Category: Food

Super Simple Strawberry Chicken Salad

Want to get healthier this summer? Try this Super Simple Strawberry Chicken Salad and have dinner ready in 20 minutes!I remember the first time I tried a Strawberry Chicken Salad. I was at a Red Robin Restaurant of all places.

Since then, variations of the Strawberry Chicken salad have popped up at many restaurants and all over Pinterest. I picked and choose what I really liked (and did not) and came up with a simple recipe that I can put together in 20 minutes or so, is super healthy, and the total ingredients are reasonably priced.

Now, I do things a little differently here at ASimpleLifeToo. I like things short, sweet and simple… so I am going to get right into the recipe!

Strawberry Chicken Salad Ingredients:

1 lb of chicken

4 – 6 cups of baby spinach

2 small avocados

21/2 cups of strawberries

1 cup frozen corn off of the cob

1 cup of your favorite nuts

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

pinch of salt and pepper

Strawberry Chicken Salad Instructions:

Step 1 – Chop up chicken and saute for about 10 minutes (with a sprinkle of salt and pepper). Place on a platter.

Step 2 – Chop up the strawberries and the avocados and place on the platter with the chicken.

Step 3 – Thaw corn or cook for a minute and place on platter.

Step 4 – Place 1 cup of nuts on the platter or you can saute them for a couple of minutes in oil or butter.

Step 5 – Blend 1/2 cup of the strawberries with the oil, vinegar, and pinch of salt and pepper.

See how easy that is. And it tastes wonderful!

My goal this Spring and Summer is to help my family get healthier and loose some weight. I plan on making salads a minimum of 5 times per week.

Here are a couple of hot cookbooks that focus on making healthy and flavorful salads:

 

Super Simple Strawberry Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of chicken
  • 4 - 6 cups of baby spinach
  • 2 small avocados
  • 21/2 cups of strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen corn off of the cob
  • 1 cup of your favorite nuts
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop up chicken and saute for about 10 minutes (with a sprinkle of salt and pepper). Place on a platter.
  2. Chop up the strawberries and the avocados and place on the platter with the chicken.
  3. Thaw corn or cook for a minute and place on platter.
  4. Place 1 cup of nuts on the platter or you can saute them for a couple of minutes in oil or butter.
  5. Blend 1/2 cup of the strawberries with the oil, vinegar, and pinch of salt and pepper.
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Teach Your Children To Cook: Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies

Teach Children To Cook Pumpkin CookiesThere are SO MANY amazing recipes available on the web today, but how many help and encourage you to make meals and memories with your children?

I mean, what are the holidays for? Are they not to make spend time with your family? To create Traditions? To pass down your favorite crafts, recipes, techniques, stories and more to your children?

This year we decided to try a few traditional holiday recipes from Better Homes and Gardens, modify them to suit our family, and teach the girls how to make them.

This recipe from BHG, the Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies, was so easy for the girls to make. Your children will enjoy making and eating them!

We added cream cheese frosting, halved the recipe, increased the pumpkin, and used whole wheat flour (but you don’t have to). The BHG site includes a video if you want some extra help.

Teach Children To Cook Pumpkin Cookies

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Equipment Used

I teach the children to gather all of the needed equipment at the beginning of making a recipe. For this cookie recipe, we used:

Ingredients

I like to make recipes flexible. I comment here and there with a few modifications and suggestions.

Cookies: 

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, soften butter (in the microwave for 30 seconds for ease, or have left the butter out overnight).
  3. Add organic cane sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. We also added 1/2 tsp of cardamom for a unique taste, but you can leave it out if you don’t have that on hand.
  4. Stir until combined, scraping bowl occasionally.
  5. Add egg and vanilla; stir until combined.
  6. Stir in pumpkin.
  7. Stir in flour.
  8. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons, 2 inches apart on lined cookie sheets.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
  10. For the frosting, soften butter and the cream cheese (again, in the microwave for 30 seconds or have the butter left out overnight. Cream cheese is usually soft enough to mix w/o softening).
  11. Stir in vanilla and pumpkin.
  12. Stir in powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time. Keep adding sugar until the frosting is thick, not runny.
  13. Wait until cookies are cooled before frosting. Use about one heaping teaspoon of frosting per cookie.

I would love to hear about your favorite cookie recipes to make with your children!

Want to start with the basics and teach your children to cook? Check out: Teach Your Children To Cook – The Simple, Healthy, Cheap Way: For Ages 7+ With Parent Supervision and follow the 16 incremental lessons to give your children a good cooking foundation and give them a beginning repertoire of recipes that they can use to contribute to the family meals.

Better Homes and Gardens is one of my favorite magazines. Click here to subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens.

