Roasted Sweet Potato

I grew up in the south. Ya’ll know that. What I am about to tell you may shock you. I’m not proud of it, but it is the truth. Ya’ll ready? I HATED SWEET POTATO…. until now. All of my southern friends are like, “WHAT?! Not even sweet potato casserole?” Puts head down in shame. Not even sweet potato casserole. I grew up watching everyone eating it one way: with cinnamon and butter. Don’t get me wrong ya’ll. I love some butter and cinnamon, but on BREAD! I mean, that’s like asking me to put sugar in grits. Mind blowing to me. So I tried them roasted and everyone said, Amen. Angels came out to sing and my children ate of the orange food group once again. They haven’t seen that stuff since they were six months old. You laugh. I tell you the truth. So, how does one roast some sweet potato. Glad you asked.

Roasted Sweet Potato
Author: Tara Norman

Ingredients

  • 2 Sweet Potoates
  • 1/2 small onion
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Peel sweet potato and dice
  3. Dice onion finely
  4. Place both in an oven safe dish
  5. Pour olive oil over the potato and onion mixture. Using a spoon toss to make sure all of it is coated well
  6. Add salt and pepper as desired
  7. Bake for 1 hour
  8. Enjoy!

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GF Italian Chicken or Fish Dish and letting Things help

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

We have had a long week over here. It has been filled with SAT preps, Memory Master prep for Classical Conversations, some colds, and an ear infection. I will be glad to finally get to our weekend! Some weeks are just like that, right? Thank goodness I know Who to go to, or cry out to when I am weary.

I have a few goodies coming up soon. I have had a few requests lately for posts. The following are coming your way: The Change of Plan in Homeschool This Year; How We Transitioned to a GF Diet; A Guest Post TBD.

Today we are going to chat food. This recipe was inspired from a recipe my sister gave me for Salmon. You can use this recipe on fish or chicken. I know you are thinking, “FISH?!” Would I steer you wrong? We are not fish eaters, especially Salmon, and this was just wonderful on it! No fishy taste or smell in the house!

So, don’t hate me, but I don’t have exacts for this one. It’s an add until it looks good type of recipe. This recipe is great for the little sues chefs in your home. I have a few of those, so when appropriate, I allow them to help me. Allowing your Things to help you in the kitchen builds memories, teaches them patience (especially needed at 2-3 years old), a beginning and ending, and process forming thoughts. Not a psychologist, but I do know these things to be true because I watch the wheels turning in Thing 3’s mind when he is helping me. Also, when they help, they are proud of what they have helped create and are more likely to eat what you serve.

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GF Italian Chicken Dish
Author: Tara Norman

4 chicken breasts
2 large tomatoes
Basil
Olive Oil
Onion Salt
Minced Garlic
Oregano
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350
In a small bowl mix olive oil, basil, and minced garlic. I had my assistant Thing 3 do the mixing. Feel free to sing a song while mixing. His original song was, “I mix, and a mix, and a mix, and a mix, and miiiiiiix!” Lay your chicken breasts in an oven safe dish. Have your sues chef help spoon the mixture onto the chicken breasts. Mamma or daddy, go ahead and cut your tomatoes. Let your sues chef place the tomatoes whereever they can find space in the dish. Let them hold the olive oil bottle with you while you drizzle some over your tomatoes. Hold onto the shakers, but let them sprinkle just a little Oregano, onion salt, and salt over the whole dish (I say hold on to… maybe I should say be ready to tilt up the shakers, ha!). Bake for 1 hour. Baking time may change based on how thick your chicken breasts are.

If you are Thing 3, you will wait by the oven the entire 60 minutes so you can watch your creation cook. It’s amusing to me how Things never have patience until they are waiting for their creations to finish cooking! This is not something I asked him to do. He just grabbed his little stool, pulled over all his toys, and sat. At one point, he pulled every pot and baking pan he could get his hands on and had all of his Toy’s Story guys taking a swim in the pots. I think there was a car chase involved, but I digress. This is real patience for this Thing. Waiting for me to open a breakfast bar proves to be too long for him at times.  I enjoy the moments I see him truly exercising patience on his own.

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Oh yeah, the food. Once your chicken is cooked through, remove from oven and serve. You could eat this by itself (with another side) or serve over a GF pasta with extra sauce and mozzarella. This is how we ate our last night.

For Fish

Roast tomatoes first in oven preheated to 400 for 15 minutes. Lay the fish over the tomatoes and season your fish the same way you seasoned the chicken above. Cook for 15 minutes or until the fish is flaky and cooked through. Enjoy!

Find order in cooking, make memories at the table, and feel good about what you are feeding your family as it was made by your loving hands.

I love to hear from my readers. Sometimes there are crickets out there. If you haven’t yet, please sign up to have my posts sent directly to your email account. The field to do so is directly under the Mommy Blogger Button!

