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Lunch and Dinner

Chicken & Brown Rice Soup

Nourishing Comfort Food

If you’re feeling kind of sick and under the weather…or just sick of the winter weather, Chicken & Brown Rice Soup is the perfect pick-me-up! A couple weeks ago, the day after my horse accident, I was extremely tired–not like my usual spunky self. Naturally, when considering what to make for dinner, my first instinct was this recipe. It’s really easy, making it a great solution when you aren’t in the mood to make an elaborate seven course meal.

Another great benefit to Chicken & Brown Rice Soup is that it is incredibly healthy. Unlike other comfort foods like mac ‘n cheese or mashed potatoes, this soup features whole grains, lean protein, fresh veggies, and nourishing bone broth. You really can’t go wrong!

chicken and brown rice soup

Why Choose Bonafide Provisions?

Instead of conventional chicken broth, I chose to use Bonafide Provisions Organic Chicken Bone Broth. Bonafide goes out of their way to ensure you get the most nutritious, high-quality broth possible. All their products are organic and they never use fillers–just real bones. The broths are loaded with collagen, giving them their signature thick consistency and they are frozen fresh instead packaged in a box. I could keep going on all the reasons I love Bonafide, but I know you’d also like to get to a recipe today. To read more about what makes Bonafide such an awesome broth to use, follow the link here!

Notes

If you’re in a hurry, note that the chicken brine is optional. If you have the time though, I definitely recommend it because it makes the chicken extra tender. Also, if you have leftover chicken or a rotisserie on hand, that works great too!

The first time I made this, I used black wild rice. It works great and tastes like any other, but don’t be alarmed when the broth…and chicken turn purple!

chicken and brown rice soup

Pairings for Chicken & Brown Rice Soup

Chicken & Brown Rice Soup

If you're feeling kind of sick and under the weather…or just sick of the weather, Chicken & Brown Rice Soup is the perfect pick-me-up!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, chicken soup, clean eating, comfort food, healthy dinner, rice, soup, vegetables
Servings: 4
Author: Rachel Alexandra

Ingredients

  • 1 lb organic, free range chicken breasts
  • 2-3 cups warm water for brine
  • 1 Tbsp salt for brine
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 carrots peeled
  • 3 branches celery
  • 3 pints Bonafide Provisions Organic Chicken Bone Broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown or wild rice uncooked
  • Fresh thyme, rosemary, and parsley to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, dissolve 1 Tbs of salt in 2-3 cups of warm water–enough to cover the chicken. Place the chicken in the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes to brine.
  • Meanwhile, dice the onion, mince the garlic, and chop the carrots and celery.
  • Remove the chicken from the bowl and cut into bit sized pieces. Heat half the olive oil in a skillet and add the chicken. Fricassee until cooked through (165°F in the center).
  • In a large pot, add the rest of the olive oil, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and herbs. Saute for 5-10 minutes until the onions become translucent and the other veggies slightly soften.
  • Add the Bonafide Provisions Organic Chicken Bone Broth and water. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and add the chicken and rice. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the rice is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Using black wild rice will turn the broth and the chicken purple. Don’t worry, it tastes totally normal!
If you’re in a hurry, you can skip the chicken brine. It makes the chicken extra tender, but isn’t necessary. Also, if you have leftover chicken or a rotisserie on hand, that works great too!
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Vegetarian Tikka Masala

Finally, here it is! Proof that I actually make food other than desserts! As you’ve probably noticed when browsing around my site, my so-called clean eating blog as been featuring a LOT of sweets lately. Even though they’re all made from scratch and often lacking refined sugar, I still wouldn’t classify such recipes as health food. So since in reality I also like to make wholesome dinners, here’s the latest recipe we tried this week: Vegetarian Tikka Masala.

Vegetarian tikka masala

I slightly adapted the recipe from Food with Feeling (I highly recommend checking out her blog!) and we also cooked up some chicken on the side which makes it super adaptable for households with a mix of vegetarians and omnivores. I tend to prefer more plant based foods while Daniel really likes meat and needs more protein, so this worked really well!

