Oct 24

Chicken & Quinoa Stew

Quick and delicious, this healthy stew only uses one pan and ingredients you (probably) already have in your kitchen!

Quinoa & Chicken Stew

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  •  3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite-size piece
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup whole milk, slightly warmed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

In a dutch oven or large pot, heat olive oil over medium until hot.  Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until translucent.  Add garlic, thyme and chicken.  Continue cooking until the chicken is white.

Whisk together flour and broth.  Add to pan, along with quinoa, milk and tomatoes (with juices).  Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until quinoa is cooked, about 20 minutes.  Add peas and corn and heat through.

Stir in parmesan.  Adjust to taste with salt and pepper.

Modified from Dairy Goodness


6 servings
(calculated at myfitnesspal.com)
Calories: 422
Carbs: 44g
Fat: 11g
Protein: 38g
Sodium: 517mg
Sugar: 6g


This recipe is not quite fast enough to make it on my Quick & Easy Meals Index, but it’s close.  Quinoa has a minimum cooking time no matter what I do.  This recipe does use only one pan and can quickly be thrown together after work – plan on eating about 45 minutes after going into the kitchen.  It’s also a fairly hands-off recipe, so you can help with homework during that quinoa cooking time.

Speaking of homework, all three of my kids liked this stew.  They can be hit or miss with soups and stews, but this was a winner.  Well, mostly a winner.  Little A picked out her tomatoes and The Big One removed any visible sign of onion, but really that’s just any meal, any time at our house.



Permanent link to this article: http://healthynaturaleasyish.com/2014/10/24/chicken-quinoa-stew/

Oct 21

Cheese and Herb Biscuits

Quick and easy biscuits make a deliciously perfect side for any meal.

Herb & Cheese Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme or chopped rosemary
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar is best, but any variety will work)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (one stick)
  • 1 cup whole milk or buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425.  Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and thyme or rosemary.  Add cheese and mix until coated with flour and evenly distributed.  In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and butter.  Add milk mixture all at once to flour mixture.  Stir until just combined, but do not over-mix.  Drop by spoonfuls on baking sheet.  Bake for 13-15 minutes.

(Very slightly modified from From Which Things Grow)


12 servings
(calculated at myfitnesspal.com)
Calories: 200
Carbs: 17g
Fat: 12g
Protein: 6g
Sodium: 279mg
Sugar: 1g


These biscuits have quickly become a staple at our house.  They are the perfect accompaniment for any meal – soup, chili, roast chicken.  Really anything.  I’ve even served them to guests (with positive reviews).  There are usually a few leftover and the kids beg to eat them for breakfast.  The Big One pouts when she finds out they’re all gone.  They’ve replaced many of our other bread sides because they require no planning.  There are definitely times when Mr. Ish is walking in the door, soup is simmering on the stove and I realize I forgot to complete the meal.  Only 20 minutes later, I’ve got these biscuits on the table and the girls are arguing over who gets the “bigger one.”

Another positive to this recipe?  If you only have frozen butter in the house (like I did the first time I made these), you can still make the biscuits.  Most recipes I looked at require cold, but not frozen, butter.  Like I said, no planning needed at all.

Permanent link to this article: http://healthynaturaleasyish.com/2014/10/21/cheese-and-herb-biscuits/

Oct 17

How to Whip Cream Cheese

Whipping cream cheese at home is so easy and so quick, you’ll never pay for a tub of it at the store again!

Whipped Cream Cheese

  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1-2 tbsp whole milk

Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using the whisk attachment, begin whipping the cream cheese.  Add milk 1 tbsp at a time*.  Continue whipping until desired consistency, about 5 minutes.  Store in refrigerator in airtight container for up to 5 days.

*Be careful not to add too much milk.  The milk is what makes the cream cheese spreadable straight out of the fridge, but too much milk will make it a little runny.  I usually only use 1 tbsp of milk per package of cream cheese, but it is sometimes rather difficult to spread on my bagel in the morning.  Experiment to figure out what you like, starting with less milk.