 

How To Eat For $4 Per Day

How To Eat For $4 Per Day

Raise your hand if you are on a tight food budget?

Yea, that is a LOT of hands.

Keep your hands raised if you are on Foodstamps?

Yea, still a lot of hands.

Have you tried to eat healthy on a tight budget and find yourself continually going back to cheap carbs / fillers?

I sure do and I am so frustrated with myself.

Then a friend posts a link and voila, this great, FREE, cookbook emerges!




About The Free Cook Book

It is called “Good and Cheap: Eat Well On $4 Per Day,” By Leanne Brown. And best of all, it is free! Click here for the link: Good and Cheap Free Cookbook.

Leann moved to America from Canada to study nutrition. She was shocked at how many people were on Food Stamps and how few resources there were available to teach folks to eat healthy and well within a Food Stamp budget. So she decided to create a great cookbook full of healthy recipes, nutritious food, meals that aren’t too complicated to make, and most of all, stick to the $4 per day budget.

Leann’s philosophy: “The best health advice is simple: eat fruits and vegetables. Many American cookbooks rely on meat as the central feature of a meal. My recipes celebrate the vegetables rather than the meat. My intent was to create satisfying food that doesn’t require you to supplement your meals with cheap carbohydrates to stave off hunger. I strove to create recipes that use money carefully, without being purely slavish to the bottom line. For example, many recipes use butter rather than oil. Butter is not cheap, but it creates flavor, crunch, and richness in a way that cheap oils never can. ”

She really created this out of a desire to help.

Follow Up

I will be testing out these recipes over the next few months and I hope to share some of my successes and failures on my blog. I also will be revamping my current recipe series, Simple, Healthy, Cheap, to have better photos, include more recipes using Leann’s philosophy and budget, and to include more variety.

 

Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Recipe: Bean Burritos

Another recipe from "How To Feed Your Family For $60 A Week: Spanish Week"
Another recipe from “How To Feed Your Family For $60 A Week: Spanish Week”

There aren’t many meals that I can think of that are as inexpensive as bean burritos, especially if you are making your own tortillas (although I confess that I am not). If you add some lettuce and tomato, or other veggies, they are a super healthy meal, also. The addition of cheese does increase the cost a bit, but I have a hard time enjoying them without the cheese. So without further commentary, here is the super simple recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 Tortillas
  • 4 cups beans (cooked) – black, pinta or combine them
  • Salt, pepper, chili powder
  • Shredded cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Tomatoes and/or Salsa

Instructions

  1. If using dried beans, cook according to package directions.
  2. Take the beans and add salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Assemble burritos – 1 tortilla + 1/4 to 1/2 cup beans + a pinch or two of cheese + a pinch or two of lettuce + tomatoes and/or salsa.

Yes, they are really that quick and simple. We have a couple of children that like them with ketchup! These are the kinds of meals that we have in our monthly meal rotation. You could also add re-fried beans and/or Spanish rice as either a side dish or add them directly into the burrito.

Search Coupons.com for coupons for any of the ingredients of this recipe or any other recipe you are making today.

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Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Recipe: Breakfast Burritos

Another recipe in the "Feed A Family For Less Than $60" Spanish Week Series"
Another recipe in the “Feed A Family For Less Than $60″ Spanish Week Series”


First of all, they might be called Breakfast Burritos, but they can be eaten any time of day. We usually have them for lunch. In fact, we have these for lunch on average of once per week – they are inexpensive, filing, relatively healthy, and a family favorite. So here is our family’s recipe for Breakfast Burritos.

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 Tortillas
  • 6 cups Hash-browns
  • 10 to 12 pieces Turkey bacon or Turkey sausage
  • 6 to 8 Eggs
  • Condiments: Salsa, ketchup

Instructions

  1. Add oil to medium heat and cook hash-browns until cooked / browned.
  2. In another pan, start cooking the turkey bacon or sausage until cooked through.
  3. When hash-frowns or bacon/sausage is done, remove from pan and cook eggs (scrambled).
  4. Heat tortillas if you would like.
  5. Make the burritos by putting 1 – 2 pieces of bacon or sausage, a couple of tablespoons of hash-browns, a couple of tablespoons of eggs into a tortilla and add condiments.

Seriously, this recipe is that easy! Some variations include adding fresh tomatoes or avocados, adding southwestern seasoning, adding cheese or using diced potatoes instead of hash-browns.

What is your favorite, comforting, easy to make recipe?

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Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Recipe: Haystacks

Haystacks Recipe
One of the free recipes in the “Feed A Family For Less Than $60 A Week: Spanish Week” Menu


I originally learned this recipe from a frugal family of 12. They especially like to serve this to guests, as it is easy to make, allows people put their own combinations together to suite their own tastes, and is inexpensive.

