Tag Archives: healthy dinner

Baked Falafel

Recently, I’ve been trying to work two vegan or vegetarian meals into our week; I always feel kind of bloated and gross when I consume too much meat, and it saves money to not buy so much meat! Win win! The only problem is that I sometimes struggle with creativity to come up with vegan meals – we’ve done plenty of roasted veggies with rice, veggie fajitas/tacos, and beans and rice – and I was wanting to spice it up. Then I remembered many years ago making a baked falafel recipe, and decided to try my own!

Falafel is a Middle Eastern street food – a patty of sorts – made from ground chick peas, herbs, and spices. I looked up recipes for inspiration, and saw that most of them used dried chick peas that they then soaked. Well I don’t have the time for that, nor do I have a health food store close by to try and find any. So I went the canned chick pea route…and totally failed. The first time I made this recipe, my falafel was mush. I then attempted to fry these little bean balls, hoping to bring a some crispy life to them, but they completely disintegrated in the oil. Total disaster! But I wasn’t going to give up!

A big part of why I started this blog was to show that healthy food and convenience can be synonymous. So while baking falafel and using canned chick peas may not be traditional, it’s a heck of a lot simpler than running around town hunting down dried chick peas, letting them soak for hours, then making a mess with hot oil in your kitchen by frying them. In fact, it’s as simple as combining ingredients in a blender or food processor and lopping blobs onto a baking sheet. Sounds sexy, huh? ūüėČ Convenient, tasty, healthy, and even loved by my toddler! It took her a few tries, but now she loves eating “waffles”. If you need a break from meat, I hope you give this Baked Falafel a try!

Baked Falafel

Serves 6-8, depending on patty size.  

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 of a yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • 1/3 cup of parsley
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Juice of one large lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp¬†oat flour
  • 1/2 tbsp¬†coconut flour

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor
  • Pulse until semi-smooth
  • Spoon large patties of the mixture onto a prepared baking sheet (greased, parchment paper, or a¬†silicone liner)
  • Bake for about 25 minutes
  • Flip each patty, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until both sides are brown
  • Serve warm

For more vegetarian meals, check out my¬†Slow Cooker Potato and Kale Soup¬†or¬†Creamy Tomato Basil Soup¬†to lighten up your weeknight meals, and for another chick pea recipe, check out my¬†Classic Garlic Hummus. My cooking philosophy after becoming a mother is to KISS (keep it simple, silly!) and keep it healthy. If you’re looking for healthy yet simple recipes that fit into your busy lifestyle, whether that be slow cooker recipes, one pan recipes, easy baked goods, or quick meal prep ideas; I’ve got you covered! KISS…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Veggies

Who doesn’t love a slow cooker meal? Minimal prep, and you come home at the end of the day, the house smells delicious, and dinner is waiting for you – pretty perfect! On one particularly Crazy day, I knew I would need to have a slow cooker meal waiting for us when we got home, and my mind instantly went to pot roast. However, upon perusing the meat section at the store, I realized that beef roast wasn’t in the budget for the week, but saw that pork roast was much more affordable!

My southern mother-in-law has often cooked pork roasts for Sunday dinners, and they are always delicious. So with that southern taste as inspiration, I made my first pork roast, and oh my word! It was delicious! It was so tender that it was literally falling apart, the fatty richness gave it a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs flavor, which was perfect paired with the lighter vegetables; we all cleaned our plates! In fact, after dinner was over, I was cleaning up, turned my back on the table, and next thing I knew, Zemirah had climbed up on a chair, eaten the remaining carrots, and another serving of pork. I urge you to try this simple slow cooker meal – fancy enough for Sunday dinners (Easter dinner maybe? ūüėČ ), yet simple enough for a weeknight. It’s so good, you’ll have to keep the leftovers hidden from your kids!

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Veggies

Serves about 8.