Crock Pot Stuffed Bell Peppers

How did everyone do with the Marriage Challenge yesterday? The Man loved his Valentine’s and took them to his office to hang up. He sent the Things a text picture showing them where he hung them. Continue to ask God to reveal to you different ways you can help your husband. He will because He has a desire to bless us. This is the last post for this week. Get ready for more on our Marriage Challenge next week! My desire in this is that it blesses you as much as it is me. Everyone have a great weekend!

I have meant to write up this post at least a dozen times over the years. My sister would constantly ask me for this recipe, I finally gave it to her and her husband for Christmas. Ok, so that’s not the only recipe I gave her! I made them a cook book of some of our favorites and her favorites so she could make them for her family. When I first started to learn to cook, this was one of the very first meals I tried. I wanted to impress The Man and felt sure if I could manage this, he would think I was awesome. It’s incredibly easy to put together and it looks impressive on a plate. I am glad I waited to post this recipe because a good friend (hi Rebecca T. from Texas) made these in the crock pot for our family one evening and I had never even thought of that! The best part of this recipe is that this was an easy meal to whip up when we first switched to Gluten Free. I didn’t have to buy anything special. For those of you who are trying to eat healthy or are trying out Gluten Free recipes, this one is for you!

Stuffed Bell Peppers
Author: Tara Norman

4 Green Bell Peppers
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water (for the rice)
1 lb ground hamburger meat
2 28 oz cans of GF crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp basil leaves
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper
mozzarella

Dump your crushed tomatoes in your crock pot and add your seasoning. Turn your crock pot to low and let your sauce heat up while you prep the rest of your meal.

While the rice is cooking (cook according to your package), brown your meat. Season with salt and pepper as desired. I like to shake a little onion powder over my meat as well. Set aside.

Wash your peppers and cut the tops off, being sure to remove all seeds and the stem.

This part is optional, but I take 2 red sweet peppers (when I have them on hand) and mince them in the food processor and hide them in the sauce. I do this because I have two Things that will not eat the bell peppers with this meal. Just the filling. Doing this ensures they get some Vitamins in them.

Combine cooked rice and beef and spoon some sauce into the mixture. Fill your peppers with your rice beef mixture. Set them carefully in the crock pot and scoop just a little more sauce over the tops of the peppers. Cook on low for about 4 hours. Sprinkle your cheese on top right before serving!

Enjoy!

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Gluten- Free Chocolate Coconut Banana Almond Muffins

It’s almost the weekend! Who is ready?
How is everyone doing with the Be My Valentine Marriage Challenge? Has God showed you things about your husband that you have not noticed in a while? It doesn’t have to be an elaborate speech, simply saying, “I’m proud of you. I admire you. You are important to our family.” goes a long way in filling up your husband’s cup. I challenge you to keep it up. Even if you think he isn’t noticing. Next week I will post a new addition to the challenge.

Have any of my GF readers had a Pure bar before? Well this recipe was birthed from one of the Pure bars. Pure carries a banana coconut bar that I really like. I’m still getting used to the texture of the bar, but really like the taste. As I was leaving Whole Foods (I always feel like I need to change into Birkenstocks and burn some patchouli in order to fit in) I was inspired to make a recipe that had the flavor of the Pure bar. I had just discovered Coconut Flour in Whole Foods and bought it. It’s an interesting flour. Very dense. After a few tries with this recipe, I think I have it. I’m still learning about GF flours. A little more complicated than a regular flour. This recipe is not going to be a big fluffy muffin result. It’s packed with flavor and ingredients that will keep you full!

GF Chocolate Coconut Banana Almond Muffins
Author: Tara Norman
3 ripened bananas
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups coconut flour
1/2 cup GF quick cooking oats
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup almonds
1 tsp xantham gum
1 1/2 tsp GF baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 325.
In a food processor combine bananas and almonds. Dump all of the ingredients into a large mixer and mix on a low speed until ingredients are mixed.

Fill a greased muffin pan with your batter. You will want to fill your muffin cups to the top with the batter. We like to use mini muffin tins, but regular is ok as well.

Place in the oven for 15-18 minutes. Bake until set and little brown on top. Serve. I froze these individually and just pull a few out as I need them. Nuke them in the microwave for about 5-8 seconds until hot.

My Things really liked these. Thing 3 traded all of his lunch for six mini muffins. Thing 1 kept stealing them off of my test plates and Thing 2 asked for seconds (never happens). Try these out and let me know your thoughts!

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Gluten- Free Chicken Nuggets

Before going Gluten- Free, my Things fell in love with this chicken nugget recipe. Over the weekend, I made them for the first time using all GF products. They were so good! Better than the old version. Still took less than 15 minutes to prep before going in the oven. I think if I actually timed how long it takes to prep, it would take around 7 minutes. That would include the time it takes to grab the ingredients.

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Gluten- Free Chicken Nuggets

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup Gluten- Free Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tsp Emeril’s Essence Seasoning
  • 1/3 cup Gluten- Free bread Crumbs

Directions

  1. Mix chicken, oatmeal, parmesan, and seasoning. Knead dry ingredients into ground chicken.
  2. Using your hands, form a small ball with the chicken and press into shape desired. Get creative and use cookie cutters.
  3. Place bread crumbs in a seperate plate or bowl.
  4. Coat your nuggets front and back with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle a little salt on top.
  5. –At this point you can freeze– or
  6. To bake: Pre-heat oven to 375° F. Arrange nuggets on greased cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes.
  7. I made 1 pound of these and was able to make about 27 nuggetsIMG_4112

Enjoy! Thank you Laura, at Momables, for sharing the original inspiration to this awesome recipe!

