Over the past few years, our family has been thrown a myriad of different food sensitivities, allergies, and overall health issues. If you have read my previous blog, you may already know that I have battled IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), lactose intolerance, acid reflux and candida; and my husband has been battling SIBO-M (small intestine bacterial overgrowth – methane), adrenal fatigue and more that we are still learning about as we research and troubleshoot. We have had our fair share of difficult times navigating parenthood with all of the health issues in tow, however, in retrospect, I am grateful for everything we have learned along the way. I would love to share with you some of our favorite go-to meals and treats that have been a hit with our whole family (and taste pretty darn good, if I say so myself).
1.) Burrito Bowls! Did you know Chipotle is one of the cleanest places to eat for people with tummy issues? They do not use GMOs or antibiotics in their ingredients, and if you check out their website you can learn even more about the steps they have taken to offer a menu of items that are safe for several health conditions. My family could easily eat Chipotle on a daily basis, however, we do not have the wallets to afford that – and it’s important to switch up your meals anyways. This recipe is one I have made time and time again with grass-fed ground beef, ground turkey, ground venison, ground bison and chicken as well. We even made it for close friends of ours (and avid Chipotle lovers), and they were amazed at how similar our recipe compared. I found this original recipe on the The Prairie Homestead, here is our version...
-2 lbs of your meat of choice (grass-fed ground beef or boneless chicken breasts are our favorite), fresh or frozen
-2 10 oz. cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies (we get this at our local Aldi)
-1 small onion, diced
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1.5 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon smoked paprika
-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Place all ingredients in a crock-pot. Cook for 2-4 hours on high, or 6-8 hours on low. (We have also made this in our instant-pot under the poultry setting and it has turned out pretty good for how fast it cooks). Once meat is cooked, you can place on warm setting until it is ready to eat. If cooking ground meat, make sure to break up the meat – if cooking boneless chicken breasts, make sure to shred chicken with a fork once it is tender. We like to serve this with white basmati rice and a variety of burrito bowl toppings: salsa, black beans, pinto beans, guacamole and occasionally corn (as long as it does not tear up your gut). Our whole family of 4 eats this without complaints, which includes my 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter, who have their fair share of picky eating moments.
2.) Turkey Chili – there’s nothing that just screams fall comfort food quite like chili. I am so grateful for the numerous recipes I have gained thanks to Dr. Junger’s “Clean Gut” book! If you have not read it before, I would highly recommend it, as it was the first thing my husband tried that actually began making a difference in his daily wellness. Our favorite recipe, included in the book is the Turkey Chili, which we make year-round.
-2 tablespoons coconut oil
-1-pound ground turkey
-1 yellow or red onion, diced
-1 small winter squash, peeled and cubed (we usually get yellow squash instead because it is almost always available at the grocery store)
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 organic red bell pepper, diced
-2 zuchinni, diced
-2 tablespoons chili powder (more if you like a little kick)
-1.5 tablespoons ground cumin
-1 tablespoon paprika
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (we prefer organic Ceylon cinnamon – I would highly recommend you do some research on why this is recommended)
-1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (if you are in a pinch, baking powder will do)
-1 24-ounce glass jar of tomatoes (canned is fine too)
-Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
In a stockpot set over medium-high heat, warm the coconut oil.
Add the turkey and sauté it until browned. Then add the onion and squash, sautéing until the squash is soft, about 5-10 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
Add the garlic, red pepper and zucchini.
Sauté an additional 3 minutes.
Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and cacao powder, and continue cooking until the spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.
3.) Roasted veggies – believe it or not, it does a body good to take a break from meat every once in a while. This is one of those meals that I make on a weekly basis and although my son complains about the veggies, he still eats them all every time (consistency has been key). I will say, eating roasted vegetables is a completely different experience than eating microwaved, stove-top or steamed vegetables. Yes, I will admit that I have cooked my vegetables every way possible, but roasting is by far my favorite and most flavorful way to cook them; and we never have leftovers!
-Vegetable of choice (I typically do a bunch of broccoli, brussel sprouts or cauliflower)
-Himalayan pink salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
While oven is preheating, spray your baking pan, then wash and cut your vegetables (if you are making broccoli or cauliflower, do not be afraid of slicing the “tree trunk” portions and tossing them on your cooking pan).
Once your tray is covered in vegetables, take your olive oil and drizzle evenly. Be careful not to douse your vegetables in olive oil, or they will have a hard time crisping up. Sprinkle salt over vegetables, then toss with your hands to make sure everything is coated evenly.
Cook in oven for 30 minutes. Usually my vegetables begin to brown at this point, but if yours have not you can always let them go an additional 5-10 minutes as long as you watch them closely.
I typically serve roasted vegetables with a variety of sides. I typically make a side of stove top cooked chickpeas and diced organic Yukon gold potatoes (which I will throw in the oven, about 15 minutes before I put in the vegetables for roasting).
