This recipe came together several years ago when pulling together leftover bits from holiday meals. It turned out so delicious that Wild Rice Sweet Potato Salad is now a staple dish in my house. I originally used toasted pecans in the salad, but now use pepitas (pumpkin seeds) to emphasize the seasonal flavors of the dish and keep it nut free for family friends.
Wild Rice Sweet Potato Salad with Pepitas is a wonderful side dish fancy enough for the holiday table, yet easy enough to have on hand to put in the lunch box, or serve with cooked sliced chicken or grilled portabella mushrooms on top for a simple dinner with the family. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does.
Wild rice is actually not a rice at all, but a semi-aquatic grass historically grown in lake, bays and tidal rivers. The only grain native to North America, wild rice originated in the area of the upper Great Lakes. I live in Minnesota, so wild rice has always been a treat item used for the holidays and in autumn dishes during its harvest season. I love its nutty taste, the snappy texture and the way the grain opens when cooked. If you are looking for a warm way to serve wild rice, try Dairy Free Wild Rice Soup for a comforting and creamy soup featuring this unique grain.
I love using my slow cooker all year long. However, when the cool weather of fall and winter arrive, you can find slow cooker meals on my menu a couple times a week. There is nothing like coming home to the warm smells of dinner when cold winds are blowing outside. With busy school and sport schedules, I can serve a delicious, healthy, warming meal to my family with minimal work on my part when I use my slow cooker. Slow-cooked meals also help keep my grocery budget in check. Bean and lentil dishes cook up wonderfully in a crock pot giving time for seasoning to work their way through the dish. Cuts of meat that are more economical can be used as the slow braising renders those cuts tender and juicy.
Slow Cooker Pulled Italian Chicken and Kale is one of my family’s favorite meals. I use boneless skinless chicken thighs as they hold up better in a slow cooker than chicken breasts. Chicken thighs also have more iron and zinc than chicken breasts, a bonus for your health during cold season! Stirring in kale near the end of cooking time keeps the hearty green from over-cooking and gives the dish a pop of color. This meal is a great introduction for family members who may not like to eat greens. The herbs, garlic, and chicken help balance the flavor of the kale to win over the pickiest of eaters.
Serve Slow Cooker Pulled Italian Chicken and Kale in gluten-free buns for shredded chicken sandwiches, over baked sweet potatoes, cauliflower puree or “riced” cauliflower, or use as a topping on gluten free pizza. My kids even like it warmed and put into a thermos bowl with a side of broccoli in their lunch box. This recipe freezes wonderfully. After allowing the chicken to cool, package the leftovers in a freezer safe container, removing as much air as possible before labeling and freezing.
This time of year, with all the activities that accompany the start of school (and the fees that go with those activities), I like to have a few quick to pull together, budget friendly meals up my sleeve. Frittata is always a welcome one dish meal in my house, especially when studded with end-of-summer produce.
Frittatas are so simple to pull together, even the teens in my house can lend a hand at dinner time when it’s on the menu. Frittatas are similar to a crustless quiche, filled with a variety of pre-cooked meats, beans or your favorite veggies, however frittatas cook up so much quicker. The secret to this one-pan egg dish is to pre-cook any veggies on the stove top in an oven-safe pan. After the vegetables are cooked, add egg mixture to the hot pan. This begins to set and cook the egg. Then, simply pop the entire pan into a pre-heated oven to finish cooking. Toss together a simple salad while the frittata has its final bake and dinner is on the table in half an hour. Perfect for busy weeknights!
Frittatas help me to stretch my food budget. I often use up bits of leftover cooked and seasoned chicken, sautéed vegetables or greens that need to be eaten by tossing them in a frittata. Leftovers don’t taste like leftovers when presented in a new way!
With two children in high school and one in elementary school, our mornings can be quite hectic on school mornings with all the different schedules. However, no matter how busy our mornings, one thing I insist on is a good breakfast before my kids start their day. Quinoa, with it’s high-nutrient profile and fiber, cooked with coconut milk makes a wonderful, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast that cooks up with a creamy texture similar to rice pudding that is supremely satisfying.
Pre-soaking quinoa helps the already quick-cooking grain to cook even quicker, and there is much evidence that pre-soaking helps make the nutrients more absorbable and easier to digest. Depending on the day and what we have on hand, we add toasted nuts, chopped dates or berries. As coconut milk has a naturally sweeter taste, all I need is to add just a touch of maple syrup, but feel free to skip it or to use the sweetener you prefer.