I can’t stopppp! I love these bowls with a few elements tied together with a quick drizzle of sauce for a balanced, speedy, and fun dinner. I appreciate these qualities most during my busy time of year at work and with meals the toddler can eat before/after us. Next time this one could use more texture, but it was tasty and added some good variety to the week.
Chicken & Sweet Potato Grain Bowl with Peanut Sauce
Ingredients (for 3-4 bowls):
1 cup cracked wheat (or any grain of your choosing: rice/lentils/farro/couscous/quinoa/etc)
1 1/2 cups water
3 chicken thighs, boneless & skinless
1 -2 sweet potatoes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
touch of Sriracha sauce
1 avocado (or 1 cup edamame)
Marinate the chicken overnight, or for 3+ hours in Italian dressing & some soy or teriyaki sauce. Then heat up the grill.
Cook the grain: I used cracked wheat + 1 1/2 cups water to a boil, then covers and cooks over low for 20-ish minutes.
Micro the sweet potato(es) for about 5 minutes. Flip them once and poke holes with a fork.
Grill the chicken until cooked through.
Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar, lime juice, and hot sauce to a bowl.
Whisk together, and add in a splash of water. Whisk again, and add more water if needed. (I started with about a tablespoon and added another teaspoon). It should be drippy enough to drizzle over the top of your bowls.
Once the chicken has sat for a few minutes, slice into strips. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice in half, then scoop from the skin with a spoon and slice into bite-sized pieces.
Assemble the bowls with 1/4 of the grain in the base of each bowl, then add chicken, sweet potato, and avocado. Drizzle the peanut sauce on top.
I loved the peanut sauce being creamy from the pb and salty from the soy sauce and a little wake up from the ginger and sriracha sauce. I cooked the sweet potato the night before so these were even speedier than they seemed! I thought I had edamame int he freezer – that would be a better texture to each bite than the soft avocado with soft sweet potato.
What’s my next bowl? I need a new theme!
You know how I’m obsesssssed with grain bowls? This one was on my list for awhile and we all loved it. In the words of Joey Tribiani: what’s not to love? chicken? good! rice pilaf? good! avocado? good! bacon? goooood!
My other favs: Italian Grain Bowls with cracked wheat & Falafel Grain Bowls with couscous. The little one likes the challenge of eating rice. This would also be a good way to use any leftover grilled chicken and it is an easy way to stretch chicken since you wouldn’t need much at all here. We used our fav: chicken thighs.
Marinaded & grilled chicken
3 strips of bacon
honey mustard dressing
Marinade the chicken in salad dressing or your fav marinade for 4+ hours, or all day. Then grill the chicken to cook through.
Cook the rice pilaf according to the package and fluff with a fork.
Chop the bacon and then pan fry until the bite-sized pieces are crisp. Then remove and drain on paper towel.
Slice the avocado, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Slice the chicken.
Assemble and drizzle with honey mustard.
This was a hit. It worked out perfectly to grill on an unseasonably warm night. I liked this twist since I’d been thinking more Mediterranean/Thai. This was comforting and felt casually fun. Bring on all the grain bowls! Plus, it is so amusing to see the determination of a toddler scooping and then spooning rice into his mouth!
My new fav dinner are these grain bowls! I made Falafel Bowls and was chomping at the bit to make another! I am obsessed with the toppings, how filling they are, and having a bite of this, with a bite of that! Roasted veggies with raw veggies with cheese and meatballs. Yes. Yes. Yes.
My base was cracked wheat, but risotto/rice/orzo would all be good. I topped them with roasted asparagus, chopped tomato, fresh mozzarella, and meatballs with a drizzle of pesto. Seriously, I could eat this weekly. The little guy loved it too!
1 cup cracked wheat
1 1/2 cup water/broth
1 bunch asparagus or a large zucchini
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons Parmesan
3 tablespoons pesto or marinara
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
In a medium pot, bring cracked wheat & broth to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Trim the asparagus and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Roast for about 15 minutes.
Heat the meatballs (mine were frozen turkey meatballs).
Slice the tomato and asparagus.
Assemble the bowls with cracked wheat, tomatoes, mozzarella, meatballs, and asparagus. Sprinkle with parmesan.
Drizzle with pesto and enjoy!
This is suchhh a fast and hands-off dinner. It’d be a great use for leftovers. Add in whatever you like: roasted peppers; olives; zucchini; eggplant; mushrooms; etc. You could swap the pesto for alfredo or marinara.
You know when the all the stars align and your seemingly straightforward dinner wows you? This was that moment. I knew it was going to be good, and a nicely balanced meal, and pretty easy, but I didn’t really anticipate how much we’d all LOVE IT.