Ingredients

  • Tortilla Chips (2 bags)
  • 2 tbl oil
  • 1 onion (optional)
  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 8 to 10 cups cooked beans (black, pinta or 1/2 and 1/2)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chili powder
  • cheese
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • salsa
  • ranch dressing

Instructions

  1. If you went for the optional onion, dice it, then heat oil on medium and saute the onion for a few minutes.
  2. Add the 1 lb ground meat and brown it over medium heat.
  3. Add the 8 to 10 cups cooked beans and stir. Add salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste.
  4. Cook until meat is cooked and beans are hot.
  5. Shred lettuce, dice tomatoes, shred cheese, set out salsa, ranch dressing, and tortillas.
  6. Serve by setting a base of tortillas on a plate. Add a scoop or two of the meat and bean mixture. Top as wanted with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, ranch, etc…
  7. Should make 3 meals for a family of 5. Stretch to 4 meals by serving Spanish rice and/or re-fried beans as side dishes.

Let me know your favorite Simple, Healthy, Cheap Mexican recipe.

Search coupons to see if you can save on the ingredients of this recipe or any recipe you are making tonight!


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Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Feed A Family For Less Than $60 A Week: Spanish Week

Feed_A_Family_Spanish_Week

I love Ethnic foods. I love themes. And I love to save money. So what better way to put it all together, than a themed, ethic meal plan with the goal of the total groceries costing less than $60 for the week!

What follows is the menu, the shopping list, the estimated cost of the shopping list, and links to recipes, including a few of my own.

Spanish Week Menu

The numbers at the end are the amount of times you should be able to serve the meal during the week if you are a family of 5. The links will take you to recipes – some of mine here on my blog and some found on great food sites.

Shopping List

  • Tortillas – prefer whole wheat for health. Purchase in bulk – 90 tortillas – $15.00 – or make your own for less and use the budget for fruit or veggies.
  • Tortilla chips – 2 large bags – $6.00
  • 2 lbs cheese (shredded or shared it yourself) – $7.00
  • 1 lb ground meat (beef or turkey) – $3.50
  • 2 lb pinta (pinto) beans – $2.00
  • 2 lb black beans – $2.00
  • Veggies – canned or fresh like spinach, bell peppers, corn – $3.00
  • Lettuce head – $1.50
  • Tomatoes – $3.00
  • Salsa – $3.00
  • 1 Can Tomato Paste – $0.50
  • Chili Powder – $2.00
  • Hash browns (shredded potatoes) – 5 lb bag of potatoes – $3.00
  • Eggs – 3 dozen – $4.50
  • 1 lb Turkey Sausage – $3.00

Pantry List

Items that are in most people’s pantries (stuff to purchase in bulk a couple times per year):

  • Rice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Chicken stock
  • Oil
  • Oatmeal

Search Coupons.com to see if there are any coupons available for the ingredients to cut the costs even further!


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By the way, have you seen my Asian Week Menu? If not, check it out now! And be sure to subscribe to my blog, as I will be releasing my Mediterranean themed menu in a few weeks!

What other ethnic foods / themes would you be interested in?

Teaching Your Children To Cook: How To Get Kids To Eat Their Veggies – Raw Veggie Pizza Recipe

Raw Veggie Pizza Recipe
Is it hard for you to get your children to eat their veggies?

Is there a bigger dilemma with kids and eating than how to get them to actually eat enough veggies in a day or at least in a week?

Our family’s philosophy of eating is: Healthy, Simple and Cheap! I have stumbled upon a family favorite recipe that falls under this philosophy, and for at least one day will fulfill you and your children’s daily veggie requirement. The secret is that the children make these themselves, which seems to lend itself to an eagerness to eat it.

Raw Veggie Pizza Recipe

Ingredients: 

– Hummus (pre-made or make your own)

– Whole wheat flat bread or pita bread (again, pre-made or make your own)

– A selection of favorite raw veggies (organic if you can)

Bags of Raw Veggies
Lots of veggies to choose from!

Steps:

  1. Have children spread two tablespoons of hummus over their piece of flat bread, going out almost to the edge. This is the “sauce” on your “pizza crust.” Demonstrate to the with your pizza as needed.
  2. Let the children select their favorite veggies (but more than one kind) and decorate the pizza as they like.
  3. Eat. Parent can cut the pizza in fourths if needed.

It is that simple and now you have happy children happily eating their creation!

Want to learn more about cooking healthy with your children? Check out my ebook: Teach Your Children To Cook – The Simple, Healthy, Cheap Way: For Ages 7+ With Parent Supervision

Disclosure: some links in this post are affiliate links.

May Meal Planning Challenge! Send Me Your Menus

Send me your menu!
Could you use some free help with your menu / meal planning.

