Gluten-FreeRecipesSaladsSandwiches & Wraps

Barbecue Chicken Chopped Salad (Gluten-Free)

heartysmarty

I made this salad for dinner this week, fully intending that my husband and I would eat fifty percent of it. Boy was I wrong! The kids devoured this salad before I got much of a helping. I will most definitely be doubling the recipe next time. It went over so well that my two school-age kiddos asked for me to put it in a wrap for their school lunch the next day. I always feel like such a champion in the kitchen when my kids approve of a new recipe, not to mention a SALAD recipe. I hope you and your next dinner guests enjoy this as much as we did.

Barbecue Chicken Chopped Salad

The BEST recipe for barbecue chicken salad that the whole family will love.

Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Barbecue, Chicken, Salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 310 kcal
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

  • 6 Cups Romaine Lettuce chopped
  • 1 Cup Rotisserie Chicken (see notes)
  • 2 Tbsp Barbecue Sauce Kraft Original
  • 1 Cup Red Bell Pepper chopped
  • 1 Cup Black Beans rinsed, drained
  • 1 Cup Corn
  • 1/2 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Tortilla Strips Fresh Gourmet
  • 2 Tbsp Green Onions sliced

Homemade Ranch Dressing

  • 3/4 Cup Mayonnaise full fat
  • 1 Cup Plain Milk Kefir (or Buttermilk)
  • 3 Tbsp Dry Ranch Dressing Mix Hidden Valley

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients except for tortilla strips.

  2. In a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine dressing ingredients. Shake until well combined.

  3. Use a pair of tongs to mix in the Ranch dressing. Top with tortilla strips.

Recipe Notes

Any type of cooked chicken will work in this recipe. I always have frozen rotisserie chicken on hand, so that is what I use. Also, to ensure this recipe is gluten-free, make certain you are using gluten-free chicken, dressings and tortilla strips. The brands I have recommended are all gluten-free. You can find the BBQ sauce and tortilla strips linked below in the Featured Products. Boston Market, Costco or Sam's Club all carry gluten-free rotisserie chickens. I also buy my dry Ranch Dressing mix at Costco. 

Featured Products

(Includes Affiliate Links)

 Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce

 Fresh Gourmet Tortilla Strips

 

 

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Appetizers/ DipsGluten-FreeRecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Macho Nachos

heartysmarty

A few months ago, I was trying to think of a new menu item for Taco Tuesday when a childhood memory of one of my favorite Mexican joints in Sheridan, Wyoming popped into my mind. When I was a kid, I used to love eating at a place called, “Pablos.” I’m sure it was anything BUT authentic, and, as is always the case in small towns, it went out of business a long time ago. Regardless, I always ordered the same thing: Macho Nachos. It was a massive platter of all the good stuff. I re-created it for my family a few times using Mel’s Pressure Cooker Refried Beans and it is a huge hit. My eight-year-old, soccer-playing, totally active, off-the-growth-chart son is especially happy when he sees this on the table! It’s SUPER filling, easy, and fast to make. I like to roast a pan of veggies to go with it to make it a complete meal. Enjoy!

Macho Nachos

A super easy meal for Taco Tuesday--it's delicious AND pretty nutritious!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword healthy nachos
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

  • 6 Cups Tortilla Chips
  • 2 1/2 Cups Mel’s Pressure Cooker Refried Beans
  • 1 1/2 Cups Rotisserie Chicken shredded
  • 1 1/2 Cups Cheddar Cheese shredded
  • 1 1/2 Cups Tomatoes chopped
  • 1 Cup Lettuce shredded
  • 1 Cup Mashed Avocado
  • 1 Cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup Green Onions sliced
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. On a large sheet pan, spread tortilla chips in an even layer.
  2. Heat the beans and chicken until warmed through. Drizzle the beans over the chips and sprinkle the chicken and cheddar cheese on top.
  3. Place the pan in the oven and broil on low just until the cheese melts.

  4. Remove from oven and top with tomatoes, lettuce, dollops of avocado and Greek yogurt. Garnish with Green onions and Cilantro.

Recipe Notes

Serve with roasted vegetables to make a complete meal. I always have a steady supply of Rotisserie Chicken and Mel’s Pressure Cooker Refried beans in the freezer, so that makes this dish a total cinch. You can read more how I do the chicken here. And Mel has a great tutorial for freezing beans on her website as well here.