If on the other hand, you need a fully vegan recipe, simply swap out the Greek yogurt for one made with coconut milk, omit the optional meat, and there you have it!

Vegetarian Tikka Masala

Vegetarian Tikka Masala is a really easy recipe and the only special kitchen equipment you’ll need is a food processor. This is also great way to sneak in some extra veggies. I used cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and peas, but you could also experiment with other things like zucchini, broccoli, eggplant, or whatever is in season. No one says you have to make a recipe the same way twice! 🙂

Other Recipes to Try:

Vegetarian Tikka Masala

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: curry, dinner, easy, healthy, vegetarian
Servings: 8 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 inch ginger root peeled
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp garam masala
  • 14 oz whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 5 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 15 oz coconut cream
  • 1 head organic cauliflower chopped
  • 3 organic, large carrots sliced
  • 1 organic bell pepper chopped
  • 1-2 cans garbanzo beans
  • 1-2 cups frozen peas
  • Hot sauce to taste

Instructions

  • Place half the onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a food processor and pulse until well combined.
  • In a large skillet, sauté the remaining onion and olive oil with the spices until the onions soften and become translucent.
  • Add the San Marzano tomatoes (with liquid), tomato sauce, Greek yogurt, food-processed mixture, and half of the coconut milk.
  • After about 5 minutes on medium heat, add the cauliflower, carrots, and peppers. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • When the veggies are mostly softened, add the garbanzo beans, frozen peas, and the rest of the coconut milk. Continue cooking until the peas are thawed and heated through.

Notes

Be sure to use full fat coconut cream instead of reduced fat or coconut milk beverage. The full fat is analogous to heavy cream, whereas reduced fat resembles half and half and coconut beverage is the consistency of regular milk. In this case, the full fat consistency will help everything thicken.
Also, it’s important to shake or stir the can first, as some of the cream may be solidified because it’s so temperature sensitive.

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Rolls

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying fall so far now that we’re finally getting into it. It’s the best time of year for us foodies who love pumpkin, apple, cranberry, squash, and all that other deliciousness. Even though today’s recipe doesn’t shout fall, the weather is cooling off, so a good time for recipes requiring some oven time. Especially these vegetarian Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Rolls!

There are three aspects to this recipe: homemade marinara sauce, the lasagna rolls themselves, and cheesy garlic bread. Of course if you’re really in a rush, you could skip the bread and use a store bought sauce. However, I think it’s a lot of fun to make the recipe in it’s entirety!

Vegetarian lasagna rolls full of spinach, mushrooms, and a variety of cheeses

I adapted the lasagna and sauce recipes from Skinny Taste and the garlic bread from Eazy Peazy Mealz. The Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Rolls below are actually a combination of Skinny Taste’s Mushroom Kale Lasagna Rolls and Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups. I also made some other changes like substituting egg and swapping out ricotta for cottage cheese. Just one last thing before you start: when making the bread, see my note below on how to avoid “flame-broiling”! 😉

Other recipes you might like:

Spaghetti Pie

Margherita Pizza

Baked Asparagus Risotto

Artisan Bread

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Rolls

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: garlic bread, lasagna, marinara, mushroom, spinach, vegetarian
Servings: 12
Author: Rachel Alexandra

Ingredients

Lasagna Rolls

  • 12 9 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles cooked
  • 2 ½ cups homemade marinara sauce recipe below
  • 5 cups fresh spinach
  • 8 oz mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 15 oz part skim cottage cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3 tbsp hot water
  • Salt, pepper, and sage to taste
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese

Marinara Sauce

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 28 oz San Marzano tomatoes crushed
  • Fresh basil, oregano, and thyme to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Garlic Bread

  • ¾ cup butter softened
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 loaf homemade french or artisan bread ½ inch slices
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese sliced