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 lb boneless pork roast
  • 8 oz of baby carrots
  • 8 oz of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 russet potatoes, chopped into one inch pieces
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1.5 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 1 tsp of dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp of¬†ground mustard
  • 1 tbsp of¬†apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of¬†chicken stock/bone broth¬†(homemade version¬†here)

Directions:

  • Place your prepared veggies in the bottom of your slow cooker (I have¬†this¬†one which is perfect for our little family)
  • Place roast atop the veggies
  • Season everything, kind of rubbing the seasonings into the roast (don’t worry about getting it too even, the flavors all meld together eventually)
  • Add apple cider vinegar and broth on top of everything
  • Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4-5
  • Shred pork and serve, top with juices if desired
  • Keep leftovers covered in fridge for up to a week

Slow cooker meals are a great way to ensure your family gets a hearty, healthy, and nutritious dinner in even on your long, Crazy days. For more slow cooker meals, check out my¬†Slow Cooker Potato and Kale Soup,¬†Slow Cooker Meatballs, or¬†Spicy Garlic Chicken Nachos. In the same vein, if you have a little more time available for prep, one pan meals are a great way to get a well rounded meal on the table with minimal time or mess. For some easy yet tasty one pan meals, check out my¬†Roasted Chicken with Carrots,¬†Sheet Pan Salmon, or¬†One Pan Chicken and Shrimp Fajitas. I hope you can find some meals that will easily fit into your schedule and make you feel good about feeding your family a healthy meal! Happy Easter, celebrate with family and friends…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you; just a small commission for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Spicy Garlic Chicken Nachos

nachos3

My husband and I used to eat out fairly often, and it made me so sick. (You can read more about my journey with IBS and food here) I would have unexplained (well, what I thought was unexplained) vomiting and diarrhea about two or three times a month, yet kept going back to the convenience of fast food and staying sick. Now that I avoid processed foods and eat cleaner, I hardly ever have any IBS symptoms! Feeling (and staying!) healthy and having plentiful energy is well worth the time I spend in the kitchen!

But let’s be honest…sometimes you just need a junk food fix. When we used to eat out, we would often go get chicken wings, and my favorite flavor was Spicy Garlic. Yum! One of my favorite things to do is re-make junk food classics into a healthier version – eating healthy doesn’t have to be tasteless and boring! So I created a spicy garlic chicken, decided to top some crispy potato rounds with it, and there you have it – Spicy Garlic Chicken Nachos! Serve these as an appetizer, or a big plate full for a delicious, albeit messy, dinner. Enjoy!

Spicy Garlic Chicken Nachos

Serves 6.

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 2 lbs of dark meat chicken, boneless and skinless
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bulbs of garlic, roasted
  • 1/3 cup¬†mayonnaise¬†(get my homemade version¬†here)

For the nachos:

  • 4 medium potatoes (sweet, russet, or a combo) sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Toppings:

  • Salsa¬†or hot sauce
  • Guacamole
  • Pickled banana peppers or jalapenos
  • A drizzle of¬†ranch¬†(get my homemade version¬†here)
  • Chopped scallions or cilantro

Directions:

  • Place chicken, seasonings, and apple cider vinegar in your slow cooker
  • Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours
  • While chicken is cooking, roast your garlic
    • Slice the end off of the garlic bulb, drizzle with olive oil
    • Wrap in foil, then roast in a 425 F oven for 45 minutes
  • During the last hour your chicken is cooking, bake your potato rounds
    • Simply lay the rounds out evenly on a¬†parchment¬†lined baking sheet
    • Season with salt
    • Bake for 30 minutes in a 425 F oven
    • Broil for 1 to 2 minutes to get more crispiness
  • Once chicken is done, shred the meat
  • Add garlic (just squeeze it out) and mayonnaise
  • Stir to combine
  • Let the chicken mixture cook for about another 30 minutes on low
  • Place “nachos” on a plate or tray, top with meat mixture, then desired toppings
  • Store leftovers separate, covered, in the fridge
    • The leftover meat is also delicious stuffed in a baked potato, or with brown rice!

For more made-over junk food recipes, check out my¬†Oven Baked Fries,¬†BBQ Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Potatoes, or¬†Slow Cooker Potato and Kale Soup. Pretty much all of my dessert recipes are healthier versions of classics – mama needs sweets – but my current favorites are my¬†Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups,¬†Wholesome Chocolate Chunk Cookies¬†(my most viewed recipe!), and¬†No Bake Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust. I also recently posted¬†Flax and Oat Pancakes; a made-over breakfast staple. I am sure you can find something to help you get your junk food fix – whether it is sweet or savory! Eat healthy foods that taste good…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no cost to you, just a small commission for me to help me stock my pantry and keep the recipes coming. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

%d bloggers like this: