightly runny, slightly solid yolk. If indecision is your thing, this egg is for you.
I was awoken last Saturday by construction workers at 8:00 AM. I’m a morning person, but even for me 8:00 AM on a Saturday was rough. Frustrated, and with nothing else to do, I headed out to the grocery store to pick up what I needed to make something for Economical Chef. St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, so an Irish Coffee seemed right. This isn’t your every day Potato-eating Guinness-drinking Irish Coffee though, it’s Irish Coffee with Coconut Whipped Cream.
Yes, coconut whipped cream. It’s actually surprisingly easy to make. I used canned coconut cream, but I heard full fat coconut milk will work too if you can’t find it. Besides boasting a unique and tropical taste, according to the world wide web, coconut cream has a handful of benefits, most coming from its “healthy fats”:
Blanched Swiss Chard in Light Garlic Butter is the perfect side dish for lunch, dinner or even breakfast. The natural bitterness of Swiss chard is minimized by the blanching process, and the garlic butter adds a light, savory flavor to this leafy side dish (while still keeping it healthy). This recipe scores a 10 and I look forward to making it again.
I actually just got home from a week-long trip across the Southwestern United States – visiting Nevada, Arizona and Utah. National Parks were the focus of the trip and I saw Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. The sites and hiking were incredible.
With travel also came a lot of eating out and spending. It was minimized by following these tips, but eating out and spending more than normal is unavoidable when traveling. So, now that I am back home and back in my routine I am trying to cook and eat as healthy and economically as possible to make up for a week of traveling, eating out and spending.
Simple and healthy banana pancakes are getting a lot of attention these days. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and created these nutty and wholesome 4 ingredient banana pancakes. They come together in about 10 minutes, so there’s really no excuse for skipping the most important meal of the day.
The simplicity of these pancakes also make them super dietarily friendly – they’re gluten and dairy free. More importantly, they’re healthy and wholesome, check out the high level nutritional info:
- 325 calories
- 14 g fat
- 10 g sugar
- 10 g protein
What’s your initial take on the nutrition here? Here’s what I think:
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