Wanting to get your family on board eating healthier…..but don’t know where to start? Let me help a sister out. If you’ve read my tips on this topic already here, let’s get to some actionable things next: what to cook when you’re navigating this process.
Here are 5 super simple, easy, and REAL FOOD recipes (most of them 5 ingredients or less), that everyone will love. These are the ones I always come back to, when I want food that makes me feel good, but I’m not sure how healthy people like to eat (or not).
So for things like having friends over, delivering a new baby meal, or cooking for people whatever the situation, here are 5 sure to be classic hits.
You can tell them after the finish their plate that it’s actually healthy for them. Or, keep it your little secret. 🙂
1. The (Legendary) Pesto Kale Salad
Makes 4 servings
1½ heads leafy green kale (not Italian/Lacinato/Dinosaur kale)
¾ cup raw cashews
1½ ounces fresh basil leaves, stems removed
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 lemon, juiced
drizzle of olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients except kale in a blender with a small bit of water. Wash kale well and discard the stems. Tear kale into bite-sized pieces, and place in a large bowl. Dry leaves with a paper towel or clean dish towel.
Drizzle with some olive oil and rub it into the leaves with your hands. Add the pesto and continue to do the same, trying to coat as many crevices in the kale as you can. Best when served cold.
Keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days, and tastes best after marinating for a day to soften the leaves.
2. The Poblano Quinoa Chicken Chili
Makes 6 servings
1 poblano pepper, chopped (dark green exterior, not spicy in flavor, just smoky)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 zucchinis, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cups shredded chicken or organic chicken sausage, sliced (I used Applegate Farms Italian sausage)
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 can white canellini beans or navy beans
1 can black beans
2 cups organic chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 large can fire roasted crushed tomatoes (Muir Glen brand is my favorite)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 tsp fire roasted chili powder (or regular chili powder)
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1. In a soup pot, add a bit of olive oil and turn to medium heat. Add your chicken (or turkey, pork or beef) sausage pieces, cover and cook until they brown on all sides. If you’re using pre-cooked shredded chicken, add it in with your zucchini and beans later in the game. No pun intended. Ha.
2. Start chopping your carrots, celery, zucchini, red pepper, and poblano pepper.
3. Remove the sausages from the pan. Add your chopped celery and carrots into the pot and let cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add peppers, zucchini and beans and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
4. Add stock, water, tomatoes, spices, and sausage to the pot. Stir to combine. Add the quinoa. Cover and let boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer for 15-20 min (or until the quinoa is cooked through and the soup has thickened). Add more seasonings if desired.
3. Mint Chocolate Green Smoothie (from the second cookbook!)
Makes 1 serving
2 cups spinach or kale leaves
15 mint leaves
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs or 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/2 zucchini, roughly chopped
2 dates, pitted
1 scoop natural protein powder (optional)
1 cup ice
Place all ingredients for selected smoothie, except ice, in a blender, and blend until well combined. Add ice and continue to blend until smooth. Serve cold. Top coffee smoothie with extra cinnamon or cocoa powder to serve, if desired.
4. The Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cookies
Makes 12 medium or 24 mini cookies
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut flour (or more almond meal, though you’ll get a slightly softer texture)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 handful chocolate chips
1 handful cocoa nibs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients together and scoop into rounded cookies of your size preference.
Bake for 7-11 minutes depending on the size. Sprinkle with sea salt when done.
5. Veggie & Turkey Sausage Polenta Bowls (from the second cookbook!)
Makes 4 servings
1 1/2 lb organic ground turkey sausage
6 carrots, quartered and chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 zucchinis, quartered and chopped
1 head kale, torn or chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons pepper to taste
Herby Parmesan Polenta (recipe follows)
In a large stock pot over medium high heat, cook the sausage first, browning on all sides. Add carrots next and let cook for 5-7 minutes before adding bell pepper and zucchini. Season with sea salt and pepper. Add the kale during the last 2-3 minutes and cook until wilted.
Meanwhile, make the Herby Parmesan Polenta. When the polenta is ready, scoop into bowls to serve hot, topping with the sausage and veggie mixture. Garnish with extra parmesan cheese, if desired.
Herby Parmesan Polenta
4½ cups broth or water (or a combination)
1 cup loose polenta (corn grits)
1 tablespoon herbs de provence or Italian herb blend
2 large pats butter or ghee
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup parmesan cheese (optional)
Bring water or broth to a boil in a saucepan with a lid. Add polenta, herbs de provence and sea salt and cook for approximately 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
Add the butter and parmesan cheese if using, to melt. Garnish with extra parmesan cheese, if desired.
And if you need a little more inspiration , grab these free 23 meal ideas you can make with mostly pantry staples. And don’t forget, the brand new 5 day self-care challenge starts on Monday, May 4th! It’s free, and so fun for a little extra motivation these days.