Instructions

Lasagna Rolls

  • Prepare the marinara sauce (below) and cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. In a small bowl, combine the ground flax with hot water. Whisk and let stand about 5-10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Using a large saucepan, sauté the garlic in the olive oil for about one minute. Add spinach and cook until wilted (about 5 minutes). Add the chopped mushrooms, salt, pepper, and sage. Continue to cook another 5-6 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.
  • In a large bowl, combine the spinach and mushrooms with the flax egg, cottage cheese, and Parmesan. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  • Scoop about one cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan and spread it around. Lay the lasagna noodles on a large cutting board or piece of freezer paper. Scoop about 1/3 cup of the filling onto each noodle and spread out. Roll each noodle and place in the pan (seam side down).
  • Scoop another cup of marinara sauce over the rolls and top each one with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Let cool for a few minutes before topping with extra sauce and serving.

Marinara Sauce

  • In a saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic. Saute for a few minutes, being sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  • Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients and turn the heat to low.
  • Let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When it is thickened, remove from heat and set aside until needed for the lasagna.

Garlic Bread

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with foil.
  • In a small bowl, cream the softened butter with the garlic, garlic powder, parsley, and freshly grated Parmesan. Spread some of the mixture over each slice of bread and sprinkle with paprika.
  • Place on baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. The butter will be melted and the bread lightly toasted.
  • Remove from oven and place a thin slice of fresh mozzarella on each piece of bread.
  • Set the oven to broil and place the bread back inside for 1-2 minutes. Remove when the cheese is melted and the bread is golden on the edges.

Notes

Unless you want flame-broiled garlic bread, I advise against using parchment paper on the pan…yes, I know from experience. If your broiler is on the top of the oven like mine, the parchment can curl up and touch the heating element. Resulting in an oven fire. It this occurs, don’t be like me and panic and also keep the door shut. (Don’t worry, the garlic bread was miraculously still okay 🙂 ) Be safe and enjoy!

Couscous Salad with Kale and Blueberries

Even though it’s a week after Labor Day and the kids are back in school (myself included), there’ll still be plenty of nice weekends to cookout and have picnics. This couscous salad is light and fresh and is the perfect side dish to any meal. Not only that, but it’s super quick and easy for those rushed evenings you need something fast and preferably healthy. Go ahead and give it a try–I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below! Enjoy!

Ingredients

Salad

1 cup Israeli pearl couscous, dry

6 cups chopped kale (thick stems removed)

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

4 oz queso fresco, crumbled

1 avocado, diced (optional)

Dressing

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 Tbs raw honey

1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Cook the couscous according to the package directions. Let cool and place it in a large bowl. Combine with the kale, blueberries, chickpeas, cheese, and avocado (if using).

In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Enjoy!

Adapted from the Kristine’s Kitchen recipe: Kale Quinoa Salad with Blueberries

Lemon Garlic Salmon with Roasted Asparagus

Today I want to share a new salmon recipe that’s perfect for this time of year when asparagus is in season! This is also a great option for Friday night if you’re craving fish, but want a heart-healthy option instead of beer-battered fish fry. It’s a very simple recipe, super quick, but loaded with flavor! If you want to work ahead and get even more flavor, you could try marinating the salmon with the lemon and garlic beforehand.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Asparagus

1 bunch fresh asparagus

1 clove garlic

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Salmon

2 large wild caught salmon fillets (or four small ones)

2 cloves garlic

1 small lemon

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice asparagus into 4 inch spears and arrange on a baking sheet. Mince one clove of garlic and sprinkle on the asparagus. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, rotating the pieces every 15 minutes. Cooking time varies based on the size of asparagus.

While the asparagus is roasting, prepare the salmon. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (if not non-stick) and lightly grease with olive oil. Mince two cloves of garlic and zest the lemon. Place salmon fillets in the pan skin down. Sprinkle with garlic and lemon zest. Then squeeze the lemon juice on the salmon and add salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Bake for 15-20 minutes. The fillets should be opaque and flaky when done. Enjoy!

Baked Asparagus Risotto

You always know when it’s spring in my family because that’s when there’s fresh, wild asparagus incorporated into nearly every dish. Asparagus was never something we would buy at the store when I was growing up since we always had so much of it growing around our property. Because of that, we only ate it seasonally, but we sure made the most out of asparagus season!