Gluten- Free Chicken Marsala

Today was one of those days where I found order and peace through cooking. It’s what I do when I am stressed or something is bothering me. I don’t have a lot of time to spend in there anymore, but when I do, I try to make it quick and meaningful. I told you a few posts ago that The Man gave me a cookbook for Christmas. It has a flour blend recipe that they use in all of their recipes. That flour blend has been the very best part of the cookbook. I have made pizza, corn dogs, muffins, pancakes, and breaded chicken with that flour blend. All of which have turned out fabulous. No one at our table even realizes they are eating GF and not once have the Things asked for the old snacks or wondered about the taste. As they say, “The proof is in the pudding,” or in this case the flour blend. Using Kelli and Peter Bronski’s base recipe and flour blend I made an amazing GF version of Chicken Marsala. I can’t give you the flour blend recipe. You will have to buy the cookbook for that part, but until you do, just use a potato flour to bread your chicken with. If you aren’t on a GF diet just use regular All Purpose Flour. Here we go… *said in the voice of Peter Pan*

Adapted from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli and Peter Bronski

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1 pack of chicken tenderloin

1 cup GF flour

Salt and Pepper to taste

Olive oil

1 small onion cut into rings

1 red bell pepper

1 orange bell pepper

Mushrooms of choice cleaned and sliced

3 tbsp of GF cornstarch

1 1/2 cups GF chicken broth

About 3/4 cup to 1 1/2 cup of cooking Marsala wine

Place your flour and chicken in a freezer bag and seal. Shake to coat the chicken with the flour. Place the chicken in a heated skillet with olive oil. Salt and pepper as desired. Side note: I have the Presto skillet so I can make all the chicken at once. Cook through. My chicken was not a golden brown on each side because of the flour blend I used. So if you are unsure if it’s cooked, slice it open with a knife. It should be white in the middle with clear juices. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and add your onion and peppers. Cook until soft then add your mushrooms. These will stay in the skillet until they are also soft. At this point you want to have your chicken broth and cornstarch mixed up in a mixing cup. Pour over the onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Add your chicken and cooking wine and keep it at a gentle simmer while stirring. As soon as the sauce is as thick as you want it, serve.

Find order in cooking, make memories at the table, and feel good about what you are feeding your family as it was made by your loving hands.

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Homemade Chicken Nuggets for the Things

I am approaching what may be my final days and find myself slowing down, a lot. Is it just me, or do any of you other mammas out there get frustrated at this point in the pregnancy? I feel like I can’t breath, wash my hands in a sink because of my belly, bend over,…. It’s probably my Type A personality, but I can’t stand not being able to get stuff done and having to rely on help. Regardless, I am so excited to meet the little man who has completely taken over the lower half of my body. I get to find out how big he is today so we know what to expect. I have pushed off washing all of his new clothes because I wanted to make sure he would be able to actually wear them. We have big babies around here so today will be helpful for me to finish preparing for his arrival.

Homeschooling is on hold until he arrives and I recover. I started super early this year for this very reason. We are already in week 10 of homeschooling so I feel like I can let school go for a few weeks without feeling guilty. We will continue with Classical Conversations, but all of our other curriculum is on hold.

In preparation for the upcoming weeks, I am getting ready to make another batch of these chicken nuggets. If I can whip these up in 15 minutes, so can you. I LOVE this recipe from Momables. Why didn’t I think of this?

Chicken Nuggets

Adapted from Momables

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tsp Emeril’s Essence Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs

Directions

  1. Mix chicken, oatmeal, half the grated parmesan (1/8 cup), half the seasoning  (1/2 tsp), garlic powder and pepper. Knead dry ingredients into ground chicken.
  2. Using an ice cream scoop or your hands, form a small ball with the chicken and press into shape desired. Get creative and use cookie cutters.
  3. In a separate  bowl, combine breadcrumbs with remaining seasoning and  parmesan.
  4. Coat your nuggets front and back with the breadcrumb mixture. Sprinkle a little salt on top. This was the only addition my Things asked me to make to the recipe.
  5. –At this point you can freeze– or
  6. To bake: Pre-heat oven to 375° F. Arrange nuggets on greased cookie sheet. I sprayed the tops of my nuggets with Pam to make it crisper like Laura suggested. Bake 15-20 minutes and turn once in the process. Even though I read Laura’s recipe and realized they weren’t supposed to brown, I kept wanting them to brown. Be careful not to over cook.
  7. I made 1 pound of these and they lasted a few lunches. I went ahead and baked mine, let them cool and then froze them. You can do it either way works for you.

Enjoy! Thank you Laura, at Momables, for sharing this awesome recipe!