Meal Planning! Love it, hate it, run from it, eventually you will have to deal with it, especially when one of your little ones come up to you and ask: Mom, what’s for lunch? or your husband asks: hun, what’s for dinner?

I used to avoid meal planning, but after a couple of years of winging it with 2 (and now 3) children, I decided I had to start learning and trying. Fast forward a few years, and I now have a pretty easy time putting together a menu.

One thing that helped me was to develop a philosophy of eating: Simple, Healthy, Cheap. This guides me as I pick recipes and plan for each week. Also, we have occasional themed weeks, in which I stick to a budget, like $50 or $60. I have written about a couple of these menus and plan to write a couple more:

Feed A Family Of 5 For $50: Caribbean Week – guest post on MeetPenny.com

Feed A Family For Less Than $60 A Week: Asian Week

How To Feed A Family Of 5 For One Week With $25

The Challenge

My challenge this month is for you to send me a weekly meal plan / weekly menu. I will then select a few menus per week to post on my blog and I will make suggestions on how to:

  1. Make some changes to save money
  2. Make some changes to improve the healthiness of the menu
  3. Make some changes to simplify the menu

Send me your menus / plans through FB or contact me with the form below and I will write you back with my email address (please no spam). Follow my blog so that you can see each weeks menus and suggestions. I even plan on learning a thing or two!

Please enter your contact details and a short message below and I will try to answer your query as soon as possible.

Teach Your Children To Cook: Fish Tacos & A Gorton’s Fish Giveaway

Teach Your Children To Cook Fish Tacos + Enter A Gorton's Fish Giveaway.
Teach Your Children To Cook Fish Tacos + Enter A Gorton’s Fish Giveaway.

Getting your children too cook can be as simple as 1) selecting a meal that they like 2) selecting a meal that is simple to make. When we got a some free fish coupons from Gorton’s Smart & Crunchy, along with some aprons and a fish stick stuffy, we knew that Fish Tacos was the meal to make! Read on to see how we made the tacos and then how you can get some free stuff from ASimpleLifeToo.com and Gorton’s Seafood.

First, here are some other recipes, available from Gorton’s, using their fish sticks. Most of these recipes have short prep times and would be good candidates to get in the kitchen and cook with your children!

Let’s Make Tacos: 

I set up my oldest, S – 8, and my middle, T – 6, with the two aprons and then asked them to gather the ingredients.

Sarah and Talitha in their new Gorton's apron with the ingredients for fish tacos.
S and T in their new Gorton’s apron with the ingredients for fish tacos.

1 bag of 24 pieces of smart and crunchy fish sticks

1 container of mixed lettuce

1 tomato

1 pack of lard free tortillas

condiments such as ketchup and ranch dressing

Then I instructed each of them as follows:

1) S has been trained to cut with a knife, so I set her to cut the tomato and place the tomato bits and the lettuce on a tray.

2) T got out a baking sheet and set out all of the sticks in nice, neat rows.

Talitha's nice, neat rows of fish sticks.
T’s nice, neat rows of fish sticks.

3) Mom turned on the oven per the instructions on the bag of fish sticks, put them in the oven, and set the timer.

4) We let the sticks cool a bit, then we wrapped them up two at a time in a tortilla with the tomatoes, lettuce, and favorite condiment. I prefer ranch dressing, but the girls like ketchup!

Talitha putting together her first taco.
T putting together her first taco.

Yes, this is what I call a simple, healthy, cheap meal. If you would like to learn more about cooking with your children, the Simple, Healthy, Cheap Way, check out my eBook. 

If you would like more information about Gorton’s new Smart & Crunchy fish sticks, check out their product info. These fit in with our eat healthy philosophy because they have 50% less fat than their other fish sticks and are made with 100% wild caught Alaska Pollock. We all enjoyed the meal and were were happy to repeat it the next night.

Now Onto Some Free Goodies:

1) Get a coupon from Gorton’s for $1.00 off of a bag of Smart and Crunchy fish sticks.

2) Enter their sweepstakes to win a trip to one of 4 locations, including Orlando, FL. Hmm, I think this belongs on my list of Disney Sweepstakes!

3) Enter my giveaway for a prize package from Gorton’s for: two free bags of fish sticks, a set of Mommy and Me aprons (or Daddy and me), and 1 Smarty Crunchman Plush Stuffy! No obligation here – just leave your name in the comments below that you would like to be entered into the drawing. However, if you feel like it, please share this giveaway and post with others and/or share the Gorton’s coupons and sweepstakes from their site. The giveaway ends April 9th and I will do the drawing by April 11th.

Chloe - 4, helped by setting the table and showing off Smarty Crunchman Plush Stuffy.
C – 4, helped by setting the table and showing off Smarty Crunchman Plush Stuffy.