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Cooking Tips & TricksFeaturedLifestyle EatingNutrition EducationRecipesSlow Cooker and Instant Pot

Stocking the Freezer for a New Momma

heartysmarty

Today I am officially 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant with my fifth baby. I found out at my last appointment that baby boy is breech, so I will most likely have to deliver him at 39 weeks. Thus, I have just 11 days left until I have my baby! To say that my nesting is in full swing would be a severe understatement. I find myself compulsively cleaning or doing laundry whenever I have the energy to do it. But the main compulsion lately is freezer meals.

Since this is my fifth baby, I don’t expect to have the luxury of being off-duty for as long as I was with my first few. There just isn’t going to be time for that with our busy life. Our family looks so different now. The last time I had a baby (2014), my oldest child had just turned 6 and started kindergarten. Her only extra-curricular activity was piano lessons for which her Grandmother came to our house to teach weekly. Things are much different now. My oldest will be 10, my next is 8, and my third is 5 and my fourth is turning 4 next month. For extra-curriculars, we have the girls in dance, the boys in soccer, and piano and school choir for the oldest. Not to mention the fact that my husband is super busy with work, school (MBA), and serving the youth in our church. Sure, I will have help managing my family for a few weeks, but I admit I am a bit nervous for when the help leaves.

The point of telling you all of this is in no way to complain about my situation. We are all completely ECSTATIC to have a new baby join our family again. There’s always a special feeling that comes into our home with a new baby, and we can’t wait to hold him! The point I am driving home here is that if I can at least have a freezer full of starter meals and a fully-stocked pantry, at least the dinner hour won’t be so intimidating come mid-September when I am required to get back to work on my own.  And maybe I will get some extra snuggle time in with my newborn instead of worrying about dinner details.

How to stock the freezer and pantry:

1. Take inventory.

What do you already have on hand for meat? pasta? canned goods? garden produce? Form your meals out of what needs used up first. Make a list of things that need replenishing.

2. Sift through favorite recipes and choose ones that can be frozen.

See below for the recipes I used.

3. Shop for ingredients. Online groceries are the way to go.

Clicklist for Kroger stores or Wal-Mart all have online options for ordering groceries for a minimal or no fee. It is SO WONDERFUL to shop for your groceries on your phone or laptop and have them ready for pickup within as little as 4 hours. No need to haul yourself or your kids through the store.

4. Incorporate freezer meals in weekly meal plan for the last month of pregnancy and make double.

When I make a meal that can be doubled and frozen throughout the week, I do it! Two birds with one stone.

5. Do something each day.

  • Look through your freezer again. Is there meat that needs used? Do yourself a favor and cook up your ground beef with an onion and freeze it in 1 1/2 Cup portions in Ziploc bags. You can reheat it later for taco meat or throw it into whatever sauce, casserole or skillet dish you need.
  • Use your Instant Pot (Affliate link) to pressure cook a batch of beans. Put them in the freezer for easy access and a cheaper alternative to canned beans.
  • Purchase a couple rotisserie chickens and freeze the meat it in Ziploc bags. More details here.
  • If you have produce coming from the garden, get it harvested! Shred zucchini, freeze fruit, cook and puree your squash, blanch your green beans, and throw them into airtight containers for the freezer.
  • Take advantage of sales. Pineapple was on sale the other day, so I bought three of them, chopped them up and froze them for smoothies.
  • Make your kids’ day with a batch of cookies. Freeze half of them (or the dough) for later.
  • Stock up on pantry items like canned beans, vinegars, oils, pastas, baking ingredients, nut butters, canned sauces, cereals, rice, etc.
  • Stock paper goods—paper towels, napkins, plastic utensils, garbage bags, freezer bags, etc. It’s nice to have paper plates on hand for the nights when dishes are just too much to do.

Freezer Meal Ideas and Recipes:

Frozen Burritos with Mel’s Kitchen Café Pressure Cooker Refried Beans.

I made 2 dozen frozen burritos with one recipe of beans. You will also need 24 tortillas and 6 cups of shredded cheese. If you are using raw tortillas, be sure to cook them first. Spread about 1/2 cup beans on your tortilla. Top with 1/4 Cup cheese. Roll it up and let it cool for a bit in the freezer before putting them in airtight freezer bags.

