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Easy Creamy Bacon Chicken

When you remember to invite company for Easter dinner, but forget to buy ingredients to prepare the dinner with, you know you are just slightly busy, and that’s the pickle I found myself in this year.

creamy-bacon-chicken

The day before Easter was crazy, too, so after church I was scrambling to prepare food with the ingredients I had in my house.  Surprisingly, a new invention was created that wound up being a family favorite. It is simple, easy to prepare, and delicious. It has a nice visual appeal, as well, and my guests loved it. They even requested the recipe, so I guess “flying by the seat of my pants” isn’t always bad.  Remember that hospitality doesn’t mean you have to host in absolute perfection, and that new creations can be born out of chaos.

Easy Creamy Bacon Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • Chicken Tenders (amount may vary according to crowd size)
  • one medium size onion, diced
  • 2-3 fresh, minced garlic cloves
  • 2-6 cups cream cheese, depending on crowd size (I used six cups for fourteen people)
  • bacon, cooked and diced (I used a pound of Hempler's Organic Bacon for my large crowd)
  • salt to taste (I use Himalayan salt)
  • pepper to taste (I use fresh ground)
  • organic no salt seasoning to taste
  • 2-6 cups mozzarella cheese ( used six cups)

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, add coconut oil, and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent.
  2. Set veggies aside
  3. In a large casserole dish, add as many chicken tenders as you need.
  4. Season the tenders with salt on one side
  5. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour
  6. While the chicken is cooking, whip the cream cheese until it is soft and add in salt, pepper, no salt seasoning, veggies, and some of the mozzarella cheese.
  7. Add the cream cheese mixture to the chicken tenders and mix well.
  8. Top the chicken with a good layer of mozzarella cheese, the chopped cooked bacon, and place in oven until cheese is bubbly and brown.
http://heidistjohn.com/recipes/easy-creamy-bacon-chicken

 Serve hot and enjoy!

Simple Gluten-Free Chicken Salad

gluten-free-chicken-salad

I love healthy, tasty, satisfying, and simple meals that are appealing to the eye. Simple is the key word here, and one of our favorite meals is an easy, gluten free chicken salad. Actually, you don’t have to use chicken. You can leave it out for a vegan meal, or you can use tuna, salmon, or lunch meat as variations. Flexible recipes are my favorite!

Simple Gluten Free Chicken Salad

Simple Gluten Free Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • One Costco Asian Salad mix sans the dressing packet and seeds/wantons
  • Baked Chicken Tenders seasoned with (pink) salt, pepper, and garlic powder (as many tenders as you like in your salad)
  • One bunch (or more) Green onions, chopped
  • Fresh grated, parmesan, cheese
  • Dressing:
  • Pure virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Open salad bag and add to a large salad bowl
  2. Add grated parmesan cheese, onions, and chicken tenders and mix well.
  3. Serve on individual  plates, add vinegar and oil and enjoy!
http://heidistjohn.com/recipes/simple-gluten-free-chicken-salad

Cream Cheese Chicken Tenders And Green Bean Tomato Medley

Last night I needed a super simple, healthy, gluten free meal that was quick to prepare. We were just coming down from the high time demands after talent show week for our kids. Since I direct the choir, and work with small ensembles, this kept me running with extra practices, along with other extras thrown in each day of the week. Consequently, time for planning and preparing meals was pretty much non-existent. Time didn’t allow for a trip to the store, so I began searching our cupboards, freezer, and refrigerator, and gathered some ingredients that seemed like they would compliment each other. In other words, I totally winged it! This was a cooking experience on the fly, so when my family decided they love it and want me to make it again, it was a pleasant surprise. If you need a meal that meats this criteria, you just might like this one.

gf-chicken-green-bean

Cream Cheese Chicken Tenders

Ingredients

  • Chicken Tenders (as many as your family will eat)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • Salt (Pink Himalayan salt is the best)
  • Fresh, ground, pepper
  • garlic powder
  • Organic No Salt Seasoning (Costco)
  • Cream cheese to taste

Directions

  • In a large skillet, heat coconut oil, and add chicken tenders
  • Season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and no salt seasoning.
  • When the first side is browned, flip the tenders to brown the second side, and cover.
  • Cook until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.
  • Add cream cheese and stir well.

Serve and enjoy!

 

Green Bean Tomato Medley

Ingredients

  • Frozen or fresh green beans
  • One medium onion
  • One clove garlic, minced
  • Salt (pink)
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • One tablespoon coconut oil
  • Grape or Cherry tomatoes to taste

Directions

  • In a medium to large size skillet, heat coconut oil
  • Add chopped onion, garlic, and seasonings and sauté until translucent.
  • Add green beans, stir well, and cover.
  • Cook thoroughly for about fifteen minutes, stirring from time to time, until beans are tender, but not overly soft (for frozen beans. Less for fresh).
  • Add a handful or two of grape or cherry tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes to warm them.

