Roasted Green Beans

I’m a parent to a picky four year old. He used to eat everything I put in front of him but as he’s gotten older, he’s gotten more and more selective. This is all very unfortunate as I have branched out since starting up this little blog and make a lot of unique meals that are not so common here in the Midwest. My palate has really increased and I am way less picky than I used to be. Of course there are still things I don’t enjoy but I’m pretty proud of some of the things I make these days.
roasted green beans 2
Green beans are a veggie I have had a hard time supporting. They just aren’t appealing to me but since I have a child to set an example for, I choke them down so that he can see that I was eating them “to make me healthy and strong.” That line works sometimes. He likes muscles.

Last week I decided to roast them in hopes that they would be a bit more bearable to consume. I love the transformation of veggies when they are roasted, especially cauliflower. They get all brown and crispy and all their natural sweetness comes out. I figured it could only up the green beans game. It doesn’t just make them bearable but really tasty! Seriously, I actually enjoyed them and went back for seconds. Pretty sure this is the only way green beans will be prepared in my house going forward. And an added bonus, they are so easy for a weeknight meal.
roasted green beans 1
Roasted Green Beans

12 oz. fresh green beans
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp. roasted garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Flip, then roast another 10-15 minutes.

Buttermilk and Feta Mashed Potatoes

Buttermilk and Feta Mashed Potatoes 3
So I’m pretty sure I have the weirdest kid in the world. He doesn’t like potatoes. POTATOES. Seriously, not mashed, baked fried…nothing. What kid, or person really, doesn’t like fries? It’s seriously concerning and makes me question whether he’s really mine. Because this lady never met a potato she didn’t like.

I usually make these potatoes with gorgonzola (ala How Sweet It Is) but we had some leftover feta from pizza night so I gave it a try. It was definitely a good decision. I loved the creamy, saltiness the that it brought to the potatoes.
Buttermilk and Feta Mashed Potatoes 2
We had these on Fat Tuesday with our ridiculous steaks but they would be equally delicious with chicken or pork. Or roasted veggies if your torturing yourself and not eating meat. I mean, if you’re a vegetarian.
Buttermilk and Feta Mashed Potatoes 1
Buttermilk and Feta Mashed Potatoes

3 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and chunked
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup crumbled feta

1. Place potatoes in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until fork tender.

2. Drain the potatoes and put them back in the pan. Add butter and salt and mash potatoes. Slowly add in buttermilk as you mash, adding more or less depending on your preference. Stir in crumbled feta and leave on heat for a couple minutes to allow it to melt. Serve immediately.

 

Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes

Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes 2
Need a quick, last minute sweet potato recipe for Thursday? Well, I have the perfect recipe for you. These are so unbelievably good and really easy too. It’s always nice to have something simple to throw together when you have a million other things going on.

Another added bonus, I always have all these ingredients on hand so they would be a great side dish on a busy weeknight too. Make them. Enjoy them.
Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes 1
Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes
recipe from Martha Stewart

8 medium sweet potatoes (5 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
1/3 cup pecan pieces

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel sweet potatoes and slice  into 1/2-inch thick coins then cut each in half. Toss with olive oil and salt and lay in single layer on two baking sheets.

2. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven then sprinkle each pan evenly with the butter, brown sugar and pecans. Return to the oven and bake for 8 minutes.

 

Broccoli Mashed Potatoes

Broccoli Mashed Potatoes
You know what’s weird? Having to tell your child that he’s eating mashed broccoli because if he knew there was potatoes involved he would have nothing to do with them. Yep, a four year old that doesn’t eat potatoes…not even fries. Sometimes I wonder if he’s really my child.
Broccoli Mashed Potatoes
These broccoli mashed potatoes are light yet flavorful. The sour cream adds a nice tang and the onions bring flavor to a dish that would otherwise be bland. I added a bit of parmesan to help sell these to the oldest member of the family, yes the almost 30 year old.
Broccoli Mashed Potatoes

I served these alongside some crispy baked pork chops (I’ll share that recipe later this week) for the perfect, healthy fall meal.

Broccoli Mashed Potatoes
recipe adapted from Everyday Light Meals

1 1/2 lbs. small red potatoes, skin on and cubed
2 1/2 cups fresh broccoli
1/2 onion, shredded
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop broccoli florets and some stem into small pieces. After 10 minutes, add broccoli to potatoes and cook another 10 minutes.

2. In a saute pan, melt butter and cook onion until soft and slightly browned. Drain potatoes and broccoli then put back in the pan. Add onions, sour cream, parmesan, salt and pepper and mash together until smooth.

Thai Sweet Chili Broccoli

Easter with my loves
Did you all have a wonderful Easter? We spent the weekend with my parents enjoying the gorgeous weather, partaking in Easter egg hunts, church and a big dinner with some of our favorite people.
Excited about her basket

He was most excited about the $1 jump rope…figures.
A $1 jump rope? Yesss!