 

Instant Pot Marinara Chicken

 

Hearty Vegetable Chili

Pesto Sauce

Megan’s Homemade Lasagna

Hearty Veggie Gravy

Spaghetti Sauce

Teriyaki Orange Chicken

Chicken Tikka Masala

Hearty No-Bake Cookie Bites

Cheese Sauce

Hearty Bean with Bacon Soup

Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Healthy Shepherd’s Pie (Filling only)

Pizza Dough-Freeze grapefruit size balls in  ziplock bags

Featured Products

(Includes Affiliate Links)

Ziplock Gallon Slider Storage Bags

Ziplock Twist n Loc Containers

Instant Pot

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Gluten-FreeRecipesSaladsSides

Mandarin Chicken Kale Salad

heartysmarty

When I served this colorful salad for dinner last night, my 3-year-old exclaimed, “It’s a Wainbow Salad!” That it is. And it tastes just as good as it looks. This salad has everything—sweet, savory, chewy and crunchy. With fruits and vegetables, the best nutritional guideline is to eat all the colors of the rainbow. This salad has you covered. You can leave the chicken out and serve it as a lighter side-salad, or keep it in and make it a main dish. Enjoy!

Mandarin Chicken Kale Salad

Course Salad
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 Side Servings
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

Salad

  • 6 Cups loosely packed Kale
  • 2 Cups Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 1/2 Cups Carrot Ribbons (See Notes)
  • 3/4 Cup Red Bell Peppers chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Green Onions sliced small
  • 10.5 ounce can Mandarin Oranges drained
  • 1/2 Cup Chow Mein Noodles (Omit for gluten-free option)
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Almonds sliced
  • 1 Cup Rotisserie Chicken shredded

Dressing

  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (See Notes)
  • 3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Ginger zested
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce* (See notes)
  • 1 clove Garlic finely minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey

Instructions

  1. Combine all dressing ingredients into a mason jar with a tight fitting lid.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, massage 2 tablespoons of dressing into the kale. Use your hands to get the best result. This helps take the bitter flavor out of the kale. Let it sit to marinate while you prepare remaining ingredients.
  3. Toss kale with the romaine lettuce to coat, and add remaining salad ingredients.
  4. Drizzle with more dressing as desired.
  5. Makes 8 side servings or 2 main dish servings.

Recipe Notes

To make the Carrot Ribbons, simply lay a large carrot flat on a cutting board. Use a vegetable peeler to carefully peel the carrot from top to bottom. Keep peeling until the carrot is too thin to continue. Also, you should know that I am a wimp when it comes to spicy food. The 1/2 teaspoon of Sriracha is just enough to add flavor to the dressing. You can use more if you like the heat. Remember to use Bragg Liquid Aminos as a soy sauce substitute and to omit the chow mein noodles for gluten-free needs.

Featured Products

(Includes Affiliate Links)

Bragg Liquid Aminos

Sriracha Sauce

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Fad Diet Myth BustingFeaturedNutrition Education

The Role of Hormones in Hunger and Fullness

heartysmarty

It’s 4:00 PM. Not “time” for dinner yet. But your stomach is burning and growling so loud you think everyone around you can hear it. You know the feeling, but did you know that a hormone in your body is flooding messages to your brain that you need food? There are lots of hormones involved with the way our bodies recognize hunger and fullness, but the four main ones are Insulin, Cortisol, Ghrelin and Leptin. There’s also convincing studies that suggest the amount of sleep a person gets can alter how each of these hormones work. So, let’s get down to it, shall we?

What are Hormones?

I like to think of hormones as little messengers. They send and receive alerts between our body’s organs like the brain, thyroid, kidneys, pancreas, reproductive organs, heart, gut, placenta (for pregnant women), thymus, skin, and even fat tissues.

Insulin

Insulin is made in the pancreas and acts as a carrier for sugar. It carries sugar from the blood and brings it into cells to be used as energy. Think of it as the back hoe that takes dirt from the ground and dumps it into a dump truck for later use.

Long-term consequences

A person that can’t make enough insulin or whose body won’t recognize insulin will have very high blood sugar levels. Eventually it will lead to diabetes, requiring medication and/or insulin shots. Sometimes diabetes is caused by diet and obesity (Type 2), and this type can be reversed through diet changes and weight loss.

Prevention

Not all issues related to insulin production/resistance can be prevented. Often times it is an issue of genetics or an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks itself. It is always beneficial, though, to manage blood sugar levels by eating regular, nourishing meals, exercising regularly, and managing stress.