Serve hot and enjoy a delicious, hot, healthy, gluten free meal with your family! <3

Gluten Free Protein Pancakes

gf-protein-pancakesBreakfast is my favorite meal, and I have always loved pancakes with whipping cream and berries. Over the past four years, we have significantly changed the way we eat. With food sensitivities in our family, and with my slow thyroid, we have to be careful to get the right foods into our diets, and avoid consuming too many carbs. When I found this recipe, I was so excited because it meant that I could enjoy a meal I had always loved, with just a little twist on the ingredients. I have added my own little flare to it because I just can’t resist playing around with recipes to make them a little more personally enjoyable. These pancakes fit the criteria for our family in every way. They are gluten free, they taste good, they are appealing to the eye, they are light like a crepe, they have an excellent protein to carb ratio,  and they are filling and satisfying.

Gluten Free Protein Pancakes

Gluten Free Protein Pancakes

Ingredients

  • Topping -
  • Mixed berries pre-heated on stove
  • Whipping cream sweetened with stevia
  • Pancakes -
  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 2 tsp. aluminum free baking powder
  • dash of vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of Himalayan Salt

Instructions

  1. To your blender, add the oats and blend into powder
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well.
  3. Spray a pre-heated griddle with coconut oil spray and add medium size circles of pancake batter. Usually six to eight pancakes will fit on a griddle. When batter bubbles, it's time to flip them. After cooking on second side, remove from griddle, top with berries and whipping cream and enjoy! Remember to spray the griddle with coconut oil spray in between batches.
http://heidistjohn.com/recipes/gluten-free-protein-pancakes

We serve with mixed berries lightly sweetened with stevia, and we flavor the whipping cream with a dash of vanilla and stevia.

Options – 

    • To keep the carbs low, limit the amount of whipping cream you top your berries and pancakes with
    • For our family of seven, I triple the batch, use half of it, and refrigerate the rest for a second meal later in the week.

A healthy lifestyle is an important aspect to taking care of your body. God has only given us one body to house us while we are on this earth, and it matters greatly, how we care for it.

Caring for your body and feeding it well doesn’t mean you can only eat things you don’t like because they are good for you. God created food and intended it to be pleasurable as well. He is the creator of the taste bud, after all!  Researching new, healthy, recipes is one of my favorite past times and I have discovered many delicious new ways of preparing foods that my family loves. We don’t feel deprived because of our “limitations” due to foods we can’t eat, rather we see it a fun challenge to implement new ways to enjoy the core nutrition our bodies need for health and vitality.

 

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”    I Corinthians 6:19-20

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”   I Corinthians 10:31

Simple, Satisfying Roast Beef Dinner

roast-beef

Roast is one of our favorite meals, and it’s one of the easiest meals to prepare.  I don’t know why I forget to make it. It’s delicious, satisfying, gluten free, and everyone in our family loves it!  With our busy schedules, I was looking for some easy recipes last week.  My goal is to simply life a little bit and cooking meals that fit the criteria for good nutrition was my project of the week.  I came across my favorite roast recipe and decided it was time to prepare it again.  Oh the aroma that filled our home as we came through the door with hungry tummies after a long and busy day!  I prepared sweet potatoes, asparagus, and green beans, pan fried in coconut oil to go with that succulent, tender, roast. Please excuse me while I wipe up the drool that just landed on my key board, and write roast on my grocery list…..again.

Ridiculously Easy Roast

Ridiculously Easy Roast

Ingredients

  • One roast of your choosing
  • mushrooms (as many as you like)
  • one large onion
  • Fresh, minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • one tablespoon coconut oil
  • Himalayan or sea salt to taste
  • Two bay leaves

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat coconut oil, and add onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Sautee until onion is translucent, and mushrooms are browned and tender. Remove veggies and set aside.
  2. Add roast to the skillet and brown on all sides. Rub salt on each side of the roast, then add to the crockpot. Place veggies on top of roast and top with two bay leaves. Cook on high for seven hours (or according to your own crock pot's heat. Mine is very slow, so high works best). Remove bay leaf and serve!
http://heidistjohn.com/recipes/simple-satisfying-roast-beef-dinner

 

Easy Mexican Chicken Wraps

If you are looking for a nutritious, delicious, simple, and quick recipe to feed a crowd, you’ve come to the right place!

Lately I feel like I see myself flying by and I stand there wondering about that flash that whizzed past. Between keeping up with the schedules of five active children, school, volunteer time outside the home, seeing my nine grandblessings and their parents as often as possible, church activities, grocery shopping, a small photography obsession, the upkeep of a home, and the myriad of other responsibilities, I seriously began to question whether or not I could remember how to cook. We are much more on the go than we have ever been before, which translates to very little time left to plan and prepare healthy, satisfying, meals. They say that necessity is the mother of invention. I am finding that to be true. In this season of life with grown kids, nine grandblessings, and five kids that range in age from nine to sixteen in the house, there are days I feel stretched too thin to be of much use to anyone.  Leaning on the Lord for extra strength and wisdom is not an option. It’s mandatory. In my weakness, He is proving to be strong. He is giving me wisdom far beyond my own, creativity I didn’t even know existed within my soul, and strength to not just make it through each day, but to embrace and enjoy the moments in spite of physical exhaustion.

