Chicken Fajita Bowls with Mexican Cauliflower Rice

So I’m pretty active on Instagram. I’m not the best at taking pictures of my food, so I really love scrolling through people’s Instagram feeds with beautiful food pictures. I try. I like to think I’m getting better at it, but still. Taking lovely food shots is not my forte.
 

One of my favorite types of pictures are when people do food bowls. I don’t know if this is a new trend or if it just photographs well, but they are so beautiful. The food is organized so cleanly and is usually very colorful. I can’t get enough of them!

All that was said to introduce this Chicken Fajita bowl I recently made. I’ve made similar things before and I swear I posted them on here, but I guess not. Which just means I need to make them again so I can post them again and practice taking better pictures of them! See, it all works out.

This is a super easy weeknight meal that is totally family friendly and can be customized to your tastes.

Chicken Fajita Bowl

Makes enough for 2-4 bowls, depending on how much you put in them

 

Mexican Cauliflower Rice:

– 2 tablespoons Olive oil

– ½ onion diced small

– 3 cloves garlic, minced

– 1 bag riced cauliflower (I used the 12 oz bag from Trader Joe’s)

– 1 ½ tablespoons (or so) of tomato paste

– ½ tablespoon each garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder

– Salt to taste     

Bowls:

Mexican cauliflower rice (you can use regular rice or Mexican rice if you want)

Shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)

½ purple onion, sliced

½ each red, orange, and green bell pepper, sliced

Shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Plain non-fat greek yogurt for topping

Guacamole or avocado slices for topping

Place the onion and bell pepper slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast at 375 for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the Mexican cauliflower rice:

In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute until just starting to soften. Then add the cauliflower rice and cook for about 7 minutes until cooked through. Add the seasonings and tomato paste and stir together until well mixed.

 


Once the rice and veggies are ready (either the cauliflower rice or whatever rice you want to use), you can assemble your bowls.

 

You can be fancy and do layers and sections and organize the whole thing by color or whatever. Or, if you are not planning on taking a photo and you couldn’t care less what your bowl looks like before you eat it because you are just going to mix it all up anyway, you can just throw everything together and have at it.

As long as it tastes good, who care? You do you, love.

Refrigerator Clean-out Turkey Patties   

You know those days where you come home and you are completely worn out? I mean, more than just the usual end-of-the-day tired. I’m talking exhausted, can barely keep your eyes open, WIPED OUT. That was me yesterday. My lovely 3-year-old isn’t much of a sharer, but last week she decided to share her strep throat with me.
 

You guys, I thought it was going to end me.

I had strep when I was in middle school. I remember it being an inconvenience. I remember going about my business of being 13 like it wasn’t that big of a deal. I remember going to the movies, for crying out loud. Nope, not this time. I guess as an adult, strep is a totally different ball game. It laid me out. I was sidelined for a week. I couldn’t do anything. I was *thisclose* to calling an attorney to get my affairs in order. And maybe a priest to read me my last rites. Bottom line: It was awful. So moms, if your child has strep throat, do yourself a favor and go get a hotel room to yourself until it clears up. I only address this to moms, because husbands are apparently made out of steel and seem to somehow resist the death disease.

Anyway, back to the food, which is why you’re actually here. My first day back to regular life went fine, but I was so worn out at the end of the day, I could just cry. And I was starving. But in that state, who has time for a recipe and all that measuring of ingredients nonsense? Not me, that’s who. Instead, I decided to raid my fridge and see what I could throw together. Hence why these are now called “Refrigerator Clean-Out” because that is literally what I did. So creative, I know.

Here’s the scoop:

Finely dice a half a red bell pepper, half a zucchini, and half a leek. Saute over medium heat with some olive oil and salt and pepper, until softened. Just before the mixture is done, add in some minced garlic and cook until done.

Let the veggie mixture cool slightly and add it to a pound of ground turkey. If you are impatient like me and add it right away, your turkey meat will be really sticky. It will still work, but you will just be making it more difficult for yourself. 


Once the veggies are mixed into the turkey, form into patties. Add a little olive oil to a skillet and cook the patties over medium heat for about 7 minutes per side (depending on how big they are). When I flipped the patties, I added a slice of cheese and let it do its melty, gooey, magical cheese thing while the patties continued cooking.

 

I served these with some brown rice and roasted rainbow carrots. (Fun fact: Carrots used to always be “rainbow” carrots, leaning mostly toward purple. Back in the 17th century, the Dutch carrot farmers created orange carrots through selection and hybridization (the Dutch sure love their orange color!). Those carrots were spread throughout the world through immigration and became the carrots known more commonly. The “rainbow” carrots we see are actually the carrots going back to their original roots… pun intended).    

Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup 

So a couple months ago I signed up for Farm Fresh to You. I like it. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to keep it, but it’s pretty cool. I’ve been able to try more veggies than I probably would have on my own, like beets. I don’t think I would ever just pick up a beet in the grocery store and make something with it, but since it was coming in my delivery anyway, I figured what the heck? Why not give it a try.


Since I’ve never had a beet before, I thought it best not to try out a recipe on my own and go with a pro. Enter: Martha Stewart. I found a recipe that seemed simple enough to follow with our soup cleanse and it was actually pretty tasty.

I had read many places that beets sort of taste like dirt. Even after roasting them and combining them with the other ingredients, I can totally see why someone would say that. They were VERY earthy. But the roasted garlic and the leeks really combined nicely with the beets.

Would I make it again? I don’t know. I didn’t love it that much, but it wasn’t hard work at all to peel the beets, though they are very messy. Beets are super healthy, so maybe someday I’ll be inspired to repeat the recipe, but we’ll have to just see.

Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup

Adapted from Martha Stewart

3 medium beets

1 head of garlic

1 leek

1 tsp fresh thyme

2 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Remove the greens from the beets and wrap them in parchment and foil with a drizzle of olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees for about an hour. Cut off about a ¼ to ½ inch of the garlic head and wrap that in foil too with some olive oil. Roast that for the last 30 minutes of the beets.

Meanwhile, saute the leeks and thyme until softened.

Let the beets cool enough to handle them and wipe the skin off with some paper towels. It should just rub off very easily. Add the beets to the blender.

Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves into the blender. Add the sautéed leeks and thyme, vegetable broth, and salt and pepper. Blend until well combined. It really helps to have a high powered blender such as a Vitamix, Ninja, or Blendtec.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice and taste to see if you need more salt or pepper.

 

The color of this soup is out of this world gorgeous, but be careful because beets can stain.

Creamy Veggie Soup (without the cream!)

I think I’m really getting the hang of this soup thing, you guys! I love coming up with new combinations of veggies and flavors that complement each other to whirl up into delicious soups. I am also LOVING my Vitamix more and more. I can whip up these soups on the soup setting and the result is a creamy, velvety soup that doesn’t have any dairy in it at all. It’s so mind boggling; every time I take a bite, I can’t believe there’s no cream or dairy in the soup.

The only thing I need to start working on is making bigger batches. Just when I think there’s going to be enough, it only makes about 3 servings, maybe 4 depending on how much you eat in one bowl.

So far this little makeshift soup cleanse we’ve been on has been very successful. We are getting all our veggies in and we still feel full after a bowl of soup. And the hubby and I are both down to below our pre-vacation weight!

 

Creamy Veggie Soup (without the cream!)

½ red bell pepper, cut in half

½ orange bell pepper, cut in half

1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

1 poblano pepper

1 cup frozen corn

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 cup vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all the peppers and zucchini on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

When the veggies are done, place the bell peppers and zucchini in a blender. Put the poblano in a zip top bag and seal it. After about 5 minutes, remove the poblano and peel the skin off. It should just pull right off. Cut it in half (carefully because it will be hot), and remove the stem and scrap out the seeds. Add the pepper to the blender.

Add the rest of your ingredients to the blender and let her whirl until done.


Taste to see if you need to add more salt.


I had some avocado I needed to use up so I topped mine with avocado. I didn’t do it this time, but it would probably be yummy to add more corn pieces as well, to off-set the texture a little bit.

Corn and Yellow Pepper Soup

Here’s another souper easy (see what I did there? Funny, yeah?) soup recipe for you. I’ve got a couple more coming in the next week or so.  These are all experiments, so whenever they turn out as good as these last couple have, I get really happy. I even have one in the works using beets! I mean, seriously. BEETS! I’ve never even had a beet before. I also know that they are really messy. The recipe is inspired by the one-and-only Martha Stewart though, so hopefully that will help things!

Anyway, I am always up for more ways to get more vegetables into my family.

Corn and Yellow Pepper Soup

3 yellow bell peppers, cut into quarters
1/2 bag of frozen corn

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets (or 1/2 bag of cauliflower florets) 
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 4oz can green chiles
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Pinch of cayenne *optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, lay out all your cut up peppers and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in a pan with some olive oil and a little salt until softened and fragrant. Set aside.

Also, steam your cauliflower florets until softened. This will help add a nice smooth, thick consistency to your soup.

In a blender, preferably a high powered one like a Ninja or a Vitamix, put in the onion/garlic mixture, the thyme, the bell peppers, the cauliflower, the corn, and the green chiles. Blend until smooth. I didn’t need any liquid to get a perfect velvety consistency, but if you do, add some vegetable broth as needed.


Taste for flavor. Add some cayenne if you want a touch of heat. Add more salt and pepper if you want. Whatever you want to do to make it taste like what you want it to taste like!