Cortisol

Cortisol is made in the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys and is commonly known as a “stress hormone.” It has three main functions:

1. Stimulates sympathetic nervous system in fight-or-flight situations by activating anti-stress and anti-inflammatory pathways. Cortisol floods the body with glucose (sugar) and sends it to large muscle groups, allowing us to fight or run from the stressor.

2. Cortisol responds to low blood sugar levels in the early stages of fasting by liberating sugar from stores in the liver. However, during starvation or prolonged fasting, cortisol blocks insulin from storing sugar, allowing its immediate use in the blood. This causes insulin resistance.

3. Suppression of the parasympathetic nervous system, preventing the rest-and-digest function to happen in the body.

Long-term consequences

A person experiencing long-term stress will have a constant flow of cortisol pumping through their body. Too much cortisol is hard on your liver, pancreas, blood sugar and digestive tract. When a person has constant high blood sugar levels, it triggers the pancreas to make insulin. We just learned that cortisol blocks insulin, so the body becomes insulin resistant. Meanwhile, cells are starving for sugar, and send signals to the brain to eat more food. This causes overeating, and for a stressed-out person whose digestive tract (parasympathetic) is shut down, things can start to get pretty uncomfortable. It’s a vicious cycle.

Prevention

Stress management is the obvious cure to the harmful effects of too much cortisol. That will look different for each individual, but some ideas include: gentle exercise, regular and nourishing meals (every 4 to 5 hours), cognitive therapy, meditation, adequate rest, and so on. Exercise is a critical stress-manager, because it is the only mechanism that can bring blood sugar down without the use of insulin. That’s good news for someone with too much cortisol, blocking the insulin pathway!

Ghrelin

Ghrelin is made in the stomach and is commonly known as the “hunger” hormone. I remember it as the hormone that makes your tummy growl… ghrrrrrelin…  When our stomach is empty, ghrelin is absorbed so it can send a message to our brain to feed us. When the stomach is stretched, it stops firing.

Long-term consequences

If a person chooses to restrict food through dieting, or in extreme cases of starvation, they are ignoring ghrelin’s “knock at the door.” What happens then? Cortisol kicks the door down and brings glucose from the liver store, triggering that whole stress-response process again.

Prevention

Keep reading for the leptin prevention, because these two hormones work hand-in-hand.

Leptin

Leptin is produced in fat tissues and is commonly known as the “satiety” hormone. Leptin inhibits ghrelin when the stomach is full; and ghrelin inhibits leptin when the stomach is empty, because they have the same receptors in the brain.

Long-term consequences

If a person chooses to ignore leptin’s fullness signals they will overeat. Now, if this is just an occasional thing around holidays and celebrations, your body will naturally re-boot itself and you will eat less at the next meal. However, when done consistently (think: constant bingeing) weight gain will ensue and frequent high blood sugar levels will cause all the problems discussed before with insulin.

Prevention

Prevention tactics for both ghrelin and leptin can be achieved through listening to and honoring your hunger and fullness. Principle Number 5 in “Intuitive Eating” is the best way I can help you with this. “Feel your fullness” as you are eating meals. Here’s a diagram that can help:

Intuitive Eating Fullness Discovery Scale

 

 

Take a time-out halfway through your meal and use this scale to assess your fullness. Are you at a 4? 5? Does the food still taste good? Is it satisfying you? If so, continue eating until you reach 6 or 7 where you are comfortable and satisfied. It is also important to remember that starting a meal at the 0 to 2 stage of hunger will inevitably cause you to overeat. Try to start most of your meals at the 3 or 4 level where it is easier to regulate your hunger and cravings.

The effects of sleep on hormones

Many convincing studies are showing that not getting enough sleep increases cortisol and ghrelin levels while decreasing leptin activity and insulin sensitivity. Thus, your brain thinks it needs energy from food when it actually needs energy from sleep!

What can I do to regulate my hormones?

Lets review. Here are the top 5 ways to regulate your hormones in relation to hunger and fullness:

1. Get adequate sleep.

2. Exercise in a enjoyable way—not too much, not too little.

3. Eat regular, nourishing meals made up of a variety of foods.

4. Manage your stress in healthy ways—social activities, hobbies, relaxation, meditation, cognitive therapy (if needed) and numbers 1-3 above.

5. Listen to and honor your hunger and fullness cues.

 

And there you have it! Who would have thought there was so much going on in your mind and body when you are eating (or not eating) food?