In one of those recent moments when my physical tank was on empty, God met me right there with fuel to fill it up and get me going again. Clarity of thought broke through the shadows in my foggy brain and out came this amazing meal that my family fell in love with. God is so good, so faithful, and so very real. He takes my breath away with His incredible way of meeting me right where I am and I can’t resist sharing this delicious, simple, meal with you. Veggies and meat all in one dish? I’ll take it!

The kids are begging me to make it regularly. Once again….it’s a win for Mom!

mexican-chicken-wraps-recipe

The beauty of this recipe is the ability to create a small, medium, or large batch with ease, hence the vague measurements. You can be creative with the flavors to fit your own taste. This can also be baked in an oven, or you can make a crock pot meal out of it.

Easy Mexican Chicken Wraps

Easy Mexican Chicken Wraps

Ingredients

  • chicken tenders (you choose the amount for your crowd)
  • red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, diced
  • one medium yellow or white onion, diced or julienned
  • shredded green cabbage
  • guacamole
  • shredded pepper jack cheese
  • Mexican seasoning:
  • cumin (to taste)
  • chili powder (to taste)
  • 1-2 limes
  • green onions (chopped)
  • 1-2 tsps. Himalayan salt
  • salsa to taste
  • 2-4 cloves of fresh, minced, garlic

Instructions

  1. Mix cumin, chili powder, lime juice, salt, half the garlic and salsa together in a small bowl
  2. Add chicken tenders to a casserole dish (I used an 11x14 for my crowd)
  3. Lightly salt each chicken tender, than pour seasoning over the batch and bake in a 350 degree oven until chicken is cooked through (45 minutes-1 hour).
  4. About fifteen minute through the baking time, begin preparing the onion and cabbage by adding 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil to the skillet, and sautéing the onion and cabbage with fresh garlic.
  5. Once the chicken is fully cooked, you can add it to warmed tortillas and top it with guacamole, grated cheese, the sautéed onion and cabbage, fresh, chopped tomatoes, or a combination of topping choices you enjoy most. OR you can serve it sans the tortilla, with brown rice and all the toppings.
  6. We used gluten free corn tortillas fried in coconut oil, for ours, but if going gluten free is not a necessity for your crowd, warmed flour tortillas are yummy and easy to warm in the oven.
  7. The veggies for this can be chopped up ahead of time, for an even quicker preparation process on a busy day.
http://heidistjohn.com/recipes/easy-mexican-chicken-wraps
 

Enjoy!

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.”

 

Gluten Free Cheeseburger Macaroni

gluten-free-cheeseburger-macaroni-thebusymom

My youngest son turned nine the other day.  I wanted to make something fun, easy, and special for his birthday lunch.

Since I was out of ideas for something a little unique, I decided to cruise the grocery isles in hopes that something unconventional would jump out at me.

Do you ever struggle to come up with variety in your meals? Sometimes it’s really  refreshing to make something fun, a little childish in taste, and different from the normal menu.  When creating a fun meal for kids, think simple.  It can still be healthy, but their tastes are generally uncomplicated. Our family eats gluten free so I strolled through the gluten free section first, and selected some quinoa elbow macaroni. Pasta is a specialty item at our house, so I knew Levi would love that for lunch.

I bought two boxes of pasta, which doesn’t go very far when there are seven mouths to feed. Adding meat helps stretch pasta, so I settled on Cheeseburger Macaroni and seasoned, grilled, green beans.

This is a fantastic meal for kids and adults can handle it once in a while. It does have more fat than most of our meals, but since it includes healthy fats, we enjoy it guilt free periodically.

Surprisingly, this recipe actually tastes very similar to hamburger stroganoff. I thought it would have a cheesier flavor, but although it was cheesy (and I do love cheese) I was pleasantly surprised! I didn’t follow a recipe, but rather made it up as I went along. Score for mom on this one. The kids are begging to have it again!  It’s very easy to make and not time consuming.

Gluten Free Cheeseburger Macaroni

Gluten Free Cheeseburger Macaroni

Ingredients

  • Two boxes of (gluten free) elbow macaroni (we used quinoa)
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 3 cups grated medium cheddar cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 cup (more or less) (almond) milk
  • Shredded parmesan to taste
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • Fresh, ground, black pepper to taste
  • One medium onion, diced
  • two tablespoons coconut oil
  • two pounds ground (organic) beef

Instructions

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions, rinse and drain
  2. Heat coconut oil in large skillet, add diced onion and sauté until translucent
  3. Add ground beef, Himalayan (pink) salt, ground pepper, and fresh minced, garlic to skillet
  4. Cook meat mixture until meat is no longer pink, but light brown in color.
  5. while meat is browning, add cream and cheddar cheeses to a mixing bowl along with almond milk, salt, and pepper. Blend mixture well with electric mixer
  6. Once meat is brown, drain the fat off and everything together in a large sauce pan. Check flavor of seasonings. Add more if you wish.
  7. Add fresh grated parmesan cheese and mix again.
  8. Add to plates along with your veggies, and top pasta with more fresh grated parmesan
http://heidistjohn.com/recipes/gluten-free-cheeseburger-macaroni

Enjoy!