Quick and Easy Chicken Stir Fry

A super easy and quick way to get in a healthy meal is to do a stir fry. This is another non-recipe recipe. Well, it’s sort of a non-recipe; the sauce has measurements, but everything else is completely interchangeable. 

And technically, the sauce can just be a bunch of things thrown together too. That’s how I ended up with this one. Or even store bought.

A little background: Stir frying is a Chinese cooking technique where the ingredients are cooked in a small amount of very hot oil while being stirred in a wok. If you don’t have a wok, that’s fine; you can accomplish the same end result in a skillet. A wok is nice to use because it’s shape lends itself well to high-heat cooking. The smaller area at the bottom produces a hot area to allow the food to sear and then the food can be pushed up the sides to continue cooking at slower rate while more food is added to the hot bottom. The high-heat cooking helps the ingredients to retain their color, texture, and nutritional value. This style of cooking dates back to the Ming dynasty. At the time, wood and charcoal used to fire stoves was expensive, so the stir fry method allowed people to cook quickly without wasting fuel. By the early 1900s, most Chinese kitchens were equipped with wok ranges.

Stir frying was brought to the US by Chinese immigrants around 1820. In 1945, a cookbook called How to Cook and Eat in Chinese was written by Buwei Yang Chao and introduced the term “stir fry” which is a rough translation of the Chinese term for the technique “ch’ao”. By the 1970s, stir frys were widely popular since they were healthy and quick, allowing families with busy schedules to still have a family dinner.

And that leaves us where we are today. I think stir frying is a method that most people use, especially when trying to get a quick meal on the table. And who isn’t trying for that?

You can use any sort of meat you want, or make it vegetarian. You can use any sort of veggie you want. You can use vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil. You can add any herbs and spices that your heart desires. You can add a sauce or don’t add a sauce. The possibilities are quite endless.

For this stir fry, I used 1 pound of chicken cutlets because they are thin and cook quickly. I used the veggies I had on hand, which were leeks, purple onions, bell peppers (red, orange, and yellow), carrots, collard greens, and broccoli. I would have added zucchini too, but I completely forgot I had one. I also added a lot of garlic. Just try to make sure everything is roughly the same size.


I started with some oil in the pan and let it get hot. I added my carrots first because those take longer to get soft. After a few minutes, I add the rest of the veggies. When they were almost soft, I added the garlic and some salt. Once all the veggies were pretty much cooked, I pushed them up the side of the wok and added a little more oil and the chicken, which I had cut into small pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper. 


Cook until done and then mix the veggies back in. If you are using a skillet instead of a wok and don’t have the space to move the veggies to the side, you can remove them to a plate and add them back in when the chicken is done.

While the chicken is cooking, mix up your sauce. There are probably hundreds of stir fry sauces available, but this is what I just randomly put together and it was yummy:

¼ cup coconut aminos (you can use reduced sodium soy sauce if you’d rather, but the aminos add another layer of healthy ingredients)

A small splash of fish sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

A splash of lime juice

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon or so of cornstarch

Whisk together and when ready, add to the stir fry. Let it come to a boil and it will start to thicken up.

 

Serve over rice, preferably brown rice.

Start to finish, this is a very fast meal. The cooking part is especially quick, so I highly recommend having all the ingredients cut up before you begin.

 

Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Broccoli Sheet Pan Meal

Do you ever wish that you had, like, 5 more hours in the day? Seriously, when I look at our calendar there are times when I think a 29 hour day is something I could totally work with. 

Alas, that is not possible. So, I just have to make the most of the 24 hours that do come in the day. That’s one of the reasons I really like sheet pan meals. You can cook everything all at once and only have to dirty one dish. And if you use parchment paper, even the one dish you use isn’t that tough to clean.

My favorite sheet pan meal is pretty basic, but still has a lot of flavor. You can always change things around too, like the veggies and the seasoning. Even the meat, just be aware of how long it takes to cook different types of meat.

Basic sheet pan chicken and vegetables*

boneless skinless chicken breasts

Broccoli

Red bell pepper, sliced

Olive oil

Garlic salt

Grated Parmesan cheese

*no amounts here. Make however much you need. This is totally an “eyeball it” dinner. I made 2 chicken breasts, but you can always make 3 or 4. I also just filled in the outside with the veggies.

Put a piece of parchment on a baking sheet. Add your vegetables and toss with olive oil, garlic salt, and parmesan cheese, to taste. Remember, you can always add more later.

I LOVE this olive oil from Trader Joe’s!

Move the veggies to the side and add your chicken breasts. Coat them in olive oil and garlic salt as well. Top each with a little parmesan cheese.

 

Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes. Then turn on the broiler for 5 minutes to get the top of the chicken nice and golden.

That’s it. Serve it up and enjoy an easy, healthy dinner.