4.) Crockpot Chicken Rice Soup – This is one of my tried and true Pinterest recipes that I have been making for years upon years (read: before children)! This recipe was originally designed to be a chicken noodle soup, but noodles have to be gluten-free in our house and once we tried basmati rice, we haven’t turned back. Here is the original recipe found on jocooks.com. Here is our spin on it:
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 large onion, diced (or you could forgo dicing if you want to cut it after its softened)
-2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
-2 stalks of celery, chopped
-1.5 pounds boneless chicken breasts
-7 cups of chicken broth (the original recipe calls for Vegeta, but suggested chicken broth as a substitute – we have only tried it with chicken broth).
-1 cup of water
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon pepper
-2 bay leaves
-1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
-1 tablespoon of dried parsley (optional)
-1 cup of dry basmati rice cooked separately (we have tried cooking it in the soup, but have not mastered the art of getting it perfect every time)
Add the oil, onion, carrots, chicken, celery, salt, pepper, chicken broth, water, bay leaves, rosemary and parsley to crockpot.
Cook on low for 8 hours or 4 hours on high.
Within last hour of cooking, add in cooked rice.
Optional: we like to add 1.5 cups of frozen green peas to this recipe on occasion to change it up.
5.) Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls – our family just recently started enjoying this recipe over the past 6 months or so, but let me tell you… it’s so incredibly easy to put together quickly and the kids always gobble it up like there’s no tomorrow! Here is the original recipe from The Recipe Critic. Here is our spin on it:
-1 pound grass fed ground beef (or ground bison)
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1/4 cup packed brown sugar (I have used less than this amount and it still tastes delicious)
-2 teaspoons sesame oil
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (yes, there is some kick to this meal, so you can certainly use less heat if you prefer, however, my kids have handled this well every time)
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-1 cup of dry white basmati rice, cooked
-optional: 1.5 cups frozen green peas
In a large skillet cook the ground beef and garlic breaking it into crumbles over medium heat until no longer pink.
In a small bowl whisk brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, red pepper flakes and pepper. Pour over the ground beef and let simmer for another minute or two.
Optional: add in frozen green peas and stir until they are cooked completely, usually a few minutes
Serve over hot basmati rice
6.) Salmon Cakes – don’t get me wrong, but this was one menu item I never tried growing up, and I give all the credit to my husband for finding this recipe years ago and sharing it with me. You can find it here on allrecipes.com. Due to our food sensitivities, I have altered this recipe a bit to make it gluten-free friendly and with no eggs (tip: if you have digestion issues, avoiding eggs may benefit your gut). Although this recipe can be a labor of love, we typically will double it and freeze the extra salmon cakes for future meals.
-2 (14.75 ounce) cans of wild caught salmon, drained and flaked (it is our preference to take out the bones, but they are technically okay to eat)
-3/4 cups of gluten free bread crumbs OR oat flour (I have made it with oat flour the past few times and it has been a hit)
-3 tablespoons dried parsley
-2 flaxseed eggs (Quick Recipe: Mix 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with 4 tablespoons of water. Let sit and gel for 5-10 minutes)
-1.5 teaspoons dried minced onion
-2 teaspoons seafood seasoning
-1.5 teaspoons ground black pepper
-1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
-3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
-3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (we omit this on occasion due to dairy)
-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
-2 tablespoons organic mayonnaise
Preheat oven 400 degrees.
Mix salmon, bread crumbs (or oat flour), parsley, flaxseed eggs, minced onion, seafood seasoning, black pepper, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard and organic mayonnaise together in large bowl. Divide and shape into 24 patties (I like to divide into 8 sections like a pizza, then make 3 patties per section).
Cook 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
7.) Tuna Noodle Un-Casserole – have you ever read the ingredients to your tuna or hamburger helper boxes? Once I started paying attention to it, I knew there had to be an easier way to combat all the unnecessary ingredients. We found this recipe on godairyfree.org and have been loving it for the past 6 months. It is another meal that is quick to put together and the kids always eat it without complaint. Here is our version of it:
-2 tablespoons Kerry gold butter
-2 tablespoons einkorn flour (I have also used a combination of coconut flour, almond flour, oat flour and even arrowroot starch powder to create a good consistency)
-2 cups chicken broth
-2 (5 oz.) canned chunk light tuna (in water)
-1.5 cups frozen green peas
-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
-3 cups dry pasta, cooked (we like Aldi’s gluten-free fusilli)
Boil water for pasta (and toss in when it is ready to cook).
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
Add the flour, whisking until no lumps remain.
Add ¼ to ½ cup of the chicken broth and whisk until smooth.
Slowly whisk in the remaining chicken broth.
Add flaked tuna, and bring to a boil while continuing to whisk.
Once boiling, add the frozen peas, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the sauce reaches your desired thickness. (If you are using alternative flour, like we do, it may not thicken as quickly as you would expect; but once noodles are added it seems to soak in and thicken).
Whisk in the black pepper and stir in the cooked noodles until they are well-coated in the sauce.
I hope you are able to enjoy some of our favorite meals, that have been so good on our tummies and wallet.
Let us know your favorite recipes in the comments.