Sometimes we would just have it grilled or steamed with melted butter on top. Other times it would be pureed in asparagus soup or added to my mom’s famous veggie lasagna (hopefully a post on this coming soon). But one of my favorite spring dishes has always been asparagus risotto.

During my time volunteering at Healthy Community Kitchens, I learned how to make authentic risotto. It was only then that I realized that this recipe isn’t true risotto. That being said, risotto is one of those dishes that has to be very precise and takes some time to master. So while I work on developing that skill, enjoy this simpler baked version!

Makes 4, 1 cup servings

Ingredients

1 Tbs olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup uncooked Arborio rice

8 cup spinach leaves (about 4 oz)

2 cup vegetable broth*

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)

1/2 cup fresh, grated Parmesan cheese, divided (2 oz)

1 1/2 cup diagonally sliced asparagus (about 1 inch pieces) **

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add rice and stir well. Stir in spinach, broth, salt, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Stir in asparagus and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed.

Notes

*Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth to make it vegetarian.

**Also try substituting half of the asparagus with peas (as pictured).

Artisan Bread

Today I want to share a super simple bread recipe from It’s Always Autumn. There are only four ingredients and no kneading is required. All you need is flour, yeast, salt, and water! It’s crisp and chewy on the outside, but soft and delightful on the inside. Enjoy a slice or two alongside your favorite winter soup or by itself with butter and raw honey.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough comes together into a cohesive ball. It will still be sticky, but that’s okay.

Cover the bowl and set aside for 8-24 hours at room temperature. When you’re ready to bake it, turn the dough onto a well floured surface, form it into a ball, and let rest for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450° and place a baking dish with sides in the oven.

Remove the dish and grease with olive oil before placing the dough inside. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the cover and continue baking for 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!

3 Ingredient Roasted Butternut Squash

Fall is finally here which means back to school as well as lots of opportunities for fall baking. I’ve been settling into apartment life for the past month and now that classes have started again, it’s hard to find time to actually cook wholesome meals. Thankfully I had yesterday morning free to do a little meal prep, including roasting some squash from my grandpa’s garden. It makes a perfect side with pretty much anything. This recipe is extremely simple and easy too (only three ingredients), so it’s perfect for this busy time of year. Enjoy!

butternut (1)

Ingredients:

1 Butternut squash

2 Tbs. butter

2 Tbs. brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut squash into halves vertically and scoop out seeds to discard. Place the squash skin side down in a glass baking dish.
  3. Make three slices in each half of the squash, being sure not to cut all the way through. (See above photos.) This will allow the butter and brown sugar to flavor more of the squash.
  4. Spread the butter evenly on both halves and sprinkle with brown sugar.
  5. Bake skin side up for approximately 30 minutes or until the squash is soft a fork can be inserted easily.
  6. Squash can be eaten as is or scooped out of the skins and mashed. Enjoy!

 

Spaghetti Pie

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all having a great day! Today I want to feature a family recipe of mine that my sister Lauren at LuBerry Pie posted a while back. Just as a side note (and I know this mentioned at the end of the post), since I make everything egg-free, flax seed works wonderfully in this recipe instead of the egg whites. Directions for this is listed in the variations. Enjoy!

Avocado Salad with Feta and Chickpeas

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to share my all time favorite salad. This avocado salad is my go-to lunch whether I’m at home or on the go. It’s so absolutely delicious, simple, and satisfying. The avocado is full of unsaturated fats and the lime juice gives it some pizzazz. The chickpeas and cheese provide a great vegetarian source of protein, too! Enjoy!

Blog.jpg

 Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

1 avocado, diced

1/4 cup chickpeas

2 Tbs. crumbled feta cheese

2 Tbs. cilantro, chopped

1 Tbs. scallions, chopped

Juice of half a lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine avocado, chickpeas, and feta in a bowl.
  2. Toss with lime juice.
  3. Garnish with cilantro and scallions.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Enjoy!