Me and my favorite boy.
Easter Egg Hunt with my boy

Sweet little chickie in her Easter basket.
Hannah in her basket.
Because Easter marks the end of Lent, that meant I got to feast on all kinds of naughty things that I haven’t had in months. Like peanut butter bars, cucumber dip, mac-n-cheese, corn casserole and a cherry coke or two. Needless to say, I felt very sick afterward.

During my 40 days of eating clean, I found that I had more energy and generally felt so much better. So, the plan going forward is to eat clean 5 days a week and the other two to still eat healthy but not so restrictive. Since starting a healthier lifestyle at the New Year, I’ve lost 30 pounds and would love to continue on that path.
Stir-Fried Broccoli
The only problem with healthy eating is that there aren’t a ton of vegetables that I love so the routine can get old kind of fast. I’m pretty sure I’ve professed before that broccoli is one of my favorite foods and I eat it several times a week. Joel doesn’t enjoy it as much as me so I have been on the hunt for different ways to prepare it rather than just serving it steamed as I usually do. When I came across this recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Café I knew it would be a hit with everyone.

Tender crisp, charred broccoli tossed in a slightly thickened sweet Thai chili sauce is the perfect side dish to grilled chicken and a bit of brown rice. You have to try this! It’s quickly become a staple in our dinner routine.

Thai Sweet Chili Broccoli
recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3-4 cups broccoli florets
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

For the sauce:
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
4 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos
1 Tbsp. Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. cornstarch

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the broccoli and cook until the broccoli starts to brown in spots and turns bright green, making sure to stir often (about 7-9 minutes). Meanwhile, stir together the sauce ingredients.

2. Add garlic to skillet and cook an additional minute. Pour in the sauce and cook an additional minute or two until it thickens and the broccoli is coated.

 

Roasted Garlic Smashed Cauliflower

Roasted Garlic Smashed Cauliflower
Guess where I’m headed tomorrow? Vegas! It’s time for Joel’s annual work “retreat” where they work for a couple days then all the significant others come and have a fun filled 3 day weekend. I’m kind of excited and kind of freaking out. This is the first time I am leaving Hannah and I know she will be fine but a mama never stops worrying. She’s definitely a mama’s girl and sometimes she wants me and only me. Haha, good luck mom and dad. Noah was over a year old the first time we left him for a weekend getaway and I thought I was going to vomit the whole 2 hour drive. Breathe Meghan, everything is going to be ok.

Are there any places we need to eat while in Vegas? The only place we have planned is the brunch buffet at the Paris Hotel. And I am totally living it up that meal. I’m talking crepes, bear claws, eggs, waffles. It’s all happening. I fully expect to feel sick since I’ve been eating clean since Lent started but I’m hoping it will be worth it.

Speaking of clean eating…I’ve been struggling with side dishes to our meals. It’s usually just a salad or some kind of steamed vegetable. But when we were at the grocery store the other day I spotted heirloom cauliflower in purple, orange and lime green. I showed Noah and asked him if we should try some and he got very excited and said we should get the orange one. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with it (I usually roast it), but it was totally being purchased after seeing how excited he was over a vegetable.
Roasted Garlic Smashed Cauliflower
After thinking a bit, I decided to try my hand at smashed cauliflower. A lot of the recipes I found added cream cheese which sounds amazing but just wasn’t going to happen. Since there wasn’t much I could add to gain that creamy texture, I decided to add lots of flavor instead. Cooking the cauliflower in chicken stock and adding a whole head of roasted garlic definitely fit the bill. It’s a light, flavorful side dish that’s just as fun to eat as it is to look at.

Roasted Garlic Smashed Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower (I used an heirloom orange cauliflower), cut into florets
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 head roasted garlic
Salt and pepper

Place cauliflower and chicken stock in a pan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, or until fork tender (most of the stock will be gone). Mash cauliflower in pot, if you have a lot of stock left, drain some out. Add in parmesan cheese and roasted garlic and continue to mash. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

How to Cook Brown Rice Perfectly

Perfect Brown Rice
Thanks to Our Best Bites, I have found the perfect way to cook brown rice. Seriously, I will never cook it another way. It was everything I never knew brown rice could be. It even got the stamp of approval from Joel so that’s saying something.

The rice came out light and fluffy with an amazing texture. I always seem to undercook brown rice and it ends up crunchy and unappetizing. But not anymore. After making the rice, I added lime zest and cilantro to make cilantro lime rice so that’s what the green specks are in the photo. I forgot to snap pictures beforehand.
Perfect Brown Rice
So so so good. I plan on doing this once a week to have brown rice for lunch all week along with some grilled chicken and veggies. Turns out this whole clean eating thing ain’t so bad.

The Perfect Brown Rice
recipe from Our Best Bites

1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/3 cups water (you could also use chicken stock for a bit more flavor)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place dry brown rice in an 8×8 pan. Bring water, butter or oil and salt to a boil. Remove as soon as it starts boiling and pour it over the rice. Cover tightly with several layers of foil. Bake for about 1 hour.

2. Remove from oven and carefully remove the foil. Fluff the rice with a fork then cover with a kitchen towel for 5 minutes. This helps collect the steam rather than it collecting on the foil then falling into the rice when you remove it, making it soggy.