 

Featured Product

(Includes Affiliate Link)

 Intuitive Eating

Sources:

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/111609p38.shtml

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065172/

Tribole, Evelyn, and Elyse Resch. Intuitive Eating: a Revolutionary Program That Works. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012.

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Gluten-FreeRecipesSalads

Light and Creamy Potato Salad

heartysmarty

Light and Creamy Potato Salad

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Healthy Potato Salad
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 15 Cups
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

  • 8 Cups Potatoes cubed
  • 2 Cups Celery chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper (1 1/2 Cups), chopped small*
  • 3/4 Cup Dill Pickles chopped small
  • 1/2 Cup Carrots chopped small

Dressing:

  • 1 Cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise Regular Fat
  • 1/3 Cup Green Onion chopped fine
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper

Instructions

  1. Boil potatoes until the cubes are soft yet still hold their shape. Strain and then pour potatoes into a large serving bowl. Put it in the fridge or freezer to chill while preparing remaining ingredients.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  3. Add remaining vegetables to potatoes. Pour dressing over top and mix until well-coated.
  4. Chill the potato salad in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours before serving so the flavors can blend.

Recipe Notes

"Cubed" or "chopped" versus "chopped small" in this recipe is specified by the size of blade I used in my vegetable chopper. The larger blade was for the potatoes and celery and the smaller blade was for everything else. I cut my food prep time in half (pun fully intended...) by using my beloved Vidalia Chop Wizard. Seriously. I can't survive in the kitchen without it. More details below:

 

Featured Product

(Includes Affiliate Link)

Vidalia Chop Wizard

 

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RecipesTreats

Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O (Reduced Sugar)

heartysmarty

I have learned a little trick through the years in baking and cooking. Most of the time, the amount of sugar called for in a recipe can be cut by a fourth and no one will notice it is missing. Well, with this recipe, I cut two-thirds of the sugar out, and no one has ever mentioned a word. It is still plenty sweet, incredibly delicious, but not really that nutritious. And that’s ok. This is a dish which makes an appearance once or twice a year at holidays, so we enjoy this as a special treat. I hope you enjoy this slightly more wholesome version of Pretzel Jell-O as much as the Andersen family does!

Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O (Reduced Sugar)

Still a sweet treat, this Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O has less sugar than the original and even better flavor.

Course Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Pretzel Jell-O
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 220 kcal
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

Crust Layer

  • 2 Cups Pretzels crushed into 1/2 pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Butter melted

Cream Cheese Layer

  • 8 oz. package Original Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 8 oz. Can Crushed Pineapple drained
  • 8 oz. Heavy Whipping Cream fluid

Jell-O Layer

  • 6 oz. Strawberry Jell-O
  • 2 Cups Boiling water
  • 20 oz. Frozen Strawberries sliced

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small mixing bowl combine crushed pretzels, melted butter and sugar. Mix until pretzels are well-coated.  Press mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish and bake for 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
  2. With an electric mixture, beat to whipping cream until firm peaks form. Set aside.  In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and pineapple together. Fold the whipped cream into the mixture.
  3. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the pretzel crust. Make sure you completely seal the crust with this layer. Otherwise, the Jell-O layer will seep through and make the pretzel crust become soggy. Chill this layer in the freezer while preparing the Jell-O layer.
  4. Set the Jell-O with 2 Cups of boiling water, stirring until the sugars are totally dissolved. Mix the frozen strawberries into the Jell-O and let set until the mixture becomes syrupy.  Slowly pour this mixture over the cream cheese layer.
  5. Set the Jell-O overnight. Cut into squares and use a metal spatula to serve.

 

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Appetizers/ DipsGluten-FreeRecipesSides

Grilled Vegetable Kabobs

heartysmarty

Does anyone else get a bit weary of the same old side dishes at summer barbecues? The chips and watermelon just aren’t cutting it for me lately, so I decided to mix it up with these super easy vegetable kabobs. They add some nice nutrition and color to an otherwise ordinary meal. Below is my fail-proof recipe for perfect vegetable kabobs. Enjoy!