Excuse me while I pull out the ole soapbox. Get yourself a meat thermometer. Do not cook meat (especially pork!) without one. If you think you don’t love pork tenderloin then it miiiight be that you’ve only had it severely overcooked. Then it’s bland, boring, tough, and yuck.
Mr. J marinated the pork for flavors of honey and lime. Then while he grilled it to perfection, I made some rice with
peaches nectarines, lime juice, peach jam, red onion.
1 pork tenderloin
1/2 cup lime juice + 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup rice
1/4 red onion
~ 1 cup cilantro (1/2 bunch)
1/4 cup peach preserves
Marinade the pork in 1/2 cup lime juice, honey, & garlic powder for 4 hours refrigerated.
Get the rice cooking.
Grill flipping to cook each side. Grill to at least 145 degrees. Let it sit about 5 minutes after removing from the heat.
Chop the onion, nectarine, and cilantro and add into the cooked rice.
Add in 1 tablespoon lime juice and peach preserves. Mix well.
Slice the pork and serve with a sprinkle of cilantro over a bed of the rice.
We really did love this. I was so into the peaches with the pork with the onion. The babe couldn’t get enough pork. He had so much and just kept asking for more! Though, he wasn’t into it the next day as leftovers. He liked the rice being kind of sticky…it was much easier for him to spoon from his bowl.
I’m on a bfast quest for some weekly fun not sweet breakfasts and these were so fun! I prepped them Sunday night and they were so perfect to quickly warm and have something delicious to start the day with. These breakfast bowls had bacon, hard boiled egg, everything-bagel-spices, and cracked wheat.
Bacon, Egg, & Grain Bfast Bowl (4-5 servings)
1 cup cracked wheat/rice/lentils/barley
1/4 tsp dried onion
1/4 tsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp poppy seeds
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper
3 strips of bacon
4 eggs, hard-boiled
Cook the cracked grain according to the package. (Mine was cracked wheat).
While the grain is cooking, pan fry the bacon and hard boil the eggs.
In a dry pan over medium low heat, toast the spices, stirring regularly.
Drain the bacon onto a paper towel, saving 1 tsp of the bacon drippings. Add the drippings and the bacon into the cooked grain.
Stir the toasted spices into the grain too.
Chop the hard boiled egg and add that into the grain.
Serve and enjoy!
I was going to add in some cheese, but I ended up thinking it didn’t even need it. This was so good. The grain makes it really filling! I split it into 4 servings and I mini serving of the cracked wheat for the little guy. The everything-bagel totally amped up the flavor and I looooved that addition. These would pack up really easily if bfast travels with you to work too. Yum. This is where good morning comes from.
I don’t make soup often enough and this was one I made in stages. It was really good practice to cook in shifts of however long the little one was napping. I baked the chicken when I had the oven on for dinner one night and I made the rice the next morning when I had a few minutes. This soup was so easy and one I’ll definitely make again.
Ingredients: (makes ~4 servings)
4 chicken thighs
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup water
5 carrots (approx. 2 cups)
1/2 cup milk or cream (I used 1% milk)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Bake chicken until cooked through. (I used a few boneless, skinless thighs and a few drumsticks and then made some broth from the drumstick bones). Cut the chicken into spoon-sized chunks. Prepare rice according to the package directions. (I used Near East Long Grain & Wild Rice Mix which definitely added to the soup flavor).
In a large pot, add the chicken, rice, and broth over low heat.
Cut up the carrots into coins (steam/boil/cook first if eating the soup upon completion, or let raw carrot pieces cook in the soup if you’ll let it simmer longer).
Add the carrots, thyme, & water to the pot.
Cook for 20 minutes then add the milk/cream. (Cook longer if the carrots are raw).
Taste and season with salt & pepper as needed. I didn’t add any salt because the rice mix had a flavor packet that seemed like plenty.
I loved this. I went heavy on the carrots but you could add celery, onions, or whatever veggies you have. The thyme is what makes me think warm, comfort food like stuffing or pot pie.
Add more water when warming any leftovers.
The start to 2014 has been great. Work has been rolling along and getting busy. Hitting my first 3-months at the new job has me feeling more settled and more knowledgeable about everything. I can’t believe it has already been 3 months! Lots of folks at work are all about their fitbit/jawbone/nike fuelband/etc. It’d be a great comparison, thought I don’t exactly have the ability to buy them all and test ‘em out. It does have me thinking and wanting to blog something….
I’ve been really appreciating the hibernation-feeling of January. I love having some fun things happening over the weekend but it isn’t non-stop. That’s my favorite. There’s time to make last-minute plans and the freezing temps makes me enjoy hunkering down with some great down-time…perfect for old West Wing episodes (I’m up to season 3). I’m behind on the book I should be reading but I’ll get going. A step aerobics class has brought me back to way-back-when I took step 9 years ago.