Yield: approximately 1.5 cups
24 servings (1 tbsp each)
(calculated at myfitnesspal.com)
Calories: 33
Carbs: 0g
Fat: 3g
Protein: 1g
Sodium: 28mg
Sugar: 0g


This is the third in a series of tutorials I’ve been putting together.  There are some things I do so often in my cooking that they’re completely second nature to me.  I don ‘t think about them and I don’t always remember that I had to learn how to do them in the first place.  Let me remind you, I didn’t learn how to peel garlic until I was 27.  I was in college when I learned that spaghetti sauce didn’t always come from a jar.  These things were revelations to me.  Over the years, I’ve learned these techniques through trial and error (much error).  And Google.  Then it occurred to me, maybe some of my readers would benefit from some of the knowledge I’ve gained.  And thus this somewhat-sporadic series was born.  I hope someone is able to learn from it.  And if you have something you’d like to see in it, please leave a comment below!


Permanent link to this article: http://healthynaturaleasyish.com/2014/10/17/how-to-whip-cream-cheese/

Oct 14

Plum Muffins

Basic, delicious, simple muffins filled with fresh plums.

Plum Muffins

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups diced plums
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


  • 2 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease muffin tin with butter, or line with paper cups.

Combine all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add diced plums and stir to coat each piece.  Set aside.  In another bowl, whisk together eggs, butter, sour cream and vanilla.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just mixed.  Do not overmix, there will be lumps.  Divide evenly between 12 prepared muffin cups.

Combine raw sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over the top of muffins.  Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.


12 servings
(calculated at myfitnesspal.com)
Calories: 252
Carbs: 36g
Fat: 10g
Protein: 4g
Sodium: 107mg
Sugar: 22g



We love muffins around here.  I make them often.  The kids ask why we haven’t had muffins if I go too long without making some.  So when a friend gave me a big bag full of plums a few weeks ago and the kids were requesting muffins, it was the perfect storm to create this recipe!


Permanent link to this article: http://healthynaturaleasyish.com/2014/10/14/plum-muffins/

Oct 10

Bacon Black-Eyed Peas with Rice and Collard Greens

Flavorful southern-style black eyed peas, topped with delicious and healthy collard greens.

Bacon Black Eyed Peas

For beans:

  • 1 lb dry black-eyed peas
  • 6-8 slices of bacon
  • 2 small yellow onions (or 1 large), chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Salt to taste

Rinse beans.  Cover with water in a large bowl and soak overnight, or for at least 6 hours.  Drain, rinse again and set aside.

In a large dutch oven (or other heavy bottom pan with a lid), cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan. Leave about 1 to 2 tbsp bacon grease and reserve the rest for cooking collard greens.  Add onions to dutch oven and cook until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme and continue cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth and beans.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beans are soft.  Crumble bacon and stir into beans.

For greens:

  • 1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and cut into strips
  • bacon grease reserved from above
  • salt to taste

In a large skillet, heat reserved bacon grease over medium heat.  Add greens and mix to coat with grease. Sprinkle with salt.  Continue to saute until greens are bright green and wilted.

To serve:

  • 3 – 4 cups cooked rice.

Place rice into bowl.  Ladle beans and bacon over the top, making sure to include some broth.  Top with greens.  Enjoy.


6 servings
(calculated at myfitnesspal.com)
Calories: 465
Carbs: 82g
Fat: 11g
Protein: 27g
Sodium: 610mg
Sugar: 3g


This meal ended up tasting even better than I had anticipated when I put it on the menu for the week.  It was also a little more work than anticipated, using a few more dishes than I generally like.  But it was totally worth it.  Aside from soaking the beans, it’s not a very time consuming, but it’s not the quickest meal, either – about 1 1/2 to 2 hours start to finish.  It depends on how quickly you’re able to chop onions and how many children you have interrupting you.  Speaking of children, all 3 of mine liked this meal.  Even the pickiest Little B.

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Permanent link to this article: http://healthynaturaleasyish.com/2014/10/10/bacon-black-eyed-peas-with-rice-and-collard-greens/

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