Grilled Vegetable Kabobs

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Grilled Vegetables
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 kabobs
Calories 150 kcal
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

  • 2 Yams sliced
  • 2 Zucchini Squash
  • 2 Red Onions
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil extra virgin
  • 1 Tablespoon Seasoned Salt

Instructions

  1. Soak 12 bamboo skewers in a pan of water while preparing vegetables. This helps to prevent the skewers from burning during the grilling process.
  2. Prepare yams by peeling and slicing them into 3/4-inch thick rounds. In a microwave safe bowl, cook the potatoes for 90 seconds. Mix and cook another 90 seconds. Set aside.
  3. Slice zucchini into 3/4-inch thick rounds. Chop bell peppers and red onions into large, 2 inch pieces.
  4. Combine all vegetables in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Mix just until vegetables are coated.
  5. Stack vegetables onto skewers. Be sure to leave just a sliver of space between each vegetable so that the heat will be able to cook between them.
  6. Heat an outdoor grill to 450 degrees. Grill the kabobs by turning each skewer with tongs 4 times, cooking for 3 minutes between turns. The potatoes should be soft but not mushy. The zucchini, onions and peppers, should be crisp-tender. Sprinkle with additional seasoned salt if desired. Serve immediately.

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Gluten-FreeRecipesTreats

Delicious Homemade Pudding Pops

heartysmarty

This Summer heat combined with being 30+ weeks pregnant is challenging me. Whew! All I want to eat these days is smoothies and anything cold or frozen. Naturally, I was really craving a fudgsicle on a particularly hot day a couple weeks ago, so the kids and I made homemade pudding and froze it overnight in our ice pop molds. We made both vanilla and chocolate, and they were SO GOOD! My 5-year-old took a lick of hers, tipped her head back and exclaimed, “I’m in HEAVEN!” After you taste these, you will agree they are WAY better than any store brand. And since this is a nutrition blog, I should mention that two pudding pops have about 15% your daily value of Calcium. And, true to form, I cut some of the sugar out of the original recipe. So that’s awesome, right?! I hope you enjoy this yummy frozen treat this summer!

Homemade Pudding Pops

Homemade fudge and vanilla popsicles are heaven on Earth. 

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword fudgesicle
Freezing Time 8 hours
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 85 kcal
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

Vanilla Pudding

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 3 Cups 2% Milk
  • 4 Egg Yolks beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Chocolate Pudding

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 2 2/3 Cups 2% Milk
  • 4 Egg Yolks beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch (and Cocoa Powder if you are making the chocolate flavor). Stir in Milk.

  2. Cook and stir mixture continually over medium heat until thickened and bubbly--about 15 minutes. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.

  3. Gradually stir 1 cup of hot milk mixture into bowl of egg yolks. Add egg mixture to milk mixture in pan. Bring milk mixture to a gentle boil and reduce heat to low. Cook and continue stirring for 2 minutes more.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.
  5. Use a ladle to spoon pudding into popsicle molds and tightly secure the lid. Place in a freezer for 8 hours or overnight. Rinse outside of popsicle mold with warm water for about 20 seconds before removing pudding pop from the mold.

 

Featured Product

(Includes Affiliate links)

Lickety Sip Ice Pop Molds

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Gluten-FreeRecipesSalads

Sweet Pea and Bacon Ranch Salad

heartysmarty

I never struggle to get my kids to eat their salad when I serve this one. It has classic, kid-friendly ingredients like cheddar cheese and bacon, but also contains some pretty awesome sources of fiber and vitamins in the peas and fresh romaine. The secret to making this taste so good is the green onions. Yum. Try this one on your kids and let me know how it goes. Enjoy!

 

Sweet Pea and Bacon Ranch Salad

8 Cups Romaine Lettuce, chopped
1 1/2 Cups Frozen Peas, thawed*
3/4 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/4 Cup Green Onions, sliced thin
1/4 Cup Hormel Real Bacon Pieces
1/4 Cup Ranch Dressing (See directions and notes)

Directions:
1. Prepare Ranch Dressing: In a large jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine 1 Cup Mayonnaise, 1 Cup Greek Yogurt and 1 Packet (3 Tablespoons) Dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Seasoning. Shake or stir until well mixed. This can store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.
2. In a large bowl, mix just the lettuce with 1/4 Cup Ranch Dressing. Top with remaining ingredients. Drizzle with more dressing as desired.

Serves 8.

*Notes: I thaw my frozen peas by placing them in a strainer and rinsing with hot water. Use a few paper towels to dab the peas dry before adding to the salad. Also, you can use prepared Ranch dressing, but I SWEAR it tastes so much better when you make your own from the dry seasoning packet.

Featured Products

(Contains Affiliate Links)

Hormel Real Bacon Pieces

Ranch Dressing

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