For February, I’m psyched for the Olympics. I just watched the Price of Gold story about the ’94 figure skaters, which I remember happening. It was fascinating!
Do you follow me on instagram? I posted a pic of an unbelievable dinner of chicken and waffles Mr. J made. He fried the chicken himself and we couldn’t get over it. Crazy good. Also, I found roasted garlic at the salad bar in the grocery store for dirt cheap. Such a great 40-cent find! Who knew?
In January I redid my traditional lasagna with assembly tips and LOTS of adaptation suggestions.
I posted my cheese fondue party. I repeated the fondue for New Year’s Eve too. I still need to show you what I did with some leftovers. Ahhh-mazing. Stay tuned.
Maple Dijon Chicken is such a simple but fantastic recipe. It takes barely any time and you’ll make it again and again. Just try it.
Need some superbowl snack ideas?
Did you see my Chicken Bacon Ranch Spring Rolls? Doesn’t get much better than that!
To add to your Superbowl Spread….
No-Cooking Required Greek Dip is a base of hummus with chopped veggies, feta, and Greek dressing. Super easy and fresh.
Or Make Everything in a Muffin Tin for easy plate-filling and minimal game distractions.
Apple Cheesecake Dip with apple dippers is an addictive sweet dessert-ish dip
Set up a panini bar or a taco bar or a nacho bar and let your guests make-your-own. The ease is great for the host, and everyone loves to customize their own.
Status of This Year’s Goals:
Year-of-the: self imposed cooking challenge resulted in seeking savory breakfast ideas via Quiche Lorraine
also I bought myself more flowers
I’m not sure what will be on the menu in February yet. I have some kitchen tips I was thinking of sharing. I have some more salad and panini ideas. February is a great time for wintry food so I’ll see what else I come up with.
I love leftovers. I love transforming one thing into something totally different annnnnd I love not spending any money to do it. These were a prime example of all these things. I had leftover risotto from the other day. I made more than usual but even with Mr. J and I eating it with dinner one night and leftovers for lunch the next day, there was still a good amount. I decided to make aranchini!
Aranchini are historically Sicilian but as you can imagine other regions of Italy have similar ones that they’ll tell you are not aranchini. I learned this while dining with the mob. Mine are not authentic since I didn’t have any mozzarella for the middle.
Even without this seemingly key ingredient, these were simply delicious. Maybe because I fried them. I never fry anything so it makes me appreciate it even more. Frying makes me anxious and it’s such a mess.
1 ½ cups prepared and chilled risotto
2 eggs, whisked with 1 tbs water
1 cup panko
2 tbs grated Parmesan
Preheat oil ½ deep in a pan on medium
Scoop refrigerated risotto into 1” balls
Dip each into eggwash then roll in panko until completely covered
Fry in batches turning until golden brown.
Remove and let rest on paper towel.
These were so surprisingly good! I let them get pretty fried before turning them the first time. I think that really helped them stay together since they had a solid fried base on the bottom when I scooped with a slotted spoon.
We each ate a few as an app with dinner and I froze the rest. I think they’ll defrost pretty easily in the fridge and bake to reheat. They’ll be awesome when this weekend is over and I can celebrate a successful event (knock on wood!). I work all year for this weekend so wish me luck, dry weather, well behaved vendors, and lots of fundraising $$ coming in!
9 years old?!?! How’s that possible!
This was a big and full year. I’m so glad to have the blog as a creative outlet. I think I’m my best when I am doing “all the things” even if each doesn’t shine 100% of the time. I tried to let myself take it slow when blogging just isn’t quite fitting in, but overall I’ve been active here. Thank you for joining me! I’m so grateful to hear from folks who have made something or saw something here and it means a lot to me. I love doing it and hope to instill in my little ones that hobbies are wonderful- all while not having phones at the table!
Best Burger: I mean it has to be this one, right? The Parisian Burger is circa 2014 but the competition will be what always stands out for me this year. I did really love this meatloaf burger too with brown sugar ketchup, crispy onions, and greens.
Most Photogenic: Fall Dog with Apple Slaw I’ve yet to source pretzel buns like this again…I’d better search- they seem like an Oktoberfest-ish thing.
Most Repeatable: Crispy Fish Rice Bowl
I think I made more soups and more sandwiches than some years past but definitely fewer pizzas this year.
2019 goals Recap:
Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing This was a good one for the year. With baby C joining the family and ohh-so-much artwork from Mr. T, relieving our home of stuff is good.
Feeding Littles: I wish I did this more.
Work on advanced food prepping:
What I’m reading: I read 22 books this year! Crazy! My fav was Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar followed closely by The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. Find my books and ratings here.
What I’m watching:
This year’s Goals:
Year of beauty! I loved this suggestion and I kicked it off grabbing some face masks before a weekend away with my college roomies. The “year of” are something I like for myself and I don’t want to have to coordinate with anyone else. I’m overdue for some nail polishes newer than my college days, I love face masks, and my hair could use some TLC.
Prep intentional sides and veggies: too often they’re a bit of an afterthought and we could increase the colors and options here.
Eat more fish: I love it, Mr. J is OK with it, and the kids gobble it up so I should keep going there.
Blog some series: these are so fun for me while I’m doing them, I should try some others. I’ve done series of grilled cheeses, series of toast toppings, and I’ll see what else comes to mind!
Focus decluttering/organizing to an area I think I (or Mr. J) did our most impactful work when doing one little spot at a time. There’s more to do!
Share more books on instagram: I had some stories of kids books and couldn’t believe when I got actual responses and people without kids asking about more of them. It made my heart swell as something I love.
Prioritize workouts: I started Beachbody On Demand doing the Morning Meltdown 100 and I’m loving it.
What I’m reading: 20 books feels like a natural benchmark to strive towards
What I’m listening to: I love podcasts and have yet to convince my most talked-to people to also listen so we can discuss.
What I’m watching:
Spriiiiing! It makes me so happy. Winter was mild this year but I LOVE the daylight, everything growing, getting outside more, and transitioning from wintery foods. April was fun with a more social opportunities than I sometimes have with friends and a few fun family festivities. I think our energy is up! I feel like I’m being more realistic about what’s possible in the kitchen and I’m being OK with setting the priority that we eat together and eat different things, but I’m not forsaking all else to stick to my dinner plan. Seeing the little babe smile on the swing when her big brother pushes it when we get home is worth wayyy more than the meal prep I otherwise could make happen that night!
I love a grain bowl and these Thai Coconut Rice Bowls with Pork were such winners. The pork was leftover from a crockpot pork, the rice was ready in 10 minutes from the pressure cooker, and the sauce I zipped together in the blender the day before.
I need to perfect my salmon cooking. I overcooked it but the leftovers were perfect in a Salmon BLT with lemon aoli.
Next month I have some good stuff coming! I have a burger, a breakfast, and a few other things.
The Baby Girl:
She’s so fast and so strong. She was pulling up to stand before quite hitting 8 months old. All she wants to do is stand! She’s a quick and quiet crawler who can disappear to explore before you know it! I’m so proud of her sleeping skills, though I’m sure daycare wouldn’t mind her sleeping more there! She has 2 little chiclet teeth on the bottom and wants to eat everything. She’s loving the swings and chewing on T’s raptor dino that is unofficially regulated to being hers now. Her teachers at a daycare-wide dance party swooped her away and brought her around to see everyone. They really love her. She’s so happy and chill even when hungry or tired. We got bows to keep her hair out of her face and they’re just too cute.
The Little Boy:
He’s sooo into favorites right now. What’s your favorite dino? What’s your favorite fork? What’s your favorite color on this picture? I forgot that that’s a thing for kids. He loves the baby and is a fantastic big brother. It melted my heart when he said he “just wants to be 6″ why I asked, “because then C will be 3 and we can play more.” I’ve loved doing puzzles with him. I think he over-does it on some favorite foods and thinks he wants them but then isn’t really into it- like certain cereals. It seems he will always want pasta, bananas, and avocado. He likes all candy- even junky stuff from a town egg hunt. I loved watching him at a daycare-wide dance party. He wanted to participate, was a bit reserved, then got into it. He thrives on having close friends. I missed the deadline for town soccer so he’s doing a little community one. We’ll see where his comfort-level is. He’s been happy on bike rides with Daddy but also is doing fantastic on his balance bike. His love for library books rivals mine.
Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: ehhh. All I did was pull together items for a clothes swap at work. We have a bunch of baby equipment earmarked for a yard sale.
Feeding Littles: I shared dinner of shrimp with Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki sauce, brown rice, edamame. He wasn’t into the shrimp that night but liked it when he had rice in the same bite.
Work on advanced food prepping: A day-off mid-month was huge for this! I cooked and blogged 3 things!
What I’m reading: I read An American Marriage for bookclub and really liked it. I read China Rich Girlfriend and loved it as much as the first in the series.
What I’m watching: We watched All the Money in the World and The Imitation Game. Both are so intense and fascinating. I want to know more about each in real life! TV-wise, Mr. J and I got into Schitt’s Creek and are ob-sess-ed. Amazing Race is back